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Issue Home May 20, 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

MONTROSE: The former State armory property on Church and Spruce Streets has a corps of painters and carpenters at work transforming the huge structure into an attractive hall. The interior of the building, which is 45 x 100 ft, is being painted throughout, the stage removed, the fine hardwood floors repaired and alterations made ready for dancing or roller skating, and it is intended to provide pleasant waiting rooms for both ladies and gentlemen. A large modern military band organ will be installed, not of the hurdy-gurdy pattern, but a modern instrument that sounds so much like a band that the difference is hard to detect. Arrangements are being made to erect a stage so that vaudeville shows and dramatic plays may be booked, furnishing a play house that will seat 750 people.

FOREST CITY: The county commissioners of Susquehanna and Wayne counties and the officials of the Erie and Ontario & Western railroads, together with County Solicitor F. I. Lott, met at Forest City on Tuesday and conferred on the matter of a bridge over the Lackawaxen between Forest City and Clinton township, Wayne county. An agreement was entered into which appears acceptable to all and the bridge will doubtless be built by their joint efforts, costing about $50,000. This will do away with the present tortuous route between the two places and work will probably be started as soon as a few changes can be made in the plans, which were submitted tentatively at the conference on Tuesday.

SHANNON HILL, AUBURN TWP.: A telephone message from Meshoppen states that Mrs. Sarah Cole, a widow, received a Black Hand letter threatening her with dire vengeance if she did not deposit $3000 in a specified place near the Shannon Hill creamery. The letter was received on Wednesday of last week and was mailed at Auburn Center. It has been turned over to the Postoffice Department, and thorough efforts will doubtless be made to discover the writer. Mrs. Cole is about 74 years of age and is in comfortable circumstances financially. A son and daughter both live with her. The family is much disturbed over the matter and that may have been the sole object of the letter, or it may have been for the purpose of extorting money. The letter was signed “Black Hand,” with the picture of a hand crudely drawn on the back of the sheet.

HALLSTEAD: The Hallstead-Susquehanna Marathon race is scheduled to take place tomorrow and there are a goodly number of entries for the prizes, which will aggregate in value over $100. The first prize is a diamond ring worth $50; second, gold watch; third, leather suit case; fourth, gold-headed umbrella. ALSO The Clover club and the Cornhuskers crossed bats in a game of baseball. The Cornhuskers beat their opponents by a score of 17 to 18. A feature of the game were the home runs by Brown, Tower and Bolles. The game was umpired by “Rabbit” Aiken, who during a heated discussion over a decision, was obliged to bench several players for interference.

ELK LAKE: H. W. Lyons found a den of foxes on his farm, but the number is getting less, as Harry has no use for foxes.

SUSQUEHANNA: The Barnes Memorial Hospital received a state appropriation of $5000, a $2500 cut from the bill as amended in the senate, and $500 less than the committee recommended. But it’s pretty good.

FLYNN, MIDDLETOWN TWP.: The farmers of this vicinity are discouraged with such a cold, late spring. Some are hustling to get their plowing done before it snows again.

DIMOCK: The wagon shop and tools of the late A. C. Mills are for rent to a good wagon maker. ALSO O. W. Chase drove to the county seat recently with his fast trotting horse, leaving the dust far behind.

EAST ARARAT: The Burnwood school opened with 20 pupils on the roll. The school has a fair chance to succeed, the new teacher being an experienced as well as a thoroughly trained and practical man.

SPRINGVILLE: A. L. Greatsinger has had his delivery rig fixed up and started the first of the week to serve his patrons. Paint and varnish make his meat wagon shine like a new dollar.

CLIFFORD: H. G. Wells has taken unto himself a helpmate [wife] and Tuesday night the boys thought to remind him of their existence by the old time method [a horning]. By the racket they made, we think he was reminded.

HERRICK CENTRE: Mr. Stevens, the new track foreman, has moved his family from Hancock, N.Y.; they are living over P. H. Flynn’s store.

UNIONDALE: Milkmen have a new order from headquarters. Morning milk must be cooled to 60 degrees before it is delivered. Some of the patrons think it is tough to do as required.

