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Issue Home January 13, 2010 Site Home

100 Years Ago
From the Desk of the D.A.
The Healthy Geezer
Library Chitchat
Rock Doc Break The Glass, Douse The Flames
What’s Bugging You?
Dear Dolly
Earth Talk
Barnes-Kasson Corner

100 Years Ago

WEST LENOX: Last Saturday “Old Dick” the faithful white faced horse of G. S. Lawrence, fell on the ice and broke his shoulder, dying soon after. He was about thirty years old. ALSO - The wood bee at the church was well attended and a nice pile of wood cut.

GREAT BEND: Walter Wilmot and Mrs. Ella Miner, who were arrested and charged with the robbery of the postoffice on the night of Dec. 21 last, were indicted in the United States Court at Williamsport and Tuesday afternoon were sentenced. Wilmot gets two years in the federal penitentiary at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and Mrs. Miner was sentenced to six months in the Susquehanna county jail. They admitted their connection with the robbery, Wilmot confessing to stealing the money and Mrs. Miner owned up to having helped him spend it.

FOREST CITY: The Forest City News announces Benjamin Maxey, a former mayor and one of the town’s best known citizens, as a candidate for the legislature.

HARFORD: Hon. E. E. Jones, who has served two terms very acceptably, is in the hands of his friends for renomination. Mr. Jones, it may be said, while not actively seeking a renomination at this time, would abide by the decision of his friends in going before the people for third term honors. ALSO - On account of the high price of butter a number of our residents are using butterine and say they cannot tell it from the real thing; and the price paid for it is only 21 cents.

SPRINGVILLE: There has been a shortage of coal here for a week and some families have been depending on wood for fuel. ALSO - It seems to me poor railroad policy for the Lehigh Valley railroad people to lay off all their trainsmen, when we are having such snow and ice storms as we have had lately. The other day passengers had to wait two or three hours for train men to clean and open switches, we are informed.

BROOKLYN: In response to an invitation from the G. A. R. Post at Brooklyn, a large delegation composed of members of the Four Brothers Post, in Montrose, their wives and the Daughters of Veterans enjoyed a delightful sleighride last Saturday where they partook of a splendid chicken dinner. At the conclusion of the day, Commander Lott of Four Brother Post, proposed three cheers for the members of the Brooklyn Post and the ladies who served the dinner, which were given with a tiger.

UNIONDALE: Bruce Tinker took quite a number of our young folks for a sleighride to Forest City on Saturday.

HOPBOTTOM: People are improving the sleighing and icemen are busy from daylight till dark filling icehouses for the coming year.

FRANKLIN FORKS: The Epworth League will hold a social in Alliance hall Friday evening, Jan. 14. Refreshments, consisting of crackers, cheese, cake and cocoa will be served. Price of supper 15 cents. All are invited.

SUSQUEHANNA: Surrounded by the members of his family and grandchildren, and enjoying the best of health, Alonzo Boyden celebrated his 100th birthday at his home in Oakland Township. Mr. Boyden was born in Massachusetts on January 8, 1810. After moving to New Jersey and Pike county, he removed to Susquehanna in 1870, driving his horses and cattle all the way and resided with his daughter, Miss Mary Boyden. In his early days Mr. Boyden rafted on the Delaware river. Although having reached the century mark, Mr. Boyden still retains his mental faculties and reads the daily papers and is still active working in his garden and the farm. He is strictly temperate and has never used tobacco. He does not worry and to these facts he attributes his old age.

SOUTH GIBSON: Mrs. Sabra Carpenter celebrated her 90th birthday Dec. 23 and received nearly 100 postcards from friends.

DIMOCK: W. W. Pritchard, wagon maker of Springville, is repairing wagons and sleighs at the shop of C. W. Barnes.

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP: Henry Webster, who spent his vacation with his parents, E. A. Webster and wife, has returned to the Pentacostal Bible School in Binghamton.

ARARAT: George Ogden and Ina Glover were united in marriage Friday, at Thompson.

BRACKNEY: Jacob Baumgarten, an aged resident of Brackney, died at the home of Henry Fritz on Wednesday, Dec. 29, after a short illness. He had been a resident of this place for more than forty years and was a veteran of the Civil War. The funeral was held from St. Augustine’s church on Friday, Dec. 31.

SHANNON HILL, AUBURN TWP.: John Cole, an old soldier living near here, who has been sick for some time, is failing and there is but little hope of his recovery.

