HomeColumnists ( February 28, 2024 )

100 Years Ago

By Betty Smith, Susquehanna County Historical Society, Montrose, PA

Montrose – Not in many years has so much interest been shown in matters historic as was exhibited by the people of Montrose and vicinity in connection with the unveiling of the memorial tablet presented to Susquehanna County by Montrose Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution. The handsome tablet named 185 soldiers who rest in the County's bosom. The speaker, Homer Greene, spoke the following words: "These common soldiers of the Revolution, you didn't stop to inquire into their family tree, to investigate their financial standing, their social status, their religion, before adding their names to your roll of honor. It was enough for you that, as soldiers of the Continental armies, they fought a good fight and kept faith with their country and their fellowmen. You can rest assured that they did not go into battle because they loved war. There was nothing compulsory about their enlistment; there was no government that had power to conscript them. They didn't fight under the blazing summer sun that day at Monmouth; they didn't shiver and suffer and die amid the snows of Valley Forge for the mere love of adventure or for any financial reward, or for any selfish purpose. They fought because they believed profoundly in the things for which they were fighting; they fought for a cause because they believed in the cause, and it was only through that belief and that spirit that they were able at last to come off victorious." [The tablet is on display in the Court House.]

Brooklyn – The sale of the old Col. Frederick Bailey homestead is one of the largest real estate transactions made in town for many years. This farm, consisting of between four and five hundred acres of land, was bought by Col. Bailey in 1807 and was his residence until 1851, the time of his death, when it was purchased by his son, H.L. Bailey. Upon the death of H.L. Bailey it was inherited by his only child, Mrs. M.W. Palmer, and was for over one hundred years a noted stock and dairy farm. For the past few years it has been occupied by the Ely Brothers, who have now purchased it, the consideration being $15,000.

Auburn Twp. – Helen Josephine and Anna Lott Loomis, four months old twin daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Irving Loomis, of Craig Hill, died on Friday and Saturday last. Their illnesses were both of the same nature, stomach and intentional trouble. Both little bodies were placed in the same casket and the funeral was held Sunday afternoon, with interment in Bunnell Cemetery. The grief-stricken parents have the sympathy of many friends.

Birchardville – Ball Brothers, Marshall and Clayton, have killed 44 raccoons this winter, and 14 foxes, besides a number of mink. The former was in Montrose on Monday with an armful of fine fox pelts on which he collected the bounties.

North Jackson – Geo. V. Larrabee, has been employed with the large book publishing house of Geo. P. Putnam Sons, New York, since December. Mr. Larrabee's duties largely consist in making up lists of books for public libraries, and securing the books for these institutions. He has just secured fifty volumes at a reasonable figure for the Jackson library.

Susquehanna – Thieves robbed the home of S.H. Hersch, Wednesday night of last week, of the equivalent of a truckload of canned fruit. Entrance to the cellar was affected by cutting out the glass in the cellar door and unlocking it from the inside. The robbers took the precaution of loosening all the electric light bulbs in their sockets so that a person switching on the current would be unable to light the cellar. The work was done so quietly that parties in the house heard no noise. Chief of Police Stockholm is working on clues, which may lead to arrests.

Snake Creek Road – An effort is being made to have a hard surfaced road constructed along the Snake Creek from Montrose to a point near Conklin, NY. This road would go through Franklin Forks, Lawsville and Brookdale, which is but a few miles from Binghamton. This route would greatly shorten the distance for motor traffic from Binghamton southward to Wilkes-Barre and southern PA. It would divert a great deal of the traffic from the Lackawanna Trail.

Forest City – Mike McNally, utility man for the New York Yankees, while here last week, had words of praise for Steve Shamro, our local southpaw, and said he was big league timber. He was confident that if given a trial in the major league Shamro would be placed on the pay rolls. He will not be satisfied until Shamro is placed where he has belonged for some time, in the major league. ALSO Rural mail carriers are experiencing great difficulty in their deliveries. Portions of roads have heavy drifts piled up by the storm of a week ago. The road between here and Dundaff is blocked and no effort has been made to open the road.

Springville – Everyone here has been busy of late filling ice houses. The Dairymen's League completed theirs, getting the ice at States' Pond.

South Montrose – One of the saddest tragedies, which has occurred in this vicinity, took place near here, when Arlene Stone, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Stone, three years old, was fatally burned and a brother, Byrd, aged 11 years, was also badly burned. The accident is said to have been caused by Byrd pouring gasoline on a fire, which was supposed to have gone out. A spark exploded the fluid and in an instant the boy and his sister were ablaze. The children were alone at the time, the mother having gone to a neighbors and the father being employed at the South Montrose factory. Margaret Rafferty, her father and brother, Frank, ran to the home and carried the children out, while tearing off their burning clothing. Dr. Mackey attended children and took them to his hospital in Montrose, where Byrd was later taken to Scranton. The funeral of Arlene was held in O'Brien's funeral home and interment was made in the Montrose Cemetery.

