August 29, 2005. Susan McHenry celebrates her birthday today, along with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Chris and Amy Vincent and Jeff and Jody Andrysick celebrate their anniversaries today. Please keep everyone who comes in contact with Hurricane Katrina in your prayers this morning!
Writing from a town where we never had a traffic light, a 25-miles-per hour zone on Main Street or a Greyhound bus stop, we have little room to comment on some aspects of life in rural areas, but many other small towns like ours are up in arms on the subject. About 750 rural, small towns have lost their Greyhound bus stop this year, all because the Dallas-based company lost $22 million in the first quarter. The new strategy seems to be to avoid stops in the podunk towns and give speedy point-to-point service a boost.
It very well may be our greatest invention. On the other hand, it probably wasn't an invention at all. Whatever our native tongue might be, our language is concise and clear (to us). We can say what we mean and others will understand, compared to staff reporter Buster who has been trying to tell me something for the past 15 minutes and I haven't a clue what he is saying. Possibly that is the problem--our language is going to the dogs! Old English was beautiful, but it was complicated with its case endings and Shakespearean dialog. Italian and French were relatively simple to learn, compared to Latin which we never could learn to speak despite what Mr. Ketner taught us.
We grew up with the term spinster, or old maid if that term is easier to understand, meaning an elderly woman who never married. The term is often applied to women beyond the normal age for marriage. The word became common during the early 19th century when spinning cloth was a job often given to unmarried women as a way to earn their keep in the home. Visions of a busty busybody feeding her cats comes to mind.
In the United Kingdom, for instance, any woman never previously married is categorized as a "spinster" on a marriage license, regardless of her age at the time the license is issued. A never-married man is simply listed as a "bachelor." In Australia, young single people meet and socialize in rural areas at events known as Bachelor and Spinsters Balls, often simply called the "B & S." A B & S--not to be confused with Bloomsburg and Sullivan--often includes dinner, drinks, a recovery breakfast and live music.
The term spinster is about to take a turn in England. As of December 21 in England, "spinster" will no longer be part of the British government's vocabulary. The Civil Partnership Act comes into force on the 21st which permits a form of civil ceremony (not a marriage, mind you, but a civil partnership). England has a Registrar General's office who came up with a replacement word to fit the new situation. The word is simply "single," and describes the status of both men and women who haven't before been through either ceremony.
Here are the results of the Royal Order of Raccoons Karaoke Contest held Saturday, August 27, at the Elk Grove Inn.
First place and a $50 prize went to Jerry Laubach representing Kameeo's Restaurant and Lounge, Benton. Second prize and $25 went to Becca Lee representing The Elk Grove Inn. Josh Laubach, representing Kameeo's Restaurant and Lounge, came in third.
Over $300 dollars was raised to benefit the Royal Order of Raccoons, a group that helps people in need from the North Mountain/Benton area.
Christine's Karaoke will be at O'Shanogan's Pub at Red Rock Corners Friday night from 9 PM to 12:30 AM. Saturday night, Christine will be at The Jamison City Hotel.
Because of the bad health of thousands of dams across the state and with the potential for torrents of rain as a result of the remnants of Hurricane Katrina, state Department of Environmental Protection officials are starting to worry about the condition of many of its dams. The season isn't over yet, either! Remnants of Hurricane Ivan, for example, caused massive flooding when they hit western Pennsylvania on September 17. The National Performance of Dams Program at Stanford University records 11 dam failures in the state in the last 200 years; a couple were doozies like the one in 1889 when the South Fork Dam burst and flooded Johnstown. Johnstown got whopped again in 1977 when a torrential rainstorm caused several dams to fail killing 45 people.
Removing dams can cost less than fixing them, an increasingly common fix in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is scheduled to remove 25 this year. The area around the Benton Dam is considered one of the beauty spots in the state. We hope that those responsible are keeping an eye on the local dam.
Didja know that the average starting teacher salary was $30,496 nationwide and $33,950 in Pennsylvania in 2004, according to estimates released by the American Federation of Teachers. That organization also says that nearly 40% of teachers leave the profession after five years.
On August 27, we wrote about Cindy Burghardt (nee Hackett) who wrote to us from Australia about "Mary Stroup and Jerry Laubach and a gal named Debbie." Mariann Houseweart, a member of the Benton High School Class of 1975, wrote that Mary K. Stroup Steinruck died March 4, 2005, at Geisinger. Several readers responded about Debra or Deborah, essentially saying that the class had a number of members over the years with that name.
|August 28, 2005. Harold and Jane Ackerman celebrate their 41st wedding anniversary today. Country singer LeAnn Rimes is 23. We were in Manassas, Virginia, Saturday, where we saw lots of signs for regular unleaded gasoline available at $2.709. Take the time to read the article about dog trainer, Richard Johns, in Sunday's Press Enterprise.
On this date in 1830, Peter Cooper, an versatile inventor, manufacturer and philanthropist, first demonstrated the Tom Thumb locomotive. It was the first locomotive of its kind built in the United States. Later, Peter Cooper received the first American patent for gelatin. In 1895, a cough syrup manufacturer bought the patent from Cooper and turned his gelatin dessert into what his wife called "Jell-O."
A year ago today we were asking for prayers for Dennis Dawson, a victim of pancreatic cancer, and Leona Bardo, a patient in the rehabilitation unit of Geisinger Hospital. A year later, Dennie appears to be getting along just fine. Leona is currently residing at Outlook Pointe, Berwick, an assisted-living facility, and seems to be very happy there. Two doors down the hall from Leona, Florence Kocher is happy, too, but for different reasons. On Tuesday, Florence returns Back Home in Benton, PA, to her own house. Both Leona and Florence would love visitors.
Today is the anniversary of the first commercial in the history of radio. It happened on this day in 1922 over WEAF in New York, and was a commercial for an apartment complex in the suburbs of New York. Direct advertising was prohibited by law at that time, and so the announcer talked about the apartments without mentioning anything about the rates and only mentioned the name of the apartments once.
We often get email from readers who think they will break something if they log on the internet, who are afraid to take a look at the web page for the Benton News. They are only willing to read the daily goings-on via email. For these readers, we recommend that...
* monitors be wiped with tissue paper before and after "Sending and Receiving" to remain free of viruses.
Aiden Cole Kelsey was born to Barbara and Brent Kelsey, State College, on Friday, August 26, at 10:13 AM. The grandson of Bob and Sandra Kelsey weighed in at 9 lb, 3 ½ oz and measured 23 ¼ inches long. Great-grandparents Ken and Ethel Kelsey and Hobe & Jessie Whitenight are beaming.
On August 24, Benton Area School Board President Dennis R. Threlkeld wrote to each member of the staff of the Benton Area School District. He welcomed everyone back to the "immense responsibility of building adults--"responsible, effective and productive adults." He instructed the staff to be frugal with taxpayers dollars, congratulated teachers on their contributions to producing quality students. He commended Gary Powlus for his "professionalism, success and class" and said that he was excited about the future with Mr. Powlus at the helm. Dennis closed by telling the teachers to "do what you do best! Teach!"
One of the words Mother loved to use was Ishkabibble. We never knew what it meant and we just were not smart enough to ask what Mother meant by it. Well, actually, Mother usually used the word when we told her something that she didn't quite believe, as in a statement that we were "all done" with the lawn mowing and now we should be allowed to go to the dam to swim. She never told me I was not telling the truth. She would simply look deep into my eyes for a long time, and then would say "Ishkabibble." The word apparently came from Merwyn Bogue, whose stage name was Ish Kabibble, a name that came from the song Isch Gabibble (I Should Worry) that he sang on the Kay Kyser Kollege of Musical Knowledge radio show in the 1930s. The song dated back to 1913. Bogue apparently changed the spelling to make it easier to say.
On September 10, 1897, the Luzerne County Sheriff and some 60 deputies met nearly 400 striking mine workers marching on a public highway on the outskirts of a small coal mining village called Lattimer, a few miles northeast of Hazleton. Law officers were determined to prevent the marchers from disrupting the Pardee mining operations. Suddenly, without warning, the deputies fired their weapons creating a crescendo of gunfire, ripping through the ranks of the defenseless men, killing nineteen and wounding thirty-eight. It became the worst single act of violence committed by law officers against strikers in Pennsylvania history.
In the aftermath, a grand jury indicted the sheriff and the deputies for "feloniously, willfully, and with malice aforethought," killing the strikers. The trial that occurred received national attention. The nearly 400 striking mine workers that came to Lattimer were only a fraction of the total number of men on strike in the Hazleton area in August and September of 1897.
George A. Turner, Professor Emeritus, Bloomsburg University, will discuss this subject during a talk at the Anthracite Museum in Scranton on September 11. Turner will examine the various issues that influenced the jury’s decision and will examine the socioeconomic and ethnic tensions that contributed to this deadly confrontation.
Are you strung out? Are you in need of meditation and relaxation? Consider attending the meditation retreat September 10 from 8:30-4:30 at the Millville Friends Meeting. You will learn some basic mediation techniques, or you may deepen your current skills sitting and walking. Registration will take place in the first half hour. There is a suggested donation of $20 and you should bring a bag lunch. All benefits go to the Greenwood Friends School. Pre-registering is recommended and seating is limited. Contact Melanie at 458-4337 for more information.
Hanging on the wall of our office are two advertisements for Paul E. Wirt, a Bloomsburg attorney. Wirt's writing in his practice of law prompted him to develop a fountain pen which effectively replaced the goose quill and the pen with metal nib, pens that needed dipping into an ink well. Wirt established a factory for manufacturing fountain pens in 1885 at the corner of Iron and Eighth Streets, Bloomsburg. This factory turned out an estimated 3,000 pens each week.
Wirt was also a director of the Bloomsburg National Bank, later known as the Bloomsburg Bank-Columbia Trust Company, today known as First Columbia Bank and Trust Company.
The advertisements on our wall are framed in copper, and are very similar...
You can view some pictures of the fountain pen and read more history of the man at www.paulwirt.com/wirtpen_gallery.htm .
August 27, 2005. Today is the birthday of Lee Fritz and Mother and Daughter Faith and Regina Schlichter. Today is also the birthday of former U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson, born in 1908 near Stonewall, Texas. He was a member of Congress, John F. Kennedy's vice president, and became president when JFK was assassinated in 1963.
On this day in 1859, retired railroad conductor Edwin L. Drake struck oil at a depth of 69 feet near Titusville. It was the first true oil well. A poor businessman, he neglected to patent his drilling invention, a pipe liner for the drill hole. In 1863 he lost his savings to oil speculation in New York City.
We received an email from "down under" several months ago and somehow it fell through the cracks and we never completely answered all her questions. Cindy Burghardt (nee Hackett) wrote asking about "Mary Stroup and Jerry Laubach and a gal named Debbie, whose last name I can't recall" from Back Home in Benton, PA.
In response to a reader's question, Robert Altman, 80, recently completed filming a movie based on comedian Garrison Keillor's popular radio show A Prairie Home Companion--and we're told he did it on budget and three days ahead of schedule.
We received an email from Janice Dietrich, a Florida resident with a sense of humor. She told us that she was sending us something in about five days. Excited, we dove into the next paragraph to find out what it would be. Her next paragraph was simply one word, "Katrina."
We recently chatted with a Florida reader about a relative of hers who had been found to be "bastardy." As a result, his family had to put up his "bond." I had never come across this ancient term, which may be Southern in origin, although Richard Shoemaker tells me that the Columbia County Historical Society finds the term in this state, especially in the records of Northampton and Lehigh Counties. I found out that the bond in question was required from fathers of illegitimate children, usually made with the County Court where the mother resided. The intent was to protect the county from being forced to support the child.
John Haywood's manual for Tennessee Justices of the Peace written back in 1810 lists bastardy as an un-indictable offence which can be tried before any two justices. If found guilty the father is to be brought before the full court to provide bond and security.
The General Assembly of North Carolina mandated that a system be devised to protect the counties of the state from being responsible for the support of children born out of wedlock. "Bastardy Bonds" in North Carolina were posted because of the birth or impending birth of a bastard child in order to protect the county or parish from the expense of raising the child. When a pregnant woman was brought before the court via a warrant, she was required under oath to name the father of the child. The named father was then served a warrant and required to post bond. If the woman would not name the father, she or some other interested party would post the bond. Sometimes the mother and reputed father jointly posted the bond. If the woman didn't post bond or name the father, she probably was headed to jail.
The Benton Area Schools will have some new teachers come Monday when the doors open to the students for the fall term. The changes are...
Second Grade: Jennifer Heller will be a long-term substitute (one year) for Cherie Roberts.
Third Grade: Terri Hahn retired. Michelle Knorr took her place.
Fifth Grade: Matt Haney will be a half-year substitute for Kristy Beagle, who is on maternity leave. Steve Spencer replaces Linda Foulkrod, who retired.
Sixth Grade: Shannon Yedloski replaces Walker Rilk, who retired.
In the L. R. Appleman Elementary School, one nurse's assistant position is unfilled and one teacher's assistant will be hired.
Paul Roman will teach middle-school social studies for the first half of the year for Mrs. Gengler, who is on maternity leave.
Jessica Becker replaces Mary Monos as Guidance Counselor.
Casey Hackett will teach middle-school English, replacing Jennifer Bates. The drama position is not yet filled.
Jeremy Chapin is no longer with the school and his position in Learning Support will be filled by a substitute.
Jesse Delany replaces Spanish teacher Tony Scala.
September 11 is National Grandparent's Day and in recognition of the role of grandparents the Benton Area Schools invites grandparents to come to the elementary school to celebrate their role in childhood development. A flyer will be provided to students for sharing with their grandparents, but the schedule is for students in grade 1 to invite their grandparents to school on Monday, September 14, at 1:30 PM. Grade 2 on Tuesday, September 13, at 12:15 PM. Grade 3 on Wednesday, September 14, at 12:15 PM. Grade 5 on Thursday, September 15, at 12:15. Grade 6 on Friday, September 16, at 12:25.
