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Issue Home May 27, 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: An auditorium is to be erected at the Bible Conference and will be ready in July. It is to seat 3000 people and is not intended as permanent auditorium, although it will be of such substantial construction that it will answer all purposes for several years to come and it is intended that after its work is over as an auditorium it can be converted into a dining hall or similar building for the boys’ and girls’ school, which will be established here as soon as the conference is well grounded. AND “On the Warpath,” a story of Frontier Life, will be the leading attraction at Stein’s Nickelette, together with a fine series of other pleasing pictures. Do not forget that we will be open the afternoon of Memorial Day, when battle scenes of the Civil War (Gettysburg fight, if possible) with patriotic illustrated songs will be presented.

HALLSTEAD: John E. Clune, of the Mitchell House, has arranged to receive by special wire every evening at 7 o’clock, the baseball scores of the State and National league games, which will be displayed on a blackboard as soon as received.

GELATT: Mrs. George Hine is repairing her cottage, at Riley Lake, getting ready for summer boarders.

SHANNON HILL, AUBURN TWP.: Will Sheridan, Mrs. Wm. McGee and daughter Ruth and baby started Tuesday afternoon for their new home in Montana. The rest of the family are settled there and like it very much.

SOUTH GIBSON: Nelson Resseguie, an old and respected resident of this place, died Thursday night, May 20, after a long illness with rheumatism. Mr. Resseguie was a veteran of the Civil war, his age being 88 years, 10 months and 23 days. The funeral was held from the home on Saturday, with interment in the lower cemetery beside his wife, who died several months ago. [Mr. Resseguie served in Co. B, 177th Reg., Drafted Militia.]

EAST ARARAT: The amiable and energetic teacher of the public school, Miss Susan Hathaway, has 22 pupils on her roll. She is at present arranging a flower bed on the school grounds, thus beautifying the surroundings. Could not the rest of the school ma’ams and pa’as do something similar?

FOREST CITY: Wm Sredenshek and H. E. Reifler have purchased the Forest City House from P. F. Cusick. The new management will take possession this month, and intend making some improvements to the building. A new barn will be built on the property that can accommodate 50 horses.

FOREST LAKE: This seems to be the resort of the local fisherman these days and catfish of fabulous size are being caught by nearly every fisherman that casts a hook in these waters. G. B. Felker and son landed 15 big ones that weighed from 1 1/2 to 2 lbs, last Friday, and others report similar success. They are unusually fat and Nimrods believe that the creamerymen over there have been fattening the fish up on milk, as the milk station is located on the bank of the lake. At any rate they’re whoppers.

ST. JOSEPH: The death of Michael Daniel Sweeney occurred at his late home, near here, on Friday last, after an illness of several weeks. Mr. Sweeney was the proprietor of the noted old Indian Spring, and for many years had supplied from its depths pure water in different parts of New York state and Pennsylvania. He was highly respected by all who knew him. The funeral was largely attended from the Catholic church at St. Joseph on Sunday morning, Father Edward O’Reilly, of Waverly, and Father Cawley officiating. The deceased is survived by three sisters; Misses Mary and Anastasia, who live at home, and Miss Margaret Sweeney, a teacher in the Indian Government Schools of America.

LYNN, SPRINGVILLE TWP.: Those mischievous boys that are meddling with the U.S. Mail boxes on the Lynn route are known to the authorities and will be handled by law if any more depredations are committed. AND In Springville, Lee Compton has a new vacuum cleaner and is ready to take all dust out of your carpets in a short time and do it cheap. Springville ladies can now throw away their carpet stretchers and go visiting while the new cleaner does the work.

LANESBORO: Riverside Park will be reopened for the summer, Monday, May 31. The place is being put in good condition and will be conducted this year in a thoroughly reliable manner by a Local Amusement Company.

DUNDAFF: The effort to run a rural route right through Dundaff is meeting with opposition there and the older residents are signing a petition against the delivery. It is feared the route might result in the abandonment of the Dundaff post office and the stage line, obscuring the name of Dundaff which has been prominent as a borough for nearly a century.

THOMPSON: Three hundred years ago this May the progenitor of the Towers of America was born, and a few years later he came to this country and established a home in Hingham, Mass. His descendents number thousands today, and they propose to gather at the old homestead on May 29, 30 and 31, to celebrate, and on the 30th to worship in the “meeting house” which said progenitor helped build and thus honor the memory of John Tower, the 1st. Comrade P. R. Tower, of Thompson, though not in his prime, will attend if his strength is as good as his ambition.

SUSQUEHANNA: The work of renumbering all the houses in the town has begun. The work will be pushed as rapidly as possible in order that all houses be numbered and all street signs in position by July 1, so that the free mail delivery may be begun by August.

NEWS BRIEFS: Memorial Day services are being held throughout Susquehanna County, most of them being conducted by G.A.R. posts. Marching to the cemeteries and decorating the graves of their fallen comrades, is the order of the day. AND A huge American flag, the largest in the world, measuring 80 x 160 feet, has been contracted for by the City of Pittsburgh for use on July 4. This flag is to cost $1,000. It will be 28% larger than any American flag ever made, and 400 ft. larger than the standard storm flag of the army. Ninety thousand feet of thread and 2,000 feet of tape will be used.

