HomeColumnists ( May 22, 2024 )

100 Years Ago

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

Harford – Over 2,000 attended the field and track meet held here. The Harford Vocational School won the Class A trophy; Hop Bottom secures cup in Class B, and Harford Grammar in Class C. The outstanding long distance runner of the meet was Edson Washburn, of Susquehanna.

Dimock – The high school baseball tam defeated the married men by a score of 15-10 in a spirited contest. All they [married men] lacked were the pitchers. They put in all the pitchers they could find, but still they could not find the right one. In the 5th inning they were ahead six points and were yelling, "who said the married men could not play ball?" But in the last of the 7th inning the score was getting so bad that some of them [married men] happened to think about chores, consequently going home. It rained off and on all the afternoon but the game was thoroughly enjoyed by all participants, including the umpires. We hope to play the dignified gentlemen many more times. ALSO Our school was represented at the track meet at Harford. Oscar Heitsman proved to be our outstanding candidate. Violet LaRue out threw Class A in the basketball throw.

Kingsley – The party who stole the box of dynamite from my property, will save prosecution by calling at my home and returning dynamite or settling for same, not later than May 30th. The party was seen and recognized. If settlement is not made by above date, I shall take legal action against the party and also the receiver of stolen property promptly. George E. Capron.

Lenoxville – The "It'll Do Club" was very pleasantly entertained by Miss Edra Jones. ALSO Joseph VanFleet closed a very successful term of school at the Wilson district, May 18.

Thompson – About 70 people from Thompson attended the track meet at Harford. The following from this high school received a placing in the athletic contest: Edward Carpenter, Wilbur Brooks, Lawrence Shelley.

New Milford – Decoration Day services will be held on May 30, assembling in the park at 1:00pm. Marchers will proceed to cemetery and return to Opera House where a special program of music [will be given] by the high school orchestra and singing by school children and oration. Bring flowers and be present in the march to the cemetery.

Fair Hill, Forest Lake Twp. – But very little farming has been done, as it has been too cold and wet, with 4.29 inches of rainfall, to date, this month. ALSO Frank Strong took two loads of potatoes to Montrose, which he sold to F.I. Hillis for 60 cents per bushel.

Susquehanna – The "hill-side city" has no more loyal champion than William B. Main, who is heart and soul in many enterprises in that thriving borough. "Billie," as his friends enjoy calling him, is "thoroughly human," and while taking a delight in business affairs, enjoys casting a line and hook, in stream and pool, as a means of recreation. As has been frequently quoted, "one touch of nature makes the whole world kin." We believe that it is his keeping in touch with nature that makes him so agreeable a companion and friend.

South Montrose – In Conversation with Atty. F.I. Lott, he mentioned an interesting circumstance in the wounding of Theodore L. Ainey, of South Montrose, in the third day's fight at Gettysburg. During the battle Mr. Ainey was shot in the leg and the limb so badly injured it had to be amputated. When he fell the Confederates were numerous in the vicinity and to avoid capture he crawled under a building and kept out of sight until the Union soldiers gathered up the wounded. He was still at Gettysburg, in October 1863, when Lincoln came and delivered his memorable address, at the dedication of the battlefield as a national cemetery. Mr. Ainey was carried to the base of the stand, where Lincoln spoke, and heard him give the address, which will live as long as the United States remains a nation. [Dr. Wm. F. Norris had just finished his studies at the Pennsylvania Hospital, in Philadelphia, when he was sent to Gettysburg. He later wrote a letter describing the limbs of soldiers piled outside the surgical tent. Dr. Norris came to Dimock, in 1876, when he purchased "Woodbourne" from George Walker.]

Franklin Forks – On Memorial Day the graves in Brookdale and Lawsville cemeteries will be decorated at 9 o'clock. At 11 o'clock those assembled at the Franklin Forks church will march to the cemetery, headed by the Community Boys' Band of Montrose. At 2 o'clock an address will be given by Henry P. DuBois, of New York City.

Fairdale – The bee for the Fairdale Cemetery was a decided success. Two teams and sixteen men moved 150 feet of stonewall. Many heavy rocks had to be moved up hill and over soft ground. Twenty new plots were staked out. The Ladies' Aid served one of their famous dinners. All seemed to be interested in the place where they sleep the long sleep and agreed that the church, school and cemetery are the index to the community. The board of managers raised the price of burial plots to $25.00 and fixed the date of May 28 to mow and straighten up leaning headstones. Come out the 28th and beautify the place where our loved ones sleep.

Montrose – Barely a dozen Civil War veterans remain in Montrose and the immediate vicinity, which once swelled the roll of Four Brothers Post, Grand Army of the Republic, to goodly proportions. Of those who now live are the following: J.H. Corwin, F.G. Warner, James S. Daugherty, Theodore F. Mack, George Simpson, Barrett I. Robinson, A.J. Holley, Henry Safford, F.I. Lott, J.I. Chapman, Henry L. Beach, Theodore L. Rainey, Benjamin Naylor, Tracey Whit marsh, and possibly a very few others who have been overlooked in a hurried survey of those who wear the little bronze button in their coat lapels. With their steadily diminishing numbers they draw closer together in fellowship, as the years pass on, while the people, in thought at least, if not in actual observance, give the day of hallowed memories a steadily increasing consideration. Memorial Day should become one of the most constructive holidays in America, a day when our thoughts should go back to the glorious deeds and heroes of the past, with a brave looking forward to the future. It should not be a gala day, but a day fraught with sacred memories.

