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Issue Home December 15, 2010 Site Home

100 Years Ago
From the Desk of the D.A.
The Healthy Geezer
Library Chitchat
Rock Doc
Earth Talk
Barnes-Kasson Corner

100 Years Ago

A flake of snow and a sprig of holly - old Santa’s on the way.

FAIRDALE: Dexter Very has been elected captain of the Penn State College football team for 1911.

RUSH: The State road M. E. church, which has been closed nearly the past decade, has been reopened, services being held there every other Sunday evening by the pastor, Rev. Coles, who preaches to a large congregation. At present, revival meetings are being held there and will continue next week. A chicken pie supper was given Dec. 8, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Everett Devine, for the benefit of their pastor, Mr. Coles. One hundred people ate supper and a very enjoyable evening was spent in games and music. Proceeds $27.50.

HALLSTEAD: Monday evening a few ladies, neighbors of Mrs. Charles M. Reinhart, met at Mrs. Reinhart’s home to complete a bed quilt. The cotton batting had been spread over the cloth preparatory to sewing when a match was scratched by a member of the family and a fragment of the ignited head struck on the dry cotton and in an instant the quilt was a mass of flames which reached to the ceiling. Mrs. Reinhart did not lose her head but caught up the burning mass and succeeded in getting it out of doors. Mrs. Reinhart’s hands were quite badly burned.

AINEY: Ed. Card, who was bitten by a mad dog is in the State hospital at Scranton for treatment. He is doing well and will be home for Christmas.

ROYAL, CLIFFORD TWP.: Fred Stephens has the finest team in town. He is drawing props to Carbondale and bringing coal back.

BROOKLYN: Susquehanna County people will be interested in the story in the last fiction number of the “Ladies Home Journal” entitled, “The Christmas Eve Show at Kepplers.” The author is Miss Alice Louise Lee, of Brooklyn, who is steadily climbing upward as a writer of high grade short and serial stories. The story is most original and a charming narrative. It is understood that the Journal’s editors considered it worth paying a handsome price for.

SOUTH MONTROSE: The slat mill is now running full time and it is said they can easily make 20,000 slats a day. Manager W. H. Allen has in operation a sawing machine of his own invention which saves the labor of several men, doing the work in a much better manner than could be done by hand labor. Mr. Allen spent several years in completion his invention.

HARFORD: James A. Williams has his store very prettily decorated for the holidays and is showing an extensive line of Christmas goods.

MONTROSE: The fifth grand concert of the Montrose Choral Society is coming soon. The opera “Faust” is to be given by a larger chorus than last year, on Dec. 20, in Colonial Theatre.

DIMOCK: C. W. Barnes now has an experienced blacksmith at his shop. So bring your horses and repairing work which will be done good, cheap for the cash.

SUSQUEHANNA: Robert Kane, son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Kane, had a severe accident last Saturday. Several of the boys have a cabin up Drinker creek and while Robert was splitting wood to build a fire, he cut the index of the left hand off at the first joint and the second finger off at the second joint. He was taken to the hospital where his hand was dressed. ALSO They have been having trouble over at the Erie shops of late by the theft of brass, which is easily converted into good money, and a special officer, by the name of Griffin, was convinced that the depredations were by an employee and consequently hid himself in the cab of an engine where he had full view of a pile of brass bushings, and his vigil was rewarded about a couple of hours later by the appearance of an employee whose name was Mayo, coming over to the pile and carrying a piece weighing upwards of 20 pounds, over to his lathe, where he left it until quitting time and them put it under his coat and was going away, but about this time officer Griffin nabbed him. He was placed under arrest and the brass recovered. Mayo pleaded guilty before Justice Williams and was sentenced to pay $10 fine and spend thirty days in the county jail.

JACKSON: A juvenile Cantata, “The Visit to Grandpa’s,” will be given by the pupils of the Jackson graded school in Roberts Hall, Jackson, on Friday evening, Dec. 23. The entertainment will be given promptly at 8:15 p.m. and in order to defray expenses a small admission of 10 cents will be charged.

