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Issue Home January 5, 2011 Site Home

Frozen Water Safety
Pennstar Bank Aids Community
QDMA Assists In Deer Trapping Study
Retiring In An Uncertain Economy
Save Your Life And Your Looks
Christmas Blankets Bring Warmth To The Elderly
EPA Recommends Radon Testing
Age Is A State Of Mind
Seek Help For Pain & Discomfort
Twelve-Step Formula To Financial Success

Frozen Water Safety
Submitted By Bob Wagner

The USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, Montrose field office, is issuing the following guidelines for ice thickness safety. The guidelines have been taken from a place (Minnesota) and Agency (their Dept. of Natural Resources) that knows a lot about frozen water.

Ice - this is talking about ice of a more common kind, frozen water. Keep the following suggestions in mind when fishing, skating, or playing ice hockey on frozen water.

Ice thickness: the following are general ice thickness guidelines as recommended by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources:

2” or less - Stay off.

4” - Ice fishing or other activities on foot.

5” - Snowmobile or ATV.

8-12” - Car or small pickup.

12-15” - Medium truck.

The above guidelines are for clear ice. White ice, otherwise known as snow ice, is only about one-half as strong as new clear ice, so the above thicknesses should be doubled.

Some of you are probably wondering why the local field office of the USDA NRCS has sent out this information. Bob Wagner, Soil Conservation Technician said, “There are two specific reasons:

1. NRCS, formerly the Soil Conservation Service, has assisted over 800 landowners in Susquehanna County in their pursuit of having a properly constructed pond over the past 50 years. With this many bodies of water in existence, plus all of the natural lakes, wetlands and ponds, we want people to be as safe as possible; and, being informed/educated about what safe ice is will help many people.

2. The other reason is that about 15 years ago I fell through the ice on the pond at my property, in Jessup Township. The weather conditions were cold and it had been cold for several weeks. When I looked the pond over, the ice looked okay but was partially covered with snow (white ice), which I was shoveling off so we could play hockey. The only thing different about the situation was that during the previous summer we had made some changes to the water supply to the pond (making more water come into it); this change kept the water moving and the ice did not get as thick as it had been getting in previous similar weather conditions. Even with my work experience, and having ice fished for about 10 years, I failed to consider the additional water flow change and I fell through to my chest. I struggled for about 3 minutes before I got out of the water and, while the pond is only about 150 yards from our house, my clothes were frozen stiff (air temp. was between 5 to 10 degrees) by the time that I staggered into the house. I had made one other mistake that day - no one else was home or with me when I went up to the pond. You can trust me that now someone is with me or I do not go out on the ice.”

Be safe out there! Take the ice thickness chart and keep it in your wallet and remember to look over the chart before venturing out onto any ice.

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Pennstar Bank Aids Community

SCRANTON, PA - Robert Welch, Regional Manager for Pennstar Bank of Susquehanna County announced that the bank recently made donations to several community projects in Susquehanna County.

The Silver Lake Community Park Organization received $1,000 to assist in the development of a playground/park in Silver Lake Township. The organization will also provide community service events through the donation.

Pennstar Bank Regional Manager, Robert Welch and Denise Rossi.

Denise Rossi of the organization stated, “The goal is to raise $45,000 for the actual playground structure. Donations from our local businesses and residents along with fundraising and grants is helping us reach our goal.”

Susquehanna County CARES received $1,000 from Pennstar Bank to construct a Born Learning Trail in conjunction with the New Milford Parks Association’s walking trail renovation project.

Stephanie Thornton, Program Manager for CARES said, “We are thrilled to receive this donation from Pennstar Bank. Their commitment to our community continues to shine through. Because of this donation, CARES is able to move forward with plans to install a Born Learning Trail at the park in New Milford. By next summer, families will be enjoying this interactive tool that provides creative learning opportunities while promoting a healthy lifestyle. Thank you to Pennstar Bank and its employees for their dedication to families in Susquehanna County.”