Back to Top

Letter of the Law

By Jason J. Legg

In July 2017, Jeffrey Olsen was federally charged in the Central District of California. It was alleged in the indictment that Olsen, in his capacity as a licensed physician, had been illegally prescribing opioids and other controlled substances. Olsen's first appearance in court occurred on July 11, 2017. Under federal law, consistent with the constitutional right to a speedy trial, the government is statutorily required to get the case to trial withing 70 days of the first court appearance. As you might have guessed, this 70-day speedy trial requirement is never met – and there are numerous exceptions that exclude time from that 70-day period. Olsen's case was no different.

Olsen had posted a bond and was not incarcerated pending his trial. The parties agreed to five different continuances, the last of which resulted from Olsen firing his attorney and seeking new legal counsel. As a result of the continuances, the trial was continued to August 2019, and, when the case was ready to go to trial, Olsen asked for another continuance. The government objected but the trial court granted Olsen's requested continuance and scheduled the matter for May 2020. You probably know what happened next – COVID-19 closures.

The parties agreed to have two additional continuances which resulted in the trial being moved to October 2020. At this point, the federal district court in California had suspended all jury trials based upon the pandemic and public safety concerns. Olsen decided it was a good time to now assert his right to a speedy trial. The government had to move for a continuance noting that there was no way to try the case because the court itself had shut down jury trials. The district judge hearing the case denied the government's request for a continuance concluding that conducting a jury trial was necessary to protect Olsen's speedy trial rights. The district judge then directed that a jury be called to hear the case. At that point, the Chief Judge of the District Court rejected the trial judge's request and "explained that the majority of the Central District judges had approved a general order to suspend jury trials as necessary to protect the health and safety of prospective jurors, attorneys, and court personnel due to the COVID-19 pandemic." Obviously, the trial judge was not part of the majority who agreed to suspend jury trials – and he was not happy.

What happened next? The trial court judge noted that the state courthouse across the street from the federal courthouse had already resumed jury trials – and thus there was no impediment to conducting jury trials aside from his fellow federal judges simply refusing to do so. The trial judge dismissed the case finding that Olsen's constitutional right to a speedy trial was violated by the refusal of the court to empanel a jury to hear his case. The government filed an appeal, and the Ninth Circuit reversed the trial judge by concluding that there cannot be a speedy trial violation when the courts are not open to hear jury trials. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back to the trial judge for further proceedings. The trial judge conducted another proceeding and again concluded that Olsen's speedy trial rights had been violated – and dismissed the case a second time. The government appealed the decision, the Ninth Circuit reversed the trial judge again, and this time sent it back with instructions that the trial judge was to be removed from the case.

The trial judge's frustration with the suspension of the right to a jury trial related to the lack of any evidentiary basis for the decision to suspend such an important right. It occurred simply with a majority vote of the judges – not after an evidentiary hearing where the pros and cons of such a closure were carefully considered. In the end, however, the Ninth Circuit effectively concluded that judges may delay trials and those delays are not speedy trial violations.

In Susquehanna County, we never encountered this problem because we never suspended jury trials – except for a short period of time between mid-March 2020 and the beginning of June 2020 when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued an emergency closure order of all Pennsylvania courts except for emergency situations. As in Olsen's case, however, there were courts throughout the country that suspended jury trials for an extended period and those courts are now seeing this kind of litigation related to speedy trial violations.

Olsen was not incarcerated, and he actively engaged in delay tactics over the first three years of the case prior to the COVID-19 closures. Would the Ninth Circuit have taken a different view if Olsen had been incarcerated pending trial and had never sought a continuance of his case? How does a defendant challenge an administrative decision by the court itself to suspend the defendant's right to a speedy jury trial? These questions were largely left unanswered by the Ninth Circuit – and the tenor of the opinion suggests that the Ninth Circuit viewed Olsen's speedy trial request as largely disingenuous simply because Olsen had delayed the case for three years until he knew that jury trials had been suspended – then he wanted his day in court.

Back to Top

Butterfly Watching

By Shannon Madden

A subject that often fascinates kids of all ages is butterflies. From observing them in the wild to learning about their incredible cycle of metamorphosis, butterflies are delight to see and learn about. When my girls were little, we received a gift from a friend to raise our own butterflies. There was a delicate mesh butterfly house, a code to order live caterpillars, and instructions on how to feed them. We all watched enthralled as our painted lady caterpillars ate leaves, made chrysalides, and turned into lovely flying beauties. We each shed a tear when it was time to release them.

You can easily combine butterfly watching with your trail walk or bike ride. Bring along your nature journals to record and draw the butterflies you spot. You can print out a list of species you expect to find and make it into a scavenger hunt. Here are some tips for a successful butterfly watching excursion.