CHOCONUT VALLEY: The Choconut Valley creamery closed last week. Walter Clarke, the butter maker, has gone to Binghamton where he has a job. ALSO John Mooney and Earle Monroe were out hunting a short time since and brought home a nice fox, which they had killed. Foxes seem to be quite plentiful in this section, as Ford Pierson has killed five this season.

LYNN, SPRINGVILLE TWP.: Willie Sherman met with a serious accident recently while leading a horse. It broke away from him and while trying to catch him, he wheeled and kicked Willie in the face, breaking his nose and cutting his face badly. It was a narrow escape from death. ALSO Blacksmiths are reaping their harvest now, sharpening horses’ shoes.

FOREST CITY: A fire that for a time had a portend of disaster for here took place about 11 o’clock, Saturday night. Fire broke out in the carpenter shop located about 70 feet south of the Forest City breaker. Both hose companies promptly responded to the alarm, but there was difficulty in attaching the hose at one plug and something wrong with another, so that only one stream was in use for some time. The wind was blowing just right to carry the sparks to the big breaker, but luckily the patent roofing on the burning building held the flames in control. The origin of the blaze is not known. The proximity of the fire to the big breaker set all the spectators to talking of “what might have been.”

Oh the Snow! The Snow! The beautiful Snow! We are beginning to wonder - How much higher ‘twill go?

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

I pen this column with some great trepidation. In fact, it would probably be far better to avoid this topic altogether, but I have received so many inquiries and urgings from constituents over the past month that it would be cowardly to avoid this discussion. I have never had so many constituents express concerns to this office over any other issue than the one that so recently resulted in an impressive number of telephone calls, emails and correspondence. What was the issue? It was the recent legislation that would have extended the deadly force self-defense justification in Pennsylvania. The constituents who called the office referred to it as the “Castle Doctrine” bill. Ultimately, the legislation was vetoed by Governor Rendell.

As I said, this is probably a topic I should avoid, but there were a lot of people upset about the decision of the Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Association (PDAA) to actively oppose the bill. Candidly, when I first started receiving the messages, I was not even sure what they were about as I had not been following the “Castle Doctrine” legislation. Nor was I involved in any decision by the PDAA to voice opposition to the bill. After receiving a number of these calls, I then received an email from the PDAA explaining that the NRA had sent out a mass email encouraging members to directly contact their county district attorneys with the intent to convince the local district attorneys to undercut the PDAA opposition to the “Castle Doctrine” bill. So, I was receiving telephone messages from constituents that had a simple message - call Governor Rendell and tell him to sign the “Castle Doctrine” legislation. Given the public attention this issue generated, I thought it might be interesting for the public to understand the reasons for the PDAA’s opposition to the bill. That having been said, please don’t shoot the messenger.

First, the “Castle Doctrine” bill provided for an extension of existing self-defense law. As the law stands now, there is no duty to retreat prior to using lethal force in your residence. In other words, if you need to use deadly force to defend yourself (or another person) from death or serious bodily injury in your residence, there is no requirement that the homeowner seek to retreat prior to using deadly force. Thus, the PDAA rightly noted that Pennsylvania already has the “Castle Doctrine” in place - and that the current debate was not about defense of one’s castle (home), but a broader policy question of the use of deadly force outside a person’s home.

The new legislation would have eliminated the duty to retreat in every situation in which deadly force was utilized. As the law stands now, outside a residence, a person is expected to retreat prior to using deadly force if such retreat can be safely accomplished. If a reasonable person believes that they cannot safely retreat, then there is no requirement under current law that a person retreat prior to resorting to deadly force. In other words, outside a person’s residence, the law encourages people to seek non-lethal solutions that hopefully deescalate the situation - not escalate it.

The PDAA was concerned over the new legislation that would change long-standing public policy and common law traditions regarding the use of deadly force. In other words, there was a danger that the new law would promote a “shoot first, ask questions later” approach to self-defense. The general view is that most reasonable people intuitively follow the current law - they avoid using deadly force except as a last and only resort. In other words, you don’t kill another human being unless there are no other options available to you, i.e., simply leaving the situation to avoid the use of deadly force.