HEART LAKE: The Mountain Ice Company began filling their large house here Monday. The ice being of an extra fine quality.

SILVER LAKE: Chas. B. Dayton, the wide-a-wake foreman of the Sheldon farm was in town Saturday. Mr. Dayton is a scientific stockman and is getting together a fine herd of Jerseys.

MONTROSE: Lack of patronage is causing the management of the Palace Skating Rink to consider whether or not they shall continue to conduct the rink the balance of the winter. The heavy expense in maintaining this up-to-date amusement place with the present attendance makes it impossible to make the venture pay. It is probable that next Tuesday night will decide whether or not the rink be continued, so all lovers of skating should get out and bring their friends if they wish to continue the sport.

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

Bill Brace is the former deputy chief clerk for Luzerne County. He was indicted by federal authorities in connection with the ongoing corruption investigation in Luzerne County. Brace used his position as a deputy chief clerk in order to get a county contract approved for a private contractor. The private contractor then bought Brace an expensive monogrammed suit personally fitted for him by a New York City tailor. Brace recently entered a guilty plea in federal court and admitted to this conduct. In other words, Brace has admitted to taking a bribe to use his public office for his personal benefit.

As I read about Brace, I could not help but wonder about the scoundrels in Congress that engage in this behavior with impunity. The recent health care reform legislation has contained countless examples of “bought” votes. Legislators filled with righteous indignation and loud proclamations of opposition suddenly swinging their vote in return for cash for their districts.

First, there was the “Louisiana Purchase, which bought the vote of Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu to get the health care bill to the floor for debate. How much were Landrieu’s principles worth? According to reports, Louisiana received an additional $300 million in Medicaid monies in return for her vote. Landrieu held out and used her position to get her new suit - a $300 million dollar beauty specially tailored and monogrammed by Harry Reid and all she had to do was cast a single vote.

The latest example is the “Cornhusker kickback” whereby Senator Ben Nelson provided the crucial vote to pass the Senate’s version of health care reform. Nelson had been a stark critic and opponent of the legislation until he saw the light (or should I say dollar signs). The principled Ben Nelson decided that he could vote for health care reform after his state, Nebraska, was promised that it would not ever have to pay for the Medicaid costs ever again. In other words, the other 49 states, through the federal government, would pay for Nebraska’s Medicaid program. Although Schwarzenegger has been a supporter of health care reform, he has asked the entire California Congressional delegation to “terminate” this bill. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger commented on the Cornhusker Kickback as follows: “The Senator got the corn, we got the husk.” Actually, I don’t even think we got the husk, but we certainly got the shaft.

Several news reports suggest that Nelson is considering giving back the Cornhusker kickback. Apparently, after other Senators saw Nelson walking around in his new monogrammed suit (free Medicaid for Nebraska forever), other Senators wanted a new suit too (free money for their states as well). Nelson attempted to defend himself by indicating that he only asked that the increased Medicaid costs in Nebraska be covered, not one hundred percent of the total costs. In other words, Nelson knew that this reform bill was going to increase costs to his taxpayers for the Medicaid program, and he was seeking to protect them from those increased costs by making the taxpayers in the other 49 states pay for it. Nelson contends that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the decision to give it all to Nebraska - total funding, not just funding for the increased costs.

Nelson’s defense would be akin to Bill Brace stating that he did not ask for a tailored monogrammed suit – he was only looking for a new pair of slacks, but the contractor threw in the entire suit. Does it make him any less crooked or corrupt? Either way, Nelson was selling his vote to the detriment of the other 49 states. Landrieu did the same thing. Kickback, payoff, bribe - whatever name you give it, it amounts to the same thing. In the end, there are far too many monogrammed suits walking around Washington - and we are the ones paying for them all.

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. What percentage of older men have erectile dysfunction?

The incidence of ED increases with age. Between 15 and 25 percent of 65-year-old men experience this problem. In older men, ED usually has a physical cause, such as a drug side effect, disease or injury. Anything that damages the nerves or impairs blood flow in the penis can cause ED.

The following are some leading causes of erectile dysfunction: diabetes, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), prostate surgery, hormone imbalance, alcohol and drug abuse.

And, of course, there are your emotions. It should be no surprise that, if you’re having a relationship problem with your sex partner, you can suffer from ED. Here are some other psychological influences: anxiety over a previous failure, everyday stress, depression, and feeling unattractive to your partner. If you’re suffering from ED, you should see your doctor for a discussion and physical exam.

