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Issue Home November 3, 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
Earth Talk
Barnes-Kasson Corner

100 Years Ago

MONTROSE: Hallowe’en night was the “kids” night all right, and they turned themselves loose in a big, noisy, good natured demonstration on the streets. Every variety of costume was seen, many very ingenious affairs too, all immensely appropriate for the raucous revel. An occasional father or mother was seen, ostensibly to help the “kids” have a good time. Everybody was glad to welcome the little Hallowe’eners whose worst prank was to misplace some one’s door mat, cover some one with flour, or make grotesque pictures with soap on one’s windows. There were some pranks by the older ones who satisfied no inherent desire for fun but made the night a license for breaking and damaging property, tearing up sidewalks and breaking stones in some cases where perhaps it would make old people or ladies much trouble and expense which it would be hard to bear, and although likely not done with a malicious intent, these things constitute selfish hilarity, and should be discouraged and suppressed.

GREAT BEND: Daniel Sullivan, one of the old and respected citizens here, met instant death on the Erie tracks at Great Bend on Tuesday afternoon, when he was run down by a fast freight. Dr. Merrill was called but Mr. Sullivan had expired before he arrived. Mr. Sullivan was a valued employee of the Lackawanna for 40 years, recently entering the employ of the Erie.

SPRINGVILLE: Monday evening being the date fixed for the kids to be smart, a lot of them played it to a frazzle, and now there is a scurrying around to replace property carried off just for fun. Some people see a lot of fun in carrying off wagon wheels, [carriage] robes, harnesses and various other articles, and making the owners a lot of trouble.

HALLSTEAD: The Hallstead board of trade has secured for this village a large cut glass factory which is anticipated to open for business immediately after January 1, 1911.

SOUTH HARFORD: The fields are filled with hunters and the song of the hounds fill the woods with sweet music.

FLYNN: I have often read where a dog was so attached to a scholar that he would accompany her to school and then return home to spend the day, and then he would again return in the evening to see her safe home, but we have had one here, that leaves that in the shade, and it was not a Collie either.

FOREST CITY: Infuriated by a beating sustained at the hands of John Politza during a fight over a woman, Michael Salajada crept up behind Politza on the street in Forest City last week, and plunged a penknife into his neck, severing an artery so that the victim bled to death in a few minutes. The assassin was captured after a chase by Michael Sogotsky, a companion of the slain man. He was committed to the Susquehanna county jail to await trial for murder. Politza was Polish, 28 years old, and has a wife and one child in the old country. The man that slew him came from the same town, is 27 years old, and has a wife and two children in Forest City. ALSO Thomas Faulkner died October 17, 1910, of pneumonia. He had been sick only three days. A pathetic feature in connection with the death of Mr. Faulkner was the birth of a child, the seventh in the family, only a few hours before the father’s death. The oldest child is only about fifteen years of age. Deceased was born in Ireland 43 years ago.

NEW MILFORD: William D. Knapp, who on Tuesday went to Bath to spend the winter in the Soldiers’ Home, died October 27, 1910. He served his country as a soldier of the Civil War, being a member of the 11th Regiment, New York Volunteers. After the war he went to New Milford and for a number of years was engaged in the tanning business with his brother-in-law, Albert Moss, and here he married Miss Mary Moss, daughter of Levi and Sarah Moss, deceased.

WEST AUBURN: There are prospects of a new doctor coming here soon. Dr. Austin, from Sullivan County, was up with Dr. Beaumont looking over the situation and seemed favorably impressed. If he comes it will be inside of two weeks.

WATROUS CORNERS, BRIDGEWATER TWP.: Hallowe’en night a bunch of boys waited quite a while down the road near a certain farmers for the family to retire, but the family was in no hurry, so they quietly opened the barn and took a heavy market wagon out and “rattle-ty-bang” they went with it for about half a mile. The owner with horse and buggy was after them in about ten minutes but when he found the wagon, the guys had scooted. Another wagon was left by a farmer with the wheels well chained to the reach, so the boys did not go far with it. Well “boys will be boys” they say.

HOP BOTTOM: Who said Hop Bottom was behind the times? The hobble skirt is here, also the peach basket hat.

