August 31, 2009. It is the birthday of Marvin Albertson and the wedding anniversary of Ken and Lynn Dressler. There will be great daytime weather with cool nights for sleeping through Thursday.
It is the end of the month and time for a pop quiz. Two of the questions are quite easy, so study for a bit and solve the quiz. A passing grade is simply getting two out of the three correct. Answers at the end of today's post.
Question 1. A chemist discovered that a certain chemical reaction took 80 minutes when he wore a wool jacket. When he wasn't wearing the wool jacket, the same reactions always took an hour and 20 minutes. Can you explain?
Question 2. If a man-and-a-half can eat a pie-and-a-half in a minute-and-a-half, how many men would it take to eat 60 pies in 30 minutes?
Question 3. Mr. Brown, Mr. Green and Mr. Black were having lunch. One wore a brown tie, one a green tie, one a black. "Have you noticed," said the man with the green tie, "that although our ties have colors that match our names, not one of us has on a tie that matches his own name?" "By golly," you're right!" exclaimed Mr. Brown. What color tie was each wearing?
• Tuesday, September 1, is Plant A Row donation day at the Benton Food Bank. Deliveries from 7:30 to 9 AM. Thanks to all thirty-plus donors. The last donation day for the season is September 15.
• And then there were two... Connecticut and Pennsylvania are the two states in the nation still at odds over how to balance the books this fiscal year.
• Didja ever notice that when sons start to sow their wild oats, fathers usually start up the threshing machine?
• Don’t forget about babysitting at The Center. It is available for parents while they workout Monday-Friday from 3 PM to 8 PM. The cost is $1 per child per workout session. For additional information, call the Center, 925-0163.
• Your children are welcome at The Center after school to participate in structured activities. There is no reason for children to go home to an empty house. For children of members, there is no charge. For children of non-members, a day-pass must be purchased: $3 for children under 12 and $5 for children 12 and over. For additional information, call The Center at 925-0163.
• Jim Dildine thanks all his many friends for their prayers, concerns and cards during the time he was a patient at Health South. Jim's recent trip to Boston was a success.
Cucurbita pepo is the Latin name for one of summer’s most prolific producers: zucchini. There is little that is more summer than zucchini. It goes well with the tomato; it’s a delicious mix with cheese; it makes the very finest spaghetti and you can roast it. Slice them thin, cook them in olive oil at 375° until they brown, and add them to pasta or salad, or flop on the plate as a creamy side. Slice them in chunks and you’re on your way to ratatouille if you’ve got peppers and tomatoes. Simply don't use the vegetable when it becomes the size of a baseball bat or the seeds will overpower. If monster zucchini is all you have, simply scoop the seeds and stuff them like canoes filled with Golden Yakkers using about anything that you find in your garden.
Let not the atomic bomb
Be the final sequel--
In which all men--
Are cremated equal.
Stoney Acres was started by Rick Kingsbury in the spring of 1989, after he graduated from Penn Tech with a degree in landscaping/nursery design. The nursery is a member of the Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association, (PLNA) and the national association known as NFIB.
The nursery specializes in handscaping such as patios, walkways and driveways. The landscape crews are ICPI and NCMC certified. The company does lawn installations, soft-scape design and small excavation projects. No job is too small or too large for Stoney Acres.
In the fall of 1994, Stoney Acres opened a garden center fully stocked with a variety of trees, shrubs, grasses and perennials. During the spring months, the nursery stocks vegetables and annual-bedding plants. Their greenhouse is bursting with hanging baskets and a variety of potted-porch pots. They carry a large selection of bulk and bagged products, as well as fertilizers, insecticides and basic shrub-care products. The nursery has a gift shop filed with everyday and seasonal gift ideas. Outdoor gifts such as bird baths, garden signs, wrought iron hooks, bird houses and feeders are suggestions in this area.
In the spring of 2000, the business began a wholesale tree division in order to supply other garden centers and nurseries, as well as their own business, with locally-grown shade- and flowering trees.
In the spring of 2006, the nursery added another division to their business, with the start of Stoney Acres Floral. Sheila, their floral designer, can handle the most elegant occasion to something small and simple. Sheila also has helium balloons and house plants.
Stoney Acres has worked very hard over the past twenty years to bring top-quality work- and plant material to their customers and to create a landscape design their customers can be proud of. The nursery thanks all their past customers who have helped to made their business a success. Stop in and chat with Rick, or with Jeremy, the landscape supervisor, or with Anne, the garden-center manager. This is an especially good week to make that stop, as their 20th anniversary sale runs September 1-5. You'll get 40% off on roses, perennials, clematis and grasses, 20% off on homemade and gift items, and much more. Did we mention the door prizes? The nursery is located north of the borough on Route 487. The phone number is 570 925-6826.
Answers to today's quiz...
Answer 1. Eighty minutes is exactly the same as an hour and 20 minutes.
Answer 2. If one and one-half men can eat one and one-half pies in one and-a-half minutes, twice as many men can eat twice as many pies in the same time. If three men can eat three pies in one and one-half minutes, then one man can eat one pie in one and one-half minutes. So in 30 minutes, one man can eat 30 divided by one and a half, or 20 pies. Three men would be needed to eat 60 pies in 30 minutes.
Answer 3. Mr. Brown couldn't be wearing a brown tie, for then it would correspond to his name. He couldn't be wearing a green tie because a tie of this color is on the man who asked him a question. Therefore Brown's toe must be black. This leaves the green and brown ties to be worn respectively by Mr. Black and Mr. Green.
August 30, 2009. It is the birthday of Josh Frey and Donna McMichael. On this day 71 years ago in the Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Marjorie Lewis Bly, wife of intern Loren Paul Bly from Shinglehouse, Pennsylvania, gave birth to their 7½ pound son Loren Lewis Bly, who promptly lost 3 pounds and was nicknamed "Tyke" by his maternal Grandmother, Louise Looker Lewis, when she exclaimed "the poor little tyke." The nickname has stuck with attorney Loren "Tyke" Bly, Jamestown, New York, to this day.During the night of August 30, one hundred and forty-five years ago a number of military squads camping just south of Benton were given orders to stop anyone they met and guard them until daylight, to arrest all men and grown boys, and to surround a number of houses until daylight. The soldiers spread out quietly and secretly south to Stillwater, north and west into Sugarloaf and Jackson Townships. Some went to Cambra and New Columbus. All operations were conducted with the utmost of secrecy, although even the most remote destinations seemed easily reachable by the soldiers, guided it appears by local citizens. To learn more, head to the FEATURES section of the Benton News and read about the Fishingcreek Confederacy.Mary Shelley was born on this day in London in 1797. Keep the lights on tonight as you think about the woman who wrote the story about a scientist who created a monster out of dead bodies, only to have that monster destroy his family. "I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs," she wrote. The story was contained in the novel Frankenstein originally published in 1818.A local business celebrates its 20th year in Benton and beginning Monday will have a sale to celebrate. We'll tell you about the sale and the company in the Monday edition of the Benton News.Ah, the charm of small towns and the hills of Pennsylvania spread out for all the world to see. It is the 2009 version of the Little League World Series at Lamade Stadium, Williamsport, where pint-sized players show the more seasoned players how the game is played.
Saturday was a high-stakes doubleheader between Mexico and Taiwan (Final score 9-4 Chinese Taipei) playing for the international championship, followed by Texas and California meeting for the U.S. title (Final score 12-2 Chula Vista, California). The winners play today for the World Series crown.
While most watched on ESPN, which owns the broadcast rights, the stadium is only 46 miles from Benton and a number of locals watched from the stadium.
And what a deal it is to watch a game! The tournament takes place across the river from the old field in Williamsport where Little League was born in 1939. Most seats are general admission and don't require a ticket. Admission and parking are free, hot dogs and soft drinks are under two bucks and beer isn't available. Everyone who works there is a volunteer, including the umpires who pay their own way into the tournament. All money goes back into the game. Every one of the kids is a terrific athletic. Fans cheer for the kids--not against the kids.
Don't get ESPN? Follow the action by clicking here.
Didja ever wonder why it is that if you cross the North Korean border illegally, you get 12 years hard labor--but if you cross the U.S. border illegally, you get a driver's license, social security card, welfare, food stamps, and free health care?
• Utah-based Flying J Inc. and Tennessee-based Pilot Travel Centers are merging, but none of the four truck stops operated by the two companies will close, despite Flying J's ongoing Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.
• Didja know that we usually include a question on the Benton News which begins with the local word "didja?" Didja know there are so many "didja know" questions that there is now a web site to handle the inquiries? There is. It is found here and it is worth a stop on your internet tour today.
Minutes of the School board meeting of August 3 follow as recorded by Kathleen DeYong, board secretary. The minutes have been edited for brevity, but not for content. Present were Phil Edson, Ramona Heaps, Bruce Hess, Gerri Newhart, Robert Ridall, Dennis Threlkeld, Lance Wolfe, Board Members; Gary Powlus, Superintendent; Beverly Ribble, Business Manager; Joe Goode, Middle/Senior High School Principal; Bill Pasukinis, Elementary Principal and two guests.
Items covered included...
• Key Club and Odyssey of the Mind advisers are needed for 09-10 school year.
• Benton Area SD Digital Academy. If the school district offers their own cyber-charter school, the district could potentially see a savings of 2 to 4 thousand dollars per student. The state reimburses about a third of the $160,000 paid yearly to cyber-charter schools. Mr. Powlus saw a presentation by Lincoln Interactive and the curriculum used in the program. A big benefit to the student is that they can earn a Benton diploma. Lincoln Interactive will give the Board a presentation if they so choose.
• The superintendent’s letter of retirement will be adjusted to the new superintendent's timeline.
• Mr. Powlus thanked Rick Long and Jeff Kelsey for all the work they have done on the stand. Kocher Construction did the masonry work. Rick and Jeff set the trusses and had them inspected. Sheeting is on. Roof is on as is most of the cap; soffit and fascia areas are almost done. Plumbing should be done in about four days. Kitchen supplies are needed. The Board agreed to go with a used stainless steel sink if it is in good shape. New is about $2,000 as compared to used at $700. Phil suggested checking with Bob Powers at Atlantic Equipment for used equipment. More bricks could be sold during girls and boys soccer season.
• Biomass pole barn. The zoning hearing is scheduled for August 25 at 7 PM. The district will then advertise for 30 days and it should take about a month to build. The specifications for this project have been received.
• There was $480 damage to the athletic field, mostly softball field, the Sunday before the board meeting, sometime before daylight. Someone did doughnuts on the fields. They broke into the old concession stand ($104 damage) and threw everything out of the building. Nothing was stolen. Rick was able to repair the damage to the door. Damage to athletic fields has happened several times. Discussion was held concerning ways to prevent this from happening again. Suggestions were to fence the whole area, fence part of the area, security cameras.
• Ramona asked about getting a topper for the fence at the girls softball field as most foul balls end up in Fishing Creek.
• Because of an internal transfer, Melinda Vincent will be the Title I Reading Teacher and an elementary teacher will be hired for her position in the classroom. The school exhausted all efforts to find a reading teacher. Out of those that were interviewed; no one accepted their offer. A total of five teachers were offered the position and no one wanted it. Melinda stepped up and will take over this position. Ashlie Adams was signed as an elementary teacher--Bachelors – Step 1 at $36,764. PSSA coach: Margaret Monico, 1 year temporary position – Masters – Step 3 at $39,471, pending receipt of clearances. She has seven years experience but agreed to come in at Step 3. Elementary para-professional, 5.5 hrs. 8-2, no benefits – Melissa Bartusek. This is for two kindergarten students who have IEP’s. Acting Social Studies/Student Services Chairperson – Matt Aten.
• Elementary mentors are Margaret Monico, PSSA Coach, Robin Fritz; Shannon Uram, Elementary-Michele Turner; Scott Jones, Elementary-Nelson Fritz; Ashlie Adams, Elementary-Kim Todd.
• Teacher Substitutes are Bryan Hart, Social Studies; Don Whitenight, Social Studies; Anthony Scala, Spanish; James Younkin, Science; Larry Snoke, Math; Adam Hoagland, Science; Darlene Rairie Thomas, Art; Jerry Waltman, Biology; Chuck Musitano, Biology; Christine Grendzinski, Science; Peter Swiatek, Science; Allan Hannas, Chemistry; Gerald Arcuri, French; Alex Clatch, English; Tara Werley, Math; Tom Aten, Physical Education; John Martin, Business; Stefania Luciani Binnick, Art; Sarah Frazier, Special Education; Deb Steransky, Beatrice Roberts, Ann Ritter, Deb Sponenberg, Stephen Fromel, Joan Hayman, Harriet Helisek, Jamie Black, Caroline Shauger, Nancy McClure, Cheyenne Wilson, Vanessa Yoder, Bill Garrison, David Sanford, Bethany Valencik, Elementary. All clearances on file.
• The support staff is made up of Bonnie Young, office; Denise Richards Teter, Melody Rhodes, Elaine Smith, Julie Lyons, Michelle Kellner, Hope Miller, Anis Hamersley, aides. Clearances on file. The nurse is Geraldine Laubach. The cafeteria staff is made up of Sally Bergstrom, Mary Alice Covington, Helen Raski, Sheila Thompson, Bonnie Young, Tammy Edwards, Jane Long, Julie Pennington, Stacey Ross, Clae Karas, Michelle Kellner, Hope Miller, Anis Hamersly. Clearances on file. The custodial staff is made up of Jake Evans, Guy Roberts, Jr., Jim Matthews, Jr.
• Beverly reported that Rose Consulting would like to do an electrical audit similar to the one they did for communications. She has a contract explaining the details.
• Carrie Lockard resigned as girls basketball head coach. Allen Turner resigned as girls basketball assistant coach. The position was advertised twice and had only one applicant. Some coaching positions are yet to be filled.
• Bev reported that bus contractors have asked for a five-year contract instead of a contract for one year. It gives them more security when they need to replace a bus. She will have details for the October meeting.
• Bruce Hess questioned whether Rick Long has taken pole barn staffing into consideration with his existing staff. Gary will talk to Rick concerning this matter.
August 29, 2009. Amy Vincent and Jeff and Jody Andrysick celebrate their anniversaries. Allen Roberts begins a new decade today as he reaches the age of 70. Don't forget the Farmers' Market in Benton today from 11-1, featuring a special Benton home and harvest day. Recent travel has kept me from having the time to open my inbox. I'll try to respond to email Saturday.
The "Save the Benton Dam" campaign has raised more than $20,000, which on paper seems a long way from the stated goal of $50,000. There are exciting things taking shape at the moment, and details are being finalized at this writing. We'll provide a run-down in the next few days. A question was raised by a reader on the Benton News Blog about what would happen to funds collected in the event that approval for repairs were not granted or if sufficient money to complete the repairs were not raised. The committee remains optimistic that the dam will be repaired soon, but must have concurrence of town council before a definitive answer can be provided to that question.
Dennis Wolff, Millville, has resigned as state secretary of agriculture, effective Sept. 12. Wolff, a Holstein dairy cattle farmer and owner of the 600-acre Pen-Col Farms, has held that position since 2003. The Guv is nominating Russell Redding of Adams County as the new Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture secretary according to Farm and Home Magazine.
A Prairie Home Companion will be interesting this week. The show is devoted to four-legged pets. There will be tunes from Bertha's Kitty Boutique Songbook, including "Cat You'd Better Come Home," "The Haydn Cat," and "The Conscientious Cat." You'll hear such classics as "Goodnight Little Cowpup" and "Like a Dog." Guy Noir investigates the disappearance of a fish named Kevin, Dusty and Lefty are in the hoosegow for accidentally shooting a pet cocker spaniel, and you'll hear Rossini's little-known seldom-heard "Cat Duet."
Pet for Adoption...
"Tino" is looking for a good home. He is an eight-month old, full-blooded chocolate Labrador dog, good with people. He is free to a good home, but he is not neutered and short-time, current owner Rod Pennington says he is "not currently a house dog." Tino comes with papers. Additional papers will be needed for the house if you intend to keep the dog inside. It seems that Tino wasn't prepared to live with a family which required the bathroom to be outside. Call Rod at 925-6179.Many of us have a longing to visit Alaska. Most of us never had the chance to go. Brother Dayne and sister-in-law Ruth had the chance, but as they made their way across the Indiana turnpike pulling their fifth-wheel camper behind their Dodge pick-up truck, a deer during daylight hours chose to run into the side of the truck, smashing Babe's passenger window and knocking off their side mirror and doing other damage. The kindly, local Dodge dealer said he could patch things up, but it would take 30 days. Dayne got a roll of duct tape from the tool box, taped Babe's window and door shut, taped the side mirror back together, and in the cover of several nights of darkness limped back to Pennsylvania where a kindly Dodge dealer took 30 days to patch things together.Dayne noticed that there were a few weeks of warm weather remaining, so when repairs were complete the couple headed toward Alaska the second time, although this time they didn't have confirmed reservations. In Vancouver, they put their rig into storage and headed into Alaska on the ferry.They arrived in Alaska, but were unable to rent a car, find a hotel or motel, or book passage back to Vancouver. For two nights, they slept on a bench at the ferry stop, much like homeless people. On the third day, they were able to board the ferry for Vancouver where they were reunited with their camper. Dayne's message at the time was never to go to Alaska without firm reservations.Sister-in-law Bridget Allen was in Denali National Park, Alaska, earlier in August and described her vacation with husband, R.B. when they went to Denali/Mt. McKinley. "In the original Athabascan language, Denali means 'the high one',” Bridget reminded me by way of a history lesson. Congress renamed the mountain and surrounding 2 million acres in 1917 as Mt. McKinley National Park in honor of William McKinley, a former senator who eventually became President. In 1980, Congress enlarged the area to 6 million acres, creating Denali National Park and Preserve, restoring the original name.
Denali “makes its own weather” and “comes out” only about two days out of five--meaning that it’s so cold (summer-time temperatures of 20° to 40° below) on the upper slopes of the mountain that when warm, humid air moves in from the west clouds form and the mountain disappears. After all the prepping, Bridget was resigned to be content to be in the mere presence of Denali even if she didn’t actually see it.
"It was a rare sunny day in The Park," Bridget writes, "when we took that 7-hour shuttle-bus ride. (That’s the only way people can get more than 15 miles into the park. We went 66. The end is 86.)" The mountain was “out” all day and was "truly a magnificent sight."
The temperature was on the warm side (low 70s) and critters pretty much stayed in the shade out of sight. They spied a coyote, a flock of ptarmigans pecking by the side of the road, numerous Dall sheep from a distance of about three miles, various solitary caribou, eagles and a whole lot of ground squirrels looking for handouts.
Ground squirrels, Bridget found out, go underground in the winter. They hibernate and their bodies actually come close to freezing solid, just before which time they shiver themselves into action, have a hearty meal of the goodies they’d stored up over the short summer, and lapse into hibernation once again. This cycle repeats every two weeks or so for the 7-month duration of the Denali winter. There’s a frog that does this, too.
Bridget was amazed that at the park you can get off (or on) a shuttle bus anywhere along that 86-mile route and just amble off into the wilderness. For overnight camping you need a permit ("in case you get eaten by a bear, they’ll know approximately where to look for the remains") but if you just want to take a walk across the tundra for two hours, it’s ok! In places like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone, you must stay on the beaten path--because there are so many people. Otherwise, the vegetation would be trampled into oblivion.
The tundra vegetation--"that which insists upon growing where trees won’t"--consists of lichens, mosses, teeny flowers, and dwarf (i.e., stunted) willows, alders and various berry bushes. As Fall approaches, this vegetation appears as ripples of luscious and earthy red, gold, green and brown.
August 28, the 240th day of 2009. It is the fifth wedding anniversary of Rachel and John Kaminski, married on this day in 2004 in Rosebush, Michigan. The couple are expecting their third baby--a boy, due December 05. Rachel and John live at 311 Mossville Road, Benton. John grew up in Shickshinny and Rachel grew up in Springfield, Ohio. It is the wedding anniversary of Harold and Jane Ackerman and Dan and Cathy Hartman. There are 25 days remaining until the official beginning of Fall. Watch for rain and cool temperatures today, with some drizzle thrown in from time to time.
Our travels Thursday took us through Perry, New York, and included a charming lunch at a real hole in the wall. I'll explain. George "Papou" Douolus was the original owner of the restaurant. When his two sons were drafted to serve in World War II, he began the policy of not permitting any serviceman in full uniform to pay for food. The owner felt that if servicemen were treated in this manner, his sons would be treated with kindness as they served overseas. During the war, 2,933 servicemen were treated to free meals. Townspeople would provide directions to his "Perry Sandwich Shop" by explaining that the restaurant was "a hole in the wall on Main Street." Somehow the name stuck. The original owner is now dead and the location of the restaurant is no longer on Main Street but is on Standpipe Road within view of Silver Lake. Servicemen and women in full uniform are permitted to eat free.
Life on the road while camping isn't easy. The day begins two hours before daylight when Buster hears a terrorist outside the motor home and demands that it be checked out. I go back to bed, only to find that Chloe wants her breakfast and actually I could use my Starbucks. After two cups of stiff coffee, my eyeballs were coming out of my head. I decide to take the dogs for a walk and join other strangers walking their dogs and wishing that they were asleep. The driveways here at Ives Run on Hammond Lake are single lane and campers leaving early in the morning never seem to notice those of us walking with our pets. Two "near-misses" and back to the shower.
Marcia Kay, in the meantime, is wide awake and has downed two cups of my coffee. Now she is wired until at least noon, and is upset that I didn't bring Rolaids. By this time, daylight has arrived and I take off my long-sleeved shirt and put on my "I went to Myrtle Beach and All I Got Was this Darned Shirt," black socks and sneakers and consider taking a nap.
