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Issue Home August 5, 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

FRANKLIN TWP.: When Bert Osborne, of Upsonville, started for his cows Monday morning at about 5 o’clock, he was somewhat surprised to see a large buck deer, with four prongs, standing within about ten rods of his barn, contentedly grazing, at ease with the whole world. The noble fellow seemed to apprehend no danger, remaining around the building some time and later roamed off towards the woods. The same night a doe was seen at F. M. Wilson’s, near Mr. Osborne’s. The buck deer, when confronted with wire fences, instead of taking any chances in trying to leap over them, just laid down on the ground and slipped under the strands. It is supposed that they slipped away from some of the parks at Binghamton.

NEW MILFORD: Borough Ordinance: Be it ordained that no person or persons shall be permitted or allowed to ride upon bicycles, velocipedes, hand sleds, or any other conveyance, on the sidewalks of this Borough, under penalty of a fine of nor less than fifty cents for the first offense nor exceeding $5 for each subsequent offense. Provided that this ordinance shall not be construed to prohibit the drawing or pushing by hand, sleds, carriages and other vehicles for the conveyance of invalids, infants or children.

LYNN: Lynn is a quiet little town half way between Tunkhannock and Montrose. Why can’t some good doctor, milliner, dressmaker or even a sewing machine agent locate here? We have two blacksmith shops, two stores, but we need more of the aforesaid. Come on, Doctor, a house awaits you.

HERRICK CENTER: Last Friday, as John Williams was driving a colt down the hill near the railroad, the breaching broke, and the colt ran away, throwing him out and bruising him badly.

HEART LAKE: Heart Lake ball club played Montrose at the Lake. The score was 8 to 7 in favor of Heart Lake. The battery for the lake was Dann and Beckley and the feature of the game was the hitting and fielding of Herbert Beckley.

CLIFFORD: Miss Grace Millard was quite severely injured by being thrown from a wagon as her horse was running away.

FAIR HILL: The neighbors met at Mrs. J. N. Andre’s last Wednesday and did the haying. About 20 were present with teams and mowing machines, making short work of the job, which was much appreciated by the family.

LITTLE MEADOWS: Edw. Shaughnessy left for Buffalo where he intends to work for a while.

LINDAVILLE: Undertaker A. L. Mack has purchased a new up-to-date hearse.

MONTROSE: Through the agency of Atty. Safford, the Cordelia Lathrop residence on Ridge St., becomes the property of Rev. H. B. Benedict. From the recent sales in this part of town, Ridge street is rapidly coming into favor as a residence section.

HOPBOTTOM: The centennial of the coming of Anthony Wright and wife, Sally Sweatland, from Somers, Conn., to Susq’a Co., in 1809, and locating on a tract of land one mile north of Hopbottom on Martin Creek, on which the Wright cemetery is located (now owned by Frank Squires), will be held on the said Anthony Wright homestead on Aug. 19, by the old elm tree. All descendants and their families are most cordially invited. Six generations will be present. Carriages will meet all trains at Hopbottom.

AUBURN FOUR CORNERS: Webb Bunnell narrowly escaped serious injury on Saturday last. When returning from the creamery the king bolt broke, frightening the horse, which ran away. Webb was thrown under the wagon and his load of milk scattered along the road. He received some severe bruises, but was very fortunate in escaping so well.

FOREST CITY: The marathon, over a 4 1/2 mile course, with 27 runners staring and 13 finishing, produced the following winners: W. P. Murnin, Vandling, time 28 3/4 min.; George Llewellyn, Vandling, time 29 1/2 min.; Wm. Bell, Forest City, time 30 min.; Stanley Coveleskie, Forest City, time 31 1/2 min.; Edwin Stanton, Forest City, time 31 1/2 min.; Charles Mowers, Forest City, time 32 min.; James Murnin, Vandling, time 34 1/2 min. Others who finished were W. E. Jones, Martin Mannion, William Connelly, Winfield Simons, Bert Woods and Andrew Berish.

