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Issue Home March 4, 2009 Site Home

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

100 Years Ago

FRANKLIN FORKS: Two small boys playing on the bank of a creek that flows into the Susquehanna, near Binghamton, Saturday morning, discovered that the receding waters had exposed the bodies of two horses and a wagon. They informed others and as it was thought the driver might also be drowned, a search was made and the body of a young man who was later identified as Timothy Shea, of Franklin Forks, was found. He had been missing since the preceding Tuesday evening and it is generally believed that his horses had become unmanageable or had strayed from the main road in the darkness and all had gone over the bank and were drowned. A coroner determined that there was no foul play, although a watch and money were not found on his body. Mr. Shea, who was about thirty years old, is survived by his wife and three small children.

SOUTH GIBSON: The Bell Telephone Co. is erecting a home for its central on land leased of John Price. Clark Tripp and son have the job.

SOUTH MONTROSE: Worden Allen has purchased an interest in the novelty works here, says the Nicholson Examiner. Mr. Allen has been engaged in the making of trunk slats at South Montrose for several years, the lumber used in manufacturing them being elm. Mr. Allen needed a larger place to increase his output of trunk slats. The new company will also make shirt waist boxes, having had good sales of them in the past.

SUSQUEHANNA: Monday night at Hancock, the Independent basket ball team of this place defeated the Big Five of Hancock by the score of 30 to 12.

NEW MILFORD: George W. Weed died at his home on Thursday of last week, following a stroke of paralysis which he sustained several weeks previous. The deceased was 81 years old and one of New Milford’s oldest and best known residents.

MONTROSE: Mr. and Mrs. Charles R. Sayre of Phoebus, Va., will conduct “The Rosemont” on Lake Avenue this summer, which for several years has been in charge of the Misses Morris, who lately purchased and will conduct the Lathrop boarding house on South Main Street. AND: Ben. Baker, an aged colored man, formerly of Montrose but late years of Binghamton, was buried in that city the first of the week, Rev. Arlington Thompson, officiating. Deceased was a brother of Mrs. Chas. VanRenssaler of this place.

FOREST CITY: The Family Theatre advertises a special attraction for Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and Saturday matinee. In addition to the moving pictures, Prof. Bell, ventriloquist, will entertain the patrons.

BRIDGEWATER: Charles E. Roberts has taken the agency for the county of the Ford automobile and wants to interest every person in the county in this machine who has the “speed craze.” The Ford is a notably strong and reasonably priced machine and has demonstrated its practicability as a safe method of country roads.

HEART LAKE: A gang of about 100 men have been engaged during the past week in filling the large ice house. The ice is of a good quality, although not superior to what has been harvested for many years, yet this season the Scranton parties who have been sufficiently interested to note its quality state it is the best that comes into the city. The ice being cut is about 10” thick and quite clear, there being little of the frozen “slush” ice in a cake after it has been “shaved.”

KINGSLEY: The free circulating library sent to Kingsley from the central library at Montrose is open to the public at the home of Frank E. Tiffany. Books may be kept for two weeks, after which a charge of two cents per day will be made.

GELATT: W. E. Gelatt tapped his sugar camp Monday and made ten gallons of syrup from the first run.

FLOWERY VALLEY, Liberty Twp.: The road between here and Brackney is pretty good now, as it has been traveled more than the others.

LAUREL LAKE, Silver Lake Twp.: The young people have been enjoying the fine skating on the lake the past week.

HARFORD: The village would be much pleasanter these dark nights if the street lamps were kept burning and more were erected. AND: Harford has a fine orchestra and it is reported that they will give a concert in the near future.

MIDDLETOWN: Some dogs are bothering the sheep the past week. Anyone having spotted dogs had better keep watch of them or they will turn up missing with a bill attached.

HERRICK CENTER: Quite a few people who have never been at the school house are asked to come to the next affair if, no intervening entertainment, then commencement the latter or last days of school. Come and encourage our school along. We all ought to go and let ourselves be seen there. It is possible that a magic lantern exhibition will be held again on some desirable subject.