It's soon time for Regis and a morning snack, and before I know what is happening it is time for lunch. Lunch takes place in full sun with the entire mosquito population of Tioga County and a lingering odor of "Skin So Soft," which some promoter insists will keep the swelling down when a mosquito bites you and may actually deter a few snack-seeking insects from munching on your forehead. Lunch consists of "refrigerator-leftovers," food not eaten the previous evening. The three versions of baked beans and two versions of macaroni salad get washed down with another cup of coffee--another afternoon waker-upper.
It is time for the afternoon ride to Camping World via the Thursday flea market in Bath, New York, where every caliber of rifle known to man is offered for sale. This is also where you can buy a Timex watch for $19 and a Rolex for $2, where you can find enough used tools to open your own service station and enough books "borrowed" from the local library to organize another book sale at The Center.
By this time, it is time to get the 2 PM nap in order to prepare for dinner. This is why we are called adults--we have stopped growing, except in the middle. It is then off to an early-bird dinner where some stock up on yellow packets of artificial sweeteners and take home what will turn out to be the lunch and dinner for the next day's meal. After a careful search of tables for extra copies of the daily paper and a review of yard sale advertisements on the bulletin board, we head back to the rig.
A half hour before the 6 PM news, we are glued to our television sets in anticipation of the evening news. Our conversation turns to discussions of local news which will in the near future begin at 4 PM. By the time Charles Gibson makes his appearance at 6:30, we are sound asleep in order to conserve our strength for the three or four trips we'll make to the bathroom during the night.
We'll turn the motor home south today to head home--or to the Grange Fair, depending on the wetness of the weather. Our week includes doctor's appointments where we do our monthly reading in temperatures akin to the upper Fishingcreek valley in October--assuming that we can blunder our way through the complexity of the doctor's phone system to actually make an appointment. The weekend appears as though there will be a bunch of moisture and cool weather. It should be a great weekend to eat and take naps.
The campers at Ives Run
John Unbewust (October 16, 1922-August 26, 2009), died Wednesday in the house on Main Street where he was born 86 years ago, a house built in 1876 by Eli Mendenhall. The house was also the birthplace of World Missionary Dr. Frank C. Laubach. John had previously escaped death when he was 46 as his out-of-control cab-over International tanker--without brakes--hurled down Red Rock mountain on a September day in 1969.
John was the fourth child and second son of Mary and John Unbewust. He was a graduate of the class of 1940 of Benton High School. He lived and worked in the Benton area all his life. He owned and operated his own business for 35 years. He operated tanker trucks and picked up milk at farms from Benton to Hughesville, delivering the milk to the Foremost Dairy in Dushore.
John was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. He was a lifelong member of the Benton Christian Church. John was an avid golfer and a tough card player until he lost his eyesight late in life. His sense of humor was excellent, as was his musical ability.
He was preceded in death by brothers, Harry and Robert Unbewust, and his sister, Margaret Unbewust Soroka. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Betty Zane McHenry Unbewust, children Yvonne Lenbergs, Palo Alto, California, John Unbewust, La Jolla, California, and Jill Pascale (Joseph), Manassas, Virginia. Seven grandchildren survive: Erikka Lenbergs Morlini (Tom), Los Altos, California, Ellen Lenbergs, Los Angeles, CA, Sarah Unbewust Bailey (Josh), Charleston, SC, Jessica Unbewust, Thousand Oaks, CA, Nicholas Pascale, Baton Rouge, LA, Joseph Pascale, Auborn, GA and Elizabeth Pascale, Houston, TX.
Memorial services will be held Sunday, August 30, at 2 PM at the Benton Christian Church with a private family interment at the Benton cemetery. The family has requested that all remembrances be given in the name of John Unbewust to the “Save the Benton Dam,” (Save the Benton Dam" Committee, P.O. Box 520, Benton, PA 17814) where John and all of his siblings and children learned to swim.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home.
August 27, 2009. It is the birthday of Lee Fritz and mother and daughter Faith and Regina Schlichter. It's the birthday of Mother Teresa, born in Macedonia in 1910 to a family of ethnic Albanians. She was seven when her father was murdered and the family became poverty-stricken. Irish missionary nuns educated her to assist in missionary work. Her calling took her to Calcutta where she founded the Order of the Missionaries of Charity for those who were "unwanted, unloved and uncared for." Mother Teresa granted interviews only to journalists who worked among the poor for a day or more. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, but did not attend, instead asking that the cost of her dinner be given to the poor.Quickies...• Horace and Kathren Harrison's two children, Betty and Sally, will sell their mother and father's items out of the former IGA store on Main Street Friday, September 4 and Saturday, September 5, from 9 AM until 4 PM each day.
• The state Department of Environmental Protection says it will shut down its mosquito spraying program in 36 unnamed Pennsylvania counties by the end of August and continue in 31 unnamed counties. Last year, Pennsylvania reported 14 confirmed human cases of West Nile. This year, there has been only one, possibly because of the coolness of the summer.
• Philadelphia added an additional 1% sales tax to its 7% rate yesterday when HB 1828 passed (112 votes to 85) to provide funding for the city's pension fund. Pay attention to the effects of the bill in Pittsburgh where a 37.5% tax will now take place on every parking transaction.
• Volunteers are needed tonight at the Lav/Concession Building adjacent to the Benton elementary school beginning at 4 PM. Volunteers will be painting the inside of the building. Will you please come out and donate two hours of your time...
• Kathi Taylor has found numerous ways of helping raise money to support The Center through its annual auction. She has now turned her attention to the "Save the Benton Dam" project. A recommendation of hers is enter through http://capitalone.promo.eprize.com/connect/. Kathi writes, "I've been entering for the NCCCC, maybe others can too."
• Harley-Davidson seems to be trying to keep its manufacturing operations in York, but if that effort fails more than 2,000 jobs could leave the state.
• Tyler Brewington has qualified for the Nationwide Professional Golf Tournament this weekend at Elmhurst Country Club. Those who wish to follow Tyler's progress, can click on www.pgatour.com/h/leaderboard/ .
A restaurant built long and narrow like a railroad car is generally called a diner, short for dining car. Some would accept that as a definition, while others would insist that there needs to be a counter and stools, stainless steel, porcelain, tile and glass, lots of bright, art-deco colors with a jukebox thrown in. Breakfast served all day is another characteristic of a diner.This definition will immediately conjure up a vision of Route 11, Berwick, and the location of the former Zephyr Plaza where a diner called the Zephyr once stood. The diner was popular with truckers long before I-80 was built, in the days when route 11 was a concrete rumble strip known to truckers heading both north and south and east and west.
The Zephyr was built by Jerry O'Mahony, Inc, Elizabeth, NJ, a company that made diners from 1913-1956 (when it went out of business). The diners from O'Mahony usually had barrel roofs, bright red-porcelain exteriors, and cream-colored lettering. The Berwick diner was built in 1949 by O'Mahony (serial number 2154) and operated as the Zephyr Diner from 1949 until 1997.The 16-foot wide by 43-foot long diner seated 52 and had a back bar-cooking area. Mike Bath's great aunt Sara Newman and her boys, Junior and Hurley Hankey, started the restaurant. When Sara retired, her sister Alma Pollach took it over until another sister, Dottie Long, took it over, but she failed to keep up with the taxes and lost it. These three ladies were sisters from a family of seven sisters, who all worked at the diner to support Sara, Alma and Dottie. Dottie also bought Villa Capri (alias "Longs") and Bennett's Restaurant, both in Berwick, and ran these for many years.
The diner was refurbished after it left Berwick. It began a new life in Cleveland Heights as "Dottie's Sweet City Diner." The diner at 1975 Lee Road, north of Cedar Road, was just 20 minutes from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. For a time, Dottie's/Sweet City had a reported brisk business but the owner was unable to make a profit and it closed. The diner reopened as Chris & Jimmy's Diner, www.oh-diners.com/dotties/ , but is currently closed. Calls to the Cleveland Heights, Ohio, Chamber of Commerce, were not returned.Some readers know the Wellsboro Diner, which also resembles a railroad or trolley car. This diner was manufactured by the J.B. Judkins, Co, Marrimac, Maine. The diner is porcelain inside and out. The Wellsboro Diner is Sterling serial number 388, the eighth diner built in 1938, three years after the company began operations and four years before the company closed its doors. Sterling Diners built many diners of conventional styling and some of the "streamliner model" with either one or two rounded ends.The Wellsboro Diner is a "must-stop" when visiting the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon ten miles away. The diner is open Monday through Saturday from 6 AM to 8 PM and on Sunday from 7 AM to 8 PM.
August 26, 2009. It is the birthday of former governor Tom Ridge and 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.A writer for the New Zealand Dominion Post recently spent time in the United States and wrote about how the English language is different from New York city to the northeastern United States. Dianne Bardsley was impressed with pierogies, "boiled dumplings made from unleavened dough," and with the hoagie, a "type of submarine sandwich made from a long stick of French or Italian bread, " with fillings that include meat and cheese," and "a common modern variant" of tuna.
The author defined funnel cakes as "sweet, flat, deep-fried batter cakes, served with jam and sugar" and "Coney Islands" (a mid-West term), "frankfurter hot dogs flavoured with raw onions, mustard, tomato sauce, and relish." She noted that the term is not understood in Coney Island, Brooklyn, or downtown New York.
The author was disconcerted" with a menu item--Chicken a la Ricketts--she found on the menu of a local hotel when she stayed at Ricketts Glen State Park. She was confused at Sullivan County's Founders' Day celebrations with the outhouse racing by teams with "alarming names such as Pepe-la-Poopa and Super Septic Suckers." She found it a far cry from the sophistication of New York.
Mutton busting, a popular sport at the Benton rodeo in which children bronc-ride sheep, is a "rodeo event that few New Yorkers will have witnessed." What she didn't find in rural parts were "bark parks," areas in which dogs and their owners can exercise freely.
The author noted that US towns and cities have a regulation Elm, Walnut, and Chestnut street, "the botanic equivalents, perhaps, of New Zealand Karaka, Miro, and Totara streets" in New Zealand. The author marveled at the word turnpikes, "the name used for major highways that often, but not necessarily, collect tolls." She defined the term as coming from "Middle English, where it was used for the spiked barrier at which tolls were collected and where horses were prevented from entering a pedestrian route." She found the term "unsnobby" used to describe McDonald's coffee.
• As the son of a former farmer, I read with interest about the problem in Britain of the deaths in the last two months of four people after being trampled by cows which has prompted the main farming union to issue a warning about the dangers of provoking the normally docile animals. The problem was in fields where calves were present and walkers released their dogs for them to run free. The cows attacked the dogs, not the walker--but there's a high chance they will get the walker too. Cow-charging incidents received "extended coverage" when a former Home Secretary was attacked by a cow as his guide dog led him across a field.
• Moody's Investors Service says the state budget deficit could hurt the commonwealth's credit rating as it adjusted its outlook for the state from "stable" to "negative." A negative credit rating could adversely affect the state's borrowing for projects.
• Ginny Mazzei and the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center provided a major boost to the "Save the Benton Dam" project when Ginny's "Yoga for Better Breathing" class Monday night pulled in donations of $415 for the dam. Thanks to everyone who participated. The Benton dam can certainly breath a little better today as a result, and participants in the class are able to do the same.
• Elizabeth M. "Betty" Madara, Doylestown, died Saturday, August 22, 2009, at Manor Care, Lansdale. She was 82. She was a resident of Doylestown for most of her life. Surviving are sons Warren "Skip" Smith (Elaine), Benton, and Thomas Smith (Anna), Stillwater. Her funeral service will be held at 11 AM today at Reed and Steinbach Funeral Home, 2335 Lower State Road, Doylestown. Interment will follow in Doylestown Cemetery.
Erica Feola is in Kirkuk, Iraq, where she is on her third trip "to the sand box." Erica is running the Breast Cancer Race for the Cure in Kirkuk at the same time that it will take place in Central Park in New York city on Sunday, September 13, at 9 AM. The event is known as the Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. This is the 18th annual 5K run/walk--the Komen New York City Race for the Cure®. An estimated 22,000 New Yorkers, including 1,500 breast cancer survivors, will come together to run breast cancer out of town.
Erica wrote, "This is something that I do every year but unfortunately won't make it back in time to participate in so...I'm doing it here."Erica runs in the "Race for the Cure" each year in remembrance of her grandmother, Grace Feola, who passed from this disease years before Erica was born.
Erica started this tradition with her aunt, Maryann Feola, after her last visit to Iraq in 2005. She was highly disappointed that she wouldn't make it back to the states in time to do this again this year, so she decided that she will run the race in Iraq instead. She will run at 4 PM when it is 9 AM in New York city.
Please feel free to donate to the cause.
August 25, 2009. It is the birthday of Brandy McHenry and the wedding anniversary of Herbert and Jane Fritz. Rosalie Harrison is finally back in Pennsylvania and in her own home. She faces another six months of chemo, but feels good. The Benton News comes from Tioga County today, specifically from Ives Run campground on Hammond Lake.Quickies...• The next meeting for the Columbia County Land Owners Coalition for Oil and Gas Leasing is Wednesday, August 26, at 7 PM at Benton High School. New members are welcome to join the coalition.• Light travels faster than sound. Didja ever stop to think that this is why some people seem bright until you hear them say something?• Reptileland, on US Route 15 between Williamsport and Lewisburg, currently has a butterfly exhibit through October 12. Anyone should visit who cares about these splendid creatures. Harold Ackerman recently was there and reported they are "Not butterflies pinned or pasted to a wall, or trapped in a jar in a gruesome display of death, but brilliant insects emerging from a chrysalis and flying free around and above the human visitors in a flurry of color." The website www.reptiland.com/ contains some excellent graphics.• The North Mountain Carnival is among the best in the county, and volunteers help make it great. Rosie Fronheiser, for example, donated 37 pies and four cakes in order to do her part to make the carnival a success. Others supported the carnival in a similar fashion.
Dick and Janet McHenry ate in an Alabama restaurant a few nights ago. They sat at a table that had a plastic or vinyl-table cloth. Janet said that it reminded her of an oilcloth table cover, much like the oilcloth-table covers at the former home of Dick's grandmother Hagenbuch and grandmother McHenry. Dick emailed and asked where the name came from and why.
Many readers will remember grandmother's oilcloth tablecloths. Oilcloth is still around, although it is much improved from the days when she shook it out and laid it on the kitchen table in time for the men to come in from the fields.
The term oilcloth originally applied to cloth treated with oil in order to be waterproof. Fishermen and sailors were eager users. Its use expanded into floor covering. It was coated with a thick-oil paint applied in several layers and successively rubbed down with pumice stone. Oilcloth was generally replaced with linoleum and other vinyl products as a floor covering. Oilcloth fabrics were used for wall, table and shelf coverings and other uses.
Today's oilcloth is not a plastic. Its base is a high-quality cotton fabric to which has been added several coats of oil and pigment.
Oilcloth did not easily tear and was more resistant to extreme heat and burns than plastic. It did not crawl on the table and was easily cleaned.
Mother would clean her oil cloth with lukewarm water, using a woolen rag instead of a brush. In her day, ordinary oilcloth was merely painted, and the brush would take off some of the painting. She rarely used soap on the oilcloth.
Good Housekeeping magazine warned "housekeepers" that frequent washings made oilcloth look old. The magazine suggested that dusting would answer just as well as washing.
The Columbia Coated Fabrics Corporation advertised that in 1890 they made enough oilcloth table cloths to circle the globe.
In the 1890s, what Americans called oilcloth was known in England as "floor-cloth," but the manufacturing in both countries was the same. At that time, oilcloth was made from burlap made of jute imported primarily from Scotland. The coarsely-woven fabric was limp, but was stiffened by being passed through a mixture of starch and glue and over hot rollers, coming out, one might suppose, "laundered." The body to the fabric was added by a paint machine.
There were several grades of quality in the 1890s when it came to judging oilcloth. The grade levels came from the application of paint--the best getting about six coats of paint. The cloth came out of mills in Philadelphia and other locations in pieces 25 yards long by two yards wide, then dried in racks.
According to company records from 1890, two men would work at a table and turn out from 100 to 150 square yards of oilcloth a day when printing seven- or eight-color patterns. The paint they used was at that time similar to ordinary house paint. The wet cloth then would hang from a loft for up to a week, then transferred to a drying room for another week at a temperature of 130°. The door to the drying room was 50 feet high, allowing that length of oilcloth to be passed through without rolling or bending.
You can learn a great deal about oil cloth by clicking here.
August 24, 2009. It is the birthday of Elaine Taylor Hartman, Jovon Karschner, Pat Thomas and Mary Ann Hartman Hoffman. Dale and Anna May Brandon celebrate their 52nd wedding anniversary today. They were married during a three-day pass while Dale was stationed at Camp Drum, New York.There are thousands of mayors who are members of New York city Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns, an "against-the-Second-Amendment" organization, but a few are surprises, including Mayor Betty M. Hays of Eagles Mere, and Mayor Robert P. Carpenter of Laporte. Sullivan County has always been known for its hunting, and there are probably a larger population of gun owners there than in many counties.
There will be a special farmers' market in Benton next weekend. Market hours are Friday, August 28, from noon to 5 and Saturday, August 29, from 9 until 2 PM. On Saturday from 11-1 the market will feature a special Benton home and harvest day. Featured will be quilter Carolyn Watson; a wool spinner, Craig Johnson; a compost demonstration by the Master Gardner's and lots of information on canning and freezing provided by the County Extension Office. There will be a cooking demonstration by Dottie Winther. Vendors will provide tasty samples along with recipes. Sweet corn will be roasting. The local 4-H kids will be providing information. Dean House will play guitar and sing for your enjoyment.
The kerfuffle created by the "cash for clunkers" program ends today, and although the rules could have been tweaked better, the program moved nearly a half-million vehicles off dealer lots in a few weeks and forced thousands of gas hogs off the road.
Cars made before 1984 didn't qualify for euthanasia, even though they were pushed onto the American public in huge numbers with little or nothing to warrant their purchase. What is it about an old Chrysler Town & Country minivan and its "one-box" design that is worth keeping? What does an old Pontiac Grand Am have to make it collectible or classic? What is wonderful about a '71 Plymouth Duster? What is so great about a '62 Triumph TR3--which probably wouldn't run for more than 200 feet today. A whole lot of these cars are nothing but painted sheet metal waiting for the crusher.
When I was much younger I concluded that a car was a machine with four wheels, an engine, and not quite enough seats, which enables people to get about quickly and easily to places they never bothered going before and where they'd just as soon not be now, because now that they're there, there's no place to park.
It is the time of the year when we should remember Diane Derr, the talented artist who created the massive mural in the entrance to the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center.
Diane Derr was born 60 years ago at the end of October 1949 to a "Sunday painter" who gave her daughter art and craft materials. Diane "gravitated toward art," while suspecting the existence of some sort of "art gene that runs through the family." Her first landscapes were primarily "streams and bridges." Landscapes remain her passion, noting that some of her portraits turn "Apocalyptic."
Diane was recommended to the Center's Board of Directors by Dr. Ken Wilson, a former head of the art department at Bloomsburg University where Diane, a "non-traditional student," received her Master's Degree in 1985.
Diane lived for ten years in the 1970s on Upper Raven Creek Road. She is married to William D. Derr II and the couple have three children, all "creatively minded" and three grandchildren, also creative.
The mural is a simple, gentle view of the upper Fishingcreek valley as viewed as though someone was riding a helicopter slightly south of the Orangeville area and turned their attention to the north.
When you see Diane, please remind her how much the residents of the upper Fishingcreek valley love her work
Robert Sands needs some help identifying a person on an old family photo found in the Fritz/Appleman repository of photos. Eleanor Sands believes that it is an Appleman from about 1910, probably one of Sam Appleman's relatives in or around Benton. Any identification would be helpful.
August 23, the 235th day of 2009. There are 30 days until the official start of autumn. It is the birthday of Travis Kline and Becky Westover Stahler. It is the 51st wedding anniversary of Lee and Carolyn Remley.It's easy to sit in the sunshine
And talk to the man in the shade,
It's easy to sit in a well-made boat
And tell others just where to wade.
It's easy to tell the toiler
How best to carry his pack.
But you'll never know the weight of the load
Until the pack is on your back.When some people say they are saving up for their summer vacation it isn't clear if they mean the last one or the next one. Vacations are wonderful. After a couple of weeks of it, most feel good enough to go back to work and so poor they have to. I find it interesting that most who say they get two weeks of vacation actually get four weeks--two when they go on their vacation and two when the boss goes on his.I remember a conversation with a minister in Arlington, Virginia. I complained that he got more vacation that I did. His (joking) justification for his long vacation was that if he was a good minister he needed the vacation. If he was not a good minister, his congregation needed it.Marcia Kay and twenty or so of her children and grandchildren are vacationing by a lake in Sullivan County. We continue our stay in a very comfortable mountain get-away. The fish are biting, although not as voraciously as the gnats and black-bugs. I suspect that no one needs a vacation as badly as those of us who just had one!I also recall the man who once vacationed where we are. He took his vacation for two weeks in the mountains, while his wife took her vacation with her relatives out of town. According to a story he told me months later, she sent her husband an email to "stock the shelves" for her return. Somewhat miffed that he had not been in contact with her, her email was short and to the point. It said, "Home Sunday, be there." The man responded, "Home Sunday, beware."The most influential of men have loved their August vacations. Lee and Carolyn Remley and Kay and I once toured the summer white house of President Truman, and I have long maintained that one could feel the presence of the former president at the poker table and in other rooms of the house. The house was used when Truman began to suffer from exhaustion and he spent six months living in the former residence of the commandant and paymaster of Key West's naval base. Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy also used the house.
Franklin Roosevelt loved the Warm Springs of western Georgia because of its therapeutic value for polio sufferers. In 1932 he built a six-room Georgia pine house--the Little White House--on the property. This house was FDR’s retreat throughout his presidency. President Reagan owned Rancho del Cielo off Refugio Road in the Santa Ynez mountains of Santa Barbara County, California, and that is where he loved to vacation.