LAUREL LAKE: Alvah Foster, the stage driver, lost one of his horses recently. ALSO Don’t forget the public dance in the hall at Laurel Lake, Friday night, Aug. 13.

SILVER LAKE: Postmaster Simrell, of Hallstead, while a guest of Hon. H. J. Rose, was pulled into the water from a boat in which he was fishing by the sudden tug of a large pickerel. William Kenney, of Hallstead, was his companion in the boat and while Mr. Kenney held on to Simrell the plucky postmaster held on to the line. By pulling in the line hand over hand Mr. Simrell was soon enabled to hand the pickerel over the side of the boat and Mr. Kenney pulled his water-logged friend in after. Mr. Simrell says he is always willing to go into the water for a pickerel that weighs 7 1/2 pounds, but isn’t stuck on this kind of “deep water” fishing.

SUSQUEHANNA: John Callaran has gone to Norwich where he has accepted a position. He will also play with the Norwich base ball team.

THOMPSON: A. R. Collyer is doing a sweeping business down on Water street. He has sold one of his houses - the one above the road - and all his land above the road to Edw. Carpenter, of Brooklyn, N.Y. He is finishing his new house below the road, and Harry Whitney and his bride will take possession of that, for a time, and he will move the house he lives in below the road and continue to show us how a man without a wife can keep house in an up to date fashion.

DIMOCK: Milton Harris is now driving the stage from East Rush to Dimock. ALSO C. W. Barnes has a new blacksmith from Jersey helping him in his shop during the rush of work.

NEWS BRIEF: Orville Wright tacked a world record to his long string of aerial performances when he came to earth at Fort Myer, Va., in his aeroplane after flying with Lt. Frank P. Lahm, of the signal corps as a passenger, for 1 hr., 25 min., 40 sec., at a speed of close to 42 mph. The best previous record was made by Wilbur Wright, last year at Le Mans, France, when he carried a passenger for 1 hr., 9 min., and 31 sec. He met the government requirements that he remain aloft, for one hour, with another besides himself in the machine.

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

We all act stupidly and say stupid things - some more frequently than others. When it comes to some politicians, it seems like most of what they do can be categorized as "acting stupidly." During a national press conference last week, President Obama was questioned about the arrest of a personal friend (Professor Gates) by an officer of the Cambridge Police Department (Sgt. Crowley). Initially, President Obama noted that he did not have all the facts and, because of his friendship with Gates, he had a biased view. After conceding that he lacked the ability and the facts necessary to fairly judge the case, President Obama then went on a short lecture on the history of "racial profiling" in law enforcement and concluded that the police department had "acted stupidly." As I said, we all occasionally say stupid things - but when the President does it in the context of a national press conference, the "stupidity" is magnified a hundredfold.

There is so many things wrong with what the President said that it is difficult to even know where to start, and others have done a fine job at challenging the President on his comments. Still, as a person with the distinct privilege of working with the men and women in law enforcement everyday, I feel personally compelled to publicly note my objection to the President's decision to "act stupidly."

First, the President was in no position to make judgment on the actions of the police officer. The President admitted that he did not know all the facts. The President admitted that he had a friendship with Gates and that friendship created a natural bias to believe Gates, not Crowley. The President did not disclose his own problems with the Cambridge Police Department - but the media has since discovered it. From 1988 through 1991 while a student at Harvard Law School, the President received 17 parking tickets issued by the Cambridge Police Department. He only paid 2 of those tickets while he was a student, and did not pay the fines on the remaining 15 tickets until 2007, two weeks before he announced his presidential candidacy. Did the President have an ax to grind with the Cambridge Police Department?

While it might be acceptable for some people to miss the things that interfere with their judgment, the President has the tools to recognize the factors that would interfere with his own impartiality. He has a law degree from one of the best law schools in the country, he served as the editor of a prestigious law review, worked in a Chicago law firm, and served as a law professor. While others might have an excuse for "stupid" words, the President has none.