FRANKLIN TWP.: Al. Conklin has a new three-seated wagon which he used first to the glory of God by taking a load of people from the M. E. Church to the Sunday School convention at Lake Side. ALSO Lee Turrell came very near being drowned a few days ago. He and a friend were out rowing on the river at Binghamton when the boat was capsized, his friend could not swim, all they could do was cling to the boat and float down stream and they were very near the falls before they were rescued. If they had gone over the falls both would have been lost.

BRIDGEWATER TWP.: Wm. H. Baldwin died May 2, 1909, at his home in Wyalusing after a long illness of rheumatism, in his 79th year. Deceased was a native of Bridgewater, where he was born Aug. 5, 1830. During the Civil War he served as a member of Co. I, 50th P.V., from Dec. 1861 to Feb. 1863. For 14 years following the war he had charge of the government lighthouse on the James river in Virginia. He returned north and for some time engaged in the mercantile business. Seven years ago he moved to Wyalusing.

NEWS BRIEFS: The Barnum and Bailey greatest show on earth is announced for two performances in Scranton on Monday, June 7. Oh, that at least the elephant and steam-piano might strike Montrose. ALSO The public will be pleased to learn that the patent on aluminum will shortly expire and that this very valuable metal will enter into the manufactory of hundreds of articles of common use, and what in 1857 sold for $32 a pound now can be had for about 20 cents.

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

“Duty, Honor, Country. The code which those words perpetuate embraces the highest moral laws and will stand the test of any ethics or philosophies ever promulgated for the uplift of mankind. Its requirements are for the things that are right, and its restraints are from the things that are wrong. The soldier, above all other men, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training - sacrifice. In battle and in the face of danger and death, he discloses those divine attributes which his Maker gave when he created man in his own image. No physical courage and no brute instinct can take the place of the Divine help which alone can sustain him. However horrible the incidents of war may be, the soldier who is called upon to offer and to give his life for his country is the noblest development of mankind.”

On May 12, 1962, General Douglas MacArthur spoke these words during an award acceptance speech at West Point Military Academy. This eloquent portion of his speech tells the price paid by every soldier, airman, sailor or marine - sacrifice. From the moment that they enter military service, the sacrifice begins. There is the sacrifice of time - years of service given to their country. Time spent away from their families, time that can never be recaptured or replayed. Precious moments missed - births, deaths, weddings, first steps and words of the children left behind, games, concerts, tears, laughter, hugs and kisses. As each day passes, there is another loss of memories that few persons would trade away. Time sacrificed willingly for duty, honor, and country.

They sacrifice economically. They could pursue a private economic enterprise that would likely result in greater financial reward than their military service would ever provide. Still, they serve knowing their sacrifice will never be financially recompensed. There is no price tag on their service - and none would contend that a fair price could ever be reached.

They sacrifice their freedom and liberty to do as they please when they want to do it. They go where they are told, they live where they are sent, and they willingly accept the paradox that there is little freedom for the defenders of liberty. Duty drives them, honor binds them, and their love of country sustains them.

There are so many who could never give up their time, or their money, or their freedom. But add the sacrifice of the body and the ultimate sacrifice of life - and that heavy burden would now seem unbearable to many people. The selfish heart sees no appeal in duty, honor and country - the selfish seek to avoid sacrifice, not embrace it. Yet, in this extraordinary country, our citizens have the hearts of patriots, beating wildly to freedom’s drum, and in that beat, there is a refrain: duty, honor, country.

As he was concluding his speech to the cadets at West Point, General MacArthur stated: “Let civilian voices argue the merits or demerits of our processes of government; whether our strength is being sapped by deficit financing, indulged in too long, by federal paternalism grown too mighty, by power groups grown too arrogant, by politics grown too corrupt, by crime grown too rampant, by morals grown too low, by taxes grown too high, by extremists grown too violent; whether our personal liberties are as thorough and complete as they should be. These great national problems are not for your professional participation or military solution. Your guidepost stands out like a ten-fold beacon in the night: Duty, Honor, Country.”

While those words were uttered 47 years ago, their truth rings across the decades. The change politicians have promised has turned into simply more debt, more government, more interest groups, more corruption, more crime, more taxes, more extremists, and less morality. While politicians continue to promise change, this Memorial Day be thankful that there is one thing that has never changed and continues to burn like a beacon in the hearts of our military personnel: Duty, Honor, Country.