“The Kennedy Compound” was the summer retreat of President Kennedy. In nearby Kennebunkport, Maine, the two Bush presidents often vacationed.
President Johnson loved his 2700-acre LBJ Ranch and his Hereford cattle and George W. Bush found peace in his 1583-acre Prairie Chapel Ranch, both in Texas. President Nixon had his ranch house on Miami's Key Biscayne and his home overlooking the Pacific at San Clemente, California.
President Barack Obama begins a Martha's Vineyard vacation with his family later today.
President Lincoln chose to take his "stay-cations" on a hill at the Soldier's Home in Washington, D.C. President Lincoln's cottage served as Lincoln's family residence for a quarter of his presidency. Lincoln's cottage is located on the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home in northwest Washington, D.C.
Lincoln used the cottage as his retreat from the pressures of wartime Washington, a quiet spot where he could relax with his family. It also served as a place where he conducted important business, met with his generals and members of his Cabinet, and did much of the thinking that shaped the Emancipation Proclamation.
President Lincoln's cottage three miles from downtown Washington was the Camp David of its day, serving as an escape for Presidents Buchanan, Lincoln, Hayes and Arthur. But it was the time that Lincoln spent here that is important. In addition to developing his policy of emancipation here, Lincoln plotted Union wartime strategies. He also decided to include the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery in the Republican platform of 1864 while staying at the cottage. Life at the Soldiers' Home offered Lincoln both a respite from some of the pressures of war, and direct contact with the soldiers he met on his daily commute between the White House and the cottage. The Education Center at President Lincoln's cottage includes a signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, the pen Lincoln used to sign it, the inkwell he used to draft it, and a signed copy of the 13th Amendment. For more information on President Lincoln's Cottage, visit www.lincolncottage.org.
To learn more about the history of the location where the cottage is located, I turned to an 1873 newspaper, the Little Rock Daily Republican, in its edition of April 25. The writer noted that the "home was originally a farm of 300 acres, nearly on a line directly north of the capitol."
It is at this location that veterans spent their last days, and on that spring day in 1873 there were soldiers in residence from the "campaigns of the revolution," from the campfires of the war of 1812, from the Indian wars under Zachary Taylor, from the Mexican war, and one from the army of Napoleon. The veterans took great comfort in fighting their great battles again and again. They were able to recall the details of conversations held in the flickering light of campfires as if it had happened the previous day.
The front of the home overlooked the towering dome of the capitol from its perch near Fort Totten and in the view south looked past the capitol toward Mount Vernon. The view to the north was of a valley thirty miles wide that looked in the direction of Baltimore.
At the close of the Mexican war, General Scott proposed taking some money and add a tax of twenty-five cents per month on the wages of every soldier to the fund and establish a home. Three were established--all in the south. All of the buildings, except the old hospital--the house in which Lincoln lived--were built of clear white domestic limestone known as Sing Sing marble.
There is an interesting story about the Soldier's Home which I found in the Biloxi Daily Herald of February 27, 1902, as a reprint from a Washington Star article about a man by the name of John Billings, a man the paper described as a "grizzled old artilleryman from the soldier's home." Mr. Billings told the reporter that "I was sittin' on my bunk in a ward out in Leavenworth, and thinkin' it was a darn poor business just waiting for every day to get by. Then I get up and bought me 29 cents' worth of calico and a spool of cotton. And I've been sewing from that day to this. I can sew as straight a seam and as neat a seam as was ever sewed by man or woman."
John Billings sewed a large quilt and offered it to the Smithsonian Institution. For three years, this man of battle worked on that quilt, carefully cutting out and fitting 1,000 or more slender diamonds, working designs with the care and skill of an embroiderer, and hunting out insignia to render the completed product of the fullest possible significance.
The edges were sewn three seams of satin--red, white and blue. In the corners were figures representing the four arms of the service--crossed guns for the infantry, crossed cannon for the artillery, an anchor for the Navy, and so forth. The flags of eight nations--Mexico, China, Morocco, Cuba, Spain, England, Turkey and Greece--were shown. The craftsman justified the flags by saying "Exceptin' alone for the Turks and the Greeks," he said, "the United States has licked the tar out of every one of those nations."
The central figure of the quilt--the feature which gave it its value in the maker's eyes--was a star of eight points, composed of small varied-colored diamonds and arranged to serve as a frame for pictures of Washington, Lincoln, Grant, Garfield and McKinley. They were sewn into place with such care that the line of the seams looked like the true edge of the photograph. "Those five men represent my sentiments," said Artilleryman Billings, "and the rest of the quilt won't amount to a darn without 'em."
August 22, 2009. Haleigh Karschner turns sweet 16. It is the birthday of Lindsey Keller Harvey and of Clark Sellers, who begins a new decade today. Two years ago, Fishingcreek was no more than an August trickle of water; contrast that to this summer. Yesterday's thunderstorms never materialized, but the threat of storms continues through Sunday.Didja ever think of the importance of a single vote? Three of our presidents became head of our country by a one-vote margin over their opponents: Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, and Rutherford B. Hayes. One man in history, if he were alive today, could confirm the importance of a vote. King Charles I of England was captured, tried, convicted, and executed for high treason by a vote of 67 against and 68 for.Life is moving slowly and kids camping with us learn to cast their lines in hopes of finding a fish on their hooks. I fished with my father at Painter Den for catfish, the name we used for the fish when we were heading out to "get enough" for breakfast" or bullheads the name we used when we had been fishing for an hour and the fish with the cat-like whiskers were not biting. What a lazy, dreamy way to spend an evening with your father. Often A. J. Hartman, Frank Edson and Dallas Baker would join us in the rowboat and I learned a lot about life during those moments in the dark when they forgot that I was around. I can assure you that fishing for catfish was not just a "boy's sport."
We would fish until 10 or so, then bring a 100 or so to the shore and "clean a mess" of fish. Well--to be exact--Father cleaned the fish. I was a slow learner, carefully watching Father make short work of the cleaning process. Each time we would fish, I would say to father, "Now, how did that go again?" And Father would patiently show me "from scratch" how catfish were cleaned.
I remember one night when I transferring the cleaned fish to a pail of fresh water. I was sitting on the porch floor with my feet dangling under the railing overlooking Painter Den pond when I realized that something was in the dark to my right. In fact, it was basically in the pail of fresh water. A raccoon was taking the cleaned fish out of the pail almost as fast as I was putting them in.
Some fishermen at Painter Den would turn up their noses at the bewhiskered catfish. To them, the catfish was a little too clumsy to make a reel sing very loudly and it wasn't a very beautiful fish. It gained its name, if one old reference book I found can be believed, on account of the purring sound they make when taken from the water. I doubt if this is true, since as a kid I often stroked the back side of captured catfish out of pity for the fish and never once heard the slightest indication of a purring sound!
Catfish are shade-loving fish, browsing during the day until they find a shady spot to contemplate nature, or whatever it is that catfish do to occupy their day. An old stump in the water or a submerged tree is heaven for the catfish during the heat of the day.
One of the stories told time after time was about the "old days" when the fathers of the fathers I was fishing with would head to catfish water and submerge sections of stovepipe with a bag tied tightly over one end. The lengths of stovepipe were laid in the ponds at night in the shallow water. A little buoy would be tied somewhere to the stovepipe and allowed to float on top of the water. Come the next day, the catfish looking for cool spots would poke their heads into the stovepipe, liked what they saw just as though it was Providence provided. Dark and cool, the stovepipe soon became crowded with fish in their new apartment. All was well until nightfall came and these boys from over a century ago would wade into the water and tip up the open end of the stovepipe. The water in the pipe ran out the bagged end of the pipe and the catfish remained in the pipe. The boys simply tipped over the stovepipe and dumped the previously lolly-gagging fish into the bottom of the boat.
When I would see the "bobber" dip under the water, I would get the "stringer" out. The stringer was a stout cord with an iron pin at one end to string the fish and a stick at the other end to prevent them from slipping off. The stringer floated behind our row boat and our "catch" followed in parade fashion.
A catfish is an accommodating fish, willing to swallow a worm right down to the last wrinkle and he holds fast for all he is worth. Any worm put in the mouth of a catfish will remain right there even if it means that the catfish will give up its life. A catfish isn't like a bass that will spit out the hook. It wasn't unusual to donate a foot of line or so and a hook to half of the catfish we caught. Hooks were cheap back then, but we spent a lot of money on them! Besides, for fishermen who have been gaffed by the barb on the backs of the catfish, it is far better to donate the hook than to get nipped.
The taking of catfish under the pretense of hospitality never appealed to me, and I have never heard of someone I actually knew "piping" for their dinner. It seems to me that the only civilized way of fishing for catfish is with a long bamboo pole and a "bobber," with worms and with patience, along a shady side of a pond or a slowly moving creek, when the peace of summer settles over the mountains of Pennsylvania.
August 21, 2009. It is the wedding anniversary of Ken and Lynn Dressler. There probably will be some thunderstorms today that you won't soon forget.A 1,018 page document "to provide affordable, quality health care for all Americans and reduce the growth in health care spending, and for other purposes," is available for reading by clicking here. The short title for this long document is "America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009." Use the document to spot check claims made by both sides of the health-care issue.The act mentioned above is different from the Cash for Codgers program in which couples needing health-care funds to pay for the delivery of a child will be required to turn in one old person. The amount the government gives them will be fixed according to a sliding scale. Older and more prescription-dependent codgers will bring in the highest amounts. Special "bonuses" will be paid for codgers in targeted groups, such as smokers, drinkers and fatties. Smaller bonuses will be given for codgers who drink soda or eat beef, potato chips, French fries and Brussel sprouts.Quickies...• The library hours in Orangeville are Monday through Thursday 2-8 PM and Saturday 9-1.
• Orangeville is having a community picnic hosted by the Orangeville Library August 29, at the town park from 5-8 PM. Entertainment will be by the Red Arrow singers. Dinner is on the library. Bring lawn chairs and a food item for the Orangeville food bank. Rain will move the group into the library. Everyone is welcome.
• A glossary of terms for the natural gas industry is available here.
• Cheryl Fallon will exhibit her recent work at the Fine Art Gallery in the Northumberland County Career and Arts Center at Eighth and Arch streets in Shamokin from Friday through Sept. 25 with an artist’s reception from 6:30-8 PM Friday. Both the exhibit and reception are free and open to the public. Cheryl has exhibited annually in group exhibits at Ron Wing's West Creek Gallery, Benton.
• Frequently check the Upcoming Events page of the Benton News to see the hundreds of activities taking place in the local area.
Didja ever consider that you should drive carefully?
It's not only cars that can be recalled by their maker.
The fields in the part of Sullivan County where we are today are alive with what Father called "Wild Carrot" and what we know as Queen Anne's Lace. The type of flower cluster gives the name to this family of Umbelliferae, having the flowers in an umbel. The name makes us think of umbrella, which comes from the same source word.
A few important vegetables belong in this family; i.e., carrots, celery, parsley and parsnips. Plants you know as flavorings are in this family, including dill, caraway, chervil, coriander, fennel and anise.
The flower in "Queen Anne's lace" actually looks like lace with the red flower in the center representing a drop of blood where Queen Anne pricked herself with a needle when she was making the lace. The tiny red flower attracts insects. The plant is a weed and a problem in pastures. Its seed can wait around for up to five years before it germinates.
Thursday in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania, the sun was in hiding until after two in the afternoon and the landscape was covered in fog. The sun of autumn is slowly beginning its descent and combined with the fog the plants and the animals in the woods and the fields took on a luminous tone. The foxtail grasses by the roads seemed traced in light. Where we are, there are neglected fields with thin stems of poverty grass and waving stems of Queen Anne's lace.
Karen Musitano contributed this picture of Queen Anne's lace
August 20, 2009. Lacey McCourt turns "sweet 16" today. It is the wedding anniversary of Gary and Carolyn Beach. On this day in 1866, President Andrew Johnson formally declared the Civil War over. The area should be in the mid-80s through Saturday, but more storms like the one last night will be around during that period, too.
Quickies...• The United States now has three states yet to pass a budget for the year. Which will be the last state to pass a budget? Pennsylvania has now passed the 50-day mark without a new budget, as has Arizona and Connecticut.• There are a few openings remaining for the for “Yoga for Better Breathing,” a fund-raiser for the "Save the Benton Dam" campaign. The class takes place on Monday evening, August 24, from 6 to 7 in The Center. If you’ve never tried yoga before, you might mistakenly think you need to be a contortionist or be required to twist into a pretzel. Not so! If you can stand up and breathe, this class is for you! By bringing your donation to the community center (checks made out to “Save the Benton Dam”) you can reserve your spot for Monday night. All proceeds benefit the cause.• The Public Utility Commission is considering creating new area codes in the 814 and 570 area-code geographic regions. New area codes are needed when existing area codes exhaust their supply of “NXX” codes (which is the second set of three digits in a 10-digit telephone number; i.e., 570-NXX-XXXX). The NXX codes or telephone numbers for the 570 and 814 area codes are close to becoming exhausted. A new NPA code will apparently overlap the same geographic area as the 814 and 570 area codes.• Global oil and gas-industry support company Halliburton is constructing a gas-drilling support complex in Clinton Township, Lycoming County, to produce concrete for the gas-drilling industry. The facility could generate up to 300 jobs, according to published reports. The project will include a concrete plant, warehouse, offices and truck wash and maintenance bays. For those who want to learn more about Lycoming County or Clinton Township, click here.
The worst lie possible on an income-tax return is to list the husband as the head of the household.Everyone who has had a coffee with me this week is sick of hearing about the corn pies I have been making, so I'll say it one more time and get it out of my system. Mother used to make corn pies and I found her recipe and began baking. I love the taste and so here 'tis the recipe... Take two cups (I used six ears) of corn cut from the cob, a tablespoon of butter, half a cup of milk, two teaspoons of salt and a teaspoon of sugar. Those are the ingredients. You can either buy pie crusts from the grocery store that you roll out or you can make the shell. If you make it "from scratch," take 1 1/2 cups of unsifted flour, half a teaspoon of salt, a third of a cup of lard (I know, I know, but you'll get the best pie crust from lard), and three teaspoons of cold water.Now that you have all the ingredients, rub the lard, flour and salt together--this is where the term "hand-made" originates. When the lard is the size of peas, lightly blend in the cold water. Roll out half of the dough on a floured board and line a nine-inch pie pan. Fill the pastry with the corn filling and cover with crust. Pierce the top crust with a pronged fork. Bake for ten to fifteen minutes in a very hot oven (400° or more) until the crust looks just right. Cut the heat back to 325° and bake for another twenty-five minutes. Serve it hot.
Didja ever notice that you can always tell when a man's well-informed? His views are pretty much like your own.
In order to continue, you'll have to get out a dollar bill. Turn it on its back (the reverse, as compared with the "obverse" or front), that is don't have George Washington's picture showing. The two circular drawings on the reverse of the bill are actually parts of the two-sided Great Seal of the United States, shown here and here.The eagle and its 13 arrows show the nation’s strength in war, while the olive branch with its 13 leaves and 13 olives symbolize the importance of peace.The stripes on the eagle’s shield and the stars above its head are additional references to the original 13 states. The shield is unsupported over the eagle as a symbol that Americans should rely on their own virtue and strength. The pyramid has 13 steps, the Roman numeral for 1776 is emblazoned across the bottom. The pyramid symbolizes strength and durability and divine help to early Americans is symbolized by The Eye of Providence (the Masonic Great Architect of the Universe) at the top of the pyramid. The Latin motto Annuit Ceptis over the pyramid translates into "God has favored our undertaking.” The scroll under the pyramid, Novus Ordo Seclorum, or “A new order of the ages,” signified the dawn of the new American era. Want to know more? Head here.
If you think no evil. see no evil and hear no evil,
the chances are that you'll never contribute to "30 Seconds."
One of our favorite newspapers is the Sullivan Review, a weekly independent published in Dushore by Dr. T. W. Shoemaker. We have often quoted the Benton Argus, a weekly Benton newspaper which is no longer published, but we rarely quote the Sullivan Review. Here is an no-nonsense excerpt from the January 19, 1899, edition. The article is entitled "Murder at Sayre."
"On Friday morning, William J. HENRY shot George RUTLEDGE with a 38 caliber revolver; the bullet entered the victim's brain just back of the right eye. Henry had been intimate with Rutledge's wife for some time, and the night before he came home with her they occupied a room together, with the door locked, and when the rightful occupant came home, a little worse for liquor, he was naturally a little annoyed. In the morning, the woman went down stairs and was met by her lord and master with a butcher knife. She ran back to the room where her lover was dressing, her husband following, and as they entered Henry pulled a revolver and fired. He afterwards went for a doctor, and gave himself up to authorities. In some places he would be hung for such a crime, but in Bradford Co. he will undoubtedly be sent to the county jail for at least three months."
Devotees of the North Mountain Historical Society will get a rare peak inside the Sullivan Review on the third Monday of October when Dr. Thomas W. Shoemaker will be the featured speaker. His subject will be Sullivan County newspapers from 1850 to the present "and other stories." Dr. Shoemaker with Sarah Shoemaker as managing editor also owned the Muncy Luminary from August 1987 to 1989.
August 19, 2009. It is the birthday of Ginger Kitchen, 1026 Upper Raven Creek Road, Joann Heimbach, Betty McCahan, Connie Shaffer, and Ed Cole. It's the birthday of former president Bill Clinton, born in Hope, Arkansas, in 1946, and of Ogden Nash, born in Rye, New York, in 1902. After six years of writing advertising copy as an editor and publicist at Doubleday, Nash began his career in humorous poetry simply by scribbling. His scribbles became a poem called Spring Comes to Murray Hill. He sent it to The New Yorker. His first piece of satiric verse was published in 1930. Nash published a collection of his poetry, Hard Lines, in 1931. Hard Lines sold out seven printings in its first year and catapulted Nash into his role as the master of light verse. Here are some of Nash's short gems:
• To keep your marriage brimming,
With love in the loving cup,
Whenever you're wrong, admit it;
Whenever you're right, shut up.
The trouble with a kitten is
Eventually it becomes a
• Progress might have been all right once, but it has gone on too long.
• People who work sitting down get paid more than people who work standing up.
• Some tortures are physical and some are mental, but the one that is both is dental.
• People who have what they want are fond of telling people who haven't what they want that they really don't want it.
--Ogden Nash 1902-1971
Good morning to all of you with network deprivation--also known as sleep--as you wake up this morning. Are you one of those who wake up and lunge for your cellphones and laptops before you get your feet on the floor and before you tend to biologically more important matters?Quickies...• The newly formed Fishing Creek Players will meet Thursday evening, August 20, at 7 PM at The Center. All interested in helping to develop Benton's own community theater group are encouraged to attend. Actors and actresses, costumers, props and set makers, directors, technicians, ushers, fund raisers, and anyone wanting to learn or teach theater and help produce plays for performance are welcome to participate. At this meeting, the group will discuss the production of a play for this winter, and begin the process of play selection. For further information contact M.R. Daniels, 925-2080.• I can't confirm it, but in areas around Waller last Wednesday night reliable sources say the rainfall was 3.8" in half an hour. Last night's predicted hard thunder storms missed the Benton area, but the forecast is for afternoon- and evening-thunder showers through Saturday.
• The Reader's Digest, the monthly magazine that wrote for those with short-attention spans, is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy within the next 30 days after publishing the magazine for 87 years. DeWitt Wallace and his wife, Lila, condensed and reprinted the works and humor of others, sold it by the millions to homeowners, who then recycled the magazine into hospital waiting rooms and hunting-club magazine racks.
"To exercise is human. Not to is divine."
--Robert Orben, a Reader's Digest writer
Lieutenant General James Longstreet (1821-1904), General Robert E. Lee's tarnished Lieutenant, is the subject of the Wyoming Valley Civil War Round Table on Thursday, September 10, at 7 PM at the Daddow-Isaacs American Legion, Route 415, Dallas. The speaker will be Susan Rosenvold, a student of the Civil War and 19th century history since 1994. She has a BS in History from Excelsior College and is a member of Phi Alpha Theta, the National Honor Society for History, and the Organization of American Historians. She is the web mistress for The Longstreet Society, and has published biographies of Civil War participants on several web sites. She operates the National Museum of Civil War Medicine's Pry House Field Hospital Museum at Antietam National Battlefield as Director of Education. This informative program is open to the public. In preparation, read this to learn more about Longstreet.
The Benton News will be traveling beginning Thursday, and editions for a week and a half will be dependent on the cell-phone reception in the remote areas of the Commonwealth we'll visit. The vacation should last long enough so that you'll miss the Benton News, and not long enough so that you discover how well you get along without us being here. Email versions of the Benton News will not be disrupted much, but the web version may not be able to be published until we reach civilization--should we choose to return...
August 18, 2009. It is the birthday of Karen Edwards and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter. It won't be cooler so that you much notice today, but watch out for thundershowers tonight through Friday. The Save the Benton Dam campaign remains short of what is needed for necessary repairs. Can you help?The first English child born in America, Virginia Dare, was born on this day 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 Walmart 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.Quickies...• Northwest Area school board will hold its regular August meeting tonight at 7 PM in the high-school library.
• There is a special presentation at Ricketts Glen State Park Saturday, August 22, at 7 PM. The program is called "The Lazy B's Strange & Exotic Critters," a live animal program presented by Sam Burleigh of "Turtle World." You will get the opportunity to see some unusual and endangered animals, including a pot-bellied pig, an Emu, a miniature horse, some rare breeds of chickens, the famous fainting goats, and more! It all takes place at the amphitheater, and in case of rain at the Visitor’s Center.
• Krysten Ritter is part of the advertising campaign of Banana Republic. Take a look by clicking here.
