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Issue Home July 1, 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

CAMP CHOCONUT: Seventy young men who compose the members of Camp Choconut, near Friendsville, which for many years has been successfully conducted by Roland Mulford, arrived here over the Lehigh Valley Wednesday afternoon. The youngsters arrived with Mr. Mulford in charge and made the trip of a dozen miles to the camp in four-in-hand loads, and a happier bunch it would be hard to find. This is the largest number that ever was in attendance at the camp and shows that its popularity is continually increasing. The boys get good care and instruction and return to the city in the late summer greatly improved in health.

LENOX: A. W. Conrad and family will remove soon to Harrisburg, where Mr. Conrad will take up his recent appointment as inspector in the State Health Department.

RUSH: People in this vicinity should have their shotguns handy, as a thief was seen stealing Mrs. Hibbard’s chickens, but was frightened away by threats made by Mrs. Hibbard.

MONTROSE: The Palace Skating Rink opened last night with a large attendance. The military band organ proved all that had been anticipated and furnished excellent music for the skaters. A Scranton instructor is in attendance. ALSO Rev. Wm. Caines, pastor of Zion A.M.E. [African Methodist-Episcopal] Church in Montrose, and the church at Towanda, has been transferred by the late conference, to the charge at Gloversville, N.Y. Mr. Caines is one of the most able and prominent ministers of his race, and the best wishes of friends here follow to the new field of labor assigned him. At present, Rev. Dawson Edwards is the acting pastor at Zion church.

ELK LAKE: Charles Babcock, who has had the contract for carrying the mail for the past four years from Rush to Dimock, retired from the service June 30. Mr. Harris, of Rush, takes the route. Uncle Charlie, we shall miss your pleasant face and accommodating ways, and we hope when the angel Gabriel blows his horn you will have your watch set just on time.

SUSQUEHANNA: Laurel Hill Academy, in charge of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, held commencement exercises last week. Among the graduates was Miss Minnie Brush, daughter of ex-Sheriff and Mrs. R. N. Brush, of Brushville.

FOREST CITY: The Hillside Coal and Iron Co., has reduced the noontime of employees from one hour to half an hour. The order also makes it necessary for foremen to carry their dinners and remain at the works. Superintendents, who have heretofore had free coal and occupied company houses, without charge, are obliged to buy their own coal and pay rent.

BROOKLYN: Wm Bagley and wife, of Elmira, spent a few days last week at the home of Mr. and Mrs. F. B. Jewett. Mr. Bagley is past 81 years, but retains to a remarkable degree, all of his faculties. He remembers when his father, Jesse Bagley, built the Tewksbury house in 1832. Most of the companions of his younger days have gone to the great beyond. He is a prominent G.A.R. man and attended the State encampment at Binghamton on his way here.

KINGSLEY: The sound of the M. E. church bell will now be heard again, as W. H. Wilmarth and S. J. Adams have finished repairs upon the belfry.

BRACKNEY: After July 1, the Quaker Lake Creamery Co. will sell their cream to the June Dairy Co., at Conklin, for 30 cents per quart.

FRANKLIN FORKS: Misses Nellie Hickok and Alphia Monroe gave a party at Salt Springs in honor of Ina Leebody, of Binghamton, who is visiting her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. G. E. Hickok. Games were enjoyed in the afternoon, present were: Ella Ives, Beatrice Watson, Florence Scott, Mina Birchard, Lillian Scott, Marion Scott and Lucy Caterson.

SPRINGVILLE: Lonnie Brink suffered a severe stroke of Apoplexy on Wednesday last. He is some better by spells but has not the use of one side at present. We hope he will recover. He was proprietor of the “Kid Wagon” [1909 version of the school bus] and will be greatly missed by the children if not able to make his two daily trips to town this fall.

DUNDAFF: Our village now boasts of a butcher shop and an ice cream parlor.

DIMOCK TWP.: The barn of Samuel Birtch, near James Bunnell’s farm, was burned to the ground Monday night at about 10 o’clock. The contents, including all of Mr. Birch’s farm implements, were burned up, we understand. There was a small insurance.