Monday will be the first anniversary of the opening of its $240 million terminal and parking garage, but the total number of passengers at Harrisburg International Airport was down more than 11% in July and 2.3% so far this year compared to 2004 figures.
Quotes of the Day:
King Charles II of England chartered Pennsylvania in 1681 in payment of a debt. William Penn founded the Commonwealth in 1682 as a haven for those seeking religious freedom. The colony became a home and refuge for Quakers seeking to escape the harassment and persecution they suffered because of their refusal to substitute "man-made law for the law of God."
Until 1700, Pennsylvania consisted mostly of Quakers who had emigrated from England, Wales, Ireland and Holland. In his Conditions and Concessions of 1681, William Penn decreed that any group whose combined land purchases were 5,000 to 10,000 acres could arrange to have their plantations--rural land grants--placed side by side as a township.
In the ninth article of Conditions and Concessions, William Penn reserved to himself "10,000 acres in every 100,000." This agreement eventually only applied to the first purchasers. Down in Chester County, where perhaps more is known about the subject than we can find out here, much of West Bradford Township was retained by Penn, but was eventually abandoned. In documents relating to those lands dating from 1700 we read, "According to the Primitive Regulations for laying on Lands in the Province, by which it was provided that one tenth part of all the lands therein surveyed should be appropriated to the Proprietary thereof," "five hundred acres in every township of 5,000 acres shall be surveyed" and "make due returns thereof with a protracted figure of the field work into my office."
An interesting fact regarding the lands in both Benton township and borough concerns the establishment in 1769 of one of the famous "manors" of the Penn family. These divisions of land were set apart for the exclusive use of the Penns themselves, and in many instances were the last of the lands in the Commonwealth to be disposed of. The manors in Columbia county were two tracts of 530 acres each and were "situate on a large branch of Fishingcreek, eight or ten miles above the end of Fishingcreek mountain, or about two miles north of the present town of Benton. (If you go to the Swartwout story, under FEATURES, you can see an 1850 map showing the Manor Lands). In the original survey the name of "Putney Common" was applied to those lands.
The first recorded settler in Benton township was Benjamin Coleman, who bought land from Daniel McHenry and founded what was later the "Laubach farm." Jonathan Colley was another settler who came to this section prior to 1797. The house in which he lived was built near the Swartwout mill. Coleman and McHenry came to this area about 28 years after the Manor Lands were established, and we admittedly can find the land on early maps, but we have never seen any trace of the exact boundary of the land, or in what year the land was abandoned. Can any readers help?
August 26, 2005. We celebrate the birthdays of Christopher Hartzell (16), Barbara McHenry and Ellis Laubach today. Happy birthday today to ex-Governor and former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge. Last year at this time we got our first official look at the new middle/high school during the 6 PM dedication ceremonies.
On September 6, 1869, a fire broke out at the Avondale Colliery in Plymouth Township, trapping the miners. The eventual death toll was 110, including five boys between the ages of twelve and seventeen, and two volunteers who were suffocated while attempting rescue. Miners found a fire burning some timbers in mid-morning and within minutes the fire raged up the mine shaft burning machinery and buildings like the coal breaker and the engine house. The flames reached a hundred feet in the air and the burning pieces of building and equipment fell into the mine as part of the opening collapsed. A relief fund was set up for the surviving family members and $155,825.10 was collected.
A special ceremony sponsored by The Anthracite Living History Group will honor the 110 miners on September 10 at the site of the mine disaster from 11 AM to 1 PM and on September 11 at the Washburn Street Cemetery, in Scranton's Hyde Park Section, from 1 PM to 3 PM.
To get to the disaster site from Back Home in Benton, PA, take Route 11 N through West Nanticoke beyond the stop light at the bridge until you come to a stop sign about .2 of a mile, bear left, just before turning right back onto State Route 29S, proceed through the stop sign, and turn right into the Rec. Park after about .1 of a mile.
Good Christians all, both great and small,
Don Miller sent us a compilation of what it was like to live in our country 100 years ago in 1905. We have added a few items to it. The list includes the B & O introducing electric locomotives, the first in the nation. A small parcel of land on Wall Street sold for $700,000. The Julliard School of Music was founded. A meandering Scotsman painted a mural of the Hundredth Psalm on a wall of the St. James Church, outside Bendertown, and then continued on his mysterious way. Benton native Frank C. Laubach was a student at Perkiomen Seminary. The Northern Central Telephone Company completed its lines from Benton to Jamison City. John Springman opened a general store and sold canned goods, yard goods, baby clothes, traps, cigarettes and chewing tobacco. Today the store and its related organizations primarily sell meats under the name Pennsdale. The clothes pin factory and a saw mill, purchased from Trexler and Turrell in 1897, closed in Lopez in this year. Bandleader Thomas Francis Dorsey was born in Shenandoah, just 47 miles from Back Home in Benton, PA. The average life expectancy in the U.S. was under 50 years. Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California. California was the 21st most populous state in the Union. Sugar cost four cents a pound, eggs were fourteen cents a dozen and coffee was fifteen cents a pound. The five leading causes of death in the U.S. were pneumonia and influenza, tuberculosis, diarrhea, heart disease and stroke. Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Alaska had not joined the other states admitted to the Union. The nickelodeon was the newest form of entertainment. Howard Hughes was born in 1905 and later in his life had a profound influence on many aspects of American life.
Local politicians and covered bridge enthusiasts met at the Josiah Hess covered bridge east of the Twin Bridges Thursday afternoon as Gov. Rendell made a quick stop to cut the ribbon and officially open the bridge. The Columbia County Covered Bridge Association applied for all the grants and did all the work to complete the overhaul.
Did we ever tell the story of the woman who applied for a job and indicated that her husband was also employed and earned a good deal of money each week. The interviewer observed that with so much money in the family the couple must save a great deal. The lady applying for the job laughed and said that no, "We don't waste none of our money savin' it!"
Photo courtesy of Charles Chapman
Local politicians and covered bridge enthusiasts met at the Josiah Hess covered bridge east of the Twin Bridges Thursday afternoon as Gov. Rendell made a quick stop to cut the ribbon and officially open the bridge. The Columbia County Covered Bridge Association applied for all the grants and did all the work to complete the overhaul.
The Guv is shown on the left and County Commissoner Chris Young is shown on the right.
|August 25, 2005. Herbert and Jane Fritz celebrate their wedding anniversary today and Brandy McHenry celebrates her birthday.
Here are some refresher items about Pennsylvania...
Arcadia Word of the Day: "Lilac."
In response to a reader's question about where he could find more information about the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Horseshoe Curve, try the Railroader's Memorial Museum at 1300 Ninth Ave, Altoona.
We always enjoy visiting Santa Ynez, California, where stores that are closed for the day simply hang a sign in their window saying "SHUT." Simplicity is beautiful.
Many kids will tell you that IM (Instant Messaging) is much more fun that emailing. In fact, many kids would not be caught dead with email! As I count it, there are six separate instant messaging applications and therefore six different IM names to remember. There are AOL's Instant Messenger, Yahoo!'s Instant Messenger, Microsoft's Instant Messenger, AOL's Instant Messenger from Israel (ICQ), Jabber, Google's Hello, and the internet telephony of Skype. Basically, none of these programs can talk to another. Isn't that an unsatisfactory condition! What if you wrote an email in Eudora, and your friends using Netscape, Outlook or Outlook Express couldn't read it? That would not last long. No, we'll wait to become a consistent user of IM when someone adopts a standard for the industry.
The Department of Labor & Industry's Bureau of Workers' Compensation compliance unit announced the prosecution of a local tavern owner for failing to maintain workers' compensation coverage on employees in accordance with Section 305 of the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act. On Wednesday, Magisterial District Judge Ola E. Stackhouse sentenced Patti LaBonte, owner of Kameeo's LLC. LaBonte pleaded guilty to one third-degree misdemeanor count and was fined $200. District Judge Stackhouse ordered LaBonte to pay costs of prosecution and reimburse the Bureau of Workers' Compensation $91 for finding unemployment compensation documents. Kameeo's LLC is currently in compliance with the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act.
We all love to listen to Bloomsburg University Professor Emeritus George A. Turner give a talk on any subject, and an opportunity comes up September 11 at 2 PM. Pennsylvania Humanities Council speaker George Turner will present an illustrated program at The Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum, Scranton, on the Lattimer Massacre of 1897 when 400 coal miners went on strike and began marching to Lattimer and were then fired upon by Luzerne County sheriff's deputies. Nineteen died and 38 were wounded. The Lattimer Massacre was the bloodiest confrontation in Pennsylvania's labor history.
Didja ever know Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon's brother and the former king of Naples and the Two Sicilies secretly fled Europe after Waterloo in 1815 and established a palatial residence in Bordentown, New Jersey? He lived there for almost 20 years and his home became a cultural center containing the largest collection of European paintings in America during the first half of the 19th Century. His library was larger than that of the Library of Congress at the time. He had his dark side, too. He allegedly had a Quaker mistress while his wife was in Europe.
Geraldine Kile McGinn, Millville, is shown sitting on a stone bench under an arbor that she donated to the Benton Park in honor of her late husband, Jim McGinn, a graduate of the Benton Area Schools in 1948. The beautiful Benton dam is in the background. Actually, a number of things in the picture were donated to the park. The Sunset Maple on Mrs. McGinn's left was donated by former Town Council President Karen Reed and by the former Borough Secretary, Carolyn Stevens, in memory of deceased Park Commission President, Charles Swan. The stone bench was donated by Jan Swan, as well as the banner advertising the town park. The shrubbery in the picture was donated by four or five individuals. Stoney Acres Nursery has made numerous donations toward the beautification of the town.
Mrs. McGinn remembered me from when I was only three years old. At the time, she lived across from Steve Shannon Tire Company and in later years her parents lived North of Talmar. Take the time to look carefully at the picture and notice all the great things that have been donated to the town park and notice how beautiful it is along the Benton dam. We often see people getting their pictures taken in this spot, and it is partially because of caring people like Geraldine McGinn, Karen Reed, Carolyn Stevens and Jan Swan--and many others.
At this point, we should enter into a discussion of the weeping cherry tree by the dam that was ripped out by its roots this week, the mailboxes that were stolen in Fishingcreek Township, the robberies in Sugarloaf Township, etc. We'll save that for another day.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005. Elaine Taylor Hartman and Pat Thomas, Bloomsburg, and Mary Ann Hartman Hoffman, Columbia, SC, celebrate their birthdays today. Ted Fritz, son of Ted and Helen Fritz, Klinger Hill, remains a patient in the Geisinger Hospital this morning suffering with a broken leg and other injuries following an automobile accident Sunday.
On this date in...
Why do we call a pair of pants a PAIR? Because it has two legs? A shirt has two arms, but we don't say, "a pair of shirts"? (We'll try to answer this pressing question at the end of this email).
Saturday will be the final night of the "Royal Order of Raccoons" karaoke contest at The Elk Grove Inn. The show will start around 9 PM; the finials will start around 11 PM.
Arcadia Word of the Day: "Drount."
A reader asked about rentals at Benton Manor. Rentals are based on income. Water, sewer, electric and garbage are included. The tenant is responsible for telephone, cable and internet. There are about ten on the waiting list at this time. Applications can be provided to anyone who would like one. Carol Wagner is the project manager and can be reached at 570-784-9373.
Have you noticed that the length of a marriage is frequently inversely proportional to the amount of money spent on the wedding?
Quote of the Day:
If you like tractor and equipment parades, steam traction engines, antique tractors, antique machinery and gasoline engines in operation, if you think that John Deere tractors are "sexy," if you like to watch steam-operated machinery threshing grain, bailing straw, sawing wood shingles, sawing logs into lumber, if you like model trains, horse-drawn wagons and equipment, peanut roasting, home-made ice cream, bean soup, and over 500 different venders selling at a flea market--then consider the 31st annual fall show of the Nittany Antique Machinery Association of Central Pennsylvania. The festival is being held on the grounds of Penn's Cave, near Centre Hall Thursday through Sunday following Labor Day. For more information, call (814) 364-9340
The Benton United Presbyterian Church, Park and Market Streets, and the Raven Creek Presbyterian Church, Raven Creek, will hold a special combined service at 10:00 AM on September 11. Ben and Christine Fuller will share their experiences as they explored the roots of the Reformation across Europe. Visiting historic sites, museums and churches and attending lectures throughout France and the Czech Republic gave them a new perspective on the history of the Reformation. The juxtaposition of this rich history and the contemporary life of Christians in Southern France and the Czech Republic today is a story they take joy in telling. Visit the Benton Presbyterian Church on September 11 at 10 A.M. to share this special service.
Why do we call a pair of pants a pair? Pants only became a single garment late in the late seventeenth century. The garments used to cover legs (most often called "hose") were two sleeves of fabric, tied to the belt with laces (usually called "points"). In the eighteenth century, hose became "trousers" and stockings "hose." Pants, short for "pantaloons," is a plural word even though the garment became singular.
August 23, 2005. Somehow we messed up our birthdays yesterday when we forgot to say that Clark Sellers, 66, and Lindsey Keller, 23, celebrated their birthdays on the 22nd. So today we are forced to say that Ken McCahan and Travis Kline are celebrating their birthdays when we foolishly said the same thing yesterday. Happy birthday to Becky Westover Stahler, one of the outstanding waitresses at the Brass Pelican Restaurant.
Avis McHenry, Cambra, had a short stay in HealthSouth, but is now home. A cheery card would be in order!
The Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center and Miles Little signed an agreement of sale Monday for the property that will become the eventual home of the Center. The property is located South of the Benton Volunteer Fire Station and the Benton Manor property. It is adjacent to the home of Grant and Sharon Little. The remaining fall and winter will be spent conducting archeological and environmental studies as required by state law in order to determine whether the site contains any evidence of an Indian encampment or burial ground. This is a process that must be conducted by certified experts who will be sifting soil in their search for artifacts such as pieces of pottery or arrow heads. The state archeological and historical bureau needs to know this information in order to trace the movements of the Indian tribes.
Have you ever noticed how the second day of a diet is easier than the first day? By the second day, I am always off it. The first thing that I always lose when I start a diet is my patience. My doctor told me to diet in order to lose weight and to improve my good- cholesterol count. I tried riding a horse and by the third day the horse had lost 12 pounds. I realized that my weight was a problem when I realized that the bathtub had become form fitting. I became tired of reading all the diet books, written by people who live off the fat of the land. I gave up saccharin when I realized that all the fat people are using it. It took a lot of willpower, but I have just decided to give up dieting.
We keep getting emails telling us about the upcoming proximity of Mars and Earth in August, 2005. The emails all say, "The Red Planet is about to be spectacular! This month and next, Earth is catching up with Mars in an encounter that will culminate in the closest approach between the two planets in recorded history. The next time Mars may come this close is in 2287. Due to the way Jupiter's gravity tugs on Mars and perturbs its orbit, astronomers can only be certain that Mars has not come this close to Earth in the Last 5,000 years, but it may be as long as 60,000 years before it happens again." Where does this stuff come from?
Williamsport Regional Airport received a $788,500 grant for a new shed for instrument-landing equipment, expansion of the equipment storage building and expansion of safety areas on the east end of the airport's two runways. When completed, the safety areas will be 500 feet wide and extend 1,000 feet beyond the end of the runway. Work will begin after the Little League World Series is over.
Carol Lavery, Shickshinny, is the new president of the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA), Alexandria, VA, a private, non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization of victim and witness assistance programs and practitioners, criminal justice agencies and professionals, mental health professionals, researchers, former victims and survivors, and others committed to the recognition and implementation of victim rights and services. NOVA has more than 5,500 member agencies and individuals, including victim and witness assistance programs and practitioners, criminal justice agencies and professionals, mental health professionals, researchers, victims and survivors and supporters of victim rights and services. Lavery has been affiliated with NOVA for nearly 25 years, having served three terms on its board of directors.
This is the eventual resting place for the Mill House of the former Norton Cole Mill.
|The house is slowly lifted off its foundations. Over the roofline on the top right of the picture is a "220" line feeding power to the mill. This line figures prominently in the movement of the house during the morning of August 22, 2005.|
Yes, those are flames coming from the contact of the tin roof and the power line.
Wooden blocks were used to keep the top-heavy house from falling over during the slow move to its final destination.
The final destination is just across the field.
John Lapp takes a quick, final look at the unsteady structure, wedged into a tree on the left side.
The actual move can begin.
|The ancient grist mill known as the Coles Creek Mill or the Norton Cole Mill is clearly visible in the left of the picture. route 239 is on the far side of the mill and the bridge is on the right (and out) of the picture. A limb of the tree in the center of the picture has taken the house hostige.|
The truck soon bogs down from the weight of the heavy structure and a bulldozer takes over, pulling both the truck and the house on its trek of a mile an hour.
|The Mill House is in its final resting place along the former mill race. It is just a matter of cleaning up now.|
August 22, 2005. Happy birthday today to Clark Sellers and Lindsey Keller.
On this date in...
• 1852, Uncle Tom's Cabin or Life Among the Lowly was published on this date. The book by novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe stirred up controversy about slavery and became a runaway best seller. The book was based on the life of Reverend Josiah Henson and his contributions to the Underground Railroad. It was Henson's life experiences that inspired Ms. Stowe's creation of the character Uncle Tom in her 1852 outcry against slavery.
• 1926, Rudolph Valentino, 31, died of peritonitis caused by a perforated ulcer. He was adored by millions of women and despised by their husbands. More than 100,000 people (and a couple of men) mobbed the New York City streets outside the funeral home during the funeral service. Valentino's film credits included The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Camille, The Sheik, Blood and Sand, The Eagle, and Son of the Sheik.
• 1984, the last of the 11 million Volkswagen Rabbits rolled off the assembly line in Westmoreland County, PA.
According to a report issued by Bloomberg News, the national average unleaded gasoline price hit a record $2.55 a gallon this week. For the year, motorists are guzzling an average of 9.19 million barrels of gasoline a day, up 2% from a year ago.
The Mill House at the former Norton Cole Mill, Route 239, two miles north of Benton, is on the move again today. You'll remember owner Ron Wing contracted last year with an Amish firm to move the mill house across Route 239 in preparation for the demolition of the open-grate deck bridge that spanned West Creek. The project was designed to straighten out the curve of the road, shave off part of the hill and lower the highway by four feet. The old bridge was 53 feet long, 24 feet wide, and was only posted for 20 tons, with combinations up to 25 tons.
On Monday morning, the house will be dragged behind a bulldozer, then lifted by a crane and placed on a foundation at a location on the old mill race North of the mill.
The house traces back to Norton Cole at least to 1936 when Raldo and Thelma Warner moved in after being married earlier that year.
Former resident Harry Warner told us the end of the house nearest the creek was over a hundred years old with plank walls. Raldo and Thelma lived there until Norton Cole died in 1962. The house remained empty until sold after Thelma's death in '64. Harry recalls that the house was rented when the Benton Radar Station was active.
Raldo and Harry installed electrical service about 1952 and had used kerosene lights and battery-powered radios prior to that, Water was carried by the bucket from a hand-dug well via a hand pump on the back porch. An electric pump was installed sometime after Harry left for the Air Force in 1956.
The original mill was erected by a Mr. Black, the same man who later built the Shannon mill, about the year 1800. The actual age of the mill house in not known. Norton Cole was born in 1871, spent around 67 years in the mill, and died in 1962 at the age of 91. Ledgers, grind stones and many of the tools associated with the mill were sold at public auction in 1965.
We made a long drive Sunday along the North Branch of the Susquehanna River, the longest (448 miles from its source in Otsego Lake in New York all the way to the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland) non-navigable river in North America.
The Susquehanna River bisects our state. One branch is known as the West Branch and flows East through Lock Haven and Williamsport, then South until it joins with the North Branch in Northumberland. The North Branch begins in New York state and flows South through Wilkes-Barre. The river then flows South and East to the Chesapeake Bay, draining an estimated 27,500 square miles of the state, an area larger than Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont and Delaware put together.
We thought of the great men and the place in history of this magnificent river. Here in our 484 square-mile Columbia Country was once the camping grounds of the Delaware and Shawnee Indians. In 1864, about a thousand Federal troops were sent to the upper Fishing Creek valley to break up an alleged conspiracy by draft dodgers who were supposedly building a fort of their own to resist induction into the Civil War. One of the Molly Maguire murder trials was held in Bloomsburg in 1877. The Molly Maguires were coal miners who, as a secret organization, gained power in the 1860s and 1870s, fighting for improved conditions in the mines. We have Profile Rock, Ricketts Glen, the nation's only twin covered bridges and some wonderful Quaker meeting houses.
Think of Stephen Foster, who lived along the river for about a year. Foster wrote his first musical composition, the Tioga Waltz, while a student at Athens Academy. Local legend has it he got the idea for his Camptown Races from the race track at Camptown. David Wilmont, famous for the Wilmot Provision which before the Civil War sought to limit extension of slavery into now western territory, lived, died and is buried at Towanda. Joseph Priestly had a lovely home in Northumberland on the banks of the Susquehanna River.
We watched huge machines working the Pennsylvania farms, while nearby an Amish boy skillfully guided a four-horse team across a field. A Sunday drive is a wonderful thing...
August 21, 2005. Ken and Lynn Dressler celebrate their wedding anniversary today. The Back Mountain Antique Car Show gears up at 10 AM today at the Luzerne County Fairgrounds, Route 118, Dallas. The cost is $2 for adults, and if you are taking the kids they are free for those under the age of 12.
Make sure you read the article about Julie Beishline, Bendertown, her minature donkeys and her two Bishon dogs in Sunday's Press Enterprise.
A friend from out of state wrote, saying "I feel like my body has gotten totally out of shape, so I got my doctor's permission to join a fitness club and start exercising. I decided to take an aerobics class for seniors. I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour. But by the time I got my leotards on, the class was over."
Garrison Keller wrote about his problems with eating, and described them this way: "My plan to become slender and willowy and alluring is not working out and the reason seems to be that though I go for days and days eating only celery and RyKrisp and a soup made from birch twigs and lichen, I black out occasionally and when I regain consciousness I am crouched over the half-eaten carcass of a gazelle and my hands and face are red and sticky and I'm disgusted, of course, and yet very rare gazelle does taste good when you're hungry, and the exertion of chasing one and bringing it down does make a person ravenous. "
We remember the first time we saw the pump organ, clothed in dust in the balcony of the Leraysville Welsh Congregational Church, 75 miles north of Back Home in Benton, PA. I was just a snot-nosed kid getting married that day, and I was banned to the balcony over the front of the church so that I couldn't see my Leraysville bride before the ceremony and therefore bring a plague of bad luck to the marriage.
The minister, a reverend Jacob Zook, told me how the Epworth League had donated the organ and copies of a 32-page songbook called "Pentecostal Hymns Advance Pages" to a former church in the town. The songbook had music for observed holidays like "Dewey Day" and "Grand Army Day," as well as Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. The giving of organs to churches seemed to be an old philanthropic custom. Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), for example, is said to have given 7,689 organs to churches over his lifetime at a cost of more than $6 million.
The Epworth League was a Methodist Episcopal Church organization, later replaced by the Methodist Youth Fellowship. The league donated the organ, and the church simply had to pay for the transportation of the organ from 5707 West Lake Street, Chicago, to Leraysville. A letter safely affixed to the inside of the organ said that the church was to pay the tidy sum of $150 COD when the organ arrived to cover the expenses of shipment from Chicago.
I asked Reverend Zook why it was no longer being used, why some parishioner didn't sit down on a Sunday morning with this beautiful instrument and belt out Nearer My God to Thee or some other such piece. He explained that an upright piano replaced the organ and the church had no need for the musical exercise cycle. I asked if the church would sell it to me, and Reverend Zook said no, but if I would make a $50 donation to the church it would be mine.
Now you have to understand the position I was in. I was about to get married--a position which I felt I might be ill suited--and about to set out on a two-week honeymoon to Cape Cod. I had just agreed to spend $50 of the money I had for the honeymoon, and I had not even consulted my soon-to-be bride as to whether all this was allowed. But a deal was a deal, and I gave the minister the $50. He told me to cinch up and make my way to the front of the church; the bride had just arrived. Needless to say, I felt slightly apprehensive, but knew that the wedding would not take long, the "dry" reception with no orchestra would be short, and then my first romantic words to Alice following our marriage would be "we only have $75 for our two-week honeymoon (and an ARCO credit card), but we own our very own pump organ."
After the honeymoon, I returned to Leraysville and picked up the organ, visualizing how it must have looked in its prime, nestled with the two pot-bellied stoves just in front of the alter, the "back" of the organ--the ornate side--facing the congregation sitting on their wooden-slatted benches, the organ wheezing and squeaking out its tunes.
How was I to know that solid oak weighed so much? We took it to Middletown, PA, where we began our married life.
The organ traveled with us until after Alice passed away. I sold the restored organ to a friend in Manassas, Virginia, who promised to sell it back to me if she no longer needed it. My friend called the other day and told me to come and get it. I mentioned this to a reader I have never met, Walt Davis, who happens to live in Manassas, and he said he would gladly come and help me load it. Walt doesn't know what he is getting himself into. Writing a daily ramble like the Benton News certainly has its benefits! What I suspect Walt doesn't know is that I am also buying back the most beautiful roll-top desk I have ever seen or owned, one I bought the same summer that I bought the organ and which I later also sold to my friend. The desk came from the Bradford County court house when furnishings were being modernized and seven roll-top desks were sold at auction. I would tell you about the roll-top desk, but that is a story for another day.
August 20, 2005. Edna Wenner, Stillwater, and Lois McHenry, Elizabethtown, celebrate their birthdays today, along with newscasters Al Roker and Connie Chung.
On this date in...
The National Civil War Museum, Harrisburg, depicts the nations' Civil War equally balanced without bias to Union or Confederate causes. The museum is off I-81 at the Progress Avenue exit. Turn right off the exit and then make another right on Walnut Street. After 2.5 miles, veer left at the Parkside Cafe, then turn left into Reservoir Park and follow the signs up the hill. We feel, in our completely unbiased way, that Pennsylvania is an appropriate place for the museum since the state had 337,936 serve in the Civil War and 33,183 perished. The Federal Government, in places like the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., has almost ignored the subject, probably because of problems depicting the slavery issue. We mention this fine museum since at this time over 140 years ago, unusual occurrences were happening in the Upper Fishing Creek valley.
You'll remember that in mid-August, 1864, Bloomsburg suddenly was alive with the sight of eight cavalrymen and forty infantry, with two pieces of artillery. Federal forces were gathering strength before they pounced on the upper Fishing Creek Valley. Soon the village of Stillwater braced for troops burning and destroying as they advanced toward Benton and as they arrived at Appleman's Bottom along Fishing Creek just below Benton they numbered nearly 1,000.
On the 30th of August 140 years ago, troops circled what was sometimes known as "Copperhead Country" of the "Back Townships" in the Benton area and captured nearly 100 citizens, brought them to the Benton Christian Church for intense interrogation and then arrested 44 men, marched them without food and without charges filed to Bloomsburg.