If we accept that this is a reasonable premise, then the current law is wholly adequate from a self-defense perspective. The PDAA believed that the current law has served the Commonwealth well and that there were no real life examples to demonstrate that the law was inadequate. As the PDAA noted, the new legislation was something akin to a solution in search of a problem.

Further, the PDAA had significant concerns that the new legislation, while rightly intended, would likely provide a greater benefit to criminals than law-abiding citizens. The new legislation would provide a strong defense to violent felons who engage in deadly shootings. While the instances where the new legislation would actually benefit a law-abiding citizen would be few, the potential for abuse of the new legislation by criminals was endless. In other words, the PDAA believed that the new law would create a new hurdle that would make it more difficult to get violent offenders off the streets.

As I have told a number of constituents, I do not believe that the new legislation would have had any substantial impact in Susquehanna County. If it passed, I know the people of this county would have used their common sense and good judgment to make sound decisions regarding the use of deadly force. And I don’t think that the new legislation would have really changed the way most of our residents would make the difficult decision to use deadly force. In fact, in the eleven plus years as a prosecutor, I cannot recall a single criminal case that would have been impacted by this new legislation. In other jurisdictions, however, such as Philadelphia, where shootings and homicides are far too common, the new legislation would have been a nightmare for the prosecutors struggling to keep their streets safe.

These were some of the reasons provided by the PDAA in opposition to the new legislation. As I said, I was not involved in the decision to oppose the legislation, so don’t shoot the messenger. On the other hand, I don’t think that the PDAA’s rationale for opposing the legislation was unreasonable.

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

[This is the second of two columns about suicide.]

White men are at the highest risk of suicide, especially those over the age of 85; they have a rate of almost 50 suicide deaths per 100,000 persons

Depression is a condition usually associated with suicide in older adults. There are a lot of problems to face as you get older. There are losses of all kinds that can get you down. And feeling blue for a while is a normal part of living at any age.

But, unrelenting depression is not normal. If you feel this way, you should seek medical attention. Most people get better if they treat their depression.

If you or someone close to you is having suicidal thoughts, you can call this toll-free number, available 24 hours a day, every day: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You will reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a service available to anyone. All calls are confidential.

More than 90 percent of people who kill themselves are suffering from a brain illness and substance abuse problems. Yes, that's right, a “brain illness.” Many times we think that the personality is in the brain. But the truth is that the brain is just an organ like the heart. When the brain becomes ill, it can make you depressed and anxious.

Suicide is often a last-ditch attempt to relieve the pains of depression. Depression can cause powerful feelings of despair and self-doubt. These feelings can create self-destructive thoughts that, if ignored, can lead to suicide.

If you are having these thoughts, seek help immediately. It is important to understand that suicidal thoughts are treatable. Don’t let fear or embarrassment stop you from seeking help from your physician, therapist, family, or friends.

Avoid being alone when you feel horrible, and stay away from drugs and alcohol. Many suicides are caused by uncontrolled impulses. Drugs and alcohol can make you more impulsive.

Make sure you do not have access to anything you could use to hurt yourself. Have someone hold onto your car keys when you are feeling suicidal. Throw away all unused medications.

How can you tell if someone you know is thinking about suicide? Here are some indications that should be considered seriously:

* Any mention of suicide.

* Writing or revising a will.

* Giving away sentimental possessions.

* Purchasing a gun or large quantities of medication.

* Cutting off social connections.

* Suddenly becoming calm and decisive after being without joy or hope.

The following are some suggestions from mental health professionals to assist someone who is suicidal:

* Stay calm and let the person know you are willing to listen.

* Remind the person that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, and that there are better ways to handle the problem.

* Describe behavior you've observed and explain that you are concerned that it might indicate a potential suicide.

* Remind the person why his or her life makes your own life better.

* Don’t try to handle the crisis alone.

* Encourage the person to get professional help.

* Someone who is suicidal may be ashamed. Remind the person that guilt is also a treatable symptom.

* Try to elicit the person's suicide plan.

