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Issue Home September 15, 2010 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

A Great Celebration

On behalf of the Great Bend 150 year celebration committee, I give everyone a great big thank you.

So many need to be recognized. First off the folks who brought memorabilia, Friday, July 16. It was wonderful, seeing the treasures of old and pictures of the people then and now and those who have passed.

I hear a lot of “do you remember.” Our oldest resident Helena Cosgriff, 97 years young, received flowers compliments of John and Janice Reed. Helena also led the parade, riding in the Fire Company’s 1938 Ford fire truck, on Saturday, July 17.

Our Mayor, Jim Riecke, on behalf of the community and council members, accepted a plaque from Ms. Christine Dixon of the Pennsylvania Assoc. of Boroughs, and a citation from the House of Representatives, Sandra Major’s office, both celebrating Great Bend Borough’s 150 years. The Fire Company members had a bake sale, and cold drinks available to cool off on a hot sticky evening. Also on display were the old hose cart and the restored 1938 Ford fire engine. To round off the evening, entertainment was provided by Wind Wood Hill Dance Academy. These young people put on a very entertaining performance, which all the audience enjoyed. Ms. Jamie Swartwood, a resident of Great Bend, and a teacher at the academy brought these talented children to our attention. Emcee Kyle Loucks brought the evening to a close with a thank you to all and a round of applause. Capturing the evening events, Ms. Anne McCarthy was taking pictures to produce a CD, which will also have shots of Saturday’s events.

On Saturday the residents need to be thanked for bringing crowds with the yard sales. Food up and down Main Street was so enjoyed. Each organization, business and church worked hard to be creative and have a variety of goodies to eat. Several had prizes and gifts to keep the children happy. A special thank you to Ms. Bobbi Morris, post mistress. She was able to have a postmark made up for the Great Bend Borough celebration. I hope everyone took advantage, and stopped at the UMCC on Main Street and had their mail stamped.

During the afternoon G.B. Hose Co. hosted six teams in an old time bucket brigade contest. The teams were: It Is - S. Lonzinski, Captain; G.B. Crew - J. Canfield, Captain; Fire in the Hole - B. Marvin, Captain; Life Savers - M. Welch, Captain; Town Borough Cats - J. Riecke, Captain; 5 Chicks in a Bucket - T. Sollar, Captain. A lot of water was splashed, cheering was heard, and fun had by all. The winning team and losing team received hockey tickets, compliments of the Binghamton Senators Team, who also had their mascot participate in the parade.

Later in the afternoon, Rob Robinson of Rob’s Market sponsored a NYC Magic/Comedy Act at the Fire Hall. All would agree it was a family show. Several of the children in the audience participated in the magic act.

The evening was ushered in with a night parade. Participating were cycles, floats, old cars, clowns, go carts, Penn Dixie band, work trucks, marching Masons, dance academy performers, mascots and all the fire and ambulance equipment. The lights and sirens put smiles on the faces of the crowds along the route.

I believe the two day celebration was a success because of all the dedicated people in our town.


Ms. Ruth Loucks

Great Bend, PA

Idols With Clay Feet

In response to September 8 Letters to the Editor

With regard to Annette Corrigan’s reference to what the Catholic church’s Mother Theresa said about abortion, I find that it has been proven that this elderly woman was little more than a fraud. Although great amounts of money were donated to her, and her “Sisters of Charity,” there are no wonderful new hospitals, clinics or other facilities for the poor and the suffering, the sick and the dying, to show for it. Anywhere. One of her largest donations came from a man named Charles Keating whose fraudulent schemes cheated some 17,000 people out of part or all of their life savings, to the tune of some $250 billion. When Keating was tried by Judge Lance Ito for these crimes, Mother Theresa sent a letter to Judge Ito, supporting the “fine character” (quotes mine) of this thief, supplying biblical references and asking for clemency. The Deputy D.A., Paul Turley, wrote back to Mother Theresa, and gently but firmly advised her that the donation that Keating had made to her was stolen money, and that she should do the right thing, according to some bible verses he quoted to her, and give the money back so it could be returned to the people who were cheated. She never answered that letter, nor did she return the money. No one seems able to find out where the money went, but it didn’t go to help any of the poor and suffering of India or any other place. She seemed to want to worship poverty and suffering, rather than to alleviate it. Note, I’m not suggesting she spent money on herself. I don’t believe she did. Yet, when she was ill, she went to the finest hospitals, using a personal jet provided to her by - Charles Keating.

