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Issue Home August 12, 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

FOREST CITY: We are pleased to note a commendable desire on the part of property owners to connect with the new sewer system. Already in many sections of the town whole blocks have had the work done. The property owners have been rewarded by the elimination of foul smelling ditches. The expense of attaching to the sewer is slight in comparison with the benefit derived. Everybody should connect their drain pipes at once.

THOMPSON: Christopher P. Carpenter came to Thompson quite recently and is in the employ of the Erie railroad. Last week he took one of our fair girls, Miss Bessie Palmer, to Binghamton and now they are hunting for “rooms for light housekeeping,” and receiving the congratulations of friends. And while we are on this part of the subject allow us to say that Clayton Lewis, of the township, was seen on the street the other day with his new wife.

LITTLE MEADOWS: Susie, the four-year old daughter of Mr. And Mrs. John Stebbins, was fatally burned Aug. 5, while playing with a burning torch made by lighting a “cat-tail,” or swamp flag, saturated in kerosene. The children of the neighborhood had been allowed to indulge in this dangerous pastime and during the absence from home of the parents the little girl met with the accident. She lived about an hour after the accident occurred. ALSO John Bergin has purchased a rubber tire wagon. All the girls are smiling at John now.

CAMP CHOCONUT: Albert Miller, assisted by Fred Herrick, of Great Bend, went over to Camp Choconut on Tuesday to cut the hair on the heads of the 74 young men at the camp. This is an annual contract that Mr. Miller receives and the two men had the boys properly sheared in the space of a few hours, starting at the job at 8 a.m. and concluding at 3:30 p.m., with a half hour off for dinner. The hair wasn’t clipped, but cut with shears in good respectable style, but there were no furbelows like combing the hair and using bay rum. It was a continuous case of “Next,” and there was always another ready for the operation when one was finished.

EAST ARARAT: The Cobb and Allen reunion was well attended, there being about 124 present. After dinner all listened to some fine speaking and singing.

WATROUS CORNERS, BRIDGEWATER TWP.: L. B. Black treated several from this place to a jolly four-horse straw ride, Friday evening, and attended the ice cream social held at S. F. Breed’s [in Brooklyn].

LATHROP TWP.: A company of young men from Chinchilla camped at Tarbell Lake nearly all of last week. They had a fine time and caught plenty of fish.

JACKSON: A. B. Larrabee, of North Jackson, reached the advanced age of 92 years on August 9. He was born in Vermont in 1817, coming to Jackson in 1831, and has resided here ever since, a period of 78 years. Mr. Larrabee is in very poor health at this time.

DIMOCK: I. P. Baker has joined the growing list of automobile owners, purchasing on Tuesday a 20-horse power Ford car from C. E. Roberts, the Ford representative in this county. This is the same type car that won the cross-continent run in the race started June 1, making the 4,106 miles from New York to Seattle in 20 days, 52 minutes. Cars of 60-horse power were in the contest, but the Ford came out ahead. Although the factory is turning 650 cars a week, it is impossible to keep up with the demand and orders are being constantly refused. H. M. Cole is instructing Mr. Baker in the operation of the machine. Mr. Roberts has his order in for a duplicate of the car sold and hopes to have it for use sometime next month.

SHANNON HILL, AUBURN TWP.: The following persons camped on the huckleberry mountain during the past week: Elmer Shannon, Jerry, Will and Clarence Overfield, Will and Elmer White, Grover Mowry, John Shannon, Harry and Will Stevens, Will Hall and Clark Stevens.

MONTROSE: Rev. E. J. Butler is the new pastor for the African Methodist-Episcopal Zion Church. He was born in Baltimore in 1855. His father was a free colored man - a teamster, who kept three teamsters at work and who easily made a good home for his family and was the only colored man in his lodge of Masons - something unusual for that city and that date. In 1857 the family moved from Baltimore because of an effort to enact what was known as the Jacobs Law - a measure which designed to enslavement of all free colored children. It was difficult to get colored children out of the south in those days and Rev. Butler was smuggled over the Mason and Dixon line in a blanket, carried by his mother. He received his education at Ambush’s Normal School in Washington, D. C., where he afterward became an instructor. Moving to Elmira he became a guard at the New York State Reformatory, opened a barbershop, became a cook, and a musician of talent. Rev. Butler has the honor of being the first colored man ever elected to public office in Elmira-that of constable, and became an ordained minister and a lecturer, and master of science, whose eloquence is seldom equaled.

EAST DIMOCK: Dr. Wilson removed a part of the bone in Ray Green’s finger. It has been very sore since last fall, caused by the bite of a hog.

