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Issue Home August 25, 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

LANESBORO: It is rumored that the Delaware & Hudson Railroad Company has a project on foot for the construction of a large modern hotel on the banks of the Susquehanna river above Lanesboro. This will add attractiveness to the already famous location as a summer and a health resort. If the D&H erects a hotel at this point it will be the means of bringing many more city boarders to Lanesboro. At the present the number of applicants for board during the summer months exceeds the accommodations. ALSO Joseph Lacey had a somewhat startling experience recently while gathering blackberries. He was busily engaged in picking some unusually fine berries from a bush when he noticed a snake’s head not six inches from his hand. On closer examination it proved to be a live rattlesnake over three feet long.

CLIFFORD: A. C. Severance, our Royal merchant, went through town almost flying with a new auto which he just purchased in Carbondale. He calls it his “red-bird” and it passes through at a pace much like one.

LAWSVILLE: George Meeker has been entertaining his brother, Prof. Royal Meeker, of Princeton, NJ.

SPRINGVILLE: E. R. Thomas is installing a heating plant of the underfeed type in his house. Ed believes in doing things well if he does them at all. ALSO Carpenters Tuttle, Bacon and Lake are putting up the woodwork in the interior of Dr. H. B. Lathrop’s remodeled house. Dr. Lathrop is also installing a heating plant in his remodeled house.

FLYNN: The old bachelors are to have their annual clam bake the coming week, and invitations to the old maids to join them will be given. ALSO There will be some peace in the homes here when we send our darlings to school. The lovable little things, it almost seems hard to say, that their being away will be a relief, and yet the hours they are in school undoubtedly transfers much anxiety from the mothers’ shoulders to that of the teacher.

LENOX: School in the Titus district will open Aug. 29 with the same teacher as last year, Miss Ruth Jeffers. ALSO In Alford - School will begin Monday [Aug. 29, with Bertha Savage as teacher. She will board with Mrs. P. Beardsley].

MONTROSE: Montrose had a small jail delivery Saturday morning when two boys scaled the wall at the County Bastille and made their escape. The two boys were aged 13 and 14 years respectively, being from Susquehanna, having been found guilty of stealing old brass, etc. and were under sentence to the House of Refuge at Glen Mills. The boys were ragged fellows, namely Oscar O’Donald [or O’Donnell] and Charles Scendt, and it was not till noses were counted at night that they were found missing. Having an inkling where they were, Sheriff Conklin went over to Susquehanna and found them hiding in a barn in a hay mow. By the law of the state, owing to the age of these boys, they cannot be kept with the older prisoners and when they are let out in the yard they have to be given separate runs, which really was cause of their escape, as they could not be let out into the regular used yard. ALSO Since the removal of the iron railing on Public Avenue the question of conveniences for hitching horses has been much under discussion. Much of the railing which remains is in unsightly condition and unsafe for use, and proper attention to this matter would contribute to the welfare of the town and to the convenience of those driving in to trade. We understand that the railing will probably be replaced, or posts placed.

HALLSTEAD: Hon. William J. Pike, Untied States Consul at Austria, will spend a leave of absence of six months with his sister, Mrs. L. D. Sawyer, of Hallstead.

BROOKLYN: Wade H. Barnes and family spent last week at the cottage which they have recently built at Ely Lake. [Said to be the first cottage built on the lake.] ALSO Miss Lelah Sterling has gone to Pittsburg where she has accepted a position as teacher of vocal and instrumental music.

GREAT BEND: It was reported on the streets the first of the week that the building recently occupied by the Chapots [tannery] has been let to a company to manufacture automobile supplies.

JACKSON: Lester Sutter died in North Jackson Aug. 16, after a lingering illness from disease contracted in the U. S. service during the Spanish-American war. He served several years in the regular army and while in the Philippines contracted the disease from which he died. ALSO Prof. Leon Bryant has gone to the State of Washington to engage in school teaching.