Monitoring erections that occur during sleep can help the diagnosis. Healthy men have involuntary erections during sleep. If nocturnal erections do not occur, then ED is likely to have a physical rather than psychological cause. Tests of nocturnal erections are not completely reliable, however.

Q. What is a taste disorder?

There are several types of taste disorders. You can have a persistent bad taste in the mouth. This is called a dysgeusia. Some people have hypogeusia, or the reduced ability to taste. Others can't detect taste at all, which is called ageusia. People with taste disorders experience a specific ageusia of one or more of the five taste categories: sweet, sour, bitter, salty and savory.

The most common complaint is “phantom taste perception,” which is tasting something that isn’t there.

If you think you have a taste disorder, see your doctor. Diagnosis of a taste disorder is important because once the cause is found, your doctor may be able to treat your taste disorder. Many types of taste disorders are reversible, but, if not, counseling and self-help techniques may help you cope.

If you cannot regain your sense of taste, there are things you can do to ensure your safety. Take extra care to avoid food that may have spoiled. If you live with other people, ask them to smell and taste food to see if it is fresh. People who live alone should discard food if there is a chance it is spoiled.

Q. What causes Parkinson disease?

Parkinson disease (PD) is a complex disorder of the central nervous system. It is the second most common neurodegenerative disease in the United States, after Alzheimer's.

The defining symptoms of PD include tremor, slowness of movement, rigidity, and impaired balance and coordination. As these symptoms become more pronounced, patients may have difficulty walking, talking, or completing simple tasks. They also may experience depression, difficulty sleeping and other problems.

In the early 1960s, scientists determined that the loss of brain cells was causing PD. The cells that were depleted produced dopamine, a chemical that helps control muscle activity. Today, PD is treated with drugs and surgery.

Medications for PD fall into three categories. The first includes drugs that increase the level of dopamine in the brain. The second category affects neurotransmitters in the body to ease some of the symptoms of the disease. The third category includes medications that help control the non-motor symptoms of the disease such as depression.

There are two commonly used surgical treatments for PD: pallidotomy and deep brain stimulation. Because these procedures are invasive, they are usually reserved for severely afflicted Parkinson's patients who do not get adequate relief from medications.

If you have a question, please write to

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Library Chitchat
By Flo Whittaker

In the summer during the rainy season, I suggested that it was a great time to visit the Susquehanna Library and select some books to pass the time of day. Well, it certainly isn’t summer any more. We are experiencing the “big chill,” which is even a better reason to stop in at your local library and stock up with some reading material.

I suggest you develop the art of browsing. Seasoned shoppers utilize the browsing technique on a regular basis; roaming throughout the mall until the “perfect” something catches their eye. Instead of coming into the library and heading for the same author you always read, check out someone new. Ask the friendly staff for their recommendations. Try a new type of book. Before you visit the library, you can even browse lists of new additions to our collection at or search our catalog at

As we have been telling you, a reduction in state funding has resulted in a number of changes in the operation of the Susquehanna County Library system. All of our four libraries (Montrose, Forest City, Hallstead-Great Bend, and Susquehanna) remain open, but hours have been reduced.

We have also changed our regular newsletter to an electronic version that you can have delivered routinely to your home computer. Go to to sign up.

Remember the Susquehanna County Library continues to strive to be your resource for lifetime learning. Make visits to the Library a part of your regular routine in 2010.

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Rock Doc
By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters

Ears Of Corn

By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters

It’s a world-famous grass, and crucial to our bellies. It’s called Zea mays by botanists; rock-heads like me call it corn. Compared to many plants, it’s excellent at tolerating drought and heat - almost in a class by itself in that regard.

Corn is obviously at the heart of corn muffins and tortillas, but you likely eat more corn in the form of corn-based sweetener in “junk food” and sweet drinks than directly as corn meal. Processed corn also gives us corn oil and corn coatings that are used in packaged foods.

But it might surprise you to learn that if you went to a standard supermarket, did your shopping, and then had eggs for breakfast, chicken salad for lunch, and beef for dinner, you would be, in fact, essentially eating corn at each and every meal. That’s because chickens these days eat corn - on their way to producing eggs and chicken flesh for us - and modern steers gulp down corn in feedlots.

In short, the 21st century American diet is built on corn.

You don’t have to trace grain through the food supply to prove that statement. We can even demonstrate it by taking a chemical analysis of our bodies.

Here’s why the chemical analysis works:

Zea mays is quite a different plant from other grasses like wheat. It has a different way of capturing carbon dioxide from the air around it.

