December 31, 2009. It is the birthday of Silvia Vincent, Frank Gould, Marie Castrogiovanni and Richard Savage. It is the wedding anniversary of Deb and Scott Jones. Expect snow showers through Sunday, but it probably won't be a big deal.Tonight is special: it is the end of a year and the start of a new one, there will be a lunar eclipse and a "blue moon." The first full moon of December took place on December 2 and tonight is the second one of the month--a cycle that only repeats itself every 2.72 years. A full moon occurs every 29.5 days, and most years have 12. The last month with a blue moon was May 2007 and it won't repeat until August 2012.won't come again until 2028.
What a difference a hundred years makes! Here is a poem published June 4, 1908, in the Wilkes-Barre Times...
De moon is a hole in de sky so blue.
An' de man in de moon come a-lookin' th'oo,
A-makin' faces at me an' you.
Baby, won't you try foh to shet yoh eye
An' wake up in de mo'nin' by an'by?
To get you in a good mood for the long night ahead (and to give you an idea of what I am thinking), here are some definitions...
Tangent. A man just back from Florida.
Indorse. Where people in Pennsylvania stay in nasty weather.
Barium. What is done to the dead.
Buccaneer. What they charge for sweet corn in Florida.
Castanet. What a fisherman in Florida does to catch fish.
Playsuit. A garment that has more play than suit.
Mugwump. An animal that sits on the fence with its mug on one side and its wump on the other.
Borrower. A person who always wants to be left a loan.
Atoll. A body of coral surrounded by water that isn't an island at all.
Ferryboat. A boat that makes every passenger cross.
Playboy. A man who winters in Florida, summers in Canada, and springs at blondes.
Take a look at what the New York Times feels are the most significant pictures of the year 2009 by going here. To document the best pictures of the decade, go here.
The Columbia and Montour Counties 2010 Visitor's Guide--available at the Visitor's Centers in Bloomsburg and Danville and The Center in Benton--includes an abridged version of a story of The Twin Covered Bridges of Columbia County. The complete version follows...
The curiosity I had about the double bridges at Forks, Pennsylvania, often led me to peddle my bike from Benton to the "Twin Bridges" of Columbia County. When I arrived, I often met people who had spend many hours driving to find the historic structures.
There were four covered bridges at one time within a mile and a quarter of each other on streams known as Fishingcreek and Huntington creek. The number has now been reduced to three: the Josiah Hess bridge and a mile downstream the historic Twin Bridges on Huntington Creek.
The twin bridges were constructed in 1884 by W. C. Pennington and named for a sawmill operator, John Paden. These bridges--the 79-foot East Paden and the 103-foot West Paden--crossed Huntington creek only a few feet apart. They were the best of the best, I thought, set along a steep embankment over a creek known for its fury during the rainy season.
Father told me that the bridges were covered out of necessity to keep the sun and the rain off. Farmers actually shoveled snow onto the bridge for sleds and sleighs hauling logs and people. Father told me that uncovered bridges would not last longer than 15 years, while a covered bridge would last for my lifetime.
The twin bridges had signs with official-sounding names, which didn't impress this kid simply looking for the charm and innocence of childhood. There were barriers beside the entrances on both ends of the bridges. Entering the bridge was entering another world. The long view through the tunnel of bridge was of a wood-paneled room where pockets of sunshine lit up the beamed floor. As I gazed down the long corridor, through the bright sunshine in the space between the two bridges, I marveled at the almost identical space of the second bridge, I could see cattle grazing in the background on the far side of the two bridges. There was a calmness and a coolness in the bridge during a rainstorm and on a hot summer day. There was always a breeze at the windows of the bridge, as if the cool summer air wanted to escape. The creek below hurried as if looking forward to joining with Fishingcreek a little more than a quarter of a mile downstream.
As I rode my bicycle across the bridge, I could hear the planked wooden deck sound like a dance floor with hundreds of dancers. The shadows played off the walls like a silent melody, and I usually sang a song as I traveled from one side of the creek to the other. The bridge's worn walls were covered with carved initials, one of which read simply "Peter loves Mary."
The purpose of my trip was to cast a line into one of the eddies that formed under and around the bridge. I usually found a fisherman beside the bridge and would strike up a conversation with him. I dreamed of the day when I would be old enough to somehow steal a kiss as father and mother did as they were growing up. Mother even claimed that Father's horse was trained to stop in the middle of the bridge so that a kiss could take place. Father was very proud of his horse training, until one morning Grandfather and Grandmother were out for a ride and the critter stopped without being told to do so.
I never crossed the twin bridges in a car, but suspect that I would have held my breath as the vehicle made the 45° degree turn into the bridge, then dipped as the sagging bridge absorbed the weight, stiffened as the car rose and fell again as the second bridge was crossed.
As long as there are standing covered bridges such as these two bridges, both of which are on the National Register of Historic Places, there will be memories of a bygone era in Columbia County. As long as the twin bridges of Columbia County stand, visitors will flock to see them. The bridges are in Fishing Creek Township, east of Route 487 and a stone's throw east of Forks, off route 1020. Twin Bridges County Park was created in 1963 when a new road, 1020, eliminated the need for using the twin bridges for vehicular traffic. It is a place you need to see on your next trip to Columbia County.
The road that I would take to home
Runs close beside a crystal stream,
And through old wooden covered spans
Where beauty lies in every beam.
--William D. Mundell, 1937
John W. "Jack" Larned (November 6, 1920-December 22, 2009), Raski Road, Benton, died Tuesday at the Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, where he had been a patient for 10 days. He was 89. Jack maintained a home in the Benton area since the 1940s and also resided in Provincetown and Wellfleet, MA.
Jack was born in Tamaqua. He was a son of Harold and Mary (Gensemer) Larned. He was a 1938 graduate of Bloomsburg High School. Jack served as a Battalion Communications Chief, with the rank of sergeant, as a member of the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment of the famous 101st Screaming Eagles Airborne Division of the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1945. He was an internationally known artist. He studied at the Ecole Des Beaux Arts and the Academie Grande Chaumiere, Paris, France; the Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia; the Art Students League and Asia Institute, New York City; and with Hans Hoffman in New York City and Provincetown, MA. Jack taught art at Bloomsburg University and the Rhode Island School of Design, among others. His abstract expressionist oil paintings were shown in numerous galleries across the United States and Europe. Collections of his work are housed in many United States locations, the Czech Republic and Japan. He was the co-founder and teacher in the Benton Art School, along with his late wife, Eleni Pappavasiliew Larned, who passed away July 21, 1999.
Surviving are a daughter, Daria N. Larned, and a granddaughter, Eleni Larned, both of Benton, and a cousin, Mary Elizabeth (Frank) Fisk, Bloomsburg. A memorial service will be held in the future at a time and place to be announced. Arrangements are by the Dean W. Kriner Funeral Home, Benton. To sign the guest book or to send a message of condolence, please go to www.krinerfuneralhomes.com
December 30, the 364th day of the year with one day remaining until the end of 2009. It is the wedding anniversary of Chris and Pam Young and Roy and Betty Kilczewski. Matt Lauer of Today Show fame was born on this date in 1957. Eldrick Woods was born in 1975. He grew up to be a real tiger on and off the golf course. Our cold weather is over for this week as our clear skies turn overcast. Look for temperatures nearing the freezing mark. The trouble is that we will have some rain and snow on Thursday afternoon, with the possibility of snow both Friday and Saturday.
Robert Kelsey continues to ask for everyone’s supportive thoughts and prayers. Bob got home from the hospital on Christmas. He remains exhausted, but is reminded that the hospital stay was to be 8 to 10 days and because of the holiday and fairly good recovery he was home in seven days. There is a complication--a small leak at the point of incision between esophagus and stomach. He is on a feeding tube for another week and continues to be unable to eat or drink by mouth. He will be re-tested on New Year’s Eve day and hopefully he will be able to return to a more normal lifestyle. He now feels "like a nocturnal animal--beginning the feeding tube at 7 PM and ending at 7 the next morning." By his own admission, he has a "ways to go before I can say I am out of the woods. The biggest threat to me right now is complications from my other chronic diseases. So, I am trying to find a balance of pushing myself physically toward recovery, and yet not overdoing it and getting run down even more." Bob continues to need and appreciate your prayers and support.
Didja ever think of exercise as the work
that a person likes to do
because it is not work?
• Today's music is entitled "Born Again American." Listen and watch by going here.
• The boy scouts will sell Daloes pizza from December 29 to January 19. Proceeds will benefit the Benton dam project. If interested contact your local boy scout. Cheese, $4, Pepperoni, $4.75.
• The 2010 Farm Show , January 9 through 16, the largest indoor agricultural event in the country, has as its theme "Keeping Pennsylvania Growing." Expect nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits, and 270 commercial exhibitors. In addition, exhibitors can hope to tap into more than $561,000 in prize money. The 94th Farm Show promises will feature the best in youth livestock shows, cooking demonstrations, educational displays, celebrity contests, and some of the state’s most delicious foods.
• The Holy Family Church in Sugar Notch will be liable for a $500 per day fine if it allows 40 homeless men to sleep in the church basement for one week, according to a registered letter received by the church. The zoning commissioner has singled out this church from the 36 that are providing rotating shelter to homeless men. Schoolteachers have had to shovel a little green stuff under the table for years in order to get a job in Luzerne County. We suspect that a little laying on of the green would solve this problem, too! But this time is a little different. We suspect that a higher power will not take kindly to having to pay under the table to do the right thing.
• As we prepare to say good-bye to the old year, turn to the latest political animation as JibJab reviews the old year--Never a Year Like '09--at http://sendables.jibjab.com/originals/never_a_year_like_09 . This JibJab covers every subject and personality from David Letterman to Octomom. Balloon Boy. Tiger Woods, Jon and Kate, Obama and more. If there's one thing for sure in this world, it's that as long as people are acting reckless, insane and just plain stupid (meaning they are acting like people), there will always be plenty of material available for JibJab's annual "Year in Review" videos.
• Forbes online recently published its annual list of the most valuable college-football programs. Penn State has the third most valuable football program in the county after Texas and Notre Dame. Penn State is up from number 13 when wealth was last computed. The team is valued at $99 million and has an annual profit of $50 million. Many do not clearly understand that Joseph Vincent Paterno, the head of this giant corporation, also has time to be head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions, a position he has held since 1966. His salary of $1,030,000 is a bargain for the university. Read the article here.
• Mozilla's promise to release Firefox 3.6 is now "early 2010." Version 4.0, a major update, has been pushed back to late 2010 or early 2011.Quote of the Day:
"Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other."
The Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau released 115,000 copies of its 2010 Visitors Guide Tuesday for the many visitors of the area who come for hunting, fishing and hiking, the O.A.T.S. Bluegrass Festival, antique and art shops, covered bridges, Knoebels, the Bloomsburg Fair, Iron Heritage Festival and the Benton Rodeo. Guides are mailed out on request and are distributed at Pennsylvania Welcome Centers and rest stops.
Local residents are encouraged to pick up a free copy of the Visitors Guide at either their Bloomsburg (121 Papermill Road) or Danville (316 Mill Street) office. A full version is also available for instant download here. There are 100 copies for distribution at The Center.
The 2010 guide is a 68-page magazine with a pull-out map of the two-country region. One side features a two-county overview map, while the reverse side features road maps of Bloomsburg, Danville, and Berwick. The guide includes a section on “Nature at Its Best” with information on state-game lands, state parks, forests and natural areas, area trails, and key birding and fishing locations. There is an article “Ride’em Cowboy!” about the Benton Rodeo written by Betty Lou Stoneham, “Groovin’ to the Blues” on the happenings at the annual Briggs Farm Blues Festival, “Hand-Crafted Beer” on the steps of the Old Forge Brewing Company, “North Branch Canal Cruise” depicting a guided kayaking trip by Canoe Susquehanna, “A Cold, Winter Catch” telling visitors where to go ice fishing, “A Winter’s Kick and Glide” on the art of cross-country skiing, “Family Traditions” sharing the joy one family received in choosing and cutting their own Christmas tree each year at Kohl’s Stony Hill Tree Farm and “Discover What’s Covered,” providing readers more of an understanding of why covered bridges are covered. It was written by an up-the-creek writer.
December 29, 2009. It is the birthday of Amber Mae Holoman and the wedding anniversary of John and Shirley Hittle. Keep your speed down today during the snow showers and cold and windy weather.It is the birthday of Andrew Johnson, the 17th president of the United States. He was born in a two-room log cabin in Raleigh in 1808. Johnson grew up in poverty, had no schooling, was apprenticed to a tailor as a boy, and made his own clothes until he became a Congressman. His wife, Eliza, improved Johnson's reading ability at the age of 17 following their marriage. He once said, "It's a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word." With the assassination of Lincoln in April 1865, the Presidency fell upon this old-fashioned southern Jacksonian Democrat of pronounced states' rights views. Andrew Johnson's Presidency was a failure. He was the only southern Senator to oppose secession, calling it "hell-borne" and "hell-bound." He was impeached by the Senate for "high crimes and misdemeanors," but behaved with dignity and restraint during the trial.Reader's Comments...• A number of comments came in about Monday's card trick shown on the Benton News, all positive except for one reader who called the trick "fishy." Today, we'll show you "fishy!" Go here to see a better card trick than the one we showed you Monday. And this one is fishy!• Another reader suggested that I need to spend more time exercising. Heck, I get plenty of exercise; i.e., I stretch the truth, bend over backwards and right now I am running out of cash. I suppose that the reader was saying that I would have more spic if I had less span!• An email suggested that the best thing to give up on New Year's Eve is to give up giving up.Didja ever think that the baby who doesn't cry isn't nursed?A first-time homebuyer made me smile when he asked his realtor if he had to pay extra for shutters and awnings. "No, replied the realtor, "they are on the house."Here we go again! The federal government has set aside $300 million for the U.S. Department of Energy's State Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program, otherwise known as cash for clunkers for appliances. The government is unwrapping its incentive program to help the economy and the environment by convincing people it's time to replace big-ticket aging appliances--refrigerators, freezers, washers, dishwashers, central and room-air conditioners, air-source and geothermal heat pumps, boilers, and oil and gas furnaces--used in the home (not in a business). This isn't like "cash for clunkers." There isn't even a trade-in required. It is as simple as receiving a rebate ranging from $50 to $200 for buying a new, more energy-efficient appliance as a replacement for one you now own.