Second, the suggestion that this arrest was connected to a history of "racial profiling" was terribly misleading and mischaracterized the entire situation. Racial profiling involves a situation where the police are singling out a particular race for investigation at a higher rate than another race. The most common example would be traffic stops where minorities may be targeted at a higher rate. But the incident in Cambridge had nothing whatsoever to do with racial profiling. The police were investigating the Gates residence based on the race of its owner; rather, the police were dispatched to the scene by a 911 call from a neighbor that someone was breaking into the residence. The police were responding to a potential burglary - not out profiling innocent people. It was truly "stupid" to inject "racial profiling" into this incident - and thereby suggesting that the entire situation was motivated by racial prejudice.

Third, the President's comments were incredibly insensitive to the safety of the police officers themselves. Everyday, police officers are faced with situations that can turn deadly in a second, and police officers live with the real possibility that they may not go home. A police officer never knows which situation will turn lethal - and they work with that specter every moment of their shift. Yet, the President never stopped to comment on the dangers that police officers face, and he did not commend the police officer for arriving at the scene in such a prompt manner. Instead, he admitted his own bias and lack of knowledge - then proceeded to essentially tell the Nation that Sgt. Crowley was a stupid racist cop. After the outrage from his comments, the President simply stated that he could have better “calibrated” his comments - whatever that means, it certainly is not an apology to Sgt. Crowley.

Perhaps, the most telling thing about this entire sad episode is the manner in which Sgt. Crowley handled it - with quiet dignity and confidence. Sgt. Crowley knows he did nothing wrong. Sgt. Crowley even agreed to participate in the “Beer Summit” at the White House - where he sat between the two men (Gates and the President) who have to different degrees publicly labeled him a racist. After the summit, Sgt. Crowley indicated that there had been no apologies made to him - and I suspect he will never get the apology he so richly deserves.

But members of law enforcement are unfortunately accustomed to people calling them names, insulting them and making false accusations against them. But I suspect that they never imagined the President of the United States would join in the chorus. In the end, there is no doubt that Sgt. Crowley acted with the professionalism and dignity worthy of his badge - and it was the other participants in this incident that “acted stupidly.”

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 having some trouble sleeping and don’t want to take pills. Do you have any suggestions?

Here are some pointers to help you get better sleep:

Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This will keep you in sync with your body's internal rhythm, which is affected by sunlight.

Try to get some natural light in the afternoon each day.

Don’t nap too much.

Exercise daily, but finish your workout at least three hours before bedtime.

Don't drink beverages with caffeine late in the day.

Don't drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes to help you sleep.

Create a safe and comfortable place to sleep.

Use your bedroom only for sleeping.

Develop a bedtime routine to tell your body that it's time to wind down.

Try not to worry about your sleep. Some people find that playing mental games is helpful. For example, tell yourself it's five minutes before you have to get up and you're just trying to get a few extra winks.

Q. Can I attribute my balance problems to advancing age?

About one in ten people over 65 experience difficulty with balance. Getting older is only part of the problem.

Not all balance problems have the same cause. Here are several major ones:

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), which is one of the most common causes of balance problems. With BPPV, you get vertigo when you change the position of your head.

Labyrinthitis, an infection or inflammation of the inner ear. The labyrinth is the organ in your inner ear that enables you to maintain balance.

Ménière's disease, which also can give you intermittent hearing loss, a ringing or roaring in the ears, and a feeling of fullness in the ear.

Blood-pressure medications and some antibiotics.

Q. I know I should exercise, but I’m afraid I might hurt myself. What should I do?

Here are 10 tips to make any exercise program safe:

1. Don't hold your breath during strength exercises. This could affect your blood pressure.

2. When lifting weights, use smooth, steady movements. Breathe out as you lift or push a weight, and breathe in as you relax.

3. Avoid jerking or thrusting movements.

4. Avoid locking the joints of your arms and legs into a strained position.

5. Some soreness and slight fatigue are normal after muscle-building exercises. Exhaustion, sore joints, and painful muscle pulls are not normal.