Now, as it happens, there are several kinds of carbon atoms in this world. They are all carbon - but they have slightly different weights (called isotopes in the trade). The carbon in corn has a different ratio of isotopes in it than the carbon of wheat because of the differences in the way the two plants “breath in” carbon dioxide and water from the air.

So wheat, in this sense, really is different from corn, and a human body made of eating wheat is ever so slightly different from a human body made of eating corn. We literally are what we eat (which makes me a walking blob of peanut butter, but that’s another story).

There was a day long ago we grew a lot of wheat in the Midwest. But we switched to growing corn. The reason is that - using industrial farming methods - it happens that corn can be grown in the American Midwest in great abundance.

It’s an accident, if you will, that Zea mays does so very, very well in our Midwest. But flourish it does, and with fertilizers derived largely from fossil fuels, we can grow prodigious amounts of corn.

Part of the complex story of King Corn is sketched in a book by Michael Pollan called “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.” Later this month, the author will be coming to Washington State University where I work. He’ll field our questions about everything from industrial agriculture to corn genetics.

I’m rereading parts of Pollan’s book a second time prior to his visit. If you are looking for something to give you one person’s view of modern agriculture, the book can be fun. To be sure, it’s only the kind of book that starts a discussion - not finishes it.

One point to always remember is that the American farmer has fed millions and millions of people both here and overseas. Part of the recipe for that accomplishment has been the success of Zea mays right here in the middle of our continent.

We’ve built a lot on an unusual grass - and been inventive in all that we do with its by-products. The question now is how much we like the current system, with its drawbacks and advantages, and whether we really want to make changes toward more diversification in our agricultural base. To do that, we all have to think through how we’d like to cook and eat, and what we want to pay for our meals.

The issues are so complex I’m certainly glad it’s not up to geologists to decide them. But we all, together as citizens and consumers, determine such matters. So if you are looking for some post-dinner armchair travels through the food supply on long winter evenings, Pollan’s book is one way to begin.

Note: you can now follow the Rock Doc more frequently on Twitter @RockDocWSU.

Dr. E. Kirsten Peters, a native of the rural Northwest, was trained as a geologist at Princeton and Harvard. Follow her on the web at and on Twitter @RockDocWSU. This column is a service of the College of Sciences at Washington State University.

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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,

We have three school age children and each of them have the opportunity to participate in 3 to 5 after school activities - sports mostly. It also includes weekends. I am being run ragged and it feels like the kids are never home to be a family. -Letisha

Dear Letisha,

In the effort to provide a stimulating, healthy and happy life for our children we have fostered the idea that children need to be entertained and kept busy, 24/7. We are now learning that unscheduled time is as important as, if not more important than, participation in the many after school/weekend activities that are offered.

Over scheduled outside activities keep kids from learning self reliance. We are depriving them of the activities and experiences that teach them how to manage their own time and identify their own interests.

"Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity and physical, cognitive and emotional strength." Free play time may be the only time where a child is not judged by an adult for performance.

Ask your child often, if he feels overly tired, burned out or over scheduled. Allow him to have a say in which after school activity he wants to be involved in. One activity per semester is plenty. Keep in mind that family time is as important as education, sports and every other outside commitment available.

So, repeat after me - "go outside and play, I'll call you for supper!"

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


From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Years ago I read that children should be kept at least two feet from the television because of harmful electronic emissions. Is this still relevant? Is there a difference regarding this between older and new flat-screen models? -Horst E. Mehring, Oconomowoc, WI

Luckily for many of us and our kids, sitting “too” close to the TV isn’t known to cause any human health issues. This myth prevails because back in the 1960s General Electric sold some new-fangled color TV sets that emitted excessive amounts of radiation - as much as 100,000 times more than federal health officials considered safe. GE quickly recalled and repaired the faulty TVs, but the stigma lingers to this day.

But even though electronic emissions aren’t an issue with TVs made any time after 1968 (including today’s LCD and plasma flat screens), what about causing harm to one’s vision? Dr. Lee Duffner of the American Academy of Ophthalmology isn’t concerned, maintaining that watching television screens - close-up or otherwise - “won’t cause any physical damage to your eyes.” He adds, however, that a lot of TV watching can surely cause eye strain and fatigue, particularly for those sitting very close and/or watching from odd angles. But there is an easy cure for eye strain and fatigue: turning off the TV and getting some rest. With a good night’s sleep, tired eyes should quickly return to normal.

