It is leap day, February 29, the 60th day of 2008, the extra day that we give to February every four years to tidy up the time and keep the calendar and the seasons in line. There are 20 days until the official start of spring. Richard Strauch is 20 years old today, and the birthday of Greg Sutliff, owner of the Sutliff Motors Group, Harrisburg. Think of it this way: last year at this time we were in the month of March!
It is the birthday of character actor Dennis Farina. Jimmy Dorsey was born on this date in 1904 in Shenandoah, PA, Hugh Hefner introduced the world to the Bunny Girls when he opened his first Playboy Club in Chicago on leap day 1960, Tokyo was rocked by an earthquake on this day in 1972, and Trudeau stepped down after 15 years as Canada's Prime Minister on this day in 1984. On this day in 1940, Gone with the Wind won eight Oscars at the annual awards banquet, including the first award for a black performer, Hattie McDaniels.
Women are given special dispensation by everyone but their fathers one day a year and may propose marriage on February 29, a custom believed to have originated in Ireland when St Patrick granted women permission to propose on leap years. Go for it, girls!
Keep Matthew "Matt" Pollock, 39, in your prayers as he faces surgery today to take blood off his brain following a fall from a ladder January 31. Matt was helping his brother when he fell from a second floor. His fall was broken by a window ledge. He broke a rib, but otherwise all injuries were to his head. He was in a coma until a week ago, but he is still a patient in the Lutheran Medical Center, Brooklyn. He will be transferred to a coma simulator unit somewhere in New York after the operation. Matt is the youngest of eleven children.
The fearless forecast for Friday includes a fast-moving Alberta Clipper that will cross our path with afternoon rain and snow showers (Snedeker sez 1 to 3". Newspapers in Bradford County use the term "whiteout). The weekend looks dry and mostly sunny, with a high of 36° on Saturday and Sunday. Rain could arrive Monday as temperatures climb to about 47°, but a potentially significant winter storm could develop late Tuesday along the Atlantic Coast--hopefully missing us.
Here is a site where you can type in your name and sex and kittens will sing a custom-made song for you!
Some know that depending on the state you are in #77, *55, *47 and *HP will connect you with police (although if you really need the police 9-1-1 is really the number to call). We all know about dialing 9-1-1 and 6-1-1 on our phones. Have you heard about the new 2-1-1 system, the informational and referral call center? Municipalities attempting to implement it are finding tough going to finance the system, but you'll hear more about it in the future.
Congratulations to JoAnn Walk's daughter, Heather Shivokevich, who works for a Long Island not-for-profit organization She has a cover story in the current Long Island Magazine.
Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center happenings…
• The popular Village Sampler and Fun Auction is scheduled for Sunday afternoon, April 27. Area restaurants and caterers donate samples of appetizers, main courses and desserts. The auction of items donated through the generosity of fine businesses and people dedicated to insuring the success of The Center for the northern part of Columbia County and which serves the southern part of Sullivan County and the western part of Luzerne County, begins at 6 PM. Donations for the auction can be dropped off at The Center, 42 Community Drive. Call 925-0163 to arrange for pickup of the donation.
• The Center proudly displays the lobby of the former post office from “Jameson City” and “Jamison City, thanks to a donation from Miles and Esther Little. The post office was established March 2, 1889, at “Jameson City,” but B. K. Jamison convinced postal authorities to change the name of the village by substituting the “i” in his name for the “e” in the original name. The post office name was changed to Jamison City on November 28, 1890. The Jamison City post office was disestablished September 30, 1927. Former Benton post master William Mather acquired the lobby and later sold it to Miles Little who displayed it for many years in the Little Lumber Company. Today it proudly serves the library/museum and the reception area of The Center.
The Jamison City post office lobby as seen from the library/museum.
Center Director Rob Hutchison can be seen working in the reception
area in an adjacent room.
Two years ago about this time of the year we published in the Benton News that "Outside of Back Home in Benton, PA, our favorite Pennsylvania towns are Wellsboro, Lewisburg, Jim Thorpe, Bellefonte, Hershey and Lititz."
We'll make a stop in one of these locations today, the delightful Borough of Wellsboro, 98 miles from Benton via route 15 north. Actually, a favorite route to get to Wellsboro is by driving from Jersey Shore north along the winding and beautiful Pine Creek, through Cedar Run where the lovely inn beckons and the trout are jumping just feet from the shoreline, up the 50 miles of the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania while at times being 1,000 feet down in the canyon and end up in a town of wide boulevards, gas lights, stately old maple trees and well-kept lovely homes. It is great to sit in front of The Green which locals call their town park and stare at the bronze statue called Wynken, Blynken and Nod. When your trip is finished, try to tell us that Wellsboro isn't near the top of your list of favorite places.
Wellsboro has had its share of interesting happenings over the years. Here are some of my favorites…
On May 4, 1901, the Town Council of Wellsboro passed an "anti-tramp" ordinance whereby tramps in the borough lock-up were fed bread and water only and citizens were requested not to feed them at all. An ordinance to compel tramps to work on the street was under consideration.
In April, 1908, a miller working at the Matson mill on Marsch Creek got tangled up on a shaft and whirled around many times each minute before the mill could be shut down. The miller died.
In June, 1899, a logger working in the bark woods was bitten on the temple and died from the effect of a mosquito. The logger noticed that his temple swelled, but paid little attention to it. Later, while wrestling with a companion, he bumped his head, after which the swelling increased at an alarming rate and he died "in great agony."
The Wellsboro Loyal Order of Moose purchased the Wilcox House hotel in March, 1917, when the liquor licenses were turned down because of law violations. The Moose organization rented the dining room and kitchen for use as a grill, used the remainder of the first floor for lodge purposes and rented the second and third floor rooms to the public.
A cloudburst in July, 1919, caused half a million dollars in damages to Wellsboro. The Borough suffered $150,000 in damages to the street pavements, bridges and public buildings, while damages to private property reached about $300,000. The loss to crops was also heavy.
A circus arrived in the Borough in June, 1907, about six hours late due to a washout on the New York Central Railroad. During the haste of getting the show ready, some of the wild animals stampeded and some spectators narrowly escaped serious injury. It started when a zebra attacked a horse, the horse bolted into a camp of elephants and fourteen "of the big brutes" together with a dozen or more of the smaller animals stampeded up the main street at "break-neck speed."
Wellsboro's "handsome stone structure in the Gothic style" Presbyterian Church was dedicated on February 13, 1895. The church cost $30,000 to build.
The Anti-Cigarette League of Wellsboro started out to stop the sale of cigarettes in the Borough in November, 1897. They began by asking dealers not to sell any more of the "objectionable articles." Dealers declined, in part because of the large stock they had on hand. Undaunted, the Anti-Cigarette League bought up the visible supply of cigarettes. More than 20,000 cigarettes were rounded up, dumped on the ground at the high school, two ministers and the mayor delivered "addresses on the folly of the cigarette habit," and then the pile set on fire in front of half of the residents of the Borough. The Philadelphia "Inquirer" called the spectacle "inspiring." Here were "twenty thousand cigarettes in the glow of early evening going up in smoke, not separately and between the lips of boys, but at once on the open green." After a respectable absence of the smokes, the dealers began "laying in" more stock.
The President of the Corning Glass Works asked the Borough for fifty new houses in Wellsboro in June, 1918, to "accommodate employees of the plant" which was planned to double in size by July 1 of that year "if accommodations are forthcoming." Sixty-six thousand dollars was subscribed to stock capital in what was known as the Wellsboro Realty Company. Four business and professional men paid $10,000 each.
The post office in Wellsboro was entered by burglars on April 17, 1897, the safe was blown and between $200 and $300 stolen in the form of cash, postage stamps and money orders. The police determined that it was "the work of a gang of professionals."
A college student walked the streets of Wellsboro and then posted a blog as a "photo tour." It was great (and free) advertising for Wellsboro. Take the time to view the blog. We heard about it via Punta Gorda, Florida, from Eileen Knouse who got it from Dan and Delores Selleck, Wellsboro.
February 28, 2008. Happy birthday today to Rick Posey, Evy Lysk, Gary Ritter and although I claimed it was yesterday Harry Ackerman becomes a senior citizen today as he turns 65. Happy birthday today to the Republican Party, formed on this day in 1854 when some opponents of slavery--Northern Democrats, Whigs, and the Free Soil Party--gathered in Ripon, Wisconsin. Six years later, the party won the presidency with Abraham Lincoln.
Didja notice that everyone seems to be ill or they know someone who is? The flu seems to be everywhere, and where it isn't the common cold has people sniffling.
• Didja ever watch with sorrow the graduates of the local high school head off into the world one by one to earn their living or earn their degrees? I read in the March 8, 1884, issue of the Harrisburg Patriot where thirty "persons left here last week to relocate in Kansas."
• I am doing more resting than usual and with that comes watching birds. Feeding squirrels is also fun, for the sake of Buster and Chloe. The dogs watch through a glass door to wait for what they call "mousies" to leap on a feeder and get peanuts I put out for them. Yesterday I watched as a blue jay flew to the ground in the backyard and began pecking along a brick edging. The bird soon came up with a buried peanut. It didn't dawn on me until I saw the same bird do the same thing a second time that the bird had buried the peanuts months ago and somehow remembered exactly where the peanuts were. I also saw the same thing with crows that dropped walnuts on busy streets and then waited for cars to smash the shells so they could eat the meat inside. It may be that the word "bird-brain" will be banned from my vocabulary.
Didja ever think that the next worst thing to lying is getting caught at it?
Do you like to arrange and rearrange furniture? You might head to Sweet Home 3D, a free interior design application that helps you place your furniture. The program runs on Windows, Macintosh, Linux and Solaris.
Didja ever think that it is no wonder babies' eyes are blue? They're entitled to look blue when they first see the kind o' world they've got into.
The pamphlet was just filed in the bottom drawer of the roll-top desk, the end of the line for dreams, the final resting place for trips not taken. A delightful sounding trip to warmer parts of the world was what was on the piece of the now-discarded paper. I pour over the travel sections of obscure newspapers with the same passion as Marcia Kay looks at HGTV or houserearrangingforthethirdtime.com. Our interests in traveling are about as similar as politics is to Hilary Clinton and Mike Huckabee.
Our interests differ in other respects, too. My idea of a place to spend the winter is almost anyplace south of Orlando while Kay likes the idea of spending those months in or south of Benton or in or north of Camp Hill. I would love to spend my nights playing pinochle, entertaining interesting people and eating, while Kay things that Fox News makes an interesting evening companion and rearranging the house makes for a pleasant afternoon.
I love to maneuver stocks by the gobs, mostly wistfully, while she nickels and dimes the price of spinach by the can, in a frozen state and the country of origin.
My idea of a pleasant evening is in a crowded room filled with bombastic, overdressed, overstuffed, overtalking, overbearing people discussing politics, history, movies, and sweet, Florentine, Italian winter fennel, with a plate of tidbits and a glass of red wine. Kay likes Gorton's fish sticks and talking about her grandchildren with her children.
My idea of a good meal is in a restaurant at 6 in the morning with sausage, grits and buckwheat cakes or an hour before bedtime with a hunk of red meat with the carbohydrates neatly piled on the side. A meal without meat is somewhat akin to a birdfeeder without sunflower seeds. Kay, on the other hand, favors fish or spaghetti, unsaturated fats, a fresh-fruit salad, yogurt or a crab cake.
There is little hope of ever resolving our dilemma. I would like to keep my suitcase packed ready for a road trip. Kay would prefer to have more grandchildren and then have all of them come to visit. Neither of us give an inch, or she would find herself on the way to Tahiti or I would find myself picking up baby diapers for the young relatives when they arrive. Perhaps a compromise would be in order. What if we only went as far as St. Augustine?
Didja ever think that a good way to widen out the straight and narrow path would be to have more people walk in it?
It would be preaching to the choir if you were told that Columbia County is a great place to live. The magazine Progressive Farmer, known to farm families since 1886, recently did exactly that in pictures, statistics and words. Pay them a visit.
February 27, 2008. Happy birthday to Lynne Watson as she turns 40 and Ora Karns as she turns 95.
The Northern Columbia Community and Cultural Center is pleased to announce the addition of two renowned appraisers to its upcoming Antique Show and Appraisal on March 29 and 30, 2008. John A. Shuman, III, author of nine collector books, lecturer and appraiser is certified by Antique Appraisers of America. Well-known gemologist, Sue Pembleton, winner of the 1995 De Beers award for jewelry design, will identify and determine value of gems and jewelry. Sue has ten years experience with the Gemology Institute of America. Both will participate in the two-day event. The Antique Show and Appraisal will be held at the Center from 10 AM to 5 PM on Saturday, March 29, and from 11 AM to 4 PM on Sunday, March 30. Admission is $3 for admission or $5 for admission plus one appraisal; additional appraisals are $3 each. The Center is still reserving dealer space. If you would like more information or reserve a booth, please contact Gladys Kile at 864-9998 or Rob Hutchison at 925-0163.
We'll conclude our discussion begun yesterday on leap-year marriages by going back in time to 1896--a true rallying time for spinsters. Whatever the idiosyncrasies of some women and some men might be, for most of us the law of marriage is a necessity.
There were a lot of ladies in 1896 who needed to “reach out and touch someone,” so to speak, since the year 1900, because of the calculations discussed in Tuesday's Benton News, would not be a leap year. Leap year in prior years had not been a big deal, but the lack of a leap year at the beginning of the new century compensated for past failures. Spinsters arrayed themselves for the supreme endeavor. The year 1896 was the rallying time for spinsters.
It is possibly true that in leap years of prior years the single ladies didn’t concentrate hard enough. If a shy lady failed to ask a man to marry her, in four more years another leap year would roll around, her biological clock would kick in and she would either snare a man then or in the intervening time some man would step up and propose saving her the time and trouble. To put it bluntly, these women were “unmanned.”
All that changed in 1896—or rather the calendar makers changed it for them centuries before. As the Philadelphia Inquirer of the time said of these women, “They must mass their voices for one great final assault upon the citadel of masculine indifference to their winsomeness.” Strategy and force if necessary would be necessary to get their man!
The year 1900 was not a leap year and women would have to hold off until 1904 for the next leap year--seven years without an opportunity to tighten the noose around the man they chose as their life’s mate.
The fact that 1896 was a special leap year didn’t go unnoticed with the bachelors who loved their liberty. Never before in history was signs of capture so alarming. Men worried about even the shyest maiden so he didn’t lose his hand--or his heart.
Seven years without opportunity for marriage meant that she had to “get-r-done” soon. Another seven years and she would be in the retired category. If it was going to be done at all it had to be done quickly.
One artist showed the situation with a symbolic spinster, lariat in hand, watching for the moment when the man could be caught by a snaring loop. The sketch exactly summarized the facts. There was no wavering hand when the spinster hurled the lariat, there would be no escaping from the falling noose. Spinsters everywhere looked in their mirrors at the vision conjured up by the cruel depiction and their minds raced ahead seven years to when their many charms would have turned to mush.
When time permits, glance through the genealogical records from your family and note the number of marriages that took place in 1896, the year calendar makers played a curious prank on both women and the men.
Don't forget that February 29 will be here in two days. It is time for the Daisy Maes of the world to plan their attack. Men, plan your escape now
Benton High School is preparing its spring musical, The King and I, based on the memoirs of Welsh schoolmistress Anna Leonowens in the royal court of Siam and her relationship to the children of the King of Siam in 1862. The story was made famous on Broadway with Yul Brynner as the king, and again in the movie with Debra Kerr in the role of Anna.
In the Benton Area Schools’ production, which is directed by M.R. Daniels, the part of the king is played by Sean Christian, and Anna is performed by Adrianna Stahl, who is known in the area by her incredible singing voice. Other major roles are played by Jeanne Masich, Lauren McGrath, TJ Schultz, Emily Young, and there are numerous parts for 30 other students, plus 19 elementary school students who play the parts of the king’s children.
The interesting thing about this year’s production is that Ms. Daniels refuses to rent anything. Having come from a long career in show business, she believes that the biggest benefit of a theater arts program is that it teaches teamwork, just as much so as any sports program or music activity. There are no stars in professional theater. Every actor or actress is dependent on the team to make him or her look good. In order to instill the value of team effort and the importance of details, Ms. Daniels is teaching the students set design and construction, props building, costuming, makeup, lighting, special effects, staging techniques, and responsibility to the team.
The students gather every day to make props, invent masks, build sets, assemble costumes, cutting, gluing, drilling and sewing and whatever it takes to put together a whole show. The halls of Benton High School may be littered with gold dust and sequins for the next month, but you’ll see all of it on stage by April!
Putting together a performance that involves a cast of 50 is a costly proposition. Makeup, costumes and sets, even when done by hand, involves a ton of materials. Just replacing the light bulbs on stage this year has cost hundreds of dollars, and ticket sales will not cover all the expenses. Many parents and staff members are volunteering help, and students are out looking for patrons. If you would like to contribute to this amazing experience you can send a check for any amount to Benton High School Drama Club, Park St., Benton, 17814, or your business could buy an ad in the program, or you could even come over and nail together a couple of platforms!
Come see a very professional production, every inch of it made by the team.
Performances are April 4 and 5 at 7 PM, and April 6 at 2 PM. Tickets are $7 each ($4.50 for students and seniors) and can be reserved by calling the high school at 925-2651.
Alba, Marcia - wife, dancer
Albertson, Austin - slave
Christian, Sean - king
Correll, Nick - slave
DePoe, Chelsea - amazon
DePoe, Megan - wife, dancer
Fritz, Ethan - interpreter
Futcher, Samuel - Captain Orton
Haddow, Jer - dancer
Hartman, Ashley - wife, dancer
Harvey, Sarah - dancer
Hittle, Nyssa - wife, dancer
Hughes, Becca - Chululongkorn
Charles, Hunter - amazon
Jackson, Shayla - wife, dancer
Lontz, Megan - amazon
Lukashewski, Patience - amazon
Mack, Cheryl - amazon, dancer
Martin, Alex - Kralahome
Masich, Jeanne - Louis
McGrath, Lauren - Lady Thiang
McGrath, Olivia - wife, dancer
Minier, Ethan - sailor, stage crew
Paul, Chelsey - amazon
Root, David - sailor, Sir Edward
Schaffer, Felicia - wife, dancer
Schultz, John - Phra Allack
Schultz, TJ - Lun Tha
Stahl, Adrianna - Anna
Stauder, Kimberly - wife, dancer
Steward, Misti - wife, dancer
Steward, Morgan - dancer
Verbyla, Cathy - wife, dancer, assistant director
Young, Emily - Tuptim
Ellie Mae Young
February 26, 2008. Happy birthday to Michelle Karns and to Lisa Edson Daly. Didja realize that last year on this day local gas prices ranged from $2.309 to $2.429 for regular unleaded gasoline? What a difference a year makes...
Take the time to read how the country of Pakistan knocked YouTube off the internet by going here.
There was a time when girls proposed on February 29 during a leap year. Or so the story goes. The leap-year girl would dream ahead of the leap year, thinking of the day when she could offer her heart and hand it to the man of her choice without fear or shame.
Not many of us know what leap year is all about. We know it means we gain a day in the calendar when we skip ahead 24 hours, but most of us just knowingly nod our heads as if it was perfectly clear and quickly change the subject so not too many questions are asked of us.
To many, leap year is just an additional day, a setting of time, an adjustment of things which happens every four years.
But connected with leap year is a bit of sentiment, much as in the observance of other anniversaries. Some girls, remembering stories they were told or have read about leap year understand that leap year has a significance that dates to our past.
Once upon a time many years ago, as stories of this nature are apt to begin, during the early days of leap year, there was a society whose name I forgot which was sort of a “leap-year society.” They were the merry-makers and the jesters and it was their business to please and amuse the court. They decided that leap year, because it had one more day than other years, should be special in some way.
One of the dear hearts in this group hit on the idea of making the extra day a time when the young women in the group could propose to the men. The group with the “why-not” attitude laughingly accepted and one of the young women hauled off and proposed to a young knight who accepted her hand and provided a low bow. With the help of a little bubbly stuff, the wedding was celebrated by morning.
Well, sure, maybe it didn’t happen exactly that way, but young women for many years did count on “breaking the ice” with some of their slower moving male friends by popping the question. The 29th day of February in a leap year was planned down to the last detail months in advance.
History records that many of these leap-year marriages were happy ones. The reason, I suppose, is that the woman truly loved the man she proposed to and was forever content to stick by her decision.
The leap-year marriage was often a happy one simply for the reason that the woman felt that the marriage was of her own seeking and that she was responsible for it. The marriage was of her own making and she of all people would make it come out right.
I suspect that the girls who proposed were pretty girls, probably had willing dispositions, most likely head over heels in love, and the young boy was probably her first choice, not her last one. She undoubtedly loved him the best of all the eligible boys and didn't take him because no one else would ask her. She knew what she wanted and set out to get it. Once married, she made every effort to be happy for if the marriage failed everyone would place the blame on her shoulders.
There is a vague notion that leap year came about because of some kind of flaw in the making of our calendars. Others realize that our time and the sun’s time are not in sync. We know that at the end of every four years this amounts to twenty-four hours or one whole day and to make this up and to gain a day it is necessary to add a day to the year. Consequently, leap year has 366 days instead of 365.
The way that our calendar system works is that if the year is divisible by 4 it becomes a leap year and the month of February takes on 29 days to compensate for the fact that a solar year is 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, and 12 seconds long. Now I ask using the inflection in my voice that Mother used after I had taken caster oil and she would say “Now wasn’t that good!” “now wasn’t that simple!”
But if the year is divisible by 100 it is not a leap year, unless the year is also divisible by 400 and then it is a leap year. Using that logic, the year 2000 was a leap year, but the year 1900 was not. Going forward, 2100, which none of us will see, will not be a leap year, but 2400 and 2800 will be. The rule is “the average number of days per year will be 365 + 1/4 − 1/100 + 1/400 = 365.2425,” which totals 365 days.
Lets go back in time to 1896 which was a true rallying time for spinsters. There were a lot of ladies who needed to “reach out and touch someone,” so to speak, but the year 1900 would not be a leap year. It was 1896 or nothing! When we gather around the coffee pot Wednesday, you’ll find out what happened to the women who wanted to woo themselves a partner. You’ll soon better understand that “Woman proposes, man disposes.”
When we hear stories about Gene Bardo, we think of his garage at the corner of Main and Markets Streets in Benton or his legendary cooking or his forays into the fishing country of Canada or of his years of association with the Volunteer Firemen of Benton. Most of us don't think of Gene as a person who would be involved in an automobile accident although there was once a story making its rounds about a wintry night when he was Fire Chief he took a fire truck "up the Dug" and the foot throttle froze to the floor of the truck. When the truck came down the Huntington Mills side much of the fire apparatus stayed on the side of the road. With this background, one would not think that one of his sons would be in an automobile accident.
Gene's oldest son, also named "Gene," was one of three Benton youths who was rushed to the Bloomsburg Hospital following a crash on ice-covered roads near the Grassmere-intersection north of St. Gabriel's Church. Eugene Bardo, Jr. 16, had spleen injury and several broken ribs. Jim Fausey, 20, had lacerations. Samuel E. Follmer, 16, a fracture of a leg that had been fractured the preceding summer while playing baseball.
The three kids were injured when Jim Fausey's car went out of control as it hit an icy patch. The vehicle careened into a service pole, snapping it off. It continued over an embankment, finally coming to a halt against a tree. The car was demolished. The Benton ambulance took all three to the hospital. I don't remember the year.
I hate to keep harping on the same subject, but please...
. When you send an email to more than one person, consider using the Bcc: field (Blind Carbon Copy). Email addresses are hidden that way. An advantage is that the fewer email addresses that can be seen the less risk there is for the addresses to be picked up by automatic spammers.
. Don't send videos as attachments; send only the video's link on the web. Your friends may only have internet access at work or at school and many times multi-Mb downloads are restricted. Work computers probably don't have media players. The computers should have updated internet browsers so video watching via links shouldn't be a problem.
. PowerPoint presentations (".pps files) are popular, but they have to be downloaded to your computer to see them. This takes time and bandwidth only to find most are a waste of time and twelve other people have sent you the same thing. Gmail (www.gmail.com) is an email program which allows you to open these within the browser in order that you can scan them.