Don’t believe me? There are several authors who tell of inconsistencies between what we’ve been led to believe about her and Calcutta, and what the facts really are. You can find some on the internet. I’d suggest you read a copy of “Missionary Position: Mother Theresa in Theory and Practice,” by Christopher Hitchens. You will not like what you read. I didn’t! You may not like the author, but he did do the research, and it’s all there, and more. You can check on it yourself for veracity. You’ll soon realize why Mother Theresa’s opinions should not be quoted to anyone.

Regarding the planned mosque near “Ground Zero,” Mr. Joe McCann made a rather inconsiderate remark to the effect that he felt President Obama was wrong, and that “this is a Christian country.” No Way, Jose! President Obama is correct here. America is not “a Christian country.” You cannot nullify the American Jews, nor the American Muslims, nor the Agnostics, Atheists, Deists, Secular Humanists, nor the Buddhists, nor the Hindus, nor the Naturalists, nor the various Native American religions, nor any of the scores of other religions or non-religions. We non-Christians cannot be discounted. We have the same rights and responsibilities as you do, and so long as we all (including Christians) keep our lifestyles from infringing on each other’s lifestyles, we will all get along fine. As soon as you allow yourself to consider yourself and your religion to be superior to others, and consider the rest of us to be inferior to you, you have overstepped the whole message of Jesus of Nazareth, who you claim to honor above all else, and who we are given to understand said, simply, “Love One Another.” This one remark merits universal acceptance. It should never be implied that he added “unless they live or worship differently than you do.”

Regarding Mr. McCann’s reference to Glenn Beck, how anyone could possibly give credence to Beck, this unkind, self-aggrandizing person, who is obsessed with (a) himself, and (b) “Gold, God and Guns,” I cannot understand. Aside from his lies and media high-jinks, Beck has promoted investments in the gold market, investments which have turned out to be scams and have fleeced many elderly Americans of their retirement funds.

Don’t believe me? Mother Jones magazine has a well-researched article on it (July/August 2010, entitled “The Golden Fleece”) which you may find on the internet, regarding the gold scam. You can also borrow or buy the book, “Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance,” by Alexander Zaitchik. In this well-researched book you will find things you will not want to know about Glenn Beck, and about the radio industry. You can check it yourself for veracity. Kindly, don’t go around promoting Glenn Beck to your friends.

I know I’ve used the term “well-researched” several times, but it fits. The back-up to the words said in these books is either quoted in place, or foot-noted or end-noted, and can be found independently by anyone who cares to check them out.


Gail Rendle

Nicholson, PA

Move The Decimal Back

When was it, what year did we move the decimal point to the thousands? It slipped past me. I grew up with penny (.1 cent) candy, .40 cents for a gallon of gas, .35 cents for cigarettes and .50 for a gallon of milk.

The economy has shifted the decimal point way to the right, I mean $1,000.00. Then the comma, too many places. Like try say two $1,000,000.00. Millions baby!

Winter is coming and something has got to change. There is a desperate need for reducing the costs of everything that we use. Since when should a gallon say of, well anything, cost so much. A barrel of anything costs so much. A quart of milk, a gallon of ice cream, a gallon of water or a quart of anything. A pound of flour or a box of cereal or black top for driveways or bales of hay. You can see the point here. Sometime in the last ten years our economy has gone decimal point crazy. And has gotten away with pushing the envelope.

Farm tractors used on the farm cost, say $75,000. A new bailer for bailing hay costs, say $27,000.00. Guess what, there are fewer than half of the farms left in America to buy them. Don't forget the farm income puts a seven to one ratio back into the economy, so the fewer the farms the less income in America!

