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Issue Home July 28, 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

AUBURN/SOUTH MONTROSE: John West, of Auburn, while a short distance below South Montrose, had his horse frightened by an automobile driven by Dr. Norris. The horse whirled completely around, throwing Mr. West out and tearing to the scalp a gaping wound. His clothes were nearly torn off and he also suffered a number of painful bruises. Dr. Norris took the injured man to the home of his brother in law, A. I. Lake, sewing up the scalp and making him as comfortable as possible. He is recovering and in a short time will be none the worse, it is hoped, for the thrilling experience.

GREAT BEND: The borough council has purchased two tons of granulated calcium chloride to be used on the town’s main street to protect the people from dust. Its simple property when applied to a road is that it immediately absorbs enough water from the air and holds that water to keep the road moist and dustless. In addition to laying the dust it has another and even greater commercial value in preserving the road from wear.

MONTROSE: On Wednesday evening Floyd Cole, of Union, N.Y., presided at the piano at the Cnic (theatre), delighting the patrons with a number of up-to-date selections and a sprinkle of old favorites. He also sang and received hearty applause. The night before Harvey M. Birchard’s orchestra gave an excellent program of music. It is Mr. Caruso’s purpose to present only the class of pictures, which are instructive. The prize fight kind is not to appear at the Cnic. ALSO The Consumers Water Co. presented to Pope & Stroud, a large bill for watering their horses at the public watering trough. The water therefore being paid for by the borough for public use - the bill of the company was promptly rejected. Then Messrs. Pope & Stroud presented their bill to the Water Co. for four carloads of coal furnished it. The bill was refused. The matter was placed in the hands of an attorney, who succeeded in securing a prompt and satisfactory settlement.

TUNKHANNOCK: The following appeared in a Richmond, Va. Paper recently under a cut of Guy Titman, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Titman, of Tunkhannock. “Guy Titman is the big fellow who plays some game for the Colts out in right garden. Guy is considered one of the fastest men in the Virginia State league when it comes to running. The way he runs around those sacks you would think he was Ty Cobb. He is batting at a fast gait and will soon be in faster company. Titman has been playing in this league ever since it started and is a favorite all around the circuit.

BENNETT CORNERS, LENOX TWP.: Last Sunday the tenant house on George Conrad’s farm burned to the ground with all its contents. The house was occupied by Stanley Emmons and wife. They had gone to visit his father, who lives a short distance away, and were too late to save anything. It was a complete loss, as there was no insurance on either building or contents. The loss falls heavily on Mr. Emmons, as he was keeping house but a short time.

BRANT: Charles Gulkis, aged 19 years, was killed by a D & H train on Sunday afternoon about 6 p.m. and Ruby Gulkis and Reuben Sinorsi, aged 17 and 20 years, respectively, were both injured. The three young men, who came from Philadelphia to work in the Brandt hat factory, had been swimming, and returning walked the D & H tracks. Stepping out of the way of a south-bound train they were struck by a north-bound freight, which they did not see or hear until too late to avoid it. Charles Gulkis was killed instantly, he being decapitated. His brother had his skull fractured and suffered internal injuries. He is now confined in the Barnes Memorial Hospital at Susquehanna, and it is believed he will recover. Sinorsi’s injuries were not serious, and after being treated at the hospital he was discharged on Tuesday.

LANESBORO: Silas Youngs had a thrilling experience with a rattlesnake in his yard on Wednesday evening of last week that will linger in his dreams for some time to come. He discovered a four-foot rattler on his lawn and went after it with a garden rake. He was too anxious to kill the reptile striking a terrific blow. The handle broke in two, Mr. Youngs falling directly on the snake. His quick moves in recovering, before the rattler had a chance to strike, kept him from being bitten. His next blow at the snake was sure and did the business. He is exhibiting a fine skin in evidence.

SUSQUEHANNA: General Frederick D. Grant, son of the late Ulysses S. Grant, was here for a short time Sunday morning. General Grant and his party arrived in a private car over the Erie, being enroute to New York from a trip through the west. He was accompanied by his wife and a number of servants. Although several newspaper men attempted to get an interview, the General refused an audience.