SUSQUEHANNA: Susquehanna was visited by two fires last Sunday morning. The first occurred at 2:30 o’clock in a three-story tenant house on Front street. The damage estimated at $250. The second fire was at 4:30 o’clock and completely destroyed the large barn of James E. Paye on East Main street. The firemen were handicapped by insufficient water pressure. The loss is $5000 which is not covered by insurance.

NEWS BRIEFS: As shown by the statistics of the last 15 years, Nov. 12 has been the latest date that the first snowstorm has occurred in this part of the country. In 1897 we had the first snow on Oct. 31; in 1899 if fell on Nov. 12; in 1900 on Oct. 20, and in 1908 our first snow came on the 31st of October. This year the first snow flurries, nothing like a snow storm, however, came last Saturday, Oct. 29. But, on Nov. 4, Montrose is in the depths of a snowstorm the like of which has not occurred within the recollection of the oldest citizen. To have nearly 2 ft. of snow on the ground and piled high in drifts on Nov. 4, is something unusual even for this altitude and latitude. The trains on the branch roads have been hampered and drifting snow has made travel into the country extremely difficult. Drifts 4 to 6 ft. ft. high are common. Sleighing is easier than using wheels, but owing to the drifts and poor “bottom” it is not pleasant riding.

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

I stumbled across a news story the other day out of Baltimore where the city has enacted a resolution relating to the use of Trans Fat products in restaurant cooking. Trans Fats are chemically altered fats that are used in things like margarine and shortening, and these chemically altered compounds have been shown to be less healthy than the more natural alternatives. The city of Baltimore has prohibited its restaurants and eateries from using any products or foods with more than 5 tenths of a gram of Trans Fat per serving.

How is this enforced? Inspectors go to the businesses to inspect their inventory of products to make sure that there are no offending Trans Fat ingredients in the pantry - and over 100 restaurants have already received warnings for violating the ordinance. One local business, ironically called Healthy Choice, just received the first $100 fine for the use of inappropriate margarine which contained 2 grams of Trans Fat per serving - 4 times the legal limit! Prior to this offense, Healthy Choices was using a margarine that contained 3 grams and received a warning from the benevolent inspector. If Healthy Choice continues to use this dangerous margarine product, it could be closed by the city of Baltimore for violating the Trans Fat ordinance.

My wife makes sure that I don’t use margarine - she never has it in the house - we use butter instead. But when I make my Grandma Legg’s apple pie crust, I have a secret stash of Crisco hidden away deep in the baking cabinet that I throw into the mix before my wife can see what is happening. Do me a favor and don’t rat me out. I am not sure what I will do when they ban Crisco. I guess Crisco now makes a Trans Fat free brand, but I hesitate to depart from the perfection that my grandmother achieved in her original recipe. If I ate it everyday, I guess I might have a different view, but as an occasional holiday treat, I am not willing to change Gram’s recipe - it is simply too delicious to change.

On the other side, I read that California is having a referendum on legalizing “recreational” marijuana. There was a time when I had a fairly libertarian view on controlled substances, i.e., what people did in the privacy of their homes was their business, not mine, as long as they are not out there hurting someone else. When I became a prosecutor, I began to see how marijuana really affected people - and how it served as a gateway drug for all of the other nasty controlled substances. Controlled substances really destroy lives - not just the user’s life, but the lives of the circle of family, friends and employers who attempt to help and support the addict. In recent years, some reality television shows have pulled back the curtain to show the true and ugly nature of drug use - and its devastating consequences to everyone involved. I often tell people that the vast majority of property crimes result from drug addictions - people steal to support their habit.

It seems strange to me that one state is attempting to legalize a controlled substance that has so many negative consequences, while another city is battling to get rid of margarine from eateries. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana smoke contains 50 to 70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke. Marijuana users also are 4.8 times more likely to suffer a heart attack within 1 hour of smoking marijuana than someone who has not smoked. The short-term immediate effects of marijuana impair the judgment and facilities of the user to an extent where the law recognizes they cannot safely operate a motor vehicle. If you eat a muffin made with a Trans Fat shortening, you can still safely drive home. The same would not be true if you smoked a joint.

