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Issue Home February 4, 2009 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

SUSQUEHANNA: Friday evening came the end of the Van Fleet tragedy, when Mrs. Van Fleet breathed her last, after lying for nearly four weeks in a semi-unconscious condition at the Simon H. Barnes hospital here, as the result of wounds inflicted by her husband while in a drunken rage.

CLIFFORD: On Saturday evening of last week the ladies of the Methodist church will serve their annual fish supper in Finn’s hall. There will be more fish than you ever caught in your life. There will be fish as large as the ones you lost last summer. You can get all you can eat for five and twenty cents.

GREAT BEND: The farm house of Wm. Reynolds near here was burned Tuesday evening. The fire originated from an over-heated wood stove, the night being extremely cold and a rousing fire burning. Mr. Reynolds discovered the building in flames when returning from the barn where he was doing chores. Neighbors attempted to subdue the fire, but it was too far advanced, and it required hard work to keep a barn, lying in the direction the wind was blowing, from catching fire. He carried some insurance in the Grange, but not sufficient to cover the loss.

SOUTH GIBSON: George Pickering, a former South Gibson boy, who went west several years ago after the death of his father, Alden Pickering, and had not been heard from for some years, surprised his relatives and old friends by coming into town. He in turn was surprised to find that his only sister, Mrs. Will Tobias, and Uncle Wm. Pickering, and others of his near relatives were in California. Mr. Pickering claims he had just come from South America, where he owns valuable mining property.

SOUTH MONTROSE: Misses Lena and Madge Lake, daughters of Mr. and Mrs. M. L. Lake, left on Monday for New York city, where they will enter the Babies’ Nurse Training School.

AUBURN FOUR CORNERS: The sun came out on Candlemas day, so the bear went back to winter quarters. Look out for more zero weather. In Montrose it don’t make much difference whether he did or not. They are always sure of at least six more weeks of winter. If the season opens up along in middle May so they can get early planting done they are content. But when it comes to shoveling snow in June, you can hardly blame them for growling a little.

FOREST LAKE: Following a brief illness, Edwin W. Taylor died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. E. L. Drappo, in Reno, Nevada, on Jan. 23, ’09, aged 77 years. It was just a year ago the same month that his wife died in that city. Mr. Taylor was a native of Forest Lake, Pa., and in 1861 he went to California. For the past 26 years most of his life has been spent in Nevada.

SILVER LAKE: A beautiful monument to the memory of the late Chief Justice White has been unveiled in Los Angeles, Cal. He was of the same family of Griffins and Whites who settled in Silver Lake and Forest Lake townships long years ago, when the hills were indeed “wooded hills.”

MONTROSE: Among the young people of Montrose skeeing is about as popular as any winter sport. We are up here where there is plenty of snow and it is no uncommon sight to see a party of youngsters and often girls hiking across the fields with the long narrow Norwegian snowshoes fastened to their feet. It is one of the most healthful and exhilarating exercises there is, and less dangerous under ordinary circumstances than coasting. The writer was amused the other morning at seeing several pairs of skees on a porch of a child of 6 or 7 up to those intended for one of 20 or 25, one for every member of the family excepting the parents—and it is safe to say they have tried them. Experts can “go some” on them, and the champion jump for the country and the world is nearly 140 ft.

SHANNON HILL, Auburn Twp.: Clarence Overfield, who has been operating our creamery the past year, has resigned his position and will go to Hopbottom the first of March to work in a creamery. His successor is Fay Wilcox, of Jersey Hill. AND: In South Auburn, Charlie Overfield, from Idaho, is visiting relatives.

LYNN, Springville Twp.: W. P. Sheldon is clerking in H. Fish’s store. Welton is the boy that can sling out the goods to you in jig time. Call on him and see for yourself.

FRANKLIN FORKS: We hear that another one of our boys expects to join the U. S. Navy. We hope that Dan and Glen may meet as they are from the same school at Upsonville.

ARARAT: One of our farmer boys of this place started for South Ararat the other night to call on his lady friend. When he got three quarters of the way his horse got stuck in a snow bank; after calling “help” the horse was gotten out and taken to a nearby barn, but Charles did not feel like giving up his visit, which he had planned so much for, so he started on foot and called for his horse Monday morning.

