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Christmas Special December 23rd

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Issue Home November 11, 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

HALLSTEAD: “Hughie” Jennings, pilot of the Detroit Tigers, was a caller in Hallstead Tuesday and stopped at Clune’s hotel, where he was quickly surrounded by a crowd of enthusiastic fans who were eager to meet him. He was on his way from Detroit to his home in Scranton.

SUSQUEHANNA: Edward Brick, a Susquehanna boy, was discharged from the hospital in that place on Friday. Young Brick had his left arm cut off in a sausage cutting machine a short time ago.

NEW MILFORD: Charles W. Walker, who has conducted the Jay House since the retirement of H. G. Stratton, six months ago, has purchased the property. It was part of the estate of the late Charles Jay. Mr. Walker will endeavor to further improve the building and accommodations. Consideration $6000.

SHANNON HILL, AUBURN TWP.: The wood bee at the church last Thursday was quite well attended. The most excellent dinner was served by the Ladies Aid. About fifty took dinner including the school children and teacher, and Rev. Haner, who knows how to swing an axe as well as preach.

LYNN, SPRINGVILLE TWP.: An attempt at burglary was made at F. S. Greenwood’s store on Sunday evening last. Some of the young men coming from church heard the rattle of glass in the direction of the store and upon investigation they found the large plate glass in the front doors broken out and two persons were seen to glide away in the darkness. Mr. Greenwood was quickly notified and the house surrounded, but the would-be burglars had disappeared. They had not gained an entrance when discovered, no doubt being frightened away by the approach of the young men. Hereafter, Mr. Greenwood will keep his bulldog, Tom, in the store nights.

DIMOCK: T. C. Allen, marble dealer from Montrose, was here last week doing some lettering in the Dimock cemetery.

FOREST CITY: Representatives of the state pure food department have visited here recently and purchased goods in local stores which will be tested by the state chemist to see if they are up to standard.

MONTROSE: George Baker, the well known aeronaut, died at the home of J. D. Baker, Wednesday. Mr. Baker was an aeronaut by profession, until a few years ago, when failing health compelled him to retire from the perilous business. When he first entered the profession about 12 years ago, with George McCoy, his skill and daring soon placed him in a position of considerable prominence and he made ascensions at hundreds of fairs and exhibitions. Several years ago he narrowly escaped drowning in Long Island Sound, where he fell in an unsuccessful parachute drop, and was rescued by a launch after he was almost exhausted in a fight for his life. He never fully recovered from the trying ordeal, and the exertion and exposure no doubt hastened his end. Death was due to tuberculosis. The deceased’s real name was Barclay, but since he was two years of age he resided with Mr. and Mrs. Baker and was best known by that name.

FOREST LAKE: Last Saturday Rural Carrier B. R. Lyons was delighted to find the wheel and shaft that had been taken from his automobile, near Forest Lake, lying alongside the road where it had two weeks before been removed from the machine. “Ben” assembled the parts and later towed it home behind his mail car. He is glad to have his “limousine” once more intact, but says he would give a “ten spot” out of curiosity to know who lugged off the wheel.

HEART LAKE: Will the finder of a nice butcher knife, lost at here during the Soldiers’ Reunion, please inform Lock Box 533?

THOMPSON: Dwight Craft, an engineer on the D & H, came up Wednesday to see his family, living near the Highlands in the township. He was coming down from the Summit on a pusher, which let him off on the track above the road, and when he started to go down he made a misstep and fell to the road, 30 feet below. His cries brought help, which took him to his home and the doctor was called. Fortunately no bones were broken, but he is fearfully sore at this writing

HARFORD: The Harford Dairy Co. will build a large ice house at the rear of the butter factory in town.

ELK LAKE: Wm. Arnold had the misfortune to have one of his high blood Holstein cows get choked with an apple. Rumor says the apple was dislodged and the cow came out all right.

LENOX: Mr. L. M. Titus was the victim of an accident last week. He and Charles Pickering were driving in opposite directions after dark when their horses ran into each other. Mr. Titus was thrown out and rendered unconscious for a time, but although rather lame it is thought that no serious injury will result.

MIDDLETOWN: In the death of Owen McDonough, Oct. 31, 1909, Middletown loses one of its most highly respected citizens. The deceased was born in County Sligo, Ireland, and immigrated to this country with his parents at the age of 22 years. With the exception of about two years, spent on the Lehigh canal, the remainder of his time was spent on the farm here. He is survived by one sister, Honora. His funeral was held at St. Patrick’s church. The pall bearers were: Michael Conboy, Martin Golden, Frank Golden, Frank Redding, Edward Gillin and Thomas Foster.

NEWS BRIEF: Conductors and trainmen in the passenger services of the Lackawanna railroad have received orders, issued from the office of General Superintendent T. E. Clarke, on the calling out of the name of stations along the road. While the order does not specifically require trainmen to practice elocution during off hours, it calls for a radical change from old-time customs. Under the new order, trainmen are forbidden to rush into a car, slamming the door behind them. They must open the door by turning the knob gently and then announce the name of the station distinctly and intelligently. The time honored method of calling the station in a voice resembling a college cry, has been tabooed.