Details are being worked out on a state-by-state basis. Details for Pennsylvania have not been fully announced at this writing.
Shoppers will receive a discount. Shoppers who arrange to have their old appliance hauled away when their new one is delivered generally will receive a mail-in rebate of $50 to $100 for each old appliance. Shoppers should get a receipt from the hauler who carts away the old appliance. Old appliances with refrigerants, such as freezers and refrigerators, will get the highest rebates.
What you buy generally must be Energy Star qualified in order to get a rebate. California and Michigan require washers to be rated Tier 2 and Tier 3 by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency.
The Department of Energy approved on December 17 plans based on state population for 48 states, along with the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories. Get the latest state by state on the rebate program by going to www.energysavers.gov/rebates . The web site for Sears also provides information.
The program, which targets those who can afford to upgrade their appliances, could run out of money in weeks or at the most months. The start dates for most states have not been announced, but expect a whole lot of action in time for sales over President's Day in February and Earth Day in April.
Rebate amounts are up to the states, but will range from $50 to $250, and can be used in conjunction with manufacturer or utility rebates. Unlike the way the cash-for-clunkers program worked, don't expect dealers to help with the mail-in. Mail-in forms should be available at participating retailers. You might also be able to download the forms from the Web site of your state energy office. Expect that you'll have to provide proof that the old appliance was decommissioned in order to receive the rebate.
Pennsylvania expects to receive more than $16 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. About $10 billion will flow through commonwealth agencies and departments for education, projects such as infrastructure improvement and alternative energy, and support services such as Medicaid. Another $6 billion in direct tax relief and other direct assistance will go to residents, local governments, businesses and other entities. Currently, $1.2 billion has been awarded by the federal government directly to local governments, transit agencies, businesses, non-profit organizations and universities for a variety of projects and programs. Learn more by going here.
December 28, the 362nd day of the year. There are three days remaining until the end of 2009. Winter weather will be with us through Tuesday with snow showers each day. For those who have been in England and remember the Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, which on the west side of the Atlantic Ocean is usually known as Westminster Abbey, the traditional place of coronation and burial site for monarchs of the Commonwealth Realm, you might remember from your World History that the mighty church was consecrated on this day in 1065. And you thought that your grandmother's rocking chair was old!Today's "How Did They Do That" segment is simply a card trick, perhaps the best I have ever seen. Take a look here.This is a tough time of the year. We're no more over one holiday and we're into another. It's time for the New Year celebration. I'm not over some of the shocks we all encountered during 2009. One of our needs is to have a workable New Year's resolution--one that will stick around for 365 days--one that won't get broken a number of times. What is needed is a resolution sufficiently general not to be too specific and sufficiently specific not to be too general. It should be carried with us or kept where we'll stumble upon it in case we make a move to break the resolution. We need a resolution that we can relate to as a matter of experience, one that is a matter of encouragement and which convinces us to persevere. Here is an example...
Resolved: Not to get irritable, but to take life calmly and work well with others. Conclude that everything will turn out for the best. Don't pretend to know more than we know. Be more agreeable when you meet people. Look on the bright side of things, forget about worrying and participate in reasonable exercise. Take better care of your health.A couple of readers asked if I was going to publish my resolutions for the coming year as I did last year.My last year's resolutions, which I had actually forgotten, will be published by Roy Davis as part of his Tri City Record ramblings in his column on New Year's Eve. Roy has been on our email mailing list for several years. A column that Roy wrote notes that "recently David has moved his family operations to the land of palm trees, Bikinis, and palmetto bugs (cockroaches). As a result, his news publication has become somewhat sporadic." You'll be able to see Roy's column New Year's eve by going to www.tricityrecord.com/ .One of the things I always wanted to do (and most likely will never accomplish) was to attend a progressive-resolution dinner. There are twelve months in the year and in my wildest thoughts feel there should be twelve courses in the dinner. There should be twelve (or, hey, since this is only a dream, twenty-four would be nice) people taking part. Each person who participates should have one or more New Year's resolutions, humorous or serious, with the provision that nothing of an unkind nature can be said.The way that I would do it would be to write the resolutions on small cards and set around at the various plates. Similar cards would be left in other locations around the house. The resolutions should fit the people attending the progressive dinner. The cards should be distributed according to the names on the backs of the cards and no one could read any card except his own.During the meal, the women would remain seated, but the men would move one chair to the left after each course. Only the subject matter of the table cards could be discussed. Before the first course, the first resolution would be read. The resolutions pass around the table and all resolutions read before the coffee is served at the end of the meal. All the men are asked to make a short speech about a particular resolution which applies to him. Later, the women are asked to do the same. The impromptu speeches can be in the form of a song, a story or even a dance as long as it is related to the subject of the resolution.Why in heaven's name you ask would I wish for such a thing. I never have a clue what to talk about when I am with strangers. This procedure would help me a great deal to come up with subjects that others might find interesting.
Albert Pavalonis, Sr. (August 21, 1923-December 26, 2009) died Saturday at his Benton home. He had been in declining health for the past four years. He was 86. He was born in Warrior Run, Luzerne County. He was a son of the late Simon and Agnes (Keragus) Pavalonis. He attended the Sugarloaf School, Grassmere. Albert was a welder by trade and had worked for Luken Steel, Downingtown, in his younger years. He later worked for the Berwick AC&F until the plant closed in 1962. He had also done bridge work, farmed, and for a short time, worked for Girton Manufacturing, Millville. He was a member of the Raven Creek Presbyterian Church.
He and his wife, Betty Jean (Morris) Pavalonis, celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary on April 6. Surviving are his wife, Jean, and their sons Albert Pavalonis, Jr. (Doris), Bloomsburg; Gary E. Pavalonis (Ann), Powhatan, VA; Ted E. Pavalonis (Rose), Bainbridge. Also surviving are his grandchildren Jennifer Lehman (Kevin); Albert Gordon; Clifford (Mary); Landy; Brandon and Emily; his great grandchildren Noah, Lennon, Elexiella, Gabriel and Lucelia Lehman; a brother, John Pavalonis (Joann), Belle Vernon and a sister-in-law, Frances Pavalonis, Benton. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a son, Larry E. Pavalonis, who died June 6, 2006; and by brother George Pavalonis in 2007; Simon Pavalonis in 1986; Frank Pavalonis in 1988; Anthony "Tony" Pavalonis in 2006; Andrew Pavalonis in 2008; Blanche Pavalonis in 2003 and Lillian Falvey.
Funeral services will be held Thursday at 11 AM at the McMichael Funeral Home. Burial will be in the Raven Creek Cemetery. A viewing will be held Wednesday from 6 to 8 PM at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to the Geisinger Hospice, c/o Geisinger Medical Center, 100 N. Academy Drive, Danville, PA 17822. For online condolences or to sign the register book, go to www.mcmichaelfuneralhome.com .
December 27, the 361st day of the year with four days remaining until the end of the year 2009. It is the birthday of Nancy Leh, Harry Schlichter, Chris Dawson and Donna Laubach Moros. Donna Laubach and Edgar Moros Ruano celebrate their 49th wedding anniversary today. Edgar and Donna are preaching and administering Holy Communion in the Iglesia de Cristo, Calle Bravo Murillo, in Madrid, Spain, where they will also celebrate her 70th birthday.
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel is our fervent prayer for the whole world. Peace on Earth.
--Donna Laubach Moros, retired PCUSA mission co-worker
I heard a term Saturday that I haven't heard in a long time. Father often used the phrase to indicate a condition that was symbolic of the American character. Father liked to listen to boxing on the radio and he frequently said that a fight was not "on the level." Whatever team played the Phillies was often "not on the level." Father would talk about old-time fighter John L. Sullivan and would quote Sullivan saying "I made a million, make it all myself and made it "on the level." I don't know how Father knew it, but he always said that Sullivan couragely signed every letter he wrote "Yours truly, John L. Sullivan, Always on the level."
Because Father did everything to keep "on the level" (or as he sometimes said "on the square"), he was the kind of person who personified the difference between a pessimist and an optimist. Father never asked if there was any cream in the pitcher, he simply commanded, "pass the cream."
Father always felt that it was a long, hard climb to reach success--and the only way to achieve it was by "keeping on the level."
This subject comes up today because a man I had not previously met told me that he wanted to "level with me" about something involving deer hunting in the Commonwealth that he wasn't happy about. Our conversation degraded into a tirade by me on a term he used, although we eventually agreed on his position about deer hunting. What got me off to a bad start was his use of the word "harvest," actually a word I have used in writing columns for the Benton News. The word isn't one I like.
In my view, the word "harvest" is used much too often to describe the killing of some animal--deer, bear, coyotes, whatever. We don't harvest the critters, we kill them! Why can't we just say that? We might catch the critter in traps or blow them apart with a shotgun or rifle. We gather their horns or skin them for display in front of the fireplace or mount them for conversation pieces on the mantle. These critters are killed not harvested! They aren't like a field of wheat or barley or oats. We don't kill these crops--we harvest the crops. We don't harvest the animals of the wild--we kill them.
The term used in my otherwise casual conversation Saturday always interested me in its slow migration from "on the level" and "on the square." In whatever way the term is used, it means in all sincerity, it implies honesty, what is conveyed is the "real McCoy."
All of derivations of the term come from the ritual of Freemasonry and are probably as old as the society. For those unfamiliar with the rites of Masonry, the level, an instrument used by builders to determine a common plane, is actually a symbol of equality. The square, an instrument of equally great precision for determining accurately an angle of ninety degrees, the fourth part of a circle, is a symbol of morality, truth and honesty.
The "Encyclopedia of Freemasonry in its edition of 1916 includes the following story... "In the year 1830, the architect, in rebuilding a very ancient bridge called Baal Bridge, near Limerick, in Ireland, found under the foundation stone an old brass square, much eaten away, containing on its two surfaces the inscription date 1517," which read...
I, will, striue, to liue.--
With , Loue & Care.--
Upon, the Leul.--
By, the, Square.
Life does seem to boil down to the fact that the farther over you lean, the easier it is to fall. The safe rule is to keep the sense of perpendicular. There are far too many people in this world who lean over too far; sooner or later they are bound to fall. The boy who can't exist happily without a cell phone, the girl who needs the latest clothes she cannot buy, the person whose salary runs short of expenses, the businessman who forgets his business for the high life, the married woman whose craze for admiration leads to stares on the street--all have lost their sense of the perpendicular. The farther you lean the sooner you'll fall. Don't fly too high. Keep your aircraft on a level plain. If everyone kept on the level, this would be a wonderful world.
Quote of the Day:
"I know that there are people who do not love their fellow man, and I hate people like that."
Now that I am on a forced diet, here is a little ditty to show the predicament I am in:
How sweet 'twould be
to have a hip
That wouldn't let
My trousers slip.
It has been months since Hollywood released a movie Kay and I wanted to see or that our health permitted us to see. Things changed over the Christmas holiday when we saw two "keepers." The first was "The Blind Side," in which Leigh Anne Touhy, played by Sandra Bullock, invites African-American teenager Michael Oher, played by Quinton Aaron, into her Memphis home and the family life. Michael Oher later was selected in first round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens.
The second movie worth seeing was the 161-minute 3-D version of Avatar written and directed by James Cameron and set in 2154 on planet Pandora where flying dragons and creepy-crawlies live. Any other movie in memory is second rate when it comes to visual-effects, creature makers, stunt men, music and sound people. Cameron wrote the story, but then found out there wasn't anyone who could put it together until he hired the best in the business. Take a look at the trailer by going to www.heatvisionblog.com/2009/10/new-avatar-trailer.html . There is an especially strong performance by the villain of the movie, who is the head of security.
December 26, 2009. It is the birthday of Ray McCourt. The "S" word is possible Monday and Tuesday.Quickies...• The 2010 Audi A8 Firebelch 500--the basic model starts at 4,409 pounds and $74,550--will offer something that no other car's ever had: from-the-factory integration of Google Earth. Readouts will provide 3D satellite imagery, terrain information and a wealth of additional geo information relevant to your current location ranging from Wikipedia to learn more about your surroundings or Panoramic images to get another view. I suspect that more cars of the future will include this package.• Getting a lot of spam telephone calls? Head to www.attorneygeneral.gov/dnc.aspx and see if your landline number is registered in the Do Not Call list. You are you say? Well, didja know that registration on the Do Not Call list was only valid for five years. You must re-register. Make sure that your home telephone numbers, including cell phones, are on the list by re-registering. And, if you have never registered for the list before this is your chance. The process is quick and easy. Enroll your telephone numbers, verify your enrollment, review details about the Do Not Call law or file a complaint if you have been receiving calls in violation of the law. If you prefer to enroll by telephone, use the Do Not Call hotline at 1-888-777-3406. Consumers should register before February 15, 2010, to have their names added to the next list, which will be available to telemarketers beginning April 1, 2010. You should begin to experience a reduction in telemarketing calls 30 days from that time.
Orchid L. (Coonce) Carlson died peacefully at home in her sleep on Tuesday, December 22, 2009, the day she was to move to Benton and into the home of Joe and Lorraine Feola. She was 82. Orchid lived most of her life in Kearny, New Jersey. She was very active in the Kearny PTA, alumni association, and band parents association. She was instrumental in raising $75,000 to repair the high school pipe organ. She was a volunteer at West Hudson Hospital, and was a member of the optimisses. Orchid retired from Kearny High School as the principal's secretary after 35 years. She is survived by her husband, David C. Carlson, and her children, David C. Carlson, Lorraine M. Feola, Raven Creek, and Richard L. Carlson. She was the sister of Delbert Coonce. She is also survived by 12 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Kearny High School Alumni Association. Visiting will be on Saturday from 2 to 6 PM at the Wilfred Armitage and Wiggins Funeral Home, 596 Belgrove Dr., Kearny, New Jersey. The funeral service will begin at 5:30 PM in New York City.
December 25, 2009. It is the birthday of that old Silver Fox, Ralph Ford, Huntington Mills. It is Christmas, the day that Shakespeare once said turned all griefs and quarrels into love. It is the day to "Rejoice," as an old Christmas carol went, "Our Saviour he was born on Christmas day in the morning." Dickens wrote that "Christmas is the only holiday of the year that brings the whole human family into common communication."It is good to be children or act like children sometimes, and it is never better than at Christmas, since its founder was a child himself.Then pealed the bells more loud and deep.