• Take a road trip through Muncy by clicking here. This short road trip includes visits to the Muncy Post Office to view artwork commissioned during Roosevelt's New Deal era; the Muncy Historical Society, the Pennsdale County Store and much more.
A brown pelican has made its summer home at Ricketts Glen State Park. The bird is unique in the world of pelicans. It is found along the ocean shores, but rarely on an inland lake. This is a dark pelican, one that plunges from the air into the water to catch its food.
Photo courtesy of the Ricketts Glen staff
Didja notice that gas prices are dirt-cheap in large part because the supply of gas--unlike that of oil--is growing daily with its many drillable places in the U.S. With the increase in supply has come a drop in demand. Baker Hughes, Inc. reports that 688 gas rigs are active in the U.S., a decline for the year of about 56%. Gas futures for August 2010 are trading at about $6, which is low compared to 2008, when they topped $10, but nearly twice as high as where they are now.
From time to time, we check on Bridget Allen and R.B. Powell as they vacation in Alaska. Here are excerpts from their latest report: "The major quirky thing to adjust to (besides a four-hour time difference from Pennsylvania and the distinct possibility of encountering bears on a hike) is that there’s 19 hours of daylight here. This means that, if you’re like me and head for the sack at 10 or 11 PM, it’s still broad daylight! Then, as if that isn’t enough, it starts getting light around 3:30 AM. But that’s OK! It’s gotta be better than the winter scenario when it’s only daylight from 10 AM until 3 PM."
RB was frustrated on his fishing excursions on the Little Su--a stream 50 to 100 feet wide, where wading anglers share the water with jet boats. It was quite a thrill for RB the "first time in the river when a boat came roaring around the bend straight at him. Boats seem to watch for waders, however, and as far as I know, no pedestrians were taken out that day--nor were any fish taken out…"
The couple drove north from Wasilla on a two-lane highway "through spruce forests and past panoramic views of the vast Mat-Su Valley (so-named for two huge glaciers)--no billboards, fast-foods or tourist traps for miles and miles. Also for miles and miles were nasty bumps--brruumpf-ca-chunk-CLANG! Brruumpf-ca-chunk-CLANG!--about every one and a half seconds. With every percussive jolt I imagined our little RV’s seams letting go and its screws backing out."
They arrived at the Anderson Bluegrass Festival grounds at 11:30 at night--still in daylight. There were people, little kids, dogs, bicycles, tents, Rvs of all kinds everywhere. They were directed to “just find a spot.” They circled ‘round and ‘round until RB "wisely chose a place beside a BIG motor home (as opposed to a compound of tents or pick-up trucks), on the hunch that folks in a BIG motor home were less likely to be rowdy. Meanwhile, rock music throbbed from the stage."
This was not like any other bluegrass festival they had ever been to, except maybe MerleFest. For the next two days they enjoyed music--the advertised bluegrass, Celtic, country, and a little rock--and people-watching. There were all ages, sizes and colors--from babies in strollers and backpacks to earthy, tree-hugger types to aging hippies to conservative old farmers.
In front of the only stage, the audience area was "divided right down the middle with an orange-mesh fence. One side was normal bring-your-lawn-chair seating. The other side--with picnic tables, a covered area, a gravel dance floor and a mobile bar--was what they called the "Beer Garden." (Beer gardens are just part of the Alaska landscape at festivals and fairs, like funnel-cake stands and tie-dye vendors.) This little fenced-in watering hole was jumpin’ by late Saturday afternoon. Children with parents, hippie women in swishy skirts with hula hoops and old folks braved the gravel-dance floor. It was a hoot!"
That evening, a haze of smoke from wildfires a hundred miles away settled over the land. It had been a rare sunny warm day until then. "Nonetheless, they jammed around a campfire in the woods with friends." The band Scrap Iron was scheduled for a gospel-ish set Sunday morning and graciously invited RB and Bridget to join them for a little on-stage jam at the end of the set. RB played some good banjo and Bridget sang I’ll Fly Away. It went fine.
Bridget ended her email by saying, "The music is over now and there’s nobody left here for RB to talk to, so we’re off to Fairbanks, forest fires or no."
August 17, 2009. It is the birthday of Ron Hontz and the wedding anniversary of John and Beth McMichael. I would not be able to list everyone on the ailing list, but to name a few there are John Unbewust, Marie Morgan, Joselle Confair, Frank Knouse, Rosalle Harrison, Leroy Mussleman, Carol Hess Follmer, Bill Repko and Jim Dildine. A prayer is in order for each of these fine people. It will be another day with temperatures over 90°.
Don't forget the North Mountain Historical Society meeting at the Brass Pelican this morning. It is free and open to the public. Dr. Wilson Ferguson is the featured speaker.Davy Crockett, a soldier, statesman and King of the Wild Frontier, was born on this day in 1786 in a small cabin near Limestone, Tennessee. Actress Mae West was born on this day 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).Tonight is the night that by ancient Irish legend "cat nights" began. 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.It was, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer in its edition of May 4, 1902, soon to be a "lost science." The article was about rafting on the Susquehanna and the number of rafts expected to float down the river in 1902--the number was expected to decline to sixty. The newspaper described their "struggle" in twos and threes with "their silent crews" conjuring up memories of a "by-gone epoch."The article noted that rafting was once a very important factor in the commerce of the state, but rapidly disappeared as the wood available for harvesting in the forests disappeared and the prevalence of railroad facilities increased. The newspaper was talking about the timber tracts of Lycoming, Potter, Clearfield, Clinton and Sullivan counties being handled by the mills of Williamsport and vicinity.The great "Susquehanna boom" that existed from the 1850s to the first part of the 1900s was over. These were the years when more than seven billion feet of logs floated down the river. The West Branch valley was regarded as the lumber center of the United States. In the days just prior to the Civil War, rafting was a comparatively cheap and effective way to transport timber to the car and ship-building factories in York, Philadelphia and Camden. Pine, ash and oak "sticks" were selected in the woods by agents of the manufacturers and forwarded by log jobbers to Lock Haven, where rafting contractors would take charge of them and deliver them to the owners.Making rafts was simple. A number of logs were placed side by side in the water. Holes were bored in the tops and by means of wooden pegs numerous logs were tied together. A rudder was constructed on each end so that the floating mass could be safely guided down the river when the waters were high and the wind not too high. The rafts served double duty. In those early days, all sorts of freight was hauled on them. The Inquirer article indicated that in 1887, an estimated 2,000 rafts floated down the river.With the passing of the rafts, the "raft pilot" also passed, just as the packet driver before him passed into oblivion with the West Branch canal. These raw-boned river pilots received fabulous wages and lived like princes. It was the river pilot's business to study the river day after day. The position of every stone and log had to be noted for future use, every bar and shoal, every rock and pier had to be memorized. The added impetus that the river picked up at the junction of the North and the West Branch at Northumberland made the trip from there down doubly perilous.Rafting in the early days was like sledding downhill, for the men had to walk back. Even after the North Branch canal was completed, the men had to walk back in the winter when the canal was frozen. The danger of highwaymen was always present.Following the Susquehanna River--or Fishingcreek, for that matter--is not boy's play, but many a boy has had as his ambition to float down the river or the creek on a raft. Sunday was a day like that. Fishingcreek was alive with kids and adults floating down the stream. The Golden Yakers from the North Mountain area put in their kayaks at Hickory Joes Saturday and floated to the Frank Kocher park in Lightstreet. The group had so much fun they gathered some "associates" and did it again Sunday. A number of "floaters" started at the Benton dam on inner tubes and floated as far as their "rear ends would take it." Most gave up before they reached Fishingcreek's junction with West Creek.It is happening to me as it happens to others my age. I have passed into old age. I now pay more attention to the food than I do to the waitress. I can actually remember when people who wore blue jeans worked. I can remember when people who dispensed medicine passed through town instead of coming into our homes via a television signal. I can remember when "parking" was done behind the WHLM towers or at the airport or on cemetery hill, not on a concrete slab in front of Macy's. I can remember when the only person to talk about "fallout" was a barber. I can remember when an ideal job meant getting a "steady" job. I can remember when Mother felt that wonder drugs were castor oil and camphor. And with this passing into old age, I also remember the music. I can remember the Beach Boys, Beatles, Billy Joel, Bobby Bare, Bobby Vinton, Bobby Darin, Bobby Vee, Booker T & The MG's. Songs from these and other "oldies" artists are still available at Mike's Place where you can listen to his oldies--for free. You'll find them here.
August 16, 2009. It is the 80th birthday of Floyd Goss. Floyd began working for the Little Lumber Company when he was 18, became a sawyer and was still working for Little Lumber when he retired. He and his wife Eva raised a great family and taught Grant Little "a lot about life, working, and the lumber business" when Grant joined the family business at the age of twelve. Grant noted that they are "a wonderful, hard-working family that succeeded in life." Floyd's eyes are failing now, and Eva reads the Benton News to Floyd each day. Willard David (Bill) Hiscox, Hughesville and Palm City, Florida, has a birthday today in which he begins a new decade. It is the wedding anniversary of Bernie and Janice Shultz.August 16 is the day when Elvis died. On this date in 2003, Avis Young McHenry put in her last day of work at the Cambra Post Office. Avis became the Postmaster of the Cambra Post Office June 12, 1982. Avis is now a resident of the Bonham Nursing Home and would be happy to have a short, friendly visit and some conversation about things past.Worth a Visit...• Nittany Antique Machinery Association, Inc. of Central PA presents its 35th annual fall show September 10, 11, 12 and 13, from dawn to dusk. This year features International Harvestor tractors and International small engines. It takes place five miles east on Route 192 from Centre Hall at Penns Cave.
• "A Family Tradition" is what the Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair, usually referred to as "The Grange Fair," uses as a theme this year. The fair takes place from August 27-September 3. The Grange Fair is a city within a town, as campers "move into" the Grange Park in Centre Hall to live for more than a week. Pets are not permitted in the Grange Fairgrounds or camping area during the Grange Fair.
• The Ag Progress Days, Pennsylvania's largest outdoor agricultural exposition, will return for its annual three-day run August 18-20. Sponsored by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, the event is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College on PA Route 45. Hours are...
• 9:00 AM to 5 PM on Tuesday, August 18
• 9:00 AM to 8:00 pm on Wednesday, August 19
• 9:00 AM to 4:00 pm on Thursday, August 20
• WNEP-TV 16 will launch a 4 PM half-hour newscast beginning September 8. The show will be anchored and produced by Norm Jones, with Chief Meteorologist Tom Clark doing the weather.
• The apple doesn't fall far from the tree! Son David, Mooresville, North Carolina, has pneumonia.
• Expect temperatures in the 90s today and Monday.
• An article worth reading today appears on page 11 of the Press Enterprise. The article by Tom Austin is about the delayed-harvest trout-fishing area north of Benton on Fishing Creek in an area that the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission set aside from 180 yards upstream of the Benton borough line to upstream of Richard Kriebel's property line in order to provide fishing year round so long as it is done with artificial lures constructed of metal, plastic, rubber, or wood, or with special flies and streamers.
The Saturday edition of the Benton News somehow got off the beaten path and onto a side road dealing with vipers. The story brought an interesting email from a former high-school classmate, Harry Warner, concerning the subject of toilet paper. I'll let Harry tell the story, but as background, Harry, his son Kevin (16) and daughter Rena (14) were backpacking through Europe. They were at the time of this story in what was then Yugoslavia enroute to Greece. At that time, it was necessary to get off trains at the border because trains didn't go over the border.
Harry and his kids were waiting for a train to come from Greece, which they would then board. "As we were waiting, we saw a path along the railroad tracks that looked like it would cross the border," Harry reminisces. "We started down the path but wound up in a vineyard without a clear indication of which direction to go. Some vineyard workers were trying to tell us we shouldn't be there and that if we didn't leave we would be in trouble. By hand signs they told us about guys wearing pointy hats with a star on them and carrying rifles."
Just as they figured out what the natives were telling them, a "guy with a pointy hat with a star on it and pointing a rifle at us came out of the vines." Nobody spoke English except Harry and his kids. The young soldier marched the three of them about half a mile or more through the vineyard back to an army camp. "I was sure hoping he wasn't thinking about making his career move with three American 'spies'!" The group was not allowed to talk.
"If we slowed down he yelled and waved his gun at us. Poor Rena actually got prodded once. He tried to stay behind us but we didn't know which path to take and all he could do was wave his gun and yell. Needless to say we were somewhat frightened. We were marched behind a building which was pockmarked with what looked like bullet holes where we were held under guard while those in charge decided what to do with us."
At this point, Kevin traded toilet paper for cigarettes, which was the point of this story.
After a while Rena and her pack were separated from her father and taken in front of the building--all against Harry's protests, of course. But who can argue with armed soldiers?
Harry later found out, after first Kevin and then Harry were taken around front, that Rena was required to completely empty her pack. "We all had to empty out our packs. After two or three hours the local police sent a small Renault station wagon to pick us up and take us into town to the police station. We had to wait for the police chief, one who took his job seriously, to come in. Another hour or so under guard. Finally through broken English and hand signs the chief and I agreed that all any of us wanted was to be out of the country. He finally allowed us to go back to the train station to wait for the train."
The group was restricted to the station. The train didn't get in until late evening. It was a long day. "The army had taken our passports and we didn't get them back until we were actually under way on the train to Greece. As we approached the actual border (on the train) Kevin got out of his seat and started to walk in place. I asked him what he thought he was doing. He said," I've walked across every border we've crossed, I'm walking across this one."
An upcoming boating safety class will be held at Ricketts Glen State Park. The US Coast Guard Auxiliary-Towanda Flotilla 15-09 will conduct a boating-safety class at the Ricketts Glen State Park office on Saturday August 29. This is a basic boating-safety course. The class starts promptly at 8 AM and runs to 4 PM, so bring a lunch. Register by calling 570 265-5125. Completion of this eight-hour class enables you to receive a boating certificate which is recognized in all states. Following the course, there will be an exam and also ten Pennsylvania boating questions, which have been reviewed through the course. Make checks payable to USCG Aux 15-09, RR3 Box 238, Towanda, PA 18848. The cost is $30 for adults; if sharing book, the second person is $25; students 12 – 17 years, $20. This course satisfies the boating safety-education requirement for Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission boating safety education certificate. Boating safety education certificates are required:
To operate a personal watercraft.
For persons born on or after January 1, 1982, to operate boats powered by motors greater than 25 horsepower.
August 15, the 227th day of 2009 with 38 days remaining until the official start of autumn. It is the birthday of Ronald F. Beckman, Allen Kocher and Sydney Baker, Orangeville. Please continue to keep Bill Repko in your prayers. He remains in ICU at Bloomsburg Hospital.
Starting on this day in 1969 and extending through the 17th of August, a village south-southwest of Albany, New York, became synonymous with a music festival attended by half a million kids, "good kids in disguise,” someone said. The festival was held on Max Yasgur’s farm near Bethel, New York, 45 miles southwest of Woodstock. These wild and crazy, stoned, middle-class, primarily white kids, now in their 60s, were attracted because of the lure of free love, inexpensive drugs and relatively cheap tickets ($18 in advance for a three-day pass, $24 at the gate). The very best of hippiedom was there--Janis Joplin, Sly Stone, Jimi Hendrix, The Who and Creedence Clearwater Revival--to name a few. For those who think the traffic "on the square" in Benton is bad at 5 PM, what happened with traffic at the festival would never be understood.
You say you didn't quite understand all the lyrics, especially those provided by Joe Cocker in his Woodstock version of "A Little Help From My Friends?" Joe was so wigged-out and loopy on a multitude of drugs, no one understood his garbled, mush-mouth version until the following makes it completely clear. Click here.The Mayflower sailed from Southampton, England, on this day in 1620. The ship carried the Pilgrims from Plymouth, England, to Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts. It left Plymouth on September 6 and dropped anchor near Cape Cod on November 11 (both dates according to the Old Style, the Julian Calendar). This voyage was inspired by the successful establishment of the first permanent English settlement, Jamestown, by the London Company of Virginia in 1607.
• If you are thinking of switching to Firefox 3.5 as your web browser (I would recommend it), watch the video to see what the upgrades are.
• The Sullivan County Historical Society will hold their annual meeting at the Forksville United Methodist Church beginning at 6 PM August 20 with featured speaker John Orlandini beginning his talk at 7 PM. His subject is "Ancient Settlers of Sullivan County." Reservations for dinner can be made by calling the Sullivan Review at 570 928-8403. Tickets are $12.
• Have a bite you can't identify? Go here and learn about bugs.
Didja know that the first testicular guard "cup" was used in hockey in 1874? The first helmet was used in 1974. It took 100 years for men to realize that the brain is also important!
It was in 1998 when two old friends jumped in a car and headed for the bright lights of Broadway and the Iridium Jazz Club to hear a man once known as Lester William Polfuss, (five-time Grammy Award winner Les Paul), strum his electric guitar. Bob Lewis and Richard Sutliff made the trip to the Iridum's W 63rd Street location across from Lincoln Center again in April 2008 with Bob and his grandson Jerrod Cole and Jerrod's girlfriend. They drove to New York city stopping at the Iridum's new location at 151st and Broadway where Les Paul, then 93, appeared.
Les Paul was often called "The Father Of The Electric Guitar" which he invented when people in the back of one of his performances could not hear his music. Les at the age of 94 still brought his guitar to the 150-seat night club where he was joined with the likes of Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, Tony Bennett and George Benson. There is a Les Paul model of a guitar made for The Gibson Guitar Company. Les teamed with wife Mary Ford, who was often remembered for "How High The Moon." The couple had their own television show, The Les Paul and Mary Ford at Home Show from 1953 to 1960.
Last fall, some friends went with Jeanie and Al Lumpkin to the Iridium Club to see Les Paul. A woman in the group requires an electric wheelchair. Seven years previously, she had attended a show at the Iridium. After the show, they tried to get her out via the service elevator, but the elevator malfunctioned. Les Paul stayed with the couple between the first and second show until the elevator was fixed. When the four returned last fall, they went to the Green Room and the woman asked Les Paul if he remembered her. He did. The four of them spent the next half hour talking to Les Paul.
My forgetter's getting better.
But my rememberer is broke
To you that may seem funny
But, to me, that is no joke.
The week during high school that I spent at Camp Lavigne with the Boy Scouts is all but forgotten, except for swimming, eating and the viper. Some of us put on a show, including a performance with simply a sheet in front of the stage and a bright light behind pointed at the audience. One by one, we would run from the back of the stage so that the light would cast an outline of us. We would finally run in front of the sheet yelling "the viper is coming, the viper is coming." We pulled this routine until all the boys had entered the stage yelling the same thing. Then it was time for the viper to enter. The audience didn't have a clue what would happen next. The last boy was the viper, and he ran onto the stage holding a roll of toilet paper that streamed behind him. The viper had arrived! Ah, what we thought was funny when we were growing up!
Cuba, in the grip of a serious economic crisis, won't be seeing much of the viper this fall. The country is running short of toilet paper, claiming that the global-financial crisis and three destructive hurricanes that struck the island last year as the cause. Cuba both imports toilet paper and produces its own, but does not currently have enough raw materials to make it. Cuba has taken the steps of cutting imports 20%. It imports about 60% of all food consumed in the country.
This won't be for everyone, but will be for more than half of the readers of the Benton News. There aren't many things that we get free any more, but Quicken provides us with a good one. The Quicken on-line banking manager allows you to ...
- Quickly access your average expenses for any given category in your checking account
- Know instantly whether you're spending more than you make
- View income vs. expenses side-by-side
- Focus on one particular category
- See how you're doing month-to-monthYou can sign up free, with no obligation, in five minutes--and it is secure. Add your checking and savings accounts and know by the minute what your balances are. At the end of the year, you have your tax record ready to simply print. It could not be easier. Simply go here and sign up.The parsnip, children, I repeat,Is simply an anemic beet.Some people call the parsnip edible;Myself, I find this claim incredible.
August 14, 2009. It is the birthday of Grace Stowe. Nina Ford, one of the sparkplugs of the volunteer desk at The Center, had back surgery Wednesday and is expected to return to her Huntington Mills home from the Berwick Hospital today. She was told that her surgery was a complete success with movement restored to her leg. Please keep Butch "Frank" Cerullo, Beach Haven, in your prayers. He is a patient in Geisinger Hospital. Don't give up on all this rain. One more day, then the weather will get dryer...Quickies...• Funeral services for Lloyd “Buddy” Harvey Miller, Jr. (September 30, 1923-August 3, 2009), will be held at graveside at the Stillwater cemetery Monday, August 17, at 6 PM.
• Please keep Marie Morgan in your prayers. Marie has a rare form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
• Citrus Energy has permits in hand to explore for natural gas on the Sugarloaf Township property of Merle and Christine Martin at 4831 Route 487 and the Benton Township property of Stacy and Stacey Farver at 251 Dotyville Road, Benton Township, according to an August 14 article in the Press Enterprise. The article quotes a representative of Cirtus Energy as saying drilling is expected to begin between October 1 and January 1.You may know the fellow who thinks he thinks,Or the fellow who thinks he knows,But find the fellow who thinks he thinks,And you know the fellow who knows.Didja know that...• alarm clocks are devices to wake up people who have no children?• Shakespeare was a dramatist who made his living by writing things other people could quote?• A politician is a man who stands for something he thinks other people will fall for?• An old-timer is someone who can remember when people sat at the table and counted their blessings instead of their calories?• Invest comes before investigate in the dictionary, but follows it in practice?At The Center...• Dorothy Wilson, the artist who painted the scene on the Fishing Creek Confederacy plates of the Federal troops knocking on the farmhouse door, has graciously offered to have a plate signing for the beautiful Heritage Days plates. The signing will take place Sunday, October 11, from 2 to 4 PM at The Center.• Speaker’s programs at The Center will generally be on the third Thursday of each month.• Local artist Pam McHenry Thomas is showing her artwork in the Library/Museum.