SILVER LAKE: St. Augustine’s Congregational Silver Lake Church will hold a picnic, Saturday, August 21, in the beautiful grove near the church.

ALFORD: “We had supper at Mother Hubbard’s Inn,” said a young woman the other evening when speaking about her trip home via Alford. Knowing no such hotel in the little town nestled under the cliffs, the listener must have look puzzled enough for her to explain: “That is what they call the Hubbard eating house, over which Mrs. Hubbard presides. Don’t you think it an appropriate name?” We did, and were soon listening to the description of the delicious home delicacies that Mrs. Hubbard was ever preparing for hungry train passengers that stopped over at Alford. Mr. and Mrs. Hubbard have conducted the house for a number of years, and although the house was burned down, they rebuilt, and are now doing a larger business than ever before. The reputation for good things to eat has become so great that many will leave Binghamton and Scranton hungry, knowing that better food awaits them at “Mother Hubbard’s Inn.”

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

Christopher Michael Dean entered a Georgia bank wearing a mask, waving a gun and telling everyone to get down. Dean walked behind the teller stations and began removing money from the drawers. While in the process of removing the cash, the gun went off. No one was hurt, but a bullet hole was left in the partition between two of the teller stations. Upon the discharge of the firearm, Dean cursed and fled the scene. According to witnesses, Dean seemed surprised that the gun went off.

Dean was later arrested and prosecuted for robbery by the federal government. There is a federal mandatory minimum sentence that applies to situations where a firearm is utilized in the commission of a crime of violence. First, there is a 5 year mandatory minimum if the firearm is possessed during the crime, which increases to a 7 year mandatory minimum if the firearm is “brandished” during the crime, which increases to a 10 year mandatory minimum sentence if the firearm is “discharged” during the crime. Obviously, Dean discharged the firearm during the robbery, but he contended that it was an accidental discharge, not intentional, and that the 10 year minimum should only apply to a person intentionally discharging a firearm. The district court disagreed and sentenced Dean to a minimum of 10 years in prison - and his appeal eventually made it to the United States Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Roberts, writing for the 7 justice majority, started his opinion out as follows: “Accidents happen. Sometimes they happen to individuals committing crimes with loaded guns. The question here is whether extra punishment Congress imposed for the discharge of a gun during certain crimes applies when the gun goes off accidentally.” Roberts conceded that it is unusual to punish a person for purely accidental acts, but also noted that it is not unusual to punishment people for the “unintended consequences of their unlawful acts.” For example, if a person accidentally kills someone during a robbery, the felony murder rule would allow the person to still be convicted of a homicide even in the absence of any specific intent to kill. In fact, Roberts noted that this rule was rooted strongly in English common law which provided that a criminal was responsible for all acts that naturally arose out of the criminal behavior - intentional or accidental. Once the person set forth on a criminal enterprise, he was responsible not only for intended conduct, but also the conduct that naturally flowed forth from the criminal enterprise itself.

Roberts noted that Dean was guilty of criminal acts “twice over.” First, he was committing a robbery, and, second, he was brandishing the firearm during the course of the robbery. The weapon was plainly discharged during the course of this criminal enterprise - and the enhanced punishment of a 10 year mandatory applied regardless of whether the discharge was intentional or accidental.

There were two Justices who dissented from the majority opinion, Stevens and Breyer. Stevens concluded that “accidents happen, but they rarely give rise to criminal liability,” and he objected to Dean being subjected to a greater penalty “for an accident that caused no harm.” I suspect that the victims of the bank robbery would take issue with the suggestion that the discharge of the gun caused no harm - it likely terrified each and every one of them. In any event, because the statute failed to indicate in plain language whether the discharge had to be intentional, Stevens would have resolved the doubt in favor of the defendant. Justice Breyer had a similar take and would have applied the “rule of lenity,” which requires criminal statutes to give people fair notice that their conduct is criminal before punishing them. Because the statute did not specifically say that accidental discharges of firearms during robberies was included in the prohibited conduct, Breyer would have opted for a lesser sentence, i.e., the 7-year mandatory minimum for brandishing.

If you are interested, Pennsylvania does not have any similar sentencing provision. There is a 5 year mandatory minimum sentence that applies to any crimes of violence committed with a firearm where the victim was placed in fear of death or serious bodily injury - but there is nothing specifically in there about brandishing or discharging the firearm.

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 friend of mine had polio when he was a kid and now the disease seems to be coming back in his old age. Have you heard of this?