The men were then taken to Fort Mifflin on the Delaware River where they were given food. Of those arrested, 27 came from Benton Township, 6 from Jackson, 2 from Luzerne County (Huntington Township), 7 from Fishing Creek, 2 from Sugarloaf. There were five Applemans, four Hirlemans, two McHenrys, four Colemans, two Karns, two Colleys, and three Klines.
Read the article by George Turner entitled "Civil War Dissent in Columbia County" to refresh your memory of this story. You'll find it under FEATURES at the top of this page..
The next time you are in Bloomsburg, stop and look--really look--at the Soldiers and Sailors' monument at Market and Main Streets that was erected in 1908, 45 years after Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Take the time to remember the turbulent times in the United States during the Civil War.
The Grand Ole Opry heads to the Big Apple for a special 80th Anniversary Show at Carnegie Hall on Monday, November 14, featuring Opry members Trace Adkins, Vince Gill, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, Charley Pride and Ricky Skaggs. Ernest Tubb and Minnie Pearl first performed at Carnegie Hall in 1947, and Minnie Pearl returned in Nov. 1961, with Patsy Cline, Grandpa Jones, the Jordanaires, Bill Monroe, Jim Reeves, Marty Robbins, and Faron Young. The president of Gaylord Entertainment will ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on the Opry's 80th birthday. Richard Sutliff, a former Central residnet who now lives in Illinois, noted that "It's interesting that all the shows leading up to the 80th anniversary of the Opry in October are made up of real-country music folks. Not a so-called new-country or alternative-country star in sight. Obviously somebody at the Opry has his/her head screwed on straight."
We are compiling a list of people who have made significant contributions to the upper Fishing Creek valley. As we get time, we post individual people on the PERSONALITIES Section on the side panel of www.bentonnews.net. The list is only seven names long at the moment, but the section contains a great deal of information about these people and the related important people in their lives. We suggest that you take the time in the near future to review this revised section, which includes...
Have you ever noticed that a noisy fellow can really annoy a fellow?
Tourists will soon descend on Benezette Township to watch the elk and listen to them bugle. Residents of Elk and Cameron Counties say the tourists tie up traffic and trample their backyards. Our recommendation is to ONLY go during the week and then plan to be watching at daylight and at sunset. Nap during the day, if you must. We are quite partial to the thirty-day period following Labor Day as prime viewing times.
August 19, 2005. Our report is abbreviated for the second day in a row only because of where we are (Rough and Tumble Thresherman's Reunion in Lancaster County) and our inability to receive or send email. We will be back to our regular unreliable schedule Saturday. McNett Country is on deck tonight at the North Mountain Fire Company Carnival.
Betty McCahan celebrates her birthday today, as does local barber Ed Cole. We heard the rumor that Ed Cole is offering half price haircuts on his birthday (of course, we started the rumor). We do warn you that if you repeat that rumor in Ed Cole's barber shop, you will see the barber spit and sputter and will disavow the rumor and disown me. Also celebrating birthdays today are former President Clinton and Tipper Gore, wife of former Vice President Al Gore.
On this date in...
1960, Francis Gary Powers, the U.S. U-2 spy plane pilot shot down by the Russians in May 1960 over Soviet territory, was sentenced to detention for ten years. Many will remember the somber tone in 1962, when he was exchanged for Soviet Col. Rudolf Abel in a dramatic East-West spy swap. Powers walked to the eastern end of the Berlin's Glienicke Bridge. At the other end of the bridge stood Colonel Rudolf Abel, a Soviet spy. The two men marched toward each other on the bridge, Powers heading west, Abel east. In the middle of the bridge they passed each other silently, barely nodding their heads.
"To keep your marriage brimming,
Two years ago today, gas prices in Bloomsburg at Sheetz and Sunoco on route 11 were $1.43 for regular, while Benton's prices had jumped to $1.51 or higher. Gas prices are now so high that Andy Borowitz writes that the "so-called 'runaway bride' Jennifer Wilbanks attempted to run away again this week but changed her mind at the last minute when she saw just how high gas prices had risen."
Since we really don't have anything to talk about today, we'll recycle a column staff reporter Buster, wrote last year.
"Leader likes to quote someone named Bertrand Russell (I have never actually met the man, but I know he lives a long way from here, maybe over in Waller). Russell once said, according to Leader, that one of the 'symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important.' She and I once heard Leader say that. At the time, Leader was talking about me not following the "down" command." This "down" command is not my favorite, since it usually seems to be used when I want to rip and chase She around the house. The way I understand the "down" command is that I am to stop the fun things I am doing on two legs and lie perfectly flat on my stomach, pretending all the while that my itch doesn't itch or that I don't need to tell Mother something important or that I don't know that a mousie is lurking in the next room. Leader accused me of having a nervous breakdown this morning just after breakfast when I did a wonderful high jump to test his mood. All I wanted was a pat on the head or my ears rubbed, but, no, Leader had to tell me to get "down." It really is a miracle that I don't have a nervous breakdown like Mr. Russell did."
Before we came to Lancaster County for the Rough and Tumble Old Thresherman's Reunion, we heard from several people about the issue of spyware and infected computers and infected programs. We know little about this subject and we are certainly no authority, but we suspect in each case the reader did it to himself! Each email told of installing an innocent (heh, heh) toolbar, game or music download deliberately and with full intention of doing so.
We have learned never to open attachments we don't fully understand, but we still are suckers for great sounding programs that promise to do everything that Lydia Pinkham's Vegetable Compound once promised as a cure-all for grandfather's body. All too often, a dubious program gets installed.
There are great programs out there that are free to download and they won't do a bit of harm. Google the name of the program, added by a "comma" and the word "review." You'll quickly find out if the program is good or bad. If you need a particular piece of software, and you learn of a good one, go ahead and download it. But if you can't verify that a piece of software is good, don't even consider downloading it. If you still feel that you have to do it, we suggest you bungie jump from 80 feet or so, then do it. One of those two events should serve as a waker-upper! Just say "no "to any program that promises your computer will run faster with it or your searches will be better with it. You may have found a "clean" program, but at our lowly level we just don't know.
If you decide to install an infected program on your PC, no one is going to stop you. Oh, sure, you'll get a warning message to see if you really want to do it, but the one person who can stop it is "you."
"We have seen the enemy and he is us."
August 18, 2005. Karen Edwards has a 47th birthday today.
We are at the Old Thresherman's Reunion in Kinzer, PA, spending most of our time eating the food prepared by the wives of the old threshermen.
The first English child born in America, Virginia Dare, was born on this date in 1587 in what is now North Carolina, then called Roanoke Island, Virginia. She was the granddaughter of the Roanoke colony governor, John White. Her mother was Ellinor White Dare, one of 120 settlers who left England in 1587 on an expedition sponsored by Sir Walter Raleigh. Nine days after she was born, grandfather White sailed from the Roanoke colony toward the nearest Wal-Mart in England for supplies. The group came up with a code that should they leave Roanoke Island, they were to carve their new location on a conspicuous tree or post. If the move had to be made because of an Indian or Spaniard attack, they were to carve over the letters or name a distress signal in the form of a Maltese cross.
Governor White returned to Roanoke Island on this day in 1590--his granddaughter Virginia's third birthday--but all of the settlers, including his granddaughter, had vanished and the word "Croatoan" without any cross or other sign of distress was carved on a post. To this day, no one is certain where the lost colony went, or what happened to them.
Virginia had been baptized on Sunday following her birth, the second-recorded Christian sacrament administered in North America. Manteo, an Indian chief, had been christened and named "Lord" a few days before.
We hear that Joel Whitmoyer is on his way to Afghanistan as of Monday and should arrive in country today. The ten-year veteran of the Marine Corps is stationed at Camp LeJeune, NC. His
The One-Room McHenry School Reunion is to be held at the Fester Farm near Orangeville September 10, 2005. Chicken barbecue will be provided, bring you table setting and a casserole to share. Rain or shine and plan to eat at noon. This is the tenth reunion.
Q) What do lawyers do after they die?
August 17, 2005, the night that by ancient Irish legend "cat nights" begin. This is also the origin of the saying about cats having nine lives. Seems, according to the legend, that witches can turn themselves into cats eight times, but the ninth time, August 17, it can't come back in human form.
Actress Mae West was born on this date in Brooklyn in 1892 or 1893. She started as a vaudeville dancer but moved to the stage in 1926 in a ditty called Sex, which got her arrested and thrown in jail for a week for "corrupting the morals of youth." The arresting officer testified that she not only "revealed her navel but moved it up and down and side to side." She was suddenly a star, writing and acting in Diamond Lil (1928) and The Constant Sinner (1931), then moved to the movies for I'm No Angel (1933) and She Done Him Wrong (1933).
Ag Progress Days continue through Thursday with about 375 exhibitors at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College on state Route 45.
Little stirs the interest levels of local teens more than skateboarding. Kids today would not understand how we once took a roller skate with a 1X6 board strapped to its top, carefully stepped on the untrustworthy and untried down-hill racer and attempted our first ride in a down-hill maneuver best described as "commotion in action." We rode down Hollister Street in Arlington, VA, for a full 20 feet before we dove spread eagle to the hard pavement, our first and only skateboard ride on son David's board over--with no broken bones. Back Home in Benton, PA, the kids frequently ride parking lots and town streets for the lack of a better place to ride.
At Tuesday night's board of director's meeting of the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center, it was unanimously decided to pursue skateboarding as an activity of the center. Issues are yet to be resolved regarding liability, fees to provide for security and maintenance, space availability and so forth. About 40 kids signed and presented a petition to the NCCCC to consider a skateboard park and even went so far as preparing a diagram of what they would like to have. Parents Jill Jordan and Linda Lockard coordinated the submission of the petition.
Where is the price of gasoline going to stop in its upward climb? With an increase of 20¢ in the past week alone to a national average about the same as it Back Home in Benton, PA, most are feeling the pinch. We know that it won't help, but recently gasoline sold for $6.50 a gallon in Amsterdam, $5.80 in London and $5.60 in Paris.
We enjoyed seeing the picture of David Henderson, 21, in the September, 2005, issue of Petersen's 4Wheel & Off Road Magazine . In the photograph, David is sitting in front of a Hummer, one of the brave soldiers of 1st PLT, D-Co., 2/11th ACR out of Ft. Irwin, California. David is the son of Rick and Cindy Henderson, Colley Street. He looks forward to his two weeks of leave Back Home in Benton, PA, starting August 22. What is it like temperature-wise in Iraq today? The expected high will be 114°.
We love to poke around and look at old diaries. Here is one we found that most of us can relate to. It starts off on July 1 of this year. "Just moved to Pennsylvania! Beautiful sunny days and warm balmy evenings. What a place! It is beautiful. I've finally found my home in the upper Fishing Creek valley. I love it here."
We skip ahead now to July 4: "Really heating up. Reached 100 today. Not a problem. We have an air-conditioner in the family room and we drive an air-conditioned F-350. What a pleasure to see the sun everyday like this. I'm turning into a sun worshipper."
July 10: "Had our five acres plowed and turned into lawn today. Another scorcher, but I love it here."
July 12: "The temperature hasn't been below 100° all week. How do people get used to this kind of heat? At least, the wind blows most of the time. Getting used to the heat is taking longer than I expected."
July 13: "Hot. Terrible wind and a driving rain came down the Fishing Creek valley and virtually every house in the Borough of Benton was affected. The Benton park is devastated. Fell asleep just before the storm hit as I relaxed along Fishing Creek. The doctor says that the 3rd degree burns will actually heal. What a dumb thing to do."
July 14: "A local man fell through his kitchen ceiling trying to repair storm damage. I figure he passed out from all the heat. The doctor tells me I have "swimmer's ear from being in the creek."
July 15: "I forgot to take out my son's goldfish from the car when I came home tonight and they had fried by the time I found them. Who would have thought that fish could swell up like that? Wonderful Baptist and local volunteers all over the Benton Park cutting up trees. Didn't know we could sweat like this"
July 20: "The humidity is terrible. It feels like a giant blow dryer! We lost four trees when a freak storm blew through giving us two inches of rain and hail, while a quarter of mile away everything is dying from lack of moisture. The air conditioning repairman promises that the parts for repair will be available by overnight shipment within the week. I guess $200 isn't such a bad price, considering. Read that a tornado went through the area on this date in 1875 and destroyed what is now known as the O. B. Savage barn. Why didn't someone tell me that before I invested all this money!"
August 1: "Dog days of summer, I read, are now officially over. I didn't see any change between yesterday and today! We're sleeping outside on the patio for the third night. Huge mortgage on this place and I can't even go inside. Those fish were the lucky ones. At least, they never got swimmer's ear.".
Aug. 5: It's 108°. Finally got the air-conditioner fixed today It cost $500 and gets the temperature down to 85°. I hate this stupid state. Noah would float out of town on his ark from all the humidity."
Aug. 8: I just sit on the front porch and rock. A man at the grocery store asked if it was "hot enough for me today." I almost strangled him. I wonder if the 7-Up that I put in the radiator when it boiled over will work in the radiator? I still smell like baked fish.
Aug. 9: The doctor is optimistic about my skin healing where it melted to the car seat. I lost two layers of flesh and all the hair on the back of my legs. Now my car smells like burnt hair and baked fish.
Aug. 10: "The weather report is 'hot and sunny. Hot and sunny. Hot and sunny.' Doesn't it ever rain? My well went dry and I can't water my five acres of new lawn.
Aug. 11: "Temperature got to 103° today. The lawn is dead. The windshield blew out of the car because I forgot to crack the windows. That garage man made a huge mistake when he asked me, "Hot enough for you today? Lots of wind and rain damage at the North Mountain Carnival and in Central."
August 16: "Cousin Claude bailed me out of jail today. Cost $1,000. Will write later to let you know how the trial goes. We heard that by next weekend, the temperatures won't go over 70° for a high!"