HOP BOTTOM: Will some of our correspondents tell us when dog days [of summer] commence and when they end?

HEART LAKE: “Herzheim,” a pretty cottage on the lakefront, is jubilant this week with merriment, it being occupied by a large party of young folks from Binghamton, chaperoned by Mr. and Mrs. P. Terrell, of that city. On Sunday the “Herzkeim” bunch entertained for the day the following Montrosers - Misses Anna and Helen Caswell and Messrs. Lloyd Calby, Leon Kelly and George Finn.

FOREST LAKE: Frank Chalker has gone to the huckleberry mountains.

EAST ARARAT: The Cobb and Allen reunion will be held in J. M. Borden’s grove, Aug. 3.

BROOKLYN: C. F. Watrous’ automobile is proving a great convenience to our town people. He takes picnic parties and fishermen on excursions nearly every day.

NICHOLSON: Crock & Driggs, recently fumigated their gristmill killing off thousands of insects, worms mice, rats, toads and other vermin, at a cost of $30. Cyanide of Potash and Sulphuric Acid were used, which made a gas which killed every living thing in the building, and the result of which was very pleasing to the proprietors.

NEWS BRIEFS: The hail, which accompanied the severe thunderstorms of Wednesday evening, did considerable damage to the crops. Windows in residences were broken in numerous instances by the unusually large hailstorms. A “Rumortoid” - I'm sure all of you are familiar with the word "factoid." Well then, the opposite of that must be the word "rumortoid." I heard a rumor that when the new library is built, they plan to knock down this wonderful old building. There's not a bit of truth to this rumor, in fact, this wonderful old building will be the Susquehanna County Museum and Historical Society, and the genealogical research library.

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

I have heard people call Social Security a Ponzi scheme. For those who are not familiar with the term, a Ponzi scheme refers to a financial investment scam where the investor uses money from new investors to pay off old investors. In other words, the money is not invested and the ability to pay off old investors depends upon constantly suckering new investors to depart with their cash in order to sustain the continually growing number of prior investors who expect a return on their investment. A Ponzi scheme will unravel when the number of new investors shrinks to a level where it cannot support the payouts to the old investors. Ponzi schemes require fraudulent and deceptive promises in order to induce new investors to part with their capital. If people knew what was going on, they would never give up their money to be part of the crazy scheme.

Social Security is similar to a Ponzi scheme in that it depends on new investors putting enough money into the program to pay off older investors. In other words, the money has not been invested in a manner that allows for the contributions of older investors to pay their benefits independent on capital from new investors. But social security is not a Ponzi scheme because we all know how it works (or doesn’t work). While there are slick politicians out there talking about how Social Security will always be around - the reality is staring us in the face that this program will implode on itself when the pool of new investors (working taxpayers) shrinks and the number of older investors (retired taxpayers) continues to grow. To put it another way, the new investors know that they are putting their money into a sinking ship and that there is little prospect that the money will ever be seen again.

Of course, we don’t have a choice - the government mandates that we invest a certain portion of our income into the Social Security program. Even though we know that we are investing in a Ponzi scheme, we cannot stop contributing, we cannot save our money and invest it somewhere else, and we are held financially hostage by our own government.

To its credit, the government is very candid about its own inability to manage the Social Security Trust Fund in a manner that protects our investments. In the Social Security statement that I received this year, the cover page contained the following language: “In 2016 we will begin paying more benefits than we collect in taxes.” In other words, the doomsday for Social Security is right around the corner and the Ponzi pyramid is crumbling - commitments to old investors will exceed what new investors are putting into the system.

The statement goes even further with its rosy forecast: “[B]y 2037 the Social Security Trust Fund will be exhausted and there will be enough money to pay only about 76 cents for each dollar of scheduled benefits.” This is not exactly the best sales pitch to encourage people to trust you with investing their hard earned money. Would you select a financial advisor who promised you that they were going to run out of money and you would probably have to take less than you invested? You would have to be crazy to do it - but as taxpayers this is exactly what we are doing to with our money.

