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Issue Home June 9, 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

BRIDGEWATER TWP.: Rural Carrier Homer L. Smith, who uses a Buick roadster in carrying mail over his route, met with an accident near James Bunnell’s farm. Mr. Smith had damaged the steering gear in a previous accident, but thought it not of enough consequence to result seriously. While bowling along at a 20 mile-an-hour rate, the wheels got into a deep rut and a sudden swerve threw the machine from the road and sent it crashing into a telephone pole. Mr. Smith was hurled from the machine but strange to say escaped with no more serious injuries than a bad shaking up. One of the wheels had every spoke knocked out, the fenders broken and parts of the mechanism were damaged or displaced. A passing autoist took Mr. Smith over the balance of his route, delivering the mail.

BROOKDALE, LIBERTY TWP.: The Liberty school board met Monday and after organizing for the coming year, appointed teachers for the schools as follows: Brookdale, Mary E. Downs; Stanfordville, Mary Cosgriff; Lawsville, Lu B. Ruckman; Hillside, Margaret Downs; Tripp Lake, Anna Dolan, Rhiney Creek, Gertrude Southworth.

SILVER LAKE: J. J. Ryan and Co. [of Montrose] is installing five bath rooms in the Rev. J. T. Russell home at Silver Lake.

FOREST CITY: A serious fire occurred in the Northwest mine, about 3 miles below here, Monday morning, and over 50 mules were burned to death or suffocated in the underground stables, which are located between the second and third drifts in the mine. They caught fire in some unknown manner during the night. James Wilcox discovered the fire and with a fellow laborer attempted to save the animals, but was able to get out only four, being nearly suffocated in the attempt. It was feared the fierce fire would ignite the coal, but a large force of men was summoned and the flames gotten under control. The mine is owned by the Temple Coal and Iron Co. Loss placed at $12,000.

UNIONDALE: Henry C. Yarrington, aged 74 years, a native of Dundaff, died on May 30. For a number of years he conducted a photographic studio in Carbondale and for the past 8 years resided here. He served as a musician in Co. B, 143d Pa. Volunteers during the Civil War. Bearers were Dwight Mills, Charles Ellis, Milo Carpenter, Christ Stultz, John Lingfelter and Geo. Hull, members of W. H., Davis Post, G. A. R.

SOUTH GIBSON: Our grist mill is closed for the present. Our citizens hope that some one will take up the business in the near future.

LANESBORO: A band of gypsies that has been raising considerable disturbance by their thefts and lawlessness in New York State, got over the line into Pennsylvania last Friday evening and located on the Frank McKune farm near Lanesboro. State Policeman Albert Carlson and Troopers Kunz and Leithiser of the Hallstead substation and Constable Jack Palmer were notified and in less than two hours they made the 15 mile trip to the McKune farm. The band, consisting of about 50 persons, found out the troopers were after them and they pulled stakes, got into their wagons and trekked it for the State line, lashing their horses in true nomadic fashion to escape. The troopers were unable to catch up with them before they got over the border. If they had, the gypsies would have been liable to a heavy fine, as all such bands must pay a license in every county through which they pass. They stated they had unwittingly gotten to Pennsylvania, as they were enroute to New York City, and intended to keep in that state on their journey.

LITTLE MEADOWS: C. M. Garfield was appointed poor master here to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Asahel Graves.

NEW MILFORD: G. H. Lindsley has gone to Edmonton in the province of Alberta, Canada, where he will take up a homestead claim and make his future home. Mr. Lindsley sold his farm here to N. P. Darrow.

THOMPSON: The stockholders of the North Eastern Telephone Company will meet in G.A.R. Hall this week, when the financial gladiators of this section will be seen in their full strength foolishness.

SUSQUEHANNA: Joseph Dolan, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Dolan, is suffering with diphtheria. The house has been quarantined.

FAIRDALE: At the base ball game yesterday Fairdale beat Montrose 9 to 4. Fairdale has a strong aggregation.

MONTROSE: It is quite evident now that Montrose will celebrate July 4th in the usual way by going to Heart Lake. A night train will leave the lake at 11 o’clock for Montrose.