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep!
The wrong shall fail,
The right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men!"--LongfellowOur modern Christmas is very commercialized; i.e., folks asked for iPhones, iPad touch and iPod Nanos, money, laptop computers and other goodies. There was a glut of Christmas bargains in the stores this year.Fortunately children don't let go of the mystery side of Christmas and love to hear the old tale of how...One night when stars were shiningAnd shepherds watched their sheep,A mother laid her babyWhere the oxen sleep.Mary was that mother,Christ that baby fair;Angels sung in gladnessBecause the Lord was there.I remember being at an art exhibit many years ago when a lady and I were both looking at the same painting. She casually said to no one in particular that she didn't see anything wonderful in the painting. I immediately concluded that she was someone who would never be happy with much of anything in life. I said to the lady as I walked away, "Don't you wish that you did?"Make sure that you see the beauty of the day we are having today and the marvels of what happened in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. Cold, hard facts are sometimes overridden by things that your eyes can't see, by things that mankind has hoped for, believed in, lived by and died by. There are things in this world besides what your eye can see, your hands touch, your ears hear and your telescope reveals.Christmas is the time to become like little children once more--teachable, reverent and responsible. Longfellow put it best in one of his poems..."Listen to voices in the upper air,Lose not thy simple faith in mysteries."What happened in Judea twenty centuries ago is perhaps not recorded in the exact, detailed account that a skilled reporter or historian would do it today. But we know something out of the ordinary took place much like the world's most-read book says. We may not know to the last degree of historical accuracy, but we do know that it was a turning point for troubled and sinning humanity. What took place at that time caused the world's wisest men to think about what the event meant for future generations. The glory of the Lord was in that Bethlehem stable that day and remains with all of us on Christmas day 2009.It was at one time that Christmas presents were more simple than they were this year; i.e., a necktie for grandpa, grandma got a new Bible, mother got a book of poems, father would get a vest or tie, sister got a handkerchief and brother got a muffler. That was it. Everyone was happy, which proves that there is more happiness in giving than in receiving. But that isn't quite said correctly. It isn't the giving that counts, not providing something valued in dollars and cents, not just transferring something from our hands to the hand of someone else. What is important is the longing to give, the desire to be the cause of another's happiness. Wishing to help should not take a Christmas day to manifest itself. As long as Christmas continues to provide good-fellowship this day will continue to be the richest twenty-four hours in all the year.Our weather for the next few days will be anything but springlike, but get out and help make some less fortunate family a happy one. If the weather doesn't permit, take the time to sit back and relax. See a movie or read a book--or better yet, read two. Two Christmas stories will live for time immemorial. One is the actual story of the Nativity in the Bible and the second is Dickens' "Christmas Carol." At the end of the 19th century, "A Christmas Carol" had readership second only to that of the Bible. The movie "A Christmas Carol." with Jim Carrol, is currently making its rounds. The Charles Dickens idea of Christmas meant mistletoe and pudding. It didn't mean resurrection from the dead or the rising of new stars or the teaching of Wise Men or the parables of shepherds. The story was of a single night's crash course about the power of man to correct his mistakes and redeem his future without appealing to a higher power.While we are involved in making others happy we need to help those less fortunate and to give thanks to Him who makes possible our own prosperity and happiness. As a nation, we have a day set aside for thanksgiving. Christmas, on the other hand, is a day when thanks should be offered up for the situation in which we find ourselves.Merry Christmas to all readers of the Benton News.
• In case you are planning to go over the hill to Grandma's house this afternoon, you may find rain that freezes in the first couple of hours of its falling with temperatures in the 20s. Precipitation will cover the area Friday. As temperatures climb above the freezing point, sleet and snow are possible. For road conditions, call 511 or go to www.511pa.com . For conditions on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, call 866 976-8747, or go to www.paturnpike.com.
• Banking at the Benton branch of the First Columbia Bank & Trust was a pleasure on Christmas Eve as Kathleen McKenzie, 19, played beautiful music on the flute. Speaking of the bank, teller Eileen Hess went into labor while at work Monday and now she and husband Matt are the proud parents of Cassidy Lynn Hess, six pounds, one ounce, 20½ inches long.
• If you aren't satisfied with a present you received on Christmas Day, you may be able to regift it by going here, a remarkable web site.
Weldin B. Roberts (September 3, 1916-December 23, 2009), Mt. Pleasant Road, Bloomsburg, died Wednesday at the home of his son and daughter-in-law, John and Patti Roberts. He was 93. He was born in Morrill, Nebraska. Weldin was a son of John and Laura (Laubach) Roberts. He was a 1934 graduate of Benton High School. He once was employed by Neil S. Harrison where he delivered bottled gas. He worked as a dairy farmer and was a mechanic for the former Neyhart Garage and later for Elmer Young. He drove school bus for the Central Columbia School District for many years. He was an active member of the Orangeville United Church where he served on the consistory and was an elder, deacon and a trustee. He had also served on the Central Columbia School District School Board.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 64 years, M. Ruth (Wilson) Roberts, who died February 5, 2005. Surviving, are his children David A. Roberts (Marie), Johnson City, TN; Jane E. McHenry (Lester), Danville; John W. Roberts (Patti), Bloomsburg; Dean L. Roberts (Judy), Bloomsburg; a foster son, George Drumheller (Beverly), Scranton. Also surviving are 10 grandchildren, 6 great grandchildren, numerous foster grandchildren and great great grandchildren; a sister, Mary Peterson, of Berwick. In addition to his wife, Ruth, he was preceded in death by brothers Ralph Roberts, who died in childhood; Ernest Roberts and Carlton Roberts.
Funeral services will be held Monday at 11 AM at the McMichael Funeral Home. Burial will be in St. James Cemetery. A viewing will be held Sunday from 6 to 8 PM at the McMichael Funeral Home. For online condolences or to sign the register book, go to www.mcmichaelfuneralhome.com .
Thursday, December 24, 2009. It is Christmas Eve. Logan Ackerman and Rodney VanPelt celebrate their birthdays today. Ted Whitenight remains a patient in Geisinger Hospital.
In the old days, as stories often start out, the Christmas holidays began on Christmas Eve and ended on January 6--the Twelfth Night. During this period there was feasting and merrymaking carried out on a much more elaborate scale than it is today. The eves of great ecclesiastical festivals were historically times of fasting and penance. In the case of Christmas Eve, it seems that rulers who were high muckety-mucks decided that the night before the celebration of the birth of the Child should be one of merriment.
Early in the Christian era, Christmas Eve became almost as important as Christmas Day. The importance of Christmas Eve has prevailed in Germany much longer than in other countries. Children sat up half the night waiting for Saint Nicholas to come and trim the tree which their parents had set up. The parents had food and drink in honor of the Christ Child who was born "on the morrow."
The Mummers often called "Kris Kringles," came from the English Christmas Eve of centuries ago. Men and women would dress in fantastic costumes and masks, then go from house to house telling coarse jokes and singing songs. Church fathers feared that the disgraceful scenes of the old Roman feasts were being revived and they introduced miracle plays in which the Mummers played a part. These dramas continued for centuries and have evolved into our Christmas charades and pantomimes.
The Lord of Misrule is another Christmas Eve custom. The Mayor of London would appoint a man to lead the revelers of Christmas Eve and be known as the "Lord of Misrule." Often he was the king of the festival until Twelfth Night when he abdicated.
Christmas Eve had a supernatural side in many countries, perhaps because the Church has hallowed the night above all others of the year. The shepherds keeping watch over their flocks announced the message of His birth and this is possibly the origin of the midnight mass of Christmas Eve celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church.
In some locations in Europe, milk was set outside the houses while the midnight mass was being sung as food for the Christ Child and His mother. This custom had its origin in the Feast of Juul.
At one time, some believed that animals had the gift of speech on Christmas Eve. The custom probably had its origin with the legend of the cattle bowing in adoration before the Child in the manager at Bethlehem.
Spain had a beautiful tradition which accounts for the fact that in nearly every room of the Spanish home is a picture of the Savior. This is because of the belief that when the hour of midnight strikes on Christmas Eve, the Virgin brings blessings to every house where she can find an image or portrait of her son.
Italy had a large flesh-colored doll as a representation of the Christ Child. This figure was supposed to possess miraculous powers in healing the sick on Christmas Eve. In France at one time, there was a belief that while the midnight mass was being chanted, hidden treasures were revealed. In Russia, the people believed that the waters of springs were turned to wine and those who didn't accept the miracle would die. In Germany, a representation of the Christ Child would appear on Christmas Eve--usually a girl with golden hair who left presents for the children.
The idea of hanging up one's stockings on Christmas Eve dates back many centuries to Italy, where the children hung up their stockings and prayed to the Holy Kings who were on their way to the newborn King. In Spain, the children always left a little hay or straw outside the door for the horses of the Wise Men.
The celebration of Christmas Eve began many centuries ago. However you choose to celebrate your Christmas Eve, we wish you a Merry Christmas tomorrow as you celebrate in the fashion of your family whether it be Back Home in Benton, PA, or elsewhere. Our wishes are with you for Happy Holidays and a Healthy New Year.
Quickies...• Congratulations to Dave Root, recipient of the Press Enterprise "Most Valuable Player" designation for his participation in Benton boys soccer. He was of great help to the team which played in the state championships.
• Friendship is the feeling in our hearts which induces us to seek the company of another chosen by us among all the people we meet, in whom we hope to find support, whose welfare we cherish, with whom we want to do good, and wish to associate as long as possible. Friendship isn't limited to humans. Take the time to watch Surya, an orangutan, when he meets a hound dog and a true friendship develops. Go here for the story.
• Feel like going tiger hunting? Ever since his car crashed into a tree outside his Florida home, Elin Nordegren has been chasing Tiger Woods with her golf clubs as more and more women claim they've had affairs with the ace golfer. Try the new tiger-hunting game at http://tinyurl.com/yza7sek . Use the up and down controls to navigate.• Here are the results of Monday night's fire-company elections. The officers for 2010 will be:
President: Dave Albertson
Vice President: Luther Spiece
Recording Secretary: Betsy Hartman
Financial Secretary: Cindy Matthews
Treasurer: Gary Elliot
Fire Chief: Ron Robbins
1st Asst. Chief: Carl Spiece
2nd Asst. Chief: Dan Jankowski
Ambulance Supervisor: James Albertson
Trustees: Rob Conner, Wilson Lynn and Jim MatthewsJes' a little bit o' feller I remember still
Ust to almost cry fer Christmas, like a youngster will.
Fourth o' July's nothin' to it! New-Year's ain't a smell:
Easter-Sunday-Circus-Day-jes' all dead in the shell!
Lordy, though! at night, you know, to set around and hear
The old folks work the story off about the sledge and deer,
And 'Santy' skootin' round the roof, all wrapped in fur and fuzz
I knowed who
'Santy Claus' wuz!
Ust to wait, and set up late, a week or two ahead:
Couldn't hardly keep awake, ner wouldn't go to bed:
Kittle stewin' on the fire, and Mother settin' here
Darnin' socks, and rockin' in the skreeky rockin'- cheer;
Pap gap', and wunder where it wuz the money went,
And quar'l with his frosted heels, and spill his liniment:
And me a-dreamin' sleigh-bells when the clock 'ud whir and buzz,
I knowed who
'Santy Claus' wuz!Do you remember how as kids we would sit up late on Christmas Eve, waiting for Santa Claus to appear? Do you remember how we would...
Size the fireplace up, and figger how 'Old Santy' could
Manage to come down the chimbly, like they said he would:
Wisht that I could hide and see him-wundered what he'd say
Ef he ketched a feller layin' fer him thataway!
But I bet on him, and liked him, same as ef he had
Turned to pat me on the back and say, 'Look here, my lad,
Here's my pack-jes' he'p yourse'f, like all good boys does! '
I knowed who
'Santy Claus' wuz!
Wisht that yarn wuz true about him, as it 'peared to be
Truth made out o' lies like that 'un's good enough fer me! -
Wisht I still wuz so confidin' I could jes' go wild
Over hangin' up my stockin's, like the little child
Climbin' in my lap to-night, and beggin' me to tell
'Bout them reindeers, and 'Old Santy' that she loves so well
I'm half sorry fer this little-girl-sweetheart of his-
She knows who
'Santy Claus' is!
--James Whitcomb Riley
December 23, 2009. It is the birthday of Rob Stuehrk, Donna Remley and former Rep. Robert Walker. Victor Borge died on this day in 2000. One of his best skits, a twist on the Hungarian Rhapsody, was done by Borge and his friend Zhahan Azruni. Go here to keep Victor Borge in mind. Keep Ted Whitenight in your prayers. Ted was released from the Bloomsburg Hospital Tuesday, but was later taken to the Geisinger.Quickies...• Do you know someone who could use a temporary, part-time job as a census taker for the 2010 Census? The U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting! These short-term jobs offer good pay, flexible hours, paid training, and reimbursement for authorized work-related expenses, such as mileage incurred while conducting census work. Best of all, census takers work right in their own communities. Census-taker jobs are excellent for people who want to work part-time, those who are between jobs, or just about anyone who wants to earn extra money while performing an important service for their community. Go here for more information.• A reader wanted a copy of the music program videos from the Presbyterian Church program Sunday night. I didn't know how to send the files to her, but she told me about the program where you can send large files by going to www.yousendit.com and uploading them. The company sends the recipient an email with a link to download within two days. No need to register or anything. Pretty spiffy! And it's free.• The CD "Happy Rabbit Songs for Elizabeth" is now available from Dan Stoneham II at the Sub Shop, The Center, D.R.'s, Creekside Restaurant, the Steve Shannon Tire Stores in Benton and Berwick and "wherever else they may pop up." The $10 CD features songs Dan wrote for his niece. In several locations, a dollar of the sales price is donated to the "Save the Benton Dam" fund. Scott Fritz of Schoolhouse Music said it was "the perfect CD to introduce music to youngsters." Music for a second album is complete and look for the next album in the spring. Elizabeth is a very lucky girl!• Didja know that of the world's twenty largest oil companies, fifteen are state-owned? Gigundus Exxon-Mobile with $16 billion in cash, a book debt/total capital ratio of 8%, and a AAA credit rating produced 2.4 million barrels of oil and 9.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day in 2008. The company is the world's largest refiner with 36 refineries, and it is one of the world's largest manufacturers of commodity and specialty chemicals. To see where this behemoth of a company stands among the biggest of the big, turn to http://tinyurl.com/ycgwwzr .