LAUREL LAKE: Lincoln Bramfitt and sister, Miss Daisy, entertained a party of friends Friday evening, dancing was indulged in until wee hours. AND: Hello! Clarence Hill has a telephone placed in his residence.

BROOKLYN: The young peoples union of the Universalist church have planned for a Lincoln birthday social on Friday evening, Feb. 12th. If the sleighing is good the social will be held out of town, either at M. W. Palmer’s or at some other home in order to give the young people the benefit of the sleigh ride, particulars later.

HOWARD HILL, Liberty Twp.: Mark Reynolds has traded his heavy sleigh to Frank LaSure for a cow.

FOREST CITY: A team, attached to a wagon full of hay and belonging to E. A. Bloxham, caused considerable excitement on Grand avenue, Friday night. The hill was so slippery that the driver could not keep the wagon in the middle of the road and half way down it toppled completely over and into a deep ditch. Fortunately the driver escaped injury, as did the horses, but the wagon was somewhat damaged.

NEWS BRIEF: Cure for Creaky Shoes – There is one certain and simple remedy for this annoyance, says the Woman’s Home Companion for February. It is to drive little wooden pegs into the soles. The pegs prevent the friction of the shoe soles. Any cobbler will do it for you cheaply and it restores your peace of mind quite wonderfully.

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

On August 20, 2008, Max Gilpin, a 15 year old high school sophomore, was attending a summer football camp in Pleasure Ridge Park, Kentucky. During the workout, Gilpin collapsed and later died of heat exhaustion. According to reports, Gilpin’s body temperature reached 107 degrees. There were also reports that Jason Stinson, the head football coach, had denied the players water during the workout. Based upon this allegation, Stinson was charged with a criminal count of reckless homicide. The case has divided the community, where Stinson is a popular teacher and coach.

Generally, criminal culpability rests upon criminal intent, i.e., a conscious decision to do a particular act, knowing the consequences. This differentiates accidental or unintentional acts from purposeful conduct. Where something is done accidentally or unintentionally, such acts are generally not criminal in nature. But an actor cannot ignore the potential and foreseeable consequences of his actions as a means to avoid criminal culpability. As my criminal law professor said, one cannot be an ostrich with his head buried in the sand, and expect to avoid criminal culpability.

This is where the concept of recklessness arises – it is something less than an intentional act, yet it is still sufficiently dangerous so as to rise to the level of criminal conduct. Under the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, a person acts recklessly “when he consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk” and “the risk must be of such a nature and degree that, considering the nature and intent of the actor’s conduct and the circumstances known to him, its disregard involves a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the actor’s situation.”

Thus, the concept of recklessness requires a number of components to determine if criminal culpability arises from the conduct. First, the actor must “consciously disregard” the risk. This suggests some form of knowledge of the risk itself – and a knowing decision to ignore the risk. Second, the risk itself must be “substantial and unjustifiable.” What does that mean? As noted above, it must be the type of risk that a reasonable person would generally not take.

Under Pennsylvania law, a person commits an involuntary manslaughter when he causes the death of another person in a “reckless or grossly negligent manner.” With the example of the football coach not providing water to his players on a hot summer day, the jury would have to conclude that this conduct was reckless – that the coach consciously disregarded the risk of heat exhaustion and that the coach’s action represented a gross deviation from the standard of conduct of a reasonable football coach.

As an alternative, a person can be guilty of involuntary manslaughter for causing a death through grossly negligent conduct. The Crimes Code indicates that a person acts “negligently” when “he should be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk.” Whereas recklessness required a conscious disregard of a risk, the concept of criminal negligence requires only that the actor should have been aware of the risk. Using the football coach example, the question for a jury would be whether the football coach should have been aware of the risk of death from heat exhaustion, and, if so, whether the decision to disregard that risk was a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable football coach would have undertaken.

Even where you do not intend to produce a particular result, criminal liability may be imposed where your actions (or inactions) plainly ignored the foreseeable outcome and your actions (or inactions) represent a gross deviation from the conduct of a reasonable person. Thus, the boundary between the accidental and the criminal is not always clearly defined.

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

This is the second in a two-part series on surgery. In the last column, we discussed surgeons and healthcare facilities. In this column, we’ll cover the surgery itself.

I view surgery as the last possible solution for a health problem. I’m sure most of you agree.

It’s best to look into alternatives such as medicines, treatments, lifestyle changes and watchful waiting before undergoing anesthesia and scalpel work.