When I reviewed my statement, I saw that I have been making contributions into the system since I was 13 years old when I worked for a summer on my father’s milk truck. After 26 years of continual contributions, I (and my employer) have invested a fairly substantial amount of money toward my Social Security benefits, and that amount will grow significantly over the next 30 years of my work life. Based upon the government’s projections, I will not even be eligible for full Social Security benefits by the date that the program runs out of money in 2037 - so I know now that I will be receiving reduced benefits, if I receive any at all. Given life expectancies and the increasing eligibility age for benefits, I know that I will never get the money back that I invested into the program - let alone receive any return on that investment.

I guess people who call Social Security a Ponzi scheme are close to the target - except none of us can ever claim that we were deceived. The government tells us every year how little money is left and how the program is failing - and we simply keep contributing to it because we have no choice.

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. Should I take minerals?

It’s important to talk with your doctor before you take mineral pills, especially if you take prescription medicines, have any health problems or are elderly. Taking too much of a mineral can cause problems with some medical tests or interfere with drugs you’re taking.

Minerals are “micronutrients” your body needs in small but steady amounts. Your body can't make most micronutrients, so you must get them elsewhere.

Minerals come from the earth or from water. Plants and animals absorb them to get nutrients. The “major minerals” are calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, sulfur and chloride. They are considered major minerals because adults need them in large amounts.

The “trace minerals” are chromium, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and zinc. Your body needs them in smaller amounts.

Whole foods are your best sources of minerals. It would be hard to “overdose” on minerals that you get from the foods you eat. But if you take supplements, you can easily take too much.

Q. Aren't some people making a bit too much out of second-hand smoke?

Secondhand smoke - also called environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) - is made up of the “sidestream” smoke from the end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar, and the “mainstream” smoke that is exhaled.

Nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke absorb the same 4,000 chemical compounds that smokers do. More than 60 of these compounds are known or suspected to cause cancer.

Each year, in the United States alone, secondhand smoke is responsible for about 40,000 deaths from heart disease, and about 3,000 lung-cancer deaths.

Secondhand smoke causes increased cardiovascular risks by damaging blood vessels, decreasing your ability to exercise and altering blood cholesterol levels.

Some research indicates that people exposed to a spouse's cigarette smoke for several decades are about 20 percent more likely to have lung cancer. Those who are exposed long-term to secondhand smoke in the workplace or social settings may increase their risk of lung cancer by about 25 percent.

Q. You never hear about lumbago anymore. Has it been cured?

Lumbago is lower back pain. The song is just about ended, but the malady lingers on.

Back pain affects about 8 out of 10 people. Back pain is more common among people who are not physically fit. Weak back and abdominal muscles may not properly support the spine. If you’re sedentary most of the time and then exert yourself on rare occasions, you are more likely to injure your back than someone who exercises daily.

If you’re carrying a big belly, you put added stress on the muscles in your low back and are a candidate for agony.

Some back pain, including disc disease, may spring from your genes. Race can have an influence, too. African-American women, for example, are two to three times more likely than white women to develop spondylolisthesis, a condition in which a bone - vertebra - of the lower spine slips out of place.

Your job can be a major influence on back health. If your work requires heavy lifting or sitting all day, you risk hurting your back. Many sanitationmen and writers suffer from back troubles.

Mechanical problems can cause back pain. Perhaps the most common mechanical cause of back pain is disc degeneration. The cushioning discs between the vertebrae of the spine break down with age. If there is stress on these compromised discs, they press against spinal nerves and you may experience what feels like a toothache in a buttock. At almost any age, an injury can force these discs to bulge or rupture causing the same kind of pain.

If you have a question, please write to

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Library Chitchat
By Flo Whittaker

We would like to remind county residents that the Susquehanna County Library has a large collection of DVD’s and video tapes available that can be borrowed for free. The fee instituted early this year has been eliminated.

You can have a family movie night with items from our collection. If you don’t yet have a DVD player and use a video cassette player, we still have many titles available in the video tape format. All newer releases are only on DVD. Patrons can take out these items for a period of two weeks, but they may be renewed if no other patron is waiting. Overdue fines are still $1 per day.