Margarine may be hurting people over the long term if they are consuming ridiculous quantities of the product - but there are countless foods that are doing the same thing. We do not have clinics filled with margarine addicts, fatal accidents caused by excessive margarine intake, or family interventions aimed at stopping the margarine addiction. We see these things every day arising from the use of controlled substances. It just seems bizarre to me that some municipalities are starting to regulate margarine at the same time that others are attempting to legalize marijuana.

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. What are your best recommendations for achieving a long life?

The American Geriatrics Society's Foundation for Health in Aging offers a top-ten list for longevity that can't be beat. I present a briefer, edited version of the list here. The clichés are mine.

1. GO OVER THE RAINBOW. You need fewer calories when you get older, so choose nutrient-rich foods like brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Eat a range of colors. The more varied the colors, the wider the range of nutrients you’re likely to get.

2. TAKE A HIKE. Walking as little as 30 minutes, three times a week can help you stay physically fit and mentally sharp, strengthen your bones, lift your spirits and lower your risk of falls.

3. BOTTOMS UP. Drinking a moderate amount of alcohol may lower your risks of heart disease and some other illnesses. But what’s “moderate” changes with age. It means just one drink per day for older men and a half drink daily for older women. A “drink” is an ounce of hard liquor, six ounces of wine, or twelve ounces of beer.

4. GET IN THE SACK. Contrary to popular belief, older people don’t need less sleep than younger adults. Most need at least seven or eight hours of shuteye a night. If you’re getting that much and are still sleepy during the day, see a healthcare professional.

5. TWIST YOUR BRAIN. Sharpen your mind by playing computers games, doing crossword puzzles, learning a new language, and engaging in social give-and-take with other people.

6. WEAR A LOVE GLOVE. Older adults are having sex more often and enjoying it more, research finds. Unfortunately, more older people are also being diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases. To protect yourself, use a condom.

7. REVIEW YOUR DRUGS. When you visit your healthcare professional, bring either all of the prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, herbs and supplements you take, or a complete list that notes the names of each, the doses you take, and how often you take them. Ask your healthcare provider to review everything you brought or put on your list. He or she should make sure they’re safe for you to take, and that they don’t interact in harmful ways. The older you are, and the more medicines you take, the more likely you are to experience medication side effects, even from drugs bought over-the-counter.

8. SPEAK UP WHEN YOU FEEL DOWN. About one in five older adults suffers from depression or anxiety. Lingering sadness, tiredness, loss of appetite or pleasure from things you once enjoyed, difficultly sleeping, worry, irritability, and wanting to be alone much of the time can all be signs that you need help. Tell your healthcare professional right away. There are many good treatments for these problems.

9. GET YOUR VACCINATIONS. Must-have vaccines for seniors include those that protect against pneumonia, tetanus/diphtheria, shingles, and the flu, which kills thousands of older adults in the US every year.

10. SEE YOUR DOCTOR. See your healthcare professional regularly and bring a written list of questions with you so you don't forget to get all the answers you need.

If you have a question, please write to

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Library Chitchat
By Flo Whittaker

It is definitely autumn. We can tell this not just because the leaves have fallen, but because we are being bombarded by unceasing political ads and the new television season is presenting a variety of new shows to capture our attention.

I, too, like to watch TV. There are many interesting, entertaining and informative programs on TV, but television programs have to be tailored to fit certain time slots and to allow for commercials. Since time is limited, content is also limited. If you want the “whole story,” don’t rely on the television.

Since I am an advocate for the library, I would propose that in order get the full picture of any situation, you need to explore the world of books and cultivate the love of books. History does not lend itself to the allotted minutes between television commercials. Just as an example, almost 150 years after the Civil War, historians are still writing books about its people and events.

Here are just of few of the interesting things happened that in the upcoming month of November you might want to read more about: the fall of the Berlin Wall, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, King Tut’s tomb discovered, and the Lewis and Clark Expedition reached the Pacific Ocean.

The Susquehanna County Library’s purpose is not solely educational - it also seeks to be the source of hours of entertaining reading and viewing that fits within your budget. Make a trip to your nearest library a regular part of your schedule.

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Rock Doc
By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters

Blown Away By Handheld Device

I parked my ample butt on the granite steps and waited in the shade of a campus building. As good as his word, Dan Hanson of Olympus Innov-X came to meet me to show me a real-life device that reminded me of Spock’s tricorder in Star Trek.