If you have a question, please write to

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Library Chitchat
By Flo Whittaker

In late October, the Susquehanna County Library and Historical Society sent out its 2011 Support Drive appeal. Did you receive our mailing? If you did, we hope that you include a gift for our organization on your list this year. This is truly a “gift that keeps on giving.” Your support, no matter what amount, will help us to continue to be of service to Susquehanna County through our main library in Montrose, the three branches libraries in Hallstead/Great Bend, Forest City and Susquehanna, the county-wide Outreach Department (Books-by-Mail and Books-on-Wheels), and the Historical Society.

I had the occasion to talk to a number of county residents both in Montrose and Great Bend on November 20 and 21. Many of them told me how much they value the Susquehanna County Library system. Some were not aware that our annual support drive was underway. While we mailed more than 6,900 letters, we obviously did not reach all of the more than 42,000 county residents. If you are interested in supporting the Library in this manner, you may stop in at any of the four library facilities to fill out the support form.

We at the Susquehanna County Library hope that you have a joyful holiday season and that what you want is under the tree on Christmas day. We also hope that you will remember the Library as you make your year-end contributions. Your support is vital.

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Rock Doc
By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters

The ’87 Truck

By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters

I came to a sharp fork in the deeply rutted road of my life this fall. I had to decide if I would continue to limp around on Saturdays in my beloved but inefficient ’87 pickup, or sell it off to some poor soul in more need of it than I.

My eight cylinder American-made truck has a relatively small engine in it, the most petite offered in its day. Still, you can feel the engine torque the body of the truck when you turn it on. Perhaps that’s why is gets only about a dozen miles to the gallon, and that’s at 50 mph with a strong tail wind. If I’m towing anything, or have a heavy load in the truck’s bed, the miles per gallon figure crashes into the single digits. In short, my fine truck is not what you’d call fuel efficient.

But a rural geologist needs a truck. It’s part of the image, isn’t it?

Still, lately I’ve been strongly tempted to sell the thing off. The truck costs money in gas and oil. It requires funds to insure. New studded snow tires add to the fun. The truck is old enough it breaks down, including in the middle of the road, leading to towing bills and major charges from my mechanic. (I suspect my pickup pays his mortgage, but perhaps it only seems that way to me.)

There’s always the dream of a new, more fuel efficient truck. There are models that actually shut down some of their cylinders on the highway when they are not needed, helping to boost mpg figures. Or I could switch to a smaller truck entirely, making efficiency gains hand over fist. And, of course, the new truck could be a glaring yellow with red flames painted down the sides. What could be better?

But perhaps we Americans have learned something in this recession. Maybe rather than allowing myself to be seduced by an expensive new truck I’d seldom use, I’m better off sticking with what I’ve got. My ride isn’t swank. The cab is smelly, a mix of the aroma of wet-dog, decaying cushions, and deep-seated mold. The engine runs a touch rough sometimes. I burn just a bit of oil. And I don’t get great gas mileage. But I don’t put many miles on the truck. And I can operate and fix my truck for far less than the price of the annual interest of a top-of-the-line new truck, even one without flames painted on the sides.

It may be corny to say it. But most of us citizens of this fine republic have had to reexamine at least some of our financial priorities in recent years. I know it’s felt that way to me.

I could, in truth, live without a truck at all. But it’s convenient to have one for taking loads of yard waste to the dump, for lending to young and strong folks moving from one home to another, for towing utility trailers, and for taking a load of household goods (where does all the stuff come from?) to the annual church rummage sale.

So I’m going to keep my old truck. It’s not always convenient to use, because it does break down. On the other hand, I can think of it as an adventure every time I drive, something no new truck offers an owner. Maybe that’s the kind of out-of-the-box thinking we need to hang onto during this long crawl upward out of the deep recession into which we fell.

Here’s my last thought, one meant to remind us of the season and to help us through our financial challenges.

Modern trucks are a marvel of engineering and even basic science. And it’s a fundamental truth that, more broadly speaking, there is still a powerhouse of science and engineering research in this large and diverse country. Everything from modern medicine to electronics to agricultural engineering to research in genetics is rapidly gaining ground. Perhaps with our renewed personal values about what’s really important, and our bedrock national advantages in sciences and engineering, the U.S. will see progress in the coming years in many important respects.

May it be so.

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, Natural and Resources Sciences at Washington State University.

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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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