Chloe, our Bichon Frise and a cub reporter for the Benton News, spent Wednesday night in an animal clinic and had plenty of time to think about what her life would be like if she did not survive her ordeal. She is now home and feeling much better, but decided that it was time for her to be better understand. She left this note, which I'll simply include in today's edition. It reads...Dear Leader,
I got anxious when I heard you talk about the end of dog days, so I asked around about what it meant. "Big Red" with long legs and long hair said that it means the time of the year when it gets so hot that it drives dogs mad and makes them rush about in a tizzy.I know that I take a special place in your heart. I know that I am a very special wolf. You let me roam around the house, unlike other houses I have visited where there are fish, but they have to stay in a glass bowl, where there are birds like there are at the campground, but they have to stay in cages. I once saw a snake in a house who had to live in a glass bowl. I think that I am more loyal, trustworthy and reliable than some of the people you hang around with. I do certain tasks for you and in return I expect to be fed and watered, I want my bed on a blanket, and I expect companionship and care. My life isn't easy! I have to guard the house and protect Mother and you and help search for mousies. My friend Mollie said she has a friend who searches for things that smell funny at airports and I met a friend once who helps people who can't see. I heard that in a place called China the word for "edible dog" is "chow." You can imagine how mad I was when Mother came home once with some chow main!I am a perfect specimen, much nicer than "Brownie" with his very short legs and long body and what you call a "slipped disk." A dog by the big field looks like he ran into a wall while chasing a mousie. He has a flat face and has trouble breathing. Other have hip problems and eye problems. I am a wolf. I am not feeling good today, but I'll be strong tomorrow.I love to bark--which is my signal for any puppies in the area to find their mother quick and for humans to pay attention that there is a problem. I bark when Leader comes home and when a terrorist approaches my house. If I actually had to make an attack, I would make no sound. I would come straight at the terrorist and attack. I'm silent when I run away from something I don't understand, like the bear I found sleeping at Painter Den. I know a dog who shows her teeth when she gets aggressive. She goes from very quiet to very snarly. Leave her alone! When I growl, I am more afraid than when I snarl. When I growl and then bark, I am saying "I want to attack (growl) but I suspect you would be a tough fighter so I am going to call up any reinforcements I can find (bark). If I bark loud and long, whatever is out there will have to disappear or someone from the human pack needs to investigate. Dogs that bite don't bother to bark up reinforcements.When you and Mother leave the house, I howl to organize others which could come to our aid. I do this when I am alone in the house and you don't hear me. If I were in the woods with other wolves, they would hear my voice and come to my aid. When you don't come when I howl, you are not doing your job! When you came to get me yesterday morning, I wagged my tail and barked.Didja ever notice that puppies under thirty days don't wag their tails? They don't wag until they begin to rough-and-tumble and have problems with other puppies. Wagging shows emotion that us wolves have trouble expressing. We are afraid of being too close to other puppies, yet we want milk from the mother. As an adult, I do the same thing. I wag my tail when I meet another dog, especially of the opposite sex. There is a sexual attraction, but I have some fear of meeting new friends.Humans don't realize that dogs have personal scents that come from the anal glands. This is one of the reason I walk in circles when we go for a walk. Mother dogs do this so that their babies know exactly where she is before their eyes open.I can't laugh like humans can. I laugh with my tail, and that is hard to do. I bend myself half double to get my rear end near the main action--like I did yesterday when I got home. I am so happy to be home, that I think I'll try to learn to laugh from the other end of my body like you do just so I can surprise Mother.
August 13. 2009. It is the birthday of Scott Faust, Fidel Castro and filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock. It is the wedding anniversary of Ernie and Edna Bogart and Bob and Sandra Hess. George and Dorothy Miller are celebrating #60 today. Please keep Marie Morgan, a volunteer at the N4C thrift shop on Thursday afternoons, in your prayers. Marie is a patient in Geisinger Hospital, Bush Pavilion Room 836, and is very ill. Bill Repko is a patient in ICU at Bloomsburg Hospital. Keep Bill in your prayers. Georgia (Sweet) Bashline came through an operation in good shape and is home in Montoursville. Chloe, our Bichon Frise, is a patient at the Fishing Creek Veterinary Clinic. Thunderstorms are with us through Saturday.Tuesday morning I attended a press conference at Harrisburg’s East Shore Area Library on the subject of library funding in the Commonwealth. My interest was with funding for the Columbia County Traveling Library. The meeting was chaired by The Guv, who suggested a way of getting the state budget off dead center. He joked that the budget bickering in conference committee meetings reminded him of the scene in the movie Goldfinger in which the villain chooses to knock off a room of gangsters in one fell swoop using poison gas. For emphasis, The Guv snapped his fingers and suggested that this might work to break the budget impasse. It is obvious that The Guv's humor is not ready for Leno or Letterman. Read more here.The Guv did urge legislators to keep funding for Commonwealth county-run library systems in place in the final state budget. He maintained that the budget proposals supported by Senate Republicans and House Democrats would cut funding to libraries by almost 50% to $37 million, while The Guv's proposed budget contains a 10% cut from last year’s library subsidy of $75.8 million, dropping it to $68 million. The Guv acknowledged that cutting the library subsidy by nearly $40 million would “decimate” public libraries. Senate Republicans maintain that any funding is possible so long it does not involve a broad-based tax increase. In three of the last six budget years, the Legislature approved a funding amount for libraries higher than what Rendell requested. In the 2003-04 budget, the governor proposed cutting funding to libraries.Quickies...• The Remley Reunion is August 15 at the Benton Park at 12: 30 PM.
• California issued $682-million in IOUs in payment for services to the state. But when businesses turned around and attempted to pay their state taxes with the IOUs, the state said "no thanks."
• The Sunday services at the Presbyterian Church during Heritage Days were well attended. Donations brought in a total of $443 which was divided between the Benton Council of Churches and The Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center. Faith Schlichter video-taped the services and donated it to The Center. The video is available at The Center for viewing for those who were not able to attend in person.
Didja ever notice how people get the idea
that they do not have to work
because the other half is going to take care of them
and the other half gets the idea that there is no use to work
because somebody else is going to get what they work for?We'll tune into Bridget Allen's report from Little Susitna River near Wasilla, Alaska, now that she and hubby R. B. Powell have been in the 586,400 square miles of the state for ten days. Let's start with weather. Daytime highs have been in the low 60s, they have had 101 hours of rain and "about 2 1/2 minutes of sunshine," certainly not what they had gleaned from those "seductive travel brochures--smiling people hiking in tee shirts and shorts under bright-blue skies and white clouds or grinning anglers showing off 4-foot-long salmon!"
Heavy rains and unusually warm temperatures earlier in July hastening glacial run-off have produced high, fast water on the Kenai River, a stream known for summer salmon runs of epic proportion. "This has seriously put the kibosh on RB’s fishing activity--three days on the water and only one bite. Aargh!"Bridget and the wife of another angler hiked where they "saw salmon leaping up rapids and cheered them on. They went shopping--such as there is on the Kenai Peninsula--and sightseeing. They took a boat tour of the Kenai Fjords National Park, a 7-hour sail out of Seward complete with a splendid buffet featuring roast beef and salmon. Eating on the boat was something of a cruel joke. The boat, not all that big, pitched and soared over 8- to 10-foot swells on what seemed like a very long tack across the Gulf of Alaska. People were tossing their pricey lunches port and starboard.
"The steep, rugged coastline and the tidewater glaciers looming in the mist and rain were stunning in a haunting, moody sort of way," Bridget said. "There were seabirds, including hallowed puffins, bobbing and diving beside the boat; a peaked rock covered with sea lions looking like giant slugs stuck onto its sides; and several whales were blowing and breaching to our amusement."
"Romantic as the sea is in the wind and rain, we can tolerate only so much romance. We’d had enough of being perpetually cold and wet in the middle of summer. Having heard that the interior is warmer and drier this time of year and having no other plan, we decided to go there." The couple is now wandering north through Anchorage to Palmer, Wasilla and the prospect of some better fishing on the Little Su River.
"There’s a can-do, make-do attitude among the folks here that’s admirable. (The Wasilla Wal-Mart is the world’s leading seller of duct tape.) Certainly no opulence or extravagance here. There’s lots of new construction around Anchorage and Wasilla--shopping malls and housing developments. We saw a McMansion or two along the Lake Louise shoreline (Sarah Palin’s neighborhood) and even Wasilla has a ‘golden strip’ complete with four-lane, bumper-to-bumper traffic."
"It’s pleasant to be in a tourist area; i.e., the parts of Alaska that can be reached by roads---paved or otherwise," Bridget said. Alaskans, even grocery-store checkers, seem to be really glad to see tourists with money to spend and are very friendly and chatty. As Will Rogers said, “A stranger is a friend I haven’t met yet…”
August 12, 2009. It is the wedding anniversary of Kathi and Ron Taylor.Copperdog (March 8, 2003-August 11, 2009), Hill Street, Benton, passed away on the way to a specialized veterinarian in Pittston Tuesday afternoon, after local efforts to save her life failed. Cause of death is undetermined, but a stomach ulcer is a possibility. Copper was 6. Copper was vacationing at Painter Den with her master, friend and constant companion, Rod Pennington, and Copper's dedicated sidekick and special friend, Douglas Pennington. The woman in Copper's life, Julie Pennington, was by her side during the trying last days of her life. Copper had a lot of acquaintances; almost everyone was her friend, although she had a strange way of expressing herself at times. She was a friend to everyone at all times, except for when she was left alone in her master's truck where she always sat upright behind the steering wheel. She gave a deep-throated growl if anyone approached when she was in charge of protection for the truck. Copper was buried on a high spot of land at Painter Den near where Doug shot his deer last winter, a favorite spot for both Doug and Copper. She is very much missed by her immediate family, and by those whose lives she touched.
Quickies...• We live in a marvelous area for covered bridges. We scoot by the one in Stillwater nearly every day, yet when was the last time that you gathered the family for a picnic in the old covered bridge at Stillwater? Put that on your agenda list as something to do in the next couple of weeks.
• The USPS announced on July 28, 1999, that a new post office would open in Stillwater "by fall" to replace a refurbished trailer. The new post office was to take the place of the one near McHenry Street. In March, the USPS had announced that the old office was not safe for delivery of the mail because of the lack of adequate parking. The former building was not handicapped accessible and it shared space with two apartments. The new post office never materialized. Service to Stillwater residents is now provided from the Benton post office.
• Tornado-force winds whipped Benton in mid-April 1982 causing nearly half a million dollars in damage. No one was seriously hurt, but several were treated for cuts and bruises. The roof of the Columbia County Farmers National Bank was completely torn off and twenty feet of that roof went through the window of a pizza shop. More than 2,000 in the upper Fishingcreek valley were without power. Sara Ann Blades, an employee of Danville State Hospital, lost her 70-foot trailer and remembered her washing machine flying over her head and skirting from her trailer wrapping itself around her body shielding her from other flying debris. Brenda Dietrick's trailer was flipped on its back. Park of the roof of Milco Industries was torn off. Wayne Yorks, Benton's mayor, had part of his roof destroyed. He ordered a 9 PM curfew for all but emergency responders.
• Shickshinny had its Mountain Echo and Benton had its Argus for about six decades. If we only had those days back, I would be able to retire for the second time.
• Television seems so commonplace today, but some will remember when Joe Follmer and Jim Babb erected a television tower on Cemetery Hill to pull in television from New York and Philadelphia, from the Mountain Top towers of the Wilkes-Barre area and Channel 12 from Binghamton. Wrestling and Milton Berle were the major attractions to local residents who came to the Babb garage to watch VHF-only television on a 12-inch, rounded corner television. They watched television from benches. (Another location was the Benton Hotel, where a black and white television had three shades of colored plastic in front of the screen.) The Follmer family had exceptional engineering ability. Joe's father and grandfather perfected--but never patented--equipment to separate gravel from grain. Joe, although suffering from severe arthritis, was a master with radio and with television before his death in 1977. Joe and Mary Follmer's son, William Calvin--known as "Bill"--was an honor graduate from Benton High School with the Class of '52, then graduated from Penn State with a degree in electrical engineering. He began his career in 1956 at Philco Research Labs, specializing in semiconductor devices and circuit research. He developed unique low-noise components for the Doppler Radar employed in the Lunar Lander. As a Senior Technical Specialist for Ford, he pioneered developments in electronic controls for automotive systems linked to the engine, transmission, and braking. He has written numerous technical publications and holds several patents. In 1995, he retired from Ford and established his own consulting company, Automotive System Inc. in Livonia, Michigan.
• Although my waistline hasn't heard the news, we suddenly want everything to be tiny--including long URLs. A service called Virl, http://virl.com/ , shortens URLs and enables you to upload pictures that are turned into Virl URLs and can be shared. These web addresses can be customized, and a bookmarker makes it possible to take advantage of the functionality wherever you are online.It's sad for a girl to reach the age Where men consider her charmless, But it's worse for a man to attain the age Where the girls consider him harmless.
Smokey Bear has long educated the public on the dangers of wildfires. Join the staff of Ricketts Glen state park August 15 at 7 PM at the amphitheater as they celebrate with Smokey the Bear's 65th birthday. Craig Aldenderfer, Fire Supervisor with the Loyalsock State Forest, will be there to give a history on Smokey Bear. He will also give a presentation on the various tools used in fighting wildfires. The audience will be able to view historical fire-prevention posters used previous by Smokey, as well as posters used since Smokey became our national fire-prevention symbol. A birthday party isn’t complete without games and cake! There will be trivia questions during the program with Smokey Bear prizes. Judy Adamic, Environmental Education Specialist with Ricketts Glen, will present Smokey with a special 65th birthday cake and card. This promises to be a fun-filled event for everyone, so plan to attend a special celebration for one of our nation’s most iconic symbols! In case of inclement weather, all activities will be held in the Visitor’s Center Activity Room.
The following are the minutes of the June 22, 2009, Benton School Board, as recorded by Kathleen DeYong, Board Secretary. These minutes have been condensed for use on the Benton News, but have not otherwise been altered.
The monthly meeting of the Benton Area School Board of Directors was held on the above date in the cafeteria. The following directors were present: Bruce Hess, Robert Ridall, Geraldine Newhart, Dennis Threlkeld and Lance Wolfe. Others present included Gary Powlus, Superintendent; Beverly Ribble, Business Manager; Joe Goode, Middle/HS Principal; Bill Pasukinis, Acting Elementary Principal; Allen Turner, Athletic Director; Brady Hess, Technology Director and one guest.
Vice-president Newhart called the work session to order at 6:34 PM. The work session ended at 7:21 PM. There was an executive session between the work session and the regular meeting from 7:32 to 7:36 to discuss personnel issues concerning a teacher.
• Lanny Conner’s (Region III, Fishing Creek Township/Stillwater Borough) resignation as a member of the Board was accepted effective June 19, 2009.
• A family-center presentation was made during work session by Ashley Mensch, Deb Wilson and Allison Williams.
• The treasurer's report was accepted and filed for audit. First Columbia Bank and Trust Company was named as the depository for all funds for the 2009-10 school year. The depository shall provide collateral in the amount of equal to one hundred twenty (120) percent of the greatest amount on deposit at any given time and the depository shall be notified of this requirement under section 622(b) of the school code.
• Richard B. Snodgrass was named as school auditor to complete the required 2008-09 Single Audit at a fee of $12,000.
• The business manager was authorized to make investments for the district for the 2009-10 school year to obtain the best interest for invested funds.
• Bill Pasukinis was congratulated on the good job he has done with the accelerated-reader program.
• The high-school principal's report indicated that Camp Ophelia for middle-school girls was a big success, scholarships for graduating seniors topped $1,000,000 and libraries are staying open for a few days a week during the summer.
• The alternative school enrollment for all grades is 18, 7 from Benton and 11 from Northwest. Enrollment for grade 7 is 50; grade 8, 62; grade 9, 51; grade 10, 53; grade 11, 58; grade 12, 67. Total: 341. Forty-eight attend Vo-Tech. In elementary school, enrollment is 61 in kindergarten; 54 in grade 1; grade 2, 59; grade 3, 51; grade 4, 52; grade 5, 60; grade 6, 68. The total enrollment is 405. The total for the district is 753. (District total does not include Northwest or Vo-Tech students).
• Geisinger Medical Group will provide school-physician services for a flat rate of $2,163 per year. This is a 3% ($63) increase over last year’s rate of $2,100.
• Kegel Kelin Almy & Grimm LLP will act as special counsel for the Biomass project.
• Aaron Flook was named as co-assistant coach for boys soccer, 8th year - $1,091.50. Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center and Geisinger Medical Center will provide athletic-trainer services for the 2009-10 school year. Cost of this service is contracted at $15,682.00 for 680 hours. This is a 3% ($457) increase over last year’s rate of $15,225. This school will participate in PPL’s School Energy Achievement Program.
• The superintendent was authorized to discuss purchasing 4.77 acres of land adjacent to school property. Bob Ridall suggested moving the baseball field to this location.
• Aaron Turner was hired as the technology assistant at the salary of $35,000, plus benefits. This is a 240-day position and is not a part of the Act 93 Agreement. Clearances are on file. A temporary one year PSSA Coach position was authorized for the elementary school. This position will require elementary certification. Erin Cegielski was hired as a middle/senior high school learning-support teacher at the salary of $36,764, Bachelors – Step 1, plus benefits. Vanessa Yoder and Ashlie Adams were named as ESY teachers from 07/06/09 to 07/30/09 for three days per week, from 8:30 AM to 11 AM at a salary of $25 an hour as per contract. Clearances on file. Stacy Wingfield was hired as middle/senior high school art teacher at the salary of $36,764, Bachelors – Step 1, plus benefits. Clearances are on file. Kathy Fritz was hired as a paraprofessional for a middle-school student for 6.5 hours per day, pending receipt of clearances. This position is subject to a ninety-day probationary period. Beginning salary is $7.25 per hour. This position has no benefits. An elementary-paraprofessional position was established for two kindergarten students, as required by their IEP’s which were written by the Benton Area School District.
• The following middle/senior high-school class/club advisors/department chairpersons, were approved as per the current collective bargaining agreement:
9th grade advisors Michelle Correll Marcia Seely
10th grade advisors Donna Rentschler Jessie Delany
11th grade advisors Robert Cashman Christy Gengler
12th grade advisors Casey Hackett Clint Ross
Yearbook Ruth McHenry Cathy Hartman
NHS Chris Blockus
NJHS Melissa Chivers Megan Huntington (split stipend)
Prom advisors Cathy Hartman Tina Walters
SADD Kelly Kocher
Silks Stacy Getz
Tech Club advisors Brady Hess Jay McHenry (split stipend)
Middle/Senior High Art Club Stacy Wingfield
Graduation advisor Ron Kelsey
FFA Doug McCracken
Band/Orchestra Jen Welliver
Chorus/Vocal Director Jen DiLossi
Drama Colleen Schultz
MS Student Council Christy Gengler
HS Student Council Jessie Delany
7/8 Team Leader Melissa Chivers
9/10 Team Leader Jay McHenry
11/12 Team Leader Tina Walters
Department Head Math Jodi Kline
Department Head Arts/Humanities B. J. Creveling
The only open positions are Key Club and Odyssey of the Mind.
• The following elementary advisors were named:
May Day- Tina Comstock, Nina Verhun, Dixie Rosencrans
Operetta/Choral- Steve Spencer and Jen DiLossi
Student Council- Kelly Lutkiewicz
Safety Patrol- Steve Spencer
Young Scientists- Steve Spencer and Scott Jones (split)
Technology Club; 4th/5th and 6th separate- Crystal Mahler
Team Leaders- Primary: Michele Turner
Intermediate: Steve Spencer
• Jill Houseweart moved from being a 220 day to a 240-day employee.
• Lance Wolfe reported the Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech school is considering a name change. Because they turn away more than 100 students a year, they are discussing expanding the school.
The school will advertise for vacant board position. Gerri Newhart wants to review the superintendent applications. Preliminary interviews are set for July; then will select finalists, invite them to the district to meet staff members and hold an open meeting with the public.
Meeting adjourned at 8:27 PM.
August 11, 2009. It is the birthday of Linda Cragle and the wedding anniversary of Jay and Susan McHenry, Stillwater. "Dog Days" of summer end today coinciding with the heliacal (at sunrise) rising of the Dog Star, Sirius. In a normal year, this means the end of the hottest days of summer. While this summer is not exactly "normal" as far as the weather is concerned, yesterday was the hottest day so far this year. Most of us don't give a hoot what happens to Sirius, but for the ancient Egyptians, Sirius appeared just before the Nile began flooding so they used the star as a "watchdog" for that event. Since its rising also coincided with a time of extreme heat, the connection with hot, sultry weather was made.To me, the end of the dog days of summer meant returning to school. In this vein, I asked a neighborhood boy if he liked going to school. He told me that he did, then thought for a second and added that "I like coming home, too. It's the staying there in-between that I don't like."
Now that the dog days of summer are over, I wonder why it is that the creeks still look the same as they did in the middle of July. To me, "dog days" had nothing to do with dogs being more likely to get rabid during this period. Dog days simply meant to me that the creeks filled with green, slimy moss-like material as stagnant water slowed to a trickle. Walking on the round creek stones became impossible; everything was slippery and dangerous in the creek. That was my definition of "dog days."
Fishingcreek has changed courses many times over my lifetime--within the general confines of its banks, of course. I remember when there was an island in the middle of the creek downstream from where I grew up. The water on one side of the island was slow moving and deep. The other side of the island was shallow, fast moving and filled with round rocks, called "goonies," almost impossible to cross when dog days arrived.
