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Issue Home January 20, 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

HALLSTEAD: Work is again to be commenced on the Hallstead oil well, if 2,000 or more shares of stock can be sold, which the promoters seemed inclined too think will be accomplished. Each stockholder will be asked to take thirty percent more stock than his present holdings. When the money is paid in, a driller will be secured and operations resumed.

MONTROSE: The Cnic is giving 6 reels every once in a while and two songs for a nickel. Special nights, of course, with a biograph thrown in. Miss Phillips announces a pretty song this evening. ALSO The little daughter of T. B. Dewees was quite painfully injured while coasting on Bank Street Saturday. It was at first thought her leg had been broken, but fortunately did not prove to be. Coasting on steep hills is often perilous sport and parents will do well to “regulate” this popular pastime with the youngsters.

BRIDGEWATER TWP. Daniel W. Swackhamer was quite badly injured by a cake of ice striking him in the chest and abdomen while at work at Lake Mont Rose Wednesday afternoon. Mr. Swackhamer was on the platform adjusting the cakes into the carriage as they are hauled up the steep incline into the ice house. One heavy cake shot down the chute, knocking him from his feet, and as he lay prostrate another struck him with terrific force before he could recover himself. When taken to his home on Wilson Street, Dr. Birchard found that two ribs were broken and the body badly bruised.

NEW MILFORD: Herbert Blanding, aged 72, died suddenly at his home on Wednesday while eating his dinner. Mr. Blanding was a retired farmer and well known in G. A. R. circles. He served during the Civil War in Co. B, 17th Rgt. Pa. Cavalry. He is survived by his wife. A number of comrades from Four Brothers Post are planning to attend his funeral. ALSO The Electric Light Co. has purchased an engine and it will be installed as soon as they have decided on a location, as the present plant is run by water power, and water has been so scarce the town has been without lights since last fall.

KINGSLEY: Mrs. G. C. Finn entertained the Book Club on Friday last, seventeen members being present.

THOMPSON: Last Friday, it is said, there were six wrecks on the Jefferson division. Because of these and the storm all traffic was delayed several hours. ALSO Robert Leach got a fall on the ice. Next morning he went to his work, but his left arm failed him and he went to the doctor, who found a bone broken and adjusted it.

ALFORD: Jan. 17, being Grandma West’s 82nd birthday, a few of the ladies met with her to celebrate the occasion. Refreshments were served.

SPRINGVILLE: Prof. Tiffany, principal of the high school, is arranging for a musicale to be held in the auditorium of the school building, and has fixed the date for Friday evening, Feb. 4.

JACKSON: The graded school building was discovered to be on fire at about 10 o’clock one night by some boys on their way home from coasting. After two hours hard fighting by a bucket brigade, the fire was extinguished. The damage was confined to the interior and is estimated at $250.

BROOKLYN: J. J. Austin has sold his farm to Chas. Austin and bought E. T. Ely’s house and lot in town. Mr. Ely is reserving a building lot where he will erect a fine new home. It is reported that Mr. Austin will run a boarding house and livery.

HERRICK: The roads are drifted nearly as bad as they were in 1888.

UNIONDALE: We re having a hard winter. So with William Tell, we cry, “Blow on thou wintry winds for this is the land of liberty, for Vanderbilt has the coal, John D., the oil, Frederick H. Wayerhauser the fire wood. J. Pierpont has the earth, while Gifford Pinchot got the ax. The winds howl, the politicians rail midst this howling railing list, the wailing of the poor, the cry of the poor widow goes up to the throne of the Eternal, asking why bread and coal are so dear and human blood so cheap. Who is looking after the interest of the orphan since Pinchot got it in the neck? An echo answers back who?” [Pinchot was a former governor of Pennsylvania.]

FOREST CITY: The scholars of the Uniondale intermediate school and their teacher, Miss Gear, took a sleigh ride here, Friday, and the young ladies and their escorts reported a good time. The young gents furnished the ice cream and candy. The girls said it was too lovely for anything, and they had such a nice driver too, Bruce Tinker.