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. I’m getting pain in my right leg and my doctor says its sciatica. Could you write one of your columns about this?

Sciatica is pain that runs down the sciatic nerve from your lower spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg. Age-related changes in the spine are a common cause of sciatica.

Other sciatica symptoms include numbness, muscle weakness, a burning sensation and tingling. In rare cases, there is a loss of bladder or bowel control. Usually only one side of your body experiences sciatica.

Most of the time, sciatica goes away within a few weeks of rest. If it doesn’t go away, see a doctor. About 85 percent of patients with sciatica get better over time without surgery.

Sciatica is caused by damage to the sciatic nerve, which is the longest nerve in the body. This nerve controls the muscles of the back of the knee and lower leg and provides sensation to the back of the thigh, part of the lower leg and the sole of the foot.

A common cause of sciatica is a herniated disk—also known as a ruptured or slipped disk. Disks are pads of cartilage that cushion the vertebrae in your spine. If a disk ruptures, it can press against a nerve root in your spine causing pain.

Other causes of sciatica include:

Trauma - A blow to your spine can injure nerve roots.

Tumors - As they grow, tumors can compress the spinal cord or the nerve roots.

Stenosis - If sections of the spinal canal narrow, there can be pressure on the spinal cord.

Piriformis syndrome - The piriformis muscle runs from your lower spine to each thighbone. This muscle can put pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Spondylolisthesis - This occurs when one vertebra slips slightly forward over another vertebra and pinches the sciatic nerve. This condition is often caused by degenerative disk disease.

Cigarettes are bad for your back. Smoking increases your risk of developing sciatica by blocking the body’s ability to deliver nutrients to the disks of the lower back.

Get emergency treatment for sciatica if: you have sudden, severe pain in your low back or leg; numbness or muscle weakness in your leg; pain following a violent injury, or you have trouble controlling your bowels or bladder.

There are many ways to treat sciatica that include: injections, pain-relieving drugs, muscle relaxants, hot or cold packs, physical therapy and surgery.

To avoid sciatica, you should: exercise regularly; sit with good posture and lumbar support; take frequent breaks if you work at a desk; adjust your car seat so that your knees and hips are level and you aren’t overreaching for the pedals; rest one foot on a stool if you stand for long periods (bar rails were invented to reduce back discomfort); when lifting, bend your knees, not your back; lift with your legs; carry objects close to your body; don’t reach and lift objects, pull them close to you first (remember this tip when emptying a car trunk); sleep on a good mattress - if you wake with back pain, you need a new one.

I have a slightly herniated disk that has given me sciatica, I’ve gone to a chiropractor, physical therapists and tried many self-help techniques.

I’ve had the most success following the instructions in a book entitled, Treat Your Own Back. The author is Robin A. McKenzie, a New Zealand physiotherapist. I recommend it to all my friends who suffer from back pain.

If you have a question, please write to

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Library Chitchat
By Flo Whittaker

A friendly staff and dedicated volunteers are vital to the operation of the Susquehanna County Library. Fortunately, we have both and for this we are thankful.

Our staff spends many hours working toward their goal of providing the best library service to each county resident. In fact, many of our staff members spend many waking hours, outside the Library, thinking of ways to provide a better experience for your next library visit.

Staff members will take the time to answer your questions, look for materials that you have difficulty finding, or introduce your children into the wonderful world of books. Perhaps, when you visit your library in the next few weeks, you will take a minute to thank whichever staff member assists you.

Volunteers serve in many capacities in our library system. They include the Board Members, who invest countless hours dealing with library business, to daily volunteers who help out doing whatever job needs to be done. Then there are the volunteers who help us with the fund raising programs that are necessary to keep the Library programs afloat, like the mammoth annual project known as the Blueberry Festival.

If you have thought about volunteering, but have not yet done so, please consider it. Many hands make the work lighter. Not sure what skill you can add to our programs? Give us a call at (570) 278-1881 and we will assist you in finding your niche. Help us in our continuing quest to make the Susquehanna County Library your resource for lifetime learning.

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Veterans’ Corner

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What’s Bugging You?
By Stuart W. Slocum

Black Flies - effects & control

The warmth and dampness of the past week has been especially conducive to black fly activity. While the sunny days encouraged us to stop procrastinating and rush into completing those necessary spring chores, the incessant blackfly attacks removed some of the joy and enthusiasm that a warm spring day should exude.