Do your own research before undergoing surgery. One area of study should be laparoscopy. In this type of surgery, small cuts are used instead of a large incision. These incisions allow the surgeon to insert a laparoscope – a thin tube with a camera – into the body. Then the surgeon uses small tools.

There are many advantages to this type of surgery. It can allow you to have a procedure in the morning, and then go home the same day. Some laparoscopies require that you stay only one night in the hospital. Usually, you will recover from this type of surgery more quickly. And, instead of a having a large scar, you will have only a few small scars.

If you are faced with the prospect of surgery, you should have many questions. Here is a list of significant questions you can ask your doctor before the surgery:

Why do I need the operation?

Do I need it now, or can it wait?

What happens if I don’t have the operation?

What are the benefits of having the operation?

How long will the benefits last?

What are the risks of having the operation?

Are there alternatives to surgery?

How will the surgery affect my quality of life?

Where can I get a second opinion?

What experience do you have performing this surgery?

Where will the operation be done?

Will I have to stay overnight in the hospital?

Is it possible to have same-day surgery as an out-patient?

What kind of anesthesia will I need?

What are the side effects and risks of having anesthesia?

How long will it take me to recover?

Will I be in pain? How long will the pain last?

When will I be able to go home after the surgery?

What will the recovery be like?

Can you draw a diagram and explain how you do the surgery?

Can you please mark the part of my body you will operate on?

Is there anything else I should know about this surgery?

There are many steps you can take to make your surgical experience less taxing.

Before surgery, arrange for home healthcare that you may need; this may include medical equipment, prescription drugs and a visiting nurse. Line up someone to drive you home and stay with you for the first 24-hours after surgery.

When you go to have your surgery, leave your jewelry at home, don’t wear make-up or contact lenses.

You should always carry the following information with you: your doctor’s name and phone number; family names and phone numbers; ongoing medical problems; medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs; allergies to medicines; health insurance information and policy numbers.

Make copies of this information to keep in your wallet and glove compartment of your car – just in case you need emergency care.

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

Springtails: hopping hordes

As a lifelong resident of the northeast, I have long since resigned myself to accepting, tolerating and, at times, almost enjoying the cold serenity that January has to offer. A casual walk along the hedgerow of a stone-framed field on a bright, sunny afternoon can provide effective therapy for a bad case of “cabin fever.” The busy tracks of a foraging rabbit, the twittering of friendly chickadees and the distant hammering of an ambitious woodpecker all provide the ambience needed to lift one’s chilled spirit. Although the sun’s rays are warming, I would not expect to see any insects, let alone thousands of them. Yet there on top of the white snow were large patches of peppered spots, gyrating all around. The bright winter’s sun had lured thousands of these dark, tiny creatures from their hiding place deep beneath the snow.

A snow flea, or springtail.

These were “snow fleas,” insect-like creatures popularly known as springtails. No longer considered insects, springtails (Order Collembola) are very abundant, with over 6,000 species worldwide. These tiny (sixteenth of an inch), wingless creatures come in shapes varying from short and stout to long and thin. Although snow fleas are dark, metallic black-blue, other springtails vary in coloration from white to purple. Like some insects, the Collembola have remained basically unchanged over the last 400 million years. Springtails are very adaptable. Their habitats vary from ice fields in Antarctica to the lava flows of Hawaiian volcanoes. They live in leaf litter, treetops, ponds, caves and ocean surfs. Springtails are especially abundant in the soil and underneath bark or rocks in moist woodland and grassy areas. They seldom enter homes.

The Collembolan diet primarily consists of bacteria, fungi, pollen, moss, lichens and decaying organic matter. They have been known to go without food for up to four years. A scientist once made the amazing discovery that a certain species of springtail actually flourished when fed DDT. Unfortunately, his hopes of using them for decontamination work were dashed when it was found that they transformed DDT into another toxic substance.

The name springtail refers to their amazing ability to vault themselves rapidly upward. It is theorized that if humans could jump as proportionally high, they could leap over a 12-story building. Beneath the end of their abdomen, springtails possess a lever-like appendage called a furcula. The furcula is folded up into a small clasp called the tenaculum, and held until a quick defensive response is needed. The release action is much like turning a set mousetrap upside down and tapping it. Instantly the spring is released, and the body is rapidly propelled upward. While this is a good evasive defense, it does have a disadvantage. The springtail cannot control where it will land, which is often the same place from where it departed.