. Almost everything you receive in an email that appears to be unbelievable probably is. The people who make Pepsi and Dr Pepper are not atheists who refuse to put "Under God" on their cans, Saran wrap in the microwave does not cause cancer, the coin return on pay phones will not prick you with a needle infected with AIDS, UPS and FedEx are not Al Qaeda agents in disguise. I almost never read this nonsense, but when I get suckered in I read them in conjunction with www.snopes.com or other reliable Urban Legend buster. Don't forward anything that you can't personally vouch for--even if the email says it has been checked out. Don't forward a note "I don't know if this is true but I am letting you know anyway." Remember that by the time you receive one of these emails you are probably the millionth person to have received it. Forwarding it to others who probably have read it is offensive. Just delete the message and make a mental note about the person who sends you this junk.
. Cut the length of your email in half. Keep your emails short. Readers probably have four extra seconds in their lives to read your email. Don't discuss your goiter operation, don't be negative, don't send a herd of uninteresting jokes, don't bother to send ten other emails sent by others in order to get to an underlying joke, give a short opinion of a news items if you wish, then simply send the link to the story.
There isn't any doubt that the Benton News devotes too much space to items of no interest to anyone but me. But now regretfully my deteriorating health requires that the daily report be shortened considerably and there will be days in the future when I will not be able to write anything. I am not able to sit for extended periods and walking is becoming difficult. The Benton News will return in its present form following knee surgery.
February 25, 2008. Happy birthday today to Lila Allen, Bob Sands and Paul Franklin. Happy anniversary to Gahrad & Mary Lou Harvey. Congratulations to No County for Old Men, the winner of the best picture category on last night's Academy Award presentations.
It was, on balance, a perfectly delightful weekend. Well, yes, there were crummy roads Friday night and there was the matter Saturday of saying goodbye to a favorite of the upper Fishingcreek valley, Elsie Buyers. Elsie was a "serving person" for whom enough good could never be said. The remembrance held in her memory was one that Elsie would have approved of and would have participated in. The observance held Saturday afternoon was of unparalleled participation during an otherwise drowsy February winter day. It got people out of the house and away from the seed catalogs that are arriving in the mail. People who haven't uttered more than ten words since the Christmas holidays collected their thoughts and shared their stories about their old friend who passed away so quickly. Some talked about the weather, about how Miles Little plowed snow all morning in an effort to find parking for the scores of cars that eventually filled Community Drive and spilled onto Third Street. Some talked about the delicious desserts served up by Elsie's home church. Saturday began cold enough to make men wear their toupees upside down, and as the day wore on and the temperatures climbed a slush covered the streets.
Early Saturday evening, it was time to play a game that has been around for over 150 years--the game of pinochle, a game that has been played in the houses in which I have lived on Saturday nights for as long as I can remember. The rules of the game haven't changed in the last sixty years. And the glass of Muscatel wine which somehow Father enjoyed while he was playing is long gone.
The sun broke out Sunday and was a perfect climax to the weekend. It was great to get out and take a walk and smell the fresh air. As usual, the Oscar night was devoted to serious discussions of the gowns worn by Hollywood hopefuls, the movies that did and didn't make the cut, the merits of different stars, and how next year we hope the movies will be better.
• The Benton Antiques, Etc. will reopen following renovations in the last weekend of March. Some of the store is being taken back to the original when it was the Benton Store Company.
• The Benton Fire Co. would like to thank all the people who braved Sunday's cold temperature for breakfast. The fire company fed 276 hungry people. The next firemen's breakfast will be March 30.
• The Benton Lion's Club voted February 21 to give a $1,200 defibrillator to the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center in memory of Elsie Buyers. The defibrillator is an item that is on The Center's Wish List. A defibrillator delivers a therapeutic dose of electrical energy to an affected heart.
• The fearless forecast for Monday calls for a mixed assortment of sun and clouds, with a high about 43°. A dribble of snow is possible late. Tuesday brings both rain and snow with temperatures in a narrow range between 26° and 37°. It probably won't get above freezing Wednesday and snow flurries will arrive. The sun will return Thursday but the cold will linger.
The year 1930 was an exciting year to grow up Back Home in Benton, PA. It was the year that "Al" Hess was born, the year that the last B&S passenger train from Benton ended in Bloomsburg. It was the year that men known as Lum and Abner got their careers off and running. People like Raymond Baker, Woodrow Brewington, Kermit Shultz, Marion Smith, Clyde Karns, Genevieve Edwards Baker, Lena Stoker Dodson, Letha Speary Benjamin, and L. V. Dietrick Horn, and others, graduated from the local high school. Harley Smith had just been appointed postmaster in Benton. The effects of the 1910 fire could still be seen along the main road leading from the south into the Borough.
Notice that not a lot has changed on Main Steet since 1930. Yes, the trees
lining Main Street are gone, the 60-watt street light "on the square"
is gone and the vegetation carry-over from the Benton Fire of 1910
is easily seen along the newly paved Main Street.
The full effects of the stock market crash had not hit Benton at the beginning of the new decade in 1930. While the country was reeling from the market crash of 1929, the local area was taking advantage of the growth. The stockholders of the Northern Central Telephone Company met in late June of 1930 and voted to sell the buildings and assets of the company to a Dallas Company that had been around since 1897, a company by the name of Commonwealth Telephone Company. Local service lines were in need of upgrading and even the office of the company showed signs of wear. The transfer of the assets to Commonwealth, a company that had only been taken over two years before by state senator Andrew J. Sordoni, took place without a lot of ado.
The Benton Argus continued to lobby local residents in an attempt to prevent any recurrence of the fire of July 4, 1910, by taking pains to warn parents to see that their children stayed away from fireworks and explosives on the Fourth of July. The campaign in the Argus didn't quite achieve its objective! The editor's son, Earl Brewington, and three other boys--Alton Appleman, Freas Follmer and Freeland Shafer--suffered injuries from accidents involving blank cartridges and fireworks.
Up at Camp Lavigne, a project got underway to build a 100x35 swimming pool. Each community in the Columbia-Montour District had a quote for helping finance the job. The Benton area and Scout Troop No. 51, Benton, oversubscribed their quota. The total amount set was $200 and $221 was raised.
Benton Park continued to be enlarged and improved in order to be used for family reunions, church picnics and other events. The park held numerous small events and four large events each year. The largest of the events was always the annual Northern Columbia County Farmers Picnic held each year on the last Wednesday in July. The event began in World War I to raise funds for the Red Cross. The event was so popular that at one time country businesses and the courthouse closed their business at noon of the day of the picnic.
Other events to note were the Odd Fellows picnic in July and the Grange and the Ku Klux Klan Picnics in August. The Benton Ministerium held evening services in the grandstand at the Benton athletic park during the six-week period from mid-July through August. Old advertisements for these events proclaimed that the services "were held under the vaulted arches of the park's beautiful trees, with the awe-inspiring view up the Fishing Creek valley to the North and Red Rock Mountains, with accompaniment by the music of the flowing creek waters."
The Benton Grange purchased the former A. T. Chapin furniture store and residence on Market Street in the location where Dr. Thomas Kowalski now has his dental offices. The Grange members renovated the second floor of the building so that the Grange could meet on the second floor while using the first floor for Grange suppers and related-community events. A. T. Chapin's son, E. P., reserved a portion of the property along an alley at the back on which he erected a 16x32 building to be used in connection with his undertaking business on Two and a Half Street now operating as the Dean Kriner Funeral Home--just across the alley from the new structure.
The road from Benton to Forks and then on to Bloomsburg was being improved in 1930. At Stillwater, a new steel and concrete bridge replaced the Daniel McHenry covered bridge. Surveyors were preparing to improve the Beech Glen Highway. The "new" Shickshinny highway had been completed in the late 1920s.
Taxpayers were happy as the Benton School Board announced that despite the completion of a building project involving a new elementary/secondary school in 1929, school taxes were dropping 2 mills on real estate.
Sheldon Carl Phillips (February 24, 1933-February 23, 2008), State Route 239, Divide, died Saturday at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville. He had been in declining health for several years and suffered from a stroke within the last week. He was 74. Born in the Raven Creek area, he was a son of the late John Richart Phillips and Margaret Ann (Fritz) Phillips. Carl attended Benton Schools, then entered the U. S. Navy serving on the USS Missouri (BB-63) and USS Wisconsin (BB-64) during the Korean War and was awarded the National Defense Ribbon; the Korean Service Medal; the United Nations Service Medal; the China Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. Carl was employed by the Benton Foundry, the former Harold's Market of Maple Grove and retired as a Rural Mail Carrier for the Benton Post Office in 1998. He was an active member of the Divide Union Church where he was a Board member, Superintendent and Sunday School Teacher. He and his wife, Mary L. (Benjamin) Phillips celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on June 8, 2007.
In addition to his wife, Mary, surviving are his children Cindy Lee Hittle (Monty), Divide; Tina M. Posey (Rick), Posey Hill, Orangeville; Scott C. Phillips (Sarah), Divide. Seven grandchildren also survive: Nyssa and Lena Grace Hittle; Laura Leigh Posey; Seth C., Lucy J., Mary E. and Kati H. Phillips. Brothers Clyde Eugene Phillips (June), Stoney Brook Circle, Orangeville and Albert Keith Phillips, Lightstreet, also survive. He was preceded in death by brothers John Wesley Phillips and Harold Ernest Phillips, and by sisters Ella Catherine Phillips and Edith B. Yorks. Funeral services will be held Thursday at 2 o'clock at the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc. Burial will be in the Waller Cemetery with military honors accorded by a combined Veterans group. There will be no public viewing. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to the Divide Union Church, c/o Carla Remley, Andys Hill Road, Benton, PA 17814.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will be included in the February 25, 2008, Press Enterprise.
Congratulations to Billy Pasukinis and Corey Lear who came out on top in the District 4 wrestling competition yesterday in Williamsport. Sunday's Press Enterprise includes an article about Billy Pasukinis in the 160-pound category. Benton finished second as a team over 34 other teams. According to the Press Enterprise article, Benton "advanced five, the most of any local school, including Eric Hess (second at 130), Coltin Fought (third at 103) and Mike Rhone (third at 112)." Benton finished second in the team standings with 109 points. Sophomore Eric Hess lost 2-1 to Lewisburg's three-time state winner Derek Reber in the 130 pounds finals.
The Press Enterprise article indicates that 14 wrestlers from the area will advance to next week's Northeast Regional Tournament at Williamsport High School.
Florence A. Stedman (August 12, 1925-February 23, 2008), died Saturday at the Orangeville Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. She was 82. She was born in Shickshinny. Florence was a daughter of the late Otto and Wilma (Hobbes) Moyer. She lived in Benton most of her adult life. She worked at Milco Industries, Inc. and the Dockey Shirt Co., both of Benton, for a total of 32 years. She was preceded in death by her husband, Vincent E. Stedman, on November 16, 1981; by a son, Robert A. Stedman, on May 14, 1970; and by a son-in-law, Larry L. "Buck" Grassley, on January 17, 1988. Surviving are a son, Fred L. Stedman (Joan), Mocanaqua; two daughters: Romaine E. Grassley, Benton; and Brenda L. Martin (Dennis); eight grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. She was the last of her immediate family. Funeral services will be held Monday evening at 8 in the Dean W. Kriner, Inc., Funeral Home, Benton, with visitation preceding. Interment in the Benton Cemetery will be private.
--Obituary courtesy of the Press Enterprise, where a complete obituary can be found in their edition of February 24, 2008.
February 24, 2008. There are six days until Leap Year and 25 days until the official start of spring. Happy birthday today to Jesse Young, Donald Rabb, Darl Dressler, Geraldine Laubach, Jim Laubach, Bill Bailey, and Madge Hinchcliffe. Happy anniversary to Richard and Janet Kriebel. Rudolf Diesel received a German patent on this date in 1893 for an engine that burned fuel oil rather than gasoline and differed from the gasoline engine in that it used the heat of compression in the cylinder rather than a spark to ignite the fuel.
Didja ever have a conversation with someone who reports the obvious long after everyone else knows it's obvious?
On the political front...
. Didja hear about the awkward moment in Hillary Clinton's campaign? She told her staff to call Democrats with money, and they called Barack Obama.
. John McCain is a highly decorated veteran, who spent five and half years in prison, then went into politics. It is usually done the other way around.
. There are huge primary contests coming up in Texas and Ohio on March 4. The Pennsylvania primary election is April 22. If Clinton doesn't do well in Ohio and Texas, Pennsylvania's vote will be meaningless.
. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg reported Saturday that in about 80 of the city's 6,100 election districts, Obama did not receive even one vote. Not one! Yeah, right..
Alexander Holdren, 13, son of Randy and Linnea Holdren, began ninth-grade Honor Courses at his school, Commonwealth Connections Academy, on February 4. He began taking classes with the cyber charter school Jan. 13, 2006, as a fifth-grade student and has been excelling academically while also completing a year and a half of academics each school year since he enrolled. His current grade point average is 93. He also attends numerous field trips across the state of Pennsylvania with his most recent being to the DaVinci Science Center. He has earned the rank of Star with the Boy Scouts of America and is involved with Odyssey of the Mind, which will compete March 8. Last year his team won an OMER award for their exceptional team work and manners and placed fourth out of the seven teams in their bracket.
Didja know that...
. A year is a leap year if it is divisible by 4, but century years are not leap years unless they are divisible by 400. And always remember this: "Leap year was ne'er a good sheep year."
. The King of Hearts is the only king in a deck of playing cards without a moustache.
. The nominees for Best Picture are Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood. We'll know who does what to whom late Sunday night. And remember there is a Benton connection in No Country for Old Men.
. There is an estimated one cell phone for every two humans on Earth. We've passed 3.3 billion active cell phones on a planet of some 6.6 billion humans in about 26 years.
. Randy Pausch is the father of a young family and a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He is well known for his personal thoughts in his "Last Lecture" after he learned of his terminal pancreatic cancer. It is worth your time to go to www.perb.ca/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=79394 and listen to this lecture.
The Memorial Service for Elsie Parkhurst Buyers took place Saturday at 3 o'clock at the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center and almost 350 of her close friends showed up. Frank Gould shuttled visitors on a Brewington Transportation bus from the Benton Volunteer Fire Company facility to the Community Center. Sorrowing friends came to pay their regards to the memory of the departed and to evidence their sorrow at her loss. Following the spread of cancer to her liver, Elsie knew (since September of last year) that she had cancer and that she was fighting the odds.
Daughter Ellie, holding back tears, said "There are many reasons to admire my mother. One of them is the courageous way that she faced her death. Always the optimist, she was optimistic until the end, but she was also very practical and she had prepared for the inevitable and took the time to express her gratitude for the time that she was given."
Rev. Calvin Miller, Waller United Methodist Church and Rev. Richard Streeter, Paoli Presbyterian Church, officiated. Music selected by Elsie played before the services and Diane Laubach, Benton United Methodist Church, provided the music of accompaniment of hymns on an organ donated by Bill and Dorothea Mather in memory of Bill's first wife, Pauline.
Ellie read a note that her mother probably wrote between her first and second surgeries. "My plan," Elsie wrote shortly before she passed away, "was to live until I was 98." She lamented that "if I had lived to be 98 I would have had all those problems old people had!" She continued as she recalled a conversation she had with her pastor, "God has been very good to me. He helped me through the biggest glitch--divorce--and helped me realize that Alzheimer's played a big role in that."
Elsie lived over twenty years in Hawaii and she still many friends there, but it made sense to Elsie to return to Pennsylvania to be with her family after her divorce. Elsie reflected on that decision, writing "As it turned out I was able to help build our community center in Benton. Through that experience I made many friends in Benton."
She continued, "As you know," writing on a note later found in a desk in her home and not written to anyone in particular, "I have three wonderful daughters, three sons-in-law who have always treated me with love and respect. I know that doesn't happen to all mothers-in-law so I really appreciate that. Then of course I must mention my wonderful, handsome, loving, intelligent grandchildren. Friends--I love my friends. I have gathered too many of them. Over the 76 years there are too many to mention them individually."
Elsie "Ellie" Viehman, one of Elsie's three daughters, noted during the service that Elsie "loved her friends and her friends loved her." She explained, "And it wasn't an accident and it wasn't just lucky, she cultivated her friends. She remembered them and reached out to them. She sent Christmas cards and she sent personal notes. She wrote letters, she made phone calls, she was very high-tech, she emailed, she even used Instant Messages and sent text messages--so she really cultivated her friends and she was rewarded with great relationships. She did not sit around and wait for people to come to her. She reached out."
Ellie then read a couple of notes from friends of Elsie. One note was from "Aunt Molly" a friend from "pre-birth" who lived next door to Elsie, and in fact shared the same driveway. "I am glad that your mom died peacefully," Molly wrote, pointing out that "Before she died, she taught us how to die with courage and grace and acceptance. I am so glad that I was able to kiss her goodbye. I feel so grateful to have been your Mom's special friend for 76 years." Molly's note ended, "We'll be jolly friends forever more."
Julia, a friend with a Chinese background who lives in Hawaii, in her note, wrote, " I am so sorry to hear of the death of your mother just when she was settling down in the luxurious retirement home and thrilled with the dedication of the community center, looking forward to the weddings coming up. A special lady, so positive, so strong, she went much too soon, my heart is breaking for all of you."
A friend, Beverly, from her new home at the Hill at Whitemarsh in Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania, wrote "It was a short and precious relationship during a new chapter of life. Unforgettable is the energy that she exuded. She is now rewarded with a retirement home unspeakably expansive and welcoming. Her Lord's open arms embrace her in the wellness center of everlasting happiness and health."
In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
It was an honor to sit in a room filled with almost 350 people who shared the memory of a single person and who gathered in respect. Most left a personal note to Elsie and her family.
Following the memorial services, the staff of the Old Filling Station, Main Street, provided a delicious meal of roast turkey, baked ham, penne with vodka sauce, vegetable fried rice, Chantilly potatoes, green bean almandine, steamed broccoli, homemade cranberry waldorf salad, homemade rolls and butter. The ladies of the Waller Church provided a wide array of delicious desserts.
It was the kind of a memorial that Elsie would have loved.
Martha J. (Adams) Gower (October 20, 1947-February 22, 2008), 275 Austin Trail, Orangeville, died Friday at the Bloomsburg Hospital. She was 60. Born in Williamsport, she was a daughter of Sarah (Hamilton) Adams, Benton, and the late Ralph Adams. Martha attended Benton Schools. She worked at the Benton Sewing Center, Decorator Industries and Denny’s Restaurant, Lightstreet. Surviving are her children Candy Boccardo (Robert), Stillwater, and Daniel C. Burkhart, Delaware City, Delaware. There are four grandchildren. There are also siblings Connie Trout, Oregon; Bonnie Burkhart, Orangeville; Lloyd Adams. Pine Summit; Anna Steel, Rochtown, Alice Force, Orangeville, and Donna K. Adams, Benton. She was preceded in death by a son, Robert A. Burkhart on April 21, 2007; twin daughters April and May Gower; brothers Maynard Adams and Ellis “Pete” Adams; and by her step father, Glen Ford. Services will be at the convenience of the family with interment in the Pine Summit Cemetery.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc., Benton. A complete obituary will be published in the Press Enterprise in its edition of Sunday, February 24, 2008
Oliver H. Kile (July 13, 1913-February 22, 2008), Dutch Hill Road, Bloomsburg, died Friday at the Bloomsburg Health Care Center where he had been a resident since September, 2004. He was 94. Born in Sugarloaf Township, he was a son of the late Minor and Myrtle (Yocum) Kile. He attended the Diltz School and later the Grassmere School. Mr. Kile worked as a farmer and for the Berwick AC&F, the Pennsylvania Railroad, Magee Carpet Company and Girton Manufacturing Company. During World War II he owned a block company in Benton. Mr. Kile was a member of Emanuel Dutch Hill Bible Church where he was the oldest-known member. He was preceded in death by his wife, Leona V. (Melick) Kile, on December 15, 2007, severing a marital span of 74 years. Surviving are his four children: Dawn E. Szoke (Stephen), Danville; Harlan E. Kile ( Bonita), Bloomsburg; Kermit C. Kile (Veronica), Stillwater; and Derl E. Kile (Karen), Bloomsburg. Also surviving are 11 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren and 3 great great grandchildren. Oliver was the last member of his immediate family. He was preceded in death by siblings Nelson Kile, Geraldine Kile Hess, Anna Kile Dawson, Roy Kile, Viola Kile Hartman, Mary Kile Shutt, Leona Kile Turner, Martha Kile Knorr, Robert Kile and Carl Kile. Funeral services will be Wednesday at 11 AM at the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc. Burial will be in the Waller Cemetery. There will be no public viewing.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will be published in the Press Enterprise in its edition of Sunday, February 24, 2008
February 23, 2008. Dick and Janet Kriebel celebrate their wedding anniversary today and Bill Bailey, Jesse Young, Geraldine Laubach and Jim Laubach celebrate their birthdays. Following severe fighting on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima, the flag was raised by a member of the 28th Marine Regiment on Mount Suribachi on this date in 1945. You can see the flag raising by going here. The tiny island 4,000 west of Pearl Harbor and 650 nautical miles south of Tokyo was the last link in the Pacific island chain. It was a major stepping stone in order to mount a Japanese offensive.
Remember that everyone is invited to the tribute to Elsie Buyers today at 3 PM at The Center on Community Drive.
A blessing of being poor, honest and hard-working is that no one envies you.
• The February selection of Girl Of The Month for Whowhatwear.com is Krysten Ritter. Take a look at www.whowhatweardaily.com/website/home.php.
• Dorothea Mather is a patient in Health South at Geisinger Hospital following back surgery.
• The entire article on the Copper Craze in Columbia County is now available in the FEATURES section.
It is terrible for men to grow old alone.
The trouble is that many wives haven't had a birthday in thirty years.
The claim is often made that buckwheat cakes--at least using a recipe that we would recognize locally--are not successfully produced outside of pockets within Columbia County. A scrapbook belonging to Richard Karschner, Derrs, originally assembled by Mrs. Paul Karschner, R.D.#3, proves otherwise, according to an article from the 27th annual Bloomsburg Fair Edition of the Morning Press.
The article was about John Johnson who lived near Rohrsburg in 1939 when the article was published. The piece included two pictures, one of Mr. Johnson eating what he ate every morning "of every day of every year." The second picture was of his farm wife in front of a coal stove bustling about in front of a griddle with family membres patiently waiting in the background for their servings of buckwheat cakes and sausage.
The reporter asked Mrs. Johnson for the recipe for the cakes. "Well, mister," she replied, "I use a little of this and a little of that and stir the batter up until it looks like this." She then held up an earthenware crock "where the buckwheat cake batter was rapidly diminishing under the constant drain of four cakes poured on the griddle." That explanation was as close as the reporter got to a real recipe for the buckwheat cakes "for which Columbia County is justly famous."
At that point, the article headed in the direction I wanted to go. I'll quote from the article: "For years the old Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York regularly featured on its menu "Columbia County Buckwheat Cakes and Sausage. This was in the old days before the Waldorf was the number one hotel in Gotham." How remarkable! There was intelligent eating life outside of Columbia County!
My experiences with edible buckwheat cakes outside of the local area has been as devastating as my experience ordering grits for breakfast locally. It was very obvious to me that the person who prepared the grits for me had never been south of Maple Grove!
The history of the Fifth Avenue Hotel is interesting. It closed on April 5, 1908, after 49 years of life as a hotel. The old hotel was where presidents were "made and unmade," because for half of its life it served as the headquarters of the Republican Party of New York state. The hotel was torn down to make room for a "monster office building" which by today's standards was small. The replacement for the building was a 14-story office and store building that cost $2,000,000. The location at Fifth Avenue and Twenty-third street was one of the most valuable locations in the city.
The hotel was so fancy-shmancy that in December, 1872, when a fire broke out on the third floor there were several deaths because the management of the hotel made every effort to "save the furniture and carpets" rather than telling guests to vacate the hotel. One of the first firemen on the scene was refused admittance to the hotel with the excuse that managemente did not wish to excite the guests. The Fire Marshall felt that the management of the hotel had "taken no precaution" to rescue "the girls" who died in the fire. Bellmen were so anxious to safeguard the baggage of the guests that "human lives were forgotten."
The hotel was built in 1859 and was famous for both its buckwheat cakes and its "amen corner" established by Republican politicians. The movement to nominate Grant for President was started in this hotel--quite possibly over a breakfast of buckwheat cakes and sausage!
The former Fifth Avenue Hotel, New York City
which served Columbia County Buckwheat Cakes and Sausage
Didja ever hear about the summer school which began in Benton in 1902 when W. W. Evans was County Superintendent? The official reason given for starting the school was to give the teachers "a chance to become more fitted for their work." The Superintendent felt that teachers were "inferior and if they didn't improve as teachers they would lose their positions."