HEART LAKE: The Soldiers’ Encampment which was held here last Friday called together a large crowd of soldiers and their loyal friends. The day was beautiful and the Hand of God rested in peaceful benediction over the wooded hills. The campfire was hovered over in merriment while timely remarks were made by several comrades. The mess-chest had enough good things in it for all and the ladies fixed up the spread in nice shape. The crowd dispersed at sundown carrying with them memories of their red letter day of 1910. They were not unmindful of the favors extended by Proprietor Mack.

BIBLE CONFERENCE NOTES: Among the first things indicating that Conference was about to commence, occurred at Alford Friday morning, when several scores of people on the way to Conference, while waiting for the Montrose train, spent their time in singing gospel songs. The Conference Automobile service, Electric City Auto Company cars, leave from Tarbell house corner every ten minutes beginning at 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Round trip, 20 cents. Single fare 10 cents. Dr. Torrey cordially invites the farmers, the farmers’ wives and the farmers’ children to come in and attend the Conference. He stated from the platform Sunday that nothing pleased him more than to see them come. Better hitch up next Sunday and come to the Conference: come early and stay late. The attendance Sunday afternoon was probably around sixteen to eighteen hundred, and Sunday evening there were present probably two thousand to twenty-three hundred people.

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

The Crimes Code can have some strange twists, turns and even inconsistencies. I was reminded of this recently in a sexual assault case. The facts of the case were simple: an eighteen year old young woman and a thirteen year old juvenile male began a romantic relationship which ended in a sexual encounter. The juvenile male performed oral sex on the young woman and then they had sexual intercourse. Afterward, law enforcement learned about the incident and the young woman was arrested.

There were three charges: statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse (IDSI) and corruption of a minor. Statutory sexual assault requires proof that the victim was under 16 years of age and the defendant was 4 or more years older than the victim when the sexual intercourse occurred. Several years ago, the legislature amended the IDSI statute to include a subsection relating to ages identical to statutory sexual assault provision. In other words, it is unlawful for a defendant to engage in deviate sexual intercourse with a person under 16 when the defendant is four or more years older than the victim. Deviate sexual intercourse includes oral sex. As such, the elements for both offenses existed in this case - the young woman was 18 and the boy was 13.

These provisions essentially take the age of the victim and make a determination that the juvenile is not capable of giving consent, i.e., what most people consider statutory rape offenses. The offense may be “consensual” in that no force or coercion was utilized, but the juvenile is simply too young to really provide knowing and voluntary consent.

Here is where the law gets a little inconsistent and strange. Statutory sexual assault is a felony of the second degree, punishable by up to 10 years incarceration. It is not a Megan’s Law offense - so there is no registration requirement for the offender. There is no mandatory minimum sentence either. For a first offender, the standard range of the sentence would be a minimum sentence of 6 to 14 months incarceration.

On the other hand, IDSI is a felony of the first degree punishable by up to 20 years incarceration. It is also a Megan’s Law offense that requires a lifetime registration for the offender. This particular offense also has a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years. Even if the Commonwealth agreed to waive the mandatory minimum sentence, a first offender would still be looking at a sentence in the range of a minimum of 4 to 5 years incarceration.

Now apply the laws to the facts of the case I just gave to you. The 18-year old woman is looking at a minimum sentence of somewhere between 6 to 14 months for having “consensual” sexual intercourse with the 13-year old boy, and there would be no Megan’s Law registration requirement. On the other hand, the same 18-year old woman is looking at a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in a state correctional facility for engaging in acts of “consensual” oral sex with the 13-year old boy and a lifetime requirement to register under Megan’s Law. Even if the Commonwealth waived the mandatory minimum sentence, the 18-year old woman would be incarcerated for somewhere between 4 and 5 years for the act of oral sex. If you are a sexual predator, you are treated with substantially more leniency when you have “consensual” sexual intercourse with the minor than you would be if you had “consensual” oral sex with the minor. This makes no sense whatsoever.