Another unique feature of the springtails is a ventral tube located below the first abdominal segment. At its tip are two sacs that can expand or contract. These facilitate the uptake of moisture and also allow the springtail to walk on water or stick to the underside of leaves. Called the collophore, this structure is the basis for the insect’s group name Collembola, which literally means, “glue piston.”

Although some springtail species reproduce parthenogenetically (from unfertilized eggs), most have sexual reproduction. In the spring, males deposit sperm packets in the general vicinity of females. Some species have elaborate courtship rituals. In one scenario, the male deposits his sperm packets in a circular “fence” around and entrapping the prospective female. Regardless of the courtship manner, the females pick up the packets with their genital openings and subsequently deposit their eggs in the soil of a protected area. Some species cover their eggs with plant material or their own fecal matter to protect them from mold and dehydration. The young are miniatures of the adults. They undergo 4 or 5 molts before reaching full maturity. They continue to grow and molt throughout their lives. Feeding and reproductive cycles alternate with each molt.

Although they are of little medical significance, there are a few instances of Collembola being pests to mushrooms, greenhouse plants, alfalfa and clover. A few, rare cases of human skin irritation have been attributed to certain Collembola. The presence of glycerol, an insect antifreeze compound, allows the snow fleas to be active on a cold day. Since this substance is known to prevent the formation of ice crystals in tissue, it has been theorized that such a compound might be useful in the longer storage of transplant organs.

The huge, yet rarely noticed population of springtails is very beneficial to a healthy soil. With a square meter containing upwards of 100,000 individuals, beneficial microorganisms are broken down and distributed throughout the soil. Springtails facilitate soil respiration and organic decomposition, both of which contribute to good fertility. As the old saying goes, “good things sometimes come in small packages.”

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 it true that some baby bottles contain chemicals that can cause health problems for babies? If so, how can I find alternatives that are safer?

Amy Gorman, Berkeley, CA

No links connecting specific human illnesses to chemicals oozing out of baby bottles have been proven definitively. Nonetheless, many parents are heeding the call of scientists to switch to products with less risk. A 2008 report by American and Canadian environmental researchers entitled “Baby’s Toxic Bottle” found that plastic polycarbonate baby bottles leach dangerous levels of Bisphenol-A (BPA), a synthetic chemical that mimics natural hormones and can send bodily processes into disarray, when heated.

All six of the leading brands of baby bottles tested – Avent, Disney/The First Years, Dr. Brown’s, Evenflo, Gerber and Playtex – leaked what researchers considered dangerous amounts of BPA. The report calls on major retailers selling these bottles – including Toys “R” Us, Babies “R” Us, CVS, Target, Walgreen’s and Wal-Mart – to switch to safer products.

According to the report, BPA is a “developmental, neural and reproductive toxicant that mimics estrogen and can interfere with healthy growth and body function.” Researchers cite numerous animal studies demonstrating that the chemical can damage reproductive, neurological and immune systems during critical stages of development. It has also been linked to breast cancer and to the early onset of puberty.

So what’s a concerned parent to do? Glass bottles are a tried-and-true chemical-free solution, and they are widely available, though very breakable. To the rescue are several companies making BPA-free plastic bottles (out of either PES/polyamide or polypropylene instead of polycarbonate). Some of the leaders are BornFree, thinkbaby, Green to Grow, Nuby, Momo Baby, Mother’s Milkmate and Medela’s. These brands are available at natural food stores, directly from manufacturers, or from online vendors.

Most of the major brands selling BPA-containing bottles are now also offering or planning to offer BPA-free versions of their products. Consumers should read labels and packaging carefully to make sure that any product they are considering buying says unequivocally that it does not contain the chemical.

Unfortunately, switching to a BPA-free bottle is no guarantee the chemical won’t make its way into your baby’s bloodstream anyway. BPA is one of the 50 most-produced chemicals in the world. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), it is used in everything from plastic water jugs labeled #7 to plastic take-out containers, baby bottles and canned food liners. It is so omnipresent that the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has found that 95 percent of Americans have the chemical in their urine.

