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Issue Home July 22, 2009 Site Home

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

100 Years Ago

GREAT BEND: The Central House was badly damaged by fire last Friday morning, the interior being gutted by the flames, while smoke and water did much damage. The proprietor, former sheriff John H. Pritchard, having occasion to go to another part of the house, carried in his hand a lamp. As he passed through a swinging door he caught his foot in the carpet and the door was released from his grasp. Swinging back, it knocked the lamp from his hand, and as it was at the head of a flight of stairs, the lamp, in rolling, spread the flames their entire length. To make matters worse, there was a large tank of oil at the foot of the stairs. Realizing he could not hope to put the fire out unaided, Mr. Pritchard aroused the family and the sleeping guests and sent in an alarm. The Great Bend and Hallstead fire companies responded and worked until late in the morning to cope with any possible emergency. Passersby on the street would hardly know that the three story building had been through a fire, but once inside the great damage is too plainly visible and it will be months before it is again ready for occupancy.

HALLSTEAD: The Hallstead baseball team defeated Camp Susquehannock in an eleven inning game at Hallstead on Saturday, the score being 7-6. It was the most exciting game Hallstead has witnessed in many a day.

NEW MILFORD: Mr. M. Bartle, a practical jeweler of Montrose will, on August 1, open a shop for the repairing of watches, clocks, sewing machines and organs, in Edwards’ phonograph store in this borough.

SUSQUEHANNA, ETC.: Susquehanna, Oakland and Lanesboro are getting to be quite the centers for the pleasing pastime of boat motoring. At the last mentioned place alone there are thirty motor boats. If the citizens of those towns would dredge the channel of the Susquehanna they could have a course many miles in length that would equal anything in this section for boating.

MONTROSE: Many novel horns and sirens for automobiles have been heard in Montrose, but the latest and most striking is on S. D. Warriner’s 60-horsepower Matheson.

The horn makes a noise resembling the human voice volumized and when the car bears down upon a pedestrian sounding its warning, it causes even a non-excitable person’s hair to stand on end and makes him fall all over himself getting out of the way.

SPRINGVILLE: The home of F. P. Snover was saddened by the sudden death of their infant son, Myron. Myron was an active little fellow, about two years of age, and the pet of the home. Thursday, while the mother and others were busy in another part of the house, the baby made his way to the kitchen, climbed upon a chair, unhooked the cupboard door and reached the matches on the second shelf. He bit the heads off a number and swallowed them. This was at 5 p.m.. He seemed perfectly well until 9 p.m., when he was taken violently ill, and died at 10 a.m., Friday.

THOMPSON: The librarian requests that all books be returned to the circulating library at once.

HOPBOTTOM: One of the things badly needed in this place is a fire company.

FOREST CITY: The proposed Marathon race of the Red Men has caught the popular fancy. There are a large number of candidates and the boys are training by making nightly trial runs. The course is about 4 1/2 miles in length. The contestants will start at the Vandling grove, follow the street car line to the Richmondale switch, go through the Blazing Stump, and along the road over the hill to Hudson street, thence to Main and back to the grove. It is expected the winner will make the run in less than 30 minutes, as the trainers of several of the contestants now claim their men have gone over the course in considerably less than 35 minutes.

LAWSVILLE: Last Monday, as Charles Palmer was enroute to the creamery at Lawsville, his young team became unmanageable near Franklin Forks and ran to the farm of Thomas Mahoney, where they were caught, Mr. Palmer still holding pluckily to the lines.

LENOX: The descendants of Amos Payne, dec’d. will hold their annual reunion with the descendants of T. V. Dunn, dec’d, at the Payne homestead in Lenox, now occupied by Charles Manzer, Aug. 17. All friends of both families and neighbors are cordially invited to meet with us.

CHOCONUT VALLEY: Choconut postoffice went into operation July 1, 1829. Lewis Chamberlin was appointed postmaster, which office he held for a period of 42 years. After his death his daughter, Mary M. Chamberlin, was appointed postmistress, which office she held until her death, which occurred October last. Mrs. Catharine S. Dean now holds the office and although having held the position but a short time, is doing the business well, with good satisfaction to the people. The first returns, made up Oct. 1, 1829, amounted to $1.29 from Choconut P.O.

