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Issue Home January 5, 2011 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

JACKSON: Please bear in mind that Jan. 1 is the time to renew your membership in the Jackson Library. The fee will be fifty cents, the same as last year, and we desire to get as many members at once as possible so they will begin on the first of the year. The Jackson Dramatic Society is rehearsing a play, which they will put on in the near future for the benefit of the library, the proceeds of which will enable them to buy a lot of books. There are 1,000 books on the shelves now and you cannot afford to be without at least one membership in the family.

SPRINGVILLE: Ziba Smith has rented the shop upstairs in the building belonging to T. W. Strickland and does wagon repairing and carpenter work.

RUSH: John Graham is visiting at the home of is father after an absence of fourteen years in the West.

MONTROSE: This is good weather for coasting [sledding], and Chenango street hill is a lively pleasure place. ALSO, after enjoying the holiday vacation, the members of Miss Helen M. Caswell’s class in china painting have resumed their studies.

FAIRDALE: E. L. Jones was a business caller in town on Wednesday. Mr. Jones was at Bloomsburg in company with W. W. Olmstead, the latter part of last week, where they looked at some thoroughbred stock with the intention of purchasing, had the animals come up to their expectations. Both men have fine herds, which they are constantly improving.

GELATT: No one claimed the remains of the man who died at Lew Daniels’ a week ago and they were buried by the town Wednesday.

BROOKLYN: There were two weddings in town last week. On Monday afternoon at the M. E. parsonage, Rev. Bouton married Miss Grace Dailey and Earl Tiffany. On Wednesday afternoon, at the bride’s home, Miss Vina Kent was united in marriage with Taber Capron, of Kingsley, in the presence of a small company of friends and well wishers, by Rev. Dowson.

CHOCONUT: Miss Mary Gahagan, matron at Dr. Thompson’s private hospital, at Binghamton, came Christmas to see her mother, who was very sick at the home of her daughter, Mrs. John Mooney.

OAKLEY, HARFORD TWP.: On Dec. 30, the relatives and neighbors of Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Tingly gave them a surprise on their silver wedding anniversary. The day was a cold, blustery one, and when Mr. Tingley first saw the string of teams approaching he was somewhat “riled,” for how, he thought, would they expect him to shelter so many horses and feed such a crowd of people? Seventy-seven people, from Binghamton, Honesdale and all the surrounding towns, began to unload; grown people, children and lunch baskets and their wants were amply provided for and a very enjoyable time was had. The friends left a nice sum of money with the family as a token of the esteem in which they are held.

NEW MILFORD: St. Mark’s Protestant Episcopal Church will introduce the first Vested Choir of boys, girls and adults in Susquehanna County. Vested Choirs are most common in the Protestant Episcopal Church and the Church of England, although they are occasionally found in churches of other denominations. Only rarely do we see a choir that is not vested in the Episcopal church. Vested choirs have been found commendable because uniformity of dress is a great help in suppressing vanities of apparel and gaudy millinery in the choir. Where all the singers are dressed alike there is no display of finery. The St. Mark’s girls and women will wear white cottas over black cassocks. The usual college mortar board hats will be worn. The boys and men will wear white cottas over black cassocks.

FOREST CITY: Alfred Howell is in the county jail awaiting the action of the grand jury on the charge of attempting to kill his wife. Howell is 30 years of age and the weapon he used was a 22 caliber Remington rifle, the bullet from which penetrated her hip about an inch from the spine and glanced against the hip bone. Unless complications exist she will recover. Howell was intoxicated when he fired the shot and in a quarrelsome mood as a result of New Year’s debauchery. Mrs. Howell went to the home of a step-sister, Mrs. Yarnes, across the street. Howell followed her to the Yarnes home, and then he left, saying he would get a doctor. Instead he went to his home and searched for money and then disappeared. The next day he returned, having been followed by remorse for his rash deed and was taken into custody by Constable M. J. Walsh.