BROOKLYN: The union of Dr. Fred B. Miller and Miss Jessie Dolaway is a very pleasant consummation of a long, fervent courtship. During this time the Dr. had served a term in the Spanish war and one term in the regular army service in the Philippines and has taken a four year course in college and after graduating and entering a successful practice. They will be at home after June 10. Their many friends congratulate them that there was “no slip between the cup and the lip” and wish them a pleasant and useful voyage on life’s tempestuous sea.

PLEASANT VALLEY, AUBURN TWP.: There is to be a bee to clean the Hall at Auburn Centre, Friday, June 10and all the Grangers, Odd Fellows and Rebecca's are requested to turn out and help; also bring your baskets well filled, as they will get up a dinner for the occasion.

HOPBOTTOM: Almon E. Sweet, who came here to visit his aged mother, Mrs. Lydia M. Sweet, during her recent illness, has returned to his home in Jetmore, Kansas. Almon, who is a former resident, is a son of the late Lorenzo Sweet and was reared on the farm where his mother now lives. He returned via Dixon, Missouri, to visit his son, Merton Sweet, who is mayor of that city. Jetmore is the county seat of Hodgeman county, a thriving town at the terminal of the Jetmore branch of the Santa Fe railroad. For two terms Mr. Sweet has acceptably served Hodgeman county as sheriff, and during his residence there of 32 years he has been the leading contractor and builder and most of the public and private buildings in Jetmore were erected by him.

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

On January 10, 2000, there was a shooting outside a shopping mall in Michigan, and Samuel Morris died of multiple gunshot wounds. Van Chester Thompkins was a suspect in the shooting, but he fled Michigan immediately after the shooting and was apprehended one year later in Ohio. After he was apprehended, two Michigan police officers traveled to Ohio to interview Thompkins prior to his transport back to Michigan. At the beginning of the interview, Thompkins was presented with a written form that explained his Miranda rights, and the police officer also verbally read Thompkins his Miranda rights. Thompkins refused to sign the form.

The police officers then began an interrogation of Thompkins that lasted about 3 hours. Thompkins never told the police officers that he wanted to remain silent or that he wanted an attorney; rather, Thompkins was largely silent throughout the entire interview simply deciding not to answer any of the questions posed to him. About two hours and 45 minutes into the interview, one of the police officers posed the following question: “Do you believe in God?” According to reports, Thompkins eyes welled up with tears and he stated “yes.” He was then asked if he prayed to God, and Thompkins again responded with a “yes.” Finally, the police officer asked: “Do you pray to God to forgive you for shooting that boy down?” Thompkins responded “yes” and then looked away. Thompkins refused to provide a written confession and the interrogation ended about 15 minutes later.

Thompkins was arrested for murder and he sought to suppress his affirmative response that indicated that he prayed for forgiveness for committing the murder. Thompkins argued that he had invoked his right to remain silent through his conduct of not answering police questions for several hours. The suppression motion was denied, and Thompkins was subsequently convicted of murder. The state appellate courts refused to reverse the conviction and the state court concluded that the Thompkins rights were not violated. Eventually, the Sixth Circuit Court appeal determined that Thompkins had asserted his right to remain silent by implication of his conduct and ordered a new trial. The United States Supreme Court accepted the appeal to resolve whether a criminal defendant may assert his right to remain silent by his conduct, not his words.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court determined that Thompkins had not invoked his right to remain silent by largely not answering any questions during much of the 3-hour interview. Writing for the majority, Justice Kennedy (joined by Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito) reiterated the legal standard that the assertion of the right to remain silent must be “unambiguous.” The police are not required to engage in guess work to determine whether a criminal suspect has asserted his right to remain silent. After being informed of his rights, the criminal suspect must affirmatively indicate to the police officer that he is asserting his rights.

While this seems like a common sense rule that provides plain guidance to the police, four justices dissented and would have concluded that the prosecution failed to demonstrate that Thompkins had waived his right to remain silent. Justice Sotomayor (joined by Stevens, Ginsburg and Breyer) concluded that the fact that Thompkins refused to sign the Miranda acknowledgement evidenced the intent not to waive his rights - even if he never verbalized it. Moreover, Sotomayor also concluded that Thompkins sporadic decision to answer certain questions with short verbal or non-verbal responses did not suggest that he was waiving his right to remain silent.

