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Issue Home August 11, 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

FRANKLIN FORKS: Max Tingley, a young man living below here, fell from a load of hay while driving to Hallstead on Friday, breaking his leg. He was alone, and although suffering from the pain, unhitched one of the horses and rode to Hallstead. Dr. Merrell, after setting the bone, took him home in his automobile.

BROOKLYN: Ely’s Lake has made a start; a cottage is being built. Who will be next?

DIMOCK: The Dimock Campmeeting commences next Wednesday evening, continuing until Aug. 25.

AUBURN FOUR CORNERS: Owing to the absence of the pastor, Rev. H. C. Downing, who is taking a vacation, there will be no services at the Baptist church during the month.

TOWANDA/JESSUP TWP.: Levi Blaisdell, a prominent resident of Towanda, died on Wednesday evening, Aug. 3, after a long illness. He was a native of Jessup Township, being born Sept. 10, 1833. His parents were Timothy S. and Patience Dewers Blaisdell. He had a fine war record, enlisting in Co. D, 50th P.V.I., at Montrose on Sept. 1, 1861. He was honorably discharged, Nov. 30, 1865. Mr. Blaisdell was in many of the principal battles of the war and for nearly a year was a prisoner at Andersonville.

FOREST LAKE: The baseball nine of Forest Lake will hold an ice cream social at the creamery, Friday night, August 19. All are invited to come and have a good time. - Eugene Hollister, captain.

GREAT BEND: Dr. Frederic Brush, superintendent of the New York Post-Graduate Hospital, has been awarded first prize by Collier’s Magazine in the vacation story contest. Dr. Brush was a Great Bend young man.

THOMPSON: There resides here a man who is fast rising to eminence in the world of letters. His pen name is Kirk Parson. His first story came from the press several years ago. It is a sparkling tale of railroad life, bearing the title: “On The Mountain Division.” This week his publishers, the Roxburgh Co., of Boston, have put out a new novel from his pen: “A Fast Game.” Kirk Parson is the Rev. Luman E. Sanford, pastor of the M. E. church at Thompson. He was born within the confines of his present parish, so that this section of the State may rightly claim him. He is a quiet, unpretentious man, who is in love with his work. His geniality and abounding humor has made for him a host of friends, most of whom will be greatly surprised to learn that Kirk Parson and Rev. Luman E. Sanford, are one.

SPRINGVILLE: Camp Wright, a colored man, for many years a resident of this village, was taken sick last week and, as he had no one to attend him, he was taken to the Auburn and Rush poor asylum on Friday. Word was received Monday that he was dead. His father, the late Samuel Wright, was a runaway slave, coming here before the Civil War.

ALFORD: J. M. Decker has broken ground for a new house near N. Wagner’s. ALSO F. D. Houlihan lost a valuable horse recently. It was taken sick and died at South Gibson, where Mr. and Mrs. Houlihan were visiting.

SOUTH HARFORD: Price Harding, of Minneapolis, Minn., is visiting his brother, Philander Harding. ALSO - Anna Adams has been hired to teach the Harding school the coming term, which begins August 29.

JACKSON: Bissel Brown succeeded in getting his auto up the hill after several weeks rest.

UNIONDALE: Geo. Esmay and Dan Gibson are going to start with their stepper for the races at Dug Righter, York State, next week. Leon Sheibly and Oliver Richards are to go as caretakers. Dan and George say that the York State horses will move some or they will bring back the pot.

SILVER LAKE: The Richmond Hill “Sluggers” defeated the Montrose team last Friday at Montrose, in a hotly contested game. Score 15 to 18.