The National Center for Health Statistics estimates that more than 440,000 polio survivors in the United States may be at risk for post-polio syndrome PPS, a condition that strikes polio survivors decades after they’ve recovered from an attack of the poliomyelitis virus. Various researchers estimate that PPS affects from 40 to 80 percent of polio survivors.

Common PPS symptoms include: muscle and joint weakness, fatigue, pain, muscle atrophy, difficulty breathing or swallowing, skeletal deformities, cold intolerance, and temporary interruptions of breathing while sleeping.

PPS usually progresses slowly. It is rarely life-threatening. There is no known cause for PPS. Unlike polio, PPS is not contagious.

If a person suffered from a severe case of polio, it is likely that the PPS that strikes later will also be severe. Those who had minimal symptoms from the original illness usually will have only mild symptoms when they get PPS. The risk of developing PPS is greater if you acquired polio as an adolescent or adult, rather than as a young child. Women get PPS more often than men.

There is no effective treatment for the syndrome itself. Doctors recommend that polio survivors get the proper amount of sleep, maintain a well-balanced diet, avoid unhealthy habits such as smoking and overeating, and use judicious exercise, preferably under the supervision of an experienced professional . Proper lifestyle changes, the use of assistive devices, and taking certain anti-inflammatory medications may help some of the symptoms of PPS.

Polio, also known as infantile paralysis, was lethal. It was once one of the most feared diseases in America. Shortly after polio reached its peak in the early 1950s, the disease was eradicated by a vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk.

Because PPS symptoms are similar to those linked with other disorders, your doctor will attempt to exclude other possible causes, such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and scoliosis.

PPS has been mistaken for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Lou Gehrig's disease. Gehrig, who played baseball for the New York Yankees, died of the disease in 1941. ALS usually strikes between the ages of 40 and 70. In some countries, ALS is often called motor neuron disease.

To date, researchers are not certain what causes PPS, but they have theories.

One possibility is that the polio virus becomes active again after decades of lying dormant in the victim's cells. Another possibility involves impaired production of hormones and neurotransmitters in brain.

The most promising theory is that nerve cells that survived polio assumed the added burden of the work of dead cells. These surviving cells became overworked and weakened. This phenomenon led to new polio-like symptoms, according to the theory.

If you have a question, please write to

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Library Chitchat
By Flo Whittaker

Just when the weather finally makes us feel like the summer has begun, we realize that it is almost time to start school again. We trust that you and your children (or grandchildren) have made visits to the Library a regular part of your summertime activities.

The Library serves as an additional partner in your children’s education, whether your children’s learning takes place in formal educational settings or they are home schooled. The Library’s Outreach Department has special programs for homeschoolers at the main Library in Montrose during the school year. These programs are interdisciplinary in nature, focus on grades K-6, and are open to those who sign up in advance. There is also a swap shelf of educational materials available at the main library.

If you are new to home schooling, you may contact the Outreach Department to learn more about these programs. You can give them a call at (570) 278-1881 or you may check the home schooling section on the Library’s website at

An introduction to the Library does not begin or end with formal schooling. Registration for Story Hour at the Montrose Library for children ages 3 1/2 to 5 begins on August 17. Activities include listening to stories and making a take-home craft. Readers of all ages can participate in the “one county, one book” program this October. More details are at our website. The book selected for 2009 is Willa Cather’s 1918 novel of rural Nebraska, My Antonia. Remember 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

Net-Winged Beetles: Tasters Beware!

In the natural world every creature has some unique feature that serves to protect its existence. Many insects possess bright and contrasting coloration that serves as a warning to potential predators that they are inedible because they either taste bad or are poisonous. This defense mechanism is known as aposematic coloration. A group of insects that are currently active and exemplify this characteristic are the brightly marked net-winged beetles, family Lycidae. At first glance, these colorful, soft-bodied beetles appear to be some type of moth. Black horizontal bands accentuate their bright yellow orange coloration. The wing covers extend beyond the body and have prominent raised ridges running along their length. Less prominent interconnecting lateral ridges create a net-like appearance, hence the family name. The long black antennae are “saw-toothed.”

Aggregation of net-winged beetles (females are larger than males).

Commonly found resting on plants in moist wooded areas, there are several species of these beetles in eastern United States. The adults are active on sunny summer days, particularly in the month of August. Depending on the species, they either feed on plant pollen, on decaying organic matter or they prey on other insects. Some species are known to feed on honeydew from aphid colonies.