As I have stated in prior columns, Miranda is a judicially-created procedural tool deigned to assure that criminal defendants understand their rights prior to custodial interrogations. The majority drew a bright line - after a defendant has been advised or his or her rights, a defendant must affirmatively assert those rights to terminate a questioning. This is a common sense approach that provides easy guidance to police officers. The dissent would have created a difficult situation for police officer that would have required them to engage in speculation and guesswork when questioning criminal suspects. From a law enforcement perspective, this recent decision was an important one and the majority plainly got it right.

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 69 years old and I’m considering surgery for obesity. Am I too old for this?

There is no upper age limit for this type of surgery. However, the procedure is riskier for anyone older than 65.

Obesity surgery - also known as bariatric surgery - limits your food intake. Some operations also restrict the amount of food you can digest. It is designed for men who are at least 100 pounds overweight and women at least 80 pounds overweight.

Surgery is an extreme measure for people who can’t lose weight through normal diet and exercise. Recent studies suggest that this kind of surgery may reduce death rates for the obese.

Now for some anatomy.

When we swallow, food moves down the esophagus to the stomach, where a strong acid continues the digestive process. The contents of the stomach contents move to the duodenum, the first segment of the small intestine. In the duodenum, bile and pancreatic juice speed digestion.

The jejunum and ileum, the remaining two segments of the nearly 20 feet of small intestine, complete the absorption of almost all calories and nutrients. The food particles that cannot be digested in the small intestine are stored in the large intestine until eliminated.

There are four kinds of obesity surgery that are used in the USA:

Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass reduces food intake and absorption. This is the most common obesity surgery. In gastric bypass surgery, the stomach is divided into two parts. Food is rerouted from the smaller upper part of the stomach, called the pouch, to the small intestine. Food no longer travels through the remaining part of the stomach.

Adjustable Gastric Band limits food intake with a band around the top of the stomach. The size of the restriction can be adjusted with a circular balloon inside the band.

Duodenal Switch removes a large portion of the stomach, reroutes food away from much of the small intestine and also reroutes digestive juices.

Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy involves removing a large portion of the stomach and creating a tubular gastric sleeve. The smaller stomach sleeve remains connected to a very short segment of the duodenum, which is then directly connected to a lower part of the small intestine. This operation leaves a small portion of the duodenum available for food and the absorption of some vitamins and minerals.

Obesity surgery may be done through a traditional abdominal opening or by laparoscopy, which requires only a half-inch incision. The surgeon uses the small incision to insert instruments and a camera that transmits images to a television. Most bariatric surgery today is done laparoscopically.

Many people who have bariatric surgery lose weight quickly. If you follow diet and exercise recommendations, you can keep most of the weight off. The surgery has risks and complications including infections, hernias and blood clots.

One study of bariatric surgery showed that patients lost an average of 61 percent of their excess weight. In addition to weight loss, these patients earned the health benefits that go with it. More than 7 out of 10 patients with diabetes, elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure improved so much that they needed less or no treatment for their conditions.

If you have a question, please write to

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Library Chitchat
By Flo Whittaker

Goals are important. The Susquehanna County Library’s board and staff have set their sights on accomplishing a major goal - the building of a new main library building in Montrose. For several years now, there has been an ongoing effort to raise money for this project. The Montrose School District has generously deeded to the Library a building lot, adjacent to the high school. Many have given and continue to give, but, much more is needed.

If you don’t live in Montrose or environs, you may be asking yourself, “why should I be concerned about this project?” The main library in Montrose is the “mother ship” of the entire library system. In addition to the main library, all administrative functions, the county-wide Outreach Department, and the Historical Society are located in that more than 103 year old, red brick building on the Green. More space is greatly needed.

Last year, the Library sponsored its first Library Lotto drawing - an opportunity for community members to help us reach our goal, while offering each participant the opportunity to win up to $50,000. Again this year, only 2,000 tickets are being sold. If all the tickets are sold, $148,000 in prizes will be distributed. Tickets are still available.

You can pick up an application at any of the four libraries in the County or download it from our website at Dreams are important. We invite you to help us reach our goal and, perhaps, to follow your dream, too.