Susquehanna County Interfaith also received a donation of $1,000 to assist with their Christmas Bureau. Rachel Pratt, Director of Susquehanna County Interfaith stated that many needy people in the county benefit from this annual event.

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QDMA Assists In Deer Trapping Study

The Susquehanna Branch of the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) recently teamed up with local merchants to purchase supplies (step ladder, sledge hammers, spot lights, air compressor, binoculars and two way radios) for the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) deer trapping research study.

This will be the third year that the Susquehanna branch has assisted the deer trapping team with their trapping/research efforts. The previous two years the branch has provided contacts as to possible deer trapping sites. In addition, several directors have had the deer trapping team to their properties and have assisted the PGC deer trapping team with deer trapping, ear or collar tag attachment, and aging and taking blood samples. The third and final season of the deer trapping began in December and will continue into March with monitoring work continuing the rest of the year.

Based upon the number of deer trapped (310 deer during the past two years), this team is currently the best deer trapping team in Pennsylvania. Susquehanna Branch President Jim Dovin said, “we, the Branch directors and members, are glad to be of assistance to the deer trapping team as they continue this effort to gather research data. QDMA believes in using a science based approach to deer management. Using locally gathered information can help landowners and land mangers make good decisions when it comes to managing deer on their property.”

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Retiring In An Uncertain Economy

(StatePoint) With the dust finally settling around the nation's economic crisis, baby boomers are taking stock to see if their retirement plans need revising.

There are many ways to adjust to today's economic uncertainty: from working longer to changing investment strategies or living situations.

The shocking news for many is that some of their safety nets may no longer be viable.

Declining real estate values mean many can't turn to homes for money. Tumult in financial markets resulted in declines in 401K plans. And some experts say Social Security may not be there when needed most by the baby boom generation.

For the second consecutive year, Social Security benefits didn't rise, something which hasn't happened in over 75 years. What's worse is, beginning in 2016, payroll tax revenue will be insufficient to pay full Social Security benefits, according to Allen W. Smith, a retired economics professor and author of the new book, "The Looting of Social Security."

"A pledge in the 1980s to only spend Social Security funds on benefits was broken by every presidential administration since. Money earmarked for seniors was diverted into the government's general fund and used for whatever politicians chose to spend it on," says Smith, whose high school textbook on economics was used by 600 schools nationwide.

"Approximately $2.6 trillion of Social Security revenue that was supposed to be saved and invested for paying benefits to baby boomers, was instead spent for other things and replaced with non-marketable government IOUs," he stresses. According to Smith, these IOUs represent only a claim against future government revenue. They have no monetary value, until and unless the government raises the money through future tax increases or borrowing to repay the missing money.

Against this backdrop, many are altering retirement plans:

* Keep Working: Some seniors are now planning to stay on the job longer. Many who are physically able to work longer are postponing retirement until the future becomes clearer, because they know that once they retire, they may be unable to re-enter the workforce given today's high unemployment.

* New Priorities: Many are shifting investment plans to ensure the money they need within five years of retirement is safe in low-risk investments, like fixed-income funds. This can help them endure short-term market drops while the money they need later grows in more aggressive investments.

* Belt Tightening: Many who are approaching retirement age are cutting back on spending and putting more into savings, in case their Social Security benefits get cut. Practicing austerity, and wisely investing the money that is saved, is one of the most viable options for seniors.

With Social Security benefits accounting for nearly 40 percent of average income for retirees over 65, Smith is advising seniors to exercise caution in their financial decisions. Purchases that can be delayed probably should be delayed, and for those still in good health, working a little longer than planned could make a big difference in quality of life when they do retire. For more on the Social Security crisis, read "The Looting of Social Security."

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Save Your Life And Your Looks

(New York, NY) - Almost 36 percent of the women and 12.2 percent of the men aged 18-24 surveyed in a recent study tanned indoors in the last year, according to the journal Archives of Dermatology. These young people may believe they look better with a tan, but in fact they are putting themselves at risk for skin cancer and aging their skin prematurely.