So how did we get to this point? When the Legislature amended the IDSI statute to include a subsection for a statutory age violation, the Legislature never amended the corresponding statute relating to the mandatory minimum sentences for IDSI to exclude that particular subsection. Moreover, after the amendment of the statute, the Legislature recently increased the mandatory minimum sentence for IDSI from 5 years to 10 years, but again failed to exclude the IDSI subsection that deals with the statutory age offenses. In the end, prosecutors are left with the difficult decision on how to proceed on these types of cases - and the discretion that each prosecutor exercises can lead to substantially different sentencing results.

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 going to become a grandmother for the first time and I was wondering how things have changed since I took care of a newborn many years ago.

Probably the most important change is in the approach to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the abrupt, unexplained death of an infant younger than a year. SIDS is often called crib death because many victims are found in their cribs.

SIDS is the leading cause of death in children between a month and a year old. Most SIDS deaths occur in children between 2 months and 4 months of age. There are 2,200 SIDS deaths in the United States each year. More than 80 percent of the deaths may be caused by unsafe sleeping practices.

When we had babies, many of us used to put them on their stomachs to sleep. They seemed to like it and slept well. Now that's a no-no.

Here's what you're supposed to do to prevent SIDS:

* Put babies on their backs to sleep. You can rest them on their stomachs when they are awake and being watched. You should not let babies sleep on their sides, because they can roll onto their stomachs.

In 1994, a Back To Sleep campaign was launched to reduce SIDS deaths from putting babies on their stomachs to sleep. The lead partners in this campaign include the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development , the American Academy of Pediatrics , First Candle/SIDS Alliance and the Association of SIDS and Infant Mortality Programs. Since the campaign started, SIDS deaths have declined by more than 50 percent.

* Babies should sleep on a firm surface such as a crib mattress covered with a fitted sheet. Don't use crib bumpers; they are unnecessary. No pillows, blankets, stuffed toys in the sleep area. Put babies in blanket-sleepers. Make sure the baby’s head is uncovered.

Sharing your bed with a baby increases a baby’s risk by as much as 40 times. Research does, however, suggest that room sharing is protective against SIDS.

* Research demonstrates that pacifiers reduce a baby’s risk for SIDS. It is believed that pacifiers may discourage babies from turning over onto their stomachs during sleep. Another theory is that the pacifier helps keep the tongue positioned forward, keeping the airways open.

* Make sure babies don't overheat. The baby’s room should feel comfortable to a lightly clothed adult. Don't overdress the baby.

*Don't expose babies to tobacco smoke. Babies whose mothers smoke during pregnancy are three times more likely to die from SIDS. Studies have found that the risk of SIDS increases with each additional smoker in the home.

Researchers have ruled out a number of possible causes of sudden infant death syndrome, including suffocation, vomiting or choking, and infection. There is evidence that many SIDS babies are born with brain deficiencies. Studies of SIDS victims reveal abnormalities in a portion of the brain that controls heart rate, breathing, temperature and the ability to wake from sleep.

SIDS can strike any infant. However, some babies are at higher risks. These include babies who are: male; premature or born with a low birth weight; anemic; Black, American Indian or Native Alaskan; born in the fall or winter; recovering from an upper respiratory infection; siblings of a SIDS victim; inadequately nurtured; first-borns of teen mothers, and born to mothers with a history of sexually transmitted diseases or urinary tract infections.

If you have a question, please write to

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Library Chitchat
By Flo Whittaker

If you are a Civil War buff, this is definitely the year for you to participate in the Susquehanna County Reads events in October. Jointly sponsored by the Susquehanna County Literacy Program and the Susquehanna County Library, this year’s program features the classic novel “The Red Badge of Courage” by Stephen Crane.

Registration started Monday, August 23, at all county libraries. The fee includes a copy of the book and admission to all programs except the Gettysburg bus trip. Children register free (except the bus trip) and receive no book.

One of the events included in the Susquehanna County Reads program is a one-day bus trip to Gettysburg. The fee includes transportation, lunch, admission to the Museum and Visitor Center, a guided tour of the battlefields, a talk on local Civil War connections, and gratuities.