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Rock Doc
By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters

A Threat To The World’s Wheat

If you like eating hotcakes or bread (or my own personal favorite, huckleberry muffins), you might want to pay attention to a problem that’s looming over wheat worldwide. It’s a new type of “stem rust” caused by a fungus that cripples wheat plants.

Throughout history, stem rusts have created major famines. Even in the United States, wheat harvests in parts of the country were hit hard by stem rust in 1903, 1905 and 1950-1954. Localized outbreaks affected American wheat as recently as 1985-1986.

Throughout the 20th century, agronomists bred better wheat to be more resistant to a variety of fungal threats. They were successful - score a big one for science.

But out there in the wheat fields, there’s always an arms race afoot. As the agronomists did their job, fungus was shaped by random mutations and natural selection. When those two natural forces combined to create a fungus that could successfully live on the new wheat varieties, then the fungus came roaring back in the fields. Score one for natural evolutionary forces and stem rust.

In Ethiopia and Uganda in 1998 and 1999, a new type of stem rust was identified, one we can informally call Ug99 although its technical name is a tad longer. The new rust can live on most varieties of wheat grown in the world, and it can bring up to 100 percent crop loss. (That’s not a typo.)

The rust has spread on the winds to Yemen, north to Sudan, and now quite possibly to Iran. There’s some evidence it’s becoming more virulent as it spreads. Next it’s likely to move to Pakistan and Afghanistan, and from there onwards to China. In time it will cross the Pacific, perhaps on the clothes and shoes of people, perhaps via air currents.

“The good news is that in the developed world farmers can afford to spray fungicide to combat rusts like Ug99,” Dr. Tim Murray of Washington State University said to me recently. “But that’s not true in other parts of the world where farmers rely solely on resistance in the variety of wheat they plant.”

To put it another way, in the developing world, there’s a real risk of famine. Major breadbaskets and population centers of the world, including Pakistan, India and China, could be hit hard.

Breeding in resistance to Ug99 in wheat is, in the long run, the cheapest way to give wheat the upper hand in the current arms race. Scientific crop breeders do exactly that sort of work all the time, working to understand plant disease and improve crop plants. Depending on a variety of factors, crops can be improved via simple selection, hybridization, or through genetic engineering. The total effect of scientific breeding on crop plants is one of the reasons that global agricultural productivity skyrocketed in the 20th century and is still doing so today.

But Ug99 has some advantages over science. Part of its life cycle occurs each year in a bush called barberry - an “alternate host” for the rust. That gives the Ug99 a place to survive and flourish, quite apart from wheat.

And on barberry leaves, the rust spores reproduce sexually, which means they become more varied than in their non-sexual reproduction on wheat. Being more varied is an advantage if you are a population of rust in a life-and-death arms race and a single spore that’s virulent to a strain of wheat will allow your next generation to survive and flourish.

Also to the advantage of the fungus is that, in warm weather, it grows quickly and creates a new generation every ten days or so. That gives the fungus a chance for a new set of mutations, on which natural selection can work.

But scientific wheat breeders have one enormous advantage - their smarts. And they are working diligently to try to resist the rising tide of Ug99 in the fields half way around the world from where I write.

We must hope they will be successful, not for the sake of my own personal huckleberry muffins - but for the very lives of the poor of the world.

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,

My Dad found a baby bird and I was just wondering, what are some basics of taking care of one? We already gave it water but it doesn't really seem to like to eat bread. What kind of food should we give it? Is there a certain temperature we should keep it at? How many times do we feed it a day? Thanks. -Maly

Dear Maly,

It depends on the type of baby bird and its age. If the bird is old enough to have feathers and is a baby Robin, you can feed it earth worms. If you don't have access to a garden or lawn to dig your own, you can buy worms at a bait store. Room temperature is a safe bet as birds live outside in all climates.

For future reference - when you see a baby bird out of it's nest, there is a good chance mama bird is close by. She will still feed and care for her young. Birds commonly leave the nest before they are able to fly. For the best outcome, leave the baby bird alone and let the mother take care of it.

If you find a bird without feathers, find the nest and put the bird back in. Human scent on a baby bird will not make the parents abandon the nest, contrary to popular belief.

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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