Tanning machines emit dangerous ultraviolet (UV) radiation, and frequent tanners using new high-pressure sunlamps may receive as much as 12 times the annual ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation they would receive from regular sun exposure.

“Our hope for the new year is that people begin to understand that tanning beds are dangerous and very harmful to the skin,” said Perry Robins, MD, President, The Skin Cancer Foundation. “We hope in 2011 that use of tanning beds will decrease.”

UV radiation is a proven human carcinogen, and is linked with a higher risk of all forms of skin cancer, including potentially deadly melanoma, which is the most common form of cancer among young adults 25-29 years old. On average, indoor tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop melanomas than non-tanners. They are also 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma, the two most common skin cancers.

The damage caused by the UV radiation emitted by the sun and tanning beds is cumulative and often irreversible. The destructive process of photoaging - premature skin aging due to UV exposure - produces profound structural changes in the skin including fine wrinkles, deep grooves, blotchiness, sagging and a leathery texture. Some of these changes may appear as early as the age of 20 in anyone who has spent a great deal of time exposing their skin to UV radiation during childhood and teen years.

“Chronic exposure to UVA radiation accelerates the aging of skin five to seven years,” said Philippe Humbert, MD, head of the Department of Dermatology at the University Hospital of Besançon and Director of the Laboratory of Cutaneous Biology at the University of Franche-Comte in Besançon, France.

In addition to the obvious health risks and link to premature aging, the tanned look is no longer in fashion. The trend started with Hollywood actresses such as Julianne Moore, Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman and Gwyneth Paltrow and is now taking hold. Natural skin is now generally viewed as modern while tanned skin is viewed as dated. The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Go With Your Own Glow™ campaign encourages women to embrace their natural skin tone. For more information about Go With Your Own Glow™ please visit

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Christmas Blankets Bring Warmth To The Elderly

On December 18, Christmas came early to the residents of the Barnes-Kasson Skilled Nursing Facility. Sixty-two lap quilts were donated by the Relief Society, the women’s organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Pictured (l-r) above, SNF resident Helen along with Kim Hall, project facilitator.

This had been a several month project for the women of the local congregation, donating time and money to bring a little Christmas cheer to area senior citizens.

The Relief Society began 165 years ago under the direction of Joseph Smith, Jr., who once lived in this area. His wife, Emma Hale Smith, was born in Harmony, PA. She became the first Relief Society president. It currently has over 5 million members world-wide.

There are currently two young men and a senior couple serving locally as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the LDS Church, contact Elder Erb and Elder Schouten at 607-331-5301 or the senior couple, Elder and Sister Johnson, at 208-313-1991.

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EPA Recommends Radon Testing

PHILADELPHIA - January is national Radon Action Month and the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency encourages everyone to test their homes for radon. January is an especially good time to test homes and schools because windows and doors are closed tightly and people spend more time indoors.

Unsafe levels of radon can lead to serious illness. The Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths. By making simple fixes in a home or building people can lower their health risks from radon.

Radon testing is the only way to know if radon is present, since it is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas. Test kits are available in home improvement centers and hardware stores. The kits are simple to use and they include instructions for how to mail them to a lab for the results.

For more information about radon and radon testing visit

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Age Is A State Of Mind
By Bryan Golden

Do you remember, as a child, your parents or other adults remarking how fast time had gone by. There would be comments such as, “where has the time gone?” Hearing this, you probably thought they were crazy. When you were young, time crawled. The school year was interminable. Time was measured in minutes and hours.

The years passed as you made your way through school. Time seemed to flow at a consistent speed. In your teens and twenties, time seemed infinite. There was no rush because you had all the time in the world. As you moved through your thirties and into your forties, the concept of a finite life span became more of a reality.

As you grew older, you began measuring time in days and weeks. Each year started to go by faster than the previous one. At some point, you started tracking time in months and seasons. Before you knew it, you were older than most other people. It used to be everyone was older than you. Now you are being addressed as Mr., Ms., or Mrs., but it seemed like yesterday when you were referring to everyone that way.