August 16, 2005. Scott Foust, Derrs, celebrated his 47th birthday Saturday, August 13, but we neglected to mention it. Happy belated, Scott! Today--the day Elvis died--we extend birthday greetings to Willard David Hiscox of Palm City, Florida, and Hughsville. Happy birthday, Bill! The official start of autumn is in only 37 more days. Ag Progress Days begin today out in Rock Springs, runs through Thursday, and both parking and admission are free.
On this date in 2003 was Avis Young McHenry's last day of work at the Cambra Post Office. Avis became the Post Master of the Cambra Post Office June 12, 1982.
Sunday we climbed aboard Amtrak's Pennsylvanian passenger train in Pittsburgh and leisurely and pleasantly cruised over the Allegheny Mountains and across the Juniata and Susquehanna Rivers to Harrisburg. We did this because of rumors of the eventual discontinuance of passenger service between these two cities. AMTRAK made it plain that their position is that no viable rail service will be discontinued because in doing so not only will the finances of the rest of the network worsen, but attempts to add service will be met with much more opposition in the future.
The Pennsylvanian is a daytime Amtrak train running between New York, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. Trains run once daily in each direction. The entire train ride takes about 9 hours total, with 1.5 hours between New York and Philadelphia, 2 hours between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, and 5.5 hours between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. East of Harrisburg, the Pennsylvanian runs over Amtrak's own railroad, but between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh it runs over Norfolk Southern's ex-Pennsylvania Railroad line over Horseshoe Curve.
Some of our representatives in Congress who keep their spending fingers on Amtrak believe that a public transit system needs to turn a profit, and then slashes their funding so they can't invest in infrastructure they so desperately need. We did have a diesel locomotive that whisked us up and over the hills and kept us from running away on the down-hill slopes, but we traveled over some obsolete rail lines and were not given the right-of-way a number of times. We arrived about 20 minutes behind schedule.
We were thrilled, however, to discover that lovely Bridget Allen, Lewistown, read our posting that we were on the train and she high-tailed it to the Lewistown Junction train station and madly waved as we took a 60-second stop there. Bridget emailed Monday night and said, "It was a poignant moment...seeing that little short passenger train--an engine and five cars--rounding the bend and rolling down the line that one last time. Made me sad and ever so glad that I got to see it. Thank you again for letting me know about it!"
We enjoyed our ride with a college freshman from Burma on his way from his country via California to Bucknell University for start of classes, a large family of Amish from Lancaster County, an excellent Irish conductor who whipped though every question we pushed at him, and, in fact, the entire train full of riders enjoying their day.
Didja know...in the building at the south corner of Center and Main streets, Guy Miller once had a barber shop and Charles Johnson operated a silent movie theatre in the teen years of the 1900s? Bert Karns and Lee Kessler had a 12,000-egg capacity, hot-water heated hatchery in the basement as part of a feed and accessory store that sold brooders and other equipment for raising baby chicks. Burr Appleman acquired the building in 1920 along with Bert Karns' share of the hatchery. He opened a restaurant on the first floor that ran until the early 1940's. In the mid-1920's Alvin Sutliff took over the hatchery share of Lee Kessler and he and Appleman continued to operate the hatchery until the mid-1930's. Following World War II the building was converted into apartments. It is undergoing a conversion again in 2005 under the ownership of the Reed family.
Here are the results of the North Mountain Fire Company Carnival contest hosted by Christine's Karaoke Thursday night. First place ($100) went to Albert Wood, Benton. Second place went to Mickie Keller, Berwick and Hob Slesser, Elk Grove, nailed down third place. La Rue Knorr, Berwick, received a gift certificate for a free shirt at the Fishing Creek Lodge, Central, for fourth place. On Saturday, August 27, the Elk Grove Inn will host the "Royal Order of Raccoons" Karaoke Contest Finials starting at 11 PM; the show starts at 9 PM.
We tend to shy away from news of a negative nature, but we received an email that bothers us. It came from a former Benton Borough resident now living in the Township, whose house was recently burglarized. Two other homes within a mile of that house were also recently robbed. In the week before the robbery, someone on a four wheeler (ATV) "came onto our property late at night and turned off their headlight, so as not to be seen. A day later, someone was walking on our road late at night. When we shouted "Who's out there?," they answered "Looking for a lost dog." Some time within the next week, someone came into our home and took money. In other homes, a handgun and jewelry were taken. The reader asked us to inform readers to "Please keep an eye out and consider these crime prevention tips..."
Polica Chief Warren Nelson assures us that these burglaries were out of the Borough and that "We have had no reported burglaries in the Borough."
A word to the wise isn't necessary; the ones who get careless need the advice.
Keith Bissinger, Orangeville, won the Selinsgrove Speedway 15-lap road runner championship event for the second year in a row Saturday night.
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns brings his national "listening tour" to Penn State's Ag Progress Days today in a question-and-answer session on federal policies and the farm bill. At $2.52 a gallon locally for regular unleaded gasoline, that subject will certainly be raised by farmers in the state.
Donald E. "Don" Houseweart, 81, (Feb. 2, 1924-Aug. 13, 2005), 393 Gregg Run Road, Hughesville, and formerly of Benton, died Saturday evening in Muncy. He was a son of the late Elmer and Cecile (Laubach) Houseweart. Born in Benton Township, he attended Benton schools. Surviving, in addition to his wife, Grace I. (Pickard) Bitler Houseweart, are a son, Wayne Houseweart, Unityville, and a stepson, David W. Bitler, Hughesville. He was preceded in death by two brothers: Frank and Fred Houseweart, and a sister, Mary Bardo. Graveside services will be held Wednesday at 11 AM at the Hamline Cemetery, Benton Township.
We usually read of hoaxes circulating on the internet that happen in far-away places, and we tend to slowly nod our heads and whisper, "un-huh" and go on about our business. We have been deluged with a copy of an email with photos that, in part, says, "These pictures were taken in Sugarloaf Twp. In Pennsylvania." The email includes a couple of pictures of a black bear with a white cub and includes a notation that "The small community of Central is going nuts over this. Kind of like a white buffalo. Since there seems to be no sign of a pink nose or eyes, I would say that it is not an albino." We have found websites that say the photos were taken in Ontario: and one that said the photos were taken in Winnipeg. You won't find on this website that the bear in question was ever in Central! We are ready for our next hoax!
August 15, 2005. We celebrate Allen Kocher's birthday today
We are transmitting this from our laptop Sunday afternoon via our cell phone as we ride through the mountains of Western Pennsylvania on the "Pennsylvanian," an AMTRAK train riding the rails between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg.
The Pennsylvania Railroad's train bed over the mountains on its journey from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh began in 1851 and was completed in 1854. The work was truly hand done. Hundreds of Irish laborers were imported and construction was entirely by hand tools, gunpowder and pack animals. We are generally familiar with the Pennsylvania Railroad in Elmira, Williamsport and Sunbury, but those routes were a "walk in the park" compared to the Harrisburg/ Pittsburgh route.
The Act of 1846 provided for the formation of a company to construct a railroad "from the Western terminus of the Harrisburg, Portsmouth, Mount Joy and Lancaster Railroad in Harrisburg by a direct, natural route "with moderate graduations" to the city of Pittsburgh. Engineering problems were always rampant in the building of railroads, but even more so in the construction of this section of track.
The construction of the railroad began in 1847 from both ends of the line, but at the Pittsburgh end contractors soon quit citing the unprofitability of the project. Before the end of 1848, contracts had been let to proceed 117 miles West of Harrisburg. The 60-mile section from Harrisburg to Lewistown was placed in service September 1, 1849.
The Pennsylvania Railroad was responsible for the construction of the Horseshoe Curve. The right of way ran up a valley, then turned to run up the other side of the valley, resulting in a manageable 1.8% grade.
Pittsburgh was a prize from a railroader's standpoint, located at the junction of the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers where the Ohio River begins. The site had been a leading trade center from early days.
The first bridge across the Susquehanna at Rockville, about seven miles North of Harrisburg, was completed in 1849. The bridge was 3,680 feet long, with 23 wooden spans each 160 feet long. This was the most important and the most costly structure between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. An iron trestle bridge was the second built at Rockville. This bridge was constructed in 1877 replacing the original structure. This bridge was replaced in 1902 by the present stone-arch bridge. It is the longest bridge of its type in the world. Mrs. Bob Thomas 's grandfather, Frank Gift, Sunbury, was the engineer that took the first train across the Rockville Bridge upon its completion.
The first three locomotives ordered for delivery in 1849 were known as "Mifflin," the "Indiana," and the "Blair." The locomotives each had cylinders 14" x 70", 72" driving wheels, and weighed 47,807 pounds. Seventy-five freight cars were ordered.
The passenger station in Harrisburg was built by the Harrisburg, Portsmouth, Mount Joy and Lancaster Railroad Co. in 1837 on the site of the present station. The station was first used by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1849. The line opened to McVeytown 72 miles from Harrisburg on December 24, 1849. Interestingly enough, passenger travel was not originally permitted after dark, and many travelers were forced to spend the night at Hollidaysburg.
In 1968, the PRR merged with the New York Central Railroad. The conglomerate declared bankruptcy two years later. The Federal government took over several bankrupt North Eastern Railroads in 1976 and formed Conrail to keep trains in the Northeast from shutting down and to attempt to revitalize railroading. Starting in the summer of 1987,
The Horseshoe Curve is one of the most famous railroad locations in the nation, and one of the busiest mainlines in the land. The railroad's mountain crossing is spectacular and the constant stream of trains struggling upgrade rarely stops. We understand that we'll stop on the west side of the mountains to add some engines as rear-end helpers to get us to the top, through the Gallitzin tunnel's two bores, then down to the Altoona side without running amok.
National Park Service rangers began riding some passenger train trips on The Pennsylvanian over the curve, giving commentaries about the history, both general and transport, and the geography of the area.
We'll give you more specifics of our trip on Tuesday. Right now we intend to sit back and watch the world go by...
August 14, 2005, the anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt signing the Social Security Act in 1935, creating the nation's first public retirement system. In 1945 on this date, President Truman announced that Japan unconditionally surrendered, ending World War II.
Grace Stowe celebrates her birthday today and she shares the day with humorist Steve Martin, born in Waco, Texas in 1945, and with the man who wrote one great poem and then quit: Ernest Thayer, born in 1863. The baseball poem "Casey at the Bat," published in the San Francisco Examiner in 1888 was it! Later he worked on a book of philosophy but he never published it.
The Red Hat Society of Benton will meet at the Elsie Buyers' farm for their August 17 meeting, It is a covered dish, with table settings and beverage provided. Guests are welcome and the chapter is open to new members. Proper attire of a purple outfit and a red hat are required.
It is the heat of the summer, the opening topic of almost all conversations. It is time for Penn State's Ag Progress Days (August 16-18, Rock Springs, PA), the Kinzer Rough and Tumble Antique Engine Show (August 17-20, Kinzer, PA), the Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair (August 26-September 1, Center Hall), and the Nittany Antique Machinery Show at Penn's Cave, Centre Hall, September 8-11. AG Progress Days at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs is expected to have about 350 exhibitors and an estimated 45,000 people at the outdoor version of the Pennsylvania Farm Show.
Looking for something to do with the kids this Sunday? Your kids aged 13 to 16 might enjoy a morning of archaeological exploration, excavating for artifacts and exploring a real ghost town at Ricketts Glen State Park, We always include all the activities for Ricketts Glen and Worlds End State Parks on the side panel under UPCOMING EVENTS.
This afternoon at 1:20 we will board Amtrak's "Pennsylvanian" for a train ride we have wanted to make for many years. The trip will only be from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg, but it will take us through the Allegheny Mountains and over the famous Horseshoe Curve, an Altoona landmark since 1845, the state's early answer to getting through the mountains of Pennsylvanian The route is essentially unchanged for the past 160 years.
The Horseshoe Curve has been busy since 1845, except for a service interruption during WWII when it was put under military guard. The Government found out that the Horseshoe Curve was third on Hitler's list of places in this country to sabotage.
The railroad line from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg was the beginning of a new era of transportation in the state, and signaled the end of another form of transportation, the Allegheny Portage Railroad (APRR) which ran from Hollidayburg to Johnstown. Passengers traveled by train and canal boat from Philadelphia to Hollidayburg and then over a mix of rail lines and inclined planes to Johnstown. It was part of a larger state-wide route called the Main Line of Public Works and ran from 1834 till 1855 using a combination of standard railways and canals.
We remember reading Charles Dickens account in American Notes of his arrival in Pittsburgh on March 28, 1842. He had sailed from Harrisburg by the Pennsylvania Canal. Take the time to visualize his accommodations. He wrote that the sleeping shelf on the canal boat was "just the width of an ordinary sheet of Bath post letter paper, with one man above me and another below." The men he was traveling with were described by Dickens as "in foul linen, with yellow streams from half chewed tobacco trickling down their chins." He describes what it is like to see 17 men spit in unison and then to have to lie down on the luggage "every time the man at the helm calls 'Bridge!'"
Charles Dickens was not the average traveler on a river boat. He rose at 5 AM and plunged his head into a half-frozen bowl of water, then jumped from the boat to the tow path and walking alongside the boat five or six miles before breakfast.
The canal boats were taken over the mountains by inclined planes, moved by stationery engines. He described gliding at night very noiselessly, past "frowning hills sullen with dark trees." He mentioned the "red burning spots where unseen men lay crouching round the fire.
Pittsburgh was out of the mainstream in the early 1800s as a gateway to the West. Trade and travel bypassed Pittsburgh by using the National Road from Baltimore to Wheeling or the Erie Canal across New York state. In 1825, the Ohio Legislature authorized building a canal from Cleveland to Portsmouth on the Ohio River. The handwriting was on the wall for Pittsburgh. Something had to be done.