Dimock – The Parent-Teacher meeting was well attended. Many important things came up for discussion, among them the possibility of making the Dimock school a four-year high school the coming year. There are a surprising number of people in favor of this proposition.

Uniondale – Our public library needs funds. It is necessary that cash be obtained to insure the maintenance of the library, which is an inestimable benefit in the community. It has been proposed that our young people rally to their support and hold entertainments. Who will take up the initiative?

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Letter of the Law

By Jason J. Legg

Emaediong Umah was charged in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, with sexual assault offenses. The matter proceeded to a jury trial in December 2022. After the court was notified that the jury had reached a verdict, the trial judge instructed the entire courtroom to maintain appropriate behavior and to not act out inappropriately as the verdict was read. As the jury foreperson was reading the verdict of not guilty to various sexual assault offenses, Umah began to celebrate by repeatedly slapping counsel table with his palm. Each time Umah struck the table with his palm, it created a loud noise throughout the courtroom.

While Umah had been acquitted of all criminal charges, the trial judge noted that Umah had disobeyed the court's directive and had engaged in disruptive, albeit celebratory, behavior. The trial court noted that Umah had "acted in a manner as though you were, in my view, at some sport stadium, showing total disrespect to the jury, to the victim who was sitting in this room, whether you consider her a victim or not, to the Court." As a result, the trial judge indicated that Umah would be receiving jail time.

At this point, Umah's defense attorney raised an objection and noted that Umah was entitled to a hearing prior to any contempt sentence being imposed. The trial judge agreed and provided Umah with an opportunity to address the court prior to being sentenced for his contempt. Umah, who was also a law student, conceded that his behavior had been inappropriate and claimed that he held himself to a higher standard of conduct than what he displayed. Umah apologized for his conduct and stated that he would be accountable for his conduct.

Defense counsel then argued that Umah had been facing these criminal charges for a couple of years and that Umah's outburst was simply an involuntary reaction to having finally reached a successful resolution. Defense counsel noted that Umah's entire future rested largely upon the decision of the jury and that his emotions simply overcame him as he heard the not guilty verdicts.

The trial judge was not swayed, especially where Umah was a law student with a clear understanding of courtroom etiquette. The trial judge concluded: "What you did there, you made this – you turned this into . . . [a] sports arena. You are a sports guy. It is in vogue now for everybody in the NFL – they score touchdowns, the do dances, they go sit up in the stands with the fans.  Even when they are losing 30 to nothing if they happen to score it is 'Oh look at me, look at me, look at me.' . . . That's what you did. You did a 'look at me. I won. Look at me, I won,' in the face of the prosecutor, in the face of the victim. Again, that is a term that I am using generically because you were acquitted. But in the face of the jury that struggled with this, that at one point, as you know, was at an impasse. And this is your reaction. . . . You are hereby sentenced to a sentence of 5 days to 10 days in the county jail effective immediately."

Omah filed an appeal contending that there was insufficient evidence to hold him in criminal contempt of court as he did not act with an intent to obstruct either the proceedings or the administration of justice. In response, the Superior Court emphasized that criminal contemptuous conduct includes any behavior during a court proceeding which threatens "the orderly procedure of the court" or which demonstrates a "flagrant defiance of the person and presence of the judge before the public that, if not instantly suppressed and punished, demoralization of the court's authority will follow."

The Superior Court conceded that it could not find any prior case that involved a criminal contempt based upon a "defiant celebration upon the announcement of a verdict." The Superior Court observed that "the reading of a verdict is a solemn event at a time of high tension when one person's celebration in the courtroom, resulting from bottled emotions, can be seen as a triggering event for intemperate responses from others with opposed bottled emotions. Safety of jurors, parties, witnesses, attorneys, court officers and members of the public audience must be maintained through these tension-filled moments." Given that the trial judge is the "commander in chief over his or her courtroom," the Superior Court affirmed the trial judge's criminal contempt finding and sentence. While Omah was acquitted for the sexual assault charges, he had to spend 5 to 10 days in county prison for his inappropriate in-court celebration.

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Birding Tips for Families

By Shannon Madden

Did you know that an age-old hobby got a revamp in recent years? If you are in my generation or earlier, you probably remember hearing about bird watching. Bird watchers were people who strolled around the park with binoculars hoping to spot some rare species. They seemed a bit odd and were more often than not the butt of a joke in Saturday morning cartoons. To help counter this image of being a passive, extremely niche pastime, the hobby was redubbed "birding". It implies a more intentional pursuit of studying birds in their natural habitats, utilizing field guides, and actively seeking specific birds in the wild.

Maybe I'm just getting old, but the new image makes it sound a lot more fun to me. In fact, it's something that any family could enjoy no matter the ages of your kids. There are a few things that will help make the whole experience engaging and enticing for kids. The good news is that you don't have to make huge investments in equipment to start out in this hobby.

Child-friendly binoculars that are lightweight and easy to use are about the only equipment you'll need beyond your regular hiking gear. Decent starter binoculars are available for under $15 on Amazon. Each child having their own pair helps them feel more involved and excited about spotting birds. You can borrow a few pairs too if you're really not sure about making a purchase yet. Our local library has a Birding Backpack to borrow. It includes binoculars, field guides, and other books to help get started in this hobby.

