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Issue Home December 10, 2008 Site Home

100 Years Ago
From the Desk of the D.A.
The Healthy Geezer
Straight From Starrucca
Veterans’ Corner
What’s Bugging You?
Food For Thought
Earth Talk
Barnes-Kasson Corner

100 Years Ago

FOREST CITY: One of the rarest musical treats Forest City has had an opportunity to enjoy in a long time was the concert given under the auspices of the Presbyterian church in the Baptist church, Tuesday evening, by the Blauvelt Ladies Club, the Arian Male chorus and the Carbondale Harmonic Society. There were over 50 in the party of the best of the Pioneer City’s Musical talent. Reese B. Reese was the leader of the party and rendered a solo, “My Ain Folks,” that was one of the best numbers on the program. A vocal solo by Miss Lowry, a vocal solo by Miss Moylan and Mr. Reese with the choral work of the combined party, furnished a program of surpassing merit.

UNIONDALE: Quite a snow and blizzard last night, followed by a nice rain this morning. It is hopeful it will continue until it breaks the water famine. A goodly number of families are borrowing water from their neighbors, where they have been fortunate enough to have good wells. Lewis Lake and the streams haven’t been so low for many years as they are now.

NEW MILFORD: Col. C. C. Pratt, of New Milford, who was just elected to congress, is a very original and interesting personage. Whenever he talks he always says something that will probably arouse your combative instincts and also give you a new line of thought. He evidently has some unexpurged ideas on women’s rights, for the other day he strayed into a convention of suffragists in Philadelphia and made the following remarks: “I have no objections to woman’s voting from the man’s standpoint, but I have a most decided objection from the woman’s standpoint. In my estimation, business has within the past 24 years taken away about 50 per cent of all the qualities that go to make women lovable, and I would most earnestly plead that the other 50 per cent might not be destroyed by politics. Let a woman vote if she wants to but protect me from the woman who wants to.”

HEART LAKE: December 5, being the 50th anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Whitney, about 50 of their friends and relatives gave them a pleasant surprise.

BROOKLYN: The stores in the village have taken on a holiday appearance and many new things are on exhibition.

RUSH: Simeon Oakes has had water placed in his house recently. AND: New air pressure lights have been installed in the Baptist Church.

SPRINGVILLE: The “kid wagon” looks rather empty on its way to and from school. Springville seems to be afflicted with two evils, chicken pox and chicken thieves.

SUSQUEHANNA: Dr. Dixon, State Commissioner of Health, has decided to establish a tuberculosis dispensary here and Dr. Samuel Birdsall has taken charge. Until a suitable and permanent location can be secured for the dispensary it will be located in Dr. Birdsall’s office and will be opened tomorrow. The object of the dispensary is to furnish medical examination, medicines and certain kinds of food when necessary to persons suffering from any form of tuberculosis and whose financial circumstances will not allow them to incur the expenses of such services and supplies.

CLIFFORD: Walter Spedding, W. Morgan and Elmer Coil attended the shooting match at Lenoxville last Saturday. They reported a fine time, a big turnout, and that many ducks and pigs were carried away.

EAST DIMOCK: J. W. Bunnell is moving a large house for Mr. Bennett of Harford. Anyone needing buildings moved would do well to call on Mr. Bunnell. AND: W. W. Kinner is going to make butter. Anyone in want of butter or buttermilk will know where to find it.

HARFORD: The physicians of Harford have arranged their fee bill so that there will be no variation in their prices, and after Dec. 1 all night calls will be double the price of day calls.

ELK LAKE: The lake was partially frozen over Dec. 6. AND: W. H. Tanner has added a dry goods department to his grocery store.

MONTROSE: A former Montrose resident, Atty. C. S. Woodruff, of Scranton, who was principal of the high school, is one of President-elect Taft’s intimate friends, having graduated with him from Yale. Mr. Woodruff has received a hearty invitation to attend the inauguration from the president-elect, who has kept in touch with him through correspondence all the years since graduation. AND: A Montrose young man is after the chicken picking record. Carl Hawley, of Rogers’ meat market, thought he had the art down to a pretty fine point, so a “watch was held on him” and he succeeded in cleaning the feathers off a good-sized fowl in just 40 seconds flat. Carl thinks he can go it a few seconds better, if necessary, but taking it leisurely, that is about an average speed. A Scranton young man established a record of 40 seconds, which brought about the interest.

