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Issue Home November 4, 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: The Hallowe’en spirit was epidemic this year and the young people held high carnival. Garbed in all sorts of outlandish costumes they went about playing pranks on people. For the most part it was innocent fun, but in some instances, as always, the older boys turned over out buildings and did material damage. ALSO It is expected that work on the new silk mill, to be erected on the old opera house site, will begin in a few days.

LYNN: Hallowe’en is over with at last. The youngsters were out in full costumes, removing gates, changing signs, overturning wagons, etc. They also ran F. S. Greenwood’s automobile down into J. S. Howard’s meadow and overturned it, but still no serious damage was done.

DIMOCK: The “Mummers” were out celebrating Hallowe’en. Many things were moved about but no damage done.

ARARAT: L. O. Baldwin reached his 77th milestone Oct. 31. He is still genial and jovial.

SOUTH NEW MILFORD: Rev. Brush preached his farewell sermon on Sunday. On Monday several men and teams came from Jackson to help Mr. Brush move.

KINGSLEY: The graded school has just finished its second month of the current term. Harvesting has absented many from their school privileges, but those of the grammar room who persevered and attended every day are: Gladys Warner, George Welch, Ethel Welch, George Watson, Glenn Wilmarth, Walter Tiffany, Louise Stearns, Marlon Stearns, Muri Tiffany and Irene Snyder.

OAKLAND: At the present time Oakland is facing a serious epidemic of diphtheria and scarlet fever. The number of cases is increasing daily and up to last night three cases have been attended with fatal results. The Oakland Board of Health is doing all in its power to check the disease, but is not receiving the cooperation of the citizens, who, it is asserted, openly violate the quarantine. Susquehanna has a large number of cases of scarlet fever at the present time.

MONTROSE: A fire in the residence of Charles Wycoff, on Parke street, Saturday night, brought out more excitement than the youngsters were having in playing Hallowe’en pranks. The fire caught from the chimney, which was found to be defective, and was in the woodwork of the timbers, where it evidently had been smoldering for some time. Mr. Wycoff is a deserving colored man who recently purchased the property and the loss is particularly unfortunate at this time. He takes his loss lightly, however, and desires to thank the firemen who responded and saved him from a much greater loss. ALSO The death of Mrs. Ella Berry Slaughter, a highly respected colored lady, occurred Nov. 1, after a long illness. She is survived by her husband and ten children. The funeral was held from Zion church and interment was made in Montrose cemetery.

BROOKLYN: Dr. A. J. Ainey and F. B. Jewett have just installed a system of water supply in their residences from springs on the hillside east of town. ALSO A movement is on foot to have a lecture course the coming winter, under the patronage of the Order of American Boys. There is a fine branch of the Order in town and they deserve the patronage of the people.

LATHROP TWP.: There will be a masquerade social and New England Supper at the Lathrop Grange Hall on Saturday evening, Nov. 6, for the benefit of the Lakeside M. E. church.

FOREST LAKE: A few weeks ago Rural Carrier B. R. Lyons, while delivering mail in his automobile, met with a breakdown near Forest Lake. He was obliged to leave the machine alongside the road and proceed with the delivery of the mail. When he returned someone had removed a wheel and shaft, and vamoosed. “Ben” thought it was a pretty good joke and the property would turn up after a little search. So he obligingly carried out his part by minutely examining each corn shock in a 20 acre field and searched the woods in the vicinity. The missing articles to day, however, have not shown up. While it “ain’t our funeral,” we feel that a party who would go to such an extent in playing a practical joke has a gross sense of humor. With the price of oats so high, we believe Mr. Lyons would be perfectly content if one of these mornings in going over his route he should find the missing parts near the scene of the accident, and if any questions are asked him he will be willing to swear they came off in a thrilling “joy ride.” It costs money to ride in autos, you know, and the obliging rural carrier will be forced to plank down at least fifty plunkers to make good the loss.

HALLSTEAD: Recognizing the heroism of M. J. Duffy, of Hallstead, a Lackawanna railroad detective killed in rescuing a woman from death under the wheels of an express train, the Carnegie Hero Fund commission has appropriated $40 a month to Mr. Duffy’s widow and will present her with a silver medal. The $40 a month will be paid to Mrs. Duffy for life.

SOUTH GIBSON: Our dress makers and milliners are very busy these day preparing garments for special occasions. Reports say several pairs of wedding bells will ring in the near future.

LAWTON: The teachers of the township [Rush], who attended the Institute at Montrose, report it one of the most successful in years. Some of the teachers, as might be expected, purchased new hats. Well, their taste is probably good, but they look to us, as one of the Institute lecturers described them, as if an eagle, after alighting on them, had exploded.

UNIONDALE: Miss Alvia Carpenter, a school teacher of this place, attended the Institute at Montrose. While there her shoe made a blister on her little toe. When she came home her foot and ankle were badly swollen and gangrene was in the toe. She went to Scranton hospital and they cut the flesh off to the bone on her toe and on the side of her foot and she went back to her school.