The summer school attempted to use the best teachers in the county and it even went so far as to include a man from State College to teach agriculture.
The school was conducted for a period of fifteen years from 1902 until 1917. Here are some of the graduates from the summer school of 1909:
From left to right: Belle Eves, Regina McDonald, Edna Synder, Myrna Eves, Ida Beyer, Myrtle Mordan, Ora Miller, Nora Cherrington, Emile Benfield, and Mary E. Sands
Picture courtesy of Don and Betty Miller
As the Bloomsburg State Teacher's College phased in a summer school conducted under state supervision, the summer school at Benton phased out.
February 22, 2008. Happy birthday today to Bill Bennett and Clayton Ackerman. We missed mentioning the 83rd birthday yesterday of Al Senavitis, the man responsible for five of the pieces of folk art in the library/museum of The Center. Happy belated birthday, Al. The AccuWeather forecast is for a bit of snow, and as the day wears on and temperatures near a high of 28° the snow should mix with sleet. There will be a little more snow on Saturday with a high of 34°. Sunday should warm to about 39°. It sounds like through Saturday there will be a messy mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain. Watch the roads this morning. They are slippery!
The Memorial Service for Elsie Parkhurst Buyers Saturday at 3 o'clock at the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center is open to all who wish to attend. Brewington Transporation will provide bus service from the Benton Volunteer Fire Company facility to the Community Center. The Center will be closed to all other activity beginning at 2:30 PM. Participating in the service will be Rev. Richard Streeter, Paoli Presbyterian Church; Rev. Calvin Miller, Waller United Methodist Church; and Diane Laubach, Benton United Methodist Church, who will provide the music. One of the special numbers that will be performed will be The Rose. If you are not familiar with this song, listen to the Divine One performs it here.
Donald E. Bangs (May 2, 1911-Feb. 21, 2008), the oldest living member of Painter Den Club and formerly the president of First National Bank of Millville, passed away Thursday at Riverwoods of Lewisburg. He was 96. He was born in Greenwood Township, a son of the late J. Vernon and Bertha Freas Bangs. He graduated from Millville High School in 1929 and Bloomsburg Normal School in 1933. His career included teaching, selling insurance and selling for Girton Manufacturing. Most remember Don as President of the "bank on the corner," the former First National Bank of Millville. He was a member of the Oriental Lodge 460 of Orangeville, Painter Den Club and the Greenwood United Methodist Church. He loved hunting both at Painter Den and at a private-shooting ground he maintained in the Greenwood Valley near his home where he raised pheasants and trained his pointers. His former wife, Lesta Applegate, passed away March 31, 2002. Brothers Guy, Paul and J. V. Bangs; and two sisters: Eleanor Kline and Jean Berger, preceded him in death. Surviving are daughters: Nancy Holtzman (Rudolph), Watsontown; Margaret (Peggy) Etter and her husband, William, Chambersburg; four grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Services will be Monday at 11:30 AM at Greenwood United Methodist Church with visitation preceding.
--A complete obituary will be published in the Friday edition of the Press Enterprise
The Pennsylvania Copper and Mining Company had its main office in Jamison City, was incorporated under the laws of Pennsylvania and had "authorized capital of $2,000,000. The metallurgist and assayer for the company, A. S. Fritz, certified in the official prospectus that he had made "more than 70 assays of rock and ore sent and handed me." "Six of these 70 assays contained less than 1 per cent." The report did not say it contained less than 1% of what! The assayer's report continued, "Three contained no copper, but the average of the whole number of assays made for the company is above 4 per cent." Still, people flocked to get in on the copper craze.
The former locaton of the Pennsylvania Copper and Mining Company
and the smelter for the mine. The "school" is the present location of
the Grassmere School House, which is still standing and used. The
evidence of the mine and the smelter is barely visible ove a century
after operations ended. One of the copper mines for the organization
was located on the south side of Fritz Hill Road.
The prospectus showed a picture of "Mine No. 1," but the picture looked a lot like the type of soil found in Arizona. Another picture showed workers removing copper "from the surface" to a depth of four feet. The gently rolling hillside filled with round rocks looked nothing like the outcroppings of rock in that area of Fritz Hill. A picture entitled "Prospectors Viewing Ore in Sight" looked somewhat like the side hill where one of the mines was located after the trees had been removed. A picture of a Pennsylvania valley which I am not able to identify was marked "Near Where Plant is Located." Judge for yourself: here is a picture of the plant. The label for the picture says "150 ton capacity. Our product needs no refiner. Plant will run day and night." Do the hills in the background look anything like the hills around Grassmere Park?
Main Plant of the Copper Company
(According to the prospectus, at least)
Thanks to Jim Fox for the use of the photograph
By the time the copper mine south of Central took off over a century ago, trains in Arizona were carrying copper out of that state and millionaires were being made and there were rumors that something like 16,000 men were employed in the business of mining copper in Arizona. Financial pages of major eastern cities carried notices of copper companies formed for operating in Arizona.
The Arizona mining town of Jerome, today just a tourist trap after a period of being a ghost town after the copper played out, grew from a population of 800 to 4,000 in two years. The Arizona town of Globe tripled its population in seventeen months and Bisbee doubled in a year.
The price of copper in Arizona climbed to 19 and even to 19 and a half cents a pound and the speculation was on that the price--although high--would actually climb before the price dropped. Few noticed that substitutes for copper were being developed and that the visible supply of usable copper was decreasing. It is interesting to note that in mid-February, 2008, copper is just 8% shy of a new record high, and headed to more than $4 a pound.
Undisputedly the biggest copper mines and smelters in Arizona were in the Black Hills range at Jerome. I still have a picture of Father grinning from ear to ear as he stood under an advertising sign for a restaurant in Jerome. The name of the restaurant was the Ore House, a reference to an old profession once carried on both in the building and in the wild and wooly company town owned by the sprawling United Verde smelting works.
By July 19, 1906, The Wilkes-Barre Times reported that "many Bloomsburg citizens lost money in a copper mining venture at Central and the plant would be sold by sheriff's sale within thirty days on a "debt of $1,000." The situation had gone downhill from the December 11, 1899, headline in the Philadelphia Inquirer which read, "Mineral Craze in Columbia County Assuming Alarming Proportions." The finding of many valuable veins of copper in the northern end of Columbia County is rapidly opening up an industry which promises to put fortunes in the pockets of those who are fortunate enough to control land in that vicinity. The farmers in that vicinity have caught the fever, and some of them have forsaken the plow for the copper business.
The newspaper noted that "considerable money was spent in building up the plant and in the purchase of machinery and the brunt of the cost" was "borne by some who could ill afford it and to whom the comparative failure of the plant has meant the loss of the saving of years."
Other investors in Pennsylvania were dragged down, too. The Philadelphia Inquirer of July 1, 1911, noted that a "supposed gold find" in Chester County was located in a sand mine. The news agitated the community even though newspapers reported that "gold in quantities sufficient to make it pay" was found.
This was the same area where sixty years before the excitement of finding copper, lead and zinc in paying quantizes had taken on the scene of real English mining activity. There simply wasn't enough quantity to warrant the mines and within a few years nothing remained where "thrift and energy had been the attraction." The Inquirer noted that "older persons who remember the copper and zinc craze which overtook the owners of land in that locality are disposed to wait awhile for developments before they enlist their feelings in the excitement which is now rapidly gaining force."
The mining of copper was not one of the most successful endeavors of the upper Fishingcreek Valley, but is worthy of being remembered...
The entrance to the copper mine as it looks in February, 2008.
The cave-like opening of the former copper mine is now flooded with water as debris over the years has plugged up an outlet for water.
From time to time, Bridget Allen updates us on her travels across the United States with her friend, Sallie. Thursday she wrote from Kentucky. Part of what she had to say follows...
So yesterday we’re rolling along the Western Kentucky Parkway from Paducah headed to Louisville. Sallie is behind the wheel. I’m studying the map.
“Sallie! We’re going right by Rosine, home of Bill Monroe, Father of Bluegrass Music!” I gasp.
Sallie is not a bluegrass aficionado but she humors me and jumps on the bandwagon.
“Well then, we can’t just drive by and not at least take a look at Rosine. Where do we get off?”
In a bit, driving down a road, we see a sign: “Jerusalem Ridge, Home of Bill Monroe, etc…” It’s a modest sign and indicates a tiny gravel road off into the woods and up a hill. (Mind you, we’ve just come from Graceland and have our expectations.) “Oh, dear,” I fuss, “I don’t think this RV is going up that road…” And we drive on. Just a spit down the road is Rosine, KY, just what we suppose it would be--about 20 tiny houses, a post office, a general store, a variety store, and The Rosine Barn Jamboree.
The Barn catches our eyes first thing and we pull into the parking lot--a patch of gravel. A plaque honoring Bill Monroe is stuck right there on the outside wall smack in front of our RV. The Barn is shut tight. Across the road (not street--road) is the Blue Moon Variety Store with a sign--“Blue Moon Salvage Food.” We’ve gotta see what this is all about.
Inside is everything from snacks, canned goods, cereal, Kleenex in crunched boxes, and bananas to Oil of Olay, condoms, china figurines, old lace doilies, wind chimes and tee shirts. Mary Sue, the proprietress, is as sweet and welcoming as anyone could be. We get the scoop about the road to Jerusalem Ridge, the great burgers at the General Store, and Friday nights at The Barn. We buy donuts, 2 cans of beans, a tote bag on wheels and head for the burgers.
The General Store looks like it hasn’t had a facelift since 1952. Inside are some shelves with a very few canned goods, some restaurant-type tables, a kitchen and a piano. Old stuff is sitting all around---dusty LP albums of old gospel and paleo-bluegrass, tins, feed sacks, ancient tools, a couple of taxidermied critters. We order burgers and strike up a conversation with folks at a table. A slim, white-haired gentleman with a twinkle in his eye offers to open up The Barn and let us look around.
So after lunch we three---Sallie, me, and Rayme--wander over to The Barn. It’s Mecca. It’s where Bill Monroe as a kid first started playing and singing his stuff. There’s a tiny, low stage with sound, about 50 old wooden theater seats appointed with all kinds of cushions stolen from home, a little kitchen off to the side, and on the walls dozens of photos and framed newspaper articles of B.M. and various local performers, including our host Rayme and his band.
“Ya wanna come up an’ sing a song? Ah’ll turn on th’ mic an’ y’can set ra-aht here on this stool whur Bill set last time he wuz here…” offers Rayme.
The notion terrifies me, but we strike a deal and I fetch my guitar out of the RV. On B.M.’s stage, Rayme plays my guitar and I sing “Paradise.” (There is a dandy condenser mic--Motorola, he thinks…) and then we sing “Katy Daley” together. It’s a hoot! We might do more except it is nasty cold in that old barn and Rayme’s fingers are froze up.
“Y’all come back Friday night ‘roun’ 6 an’ y’ll hear lotsa good music…an’ some not s’good…but come anyway. There’s jammin’ goin’ on all o’er the place, too--The Gen’ral Store…here…in the summer, outside. Lotsa folks come.”
We’d like that.
Off to the post office to get stamps. I chat with the postmistress, Rayme’s wife, while Sallie hotfoots it back to the Blue Moon to buy a tee shirt. She’s a’gettin’ inta this bluegrass thang. Assured and reassured by citizens of Rosine that our RV will go up to Jerusalem Ridge with no problem, we set off. For a couple of little old ladies and an aging F350, the road is narrow, steep and winding, but up we go. The Monroe Home Place tucked into the woods has been lovingly restored. Outside is a plaque conveying a remarkable notion.
In the summer the music and dancing took place on the porch or in the yard. In the cooler months furniture was moved outside and square dances were held in the home.
There has been so much music played in the home that the fibers of the wood actually changed in response to the vibrations. The end result is that the home has become a musical instrument itself. (My take here is that there’s some mystical thing going on with the author around the Home Place and Jerusalem Ridge. In any case, it’s a magical image.)
A tour guide shows us through the house and invites us to wander through the woods to the two lovely little outdoor stages. In the fall there’s a festival with some 40 bands and last year it featured Ralph Stanley (a legend in bluegrass, for those of you unfamiliar with the genre.) The others seem to be local talent and I would guess they’re all mighty fine pickers an’ singers.
Now, this ain’t fer ever’won, but if you happen to be in central Kentucky ever and passing by Rosine, you won’t find a Graceland clone, but you will find a lot of history, friendly folks and great burgers at the General Store.
February 21, 2008. Happy birthday to Bridget Hauber, Al Senavitis and Jeff Watts. On this date in 1918, Robert Pershing Wadlow, a normal eight pound, six-ounce boy was born in Illinois. He weighed 30 pounds at the age of six months and 62 pounds at 18 months. By the time he was 8 years old, he was over six feet tall and weighed 195 pounds. At the age of 13, he become the world's tallest Boy Scout at seven feet, four inches. Because of an over-active pituitary gland, he grew to 8 feet 11 inches. He drove the family car by sitting in the back seat, the front seat removed. He died in 1940, weighed 490 pounds and was buried in a 1,000-pound casket that required 12 pallbearers with eight assistants. Wadlow was certified by the Guinness Book of Records as the tallest person in history.
Prayers are needed for Sheldon Phillips, from the "crossroads at Divide," who will turn 74 on February 24. He has suffered a major stroke. His address is 996 State Rt. 239, Benton, PA 17814. Nancy Fox is "On the Mend." Nancy will return home today from rehabilitation at Geisinger South. She will need a walker, will require oxygen and daily therapy. In March, discussions will begin with oncologists about the next step to take. Her family thanks everyone for "all of the kindness, cards, flowers and love that everyone has shown." Nancy's address is 9 S. Comstock Road, Benton.
• The Life & Times of Robert Bruce Ricketts by Pete Tomasak is now in stock at the Red Rock Corner store, Sullivan Review, Tudor Book Store in Kingston, and Barnes & Noble in Wilkes-Barre.
• Congratulations to Seaman Recruit Thomas P. McCawley, son of Patricia McCawley and Kenneth Schlegel, Orangeville. He recently completed Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois.
• Easter comes early this year--March 23--just a couple of days after the first day of spring! Easter is on March 23 this year.
• Take an Oscar quiz in advance of Sunday night's presentation.
• For the second day in a row Wednesday, the cost of a barrel of oil on the international market closed above $100. Couple that with a U.S. refinery explosion and global tensions surrounding some oil-producing countries and the result is a high price for gasoline. .A fill-up with regular, unleaded gasoline in Camp Hill Wednesday cost me $2.969 a gallon. Coming north toward Benton, prices ranged from $3.059 to $3.179 a gallon, with Millville's price at $3.099. Benton's prices were $3.139 and $3.199 with rumors that Benton's prices could be in the $3.309 range before the end of the week.
A spin around our area highways is a breeze today compared with the way it once was. According to a tongue-in-cheek article in the Benton Argus during the infancy of our automobiles, persons driving automobiles "in Columbia County" had to "observe the following rules:"
1. Upon discovering an approaching team, an automobile must stop at once and cover his machine with a blanket painted to correspond with the scenery,
2. The speed limit on the country roads will be a secret and penalty for violation will be $10 for every mile an offender is caught in excess of it.
3. In case an automobile makes a team run away, the penalty will be $50 for the first mile, $100 for the second, $200 for the third, etc, that the team runs, in addition to the usual damages.
4. On approaching a corner, where he cannot command a view of the road ahead, the automobile must stop not less than 100 yards from the turn, toot his horn, ring a bell, fire a revolver, ballyhoo, and send up three bombs at intervals of five minutes each.
5. Automobiles must again be seasonably painted, that is, so they will merge with the pastoral ensemble and not be startled. They must be green in and painted to match the grass in summer.
6. In case an automobile approaches a farmer's house when the roads are dusty, it will slow down to one mile an hour, and the chauffeur will only the dust in front of the house with a hand spreader worked over the dashboard.
The copper mines near Central were not the first in our state. Pennsylvania colonial governor William Keith attempted to mine copper in Pennsylvania in 1724, but his York County mine failed quickly. Eight years later in Lancaster, the Gap mine owned by shareholders including Governor Robert Hunter Morris (1754-1756) and Thomas Penn, the man who drafted the town plan for Reading, Pennsylvania, began operating and continued until 1755. Ninety-five years later the dream was still alive and the mine reopened as a nickel mine producing some byproduct copper along with the nickel. It closed in 1893.
Copper mining in the United States began in earnest in the Northern Michigan copper district in the 1840s. Today the United States is the second largest copper producer in the world and our country produces something like 60% of what we use.
The Pennsylvania Copper Mining Co, 1221 Arch Street, Philadelphia, developed a mine in Pittstown (the name given in 1838 to the present Pittston) in December, 1902, and produced ore giving assays of 5% to 10%.
The Copper Handbook, published in 1903, a "manual of the copper industry of the world," compiled and published by Horace J. Stevens in 1904, noted that the "state yet lacks a copper mine." It named locations where copper was found in small quantities including Pottstown and Tunkhannock. Central was not mentioned even though from outward appearances things were going well for the company. The December 11, 1899, headline in the Philadelphia Inquirer read, "Mineral Craze in Columbia County Assuming Alarming Proportions." The article reporting "finding many valuable veins of copper in the northern end of Columbia County. It went on to say that copper was " rapidly opening up an industry which promises to put fortunes in the pockets of those who are fortunate enough to control land in that vicinity. The farmers in that vicinity have caught the fever, and some of them have forsaken the plow for the copper business."
The lure of "getting rich quick" hung over local residents. The Beaver Lake Copper Co. had its main office in Bloomsburg and the Philadelphia Inquirer reported it was "assaying 17% copper." Stories were rampant about mines producing ore rich in silver with copper mixed worth 55c per ounce. In Montana, 5% copper was being taken out of the mines in 1901 averaging about $1.50 to $1.75 a ton and about $1.62 a ton in gold and silver value. The company even had an office in Mountain View, Pennsylvania, and the thought was that if a successful company with mines in other states invested in mining in our state it had to be a successful company! Literature from the Mountain View mine indicates that it was a "3-compatment shaft, 1,851' deep, with 15 exits and connections."
Some say that copper and tin, in the form of bronze, an alloy of these two metals, was in general use before the discovery of the process of producing iron from its ores. From the earliest civilizations known to man, many ornaments of bronze have been found.
The richer and more advanced nations in our history had stores of gold, silver and copper. Gold was used for ornaments and as a medium of exchange. Copper was used for weapons and implements, usually in the form of an alloy such as brass or bronze. Spain provided the world with copper for perhaps up to 3,000 years.
What seemed to be "abnormally high prices" of 1899-1901 was brought on by inflation. The cost of producing copper advanced materially because of the high market price. Costs mounted through higher wages paid to the workmen and by the need for increased security around the mines.
The growth of a huddle of tents and shanties into a highly anticipating copper camp took just a few weeks. Central wasn't like Arizona where miners of small means leaped into great wealth within a few weeks. Arizona, after all, saw the wealth of the territory increase "at least 30 million dollar by the rise in the copper markets" according to the editor of the Phoenix Republican.
While the copper craze only affected a small percentage of our local citizens, others went "well nigh daft on copper." Joselle Confair Moyer's great grandfather was Andrew Brosious, the Grandmother of Julia Ann Brosious Confair. Andrew was a geologist and found copper in the Rohrsburg area. He fathered 17 children with his wife Lucinda Bitler from the Catawissa area. He is buried in Mifflinville.
February 20, 2008. Happy birthday today to Loraine Foote and to the U.S. Post Office, created on this date in 1792. On this date in 1962, astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth, flying aboard "Friendship 7."
• Rep. Karen Boback (R-Columbia/Luzerne/Wyoming) of the 117th District will resume her satellite office hours in March. Rep. Boback's satellite office schedule for March 5 will include Mocanaqua from 9 until noon in the Conyngham Township Municipal Building, 10 Pond Hill Road, Mocanaqua and 1 to 3 at the Shickshinny Borough Municipal Building, 35 West Union Street. The schedule for March 28 from 9 AM to 3 PM is at the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center, 42 Community Drive. Call the Sweet Valley office at 477-3752 or toll-free at 800 278-3930 to set up all appointments. Please note the location change for the Benton area.
• Mark yesterday as one of those days to tell your kids about. Crude-oil prices finished just above $100 a barrel for the first time. Better fill your tanks now.
• Obama won Wisconsin's Tuesday's Democratic primary over rival Clinton, while McCain won Wisconsin's Republican primary.
The story of the Copper Craze in Columbia County has now been transferred to the FEATURES page.
John W. Spencer (April 27, 1928-February 18, 2008), a US Navy Veteran of World War II where he was a helmsman on an Allen M. Sumner class destroyer the USS Thomas E. Fraser (DD-736) and a well-known former Benton AA baseball player, died Monday at his Fairmount Springs home following a lengthy illness. He was 79. Born in Fairmount Township, he was a son of the late Bruce and Lena (Beishline) Spencer. Mr. Spencer attended a one-room schoolhouse in Fairmount Springs and graduated from Huntington Mills High School. An avid outdoorsman, he especially enjoyed hunting and fishing and was a charter member of the United Sportsmen Club of Huntington Mills. Mr. Spencer retired after 48 years of service with the Operating Engineers Local 542,
He is survived by his wife, Ruth E. (Holmes) Spencer, with whom he celebrated his 59th wedding anniversary on December 20. The couple have three children: Mark J. Spencer (Cathy), Huntington Mills; Thomas W. Spencer, Bloomsburg; and Lois Short (Johnny), Harrodsburg, Kentucky. Additional survivors include Libby Short, a granddaughter; a step grandson, Stuart Short (Tina); and a step great-granddaughter, Eden Short. He has five sisters: Erma Zubris, Cambra; Iva Mae Conner (Robert), Benton; Betty Flanagan, East Lake, Ohio; Marion Remley, Benton; Barbara Bonham Paul), Mossville. He was preceded in death by siblings Evelyn Comstock, Roy Spencer, Ray Spencer, Paul Spencer, Nola Taylor and Ruth Wagner. Funeral services will be held Friday at 2 PM at the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc. with viewing preceding. Burial will be in the Bloomingdale Cemetery.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will be published in the Wednesday edition of the Press Enterprise.
February 19, 2008. Jamie Rabb and Frank Conrad celebrate their birthdays today and Ray & Jean (Getz) Foust, Benton, celebrate 51 years of marriage.
A group known as the Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) are hosting a Relay for Life Benefit Lasagna dinner. Sally Matje, instructor at the Columbia Montour Area Vocational Technical School (AVTS) food preparation department told us about the meal, so you can bet it will be good. The meal will be on Thursday night, February 21, from 4 until 7:30 with a live auction at 6 PM. It all takes place at AVTS, 5050 Sweppenheiser Drive, Bloomsburg. The group collected many good donations and it should be a fun evening. Last year the group raised $691--the top donation for the state at their leadership conference.
The FCCLA club years ago was called FHA, with many boys in their association. The members voted to change the name, which is how it became Family, Career and Community Leaders of America. FCCLA has two state officers from the Benton area, Jennifer Motto and Kaydie Mitchell.
FCCLA might not be a household term. The group is a leadership-skills organization with family as the main focus. They do a lot of community-service projects and help those in need. They participate in Kids Peace, Relay for Life, feed the needy, and donate many baked goods to fund raisers and benefit dinners. They always give Christmas cookies to the Berwick and Bloomsburg Elks for their children's Christmas parties, the Women Center also gets some of their Christmas goodies, and this year they donated over 500 to St. Columba School for their Christmas party.
Their students will go to competition in Lancaster for culinary, baking, food service, cake decorating, job interview, interpersonal communication and chapter-showcase manual. The meetings start between 6 and 7 in the morning and meetings, workshops and completions continue for three days in April. On the last day, awards are given out and the newly elected officers begin their term for the next year.
Buster and Chloe have a new hero. They suggest that you go here to see for yourself.
The murder of Thomas McHenry, the subject of an article in yesterday's Benton News, did not end happily and did not end exactly as the students in the Millville Friends School reported. In order that you find out "the rest of the story," Vinnie McHenry Hippensteel, Berwick, the foremost authority on things McHenry, reminds readers that the wife of Thomas McHenry eventually died--in prison. She was never convicted of the death of her husband, but was held in prison when it was proven that she did not tell the truth about the murder. Thomas is buried in the Rohrsburg Cemetery, and the tombstone for the murdered man rests askew on the ground. The youngest daughter of Thomas was a suicide victim. Brother McClellan moved to Hazleton after he was named one of the suspects. Thomas's parents lived adjacent in a house toward Rohrsburg.