On another note, instead of throwing out your old ink jet cartridges or cell phones bring them to your local library. (Ink jet cartridges should be tied together in a plastic bag.) We can recycle them for you and the Library gets a check for their value. We cannot take laser (toner) cartridges or other electronics. Remember every penny counts.

Unless you receive your mail at a post office box, all county residents (except Forest City itself) should have received their new 911 addresses. In the process of notifying others of your new address, please keep the Library in mind. Stop in at your local library and fill out a new registration card with your 911 address. At the same time, you can update any other pertinent details such as a new telephone number, name change, or change in status to adult.

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Rock Doc
By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters

At every level, we humans have a natural drive to understand the world around us. We try to understand people and the economy (with little success), and we try to understand the natural world around us (with more and more success over time).

It’s easy to be puzzled about why we humans are so successful in understanding the physical world. At the level of recognizing a tiger and knowing to run away from one, it’s no surprise why we’re good at understanding Mother Nature. Evolution would weed out those who have trouble grasping the predator-prey relationship. But, at the same time, there’s no clear evolutionary reason we can see that people who are good with very abstract reasoning (like Einstein and other physicists) would spring up and do so very well at their labors.

To put it another way, why can we calculate the mass of an electron or do a thousand and one other tasks that are routine in research science and engineering?

Even if basic problem-solving is a hallmark of modern Homo sapiens, we are remarkably good at it at a level that’s astounding - yet we don’t know why we are suited to abstractions.

And the conundrum gets deeper, the more we think about it.

The methods of science are a hodgepodge we inherited from the intellectual past of Greece, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Here’s one example. Einstein’s most famous equation is so simple it can be printed on a t-shirt. (That’s my idea of good science - t-shirt printing!) Indeed, everything studied in freshman college physics - all the powerful equations that matter – can be printed on the back and front of a t-shirt.

We scientists are taught that simple is good, that a simple explanation of what looks complex is worth our serious consideration. To put it another way, if we have two competing hypotheses for something we’ve studied, and one is more simple than another, we are (all things being equal) supposed to prefer the simpler one. This is called “the principle of parsimony” or the “principle of simplicity.” As students like to say, “keep it simple, stupid.” But it’s also called by the rather difficult name of “Ockham’s razor,” and therein hangs a tale.

Keeping explanations simple sounds like common sense. And, I suppose, it is. But the rule is actually one we inherited from medieval times. A great intellectual of that era, a guy named William of Ockham (we can just call him Will) was in quite an argument with his colleagues about several things. The great discussions of that day were all about God, so the great disagreements were, too. Our friend Will argued that theologians should prefer the most simple ideas or explanations they had about theology because simplicity has a note of elegance and power to it - just like God. (Will got that notion mostly from the Greek tradition, I think.)

In the Renaissance, when people started to more seriously study what they assumed was God’s creation in the natural world around us, it made sense to import Will’s principle straight into early science. Hence the name - Ockham’s razor, which gives credit to him for the idea of cutting through complexity to the elegant and powerful simplicity likely to explain the very most.

But what’s interesting is that modern science - which no longer expects to see God’s handiwork in creation - still uses Will’s idea to good effect. And, of course, it’s doubly interesting that other parts of our creative lives, like good literature, poetry, and portions of our spirituality also seem driven by the quest for the profound and sublime that often comes with simplicity.

It’s just not clear why Will’s “razor” is still so useful in science and elsewhere, nor why our minds can deal with the abstractions of science so successfully to start with. Maybe it’s all chance, a by-product of our problem-solving skills developed many millennia ago to make better and better stone tools in the most efficient way possible.

But it’s all surely good fortune. For science, engineering, medical advances and the rest depend on our intellectual heritage going back to the ancient world as much as on our current creativity.

