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Issue Home May 26, 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

FOREST CITY: Forest City is getting some notoriety from down-the-valley newspapers which allege that the youthful inhabitants of this place act like a lot of imps throwing sticks, stones and dirt at automobilists and otherwise disporting themselves in an unbecoming manner. Our boys are probably no better or worse than the average lusty, strong lunged and limbed, untamed youngsters of other towns, but there is no use dodging the fact that too much “rope” is given them by local custodians of law and order. We do not desire a bunch of starched and prinked little “mamma’s angels,” for there is as much real maliciousness, if not as much mischief, in the little Lord Fauntleroy ilk, when mamma isn’t looking, as in the more untrammeled children. The youngsters should, however, be taught to have a decent respect for other people’s rights. We have a chief of police and no dearth of specials. The burgess might instruct his officers that the sole purpose of investing them with a star is not that they may use it as a passport to nickelettes and other places of amusement, nor even that they may make arrests. The chief and his “specials” can, if they will, have a deterrent effect on the boisterous conduct of the children, without doing them the injury of locking them up.

SOUTH GIBSON: Decoration Day will be observed here. The services in the forenoon will be conducted at Manzer cemetery. The Ladies’ Aid will serve one of their famous 25 cent dinners, veal potpie with all the good things of the season. Our band and choir are preparing to give us some fine music.

BRACKNEY: The “Democrat” has apologized for the appearance of the “fake” meteorite article of last week. The story created a great deal of interest and comment, and was none the less interesting for its having turned out a “fairy story.”

MONTROSE: An electric motor is soon to be installed in the Presbyterian church to pump the large pipe organ. A storage battery will be used during the daytime, when the plant is not running, Montrose not having an all day service.

NEW MILFORD: The Phinney Hotel was sold at trustee’s sale, on Tuesday, by F. B. Jewett to Frank W. Tennant, of Clark’s Summit. The hotel was purchased by Philander Phinney in 1857 and until the present time has been run continuously by father and son. Mr. Phinney, in his will, gave instructions to sell.

SUSQUEHANNA: Shortly after 9, Thursday morning, an operator in the exchange of the Susquehanna Telephone and Telegraph Company, discovered flames and smoke issuing from the roof of the Blue Ridge Manufacturing Company’s plant. She telephoned to the offices of the Blue Ridge Company and told them of the fire. An alarm was turned in but the alarm was out of order. A telephone call was sent to the engine rooms at the Erie shops and the alarm sounded, and the fire was extinguished in short order. The fire is thought to have originated from a defective chimney.

HARFORD: Watson Jeffers died at his home on May 12. He was 79 years of age. Mr. Jeffers was born in Harford and always resided in that place. He was a farmer by occupation and was always deeply interested in the affairs of the town; he was connected with the Harford Fair for 21 years; he was instrumental in establishing the [railroad] station at Kingsley and was president of the society which made possible the centennial of 1890, which commemorated the settlement of the Nine Partners in Harford. He was for many years closely associated with the work of the Congregational church and considered one of the most prominent and influential citizens of the town.

HEART LAKE: As the L & M was making the down trip Sunday evening, when near a curve below here, the vigilant engineer, “Jack” Spence, as the train was bowling along at a good clip, detected something on the track ahead, and by quick use of the brakes brought the engine to a stop just before some old ties, which had been placed upon the tracks, were reached. DL&W detectives thought that an attempt had been made to wreck the train but a solution of the mystery was soon brought about, when it was found that a young boy of the neighborhood had placed the obstruction upon the track and readily admitted it all, but seemed to little realize his grave act. Later the boy’s parents declare that their son, who is only 13 years old, was with them from 10 in the morning till 6 at night, that day, and the boy now declares that he was scared by threats into saying he did it, but that he had nothing to do with it.

BROOKLYN: The Merchants Telephone Company, who lately bought out the local company of Ely & Rogers, are having troubles of their own to care for it. The Bell Telephone Company bought a line with two pair of lines, of G. H. Terry, which gives them connection via. Nicholson and Lindaville, to the long distance points and they propose to establish an exchange in the home of Mrs. Gertie Peckham on Maple Street.

THOMPSON: Mrs. Samuel Hubbard, who has been unable to walk for some weeks, was wrapped and put in a wagon and taken to the home of her daughter, yesterday.