The Pennsylvania State Legislature authorized construction of the Pennsylvania Canal in 1826 and amazingly enough it opened eight years later across the entire width of the state. The canal route included building 10 inclines to carry canal boats on rail cars over the mountains between Hollidaysburg and Johnstown; digging 1000-foot long canal tunnels through Bow Ridge on the Conemaugh River and under Grant's Hill in Pittsburgh; building the first railroad tunnel in the United States at Staple Bend; and constructing the first suspension bridge in the United States that was actually an aqueduct, carrying the canal channel across the Allegheny River into downtown Pittsburgh. It arrived in town near today's convention center.
The ambitious plan worked and people flooded into Pittsburgh, surpassing the population of even Baltimore and Cleveland. The canal fostered the iron industry in the city, enabling Pittsburgh to grow into a steel town. But imagine the transfer of goods and people from railroad to canal boat, boat to railroad, then back to canal, plus the laborious passage over the ten inclined planes. There had to be an easier way.
Merchants and millers of the western part of the state in 1839 could transport their flour cheaper down the river from Pittsburgh to New Orleans and then by ship to Philadelphia than by other means over the mountains directly through the state. The state legislature appropriated $2,000 in 1836 for a survey across the Allegheny Mountains and requested, "if possible," to "avoid the inclined planes of the Portage Railroad." The survey concluded that locomotives of ten tons and eight tons for passenger locomotives that could achieve speeds of 10 and 20 miles per hour would use the tracks and that a trip from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh could be achieved in 20 hours.
When we continue Monday, we'll tell you about the railroad and about our ride on the train.
|August 13, 2005. Clyde "Jug" Albertson and Scott Faust celebrate their birthdays today. They share their birthdays with Cuban President Fidel Castro, 79; singers Don Ho, 75, and Dan Fogelberg, 54; and "Master of Suspense" filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, born in London in 1899. Movies he directed included Strangers on a Train (1951), Rear Window (1954), and Psycho (1960). The Lodger (1926), a movie about Jack the Ripper, was his first success. In the movie, a few scenes needed extra people in a crowd, so Hitchcock played one of the extras and appeared in every film he ever made after that.
On this date in 1966, three local couples tied the knot resulting in the unions of Tom and Judy (Houseweart) Wenner in the Presbyterian Church, Dan and Betty Lou (Dressler) Stoneham in the Methodist Church and Bob and Sandra (Kelsey) Hess in the Christian Church.
About a hundred years ago, Lake Jean was known as Mud Pond and the nearby town of Ricketts was still thriving. The town, named for Col. R. B. Ricketts who owned the land, had two schools and a couple of churches, a doctor, a post office and store, saw mill, stave mill, spool mill, railroad stations, hotel, a Patriotic Order Sons of America Hall and around 150 to 175 houses. The town doctor lived comfortably in his home in town, and other residences ranged from shanties to decent homes. The town even had a baseball team that played when men were able to take a break from timbering.
It is the time of the year when we love to eat peaches. Some knowledgeable people tell us that peaches should be only the slightest bit soft when you buy them. Too soft = too ripe. The skin should have no green, only yellow-orange with red smudges. Green peaches will not ripen properly. Any bruises on the surface are hiding larger bruises inside.
We enjoyed hearing from Charlie Dodson about his daughter, Cathy, and her husband who own a farm in Lebanon County. They don't have an historic building on their property, but they do have a lock of the old Union Canal on their land. The only thing left of the lock is the layer of rock on the sides of the canal. We were in Lebanon two days ago--but we'll mention our travels a bit later.
If the name "Union Canal" isn't a household name where you live, we should mention that William Penn proposed it in 1690 to get the state's agricultural wealth to market. The Canal was the first ever surveyed in the United States. Work on the canal began in 1792 under the charter name of the Schuylkill and Susquehanna Canal Co. A couple miles of the canal were constructed between Myerstown and Lebanon, and five locks dug in, before the company got in financial difficulty.
The State Legislature conducted the largest canal lottery in the nation's history to keep the canal moving forward. The canal reorganized in 1811 as the Union Canal Company of Pennsylvania and opened for business in 1828 when construction completed at a cost in excess of six million dollars. The project was plagued with problems: the 102 locks were too small to accommodate larger boats from the Pennsylvania Canal and the Schuylkill Canal; floods eventually devastated the canal from Pine Grove to Middletown; the need for a 729 foot tunnel (now a National Historic Landmark); and the completion of the Lebanon Valley Railroad in 1857 from Reading to Harrisburg reduced the revenues. The Union Canal closed in 1885.
According to a non-partisan research firm in San Francisco, Allentown is ranked twelfth on the conservative end of the voting spectrum while Philadelphia has been ranked as the 18th most liberal city in America and Pittsburgh is ranked 35th.
Word of the day: "Boondocks."
We feel as though we came from the "boondocks" to another part of the world in a 24-hour period yesterday. We started the day getting some rocks set just right in our rock garden, then quickly raced to Hershey to take a tour--in heat approaching 95 degrees--of the 23-acre Hershey Gardens which opened as a three and a half acre rose garden in 1937, then jumped in a car and raced to Mt. Lebanon, just outside of Pittsburgh, to see a paintball tournament, visit relatives and get ready to take Amtrak's "Pennsylvanian" from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg Sunday morning before railroad travel between these two cities is cancelled. Horseshoe Curve here we come!
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, don't forget the Rod and Custom Show at the fairgrounds, the Orangeville Fun Fair on Route 487 and the North Mountain Fireman's Carnival with Appalachian Nites tonight. Don't worry about the tough folks in Central. They are ready to have a great carnival tonight following the estimated $3,000 in damage from the storm that hit that area about 5 PM Friday night.
August 12, 2005. Kathi and Ron Taylor celebrate their 12th wedding anniversary today. It is the birthday of Katherine Lee Bates, born on this date in 1859, who wrote the poem that began...
"O beautiful for spacious skies,
On this date in...
Bruce O. Charles, 82, (Sept. 23, 1922-Aug. 11, 2005), 27 Home Base Lane, Unityville, died Thursday. Born in Benton, he was a son of the late Arthur and Letha Evans Charles. He owned and operated Bruce Charles Sawmill. Siblings previously died included: Curtis, Sheldon, Ivan, Joyce, and Marvin Charles; and Thelma Whitenight. He is survived by his wife, Helen Whitenight Charles; and son, Randy Charles, Unityville; grandsons Matthew B. Charles, Colorado and Michael A. Charles, Benton; three sisters: Mrs. Neva Robbins, Benton; Marjorie Bodine, Bloomsburg; and Clarissa Little, Lightstreet; and nieces and nephews. Services will be Monday at 10 AM. at Bunnell Funeral Home, Inc., Millville, with a viewing Sunday night from 6 until 8 PM. Burial will take place in Salem Cemetery.
We originally set out to deliver the news to the upper Fishingcreek valley to those people who no longer lived in the area. As the mailing list of our daily email grew, we noticed that from time to time local people were signing up. We eventually had to expand to a web page to jam everything in. We find that many people enjoy reading about Pennsylvania history and we have been told countless times that readers know little about what happened in the state over prior generations. For these readers, here are some items of a historical bent...
. August 17-20 the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania will host a show of miniature circus models. Members of the David "Deacon" Blanchfield Ring No. 86 will celebrate their 20th anniversary and display their colorful miniatures and replicas of railroad circus equipment. About 20 circus model builders are expected from New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Delaware, Ohio and Canada. Magic shows will be done everyday from 11 AM to 2 PM and T.J. the clown will perform tricks daily from 1-3 PM. The Lancaster Brass Quartet will perform on Saturday at noon.
. Up in Wyoming County, the Tunkhannock Historic District, roughly bounded by Tioga, Pine, Harrison Streets, and Wyoming Avenue, has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
. Eckley Miners' Village is sponsoring a Living History Days and Civil War Encampment Weekend on August 27-28. Hours for the event are 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM both days. Visitors can experience history through hands-on activities, period demonstrations and re-enactments. Stories about the life of the soldiers, the roles of women as civilians and nurses and what it was like to be a child during the Civil War will be featured. Visitors will be invited to mingle with soldiers, civilians and demonstrators and enjoy period music and dance. Eckley Miners' Village is located nine mile east of Hazleton, just off Route 940. For more information, call (570) 636-2070.
. Over 350 exhibitors and 45,000 visitors will convene at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs for the three-day Ag Progress Days celebration August 16-18. Ag Progress Days, scheduled for 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM on the 16th, 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM on the 17th and 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM on the 18th, is free and open to the public. One of the features of Ag Progress Days this year will be historic preservation programs for farmers who own historic farms and related buildings. We'll tell you more about Ag Progress Days in future editions.
With regret, we note that Pennsylvania lost seven National Guard soldiers in Iraq in less than four days.
There's nothing that can help you understand your beliefs more than trying to explain them to an inquisitive child.
We received a question about whether Benton is a village or a town. We have answered this question before, but we'll try the answer again. Benton Borough is neither a village or a town.
The places where people live aren't universally defined in terms of population; area; number of houses, barns and hotels; legal powers; or services provided. When we talk about a village or a hamlet or a town or a city we tend to basically know in our mind what size municipality we are talking about, but defining it is a little harder. To us, a village is usually thought about at the bottom of the size order, about the size of a group of houses along a country road. A hamlet is generally a very small village along a little wider stretch of road (and in England it means there is no church). A town is a more concentrated group of houses and buildings, larger than a village but smaller than a city. In the state of Pennsylvania, there is one incorporated town: Bloomsburg. What remains are Boroughs and Townships, and depending on where you live Benton is either a Borough or a Township, even though the town council adopted a motto a few years ago that said that we are the best village by a dam site.
August 11, 2005. Jay and Susan McHenry, Stillwater, celebrate their anniversary today. "The Classics" preform tonight at the Oriental Lodge Fun Fair and Flea Market on Route 487 north of Orangeville.
On this date in 1984, as President Ronald Reagan was preparing for his weekly radio broadcast, an open microphone that the President thought was off captured the President's words about his Cold War nemesis, the Soviet Union. He said, "My fellow Americans, I am pleased to tell you that I just signed legislation that would outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes."
Joe McHenry, longing to make a trip Back Home to Benton, PA, was called for jury duty in Arizona, and told to report August 19 for a possible three-week trial. We certainly see that as a problem in Joe and Gail's planned trip to Pennsylvania in early September.
Avis McHenry had a short stay in the hospital, and now is in Health South. Cards and letters would be very much appreciated. Her address is Room 2, 2 Rehabilitation Lane, Danville, PA 17821.
Tyler Brewington, 19, Jonestown, a Benton Area Schools graduate and Rider University sophomore, has an article devoted to him in Thursday's Press Enterprise following his "tie for fourth" win in the Pennsylvania Golf Association's 89th Open Championship. Brewington, a member of the Rider University (N.J.) golf team, was the highest finishing amateur. We liked the term that the Philadelphia Inquirer used in their article about the Sunnybrook Golf Club tournament . The paper applied the term "standout" to Tyler.
The article on Biddle, Charlotte and Philip Heg that originally appeared here has been transferred to the PERSONALITIES section on the side panel.
August 10, 2005. It is the birthday today of Erika Lenbergs, Jermey Griffith, Ken Sutton and Marcia Becker.
On this day in 1833, Chicago was incorporated as a village with a population of fewer than 200 people.
Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson met on this date back in 1776 to come up with a design for the Great Seal of the United States. They chose a motto E Pluribus Unum, meaning "Out of Many, One," but Congress rejected it, then six years later accepted it.
Monday morning will be special at the Brass Pelican as George Turner addresses the North Mountain Historical Society on the subject of the "The Trial of Ellis Young for the Murder of Lieutenant James Stewart Robinson."
The article on Biddle, Charlotte and Philip Heg that originally appeared here has been transferred to the PERSONALITIES section on the side panel.
August 9, 2005. Doug Deitrick celebrates his 49th birthday today, which reminds us of an old saying that went something like "when a man has a birthday he takes the day off. When a woman has a birthday, she takes a year off." Izaak Walton was born in Stafford, England, on this date. He was the author of The Compleat Angler: Or, The Contemplative Man's Recreation, a guide to the joys of fishing.
"Indeed, my good scholar, we may say of angling, as Dr. Boteler said of strawberries, "Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did"; and so, if I might be judge, God never did make a more calm, quiet, innocent recreation than angling."
There are 138 days remaining until Christmas, in case you need an excuse to go shopping.
Vivid Photo won by almost three lengths Saturday over favorite Classic Photo at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The Hambletonian winner Vivid Photo's first race of his 18-race career was at the Bloomsburg Fair. Vivid Photo, the winner of nine straight races and 14 of 18 overall, gathered in $750,000 for his win, not bad for a horse purchased for $30,000 and starting his career in Bloomsburg.
In local golf, Rich and Tyler Brewington of Mill Race successfully defended their title with a 3-under par 68 at Glenmaura National this week.
An Asian weed known as giant hogweed is making headlines from western Pennsylvania into northeast Ohio. Agriculture officials say there's little they can do to contain the noxious weed that can cause second-degree chemical burns on people. The plant grows up to 15 feet tall, with green and purple-splotched hollow stems about 3 inches in diameter and green leaves up to several feet long. An umbrella-like spray of small white flowers tops the stalks. First introduced as an ornamental, the plant resembles and is a member of the parsley family, only larger. The incised compound leaves grow up to 5 feet in width. Giant hogweed flowers mid-May through July, with numerous white flowers clustered in an umbrella-shaped head that is up to 2½ feet in diameter across its flat top. The plant produces flattened, 3/8-inch long, oval dry fruits that have a broadly rounded base, and broad marginal ridges. Like Japanese Knotweed, Hogweed prefers moist soil and can quickly dominate ravines and stream banks. An escaped ornamental, Japanese knotweed is often found in waste places, roadsides, and along streambanks like Fishincreek.