Congratulations to six-time grandparents Nevin and Deb Dressler and to parents Joe and Rebecca Mood on the birth of baby Erin Elizabeth Mood Sunday, February 17, at 3:30 PM in the Bloomsburg Hospital. The stats that grandmothers are proud to share are a weight of 5 lb. 14 oz., a length of 19 inches with plenty of reddish hair. Mother and baby are fine. Rebecca is the youngest daughter of Nevin and Deb.
There is an Arctic blast heading our way this week and there is both a full moon and a total lunar eclipse coming up Wednesday night. The eclipse should be visible between 8:45 and 12:15 AM with its peak at 10:26. What is visible of the moon during this period should be vivid red. The next eclipse comes in December, 2010. The full moon is known as the "Full Hunter's Moon" or the "Full Hunger Moon."
Some Benton folks vacationing in Florida asked that I include the local weather forecast in the email version of the Benton News. At first I said no, since many readers can't read the daily report until days after what has been printed is out of date. I have reconsidered and, unless I forget about it, beginning tomorrow I'll include the daily AccuWeather forecast for Benton and surrounding areas until such time as the forecast and what happens stray too far apart.
A fun quiz on marketing is at www.cramersweeney.com/smartmarketing.html.
George Stephanopoulos was able to get John McCain to say Sunday night the words that conservatives love to hear: "No new taxes." Although he didn't include the words, "Read my lips," his words could come back to haunt him if President Bush's tax cuts are not made permanent, since that would then mean Americans would pay more in taxes. In the past, McCain has voted against making the tax cuts permanent because the legislation did not attempt to impose spending limits.
The Columbia County Traveling Library Bookmobile will be making its rounds in the local area today, stopping at Rainbow Hill Preschool from 1:20-1:45 this afternoon, then going on to Little Tiger Teachery from 1:50-2:10; up to the Central Hotel parking lot from 2:30-3:30; and ending at the most popular stopping place on the Bookmobile route, the Benton Riverside Market from 4-6:30. The retirement of the Bookmobile's long-time Director, Dorothy Coady, takes place March 20. Please make Dorothy remember the upper Fishingcreek Valley when you bid farewell to her today. Dorothy Coady has served the CCTL from May 5, 1987.
Elsie Parkhurst Buyers (December 1, 1931-February 16, 2008) of Benton and the Hill at Whitemarsh in Lafayette Hill, PA, died Saturday. She attended Wyoming Seminary and received a degree in child psychology from Bennett Junior College in Millbrook, NY. Elsie is survived by daughters Elsie "Ellie" Viehman (J. David), Philadelphia; Rebecca "Becky" Buyers-Basso (William), Bar Harbor, Maine, and Jane Russo (John), New York City; six grandchildren: Sara E. Viehman, J. Alexander Viehman, Mark W. Viehman, Marisa Buyers-Basso, John James Russo Jr. and William Christopher Russo. She was 76.
Memorial services will be held Friday February 22, 2008, at 4 o'clock at the Kirk & Nice Funeral Home, 80 Stenton Avenue (at Butler Pike), Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462. Visiting hours for the Philadelphia services will be from 4-7 PM. Call 610 832-2064 for further information.
There will also be a memorial service, life celebration and reception on Saturday, February 23, at 3 PM at the Northern Columbia Community and Cultural Center, 42 Community Drive, Benton. Additional information is available at 570 925-0163, by posting on the Benton News and on The Center's web site, www.n4cs.org. The Center is located off Routes 239 and 487 in the Borough of Benton, west on Colley Street (beside the UniMart), left following the Benton Fire Department onto Community Drive. Center is on the right at the south end of Community Drive.
The services of interment are reserved for family only and will take place at 1 o'clock February 23, 2008, at Chapel Lawn Memorial Park, Memorial Highway (Rt. 415) Dallas.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Northern Columbia Community and Cultural Center, P. O. Box 305, Benton, PA 17814.
February 18, 2008. Happy birthday to Kim Lamoreaux. Today is President's Day, annually the third Monday in February. The holiday commemorates George Washington's birthday on the 22nd and Abraham Lincoln's on the 12th--as well as honoring all those who were President of the United States. Don't bother heading to the post office or the bank today. Today marks the anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945.
Didja ever wonder why Fox News has so much "breaking news?" Mervin Block noted that some anchors sprinkle "breaking news" in a newscast the way some cooks sprinkle MSG on food.
On the Mend...
How 'bout that "Whispering Bill" Anderson, the American country music singer and songwriter! He took the time Friday night on the Grand Ole Opry to wish Richard Sutliff a speedy recovery and asked for prayers for Richard. Someone's prayers are working! He says he is out of the pain phase; not walking yet, but the pain is gone.
Ed Cole says the second go-around with the placement of stents was harder on him than the first, but he is recovering at home and might even show up at the barber shop Tuesday.
Didja ever hear of anyone retiring and moving North?
Since this isn't a fast-moving news day, here are two stories from around Columbia County that might interest you. The stories that have appeared on this subject over the last month are being removed from the daily pages where they originally appeared and are now being moved here.
To make the next story understandable, it is necessary to provide a little history. On November 1, 1896, the law in Pennsylvania was changed so that effective with that date quail could be lawfully killed. As the Philadelphia Inquirer on that date reported, "To all lovers of dog and gun, there is no sport in the wide world like quail shooting." The article indicated that there was no other sport in which the shooter had so much chance to show his skill--or lack of it.
For those who are not familiar with the sound of a flying quail, the birds make a whining noise that follows their rapid-wing beats. The bird is heavy-bodied and has short, round wings which have to flap with lightning-like rapidity. The bird isn't particularly hard to hit in open county. With their heavy bodies and small wings they only fly at half the speed a hunter expects them to fly. The hunter only has to take careful aim, take his time and the bird is his. The trouble is that most hunters don't do that. The sound indicates that the bird is heading to the next county with the speed of light and most hunters blaze away as if they were starring in a Sylvester Stallone movie. The birds band together socially in a covey of twenty or so at a time, so if the exact bird one is aiming at is missed, the bird's second cousin will probably get nailed.
Learn more about Pennsylvania's quail by going here.
Quail, as Viewed in 1910...
A number of "farmers of the Berwick section," headed by M. L. Keller and Charles Dildine, Orangeville, organized a quail-protective association. They believed that the quail was one of the best aids to the farmer among the insect-destroying birds.
Mr. Keller claimed that he "carefully studied the quail and its habits," and concluded "from experts that each bird consumes an average of one-half an ounce of weed seed daily from September 1 to April 1." He was quoted as saying that "It is estimated that there are four quail to each square mile of farm land in Pennsylvania, then each year in this state they destroy about 640 tons of weed seed, enough to smother 39,000 acres of wheat."
It isn't clear where these statistics came from but Keller continued, "From June to September the quail meal consists of one-third insects and two-thirds seeds. It is really remarkable with what precision he picks out the insects that are the worst foes of human food. The list contains the most destructive crop and garden pests in America." Keller concluded that "What is probably the most efficient enemy is the potato bug, and more than 100 of them have been found in the craw of a single bird. They probably kill 50 to 100 each day." Keller proposed that farmers take "some organized method of protecting them and seeing that they increase in number."
--The Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader, June 27, 1910
Do you want to hunt quail in Pennsylvania today? Hopewell Pheasantry, Inc. Felton, "On the Mason-Dixon Line," will fix you right up. A deluxe quail package for 80 birds in an all-day hunt with lunch thrown in is $800.
Murder in Rohrsburg...
A well-to-do lumber merchant and farmer who lived in the Greenwood Valley near what was commonly referred to as Rohrsburg station was shot and killed on February 3, 1901. About 1 o'clock on a Sunday morning, Thomas McHenry was shot by an unknown person and he died a few hours later. According to the Wilkes-Barre Weekly Times of February 9, 1901, McHenry was aroused from his sleep by a noise in the barn as though his horses were kicking. First he thought it was caused by a young colt, but upon hearing it a second time he arose, dressed and went to his front porch at which time the noise ended. He then went to the barn to investigate. As he neared the barn, about where the corn crib stood, a shot rang out and McHenry fell. The bullet struck just above the heart and passed through his body and out his back slightly lower than where the bullet entered.
His wife heard the shooting and--half dressed--came to his aid. He cried out, "I am shot, I am shot," and attempted to get to the house, but fell on his face in the snow. His wife put his head in her lap and held her husband until help arrived, even though she was still only half-dressed. The oldest son was sent to get help from neighbors. Mr. McHenry's brother, McClellan, arrived and carried the injured man into the house to await medical help, which arrived in the form of Doctors Follmer, Rohrsburg, and Jolly, Orangeville. McHenry never named his murderer before he lapsed into an unconscious state. His wound was fatal and at 6:30 Sunday morning he died.
The barn and the immediate premises were searched as soon as possible. A little snow had fallen early in the evening. In this snow the tracks of a man as if he was running was found leading from the north door of the barn out into the main roadway, then turning southward toward Orangeville. The door on the east side of the barn was found ajar about a foot. A stick that had been pried from the manger stood behind the door. With this stick pounding on the manager the assassin had made the noise that so cleverly imitated the sounds of a restless horse. Just outside of the door a portion of a partially burned wad was found from the discharge of an ancient gun.
The murderer used a gun and not an ordinary pistol according to the size of the bullet wound. The firearm was believed to have been an old style big-bore musket, a larger-size caliber than most modern guns. After the first excitement following the shooting had subsided, efforts were made to track the murderer and he was followed on the ice on the creek a distance of nearly two miles until all traces of his path were lost.
An Orangeville Justice of the Peace, J. M. Hartman, held an inquest impaneling six local men and although readers would no longer know these men by name, they had familiar names: Patterson, Ikeler, Patton, Lemon, Appleman and Bright. When the inquest concluded, the conclusion was that McHenry came to his death from a gunshot wound inflicted by a party or parties unknown to the jury. The investigators concluded that it was a cold-blooded, calculated murder, and that every precaution had been made to make it appear a case of frustrated robbers.
Mrs. McHenry was left with six children, the oldest twelve and the youngest about a year.
The police decided that even his friends were not above suspicion and the district attorney, John Harman, searched Greenwood Valley for the shooter. Several sacks of flour had been taken from the barn and placed outside, so that it appeared that they were forgotten. The killer then sat in wait, and made the noise that awoke Mr. McHenry and drew him to his death. The assassin was tracked, but it was evident that he had no conveyance and could not have taken away any of the spoils of the robbery.
No arrest was immediately made by the authorities and no reasons were given for the murder, but it was rumored that some sensational developments would soon follow.
How was all this resolved you ask? We won't tell you here, but will direct you to the web site of the Greenwood Friends Middle School, Millville, for the answer. You'll find the interesting answer here. And tomorrow we'll tell you the "rest o the story."
February 17, 2008. Pastor Howard Leh celebrates his birthday and John and Zane Unbewust celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary. Because of the death of Elsie Buyers and other concerns, the Benton News for Sunday will deviate from what we promised to cover for today. We apologize for the inconvenience to readers.
This is a site to find and compare all kinds of facts: www.nationmaster.com/index.php
Didja ever wonder why the people who designed the Calendar stuck the extra day of leap year in the coldest month of the year? September would have been a much nicer month in which to have an extra day...
. Monday morning at the North Mountain Historical Society, Shon Robbins, president of the Fishing Creek Watershed Association, will give a presentation of a program designed to relieve Fishing Creek of the damage done by acid rain. Acid rain has lowered the Ph in the stream to the point that the aquatic life of the creek is threatened. The program is free and open to the public. It begins about 9 AM at the Brass Pelican with breakfast first.
. The Pennsylvania Indian Artifact Collectors Association will have an exhibit Saturday, February 23, at PPL's Susquehanna Riverlands with tools, weapons, trade items and other artifacts used by indigenous peoples who lived in this area. Local members will educate you during the exhibit from 9 AM to 2:30 PM about how and where these tools and utensils were used. Bring your own artifacts to be identified. The art of flint knapping-shaping a piece of stone into a tool or weapon-will be demonstrated throughout the day. The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, will take place at PPL's Susquehanna Energy Information Center. For more information, contact Bill Vezendy, 759-1792.
It isn't that I exactly side with those in previous generations who contended that dancing was immoral. It isn't that I don't know diddly about dancing from personal experience. Actually, some instruction in dancing at an early age would have made many an awkward situation less stressful. Instead, looking back, I treated dancing as if it were a fad, as a subject that would eventually be thrashed out and go away, something that would be of no use to me in later years.
Dancing has been around for what seems forever. The Egyptians looked upon dancing with high favor, ascribing the invention of the art to their god Troth, their god of wisdom. Saturday morning I kicked back on a recliner watching birds at the feeder and noticed one bird get caught up in the excitement of courtship. He began to charm the female through the performance of some kind of love-dance.
In the third year of the First World War, England had to do something to relieve the tension of their people, especially their soldiers. Instructors were brought from France for the purpose of teaching dancing. Classes of up to 15,000 were held and even though their dance partners might have a one-day stubble, the concept worked and the citizens and soldiers of England were able to hold up and continue through the war years.
I did much of my dancing in an era when there was a lot of twisting and screaming going on, but there was an absence of warmth. Many people danced alone, not touching or even talking to each other.
Although the following story won't please everyone, I always enjoyed hearing the telling of the story about the Reel o' Tulloch.
It was on a cold and stormy Sunday, as I recall how the story went, and the minister of Tulloch from somewhere in Scotland was too comfortable to get up from in front of his calming fireside, and thinking or hoping that his people might be of like mind, stayed at home.
The congregation assembled, however, and at first was quite patient. But it was cold in the old church, since the minister had not tended to the fires before the service. The congregation collected what they called a "fine" but was in fact a collection to buy some ale at a neighboring inn in order to warm themselves. The ale arrived, but the minister didn't. As the congregation grew colder, they stamped their feet and thrashed about to keep warm.
The congregation tasted more ale, then they stood up and stamped and little by little they broke into what could only be called a dance. As the wait continued, a dance was in fact proposed and a member of the congregation, a fiddler, hurried home and returned with his fiddle. As I remember hearing the story, the cobbler, perhaps moved by the ale more than the occasion, ascended the pulpit and delivered himself a sermon. Then a couple of tailors and three weavers took possession of the elder's seats and then the blacksmith delivered a ditty from the choir loft appropriate to the scene if not the place. The fun flowed furiously and the fiddler, now inspired, broke into the famous music of the time, the Reel o' Tulloch.
When this story was told, it normally ended with a postscript with a moral twist that every one of the revelers died in the twelfth month of that year, and in case the listener didn't get the seriousness of the issue, the story teller usually came up with some specific but unknown location where the ruins of the church are located today.
John Wharton, writing from Malaysia, says that the "tale of the Reel sounds a little like the Tribe of Israel when Moses went upon the mountain to visit with God and get the Ten Commandments. The people couldn't wait for Moses to get back, so they had a huge party. For that none of the generation got to see Canaan and wandered in the desert for 40 years."
I am still pretty good at shuffling my feet, but the days of kicking up my heels are over. I didn't attend the Valentine's Dance at The Center last night, where stories about Elsie Buyers and her benevolence to the community were certainly told and retold, a sad note on an otherwise happy occasion. I have fond memories of seeing Kay Hoosty and Elsie Buyers, arm in arm, dancing their way out of the Geisinger Medical Center to the tune of New York, New York a few years back following some good news Elsie received from her doctors. I figured the memory of that dance would sustain me last night with all the dancing that I would need.
The following was posted Saturday afternoon
It is with the deepest of regrets that we announce that a marvelous friend of the upper Fishingcreek Valley, Elsie Buyers, passed away on Saturday, February 16, 2008. She was 76.
Elsie contributed her passion and resources to the betterment of our local area. It was the desire of this lady that a community center be built and it was the push from her that propelled the facility to its fruition. The building which houses the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center is named in her honor and the memory of this lady will never be forgotten.
Elsie Buyers, then President of The Center, turned the first spadeful of ground at the groundbreaking ceremony in late July, 2006.
Elsie had her gallbladder removed in September. The cancer in the gallbladder spread to the liver and she was forced to spend the end of October in the hospital. Initial reports were that there was no sign of cancer. In the last two weeks, her condition had gone downhill and she spent a good deal of time in Fox Chase Hospital and at her home at 170 Fox Hound Dr., Lafayette Hill, PA 19444 where she was under hospice care for the past few days.
She attended Wyoming Seminary and received a degree in child psychology from Bennett Junior College in Millbrook, NY. Elsie and John William Amerman "Doc" Buyers, a native of Coatesville, married April 11, 1953, in Wilkes-Barre, then settled in suburban Philadelphia before moving to Hawaii when he was chosen to run C. Brewer & Co. Ltd., one of Hawaii’s “Big Five” sugar companies. Elsie and John divorced in 1998, but Elsie and their three daughters nursed John through illness during the twilight of his years. "Doc" Buyers, 77, passed away May 20, 2006.
Elsie was a resident of the Benton area living on what "old-timers" knew as the John A. Fritz farm which she and John had purchased from Carlton Hess. She recently began spending most of her time at "The Hill at Whitemarsh."
Elsie is survived by daughters Elsie "Ellie" Viehman (J. David), Philadelphia; Rebecca "Becky" Buyers-Basso (William), Bar Harbor, Maine, and Jane Russo (John), New York City; six grandchildren: Sara E. Viehman, J. Alexander Viehman, Mark W. Viehman, Marisa Buyers-Basso, John James Russo Jr. and William Christopher Russo.
--This is not an official obituary. The official obituary will be published when it is made available by the family.
"I cannot say, and I will not say,
that she is dead; she is just away."
Charles Chapman, President of the Board of the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center, issued the following statement...
"Elsie Buyers loved this area and the people in it. Once, when we asked her why she was so eager to see a community center built in this area, she said, 'Chuck and Kay, I love the people of this valley. They went out of their way to accept us when we bought our farm many years ago, and somehow I want to leave something good for the area.' This was the beginning of an adventure with a woman who had a profound effect on our lives.
"It all started when a teenager was shot and killed at an unsupervised party. Elsie knew it was time to try to get it done. Through 9½ years of planning and fund raising there were times when we could have become discouraged, but we didn’t dare because of Elsie. Through difficulties and conflicts, there was always Elsie to keep us on target. I have worked with and known many generous people in my career, but no one quite like Elsie. To really understand her generosity and her respect for people’s feelings, I must relate another story.
"The board had been working very hard to raise money, and donations were slowing down. Elsie had given quite a large sum of money already to get us started and to pay expenses. Our phone rang and on the other end was Elsie talking hesitantly. She said, 'Chuck, would you and Kay meet for dinner at the Creekside Restaurant? I have something to share with you that might anger you.' Of course we went. Before our meal, Elsie reminded me how both of us felt regarding donations. That is, we strongly felt that the amount donated didn’t matter because some people can afford more than others. For example, a $5 donation had come from a couple who cried when they said they would like to give more, but that was all they could afford. She then said that she would like to give $100,000, but was afraid I would be angry because it might look to other people like she was trying to show them up. She did not want to make anyone feel ashamed and knew I had strong feelings about that. She asked if there were some way that she could give the money without anyone knowing who it came from.
"The rest, most of you know. We plotted that we could announce that an anonymous donor had given a challenge grant that would match any and all donations up to a maximum of $100,000. We didn’t even tell the board members who the donor was. Elsie was thrilled when dozens of $25 checks (some much larger) began to arrive. She enjoyed the experience so much, that later she did it again with $200,000. Many more donations flowed in.
"Three days ago, while Elsie was drifting in and out of sleep, her daughter read her a card from one of our members. It told of their regular trips to Florida each winter, but how they were not sure they wanted to go this year because they would miss The Center. Elsie roused with a big smile of pleasure that lit the room with joy. That was Elsie.
"Elsie died this afternoon. The Board of Directors and I will miss her. Her many friends will miss her. We will have a memorial service for her later at The Center in accordance with her family’s wishes."
February 16, 2008. Happy birthday to Richard Jost, Mabel Lawson, Gianna Dressler and Lori Andrysick. Edgar John Berggren was born on this date in 1903. One of his early purchases was a 25¢ book on ventriloquism and from that beginning came Charlie McCarthy, complete with monocles, suits and linen, various hats and a $10,000 kidnapping insurance policy. As Edgar Bergen, he received an honorary wooden Oscar in 1938. He was the father of actress Candice Bergen. This is the day in 1959 when Fidel Castro took the reins of office.
Congratulations to the Benton Girl's Basketball team for an outstanding season. They lost to Millville in overtime last night 66-53 during the quarterfinals of the District 4 Class A playoffs. Thanks for WHLM radio coverage so many could listen to the game.
• February 20 through February 24
Moonchildren by Michael Weller and directed by Michael Collins. It's 1965 and eight college students on the verge of graduation face studies and sex, information, misinformation and a war, all blended into a comedy that rings as true today as then. Performance will be held at the Alvina Krause Theatre, Center Street, Bloomsburg. Tickets on sale by calling 389-4340.
• February 21 through March 13.
An Introduction to Digital Photography class at The Center taught by Chuck and Karen Musitano who will share some of the techniques, tips and tricks they learned over the years. Topics include fundamentals of lighting, exposure, touch-up using your computer photo software, and portraiture of people and pets. The classes will be held at The Center on Thursdays from 7 to 8 PM. The cost is $20 for members and $28 for non-members. More information is available at The Center, 925-0163.
On the Mend...
• Ed Cole of the barber shop of the same name is recovering at the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital following the placement of an additional stent yesterday.
Little pleases me more than a good movie. Friday night I took the time to watch all five of the short films nominated for Best Live Action Short at the 2007 Academy Awards. The lineup included At Night (Denmark), a drama about three young women who share their problems while spending the holidays in a hospital cancer ward; Il Supplente (The Substitute) (Italy), a comedy in which the students in a high school classroom are galvanized by the arrival of an unusual newcomer; Le Mozart Des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets) (France), a comedy about a pair of unlucky thieves who find their fortunes have changed when they take in a deaf homeless boy; The Tonto Woman (UK), a drama about a cattle rustler who meets a woman living in isolation after being held prisoner for eleven years by the Mojave Indians; and Tanghi Argentini (Belgium), in which a man who must learn to dance the tango in two weeks asks an office colleague for help--the most enjoyable of the five.
A step by step tutorial for Firefox can be found at opensourcearticles.com/introduction_to_firefox .
If you haven't recently visited the web site of Randy Hess, son of Pat Hess and the late Al Hess, you might head for his music download site at www.burnlounge.com/hummingbird to enter his digital world.
Thought for the Day...
"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome."
--Anne Bradstreet, from the American Puritans: Their Prose and Poetry.
The Benton News will spend some time telling stories from west of the upper Fishingcreek valley beginning tomorrow. Much of what you'll learn in the series comes from a collection given to us by Don and Betty Miller and you'll learn more about that as we go along, too. The series will actually begin today, and it is very easy for me today since I only have to type what was on a post card sent to Roy Miller, "Rohrsburgh," in 1913. The card reads...
"A Dutchman, addressing his dog, said: 'You vas only a dog, but I wish I vus you. Ven you go mit your bed in you shust turn round dree times and lay down; ven I go mit de bed in I hav to lock up de blace, and wind up de clock and put de cat out, and ondress myself, and my frou vakes up and scolds, den de baby vakes up and cries and I haf to valk him mit de house round, den maybe, ven I get myself to bed, it is time to get up again. Ven, you get up, you shust stretch yourself, dig your neck a leedle and you vas up. I had to light de fire, put on de kettle, scrap some mit my vife already, and get myself breakfast. You play around all day and have blenty of fun. I haf to work all day and haf blenty of drubbble. Ven you die you vas dead; ven I die I haf to go hell yet'."
February 15, 2008. Happy birthday today to Ted Fritz, Klinger Hill, his 75th, and to Jacob Vincent. And we can't forget that today is the birthday of Susan B. Anthony.
The Guv signed the first major overhaul of the state's open-records law in 51 years Thursday after it passed the House and Senate unanimously this week. It takes effect on Jan. 1.
The senior class of the Benton Area School is selling $10 discount fundraiser cards to raise money for events such as the senior class trip, graduation and yearbooks. The cards are good until January, 2009, and can be purchased in the high school office during normal school hours. There are 17 businesses on the card and the card can be used over and over again at each business. Some of the local businesses include:
• Hoboken Sub Shop - free medium fountain drink with a 1/2 sub purchase
• Strevig's Restaurant - free dessert with a meal
• Kristie's Kafe - 10% off
• Hess' Do-It-Center - 10% off
• Tastee Crème - 10% of ice cream
Didja know that the first organizing convention for the Republican Party was in Pittsburgh on February 22, 1856? The party's first nominating convention was in Philadelphia in June, 1856, where the birth of the Republican Party as a unified political force was announced.