• Musical entertainment for today comes from puppets. Think of a Christmas song you would like to hear and type it in and they will sing it for you, although they did have trouble remembering the words to "12 days of Christmas" and they stumbled a bit over "Jingle Bell Rock." Pay a visit to www.sundog.net/carolofthechins/flash/card.swf . Take the kids along.
• Worn out tonight? Can't sleep. How 'bout watching a classic movie for free on your computer. Turn to www.archive.org . A silent film of the "Hunchback of Notre Dame" with Lon Chaney is available here.The discussion over the coffee table has taken a turn to the subject of earthquakes and the role that geothermal might play in triggering them. The theory is simple; i.e., construct a plant to tap water trapped in hot rocks relatively near the surface of the earth. Then pump water down a borehole until it reaches the superheated rocks, the water will turn to steam, the steam will rise to the surface and power electricity-generating turbines. Whatever steam is left over can heat adjacent homes.Sometimes the simplest plan becomes the hardest to implement. During construction of a geothermal plant in Switzerland in 2006 which was designed to create enough power for 10,000 homes, a series of tremors resulted in $9 million in damage to the local community. All this took place when pressurized cold water was forced into the earth to open up fractures in the rock to pores for water to run through. The "shakes" began. The drilling company stopped pumping when the drilling site was found not to be in a seismically stable area. Work subsequently stopped on a similar project in California where quakes might also happen.Some will say this is a stretch, but you might want to look at the history of earthquakes in our Commonwealth, which you can find by turning here . Related fracking is becoming a way of life in Pennsylvania...
Kathryn A. "Kay" Hess (January 18, 1922-December 20, 2009), Blue Bell, Montgomery County, died Sunday at Normandy Farms Estates, a nursing facility at Blue Bell where she was a patient for two years. Her death followed a lengthy illness. She was 87.
She was born in Fishingcreek Township. She was a daughter of Arthur J. and Bessie M. (VanLiew) Hess. Kay was a 1939 graduate of Benton High School and a 1943 graduate of the former Bloomsburg State Teachers College. She received her masters degree in education from Penn State University. She taught in the Colonial School District at Plymouth-Whitemarsh and Conshohocken for 41 years, retiring in 1984. Most of her teaching career was spent in teaching fifth and sixth grades. She was a member of the Asbury United Methodist Church.
She was preceded in death by her sister, Frances E. Hess, on Nov. 1, 2004; by a brother Richard A. Hess; and a great-nephew, Christopher Hatfield, in October 2004. Surviving is a niece, Kathy J. Hatfield, Sewell, NJ; great-nieces Heather Novak, Wilmington, DE, and Jennifer Hatfield, Barrington, NJ; and a great-great nephew, Jonathan Hatfield, Vineland, NJ. Private services will be held at the convenience of the family with interment to follow in Jonestown Cemetery. There will be no calling hours. Arrangements are by the Dean W. Kriner Funeral Home, Benton.
December 22, 2009. It is the birthday of Dick McHenry and Mary Janney. Sunny and cold is the order of the coming days--but, wait! What is this on the radar screen for Friday? Cloudy, snow and ice possible.Quickies...• For good music, join John McHenry, Camp Hill, and others for the Christmas holiday radio show--The Good Life Café--on WITF FM 89.5 Saturday, December 26, at 8 PM. It is also simulcast on the web on their Chambersburg affiliate. The link is on the www.witf.org home page. The show is re-broadcast Sunday afternoon. John is the son of Ira and Lois McHenry (deceased) and the grandson of Jay and Irene McHenry (deceased), Benton.• What a wonderful world we live in! A message of peace and love for this holiday season can be found in the video of the cat and the deer, which you can find here.• The ladies auxiliary dinner at the Benton VFW takes place January 29 from 5 to 8 PM. The dinner is pork and sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and a variety of desserts. Immediately following the meal will be music by "DJ Herr."• Santa Claus is streaming live every day this week including Christmas Eve from 6 PM to 10 PM at http://is.gd/5qxVR .• The family and friends of Phyllis "Jeannie" McBride will hold a luncheon in her memory on January 9 at 1 PM at the Benton Christian Church. Covered dishes are welcome but not necessary. If more information is needed, please call 204-5244.
• Today's best Christmas card came from Ashland University. See the card by going here.• Berwick has its Christmas Boulevard, but frankly it doesn't quite compare to the live nativity of the manger scene--the Spanish way of celebrating Christmas--in El Escorial, the residence of the king of Spain in the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Visitors see the Belen, then drink some hot chocolate and eat some special cookies, called polvorosas. Take a look here.• It isn't just in Luzerne County where evildoers lurk (although sixty-eight residents of Luzerne County want to get on the gravy train and be appointed County Commissioner to replace former Commissioner Greg Skrepenak. Skrepenak resigned last week after federal agents filed a charge of accepting a $5,000 bribe.) Take the boys in Harrisburg. How 'bout when Attorney General Tom Corbett announced felony corruption charges against Rep. William DeWeese, whereupon fellow House members gave Mr. DeWeese a standing ovation? Rep. DeWeese is the second former Speaker arrested on corruption charges in this administration. And how 'bout the additional Medicaid funding for specific states including Nebraska and the exemptions for certain insurance companies in the Senate health-care bill? And what do you think about the American Medical Association officially endorsing the measure? Do you know what is in the 2,074 pages of the Senate bill? You can by reading the bill--the short title of which is the "Affordable Health Choices Act."• We are somewhat dismayed that former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani has decided not to run for the Senate.
What stockpile of natural gas far below earth's surface makes the most sense--Marcellus shale in the Appalachian basin, with an estimated 167 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in place--or the Haynesville shale play in eastern Texas and northwest Louisiana found in a vein approximately 11,000 feet underground--or the Barnett shale play with more than 500 operating wells?We certainly know which one we hope will be the most successful for everyone involved. If you want to know more about natural-gas drilling, you can turn to a video with a slant toward educating the viewer on how the Haynesville shale can revolutionize how we view energy. The movie takes you to the people, family and local community level. The movie is for those involved with the natural-gas industry--landowner to CEO. You can see a trailer for "Haynesville the Movie" by going here. Phone-in orders for the movie can be made to 888 606-6874.
Brenda E. Kalie (December 5, 1969-December 20, 2009) died Sunday at her home in Orangeville on Savage Hill Road after a lengthy and brave battle with cancer. She was 40. Brenda was born at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville. She was a daughter of Robert J. Kalie, Orangeville, and the late Deanna (Crebs) Kalie, who died in August 1990. Brenda was a graduate of Benton High School, class of 1988. She graduated from Williamsport Area Community College with an associate degree in accounting. She worked at the Klingerman Nursing Home, Orangeville, while in school. She was later employed by Columbia County Farmers National Bank/First Columbia Bank and Trust in the operations department until her death. She was a member of Christ the King Church of Benton.
She is survived by her father and by her step mother, Margaret L. "Peg" Kalie; her siblings Robert Dean Kalie, Orangeville; Melissa Kalie Fox (David), Dushore; Christopher M. Kalie (Cally), Orangeville. Also surviving are several step brothers, step sisters, nieces and nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Memorial services will be held Saturday, December 26, 2009, at 2 PM at the McMichael Funeral Home. Contributions may be made in her memory to the American Cancer Society, Columbia County Unit, 1948 E. Third St., Williamsport, PA 17701. For online condolences or to sign the register book, go to www.mcmichaelfuneralhome.com .
Pictures and two videos from the Sunday evening Christmas music program at the Presbyterian Church with the Lumpkin family, Jean, Jeremy, and Al, joined by friends, Warren and Ann Fisher and Judy Ellis, are available for viewing by clicking here.
December 21, 2009. Happy birthay to coaching great Joe Paterno and happy anniversary to Joe and Loraine Feola. Bob Maynes served on the U.S.S. Chepachet (A.O. 78) from July 8, 1944, to this day in 1945. He recorded part of the struggle of the Pacific conflict, experienced some very exotic ports of call and preserved his thoughts and deeds and those of the crew in The Unofficial Log of the U.S.S. Chepachet, which is available to read here.Here is today's Christmas song, this one from Merry Old England. Go here to listen.Didja ever stop to think that if a relationship has to be a secret,
you shouldn’t be in it?Didja ever wonder why the tradition of the Christmas tree? Some date the first lighted Christmas tree back to Martin Luther. The story goes that, while strolling through the countryside one Christmas eve, his thoughts turned to the nativity of the Christ Child. He was impressed with the beauty of the heavens and the wintry landscape. And he observed the snowflecked evergreen trees sparking in the moonlight.When he arrived home, he told his family of the experience. In attempting to reproduce the scene for them, he attached lighted candles to a small evergreen to reproduce the reflection of the star-lit heaven on the snowladen forest trees. This, some say, was the first lighted Christmas tree.Christmas is a time of family tradition. And one of the most important of all family traditions is the family Christmas tree. Time spent decorating the tree--and the ornaments that go on the tree--reflect the taste, the style and the heritage of the family and lend a spirit of sharing to the Christmas season.
Of all the beautiful flowers available at the Christmas season, the one that carols "Merry Christmas!" the clearest of all is the traditional vivid poinsettia. Most of our Christmas traditions and symbols, such as evergreens, holly and candles are centuries old, many dating back prior to Christianity. But not the poinsettia. It did not become part of our Christmas celebration until 1906. The poinsettia was discovered by an American in 1825 by the first diplomatic officer to Mexico from the United States. His Mexican friends identified the plant for him as "Flor de la Noche Buena," meaning "Flower of the Holy Night" or "Flame Leaf." Joel Roberts Poinsett (1779-1851) introduced the beautiful red wild flower to the USA from Mexico, which was later named the poinsettia. Poinsett was a resident of Greenville, South Carolina. Poinsett State Park in South Carolina exists in his honor.
And, heck, we can't forget the tradition that lyricist Johnny Marks started, the one about Rudolph, of course, and the red-nosed reindeer. Marks went on to compose "Holly Jolly Christmas" and "Rockin' Round the Christmas Tree." There is the traditional song "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth" and "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." We can't forget the popular songs we love to sing and hear at this time of the year as part of the tradition of Christmas.
And the singing of Christmas carols--most of them centuries old--is certainly a Christmas tradition. Most began as carols performed in cathedrals during the Christmas holiday. One of the earliest carols was "O Come, All Ye Faithful," which has probably been translated into every language that exists. Some scholars believe the Latin text was by St. Francis of Assisi. The text of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" was written as a hymn in 1730 by Charles Wesley. The music came along a century later when Felix Mendelssohn composed it as a secular cantata. It was adapted to the carol in 1856. And didja know that "Silent Night" was composed on the guitar? The poem was written in 1818 and composed in two hours on the guitar because the organ in the church was broken.
A favorite painting is that of Lady Randolph, wife of Sir John Randolph, up to her elbows in sausages and black puddings. The painting from 1736 leads us to our next Christmas tradition of eating good at Christmas time and this morning at 8 for breakfast at the North Mountain Historical Society meeting, Dr. Doug Lyon will speak on the subject of Christmas traditions. The food will be sausage and buckwheat cakes. The meeting is free and open to the public. The talk begins about 9 AM.
Albert G. Senavitis, a master wood carver, died December 13, 2009, in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania. He lived with his grandsons, Stephen and David Ferraro, in the Lehet community on Route 487 north of Benton. He was 84. Al was born in Girardville, Schuylkill County. He was the son of Joseph and Mary (Luckus) Senavitis. The family moved to this area from Levittown, PA, via Shenandoah Heights, PA. They bought the Waterwheel Campground from Al Reynolds in 1973. The campground was on Route 487, Benton, near the former Harrington Foundry. Al was retired from Rohm & Haas, Bristol. He was a member of the Fort Ricketts VFW Post 8317 in Benton, and a U.S. Army veteran of World War II.
Al was an artisan of American folk art, and his work is proudly on display in the library/museum of the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center. The Stoy Museum in the Lebanon County Historical Society building, 924 Cumberland Street, Lebanon, also has on display a large carved carnival depiction. Al was resourceful and once told me that he "made many, many things. A lot of them are in museums--west coast, down in Florida. I used to make covered bridges, all kinds of amusing items."
Al got his start because of a small stream that flowed in front of the campground along with several springs around the property. He began making little grist wheels "where the grinding wheel would go round and all." Campers would line up by the stream watching the carvings operate. He began making farmhouses, he made a barn, later made some barns and a doll house and a train station for some people in Danville.
He made the carving of the carnival and took it to the Bloomsburg fair where he won first prize in an arts and crafts contest. It was not Al's intent to depict any fair or carnival in the project. His brother later sold the carnival carving to a lady who exhibited it at Stoudt's Antique Mall, Route 272, Adamstown. It may have also had a stop at Peddler's Village. When the owner passed away, the carving apparently was donated to the Lebanon museum.
Al did a lot of carving for Ed Campbell that ended up in the village scenes in the former Heritage House Restaurant on Route 487 between Lightstreet and Orangeville. Al proudly told me that "I was the one who built the buildings for him. I also made barns that were unfinished and built a train station for him."
Al's wife of 47 years, Margaret Murphy Senavitis, 67, died September 15, 1993, after serving as the official hostess of the Wagon Wheel Campground for 20 years. Al and Margaret had seven children whose names all started with the letter "D." There was David, Danny, Dianne, Denise, Donna, Deloris and Donald. Al, during a high level of frustration, told his wife that "if we have any more, I am going to name it 'Damnit!'" He is survived by his children David, Dan, Diane Loden, Denise Nguyen, Donna Ramsden, Dolores Baade and Donald; a brother, Leonard; a sister, Helen Stenake; 19 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.
A private family service will be held at the convenience of the family. The C.R. Strunk Funeral Home, Inc. was in charge of the arrangements. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Fort Ricketts VFW Post 8317, P. O. Box 463, Benton, PA 17814. A slow walk through the museum of The Center to admire Al's legacy is also suggested.