Choose the right time and place. Butterflies are most active when it is warm and sunny. An area with abundant flowers will attract butterflies. Gardens, parks, and nature reserves are excellent locations. It is also common to have bountiful wildflowers along the rail trail. On my stretch of the D&H Rail Trail, the sides of the trail are exploding with color and fragrance in late June. It is one of my favorite times of year on the trail.

Bring along some binoculars and field guides. Butterflies are shy creatures, so they tend not to venture too close to humans. You'll get a better look at them in the wild if you can enhance your vision. Check your local library for some books and guides that have good photos or illustrations to help identify the species of butterflies you spot.

Patience is a virtue! This is probably the hardest part for your butterfly seeking little ones. But these winged beauties are sensitive to sound and movement. We probably appear as lumbering giants to them, even if you are three-foot nothing. Choose a spot to sit still and quiet for several minutes. When you move, make slow, deliberate motions to avoid scaring the butterflies away.

Study ahead for your adventure. Take some time to learn about butterfly behavior. Find out how they feed on nectar from flowers, bask in the sun to warm their wings (sounds like fun to me), and flutter their wings to communicate with other butterflies. The field guides likely have a section about this, or do some internet searches. You can include in your search "butterfly watching club" or "lepidopterist society" along with your city or region. These groups can help you gather information and point you to some prime viewing areas near you.

Some common butterflies of northeast PA are the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, the Eastern Black Swallowtail, the Monarch, the Cabbage White, and the Pearl Crescent butterflies. If you bring along some butterfly nets to get a closer look at some specimens, be sure to gently release them when you are done.

Keep an eye on local bulletin boards like at the library or school about butterfly related events. You could join free or low-cost workshops, nature walks, and classes. Joining a local butterfly watching group might be the next great outdoor hobby you share with your family.

Back to Top

Pastor's Corner

By Pastor Vince Chiaramonte

Good day dear hearts, I love you. Spring 2024 is in full bloom. Well, at least as full bloom as our area calls for. We see the greenery, the blossoming of flowers, those pesky little flies, Mother's Day and now a more somber day we recognize, that being Memorial Day. Let's not confuse Memorial Day with Veterans Day. On Veterans Day we recognize, honor and give thanks for the service of every man and woman who served in the United States Military. Memorial Day is one where we honor and respect those men and women who paid the ultimate price and gave up their lives while serving. They did it for us. They did it so we may as a country be free and live a life in peace. Aside from the day we honor these men and women, there are many other days we watch people tear down the principles of our nation under the guise of free speech. Ironically, this is one of the reasons these men and women died for. The bottom line is these men and women died for love of country, which covers a multitude of reasons. Jesus tells us in John 15:13, "Greater love has no one other than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." Jesus did what He preached and gave His life for each one of us. This powerful statement emphasizes the sacrificial love and selflessness that comes from willingly giving one's life for others.

Turning to the things of God, we know Jesus gave His life as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. If you travel down a little in John 15:20, Jesus is still speaking and He says, "Remember the Word that I said to you. A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you." This comment emphasizes those who believe in Him will suffer opposition and persecution. To that point, a recent researcher by the name of David B. Barrett puts the number of Christians martyred since the time of Jesus at 70 million. His research puts the number of Christians exterminated in Nazi Germany, while the number of Orthodox Christians and other Christians murdered in Russia, between 1917 and 1950 at 15 million. Imagine that! 70 million martyred for their faith since Jesus brought the Good News to us. The number of those giving up their life instead of renouncing Christ grows every day.

God does not take the plight of the martyred lightly. I'd like to bring you to the book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, based on a vision of John the Apostle. When you have time read all of chapter 6 titled and describing the "Opening of the Seven Seals." Once the seventh seal is opened, Jesus returns and the day of judgement begins. These are the words of vs. 9-11, "When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who have been slain because of the Word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, 'How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?' Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been."

The altar represents the altar of sacrifice in the temple, where animals were sacrificed to atone for sins. Instead of the animal blood at the base of the altar, John saw the souls of martyrs who had died for preaching the Gospel. The martyrs are eager for God to bring justice to the earth, but they are told to wait. God is not waiting for a certain a certain number to be reached, but He is promising that those who suffer and die for their faith will not be forgotten. Rather, they will be singled out by God for special honor. We may wish for justice immediately, as these martyrs did, but we must be patient. God works according to His own timetable, and He promises justice.

Unlike Memorial Day in our world, the Christian church does not have a Martyr's Day, but from our point of view we need to remember what these men and women sacrificed for their faith in Christ. Are you willing to give your life for your faith in Jesus Christ? As you BBQ, as you spend time with your family, as you cut your grass, as you fellowship with neighbors and families take some time and reflect what Monday, May 27 really means to you. The blood of these men and women are soaked in the ground for you to do all the things we do on Memorial Day. Take the time to breathe in what the day is about. We give thanks and honor to the families who have dealt directly with the sacrifice of their loved ones. 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, clearmountain2158@gmail.

Back to Top