BROOKDALE, LIBERTY TWP.: Rev. Preston Kennedy, of Binghamton, expects to be at the Orphanage at Brookdale for services next Sunday morning and evening.

AUBURN TWP.: It is rumored that a portion of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Indians got strayed from the original tribe and made a stampede over Jennings Hill on Sunday afternoon last, with wild yells, making one think greatly of colonial days.

JACKSON: Mrs. LaVere Marsh is just alive and William Holmes is expected to live but a short time.

FLYNN: The choir at St. John’s church, although composed of very young girls, does very nicely and in short time will be fine, as they have the right kind of mettle in them to succeed.

NEWS BRIEF: For the transportation of all honorably discharged Pennsylvania soldiers who fought at Gettysburg, to Gettysburg and return, so that they may be present at the dedication of the Pennsylvania monument on Sept. 27, $10,000 has been appropriated. The monument will contain the names on bronze tablets of all Pennsylvania soldiers who fought at Gettysburg.

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

Several years ago, the United States Supreme Court determined that the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment prohibited a juvenile offender from being sentenced to death. It was only a matter of time until the next question appeared before the court: What about life sentences for juvenile offenders? The Court has now answered that question as well - no life sentences for juvenile offenders for non-homicide offenses.

In a 6-3 decision, the United States Supreme Court vacated the life sentence of a 17-year old Florida juvenile who had been convicted of a home invasion robbery. The juvenile offender had a prior violent offense as a 16-year old. As a result of committing the second violent offense while on probation, the Florida judge sentenced the juvenile to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The Supreme Court determined that sentencing a juvenile offender for a non-homicide offense to a life sentence without parole violated the juvenile offender’s constitutional rights.

In making its decision, the majority engaged in some now familiar judicial maneuvering relying upon things such as the prevailing “national consensus” as well as principles of international law. First, as to the consensus, the majority determined that there were less than 200 juvenile offenders serving life sentences in 10 different states for non-homicide cases. Based upon those facts, the Court determined that there was a strong national consensus against life imprisonment for juvenile offenders for non-homicide offenses.

Second, the majority relied upon an international treaty that prohibited life imprisonment for juvenile offenders. The fact that the United States has never signed this treaty did not stop the majority from relying upon it. Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority, reasoned as follows: “The court has treated the laws and practices of other nations and international agreements as relevant to the Eighth Amendment not because those norms are binding or controlling but because the judgment of the world's nations that a particular sentencing practice is inconsistent with basic principles of decency demonstrates that the court's rationale has respected reasoning to support it.” In other words, the fact that the duly elected representatives of the State of Florida determined that this punishment for a juvenile offender was appropriate does not weigh nearly as significantly in the Court’s mind as the fact that a similar punishment is not permitted in other countries, such as say Venezuela.

Chief Justice Roberts joined the majority but not on very limited ground. Roberts did not join in the consensus or international treaty reasoning. He simply opined that in the facts of this specific case, the life sentence was not appropriate and violated the Eighth Amendment. Roberts took the view that these sentences should be reviewed individually based upon well-established sentencing considerations to determine if this particular juvenile offender required a life sentence, i.e., nature of the offense, prior history of the offender, potential for rehabilitation and other factors a sentencing judge needs to consider before crafting any sentence.

Finally, the Justice Thomas (joined by Scalia and Alito) dissented strongly and objected to the consensus reasoning and the reliance upon a treaty that the United States specifically refused to sign. As to the consensus argument, Thomas reasoned that the fact that a life sentence is rarely imposed against a juvenile for a non-homicide offense only suggests that it should be reserved for special cases - not that there is a consensus that it should never be imposed. Second, as to international law, Thomas concluded that foreign laws and foreign sentencing practices are simply not relevant to a determination as to what the United States Constitution means.

Thomas predicted that this latest ruling would simply open the floodgates for more litigation over the length of sentences for juvenile offenders - and what sentences meet the majority’s amorphous sense of decency. There are approximately 2,000 juveniles serving life sentences for homicides that were not included in this ruling. And just so we are clear - that unsigned international treaty also prohibits life sentences for homicides committed by juveniles. What do you think is going to happen next?

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

[This is the second of two columns on the methods of Robin McKenzie.]

Like millions of people who suffer back pain, I rely on a system developed by Robin McKenzie, a physiotherapist in New Zealand.