There are a limited number of seats available. If you are interested in participating in this trip, you should make sure to have your reservation in as soon as possible.

For more details on all of the Susquehanna County Reads programs, you can go to the Library’s website and click on the Susquehanna County Reads entry under Quick Links.

The Susquehanna County Reads brochure also gives additional details on the programs and a list of additional reading suggestions for various age groups. This program is just another way the Susquehanna County Library strives to reach its goal of being your resource for lifetime learning.

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Rock Doc
By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters

Chance Discoveries In Our Backyards

Some of us have never found a single dollar bill on the sidewalk. But once in a blue moon a lucky soul in the upper Midwest reaches down into the Ice Age deposits of our country and plucks out a diamond.

It doesn’t take much geologic knowledge to recognize a diamond in the rough as an interesting and valuable object. Diamonds are the hardest mineral in the Earth, which means they will scratch quartz, window glass and even other hard gems like ruby and emerald. And diamonds have a very high luster, a term referring to their ability to reflect light.

In short, it’s not too tough to identify diamonds, even before they have been shaped into cut gemstones.

That’s why, since the 1800s, farmers and other residents of the Midwest have occasionally spotted and scooped up a diamond when digging water wells or otherwise disturbing the ground.

Most diamonds are found near the place where deep Earth processes blasted them to the surface in special rock material called kimberlite (named for Kimberley, South Africa). But there aren’t rocks like that in the Midwest.

Instead, the diamonds in that part of the world were transported to their resting places by the enormous glaciers that dominated North America during the Ice Age. Geologists spent several generations looking for the ultimate source of the diamonds “up ice” in Canada. It’s only recently that a few dedicated - not to say obsessed - geologists found the sources in northern Canada.

Geologists usually look for diamonds not by initially searching for diamonds themselves, but by looking for more common minerals that often come along with diamonds from their deepest sources in the Earth. Even so, finding diamond-rich rocks is generally a needle-in-a-haystack challenge. But, in time, dedicated exploration geologists found the source of diamonds in northern Canada that can - occasionally - be found in our upper Midwest. The fascinating tale of the search is one you can read about in the book “Barren Lands” by Kevin Krajick.

Other people discover objects of no monetary value but that mean a lot to those of us interested in Earth history. That was the case earlier this summer when a contractor in Tennessee digging 8 feet deep for a swimming pool unearthed a fossil. It appears to be the jawbone of a trilophodon, an extinct relative of the mastodon.

Mastodons and their kin roamed the Earth during the Ice Age - the same time that a few diamonds were arriving to the Midwest courtesy of Canadian sources. You’ll probably remember mastodons (dimly) from childhood books or posters about the Ice Age. Mastodons were browsers rather than grazers, a point scientists can deduce from the shape of their teeth. The woolly mammoths, in contrast, were the large and famous grazers of the era.

All the mastodon-related species went extinct as the Ice Age came to a close. That may be because enormous, natural climate change was sweeping the Earth. And it may be that many animals in North America were also facing increased pressures from human hunting.

No one is prepared to find Ice Age fossils when digging for a swimming pool. At first the folks in Tennessee thought they had found the jawbone of a dinosaur. Homeowner Jim Leyden got a call from his wife at home reporting exactly that. But a conservator from the local Pink Palace Family of Museums steered the understanding of the discovery toward the mammals of the Ice Age. (The Pink Palace features a wide variety of exhibits ranging from natural science discoveries to a replica of “the first self-service grocery store in the country, Clarence Saunder’s Piggly Wiggly.”) The Pink Palace conservator estimated the fossil trilophodon weighed up to two tons.

The discovery in the pool pit was quite a surprise to all concerned.

According to a report from Memphis’ Commercial Appeal, Leyden said “I grew up in New Jersey. I might find a body, but not a prehistoric animal.”

Leyden told reporters he planned to donate the jawbone to the Pink Palace.

As he said to Memphis’ WMC-TV, “What am I going to do with it? If I keep it around, my wife might throw it at me.”

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,

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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