HERRICK CENTER: Saturday night, July 10, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Gulley, of Susquehanna, came down to stay over Sunday with their parents Mr. and Mrs. Walter Halford. Monday morning Mrs. Gulley gave birth to a fine girl baby and the grandparents are so pleased over its arrival that they propose to keep it for a few weeks. Fred was able to go to his work today, July 19.

COUNTY JAIL: A very clever attempt was made the forepart of the week, by some of the prisoners at the jail, to break therefrom and secure their liberty. The cell known as the hospital cell, from which escapes have been made at different times, had been condemned and is not at present used, but is kept locked. Prisoners were allowed in sometimes during the day to get articles used about the jail and they had been taking in the situation as to the lock and the possibility of its being successfully picked. Sheriff Conklin and his son-in-law, Belford Jones, being apprehensive there might be an urgent desire on the part of some of the prisoners threatened with long terms to break from jail, discovered an important “find.” Upon looking at the lock and bolt to the hospital cell it seemed to be all right, but in passing his hand over the bolt, Belford detected a greasy feeling, which arrested his attention, and upon unlocking the door and taking out the bolt, found that it had been filed very nearly in two and the space filed away covered up with soap, iron filings and dust, so that in appearance it would not be detected. Enough metal was left so that the lock worked perfectly and the work by the file not detected, so that a few minutes more work with a file would have laid the lock open. This work was done during the day time, as all the prisoners were locked into separate cells at night. The present inmates are a noisy lot and at time sing, dance and make a lot of noise and it is supposed that while some sang, others filed. Had it not been for extreme vigilance, it is very likely there would have been a wholesale delivery.

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

Several weeks ago, I did a column on money and justice - and I received an interesting response that made several inquiries that are worth reviewing and answering in this column. In essence, the reader had a sense of outrage that the criminal justice system might be used as a tool and bargaining chip by a victim to obtain financial gain from defendants in a civil litigation.

The reader posed the first question as follows: “Is there any way for the State to receive compensation for expenses from the person who brought the charges and then refused to testify after being paid off by a defendant?” While this seems like a simple question, it requires a rather lengthy response to place things in context.

If it is discovered that the victim is lying, then there is a potential for recompensing the state. The victim could be charged with a criminal offense, namely false reports, and, if convicted of that offense, a component of the sentencing order could be restitution to the state for the expenses incurred in pursuing the false charges that the victim initiated. How those expenses were calculated and determined would be left to the discretion of the sentencing court.

Of course, the fact that a victim no longer wishes to proceed with criminal charges does not mean that the victim is lying - and may indeed relate to a civil settlement that was reached between the defendant and the victim. It could also relate to simple personal reasons such as fear, stress, forgiveness, or reconciliation with the offender. It is important to remember that a victim does not make the ultimate decision on whether charges are “dropped.” A prosecutor makes that decision, and a prosecutor can force an uncooperative victim to testify through the use of the court’s subpoena power. There are practical reasons to avoid putting an uncooperative witness on the stand - foremost being that they tend to be very poor witnesses when they no longer desire to cooperate. There is also the argument that such strong-arm tactics result in a second victimization of the victim by the system that is supposed to protect them.

There are means to assure that the state recoups its costs prior to the dismissal of any charges. Under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedures, there are various ways for charges to be withdrawn, and these mechanisms require a defendant to pay the costs of the prosecution. When I say costs, this does not encompass the manpower and wages associated with the persons prosecuting the case. It does cover the court costs that the state assigns to each case as well as any out-of-pocket costs incurred in the prosecution itself, such as expert witness costs, laboratory costs, or similar unusual expenses.

Moreover, the prosecutor can attempt to get a defendant to pay the full costs as part of an agreement to dismiss the charges. A recent example of this involves the perjury prosecution of Louis DeNaples - where the prosecutor agreed to drop the charges conditioned upon Mr. DeNaples giving up ownership to a casino as well as paying the Commonwealth $100,000 to cover the costs of the investigation. As such, there are means to assure that the defendant pays for the costs incurred by the state - but nothing to force a true victim to pay the costs out of a civil settlement obtained from the defendant.

