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Issue Home December 24, 2008 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

A Happy Homecoming?

I love Susquehanna, it is my hometown. I’ve always been proud to call Susquehanna my home. I go home every chance I get. I will forever be in debt to all of those people that helped me and my family back when I got hurt over 13 years ago. Without the help of Susquehanna, I would have ended up in a nursing facility and probably would have been a statistic and died within five years like many quadriplegics.

Now, it’s over 13 years later and I have done more with my life than my doctors said I could ever do. I moved across the state to go to college, I got my Bachelor’s Degree, I am living on my own, I have been working at a center for independent living, where I help other persons with disabilities with many services ranging from advocacy to obtaining personal assistance services. One of my most recent accomplishments was obtaining my driver’s license. 13 years ago, I never thought I would be able to accomplish all of this. My driver’s license was one of my biggest goals; it offers me so much freedom and independence. I can come home to visit my family anytime I want to now.

Well, I just came home again for Thanksgiving and had a great time! I stayed with my grandparents up on West Main Street as I always do. On Friday, after Thanksgiving, our family get-together was interrupted by some commotion out in front of my grandparents’ house. My mother and brother rushed outside to make sure there was nothing wrong. They got out there only to discover a police officer putting a parking ticket on my vehicle. My specially adapted minivan has to be parked in the opposite direction on streets like West Main Street, because my only exit is a ramp that unfolds on the passenger side. If I parked in the other direction, my ramp would unsuccessfully try to unfold onto a hill and then I would be trapped in my vehicle. My only other option is to park at the base of someone’s driveway or a side-street so my ramp could unfold and I could safely exit my vehicle. In doing so, my van would have to remain parked there until I got back in and moved it. I drive from my wheelchair with specially modified hand controls; there is no driver’s seat in my vehicle, so no one else could legally move my vehicle.

My family members tried to explain this to the officer, but he said it did not matter. My vehicle, parked in that direction, will supposedly cause an accident. Quarry trucks loaded with stone, barreling down the road well over the speed limit pose no dangers, though. I park that way in many cities, large and small, across Pennsylvania and New York, and I have not run in to any problems. That may be because they offer what is called “reasonable accommodations” under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

This parking ticket was “taken care of,” because I complained about it. It was taken care of before the parking committee had a chance to meet. How convenient! If you don’t discuss the issues, it’s like they don’t exist. I would rather my ticket was discussed, instead of them sweeping it under the rug. Will individuals with disabilities, who require reasonable accommodations, continue to receive parking tickets on the streets of Susquehanna? That seems unfair to me.

I am merely a visitor to Susquehanna now; what about the residents? What about the disabled and elderly townspeople? What are they to do once this parking ordinance gets passed? Are they going to have to walk with their walkers, or push their wheelchairs up those steep hills from the Shops Plaza? I’m not sure I want my grandparents putting their lives at risk, do you?

I hope this parking committee will keep the residents’ best interests in mind.


Todd Fabrizi

Erie, PA

A Sight To See

On September 10, I received an email from Joe Murphy, President of the Appalachian Lions Club, who advised me that he had received a request from Dr. Williams, who is a Pediatric Specialist in Owego, NY

Her request for assistance should have been addressed to the Hallstead/Great Bend Lions Club as Melissa Spencer and her daughter, Jessica live in Great Bend, PA. This inquiry was about vision therapy for her daughter Jessica. I have learned that she is a third grade student in the Blue Ridge School District.

I followed up and spoke to Lion Dr. Kenneth Savitski and he suggested that this might be helped with glasses. I then called Dr. Edmund Burdick, New Milford who works with several of the patients that we have referred to him. Discussing this situation with Dr. Burdick, he suggested talking to Melissa Spencer so I set up a three-way call and Dr. Burdick and I spoke with Melissa. It was developed in speaking with Melissa that this was to be a special situation that could not be helped by glasses, but Jessica needed to have vision training which would be done in conjunction with Dr. Williams, who is a Pediatric Specialist. This would involve traveling to Owego two to three times a week for 9 to 12 months; this treatment would be prohibitive in cost. The projected cost would be somewhere between $8 to $10 thousand dollars, and Melissa had spoken to Blue Ridge Schools and also to her insurance companies, but she was advised that they would not be able to take care of this as it was not a normal practice but was a projected cure. I then referred this situation to PDG William Tarby who is the District 14H Sight First Chair and he was conducting a meeting of the District 14H Sight First Committee the evening of September 12.

On Monday September 15, I called and discussed this situation with PDG Bill and he told me that the committee did discuss the situation and came up with the idea that Dr. Amy Neal should be contacted. I called and spoke with Dr. Amy Neal and suggested that a three-way call should be set up with Melissa Spencer, which I did on Tuesday September 16. During that conversation it was developed that Dr. Neal, who was located in upstate New York before she opened her practice in Hawley, PA, and that she knew Dr. Williams very well. He was the doctor who was responsible for Dr. Neal being appointed to The Special Olympic Program for the State of New York.