Heading for Florida? Hooters Air will begin offering non-stop service October 28 from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport to Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale and St. Petersburg. Hooters Airline will be the sixth major airline serving the airport. The Hooters restaurant chain features young, shapely waitresses clad in small orange shorts and smaller white tank tops, and we assume the airline is run along the same lines. The restaurant, a buffalo-wings kind of dining establishment, has as their slogan "Delightfully tacky, yet unrefined." We wonder how the female flight attendants boots will get around Homeland Security! We also suspect that all flights will be mammarable as the employees save up enough money to go to medical school.
The only Pennsylvanian ever to serve as President of the United States was best remembered as the President who preceded Abraham Lincoln, the country's only bachelor President, and the man who presided over the country when the Dred Scott decision was handed down by the Supreme Court. The Dred Scott decision, simply put, held that slaves had no rights even on free soil. We are talking about Lancaster native James Buchanan, whose home city picked a street to name after him that began where Lemon Street ended! A bachelor would make Washington tongues wag, but Buchanan went just a bit farther since he shared a room for several years with William King, a Senator from Alabama, who died while serving as Vice President of the United States under Franklin Pierce.
The North Mountain Carnival starts Thursday and a karaoke contest is on tap for the first night. Practice and warm-up will be from 7-7:30. The contest will start at 7:45, right after the first break. Friday night, Christine Karns will hold Karaoke at Kameeo's on route 487 from 9:30-1:30.
Don't forget that the Huntington Valley Fire Company will hold a chicken and biscuits dinner August 13 from 4 to 7 at the Fire hall. The price is $6 and take outs are available. As always, local fire companies need all the support they can get.
Nature has a way of coming and going. We remember when pheasants were everywhere and made wonderful hunting. The whippoorwill was a favorite bird as was the Bob White Quail, sometime knows as a partridge, but these birds are very hard to find locally any more. The same also applies to the milkweed plant.
The plant is now relatively rare in Pennsylvania, but during World War II milkweed pods were collected by scout troops, civic groups and farmers. The milkweed pods were dried, and then shipped to collecting stations. Milkweed floss is more buoyant than cork by six times or so. A life jacket containing a few pounds of milkweed floss could hold up a 150-pound man in the water. The milkweed is warmer than wool and six times lighter. Flying suits were lined with milkweed floss for warmth and weight, and acted as a life preserver if the pilot went into the drink.
Milkweed is an important food plant for the Monarch Butterfly. The butterflies that travel south in the fall winter in the south. They reproduce either in their wintering grounds or on their way back North in the spring. The butterflies of summer are the offspring of a previous generation, yet the wintering grounds in Mexico, Florida, Cuba or southern California and their favorite places to summer are the same.
August, 8, 2005. Happy birthday to Scott Maguire. On this date in in 1829, the first steam locomotive in America, the Stourbridge Lion, was tested in Honesdale; in 1854, metal bullet cartridges were patented by Smith & Wesson; and in 1899, A.T. Marshall of Brockton, MA, patented the refrigerator.
The annual clam bake of Painter Den Club was held Sunday, and 174 adult members, their families and guests ate clams and sweet corn and roast chicken and shrimp and all the other things that a clam bake implies. It was a grand and glorious day. Bob Baker and Budd Fritz were not able to attend. Bob was a patient in the Geisinger Hospital, recovering from problems associated with the administration of radiation. Betty Fritz was "under the weather" and not able to attend and like the good husband he is, Budd stayed and played nursemaid. Both men and their wives were greatly missed.
Some faces we haven't seen in a while turned up, including...
Following a weekend of garage sales including the Cambra community sales, some local enthusiasts look for the shining light of garage sales elsewhere. The brightest light comes from a 450-mile long strip of highway lined with antiques dealers, local collectors, people disposing of collections of junque, and husbands reading the Wall Street Journal while their bag-toting wives literally run from sale to sale. But, alas, the sale ran from Thursday, August 4, through Sunday, Aug. 7.
It all started down in Jamestown, Tennessee, to attract visitors to a poverty-stricken area, visitors who cruised routes 40 and 75 rather than the back roads. Eighteen years later, the north-south Route 127 sale, also known as the World's Largest Yard Sale, is a slowly moving caravan of people from Kentucky, through Tennessee and Georgia, and ending in Alabama. The route runs through coal-mining country where an estimated half the residents are on Medicaid.
For four days the two-lane highway is lined with card tables, antique dealers, genuine imitations, homemade soap, "baby stuff," all marked up so it can be quickly marked down if the sale is going badly. Hardly anyone pays the asking price.
We chatted with Gene and Andrea Crossley yesterday, owners of Yesterdaze Antiques on East 5th Avenue in Mount Dora, Florida. For those readers who know Mt. Dora, Yesterdaze is on the left directly across from the Village Antique Mall. Gene is the nephew of Ruth Kline and Ethel Crossley, and they shared their memories from two years ago when they traversed the longest yard sale looking for treasures. The couple filled their Suburban with goodies and had a grand old time. We are going to recommend the trip to a Garage Sale Goddess for next year. This lady told us that her husband told her that if she goes to one more garage sale he'll leave her. She then added, "I'll miss him!"
August 7, 2005. We celebrate the birthdays today of James Fox, Rod Pennington, 49, Terry Griffith, 62, and William Mather, 86. Bill is the former postmaster of Benton from January 31, 1958, until Gary Strauch took over August 20, 1983. Claude Sutliff, (1903-1980), a former resident of Central, would have been 102 today if he were still living. Today is the 63rd birthday of Prairie Home Companion storyteller and host Garrison Keillor.
Lets take the time to review the progress this country has made since Claude entered the world. We'll examine the year 1903. Henry Ford sold his first Model A, which he personally designed, for $850 to a Detroit physician. The first automobile (a SOB, or "some other brand," was driven completely across the United States in just two months and three days. H. Nelson Jackson, along with his chauffeur, did it in order to win a $50 bet. The engine had six horsepower, water-cooled, mounted in the rear of the vehicle. A tenor by the name of Enrico Caruso made his debut in 1903 at the Met, singing in Rigoletto. The United States recognized Panama as an independent state. A man by the name of James Lewis Kraft turned $65 into a thriving business and saved himself from vagrancy. Using a rented horse and wagon, Kraft bought cheese and peddled it to retail stores in order to make a profit. The Call of the Wild was read across the nation, thanks to the writing of Jack London. Five witnesses and a photographer saw Orville Wright, 32, and dressed in a starched white shirt with tie, actually leave the ground in a 605-pound 13 horsepower gasoline-powered flyer. Oh, this country has come a long ways since Claude was born 102 years ago today.
Didja know that it is a no-no to use double negatives and when dangling from a sentence, one should always avoid leaving a participle. And never begin a sentence with a conjunction and never say "never" and always avoid "always." One should never verbify nouns and a preposition should never be used to end a sentence with. Joan Rivers summed it up in 1989 during a commencement address she delivered at her daughter Melissa's graduation from the University of Pennsylvania. She said, "You're college graduates now, so use your education. Remember--it isn't who you know, it's whom."
The stupid headline of the week comes from the Denver Post, which proclaimed in a headline "United [Airlines'] Losses Blamed on Bankruptcy."
The entertainment at the 2005 Bloomsburg Fair includes Kenny Rogers, Julie Roberts, Randy Travis, Tracy Lawrence, Trace Adkins, Gary Allan, Michael W. Smith, Ted Nugent, Foreigner, Dave Martins, a Bullride Mania, Figure 8 Racing, a Demo Derby And a Truck and Tractor Pull.
We chatted briefly yesterday with a stranger in town who came to look at the aftermath of the Benton Park following the July storm. He said he was a stockbroker, but after talking with him for a bit we concluded he was more than that. His interests seemed to range to both stocks and blondes.
Firemen love to come Back Home to Benton, PA, for the annual Fireman's Parade, the last night of the 2005 Benton Fireman's Carnival. Last night, fire units from Main Township, Millville, Orangeville, Summer Hill, Sugarloaf, Bloomsburg, Sugarloaf, North Mountain, Catawissa, Unityville, Chew's Landing, Lightstreet, Lairdsville, Eldredsville, and Benton participated in the fun event.
Fire trucks representing companies from North Mountain south to Bloomsburg and west from Millville to the state of New Jersey strutted through the parade. The parade also included John Deere tractors, the Mayor of Benton, the high school band and the Catawissa marching band, and lots more.
Ed Musser, parade chairman, had lots of praise for the visiting firemen and everyone who participated in the parade and the week-long carnival.
And while we are handing out thanks to all of the organizations and people that made the week a success, we might as well pass out the kudos for the various fire companies that participated last night...
August 6, 2005. On this date in...
• 2004, local Boy Scouts left for "Sea Base" where they encountered a strange bedfellow--Hurricane Charlie.
• 1918, the second battle of the Marne ended during World War I about 75 miles northeast of Paris. In the Second Battle of Marne some 30,000 Americans were killed or wounded.
• 1945, the Enola Gay, a B-29 bomber, dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. The bomb killed more than 100,000 civilians and devastated the city. At least 100,000 more people died later due to radiation exposure.
Nancy Laubach served on Benton Town Council for five years, eight months, but recently resigned for reasons of health. Serving in positions like the Town Council create a few sensations of satisfaction, but they are frequently few and far between. We have the highest regard for anyone who contributes his or her time and resources to make the community just a little better. For her contribution, we salute Nancy Laubach and wish her the very best in her future endeavors. Nancy's replacement is Dan Hartman, 58. The catch is that Nancy has served long enough in her second term that Dan will have to "get on the ballot" if he wants to run for the post in a two-year term this fall. We wish Dan the best in his term of volunteer duty. Dan has a long history of coming to the town council meetings and "staying informed."
The Allegheny Portage Railroad reduced travel time between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh from three weeks by wagon to only four days. The railroad over the Allegheny Mountains ushered in a new era of travel for Pennsylvania. The Horseshoe Curve, constructed entirely by men with picks, shovels, horses and drags, opened to traffic in 1854 and was certainly a highlight of the trip. As the years rolled on, times changed. With gas prices in the area of $2.30 and everyone in a hurry, the era of the train is struggling. Only one daily passenger train--the Pennsylvanian--operates on the former Pennsylvania Railroad (now Norfolk Southern) main line across the state, one train away from having only freight trains cross Rockville Bridge and over the 2,375-foot curvature of the Horseshoe Curve. Based on the assumption that this one train a day may soon cease to operate and end up permanently parked inside the state railroad museum, we plan to "climb aboard" in the near future. We'll tell you about our train ride.
Politics seems to be heating up in the state as Democrats target Tunkhannock's U.S. Rep. Don Sherwood on a family-value bent following his apparent straying from the straight and narrow. The GOP seems to be posturing to tackle U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski who spent $1.1 million in 2002 to keep his seat during the challenge from Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta. We tend to think that the founding fathers really intended that every couple of years or so the people should be able to express their true will in the election process, not to simply rubber stamp the incumbent because of name recognition or party affiliation.
Marie Castrogiovanni, Hartman Hollow Road, secretary of the "Country Cultivators" at 925-5031 tells us that the next garden club meeting is scheduled for Thursday, August 11, at the home of Paddy and Paul Langenbach, Klinger Hill Road. Anyone not currently a member who is interested in attending should call either Marie or Paddy at 925-2206. The flower of the month will be Alpine Geranium. The presentation will be on how to propagate plants through cuttings. The speaker will be Yvonne Jett, a master gardener and former president of the Country Cultivators.
Drew Carey and stars from The Drew Carey Show and Whose Line Is It Anyway bring their comedy show to the F.M. Kirby Center October 23. Drew is joined on stage with Kathy Kinney, Greg Proops, Chip Esten, Laura Hall and her piano and others for two shows, Sunday, October 23 at 3 PM and 7 PM.
Special thanks go to Ron Grabowski and the Northeast Pennsylvania Baptist Association Disaster Relief, the Red Rock Job Corp. and the Benton School Board as well as the many volunteers who took time out of their day(s) to help.
What did organizations donate you ask! Well, take Sun-Dry Laundromat for example. They volunteered the attendants Audrey and Bill's services to do all the washing, drying and folding (Fluff 'n Fold) of the sheets and laundry (at no cost) used by the Baptist volunteers working in the park.
August 5, 2005..
Didja know that Garrison Keillor was a college disc jockey who later wrote fiction for The New Yorker magazine? He wrote a factual piece about the Grand Ole Opry, which, after 31 years, was moving from downtown Nashville in the Ryman Auditorium to the Grand Ole Opry House in the suburbs. Keillor dreamed of hosting a radio show and in 1974 Prairie Home Companion went on the air thanks to Minnesota Public Radio. The show went national in 1980.
United Sanitation Network Inc, will probably begin demolishing Wilkes-Barre's canopy network today. It cost the city $350,000 to get rid of that hideous piece of architecture.
We love to hear from readers, but sometimes they ask us to do things which we are ill prepared to do. Take this email, for example: "Any chance that sometime you write about tree frogs? We were to visit friends the other evening and while sitting on the patio, something began to "chirp" (sort of) and they said it was a tree frog."
My biology background is almost nonexistent. I did have Donald Rabb as a high school biology teacher, the last year he taught at Benton High School. I learned that cutting into certain insects made certain girls ask to leave the room. Biology didn't come up again until college when I learned a whole list of words basically associated with sexual reproduction. Basically everything I ever learned about tree frogs I have now forgotten, except for the term that Father used: "spring peeper." The bottom land on our property was filled with them--and still is.
During the spring when there is lots of water, temporary ponds "spring up." These mini-wetlands provide a breeding area for a variety of "cold-blooded" amphibians like the spring peeper--simply a noisy tree frog. Frogs lay their eggs in ponds and pools and even temporary shallow puddles.