GIBSON: Mrs. W. H. Estabrook and Mrs. Elbert Bailey attended the annual meeting of the celebrated ladies band of this place, June 26. This order was disbanded several years ago, but they still meet yearly and have a pleasant time, although this year the circle is broken by the death of Mrs. Edwards, New Milford.

FAIR HILL, JESSUP TWP.: J. N. Andre, an elderly and highly respected citizen, passed from time to eternity, Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. The funeral services will be held from his late home Friday at 1 and from Fairdale M.E. church at 2.

BASE BALL: The Thompson club went to Starrucca and played a game with the team of that place, Saturday afternoon. Score, 14 to 2 in favor of Starrucca; The Fairdale Tigers and Laceyvilles played a very interesting game of ball last Saturday at Lawton, Fairdale winning by a score of 7 to 0. The features of the game were the pitching of McCain and the fielding of Jones and Jenner; A goodly crowd turned out to see the Montrose Athletics and the Scranton Athletics play a game of ball, the Montrose team winning 14 to 3. The Phoebe Snows of Scranton will play two games here July 5, Saturday afternoon; Franklin Forks will play ball against the Hallstead team; Two good games will be played on July 5, at Hop Bottom, one at 10:30 and the other at 3:00 p.m.; On July 3, in Harford, there will be a game between Kingsley and Hop Bottom.

NEWS BRIEF: In some mountainous parts of New York, Pennsylvania and neighboring states the “summer boarder business” has become the main business of the owners of farms. It is a profitable business in some regions, and it has remodeled rural life wherever the city vacationists have appeared in numbers.

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

In August 2002, a West Virginia jury found that the A.T. Massey Coal Company was civilly liable for interfering in competitors contractual relations, and awarded the competitors $50 million in compensatory and punitive damages. While the case continued to work its way through the West Virginia appellate system, Don Blackenship, the President of A.T. Massey Coal Company, decided to personally support a judicial candidate for the West Virginia Supreme Court, Brent Benjamin. During the course of the judicial campaign, Blackenship financially supported Benjamin’s campaign, both directly and indirectly, and spent approximately $3 million in support of Benjamin’s election.

Realistically, West Virginia has limits on campaign contributions - and Blackenship donated the maximum amount of $1,000 directly to Benjamin’s campaign. The remainder of the funds was donated to an organization that opposed the incumbent Supreme Court justice, as well as Blackenship personally purchasing radio, television and newspaper advertisements to support Benjamin. Blackenship personally spent three times the total amount that Benjamin’s campaign spent on its entire judicial race. In the end, Benjamin won the election and a seat on the West Virginia State Supreme Court.

Shortly thereafter, the Massey Coal case made its way to the West Virginia Supreme Court. The plaintiff’s attorneys requested that Benjamin recuse himself based upon the financial support that Blackenship provided to him during the judicial campaign. Benjamin refused - noting that he had no personal relationship with Blackenship, nor did he have any personal financial interest in the litigation itself that would support recusal from the case. In the end, verdict against Massey Coal was reversed by a 3-2 vote and, as such, Benjamin’s vote was an essential swing vote.

The United States Supreme Court agreed to hear the case to determine whether a violation of the Due Process Clause had occurred as a result of Benjamin’s refusal to recuse himself. The Due Process Clause guarantees that every citizen is guaranteed a “fair tribunal.” The Supreme Court noted that matters involving recusal decisions generally do not rise to the level of a constitutional issue. Rather, the appropriate means to address these issues involve legislative actions or judicial codes that carefully define circumstances when a judge must recuse himself or herself.

Despite noting these general rules, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, determined that Benjamin should have recused himself from hearing the Massey Coal case, and that his refusal amounted to a constitutional violation. Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority, concluded: “We conclude that there is a serious risk of actual bias - based on objective and reasonable perceptions - when a person with a personal stake in a particular case had a significant and disproportionate influence in placing the judge on the case by raising funds or directing the judge’s election campaign when the case was pending or imminent.” As one commentator has noted, this was the first time that the United States Supreme Court has found a constitutional violation without proof of actual bias to support the recusal. In other words, while Benjamin certainly benefited from Blackenship’s financial support in the election cycle - there is nothing to suggest that Benjamin had any personal relationship with Blackenship that created actual, as opposed to perceived, bias.