The reader’s second question raises another significant concern: “Is the state being used to extort money from celebrities at taxpayer expense?” In every criminal investigation, whether a celebrity or a homeless person, no criminal charges should be filed until there is sufficient evidence to support those charges. The fact that a victim may hire a private attorney and pursue civil remedies does not covert the criminal justice system into an extortionist. All criminal acts have an equivalent civil cause of action to them that would allow for the recovery of civil damages. The criminal proceeding only provides restitution to victims, i.e., actual out-of-pocket losses, whereas the civil proceedings allow for the recovery for pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and similar intangible damages. Where a defendant has the economic means, we should expect that crime victims will pursue their civil remedies. When there are civil proceedings pending, it is not a surprise that the resolution of the criminal proceedings becomes part of the negotiations to settle the civil negotiations. It is important to remember that the State is never part of these negotiations - and is never bound by them, except to the extent that the prosecutor may end up dealing with a victim who advocates for the dismissal of the criminal charges.

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. A doctor told my cousin that she had arthritis in her head. I never heard of such a thing. Have you?

I’ve never heard of head arthritis, but I don’t think that’s what the doctor said to your cousin. I’m pretty sure the doctor was talking about temporal arteritis, which is also known as cranial arteritis and giant cell arteritis.

Arthritis is inflammation of a joint. Arteritis is inflammation of an artery. Temporal arteritis (TA) affects the blood vessels that supply the head, particularly the arteries that branch off from a blood vessel in the neck called the carotid artery.

TA rarely occurs in patients younger than 50. Women develop TA two to three times more frequently than men. The incidence of the condition increases with age. TA occurs more frequently in white patients, especially those with northern European backgrounds. The cause of TA is not known.

Most people make a full recovery from TA, but treatment for a year or two may be needed. The condition can return after a recovery.

Corticosteroids may be prescribed to reduce inflammation. Medications that suppress the immune system are occasionally prescribed. Aspirin may also be recommended. Patients usually start feeling better within days of starting treatment.

Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that can lead to some serious side effects. Older adults are particularly at risk because they're more prone to certain conditions that may be caused by corticosteroids. These include: osteoporosis, high blood pressure, muscle weakness, cataracts, thinning skin and increased bruising.

When undergoing corticosteroid treatment, older patients are monitored for bone density and blood pressure changes. Doctors may prescribe calcium and vitamin D supplements or other medications to help prevent bone loss. Lifestyle changes and medication may be prescribed to control blood pressure.

Polymyalgia rheumatica and temporal arteritis are closely related inflammatory conditions. Polymyalgia rheumatica is a disorder of the elderly characterized by muscular pain and stiffness in the shoulders, neck and pelvic muscles.

Headache affects more than two thirds of patients with TA. The following are some other symptoms of the condition: excessive sweating, fever, muscle aches, malaise, jaw pain, loss of appetite, scalp tenderness, vision problems, weakness, fatigue, weight loss, coughing, bleeding gums and mouth sores.

The most serious complication of temporal arteritis is irreversible vision loss. Prompt treatment is critical to prevent permanent damage to the eyes.

There are other possible complications. TA doubles your risk of an aneurysm, which is a bulge in a weakened blood vessel that can burst. In some cases, a blood clot may form in an affected artery causing a stroke.

TA is diagnosed by assessing symptoms, finding abnormal blood flow and through an Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) blood test that measures the rate at which red blood and other cells settle towards the bottom of a tube. A rapid or high rate usually correlates with ongoing inflammation. This test is good but not perfect.

A temporal artery biopsy may confirm the diagnosis. The biopsy is taken from a part of the artery located in the hairline, in front of the ear. The biopsy is helpful in most cases, but in some individuals it may be negative or normal, even though the disease is present.

Once a diagnosis of TA has been made, treatment should be started as soon as possible.

If you have a question, please write to

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Library Chitchat
By Flo Whittaker

Rainy days. Yes, we certainly have a corner on the market on rainy days this year. Some people have even questioned whether or not we are going to have any summer at all. Wait! It is not yet August.

Rainy days are a good time to curl up with a good book. Rainy days are also the perfect time to check out what is new to you at the library. May I suggest that you try a different section of the library - the biography section?

Some people assume that biographies are dry tomes designed to cure insomnia. While it is true that many biographies are scholarly studies, this is not the case for all. In our collections are biographies of movie stars and sports figures, as well as biographies of presidents, founding fathers, and history makers. Biographies are the stories of real life people and their real life problems and experiences.