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

In 1977, John Schweer, a security guard in Iowa, was shot and killed. Curtis McGhee, Jr. and Terry Harrington were prosecuted and convicted of first degree murder for the shooting and ordered to serve a sentence of life imprisonment. In 2002, the convictions were overturned after it was discovered that prosecutors had failed to disclose exculpatory evidence that indicated there was another suspect for the shooting. McGhee and Harrington then instituted a civil rights action against the prosecutors for allegedly utilizing fraudulent evidence and not providing the exculpatory materials in discovery prior to trial.

The prosecutors sought to have the case dismissed on the basis of prosecutorial immunity. Generally speaking, under the common law, a prosecutor is immune from civil liability for any actions taken in the prosecutorial function, which include such things as initial charging decisions and conducting hearings and trials. Prosecutors do not have immunity for things that can be termed investigative functions, i.e., things more properly identified as police activities, not prosecutorial actions. Thus, the scope of prosecutorial immunity often is very fact specific as to the nature of the specific conduct to determine if it is “prosecutorial” or “investigative.”

The lower courts refused to grant the prosecutor immunity for the actions taken in connection with the investigative phase prior to the charging decision. Apparently, the prosecutors were canvassing the neighborhood with the police, conducting interviews, and actively assisting the police in the investigation. During this time, the prosecutors became aware that the primary witness had provided a variety of different versions, had given incorrect information on crucial facts, and had been made promises by law enforcement officers, including the promise of financial compensation, in return for testimony. The prosecutors were also aware that there was another suspect (who had failed a polygraph and had been seen in the neighborhood with a gun), but decided to move forward with the prosecution of McGhee and Harrington despite the weaknesses in the case. To make matters worse, the prosecutors never disclosed the exculpatory information to the defendants prior to their trial, which certainly would have substantially weakened the state’s case.

The case has made its way to the United States Supreme Court to determine the extent of prosecutorial immunity. As noted, it is well-established that prosecutorial immunity does not apply to investigative functions, but the prosecutors crafted an interesting argument. They contend that the actions of the prosecutors in the investigative stage resulted in no damage to the defendants - it was not until the prosecutorial decisions were made that any damages were sustained, i.e., the decision to charge, arrest and try the defendants. So, even though some mistakes may have been made in the investigative stage, those mistakes did not damage the defendants; rather, any damages would have resulted after the charging decision, and, as such, resulted from prosecutorial conduct, not investigative conduct.

In arguments this past week, the justices struggled with the scope of prosecutorial immunity and the difficulties in drawing the line between prosecutorial functions and investigative functions. The arguments highlight some of the concerns that prosecutors face on a daily basis - what actions are properly encompassed in my role as a prosecutor for which I have immunity, and what actions open me up to liability if I make a mistake? Prosecutors must make difficult decisions everyday that deal with the issues raised in this case. Is this witness credible? Do we offer this person a better deal in order to get crucial testimony? If there are other suspects, can we eliminate them to a sufficient degree to move forward with charges? Even though prosecutors try to avoid investigative activities, we are inevitably forced to perform some functions that can be considered investigative -and thereby open ourselves up to liability.

This is a reality that simply comes with the job. Frankly, this entire episode would have been avoided if the prosecutors had complied with their constitutional obligation to provide exculpatory evidence to the defendants prior to trial. In this office, I have always maintained an open file policy - defense attorneys can see whatever I have whenever they want to see it. This fulfills not only our constitutional and statutory obligations - but also our ethical obligations to do justice.

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 memory lapses and I’m worried about Alzheimer’s. What should I do?

If you’re having some memory lapses, go to the doctor with a positive attitude. The fact is that many different medical conditions may cause Alzheimer’s-like symptoms. You could be suffering from the effects of a high fever, dehydration, poor nutrition, reactions to medicines, thyroid problems or a minor head injury.

And then there are those pesky emotions. Feeling sad, lonely, worried, or bored can affect people facing retirement or coping with the death of a loved one. Adapting to change can make you forgetful.

There are benefits to an early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. Knowing early helps patients and their families plan for the future. It gives them time to discuss care while the patient can still participate in decisions. Early diagnosis also offers the best chance to treat the symptoms of the disease.

Q. I heard that gout is a form of arthritis? Is this true?

Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout are the three most common forms of arthritis among seniors.

You get osteoarthritis when cartilage - the cushioning tissue within the joints - wears down. This produces stiffness and pain. Rheumatoid arthritis, which is characterized by inflammation of the joint lining, occurs when the immune system turns against the body.

Stress, alcohol, drugs or an illness can trigger gout. It’s caused by a build-up of crystals of uric acid in a joint. Uric acid is in all human tissue and is found in foods.