6. Always warm up before stretching exercises.

7. Stretching should never cause pain, especially joint pain.

8. Never bounce into a stretch; make slow steady movements instead.

9. To prevent injuries, use safety equipment such as helmets for biking.

10. You should be able to talk during endurance exercises.

If you have a question, please write to

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Library Chitchat
By Flo Whittaker

Join us to celebrate the 30th annual Blueberry Festival on the Village Green in Montrose. This two-day event will be held on Friday, August 7 and Saturday, August 8 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. The Blueberry Festival began as a fundraising event and has grown to become a community celebration.

Activities include children’s games, a massed band concert at 2 p.m. on Saturday, a huge used book sale, many items featuring blueberries, baked goods, the raffle of a gorgeous handmade quilt, a white elephant sale Saturday only, and much more. The Festival’s famed pancake breakfast is served from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days.

The Blueberry Festival is the signature summer activity of the Susquehanna County Historical Society and Free Library Association. Monies raised go to support the historical society, main library and its three branches, the outreach services department, the county museum, and a genealogy research center.

Thirty years is a long time to continue such an event. It requires a great deal of planning and many hours of work by hundreds volunteers as well as the support of local business. We appreciate their efforts and value their dedication, especially this year as proposed budget cuts loom.

Mark your calendar. Reserve the dates. Come early for the best selections from the used book tables.

Meet old friends and make new friends. Help support the Susquehanna Country Historical Society and Free Library Association.

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Veterans’ Corner

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What’s Bugging You?
By Stuart W. Slocum

Japanese Beetles: Part Two

Last summer I wrote about the Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica, which is perhaps one of our most destructive lawn and garden insects. Recently, having had several inquiries regarding this pest, I am going to repeat some of that information for those who either forgot or never read the original article. I am including some additional information on its control. Unfortunately, the best means of control are preventative measures for the next season, but of no benefit to eliminate the current crop of ravenous leaf munchers. Their metallic green body, copper-colored wing covers and small white tufts along their sides easily identify Japanese beetles. Members of the scarab family, Japanese beetles were accidentally introduced into New Jersey on imported Iris roots in 1916. Since then, these pests have spread to nearly all states east of the Mississippi River. While its activities are of little consequence in its native Japanese habitat, this beetle is a serious pest in North America. Even worse, its range is still expanding.

Although the adults and their damage are obvious, the destructive larvae are much more obscure. Living in the soil, these “C”-shaped grubs feed on the roots of many plants. They can be especially destructive to important grasses in pastures, lawns, golf courses and parks. While the grass will yellow and not grow under low infestations, high infestations will actually brown the turf and cause the grass to die.

“C”-shaped larva (grub).

The adults congregate and feed on the leaves, flowers and fruits of more than 275 species of plants. They are most active on warm sunny days. Odor and location are important factors in the location of their feeding. Preferring to feed in groups and in direct sunlight, these beetles usually start working at the top of a plant and continue downward. They feed on the upper surfaces of foliage, consuming the tissue between the veins. This results in skeletonized leaves. Aggregation pheromones (attractant chemicals) produced by the beetles, in conjunction with the volatile odors emanating from the damaged plants, attract even more beetles. Japanese beetles especially relish ripening fruit. They injure corn by eating the silks, which inhibits kernel formation. Roses in particular, are hard to protect, since they open so quickly and are especially attractive to the beetles.

Adult Japanese beetle.

Upon mating, the female beetle deposits 40 to 60 small, white, spherical eggs 2 to 3 inches deep in cavities that they excavate in the damp soil of grassy areas. Most eggs are usually laid by early August. Extremely dry weather kills many eggs and young larvae. Conversely, a wet summer (such as this year) enhances the egg and larval survival, resulting in a marked increase in the following year’s population. The newly hatched larvae are cream colored with brown heads. They burrow throughout the ground, feeding on tender roots of grass and other plants. As the temperature drops in late October, the larvae burrow below the frost line and begin to “hibernate.” With the advent of spring’s warmer temperatures, the grubs migrate closer to the surface and resume feeding. They soon pupate and begin to emerge in late June. The adult beetles live from 30 to 40 days. Most of their feeding activity lasts for about five weeks. There is one generation per year. The beetle spends about 10 months of the year in the ground as a curled “C”-shaped white grub. Although their numbers are greatly diminished, adults can still be found through September.