HERRICK CENTER: While it may have been obligatory for neighboring districts and towns to close their schools, it has not been necessary to close our village schools on account of any infectious disease. A great many of these diseases are carried from social functions. We cannot lay all the blame on the public school. Some of these disease germs are carried from the “kissing match” that is so much engaged in by young people at social functions. The best time for one sex to kiss another is when they are big and are married, and are sure the opposite kisser is not “infected.” AND: It seems so strange that no one knows the time of or has a time table of the “Uniondale-Herrick Center” trolley line. It certainly is very inconvenient to travel from Herrick Center. Why not every one join hands and get to kicking and compel the Erie to put another passenger train.

GREAT BEND: Frank Ticknor died Wednesday, at the Simon Barnes hospital, in Susquehanna, as the result of injuries received in the Erie boiler shop a few weeks ago. Saturday his left leg was amputated and Ticknor was apparently on the road to recovery, but the shock and loss of blood proved too much for him. The body was taken to his home in Great Bend this afternoon.

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From the Desk of the D.A.
By District Attorney Jason J. Legg

Megan Meier was a 13 year-old girl from Missouri who committed suicide after receiving hateful emails. But this story is a little more twisted than a typical teen drama. After Megan Meier had a fight with her friend and next door neighbor, the friend’s parents, Curt and Lori Drew, cooked up a scheme to humiliate Megan in reparation for her behavior towards their daughter. The Drews created a fictional boy-stud on MySpace with the name Josh Evans, and then contacted Megan to initiate a friendship and a potential romantic relationship. Josh was apparently every teenage girl’s dream – handsome, muscular, talented, smart, sensitive and funny. After the Drews used their cyber boy to woo and court Megan, they turned the fictional Romeo on the unsuspecting Megan. The compliments and friendship turned to insults and hatred. The Drews were probably laughing hysterically as they ripped the heart out of Megan’s chest with a few typed words and a click of a mouse. After engaging in emotional torture for a period of time, the Drews sent a final message to Megan – you are a bad person, everyone hates you and the world would be better off without you. Megan was devastated – and Megan killed herself by using a belt to hang herself.

After state prosecutors determined that they could not file any charges, federal prosecutors in California (where MySpace has some of its servers located) filed charges against Lori Drew. The charges did not directly relate to the death of Megan – rather, the charges were brought under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The government’s theory of the case essentially contended that it was a criminal act to violate a service provider’s terms and conditions of use, i.e., My Space. Because MySpace had terms and conditions of use that prohibited the use of false names and harassment, the federal prosecutor argued that a criminal act had occurred in violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. In other words, when Lori Drew created a false MySpace account for the sole purpose of harassing and humiliating Megan, she not only violated MySpace’s terms of use, but also became involved in the criminal use of her computer.

The jury had some difficulty with the case – the felony charges resulted in an acquittal, while Lori Drew was convicted of the misdemeanor offense. Apparently, the distinction between the two offenses deals with the intent when the violation of the usage terms occurs – if the intent was criminal, then it is a felony; if the intent was not criminal, then it becomes a misdemeanor. The jury apparently concluded that Lori Drew had violated the MySpace usage terms, but had not done so for criminal purposes. This is an interesting distinction to make – one wonders what the intent of Lori Drew was, other than to harass Megan with false and malicious information and, if her intent was to harass, how that does not become criminal. In any event, Lori Drew was only convicted of the misdemeanor offense.

There has been some criticism over this prosecution from the defense bar – namely that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act was never intended to be used to prosecute a person for using a computer to harass another person. At this point, the courts will be left to sift through the trial transcript to determine whether sufficient evidence exists to support the conviction, and whether the Act was intended for the purpose for which it was used in this case.

Many states have responded to this issue by acting specific criminal statutes aimed at cyber bullying, including Megan’s home state of Missouri. Obviously, as computers, blackberries, and cellular phones become primary means of communication, the need to protect the public from harassing use of such equipment is important. When I wrote about this issue last year, I noted that Pennsylvania has a few general criminal statutes in place that could be used to prosecute a person using the internet to harass another person. These statutes are not specific, and it would be better if our legislature moved toward a more detailed criminal statute aimed at punishing cyber bullying. As Megan’s tragic death demonstrates, the stakes are high.

Please submit any questions, concerns, or comments to Susquehanna County District Attorney’s Office, P.O. Box 218, Montrose, Pennsylvania 18801 or at our website or discuss this and all articles at

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The Healthy Geezer
By Fred Cicetti

Q. Will taking testosterone bring back the virility of my youth?

The subject of testosterone is fuzzy, so it’s difficult to give a simple answer to this question.