BROOKLYN: A trip to Brooklyn, related by Dr. C.C. Halsey, Montrose, to attend the Presbyterian Church Centennial: “I recall my first visit to Brooklyn. It was in the early summer of 1845 and on a Saturday, for we had no school in the academy of which I was then principal. There was but one way to get there, and that was by the Milford and Owego turnpike. I went on horseback and passed through several strips of woods where now there are well tilled fields and other tokens of agricultural thrift. Before crossing one of the branches of the Meshoppen creek I noticed two residences, places of pubic entertainment in the early settlement of the county. I seemed to be going up or down hill all the way, but the grade has since been improved in some places. I passed through one toll gate and contributed a little toward the maintenance of the road. The latter part of the way was along a creek and quite level. At a rather sharp turn, and slight ascent, the hamlet came suddenly into view. Conspicuous on the right was the stately mansion of the late Dr. Braton Richardson, which remains to this day, and close by is the office where the late Drs. W. L. Richardson, L. A. and E. N. Smith were medical students. There was an unpretentious hotel, a school house, a blacksmith shop, a few stores and some other buildings that were not residences. I saw but one church in the village, but high up on the hill beyond stood the Universalist church, which for many years was a landmark and beacon. [Dr. Halsey goes on to relate another trip to Brooklyn, but for this article we will conclude for want of space.]

NEWS BRIEF: The high price of mules is giving Pennsylvania anthracite mining companies much trouble. They cannot be dispensed with, in spite of the introduction of power motors, and their price has gone up from $145 in 1901 to $219 in 1907, and now to $300. Only the strongest animals can be used. They are well cared for and every colliery has a veterinarian. Their feed costs 40 per cent more than in 1901. ALSO The latest invention to hang in the family dining room is the gum board, plain or decorated, fastened to the wall. The name of each of the family is painted on the circumference, and marks the spot where the gum is left until wanted. This saves carrying the gum to bed and getting it in ones hair or swallowing it in the night. It is obvious that the gum board supplies a long felt want, and he who invented the fad will have the best wishes of the young ladies.

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

Last August, I was appointed by Sam Smith, the Republican Leader of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, to an 11-member group called the Interbrach Commission on Juvenile Justice. The Commission had been created to investigate the collapse and corruption in the juvenile justice system in Luzerne County, and to prepare a report that outlined not only what happened, but to make recommendations on how the juvenile justice system across the Commonwealth could be improved. As the name suggests, the Commission was made up of members appointed by all three branches of government - Legislative, Executive and Judicial.

When I received the telephone call to volunteer for this undertaking, I was really humbled, and a bit intimidated, by the request. As a small rural county prosecutor, I did not have the vast experience in juvenile justice that most of the other members of the Commission possessed. I prosecute between 100 and 150 juvenile cases a year - but this is a paltry number when compared to the larger counties that have entire juvenile units, special juvenile programs, and a far different perspective. When I accepted the appointment, I remained hopeful that my personal experiences would allow me to add a different perspective to the Commission’s work.

To say that I had not fully anticipated the level of work and time that the Commission’s work would entail would be a gross understatement. When I was approached about the position, it was suggested that there would be a few meetings, a couple hearings, and finally a report in the end. At the time, Maggie was pregnant with our second child and we had a 20-month old little girl running around the house. I was not looking for something that took me away from home (or the office) for any substantial amount of time, but I got it. As I said, I did not fully appreciate the level of time and work that the Commission would demand.

In the end, there were 12 days of public hearings encompassing about 70 different witnesses, coupled with 7 days of work sessions, and two telephone conference calls each week. I traveled to Pittsburgh, State College, Harrisburg and Wilkes-Barre for hearings and meetings. In the middle of it all, my second daughter was born - and my wife was left at home not only with a two-year old, but with a newborn as well. I know how difficult it was for her and I am fortunate that she understood how important the Commission’s work was. Personally, it was a difficult experience to find the time between work and family to devote to this project, but it an assignment that I am grateful to have been a trusted with.

We prepared a lengthy report that can be accessed online that outlines the failures of the juvenile justice system in Luzerne County coupled with 43 recommendations in 20 different areas. I had a front row seat to an investigation into perhaps the most egregious case of judicial corruption in this country’s history - and the amazing opportunity to have some input into how to assure that it never happens again.

I had the chance to work elbow-to-elbow with some of the most experienced players in our juvenile justice system, and I came away a better person and prosecutor for it. I learned so much about how the juvenile justice system should work - and just how twisted and warped it had become in Luzerne County, and how willing the professionals (lawyers, probation officers, court personnel) in Luzerne County were to turn a blind eye.

In the end, this was the hardest part of the personal lesson for me. When I was first appointed to the Commission, I told someone that such corruption could never happen in Susquehanna County. And I think I continued to believe that for a long time - until I realized that this was likely the attitude that caused so many people in Luzerne County to miss what was happening right in front of them.