Just a lawn tractor costs $2,800.00. If it's green or red or orange, if you need parts they cost hundreds of dollars.

Now I am sure we all have to pay for these products if we want them, yes, but are they worth, or do they really cost the high prices that they want for them? Or are they charging as much as they can for them, to see how much us dummies will pay?

Our economy needs to fall flat down, then the prices would have to come down because the rich people, or should I say the people who have these products and produce them, will just have to fess up on them and either take a loss or just move a few decimal points, until the economy reaches it's balance point.

The definition of a decimal point according to Webster, of or based upon the number ten; counted by tens. (The metric system of measure is a decimal system). A fraction with a denominator of 10 or 100 or 1000, etc.

The decimal point’s moved but the worth of products did not in my opinion. The cost to produce may have some impact of it's worth but why push it to the limit. It, for sure, is going to bite you on the butt soon.

This country needs to start over by growing, mining, and building things in America. Get rid of the robots, they don't pay into social security and put the men and women back to work. Sign the bottom of our goods (Made In America). America would be a wonderful safe place to live, like it used to be.

Let’s write some letters, see if we as Americans can get the little decimal point moved back to where we can afford to have it.


Peter A. Seman

Thompson, PA

Resistance To Fear

"Courage is resistance to fear, mastering of fear, not absence of fear." Mark Twain.

In today's world, fear seems to be a strong motivator. Everything makes us afraid. I avoid some news pieces as I prefer to fill my head with more positive attitudes, and not all the doom and ugliness that I see on TV.

Some of these reality shows are a showcase for ignorance and stupid human tricks. I can't imagine poverty that comes with that kind of upbringing. A soul's poverty.

Today I watched a pastor of a small church go on TV and state that only God will change his mind. If he wasn't talking about burning books, and not just any book, but the Koran, I may not have watched. I really look at this man, a soul’s sheppard if you will, and can see why he feels that he is a warrior. He thinks that turning the other cheek is not the way of the Muslim. He answers the questions thoughtfully, and seems very perplexed that this idea would seem new. I have heard of book burnings all through history. Books are knowledge, and a little bit of knowledge can make one dangerous. I love books, my favorite thing is reading, and the bookstores. I guess that fear of what is in, or what is not in the Koran, makes this Pastor, and his congregation mighty nervous.

I have never read the Koran. I read a lot of King James. I also have read the Catholic version of the Bible, and many other books that suggest these chapters were left out, or deemed not being anything a commoner would understand, by a Pope. Yes, knowledge is power. The Pastor was asked if he had read the Koran, he deftly handled that by mentioning that Jesus is not the resurrected Savior to them. Hum, a different way of seeing things.

What alarms me is that he could be any Pastor leading any congregation. Most folks go to church on a Sunday, and do not read any spiritual material at all. They get their knowledge from what the Pastor says, who gets his from yet another unexamined source. Who says church and state aren't following ancient teaching. In government, I think the health care package will now be read, after it became "law."

I know this Pastor believes he is doing the right thing. To bring attention to what he feels is wrong with the way he thinks America is going, he does not think that a Mosque should be so close to a sacred space in NYC. He thinks himself as a old testament preacher, and what better way of fire and brimstone, than a good old book burning.

What may surprise you is the people who are sending copies of the Koran, to be put on the fire.

I know I was surprised at the anger that simmers underneath. Yet, in a twisted sort of way, I do get where he is coming from. I must confess it’s hard for me to understand a religion that would have a cleric sentence you to death, by stoning. My granddad called it Hamarbi law. The old eye for eye, tooth for tooth law. I do wonder what type of a firestorm this will bring. Although I too am of the "don't build the center group," would I resort to this method of madness, probably not. Then again, I'm not a woman of the cloth. I just know that is not what I was taught in Sunday School. And as my kids would say, that’s not what Jesus would do.