There is some controversy about whether testosterone therapy should be used in men who have naturally lower testosterone levels because of aging. It remains unclear whether restoring earlier testosterone levels benefits older men.

For example, studies found that healthy men who took testosterone medications got bigger muscles, but in most studies the men weren’t stronger. And, if you suffer from erectile dysfunction, taking testosterone may not relieve your condition.

Testosterone is a hormone produced by the testicles. It is responsible for male sexual characteristics and function. Testosterone is also important for maintaining muscle, red blood cells, bone, and a sense of well-being. In females, the ovaries produce testosterone, but at significantly lower levels than are found in men .

For most men, testosterone levels decline modestly as we age. The testosterone level in the male body peaks during adolescence and begins to decrease between the ages of 30 and 40. The significance of this decline is controversial and poorly understood.

There have been studies that show that low testosterone levels can impair sexual function, diminish bone density, reduce muscle mass and strength, increase fat, contribute to memory loss and lead to depression.

However, some men who have adequate levels of testosterone have these symptoms. Others with low levels of testosterone may not experience the symptoms. Very fuzzy.

Your doctor can prescribe a synthetic version of testosterone. Testosterone replacement medications may be necessary for men with extremely low levels of testosterone. These medications are delivered with injections, patches and gels. There are currently no pills available in the United States that provide adequate levels of hormone replacement. In addition, oral medications may produce liver abnormalities and should be avoided.

Not enough study has been done to determine the risks of testosterone therapy in men with normal testosterone levels.

The potential benefits of this therapy are: more muscle and strength, increased bone mineral density, thicker body hair and skin, elevated sexual desire, more energy, less irritability and depression, and improved mental capacity.

The potential risks are: growth of existing prostate cancer, benign growth of prostate that can worsen urinary problems, sleep apnea that makes you start and stop breathing as you sleep, reduced sperm production, fluid retention, baldness, skin reactions, enlarged breasts, testicle shrinkage, acne, and excess blood production that can increase your risk of heart disease.

The only accurate way to determine if you have a testosterone deficiency is to have a blood test. It can take several measurements, because testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day. The highest levels of testosterone are generally in the morning. This is why doctors prefer, if possible, to obtain early morning levels of testosterone.

The normal testosterone levels for males is between 300 and 1,000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). For females, the range is 20 to 80 ng/dL.

If you have a question, please write to

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Straight From Starrucca
By Danielle Williams

No Straight From Starrucca This Week

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Veterans’ Corner

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What’s Bugging You?
By Stuart W. Slocum

Mosquitoes: disease distributors

Worldwide, mosquitoes are of great health significance, due to their habit of feeding on the blood of both humans and domestic animals. Not only do mosquito bites directly transmit disease, but they also create the possibility for secondary infections by puncturing the skin. Additionally, the introduction of foreign protein through their saliva can stimulate histamine reactions, causing considerable irritation and allergic response. There are two types of response: immediate and delayed. Immediate response occurs within minutes of the bite and lasts only a few hours. The delayed response may take as much as a day to develop and can last up to a week. Both responses involve the formation of large, itchy welts and skin discoloration.

2 1/2" pic.

The mouthparts of a typical female mosquito.

There are over 200 arboviruses (arthropod-borne viruses) associated with mosquitoes. About half of those can infect humans. One of the most notorious of diseases, transmitted only by Anopheles mosquitoes, is malaria. Perhaps the most widespread of all infectious diseases, malaria is caused by a mosquito-borne protozoan (single-celled organism) that infects blood and liver tissue. Although malarial related deaths exceed a million worldwide, modern living facilities and medical care has all but eliminated the disease in the United States. There are only about 1,000 cases noted domestically each year. It is interesting to note that malaria was epidemic in the US immediately following the Civil War.