The monotone, short trill of the tree frog--"peeyp . . . peeyp . . . peeyp"--would lull me to sleep as a child, be a companion as I walked the woods, or later in life as I slept in my camper. Surprisingly few tree frogs are ever seen. Tree frogs, if they keep their mouth shut, are hard to find and nearly invisible. During the day, they hide inside dark cool tree cavities or behind slabs of bark. At night they whoop it up, eating, singing, mating and serenading the woods in a never-ending chorus. Locally, they get their breeding out of the way by early June, and use the summer to sing, especially on night that are cool and wet.
Tree frogs have adhesive pads on their toes. They can cling to tree trunks and branches and wait for delicacies to come their way. The species vary greatly in appearance, but always a shade of brown or gray, depending on light, temperature, moisture, stress or activity level. They are hard to find. They have bright orange inner hind legs and course skin. The color is a "now you see it, now you don't" protection. A predator sees the frog leap because of the inner-leg color, but disappears when the frog lands and folds its legs and the predator loses its prey into the foliage background. True tree frogs spend most of their time walking, climbing and clinging to vegetation.
Photo courtesy of a Staten Island, New York, reader
Someone who has a lot of time on his hands figured out that a one-inch long female can lay up to 900 jelly-covered eggs. The eggs drift downward or float away and eventually settle on aquatic vegetation, sticks, or other submerged debris. In six to 12 days, depending on water temperature, the eggs hatch into tadpoles with red tails and with external gills and no limbs. The tadpole feeds on vegetation, especially algae. As the tadpole grows, it sprouts hind limbs and later develops forelegs. The respiratory system suddenly shifts from gill to lung and the organism becomes an air-breathing junior tree frog ready to climb and jump. The tree frog changes diet from plant to animal matter and spends the rest of its life in its new role as a small frog.
As winter approaches, gray tree frogs leave the refuge of wood to seek shelter under logs or piles of leaves, remaining dormant until spring when their cycle of life resumes.
August 4, 2005. Ron and Faye Igou celebrate their wedding anniversary today.
The upper Fishingcreek valley remains in a rain-forest style weather situation and conservation of electricity over the next few days should be the order of the day. Please be careful outside as bodies struggle with thermoregulation (the ability of an organism to keep its body temperature within certain boundaries, even when the temperature around it is very different).
When the recent devastating windstorm destroyed many of the gracious old trees of the Benton Park and the town was faced with an overwhelming job of cleanup and reconstruction, directors of the Northern Columbia Community and Cultural Center discussed the mutual advantages to the Borough, the Park Commission, surrounding communities and the NCCCC of rethinking the placement of the Community Center to site it in the Benton Park. At the invitation of Mayor Swan, representatives briefed available members of the Park Commission and the Town Council on the possibility of consolidating resources such as space, grant writing and rebuilding of the park in such a way that the both the park and the community center would have maximum utilization and could share facilities to a limited degree. Based on comments received from the public, it appeared that the general public did not favor joint utilization of the park. The Mayor's office has been notified by the NCCCC that no further action in this regard is contemplated.
About 19 miles northeast of Benton, shorter if you go over hill and dale, is the area known as Sweet Valley, which came into formal existence in 1847 when the post office was established. An interesting history of that area is now available on the Lower Luzerne Website.
A partial list of burials in Coles Creek Cemetery at St. Gabriels Church is available at www.rootsweb.com/~pacolumb/coles2.htm .
We were asked by a reader if we could share a picture of what the Tennessee countryside looked like where we recently stayed. We certainly can.
Tommy's selling used cars
Nancy's fixing hair
Harvey runs a grocery store
Margaret doesn't care
Jerry drives a truck for Sears
Charlottes on the make
And Paul sells life insurance and part-time real estate.
--Class of '57, the Statler Brothers
Times have changed and decades have passed, but some members of the Benton High School Class of '57 gathered at the Brass Pelican Wednesday morning to welcome back Allen and Shirley Roberts and Dayne and Linda Sharek, sleek in their new motor homes, and Bill and Loretta Hiscox, happy in their new Hughsville home. Ed and Nancy Campbell, Lightstreet, Blaine Long and David Kline, Benton, and Calvin Follmer, Tamaqua, also attended. Regretfully, not all of the members of the class were contacted before the breakfast, but the class will make up for that when they celebrate the anniversary of their graduation 50 years ago.
Helen is a hostess
August 3, 2005. Terry Hack is celebrating his birthday in Stillwater today. Today is the anniversary of Rick and Maryann Bardo. The Pet and Toy parade is tonight. The parade forms at 6 PM and moves at 7 PM. We suggest that you follow the parade back to the rodeo grounds for the Wednesday night edition of the Benton Carnival.
On this date in...
Carl R. (Dick) Hilley, 73, (April 24, 1932-July 27, 2005), New Port Richey, Florida, died Wednesday at his home. Mr. Hilley was born in Benton, the son of Bruce and Leatha (Kline) Hilley and moved to New Port Richey 50 years ago. He was a retired owner of Carl's Doxal Gas Company, New Port Richey. Mr. Hilley was a veteran of the U.S. Navy and served in the Korean War. Mr. Hilley is survived by four sons, eight daughters and 15 grandchildren; two brothers, Wayne of New Port Richey, and Keith, Punxsutawney, PA. A funeral service was held at North Meadowlawn Funeral Home, New Port Richey.
Astronomers have apparently been keeping the discovery of a 10th planet a secret for years. A hacker is now reputed as having infiltrated their research and leaked the news. CalTech astronomers then announced this week a 10th planet discovered using a Samuel Oschin Telescope at the Palomar Observatory near San Diego. The planet is yet to be named, although it is known as 2003UB313 and even its exact size is still unknown. The planet was apparently detected back in January using pictures taken in 2003. It is the most distant object ever detected orbiting the sun and is about 9.7 billion miles from the sun and is reportedly about 1 1/2 times the size of Pluto and about a fifth the size of earth.
It may take Canadian Pacific Railway some time to clean up the dozen or so mangled railroad cars that derailed outside the Merck Cherokee plant near Danville. At least 17 cars jumped the tracks around 5 o'clock Monday afternoon near a railroad switching point by the Merck Cherokee plant.
We are Back Home in Benton, PA, this morning after seeing a good deal of North Carolina and other points south. Everywhere we went we heard people talking about how much it costs to drive to work or to play, how much it costs to keep their business running, how much it costs to cool their homes. The cost of unleaded gasoline actually purchased ranged from a low of $2.019 (Flying J Truck Stop, I-95, Carmel Glen, VA) to a high of $2.359 (CITGO, Gatlinburg, TN). The Harrisburg area seems to be in the area of $2.179, while locally $2.229 is the price. Since we left town, huge piles of wood left behind from chain saws dot the Benton Park and massive amounts of trees have been cut up and removed. Much remains to be done, but the community owes a huge debt of gratitude to a lot of people. It is hot here, to be sure, but we haven't been anywhere--including high in the North Carolina mountains--in the past three weeks that it has not been hot. Closer to home, we find that the EPIX DSL connection still only works when it feels like it, not when we feel like using it. We are home again--home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.
|August 2, 2005. John Sibly celebrates his birthday today.
Think the weather is hot now? Here is the current as well as next month's weather forecasts for the Northeast United States as conjured up by the Farmer's Almanac.
The Pennsylvania Senate Chief Clerk's office announced Monday morning that Sen. John Gordner, R-Columbia, will not accept the unvouchered expense money raise (allowing lawmakers to collect the raises immediately even though the state constitution prohibits any legislature from increasing its own members' pay during any two-year term) voted by the legislature July 7. In the Senate, 27 of the 50 senators are accepting the unvouchered expense money and 23 are not
The Montour Motorcycle Riders took a benefit ride through Columbia and adjacent counties Sunday to raise money for Tracy Yagle, Berwick, who has cystic fibrosis and needs a lung transplant. The 28 motorcycles and 50 to 55 riders began at the Jerseytown Tavern, continued to Berwick and ended at the Millville American Legion.
Three adjoining farms formerly owned by Alvan and Ellis Sutliff in Benton Township, totaling about 279 acres, were sold for $40,800 at public auction in August, 1963. Otto Little, proprietor of the Otto Little and Son lumber yard, Benton, purchased the main farm of 100 acres owned by Alvan Sutliff for $23,900 and David Floyd Sr., Benton, bought the 47-acre airport farm, also owned by Alvan, for $4,900. Lyle Benjamin, Waller, purchased the 83-acre farm owned by Ellis for a sum of $12,000. Each had a house, barn and other outbuildings. A fourth farm, owned by J. B. Sutliff, 86 acres, remained for sale. Also sold was a herd of 130 purebred Guernsey milk cows for a total of $25,000. The top cow was sold for $485. At least a dozen of the cows were purchased by Canadian dairymen and many others by herdsmen from New York. The sale of farm machinery totaled $16,598 and more than 100 tons of hay was sold for an average price of $30.50 per ton. John Merryman, Sparks, MD, was the auctioneer and the sale was managed by the Pennsylvania Guernsey Breeders Association.
As we travel, we like to see as much as we can absorb. In Alexandria, VA, for example, one of the highlights is the 333 ft. other Washington monument, the George Washington Masonic National Memorial on Shooters Hill. The hill (originally called Shuter's Hill, after an early Alexandria resident) got its name from a Union Civil War fort at that location. The building looks like a cross between the lighthouse at Alexandria (Egypt) and LA city hall. The building was constructed by members of the Masonic order to memorialize George Washington. Louis A. Watres, a Past Grand Master of Pennsylvania, and Charles H. Callahan, a future Grand Master of Virginia, shoveled the first spade of dirt at the groundbreaking June 5, 1922.
George Washington was raised as a Third Degree Master Mason in August, 1753. Washington attended the laying of the foundation stone of the Capitol in the new city of Washington, DC, in 1793. He wore his Masonic apron.
Washington's Masonic apron has an interesting history. Marquis de Lafayette came to America at the age of 20 and joined George Washington's army for the Battle of Brandywine in 1777. The Lafayette Apron, of white satin and embroidered by Madame Lafayette, was presented to George Washington by Lafayette in August, 1784. The apron was presented to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania on July 3, 1829, and is now on display in the Grand Lodge Museum at the Masonic Temple, Philadelphia. The apron border colors of red, white and blue are the national colors of both the United States and France.
The legend that the Freemasons made the American Revolution (refuted to some degree by modern scholars) held that it was the Boston Freemasons who instigated the violent resistance to the British authorities; that it was the Freemasons of St. Andrews Lodge who, disguised as "red Indians" threw the tea into the waters in the Boston Tea Party; that it was the Freemasons who issued the Declaration of Independence; that they provided the leadership of the revolutionary struggle during the War of Independence; and that, after the victory, it was the Freemasons who drafted the Constitution of the United States in 1787. We are unable to prove or disprove the influence of the Freemasonry movement in American Revolution War history, but we do know that 38 of the general officers of the American Continental Army and eight of Washington's aides and military secretaries were Freemasons. The Masonic brotherhood included Benjamin Franklin, Washington, John Hancock, James Madison, James Monroe, Paul Revere, John Paul Jones and La Fayette. Following Washington, Presidents Madison, Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Polk, Buchanan, Andrew Johnson and Garfield were Masons.
A guided tour at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial goes through several rooms dedicated to different orders of the Masonic order (for example, Shriners, Tall Cedars, Knights Templar, Royal Arch, National Sojourners), in combinations of Biblical, Egyptian, and Medieval architecture. There is a collection of fezzes, a giant Shriner bobble-head doll, and a strange monument from the Blue Ridge that is probably best described as Masonic Outsider Art.
Much emphasis at the George Washington Masonic Monument is placed on the Masons' charitable works,. In addition to the Masonic rooms, there is a large theater, several Masonic lodge rooms (including the one in which George Washington was the master), a gift shop, and the George Washington museum.
To get to the National Monument, you need to head to 101 Callahan Drive, Alexandria, which is at the end of King Street in what was recently redefined as Old Town Alexandria, near the King Street metro station. Admission is free. The daily hours are 9 AM to 5 PM.
In Pennsylvania, The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania is at One North Broad Street, Philadelphia. Blue Lodges locally are #667, Everett Street, Benton, and Oriental Lodge, Route 487, Orangeville. Consistory, the fourth through 32nd degrees in Freemasonry, is available in Bloomsburg and Harrisburg and other locations throughout the state. The Shrine Organization is available at Zembo Temple in Harrisburg and Irem Temple in Wilkes-Barre.
|August 1, 2005. We celebrate the birthdays of Dr. Brian Becker, Camp Hill; Shirley Keller and Barbara King, Benton; and Seth Eyer, Millville. These fine folks share their birthday with writer Herman Melville and with Washington lawyer Francis Scott Key, who wrote the lyrics for our national anthem.
In 1814 at the age of 35, Key composed the The Star Spangled Banner from a truce ship in the harbor while the British bombed Fort McHenry. He did not know if the Americans had defended themselves until "dawn's early light" when he looked through a telescope and saw their raised garrison flag. He checked into a Baltimore hotel when he reached land and finished his poem. Francis Scott Key's words, following a twenty-year effort during which more than forty bills and joint resolutions were introduced in Congress, finally became the national anthem of the United States in 1931.
On this date in...
Are you getting some email messages that you don't want? There is an easy way to delete several emails at the same time.
Go to www.worldtimeserver.com/atomic-clock/ to connect to one of the time servers operated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). At the site, you can compare the time of your computer with the time on the servers operated by the NIST. This program will then display the difference between your system and the servers and if greater than 15 seconds, it will offer you the option of adjusting your PC by the displaThe Back Mountain Antique Car Show gears up at 10 AM today at the Luzerne County Fairgrounds, Route 118, Dallas. The cost is $2 for adults, and if you are taking the kids they are free for those under the age of 12. yed amount. It can even be set to automatically check the time once a day and you can download and use this utility at no cost to you!