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Issue Home February 24, 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

JACKSON: On Monday evening, Feb. 14, the M. E. ladies aid gave a valentine social which consisted of instructive and ingenious amusements, a fish pond and refreshments. All spent a very enjoyable evening and a neat little sum was realized.

FOREST CITY: The Clifford breaker, which has stood as a towering sentinel at the North End of Main street, having outlived its usefulness, is being torn down. The breaker has been idle for about a year. The contractor has been using dynamite to dislodge some of the heavy timbers.

BROOKLYN: Considerable excitement has been caused by the refusal of the health officials of New York City to receive milk shipped from our creamery. They have been inspecting the sanitary conditions around town and some rather pointed statements have been given out. It is hoped that our school board and individuals may take immediate steps toward better sewerage. ALSO The large barn attached to the Tewksbury Hotel was demolished by the heavy weight of snow on Monday morning; fortunately there was no stock in the barn at the time of the collapse, as Mr. Tewksbury left for his farm a short time before, taking his horse with him. The horses of the guests will be cared for in the large barn of H. H. Craver’s. Mr. Tewksbury will rebuild as soon as possible.

LYNN: A. B. Sherman has purchased the farm of his father where he has lived since boyhood and is one of the best farmers in this locality.

SPRINGVILLE: There will be no commencement exercises at the Springville high school this year, as they are adding one year to the course, elevating the standard of the school accordingly. Prof. J. Lee Tiffany, the principal, has the work of elevating the high plane of the high school much at heart, and it will rank favorably with the high schools of the county.

LANESBORO: James Buckley, an aged man residing on a farm above here, died Monday morning, Feb. 21, as the result of being kicked in the face by one of his horses, Saturday. He was leading a horse with a halter when the animal suddenly turned and kicked its hoofs, striking Mr. Buckley on the jaw and fracturing it. Dr. Miller, of Susquehanna, was called to attend the injured man.

SANKEY: The pluck shown by our teacher, Miss Hazel Smith, in coming through the snow drifts Monday, will explain in part the success of our school.

SOUTH AUBURN: Mrs. T. C. Brewer is spending a short time with her son, Tracy, of Black Walnut, who was injured by the overturning of a load of witch-hazel brush that he was taking to Meshoppen.

SILVER LAKE: W. Donovan had the misfortune to freeze his ears coming home from Hallstead, Sunday last. ALSO Frank McGraw and Willie Mahoney cut ten cords of wood for M. J. Hannagan, last week.

LITTLE MEADOWS: Miss Theresa H. Shaughnessy is very busy arranging her line of spring millinery. Oh! you Easter bonnet.

ELK LAKE: Plenty of snow and it is on the move and the boys have hard times to make their Sunday calls. The ice is 36 inches thick at the Lake.

HOWARD HILL: The wood bee for the Brookdale Orphanage Thursday was well attended; they got the wood on Mrs. O. B. Howard’s farm.

FOREST LAKE: Pat Carney and lady friend took advantage of the sleighing last Sunday. He reports a good sleighing and but one serious upset with his new cutter. Watch the horse and not the lady, Pat.

NEW MILFORD: Amos Kent is getting up an autograph book of the names and date of birth of friends, having already secured names and date of birth of six hundred. Mr. Kent is 84 years of age and a fine writer for one of his age.

SUSQUEHANNA: A big ice gorge three miles above here threatens to take out the bridge connecting this place and Oakland, if the river suddenly rises. Ice is piled up to the height of 30 feet in the gorge. The county commissioners and Erie officials have been consulted, but no action has been taken. It is feared to dynamite the gorge, as it might cause the huge mass of ice to go out at once, which would prove disastrous.

HALLSTEAD: A young man named Lewis was arrested here last week for selling oleomargarine without a proper license. Special agent of the dairy and food department investigated the case and made the arrest. He represented the firm of Mitchell & Lewis of Binghamton. The case will be heard before Justice Crook at Hallstead.

MONTROSE: The afternoon passenger train on the Montrose branch of the Lehigh Valley, due here at 4 o’clock, failed to get through Wednesday afternoon, getting stalled in huge snowdrifts a short distance this side of South Montrose. Liveryman Cox was phoned for and he went down and brought the passengers and mail up in a sleigh. The train managed to back down to South Montrose, allowing the snow plow to pass, and arrived at the station about 6 o’clock Thursday morning. Much snow was encountered and the snowplow had difficulty in getting through.

HOPBOTTOM: We have had sleighing every day since Christmas. It is thought by some that the great snowstorms are intended to make up for the rain we so much needed last fall.

SOUTH MONTROSE: The mill has been temporarily shut down for a few days on account of there being no lumber on hand. A car of lumber arrived the first of the week and on Wednesday work was again resumed. From 12,000 to 14,000 trunk slats are manufactured daily and still the company cannot fill all the orders on hand.

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

Lower Merion County School District (located in Southeastern Pennsylvania) provided laptop computers to each of its 1,800 high school students. This massive public gifting of high-tech equipment was intended to enable to the students to have access to the school’s online resources. Each laptop computer also had a web camera. A dispute has arisen as to what the students knew regarding their computers, and how much control the school district continued to maintain over them even after they were given to the students.