SOUTH MONTROSE: G. F. Decker exhibited his bronze turkeys at Madison Square Garden Poultry show in New York City, last week, winning second young tom and second old hen, there being 39 bronze turkeys on exhibition. Mr. Decker only competed in these two classes, which proves that his turkeys are among the best in the United States.

HALLSTEAD: During the month of January Dr. Merrell will be in his office here on Saturdays and Mondays. He spends the remainder of his time in New York City in the Post Graduate School for physicians.

NEWS BRIEFS: Osborn M. Hill, a native and former sheriff of Susquehanna County, died recently at the age of 80 years in Wellington, Kansas. He had been in failing health for many years, but death came suddenly from a stroke of paralysis. ALSO, a race of baldheads is likely to be developed by the automobile, according to a Chicago physician, himself a motoring “bug.” He does not find the danger to the hair in the speed, which some auto drivers affect, but in the airtight leather cap made necessary by the scorching. “There can be only one result from this unsanitary head covering - baldness. The tight band compressing the skull excludes the blood from the scalp, causing imperfect circulation, hence the roots of the hair are poorly nourished. The sunlight and air are likewise excluded. Growing hair under such conditions is about as difficult as trying to raise pansies in a cellar. In my own practice I have had a dozen cases of insipient baldness directly traceable to this cause.”

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

Last week, I discussed some of the uncertainty inherent in any jury trial regardless of the strength of the case. This was not meant to disparage juries in anyway; rather, it was a frank assessment of the difficulties in convincing 12 different people that there is sufficient evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to convict a particular defendant. The standard of proof was intentionally elevated to assure that innocent people were not wrongfully convicted. As a result, it is inevitable that some guilty people will avoid punishment for criminal conduct simply because the quantum of proof is not quite there.

Despite the uncertainties inherent in criminal trials, Eric Holder, the United States Attorney General, announced that the Justice Department had decided to proceed in a civilian criminal court against terrorist detainees held a Guantanamo Bay. The first criminal case pursued against a detainee was against Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani for his involvement in two separate terrorist bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa in the 1998 that killed 224 people, including 12 Americans. The federal indictment amounted to 285 criminal counts including charges for murder and attempted murder. After a 4-week criminal trial and the jury deliberating for 5 days, Ghailani was convicted of only a single count relating to a conspiracy to destroy government property.

While folks in the Justice Department and the White House touted this as a victory, the only realistic way to portray this result is a staggering defeat. A complete acquittal on 284 counts is stunning. The acquittal resulted in part as a result of some of the evidentiary rules that apply in criminal court that would not have applied in a military commission. In other words, the Justice Department moved Ghailani’s trial from a forum in which they would be capable of presenting all of the evidence and opted instead for a forum where crucial evidence was excluded. There is a certain bizarre kamikaze mentality that permeates such a prosecutorial decision.

The White House, Justice Department and human rights groups are all hailing the conviction as proof that the criminal justice system works - though their proof amounts to conviction on only 1 count out of 285 - a conviction rate of 0.003 percent. This only proves one thing - the Justice Department was extremely lucky that the jury threw them a bone.

In reality, the first “show trial” turned into a horror flick for the government. It is not surprising that the government has failed to make any decisions on any other criminal trials for terror detainees. Behind the scenes, reality appears to be dawning with a bright glare. The Justice Department continues to voice its intent to demonstrate to the world the fairness of our criminal justice system - but takes no steps whatsoever to actually institute criminal proceedings against the rest of the terror detainees.

If the Justice Department were really concerned with how the criminal justice system works, it would know that you cannot hold people without filing criminal charges - yet detainees are held without charges and without knowing when and where the charges will be filed. If the Justice Department were really concerned with affording terror detainees constitutional protections, then there would be concern over the right to a speedy trial - and the detention without filing a single criminal charge on some detainees for nearly a decade can hardly be called a speedy resolution. If the Justice Department were committed to adhering to our civilian criminal justice principles, then it would be willing to concede that detainees would be released in the event of a full acquittal. To the contrary, the Department of Defense has already indicated that it will not necessarily release a terror detainee even if there was a full acquittal in a criminal trial. In other words, you may win your trial, but still stay in detention. If that scenario unfolds, how will the world perceive American fairness then?