Based upon the facts, you may believe that this seems like a no-brainer - and you are wondering how 4 Supreme Court Justices could approve of Benjamin’s decision to continue to hear the case despite Blackenship’s huge financial contributions to his election success. The dissenting justices noted that only $1,000 was given directly to Benjamin - and that contribution was allowed under state law. The remainder of the financial support was all indirect - and Benjamin had no control over it. In other words, the judge had no connection with Blackenship other than Blackenship’s personal decision to seek to get Benjamin elected. For the dissenting justices, the majority was opening up Pandora’s box - and every elected judge would now be subject to increased scrutiny as to not only funds donated directly to their own election campaign committees - but a sweeping review of the indirect monies spent in every election over which the judges had no control. In the end, the dissenting justices saw nothing in the Constitution that protected a litigant from “probability of bias,” and the unintended consequences of expanding this rule would far outweigh and benefit.

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 of two columns about sun exposure.

Ultraviolet (UV) rays, an invisible component of sunlight, can cause skin damage, cataracts, wrinkles, age spots, and skin cancer. These rays also impair the skin’s immune system.

UV rays can hurt you on cloudy as well as sunny days. UV rays also bounce off surfaces of the ocean, sand, snow and cement.

One of the surest ways to reduce your exposure to UV rays is to stay out of the sun when it is the strongest. Those times in North America are between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. in the late spring and early summer.

Other ways to protect yourself are to wear protective clothing, such as a wide-brimmed hat, long-sleeved shirt, and long pants. You should use a sunscreen rated at SPF 15 or more. Eye doctors recommend wraparound sunglasses that provide 100 percent UV ray protection.

You should also pay attention to the UV Index developed by the National Weather Service and the Environmental Protection Agency. This index assesses risk of overexposure to UV rays.

The UV Index is calculated daily and is reported by the press. It can be found at:, where you can plug in your own zip code to find out the index rating in your area.

The following are the index levels:

2 or less: Low danger for the average person.

3 to 5: Moderate risk of harm.

6 to 7: High risk of harm.

8 to 10: Very high risk of harm.

11+: Extreme risk of harm.

It is possible to go outside when the UV Index is 11 or higher but you must be sure to take every step possible to protect yourself - sunscreen, hats, long sleeves, sunglasses, the works.

Not everyone reacts to the sun in the same way. The level of danger calculated for the basic categories of the UV Index are for a person with Type II skin. The following are the skin types:

I: Always burns, never tans, sensitive to sun exposure.

II: Burns easily, tans minimally.

III: Burns moderately, tans gradually to light brown.

IV: Burns minimally, always tans well to moderately brown.

V: Rarely burns, tans profusely to dark.

VI: Never burns, deeply pigmented, least sensitive.

What is a suntan?

When UV rays penetrate the skin's inner layer they generate the production of melanin - a dark pigment. The melanin eventually moves toward the outer layers of the skin and becomes visible as a tan. Every time you tan, you damage your skin and this damage accumulates over time.

There is no safe tan. What some call a base tan may, actually, increase the chances you'll get a burn, because you're likely to stay out longer without properly protecting your skin.

You should stay away from tanning beds and sunlamps because they emit UV rays that can cause serious long-term skin damage. The amount of the radiation produced during indoor tanning is similar to the sun’s production and in some cases may be greater.

Many tanning salons are unregulated. They allow customers access to tanning beds without supervision or eye protection.

If you have a question, please write to

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Library Chitchat
By Flo Whittaker

Right now our legislators in Harrisburg are working on the budget for the upcoming year. Cutbacks are the order of the day and one of the areas targeted is library funding. On May 6, the State Senate passed a budget bill that would cut the Public Library Subsidy by 50%. State funding is the largest source of income for our county library system.

The Senate drastic budget bill has proposed cuts in funding for the state library system as a whole that would result in the elimination or reduction of services upon which you depend. In turn, these reductions in state aid could result in a loss to Pennsylvania of as much as 4 million dollars in additional federal funding.

Tough economic times and the projected loss of revenue are the reasons for the proposed reductions. However, the downturn in the economy has resulted in an increased in use of public libraries. Balancing the budget to the detriment of libraries does not make sense. Please note that all of Pennsylvania’s library funding is only a tiny amount of the state budget.