NEWS BRIEF: Pennsylvania is still the leading State in the United States in the tanning industry. In the quality of tanbark produced, the Keystone State is far ahead of all competitors.

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

The Justice Department, under the direction of the Obama Administration, has announced that it will no longer enforce federal marijuana laws in states where medicinal marijuana has been legalized. In other words, the federal government will no longer arrest and prosecute individuals for the manufacturing and distribution of medicinal marijuana, if done in accordance with the applicable state law. This is a reversal of the Bush Administration approach, namely a steadfast commitment to enforcing federal law regardless of what the state law provided. In explaining this policy shift, the Obama Administration has determined that resources could be better utilized for other purposes.

First, let me say that I am not a proponent of legalizing marijuana - medicinal or otherwise. After ten years as a prosecutor, I am more convinced than ever that marijuana contributes significantly to criminal behavior. The purpose of this column, however, is not to get into the legalization argument. The interesting question posed by the Obama Administration's decision is a question of federalism, i.e., are the states better equipped to make decisions on whether such drugs should be legal without the federal government getting involved?

If the Obama Administration had made the decision that marijuana regulation should be left to the individual states, this decision would be a significant victory for federalism and states' rights. A strong policy argument can be made that each individual state is more appropriately situated to determine what should or should not be legal within its borders. If people in California want to have medicinal marijuana, why should the federal government intervene to prohibit it? Or, for that matter, if a state wanted to simply legalize marijuana and tax it, should the federal government get involved?

On the other hand, opponents of the states’ right approach would argue that legalization of marijuana in one state will have obvious impact upon not only that state, but also other states as well. In other words, if marijuana is legal in New York, then there is a good likelihood that residents of other states will travel to New York to get it - and likely bring it back with them. A real world example of this argument would be the drinking age - and the problems that were associated with different drinking ages in different states, i.e., the “bloody” border problem resulting from traffic accidents involving young intoxicated drivers. Congress worked hard to eliminate these issues through the use of federal highway funds, or, perhaps more appropriately, the threat of withholding such funds if the drinking age was not raised to 21.

If Congress believes that the trafficking of marijuana (or other controlled substances) is a problem and there is clear evidence marijuana (or other controlled substances) flow regularly from one state to another in interstate commerce, then there is a strong argument that the federal government should intervene to prohibit the manufacturing and distribution of marijuana (and other controlled substances). In fact, Congress has made that determination - and the manufacturing and distribution of marijuana is unlawful under federal law.

In any event, whether the initial decision to enact federal criminal legislation targeting marijuana was a proper one is not the real question. As they say, that horse is already out of the barn - the law already exists. The real question is how a Justice Department, where each member has taken an oath to uphold the law and whose job is frankly enforcement of the law, can make a unilateral decision to wholly ignore the law. The Executive Branch is intended to assure that the laws are faithfully executed - not ignored. While prosecutors have wide discretion in prosecuting criminal cases, such discretion is normally exercised on a case-by-case basis, not as a broad declaration or refusal to prosecute an entire class of cases.

The Obama Administration has sound policy reasons for determining that the federal government will not prosecute marijuana cases in states where marijuana is legal. Rather than simply declare that it has no intent on enforcing federal law, however, the more appropriate approach would be to go to Congress and seek an amendment to the criminal statute to specifically provide an exception for medicinal marijuana. Congress should make such a decision - not the Executive Branch - and, then the Justice Department policy fall in line with the law itself - not run contrary to it.

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. My brother-in-law was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis. Could you do one of your columns on this subject so everyone in our family can understand it?

Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a muscle disease. The name comes from Greek and Latin words meaning grave muscle weakness. Myasthenia gravis (my-us-THEEN-ee-uh GRAV-us) affects the muscles that control the eyes, face, breathing, chewing, talking, swallowing and limbs.

MG usually strikes adult women under the age of 40 and men over the age of 60. However, MG can affect people of any age and ethnic group. MG is not contagious and is not inherited.

The cause of MG is a breakdown in the communication between nerves and muscles. This breakdown causes muscle fatigue and weakness, which worsens with repeated use of the muscle. Symptoms usually improve with rest. Treatment can help MG symptoms, but there is no cure for the disease.

The following are some specific signs of MG: drooping eyelids, double or blurred vision, difficulty speaking/swallowing/chewing, inability to smile, shortness of breath, and a change in your stride.

When MG strikes, the immune system produces antibodies that interfere with the muscles’ ability to receive nerve signals. This interference causes weakness.

There’s a theory that the thymus gland, a part of your immune system located under the breastbone, may be responsible for making these antibodies. The thymus gland is abnormal in most MG cases.

MG symptoms can be intensified by stress, illness, fatigue, extreme heat and drugs such as beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, quinine and some antibiotics.