This is a special edition of the Benton News for Sunday, December 20, 2009. Let's start out with a Christmas card for the family. Go here for the card. Then listen and watch the Trans-Siberian Orchestra playing "Carol Of The Bells" at GM Place in Vancouver, B.C, Canada by heading here. Continue Sunday with music by these three musical events worthy of your time...• The annual Christmas program of the Fairmount Springs United Methodist Church was postponed last weekend because of an ice storm and is rescheduled for today at 2 PM. This is a most enjoyable event headed by Helen Masters and featuring the entire Masters family and many friends of the family.• Eric Fricke will provide a Christmas organ concert today at the Covenant Central Presbyterian Church, Fourth and Campbell Streets, Williamsport. Eric has been a finalist for the International Young Theatre Organist Competitions in 2007 and 2008, as well as performing for various theater-organ clubs throughout the country. Eric currently plays organ at the Benton Christian Church.
• The Christmas music program at the Presbyterian Church will take place tonight at 7 with the Lumpkin family, Jean, Jeremy, and Al, joined by friends, Warren and Ann Fisher and Judy Ellis. Together, the group is called "String Theory." This is a performance not to be missed.
Snow, snow, beautiful snow. From somewhere in my past, I remember those words penned, but if the person who wrote those lines had to wallow through snow drifts or spend hours cleaning sidewalks he would have referred to the snow as something other than "beautiful."
Pennsylvania is no stranger to blizzards. The upper Fishingcreek valley missed a blizzard Saturday by virtue of being too far North and too far West. A close call. Regretfully, I was not in the Benton area to ride out the storm. I was in Camp Hill where the storm reminded me of some of the storms from my youth.
I read a description of a blizzard from the Wilkes-Barre Times in its edition of February 5, 1907, in which the author described the second storm in two years in which the city languished under snow of two feet or more in depth. A report issued by the Lehigh Valley Railroad said the snow was 18 inches deep at Bethlehem, while at Sayre it was 5 inches. At White Haven, the snow was 14 inches, and at "Ricketts, on the North Mountain, and at Alderson, Harvey's Lake, it was but 8 inches deep." The article was interesting reading as how the "traction lines" struggled to stay open by running "powerful rotary plows" and five strong "sweeper" cars to clear the tracks.
In February 1882, Williamsport got drenched in snow, resulting in "Western trains on the Erie Road arriving three hours late." During the same snow, Wilkes-Barre and Carbondale got 32" of snow. Living further South during that storm didn't help. In Fredericksburg, Virginia, a train on the Piedmont narrow-gauge railroad pulled out with "twenty hands" to "raise the snow blockade. The train was not heard from and some sort of disaster was feared for the men.
I had my fill of this storm, beginning in Port Saint Lucie, Florida, where on Thursday from 5" to 7" of rain fell. The storm drenched south Florida with water rising knee-deep in downtown Miami. Rain continued in south Florida Friday. Can you imagine the Fishingcreek valley with 7" of rain in 24 hours, followed by a second day of rain?
Kay and I spent the night Thursday in Mooresville, North Carolina, heading north about 7:15 in the morning. By 9 AM, Mooresville was a sheet of snow and sleet.
The wet-storm system flooding parts of south Florida brought heavy snowfall to the mid-Atlantic region from the Carolinas to New Jersey. Friday night was to be an overnight in Camp Hill, but snow began about 3 AM, making travel Saturday too dangerous to consider. We hope to be Back Home in Benton, PA, Sunday.
An ancient saying goes something to the effect that "If wishes were horses, all beggars would ride." Judging from the children I have talked with about Christmas, most would probably have a room filled with things if that were true.
May Christmas bring you everything to make you really glad and provide the merriest of Christmases that you've ever had. May Santa Claus surround your tree with wonderful surprises with practical items and with clothes all of the proper sizes. May you get Christmas cards and phone calls by the score, and may endless numbers of friends keep coming to your door. God bless your home and favor you this Christmas more than ever in faith, hope and charity and every good endeavor. A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, too--to you and yours, and very soon, may all your dreams come true.
If I had one wish and one alone for old Santa to fill,
It would be a wish for peace on earth and to all mankind goodwill,
It would be a wish that want and famine should cease to curse the race,
A wish to see Christmas joy and cheer in every place.
Where love and happiness of Christmas have always been unknown,
Provide a ray of light, a gleam of hope, to hearts now sad and alone.
My Christmas wish, if just one I had, this wish would surely be,
I wish mankind free from woe and want and forever free.
Richard Edwin Mitchell (March 31, 1958-late November 2009), died at his Papillion, Nebraska, home in late November 2009. He was 51. Richard was born to Herman T. and Hazel E. Mitchell, Fairmount Springs Township, Luzerne County. Mr. Mitchell was a 1976 graduate of the Milton Hershey School, Hershey. He enlisted in the US Air Force soon after graduation, and proudly served his country until his retirement after 20 years of loyal and faithful service.
He is survived by brothers Dannie R. and Sheldon R., both of Elizabethtown; Herman T., Zion Grove, PA, Walter R., Radcliff, KY; Patrick J., Landisville; Joseph A., Cocoa, Florida; and Luther A., Lancaster; and by sisters Ruthie H. Thompson, Somerville, TN; Carol Greco, Grand Island, NY; Delores J. Milunic, Lancaster; Mary A. Fine, Ashley; Madeline K. Wright, Marietta, PA; and Clara M. Kuba, Hazelton. Richard was preceded in death by his parents and brothers: Frederick H., Ephrata; David E., El Toro MCAS, CA; and Mark W., Grand Prairie, TX.
A family memorial service with full military honors will be scheduled in the Spring of 2010 in Pennsylvania. In lieu of flowers, donations in his name may be sent to the USO. Leave condolences here.
Cornelia Estelle MacDermott (June 8, 1916-Dec. 18, 2009), 1543 State Route 239, Stillwater, died Friday at the Berwick Hospital Center. She was 93. She was born in Kingston. She was the daughter of R. Bruce and Helen (Merrifield) MacDermott. She was a graduate of Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory School and The Dean School of Business. She was a member of Grace Episcopal Church, Kingston, and St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church, Benton.
During World War II, Miss MacDermott was an aircraft inspector in the US Navy Inspection Service. For many years after the war, through the Insurance Women of Wyoming Valley, she was in charge of the message center at the Luzerne County Civil Defense Headquarters. She was active with the Insurance Women Of Wyoming Valley (NAIW Int'l) and held many offices including president of that organization. She was a life member of Wyoming Historical Society.
She traveled extensively throughout the world, including most of Europe, Russia, China, Australia and New Zealand. Cornelia was preceded in death by brothers Robert and Donald MacDermott. She is survived by a niece Donna MacDermott Coombs (Rod), Sweet Valley; nephews David MacDermott (Jean), Stillwater and R. Bruce MacDermott (Linda), Winchester, Virginia, as well as three grandnephews and one grandniece.
Private committal services will held at the convenience of the family in Oak Lawn Cemetery, Wilkes-Barre. A public memorial service will be announced at a later date. Arrangements have been made with the Dean W. Kriner Inc. Funeral Home, Benton. To sign the guest book or to send a message of condolence, please go to www.krinerfuneralhomes.com .
James K. Hartman, a well-known area mechanic who owned and operated Hartman Garage for more than 35 years, became ill at his Waller Road home Friday, December 18, 2009, and was pronounced dead at the Bloomsburg Hospital emergency room at 4:02 PM. He was 62. Jimmy was born in Bloomsburg. He was a son of Theresa Y. (Yost) Hartman, Market Street, and the late Robert C. Hartman, who died December 16, 1994. He was a 1965 graduate of Benton High School and a graduate of the former Williamsport Area Community College. He served his country with the 814th Army Reserves, Bloomsburg, for six years. He was a member of the Waller United Methodist Church. Jim was an avid car buff, and was a member of the Dream Machines Motor Club. He was a member of the Waller Cemetery board of directors.
Surviving are his mother, Theresa; his wife, Susan B. (Conner) Hartman, with whom he celebrated their 26th wedding anniversary on June 18; his sons Joe Hartman, Millville; Brandon J. Hartman and Daniel J. Hartman, both at home; brothers J. Nevin Hartman, Benton; Robert D. Hartman, Rochester, New York; and a nephew, Jarad Hartman, Benton.
Funeral services will be held Wednesday at 2 PM with viewing preceding at the McMichael Funeral Home. Burial will be in the Waller Cemetery. For online condolences or to sign the register book, go to www.mcmichaelfuneralhome.com .
Robert Kelsey came through his surgery well, but is not expected to get home from the hospital before Christmas.
December 18, 19, 20, 2009. This is the weekend edition of the Benton News.• December 18, Friday. Birthdays include Ellen Angle, Wendi Wolford, Mark Travelpiece, R. B. Powell and filmmaker Steven Spielberg.
• December 19, Saturday. It is the birthday of Alyssa Kramer. On this day in 1777, George Washington led his army of about 11,000 men to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, to camp for the winter. It was a low point of the War for Independence and in Washington's career. On this day in 1843, Charles Dickens, author of the phizzler "Martin Chuzzlewit," published "A Christmas Carol." The book sold 6,000 copies within a few days. Children of the Benton area will deliver a Christmas message at Benton UM Church on Saturday at 7. The Center, 42 Community Drive, Benton, will be the scene of a party and dance from 6-10 PM. The Silver Foxx DJ will play Christmas and dance tunes. Bring a gift under $5 labeled with the same age and sex as yourself to exchange with another person. $3 for members; $5 for non-members.• December 20, Sunday. It is the birthday of the First Lady of PA, Judge Marjorie O. Rendell. Jerseytown Community Center will host a bluegrass, country and gospel music jam this morning at 10. The Millville area community Christmas service takes place tonight at 7 at Millville United Methodist Church. Abigail Smith Kurecian and MuddBunny Studios is hosting an open house and holiday sale at 502 Main Street, Orangeville, from 11 AM to 4 PM. Call 683-5794 for more information. Eric Fricke will provide a Christmas organ concert at the Covenant Central Presbyterian Church, Fourth and Campbell Streets, Williamsport. The Christmas music program for 2009 at the Benton Presbyterian Church will take place tonight at 7. The Lumpkin family, Jean, Jeremy, and Al, will be joined by friends, Warren and Ann Fisher and Judy Ellis.Quickies...• Those who watch political news know that things are not always what they seem to be. There is a collection of optical illusions and other neat stuff here that isn't what it seems to be. Some of the images are not what they first appear to be while others are impossibilities which, initially, may seem possible. A few of these optical illusions will seem to vibrate or rotate and others will bend, skew or change color. And it's all just your eyes playing tricks on your mind.
• Congratulations to Russell Hack, Stillwater. Russell is the son of Randy and Denise Hack. He is enrolled at Mansfield University and is a member of the undergraduate chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma, the National Honor Society for criminal justice majors. Seventeen students were recently inducted into Mansfield’s Lambda Zeta chapter. Alpha Phi Sigma is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies and the only national honor society for criminal justice majors recognized by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. To qualify for membership, undergraduate students must have a minimum GPA of 3.2 and rank in the top 35 percent of their class.
• At the ripe age of 72, Bob Keller doesn't have a lot that makes him feel young anymore. That is, he didn't until his birthday when he walked into the Sub Shop and Holly Green came out of the kitchen and sang "Happy Birthday" to him. Bob has been walking around on "Cloud Nine" ever since.
Ground could be broken for natural-gas drilling in Luzerne County as early as May, according to the Citizens Voice. Approximately 25,000 acres in Lehman, Lake, Jackson, Ross and Fairmount townships are leased to Colorado companies EnCana Oil and Gas Inc. and WhitMar Exploration . The permitting process has begun, according to the article, for wells in Fairmount Township (behind the Ricketts Glen Hotel); Ide Road in Lehman Township near the Lake Township border; and in Lake Township.
Many enjoy reading the Times Leader's Weekender general manager Rachel Pugh's column. This week, she writes glowingly of the Benton Antique shops, saying that, in collaboration with her family, she "practically lives there." If you are in need of buying a Christmas present for a special person, the area around Main and Center Streets is the location to find them.
Bloomsburg Hospital is hosting a free H1N1 flu vaccine clinic again today from 4 to 7 PM at the hospital. The clinic is open to everyone 6 months and older who would like the vaccine. Also, second doses will be offered for those 9 years and younger, and the nasal spray form of the vaccine is available. All individuals are asked to park in Lot B in the back of the hospital and enter via the main entrance on the circle. The clinic will be located on the first floor across from the dining room. Each person to be vaccinated can either print and fill out a consent form ahead of time from www.bloomhealth.net or fill one out upon arrival. Call 570 387-2029 for H1N1 vaccine clinic information.
Tickets are now on sale for The Fishing Creek Players' production of Neil Simon's "Rumors." Tickets, priced at $6 or $10, make great stocking stuffers. Get tickets for everyone on your list and support Benton's own community theater, as well as providing your friends and family with an evening of hilarity! "Rumors" is an award-winning Broadway play about friends meeting for one couple's anniversary party. But the host has shot himself in the ear lobe and everyone makes up stories about it, then forgets what they told each other, and chaos ensues! You can reserve the best seats by stopping at The Center and choosing from the seating chart (Benton High School theater) or reserve by credit card if you call the center at 925-0163. Performances are January 8 and 9 at 8 PM, and January 10 at 3 PM.
Benton Area High School boys wrestling team traveled to Sullivan County December 15. The match began at 125 pounds. Here are the results from the match:
125 - Coltin Fought (B) fall Robert Yates (SC) 2:26 130 - Tim Kramer (SC) fall Brett Musselman (B) 4:24
135 - Dane Woodruff (SC) fall Steven Russel (B) 0:48 140 - Roger Hart (SC) fall Derrian Metzinger (B) 0:40
145 - Dan Heinrich (SC) wins by forfeit
152 - Jared Kline (B) wins by forfeit
160 - Eric Hess (B) fall Darrell Wallberg (SC) 0:42
171 - Jake Mankey (B) won by forfeit
189 - No Bout
215 - No Bout
285 - Tyler DeMott (B) fall Willy Sweeney (SC) 2;16
103 - Matt Welliver (B) fall Tyler Allen (SC) 0:38
112 - Colt Cotten (B) fall Brian Smith (SC) 0:51
119 - Michael Rhone (B) fall Derek Chilson (SC) 1:06
There was no JV Match. John Rakich was the referee. Information provided by the assistant wrestling coach, Bryan Hart. Consult www.bentontigerswrestling.com for additional wrestling information.