Eddie Baker lived on the west side of Fishingcreek. I lived on the east side. We were best of friends. If Ed was on "my" side of the creek, he would have lunch with us. On "his" side of the creek, I would eat with the Raymond Baker family. We never knocked when we entered our friend's house. If Eddie was learning how to make a slingshot, we would make two. If I figured that a tree should be laid across the rocks to make navigating the creek a little easier, both of us would do it. We took mud, old logs and stones and made dams. Flat rocks became stepping stones. Our faded, cut-off jeans were our working clothes, our swimming suits and the clothes we wore to supper or do the chores.
We spent many hours making grapevine swings, and we played "Tarzan" a lot. We spent long hours trying to figure how a grape vine grew to the top of a tree and how it could be used as a swing. Our favorite grapevines let us drop in the deep swimming holes of the creek. We knew all the great places to swim south of the railroad bridge, down to where West Creek emptied into Fishingcreek.
We found a long piece of twisted metal guide wire that had faithfully served as a way of keeping cars from going off the road, and we fashioned it into a sort of rope line across the creek. We secured it to two trees, one on each side of the creek. After fastening it tightly, we cinched up the other end with brother Dayne's John Deere. When we attempted to secure the other side, so that we could make a walkway across the deep part of the creek, we found that we were about ten feet short. Back to square one. We then, with a lot of help from an older generation, made a bucket in which one person could sit, suspended from a pulley attached to the cable. We would then pull ourselves back and forth across the creek by tugging on a rope line. We really didn't go anywhere, but it was fun. I still have days like that!
High water often deposited things that needed investigating. Once, a building washed up on the island and we set out to get all the old inner tubes that we could get from the Doyle Sutliff garage and from J.C. Knouse's garage. We made a platform out of the timbers from the building and boxed in the inner tubes and began to tow each other back and forth across the creek on the raft by pulling on the cable we had strung across the creek. It was a one-person raft. If two people were successful in getting on one side the raft would suddenly submerge leaving everyone struggling in the water.
The dog days that I knew and loved are long gone for me. I don't float down the creek staring at the suckers and the trout swimming lazily below me these days. I only generally know where the swimming holes are. The creek has completely changed. The island in the creek is gone, Eddie has moved away, married a local girl, retired and has grandchildren. The raft and the cable are history. I would be afraid today to climb on a grapevine or dive into the water from a buttonwood or from the height of the old railroad bridge. Dog-gone! Dog days are really over.
Advice of the Day...
If the facts are against you, then pound the table with the law. If the law is against you, then pound the table with the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, then pound the table with both hands.Didja hear about the farmer whose sweet corn crop was a failure? He decided to borrow some corn from his neighbor. He grabbed a large bag and with his young son following headed for his neighbor's field. When he got to where the picking was good, he looked to the left, then to the right, ahead and behind, to be sure he wasn't observed. Just as he reached out to pluck the first ear of corn, his young son spoke: "Daddy," he remarked, "you didn't look up."Quickies...
• The Patriot-News reports as many as 800 state employees could lose their jobs because of state-budget cuts across the state with about 255 of those layoffs coming by the end of the week.
• The Bloomsburg University Huskies will play its first-ever home night-football game on Thursday, August 27. Bloomsburg University is ranked in the Top Ten in Division II football for 2009. The opponent for this game, Ashland University, located between Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio, is also ranked in the top fifteen of Division II football schools.
• After last night's borough council meeting, it is looking very much like the financial needs to "Save the Benton Dam" can be met. Details tomorrow.
• Some will remember when Lori Anstett Barse, 570 928-8897, asked for help on the Benton News to find Maddie, a nine-year-old German Shorthair Pointer, lost July 6 off Dutch Mountain Road, near Shumans Lake, near Lopez. The dog was all chocolate with white ticking on his chest. He was wearing a brown-leather collar with identification and a red-shocker collar. A man at the Red Rock store last Monday said that a man in his crew picked up a dog along 487 a couple of weeks ago that looked like Maddie. The man lives in Benton and he was in the store with his two kids. The man brings the dog to work with him every day since he found him. The dog belonged to Lori's father who passed away two years ago. Lori's mom is having a hard time with the loss of the dog. There is a reward for his return. The dog appears to be in Benton. Please keep Maddie in your mind in order to return the dog to its owners.
• Mill Race golf course had their senior, junior and ladies club championships last weekend, August 8 and 9. Despite the rain, the members scored very nicely. So nicely, in fact, that the senior men had a three-hole play-off. Alan Rhodes was able to pull out a very nice win scoring a 66 to make the play off possible with Carl Stackhouse. Both scored 141 for the two-day tournament. Kay Hoosty played like the trooper she is to be the ladies champ shooting 80 and 83. The new junior champ is Daniel Lee, who shot a 74 and a 75 to ward off Steven Zosh who was a very worthy partner shooting 81 and 76.
Golf used to be the sport where we would yell "fore,"
take six and write down five.Here is a story about President Taft that I liked. It seems the president had a reception at the White House which was attended by Government officials, members of the Army and Navy, members of the diplomatic corps, and leading Washington citizens. As those lined up to shake hands with the President, the President's tailor also fell into line. As he reached Taft, the later grabbed his hand, remarking, "You look familiar to me, but I just can't place you." "Why, Mr. President," the tailor replied, "I made your pants." "Oh, yes, yes, why how do you do Major Pants," was the President's reply.
August 10, 2009. It is the birthday of Erika Lenbergs, Jermey Griffith, Ken Sutton, Elizabeth Christian, Ann Morrocu and Marcia Becker. Today is the birthday of Herbert Hoover, born in Iowa in 1874, son of a Quaker blacksmith. He ran for president in 1928 and within the year the 1929 stock market crash sent the country into the economic collapse. Be prepared for hot weather today, perhaps as high as 93°.On the floor beneath my feet, straddling notes and bills and phone numbers, is our faithful dog, Chloe, a Bichon Frise who recently made it through her first ten years on this earth. Chloe will never be a talker like her buddy, Buster, who tells me stories by barking whenever I will take the time to listen. Both Chloe and Buster respond to what I tell them, much as they do with sounds and sights and smells. And they in return are able to communicate with me through expressions of pain, pleasure and excitement. If either dog wants to go outside, they tell me, Chloe by jumping on my lap, then climbing on my chest and gently clawing at my face with her left paw. Buster licks my ankle and if I postpone his walk he gives me a single, sharp bark. But language will never be something they can master.They will never learn any bad words--or good, for that matter--or describe in any detail a problem they have or a concern they might experience. The dogs will be saddled with a crude gesture system for communicating. Reactions to situations will be based on experience; Chloe, will chase a cat she sees, while Buster will race to the same cat in order to attempt to kiss it on the lips as a gesture of friendliness. Both process the sight of a "mousie" the same, whether the mousie is a squirrel or a rabbit. Buster has often stopped at the base of a tree, and looked up in search of a rabbit that he has unsuccessfully chased. He is unable to distinguish between a rabbit and a squirrel. They both move; they both need to be chased.
I once walked into a consignment store where a parrot greeted everyone. That bird was a talker; it was nearly impossible to shut him up. He loved to imitate sounds, but because he usually said the wrong thing at the wrong time there was obviously no connection with thought or meaning, somewhat like the way I learned Latin in Mr. Ketner's class or Spanish in Senorita Dworsky's class. I am happy that I never traveled abroad and used any of my acquired second languages. I am sure that someone would have taken me to task for insulting someone's Grandmother or even worse. I too often do that in English using words I think that I understand!
A high school classmate was in Honduras. His ability in Spanish was, as he described it, "miserable at best." One of his teachers asked why he always carried his classes in his pocket instead of wearing them. In Spanish, he smartly replied that he only used the glasses when I needed to see. Unfortunately, the Spanish word for see is very similar to the word to pee. You can guess the rest of the story!Babies come from the warmth and shelter of their mothers into a world of confusion made up of sounds they don't understand and work they are unaccustomed to. If they are too warm or too cold they have to formulate a method of communicating that concept. If they are hungry or wet, a whole new set of commands are necessary. Alert mothers understand the difference between "goo" and "ba," and find meaning in each squall, squawk and yell. At some point, human language enters the equation--something Buster and Chloe can never achieve. A word which sounds a great deal like "da da" is uttered as an imitation of what the child hears over and over. It isn't long until the word and the meaning merge.Words and gestures progress at different rates. Buster barks, the child lifts up his hands to be held. The child gestures, the dog stands by the door. The child practices saying a newly-discovered word with great precision and redundancy. The dog continues to stand by the door. The child becomes exuberant over simple words like "see" and "No!" and eventually more complex words like "splosion." The dogs still stand by the door.As all owners of dogs know and understand, a dog makes the finest of pets. When I move from where I am sitting, Chloe raises her head to see if my plans include her. If I am restless, she moves to the couch and in an inviting way suggests that I should sit by her. If I need a nap, Chloe and Buster take a nap with me. I share my thoughts with them and they sit obediently with their ears peaked. I dare not use the word "walk" or "eat" or "mousie" in a sentence unless I am willing to do what the word suggests. Dogs are our friends and our companions. Do something nice for your dog today; he'll do something nice in return.
August 9, 2009. It is the birthday of Doug Deitrick.Quickies...
• The Benton High School Class of 1984 will hold a planning meeting for their 25th class reunion on Sunday, August 16. For more information contact Guy Hubler or Connie Fritz.• The August Meeting of the Fishing Creek Femme Fatales Chapter of the Red Hat Society will meet Wednesday, August 19, at noon at the Stillwater covered bridge for a covered-dish picnic. Table covers, place settings, and beverages will be furnished. Join the "girls" for their last covered dish of the summer.It is quite a program. Well, yes, it has gone broke twice in the few weeks it has been around, but the Cash for Clunkers program should now survive until Labor Day. The program allows you to retire a car which works perfectly well, one which is probably owned free and clear of encumbrances, and buy a new, more efficient car with 36 or so convenient monthly payments. The program promises to get older, less efficient cars off the street by transferring money to one taxpayer's pocket from someone else's. It allows a taxpayer to destroy a serviceable asset before replacement is needed and in many cases before money is stored up to start a debt cycle. The program, if funded by the federal government, could be expanded to chop the dining room suite into firewood and burn the living-room couch, permitting the acquisition of new to replace what was destroyed. The "clunker's" program is in demand by those people looking to take in some government money. The Government was careful not to give money to everyone, as they might have in a tax cut which would have been possible if we were not so deeply in debt.The program has a catch. You have to buy a new car. OK, OK, so you can't afford it. But look at the deal Chrysler is giving. You can get up to $4,500 for your older car, the one with the dirty ash trays--let's call it what the government calls it--a "clunker." Then Chrysler will give you another $4,500 toward the purchase of selected new cars--say, a Jeep. (You don't have to just buy an American car to rake in your rewards on this program.) It will be interesting to watch what happens to car sales when the program ends.Ain't America great!It isn't exactly easy to publish a daily account of things of interest, especially on days filled with travel, sightseeing, good friends, conversations and eating.Since I don't have an editor and often don't even have time to completely review what I write before I publish it, my conversations with you sometimes get too lengthy. A reader told me about a fledgling British reporter who was told by his editor to "keep it short." The reporter's next story, according to the account I read, was turned in as follows: "A shocking incident occurred last night. Sir Reggy Blank, a guest at Lady Brifiny's ball, complained of feeling ill, took his hat, his coat, his departure, no notice of his friends, a taxi, a pistol from his pocket and finally, his life. Nice chap. Regrets, and all that."Mark Twain, in his reporting days, was told by his editor never to report anything as a fact which he could not personally verify. Twain was then sent to cover a social event, and filed his story like this: "A woman giving the name of Mrs. James Jones, who is reported to be one of the society leaders of the city, is said to have given what was purported to be a party yesterday to a number of alleged ladies. The hostess claims to be the wife of a reported attorney."Quote of the Day:“I am not the editor of a newspaper and shall always try to do right and be good so that God will not make me one."
--Mark TwainSaturday was spent in Washington, D.C. as Kay and I put on our tourist hats and visited the Newseum at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. The Newseum is the world's most interactive museum where five centuries of news history is carefully displayed in 14 major galleries and 15 theaters. What is here? Too much to mention in these limited spaces, but here is a sample...There is a three-story guard tower and eight sections of the original Berlin wall. There are many of the major cases in the years of the FBI's history, including the shack where Unabomber Ted Kaczynski lived and was captured in rural Montana. Huge libraries of original film of major news-breaking stories, a lot of sports history, the front pages of 80 newspapers from around the world are displayed each day. There is a special section of stories relating to "Chasing Lincoln's Killer." There is a video wall a hundred feel long on which documentaries and breaking news are shown. The 9/11 terrorist attacks are given a lot of coverage. The "First Dogs," a history of the pets of the presidents, is interesting. You can step behind a camera, sit at an anchor desk and be a reporter.You can see "Pretty Boy" Floyd's shotgun, agent-turned spy Robert Hanssen's espionage tools, a mangled piece of antenna mast that stood atop the North Tower of the World Trade Center, a cornice piece from the damaged Pentagon building, a piece of fuselage from United Flight 93, recovered from a field here in Pennsylvania, a ballot box used in the 1994 South African elections that ended apartheid, an armor-reinforced, bullet-riddle truck used by Time photographers in the Balkans. Spend time looking at the largest collection of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs ever assembled.
August 8, 2009. It is the birthday of Shawn Becker, William Mather, Scott Maguire and Janet Beishline, Bendertown. We note the passing of Ralph L. Dillon (August 3, 1935-August 6, 2009), a 1953 graduate of Bloomsburg High School and a 1957 graduate of Bucknell, University, Lewisburg. He owned Ralph Dillon’s Flowers, Bloomsburg, from 1961 to 2007 and also operated a shop in Sunbury.Some days just don't have enough hours to accomplish everything that needs doing. Today is one of those days. I am trying to see everything there is to see on Pennsylvania Avenue in the District of Columbia, with the emphasis on the Newseum . I'll tell you about that in Sunday's edition, but in the meantime If you are as hot as I am you'll enjoy reading about how others are spending today in a cooler climate. We'll start off in Soldatna, Alaska, for a report from Bridget Allen, then head to Ny Alesund, Svalbard, Norway, where Mike Rhinard checks in. Mike is the son of Lois (Remley) Rhinard Stere.Bridget, for those who follow bluegrass, is my sister-in-law and lives in Lewistown, but more importantly she is an up-and-coming bluegrass star. She has two CDs about to be released, plays in three bluegrass groups and is fortunate enough to explore the United States with husband R. B. Powell. Her report today comes from Soldatna, Alaska, where their motor home is parked at the Alaska Rivers Co. Bridget writes...
“So, you’re leaving for the moon on Tuesday… What time will you get there?”
"A week ago, it was about as believable to me that RB and I were going to the moon as it was to Alaska. But dang! Here we are! (Alaska, that is, not the moon!)
"I guess just because it’s so far from home and still in the USofA (4500 miles from New York City to Anchorage as a bird flies) it seemed like we were about to go to the far side of the earth. Throw in the tales of cold, glaciers, darkness, wilderness, giant fish, bird-sized mosquitoes, wild animals and wilder humans…all the odds and ends of hearsay that one gathers over a lifetime…why would anyone want to go there?
"Yesss! That’s exactly why one would want to go there!
"This is how wild our first day was: Our plan was to engage an RV in Anchorage and then have no plan. We picked up the RV around 11 PM Alaska time (3 AM PA time) and it was broad daylight. We made a midnight snack run to a local supermarket just as it was closing; then hunted down a Walmart so we could park free and regroup in the morning. (So far, so good.) By this time it’s 1 AM Alaska time and 5 AM in our heads. Besides which I swear, the sun never really went down! It was darkish from about midnight on and I think I saw a star once when I looked out the bedroom window to try and figure out where I was, but beyond that, it never really got dark.
"Next morning we had brunch at MacDonald’s (a two-hundred foot hike from our first-night camping’ spot); cruised Walmart and the local Safeway for groceries; and purchased an air card for RB’s laptop at the AT&T Store in downtown Anchorage. How’s that for an adventure-filled first morning on the last frontier…
"But it got better real soon!
"In the never-ending quest for superb fishing, RB had researched the topic---quizzing passengers on the flight from Minneapolis to Anchorage; a salesperson in the AT&T store; a local trip-planning person; guys unloading a pick-up in the Walmart parking lot. Consensus was that the salmon were still running on the Kenai River and he would not be disappointed, should he choose to head south to the Kenai Peninsula and cast a line just about anywhere.
"So off we headed down the Seward Highway to the Kenai Peninsula in our little 24’ junior MoHo. We dawdled to sightsee along Turnagain Arm, a long narrow stretch of water so named by Capt. James Cook when he was exploring the coastline somewhere in the late-1700s. Apparently he had done a lot of cruising up and back in the fjords along the southern coast. Having run into yet another dead end, he doubtless grumbled, “Turn again, dammit!”
"The drive was spectacular with the smooth, silver water of the arm gleaming in the sun and thousand-foot mountains rising green and stone and white straight up out of the water. Clouds white and dark lay all around their peaks like fabulous furs around regal necks. I recalled my favorite dramatic notions of Japan or the mythical Bali Hai ("I hear you calling…”) What I had come to see was here in our first 24 hours in Alaska!"When R.B. and Bridget are done fishing, we'll check back in on their travels. In the meantime, as Bridget would say, "Be well and never stop exploring…"
In case you think that R.B. and Bridget are a long way from Pennsylvania, consider Mike Rhinard, who is participating in a program called "PolarTREC, Polar Teachers & Researchers Exploring & Collaborating." Mike is a Benton boy who lives in Boise, Idaho, and is a junior-high school earth-science teacher at Riverglen Junior High School. Mike wrote from one of the most spectacular places in the world--Svalbard. Mike is in Ny Alesund--the "farthest north community" on Earth--on the western side of the Svalbard archipelago, half way between Norway and the North Pole, at 79° N.
Ny Alesund has become an international arctic-science research station, moving away from what was once primarily a coal-mining village, Mike is studying tide-water glacial sedimentation rates and correlating this to global-climate changes.
Svalbard is an amazing and interesting place. It is far north, yet it gets warm(er) gulf-stream currents making the summertime climate different from most arctic land places.
Mike smiles at the similarities to "back home" when he eats in the cafeteria, noting that it is quite "northern European." He is served potatoes about every meal. "I haven't eaten so many boiled potatoes with various gravies on since growing up "back home," Mike writes. "We have potatoes, root vegetables (beets, carrots, turnips, parsnips and rutabagas or some other similar things.) We even had pork and sauerkraut with dumplings one night for dinner. It was a bit different than 'back home though. The kraut was quite sweet and the dumplings were quite dense. But I was excited." With Mike's German/Dutch heritage from the Remley/Rhinard families, he is very excited about the pork and sauerkraut, since it is not served in Boise.
Take the time to look at the PolarTREC website and the part that Mike is playing in the program by heading here. Mike has posted some photos and some journal entries. Join Mike and the team on August 2009 at noon ADT, 4 pm EDT for a "Live from IPY!" event from the High Arctic Change '09 PolarTREC Expedition in Svalbard, Norway. Register now.
August 7, 2009. It is the birthday of Lori Roberts Tunaitis, James Fox, Rod Pennington, Terry Griffith, William Mather and Prairie Home Companion storyteller and host Garrison Keillor. Two years ago on this day, we were in the very hottest weather of the season. The high on this day two years ago exceeded 95° degrees, with the heat index reaching 102. The Benton dam was not running over, the creek through Central was dry. The area was inches short of meeting its average rainfall for the season.On this day in...
• 1789, the United States War Department was established and Henry Knox was named Secretary of War. He was placed in charge of the army, a collection of about 840 men.
• 1794, the Whiskey Rebellion began. The uprising had begun in June of 1794 when farmers in western Pennsylvania and throughout the Appalachians refused to pay the federal excise tax on whiskey. The farmer's primary crop was grain, and the cheapest way of marketing it was in the form of whiskey. The tax was about 25% of the going price of a quart of whiskey. The farmers argued that whiskey was a viable medium of exchange. The Government argued that the tax was a legitimate source of revenue. Commander-in-Chief Washington gathered 12,500 militiamen; the farmers dispersed and by May 1795 the uprising had essentially gone away.
"I have a friend who claims that although whiskey won't cure a cold, it is the best way of failing..."
--Bob Thomas, also credited with "Granddaddy used to say the best treatment for a cold was 'Take the juice of a bottle of whiskey' as needed. This will not cure a cold but you'll soon forget about it."
• Pennsylvania State Senator John Gordner's office advised by phone that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's authorization will be available within two weeks to begin repairs on the Benton dam.
• It was heartwarming to watch a grandfather being led by the hand down Mill Street by two grandchildren who stopped in front of the historical marker and then proceeded to read the marker in unison to a very important person in their lives.
• It brought tears to the eyes of Roy Colley when he told the story and he told the story so convincingly that when I heard it tears came to my eyes as well. He told of his great grandfather, one of the men arrested as part of the 44 caught up in the Fishingcreek Confederacy. He told of how his family had been ashamed of that fact for generations and how he knew little of the details of the events until the Heritage Days of last weekend. He told of the hard shower that came up during the dedication ceremony last Sunday, and tears suddenly began to form as he told how it came to be his turn to read the name of his ancestor. Exactly at the moment that he was to read the name, the hard rain suddenly stopped as if the taint of the arrest had suddenly been erased from the Colley name. It was a moment which "Butch" will never forget.
We like to take a look at our area as it existed a long time ago, so for a brief period today we'll head back to the 1820s or so, back to the days when the kitchen hearth, six feet wide and four feet deep, was the center of the household. These were the days that for the six o'clock breakfast of meat and vegetables and pickles everyone gathered for prayers--family, farmhands and servants. Dinner was at 12 and tea at "sundown."
Inside the house, it was work, work, work. "A woman's work is never done" was the often-quoted statement. There was cooking, washing, sewing, spinning, weaving, taking care of children--there was "no rest for the weary." Breakfast had to be over by daylight so the men could get at their work. Even with all the demands placed on these stout-hearted people, no one seemed to be unhappy. They had few comforts and no clue to the conventionalities of modern civilization.