These “terror” trials seem to be more about political theater than actual justice. The bottom line is simple - these terrorists are prisoners of war, not mere criminals, and they should be tried in a military commission. There is strong bipartisan support for abandoning this folly of trying terrorists in civilian courts - and there are now 284 more reasons to go back to military commissions.

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. Are glucosamine and chondroitin good for arthritis?

Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of the condition. An estimated 27 million adults in the United States live with osteoarthritis.

You get osteoarthritis when cartilage - the cushioning tissue within the joints - wears down. The disease affects both men and women. By age 65, more than 50 percent of us have osteoarthritis in at least one joint.

Osteoarthritis can affect any joint, but it usually strikes those that support weight. Common signs of osteoarthritis include joint pain, swelling, and tenderness.

Treatments for osteoarthritis include exercise, joint care, dieting, medicines and surgery. For pain relief, doctors usually start with acetaminophen, the medicine in Tylenol, because the side effects are minimal. If acetaminophen does not relieve pain, then non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve) may be used.

Many people say glucosamine and chondroitin can relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis. In the United States, glucosamine and chondroitin are sold as dietary supplements, which are regulated as foods rather than drugs. The annual sales of the supplements around the world are about $2 billion.

Glucosamine and chondroitin are two molecules in joint cartilage. Treatment with these supplements is based on the theory that consuming them may speed the formation of new cartilage. There is no proof that glucosamine and chondroitin help form new cartilage.

However, there are studies indicating that the supplements relieve pain better than placebos. The pain reduction found in these studies was similar to results obtained by NSAIDs. However, NSAIDS have side effects including gastrointestinal bleeding. Glucosamine and chondroitin have few side effects.

While there are indications that glucosamine and chondroitin have pain-relieving qualities, the supplements have yet to pass a test that would qualify them to be a primary treatment for osteoarthritis. More research is needed.

Recent studies are worth noting.

In one study, the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin did not provide significant relief from osteoarthritis pain among all participants. A total of 1,583 people with an average age of 59 participated in the study.

However, for a subset of participants with moderate-to-severe pain, glucosamine combined with chondroitin provided statistically significant pain relief compared with placebo. About 79 percent had a 20 percent or greater reduction in pain compared to about 54 percent for placebo. Researchers said these findings need to be confirmed in further studies because of the small size of this subgroup.

This research was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Researchers led by rheumatologist Daniel O. Clegg, M.D., of the University of Utah, School of Medicine, conducted the 4-year study known as the Glucosamine/chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT) at 16 sites across the United States.

The GAIT study included an additional inquiry to investigate whether these supplements could diminish structural damage from osteoarthritis of the knee. At the end of the ancillary study, the team had gathered data on 581 knees. After assessing the data, the researchers concluded that glucosamine and chondroitin appeared to do no better than placebo in slowing loss of cartilage in osteoarthritis of the knee.

Another important study was done by Dr. Peter Juni of the University of Bern in Switzerland, and Dr. Andrew Sherman at the University of Miami.

For the study, the investigators analyzed the results of 10 randomized clinical trials involving more than 3,800 patients with knee or hip osteoarthritis. They found no clinically relevant effect of chondroitin, glucosamine or both taken together on joint pain.

"We need to look more closely at these over-the-counter medications that claim to be panaceas and may not be giving us our money's worth," Dr. Sherman said.

Should you try the supplements? Not without consulting your personal physician.

If you have a question, please write to

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Library Chitchat
By Flo Whittaker

No Library Chitchat This Week

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Rock Doc
By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters

Recharging The Battery Made Of Water

It’s that time of year once again.

As a geologist, I’m not thinking of the holiday season when I note this time on the calendar. What’s impressed me lately is the clear start of the annual cycle in which we benefit from a recharging of the nation’s water supply.

In late November, while I was digging my pickup truck out of 14 inches of snow, I had time to meditate on the importance of this time of year. Not long after my shoveling effort, the Midwest was hit by major snowfalls. Now other parts of our geographically complex nation have had substantial rains.