Cynthia Allen

Summersville, PA

In Retrospect

The Tea Party gathering of April 21 at the Montrose Green commands a retrospect. Where were these County Fat Cats during the Bush, Cheney years? Were their hands in the sand when all the following took place? No bid war contracts. Prisoner torture. Unfunded wars. Lower taxes on the “rich.” Eight trillion dollar national debt. Business and industry leaving the U.S.A. Illegal actions of Cheney. Neglect of our soldiers. Neglect of the Afghan War for 7 years. Bail out for Wall Street and the big banks. Blocking of all attempts at stimulus packages.

And on, and on. Bush and Cheney were fortunate President Obama chose not to prosecute them, but move on to an important constructive agenda: Health Care, Auto Industry, saving thousands of jobs; economic stimulus to create jobs and education.

Open your minds. Vote intelligent this fall.


Arthur E. Wermann

Montrose, PA

Catching Monkeys

Do you know how monkeys are caught? What! You don't care. Well, maybe you should. Maybe we all should.

The materials: a coconut, a ripe banana, a length of rope, and an auger. The method: bore a 2-inch hole into the coconut, insert the banana into it, secure the coconut to a tree with the rope. Now wait.

Eventually a monkey will catch the scent of the banana, follow it to the coconut, squeeze his hand through the 2-inch hole, and grab the banana. Voila! He's trapped.

While his open hand was able to squeeze into the coconut, his fist clenched with the banana is too big to pull out. But the hapless creature simply won't let go of his prize? He is trapped by his own greed.

Even though he may hear the sound of his capture approaching, still he clutches the coveted fruit even to placing his very life at risk.

But before you fault the tight-fisted primate for his avarice, be careful. Greed is one of the seven deadly sins that is the common lot of mankind. Thomas Aquinas called it “the sin directly against one's neighbor.” Never was this truer than with gas drilling.

The parallels to the now caged primate and ourselves are many. Bananas make poor people bait, but money is irresistible. And a coconut won't trap a man, but a lucrative lease with a gas company works just fine. And once signed, unless the leaser has had an experienced attorney to review it, voila, he's trapped. And even if, perchance, he was savvy enough to get the better end of the agreement, his neighbors always get the short end of the stick.

The caged monkey's future is dire: a zoo, a pharmaceutical research lab, or the main ingredient in simian stew. Our fate, the future of rural Pennsylvania, in its own way is equally alarming.

A drilling operation requires 5 to 10 acres of cleared land, a 400-foot square lagoon to hold the well's waste water contaminated with fracking chemicals, arsenic, mercury, even radioactive tailing. Add to that the construction of access roads to accommodate a convoy of tanker trucks, dump trucks, and sundry other vehicles. Now multiply this by 100,000, the number of projected well sites.

Picture the woodlands bulldozed into a checkerboard of active and abandoned mining sites, the landscape crisscrossed with tens of thousands of miles of access roads. And sadly, the highway signs, “Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful,” now a mockery.

Beneath the surface an average well will leave behind an unrecoverable body of toxic water the size of three Olympic swimming pools. Scatter 100,000 of these injected poisonous plumes throughout the state. Will it eventually contaminate the water table? Rather ask: Is it possible for it not to contaminate the water table?

Have we, like foolish Ishmael who sold his birthright for a bowl of porridge, sold our birthright for a fist full of dollars? Indeed, like Ishmael, we seem only too anxious to do so.

The royalties will soon vanish; money is as transitory as time. But the insults we have inflicted on the land, water, and air will persist for generations. The countryside will be fragmented into a crazy quilt of mining facilities, the ground water irreversibly tainted, even the air we breathe befouled with fumes and disquieted with the racket of the gas extractors.

One wonders, have we, like the greedy monkey, become the biggest monkey of all?


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

Letters To The Editor MUST BE SIGNED. They MUST INCLUDE a phone number for "daytime" contact. Letters MUST BE CONFIRMED VERBALLY with the author, before printing. Letters should be as concise as possible, to keep both Readers' and Editors' interest alike. Your opinions are important to us, but you must follow these guidelines to help assure their publishing.

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