Myasthenic crisis is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the muscles that control breathing become too weak. Emergency treatment is necessary to recover the ability to breathe properly.

People with MG are more likely to have the following additional problems: a malfunctioning thyroid gland; lupus, a chronic inflammatory disease, and rheumatoid arthritis, an immune-system disorder.

Drugs for treating MG include cholinesterase inhibitors, corticosteroids and immunosuppressants.

Cholinesterase inhibitors enhance communication between nerves and muscles. Corticosteroids inhibit the immune system, limiting antibody production. Immunosuppressants alter your immune system.

Among the therapies for MG are plasmapheresis and intravenous immune globulin. In plasmapheresis, blood is routed through a machine that removes the antibodies interfering with nerve signals to the muscles. Intravenous immune globulin gives your body normal antibodies, which alters your immune-system response.

A thymectomy is the surgical removal of the thymus gland. This surgery is done for people with MG who have tumors, as well as for some who don't have tumors. The surgery improves symptoms in most MG patients.

There are other ways to deal with MG:

* If you have double vision, use an eye patch. To avoid eyestrain, periodically switch the patch from one eye to the other.

* Save physical energy by using appliances such as electric toothbrushes and screwdrivers.

* Eat slowly and rest between bites. More frequent, smaller meals may be easier to handle. Also, try soft foods and avoid sticky foods that require lots of chewing.

* Install grab bars or railings in places where you may need support, such as next to the bathtub.

MG was first described in detail in the late 19th century, when the outlook for patients was dark. Many died of respiratory failure.

In the 1930s, the nature of MG was better understood; cholinesterase inhibitors became a standard treatment for MG. In the 1960s, researchers discovered the autoimmune nature of MG, and began attacking the disease at its roots using immunosuppressant drugs.

Today the mortality rate of MG is less than 5 percent.

If you have a question, please write to

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Library Chitchat
By Flo Whittaker

“You’ve got a friend in Pennsylvania” used to adorn our license plates. Friends are important in peoples’ lives and friends are also important to libraries.

Susquehanna County Library has many friends that copartner with it to reach its goals. It also has one special group called the Library Friends. This group is made up of community residents who are deeply committed to providing continuing support.

On October 14, the Library Friends sponsored their first local author’s luncheon at the Inn at Montrose. Speaker for the event was writer and poet Karen Blomain. She told those gathered about the tremendous influence that libraries had upon her life as a young girl growing up in Archbald, PA. She is a strong advocate for libraries, a strong friend of libraries.

Library Friends are an adjunct group who are involved in each of Susquehanna County Library’s fundraising activities and who also volunteer their services as needed for routine tasks. This year, in the face of a significant budget appropriation shortfall, the Library Friends have sought out new avenues to raise funds for the Library’s operating expenses, such as the local author luncheon.

If you too would like to become a friend of the Library, we invite you to attend a meeting. Library Friends meetings are on the third Wednesday of each month at 1 p.m. (except for the months of December and January) at the Main Library in Montrose. Help us to reach the Susquehanna County Library’s goal to become your resource for lifetime learning.

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Veterans’ Corner

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What’s Bugging You?
By Stuart W. Slocum

No What's Bugging You This Week

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Dear Dolly,

Dear Dolly,

Our dog Midnight has been a valued member of our family for more than 12 years. Over the past couple of years, her health has deteriorated. The problems have not responded to veterinary care. She has hip and arthritis issues, and now it is impossible for her to climb stairs or get into her favorite chair. We are carrying her outside to relieve herself. Every movement causes her some pain.

My husband and I know we have a difficult decision to make. We have two children and are at a loss about how to explain the decision to them. What is the best way to handle this? -Carlie and Matt

Dear Carlie and Matt,

It is impossible to shelter your kids from the loss of a pet but you can help them cope. For most children, the first experience of death is the death of a pet. As adults we know the decision to euthanize a pet is a loving gesture but it is a heart wrenching step. Experts advise us to "talk about death before the death occurs. Invite your child to take part in the decision making process and talk about options." Showing your grief in front of the kids is healthy because it is appropriate to be upset. Do not lie and do not use the phrase "put to sleep." Give them the essential information and wait for them to ask questions.

You might want to read a book together. "The Tenth Good Thing about Barney” by J Viorst is one you can find at the library.

Have a ceremony to celebrate your pets life and morn the loss. Have each family member tell a story about your pet and don't be afraid to laugh. We know that laughter can be therapeutic, just like crying. It's hard to be prepared for the death of a pet. Learning healthy coping skills at an early age will make future loss easier to deal with.

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 Immunization Awareness Week November 1 - 7

Barnes-Kasson Hospital is observing National Immunization Awareness Week November 1 through 7.

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 vaccinate 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.

Barnes-Kasson Hospital would like to remind you that the benefits of getting vaccinated far out way the risks. Keep yourself and your family up to date with immunizations to stay healthy and immune.

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