People in the country did things together in those days, whether it was for a corn-shucking or a barn-raising. When a man needed a new barn, he called in his neighbors for a "barn-raising" and made a party of the occasion, just as, if one of their houses was struck by lightning, he held himself ready to return the favor.
It was a cardinal doctrine of these hearty people that every able-bodied man should "earn his salt" and they carried the doctrine into practice with unrelenting severity. There was simply no room for the idle. Houses and barns needed to be erected and ground cleared. With the need for rail-making, fence-building, plowing, sowing, reaping and barn-raising there was plenty of work to keep everyone busy.
The very old barn-raisings featured hard cider and West-India rum. The first to occupy our county did not have the knack of erecting a building with more timber in it than could be carried on a wheelbarrow. To erect the frame of a barn or house was a work which taxed the strength of all the men and boys in the community and which brought the local carpenter into a place of importance.
It was considered altogether out of the question to do the work without stimulants, and these were furnished generously, for, though a man might be "close" about many things, he could not afford to ration those who came to the raising if he hoped to spend the rest of his life in the community. Having this in mind, he bought rum liberally, while the hard cider was brought from his own cellar. The ability of cider to make men work was recognized, but was hardly regarded seriously because everyone had an abundance of it at home, while drinking rum at the expense of another was something altogether more important. It was hard to raise a building without it but I also found examples where it was hard to raise the building with it! There were examples where it was necessary to continue the work to a second day because the "sprits from St. Croix" had done their work not wisely but too well.
Back in the "old days," when a barn was to be raised the whole neighborhood was invited. The pioneers didn't have recreation, but they were not without amusements. They didn't have theaters or social functions, but they had fun and plenty of it. Life was dead serious for them, but they looked at life from the sunny side. There were camp meetings where hospitality was dispensed to everyone. Politicians came to town to speak. How differently we approach solving problems today.
Robert Neil “Pop” Holmes (April 18, 1923-August 3, 2009) passed away Monday at the Central Montana Medical Center’s Skilled Nursing Center where he had resided for the past four years. He was 86. Pop was born to William and Florence Holmes in Huntington Mills, and that is where he spent most of his life. Pop graduated from Huntington Mills High School in 1941. He served two years in the United States Navy during World War II. After his naval service, Pop was employed by the Magee Carpet Company, Bloomsburg, as a loom fixer, weaver and foreman until 1976. After that he worked for the State of Pennsylvania as an agricultural promoter until retirement. Pop and Janet lived in the same rural home nestled between Pine Creek and Holmes Road nearly 60 years, before they relocated to Lewistown, Montana in 2003.
He married Janet Yodzevicis and they recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. Pop is survived by Janet, Lewistown, Montana, daughter Barbara Kidd of Jupiter, Florida, son Bil (Cathy) Holmes, Lewistown, and son Timothy Holmes of Toms River, New Jersey. There are seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren. He is survived by three sisters Ruth (John) Spencer, Mary (Kent) Shelhamer, and Betty Tanner. He was preceded in death by his parents and daughter Susan. A service of remembrance to celebrate Pop’s life was held at Saint Leo’s Church on August 7, 2009.
August 6, 2009. It is the birthday of Tom Becker, Joyce Keller, Erin Ackerman and former president George W. Bush. Joselle Confair was moved from Geisinger Hospital Wednesday to the Select Specialty Hospital, 100 North Academy Avenue, Danville. Select Specialty Hospitals specialize in the treatment of the most critical and complex medical and surgical conditions. Today and Friday should be great weather days to be Back Home in Benton, PA.Didja ever think that the fact that dead men don't tell tales
has helped many a widow get married again?The combination of an upcoming trip to Washington, D.C. and raising money to support the efforts to keep the Benton dam safe and available for future generations reminded me of the problems our nation faced when a monument to our first president was erected. The cost of what we know today as the Washington Monument was estimated, at the time of Washington's death in 1799, to cost twenty-fine cents for each citizen. We know that it took about a hundred years to build--and the problem was all financial. The Benton dam has been built--it just takes money to keep it in repair.The building of the Washington Monument, started out by public contribution and limited to a dollar a person, raised $28,000, but it took three years to accomplish that. Every fund-raising gimmick was tried--there were fairs and social events, the Masons of the nation pitched in as did the sailors and Americans living abroad. By 1847, the money collected totaled $87,000, enough to begin the tower. Six years later, the tower had pushed to 152 feet in the air. In early March 1854, a bunch of Know-Nothings--members of an anti-Catholic party--took a slab sent by the Pope and dumped it into the Potomac River. Construction interest and funding dried up and although Congress promised money, the Know-Nothing got themselves in charge of the monument and for the next three years only four feet was added during construction. The work was so poorly done during this period that it all eventually had to be done over--to the consternation of the pigs and cattle that grazed around the base of the monument during the Civil War. It wasn't until 1873, on Washington's birthday, that Congress agreed to finish the monument by providing $200,000 in four-annual installments. On December 6, 1884, the aluminum cap was placed on the monument. The monument opened to the American public one hundred and five years after the Continental Congress first discussed building a monument to President Washington.Quickies...• The annual Cambra yard sales take place Saturday, August 8, beginning at 8 AM. There will be more than 20 families participating this year.• A 60-second brain game challenges users to test the speed and flexibility of their brains. The free web application requires users to respond to conflicting auditory- and visual stimulus to score points. The key to success is speed, as the game adapts to the user, becoming progressively more challenging and fast. Users work through five levels of play trying to score up to 80 points. Give it a try here.
The sixth annual Rod & Custom Cruise-In begins Friday and runs through August 9 at the Bloomsburg fairgrounds. The gates will be open from 8 AM to 10 PM Friday and Saturday and 8 AM to 4 PM on Sunday. The show last year had 680 registered vehicles. The count for this year is 550 vehicles pre-registered at this writing. There will crafters, a swap meet, food, ice, famous “theme basket” raffles, door prizes and 50/50 drawings this weekend.
Special events on Friday include free admission for veterans and scouts, a stereo contest, neon-light show, Prom Night – 1959 Forever with DJ Wolfman Jack impersonator, and a queen of the drag contest.
Saturday afternoon features HotRod Gridlock--a parade through downtown Bloomsburg, slow drags, muffler raps, a hot-wing eating contest sponsored by Quaker Steak & Lube and live music by The New Individuals. Saturday night entertainment will include more live music by The New Individuals, a burn-out competition from 8 to 9 in front of the grandstand sponsored by Numidia Raceway and a flamethrower exhibition by the Flames ‘R’ Us flamethrower club between 9 and 10.
Trophies to the top twenty-five vehicles will be awarded Sunday, along with the grand prize of $1,000--only car registrants are eligible and you must be present to win. The "Spectacular Spa Raffle" winner will also be drawn on Sunday. Spectator admission is $5 per day and children under 12 get in free.
All proceeds benefit Bloomsburg Hospital. For further information, click here or call 570 387-2000.
Marqueen B. (Hess) Bankes (January 27, 1921-August 4, 2009) passed away Tuesday evening at 11:30 at her Main Street home in Orangeville (P. O. Box 14). She was 88 and had been in ill health for the past seven months. Marqueen was born in Benton Township. She was a daughter of Harold and Atta (Karns) Hess. She was a 1938 graduate of Benton High School and a 1942 graduate of the Bloomsburg School of Nursing. Mrs. Bankes was a registered nurse and had been employed by the Klingerman Nursing Center, Orangeville, and the former Char Mund Nursing Home. She had also done private-duty nursing for area hospitals, retiring in 1983. She was a long time, active member of the Orangeville United Church where she was a member of the Women’s Guild and the Consistory of the Church. She was also a member of the Orangeville Civic Club and the Bloomsburg Hospital Nurses Alumni Association. She had also served as the Orangeville health officer. She and her husband, C. Harold Bankes, traveled extensively following retirement.
She and her husband would have celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary on September 6. In addition to her husband, Harold, she is survived by children James L. Bankes (Cathy), Duncannon; Elaine M. Edwards (Bob), Orangeville; Cryder H. Bankes, III, New York City; Keith G. Bankes (Mary Ann), Stillwater; Chris E. Bankes (Patricia), Coatesville. Also surviving are eight grandchildren; eight great grandchildren. There are also sisters Viola Kremer, Milton, and Janet Rice, New Freeport. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a brother, Donald J. Hess and by a sister, Phyllis Martz.
Funeral services will be held Monday at 11 AM at the McMichael Funeral Home. Burial will be in the Laurel Hill Cemetery, Orangeville. A viewing will be held Sunday from 6 to 8 PM at the funeral home and on Monday from 10 AM until the time of the service at 11. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in her memory to the Orangeville United Church, P.O. Box 196, Orangeville, PA 17859 or to the Columbia Montour Home Hospice, 410 Glenn Avenue, Bloomsburg, PA 17815. For online condolences, go here.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will be published in the Press Enterprise in its edition of August 6, 2009.
Lloyd “Buddy” Harvey Miller, Jr. (September 30, 1923-August 3, 2009) passed away Monday at his home at 71 Cemetery Road, Stillwater, after a lengthy illness in the loving presence of his devoted, long-time caregiver, son David Paul Miller. He was 85. He was born in Luzerne, PA. Buddy was the son of Lloyd Miller and Marguritha "Peggy" Savino Miller, Wyoming, PA.
Buddy attended Wyoming public schools, then worked for his father's construction business until serving his country in New Guinea during WWII in Battery B 785th Anti-Artillery Aircraft Battalion. After his discharge, he joined his family then living in Philadelphia and worked for the Philadelphia Transit Co. as a trolley conductor. He met Doris Evelyn Ribble, Stillwater, while she was attending nursing school in Philadelphia. They married in 1949 and bought the family farm in Stillwater in 1951. Buddy simultaneously worked on the farm, worked for Magee Carpet Co. and built a factory on his land which first housed a large-scale egg business, then manufactured Luster Rock. In 1982, he and his son Delbert "Del" Miller, Millertown, formed Miller's Roofing & Siding, becoming the seventh and eighth generation of Miller builders. He took great pride in his skills and business integrity handed down from his father. He retired in 1990 turning his share of the business over to his son.
Buddy was preceded in death by his parents and his beloved wife, Doris, who died in 1992. He is survived by his children David Paul Miller, Stillwater, Daniel Scott Miller, Chemult, Oregon, Dianne Christine Miller Steinert, Bloomsburg, Deborah Ann Miller Brecht, Ft. Worth, TX, Delbert Lloyd Miller, Millertown, 9 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren, and his sister Ethel Mae Miller Jones, Bloomsburg. He was also preceded in death by his sisters Katharine Antonia Miller Halverson, Egg Harbor Twp., NJ, Marguerite Louise Miller Gill, Deptford, NJ, Nettie Ruth Miller Gill Frederick, Wilkes Barre, and brothers Howard Ellsworth Miller, Columbus, GA, James Robert Miller, Clarksville, TN, and Gilbert Thomas Miller, Brigantine, NJ. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be arranged at the family's discretion.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home
August 5, 2009. It is the birthday of Bill Allegar.The beautiful full moon tonight is the "Full Sturgeon Moon." The Indians measured time by counting from one full moon to the next. The moon is the Indian's calendar. He reckons time by its changes. Long before the white man came to America, the red man had a clear idea of a month of time. For the year they count twelve moons, and then they add one more, which they call the "lost moon," thus making thirteen moons in all to a full year. The moon goes through four changes in four weeks. From full moon around to full moon again is therefore nearly one month--or as the Indians called it, a "moon." In fact, the English word month means moon, and is derived from that word.The Indians have a different name for each month. They call the month of January the "cold moon" for obvious reasons. February is the "snowy moon." March is the "green moon," April is the "moon of plants" and May is the "moon of flowers." June is called the "hot moon," July the "moon of the deer." August is the sturgeon moon," and September is the "fruit moon." October is known as the "traveling moon." November is the "beaver moon" and December is named the "hunting moon." Not all Indian tribes use the same name for the same month; the name varies according to the occupation or locality of each tribe. June to some was the "strawberry moon, August the "ripe moon," and so forth.The Benton News often looks at the origin of words, and it is here that we find that the derivation of many words suffer from the disadvantage of being lies. Among these bogus, phony reports are those on "bogus" and "phony." Bogus is a corruption of Borghese, the name of a man who in the nineteenth century made a good thing of drawing checks on banks that didn't exist. His name, according to the story, became used whenever one talked about any such worthless bill. And Mr. Forney made his money selling jewelry to buyers who didn't pay a lot of attention--and from that "phony" emerged.It is now time, I submit, that a new word be developed in our vocabulary. There should be a new word evolve from the confusin that comes about when one gets involved in signing reams of paper when entering into a financial arrangement of their own free will. These agreements require the borrower to understand the implications of a product disclosure statement which outlines the risks of the investment. Most don't read it. It took a battalion of attorneys to hone it until it became legally correct while retaining its unreadable gibberish format. Remember that the devil is in the drivel. If some attorney has not created a document of stupefying legal density beyond human comprehension, he has failed in his job. If a reader has a name which would be appropriate, send it in!"Gibberish" won't do. It is too common! But we should explain that word. It is probably a corruption of "jabber." This mystic language attributed to a man by the name of Gerber and once used by chemists came from Jabir ibn Hayyan, an eighth-century alchemist who was said to have written more than 2,000 books. The likely explanation is that other medieval alchemists borrowed his name to make their words sound more authoritative.A reader commented on my frequent use of the word "didja." He wanted to know if I could provide a couple of "didja" thoughts based on things that have passed rather than an outlook for the future. Although I didn't fully understand what that meant, I have great ability to type before I have thought of anything to say. Here goes...• Didja ever think that a penny saved is a penny which can be squandered?• Didja ever think that where there is a will there is a won't?• Didn't ever think that of two evils, you should choose to be the least?• Didja ever think that what is worth doing is worth the trouble of asking somebody to do it?• Didja ever think that you should think twice before you talk to a friend in need?• Didja ever notice that a man is known by the company he organizes?
• It is hard to read the news or open a magazine without coming across an article about Julia Child and her immeasurable impact on the way we prepare and regard food. All the buzz surrounding the film about her life, Julie and Julia, which opens August 7, has given us a good excuse to celebrate this extraordinary woman. Before Julia, there were no celebrity chefs, no Food Network, no specialized cookbooks or food blogs. It’s easy to forget that Child was introduced to the world via public television. Originally produced by WGBH in Boston in 1963, The French Chef introduced Americans to French cooking and spawned numerous other cooking shows on PBS. Bon appétit! And enjoy the movie.
• Friday night Kay and I will drop in on Mimì and Rodolfo at Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts as the opera in four acts by Giacomo Puccini known as La Bohème plays out for the umpteenth time since its premier in 1896. Opera America says it is the second most frequently performed opera in the United States. The opera deals with the relationship between Rodolfo and Mimì, ending with her death. The Saturday edition of the Benton News will be delivered late.
• Lawrence and Carolann (Miller) Shaw, 94 Boyer Road, Shickshinny, will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary August 6. They were married by the Rev. William Price at New Columbus Methodist Church, New Columbus, on August 6, 1959. Beverly Shaw Edwards, sister of the groom, was maid of honor, and Walter Hontz, cousin of the groom, served as best man. In celebration of the couple's anniversary, a party will be held on Saturday, August 8, from 2 until 4 PM at the New Columbus Academy, New Columbus.
Didja ever notice that the folks in the upper Fishingcreek valley do the common things of life in an uncommon way?
The following are the minutes of the special Benton borough council meeting of July 20, 2009, as recorded by borough secretary Kay Yankovich. The following were present: Ed Hartman, Allen Hess, Dan Jankowski, Jan Jankowski, O Grant Little, Dan Hartman, Mayor Swan, Kay Yankovich. Others present included Kaye Hoosty, David Kline, Richard Smith, JoAnn Smith, Dave Albertson. Kris Kaiser, Engineer, Larson Design Group, was also present.
The meeting was called to order at 2 PM by President Grant Little to further discuss the Benton Park master site plan as prepared by Larson Design Group. Kris Kaiser made his presentation, showing the designs for the Park. He received and answered questions relating to the location of buildings and structures.
A letter, received from Holly Green, 300 Park Street, was read by Grant Little. Holly expressed her concern with the relocation of the basketball court across the street from her home. Richard and JoAnn Smith also expressed their concerns with this relocation. Questions were also asked regarding the need to relocate the band shell.
The Benton Park Master Site Plan will be taken to the August council meeting for further discussion.
August 4, 2009. It is the birthday of Roxie Walters. Ron and Faye Igou celebrate their wedding anniversary. Jazz musician and Grammy Award-winning singer Louis Armstrong was born on this date in 1901 in New Orleans. He got the nickname Satchmo, short for "Satchel Mouth." He learned the cornet in 1913 when he was sent to a reform school. Listen to Satchmo and Ella Fitzgerald sing "Summertime" by heading here.
Ailing and Recovering...
• Buster and Chloe extend their deepest sympathy to "Buttons," the eleven-year old Boston terrier owned by Richard Sutliff. Buttons was released from her worldly pain Monday at the Sugar Grove animal hospital in Illinois.
• Jim Dildine and Joselle Confair remain patients in the Geisinger Hospital, Danville.
• The German Heritage Society of the Susquehanna Valley will hold its annual summer picnic on Thursday, August 6, at 6 PM at the Jack Treas park, Shamokin Dam. Bring a German or Pennsylvania German covered dish or two to share with other members and guests, and enjoy an evening of socialization. Bring your own place setting and drink! The park is at the north end of the Old Trail. From the north on Routes 11 and 15, turn left at Aldi and drive to the stop sign. Turn left on Old Trail, and drive to the end of the road. The pavilion is on the left. For more information, call Society President Jeff Sheaffer at 374-7730.
• This is "Produce" month in the Commonwealth. Don't forget to drop off your produce this morning to share at the food bank. Or is it possible that the Guv meant by "produce" that he would produce a meaningful state budget sometime in the near future?
• How did you like that moonlit sky last night?
• If you are not using Firefox 3.5, you might want to watch this video.
• Columnist Roy Davis, an occasional resident of Jamison City in the home once occupied by Roy's Aunt, Hope Merrill, will be a guest at the Bed & Breakfast on Main Street August 13 and 14. Joe Hittle, owner of Hittle Genealogy Symposium, will be in Columbia County from August 11 to 16.Didja ever notice how much we get done if we're always doing?Breathing recently became newsworthy. More and more research is being done that shows that many of our degenerative illnesses can be slowed down and even reversed by changing the way we breathe.
Conditions that affect the heart (high-blood pressure, arrhythmias, coronary-artery disease) and the lungs (asthma, chronic-respiratory problems) have been found to improve when patients learned to breathe in a healthful manner. In addition to degenerative diseases, emotional disorders (panic attacks, depression) have also been shown to abate with breath work.
How about a class in "Yoga for Better Breathing," with Ginny Mazzei! The class will be offered Monday, August 24, from 6 to 7 PM. We’ll all breathe easier if we all help to “Save the Benton Dam." This is a class in yoga for better breathing.
This class will teach a few basic yoga postures and relaxation techniques with an emphasis on opening the chest and back, bringing awareness to the breath and improving lung capacity. This class is suitable for the average, healthy adult. The class size is limited to 24 participants.
It is simple to register. Please make a generous donation when you register. Make the checks payable to “Save the Benton Dam.” Call 925-0163 for details of how to register. And thanks for Ginny for her contribution of her valuable time and energy to make this class happen.Didja ever think that words may not communicate the way that--say--kisses, smiles and frowns do? Words may not have quite the impact that lowering the toilet seat might have, or setting off an atomic bomb or calling a person by the wrong last name. But as a people, we become dangerous when we stop talking.I never knew the man. He can only be judged, for those of us who don't know him, by the words he left with us--and by his grandson, known to many of us. It is pure speculation, of course, but I have to assume that Grandpa had a long memory span and probably recited things told to him by his grandparents--just as his grandson allows sayings of the wise old man to roll off his tongue. Listening to the collected wisdom of the man, it is apparent that he knew the rules of English, and then rearranged them so they were specific and correct for any situation in which he found himself. He didn't seem like the kind of man who would take half an hour to say something--then spend the rest of the day trying to get out of what he had said. Here are three of his old sayings, quoted without hesitation by his grandson, Center Director Rob Hutchinson.The one thing about watchdogs, they don't know what to watch for,
so they bark at everything.
I have a "Roofers Union Card;" it covers everything.
So I know everything, just ask me.
Only truly unhappy people make mountains out of mole hills.
Benton borough council met for its July meeting on the 13th at the Benton Volunteer fire hall. The (edited) minutes of that meeting follow. Attending were Allen Hess, Dan Jankowski, Jan Jankowski, O Grant Little, Joshua Price, Mayor Swan, Bryan Getz, Ed Kocher, Randy Karschner and Kay Yankovich. Others present were Sharon Hess, Dan Hess, Terri Adams, Monty Hittle and Charles Litweiller.
Monty Hittle, airport manager, requested council permission to repair the hangar roof. Monty indicated there are four pilots who want to bring their planes to Benton; however, the current available space is rented out. Monty will be seeking council approval for new construction to provide the additional space. Council told him they will need to see plans, drawings, diagrams, etc. for any construction plans; and, if available, any long-term plans for the airport.
Terri Adams would like to purchase “Watch Children” signs and posts to be placed on Market Street. She asked if the Borough Maintenance Supervisor would erect the signs. Council granted approval for Terri to purchase the signs and for Bryan Getz to put them in place.
Bryan Getz stated that he has spoken with Allen Kocher about cleaning the area behind the baseball field. Allen will clean the area for $450. Council directed Bryan to contact Allen to have this work done. Bryan reminded Council that the Borough had purchased a snowplow from Benton Township last spring. He asked if they had any plans to purchase a pickup, or if he should plan to use the plow on the borough truck. Council directed Bryan to prep the snowplow for use on the borough truck.