PHYSICAL CONTROL: For limited protection of a few favored plants, handpicking is very effective. If started early enough, it will prevent the congregational effect of these beetles. Those early arrivers release an aggregation pheromone (odor) that will later attract many additional adults. Early detection and elimination of the first “scout” beetles can greatly improve the chances of lessening the magnitude of their invasion.

CHEMICAL CONTROL: When the adults are actively feeding, the application of an insecticide labeled for Japanese beetle control on landscape plants can be effective. Numerous brands including Sevin50WP, Orthene, and Spectracide Bug Stop are usually effective. Several pyrethroids including bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, deltamethrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, and permethrin are also effective against these insects. A dusting of Diazinon 25EC or Pyrellin EC is sometimes recommended for ornamental foliage. During the heavy adult feeding periods, application of these pesticides may be needed every 5 to 10 days. The grubs are best controlled when they are actively feeding near the soil surface. Although this activity occurs both in the spring and fall, it is more advantageous to apply the insecticide in August and September when the larvae are smaller and creating less root damage. Application of Diazinon 25EC, Diazinon 2G, Diazinon 5G, Oftanol 1.5G , Sevin 50W or Bayer Advanced 24 hour Grub Control are useful in controlling the grubs. All of these (except for the Sevin) are more effective if thoroughly watered into the ground.

NATURAL CONTROL: Some birds (especially starlings), as well as moles, skunks, and raccoons, will seek out and eat Japanese beetle larva. Perhaps the best control is the naturally occurring bacteria, Bacillus popilliae, commonly referred to as “milky spore.” It gets that name from the fact that it causes the larva’s blood to change from clear to cloudy. This is commercially available as a biological control for the grubs. It should be spread over the area to be protected on a cloudy day in late September or early October. This control works best where the soil has a pH between 6 and 7. It is less effective on wet heavy soils. It may not work as fast as the chemical controls, but the effects of the bacteria last much longer. Although the bacteria may take 3 years to reach maximum effectiveness, it will last for ten years or more and will naturally spread to adjacent areas for greater control. During the first 3 years after application, you should not use an insecticide against the grubs since they are needed to complete the bacterium cycle. This bacterium is totally harmless to people, pets, plants and other insects. Other natural controls, which parasitize the larvae, include tachnid flies, nematodes and tiphid wasps.

TRAPS: Those brightly colored, aromatic traps for the adult beetles have minimal impact on reducing the local population since they will draw in beetles from as much as a quarter mile away. Although they only fly in the daytime, Japanese beetles are capable of flying several miles. Often there is greater vegetative damage in close proximity to the traps. They are more effective when everyone in the neighborhood uses them. Often, a greater crop of grubs will be produced in areas near the traps, resulting in an increased population of beetles the following year.

CULTURAL CONTROL: The type of plants cultivated in the lawn and garden can achieve some measure of protection against a Japanese beetle invasion. The adult beetles generally do not feed on arborvitae, ash, baby's breath, begonia, bleeding heart, buttercups, caladium, carnations, columbine, coralbells, coralberry, cornflower, daisies, dogwood (flowering), firs, forget-me-not, forsythia, foxglove, hemlock, hollies, hydrangeas, junipers, lilacs, lilies, magnolias, maple (red or silver only), mulberry, nasturtium, oaks (red and white only), pines, poppies, snapdragon, snowberry, speedwell, sweet pea, sweet-William, tuliptree, violets, pansy, or yews. Elimination of favored weeds, such as nettles and wild raspberry briers, can help reduce a reoccurring population.