What exactly is age? Why do some young people drag themselves around as if they were on their last legs, while certain older people bound around with the spunk of a child? It is because each person influences their own functional age.

Your biological age is determined by how long you’ve been traveling around the sun. Your functional age is a measure of how old you feel. There’s no correlation between functional and biological age; each is independent of the other.

Functional age is comprised of several factors. Your outlook on life is the single most significant one. How you view the world shapes your impression of it. Is each day a battle, problem ridden, and filled with nothing but hassles?

If so, you will look and act in a manner far in excess of your biological age. But if life is a joy, and each day a gift filled with opportunity, you will radiate youth regardless of your biological age.

A sense of humor is vital for smoothing life's bumps, potholes, and obstacles. Laughing when things look grim lets you weather storms without looking haggard. Laughter induces your body to produce beneficial chemicals and hormones. With laughter, situations appear brighter and surmountable. Smiling and laughing generates a magnetic energy that counteracts the effects of biological aging.

Pattern yourself after children. They instinctively look at their world with a sense of wonder. Why should you lose this as you get older? Can anyone actually claim the mysteries of youth are ever understood?

If anything, your sensation of astonishment should grow with age as you realize how incredible the universe is. For an example, you need look no farther than the incredible marvel of your own body. Conversely, acceptance of things as commonplace and boring has a dampening effect on your spirit.

Curiosity keeps your mind tuned and operating at peak performance. Curiosity motivates you to ask questions and seek answers. Curiosity is the basis for learning, which shouldn't end when you leave school. A mind that is always learning is a mind that stays young.

Taking care of and exercising your body as much as possible substantially contributes to reducing your functional age. When your body feels good, you feel good. The onset of many physical ailments typically associated with aging, can be delayed or eliminated through the proper care of your body. It's hard to feel young when your body feels old.

Being "young at heart" incorporates all of the above elements. Although your biological age increases yearly, there's no reason your functional age has to follow.

Bryan is a self-development expert, syndicated columnist, author of "Dare to Live Without Limits," and professor. E-mail Bryan at Ó 2010 Bryan Golden

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Seek Help For Pain & Discomfort

(NewsUSA) - Aging gracefully can be difficult as there are many health-related conditions that must be monitored and treated. There is a wealth of information about high blood pressure, heart disease and osteoporosis. But what about conditions people don't like to talk about, such as pain or constipation?

According to the American Gastroenterological Association, older adults are five times more likely than younger adults to report problems with constipation. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that pain affects 53 million Americans. The annual cost of chronic pain in the U.S. is estimated to be $100 billion, including health care expenses, lost income and lost productivity.

"Persistent pain and constipation are concerns for many aging baby boomers," said Daniel Perry, president and CEO of the Alliance for Aging Research. "They can prevent a person from enjoying the routine activities that make life rich and fulfilling, such as driving, shopping or even hugging a child or grandchild."

While pain can affect anyone regardless of gender, race or economic status, some people have difficulty getting adequate pain care. It is important that people who suffer from pain, and their loved ones, speak with their health care provider and take an active role in managing their pain. People who suffer from pain have a right to appropriate assessment and treatment.

In addition to persistent pain, constipation is a condition often associated with aging and is caused by a number of factors, including poor diet, lack of exercise or not drinking enough water. Two effective ways to relieve constipation are to eat foods high in fiber and to drink adequate amounts of water each day. To find the latest news and advice on the advancing science behind aging research, visit

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Twelve-Step Formula To Financial Success

Pittston, PA - A new year typically brings with it a renewed commitment to become more financially stable. Toward that end, Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Northeastern PA (CCCS) offers consumers the following 12-step formula to financial success:

Review your credit report. Much of your financial future depends on the contents of your credit report. Therefore, your first step should be to obtain your report, review it for accuracy and dispute any errors. Since you can access your credit report free of charge, there is no reason to neglect this important piece of your financial life. Consumers are allowed one free report from each of the three major bureaus once every twelve months. You can get all three at once, which is a good idea if a major purchase is on the horizon, or stagger your requests to check for identity theft. Access your report from

Obtain your credit score. The three digits that comprise your credit score are a major dictator of whether or not the lender will extend credit, and at what interest rate. It is likely that you’ll have to pay to purchase your score, but it will be money well spent. Be sure to understand the range within which your score falls, as each score has its own scale. Further, take the necessary steps to improve your score. Remember, a high score equals a low interest rate, saving you significant money over time.

Reduce debt. If you’ve dug a deep financial hole, stop digging. Piling new debt on top of old is a red flag that you are living beyond your means. Lock up the credit cards until they’re paid in full, and meanwhile, reach out for help from a legitimate credit counseling agency sooner rather than later. Delaying only makes the problem worse.

Commit to save. Americans are great spenders and lousy savers. Without a well-funded savings account, you are on a very slippery slope, one that becomes treacherous with the next unplanned expense. Put 10 percent of each take-home check into a savings account. Find extra money to dedicate to saving by putting all raises, bonuses, birthday checks, and any other windfall monies into savings. This will create a cushion that should see you through most short-term emergencies.

Get financially organized. Create your own personal financial center where you can instantly put your hands on your family’s financial records. Your center doesn’t have to be a fancy home office. It could be an accordion folder. The point is that you know where everything is. Place original documents such as a will or your mortgage in a safe deposit box, and keep a copy at home.

Avoid incurring late fees. Pay your bills the day you receive them. This way you’ll never risk the creditor receiving your payment after the due date. Delaying could result in you being charged a late fee, a ding to your credit report and a lower credit score. The risk of delay is simply too great. If you travel for work or are a procrastinator, consider setting up online bill pay with payments large enough to cover at least the minimum amount due.

Avoid paying overdraft fees. A receipt stuffed into your car visor isn’t simply being unorganized. It can cost you. Many an account has been overdrawn due to neglecting to notate an ATM withdrawal or debit purchase. Get into the habit of recording each transaction into your check register on the spot. Also take the time to balance your checkbook each week, and reconcile your bank statement each month.

Track your spending for 30 days. Have everyone in the household who spends money participate in this exercise. Write down every cent that is spent, as it’s the small, miscellaneous expenses that often wreck the best of plans. At the end of the month, come together to review the spending. This is the only way you can truly know where your hard-earned money is going.

Create a spending plan you can live with. Once you’ve tracked your spending, you can then make conscious decisions as to how you want to allocate the money. Continue tracking with the new plan in place. Keep doing so until you find a plan that is right for your family. Make it too strict, and no one will stay on board. Make it too lenient and you won’t be accomplishing anything.

Take advantage of free money. Contribute the maximum amount to your retirement plan at work, or at the very least, meet the matched amount or you’re throwing away free money. Also inquire about the availability of Flexible Spending Accounts or Health Savings Accounts. All of the above can lower your taxable income.

Have an annual insurance check-up. No one wants to be over-insured. Nor do you want to be under-insured resulting in an unpleasant surprise when making a claim. Make an appointment with your provider and confirm that your coverage is exactly what you thought you were paying for. Inquire about ways to lower your premiums, and ask about any discounts for loyalty, good driving and the bundling of multiple polices.

Investigate refinancing your mortgage. Even though rates of late have been rising, they are still very low, potentially saving you significant money over the life of your loan. There are multiple online calculators that can help you evaluate the options. Do not extend the term of your loan, however, in order to get a lower monthly payment unless this is absolutely necessary to stay afloat.

“A new year can mean a new you, at least a new financial you,” said Terri Stocki, spokesperson for CCCS. “Put one of the above steps in place each month, and at this time next year you’ll see that new financial you. Even better, put one tip in place each week, and you’ll be on your way to financial stability at the end of the first quarter of 2011.”

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