Little is known about the life cycle of these insects. The larvae are found in rotten logs, leaf litter or under loose bark. While some sources indicate that they feed on fungi and plant juices, other studies indicate that the larvae are predacious on snails and other small invertebrates. The mature larvae of some Lycid species tend to congregate in large numbers prior to pupation. This aggregation is continued for a short period of time after the adults have emerged, a common adaptation of aposematic insects that is believed to serve as a defense mechanism against predators. Analysis has shown that net-winged beetles contain cantharadin, pyrazines, and lycidic acid, as well as other fatty acids, which impart their repugnant smell and bad taste. Birds avoid these beetles, and spiders will even carefully release individuals that become entangled in their webs. They are so effectively protected that several other beetle species and moths mimic their brightly banded appearance.

Although these beetles appear to have minimal impact on people, a mass of these brightly colored insects is a delight to see. The net-winged beetles are just another example of the awe-inspiring beauty of nature. 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,

When is it okay to remove the bloom stalks from Hosta, after the flowers have died? -Christine

Dear Christine,

You can remove the bloom stalks at anytime. Clipping the stalks below the Hosta's leaves, will improve the look of the plant once the flowers have faded. The stalks become harder to cut as they dry out and get woody. This is a good time to check for snail and slug damage on the leaves. If you see little holes, you know you have some slimy munchers dining in your Hosta garden. Put out a small bowl of beer buried to the rim and you will trap a few. Another slug trap is a simple board laying on the ground. Every day, pick up the board and you will find a few slugs taking a nap and they can be easily captured.

Dear Dolly,

What is the right thing to say when going through a receiving line at a viewing? By the time I get to the family, I feel so sad and emotional I can hardly get a word out. -George

Dear George,

I know what you mean. The only thing you need to say is "Sorry for your loss." It will be easier if you know what you are going to say ahead of time. You can always send a note later on to share a fond memory you have of the deceased. I find it easier to put my thoughts down on paper - and some kind words, a couple of weeks after the funeral, will be truly appreciated.

All Transcript readers 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 Cataract Awareness Week August 9 - 15

Barnes-Kasson Hospital is observing National Cataract Awareness Week, August 9 through 15.

The word “cataract” is derived from the Latin word for waterfall, because when someone is affected by cataracts, it appears as if they are looking through a waterfall. Cataracts cause normal eyesight to become progressively blurry and cloudy. The once transparent, clear lens of the eye begins to turn cloudy, and in some cases, causes the patient to see halos around lights.

In a normal healthy eye, the lens focuses light onto the retina at the back of the eye. The lens adjusts the eye's focus, allowing us see things clearly close and far away. The lens is mostly made of water and protein. The protein is arranged in a specific way that keeps the lens clear and allows for light to pass through it. Sometimes though, when we age, some of the protein clumps together. This created a “cloud” in a small area of the lens. This is a cataract, and over time, it can grow larger and cover more of the lens, making it harder to see.

There are three types of cataracts, each which affects the eye in different ways. They are subcapsular, nuclear and cortical. A subcapsular cataractbegins at the back of the lens. People with diabetes, previous eye problems, or those taking high doses of steroids have a higher risk for developing a subcapsular cataract. A nuclear cataract forms at the nucleus, which is the center of the lens. It can be seen as it forms, and is most commonly due to natural ageing. A cortical cataract forms in the cortex of the lens and eventually extents itself from the outside of the lens to the center.

Even though each type of cataract forms differently, they all will eventually produce the same effect. Normally, a cataract is first hard to notice, because it grows slowly over time and is completely painless. Eventually, you will notice that your vision is getting a little blurry, and then cloudy. Almost as if you were looking through a piece of tinted glass, or at an impressionist painting.

Sometimes in the beginning, a cataract can improve your vision, giving someone what is called “second sight.” This improved vision is usually short lived, and frequently is preceded by normal cataract symptoms.

When someone is diagnosed with cataracts, they are given a few different treatment options. The most common option is to wait until the cataract impairs your vision and then remove it surgically. The newest form of cataract surgery is called the small incision method. When using this method, surgeons create a small incision the cornea with the use of an extremely thin blade, usually made from a diamond. The inner nucleus of the lens is removed by breaking it down into tiny pieces by using a high frequency vibrating machine. This machine is inserted into the small incision, and vibrates 50,000 cycles per second until the nucleus breaks down. The nucleus is then sucked out and the intraocular lens, which is a man made replacement lens, is placed into the region where the natural lens was just removed from.

At this point in time, researchers have not quite identified what exactly causes cataracts. But what most studies are revealing is that exposing your eyes to UV rays can damage them enough that it may cause cataracts.

Remember to keep up with annual optometrist appointments and to always protect your eyes from the summer sun.

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