The Republican Party was founded as the antislavery party and was organized somewhat along regional lines. Following the Civil War, the South and Southwest were Democratic and the North and Upper Midwest were Republican. Although generally Catholics voted Democratic in the Northeast, the North was a one-party region until the Great Depression.
The conservative vs. liberal agendas firmed up much later. In the 1960s, the Republican party became the party of conservative Ronald Regan while the Democratic party followed liberals such as George McGovern and Ted Kennedy.
The nation is now watching the most interesting presidential election that most of us can remember. The split is liberal vs. conservative, but the moderates of both sides have a lot to say this time. Here are some figures on voter turnout so far...
• Virginia Democrats turned out double the number of Republicans. Barack Obama drew more votes by himself than the Republican field did combined which is interesting since the last time Virginia went for a Democrat was in 1964.
• About 1.8 million voted in the Democratic Chesapeake primaries held in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia with less than 800,000 voting on the Republican side. On Super Tuesday, 9 million Republicans and just under 15 million voted for Democrats.
• The Federal Election Commission reports that in 2007 Clinton and Obama raked in a combined 208 million dollars to 99 million dollars for McCain, Romney and Huckabee combined.
Didja remember that Daylight Saving Time starts March 9?
Countless generations of Boy Scouts have used Camp Lavigne, the Boy Scouts of America local council camp and outdoor education site, since 1925. The tannery in Jamison City closed in 1925, and the village became a ghost town for a number of years. Forksville's Harold Edward Grange (1903–91) had a spectacular college career in which he scored 31 touchdowns and gained 3,367 yards running. In 1925, "Red" undertook a national barnstorming tour. One of the favorite books in 1925 was the story of Jay Gatsby, as narrated by Nick Carraway, who told of The Great Gatsby's wealth, power and love for Daisy Buchanan. (Congratulations to Ruth Cavanaugh, 67 Woodcutters Lane, Staten Island, NY 10306, the first person who correctly knew the answer to yesterday's quiz on this subject. Ruth came up with the answer 32 minutes after it was posted via email Wednesday night).
Lets slip back in time to see what the local area was like in the year 1925. We'll begin with local businesses. John J. Mather had just invested $1,500 in new equipment "to make a good flour better" in his Benton Roller Mills. Flour was retailed under the "XXXX Standard Brand" label. Paul Hess was climbing under the black hood of his camera taking pictures in the park and developing them in what he called the "Hess Photo House."
W. C. Follmer sold lime and fertilizer, Ray B. Keeler was the local jeweler. The shoe shop was run by C. B. Ikeler. P. G. Shultz ran the Benton Store Co., selling "fine dress goods and staple dry goods, walk-over shoes, groceries and general merchandise." For "sanitary plumbing and heating," town people would head to Chas. A. Edson and Son. To purchase a Ford, a Fordson or a Lincoln, J. P. Laubach would accommodate you. Rabb's Drug Store was the place to keep you healthy.
On Main Street, Holland McHenry sold "groceries, notions and fruits" and so did A. R. Pennington. Near the square in Benton, Harry W. Hess had a "grocery, variety and confectionery store." H. W. Belles sold general merchandise and coal. Charles W. Hess sold under the name of Benton Meat Market. Frank Hosler operated a billiard parlor and café. On Market Street, A. C. Harrison had a grocery store that sold "choice meats, fresh fruits and groceries." Mahlon Strauch sold butter and "split bread." For the sweet tooth, Appleman's Confectionary sold Schraffts chocolates, ice cream and soft drinks and provided a hot lunch "at all hours of the day." After eating all the sweets, one would head to the office of Dr. J. B. Laubach, dentist, for the necessary dental-repair work. The evening entertainment came from The Universal Theatre.
Showing in 1925 at the Universal Theatre, Market Street, Benton, were movies like Hoot Gibson in "his greatest movie," The Sawdust Trail or two reels of The Fighting American, with an extra comedy thrown in, an unnamed "two-part Western."
Photo courtest of the late Doris Harvey
Glendale Farms of Wilkes-Barre and Benton was an active farm producer and Fleitz & Sproul Fruit Farms operated in Benton, Vosburg and Mechanicsburg under the direction of Homer Howe. B. F. Mather sold general merchandise and Star Brand shoes in Jamison City.
For insurance, many headed to see T. C. Smith, although he "up-front" told potential customers that there "are no bargains in insurance," but reminded people that it was "better to be insured than sorry." E. P. Chapin sold radios and furniture. George D. Yost & Son sold International farm machinery and implements on Mill Street. The Long Wagon Works had switched to the manufacture of commercial truck bodies by 1925. The banking needs of the community were accommodated by the Columbia County National Bank.
Ward McHenry was one of the most popular people in the area. In fact, the class of 1925 devoted their yearbook, "The Cross-Word," to him. Most don't know much about Ward, so here is a summary of his life. He was born in Stillwater in 1896. With his parents, he moved to the Borough when he was eight. He graduated from the Benton school in 1913. He taught for one term in New Jersey, then enrolled in the Bloomsburg Normal School for two years, graduating in 1916. He taught for a year in Mifflin, then headed for Pittsburgh where he taught and attended the University of Pittsburgh. He entered the military during the world war where he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of field Artillery.
After his discharge, he became a teacher in the Benton Grammar School and a year later became a teacher of Mathematics and History in the Benton Vocational School. He loved athletics and built Benton into a powerhouse in baseball. He later took a job with the state-highway department.
Esther Smith, Kent (sometimes called Kent Lakes), New York, on the Hudson Highlands 60 miles north of New York City and 233 miles north northwest from Back Home in Benton, PA, applied for the position of teacher of home economics and school theater programs in the Benton school system. William C. Hosler, then President of the School Board, liked her picture and invited her for an interview. The school board subsequently hired her and she was a teacher in the local school in 1925. Miss Smith married Ward McHenry, a grandson of a former state legislator, Elias Jackson McHenry. Scores of students knew this teacher simply as Mrs. McHenry. She liked the Benton area so much that she stayed for the rest of her life.
Benton High School seniors. The picture was taken in 1925. How many people can you recognize? Some names on the back of this photos were labeled "nicknames" and are presented as written. Remember that when the classmates signed the photo in 1925, they were not as staid as we now remember them!
Front- Rip Ripple, Jake McMichael, Doc Stoker, Larue Evans, Ernest Hess, Honnie VanHorn, Frank Pealer.
2nd Row- Margarite Peaterman, Mable McHenry, Phoebe Yurko, Mary Hartman, Doris Fritz, Mabel Coleman, Anna Polk, Haiser Savage, Clete Hartman.
3rd row- Zup Mather, Hilda Knouse, Gladys Hilerman, Elda Keifer, Gertrude Quick, Evelyn Harrison, Katherine Dodson.
Back Row- Bake Baker, Sir John Laubach, Duke Zarr, Chape Wenner, Skipper Hess, Charles Jones, Colie Cole, Cop Carpenter, Bill Bonham
Photo courtesy of Sheila Brandon
February 14, 2008. It is the wedding anniversary of David and Carolyn Diehl and Bill and Elaine Rogers.
Pick up a copy of the latest Official Visitor's Guide to Columbia and Montour Counties from The Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center or from the Columbia Montour Visitors Bureau. The publication is filled with information about the local area. One of the articles is about the Josiah Hess Covered Bridge, written by Robert Parks and Jim Hahn with photos by Robert Parks and Linda Sones. The 132-year old Josiah Hess covered bridge is between Forks and Jonestown in Fishingcreek Township.
My day begins with a walk with Buster and Chloe, then a hot cup of a waker-upper, then I turn on the computer to see what Woot has to offer. Woot, in case you are not familiar with the site, offers low-cost items each morning. The item of the day is offered at midnight at a fixed price. When the item is sold out, Woot can go home for the day. Yesterday, for example, they had new low-cost computers for $129. There often is not much point in being a Woot Watcher in the afternoon.
Legislation has passed the State House which requires the installation over the next ten years of "smart meters" for electricity usage for every utility customer in Pennsylvania.
Michael S. Milnarik, Yamaha Performing Artist and Clinician and a graduate of the Benton Area Schools, will hold a tuba/euphonium camp for high school, college and adult participants in July. The 2008 Northeast Tuba Euphonium Workshop will be held July 5-13 at Endicott College, Beverly, Massachusetts.
Mike Milnarik, now a resident of Boston, is tuba/director and Roland Froescher, Berne, Switzerland, will direct the euphonium section. Guest artists include the Cosmopolitan Tuba Quartet (of which Mike is a member); the Innovata Brass, a group headed by Mike and remembered for the concert given in honor of Rick Martin prior to his death in November, 2002; and the Dr. Fidgety Dixieland Jazz Band.
Applications, more information and sound clips from the 2007 camp are available at www.netew.com/.
If one were to view our planet from outer space, it would be possible to conclude that the automobile is the dominant life form on the planet. When we look at the automobile on the new or used car market, we usually forget that cars use four times more energy than people use for any other purpose.
This was going to be the lead-in to a continued discussion of energy, but because of my travel schedule I am unable to devote any time to finishing it tonight. I am trying to install a new furnace and hot-water heater to save energy consumption, but it is taking up too much time. The discussion of energy will continue in the near future.
The Friday Benton News will take a leisurely stroll around the upper Fishingcreek valley all the while keeping one eye on the women's dress of the day--characterized by its brevity, by the barely discernable bosom and the lack of waist. Nearly everyone this year was reading about Jay Gatsby of West Egg and his love of Daisy Buchanan. The coal strikes by the United Mine Workers of America in the Wyoming Valley were bringing that area economic catastrophe as was the closing of the tannery in Jamison City. A free lifetime subscription to the Benton News to the first reader who correctly identifies the year we'll tell you about and the name of the man who narrates the book mentioned in this paragraph.
State Representative Karen Boback will officially open her re-election campaign headquarters at 217 Memorial Highway, Route 309, approximately 1/8 mile south of Dallas Shopping Center on Friday, February 15, at 5 PM with a special ribbon cutting.
Valentine's Day is a day to feel good about your loved ones. Here is something to make you feel good about you.
Today is Valentine's Day. The only thing which associates St. Valentine with the day that bears his name is the fact that on February 14, 270, after being beaten with clubs, he was beheaded near Rome by Claudius II. Bishop Valentine left the world with the desire to do deeds of charity, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the weak and sick, entertain the poor, and give the dead a Christian funeral. These were the works of piety which Valentine practiced and by implication we should practice. The man would be greatly confused if he arrived back on earth today and saw our preoccupation with cards and gifts.
The nearest that can be had to a connection with Saint Valentine is in the old legend that little birds were originally supposed to choose mates on that day. The implication was that birds would somehow remember the date as carefully as the date of a coming sale of sweaters at Macy's would be etched in her memory by Marcia Kay.
Ancient chroniclers were painfully careless in some things. They were so certain that some of their customs would go down in posterity that they didn't bother to write about them. However, it seems that ages ago Valentine's Day was an occasion of great importance to the young. The boys would inscribe girls' names on tablets or chips or visiting cards or something, and drop them in a hat or a lard can and some chosen person would pull them out. Boys who drew a name were supposed to devote themselves to the girl whose name was drawn for exactly a year. It seems as though it was taken for granted that nobody would worry about personalities or dispositions or idiosyncrasies. It didn't much matter that a girl with a champagne appetite might be tied up for a year with a boy with a meager income, nor does it appear that a girl had any choice in the matter of boys and had to take up for a year with any little pillywigger who was playing the game, no matter if he had a squint or was as stingy as an amusement-park sandwich. Same with the boys. Anyway, Happy Valentine's Day!
The best valentine I received this year included the following words:
You think you made the public mind
With all your foolish scribble.
When any one with sense can see
It's only silly drivel.
February 13, 2008. Happy birthday to Nancy Kline. Dorothy Coady, "the lady from the Bookmobile" of the Columbia County Traveling Library, turns 62 today. There are 36 days until the official start of spring, but you would never know it looking outside. Schools cancelled, and there are frozen streets and snow everywhere. For those who were bored with the discussion of energy yesterday, you'll be happy to know that we didn't have room to continue that discussion today. We'll skip to Thursday to continue.
On the mend...
. Nancy Fox is now in Geisinger Health South Rehabilitation Hospital, 2 Rehabilitation Drive, Danville. room 16. Her phone number is 271-8816. Visiting hours are 4 to 8 PM weekdays, 2 to 8 PM Saturday and 11 AM to 8 PM Sunday. She will have physical and occupational therapy in preparation for getting her ready to return home. Once she has recuperated, the fight will begin with the cancer which they were not able to remove during the open-heart surgery.
. We complain about upcoming rules for going into Canada. The Washington Post reports that the European Commission will propose that foreign travelers entering and leaving Europe, including U.S. citizens, should be fingerprinted.
. It will cost more to send a first-class letter beginning May 12. The stamp will go to 42 cents, including the price of the "Forever Stamp."
. For the third straight winter, the ice-toboggan slide will not be in operation on Eagles Mere Lake because of insufficient ice. Apparently a local Chief of Police didn't get the word about the depth of ice on Sullivan County bodies of water before he tried skating on thin ice with his Ford Explorer on a Sullivan County pond. For the record, Explorers are not water tight and do not float.
. Paul Sorvino, following a question of what Lackawanna County received for their $500,000 investment in the movie The Trouble with Cali, said he is reconsidering putting his film studio in Lackawanna County. The state committed $6 million toward a film and TV production studio in the former Corning Inc. plant in Benton Township, Lackawanna County. Mr. Sorvino claims that his movie is in the "rough cut" stage but a final cut is months away. Mr. Sorvino is said to be in the process of raising additional funding for the movie.
. Landowners seeking to plant trees beneficial to wildlife are encouraged to begin making plans now. For guidance, as well as placing orders for bare-root seedlings, landowners are encouraged to visit the Pennsylvania Game Commission's website, click on the "Forms and Programs" section and choose "Howard Nursery Seedling Program." Landowners who have land open to public hunting and are enrolled in one of the Commission's public access programs are eligible to receive up to 500 free seedlings annually, as available.
. Anytime you write and those words appear in public, you can end up with legal tangles. The Knight Citizens News Network has put together information for bloggers, journalists, web-site contributors and others who want to protect themselves against legal risk. You may find the advice valuable.
. The local scout troop had three boys achieve Eagle Rank in 2007. T.J. Schultz did a project at the Benton Township Building. Brandon Wech did a project at Raven Creek Church and Sean Christian's project was at the Stillwater Cemetery.
. Kelsey Evans, 14, an eighth grade student in the Benton Area Schools was recently accepted to represent the local school as a People to People student Ambassador to Europe this summer. These ambassadors are carefully interviewed and evaluated before their acceptance into the program and the community is honored that Kelsey was chosen. She will earn high-school and college credits because of the many educational elements of her program. The 20-day European exchange consists of meetings with government officials and religious leaders, interaction with other students her age, educational activities and home stays with host families. Kelsey needs some financial help in order to participate. The tuition for the program is $5,000 and she has raised about $1,500. She is asking for any donations to help and in return will present her journals, photographs and adventures at a "Thank You" dinner upon her return. Address your contributions to Kelsey Mae Evans, c/o Craig and Pattie Hartman, 79 Hartman Hollow Road, Benton, P'A 17814.
• Congratulations to E. Lee Remley, the recipient of a 50-year pin for Masonic affiliation at Oriental Lodge #460, Orangeville, last evening.
. Saturday, March 1, 2008, spaghetti supper at the Benton Methodist Church from 4 PM to 7 PM sponsored by the scouting troops. Take-outs are available. There will be spaghetti and meatballs, bread, salad, dessert, ice tea and coffee. Adults will pay $6 and children from 6 to 12 $4. Under six eat free.
Quote of the Day...
"In dealing with McCain's success, Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham, among others, have passed the denial stage and are currently coping with stage two: anger. We can expect bargaining, depression and finally acceptance to follow."
Mary Ellen (Flaherty) Kohrherr, owner of “Thru The Years Shop” antique store, died Monday at her home, 148 Austin Trail, Orangeville, Greenwood Township, following a brief illness. She was 84. Mary Ellen (December 13, 1923-February 11, 2008) was born in Bloomsburg, a daughter of the late Michael and Elizabeth (Riley) Flaherty. She graduated from Bloomsburg State Teachers College in 1945. She moved to Cranford, New Jersey, and taught third grade. In 1951, she married Albert Kohrherr and moved to Milltown, New Jersey, where she taught kindergarten until her retirement in 1982. She and her husband moved to Orangeville in 1982. She and her husband, Albert Kohrherr, would have celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary June 30. Also surviving are her son, Mark (Sharon), rural Orangeville; her granddaughter, Erin, Bellefonte, and her grandson, Brennan, at home. Also surviving is a sister-in-law, Martha Jane Flaherty, Warminster, and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her brother, Patrick Flaherty. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday at 2 PM at St. Columba Catholic Church, Bloomsburg. Burial will be in Rosemont Cemetery, Bloomsburg. A viewing will be held Thursday from 6 to 8 PM at McMichael Funeral Home, Benton with a Wake Prayer Service Thursday evening at 6 PM.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will be published in the Press Enterprise of February 13, 2008.
February 12, 2008. It is the birthday today of the sixteenth president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, born near Hodgenville, Kentucky, in 1809. He had little formal education. He started his working career on a Mississippi River cargo boat. He settled in New Salem, Illinois, a town of about 300, helping to manage a general store, worked as a surveyor and postmaster, tried debating, read books on grammar and rhetoric and studied to become a lawyer.
Lincoln joined the Illinois House of Representatives in 1834 and served for eight years. He was elected to the United States Senate in 1846. In 1858, Lincoln ran for Congress against Stephen A. Douglas, an Illinois Democratic senator, who had introduced the Kansas-Nebraska bill to repeal the restrictions on slavery for some northern states. Lincoln challenged Douglas to a series of debates in seven different Illinois cities. Douglas argued that slavery should be allowed if that was what a majority of a state's citizens wanted. Lincoln argued for the abolition of slavery on moral grounds. Lincoln lost the election, but boosted his confidence to run for president two years later.
Lincoln was not a popular president at first and only received 40% of the popular vote in 1860. We recommend that you turn to the FEATURES section to read Civil War Dissent in Columbia County, PA, by George A. Turner, in order to learn more on the subject of Lincoln's popularity.
President-elect Lincoln left his home in Springfield on February 11, 1861, beginning his inaugural journey to Washington, D.C. He arrived in the city surreptitiously because of a death threat. People poked fun of his appearance; i.e., "he was six feet, four inches tall, skinny, slightly stooped, wore an old top hat and a coat that was too small for him." Plain-spoken and to the point, Lincoln was a fine public speaker, as evidenced in his second inaugural address, "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."
Congratulations to the Benton Girls' Basketball Team, winners over Loyalsock Monday night by the score of 46-42. The girls now move to Milton Friday night where they take on Millville.
. A reader is trying to find a copy of the book The White Gold of Mountain Springs by Peter Tomasak. The book has been out of print since 2001. If anyone has a copy they are willing to sell, please let me know.
. The 2008 Grillbillies Bluegrass Festival Schedule is available at www.bentonnews.net/grillbillies2008.htm.
. The Northern Columbia Community and Cultural Center, 42 Community Drive, Benton, makes becoming a member as easy as possible. Yearly memberships may now be paid using "debit enrollment." A one-year family membership is only $33.25 per month, and is taken out of your checking or savings account on the first or 15th of each month. For more information, contact the Center Director, Rob Hutchison, 925-0163. The Center is a community-based organization dedicated to meeting the educational, cultural, physical and leisure needs of the communities it serves.
Didja ever notice that before marriage a man will lie awake all night thinking about something his sweetie said. After marriage, he falls asleep before she finishes her sentence.
Today is a discussion of energy. There will be some fancy terms thrown around here and there, but they will be kept to a minimum--so therefore something will be left out that someone, somewhere will say should be included or said differently. I'll gladly share my sources and references with you if you ask, but there are so many that if you want to get through this without falling asleep you'll just have to trust me as to the correctness of the points I raise.
Consider these facts:
. Two-thirds of the gasoline that will ever be produced from US oil has already been used.
. Two-thirds of the remaining oil in the world is held by five countries in the Persian Gulf area. Each and every day, the United States consumes enough oil to cover a football field with a column of oil 2,500 feet tall.
. Something like half of the natural gas wells in North America will deplete its gas and will need to be replaced with new wells in the next three years. New wells taking the place of the old wells will only last for a few years.
. Coal is the least expensive fossil fuel on an energy-per-Btu basis but is hampered by environmental issues in coal-fired power-generating plants. Coal provides 25% of global primary energy needs and generates 40% of the world's electricity. The three leading producers of coal in the world are China, USA and India. Using figures that are from 1989, the latest that I could find, Wyoming produces the most coal in the United States, followed by Kentucky and West Virginia. Pennsylvania is a distant fourth in the nation, but we produce anthracite (with 30 megajoules of energy per kilogram, or "30 Mj/kg"). Some reports say there are "vast reserves" of coal, but these reserves are mainly lower-quality bituminous coal, delivering 18 to 29 Mj/kg, and sub-bituminous coal and lignite, delivering 5 to 25 Mj/kg.
. Coal provides about one quarter of the total world-energy production. Two thirds of the steel industry relies on coal for high-energy fuel. In terms of world coal consumption, China uses 36%, the U.S. 10%, and India 7%. In terms of coal production, China is the largest producer, and will hit its peak "within the next 5 to 15 years, followed by a steep decline." The U.S. is the second-largest producer at 30%, and will likely peak between 2020 and 2030.
. Coal can produce up to 80 units of energy for each unit of energy invested. Wind energy is 30:1. Many other energy sources have a ratio of less than 10:1. Corn ethanol is less than 2:1. Cellulosic ethanol is around 5-8:1. (Here is one of those terms I warned you about. Cellulosic ethanol is a type of biofuel produced from structural material that comprises much of the mass of plants. The stalks and leaves of corn (called "corn stover"), switchgrass and woodchips are some of the more popular cellulosic materials for ethanol production. Cellulosic ethanol is chemically identical to ethanol from other sources, such as corn starch or sugar, but is more abundant and requires a greater degree of processing. The term "cellulosic ethanol" is the same as corn ethanol or wheat ethanol. The term describes the process for producing the alcohol rather than specifying a type of ethanol.)
. Competition from less developed countries for world energy supplies is skyrocketing.
. Civilization as we know it is based on low-cost energy. It is impossible today to envision how our civilization can survive for another hundred years without massive changes in the way we obtain and use our energy. In fact, we can't even predict what the new technologies will exist in the future.
The world's fossil fuel tank is rapidly becoming depleated.
If you found these statistics interesting, visit www.gravmag.com/oil.html and related sites for additional information.
February 11, 2008. Happy birthday, Lisa Baker Curtain!
The Gun Show was a huge success for the Benton Volunteer Firemen. Eight hundred and fifty attended the event on Saturday with 1,259 paying patrons for both days.
. Some seem to describe the three basic food groups as "frozen," "canned" and "take out."
. Chuck Chapman reports that there are currently about 60 volunteers serving the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center.
On the Mend...
. Keep Pat Edson in your prayers. She is a patient in the Geisinger Hospital.
. Richard Sutliff is currently in a nursing home in Naperville, Illinois, and will likely be there for several weeks. He faces a decision of having major spinal surgery to correct a spinal stenosis condition. When the pain became intense, Dick went to Edward Hospital in Naperville and spent six days there. He was released Friday to the Community Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, Naperville. He has received some injections to provide temporary relief. The injections cannot continue very long, and the relief is not likely to persist. The decision to have surgery is a difficult one, because Dick is very much a high-risk for surgery because of his age, his diabetic condition, his pacemaker and because he is on coumadin, a blood thinner. The surgery would hopefully relieve the intense pain, and the decision to not have surgery would mean that he would presumably have to cope with the pain the rest of his days. As one can imagine, while faced with this decision, Dick's attitude has been a bit tough. It is understandable, given the fact that he has had to move from his home, squeeze into a nursing home room and be separated from his Boston Terriers, Dazzle and Buttons. Richard can be reached by phone at 630 650-7200. His address is Community Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, 1136 N. Mill Street, Naperville, Illinois 60563. Please keep him in your prayers.
It was what Father would have called a "dandy day." A gentle snow fell overnight Saturday making the roads slippery and the scenery breathtaking.