December 15, 16, 17, 2009. Birthdays and anniversaries and other trivia include...• December 15. The Raven Creek post office remained in business with Minor Smith as post master until this day in 1902.• December 16. Michael Quinn Taylor, Robert Keller, Anna Pennington and Kris Letteer celebrate birthdays today. It is the anniversary (in 1773) of the Boston Tea Party. In 1944 on this date, the World War II Battle of the Bulge began as German forces launched a surprise counterattack in Belgium.• December 17. On this date in 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright went on the first successful manned powered-airplane flights on the outer banks near Kitty Hawk, NC. Orville took off in his machine, built up a speed of about 10 mph, rose to about ten feet, and landed immediately. They made two more attempts, then Wilbur took over. Flying straight into the wind for nearly a full minute, the machine covered 852 feet. After Wilbur landed and got out of the plane, it rolled over necessitating months of repair.Al Senavitus, the wood carver who crafted the wonderful folk art on display at The Center, passed away. When details are available, we'll publish them.
A reader asked why we haven't written anything about the Treasure Coast of Florida--the coastal counties of Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin. The simple truth is that I haven't had a free moment. The hours have been filled from 5 AM until 11 PM--and afternoon naps are taking a siesta. There have been “The Nutcracker,” economy lunches, shopping, enjoying the almost constant 84° daytime and 68° nighttime temperatures. To answer some questions that have been asked...
• Port Saint Lucie is not spelled Port St. Lucie, and that is the reason it wasn't found on a map.
• Seventy-one miles of I-95 are monitored with 60 cameras, 98 traffic sensors, 12 dynamic message boards and Road Rangers. When there is a problem, the information is passed along via electronic message signs over the highway and into the 511 Traveler Information System.”
• The Treasure Coast is having near record-breaking temperatures at the beginning of the week before a cold front creates a cooler weekend. Thursday’s cold front should bring rain with high temperatures in the mid 70s and low temperatures in the upper 50s.
You have seen these words arranged into sentences, paragraphs and books many times, but it is worth repeating what President Lincoln knew many years ago about the subject of freedom. He knew that you can't legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. Taking that thought another step, what one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
The end of a nation is close when half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them. It isn't long until the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for. Simply put, wealth cannot be multiplied by dividing it.
Here are some other thoughts that you may or may not agree with...
• You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers and whether he is wise by his questions.
• Fiorello LaGuardia once said that "It makes no difference if I burn my bridges behind me--I never retreat."
• Climate change makes the most sense when it's your house that is underwater.
• Didja ever think that we live in a society which is dependent on science and technology, but in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology?
• A fine old anchor clanker by the name of Grace Hopper once said that "A ship in port is safe, but that's not what ships are built for." And Paul Klee once said that "A drawing is simply a line going for a walk." And then there was Flip Wilson who said that "The cost of living is going up and the chance of living is going down." And the woman at the mall who was amazed at Florida and without carefully choosing her words said that "Florida is like a whole different state." Listening to a few words of praise for our President on Fox yesterday was somewhat akin to having the hangman say you've got a pretty neck.
• Didja know that Aspirin is based on a chemical found in willow bark? It is used by thousands of people to prevent heart attacks.
• Wayne McMichael has been assigned to Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, but is expected home for his sister's wedding Saturday, December 19. Major Tom Yeager, an F-15 fighter pilot, is also assigned to Mountain Home. Wayne's address is Airman Wayne McMichael, III, 465 Aardvark Ave 7146, Mountain Home AFB, ID 83648-7146. Major Yeager will soon don the clothes of a civilian and head Back Home to Benton, PA.
• Charlotte Sibly fell and sprained her left leg while visiting her daughter in Virginia December 12. She is wearing a "boot," but says she is not "babying" it. Of the three classes of sprain that are possible for the leg, Charlotte found the worst and has a bone chip on top of everything else. There will be no fast walking for her for the next six weeks. Include EmmaLou Savage in your prayers as she recovers in Geisinger Hospital.
• Tiger Woods is now "six over par" in his pursuit of women according to local Florida newspapers.
• Didja hear that the borough tax collector was forced to resort to using toothpicks to clean the ice from her car windshield Sunday afternoon? Despite several warnings, Winter arrived and some were unprepared.
December 13 and 14, 2009. Birthdays Sunday included Joe Griffith, Newark, Delaware, and Ruth (Letteer) Schmidt and Jane Sutton. Monday's birthdays include Betty (Eveland) Sones and Chase Kline, Danville.
In the sick bed...
• Joyce Keller, Iklertown, had back surgery on Friday at Geisinger. Sister Carolyn says she "came through the operation with flying colors." She could be released to Balanced Care Rehabilitation Center Monday.
• Barbara Repko will have major surgery today. Please keep her in your prayers.
• Matt Raski is scheduled for valve-replacement surgery this week.
• Bob Thomas slipped on an icy sidewalk Sunday morning--well, heck, we'll let him tell the story. He began by saying that he landed flat on his back and then "bounced my head off the sidewalk! I laid there a while wondering where I was" as the rain poured down on his upturned face. He then crawled on his hands and his "VERY OLD AND FEEBLE KNEES" (emphasis added by Bob) to the front of the car--pulled himself up and got in the car and drove to church. Things got hazy for awhile and suddenly he was home in dry clothes with an ice pack on his head. His bride of many years informed Bob of how clever he was to pull such a sneaky way to skip church! Bob will spend today attending to his aching back.Bob spends a lot of his time during this down time hunting for an ellusive white-tailed buck. You can do the same by heading here.
The Weekend Edition of the Benton News for Saturday and Sunday, December 11 and 12, 2009. Birthdays and anniversaries include...• December 11, 2009. Wilbur Kocher, birthday; wedding anniversary of Betty (Hiscox) and Ray Weston.• December 12, 2009. Birthdays: Peg Root, Ann Marie Nesbitt, Cheyenne Geffken, David Arthur Powell, Dennis Threlkeld and Harry Ritter.The U.S. Energy Information Administration announced that for the week ending December 9, natural gas spot prices increased at all trading locations in the lower 48 states. The Henry Hub price rose by 60 cents, or almost 13%, to $5.27 per million Btu (MMBtu). Working natural gas in storage fell 64 billion cubic feet (Bcf) to 3,773 Bcf during the week ending Friday, December 4, according to EIA’s Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report. Inventories are 14% above their levels 1 year ago, and 16% above the 5-year (2004-2008) average.Quickies...• For local gardeners... A privately owned 7.6-acre property along Panther Creek on the border of Lackawanna and Wayne counties is Pennsylvania's first officially designated Private Wild Plant Sanctuary Learn more here.
• Didja know that JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo--the nation's four biggest banks--now control more than two-fifths of all bank deposits, more than 66% of all credit-card accounts, and more than half of all mortgages in the United States. They also run trillions of dollars in trading ventures that as recently as a few months ago were considered "risky."
• The "Daily Number" is a statistic, updated every weekday, that highlights an important finding or trend. The daily number is typically drawn from surveys, research or analysis done by one of the Pew Research Center projects. Each day's entry includes links to additional information on the subject as well as to an archive of past daily numbers.
• Didja ever think that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had, and what you've learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated?
• After the overnight snow and ice, expect some rain and warming weather and even some sun and milder Monday.
• Kevin Little shot a 12-point buck with a 21 and 1/2 inch spread weighing 247 actual pounds--a dream for many local hunters.
There is a whole lot of hullaballoo about freeing the Navy SEALS who are up for court martials after being accused of punching an evildoer in the stomach. You can sign a petition expressing your dismay by going here. Everything sounds like it is on the up-and-up. But is it?
The three United States Navy SEALs have been charged and have requested trial by court-martial instead of non-judicial punishment. How else are these SEALS to clear their names? How else do they prove that the allegations are not true. Or that their actions were acceptable to the circumstances? A trial is exactly the way it will be cleared up. A trial does much more than place the finger on the guilty and punish them accordingly--it also identifies the innocent. A bunch of people who don't know all the facts but who sign a petition should not be the way that guilt or innocence is determined.
And so we have come full circle. This is the reason that the Navy Seals want their trial--to show that they were not guilty. Let's get behind the concept of putting the facts on the table and give them what they want.
Phyllis J. "Jeannie" (Young) McBride (Feb. 13, 1950-Dec. 11, 2009), died Friday at her home on Waller Road, Benton, following a lengthy illness. She was 59. She was born in Whitehall. She was a daughter of Freda P. (Robbins) Young, Benton, and the late Joseph L. Young Sr. She attended Benton High School. Mrs. McBride last worked in the kitchen at the Orangeville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Surviving, in addition to her mother, are her husband, Ronald E. McBride; sons Thomas E. Reabuck (Bobbi Jo), Benton; Timothy E. Reabuck, Stillwater; grandchildren Tyler, Jacob, Alex, Ashley and Kayla; and her brothers and sisters: Joseph L. Young II, Benton; Bonnie L. Burman, Mountaintop; John L. Young, Central; Carol S. Remphrey Derl, Benton; James L. Young (Linda), Benton. Private services will be held at the convenience of the family. Arrangements are under the direction of the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc., Benton. For online condolences or to sign the register book: www.mcmichaelfuneralhome.com .
The midweek report from Back Home in Benton, PA, for December 8, 9 and 10, 2009. Birthdays and anniversaries include...• December 8: Kim Notestein and Anna Dressler.
• December 10: Larry Paul and the wedding anniversary of David and Theresa Hilley.Please keep Rev. Al Lumpkin in your prayers as he recovers from a surgery last week for an abdominal hernia. Don't forget the sing-a-long tonight at 7 at the Community Center.
"Tis the Season...|
• On December 10, 11 and 12, the Mifflinburg Christkindl Market runs 4:30 to 9 PM Thursday and 10 AM to 9 PM on Friday and Saturday. The 21st Christkindl Market (often known as Christ Child Market) is Mifflinburg’s authentic Germany-inspired event. The entire community--churches, organizations, schools and residents--gets behind the celebration on Market Street. There are more than 40 juried craft vendors, good food--beer with a bratwurst--which you can wash down.
• Come join with members of the Benton United Methodist Church, Main St., on December 19 at 7 PM for a Christmas message from the children of our community. The title is "It's a Boy and Isn't He Wonderful." There will be fellowship and refreshments to follow!
• A tradition for more than 25 years, in one fashion or another, is the music program presented on the Sunday before Christmas at the Benton United Presbyterian Church. The Christmas music program for 2009 at the Presbyterian Church will take place at 7 on Sunday evening, December 20. The Lumpkin family, Jean, Jeremy, and Al, will be joined by friends, Warren and Ann Fisher and Judy Ellis. Together, the group is called "String Theory." Jeremy works as a database manager for a national firm in Harrisburg. Ann and Warren are both retired economics professors, she from Penn State and he from Susquehanna. Judy Ellis is retired from the Admissions Department at Bucknell. Judy plays hammered dulcimer. Al will play guitar and bouzouki. Warren will play autoharp and guitar, and Ann will play mountain dulcimer and autoharp. Jeanie will play Celtic harp, guitar and banjo.
• Under the direction of Alan Hack, the Jubilate Choir will present its fifth annual Christmas concert entitled “A Christmas Medley” at 7PM Saturday, December 12, and 2 PM Sunday, December 13. The choir consists of 70+ singers from the Benton, Bloomsburg, Danville, and surrounding communities and will be accompanied by a 25-piece chamber orchestra. This year, the choir will feature Handel’s “For Unto Us a Child is Born” and the “Hallelujah Chorus” among several dynamic arrangements of Christmas favorites. The performances will be held at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, 123 N. Market Street, located above fountain. The concerts are free and open to the public. Light refreshments to follow. For more information, please call 784-4515 or 854-0733.
Bloomsburg Hospital is hosting a free H1N1 flu vaccine clinic on today and Friday from 4 to 7 PM at the hospital. The clinic is open to everyone 6 months and older who would like the vaccine. Also, second doses will be offered for those 9 years and younger. The nasal spray form of the vaccine is also available. All individuals are asked to park in Lot B in the back of the hospital and enter via the main entrance on the circle. The clinic will be located on the first floor across from the dining room. Each person to be vaccinated can either print and fill out a consent form ahead of time from www.bloomhealth.net or fill one out upon arrival. Call 387-2029 for H1N1 vaccine-clinic information.
I have not had time to read emails for the past four days, and so obviously I have not responded to any. I'll try to gather some extra time Thursday and begin answering emails. Until then, here are some of my thoughts on what we can expect in the coming new year.
In 2010, expect to begin a program still in the experimental stage known as "Googled Squared." This program takes a category and creates a starter "square" of information, automatically fetching and organizing facts from across the web. Try it at http://www.google.com/squared . You'll see Google Dictionary used more frequently. Google Dictionary can be found at www.google.com/dictionary .
For searches of an international flavor, Google has launched a new "Translated Search" tool as one of the search engines search options. Google's search options can currently be accessed by clicking "show options" on any results page, once a search has been performed. The idea is that searchers can more easily find and read content written in other languages.
Google has offered a similar feature in Google Translate for some time, but this brings it right to the searcher's realm of familiarity. Let's face it. Most Google users probably don't even know Google Translate exists, and if they do, it may not occur to them to use it as a means for searching for content. When you search on Google for something, you can use this tool to search the web in another language. Click "Show Options" at the top of the search-results page and select "Translated search" to try it out. Google will algorithmically select the best language(s) to translate your search query into and then return you translated results from those pages.
With lots of people buying Firebelch 500 televisions sets, you'll want to easily find, watch and share all the best movie scenes. Movieclips.com, http://movieclips.com/ , is available in beta with a catalogue of more than 12,000 two-minute streaming clips from 20th Century Fox, MGM, Paramount, Sony, Universal and Warner Bros. The clips are available for free on an ad-supported network that links to third-party sites where users can rent or purchase full-length films. You can browse by subject such as best kiss, tearjerkers, birthdays, holidays, awkward moments, scariest bad guy and best fight scenes. You can even send a romantic movie from a favorite movie to your sweetie.
The term "epix," which most of us are familiar with as the internet service provider arm of Frontier Communications, should not be confused with a movie-viewing site at http://www.epixhd.com/ which streams movies from Paramount, Lionsgate and MGM to your computer or home television.
What about the next generation of email that will be ready in 2010? We aren't sure what others have cooked up, but Google Wave is very, very impressive and will render what we now know as email as obsolete as a Nash Rambler. For starters, turn to wave.google.com/help/wave/about.html to learn about the future way to communicate and collaborate online using richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps and more. Any participant can reply anywhere in the message, edit the content and add participants at any point in the process. Then playback lets anyone rewind the wave to see who said what and when. With live transmission as you type, participants on a wave can have faster conversations, see edits and interact with extensions in real-time. This is the next generation of email, folks!