When I was a young geology student many moons ago, I used to study the variation of chemical composition in the Earth’s many rocks, minerals and soils. Different elements could spell the route to finding a new platinum deposit or tracing out plumes of pollution around old chemical plants. In my day the effort required to identify chemicals in samples meant days or weeks worth of work, taking samples back to the lab and painstakingly analyzing them.

The world has changed.

X-ray florescence, or XRF, is one way of determining what elements are present in a sample of material. The astounding thing to me is that the old XRF machines weighing a ton can now be replaced for many purposes by an XRF machine not much larger than a quarter-inch drill. The tube source of X-rays in the device is similar to what powers medical devices - but on a much smaller scale.

Dan had his device in a small, black suitcase. He gave me the background on how the instrument had been miniaturized since my days in the lab. Then he held the device against the granite on which we were sitting and pulled the trigger. In less than a minute, it had created data on which chemical elements were present in the rock. Knowing granite as I do - it’s a common rock - I wasn’t surprised at the read out. But I was impressed with the speed of the analysis and the minor elements the device was identifying.

It seemed to me that I was looking at Spock’s tricorder.

Dan and I next stepped over to a very different kind of rock that my university had conveniently made into nearby benches. Again, we just held the device against the stone and pulled the trigger. The data rolled in.

Finally we wandered over to sandstone that forms the entrance to the student union building. We analyzed that, too. Total time elapsed for three pieces of work: about five minutes. Clearly Dan’s device could save a company or a prospector oodles of money on assays compared to the old way of doing business.

The hand-held device has some limits. It’s much better at certain applications than others. It does very well, for example, identifying the metals in alloys.

“The scrap iron business is one of our better customers,” Dan told me. “They use it to identify stainless steel on the spot, so it can be sorted into a different bin from the rest of what they process because it’s worth more. For that type of work, the analysis takes only half a second.”

Another example of what the tricorder does well is help with major demolition and salvage projects.

“One of our customers paid for his on the first day he had it on the job. They were taking apart an old chemical plant. The solder that had been used on the pipes contained silver. So they could pull that out separately and sell it,” he said.

The basic model of the XRF costs about $22,000. Part of that cost is the X-ray “guts” of the tool, and part of it pays for the complex software that calibrates the device and can be changed for different applications. Another, top of the line model does an analysis called X-ray diffraction, as well. That means the tool can tell you not just chemical composition but which minerals are present in the sample.

Although Dan works with the device every day, he’s still impressed by it.

“We don’t know yet all we can do with it. There’s more to learn,” he said with a smile.

As I’ve noted in this column from time to time, science and technology continue to make progress even though other parts of our collective lives all too often don’t seem to. That’s one of the reasons I’m still quite hopeful about the world’s future, despite our current economic challenges.

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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From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: What are the differences between farmed versus wild salmon when it comes to human and environmental health? -Greg Diamond

Salmon farming, which involves raising salmon in containers placed under water near shore, began in Norway about 50 years ago and has since caught on in the U.S., Ireland, Canada, Chile and the United Kingdom. Due to the large decline in wild fish from overfishing, many experts see the farming of salmon and other fish as the future of the industry. On the flip side, many marine biologists and ocean advocates fear such a future, citing serious health and ecological implications with so-called “aquaculture.”

George Mateljan, founder of Health Valley Foods, says that farmed fish are “far inferior” to their wild counterparts. “Despite being much fattier, farmed fish provide less usable beneficial omega 3 fats than wild fish,” he says. Indeed, U.S. Department of Agriculture research bears out that the fat content of farmed salmon is 30-35 percent by weight while wild salmons’ fat content is some 20 percent lower, though with a protein content about 20 percent higher. And farm-raised fish contain higher amounts of pro-inflammatory omega 6 fats instead of the preponderance of healthier omega 3s found in wild fish.

“Due to the feedlot conditions of aquafarming, farm-raised fish are doused with antibiotics and exposed to more concentrated pesticides than their wild kin,” reports Mateljan. He adds that farmed salmon are given a salmon-colored dye in their feed “without which their flesh would be an unappetizing grey color.”