The road leading from Distillery Hill into the Borough of Benton was covered with snow, as were most rural roads in the area. The sun cast its shadow down the straight stretch leading to West Creek. It was a beautiful sight captured by Susan Ridall.
Father would not have called yesterday "dandy" because of the snow or the very cold weather we experienced overnight. He would have used that term because Sunday afternoon was a great time to get some exercise. It seemed natural that the game of volleyball at the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center would fill that bill. The regular Sunday players who gather about 3 o'clock were there.
William Morgan would have been proud of those who did show up. Morgan in 1895 was physical director of the Young Men's Christian Association at Holyoke, Massachusetts. He wanted a game that would appeal to men who were unable to play basketball, a game that had been invented four years earlier by his friend, Dr. James A. Nalsmith, using a peach basket nailed to a ten-foot pole. Morgan and Naismith played football together at the School of Christian Workers of Springfield, MA, later known as the International YMCA College under Amos Alonzo Stagg and today known as Springfield College. Morgan wanted a game that was competitive without being antagonistic, something that would relax the average businessman while giving him exercise.
Mr. Morgan put up a tennis net in the gymnasium six feet six inches above the ground--just above the heads of average males. He took out the bladder from a basketball and the game that he called "mintonette" (named after the game of badminton) was on. With the chief of the local fire company and others, Morgan worked out some kinks in the rules. Spaulding Brothers made a acceptable ball and in 1896 an exhibition game was played at the Springfield YMCA. by a group of businessmen from Holyoke. A spectator told Morgan that it looked like the players were volleying the ball back and forth. The name had more "bounce" to it and soon "volleyball" was coined.
That was the beginning, but the game was not an overnight success. The first regulation volleyball was designed in 1900. Today the game is popular throughout much of the world and uses the basic rules that have been with the game from the beginning. The game can be played outside or in almost any size room by boys, mature men and older men. It is a fine game for girls and women. There is a certain exhilaration about it that delights the lover of the game.
The game is enjoyed because many of the good points of tennis can by used in the game without the need for the expert skills needed to compete in the tennis circuit. It is not as rough a game as basketball and one does not have to work beyond his ability in order to play.
Tennis requires that lots of time be devoted to the development of skills. Tennis only lets a maximum of four at a time play while in volleyball any number can play (except in championship games). The high net between opposing teams keeps roughness to a minimum.
Sunday afternoon the players showed considerable excitement and enthusiasm in the game. The game was strenuous, but with enough activity to gave plenty of exercise and fun. Older men can join in without danger to the heart that is present in more strenuous games. There is a lot of reaching up, bending over, running, jumping, twisting which makes for a very good game. Players can see all plays up close and personal, so there is little or no chance of cheating.
Each man tends to be the referee of the game making the players responsible for making fair decisions. These conditions on those who play the game, young or old, are very elevating. For these reasons, volley ball is a very American game.
A game of Volleyball in the
Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center gymnasium.
How did this happen? The men teamed up together,
basically leaving the women and children to fend for themselves.
The Sunday afternoon volleyball players have room for more players next Sunday. The gymnasium of The Center is open every day for members. Call 925-0163 for hours.
February 10, 2008. Today we celebrate the birthdays of Amanda Becker and James Francis Durante. The slippery roads in the local area Saturday morning were very reminiscent of the driving in the YouTube flick at www.youtube.com/watch?v=0T-o8Ai4mak&NR=1.
Favorite New Word:
--The tendency to give immediate attention to incoming messages such as email and text messages which results in constant distraction and a corresponding drop in the recipient's attention levels and work performance.
• February 17, 2008. Jerseytown Jam at the Jerseytown Community Center Sunday featuring bluegrass, old-time country and gospel. Doors open at 10 AM. There is good pickin', good jammin' and good eatin'. This month's Jerseytown Jam will be a tribute to Walt Laubach. For information call 925-5201.
• There will be fish suppers at the Sylvania Masonic Lodge, 249 Trailing Pines Road, Shickshinny, on February 15, 22 and 29, and March 7 and 14, serving from 4 PM to 7 PM. There are also take outs available. The menu is fried and baked fish, chicken tenders, freedom fries, baked potatoes, slaw, vegetable, buttered rolls, coffee, tea, iced tea and dessert. Cost is $8 for adults and kids under 12 are $3.50.
June Hartzell bought a box of fish tenders at a Columbia County food store (not in Benton) and forgot to read the label identifying the country of origin. Her comment now is "read the labels." What happened to June can happen anywhere. The fish tenders came from "Foodhold out of Atlanta" and the fish originated in China. She told the Benton News, "I wouldn't want anyone to get as sick as I was." She is "still not up to snuff, taking liquids but no food." June became ill "about an hour after I ate, knew it was the fish as I hadn't eaten anything after 10 in the morning." She still has a piece to be tested, and says that if the food store doesn't have it tested she will and she promises to "publish the results in big headlines." Her feet are still swollen, she can not walk and her stomach was hard and swollen. June asked us to "Just warn people, a home town store in a small town, read the LABELS."
The secret to staying young is to find an age you really like and stick with it.
Members of the Benton High School Chapter of the Future Farmers of America are attending an ACES (Agricultural Cooperation Establishes Success) conference this weekend at the Sheraton in Harrisburg. The objective of the conference is to improve teamwork and leadership skills as well as meet other PA FFA members. FFA advisor is Doug McCracken.
A husband is someone who takes out the trash
and gives the impression
he just cleaned the whole house.
Bridget Allen, Lewistown, has been sending emails from her travels in her motor home, which she refers to as a "MoHo." Here is a sample of one received Saturday. She writes, "For the record, we pretty much slept through the tornado attack of earlier this week. We were at a campground in the vicinity of Mammoth Cave National Park, KY, that night. We knew severe storms were predicted but our campground guys said they would keep an eye on the weather and come get us to hunker down in the restrooms (the sturdiest place around) if necessary.
"You know how they say a tornado sounds like a freight train roaring down on you. As the Universe would so align, there was a railroad track less than a quarter mile from our camping spot with trains going by every hour or so. Well, after the first four or five trains, we got used to the sound enough to tell ourselves--after an initial moment of panic--'Aw, shucks. It’s just another train.'
"Into the night Old MoHo pitched and quaked in the wind and rain. Next morning she was none the worse for wear and a lot cleaner. It was in a conversation with our next-door neighbor (who had a TV set and a really nervous wife) that a twister had done some property damage about 40 miles north in Elizabethtown" where they had been the day before and where they considered spending the night. Bridget continued, "Another storm about the same distance to the south wrought havoc along the KY-TN border. You surely heard about that disaster. Our camping neighbors had made several trips to the restrooms/shelter in the night. We, on the other hand, had snoozed to the rocking and rolling of MoHo and the sound of freight trains. Ignorance can be such bliss!"
Much of the past few days has been spent in conversation, endless conversation. The talk centered on health and wars and politics and the oil industry--things we either have too much of or not enough of--in fact, the use of a word like "conversation" to describe our verbally expressed thoughts wouldn't be correct. A gripe session would better describe what took place. Which leads to the question of what happened to the art of conversation?
Over the years we have all been attracted to people unusually gifted in light talk, the ones who are bright, witty, brilliant, animated and natural in conversation. They are charming with nothing else but their lively and engaging talk. They simply steer around conversations in which they might display their lack of knowledge.
I was once introduced to Dan Quayle at a party and later talked with a maturing woman who had also met him for the first time. She was in awe. She said something to the effect that when he talked with her his eyes never left her eyes and he didn't pay any attention to the scores of other people in the room who were trying to get his attention. She said he was the first politician she had ever met who devoted his available time only for her. The former Senator from the state of Indiana who later became the forty-fourth Vice President of the United States under George H. W. Bush asked about her, when everyone else only talked about him. As far as she was concerned, the word "potatoe" was not a hot topic! The man knew how to carry on a conversation.
When I was a growin' up, which I think has as better ring to it than "Once upon a time," among the best of the home amusements was the art of conversation, the talking over the events of the day with quick use of wit, the telling of a story which brought a laugh and the discussion of good and kind and true things. We didn't necessarily dwell on what members of the family had in common, but brought each to the other something interesting and amusing. This seems to be missing too often in today's conversations--genial and happy are missing ingredients.
Many of us rip into a seat in front of a computer or in front of the television and direct our conversations toward that inanimate object. During the Super Bowl, how many readers had loud conversations with their television screen while leaving others in the room out of the conversation? We seek out companions at the store and in a restaurant, but forget that home is anything more than a place to eat and sleep. We talk, discuss, speechify. We rarely converse.
It is time to revive conversation in order to have a home, time to entertain one another, as a room of people tend to entertain each other. The conversation should not just be between the mother and the father, it should include the children. Parents should talk with their children, should enter into their lives, share the trifles, assist in their school work, communicate at the same level with the same thoughts and feelings as the child. When I was a growin' up, we gathered under the single light bulb in the middle of the room and shared one with the other--the older helping the younger, each one contributing to the entertainment of everyone else and all of us thinking that the evening passed too quickly. (The exception to this occurred when the Phillies were playing and Father sat in a darkened room beside his Philco spending the evening snoozing and listening.) I'll now get down from my soapbox. I am going out for coffee with the boys. We have some things to talk over...
"He speaks, and attention watches his lips;
He reasons and conviction closes his periods."
Community Drive was packed Saturday with patrons of one of the biggest gun shows in Benton's history and with members of the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center heading to The Center.
The Benton Volunteer Fire Company's annual Gun and Outdoor Show is one of Columbia County's most popular events. The show continues Sunday from 9 AM through 3 PM as hordes of people buy, sell and trade, both inside and outside. The local custom embroidery shop was very busy. Business in general was excellent, possibly because of the weather which kept people from doing other things. All proceeds benefit the local fire company.
February 9, 2008. It is the birthday today of Kay Emily Kline and Ashley Lamoreaux. In fact, it is the 21st time today that Ashley has celebrated her birthday.
• Seven Springs Mountain Resort has temporarily banned the use of fireplaces at its rental condominiums in the wake of a fire that killed two people January 27. Some of the fireplace flues in the condominiums have corrosion problems similar to those that caused the fatal fire. The resort wants condominium owners to have the flues cleaned and inspected before they allow the fireplaces to be used again. That isn't a bad idea for wood-burners in the local area.
• Benton Area Schools had three students make District Band at Athens High School in January and two French-horn students are going to Region Band at Mountain View High School from February 20-23. The local school has one drum-set player accepted to the District Jazz Festival at Mansfield High School March 13-15. This is the second Benton student (the first was in 1997 with Kevin Little, playing under the directon of Ric Martin) accepted to the District Jazz Festival so that is new and exciting. There are six chorus students attending the District Chorus Festival at Troy High School this week, possibly the most ever accepted from Benton.
• A gun and outdoor show begins today at the Benton Volunteer Fire Co. fire hall at 150 Colley St. Guns, knives, ammunition and other hunting gear will be available from 9 to 4. The firemen will have their kitchen open for food and drinks.
• After paying $3.339 for regular, unleaded gasoline in New York state Friday, the $2.909 and $2.969 locally almost seemed a pleasure.
• The putrid picture Fool's Gold is a good movie to miss.
• The Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center Sunday hours have now expanded to 11 AM to 7 PM.
• The 90th birthday celebration for Bruce Crawford was shared in today's Press Enterprise.
• One of my favorite web sites is "All My Faves," which you can find at www.allmyfaves.com/. I suspect it will be one of your favorites, too.
The primary and caucus maneuvering for Democrats continues during the coming week in Washington (97 delegates), Louisiana (66), Virginia Islands (9), and Nebraska (31). Maine holds their caucus February 10 (34). Virginia (101), Maryland (99), and the District of Columbia (37) hold their primaries February 12.
This will be an interesting week for the Democrats to see if their voting patterns continue with Clinton doing well with women, seniors and Latinos and Obama attracting men, young people and African-Americans.
One thing is clear: for only the third time in history will a United States Senator become President of the United States directly from the Senate. (Harding and Kennedy, to answer the question you are probably asking yourself).
February 8, 2008. Happy birthday to Beverly Kingsbury. On this date in 1910, William D. Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of America. Born in Plum, PA, just east of Pittsburgh, and a former owner of the Chicago "Ledger" newspaper, he later founded "Lone Scouting." Boyce conceived the idea of using boys to sell his papers across the country, and 30,000 youngsters worked for him at one time.
The biopsy results for Elsie Buyers are not encouraging. Elsie has been diagnosed with gallbladder cancer, an extremely aggressive form of the disease. It has caused Elsie's calcium count to skyrocket. This in turn caused her to experience a complete "deconditioning" in the past four or five days; i.e., she has lost almost all the muscle tone in every muscle in her body. Her mind is still sharp, and so is her humor, but she is too weak to undergo chemotherapy. Please include Elsie in your continuing prayers.
. The Republican Mayor of Hazleton, Lou Barletta, announced Thursday that he is running for Congress challenging incumbent 12-term Democratic Representative Paul Kanjorski. Barletta unsuccessfully challenged Kanjorski in 2002.
. Punxsutawney Phil had the idea of more winter all wrong. Signs of the end of winter were evident Thursday morning when Philadelphia Phillies personnel loaded an 18-wheeler to haul the club's wares to spring training at Bright House Networks Field, Clearwater, Florida. Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report next Wednesday.
The articles which originally appeared in this section have been moved to a section on Columbia County, which you can find here.
Richard Sutliff will be transferred from Edward Hospital in Illinois today to an available nursing home awaiting surgery and rehabilitation. Nancy Fox is now in room on 473 on the fourth floor of the Geisinger where she continues to read every get-well card she receives.
It is always difficult to put together a daily piece like the Benton News. There is never enough time, there are too many different computers from too many different locations, there is always something to write about but never enough time to "put it to paper," it is hard to get on an internet connection--the list goes on and on.
I started using Buzzword (which you can find at www.buzzword.com), an on-line word processor, because of its convenience and because the application resides on someone else's computer rather than mine. I never have to worry about whether a Microsoft Word document will be able to be read by everyone, etc. I can move from computer to computer, from platform to platform, from the computers at the Community Center to the computers at any library to Laptop Larry now limping on its final days. I admit that I only use high-speed connections, unless I am operating via my cell phone when the motor home is parked in someone's pasture. Today's Benton News, for example, is being typed on Buzzword from the state of New York while I am working on an article that I suspect won't be ready before next Tuesday which I'll finish in Benton on a different computer.
Buzzword is a product of Adobe. It a Flash-based online full-fledged word processor. I suspect it would be very slow with dial-up, but is sufficiently fast for the way that I peck things out. I have yet to find a single thing missing from its capability and fully expect that Adobe will follow with database, spreadsheet and presentation applications. I have found that what I type will look exactly like what I print. Did I mention that it is completely free?
Images can be inserted and re-sized, and text-wrapping is automatic. What you prepare can be saved in .doc, .rtf, .txt, html (zipped), .XML and "open" formats.
The articles which originally appeared in this section have been moved to a section on Columbia County, which you can find here.
February 7, 2008. It is the birthday today of Tammy Prosey, former state Representative George Hasay and James Vance.
On this date in 1804, John Deere (1804-86) was born in Portland, Vermont. He had a short stay at Middlebury college, apprenticed as a blacksmith and worked in that trade shaping things like hay forks until 1837, then moved with the $73.73 that he "had to his name" to Grand Detour, Illinois, about 100 miles west of Chicago where he had a forge and blacksmith shop up and running within two days.
The soil around the Rock River in Illinois was sticky compared to the soil of Vermont and the wood and cast-iron plows used back east didn't work well in Illinois. Deere took a broken steel saw blade, cut off the teeth and fitted it to a wrought iron moldboard and wood handle bent over a log. The moldboard was polished on the upper surface to prevent clogging.
By 1838 he had produced three plows of his own design. By 1840, he made 40, the next year he manufactured 75, and in 1846 he made a thousand which began the agricultural machine business which he expanded when he moved to Moline in 1847. Moline was chosen for its proximity to water power and river transportation. Soon Hawkeye riding cultivators, grain drills and other implements rolled out the doors. Deere's finances were always a mess until a young accountant, his son Charles, joined the company in 1853. In another ten years, his annual production had increased ten-fold. After experimenting with imported English steel instead of cast iron, he converted to U.S. made steel when Pittsburgh steel plants cast a suitable plow blade. By 1855 he was selling more than 13,000 plows a year. John Deere obtained his first patent for the walk-behind plow in 1864. In 1868 his business was incorporated as Deere & Company. In 1869, the company sold 41.133 plows, cultivators and harrows and earned $646,543. By the 1880s, the company employed almost 800 men in its Moline Plow Works factory.
When he died on May 17, 1886, his implement company had nine acres under one roof and manufactured 180 types of plows. The tractor which we identify with the Deere name today was only four years old when he died. John Deere, the founder, was succeeded by his son, Charles Deere, who took the company from the age of the horse through the age of steam and to the age of the internal combustion engine. The Deere & Company line included cultivators, harrows, seed drills and planters, wagons and buggies, and even bicycles in the late 1890s.
John Deere's oldest tractor sold in England in 1917, a 25hp Waterloo Boy from 1917, sold under the Overtime name. Several years ago at the Nittany Antique Machinery Association Show, Penn's Cave, we saw a four-cylinder, gasoline powered, all-wheel-drive tractor that dated to 1918 that had been discovered in a junk pile and purchased for five dollars. It was the last remaining model of its type and the oldest existing John Deere tractor, with a collector's value of more than one million dollars. The tractor had been designed by a member of the Board of Directors of Deere & Co, Joe Dain, and was called the "Dain." Features of the tractor included its 30-inch wheel with an 8-inch face, two speeds in forward and two in reverse with a top speed of 2.6 mph. It is now on permanent display at the John Deere Collectors Center in Moline.
The upper Fishing Creek valley is alive during the prime farming months with the putt-putt of the John Deere tractor. We remember the story about the old farmer who wanted a new John Deere and told the dealer that he wanted to take it home and if it was any good he would send the dealer a check. The John Deere dealer had an alternative suggestion. He suggested that the farmer leave a check and if it was any good, they would deliver the tractor.
Deere (DE) holds roughly 50% of the North American agriculture equipment market, the world's largest. The stock closed yesterday at $83.30.
Quote of the Day:
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."
The Northeast Regional Coyote Hunt last weekend had 717 hunters registered and 21 coyotes harvested. The top prize went to Jeff Cragle, Hunlock Creek, who harvested a 43 pound coyote in Luzerne County and collected $2,000 for the hunt's heaviest coyote as well as $300 for Saturday's daily prize. Ten of the 21 coyotes were taken by dogs, nine by electronic call, and one each by hand call and mouth call. Eleven of the coyotes taken were female. Three came from Luzerne county and one from Sullivan county.
Bloomsburg will host its first ArtWalk on Thursday afternoon, February 21, from 4 until 9. ArtWalk brings together over 50 local and regional artists with over 20 businesses in the center of town. Artists working in photography, painting, drawing, sculpture, fiber, and other media will display their art inside several local businesses. The artists will also be present during the evening to talk about how they make their works and the ideas behind them. This will be a great opportunity for visitors to see beautiful works by local artists, learn something about art-making, and perhaps even acquire a new and original piece of art! The event is free and open to all ages. Refreshments will be served at many locations.
When one thinks of fly-fishing photography the names Barry and Cathy Beck come to mind. They are also successful trip hosts and have had their share of exciting travel experiences. Listen as they reveal a few of their secrets, tell a few hair-raising tales, and display so clearly why they're frequently called "the nicest people in fly fishing."
Didja ever judge people by their relatives?
Didja ever conclude that it was not a good idea?
Emails continue to arrive in my inbox which are addressed to the half of the civilized world which has an email address. These emails include information left over from the last recipient, information which includes all the email addresses and names of those who have seen the message. Each forwarding of the email makes the list of addresses larger and all it takes is for some person not using virus protection to send a virus to everyone on the list. I'll betcha that at some point, one of the people who receives the email will get a virus and that virus will be sent to everyone whose name was on the email.
There are other evil doers who gather the email addresses and sell them to a spammer who then pays the person who gave the email address five cents for every person who logs on a web site. A good example was an email I received yesterday that included this in the last line of the email: "When you forward, put where he left in the subject box."
Here is what you have to do...
• Delete all the addresses that appear in the body of an email when you forward it. Simply highlight the addresses and delete them.
• When you send an email to more than one person, don't use the To: or Cc: fields for adding email addresses. Always use the BCC: (blind carbon copy) field for listing the email addresses. This way the people you send to will only see their own email address. If you don't see your BCC: option click on where it says To: and your address list will appear. Highlight the address and choose BCC: and that's it, it's that easy. When you send to BCC: your message will automatically say "Undisclosed Recipients" in the "TO:" field of the people who receive it.
• Remove any "FW:" in the subject line. You can give a new name to the subject or even fix spelling. All emails sent to me with "FW:" in the subject line are automatically deleted before I ever see them. If your email is going to be deleted before reading, why send it in the first place?
• Forward from the actual email you are reading. Emails where you have to open ten emails to read the one page with information on it is frustrating.
• Emails in the form of a petition asking that you add your name and address and to forward it to 10 or 15 people or your entire address book is worth bucks to a professional spammer because of the wealth of valid names and email addresses it contains. If you want to support the petition, send it to the intended recipient as your own personal letter.
• Simply trash emails that tell you to "send this email to 10 people and you'll see something great run across your screen."
• I have yet to see a valid Amber Alert or Virus Alert. Check out these things at Snopes by going to www.snopes.com/. Don't send spam and untrue email willy-nilly. Check it out first.
For the past few months, the Columbia County Historical and Genealogical Society has been short of volunteers to adequately staff the library/museum for 24.5 hours weekly. If the Society cannot recruit more willing workers, hours may have to be curtailed. A Volunteer Workshop will be held Saturday morning, March 15, from 9-11. If you, a friend or an acquaintance would enjoy meeting people and working with the large collections of historical materials owned by the Society, please attend the workshop.
On the Republican side, 1,191 delegates are needed to win the nomination. At 6:30 AM Wednesday, delegates gathered thus far were Mike Huckabee, 190; John McCain, 613; Mitt Romney, 269. On the Democratic side, 2,026 delegates are needed to win the nomination. At 6:30 Wednesday, here are their delegates: Hillary Clinton, 845; John Edwards, 26; Barack Obama, 765
--Source: Fox News
February 6, 2008. Winter is half over today. Happy midwinter! Birthdays today include Wendy Kriebel, plus the "Sultan of Swat," George Herman Ruth, in 1895; Ronald Wilson Reagan, our 40th U.S. President, in 1911; Joan Lucille Olander, in 1931 (known professionally as Mamie Van Doren; television personality Tom Brokaw, in 1940; and attorney Aaron Burr, in 1756. Burr, our third U.S. Vice President killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel and was known as a traitor, although he was never convicted. Joseph Priestley, our Northumberland neighbor, died on this date in 1804.
Want to learn more about your commuter? A class from Hewlett Packard might do the trick. Take a look at some of the courses offered by going here.
When Maureen Longnecker, Rochester, New York, read about the Eloise flood and Benton Hotel/Benton Pharmacy fire in Tuesday's edition, it brought back memories. Maureen wrote, "The day of the flood/fire, my Dad, Jim Maier, was at Sarah Kline's house." Aunt Sara and Uncle Lee lived next to the Benton Dam, in the house where their grandson Scott Kline now lives. Maureen continued, Jim Maier "went there to put Mrs. Kline's belongings up higher so the flood waters didn't reach them. When he was done, he realized he had waited too long to be able to get out of the house safely. The water was too high and the current too strong for him to attempt wading in it." He called his family and told them he was stuck in the house. Maureen remembers being afraid that he would get hurt, and being so relieved when he came home. At one point he heard a "knocking sound at the back of the house. He was excited because he thought someone had come in a boat to rescue him. When he checked, all he saw was two propane tanks bobbing in the water. They had floated down the alley from a storage area. Dad also spoke of watching out a window while the firemen fought the fire. He told of a scary scene he witnessed when a fireman lost his footing and fell. Another fireman close to him tried to continue holding the hose as best he could, while he grabbed the fireman and tried to keep him from going down the whole way into the water. Dad said it was so ironic to see firemen standing in water, trying to put out a fire, having to battle both fire and flood."
Yonah X, a student at the Red Rock Job Corps, has been helping at the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center. Monday, The Center honored Yohah with a cake appropriately inscribed in German. Chuck Chapman also assisted in getting Yonah enrolled in Bloomsburg University.
Thanks to Kathy Ball for the picture.