Also, nursing mothers – especially those who haven’t discarded their old BPA-containing Nalgene water bottles – may be passing the chemical along through their breast milk. And if that weren’t enough, BPA is also used in the lining of many metal liquid baby formula cans. The nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) has posted email links to the consumer affairs offices of the major formula manufacturers so concerned parents can ask them to remove BPA from their product offerings and packaging.

CONTACTS: Baby’s Toxic Bottle Report,; NRDC,; CDC,; EWG,

Dear EarthTalk: How much “old growth” forest is left in the United States and is it all protected from logging at this point?         

John Foye, via e-mail

As crazy as it sounds, no one really knows how much old growth is left in America’s forested regions, mainly because various agencies and scientists have different ideas about how to define the term. Generally speaking, “old growth” refers to forests containing trees often hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years old. But even when there is agreement on a specific definition, differences in the methods used to inventory remaining stands of old growth forest can produce major discrepancies. Or so complains the National Commission on Science for Sustainable Forestry (NCSSF) in its recent report, “Beyond Old Growth: Older Forests in a Changing World.”

In 1991, for example, the U.S. Forest Service and the nonprofit Wilderness Society each released its own inventory of old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest and northern California. They both used the Forest Service’s definition based on the number, age and density of large trees per acre, the characteristics of the forest canopy, the number of dead standing trees and fallen logs and other criteria. However, because each agency used different remote sensing techniques to glean data, the Forest Service came up with 4.3 million acres of old-growth and the Wilderness Society found only two million acres.

The NCSSF also studied the data, and they concluded that 3.5 million acres (or six percent) of the region’s 56.8 million acres of forest qualified as old growth – that is, largely trees over 30 inches in diameter with complex forest canopies. By broadening the definition to include older forest with medium-diameter trees and both simple and complex canopies, NCSSF said their figure would go up substantially.

In other parts of the country, less than one percent of Northeast forest is old growth, though mature forests that will become old growth in a few decades are more abundant. The Southeast has even less acreage – a 1993 inventory found about 425 old growth sites across the region, equaling only a half a percent of total forest area. The Southwest has only a few scattered pockets of old-growth (mostly Ponderosa Pine), but for the most part is not known for its age-old trees. Old-growth is even scarcer in the Great Lakes.

It is hard to say whether the remaining pockets of scattered old-growth in areas besides the Pacific Northwest will remain protected, but environmentalists are working hard to save what they can in northern California, Oregon and Washington. The outgoing Bush administration recently announced plans to increase logging across Oregon’s remaining old-growth reserves by some 700 percent, in effect overturning the landmark Northwest Forest Plan of 1994 that set aside most of the region’s remaining old growth as habitat for the endangered spotted owl.

Protecting remaining old-growth is important for many reasons. “These areas provide some of the cleanest drinking water in the world, critical salmon and wildlife habitat, world-class recreational opportunities and critical carbon storage in our fight against global warming,” says Jonathan Jelen of the nonprofit Oregon Wild, adding that as much as 20 percent of the emissions related to global warming can be attributed to deforestation and poor forest management. “A growing body of evidence is showing the critical role that forests – and old-growth forests in particular – can play in mitigating climate change.”

CONTACTS: NCSSF,; Oregon Wild,

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

Children’s Dental Health Week

Barnes-Kasson Hospital is observing National Children’s Dental Health Week, February 1 through 7.

When children are born, they lack teeth, but by the average time of six months, their first baby teeth should just start to be showing. It is at this time, that many parents become confused with when and how to start to clean their child’s baby teeth. According to the Keep Kids Healthy Organization, parents should use a soft, moist wash cloth. As your child begins to grow more teeth, the wash cloth should be switched to a soft child’s toothbrush. It is important to remember to use just a pea-size amount of a fluoride or a non-fluoride toothpaste. Too much fluoride can stain developing teeth.

After the development of the first front two bottom teeth, comes the growth of the four front upper teeth, following with the continuation of all 20 teeth. Most children reach 20 teeth by the age of three, but genetics could mean an earlier or later date. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) used to recommend that the first visit to the dentist should be at three years of age. Now, because of an increase in cavities in children, the AAP states that high risk children should “see a dentist six months after their first tooth comes in, or before they are 12 months old.” A child is considered to be at high risk when they participate in some major teeth damaging activities, such as sleeping with a bottle or walking around all day with a cup of juice.

Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Barnes-Kasson Hospital would like to remind you to be safe and warm this winter, and to keep up with your child’s routine dentist visits.

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