Anna Marie (Kopac) Zurawski (May 24, 1931-December 8, 2009), Waller, died Tuesday at the Orangeville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center where she had been a resident since 2001. She was 78. She was born in New Jersey. She was the only child of George and Eva (Kruzer) Kopac. Mrs. Zurawski had worked for US Radium in Almedia, Consolidated Cigar Co. in Berwick and the Danville State Hospital.
She is survived by her daughters Carole Musselman, Berwick, and Jane Wolfe, Milton; two granddaughters that she helped raise: Shaina B. Wagner and Leeann Michelle Wagner, both of Benton; six additional grandchildren: Crystal Zimmerman, Bloomsburg; Jennifer, Jill, and Jessica Slusser, Berwick; Janelle Seibert, Mifflinville, and Jonathan Wolfe, Berwick. There are also 11 surviving great grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Charles Zurawski on July 8, 2000; a son, Charles Zurawski, Jr. on Nov. 21, 1987, and by a daughter Mary Ellen Wagner on Jan. 21, 1996. Graveside services will be held Friday at 2 PM at the Waller Cemetery. There will be no viewing. Arrangements are under the direction of the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc., 4394 Red Rock Road, Benton. For online condolences or to sign the register book: www.mcmichaelfuneralhome.com .
Weekend Edition, December 5, 6 and 7, 2009. Please keep Marcia Worley in your prayers. Marcia was a patient in Holy Spirit Hospital from October 16 until a few days ago when she was released to a rehabilitation hospital. She was returned to Holy Spirit Hospital Saturday and later admitted to Hershey Medical Center.Birthdays...December 5, 2009--the birthday of Arla Mae Miller, Linda Lee Kline, Bob Kelsey and Joseph Grenewich.December 6, 2009--the birthday of Nina Ford, Corinne Houseweart Fornwald Hess, Bob Green and Nicholas Geffken and the first anniversary in the second half-century in the marriage of Jim and Elaine Laubach.December 7, 2009. It is the birthday of Barbara Fritz and Holly Fritz Fry. It is the anniversary of the Sunday in 1941 when Japanese planes from the bleak wastes of the North Pacific attacked the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, in an attempt to cripple the fleet and hinder U.S. intervention in other Japanese targets in the South Pacific.The Benton Area School District will host its 8th annual free holiday dinner for the senior citizens of the Benton community on Sunday afternoon, December 13, at 12:30 in the middle/high school cafeteria. Contributions made by the faculty and staff of the district, as well as several local businesses, make this dinner possible. Reservations can be made by calling 925-0914 between 8 AM and 3 PM.
The Pennsylvania Civil War road show is a museum which travels in a 53-foot tractor-trailer. The museum brings interactive exhibits and activities to locations it visits, presenting unique programs and performances under Civil War-era tents. The story conveyed by the road show tells the many different ways Pennsylvania’s men, women, children and communities experienced the Civil War, both on the battlefield and the home front. The museum features touch-screen games, stereoscopic photographs in original 3-D, original artifacts and facts about specific Pennsylvania counties. Locally significant Civil-War era material owned by local historical societies and museums such as the one at The Center will be on exhibit. Thanks to a “Share Your Story” booth, individuals will be invited to share their own Civil War-era family photographs, artifacts and other material and stories.
The road show will be a prominent part of the 2011 Bloomsburg Fair, thanks in part to the work of the Columbia-Montour Tourist Bureau .
• Didja know that Sullivan County has one traffic light, but Forest County in Northwestern is the only county in the state without a traffic light?
• Joshua and Caleb Fritz, along with their friend Emmanuel Graham, have formed a band they call Water's Edge. In addition to recording their own CD of original music and leading worship at churches throughout central Pennsylvania, they have created an original Christmas Cantata titled "The Christmas Coin." They will be performing their cantata throughout the Christmas season, including this Sunday night, December 6, at 7 PM at the Benton United Methodist Church. Come and listen to them share the true meaning of Christmas through story and song! For more information on Water's Edge and their ministry, visit their website .
• A favorite event takes place next weekend when the annual Christmas Musical at the Fairmount Springs United Methodist Church takes place Sunday, December 13. Ashley and Arithe Sorber lead off for a half-hour musical program at 2 PM. Thelma Steinruck, Mill Street, will get the congregation of the church stomping their feet when she takes the stage for a yodeling rendition of Cowboys' Sweetheart or some such song. This production comes off like a Broadway stage production. Don't miss it.
Brandon G. Roeder (March 31, 1987-Dec. 3, 2009), Old Tioga Turnpike, Stillwater, died Thursday morning as a result of an auto accident. He was 22. He was born in Danville. He was a son of Diane Roeder and her husband and Brandon's stepfather, Larry Miller, Stillwater. He raised exotic birds for pet shops and collected and sold scrap metal. In addition to his parents, he is survived by his fiancée, Kari George, Stillwater; brothers Jason and David Roeder, Stillwater; maternal grandparents, Glen and Carrol Roeder, Bloomsburg; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. Funeral service will be held Monday, Dec. 7, 2009, at 1 PM from the James L. Hinckley Jr. Funeral Home, 1024 Market St., Berwick. Burial will be in New Rosemont Cemetery in Espy. Friends will be received Sunday afternoon from 3-5 at the funeral home. Contributions in his memory may be made to the family to help with the expense of the funeral.
Doyle L. Evans (Jan. 1, 1925-Dec. 2, 2009), 9520 Cedar Tree Lane, Lakeland, FL 33810, passed away Wednesday at the Lakeland Regional Medical Center after a year-long battle resulting in liver and kidney failure. He was 84. Doyle was born in Mount Pleasant Township to William H. and M. Araminta Evans and grew up in Greenwood. He attended Millville schools. With his wife, operated a grocery and soda-fountain business. He retired in 1987 from Wise Foods as a driver. Surviving are his wife of 64 years, Joan P. Miller, and daughter, Patricia Ann (Fisher) Hawkins; grandsons Mark Robert Fisher (Leigh), San Antonio, Texas; and Evan Joseph Fisher (Jennifer), Cape Coral, Florida; and grandsons Jayce Robert and Matthew Glen Fisher. Also surviving are his brother, Dean Evans (Barbara), StoneyBrook; and nieces and nephews. Preceding him were brother Donald W. Evans, and son-in-law Robert A. Fisher. Burial and memorial services will be held at the convenience of the family.
A few days ago, I asked for suggestions on organizations that are certified water testers. The only response came from a reader who suggested Seewald Laboratories, Inc., an independent laboratory with certification in the State of Pennsylvania (ID #41-034) and the State of Maryland (ID #1321) for compliance under the Safe Drinking Water Act for a number of categories of testing. I am neither endorsing or not endorsing the company. Learn more by going to www.seewaldlabs.com/ , www.cas.psu.edu , water.cas.psu.edu/ and www.extension.psu.edu/base_nr&em.htm .
A 5 PM hearing in the Goddard Conference Room of the Department of Environmental Protection, 208 West Third Street, Williamsport on December 16 will discuss a proposed rule for Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) for gas-industry wastewater. Read more here. Waste water from natural-gas drilling is extremely high in TDS. Current rules permit discharge of TDS into rivers. The goal of this permitting strategy is that by January 1, 2011, new sources of High-TDS wastewaters will be prohibited from this Commonwealth's waters. Industry is expected to mount a campaign not to relax the standards. The public is invited to attend and participate.
Friday, December 4, 2009.
Some readers--but not the writer of this article--are taking the time to address Christmas cards and letters of holiday cheer for their friends around the world. We often forget when we plop a letter in the outgoing box what a long journey it was to acquire a postal system in the United States.
A form of a postal system originated in 16th century England, but it was not originally designed for public use.
Sir Brian Tuke (d.1545) was Henry VIII's first "Master of the Posts," and held that position from 1516-1545. Tuke selected local postmasters and divided the six major roads from London into stages. Use was limited, because postage was too expensive for anyone but the wealthy. Tuke's personal motto, "Upright and Forward," carried into the postal system. Postman announced their arrival by blowing a horn whenever letters were delivered from the court.
There was a system of post roads, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth the First (1558-1603). The messengers, or post-boys, traveled by foot but mostly by horseback. A large number of horses were needed for the entire system. Each stage was about 10 miles, after which a fresh horse was used--much like the stagecoaches were run on the local Susquehanna & Tioga Turnpike many years later. Horses were generally kept at inns or stopping-over places on the line. The Elizabethan period was replete with plotting and intrigue between rulers and their supporters. Elizabeth the First knew that if she could read private correspondence she could determine who was trying to do her dirty. Mail under the auspices of a court official could be opened and read without the knowledge of the writer of the letter.
The public wanted more access to the post. A London merchant, Thomas Witherings, offered a proposal in 1635 to organize the first postal system for public use to run by day and night along the post roads. A Royal proclamation for the “for the settling of the letter-office of England and Scotland” gave Witherings the authority to establish fixed, regular posts. Each post town had its own mail bag to and from London, while foot posts carried letters to remote locations. The central London office at Bishopsgate coordinated mail on six main roads.
Charles II continued with intelligence activities on post roads that passed through London. Secretaries of state were given the right to open letters. It was rumored that state employees could take impressions of seals, imitate writing perfectly and copy a letter in a minute by pressing damp tissue paper over the ink. At the same time, the Six Clerks of the Road in London were informally allowed to frank newspapers to local postmasters, who provided drink, gossip and horses, as well as news. This right to send newspapers postage-free led to profits for the six clerks and reduced prices of papers for readers. The spread of newspapers was profoundly affected by this action. Postage due at delivery was written across the address for the recipient to pay. If it was suspected that more than one sheet of paper was enclosed, envelopes were held up to a candle and "extra was charged for each additional sheet therein."
The English post office remained as both a censor and news agent through much of its existence.
For more on the Post in England, read Susan Whyman, The Royal Mail: A Passion for the Post, History Today, Volume: 59, Issue: 12.
Your Christmas cards will not be read or censored by the USPS. Take the time to write a personal message on each card you send. Don't just sign your name! Be personal. Say something nice on your card. Be caring. It is Christmas. Send a Christmas card--forget the "holiday cards."
William "Bill" Mount Hosking (November 23, 1939-December 3, 2009) passed away early Thursday morning at his beloved home at Hidden Hollow Farm, Benton. He was 70 and diagnosed with cancer two years ago, but put up an incredible fight, surpassing expectations. He was very matter of fact and extraordinarily hard working. Bill carried on each day as though nothing much had changed in his life. Bill was born in Merrie Trail, in the Indian Lake section of Denville, New Jersey. He was a son of the late William W. and Louise E. (Mount) Hosking. He was a 1958 graduate of Boonton High School, Boonton, New Jersey. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam with a U. S. Naval Construction Battalion (CB's) and was honorably discharged in March, 1968. Bill was self employed as the owner of Hosking Construction Co. He lived in the Benton area since 1974.
Bill was the oldest of four siblings: Barbara Louise Hosking Farver, Mt. Arlington, New Jersey; Thomas C. Hosking, St. Augustine, Florida; Joyce Ellen Hosking, Randolph, New Jersey. The four grew up on Tourne Road, off Old Denville Road, Boonton Township, New Jersey. Bill is survived by his wife, the former Paula Girdler, with whom he celebrated his 44th wedding anniversary on October 16, 2009, and a daughter, Christine, Pensacola, Florida. He was preceded in death by a son, William Lloyd Hosking, on December 13, 2003.
As per Bill's wishes there will not be a formal service. Instead, he requested that people call at Hidden Hollow Farm to pay their respects. Please join family and friends for an informal gathering honoring him on Sunday afternoon, December 6, between the hours of 2:30 and 5:30. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in his name to the American Cancer Society, 1948 E. Third St., Williamsport, PA 17701 or to the Northern Columbia County Cultural Center, P. O. Box 305, Benton, PA 17814. Arrangements are by the Dean W. Kriner Funeral Home.
• The next time you visit The Center, take the time to vote for the volunteer of the quarter. Many dedicated people devote a great deal their time to better the services and the facilities at The Center and they deserve recognition. Let them know you appreciate all of their hard work by casting your vote during the month of December.
• Start your holiday season with one of the most beloved musicals of all time, "Annie," the timeless tale with one of Broadway's most memorable scores, including "It's the Hard-knock Life" and "Tomorrow." Set in 1933, this Tony-sweeping musical debuted in 1977, but its theme is relevant today. It's Christmastime in Manhattan, but the Santas are thin and no one can spare a dime for the apple seller. At the Municipal Orphanage, Annie clings to the hope that her lost parents will someday come to reclaim her, while she and her cohorts undermine the iron rule of Miss Hannigan. It takes place at Bloomsburg University, Haas Center for the Arts, Bloomsburg, Saturday night at 8 PM. Call 389-4409 for tickets.
• You can see Bloomsburg's historic homes and churches decked out for the holidays Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM! Enjoy the sights and sounds of the children's choir, Bloomsburg's finest homes in full holiday regalia, and refreshments galore! Tickets required for all those over 12 years of age. Tickets purchased in advance $12; on day of tour $15. Tickets available at the school. Tour begins at Bloomsburg Memorial Elementary School, 500 Market Street, Bloomsburg. Call 784-7885 for more information.
• Enjoy a holiday open house Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM Back Home in Benton at the antique shops, farmer's market, Black Bear Pottery and other specialty shops. Light refreshments. It takes place on Main Street, Benton. Additional information is available from 925-5186.
• The timeless Berwick Christmas Boulevard opens December 5 and runs through January 2 each evening from 6 PM to 10 PM. The boulevard is a mile-long car tour on Market Street with animated characters, lights and music. Say hello to Santa.
• A red Ford F-150 pickup truck driven by Jim Davenport, 62, Register, failed to leave the parking lot of The First Columbia Bank & Trust Thursday via the designated exit. The truck entered the bank parking lot from the Market Street entrance, turned to the right as if to park, then with engine revving the truck jumped the concrete bumpers in the parking lot, crossed Two and a Half Street and crashed into the side of the brick professional office building of Dr. Thomas Kowalski, DDS. Davenport was taken to the Bloomsburg Hospital for evaluation. Passenger Eugene Crane, Cambra, was examined on scene for arm injuries but he reported that his blood pressure was elevated "but otherwise he was fine" and was not taken to the hospital. Pictures of the accident are available here.