RUSH: The dance held at Friendsville, Monday night, for the benefit of St. Patrick’s church in Rush, was a decided success. Having realized, as nearly as can be ascertained, about $400. Our funds being somewhat limited, it is to be hoped that the next festival, which is to be held July 4th, will place us on a firm financial basis. AND: Doc Coleman is a frequent caller at Martin Golden’s.

HOPBOTTOM: The borough council has voted to close the crossing at the north end of the depot, but there seems to be some uncertainty still in regard to what improvement is to be made in town by the railroad in return for this privilege. Pedestrians are obliged to paddle through mud, ankle deep, in order to reach the station and perchance seek an uncertain and sometimes dangerous footing around freight cars standing in the switch, with not so much as the glimmer of a friendly lightning bug along the darksome way.

NEWS BRIEF: Earrings have “come back.” While they have been “out” they seem to have been growing. At the opera recently a lady of New York society displayed a pair of pendants 5” in length and informed her friends that they were the latest thing from London.

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

In response to the column regarding some of the DUI statistics, I received a request to clarify the manner in which DUI offenses are charged. The reader questioned the reports that appear in the papers noting that an individual has been charged with a DUI offense, as well as other summary offenses. The reader questioned these summary offenses as they appear to be rather minor in nature. In other words, the reader suggested that the summary offenses make it appear that the driver was not driving all that badly. The reader requested that I explain the summary offenses in a little more detail.

First, I should explain how a DUI traffic stop occurs. The police need reasonable suspicion to conduct a traffic stop for a DUI offense. Please note that I used the term “reasonable suspicion,” and not “probable cause.” This is very significant. The standard for a DUI stop used to require probable cause that a crime was being committed, but several years ago, the Pennsylvania Legislature enacted a statute that lower the standard necessary for a DUI stop from probable cause to reasonable suspicion. There were several challenges to this statute, but the challenges were unsuccessful. Recently, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court noted that driving is a privilege, not a right, and, as such, the lesser standard of reasonable suspicion was a permissible standard to authorize a traffic stop for a suspected DUI.

What constitutes reasonable suspicion for a DUI arrest? There are many factors that an experienced officer could utilize in articulating the basis for his suspicion that a driver was under the influence of alcohol. Generally speaking, the officer will observe some indicia of intoxication based upon the operation of the motor vehicle. These observations could rise to the level sufficient to support a summary offense for violating the Vehicle Code (probable cause), or there may be a number of factors taken in totality that create a reasonable suspicion that the driver is operating the vehicle while intoxicated, which would mean that no summary offenses were committed but the traffic stop was still permissible. The vast majority of traffic stops, however, occur as a result of a specific violation of a provision of the Vehicle Code, i.e., probable cause to support a traffic citation.

There are common summary violations that occur in connection with a DUI offense. Intoxicated drivers routinely weave in and out of their lane of traffic, which results in the summary offense for Roadways Laned For Traffic. It is also common for intoxicated drivers to change speeds suddenly, accelerating and then decelerating rapidly, which could result in a summary offense for Driving at a Safe Speed. It is also common for intoxicated drivers not to stop for stop signs or to fail to use turn signals, which result in summary offenses for those violations. As noted in the previous column, approximately one third of all DUI arrests result from police responding to the scene of an accident. In those cases, the offender would be charged not only with the DUI offense, but summary offenses as well, including the summary offenses of Careless or Reckless Driving. While the police officer may not have observed the actual driving, the results demonstrate that the driver was reckless or careless in the operation of the motor vehicle.

The summary offenses that are often included in a DUI complaint may not appear serious, but it is important to remember that the incident is not more serious because the police officer was able to get the intoxicated driver off the roadway before an accident happened. In the end, summary offenses are always less serious than the DUI offense – but it should not be viewed as an indication that the driver was operating the motor vehicle in an appropriate and safe manner. The inclusion of summary offenses with a DUI offense actually demonstrate that prior to even knowing that the driver was intoxicated, the police officer personally observed violations of the Vehicle Code.

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. Can drinking alcohol give you gout?

Gout, which is one of the most painful forms of arthritis, is caused by a build-up of crystals of uric acid in a joint. Alcohol can lead to increased production of uric acid, so it puts you at a higher risk of getting gout.

Alcohol leads to gout in multiple ways.