Dr. Neal stated that she was a vision training approved doctor, and she might be able to set up a new vision training program for the Spencer’s. Dr. Neal stated that if things would fall into place as she thinks they might, she would be able to set up a schedule for computer and equipment that would cost approximately $500.00 and be able to have the Spencer’s travel to Hawley once a month to consult with her, and Jessica could do the practices at home three days a week on the computer.

Dr. Neal had the insurance documents from the Spencer’s and did the research, and found out that she could do the program. I discussed this with Dr. Amy and told her that I would take the information provided to me by the Spencer’s to the October meeting of the Sight First Committee, which was going to be held on October 9. I brought this information to the meeting, and it was approved that the District would pay up to $500.00 for the program. I advised Dr. Amy of this situation, and Dr. Neal went ahead and ordered the equipment and set up a training program for Jessica. I met with the Spencer’s on Sunday November 9, and both Melissa and Jessica were very pleased that the vision training program would help Jessica with her vision.


Jack McGoldrick

Great Bend, PA

Label Imported Dairy Products

The recently passed Farm Bill contains language that mandates most, but not all, imported agricultural products be labeled indicating the country the products were produced in. The proper name of the legislation is the Country of Origin Labeling Act (COOL). However, very cleverly, dairy products (cheese, butter, powdered milk, etc.) were left out of the COOL legislation. One has to wonder who was powerful enough to have dairy eliminated from the legislation.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) has introduced S3653, a proposed bill that would mandate all dairy products and/or dairy ingredients imported into the United States must carry a label indicating the country of origin of the dairy product or dairy ingredient. Clinton’s proposed bill is something that many dairy farmers have been seeking for many years. I still have to ask why dairy was left out of the original Farm Bill? During the summer of 2007, Senator Clinton endorsed S1722, the Specter-Casey bill identified as the Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act of 2007 (S1722). This proposed bill was geared to correct many of the inequities facing area dairy farmers.

Senator Clinton’s bill makes it very clear that not only must imported dairy products, but all dairy ingredients be labeled. This certainly will mean the controversial Milk Protein Concentrate (MPC) must be labeled as well as casein. Many dairy farmers have felt for years that dairy farmers’ milk prices have been adversely affected by the imported dairy products and ingredients. Allegedly, the imported milk protein replaces domestically produced milk in the process of making cheese and other dairy products. So far, we know of no approval given by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to use Milk Protein Concentrate in manufacturing dairy products.

Compounding the problem now is the protein product melamine, which is really an industrial product that has been found in baby formulas in China and other countries, that has killed six and jeopardized the health of hundreds of thousands of innocent infants in those countries. Supposedly, it’s possible that melamine has found its way into the United States. Isn’t it time we put a stop to all of this?

Some people argue that American processors are having problems exporting the amounts of powdered milk that we have been accustomed to. If this is true, then why are we importing unsafe, untested dairy products and ingredients which not only help to de-escalate prices to dairy farmers, but could be compelling consumers to use products that are unsafe? Unfortunately, or fortunately, Congress is in recess and most likely they won’t be recalled. The new Congress takes over in January. If Senator Clinton still has her seat as Senator of New York, then organizations like the National Family Farm Coalition and Pro Ag will be working with the Senator to have her proposed bill reintroduced. If she vacates her seat, then we will be seeking other Senators and Congressmen to reintroduce S3653. The problem of not properly labeling imported dairy products is too serious to let go by the wayside.

Pro Ag can be reached at (570) 833-5776 or proagorg@yahoo.com.


Arden Tewksbury

Manager, Pro Ag

Parking Ban In Susquehanna?

Before I start my letter, I wish to thank and applaud the Susquehanna Boro Council member(s) that thought before they voted and requested that the parking ban not be amended until there is a time set for a public meeting.

I am writing this letter to hopefully reach out to the residents in this community because it seems that not all the council members care about the people who live, work, vote and pay taxes in this town. At the last council meeting, I read that an ordinance was passed that states that, “It will be illegal to park any vehicle or portion thereof on any borough street between November 1 to April 1 of each year after the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Advisory, Watch or Warning for 48 consecutive hours after the warning has been issued or until the duration of the storm is concluded, whichever comes first.”

My concern with this ordinance is, where are we supposed to go? We could all park in the Plaza, but then how does that get plowed, and how do we all get home? This is not just a concern for us living on West Main Street; this ordinance states any borough street. That is all I have to comment on that ordinance at this time.

Now for the real reason I am writing. Like some council members, I started out bringing up one problem, when in actuality my main reason for writing is the proposed parking ban on West Main Street. I keep hearing the same things about the many complaints about the parking. I have heard of 2 such complaints – PennDOT complains because they cannot get their wide plows through. When the cars are moved, PennDOT still does not plow that side (this was a complaint that I put in to PennDOT, let’s see how fast they correct that). The other complaint that I have heard about comes from the rock truckers that cannot speed down West Main Street, they are made to go cautiously and slowly (I see how this is such a problem).