Since I was 30 years old, I have hurt my lower back many times. Eventually, I suffered from sciatica, a toothache-like pain that runs down my left buttock to my ankle. This is caused by a bulging lumbar disc.

I tried physiatrists, chiropractors and physical therapists. Then I was given a copy of Treat Your Own Back written by McKenzie. Since then, I have not been to any type of healthcare professional for help.

McKenzie discovered the principle of his system by accident. He told a patient to lie face down on a treatment table. But the end of the table had been raised for a previous patient. Unnoticed by any of the clinical staff, the patient lay face down with his back arched and overstretched for about five minutes.

When McKenzie returned, he was extremely concerned to find the patient lying in what, at the time, was considered to be a very damaging position. However, the patient told McKenzie that he felt great.

Because of this incident, the McKenzie system is now used by thousands of doctors, physiotherapists and chiropractors treating patients with back pain.

To take care of yourself, you have to understand the importance of that inward curve in the small of your back. This hollow is called the lumbar lordosis. You lose the lordosis when sitting or lying improperly and bending forward. Back problems develop when you eliminate the curvature for long periods.

It is essential that you read the entire book before attempting any of the exercises that are only summarized below. The McKenzie system is more extensive than just exercise, but reading about the exercises should give you a better understanding of the system.

There are seven exercises in the program. The first four are extension (bending backward), and the remaining three are flexion (bending forward) exercises.

1. Lie face down with arms at sides and head to one side. Take deep breaths and relax for a few minutes.

2. Lie face down and place your elbows under your shoulders so that you lean on your forearms. Stay in this position a few minutes.

3. Remain face down. Place your hands under your shoulders. Lift your head and torso off the floor by straightening your arms. Hold for a few seconds. Do not raise your lower body.

4. Stand upright with your feet slightly apart. Place the palms of your hands in the small of your back with your fingers pointed at your spine. Bend your trunk backward at the waist as far as you can. Keep your knees straight. Hold for a second or two. (This is my favorite exercise. I do it whenever my back feels tired.)

5. Lie on your back with knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Using your hands, bring your knees to your chest. Hold for a second or two.

6. Sit on a chair with your feet well apart. Let your hands rest between your legs. Bend your trunk forward and touch the floor. Return to the starting position.

7. Stand upright with your feet apart and knees straight. Bend forward and run your fingers down your legs as far you can reach. Return to standing position.

For more information, go to:

If you have a question, please write to

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Library Chitchat
By Flo Whittaker

Now is the time to consider getting your children involved in the Susquehanna County Library’s Summer Reading program - a program designed for children from infancy to 18. I have learned that this year will be somewhat “wet and wild.”

The 2010 Summer Reading Program has two levels: a program for younger children called “Make a Splash at Your Library” and a program for teens called “Make Waves at Your Library.” What young person can resist programs with a water theme? In fact, I understand that the agenda for the Summer Reading program includes a fishing trip and an end of summer event at the New Milford pool.

Summer Reading programs are available at the Library’s three branches (Susquehanna, Hallstead-Great Bend, and Forest City) and at the main library in Montrose. Contact your local librarian soon to find out when the programs start and how you can be involved. Remember studies show that children can experience a learning loss of as much as 22% during their time out of the classroom. Regular reading during the summer can help to mitigate this loss.

As I have suggested in the past, making visits to the library part of your summer activities can benefit both you and your children. Taking time to select a book and to read or re-read and discuss it together is a good experience for the whole family. Of course, you, too, might find just the perfect book for yourself as well. Remember the Susquehanna County Library is your resource for lifetime learning.

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Rock Doc
By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters

Turning Thirty At Mount St. Helens

The time has surely flown by for me.

Thirty years ago I was a very young woman, really just a kid, living downwind of Mount St. Helens on the beautiful Sunday on which she tore herself apart. This was in the days before the Internet and even before 24/7 cable news, so our first clue the mountain had erupted catastrophically was when we were enveloped in a dense and dark ash cloud.

Even us hayseeds knew we were seeing history unfold. Quite likely the personal path that led me to study geology was sketched somewhere in my unconscious mind in the gathering gloom of that day. I suspect that geologic catastrophes are large enough you either run away from them or, if you are perhaps a bit deranged, feel drawn toward them. I’ve always been in the second camp, wondering what powerful display of mighty forces the Earth will next show us - and whether we will survive.