Debra Ronca, a contributor to the How Stuff Works website, argues that some parents might be putting the cart before the horse in blaming close-up TV watching for their child’s vision issues. “Sitting close to the television may not make a child nearsighted, but a child may sit close to the television because he or she is nearsighted and undiagnosed,” she reports. “If your child habitually sits too close to the television for comfort, get his or her eyes tested.”

Of course, excessive TV viewing by kids can cause health problems indirectly. According to the Nemours Foundation’s KidsHealth website, children who consistently watch TV more than four hours a day are more likely to be overweight, which in and of itself can bring about health problems later. Also, kids who watch a lot of TV are more likely to copy bad behavior they see on-screen and tend to “fear that the world is scary and that something bad will happen to them.” Nemours also finds that TV characters often depict risky behaviors (like smoking and drinking) and also tend to reinforce gender-role and racial stereotypes.

There has also been much debate in recent years on the effects of TV viewing on infants. A 2007 Seattle Children’s Research Institute study found that for every hour per day infants spent watching baby DVDs and videos they learned six to eight fewer new vocabulary words than babies who never watched the videos. But a 2009 study by the Center on Media & Child Health at Children's Hospital Boston found no negative cognitive or other impacts whatsoever on those infants exposed to more television than less.

While it may be inevitable that your kids will watch TV, the key, experts say, is moderation. Limit kids’ exposure to screens of any kind, and monitor what they are allowed to watch. As KidsHealth points out, parents should teach their kids that the TV is “for occasional entertainment, not for constant escapism.”

CONTACTS: American Academy of Ophthalmology,; How Stuff Works,; KidsHealth,; Seattle Children's Research Institute,; Center on Media & Child Health,

Dear EarthTalk: What’s better for the local ecology, sewers or septic tanks? -T.H., Darien, CT

You probably won’t have much choice as to whether that home you’re thinking of buying is on sewer or septic. Most likely it’s a done deal, unless the neighborhood is presently all on septic but is considering a petition to the town to switch to sewers (in which case you can usually agree to hook up or stay put).

There are pros and cons to each in regard to the environment. Both types of systems are designed to handle and treat so-called “blackwater” (wastewater from toilets) and “graywater” coming from our sinks, showers, dishwashers and laundry machines. On-site septic and community-wide sewer systems work in similar ways, utilizing micro-organisms to filter out bacteria, viruses and other disease-causing pathogens before releasing the cleansed water back into the environment.

In general, most people prefer to be on a shared sewer system if they have a choice, as the burden of keeping the system running smoothly falls on the local government, which presumably has the money and expertise to ensure that wastewater is properly treated across the region. Also, in a shared sewer system, wastewater is whisked away to a centralized treatment facility; anyone who has ever experienced a septic system backup on their property can appreciate what a benefit off-site wastewater treatment can be.

Another advantage to a shared sewer is that such systems are usually built to withstand heavy loads and can better accommodate periods of heavy precipitation or storm surges that might overwhelm smaller, poorly conceived or maintained home-based septic tanks, which are by virtue of their size and the laws of physics more prone to overflow and send contaminants into nearby surface and ground waters.

Septic systems have their proponents, though, who say that a professionally designed, installed and maintained system should hold up in even the biggest of storms. The University of Minnesota Extension (UMNE), which publishes the useful online “Septic System Owner’s Guide,” says vigilance is key: “The only way to guarantee effective treatment is to have a trained professional ensure adequate unsaturated and suitable soil exists below the soil treatment area to allow for complete wastewater treatment.”

When homeowners don’t take care of their septic systems properly, though, they can become a nuisance for the surrounding ecosystem. Wastewater that is not properly treated can contaminate surface and groundwater and threaten public health. According to UMNE, improperly treated sewage can be the culprit behind the spread of hepatitis, dysentery and other diseases resulting from pathogens in drinking water, while also compromising the purity of lakes and streams. Additionally, flies and mosquitoes that are attracted to and breed in wet areas where sewage reaches the surface can also spread disease.

Improperly treated sewage can also lead to increased nitrates in local water supplies, which is dangerous for infants, pregnant women and those with already compromised immune systems. In and around lakes and streams, this influx in nitrates can lead to plant growth out of whack with the local ecosystem’s ability to handle it, resulting in oxygen-free “dead zones” devoid of marine and riparian life altogether.

CONTACT: Septic System Owner’s Guide,

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

No Barnes-Kasson Corner This Week

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