Both snow and rain are different ways of spelling water, of course. Roughly 10 inches of snow are the same as an inch of rain. I say “roughly” because snow can be dry powder, in which case it doesn’t have much water content, or sloppy stuff that weighs a heck of a lot more because it’s got more water in each scoop of my shovel.

There are two basic ways that significant parts of the country will depend on this winter’s snow and rainfall well down the road. That’s worth a moment’s consideration, because we’re just as dependent on water as we are on energy.

First, winter snows at high elevations build up over time. Near the start of the summer, those snows melt. Water enters creeks that flow down into larger streams. That’s why a healthy snowpack at high elevations leads to plentiful water in rivers during the summer. With current climate trends in the western U.S., snowpack runoff may happen earlier in the spring and summer - with important consequences for our ability to generate electricity and meet peak irrigation needs later in the warm season.

But there’s a second, more invisible, way that precipitation is crucial to our water supply. In several regions of the country, aquifers hold water beneath our feet and supply the water that we all depend on.

Here’s the story.

As we all can observe, rain and snowmelt soak into the soil. What we can’t easily see is that part of the water in the soil continues to move downward. It’s a slow process, but over time water trickles into the little cracks and tiny holes that exist in the solid rock that’s beneath the soil.

If you drill a well down through the soil of my backyard and into the rock under it, you’d reach the water table. That’s the depth beneath which water flows into open holes in the Earth, like wells.

Rock doesn’t hold a lot of water. Imagine you could look at some of the rock under my house that’s beneath the water table, a cubic piece of solid stone that was one foot on each side. Only a thimbleful of water would flow from that rock into a well, nowhere near enough to fill my coffeemaker each morning.

But a good well gets the benefit of the water that’s stored in huge volumes of rock. And each morning I fill my coffee pot with water exactly like that, what geologists call groundwater from a deep aquifer.

All aquifers have to be recharged. That’s what is happening at this time of year. Snow and rain are trickling down into soil. Over time, water will move into the rock underneath the soil, recharging the systems on which so much depends.

It’s an unfortunate fact that we are pulling water out of major American aquifers at a faster rate than Mother Nature recharges them. The day will come that we will have to change our way of doing business. It’s not that we will abruptly have no water at all to use, but that we’ll have to engineer more solutions to meet our needs, deal with new environmental impacts, and end up spending a lot more money for water than we’re used to doing.

It’s impressive that such a simple substance as water gives us so much we really need to think about. For the New Year let me raise with you a toast of cold, clear water - an often overlooked but precious gift.

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

Dear EarthTalk: What is happening to update and reform the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, which I understand is considerably outdated and actually permits the use of thousands of chemicals that have never been adequately tested for safety?         -Henry

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a leading environmental research and advocacy organization, upwards of 80,000 chemicals commonly used in the United States have never been fully assessed for toxic impacts on human health and the environment. “Under the current law, it is almost impossible for the EPA [U.S. Environmental Protection Agency] to take regulatory action against dangerous chemicals, even those that are known to cause cancer or other serious health effects,” reports the group.

1976’s Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was intended to protect people and the environment from exposure to dangerous chemicals. But the standards at that time dictated that only those chemicals deemed an “unreasonable risk” were subject to testing and regulation. When the law went into effect, some 62,000 chemicals escaped testing and most have remained on the market ever since. In the interim, however, we have learned that many of them have been linked to hormonal, reproductive and immune problems, cancer, and a plethora of environmental problems.

And since 1976, an additional 22,000 chemicals have been introduced without any testing for public or environmental safety. Some of the potentially worst offenders can be found in cleaning and personal care products, furniture, building materials, electronics, food and drink containers, and even kids’ toys.