• The Benton News begins a vacation beginning with this edition. Several people considered writing the daily editions, but none took the bait! We'll catch up from time to time, but in the meantime, things will be quiet from this end. Future editions will not be published on any schedule. As we head for a week with the possibility of snow four out of seven days, think of warm weather and an old man from Back Home in Benton, PA, heading for the beach in his shorts.
December 3, 2009. It is the 85th birthday of Betty Kelsey Miller, Grove, Oklahoma, where "Winter is finally expected to 'set-in' today." It is the wedding anniversary of Paul and Barbara Henne.
• The thrift shop on Mill Street can help with your Christmas shopping. The shop is currently offering a half-price sale. There is a wide variety of clothing, household goods and Christmas decorations.
• A popular YouTube video is the "Pink Glove Dance," choreographed at the Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, Oregon, as a fundraiser for breast-cancer awareness. When the video gets 1 million hits, Medline will make a contribution to the hospital, as well as offering free mammograms for the community.• The Pennsylvania Attorney General has charged natural gas exploration company Energy Exploration & Development LLC, Cortland, Ohio, with polluting land near an abandoned well about 70 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. The company was charged with illegally discharging oil and other waste, according to StarGazette.com. The company was charged by state prosecutors as being responsible for oil and brine water that leaked from a pipeline near Greenville. The charge should not have come as a surprise. State environmental officials say the company was advised of the problem for the past two years, but failed to fix it before leaks occurred in July and August. The charges carry fines of at least $1,000 per day.
The 16th annual open house at the German School, at corner of Third and Race Streets, Mifflinville, will be held Sunday, December 13, from 1 to 5 PM. There will be a civil war encampment by the Catawissa Guards, and Chase Petro, 7 year old (portraying Pvt. John Klem) will play violin. The school will be decorated with decorations made by the local Daisy, Brownie and Girl Scout troops, and entitled “Winter Wonderland.” There will be demonstrations of bobbin-lace making, chair caning and blacksmithing. There will some crafters in the Ye Olde Hotel. There will be light refreshments. The event is free and open to the public. Any donations will be used for restoration and upkeep of the German School. Any questions, call Bonnie Farver, 759-2968. As always, additional information is available on the Upcoming Events page.
• Have you ever wondered how others view the world? Take a look at life as viewed by a shark in its surroundings. There is excellent technology in a wildlife documentary which you can see here.
• The Benton high school/junior high wrestling team is holding a spaghetti dinner on Friday, December 4, in the high school cafeteria from 5-8 PM. Tickets can be bought at the door for a $5 per person donation. Children under 5 years old eat free. The dinner is all you can eat. Take-out are available.
• Need some clip art or graphics for a Christmas project? Try here.
• A reader is looking for certified well-sampling services? Do any readers have experience with testers that you can recommend?
• It appears that all hurdles have now been overcome so that repairs can begin on the Benton dam this week, unless last night's rain will force a slowdown. Work will be accomplished in phases, with some portions of the work to be accomplished during low-water situations next summer.
• Celebrate the season at The Center's Christmas party and dance December 19 from 6 to 10 PM. Bring a gift valued at $5 to exchange with another partygoer (please label the gift for age and sex of the recipient). The Silver Foxx DJ will provide both Christmas music and dance tunes. Holiday treats and refreshments will be provided. Cost is $3 for members of The Center and $5 for non-members. Purchase tickets at the front desk of The Center. For further information, call 925-0163.
• Jeff Watts, has been chosen to be part of a task force of twelve teachers from the DoD schools in Europe, Asia and America to study "Early Childhood Education." He will be in Boston December 6 for the first round of meetings. Jeff is the son of Geraldine Laubach, Fifth Street.
• Columbia County faces an acute shorter of diapers--yes, diapers. An estimated 30,000 diapers are needed for people in financial need. Churches in the area and other collection points will help collect diapers. When collection details are finalized, please help.
• A children's CD with the short title of "The Happy Rabbits" is in final editing by Dan Stoneham II. The entire CD has original compositions by a very talented songwriter and musician. Many heard Dan's voice for the first time this fall at the Bloomsburg Fair as he announced for the free stage. Songs include the wacky and wunderful "Wump-Wump" song, dedicated to his father, "Happy Rabbits," "Where is the Baby?" and "Tubby Time." The CD will be available for Christmas purchase at Steve Shannon Tire Stores and at The Center. Children will love the CD. Reserve yours now.
December 2, 2009, the 336th day of the year. There are 29 days remaining until the end of the year. It is the birthday of Rosalie Hunter Harrison and Bradley Allen Kocher. They celebrate their birthdays with Britney Spears, 28. There is a full moon tonight behind the sheets of rain that will be falling. If you miss the full moon tonight because of all the clouds don't worry. We'll have another full moon, a "Blue Moon, on December 31, 2009.Quickies...
• Firefox 3.6 beta 4 has been released and is available for free download. This update contains over 100 fixes from the previous beta, and includes many improvements for web developers, add-on developers and users. For more information about this latest beta, see the release announcement .
• A report out today indicates that golf superstar Tiger Woods will become a politician following his decision not to speak to the press about certain aspects of his life. He now feels that he is qualified for a career in politics. Gov. Mark Sanford, South Carolina, and Sen. John Ensign, Nevada, both welcomed Mr. Woods into politics.
• Security company Symantec warns that rumors involving Tiger Woods' car accident have given scareware peddlers an excellent opportunity to pick up malicious entities. Symantec says some search results redirect users to malicious domains, such as vir-curemypc-now.com, egafuki.cn and online-scanner-free.net. Stay away from online sources that seem to "strong-arm" you into buying anti-virus software.
• An interesting report from TheStreet.com is that when the exclusive deal between Apple and AT&T ends, the second carrier for the iPhone may be T-Mobile rather than Verizon. Many would dump the Blackberry for a Verizon iPhone. Most in the local area were pulling for Verizon.
• The Columbia County Covered Bridges Association is having a Santa Claus visit to the Twin Bridges and hay ride with Santa. The event will take place on Sunday, December 6, from 1 to 3 PM. The hay wagon will carry Santa and folks from the Twin bridges to the Josiah Hess bridge and back. A candy cane will be given to all who ride. Besides the hay ride in a hay wagon, there will be a large pot of delicious bean soup (cooked on the bridge), baked goods, apple cider, coffee, and hot chocolate to purchase. A choir will sing carols. This is a fund raiser for the Columbia County Covered Bridge Association.
• The German Heritage Society of the Susquehanna Valley will meet Thursday, December 3, from 7 to 9 PM at the Degenstein Library, 40 South Fifth Street, Sunbury. Dr. Konrad Kempfe was born and raised in communist East Germany. In 1950, at the age of 13, he undertook a daring and dangerous escape to freedom in the west. Dr. Kempfe will relate the details of his escape, and his experience with visits to East Germany from 1951 to the present. He will share his thoughts on the two parts of Germany--East and West--as of today. The public is invited to join members for this free program. Refreshments will be provided. Contact Jeff Sheaffer, 374-7730, if further information is needed.
• Join friends and neighbors at The Center's Christmas sing-a-long on December 10 at 7 PM. Enjoy the camaraderie of the evening. Refreshments will be served. Questions? Call 925-0163.
• A tip of the hat to the employees at West Pharmaceutical Services Inc. for donating time and money for Camp Victory Treehouse, Millville. West employees donated $240,000 and hours in manpower to build a wheelchair-accessible treehouse for children with chronic illnesses including spina bifida, autism and cancer at Camp Victory.
December 1, 2009. It is the birthday of Lauren Magoon and Erin Yaple. It was two years ago that the announcement was made about the merger of equals of the CCFNB Bancorp, Inc. and the Columbia Financial Corporation. From our vantage point, it appears that the merger is working very well. Robert Bruce Ricketts (1839-1918) was promoted to Major on this day in 1864. On this day in 1913, the first U.S. drive-in automobile service station opened (in Pittsburgh). It was operated by the Gulf Refining Company.The headlines say it all:• "Vast supply alters gas industry," Charleston Daily Mail
• "September natural gas output falls in lower 48 US states," Reuters UK
• "Natural Gas Threatened by a Flood of 2010 Imports," The Business Insider
• "Natural gas glut overwhelms speculators, defies rally,"Bloomberg
• "Winter outlook not great for natural gas drillers," Fort Worth BusinessPress
• "The wellhead price of natural gas fell in September to $2.92 per thousand cubic feet. That is its lowest level since August, 2002," Natural Gas Monthly, November 2009
In a "long" position, natural gas is the worst performing commodity of 2009. Inventories of natural gas are at capacity. Our nation has too much natural gas, but drillers don’t know when to quit. Penn State Cooperative Extension reports that gas drilling will create 20,000 direct and indirect jobs over the next four years in a 14-county region in central and northern Pennsylvania. As was the case with some Florida, California and Los Vegas communities, builders kept on building after buyers stopped buying. Producers of natural gas keep bringing more and more gas into the country’s pipelines. Prices continue to sink lower and lower.
It could have happened when Kay and I were talking about "fence viewers." It might be that Buster simply remembered his episode with the alligator as we waited for a Seminole tribe member of Florida’s Billie Swamp Safari. Maybe it happened because of a discussion of board-on-board fences. Or perhaps it was just the excitement for the dogs of heading to Florida.
I'll explain. I'll take up the subject of "fence viewers first." In the days when livestock simply ran free, ownership was determined by a "brand" registered in a county court or by earmarks. The ground rules changed somewhat with the Duke of York's laws in 1678 which required that "every person" was required "to keep his part of a fence Sufficiently strong and in Constant repair, to secure the Corn." To make sure that the fences were in good repair, the Duke of York's Laws provided that township officials appoint "fence viewers." Their job was to inspect the common fences and they were given the power to enforce the care of fences.
"Fence viewers" came to our general area when Connecticut Yankees settled the Wyoming Valley in 1769 and brought with them the farm practices of New England. Wayne Baker, Winter Park, Florida, remembers that his "Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather, John Baker, was one of the settlers from the Connecticut colony." He was listed as a "fence viewer" in the group that settled at what is now Plymouth. He came to the Wyoming Valley in 1769 and unfortunately was killed in a skirmish with the Pennites on Christmas day, 1775. His son William survived him or Wayne would not have shared this bit of history.
Fence viewers were elected in each township "to see that the fences had no space between the rails" of more than a certain width and that they were not less than seven rails high. If the farmer violated the rules, he could not recover damages for the trespassing of other farmer's livestock."
Penn's "Great Law" of 1682 required that "All Corne-Fields shall be fenced" to a height of five feet. The county court could levy a fine for non-compliance. The law was strengthened in 1700 by adding the requirement that "sufficient rails or logs" were needed "at the Bottom." In 1729, the law was changed to make a fence "sufficient" if it was four and a half feet high, "with the lower rail not over nine inches from the ground."
Adding a fence to every field so that livestock would not ruin crops seems now like a bureaucratic thing to do. The fields were generally small and the labor for construction took up a great deal of valuable time. Most fences were of wood, generally in rails ten or twelve feet long, made from splitting logs. They were laid in zigzag patterns and no stakes or posts were needed or used to keep them together. An estimated 800 such rails were needed to fence one acre.
What a glory-day job for the fence viewer! A headline in the Times-Picayune edition of May 19, 1838, read "Tremendous Triumph!" in talking about a fence viewer winning an election to office in a small village by a majority of three votes over his Whig opponent. The article is quoted as follows:
Our heart is chuck full. Whew! We've licked 'em out all holler. Get out your tin pans, and blow your horns--haul out your drums, screw up your fiddles, and pull up your shirt collars, you loco's that have any. Prepare to celebrate this event of deep and awful importance. Zeke Swipes is elected as putter up of gaps in fences and keeper out of hogs! Glory enough for a week of Sundays.
The job of fence viewer wasn't everyone's favorite position. The Trenton Evening Times in its edition of November 11, 1897. reported that "for refusing to act as fence viewer, a Deering, Maine, man was fined five dollars, and he had to pay ten dollars to escape arrest for trying to dodge the first fine."
The combination of discussions about the fence viewer and Florida reminded Buster and Chloe of the alligators that shadowed the dogs as Kay and I and the two dogs walked along a Florida canal a few years ago. When the dogs heard that we completed the purchase of a house in Florida yesterday, the subject of fences immediately came up. Was there a fence? Could alligators get through the fence? Do alligators eat dogs? The questions just kept on coming.
Germany's Deutsche Bank and Swiss financial group UBS both claim that home prices in Dubai may be down to only 20% of what they were worth in the third quarter of 2008. Prices in certain areas of Florida have not sunk to those lows, but I am betting that they are low enough to warrant the purchase of selected houses.
When I found a house built to hurricane standards in Port Saint Lucie that was three years old, with a board-on-board fence to keep the alligators away from the dogs, at a price that was affordable, we jumped at the chance. The dogs aren't as enthusiastic until they test the fence for themselves. The same doesn't apply for Leader and Mother.
Valerie Marie Wojton (July 29, 1984-November 28, 2009) died Saturday at her home at 1557 N. Bendertown Road, Stillwater. She had been in ill health since June 2007. She was 25. Valerie was born at the Grandview Hospital, Sellersville, a daughter of David M. and Teresa M. (Nichols) Wojton, Stillwater, owners of Whispering Pines Camping Estates. She was ministered to by Stillwater Christian Church. She enjoyed creating jewelry, loved music, the color purple, and Sammy, her cat. Valerie last worked for Barto Customs in Gilbertsville, PA as a graphic artist.
Surviving in addition to her parents, are her sister and two brothers: Maria Werner (Robert), Pottsgrove; Christopher Wojton (Candice), Douglassville; Brian Wojton, Stillwater. Her nieces and nephews were James Wilson, Jr., Michael Wilson, Aleesa Werner and Brittany Wojton. Also surviving are her maternal grandfather, Bernard G. Nichols (Linda), Pottstown and her maternal grandmother, Renate Nichols, Pottstown.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held Saturday morning at 11, December 5, 2009, at the Stillwater Christian Church. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in her memory to Hope Lodge, 125 Lucy Avenue, Hummelstown, PA 17036. Arrangements are under the direction of the McMichael Funeral Home. For online condolences or to sign the register book, go to www.mcmichaelfuneralhome.com .