The West Nile virus is the mosquito-borne disease of most concern in this area of the United States. First recorded in New York in 1999, it had spread to 44 states by 2003. Infected mosquitoes transmit the virus to birds, animals and people. In most cases, West Nile fever has flu-like symptoms and lasts only a few days. In more severe cases, this virus causes encephalitis, meningitis or meningoencephalitis. Respectively, these conditions refer to the inflammation of the brain, the membrane around the brain and spinal cord, or inflammation of both the brain and its surrounding membrane. While anyone in a mosquito-infested area is at risk of getting West Nile virus, people over 50 years of age have the greatest risk of contracting the severe form of the disease. Symptoms of the severe form include high fever, headache, stiff neck, disorientation, tremors, convulsions and even paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, with neurological damage possibly becoming permanent. There is no specific treatment or vaccine available to treat this disease. Most people do fully recover. In 2008, there were 14 cases of West Nile Virus diagnosed in Pennsylvania, with one fatality.

Another negative effect of mosquitoes is their transmission of diseases to our domestic livestock and pets. Eastern equine encephalitis is a mosquito-transmitted disease affecting both humans and horses. It is severe, with a high rate of mortality in humans. Like the West Nile virus, birds are integral to the disease cycle.

Dog heartworm is caused by the transmission of a filarial nematode (roundworm) by certain mosquitoes. The aggregation of these roundworms in a dog’s heart can cause impedance of blood flow and damage to pulmonary blood vessels, resulting in the animal’s death. Preventative medications, as well as treatments, are available.

Initially, there was great concern that mosquitoes would transmit AIDS. Based on several key facts, scientific research has ruled this out. In has been shown that the HIV virus is actually broken down and digested by the mosquito, thus killing the virus. In mosquitoes, the feeding canal and salivary canals are separate. Therefore, when saliva is injected into a bite, it is not flushing out any HIV particles, as would occur in reusing a contaminated hypodermic needle. Further, since HIV circulates at very low levels in the blood, mosquitoes do not ingest enough HIV particles to infect its victim.

Next time, I will write more about the prevention and control of mosquitoes.

Questions, comments and suggestions regarding this article, identifications or any other insect-related matters are welcome. Please email them to

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Food For Thought
By Lauretta L. Clowes DC

No Food For Thought This Week

From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Is using nitrogen to inflate my car’s tires really better for the environment than using air? And if so, how?

Roger Mawdsley, Abbotsville, BC

Whether or not it makes environmental sense to inflate car tires with nitrogen instead of air is a matter of much debate. Proponents of nitrogen say the element is a smart choice for the environment primarily because it leaks from tires at a slower rate than air, so tires stay inflated longer at full capacity, which helps a vehicle attain maximum fuel efficiency, i.e. better gas mileage. According to the Get Nitrogen Institute, a Denver-based non-profit which advocates for replacing the air in our tires with nitrogen, under-inflated tires inadvertently are a big contributor to global warming as they cause drivers to waste fuel.

Although auto experts recommend checking your car’s tire pressure weekly, studies show that the majority of drivers rarely, if ever, check to see if their tires are properly inflated and usually only add air when a tire is visibly low or beginning to go flat. A recent study by the European division of tire maker Bridgestone found that 93.5 percent of cars in Europe have under-inflated tires, wasting some 2.14 billion gallons of high-priced, polluting fuel every year. Analysts believe that a similar percentage of North Americans are driving around on under-inflated tires as well.

While properly inflated tires certainly promote better fuel efficiency and are thus good for the environment, not everyone is convinced that filling tires with nitrogen instead of plain ol’ air makes a difference. Terry Jackson, who writes the influential “Driving for Dollars” column for the website, points out that air is composed primarily of, you guessed it, nitrogen; some 78 percent of the regular air you put in your tires is nitrogen, with oxygen making up most of the remainder. “So going to pure nitrogen only squeezes out a small amount of the oxygen molecules that nitrogen proponents argue are so detrimental,” relates Jackson.

Nitrogen proponents may quibble that it’s the oxygen in the mix that causes problems, though oxidization can start to degrade the rubber inside tires while corroding the interior of the wheels as well. But Jackson counters that tires and wheels will have been long worn out on the outside before any oxygen-induced interior damage causes them to come apart. Also, he adds that a lot of the leakage from tires happens because the wheel and the tire do not line up perfectly, and air (or nitrogen) escapes accordingly.

Another factor, of course, is cost. Nitrogen-equipped service centers will fill up your tires with nitrogen for something like $10 per tire, which is a far cry from the couple of quarters (if even that) it takes to trigger the air machine at your local gas station. “When it comes down to a dollar decision, it’s hard to argue that spending as much as $40 for nitrogen in a set of tires is a good fiscal move,” writes Jackson.

“Save your money and just keep an eye on your tire pressures,” he concludes.