The budget has not yet passed. Libraries throughout the state are asking legislators to revisit the issue of library funding and to reconsider level funding. We urge you to write your elected officials and voice your support for libraries. Stop by your local branch library. They can provide you with the names and addresses of your elected officials and flyer to assist you in drafting a letter.

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Veterans’ Corner

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What’s Bugging You?
By Stuart W. Slocum

Stilt-Legged Flies: Flies In Disguise

Often, when observing insects, what you see is not what you get! Numerous flies mimic bees or ants. Since bees and ants possess well-deserved reputations for inflicting painful stings and bites, mimicry provides an effective defense for less intimidating insects. Such is the case with the alien-looking stilt-legged flies (family Micropezidae). Not only do these flies look like ants or wasps, but also their behavior is even more credible. The manner in which they stand and walk is very convincing. Walking on their middle and hind legs, these flies extend their forelegs directly forward, twitching them about in a manner similar to the actions of ichneumonid wasps.

Adult Stilt-legged flies.

As their name indicates, stilt-legged flies are extremely long legged, allowing them to stand noticeably elevated above surfaces. Dark markings on their wings create a pattern simulating the silhouette of an ant or wasp body. Stilt-legged flies are most often seen in and around wooded areas where they crawl slowly about on low foliage and tree trunks.

They have elaborate courtship rituals, involving nuptial gifts of liquid nourishment and eye-stroking. Little is known of their life cycle and larval stages. Most of their larvae are found in moist locations, frequenting dung, or decaying plant matter.

Of the 475 known species worldwide, only 27 are found in North American. Stilt-legged flies are most abundant in the tropics. Some adults are predaceous on small insects while others feed on excrement or rotting fruit.

Next time you have an “ant” visit your picnic take a second glance, for it might be a fly in ant’s clothing! 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

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From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that military sonar exercises actually kill marine wildlife?

Unfortunately for many whales, dolphins and other marine life, the use of underwater sonar (short for sound navigation and ranging) can lead to injury and even death. Sonar systems - first developed by the U.S. Navy to detect enemy submarines - generate slow-rolling sound waves topping out at around 235 decibels; the world’s loudest rock bands top out at only 130. These sound waves can travel for hundreds of miles under water, and can retain an intensity of 140 decibels as far as 300 miles from their source.

These rolling walls of noise are no doubt too much for some marine wildlife. While little is known about any direct physiological effects of sonar waves on marine species, evidence shows that whales will swim hundreds of miles, rapidly change their depth (sometime leading to bleeding from the eyes and ears), and even beach themselves to get away from the sounds of sonar.

In January 2005, 34 whales of three different species became stranded and died along North Carolina’s Outer Banks during nearby offshore Navy sonar training. Other sad examples around the coast of the U.S. and elsewhere abound, notably in recent years with more sonar testing going on than ever before. According to the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which has campaigned vigorously to ban use of the technology in waters rich in marine wildlife, recent cases of whale strandings likely represent a small fraction of sonar’s toll, given that severely injured animals rarely make it to shore.

In 2003, NRDC spearheaded a successful lawsuit against the Navy to restrict the use of low-frequency sonar off the coast of California. Two years later a coalition of green groups led by NRDC and including the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the League for Coastal Protection, Cetacean Society International, and Ocean Futures Society upped the ante, asking the federal courts to also restrict testing of more intense, harmful and far ranging mid-frequency types of sonar off Southern California’s coastline.

In filing their brief, the groups cited Navy documents which estimated that such testing would kill some 170,000 marine mammals and cause permanent injury to more than 500 whales, not to mention temporary deafness for at least 8,000 others. Coalition lawyers argued that the Navy’s testing was in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act.

Two lower courts upheld NRDC’s claims, but the Supreme Court ruled that the Navy should be allowed to continue the use of some mid-frequency sonar testing for the sake of national security. “The decision places marine mammals at greater risk of serious and needless harm,” says NRDC’s Joel Reynolds.