Creating a birding journal adds a creative aspect and makes the experience more memorable. A blank sketchbook works well since it will have space for drawing the birds they see. You can pick up inexpensive, small sketchbooks in several stores. We like Dollar General and Five Below for this type of thing. Don't forget some color pencils to embellish your drawings.

You can add a game to your birding excursion with bingo cards. Your birding bingo card should have pictures and names of common birds in the area where you are searching. Many pre-packaged bird bingo games include birds from many regions and some exotic species. If you want to keep your bingo cards specific enough to have success in the field, you may have to make your own. A home printer and Google images will be your best friend.

Download a few apps designed for birding and for kids to use easily. They often include games, quizzes, and interactive features. Two free options are the Audubon Bird Guide App and Merlin Bird ID. The Audubon app included detailed descriptions and images along with an audio file of bird calls. You can log your sightings and utilize a hot spot map to find spots you're more likely to have sightings. Merlin ID allows you to submit a photo to help you identify the birds you're seeing. You can also enter information such as location, color, and size for the app to suggest an identification.

With some binoculars, a few field guides from the library, and a handy app, your family can easily enjoy an afternoon of birding. It's fun, educational, and gets you all outside in the fresh air. Give birding a try this spring!

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Pastor's Corner

By Pastor Vince Chiaramonte

Good day dear hearts, I love you. Wow! I look at the date of this column today, February 28. It seems like we were wishing each other Merry Christmas a couple of days ago. While we have had a mild winter to date, some of us are thinking about spring plantings and cleaning. Last week we went through a few verses which took us through the Easter story, from Jesus being baptized to His resurrection. Today we are going to focus on one segment of what we read last week, Satan's temptation of Jesus Christ. Not as much as the temptation to Him, because He resisted it and defeated Satan. Jesus had to experience the temptation to be fully human. Jesus was sinless. We are not and never will be.

Satan is limited in his abilities. God can read our minds; God knows our true thoughts. Satan cannot do this. Satan gets into our thoughts when we open our mind to him through our thoughts. How do we do that? Footholds and strongholds are significant concepts, especially in spiritual and psychological contexts. A foothold is a secure starting position for climbers. In biblical terms it refers to a spot, place, or condition. This is the place where we open the door for Satan. For our purposes today a foothold is the beginning process in our action to sin. We can open the door to Satan in a nano second or a week to take the next step. As we go through life, we learn certain things in our society are not acceptable. For example, stealing from your employer. We all know that's wrong, and, on the surface, we would say I'd never do that. We are sometimes like children. When we tell them don't do this or that the first thing they do is go in the other direction when no one is looking. The temptation, the thought is real. Sometimes a person can get caught up in a medical, financial or gambling situation which suddenly makes the foothold of stealing a little stronger. This is where Satan comes on strong. This is the red line! You haven't fallen into sin yet, but you are on your way. Paul the apostle speaks about Christian living in the book of Ephesians and here is some of his advice from Ephesians 4:26-27. "In your anger do not sin, do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold." When we don't come to grips with a certain situation, we dwell on it. By doing so, Satan is gaining a foothold. And if we don't reject it the foothold becomes a stronghold. Once in the stronghold the sin has occurred.

Strongholds are like fortresses. For our purpose today a stronghold is where false arguments take root. These strongholds are deceptive thought patterns that oppose God's truth. You need to understand, we are constantly in a spiritual battle even though we don't see it. For the person who is a non-believer he doesn't have to worry about spiritual warfare, for that person has rejected God and is already in Satan's camp. For the believer, we are the prize for Satan, to be able to remove someone from the love of God. As Christians we must be always prepared and aware. Paul also tells us in Ephesians, "we battle not against flesh and blood but powers of principalities." Those evil forces are aware we are just passing through this earth, but those forces also know it's all about eternity and that's what they want us for. Once we are caught up in a stronghold do we live in it forever? No! The good news is we are told of divine weapons that demolish strongholds. Paul the apostle tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." We, like Paul, are merely weak humans, but we don't need to use human plans and methods to win our battles. God's mighty weapons are available to us as we fight against Satan's strongholds. As a Christian we must choose what method to use. God's or the world's. What are some of those weapons? Prayer, faith, hope, love, the power of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God and these are not all of them. These weapons can breakdown the proud human arguments against God and the walls that Satan builds to keep people from finding God.

The Good News is the saving grace of Jesus Christ. To break the stronghold, we are to use the weapons mentioned above which will give us the victory. This is a season of reflection. Take the time to loosen the foothold if you feel it coming on and if you are caught in a stronghold call out to God and He will rescue you. God Bless.

Lord watch over our community. Bless our children. Heal the sick and broken-hearted. Let your Spirit hover over our community. Amen.

Contact me anytime. Pastor Vince Chiaramonte, 570-853-3988, Susquehanna Christian Community Church, 1361 Main Street, or email: clearmountain2158@gmail.

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