CONTACTS: Get Nitrogen Institute,;,

Dear EarthTalk: Backyard fire pits have become the latest must-have gardening feature. How bad are they on the environment?

Michael O’Laughlin, Tigard, OR

With Fall setting in and the mercury starting to drop, many of us want to extend our time outdoors, and sitting around a backyard fire pit has become one of the most popular means to do so. But even though it may be fun – s’mores anyone? – it is not good for the environment, especially during times when air quality is already poor.

It’s hard to assess the larger impact of backyard fire pits on local or regional air quality, but no one questions the fact that breathing in wood smoke can be irritating if not downright harmful. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), so-called fine particles (also called particulate matter) are the most dangerous components of wood smoke from a health perspective, as they “can get into your eyes and respiratory system, where they can cause health problems such as burning eyes, runny nose and illnesses such as bronchitis.”

Fine particles also aggravate chronic heart and lung diseases, and have been linked to premature deaths in those already suffering from such afflictions. As such, the EPA advises that anyone with congestive heart failure, angina, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema or asthma should steer clear of wood smoke in general. Children’s exposure to wood smoke should also be limited, as their respiratory systems are still developing and they breathe more air (and air pollution) per pound of body weight than adults.

Geography and topography play a role in how harmful wood smoke can be on a community-wide level. People living in deep, steep-walled valleys where air tends to stagnate should be careful not to light backyard fires during smog alerts or other times when air quality is already poor. Lingering smoke can be an issue even in wide-open areas, especially in winter when temperature inversions limit the flow of air.

The Washington State Department of Ecology reports that about 10 percent of the wintertime air pollution statewide can be attributed to fine particles from wood smoke coming out of wood burning stoves. While a wood stove may be a necessary evil as a source of interior heat, there is no excuse for lighting up a backyard fire pit during times when you could be creating health issues for your neighbors.

Another potential risk to using a backyard fire pit is sparking a forest fire. Some communities that are surrounded by forestland voluntarily institute seasonal burn bans so that residents won’t inadvertently start a forest fire while they are out enjoying their backyard fire pits. If you live in one of these areas, you probably already know it and would be well advised to follow the rules.

If you must light that backyard fire pit, take some precautions to limit your friends’ and family’s exposure to wood smoke. The Maine Bureau of Air Quality recommends using only seasoned firewood and burning it in a way that promotes complete combustion – small, hot fires are better than large smoldering ones – to minimize the amount of harmful smoke. The moral of the story: If you need to burn, burn responsibly.

CONTACTS: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),; Washington State Department of Ecology,; Maine Bureau of Air Quality,

GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit it at:, or e-mail: Read past columns at:

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Barnes-Kasson Corner
By Cara Sepcoski

Barnes-Kasson Hospital is celebrating National Hand washing Awareness Week during December 7 – 13.

We often forget that the simplest and most effective thing that we can do to minimize the risk of infection is washing our hands. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Hand washing is the single most important means to prevent the spread of infection." This is because, the only way that an infectious disease can enter the body is by direct contact with the eyes, nose or mouth. All of which are constantly touched by our hands daily.

Throughout the day, you accumulate germs on your hands from a variety of sources, such as direct contact with people, contaminated surfaces, foods, and even animals. If you don't wash your hands frequently enough, you can infect yourself with these germs by touching your eyes, nose or mouth. You can also spread these germs to others by touching them or by touching surfaces that they also touch.

It is estimated that in America, 164,000,000 days are lost from school due to illness, of which 22,000,000 are due to the common cold alone. This means that 22,000,000 days of missed school could easily be avoided by washing your hands more frequently.

According to the Henry the Hand Foundation , Pennsylvania currently holds the crown for cleanest hands in America. This year, the Henry the Hand Foundation is holding a contest to see if another states can take the crown away from Pennsylvania. As Pennsylvanians, let’s try our hardest to keep our crown and remain germ free!

A good way to help keep our crown and to effectively reduce the risk of infection, is to follow the “Four Hand Rules.” These are as follows: Wash your hands when they are dirty and before eating; do not cough into your hands; do not sneeze into your hands; and, do not put your fingers into your eyes, nose or mouth. Other suggestions for keeping clean hands are to wash them before eating, after using the toilet, during food preparation, after handling animals, upon arriving home, after changing diapers, leaving the hospital or physician's office, and any time you think your hands are dirty. Remember to always use soap, running water, and to scrub all surfaces of your hands for 20 seconds and dry with a paper towel.

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