Some aquaculture proponents claim that fish farming eases pressure on wild fish populations, but most ocean advocates disagree. To wit, one National Academy of Sciences study found that sea lice from fish farming operations killed up to 95 percent of juvenile wild salmon migrating past them. And two other studies - one in western Canada and the other in England - found that farmed salmon accumulate more cancer-causing PCBs and dioxins than wild salmon due to pesticides circulating in the ocean that get absorbed by the sardines, anchovies and other fish that are ground up as feed for the fish farms. A recent survey of U.S. grocery stores found that farmed salmon typically contains 16 times the PCBs found in wild salmon; other studies in Canada, Ireland and Great Britain reached similar conclusions.

Another problem with fish farms is the liberal use of drugs and antibiotics to control bacterial outbreaks and parasites. These primarily synthetic chemicals spread out into marine ecosystems just from drifting in the water column as well as from fish feces. In addition, millions of farmed fish escape fish farms every year around the world and mix into wild populations, spreading contaminants and disease accordingly.

Ocean advocates would like to end fish farming and instead put resources into reviving wild fish populations. But given the size of the industry, improving conditions would be a start. Noted Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki says that aquaculture operations could use fully enclosed systems that trap waste and do not allow farmed fish to escape into the wild ocean. As for what consumers can do, Suzuki recommends buying only wild-caught salmon and other fish. Natural foods and high end grocers, as well as concerned restaurants, will stock wild salmon from Alaska and elsewhere.

Dear EarthTalk: I’ve been hearing about the great gas mileage for Volkswagens that use diesel fuel. But is it better for the environment to use diesel or unleaded gasoline? -K. Cronk

In the past, diesel fuel was always considered dirtier than gasoline. But newer standards regulating sulfur content and improved technology in diesel engines have made diesel somewhat kinder to the environment. Many eco-advocates now tout diesel as a viable and preferable alternative to regular unleaded gasoline.

Where diesel fuel really shines over gasoline is improved fuel economy thanks to its higher “energy density:” Diesel contains more power per liter than gasoline. Today’s diesel engines have 20-40 percent better fuel economy than their gasoline counterparts, which some say more than makes up for the fact that they also produce about 15 percent more greenhouse gases. This greater efficiency means that diesel engines emit less carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide and fewer hydrocarbons than gasoline engines.

Diesel’s downside is that it emits larger amounts of nitrogen compounds and particulate matter (soot) that can cause respiratory problems and even cancer. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) attributes 70 percent of that state’s cancer risk from airborne toxins to soot from diesel cars and trucks. Nationwide, studies have shown a 26 percent mortality increase for those living in soot-polluted areas.

But diesel’s dark side is getting a little brighter, thanks to new technologies such as Mercedes-Benz’ BlueTEC system (now used in many VW, Audi and Chrysler diesel models) that filters particulates while improving overall engine performance. The Diesel Technology Forum (DTF), a trade association of carmakers, engine builders and petroleum distributors, reports that technologies now commonplace in new diesel engines reduce the tailpipe output of particulate matter by as much as 90 percent and nitrogen oxides by some 50 percent compared to diesel engines on the road just a decade ago.

“The industry has made significant strides in recent years to develop diesel systems that are cleaner and more efficient than ever before,” reports DTF. “Thanks to state-of-the-art engines, cleaner-burning fuels, effective emissions-control systems, and advancements in the fuel injection system, it would take 60 trucks sold today to equal the soot emissions of one 1988 truck.” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data shows that airborne diesel particulate levels fell by more than 37 percent during the 1990s.

Meanwhile, continually improving fuel efficiency standards in the European Union (where the majority of new cars purchased in many member countries use diesel fuel) are forcing carmakers to design more fuel efficient, less polluting vehicles around the world. After all, there’s no sense in designing better engines for one region with high standards and another for areas with less stringent rules. Another green benefit of diesel-powered engines is their ability to run on plant-derived biodiesel instead of petroleum-based diesel. And in the near future consumers may be able to shop for new diesel-electric hybrid cars now on the drawing boards of major automakers around the world. For now, consumers looking to buy a new or used car - diesel or otherwise - can see how different models stack up in regard to efficiency and emissions via the website, a joint effort of the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy.

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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