I especially like a biography that I picked up during one soggy summer a few years ago. It is called “Presidential Wives” by Paul F. Boller, Jr. It is good beginning book for novice biography readers and is available in our library. The book contains more than 40 snapshot views of the wives of our presidents and many of the anecdotes are fascinating and amusing.

Stop in today at your local library in Montrose, Hallstead-Great Bend, Susquehanna or Forest City and check out a fascinating biography today. 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

Polyphemus Moth: A Real Eye Catcher

Among the many nighttime sounds associated with warm summer nights are the various tappings and flutterings of insects attracted to the rays of light escaping through the window screens. One of the largest and most striking of those would-be intruders is the Polyphemus moth, Antheraea polyphemus. A member of the Saturniidae moth family, the caterpillars of these large moths spin thick silken cocoons.

The adult moths vary in coloration from gray to chocolate brown or even pink. This color variation is not gender related. Their most recognizable feature is the large eyespots circled with yellow, black and blue, which are located on the hind wings. It is from this feature that they get their name, referring to the Cyclops Polyphemus of Greek mythology. There is also a smaller, clear eyespot, surrounded by yellow, located on each of the front wings. These moths are quite large, with a wingspan of up to 6 inches. The moths are quite “fuzzy.” Because they lack functional mouthparts the moths do not feed. As a result they only live a few days. Males can be distinguished from females by their feather-like antennae.

Male Polyphemus moth

Between May and July, the adult moths emerge from their cocoons in early afternoon, after secreting an enzyme that breaks down the glue that holds the silk strands of the cocoon together. Using hornlike projections on the base of the forewing, the emerging moth tears apart the silk threads, while using its legs to push its self forward and out of the cocoon. Although the escape only requires a few minutes, the liberated moth must immediately climb up to a higher location where it can droop its wings to dry and inflate the veins with fluid. Although this process only lasts about half an hour, the males usually do not fly until after dusk. The females rarely fly until after mating.

The female moths release their mating pheromone (sexual attraction chemical) around 10:00 p.m. and continue to do so until around 1:00 a.m., unless they mate prior to that time. Unmated females release their scent again just prior to dawn. The scent gland, also used to deposit eggs, is located at the end of the abdomen. The males, with their highly sensitive antennae, can detect the pheromones from several miles away. However, they cannot fly in temperatures below 45°F. They fly in zigzag patterns to locate and hone in on the female’s location. The mating couple stays paired until the following evening. A typical female lays between 200 and 350 eggs.

Mature Polyphemus caterpillar

The relatively large oval eggs are off-white with a brown band around the horizontal center. They are laid either singly or in groups of three to five on the leaves of a host plant. Depending on temperature, the tiny caterpillars emerge in about 2 weeks, after eating most of the eggshell. The early instars stay together in social feeding groups. Passing through 5 instars, the mature larvae are very green and quite large. All stages have relatively large brown heads. The older caterpillars generally feed on the leaves of trees and shrubs, including oak, willow, maple, beech and birch. They sometimes will also feed on sassafras, elm, walnut, and such fruit trees as plum, peach, apricot and cherry. A single mature caterpillar will consume an entire leaf and then cut off the stem, which falls to the ground. This is considered a defensive action to remove any signs of feeding. It has been estimated that a Polyphemus caterpillar can eat 86,000 times its weight over the several months before it pupates. A mature caterpillar, reaching up 4 inches in length, is bright green with silver and red warts along its sides. Sometimes, for unknown reasons, they make loud clicking noises with their mandibles.

Upon the cessation of feeding, the mature caterpillars rest for several days before spinning a silk cocoon inside a folded leaf, which generally falls to the ground in autumn. In the north, where there is generally only one brood per year, the pupas overwinter in the cocoons, emerging when springtime weather is appropriate. After about a month of favorable conditions the adult moths emerge from the cocoons. The male moths tend to emerge several days sooner than the females.

These large moths use their eye patterns as a defense mechanism. The eyespots are believed to startle would-be predators, giving the moth a chance to escape. The undersides of their wings are also colored and patterned to resemble dead leaves, thus creating an effective camouflage.