It contains purines, proteins that are broken down into uric acid. Purines are found naturally in your body and in some foods.

It promotes dehydration, which raises the uric-acid level in the blood.

It leads to the production of lactic acid, which can increase the level of uric acid.

It stimulates enzymes in the liver that break down proteins to produce more uric acid.

Often, gout affects joints in the lower part of the body such as the ankles, heels, knees, and especially the big toes. However, it can also attack the elbows, wrists and fingers.

Pseudogout has similar symptoms and is sometimes confused with gout. However, it is caused by calcium phosphate, not uric acid.

Gout is more common in men. Men are more likely to develop gout in their forties. Women generally get gout after menopause.

Early attacks usually subside within 3 to 10 days, even without treatment, and the next attack may not occur for months, or even years. Uric acid buildup can lead to kidney stones. Untreated gout can cause permanent joint and kidney damage.

Most people with gout are able to control their symptoms with treatment. The most common treatments are high doses of oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or corticosteroids, which are taken by mouth or injected into the affected joint. Patients often begin to improve within a few hours of treatment.

More than two drinks a day for men and more than one for women increases the risk of getting gout. Other factors include family history of gout, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, narrowing of the arteries, thiazide diuretics, and low-dose aspirin.

No specific dietary changes have been proven to reduce your risk of gout. However, even though there is no absolute proof that a gout diet works, it seems like a sound idea to avoid purines. Foods high in purines include organ meats, anchovies, herring, mackerel, asparagus and mushrooms.

Some iffy stuff:

There are studies that show an association between coffee drinking and lower uric acid levels. The current evidence isn't strong enough to begin a coffee habit.

Vitamin C may reduce uric acid in your blood. However, vitamin C hasn't been studied as a treatment for gout.

Cherries have been linked to reduced uric acid in your blood, but it is unclear if they affect gout symptoms.

If you have a question, please write to

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Library Chitchat
By Flo Whittaker

Our children are our future. The Susquehanna County Library is investing in our future. Throughout the year, various programs geared for children are conducted at the main library in Montrose and at the various branches. These programs range from baby lapsits for children under 2, toddler time programs, or story time for pre-schoolers. You can check out the specific programs available at each of your local library branches or by going online to

For some children, nothing is more intimidating than entering school for the first time. The Susquehanna County Library system can help you in easing that transition. Your children will find friendly faces and new experiences waiting for them at the public library.

The Library also sponsors various programs geared for school age children, including the just recently completed 13th Write and Illustrate Your Own Book Contest. The winners of this contest will have their books professionally bound and added to the Library’s book collection. Summer reading programs are also available.

These are some of the programs available to benefit your children at your local library. The Library continues to invest in your children’s future. However, what can you do for us? Many of the major sources of revenue for libraries are being cut back. The Library is at the mid-point of its 2009 fund drive and needs your help. If you have not yet contributed, please consider doing so. Remember, the Susquehanna County Library is your resource for lifetime learning.

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Veterans’ Corner

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What’s Bugging You?
By Stuart W. Slocum

Fleas: persistent biters

In many parts of the world, fleas continue to be serious transmitters of disease. However, in the United States, they are primarily a widespread annoyance. Their bites are a source of considerable discomfort and irritation, for both people and their pets. As stated in the previous article, the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis, is the most common species encountered on people and animals, including dogs. This type of flea is unrelenting in its biting attacks. Although fleas most often bite people on their ankles and legs, sleeping victims may be bitten anywhere on their bodies. Women are more commonly bitten than men, probably due to some hormonal attraction by the cat flea. Most people can immediately feel a flea on their body and react immediately to its bite. Usually the bite’s irritation worsens with time. Children under the age of 10 tend to have greater discomfort from the bites than do adults. Some people are hypersensitive or even allergic to flea bites. Allergic responses can also be caused by the inhalation of molted flea “skin” and flea feces. Minute purplish spots surrounded by slightly swollen areas of skin are indicative of flea bites. Obviously, households and nearby areas with domestic pets are most prone to flea problems. Households infested with rodents are also more susceptible to flea problems. Biting fleas are especially a problem if the pets have been removed from a household.