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

Hydrocarbon conveyance. It is a mouthful, but the question is what does it mean? Several sources have reported to me that there is a gas company attempting to get landowners to sign these "hydrocarbon conveyances" without providing any real explanation as to what a "hydrocarbon conveyance" represents. Apparently, a number of landowners have signed a "hydrocarbon conveyance" without a clear (or any) understanding as to what they were doing.

Adding to the confusion has been the gas lease boom that Susquehanna County has experienced over the past several years. Many landowners have heard neighbors, friends and even strangers discussing leases, lease options, signing bonuses, royalty payments, and other financial issues surrounding these gas leases. The problem is that there is a significant difference between a hydrocarbon conveyance and a gas lease.

A lease is a temporary assignment to certain rights in real property, i.e., in this case the right to use real property for purposes of mining the natural gas that exists under the surface. The lease will spell out various responsibilities and duties of each party, and, as required under state law, assure that the landowner is paid a royalty for any natural gas that is mined from the real property. At some point, the lease will expire and the landowner's property rights will be restored.

A hydrocarbon conveyance is the outright sale of the natural gas that exists under the real property. While the landowner continues to own the surface of the real property, the gas company owns the subsurface rights to any natural gas. The difference is as stark as night and day. Perhaps most significantly, if the gas company owns the natural gas as a result of the "hydrocarbon conveyance," then there is no requirement for the payment of royalties to the landowner because the landowner no longer owns any interest in the natural gas.

To use a more common example in Susquehanna County, if a landowner leases real property to a quarry operator, it normally involves an arrangement for the payment of royalties based upon the stone harvested from the real property. At the end of the lease, the landowner continues to own all of his real property free and clear of any claim of the quarry operator. If the landowner sells his real property to the quarry operator, there are obviously no royalty payments as the quarry operator is now the owner of the real property, not merely a person leasing the property. In this circumstance, the landowner will not receive his property back unless he makes arrangements to purchase it back from the quarry operator.

Another common example would be a landlord-tenant relationship. If you rent your home to a tenant, the tenant will pay you under the terms of the lease a regular rental payment. At the end of the lease, the tenant moves out and you get your home back. On the other hand, if you sell your house to a third person, you get a one time payment and the relationship ends at that point. You no longer own your property - there is no tenant, only a buyer and a seller.

Thus, if you were to execute a hydrocarbon conveyance to a gas company, you are selling the natural gas that exists under your soil. You will get a one time payment - and nothing more. This was the common practice of the coal companies in Northeast Pennsylvania. In fact, many deeds to properties in Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties continue to contain a provision that plainly states that the deed does not convey the subsurface rights because those rights had been sold away long ago. To the extent that hydrocarbon conveyances become popular in Susquehanna County, the same language will be necessary to explain to potential purchases that they own the surface rights to the property, not the rights to the natural gas under the surface.

As I have noted in the past, these issues are complicated. Please do not rely upon this column for advice. I have no experience with gas leases or hydrocarbon conveyances. If you are approached by a gas company, you need to get an attorney to review any proposed documents prior to their execution. If you proceed without competent legal advice, there are serious risks and hazards.

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. How common are albinos?

People get their color from a pigment called melanin. Albinos have no melanin in their skin, hair or eyes.

Albinos suffer from albinism, a rare inherited disorder found in fewer than five people per 100,000 in the United States and Europe. Other parts of the world have a much higher rate. This disorder can occur in any race, but is most common in Caucasians.

Albinos have pale skin, pale blue or pink eyes, and white hair. The disorder also produces abnormal vision and involuntary eye movements.

Albinism is one of a group of skin pigmentation disorders. Here are some of the most common ones:

Age spots

The official name for age or liver spots is “lentigines” from the Latin for “lentil.” These are flat, brown with rounded edges and are larger than freckles. They are not dangerous.

Lentigines are found most often where your skin has been exposed to the sun. They are common on the face and back of the hands. Lentigines tend to increase as we get older. They can be removed by freezing treatments or laser therapy.


A hemangioma is a growth made up of a bunch of tiny blood vessels. This birthmark is usually small. Most hemangiomas disappear without treatment. Strawberry (or superficial) hemangiomas are slightly raised. Cavernous (deep) hemangiomas are a bluish color.

Port wine stains

Port wine stains are caused by abnormal development of blood vessels. They are flat and show up as pink, red, or purple marks. Laser therapy is currently the treatment of choice for removing these stains.


Melasma, which tends to appear during pregnancy, is characterized by tan or brown patches on the face. This condition is known as pregnancy mask. However, men can also develop this. Melasma can be treated with prescription creams and some over-the-counter products.