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,

Dear Dolly,

I've finally landed a great guy after being single a while. Problem is, I smoke and he does not. So far, I've hid it from him. I'm afraid he'll dump me if he finds out. I've smoked quite a while and don't want to give it up, as it's a part of me. He's a great guy, but I'm not about to stop smoking right now. -Tish

Dear Tish,

Life is all about choices. You need to decide if cigarettes are more important to you than love, family and good health. Be upfront with him. He probably has an idea - although you can't smell the odor of stale smoke on your clothes and in your hair, a non smoker can.

Have a frank discussion with him about the fact that you like to smoke. If it turns out to be a deal breaker, and you do decide the cigarettes are the most important thing in your life right now, move on and look for an interesting man who smokes.

Dear Dolly,

I want to back out of being a brides maid. The wedding is a month away. I haven't had much contact with the bride for almost 10 years, and I was kind of surprised when she asked me. Yesterday she called and told me my boyfriend isn't welcome at the wedding. He was married to the groom’s sister and her new husband won't be happy if her ex is around. I've paid for my dress but it hasn't been altered. I would be happy to give it to my replacement. -Kayla

Dear Kayla,

Keeping the peace at family functions isn't always an easy task. The reality of divorce and the resulting blended families is a challenge. The bride certainly deserves to have her day be a joyful celebration.

Being invited to a wedding as a brides maid doesn't automatically include an invitation for a date. Being part of the bridal party means you have role to play, a job to do, and the focus is on the needs of the bride.

If you are capable of participating with a good attitude and genuine enthusiasm, the best option would be to do as the bride asked, and leave your boyfriend home. If that's just not possible, you need to call her right away. Tell her you've put a lot of thought into this. She is a valued friend, but given the circumstances hopefully she will understand that you are not comfortable attending the wedding. Ask her to find a replacement and offer the dress.

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 Immunization Awareness Week August 2-8

Barnes-Kasson Hospital is observing National Immunization Awareness Week, August 2 through 8.

Shots may hurt a little, but the diseases they can prevent can hurt a lot more! Immunization shots, or vaccinations, are essential to both adults and especially children. Vaccines protect against many different diseases, such as measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, polio, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough. Children under 5 are especially susceptible to disease because their immune systems have not built up the necessary defenses to fight infection. By immunizing on time (by age 2), you can protect your child from disease and also protect others at school or daycare.

In 1974, Japan experienced a very successful pertussis vaccination program, with the majority of all Japanese children vaccinated. No deaths from Pertussis occurred that year and only 393 cases were reported thorough the entire country. Somehow the next year rumors spread about the vaccine not being safe anymore, and by 1976 only 10% of Japanese children were vaccinated. By 1979 Japan was suffering a major pertussis epidemic. Over 13,000 cases and 41 deaths were reported. In 1981 the Japanese government started to administer more pertussis vaccines, and the number of pertussis cases decreased dramatically again.

The event witnessed in Japan many years ago, was evidence of how myths and rumors can damage the general health of a population. By creating skepticism about vaccines, people tend to “protect” their children by not allowing them to be vaccinated. In truth, the opposite effect is achieved by this action. The basic fact is, that the risks of having something terribly wrong occur from a vaccine are extremely low, where as the risks of being exposed to, or getting sick from a disease are far greater.

One common, modern day myth is that “vaccines cause many harmful side effects, illnesses, and even death.” The truth is however, that most vaccine adverse events are minor and temporary, such as a sore arm. As for vaccines causing death - again, so few deaths can plausibly be attributed to vaccines that it is hard to assess the risk statistically. Of all deaths reported to VAERS between 1990 and 1992, only one is believed to be even possibly associated with a vaccine.

Another rumor in the United States, is that “vaccine-preventable diseases have been virtually eliminated from the United States, so there is no need for my child to be vaccinated.” Although it’s true that vaccination has enabled us to reduce vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States, in other parts of the world, they are quite prevalent and are even considered to be an epidemic. Travelers can unknowingly bring these diseases into the United States. If American’s were not protected by vaccinations, these diseases would quickly spread throughout the population, causing epidemics in America.

The benefits of getting vaccinated far outweigh the risks. Keep yourself and your family up to date with immunizations to stay healthy and immune.

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