On Tuesday, The Center honored Bruce Crawford as he celebrated his 90th birthday. If you haven't read about Lt. Bruce Crawford bombing the Borough of Benton, take the time now and read the article.
Rita A. (Michael) Yost (April 22, 1922-January 31, 2008) formerly of the Stillwater area, died Thursday at the Millville Health Center. She was 85. Born in Fern Glen, Luzerne County, she was a daughter of the late Elwood E. and Emma C. (Sherman) Michael. She attended Shickshinny schools. Rita was employed by the former Dockey Shirt Factory, Milco Industries and the Magee Carpet Company. While living in Rochester, New York, she had worked for Bausch and Lamb. She attended Lungerville Christian Church. She was preceded in death by her husband, Melvin S. Yost. Surviving are sons Melvin M. Yost and David E. Yost, numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren, a sister, Ruth Casey, and numerous nieces and nephews. In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by a daughter, Irene Johnson; a grandson, Michael Yost; a brother, Elwood Michael; and by a step sister, Virgil Lamoreaux. Graveside services will be held Thursday afternoon, February 7, at Elan Memorial Park, Lime Ridge. Arrangements are under the direction of the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc., Benton.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will be included in the Wednesday edition of the Press Enterprise.
Eleanor E. (Steiner) Laubach (March 26, 1920-February 5, 2008), formerly of Saddle Rock Road, Benton, died Tuesday at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville. She had been a resident of Bonham Nursing Center for the past three years. She was 87. Born in Berwick, she was a daughter of the late Otis E. and E. May (Wolfe) Steiner. She was a 1938 graduate of Berwick High School. Eleanor worked for Consolidated Cigar Corp., Berwick, the Magee Carpet Company, Bloomsburg, and had last worked for Dol-Ang Manufacturing, Benton. She was a member of Christ United Methodist Church, Central, and the Order of Eastern Star. She was preceded in death by her husband, Jack R. Laubach, who died February 14, 1997. Surviving are her children Jerry S. Laubach (Margaret), Benton; Judy Simoson (Ralph), Lecanto, FL, and Martin Laubach, Somerset, PA. Also surviving are seven grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. She was the last member of her immediate family, following the deaths of brothers Ralph, Edwin “Ned,” John “Russell,” Joseph, and Martin Steiner. Funeral will be Friday at 2 PM at the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc. Burial will be in St. Gabriel’s Cemetery. Viewing will be Thursday from 6 to 8 PM and Friday from 1 PM until the time of the service.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will be included in the Wednesday edition of the Press Enterprise.
February 5, 2008. Happy birthday today to Stephen Whitenight, Walker Rilk and Allison Cross. Ken and Allison Cross also celebrate their wedding anniversary today. Richard Sutliff fell Monday in the Edward Hospital in Illinois, but convinced the hospital staff to discharge him in spite of the mishap. When Richard arrived at his home, he fell again as he struggled to get in the front entrance. After an ambulance ride back to the hospital he was given his old hospital room again. Prayers would be appreciated tonight in an effort for Richard to regain use of his legs.
This is the day known as "Super Tuesday" and the outcome of today's voting will be most interesting. I am not endorsing a candidate, but I do want the best of both parties to run. If the person I choose to support doesn't come in first, I certainly want his opponent to be highly qualified and fully prepared for the difficult tasks ahead. In my view, Barack Obama and John McCain are not fully ready to tackle the problems of our great country, but they are the only two candidates that I hope to have to make a decision between. On the Democratic side there is still the question of the top contender being either Obama or Clinton, one the first black in our nation's history to run for the highest office in the land and in the other case the first woman in our nation's history to run for the office.
It appears to me that both Obama and McCain have the potential right stuff to lead our nation over the next four years, the difference being in our personal philosophy. Obama knows what it is like to come from a third-world nation, he knows the problems of absentee parents, and the difficult adjustments to survive in a multiracial situation. Tough economic times during a presidency should not shake him. John McCain went through torture few of us could ever envision as a prisoner of war for five and a half years. Through psychological abuse, torture and long periods of isolation, the man never cracked. Tough economic times during a presidency should not shake him, either. As he said, "I can lead this nation and motivate all Americans to serve a cause greater than their self-interest."
It boils down to this. Democratic voters in the two dozen states voting today will go for Barack Obama who has been endorsed by former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, a man who should know what is good for the country. This will happen unless the Hispanic vote is overwhelmingly large--which would be good for Clinton. On the other hand, if the voter tends to pull the Republican lever, he will choose John McCain, as Steve Forbes, a man who also should know what is what, endorses. Independents will migrate to the person they feel can reverse our country's falling popularity and declining value of the dollar, can steer our course somewhere between deflation and inflation and can propose a course of action on the foreign front which will lead toward more stability in the world.
• Fireside Video, Center Street, Benton, has closed. The companion store in Millville and a large facility on Route 11 remains open under the same owner. The Benton location is for sale or for rent. The building has 1,800 square feet with plenty of parking. It would make an excellent medical clinic or similar facility.
. New spring banners hosted by thirty local businesses will go up on the Main Street of Benton about March 1.
Mother kept a large garden and grew all our fresh vegetables. As I was growing up, the Harrison family didn't make a lot off our self-sufficient family in their two IGA stores in the Borough. After the many years of gardening were over, it became a delight to stop in Kissimmee, Florida, to see Roy and Lorna Evarts and to visit the Farmer's Market. A stop at Market Square in Bloomsburg to pick up fresh vegetables and fruit from the Farmer's Market is always fun, as is a stop at the School House Garden Market at Exit 232 off I-80.
The first Farmer's Market I remember was in Los Angeles at the corner of Third and Fairfax near the La Brea Tar Pits. I remember snapping up 15 avocadoes on sale for $1 when the local Safeway sold them for $.75 each. The produce was displayed on the tailgates of pickum-up trucks which were neatly lined up in the dirt selling fruit, vegetables and flowers. The selling was very laid-back, the open air conducive to business, the fruit and vegetables were freshly picked and delicious. The Farmer's Market was a sensation, a far cry from what the 1939 depression-era farmers envisioned when they first organized and opened.
There is something nostalgic about open-air markets, something that makes people stop and buy or at least stop and smell the fresh aroma. Beginning on the weekend of May 23 and 24 (Memorial Day weekend), a farmer's market will open in Benton Township north of the Borough Line run by Deb and Bob Antanitis in what many still refer to as the "Alvin Sutliff" Barn at the corner of Green Acres Drive and Route 487.
Deb says that "after much fretting, brainstorming and mashing of teeth," she has decided to open every other weekend from May 23 to November 1. There will be a grand opening June 6 and 7. The market will be open at least two days of the weekend of the O.A.T.S. Bluegrass Festival when the population of the Borough triples. At this point, I won't list every weekend it is open, but will in the near future.
The market will be open Fridays from 8 Am until 6 PM and Saturdays' from 10 AM to 5 PM. A table rental for a 10 x 10 space will be $15 a day or $25 for the weekend. There is room for thirty or so vendors.
The "Wednesday afternoon" house and barn fires in northern Montour and Northumberland counties have a lot of property owners worried. Since October, there have been eight fires with five of them ruled either arson or suspicious in nature. The remaining three fires damaged property so extensively that a ruling on arson was not made.
The northern end on Columbia county experienced a similar situation in September, 1905, when a school house located between the property owned by John R. Cole and the property owned by Silas Benjamin was destroyed by fire. This made the sixth building destroyed by fire under suspicious circumstances in 1905. The Wilkes-Barre Times in its edition of September 13 reported that the "building, which was comparatively new, was set on fire near the door." On September 13, 1905, the Sugarloaf township school house was set on fire and entirely destroyed, the fifth fire of that kind in Sugarloaf township within the prior three months.
The burning of the barn owned by John R. Cole had been deliberately set in two places. The flames were discovered in time to prevent the destruction of the building. Three weeks previous, a barn owned by Pennington & Seely burned under suspicious circumstances and about five week previous the house owned by a Mr. Snyder in Sugarloaf township was entirely destroyed. The barn of Ira Thomas in Sugarloaf township burned to the ground with everything pointing to arson.
One of the biggest fires in the Borough in recent memory happened on a Friday afternoon on September 26, 1975, during the time of violent flooding of Fishingcreek in a storm referred to as "Eloise." The front wall of the Benton Hotel was left standing but the interior of the hotel was completely gutted and exposed as a result of the wall of the adjacent pharmacy collapsing. Norman Gelb, a Dallas resident, was the owner of the Benton Pharmacy. Both structures were total losses.
During that fire, a portion of the road washed out near Orangeville, Route 487 was cut off at the Friendly Tavern north of the Borough, a Forks cabin owned by Warren Hause, Jr., Berwick, was swept from its foundation, and a section of the dike above the dam washed out, spreading water throughout the Borough.
The origin of the hotel and pharmacy fires was never conclusively proven but the damages were initially estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The blaze was discovered about noon on the fifth day of heavy rainfall. Much of the community was under water and firemen fought the blaze in knee-deep water to save the hotel and adjacent pharmacy, along with offices and apartments within the structures. The fires were not brought under control until about 4 PM.
Pharmacist Norman Gelb and about twenty volunteers moved prescriptions from the burning pharmacy. The proprietor of the hotel was Ronald Coleman, Bloomsburg. He had owned the hotel for about two years and had just completed renovations of the upper levels of the hotel including new carpeting, kitchen cabinets, stainless steel sinks and Formica in the bathrooms. The first floor had been recently remodeled.
The first alarm had been turned in by a volunteer who drove his back-hoe through the flooded Borough streets to the Town Hall on Third Street in order to push the fire alarm. In order to bring the blaze under control, it took National Guard troops from Berwick and the fire companies of Unityville, Benton, Millville, Orangeville and North Mountain. Fay Mika was the only person living in the apartments at the time of the fire. The building also housed the offices of Dr. Liveo Baldia and the CPA firm of Fisher, Clark and Lauer. A garage at the rear of the building rented by Earnest Roberts, a building contractor, was destroyed. The rear shed-like buildings were once part of the Baker & Baker store. Wayne Baker gave me a set of pictures of the back of the Baker and Baker buildings, but I don't have them with me to show in today's session. I'll save them for another day.
February 4, 2008. Charles Augustus Lindbergh was born on this day in 1902. Congratulations to the New York Giants, winner of Super Bowl 2008.
Who should get you vote for president? The web site here may help you find your answer.
Didja ever think how important getting the news is each day? For Pennsylvanians, it has always been important. A printing press was in operation in Philadelphia only four years after the landing of William Penn. In Massachusetts, printing was not introduced until eighteen years after its settlement; in New York, not until seventy-three years after the settlement, and in the other colonies, not for a much longer period.
--Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Didja ever think that Iran is a good name
for a country which everyone is leaving in a hurry?
As the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center develops its computer ability, the staff will connect members with free email if they would like email. On an appointment basis only, I'll begin setting up free email accounts for members beginning this week. The email that I'll use is a product of Google, known as Gmail. The feature of the program known as "colored labels" make it easy to keep track of emails, and by using them with filters they can provide an almost entirely new way of visualizing your inbox based on context rather than date or sender order. By setting up filters so emails from certain senders (or on certain topics) automatically appear with colored labels, you can scan my inbox and find what you want more quickly.
Filters with a red "Important!" label--from a granddaughter, for example--require prompt attention, a purple "Interesting" label can be applied to emails that have some interesting aspects to them, and green "Newsletters" labels can go on newsletter emails such as the ones from Benton News. When you open your email and see a lot of red-labeled messages, you know to begin answering that important email immediately.
If you have not yet tried Gmail and you'd like to get started, visit www.gmail.com and set up an account today. It's completely free.
We tend not to think anything of setting out on an extended trip. In today’s world, we simply mortgage the house in order to come up with enough money to pay for the gasoline and begin the journey. The next two stories portray a different America.
• Take the family from West Hemlock Township who in 1911 trekked westward 1,800 miles and made the trip in 33 days. Jesse Heller, his wife and two-year old daughter, his father and a family friend started from West Hemlock for Grand Falls, Minnesota, using three wagons and five horses. The object was to “take up government land in Minnesota. The travelers cooked their own meals along the way and slept in the wagons.
• A part-time resident of Jamison City is Roy M. Davis, a newspaper columnist in Michigan. Roy wrote an article entitled Traveling Without Maps. In Roy's article, which I will paraphrase with Roy's permission, he reminisces about the days when there were no maps to guide travelers. He specifically talked about his "Aunt Hope Merrill" in 1913 when she packed her Mom in her used Model T--complete with convertible top and side curtains--and started out from Illinois to the "mountains of Pennsylvania from whence came her forbearers."
Margaret David, or "Hope" as most knew her, was the daughter of a circuit-riding Methodist minister in the mountains of east Central Pennsylvania. "After losing his wife, the minister packed his Bible in his saddlebag, and headed his horse west to start a new life." He settled in Illinois where he remarried and where his daughter, Hope, was born.
Because of his advancing age, he did not live to see his new daughter grow to be a woman. Hope and her Mom had to face the world and make their way. Hope became a teacher and started her career, but she never forgot the mountains of home and family.
Summers during her childhood, she and her Mom traveled by train to visit relatives in the Benton area. She loved the rolling fruit land around Waller, and roamed the countryside with her cousin, Arthur Cole. One day while exploring they found a wasps' nest hanging in a tree. About the size of a basketball, it was something Hope just had to have. The occupants had fortunately left, so she got Arthur to climb and knock it down. And she brought it back to Illinois in a hat box for "show and tell" at her school.
"In 1913, Hope, grown up, had become a teacher. She had bought the Ford, and summer vacation stretched ahead. So she packed their suitcases, put her Mom in the car and started east. There were no road maps and very few paved highways out in the country. Undaunted, Hope found her way, stopping to ask directions and talking to natives and other travelers."
When they got into the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania, "the trip became more daunting. Her Ford had traveled many miles, and the transmission bands were starting to slip. They came to a mountain road so steep her little car refused to climb it. After trying several times, she sat at the bottom thinking what to do next." Then came salvation in the form of another traveler, a man all by himself. He pulled to the side of the road and asked, 'Having a problem?'"
Hope answered, "Yes, with my Mom and all of our luggage this car will just not make it to the top!"
The man said, "If you will let your Mom ride up with me, and put your suitcases in the back, then you can turn around and back up the road. Your reverse band is probably not as worn." Hope did exactly that--the man looked honest; and when she reached the top, carefully backing all the way, there he was waiting for her so they could continue.
"Another day as they traveled along, Hope could see a storm approaching--dark clouds, and she knew it would be a bad one. They were passing farms in the gathering twilight, and finally they saw a huge barn, just filled with new-cut hay. The farmhouse was quite a distance off, so Hope drove right in between the hay mows as rain began to pelt down and lightning strode across the hills."
They stayed there all night, her Mom sleeping on the car seat. Hope took a robe, stretched it out on the hay and both drifted off. In morning light, crowing roosters awakened them to a blue and gold day. They packed up, started the car, and were on their way before the farmer came out to do his chores.
Later, back in Illinois, Hope David fell in love, and married Edson Harder. He was an older man and Roy's Mom's uncle. Hope Harder became Roy Davis' Mom's Aunt and by extension Roy's sister, Wilma, and Roy had a great Aunt.
Shortly after the great depression, Edson's health failed. On his death bed, he held Hope's hand and said to her, "At least I am leaving you well off with the stocks and bonds I have." Hope didn't have the heart to tell him the companies had failed and the stock was worthless.
Roy Davis' Mom's brother, Roy Merrill (for whom Roy Davis was named), and his wife, Aunt Lil, were great friends of Hope and Edson. They got together for card games on Saturday nights. As time went on, Aunt Lil's health failed and she passed away. Edson was also gone. The card games and get-togethers continued and Uncle Roy and Great Aunt Hope fell in love. They were joined in holy matrimony in 1940. Thus, Roy Merrill married his aunt (by marriage), and Roy Davis' Mom's aunt became her sister-in-law.
In later years, they bought a vacation place--an old house on the main street in Jamison City. And thus Roy Davis became able to visit them and find the place they came to love and still visit. Roy looks forward to the coming of warm weather and a return to the Jamison City house.
Contrast the news on our nightly television programs to that in Russia where the race to replace Vladimir Putin has begun. Mr. Putin's handpicked successor, Dmitri Medvedev, won't campaign or publicly debate his opponents. A couple of candidates were thrown off the ballot in the pre-campaign stage, although technically there are three others opposing Medvedev in order to convince the world that there's a functioning democracy in Russia. Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, was quoted as saying "Something wrong is going on with our elections, and our electoral system needs a major adjustment." For more information about the election, visit Medvedev's Russian web site as converted to English.
On the mend...
• Elsie Buyers is in a Philadelphia hospital. She had been feeling tired and fatigued. A blood test showed she was suffering from anemia, her calcium count was too high and her potassium was too low. A biopsy was taken from a spot on her liver and results will be available Monday. Blood counts have to be straightened out before sending her home to assisted care for awhile. Please keep Elsie in your prayers.
February 3, 2008. Today is the birthday of Amanda V. Hartman, Betty Rabb Helwig, and Brian and Brad Albertson. Novelist James A. Michener, writer Gertrude Stein and Norman Rockwell were born on this day.
On the mend…
• Richard Sutliff, a patient in Edward Hospital, awaiting transfer to Northern Suburban Hospital, both in Illinois, suffering from spinal stenosis. Richard, in his usual formal style, told me that “After due deliberation, my primary-care physician and I will decide on which way to go.”
• Ed Cole, arrived home from the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital Saturday night following the placement of stents. Ed’s biggest concern seemed to be that because of his hospital gown he “gave the girls at the hospital quite a show.”
There is a new web site for the Benton Fire Company at www.freewebs.com/bentonfirecompany/. The site contains information on current company news, company officers, apparatus, fundraising/carnival, hall rentals, and pictures of recent fires.
This would be a good place to give you some statistics on the local fire company and the incidents they were involved in during 2007. The Benton Fire Company responded to 45 vehicle accidents, 22 structure fires, 7 brush fires, 3 chimney fires, 3 vehicle fires, 3 barn fires, 1 plane crash, 2 farm accidents, plus many isolated incidents ranging from a tire-pile fire to an odor investigations. Eight calls were made in Stillwater Borough, 17 in Benton Township, 11 in Benton Borough, 19 in Jackson Township and 8 in Fishingcreek Township. The company also ran numerous mutual aid calls, including 17 with Orangeville (of which ten were vehicle accidents and 5 were structure fires), 6 with North Mountain, 9 with Millville, 20 with Huntington and 1 with Fairmount.
The Benton News went for quite a while without anyone writing in the Benton News Blog, http://thebentonnewsblog.blogspot.com/. Saturday, two postings were recorded. I had previously said that if the blog wasn't going to be used, I would do away with it. The blog is a way of local folks saying what they want to say. Here are the guidelines as published: "There are some strict rules. Don't say anything here that you would not say to your Mother to her face. This isn't "30 Seconds." Anything you say must be signed with your full name, and don't say anything here about anyone if you can't say something nice. There are no more rules." Take the time to look at and contribute to the Benton News Blog by going to http://thebentonnewsblog.blogspot.com/.
Krysten Ritter seems to be everywhere—she will be releasing six movies in 2008! Her latest movie is now doing what Krysten calls the “festival circuit,” but is not in public release. The name of the movie is “Frost,” www.imdb.com/title/tt1037090/, an independent feature in which Krysten is the star. The movie is about a 19 year-old troubled girl named Ozzy who is dealing with a drug addiction while living on her own in the city. Her best friend, Jack, personally takes her to rehab to get her help once he realizes things have gone too far.
Krysten emailed saying, “It was a crazy thing to play and it's something where you just have to commit 100% and go for it. What I loved about the script was that Ozzy did get to go to rehab and came out on the other side drug free. She came out on the other end healthy, centered and drug free. “
The articles which originally appeared in this section have been moved to a section on Columbia County, which you can find here.
Dorothy E. (Goss) Rosencrance (January 10, 1923-February 1, 2008)
Dorothy E. Rosencrance, formerly of Town Hill Road, Shickshinny, died Friday in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where she had lived with her daughter for the past 2½ years. She was 85. Born in Glen Lyon, Luzerne County, she was a daughter of the late Harold and Margaret (James) Goss. She was a 1942 graduate of Huntington Mills High School and was a member of the Town Hill United Methodist Church.
Mrs. Rosencrance worked as a seamstress for various sewing factories including the former Dockey Shirt Factory, Benton; Karen Mfg., Harveyville; Jola’s Dress Factory, Shickshinny and Luzerne Outerwear. She retired in 1981.
She was preceded in death by son David Rosencrance and by husband, Melvin L. “Pete” Rosencrance, on May 5, 2004, severing a martial span of 61 years. Surviving are her children Ronald Rosencrance (Josie), Annville; Linda George (Keith), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Beverly Beitz (Barry), Millville; and twin sons Harold Rosencrance (Brenda), Shickshinny and Howard Rosencrance (Karla), Shickshinny; and a daughter-in-law, Dottie Rosencrance, New Hope. There are twenty grandchildren, twenty-three great grandchildren and one great, great grandson. She is also survived by siblings Arthur Goss (Betty), Wilkes-Barre, Annabell Carson, Philadelphia, and Loretta Margulies, Florida
Funeral services will be held Saturday, February 9, at 11 AM with viewing preceding at the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc. Burial will be in the Bethel Hill Cemetery.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will be published in the February 3 edition of the Press Enterprise.
February 2, 2008. Today is Candlemas day, and
“On Candlemas day, if the sun appear,
There’ll be two winters in the year.”
The unknown author left out the essential part of the matter, which is the groundhog. Candlemas day is nothing more or less than Groundhog Day which is celebrated today. The story of the groundhog or woodchuck was told by country folk to their children for years. The original story was that on noon of this day thousands of years ago, when the earth was young, one of the first members of the groundhog family, after sleeping away the long days and nights of winter in its burrow, awakened on February 2 and crept quietly from its hole in the ground to take a look at the weather.
The critter found the sun shining brightly, and seeing its shadow on the ground after sleeping so long it became frightened. Thinking that the sun was a beast of prey, it rushed back into its den. The god of the clouds and storms, so the legend goes, observing the action of the groundhog, decreed that thereafter on February 2 the animal should first emerge from its den, and should the day be sunshiny so that the groundhog could see its shadow, six weeks of stormy weather should follow.
On the other hand, should the day be cloudy, gloomy or stormy, so that the little animal could not see its shadow it would mean that winter was practically over and there would be an early spring. If you listen to proponents of the groundhog, they say the forecasts are somewhere around 75% accurate, although no proof is ever offered. Just as details differ when a Democrat and a Republican describe the same Holstein cow more scientific observers, like the United States National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville, North Carolina, claim the overall accuracy rate of groundhog predictions is around 39%. But, hey, Groundhog Day is a Pennsylvania original with Punxsutawney Phil at the center of it all. So this morning, in the small Pennsylvania community of Punxsutawney, Phil, the smallest and furriest weather forecaster known, will look for his shadow with something like 1,000 TV lights and flashbulbs going off.
Enjoy the day--sunny or shady--and while you're at it enjoy the weekend. (Brace yourself for more wintry weather. Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow after he was awakened Saturday, leading the groundhog to forecast six more weeks of winter.)
"If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again."
A ditty from Scotland.
And here is another...
For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day,
So far will the snow swirl until May.
For as the snow blows on Candlemas Day,
So far will the sun shine before May.
If the sun shines on Groundhog Day;
Half the fuel and half the hay.
• The Northern Columbia Community and Cultural Center’s Valentines Dance Saturday, February 16, from 8 PM to 11 PM. Music will be provided by Silver Fox DJ Services and ranges from the romantic 50s, to rock and roll, country and western, to contemporary music. DJ Ralph will play your requests. Snacks and soft drinks will be provided and door prizes will be awarded during the course of the evening. The attire is dressy casual. Cost is $5 for members of The Center and $10 for non-members; tickets are available at the Center's reception desk. For further information, call The Center at 925-0163.
The Beignet Sales that the Benton FFA Parents will be hosting picks up steam today and "Fat Tuesday" from 6-10:00 AM in the parking lot at DR's. All money raised will benefit Mr. McCracken and his FFA kids for a trip to Mississippi to help with the continued clean-up from the hurricane two years ago.
Dorothy E. (Goss) Rosencrance, formerly of Town Hill Road, Shickshinny, died Friday, February 1, 2008, at the home of her daughter, Linda George, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where she had lived for the past 2½ years. Mrs. Rosencrance was 85. She was the widow of Melvin L. “Pete” Rosencrance who died May 5, 2004. Arrangements will be announced by the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc., Benton.