Bryan stated he has replaced the drain box on the Hart property (formerly Florence Kocher property). He questioned if the property owner or the borough is responsible for payment of the plate/grate. Grant stated that it must be determined who is responsible for this repair and asked that this item be placed on the agenda for the August meeting.
Mayor Swan provided an update of the “Save the Benton Dam Committee.” The cost to repair the dam is estimated at $50,000. The Berwick Health and Wellness Fund has promised $2,000. The engineer has been in contact with DEP regarding the permit. DEP is supposed to get back to the engineer with their answer. The possibility of installing a “fish ladder” was looked into; however, this venture is very expensive, $50,000-$75,000/vertical foot of the dam. The committee will have a booth at the Fishing Creek Heritage Festival July 25 and July 26 for the purpose of collecting funds.
Mayor Swan reported that an inspector from the PA Department of Health requires that the dam be closed for swimming until the dam has been repaired. The inspector stated that swimming 200 feet above or 200 feet below the dam is allowed. Grant stated that he will be in contact with the PA Department of Health regarding this matter.
Mayor Swan referred to the airport area that has been cleaned and the importance of keeping people from dumping in that area. A “no dumping” notice will be placed in the Press-Enterprise Northside Beat, including notice of a $300 fine for violators. She stated that the area may also need to be roped off.
The Mayor announced the opening of a new business, Lexy’s Loft, on Main Street. Karen Charles, owner, has stated the business is doing very well and she plans to expand and move to a larger building in the upcoming future.
Grant Little reported that the tar and chip road work on Third Street has been completed. At the June meeting, council had agreed to make a decision on this work at the July meeting. Grant stated that Benton township wanted to do the work prior to the July meeting. The township told Bryan Getz and Grant that the job, which will also solve the water problem in that area, would cost approximately $2,000. Grant gave them permission to proceed with the work. Council agreed that this was the correct action to be taken.
Grant reported that the Water & Sewer Authority has hired a plant operator. The Borough and Authority will not be “sharing” employees at this time.
Grant reported that the maintenance supervisor’s expenditures, including the part-time employee, are well within the budget. Dan Hartman stated that it is the recommendation of the Committee to make a one-way traffic pattern going from Route 487 to Park Street. (This subject will be revisited at the next town council meeting, based on information received after the July meeting.) Grant stated he would like the Borough to purchase “Watch Children” signs for the lower end of Third Street near the Community Center. Many kids walk to the Community Center and the sign has become a necessity. Council directed Bryan to check prices on the sign and make the purchase. Allen Hess suggested the crosswalk signs now being placed in the center of Main Street, be replaced with crosswalk signs that are placed on the side of the street (permanent location); it would not be necessary to have someone take them in each night. The police committee has interviewed candidates for the position of part-time police officer. The Committee recommendation was to hire Christopher Brock for the part-time police officer position. Mr. Brock has seven years experience with the Catawissa Borough, he is a full-time Corrections Office at Chase Prison in Dallas and he holds an Associate Degree in criminology. Motion carried.
Grant reminded Council members that the “Special Council Meeting” with Larson Design Group to review/discuss the Park Master Site Plan is July 20, at 2 PM. (This meeting will be discussed in the Benton News Wednesday).
A July 10 letter of Attorney Leipold regarding the Mailbox Placement Ordinance made several comments which the Council took into consideration. Dan stated that the ordinance must cover the entire Borough – certain areas cannot be required to have mailbox placement different than any other area in the Borough. He also stressed the importance of having a Mailbox Ordinance in order that when residents contact the Code Enforcement Officer for permits, he could provide information to them regarding snow removal and parking issues; and the ordinance will also aid in monitoring the appearance of the mailboxes. The committee recommendation to accept the proposed Mailbox Ordinance as written with the adjustments as proposed by Attorney Leipold.
The proposed Mailbox Placement Ordinance was approved as presented, with the following adjustments: (1) “Code Enforcement Officer” will be used throughout the Ordinance (2) the permit fee will be reduced to $75.00 (3) “PA One Call Form” phrase will be followed with “Which information shall be submitted to the Borough with the permit application”. A roll call vote was taken and the motion passed 3-2. The ordinance will be forwarded to Attorney Leipold for preparation of a final copy and be formally enacted at the August meeting.
Dan Jankowski reported that the Neighborhood Crime Watch has donated $200 to have the fire siren converted to an alert siren. The Fire Company has given EMA approval to do this. If the entire $200 is not needed, the remaining funds will be returned to the Neighborhood Crime Watch. Dan reported one tornado warning for the month of June.
The borough continues to await a call from Luther Spiece, Benton Fire Company, regarding the rental of additional office space.
August 3, 2009. It is the birthday of Terry Hack and the anniversary of Rick and Maryann Bardo. Leon Robbins is "either 94 or 96," but he is not able to remember which. On this day in 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed from Palos de la Frontera, Spain, leading ships Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria and a crew of about 90 men. The crew headed for "Cathay" (Asia) and ended up in Guanahani, San Salvador, an island in the Bahamas, about two months later.
A Monday without rain! How 'bout that...
Despite a soggy season, the summer vegetable crop is coming on strong (except for tomatoes). Please share the harvest with the Benton Food Bank, this Tuesday, August 4, from 7:30 to 9 AM. Twenty gardeners have made contributions so far.There are not many drives in Pennsylvania that I enjoy more than the trip north along Pine Creek from Jersey Shore to what some call a "picture-postcard community" of Cedar Run, then continuing north beside the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania to Wellsboro. There are now two ways of doing it--by car or camper, or by bike. The 62-mile-long Pine Creek Rail Trail along Pine and Marsh creeks from Jersey Shore to north of Wellsboro is now open. The ride is 36 miles from Jersey Shore to Cedar Run and an additional 33 miles to the intersection of Routes 287 and 6. Brother Dayne and his bride Ruth loved to camp at Petticoat Junction at Cedar Run. The Cedar Run Inn, 570 353-6241, is worth a stop. So is the Cedar Run general store.It is great fun camping at Cedar Run, in Lycoming County, on a long, slowly bending part of Pine Creek. A train twelve or so years ago made its way up the Pine Creek valley. It would reach Cedar Run about 2 in the morning, but its whistle would proceed it up the valley by ten minutes. There was no sleeping as the train came up the valley. It is a joy to travel in that area. If you head into the mountains from the valley, you find wonderful scenery--and you'll spend little time on State Game Lands where the protectors of the wildlife gate all their roads and prohibit vehicle travel except during hunting season. The dirt roads of the mountains are well maintained and a pleasure to drive.In the valley, the villages of Slate Run and Cedar Run (named after the streams that tumble out of the mountains and join up with Pine Creek) are about ten miles apart. Yep. The mountain trout fishing is the best here! Coupled with Morris Run and Manor Fork, the streams and the terrain are breathtaking. Be aware that the slope to access Pine Creek is at times several hundred feet.At one time--and I suspect it is still this way--the road north of Cedar Run included the only one-lane, dirt, state-maintained road in the Commonwealth. On that stretch of road, the cliff on the west side of the narrow passage went straight up three hundred or so feet, and the road on the east side fell directly to the creek. Bob and Eleanor Sands, Dayne and Ruth Kline, and I each took our motor homes (well--Bob and Dayne had fifth-wheel campers) up this stretch of road, luckily not meeting any vehicles coming south. Dayne slowly and carefully crossed a "dog-leg" bridge. I made it across with my motor home. Bob was not so lucky. His rig was longer than the ones Dayne and I were driving. He got cross-threaded in the bridge, the back of the camper hitting the bridge in the back end, the truck pulling the rig hitting on the front end on the other side. We were stuck. Bob ended up backing his camper several miles to Cedar Run on a road wide enough only for an automobile. He had to eventually return to Jersey Short, then come north on Route 15 and join up with us in Wellsboro. As true friends would do, we had a cocktail waiting.Fairs...• The annual Wayne County Fair, August 7-15. Opens daily at noon. Route 191, Honesdale. $7. 253-5486.• Montrose Blueberry Festival, August 7-8, 9 AM to 4 PM. Entertainment, food, crafts, and games sponsored by the Susquehanna County Historical Society and Free Library Association. Proceeds benefit operation of Susquehanna County's library system, historical society, and museum. Village Green and Library Lawn, Montrose. 278-1881.
• The annual Pittston Tomato Festival, August 20-23. Downtown Pittston. More than fifty thousand people are expected to attend the four-day event that has been touted as one of the best festivals in Northeastern Pennsylvania. There is great food, a variety of live entertainment, a parade, 5K run, games, rides, arts and crafts, bingo and home-grown Pittston tomatoes. There will be tomato fights on Saturday, August 22 at 1:30 PM in the parking lot of Cooper's on the Waterfront Restaurant, 304 Kennedy Blvd., Pittston. The entry fee is $5, which includes use of protective eye goggles. All proceeds will benefit local charities.
• The Allentown Fair, September 1 through September 7. 302 N. 17 St. at Chew Street, Allentown. (610) 433-7541.
• Luzerne County Fall Fair, September 9-13. Call 675-FAIR for more information.
• Bloomsburg Fair, September 26-October 3, 2009. Call 784-4949 for more information.
August 2, 2009. It is the birthday of Rowan Weaver, Orangeville, John Sibly, Sugarloaf Townshi, and Colin Jones, son of Scott and Deb Jones and brother of Brady Jones. It is the annual Painter Den family picnic today. On this day in 1931, the New York Yankees began an unbelievable streak which lasted for 308 straight games without being shut out. On August 3, 1933, two years and one day later, the Philadelphia Athletics beat the New York Yankees, 7-0. Lefty Grove stopped the streak, blanking Ruth, Gehrig, Dickey and the Bombers, 7-0.
The annual firemen's parade was a success--as it always is. You can see the pictures of the parade by going here. These pictures can be emailed and downloaded. You can view all the pictures as a slideshow by going here.
Prizes for the floats were given to First Columbia Bank (first prize), Waller 4-H Club and the Benton Lions Club. Sixteen different fire companies participated in the parade. Loyalsock came the longest distance, Mahonoy City had the best looking fire company truck in its Engine 465, the best looking tanker was from Danville--Goodwill T-43. Espy had the best-looking aerial. The best-appearing rescue was from Bloomsburg (R-37). The best-looking quick attack was Tuckahoe and the best-looking brush came from North Mountain. Sugarloaf had the best-looking ambulance. The best-looking privately owned vehicle was from the Greenwood Friends School and the judge's award went to Millville R-232.Quickies...• Want to dig into the history of Columbia or Montour Counties? Volumes 1 & 2 of the Columbia and Montour County History are available as a free download. An excellent reference is the "Historical and Biological Annuals of Columbia and Montour Counties Containing A Concise History of the Two Counties and a Genealogical and Biographical Record of Representative Families." The illustrated book was in two volumes. Both were published in Chicago by J.H. Beers & Co, 1915.• Volume I is available at www.archive.org/stream/historicalandbi01unkngoog#page/n7/mode/1up .• Volume II is available at www.archive.org/stream/historicalbiogra02chic#page/n5/mode/2up .You should also know about other histories from nearby counties. Many of these histories were written more than 115 years ago. Without exception, these works tell of the achievements of men and women who, with few resources, accomplished some momentous things.• History of Bradford County, Pennsylvania, with Biographical Sketches By H. C. Bradsby, 1891.• Commemorative Biographical Record of Central Pennsylvania Including the Counties of Centre, Clearfield, Jefferson and Clarion Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Etc. Chicago: J. H. Beers, 1898.• History of Lackawana Valley by H. Hollister, M.D., 1869 and 1903.• History of Luzerne County Pennsylvania with Biographical Selections by H. C. Bradsby, Chicago, S. B. Nelson & Co. 1893.• History of Lycoming County Pennsylvania, edited by John F. Meginness; 1892.• History of Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, edited by Herbert C. Bell, Chicago, ILL.: Brown, Runk & Co., 1891.
• Genealogical & Biographical Annals of Northumberland County by J. L. Floyd, 1911.The high water of the weekend got people thinking about the value of the Benton dam. Ginny Mazzei proposed to repeat a very popular class at The Center, "Yoga for Better Breathing," but with a twist. She will call the class "We can ALL breathe easier – Save the Dam” as a catch-phrase. Previous sections of this workshop have filled to capacity. Rob Hutchison and Ginny are working out details, and a formal announcement will be made soon.Anyone who camps with me knows that I love Moonstruck eggs, the eggs prepared in the Cammareri and Castorini movie with Nicholas Cage and Cher. I prepared them often, but didn't know the correct name for the eggs. "World Wide Words" reveals that the eggs are properly known as toad-in-the-hole," a slice of bread with the center cut out. The bread is fried in butter and an egg placed in the hole and also fried.
We now move to the subject of bugs, thanks to an article from the writing of Kathi Arcuri. The title of this month's article is "Go Native."
With so many exotic ornamentals offered by the gardening industry, why plant ordinary natives?
Landscapers suggest many reasons--creating a sense of place, avoiding high-maintenance imports, protecting native species from extinction, etc. But according to entomologist Douglas Tallamy, in his new edition of Bringing Nature Home, the native versus alien decision is most importantly about bugs.
How so? Well, Tallamy maintains that insects are the linch pins essential to ecosystem biodiversity because they are directly or indirectly the most important food source for many higher organisms, including the birdlife we cherish. And bugs need plants to survive. In fact, insects are the world’s most efficient converters of plant energy into protein.
But just any plant won’t do. Insects require plant species that were part of their evolutionary ecosystem. In other words, our local bugs often can’t eat alien plants--no surprise then that many of these imported ornamentals are advertised as “pest-free.”
But isn’t this a gardener’s dream--no bugs? The problem is that a land without insects is also a land without most forms of higher life. To follow Tallamy’s argument, when you destroy native-plant habitats, you evict the insects that feed on them, even some of our favorites like monarch and viceroy butterflies; and you ultimately eradicate all the living things that either directly or indirectly depend on these insects, like bluebirds and wood thrushes and the black-capped chickadee.
What you get in place of these crucial native insects are aliens like Japanese beetles, gypsy moths, hemlock wooly adelgids, and azalea-lace bugs. To add insult to injury, these pests have usually hitched a ride with imports by the nursery trade. So by continuing to plant non-native ornamentals, we are allowing alien insects, which can be truly destructive, to increase and multiply, while native insects are being starved into extinction.
But if we attract native bugs to our gardens with native plants, won’t our plants look ragged and literally moth-eaten? Not likely, for Tallamy has also found that a healthy garden is in balance--a living community, teeming with all sorts of insect herbivores, insect predators, birds, amphibians, and small animals. In addition, other researchers note that up to ten percent leaf damage can occur before the average gardener even notices.
So if the native-plant movement is critical environmentally, how can a small-scale backyard gardener make a significant contribution to the effort? Isn’t this a job for large tracts of conservation land? Well, actually, the home gardener can make a huge difference. To learn why and how, tune in next month as this plea for native plants in our backyards and gardens continues.
August 1, 2009. It is the birthday of Brian Becker, Camp Hill; Shirley Keller, Dotyville; Barbara King, Benton; Carol Bath, Bendertown; and Seth Eyer, Millville. It will be warmer today than it was Friday. Thundershowers are possible through Tuesday.A steady stream of cars pulled off Park Street Friday afternoon following the deluge of rain which fell from about 9 AM until 4. The reason for the gawking was to look and wonder about the dam. The concrete barricades placed on the dam were holding and everyone was thankful. Pictures of the torrents of water coming over the dam are available for viewing here.Don Martini provided a neat video of Boeing showing off their sub-seeking Poseiden jet. You can find it here.Keep Rosalle Harrison in your prayers. She has spend four recent months in the hospital. She says that "Most of the time I feel good and go to see surgeons and cancer doctor." She is very homesick to get back to Pennsylvania from West Virginia.Krysten Ritter is busy making commercials at the moment. Here is one she is making for Banana Republic. The print-ad campaign (billboards, magazines, etc.) will launch in the fall. Kristen tends to take everything in stride. Her only comment: "Very exciting stuff."Sunday is the B. Frank Fritz family reunion at 1 PM at St. James church. Bring a covered dish and table service. More information is available here. Contact Barbara Fritz at bfritz (AT) epix.net for more information. In 2010, the gathering will be held Sunday, August 1, 2010, under the blue pavilion in Benton park. Bring a covered dish and table service.Exactly what the "Sixties" meant was always something I couldn't understand. It didn't seem to be as simple as "the years from the beginning of 1960 to the end of 1969." Some people always want to make things harder and these people define the Sixties as being from about 1963 to 1973. Some counties will remember the Sixties as the period when the allegiance to a motherland ended and civil war and dictatorships began. In politics, it generally meant an upturn for liberals with the election of John F. Kennedy as president. Christian and Social Democrats in Italy and the Labour Party in England came to power.
On these pages, we often look at a slice of time in our local area, but rarely do we look at music. Our early church upbringing was filled with happy memories of music. No song made me happier than singing about the Little Brown Church in the Vale, an actual church in Bradford, Iowa, immortalized by William Pitts in 1857 as he dreamed of his bride-to-be. The church was brown, the cheapest paint available. Pitts got $25 from a song publisher for the rights to the song. He used the money to enroll in Rush Medical College. The doctor practiced medicine until 1906. Traveling musicians loved the song and spread it across the United States and probably that is the way it initially made it both to Benton and into many song books.
Reading little snatches of writing from our ancestors gives us an idea of how music played a part in their lives. Fiddlers made their rounds hoping for a handful of a meal or a little money, playing tunes like "Turkey in the Straw" which set toes to tapping or feet to dancing.
Soon after World War I, rural young people began to abandon other amusements to spend the evening dancing. The waltz and other graceful round dances were largely superseded by the "Bunny Hug" and the "Turkey Trot." Dance halls and "road houses" began to invade the countryside. During the winter, dances were commonly held on Saturday night at the Isaac Walton barn with Jim "Ivory Knuckles" McHenry playing and Walt Kresge calling the dances. The Red Rock dance hall and the Light Street Grange were also popular. At exactly midnight, "Home, Sweet Home" was played so that no one danced on Sunday. The Pennsylvania Grange News wrote in 1918 that dancing in Grange halls was the "leading cause of disrupting many Granges in Pennsylvania."
Drama and musical comedy were important in rural entertainment. Versions of Harriet Beecher Stowe's UncleTom's Cabin, Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle and T. S. Arthur's Ten Nights in a Barroom toured the Commonwealth. These plays were instrumental in bringing religious people to watch drama. The musical comedy of Gilbert and Sullivan began thrilling audiences in places like the Catawissa and Benton opera houses.
Benton had its share of the minstrel shows. An example is the three-day minstrel of April 8-11, 1924, sponsored by the Benton Vocational School at the Universal Theatre, Market Street, in the location of Dr. Kowalski's office now. The dialog would never be used in today's world, but it was certainly unique. An example is a monologue given by Eleanor Sands entitled "Minnie at the Skating Rink." Here is an example of some of the lines: "Did I GIT run into by a ottymobile? I did not! Ner a streetcar, neither. I been learning to skate on roller skates. And never agin fer Minnie, never no more! Roller skates? I'm off'n 'em fer life." You can read the complete dialog here. Another example was Lonesome Cinderella, originally performed by Fanny Brice, but performed at the Market Street Universal Theater by Mary Savage and a chorus from the school. Some works from "Dreamy Melody" followed, including Toot, Toot, Tootsie, Goodbye.
The Universal Theatre was the scene on May 7, 1924, of a "Program of Music" Week. The school orchestra opened, followed by A Pickaninny Lullaby, presented by the girls glee club. Pickaninny at that time was sometimes used to describe African American children and it is possible that the song was performed in blackface.
Eleanor Sands presented a paper on "National Music." T. Carl McHenry and Leona Masten performed a vocal duet "I Feel Thy Angel Spirit." Dale Smith rosined up the bow and played "Midnight Bells" on his violin. Robert Edson presented a paper on the "Classification of Music." There were violin and piano duos. The men's chorus performed Hangin' Out De Clo'es, by Words-Elsie Duncan Yale and music by J. Lincoln Hall.
The black-face minstrel show, sparked by "Sambo" and "Bones," was eventually replaced by variety shows and ultimately by the movies--that is, until television came along! The occasional minstrel show took place in the upper Fishing Creek valley into the 1960s. Pam Thomas remembers going into school--about second grade--and repeating some of the jokes, which were considered risqué at the time, and her teacher raising her eyebrows and putting in a call to Pam's parents. Luckily, she was a family friend and was more amused than appalled, but it resulted in Pam'sparents informing the young girl that she was not to repeat any more minstrel jokes!
Music groups included male quartets, stringed hands, women's glee clubs, orchestras, and mixed choruses. There were one-act plays, music, folk games and pageants. About a hundred years ago, the movie, phonograph, and radio began to take over everything--except dancing.
The kinetoscope was invented by Thomas A, Edison in 1889, and in 1896 the Edison Company presented the first silent moving picture in a theater. In 1908, moving picture theaters were common in cities, but there were few in rural towns until after 1910. By 1920, more than half the movie theaters in Pennsylvania were in towns of less than 5,000. Benton's Universal Theatre, for example, was built in 1915 by Alonzo Houseweart. Mary Pickford was "America's Sweetheart" and Charles Chaplin's slap-stick comedy pleased the nation.
By 1910 the movie was the most popular amusement of rural young people, next to dancing, even though most pictures were concerned with sex, thrills and the glamour of urban life. About this time, schools and churches began using movies as propaganda, education and entertainment.
Play that dreamy melody that soothing refrain. Play it sweet and tenderly. I don't know why it haunts me so I seem to hear it everywhere I go. Play that magic harmony 'twill linger forever just like a memory. Oh let me dream and play for me that melody.
--Dreamy Melody, (Ted Koehler/Frank Magine/C. Naset, 1922)