While no blackfly species in eastern North America carries human disease, some do vector diseases of birds and cattle. In tropical areas they transmit multiple human diseases, the worst of which is called river blindness (onchocerciasis). This is a debilitating disease caused by nematodes (small parasitic round worms). In northeastern North America, a general syndrome known as black fly fever can result from extensive bites. Its symptoms include headache, nausea, fever and swollen neck lymph nodes. Rarely, some people have severe allergic reactions that may require medical treatment. More often, persistent biting and annoying attacks can severely impair a person’s emotional state and result in decreased performance in outside activities, both recreational and occupational.

Control of black flies is most often directed at the larval stage. Biological means include the use of a specific bacterium, Bacillus thuriengiensis israelensis (Bti). This is a natural bacteria considered to be very effective and environmentally safe. Bti has a very narrow range of target species, only infecting blackflies and mosquitoes. It can be applied manually or by aircraft distribution. Some of the commercial trade names under which it is sold are Aquabac™, Mosquito dunks™, Teknar™, and Vectobac™. Although it generally works rapidly, it also breaks down quickly in the environment.

Pennsylvania has an aggressive “Black Fly Suppression Program” that involves monitoring and treatment of approximately 1600 miles of 47 Pennsylvania rivers and streams. Black flies have some natural enemies, including protozoa, nematodes and viruses, but their occurrence is seldom sufficient to control the flies’ population.

Personal protection for people is primarily achieved by the effective use of repellents. Those containing DEET are most effective. Wearing light colored clothing with minimal openings is most practical in areas of high black fly concentrations. Fine mesh head nets are also helpful for those exposed at length to outdoors situations. People should avoid perfumes, deodorants and other toiletries that might attract the insects. Livestock protection can be gained by the use of spray repellents containing permethrin or eartags containing ivermectin. Shelters for the animals are also effective, since black flies rarely enter enclosures.

Fortunately, there are several positives to these aggravating pests. Black flies rarely enter indoors and bite. They only attack in the daytime, and their activity is limited to a few weeks in the spring. Also, they are important components of the aquatic and terrestrial food chains, where many fish, amphibians and birds, as well as other insects, consume them. As usual, if you have any questions or comments about these or other insects please feel free to contact me at

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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 Sepcoskiw

National Recreational Water Illness Week

May 17-23

Barnes-Kasson Hospital is observing National Recreational Water Illnesses Week, May 17 through May 23.

Recreational Water Illness (RWI) refers to any illness or infection that is caused by unhealthy germs that thrive in contaminated water in pools, lakes, hot tubs, and oceans. When a person becomes infected with one of these germs, diarrhea, skin rashes, swimmer's ear, and other conditions may appear.

One of the most common infection-producing germs that can lurk in water include Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which causes swimmer's ear and skin rash. Others include cryptosporidium, Giardia lamblia, shigella, and E. coli, which can cause other illnesses. According to the CDC, thousands of RWI cases of infections are treated each year. Approximately 6.2 million cases of swimmer's ear occur worldwide. The number of RWIs has more than doubled in the past 10 years, according to data from the CDC. There is no full proof preventive measure to avoid RWIs besides avoiding swimming. No one who swims is safe from RWIs. However, there are cautionary actions that can be taken to lessen the risk.

Avoiding swallowing water can prevent many digestive infections, which usually occur when water is swallowed and driven into the mouth or nose. The infection may not start immediately after a swim, but sometimes it comes on one to two weeks later.

To prevent swimmer’s ear, try to avoid getting water inside the ear canal. Swimmer’s ear occurs when water gets in the ear canal, breaks down the protective barriers in the ear and allows bacteria to float inside.

Many people say that adding chlorine to a pool can kill all potentially disease-causing germs. The is true, though only to a point. When chlorine is poured into properly disinfected pools, it will kill most germs in less than an hour, but it takes longer to kill certain germs, which can survive for days in even a properly disinfected pool.

One of the best ways to prevent RWIs is to avoid swallowing water. It is also important to not swim when you are sick because you can very easily spread germs in the water. Take a shower before swimming and always wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers because germs on your body end up in the water.

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