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 Agriculture, 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,

Do you know of a non toxic remedy to get rid of the type of flies that appear in the spring and fall inside our house? They congregate at the top of the windows in the sunshine, and at night they are attracted to lamps. They just appear when the seasons change and I can't figure out where they come from or how to get rid of them. -Thelma

Dear Thelma,

From your description I believe you are dealing with "Cluster Flies." These are a non biting type of fly that spend much of their lives outside, living in the dirt, feeding on earthworms. When the weather starts to turn cold, they look for a warm, dry location to spend the winter months. These flies enter the house through cracks and crevices in the siding and around the windows.

Once inside your house they cluster in warm, sunny windows. Some eventually find their way into out-of-the-way areas, like your attic. In the spring, on the first warmer day, some will reappear in a sunny window and buzz around until they find their way outside. They come and go until the outside weather warms up. You won't see them again until the weather begins to turn cold and they come back inside. They have a two year life cycle.

Cluster fly control starts with caulking any visible cracks in your siding and around your windows. This is not an easy task, especially in an older home, but do your best.

There is a product on the market developed for cluster fly control. It uses egg shell powder to trap and dehydrate the flies. You put the traps high up in the windows that have shown the most activity in past years. Usually this would be on the South and West sides of your home. The idea is to eliminate the fly before it moves beyond the window. Each trap can hold at least 1,000 flies and the powdered egg shells float to the top so they don't need to be emptied. You should leave traps up for at least 2 years - maybe longer. You can find this product on the Internet by searching “cluster fly control, egg shell powder.”

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

Dear EarthTalk: Where do you recycle plastic stuff like sandwich bags, Saran wrap and plastic grocery store wrappers? Can they just go in with other plastics in the recycling bin? There never seems to be any information available about this. -Renee La-Fountaine, Lake Hughes, CA

The reason you don’t hear much about recycling these types of plastic films is that most municipalities don’t take back items intended to wrap food. One exception may be sandwich bags, which are made from easy-to-recycle polyethylene, as long as any hard (i.e. “Ziploc”) components are removed and they are rinsed free of any food debris or stains.

For that matter, if you are going to the trouble to wash them, you may as well dry and reuse them at home a few times before relegating them to the recycling bin. There are even small countertop racks available for hanging plastic bags to dry before reusing them.

Clinging plastic like Saran wrap is problematic for recyclers because the resin that it contains (to give it wrapping power) cannot be re-extracted without massive amounts of energy - more than it takes to make it new from scratch. And given that it’s usually soiled with some kind of food, used plastic wrap should always just go right into the trash.

Other non-recyclable plastic films include dark-colored plastic bags, bags with handles or drawstrings, and anything else designed to be wrapped around food. Since you can’t even rinse or recycle these kinds of plastics, it’s better to avoid them altogether and invest in some reusable containers to store leftovers.

Another option is to use plastic grocery store shopping bags (though they are increasingly being phased out) to wrap your food leftovers in. Many municipalities and most stores that provide such bags accept them for recycling, so once you’re done with them they can be recycled or returned to the store, after which they can be melted down and incorporated into weather- and rot-resistant window and door frames, decking (such as Trex), palettes, pipes and other long-lasting hard goods. Like with sandwich and other bags you intend to recycle, make sure plastic grocery bags are clean before you turn them in for recycling.

If you are a Ziploc bag or plastic wrap fanatic but want to do the right thing by the environment, look for plastic food storage film or bags made from biodegradable polymers. Some popular brand names to keep an eye out for at Whole Foods and elsewhere are Eco Wrap, EcoFlex and BioBag. These plastics - some of which are made from agricultural scraps left over from corn crops - can go right in with yard waste or other compostables and will break down over time accordingly just like cardboard or food scraps. With time major brands will undoubtedly be offering similar products.

But even though there may in fact be “greener” plastic out there, reducing our reliance on disposable bags altogether should be the ultimate goal. Luckily many grocery chains are hip to greening their own operations and image, and are giving away or selling for a nominal amount reusable canvas shopping bags so customers don't have to choose between wasting plastic and paper at the checkout line.

SEND YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTIONS TO: EarthTalk®, c/o E - The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881;

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Barnes-Kasson Corner
By Cara Sepcoskiw

No Barnes-Kasson Corner This Week

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