Environmental groups are still fighting the battle against the sonar, lobbying the government to curtail testing, at least during peacetime, or to at least ramp up testing gradually to give marine wildlife a better chance to flee affected areas. “The U.S. Navy could use a number of proven methods to avoid harming whales when testing mid-frequency sonar,” reports IFAW’s Fred O'Regan. “Protecting whales and preserving national security are not mutually exclusive.”


Dear EarthTalk: How does the microwave compare in energy use, say, to using a gas or electric stove burner to heat water for a cup of tea?

The short answer is that it depends upon several variables, including the price of electricity versus gas, and the relative efficiency of the appliances involved. Typically, though, a microwave would be slightly more efficient at heating water than the flame on a gas stove, and should use up a little less energy. The reason: The microwave’s heat waves are focused on the liquid (or food) inside, not on heating the air or container around it, meaning that most if not all of the energy generated is used to make your water ready.

Given this logic, it is hard to believe that a burner element on an electric stovetop would be any better, but an analysis by Home Energy Magazine found otherwise. The magazine’s researchers discovered that an electric burner uses about 25 percent less electricity than a microwave in boiling a cup of water.

That said, the difference in energy saved by using one method over another is negligible: Choosing the most efficient process might save a heavy tea drinker a dollar or so a year. “You’d save more energy over the year by replacing one light bulb with a CFL [compact fluorescent lightbulb] or turning off the air conditioner for an hour - not an hour a day, one hour at some point over the whole year,” says consumer advocate Michael Bluejay.

Although a microwave may not save much energy or money over a stove burner when heating water, it can be much more energy-efficient than a traditional full-size oven when it comes to cooking food. For starters, because their heat waves are concentrated on the food, microwaves cook and heat much faster than traditional ovens. According to the federal government’s Energy Star program, which rates appliances based on their energy-efficiency, cooking or re-heating small portions of food in the microwave can save as much as 80 percent of the energy used to cook or warm them up in the oven.

The website reports that there are other things you can do to optimize your energy efficiency around the kitchen when cooking. For starters, make sure to keep the inside surfaces of your microwave oven clean so as to maximize the amount of energy reflected toward your food. On a gas stovetop, make sure the flame is fully below the cookware; likewise, on an electric stovetop, make sure the pan or kettle completely covers the heating element to minimize wasted heat. Also, use the appropriate size pan for the job at hand, as smaller pans are cheaper and more energy-efficient to heat up.

Despite these tips for cooking greener, Bluejay reiterates that most of us will hardly put a dent in our overall energy use just by choosing one appliance over another. According to his analysis, for someone who bakes three hours a week the cheapest cooking method saves only an estimated $2.06/month compared to the most expensive method.

“Focusing on cooking methods is not the way to save electricity [at home],” says Bluejay. “You should look at heating, cooling, lighting and laundry instead.”

CONTACTS: Home Energy Magazine,; Treehugger,; Michael Bluejay,

Send Your Environmental Questions To: EarthTalk, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; Read past columns at:

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Barnes-Kasson Corner
By Cara Sepcoskiw

National Firework Safety Awareness Week

June 28 - July 4

Barnes-Kasson Hospital is observing National Firework Safety Awareness Week June 28 through July 4. During the summer months eye injuries escalate in children. Each year, thousands of children under age 5 experience eye accidents. Doctors encourage parents to keep a close watch over their children to prevent eye injury. The most common causes of eye injuries in children are misuse of toys, fireworks and everyday objects. Each summer approximately 6,400 Americans go to the hospital for injuries to the eye from fireworks. Of that 6,400 it is estimated that 2,300 injuries were of children under the age of fifteen.

According to the National Council on Fireworks Safety, most firework injuries occur when instructions are not followed properly. The council recommends to “use common sense. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter and the shooter should wear safety glasses.” The council also warns against mixing alcohol and fireworks, and that the “designated shooter” should be over the age of 21.

When using fireworks, important things to remember are that you should use fireworks outdoors only, and obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them. Another important fact is to never relight a "dud" firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.

The most important thing to remember when using fireworks, is to never ever use homemade fireworks or illegal explosives - they can kill you! You should also report illegal explosives to the fire or police department in your community.

Barnes-Kasson Hospital invites you to celebrate our nation's heritage on the Fourth of July, but celebrate safely.

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