Often, gout affects joints in the lower part of the body such as the ankles, heels, knees, and especially the big toes. The disease is more common in men.

Early attacks usually subside within 3 to 10 days, even without treatment, and the next attack may not occur for months or even years. Most people with gout are able to control their symptoms with medication.

Q. Who is most likely to get glaucoma?

Those at highest risk are African-Americans, everyone over age 60, and people with a family history of glaucoma.

Glaucoma is defined as a group of diseases that can damage the eye's optic nerve, which carries images from the eye to the brain. Here’s how glaucoma works:

A clear fluid flows through a small space at the front of the eye called the “anterior chamber.” If you have glaucoma, the fluid drains too slowly out of the eye and pressure builds up. This pressure may damage the optic nerve.

However, increased eye pressure doesn’t necessarily mean you have glaucoma. It means you are at risk for glaucoma. A person has glaucoma only if the optic nerve is damaged.

The most common treatments for glaucoma are medication and surgery. Medications for glaucoma may come in eye drops or pills. For most people with glaucoma, regular use of medications will control the increased fluid pressure.

Laser surgery is another treatment for glaucoma. The laser is focused on the part of the anterior chamber where the fluid leaves the eye. This makes it easier for fluid to exit the eye. Over time, the effect of this surgery may wear off. Patients who have laser surgery may need to keep taking glaucoma drugs.

Studies have shown that the early detection and treatment of glaucoma is the best way to control the disease. So, have your eyes examined thoroughly and regularly if you are in a high-risk category. And that includes all of us geezers.

If you have a question, please write to

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Library Chitchat
By Flo Whittaker

November is that time of year again for the Susquehanna Historical Society and Free Library Association to reach out to county residents and ask for their continuing support of its operations and programs. Our annual support drive is currently underway and we need your generous donations even more this year. The recently passed state budget has resulted in a cut of slightly more than 20% in direct state aid and the current economic downturn has reduced available income from other sources.

At the same time, the Susquehanna County Library facilities (main library, historical society and outreach services in Montrose and branch libraries in Hallstead/Great Bend, Susquehanna and Forest City) have seen increased usage. We are happy to be here to serve. However, money is very tight. Now is your opportunity to show how much you appreciate the library’s services by contributing to our annual support drive.

We realize that we are not the only organization asking you for funds at this time. However, every dollar you donate is an investment in the heart of your community. If you have been a regular contributor in the past, please consider increasing your donation this year. If you are not a recipient of our annual fund drive mailing, you may send your check payable to the Susquehanna County Library to 2 Monument Square, Montrose 18801. Remember your gift will not only directly benefit you and your family but others in your community who depend upon our services in these tough economic times.

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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,

I would like to know, how could there possibly be any one left in the United States who doesn't know better than to throw trash along side of our highways? The roads, especially Rt. 81, are a mess. It looks especially bad now that fall is here. What else can be done to get this under control? -Julieann

Dear Julieann,

I agree the road side does look pretty grim this time of year. We know where the pieces of rubber tire come from. I guess by the time truckers realize their tire has disintegrated, they are a hundred miles down the road.

Some of the trash may come from the "empty" trash hauling trailers, that pass by. I know there are rules and regulations that are in place, requiring that the trailers are covered when full and cleaned out at the land fill. I have seen a couple of pieces of paper float out of the back of a trailer as it passed me by on the highway. Guess they missed a napkin or two.

The insulation and occasional vinyl siding come from the locally manufactured homes on their way to the set up site. I'm thinking it's staple failure that lets the wind rip the plastic away from the unfinished edges. The insulation blows out and gets run over and scatters in a hundred pieces. What a mess!

It's always easy to blame the nameless truckers that travel our roads but in my opinion, the real litter bugs are a lot closer to home.

Do you know anyone with a pickup truck? Have you ever seen them throw an empty coffee cup, crumpled paper bag, or soda can in the bed? I watched my husband do that for years and considered it a good temporary trash container. I figured he was cleaning it out when he got around to it. I was surprised one day when I followed him home and saw an empty can levitate a few times in the back of the pickup truck and finally blow out and land in the road. It dawned on me that I had just witnessed the #1 reason for trash alongside the highway in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The "wind in the bed" factor also contributes those smashed pieces of chairs, bedside tables, desks and the occasional mattresses that litter the highway. Remember if it's not tied down, it will take flight.

So, remind your favorite pickup trucker, that the back of the truck is not good temporary storage for trash. If you must toss trash, use the old standby, the front passenger floor. Keep your trash inside the cab, and dispose of it in a trash can. Don't be a litter bug - keep America beautiful - and keep your junk in the truck.

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 November 8 - 14

Barnes-Kasson Hospital is observing National Cataract Awareness Week November 8 through 14.

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 for 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 creates 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 in 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.

Barnes-Kasson Hospital would like to remind you to keep up with annual Optometrist appointments and to always protect your eyes from the summer sun.

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