Some people become hypersensitive to the flea saliva, resulting in flea-bite dermatitis. In these individuals, the bites develop into burning, itching pustules. Skin scaling, hardening and discoloration can occur in more severe cases. While this mostly occurs on the arms and legs of adults, it may affect the entire body of children. Although repeated exposure may sometimes reduce the severity of the bites, medical attention involving the use of corticosteroids or desensitizing antigens may be necessary. Often, secondary infections may result from the scratching and incidental introduction of bacteria into the broken skin. Such infections necessitate the administration of appropriate prescription antibiotics. As with humans, allergic skin reactions cause the greatest problems for domestic animals. On highly sensitive pets, a single flea bite can cause extensive skin irritation and incessant scratching, to the extent of hair loss.

Fleas can transmit serious human diseases, including the plague, typhus, and several rickettsial fevers. The plague is the most serious flea-borne disease affecting humans and wild mammals. Plague pandemics (world wide infections) have accounted for more human deaths than all the wars ever fought. One pandemic, often called the “Black Death,” spread from the flea-infested rats of a single Asian trading ship that docked in Sicily. Over the next five years, the plague spread throughout Europe, killing at least 25 million people on that continent alone. The plague continued for more than 200 years. Early detection and modern medicine has facilitated the control of the disease’s spread. It is still reported throughout the world, and there are even occasional cases identified in western North America. The bacteria in the infected rat’s bloodstream are sucked into the flea’s gut. There, it multiplies so rapidly that it clogs the valve in the insect’s stomach, causing it to regurgitate blood and bacteria back into its next victim. Since it is not able to properly ingest blood, the starving flea becomes more ravenous, and bites more victims more frequently.

Endemic (murine) typhus is a mild type of typhus, with a low death rate. Typhus is characterized by high fever, cough, headache and delirium. It is normally found in rodent populations and spread to humans by fleas. Caused by very small bacteria called rickettsiae, this mild form of typhus is spread by the fecal contamination of fleas through skin contact or inhalation. Since it is a bacterial infection, murine typhus can be treated by a regimen of antibiotics.

Fleas are also instrumental in the transmission of tapeworms to pets. Feeding flea larvae may ingest tapeworm eggs. The eggs hatch and develop inside the flea pupae, which later become infected adult fleas. When they lick and groom themselves, pets swallow those fleas and become infected. In a similar manner, children can become infected from hugging and kissing their pets or being licked by dogs that have crushed fleas in their mouths.

Next time, I will discuss the prevention and control of fleas.

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

National Workplace Eye Safety Week March 1 – 7

Barnes-Kasson Hospital is observing National Workplace Eye Safety Week, March 1 through  7.

Eye injuries in the workplace are more common than most people assume. More than 2,000 people injure their eyes at work each day. About 1 in 10 of these injuries require recovery that lasts one or more missed workdays. Of the total amount of work-related injuries, 10-20% will cause temporary or permanent vision loss.

The people who  are at the most risk for injury from their job are those whose job requires close contact with harmful radiation, chemicals, particles, tools, flying objects (bits of metal, glass), and any combination of any of these hazards.

The best way to avoid an injury is to prevent one before it even starts. Experts believe that the right eye protection could have lessened the severity or even prevented 90% of eye injuries in accidents. According to Prevent Blindness America, knowing the eye safety dangers at work by completing an eye hazard assessment can help prevent injury. Other ideas to try are to eliminate hazards before starting work, use machine guarding, work screens, and to use proper eye protection.

It is suggested that anyone in the line of a potential eye injury should wear safety eyewear. There are many different types of safety eye wear, including prescription and non-prescription goggles, face shields, welding helmets, and full face respirators. The type of safety eye protection you should wear depends on the hazards in your workplace. If you are someone who is working in an area that has particles, flying objects, or dust, it is suggested you at least wear safety glasses with side protection. If you work with chemicals, you should wear goggles that fully cover the eye area. If you are working near hazardous radiation, you should use special-purpose safety glasses, goggles, face shields, or helmets that are especially designed for that task.

The most important thing you can do to keep your eyes safe while at work, is to wear the proper protection and to keep up to date with your yearly vision appointments.

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