“The law is widely considered to be a failure and, most recently, the Environmental Protection Agency’s own Inspector General found it inadequate to ensure that new chemicals are safe,” reports NRDC, which is not the only group concerned about beefing up TSCA. The Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Coalition includes more than 200 nonprofits - including Physicians for Social Responsibility, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG), the Environmental Defense Fund and the Lung Cancer Alliance, among many others - representing a collective membership of more than 11 million individual parents, health professionals, advocates for people with learning and developmental disabilities, reproductive health advocates, environmentalists and businesspersons from across the country.

By banding together, coalition leaders hope to convince Congress to fix the problem by finally updating TSCA and creating the “foundation for a sound and comprehensive chemicals policy that protects public health and the environment, while restoring the luster of safety to U.S. goods in the world market.”

Specifically, the coalition is lobbying Congress to revamp TSCA so that the most dangerous chemicals are phased out or banned outright and that others are tested and regulated accordingly, all the while ensuring the public’s right-to-know about the safety and use of chemicals in everyday products. Also, the coalition is calling for federal funding to expand research into greener alternative chemicals to replace those with known health hazards.

Dear EarthTalk: I saw a TV ad for toilet paper with no cardboard core to save paper. I understand that green groups recently struck a deal with Kimberly-Clark to protect eastern U.S. forests from decimation for, among other things, toilet paper. Can you tell me if any efforts are underway to protect Canada's boreal forest, also long used for making tissue paper? - K. Douglas

In August 2009, Kimberly-Clark, the paper giant behind the Kleenex, Cottonelle and Scott brands and the largest manufacturer of tissue products in the world, gave in to pressure from Greenpeace and other environmental groups to clean up its act in regard to how it sources its wood fiber and how much recycled content it includes in its products. After various forms of public haranguing from Greenpeace, the company committed to sourcing 40 percent of its North American tissue fiber - some 600,000 tons yearly - from recycled sources or from forests certified as sustainable by the nonprofit Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Also, by the end of 2011 Kimberly-Clark will stop buying non-FSC-certified wood fiber from Canada’s vast but fast-shrinking boreal forest - the largest old growth forest on the continent.

One outgrowth of this landmark agreement is Kimberly-Clark’s launch of Scott Naturals Tube-Free toilet paper which, to reduce waste is wound in such a way that it doesn’t need cardboard tubes. The company estimates that the 17 billion toilet paper tubes produced yearly in the U.S. account for some 160 million pounds of trash - most of us discard instead of recycle them. By eliminating the tubes, the company hopes to both save cardboard and allow customers to use every last piece of toilet paper, since the last one won’t have any glue on it to stick to the roll. The tube-free TP is being sold initially at Walmart and Sam’s Club stores in the Northeastern U.S. and will be launched nationally and beyond if it catches on with consumers.

Kimberly-Clark’s green awakening will no doubt benefit the tree farms and forests of the Southeast - the locus of logging operations in the U.S. these days - and it will also benefit Canada’s boreal forest, from which the company still sources a large amount of its wood fiber. North America’s largest ancient forest by far, the Canadian boreal forest provides habitat for more than a billion birds as well as many a threatened species, including woodland caribou, bald eagles, golden eagles and wolverines. It is also the world’s largest storehouse of terrestrial carbon - all those miles of trees, moss, soil and peat soak up an estimated 186 billions tons of carbon that would otherwise contribute to global warming. Despite its value to the environment, some 60 percent of Canada’s boreal forest has already been allocated to forestry companies for development and less than 10 percent of it is formally protected in any way. Clear-cut logging by Kimberly-Clark and its competitors has claimed half a million acres of boreal forest annually in Canada’s Ontario and Alberta provinces alone in recent years.

“Because of Kimberly-Clark’s place in the paper products market, the company’s new policy will send a strong signal to its competitors, Procter & Gamble, SCA and Georgia Pacific, that creating a policy that protects ancient forests is a key element of sustainable business,” reports Greenpeace. Of course, there are plenty of other brands of tissue paper that already make use of primarily recycled and/or sustainably harvested fiber - check out Greenpeace’s Recycled Tissue and Toilet Paper Guide to find out which ones - but they are not easily found at mainstream grocers and big box stores. The more shoppers go for greener options, the more the paper industry will take notice and modify their offerings accordingly.

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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