On November 11, 2009, Blake Robbins, a high school student, was approached by the assistant principal who reprimanded him for “improper behavior at home.” According to a recent lawsuit, the principal referenced an objectionable photograph on the school-issued computer. Robbins has sued the school district on behalf of himself and each of the other 1800 students contending violations of various different statutory and common laws. Robbins alleges that the school was using the web cameras to spy on the students and their parents. In essence, the lawsuit contends: “Many of the images captured and intercepted may consist of images of minors and their parents or friends in compromising or embarrassing positions, including, but not limited to, in various stages or dress or undress.”

In response, the Superintendent of Lower Merion County School District has issued a statement denying that the computers were used to spy on students or their parents. Rather, the Superintendent contends that the web cameras came already installed as a standard accessory, not as a result of the school district requesting the installation. The Superintendent stated that the students were aware of the cameras and were free to use them for educational purposes. The Superintendent admitted that they did request the installation of anti-theft software in order to protect the school district’s investment. Apparently, this anti-theft software included a tracking device as well as the ability of the school district to use the web camera to take a picture of the user in order to identify the thief. The Superintendent indicated that the anti-theft software was not turned on unless there had been a report of a lost, stolen or misplaced laptop.

The Superintendent’s statement did not indicate whether or not this particular instance was initiated as a result of a reported stolen, lost or misplaced computer. In other words, why did the school district activate Robbins’ laptop? Did the “objectionable photograph” result from the use of the anti-theft software and web camera? If not, how did the school district find the “objectionable photograph” on the computer? The reports on the lawsuit do not make this clear.

Was this a case of an Orwellian Big Brother actively spying on students and their families? Or was this simply a school district attempting to protect a substantial investment from theft? The devil will be in the details - the facts as to how the software was utilized by the school district and how the information pertaining to Robbins was obtained.

One of the allegations in the lawsuit deals with a Wiretap Act violation, which makes it generally unlawful to intercept “any wire, electronic or oral communication” without the consent of all parties. If the school district was monitoring or intercepting electronic communications where there was some expectation of privacy, such as emails, then it could arguably have violated the Wiretap Act violation. Moreover, if the web camera also captured sound when it was activated, then this would be an unlawful intercept of oral communications - and thus a potential Wiretap Act violation.

As technology evolves, the technical safeguards that have been created to protect and safeguard our property may run afoul of constitutional and statutory protections intended to ensure our individual privacy. It will be interesting to see how this litigation works itself through the courts. In the interim, those utilizing similar technology need to be cautious as to how it is utilized.

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 68 years old and I want to know how much Vitamin D you need to be healthy.

The U.S. Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences has established Adequate Intake (AI) levels for vitamin D. The daily levels in International Units (IU) for everyone are as follows according to age: under the age of 50, 200 IU; from 50-70 years old, 400 IU; over 70 years old, 600 IU.

The recommended upper limit for vitamin D is 2,000 IU a day. Vitamin D can be toxic when taken in higher doses. Vitamin D is included in most multivitamins, usually in strengths from 50 IU to 1,000 IU. Vitamin D toxicity is rare. There is a greater risk of poisoning if you have liver or kidney conditions, or if you take some diuretics.

There are different forms of Vitamin D. The major forms - the ones important to humans - are vitamin D2 and vitamin D3.

Vitamin D2 is synthesized by plants. We get vitamin D in our diet. Very few foods in nature contain vitamin D. It is found in eggs, dairy products, fish, oysters and cod liver oil. Foods, such as milk, may be fortified with vitamin D2 or D3. Fortified foods provide most of the vitamin D in the American diet.

Vitamin D3 is synthesized in human skin when it is exposed to sunlight. About 10 minutes of daily exposure to sun is considered enough to prevent deficiencies.

Vitamin D’s primary job is to maintain normal amounts of calcium and phosphorus in your blood. Vitamin D helps keep your bones strong. Research suggests that vitamin D may protect us not only from osteoporosis (loss of bone density) but also from high blood pressure, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and psoriasis.

Populations at a high risk for vitamin D deficiencies include the elderly, obese individuals and people with limited sun exposure. Osteomalacia - also known as adult rickets - is found in older patients deficient in vitamin D. Osteomalacia causes bone and muscle weakness.

People older than 50 are at increased risk of developing vitamin D insufficiency. As people age, skin cannot synthesize vitamin D as efficiently, and the kidneys are less able to convert vitamin D to its active hormone form.

Recent studies indicate that vitamin D reduces the risk of falling, which is especially dangerous for seniors. However, to obtain the benefits of the vitamin, you must take 700 to 1000 IU a day. These studies buttress other research that has shown that vitamin D improves strength, balance and bone health in the elderly.

Each year, one third of people 65 and older, and one half of people 50 and older fall at least once. Almost one-tenth of these falls puts their victims in an emergency room. Many seniors who fall end up in nursing homes.