But what I remember most clearly about that midday was simply the great challenge of breathing while walking to the safety of home. I breathed through a mitten left over from winter that was jammed in my coat pocket. (In those days, many of us still used mittens made at home by grandmothers. We should have treasured them more than we did.) The loosely knitted mitten didn’t help filter the air that much, and the fine ash made it into my nose and mouth and down into my lungs enough to make me cough and hack.

During the past 30 years, there have been, to be sure, some more minor eruptions of steam, ash and lava in the crater left behind by the catastrophic blast.

But there’s been another “eruption” at Mount St. Helens in the years since 1980. In ways that many biologists would not have guessed were possible, life itself has erupted in abundance, re-colonizing what was a seemingly barren moonscape left behind the day that had me digging for mittens in my coat pocket.

First in the story of rebirth were the survivors themselves. The month of May around Mount St. Helens is snowy in many areas. So some pocket gophers and deer mice, snuggled into burrows underground and under the snow, survived the great blast. The gophers, in particular, tunneled as they ate their way through roots and bulbs, pushing up good earth through the snow and volcanic ash to the surface - providing small plots of bedding material for wind-blown seeds to come.

Also buried by snow were small young fir trees, flexible enough they were prone to the ground all winter. Some of them straightened, breaking through the ash layer, and poking above the surface of the moonscape as one of the first signs of how quickly life might return to the mountain.

Then there were the plants and animals that came into the barren zone as colonizers. One of the first was the purple lupine, a fine flowering plant familiar to all alpine hikers. It, and the microorganisms that live with its roots, added nitrogen to the volcanic ash. This helped other plants take root as well. The pocket gophers had more roots and bulbs to eat - so more pocket gophers lived to breed. Mice and gophers attracted those that eat them: birds of prey and coyotes.

None of this change has been steady. It’s been a cycle of boom and bust for many different species. Mother Nature isn’t sweet and gentle in her care for creation - that’s a fuzzy myth we carry in our heads sometimes. But nature surely is fertile. That’s nowhere more clear than in the large lake that lies at the foot of the mountain, that was once a toxic soup and is now a source of prime nutrients that are spreading to the land around it.

Remember the little evergreens that survived because they were so small they were lying flat under the snows? Today those trees have grown to the point they are producing seeds. They are in the fullness of early adult life (I do so wish I could say the same).

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 Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource 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,

Every year I plant hanging baskets on my porch. They look really good until I forget to water them for a couple of days. They get droopy, but perk up when I water them. The problem is, even though they perk up, they don't ever look really fantastic again. The stems get woody and they flower less. Do you have any hints that will keep my baskets looking good all summer? -Bonnie

Dear Bonnie,

Hanging baskets are one of my weaknesses. I walk through greenhouses and just marvel at the beauty over my head. You're right though, they require a lot of water and care. They are worth the effort, but just one hot, dry, windy day and the neglect can ruin the look for the rest of the summer.

I found a solution in the disposable diaper isle at the supermarket. The smallest night-time disposable diapers are the answer.

Start with the largest empty hanging basket you can find. Aim for the gallon size as it will hold more soil. Take a night time diaper and soak it in a bucket of water for 10 minutes or until it is "stuffed sausage" full.

Put the full, soggy, diaper in the bottom of your hanging basket, fill the basket to the top with good pre-mixed potting soil along with a slow release fertilizer. Mix well and water thoroughly.

Now add your plants and water them in. You will have to work around the diaper but the plants will adapt.

You will still need to water your plants regularly but the diaper will provide a reservoir of moisture that will save your flowers on the days you forget.

Remember your hanging baskets are heavy feeders. They need a liquid fertilizer feeding, at least once a month. Keep the spent flowers dead headed and clip any damaged stems.

The diapers can be reused - I am on my 4th year with some of them. Be sure to replace the potting soil every year. Use the old soil in your flower beds, garden, or add it to your compost bin. Next spring just soak the diaper again and you're good to go!

Window boxes, urns, and other outdoor planters are good candidates for the same technique.

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

No Earth Talk This Week

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Barnes-Kasson Corner
By Cara Sepcoskiw

No Barnes-Kasson Corner This Week

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