RUSH: It was so rigid here during the recent “spell of cold weather” that one farmer vows he had to put an oil stove under the family cow before he could begin the milking process.

HARFORD: A Harford correspondent says that Wallace L. Thacher, well known as an author, historian, writer, lecturer and educator, realizing that his mind was failing and fearful that he might injure some one, has of his own free will, gone to the Hillside Home, in Lackawanna county, for treatment. The people of Susquehanna county hope that he may return to his home fully restored in health and to his former brilliant mental powers. [W. L. Thacher helped to organize the Susquehanna Co. Historical Society and was its first president.]

NEWS BRIEF: Susquehanna county residents in the neighborhood of the section traveled by the Lackawanna railroad are excited over the prospect of a trolley line being run through to capture the freight and passenger traffic now quite removed from a railroad. The line will be a continuation of the Northern Electric from Factoryville and will connect the cities of Scranton and Binghamton. The freight business, it is believed, would alone warrant running the line through, as there is a heavy milk shipment at all times, while shipments of farm produce of all kinds, to both cities and distant points, would be greatly facilitated.

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

My mother was employed as a waitress for many years. I can remember as a child sorting change and rolling quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies from the tip jar. There was the rare treat of finding a $1 Susan B. Anthony coin in the midst of the loot. Whenever we went out to eat, my mother drilled in our heads the importance of leaving a generous tip. On the other hand, my mother was also a tough critic as a result of her own experiences, and would call attention to shortcomings in the service itself. If the service was truly terrible, then a tip that was left would reflect the poor service.

My father has owned a restaurant for over three decades. As a teenager and even young adult, my friends and I were permitted to eat there for free. As you might expect, this is a privilege that we used (and abused) with great frequency. As our high school graduation was approaching, I can recall some of my friends expressing concern that they were going to get a bill from my father as their graduation “present” for all of the meals they had eaten over the years. There was one rule that applied to our gratis meal privilege: even though we did not have to pay the bill, we needed to leave a tip for the server. I am certain that our eating “privileges” would not only have been revoked if this rule had been violated, but also that we would have ended up in the back of the restaurant washing dishes.

Even with this family background that underscored the importance of leaving a tip, I had always considered tipping a voluntary activity. Then, a reader sent me an email noting that several college students had been arrested in Bethlehem for failing to leave a tip at the Leigh Pub. Apparently, the Leigh Pub had a posted policy that automatically applied an eighteen percent gratuity to the bill for any parties of 6 or more people. A group of 8 college students refused to leave the tip after they received poor service, but they did pay the $73 bill itself. The tip should have been $16.35 pursuant to the posted gratuity policy. The Leigh Pub then called the police and the students were arrested for theft of services, i.e., failing to pay the “mandatory” gratuity.

A person is guilty of theft of services if he intentionally obtains services that he knows are available only for compensation through deception. The statute defines “services” to included “restaurant services.” In order to prosecute under this statute, it must be demonstrated that the defendant obtained services through deception as to the intent to pay for them. With references to hotels, restaurants and other services that are normally paid for immediately upon receipt, the statute creates a “presumption that the service was obtained by deception as to the intention to pay” when the defendant refuses to pay for the service. In other words, if you refuse to pay for the meal, then it is presumed that you intended to deceive the restaurant and you must present evidence to overcome this presumption.

In terms of a “gratuity” policy, I suspect that the legal theory would be that the patron knew that a gratuity would be added as a part of the bill, the patron accepted that policy prior to ordering a meal, and then the patron refused to make the agreed-upon gratuity payment upon completion of the service. At this point, the burden would be on the patron to show that he never intended to deceive the business; rather, he simply refused to pay a gratuity based upon poor service. In the Leigh Pub case, I would suspect that a table of 8 customers would provide some pretty strong evidence of poor service - as opposed to deception. After all, the bill itself was paid in full, and the gratuity would have been around a nominal two dollars a customer. The facts would appear to support a refusal to tip based upon poor service, not a theft of those services.

If there was no written “gratuity” policy, the tip would be purely voluntary, and no criminal action could be filed based upon the refusal to pay the tip. Even where a written gratuity policy exists, it seems to be a far stretch to call the police to arrest a disgruntled customer who pays the bill, but refuses to leave a tip.