If you have a question, please write to

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Library Chitchat
By Flo Whittaker

Young Americans have become more and more tethered to the various forms of digital media that are available today - computers, cell phones, iPods, MP3 players. In fact, most grandparents today know if they have a problem with their computers, they should first ask their teenagers to explain how to operate them or to fix them.

A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation that received considerable press in the last month reported that young Americans often spend up to 53 hours a week using some form of electronics. Articles have been written encouraging parents to make more effort to restrict this consumption.

Let’s face it. Electronics and technology are here to stay. Even the library recognizes this fact and has included digital media in its collections. However, the library offers other alternatives, such as the reading of a good book.

Just turning off the computer, the TV or the iPod is not the answer. I would suggest you visit your local library (Montrose, Hallstead-Great Bend, Susquehanna or Forest City) with your children and explore our collection. Pick a subject that interests them and then take out some books that explore that subject in depth. My youngest son was a history buff. History does not lend itself to sound bites on the computer or the TV. The full story can only be found in the books.

Remember it is the goal of the Susquehanna County Library to be your resource for lifetime learning. Bring your children and help them to expand their minds.

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Rock Doc
By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters

More Shakin’ From The Earth

Midwesterners don’t all know they live in a region where earthquakes can strike, but they got a small reminder of that simple fact earlier this month when a 3.8 Richter scale trembler struck in northern Illinois. Let’s hope we can learn more from the event than just what the passing headlines might lead us to think about - because the center of our country is woefully under-prepared for what will come in terms of later, much larger quakes.

The little Illinois trembler puts me in a mind to remember the Big One that struck in the Midwest in the winter of 1811-1812. The quake was really four enormous events that occurred in and around what’s now Missouri over three months. Some of these mega-quakes were felt as far away as the East Coast where church bells rang! The Mississippi ran backward for a time due to the shaking and sloshing and hamlets of the area were destroyed. The shape of the land itself was changed for many square miles, some of it rising upward, some sinking downward to become swamps. The big quakes were accompanied by hundreds of small ones, and local observers said that at one point the ground simply shook almost continuously for weeks.

The monstrous events are known as the New Madrid earthquakes - the name comes from a small town leveled in one of them. Modern geologists would say their epicenters were all part of the New Madrid Seismic Zone, which is an area that falls in the neighborhood of where Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas all come together on the map. Since modern seismographs and the Richter scale itself had not been invented by 1811, there’s no way to say exactly how big the quakes were. But based on descriptions of the effects of the quakes, geologists estimate that the quakes were in the 7 to 8 range on the Richter scale - similar to or larger than what Haiti experienced earlier this winter.

(Just FYI, geologists expect areas near the epicenter of a Richter 8 quake to generally experience what is termed “total” damage. Because of the way the Richter scale works, a value of Richter 7 corresponds to a release of 31 times less energy than a Richter 8 quake, and is expected to result in mere “major” damage. And as another point of reference, of all the last century’s most deadly natural disasters the world around, about half were earthquakes - because even Richter 7s are deadly in the extreme if population is dense and buildings are made of bricks and blocks the old fashion way.)

One of the most staggering things about the New Madrid winter of 1811-1812 - staggering even to us geologists - is that there were multiple mega-quakes. Any one of the events would be a huge disaster today, affecting major cities, transportation and communication systems, small towns, rivers and levees. A full repeat of all that happened in New Madrid would be a greater disaster than anything we’ve ever seen out here along the west coast where this Rock Doc hangs her hat. Certainly the great quake in San Francisco in 1906 would pale in comparison.

A confounding factor about the New Madrid risk is that it has grown so much in the last century as population in the area grew. That’s one reason individuals in the Midwest - just like us westerners - should practice what they want their family members to do in the event of a major quake. And, in my opinion, stores of water and food are very much in order in the New Madrid Seismic Zone and the areas around it, just as they are along the Pacific Coast. The pictures on television from Haiti remind us of such facts.

We live on the outer crust of the Earth, and it’s a fragile eggshell. But you can do basic things to help yourself - and they can be useful whether you face an earthquake or, perhaps, another kind of emergency. Google “Red Cross emergency kit,” or make your own stores of basics, like this rock-head does.

Because another Big One is coming.

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 was hoping to get advice on this. I am 23 - I never had a relationship or even a real life genuine friend. So, I currently have no in-person, friends. I never went on a date or had my first kiss; I never even held hands. I never went to a prom, homecoming dance or a winter formal. I never went to a party or visited the house of someone of the opposite gender. I am not sure why this happened. How do you feel about this? -Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

Interpersonal relationships come easier to some people than others. I would suggest that you concentrate on doing things that will place you into group activities.

Get yourself involved as a volunteer. You could volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. This group is active on weekends throughout the entire United States. Find a project nearby and get yourself to the work site. You'll make friends just by showing up! You don't need any special skills, just willing hands and the desire to help. Or join the local volunteer fire company. Take a course to be an EMT. All these activities will make it easier for you to find a friend and to be a friend.

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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