I, as well as other residents of West Main Street, do try to move our vehicles for the plow. Lately, that is a problem for me, due to the water run off coming out of the ground just after 4th Avenue and going west. The council was made aware of this and told that when the temperature drops, the water freezes and my car tires are frozen in. All right, and if there wasn’t parking allowed there? How many accidents would there be with the rock trucks sliding on that ice? I questioned PennDOT about this problem and was advised that my borough was responsible to take care of this.

I apologize for going on in length, but I feel that my voice was not heard by some of the council members. There are many more complaints that I am sure that a lot of residents of this town can put forth to the council, but, this has been ongoing.

In conclusion, I want to state that I most definitely will be at the public meeting and I wish to urge all residents of this town to please come out and support a fellow taxpayer.


Roze DeCicco

Susquehanna, PA

Your Generosity Is Vital

At the very core of being a resident of Susquehanna County is the belief that, if the least among us don’t succeed, then we don’t succeed. Not just some of us – all of us.

Can you imagine our area without organizations that distribute food for hungry families, without the arts, without services for the elderly and without all of the essential services that exist in the community to help all sectors – regardless of income or status?

Unfortunately, many charities that fulfill these and other important needs are fearful this year. They are fearful of being regarded merely as one-way trains that spend donated monies. In fact, these organizations provide highly valued services – whether it’s rental assistance, exposure to the arts, or disaster relief. Without charities, our government and for-profit entities would have to underwrite these efforts through higher taxes and increased fees.

All of these services enhance our quality of life and make it possible for all citizens to thrive. The truth is, the outpouring of generous hearts is one of the reasons why we live in such a desirable place.Our collective commitment to philanthropy and concern for our fellow citizens has been extraordinary throughout our county’s history.

Charities are about much more than spending donated funds on valuable services. Nonprofitorganizations are also powerhouses that drive a large economic engine.According to recent statistics from the IRS, the over 41,000 organizations in Pennsylvania designated as 501(c)(3) reported nearly $76 trillion in revenue.

How was that money spent? Since nonprofit organizations operate on their “people resources,” we can be fairly certain that the $76 trillion dollars of revenue supported our economy with wages to over 600,000 nonprofit employees within Pennsylvania. Many, if not all, of these employees have families. They are local people, with local interests and local spending (and saving) habits. Revenue is reinvested locally, paying for rent, utilities, office supplies, food, gas, medical equipment and supplies, cars, and homes.

As a result, cuts to nonprofit organizations are cuts to our economy that affect us all. They impact charitable services, and also hurt our restaurants, retail outlets, grocery stores, auto dealers and, yes, the housing industry. Nonprofits not only elevate the standard of living in Susquehanna County and throughout Pennsylvania qualitatively, but they support and grow our economy quantitatively. Remember, when you give to local nonprofits, you're not only helping them carry out their charitable missions, but you're strengthening your entire community.

The United Way of Susquehanna County currently supports 22 charitable organizations throughout the county. Financial support and volunteerism is vital to the sustainability of these organizations. Your donation to the United Way will ensure that these valuable charities have the needed funds to support our community with dozens of programs that affect all of us. Donations can be mailed to United Way of Susquehanna County, 6 Locust Street Montrose PA 18801 or call (570) 278-3868 and learn about volunteering today. Your community and its charities need your generosity more than ever this year. For more information visit www.UnitedWayofSusquehannaCounty.org.


Amy Steinberg

Executive Assistant,

United Way of Susquehanna County

Clarifying The Facts

We would like to address an inaccuracy in last week's issue of the Susquehanna County Transcript. The article entitled, "Montrose Has Colorful Discussion" stated that the Susquehanna County Historical Society contacted the Montrose Borough, complaining about the colors of a house being re-sided through a grant. This is not the kind of statement we would ever make, as our only role is to provide information, if available, regarding the age and architectural style of a home and/or building.

While we did speak with a representative of the Montrose Borough when asked to do so by the Montrose Housing Authority, who wanted confirmation that the house is in the proposed historic district, we did not suggest any action to be taken by the borough or the home owner, only that the borough confirm if there was an old ordinance regarding paint colors, enacted in the 1920's. We would never want to, nor do we have the authority, to dictate anyone's choice of house color. If individuals are interested in choosing colors for their house in keeping with the overall historic feel of the borough, we refer them to the Montrose Restoration Committee, who graciously provides consultation with individuals or organizations within the borough at no cost.

Once again, it is our position to support historic preservation by providing accurate information, whether to individuals, homeowners, newspaper reporters or organizations. If there are any remaining questions about this issue, please contact us at 278-1881.


Staff of the Susquehanna

County Historical Society


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Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript

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