The cause of vitiligo is unknown, but it may involve an attack by the immune system on the cells that produce melanin. Vitiligo causes smooth, white skin patches, usually on the face and the back of the hands. There is no cure for vitiligo. However, skin color may return spontaneously. Corticosteroid creams or phototherapy plus light-sensitizing drugs may darken the skin.


A baby can develop birthmarks either before being born or soon after birth. The hemangioma is one of the most common types of birthmark. Another common birthmark is the port wine stain.

Macular stains, which appear as mild red marks, can come in two forms: angel kisses, which may appear on the forehead and eyelids, or stork bites, which will appear on the back of the neck.

Most birthmarks are non-cancerous. Some birthmarks can pose health risks. Warning signs include: bluish discoloration of the facial skin and sometimes the white part of the eye, and spots that are bruised or bluish in color, typically appearing on buttocks. All moles should be monitored for bleeding, itching, color, shape or size changes.

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

Tiger beetles: beneficial gems

After weeks of writing about nuisance bugs and ways to control them, it is a pleasure to discuss a “good guy.” The six-spotted tiger beetle, Cicindela sexguttata, is an emerald-green beauty that can be seen in your backyard or garden. Although its metallic wing coverings are usually punctuated with 6 contrasting white spots, there can be as many as ten dots or even none at all. This beetle’s legs and antennae are also bright green.

Of the 200 or so species of tiger beetles found in the US, only 19 have been identified in PA, and most of those are endangered. Tiger beetles, family Cicindelidae, are so named because of their predatory nature and large, sharp-toothed jaws. Large, bulging eyes are another distinctive characteristic of the tiger beetles. Most tiger beetle species are a shiny metallic hue of blue, green, purple, orange or bronze. They range from three-eighth to seven-eighth inches in length. Active during the daytime, tiger beetles are swift runners and flyers. They prefer open areas, with most species occurring on sand dunes and beaches. All tiger beetles are voracious hunters and will swiftly run down an ant or other insect prey.

Adult six-spotted tiger beetle

Six-spotted tiger beetles are most often encountered along paths and open areas near woodlands. They appear early in the spring after having spent the cold winter days in a burrow, where they pupated the previous fall. The tiger beetles are normally solitary insects, only associating with others during mating. The male usually stays with the female until she deposits her eggs in holes that she digs in the ground. Only one egg is placed in each hole.

The larval tiger beetles are also fierce predators. These grub-like larvae tunnel into the soil for protection from predatory birds and such natural elements as temperature and precipitation. Using a hooked hump on their back, the larvae anchor themselves into the burrow with just their heads exposed. Whenever an unsuspecting insect passes by, the beetle larva pops out and snags the victim with its large jaws. The tiger beetle larvae eat ants, spiders and other small insects. If threatened, the larva drops down out of sight into its tunnel. Off road vehicles pose the greatest danger to the larvae, which are suffocated when their tunnels are crushed and sealed by the spinning tires. The beetles live in these tunnels for about two years. In July, the larvae pupate and the adults emerge in August actively feeding during the day. They return to the same burrows at night.

Predatory tiger beetle larvae in tunnel

Larvae and adult tiger beetles have numerous predators. Birds, dragonflies, robber flies, lizards, frogs, salamanders and small mammals all prey on the adults. Moles, skunks, opossums, raccoons, birds, ants and hister beetles prey on larval tiger beetles. Additionally, parasitic wasps, mites and bee flies infest the tiger beetle larvae. The cryptic coloration of the adult beetles helps to hide it from predators. The adults also have the ability to release an offensive odor when disturbed.

With so many undesirables in the insect world, it is refreshing to know that we also have some valuable allies among their numbers. Even more gratifying is the fact that not only are tiger beetles beneficial, but are also pleasing to the eye. These facts make it even sadder that their numbers are diminishing, and that they have become endangered species in our troubled environment. 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 Sepcoskiw

National Older Americans’ Mental Health Week

May 24-30

Barnes-Kasson Hospital is observing National Older Americans’ Mental Health Week, May 24 through May 30.

Although advances in science and technology are enabling people to live longer than ever, mental illnesses, such as depression and Alzheimer's disease, are becoming more common in older adults.

Older Americans undergo major lifestyle changes, including retirement, relocation, and the loss of spouses and friends. Physical or financial difficulties can make traveling difficult for older adults, causing them to become isolated from family and friends. This isolation can lead to feelings of despair and depression, which can contribute to a decline in both physical and mental health.

According to a recent study, many people over the age of 65 who live alone, experience a decline in mental and emotional health. Mental health in older people has been delegated as a secondary condition for decades. Many people have just dismissed these common health problems as “just a part of aging” or as a “reaction” to the new experiences in life that occur when someone ages.

Although there is some understanding of dementia and depression in the medical world, there is statistically little knowledge of these conditions in nursing homes, meaning that both conditions could go unrecognized and untreated. Being depressed is far too often assumed as being a normal part of growing older.

The strong link between emotional wellbeing and loneliness presents the fact that our elders need social interaction just as much as the younger generation. It is incredibly important that local communities have services for older people that go beyond just social care. Older people need to be able to take part in activities and meet new people.

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