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. You can settle a bet for me. Who gets shoulder problems more often, athletes or seniors?

Athletes such as pitchers, tennis players and swimmers are especially susceptible to shoulder problems because of their repetitive overhead motions. However, shoulder problems are most likely to victimize people older than 60. You can deduce that, as a group, old athletes are at the highest risk of shoulder injury.

[Shoulder problems are so common among seniors that I am doing a two-parter on the subject. This is the first column.]

Let’s start with some anatomy.

The shoulder is the body’s most movable joint. It is also unstable because the ball of the upper arm is larger than the shoulder socket that holds it. In contrast to the hip joint, a conventional ball-and-socket, the shoulder joint is like a tee with a golf ball on it.

The unstable shoulder is held in place by soft tissue: muscles, tendons and ligaments. Tendons are cords that hold the shoulder muscles to bones. Ligaments hold the three shoulder bones to each other. The three shoulder bones are the collarbone (clavicle), the shoulder blade (scapula) and the upper arm bone (humerus).

Many shoulder injuries are caused by tissue breakdown. Common shoulder problems include dislocation, separation, torn rotator-cuff, frozen shoulder, fracture, arthritis, tendinitis and bursitis. The rotator cuff is defined as the set of muscles and tendons that secures the arm to the shoulder joint and permits the arm to rotate.

More than 7 million Americans go to a doctor with a shoulder problem each year. More than 4 million of these visits are for rotator-cuff injuries.

* Dislocation. Dislocation occurs when the ball at the top of the bone in the upper arm pops out of the socket. To treat a dislocation, a doctor pushes the ball back into the socket. Once a shoulder is dislocated, it may happen again.

* Separation. A shoulder separation occurs when the ligaments between the collarbone and the shoulder blade are torn.

* Torn rotator cuff. Age-related wear of tendons can lead to a tear. Repeated overhead motion can also damage the rotator cuff.

* Frozen shoulder. Movement is very restricted in people with a frozen shoulder. Causes of frozen shoulder are: lack of use because of pain, rheumatic disease, bands of tissue that grow in the joint, and insufficient lubricating fluid in the joint.

* Fracture. In the shoulder, a fracture or crack usually involves the collarbone or upper arm bone.

* Arthritis. The shoulder can be affected by osteoarthritis, a disease caused by wear and tear, and rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease.

* Tendinitis. In tendinitis of the shoulder, tendons become inflamed from being pinched by parts around the shoulder.

* Bursitis. The bursa is a small fluid-filled sac that helps protect the shoulder joint. If the bursa becomes inflamed, you suffer from bursitis.

[In the next column, we’ll discuss diagnosis and treatment of shoulder injuries.]

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,

I love to feed the birds during the winter months but it looks like 50% of the seeds are on the ground around the base of the feeder. I want to attract a variety of birds so I use a blended seed mix. Do you have any suggestions to keep the seeds off the ground? -Kelly

Dear Kelly,

Birds naturally look for the seeds with the most nutritional value first. In a bag of blended seeds, their favorite is the sunflower seed. If you check out a handful of seeds from the ground you will find a relatively small percentage of sunflower seeds. This means there is a lot of sorting going on to get to their favorite.

I recommend changing to 100% Black Oil Sunflower Seeds. The Black Oil seeds are small enough for the Chickadees to handle, the Cardinals love them and they attract Grosbeaks and Juncos to name a few. If they do fall on the snow, they are easily visible and some will get picked up by ground feeders.

I also like to hang suet This will attract Woodpeckers and Nuthatches, and there is very little waste. For variety you can add a tube feeder that holds just Niger seed to treat the Finches.

Sunflower seeds can be purchased without their shell and this almost totally eliminates any waste but it is quite expensive if you have an established, active feeder.

Watching birds at the feeders is an endless source of entertainment. It brings a bit of sunshine to a grey winter day and helps us all survive a snowy winter.

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


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Barnes-Kasson Corner
By Cara Sepcoskiw

No Barnes-Kasson Corner This Week

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