The reality is that corruption can (and does) occur in all levels and branches of our government. Criminals find ways to circumvent the rules to get what they want - rules, regulations and laws mean nothing to criminals. The best protection against judicial (or any other governmental corruption) is vigilance by the populace - not just the professionals in the system itself. Those of us within the system may be unwilling to acknowledge or accept that there are problems - or that we may be a part of the problem. Our own personal experiences and biases may actually cause us to miss what others plainly see - and self-awareness is a difficult attribute for many professionals.

I remain hopeful that the Commission’s work will provide a springboard for real and substantive reforms that will improve our juvenile justice system to assure that such judicial corruption will never occur again. Personally, I have come away with a new appreciation for our juvenile justice system here in Susquehanna County - and a stronger belief that we have been doing a pretty good job handling our children who have found their way into our system. At the same time, I will never forget the things that I heard about the staggering corruption in Luzerne County - and this might have been the most important thing I learned from this experience. To put it simply, I look at things a lot differently now.

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. A friend of mine was diagnosed with "Jumping Frenchmen of Maine." Have you ever heard of this?

Not until now. Jumping Frenchmen of Maine is a rare, unexplained disorder that produces an extreme startle reaction to a sudden noise or sight.

Jumping Frenchmen of Maine was first identified during the late 1800s in Maine and the Canadian province of Quebec. It was discovered among an isolated population of French-Canadian lumberjacks. Since the discovery, the extreme startle reaction has been found in other societies in many parts of the world.

Jumping Frenchmen of Maine is one of almost 7,000 rare diseases. In the United States, a disease is classified as rare if fewer than 200,000 people have it. About 25 million people in the U.S. have a rare or orphan disease.

Some familiar orphan diseases are cystic fibrosis, Lou Gehrig's disease and Tourette's syndrome. Orphan diseases don't attract as much research funding as major diseases because they aren't as profitable to the healthcare industry.

In 1983, Congress passed the Orphan Drug Act (ODA). The ODA created financial incentives for drug and biologics manufacturers, including tax credits for costs of clinical research, government grant funding, assistance for clinical research, and seven-year periods of exclusive marketing. At the same time, federal programs began encouraging product development, as well as clinical research for products targeting rare diseases.

Since 1983, the ODA has stimulated the development of more than 250 orphan drugs, which now are available to treat a potential patient population of more than 13 million Americans. In contrast, the decade before 1983 saw fewer than 10 such products developed without government assistance.

An excellent source of assistance for these diseases is the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), a federation of more than 130 nonprofit voluntary health organizations. The NORD web site includes information on medication assistance programs and networking programs, a resource guide, and links to other online resources. Here's the contact information: National Organization for Rare Disorders, 55 Kenosia Ave., PO Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; (800) 999-6673;

New rare diseases are discovered every year. Most are inherited and caused by alterations or defects in genes. Others can be caused by environmental conditions.

If you would like to browse through a list of this rare diseases, go to the Genetics Home Reference website at:

If you have a question, please write to

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Library Chitchat
By Flo Whittaker

It’s not too late to participate in this year’s Library Lottery drawing. This is the second year that the Library has sponsored this event. It presents an opportunity for community members to help the Susquehanna Historical Society and Free Library Association reach its goal of building a new main library building to service the needs of the residents of Susquehanna County.

The Library Lottery drawing is scheduled for Saturday, August 14 at the Forest Lake Fireman’s Field Grounds. Again this year, only 2,000 tickets are being sold. If all the tickets are sold, $148,000 in prizes will be distributed. Monies raised by the Library Lottery go directly to our capital campaign.

Tickets are still available and will be sold up until 2 p.m. the day of the drawing. More information is available on our website at Remember, time is now of the essence for your chance to win up to $50,000.

On another note, we thank all those who are regular shoppers at Rob’s Shurfine Markets in Montrose and Great Bend and who have signed up their Gold Card to benefit the Library. Thousands of dollars, one penny at a time, have aided the library’s operating budget through this program.

Community support is vital to maintain your library. We appreciate your support.

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Rock Doc
By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters

No Rock Doc This Week

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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,

No Dear Dolly This Week

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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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