Although the caterpillars of these beautiful moths can be destructive, their numbers are such that they seldom pose a serious problem. Actually, they are very vulnerable to the numerous parasitic flies and wasps that have been released to control the gypsy moth. Those parasites lay their eggs in the caterpillars. Upon hatching, they consume the insides of the caterpillars, eventually killing them. Squirrels are also known to gather and consume the moth pupa. Additionally, many succumb to their attraction to bright lights. These moths are basically harmless and certainly add a great deal of color and interest to our natural world.

Questions, comments and suggestions regarding this article, identifications or any other insect-related matters are welcome. Please email them to

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Dear Dolly,

I'll be away for my daughter’s 18th birthday. I leave 5 days prior and return 2 weeks after the "Big Day." What can I do to make her happy? -Lisa

Dear Lisa,

This year plan the celebration for one week before. If she is a party girl, why not suggest a pajama party with a "twilight" theme. If she passes on the party, why don't the two of you plan a day at a spa. Get a massage, manicure, pedicure. Spend the day getting pampered. How about an adventure. Take a class together and learn to kayak. Take her camping for the weekend. Your goal is to let her know how important she is to you.

The actual birth date, when you're out of town, have a small package and a special card ready for her. This will remind her how much fun you had together the week before.

Dear Dolly,

The husband of a good friend of mine started a new career in the insurance business last year. Yesterday I had message on my voice mail that he would like to stop by and visit with my husband and me. We've been dreading this ever since I heard of his new career. I know he wants to talk insurance and we're just not interested. How would you handle this? -Louise

Dear Louise,

You're trying to decide if subjecting yourself and your husband to a 2 hour lecture on insurance is worse than your fear of possibly offending your friend. You need to bite the bullet and return his call. Find out for sure this is not a social visit, but a call from a sales person with a product to promote.

Thank him for thinking of your family. Simply state that you are lucky to have a long standing relationship with your current insurance company. You both are very satisfied with the service, and the amount of coverage you have. Wish him the best in his new career, thank him again for his call and say goodbye.

All Transcript subscribers are welcome to submit their questions to Dear Dolly at

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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 Hemochromatosis Week July 19 – 25

Barnes-Kasson Hospital is observing National Hemochromatosis Week, July 19 through 25.

By definition, Hemochromatosis is a disorder in which the body absorbs to much iron in the food that you eat. The excess iron is stored in your organs, especially your liver, heart and pancreas. The stored iron damages these organs, leading to life-threatening conditions such as cancer, heart problems and liver disease. Usually, hemochromatosis is diagnosed later in life, from the age of 30 and above, although, it can develop in those much younger. Neonatal Hemochromatosis (NH) is a form of the disease in which baby’s are born with hemochromatosis. Babies with NH are either born stillborn or will sadly die in the next few weeks following their birth. The good news is that new research has provided a treatment for such women who become pregnant again permitting them to have a healthy baby in the future.

Hemochromatosis is usually very hard to diagnose and is fairly rare. The rarity of the disorder is due to the fact that it is caused by a gene mutation that must be present in both the mother and the father. The two forms of the mutated gene are called C282Y and H63D. If a person is born with only one copy of either mutation, they are considered to be a carrier of the gene; if someone has hemochromatosis, it is because both parents were carriers.

About one in every 10 Caucasians carries one gene for hemochromatosis. If both your parents are carriers, you have a 25 percent chance of inheriting two mutated genes. The factor that makes it hard to figure out if you do have hemochromatosis, is that everyone born with two copies of C282Y may not experience symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of hereditary hemochromatosis usually appear in midlife, although they may occur earlier. The most common symptom is joint pain, and can be mistaken for arthritis. However, hereditary hemochromatosis can also cause a number of other signs, including fatigue, abdominal pain and impotence. Because of the vast amount of diseases that these symptoms can also merit, many tests must be done to fully diagnose someone with hemochromatosis.

Once someone has been diagnosed, treatment can begin. Some patients undergo a procedure that is much like giving blood. While the patient reclines in a chair, a needle is inserted into a vein in the arm. The blood flows from the needle into a tube that's attached to a blood bag. Depending on the condition of the veins and the consistency of the blood, the time needed to remove a pint of blood can range from 10 to 30 minutes.

While hemochromatosis is a chronic condition, it can be controlled with the right diagnosis and the right treatment.

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