Albert B. “Al” Hess (December 23, 1930-January 31, 2008), best known for his country music and for playing guitar and fiddle, passed away Thursday at Bonham Nursing Center, Register. He had been in ill health for the past two months. Al was 77. He was born in Fishing Creek Township on top of Jonestown Mountain to the late Harmon R. and Vida (Creveling) Hess. Al attended a one-room school house in Jonestown for the first eight years of his education. He graduated from Benton High School in 1948, then enlisted in the US Army in 1951 and served until 1954. He worked with his dad at his garage near Jonestown and later with their heavy-equipment business. He also worked at RPS in Berwick and later for Fishing Creek Township where he retired.
He was a very active member of the Jonestown United Methodist Church and served in numerous capacities including Lay Speaker, Lay Leader, Chairman of the Administrative Council and Sunday School Teacher. He was a member of the former Odd Fellows Lodge. Al was active with the Boy Scouts and was a volunteer with the Iroquois District where he received the Award of Merit in 1977.
Al played live shows in the 50’s on Radio Stations WLTR, WCNR and WHLM on Saturday afternoons. He also played many of the local music parks such as Columbia Park and Evergreen Park. His bands were the Tumbleweed Ramblers and the Sunshine Ramblers. In 1973, his family joined him in a group known as The Al Hess Family. As his musical children moved on to other gigs, Pat and Al formed the group known simply as Pat and Al Hess. They were legendary at local carnivals and the Covered Bridge Festival and provided countless hours of enjoyment to patients at nursing homes around the area. In 1998 they recorded a CD called Anniversary Memories to commemorate Al’s 50 years in country music.
He and his wife, Dorothy Patricia “Pat” (Turner) Hess, Old Tioga Turnpike, Shickshinny, would have celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary April 22. Surviving, in addition to his wife and musical partner are their three children: Glenn A. Hess, Jonestown; Randy L. Hess, Hendersonville, Tennessee; and Brenda Joy Hess, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Also surviving are a grandson, Daniel J. Hess, Berwick; a brother, Ross Hess (Ethel), Lightstreet; sisters Ellyn Stauffer (James), Millersville, Fern Honeywell, Berwick, and Jean Wolfe, Berwick. In addition to his parents, he was also preceded in death by his step mother, Anna Strickland Hess, and by a step brother, Ralph Strickland.
Funeral Services will be held Tuesday at 11 AM at the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc. Burial will be in the Jonestown Cemetery. A viewing will be held Monday afternoon from 4 to 8 and Tuesday from 10 AM until the time of the service at the funeral home.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will be published in the Saturday edition of the Press Enterprise
On the mend...
• Ed Cole had a reported 95% blockage on the left side of his heart and three stents were installed during surgery Friday at General Hospital, Wilkes-Barre. He will remain in the hospital overnight. The right side of his heart is 85% blocked and he'll return to the hospital in three weeks for further repair work.
• Nancy Fox is still in CICU at Geisinger and is expected get out of bed and try to walk a little today. She says she has a lot of pain and is still full of fluid. She continues to breathe in an inhaler tube and her heart rate still fluctuates.
February 1, 2008. Happy birthday to Brooke Benjamin and Clint Kline. Watch those roads this morning.
Prayers are needed...
• Robert T. Vincent, continuing his stay at the Veterans Hospital, Wilkes-Barre.
• Didja know that walking can add years to your life? For example, walking will enable you at 85 years of age to spend an additional five months in a nursing home at $5,000 per month.
• Stories of Columbia County are now available for viewing at here. The series will resume Saturday.
• Congratulations to Brett O'Conner, Hughesville, who will compete in the Mrs. Pennsylvania International Pageant March 29.
• Take the time to stop at the North Mountain Art League's Winter Art Show now adorning the walls of the Library and Museum at the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center.
• The public is getting closer to having access to government records now that the Pennsylvania Senate approved a bill that overhauls the state's 50-year old "Right to Know" act. The State House of Representatives now has the bill under consideration.
• The nomination deadline for the Benton Area Hall of Fame nominations is today.
During my formative years, Father met a stranger who was new to Benton. We first met him at the farm of Grant Brink on Sunny Hillside Road. Grant was the proprietor at the time of the Sunny Hillside Dairy. Father liked the colorless newcomer to the area and when our finances permitted Father invited him to live with our family. I seem to remember that it happened around Mother's Day. The stranger, rapidly advancing from his formative years to the adolescence of his life, was quickly accepted and was around from then on.
I never questioned his place in my family. Mother taught me to distinguish good from the alternative, and Father taught me to obey. The stranger--well, he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies. He knew about politics, history and science. He always knew the answers about the past, understood the present, and even seemed able to predict the future! He took the men in our family to the Phillies ball games. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Father didn't seem to mind and I have seen him doze off while the stranger talked on more than once.
Sometimes, Mother would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen where she was clearly in charge.
Father ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our house--at least not when Mother was in residence. Our visitor, on the other hand, got away with four-letter words that the "boys up town used," words which made Father squirm and Mother blush.
Father didn't permit the use of wine, except during Saturday night pinochle games. But the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars worldly, and pipes distinguished. It wasn't long until Father bought his first corn-cob pipe and Mother showed up with a pack of Kools. The visitor talked about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing to Mother. Father and I took these sessions much better than Mother.
My early concepts were strongly influenced by the stranger. He was often in opposition to the values of my parents, but he was never asked to leave.
It has been more than fifty years since the stranger moved in with our family. His presence is of almost no consequence now, and he is much less fascinating than he was when he was younger. You still find him sitting in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch the images he brings to mind. His name you ask? Our family simply calls him TV. He also has a younger brother, a much more interesting fellow. His name is Computer.
Voting on February 5--Super Tuesday--will elect more than 40% of both Democratic and Republican delegates in 2008 from 80 million registered voters in two dozen states. The nation's first, third and fifth most populated states of California, New York, and Illinois will vote. Democrats need 2,025 delegates to nominate while the Republicans need 1,191.
In 2004, the Southern primary states voted heavily in favor of President Bush while the Northeast primary states went heavily for John Kerry.
The first 18 national convention delegates Tuesday will be chosen in West Virginia by the Republicans sometime n the morning, but a clear-cut national outcome won't be available until late Tuesday night or Wednesday morning (California polls don't close until 11 PM our time.)
"There isn't a hill of beans of difference," as Father often said, between McCain and Hillary in what they stand for. Somehow McCain has to begin to appeal to the conservative base of the Republican Party in addition to the broad appeal he has. I think he'll have to turn to a deeply conservative person to run for vice-president with him or the Democrats will have this election in the bag.
January 31, 2008. Happy birthday today to Allie Becker, Ray Kishbach, Marie Castrogiovanni and Nancy Smith Shea. Author John O'Hara was born in Pottsville on this date in 1905. There are 49 days remaining until the official start of Spring. The Benton Rodeo Association meets for their monthly get-together tonight at 7.
The seventh annual Northeast Regional Coyote Hunt happens this weekend, Feb. 1-3. Last year, the hunt set records with more than 800 participants harvesting 52 coyotes. As of Saturday, 610 hunters from around the state had registered for the hunt. The hunt will be held and is restricted to coyotes hunted on those three days in Bradford, Susquehanna, Wayne, Wyoming, Lackawanna, Pike, Luzerne and Sullivan counties. There will be a $2,000 grand prize for the heaviest coyote in the contest, a $200 daily prize for the heaviest coyote each day, and $100 for all other coyotes turned in during the hunt. Weigh-ins will be held at the Triton Hose Company, Tunkhannock, from noon to 8 PM on Friday and Saturday and from 9 AM to 2 PM on Sunday. Weigh-in ends at 2 PM sharp on Sunday. A weigh-in dinner, included in the entry fee, will be held for all entrants on Sunday, 1-3 PM at Triton Hose Company. For more information on the hunt, call 570 942-6895.
Education means developing the mind, not stuffing the memory.
• Over on Millertown Road outside Millville is a unique place known as the Stanley Clock Works, making and selling clocks from the traditional to the unique to the--well, strange. WNEP's On the Pennsylvania Road with Mike Stevens has stopped a couple of times to chat with the ingenious local clockmaker. If you can't stop in and say hello to Rick Stanley, learn more about what is called "The bottle clock" by looking at Mike Stevens' report here and choose the Home and Backyard 1/19/08 Part 1 link.
• At last, a bumper sticker for both parties. A New York bumper sticker is pleasing both Democrats and Republicans. The sticker reads, "Run Hillary Run." Democrats are placing the bumper sticker on the rear bumper. Republicans put it on the front bumper.
• eBay fees for sellers are changing February 20. It will cost more to auction items under $1,000, while other fees are going down. Many eBay sellers are not happy.
• An Introduction to Digital Photography class at the Northern Columbia Community and Cultural Center will be taught by Chuck and Karen Musitano who will share some of the techniques, tips and tricks they learned over the years. Topics include fundamentals of lighting, exposure, touch-up using your computer photo software, and portraiture of people and pets. Students should bring a digital camera to class, together with some good photos and not-so-good photos to share and critique. The classes will be held at The Center on Thursdays from 7 to 8 PM, February 21 through March 13. The cost is $20 for members and $28 for non-members. Come prepared to learn a lot and to have fun with your own photo contest, including prizes. To register or for more information, call The Center at 925-0163.
• If you cut your own trees to burn in your wood-burning stove, you need one of these tree-chompin' harvester machines from John Deere. Go here for a demonstration.
• Some Lackawanna County Commissioners want to know what the trouble is with The Trouble With Cali after they gave Paul Sorvino half a million dollars in county funding for the movie that he filmed in and around Scranton in 2006.
And Then There Was The Problem with Pigs...
• The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader mentioned the disease of pigs that broke out in January, 1909, which affected the Fred Lord drove in Espy. At first, county officials decided it was an outbreak of foot and mouth disease, but the State Live Stock Sanitary Board decided that it was hog cholera, now aphthous fever. The cholera, placed under strict quarantine, was more easily stamped out and was not as dangerous to other animals and foot and mouth disease.
The Benton Volunteer Fire Company has a new 2008 W. S. Darley & Co. Quick Attack fire truck, which is designated as A152. The truck is on a 2008 Ford F550 Chassis. It has a 1250 gallon per minute pump with "CAFS" (compressed air-foam system). The truck will be equipped with 500 feet of 5" hose, one 3" preconnect hose, and two 1 3/4 preconnect hose lines and forestry line. The truck will have four air packs along with entry tools, ladder, portable pump, generator, ropes, trauma bag, oxygen, and other equipment. The cost of the truck was $226,000. The local fire department received a federal grant for $164,000 and had the remaining $62,000 saved. The fire company has no payment on this truck. They also received a $19,000 state grant towards equipment for the truck. This allows the fire company to buy all of the equipment for the truck with the exception of a thermal camera and new air packs and are exploring other options on how to obtain these items. This truck is their fifth Darley truck. All engines have been Darley apparatus since 1950. The truck was purchased through Columbia Fire Apparatus.
Benton Volunteer Fire Company
Attack Fire Truck A152
Quilting Class at The Center
From Right to Left: Sandra Fritz, Faith R. Hunter, Class Instructor Carolyn Watson, Cecile Stiner-Martin, Lila Allen, Lorraine Feola, Ellen Tryee, Jackie Parks, Katie Knorr
Call Carolyn Watson, 925-6221, if you would like to enroll in the next quilting class that is offered at The Center.
January 30, 2008. George Holdren, Greenwood Valley, turns 74 today. John McCain and Hillary Clinton appeared to be the big winners in Florida yesterday.
Didja notice that almost every family has had a crop failure
somewhere along the line?
Lets head back to the telling of stories about Columbia county. After I have told all the stories that I can think of, I'll put them in a special section under FEATURES. Today, we'll spend our time in the Lime Ridge and Bloomsburg areas in a discussion of sickness, hospitals and bad guys.
• A quarantine for typhoid fever took place in a large number of homes in Lime Ridge when an epidemic took place in late September, 1910. The epidemic in thirty-five homes perplexed county physicians and State health officers. Many patients were critical and the cause of the illness was a mystery, since there didn't appear to be a common source of food or drink. Physicians worked night and day on the problem. The village ended up in dire need of funds to hire nurses, since most in the village were families of "laboring men." By October 24, the typhoid fever situation was reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer to be "well in hand" and health officials said that all indications were that there was "almost an entire absence of cases from secondary infection." The county was treating 21 cases by late October in a temporary hospital and about the same number in private homes. Over $3,000 was raised from other communities to aid in stamping out the disease.
• Joseph Ratti was the principal owner and Treasurer of the Bloomsburg Silk Mill. With the help of some friends, Ratti made a residence at 587 East Fifth Street, Bloomsburg, into a three-story hospital and in April, 1905, the building officially became known as the Joseph Ratti Hospital. Ratti purchased the property where the hospital was created from a man by the name of W. L. Ritter for about $4,600. Ratti contributed another $5,000 for improvements. Others contributed about $6,000 for maintenance of the hospital. An addition was made to the building which included plumbing and an elevator. There were two wards on the first floor each with three beds, plus offices, kitchen, dining room, and an emergency room. There was a children’s ward on the second floor as well as some private rooms for patients, operating room and a laboratory. Public wards were on the third floor.
Ratti was quite the guy! In July, 1906, the King of Italy conferred upon Ratti the Order of Knighthood. Ratti died a few months later and then the problems began. The heirs of Mr. Ratti suddenly owned the hospital since the deed for the hospital was never turned over to the hospital corporation. The buildings, grounds and everything connected with the hospital was owned by Mr. Ratti at the time of his death in Italy and then reverted to his heirs. It appeared that Ratti's intention was to deed the property to the hospital, but the necessary paperwork was never signed in order for that to happen.
Ratti's final will was prepared in Italy a few weeks before his death and replaced a previous will that addressed the disposition of the hospital and a church. It came as a huge surprise to the residents of Bloomsburg that the will made no provision for the Joseph Ratti hospital or "St. Columbia's" church, but bequeathed everything to a brother and sister in Italy. As near as his instructions relating to the hospital came were in a clause that read, "I have orally given my brother and sister instructions as to some charitable bequests."
The will, which left everything to the brother and sister, did require that the interest in the silk mill could not be interfered with for two years in order to guard against injury to the other partners by a withdrawal of the Ratti interest in the operation. When the final estate was settled in 1907, the heirs gave the hospital deed to the hospital corporation.
Ratti passed away at the age of sixty-one in October, 1906, in the Italian province of Como, near Milano. Word of his death arrived in Bloomsburg on October 26. Details were sketchy, but residents remembered that Ratti had gone to Italy early in the summer and became ill.
His benevolence was legend. In addition to the contributions to the people of Bloomsburg, he built and maintained a residence for orphans at his home in Italy. He was not only the Mayor of Rogeno, Italy, but he achieved knighthood in one of Italy's most exclusive orders.
The hospital continued in operation after Ratti's death. In October, 1909, physicians and nurses at the Joseph Ratti Hospital were startled and excited to hear in a clear, melodious voice the words of Nearer, My God, to Thee, sung by Mrs Alonzo Monroe, Orangeville, whose death was "momentarily expected." The strains died away as she lapsed into unconsciousness and died soon after.
At a meeting in January, 1910, action was taken looking to the erection of a new building. The Legislature of 1909 had appropriated $5,000 toward a new building. Plans for the building were adopted in 1911, and the contract was awarded to the Shamokin Lumber Company.
In July, 1912, Bloomsburg's new and larger four-story brick hospital opened, just to the west of the old hospital. The hospital corporation decided to change the hospital name to "Bloomsburg Hospital" to "remove the impression of the public that it was a private hospital conducted for personal gain." Bloomsburg’s first two hospital buildings are still located on East Fifth Street but are used as apartment buildings. Bloomsburg today is served by a 78-bed community hospital.
• Hiram Shultz was by all accounts a "notorious character." He served numerous jail sentences until May 9, 1911, when the Columbia county Sheriff, William P. Zehner, was shot through the left arm by Shultz who actually had fired at Harry Fowler, Espy. It happened like this: Shultz was married, but separated. On the day of the incident, Shultz visited the home where she was employed as a housekeeper. The wife told Shultz that Fowler was annoying her. Shultz lured Fowler to the house, then started for Fowler as soon as he appeared. Shultz appears to have been a pretty direct fellow. He told Fowler he was going to kill him and to prove it he whipped out a revolver and opened fire. Fowler high-tailed it out of there with Shultz in hot pursuit discharging his pistol five times. Shultz told anyone who stayed around to listen that any officer that got him would get him dead. As the authorities arrived, Shultz zoomed out the front door with the good guys coming in the back. Out across lawns they went, with half of Espy participating. The Sheriff was the first to come upon Shultz. Ordered to stop, Shultz quickly fired twice at the Sheriff standing no more than fifteen feet away. the first shot hit the Sheriff and as Shultz prepared to fire his third shot at the wounded Sheriff the lawman decided it was "now or never" and he began shooting. The officer's first shot was effective and a Deputy Sheriff grabbed Shultz's arm to get the revolver. The pressure on the trigger finger discharged the gun again and Shultz's bullet pierced the cap of a State Trooper. The prisoner and the Sheriff both ended up in the Joseph Ratti Hospital. Shultz was in critical condition and the Sheriff was seriously injured.
Didja ever consider that an upright man can't be a downright failure?
• Valerie Wojton is expected to be released from Hershey Hospital this week. So far everything seems to be OK with the bone-marrow transplant although she will not be able to come home for a while. She will be staying at Hope Lodge for a few weeks until she is well enough to come home. Please continue to pray as she still has a long recovery. If any one is interested in sending a card to Val the address is Hope Lodge, 125 Lucy Ave., Hummelstown Pa, 17036. Please do not send flowers; they are not allowed.
• Nancy Fox has a rare cancer--only two documented cases. Nancy's daughter, Coleen, tells us that she came through the surgery Monday very well. The breathing tube was removed Tuesday morning and she is responding to lifting arms and legs when prompted. Her heart is pumping on its own and vital signs are good. Most of the cancer was removed, but it is still connected to the heart lining and around one of her vessels. The next step in the treatment is not currently known. Prayers need to be continued.
Rob Hutchison, Center Director of the Northern Columbia Community and Cultural Center, recently explained how important volunteers are to The Center. Rob said that volunteers save the Center about $170,000 annually by performing tasks like cleaning, repair and maintenance, reception and program development. Without the dedication of the volunteers, The Center would not be off to such an outstanding start. The Center still needs additional help to maintain its momentum. Until The Center is financially sound enough to hire additional staff, more volunteers are needed. The Center is doing a fantastic job of bringing the community together. Can you spare a bit of time to help it continue its excellent job until the budget allows for more than one employee? If you have the time, there are sign-up sheets at the front desk that will allow individuals to take ownership of specific tasks, for specific rooms, at specific times.
John R. Roberts (June 10, 1937-Jan. 27, 2008) died Sunday at his home on Sunnyhill Road, Benton. He was 70. He was born in Trucksville, a son of Blanche Bay Roberts and the late John P. Roberts. Surviving are sisters Sally M. Brown and Betty A. Amos, both of Shavertown; Blanche L. Getz, Theresa E. Kubasek, Nancy L. Slusser, all of Benton; Thelma D. Wehner, Bloomsburg; Lela D. Wills, Tampa, Florida; Lori L. Roberts, Stillwater; and brothers: Bruce R. Roberts, Stillwater; Arlington W. Roberts; Guy G. Roberts and Richard J. Roberts, Benton. He was preceded in death by sisters: Delores F. Sorber and Margaret C. Husted. Arrangements are by the Clarke Piatt Funeral Home Inc., 6 Sunset Lake Road, Hunlock Creek. Interment will be in Bethel Hill Cemetery at a later date.
--Obituary courtesy of the Press Enterprise of January 29, 2008, where a complete obituary can be found.
January 29, 2008. Kristine Karns turns 35 today and down in Stillwater Whittier Letteer celebrates his birthday. Argil Posey has a birthday today, too.
Do you ever wish you could help the troops in Iraq rid the world of evil-doers? Take out your frustrations by playing a shoot-'em-up game at http://dsc.discovery.com/tv/future-weapons/games/cannon/cannon.html.
I have been told that there is no such thing as luck.
But it seems to me that the harder a man works the more of it he gets.
For the next several days, the Benton News will travel around Columbia County recalling some of the stories that has endeared its residents for the last hundred years. The story will jump around, so hang on and we'll hitch up the horses and go for a ride. To get the flavor of the times, you might start by reading about the Appleman and Long Wagons built in Benton. In fact, we might as well begin with wagons...
• Didja know that Columbia county furnished wagons, as well as missionaries, for Africa? In July, 1910, Edward Buck, Millville, finished a wagon which he then shipped to Kongo, Africa. Bert Young, Unityville, had been in Kongo for almost two years and was home on a visit. He needed a hand wagon strong enough to carry several hundred pounds and had Mr. Buck make him one. The wheels were buggy wheels cut down to about twenty inches, but otherwise was made along the lines of the Millville farm wagons. At one time Kongo was the biggest state in western Central Africa, stretching from the Atlantic in the west to the Kwango River in the east.
• A "Mad Dog Scare" made the Philadelphia Inquirer in April, 1910. The State "Live Stock Sanitary Board" concluded that a dog that ran amuck in Greenwood and Madison townships and in several townships in Montour County was a victim of rabies. The head of the dog had been sent to the agency after it had bitten a large number of dogs and was finally shot. The state ordered a forty-day quarantine of all dogs along the route traveled by the mad dog and a hundred-day quarantine of all dogs that had been bitten.
• A skunk took possession of the cellar of Charles Gearinger, Bloomsburg, in April, 1910, and "held it for several days." Finally, Gearinger "summoned up sufficient courage to kill it. The members of the family are still aware that it was their guest."
• Toads invaded Columbia County in July, 1908. The Philadelphia Inquirer said it this way: "Many sections of Columbia County this morning gave evidence that the community was being visited by a veritable Old Testament plague of toads." According to the write-up, "toads by the millions fairly covered every place upon which they could get a footing. They were so thick on West Berwick pavements that pedestrians were compelled to take to the streets. Much of the same condition existed in Bloomsburg."
• The year 1900 was a bad year for forest fires in Columbia County. The Philadelphia Inquirer said it this way: "The forest fires in Columbia County are still raging with unabated fury. the residents of Catawissa Valley have succeeded in saving the large mill and valuable timber land. The Knob Mountain near Orangeville is on fire, and the constables, with gangs of men, are having considerable trouble in keeping the flames away from the dwelling houses."
• Thousands saw a delegation of Columbia County suffragists meet the suffrage "Liberty Bell" as it crossed the Luzerne County line and came into Columbia County for a two-day stay. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer of September 15, 1915, more than a thousand school children watched a parade and hundreds of suffragists in gaily decorated cars participated before the speechmaking began. The "bell" was an exact bronze replica of the famous liberty bell, except that its clapper was silenced by chains fastened to its yoke. The intent was that it would swing only when "Pennsylvania women are free." The new liberty bell made a tour of the state during 1915 arranged so that the bell would reach Philadelphia by November to "ring out its glad tiding after election day."
Marriage and the Classroom...
• In June, 1909, many Columbia County Schoolma'ams had to agree to stay single. The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader noted that "so many Columbia county teachers have abandoned their schools in the last school term to enter the state of matrimony" that a number of school boards are compelling their female-school teachers to sign a new ironclad agreement they will not marry during the period they are engaged to teach.
The Farming Situation...
• The year 1900 was an excellent year for farmers, according to local newspapers. Columbia-county farmers were rejoicing over the prospect of an unusually large harvest. June was a dry month and retarded the growth of cherries and made the strawberry crop shorter than usual. Parts of the county were infested with a species of caterpillar which worked havoc with the foliage of the fruit trees. The wheat was reported to be "of excellent quality and the crop of Timothy was ready for the reaper and there was no fear of shortage or the crop. " The same applied to corn, oats and rye, the apple crop was plentiful, and the "plum and pear trees were laden with fruit and maturing rapidly" according to the July 14 report in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The Medical Practice...
• In 1913, a bill making it a misdemeanor for any physician or surgeon to practice while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or of any drug was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Charles E. Shaffer, Columbia County. Other bills introduced included one making it a misdemeanor to sell anthracite coal by short weight, prohibited officials or employees of counties, cities, boroughs, etc. from taking part in election affairs. Another bill empowered conductors or motormen to arrest on sight any person guilty of disorderly practices on street cars. Another bill provided for the discharge from prison of persons after they have been confined two years or more for the desertion and non-support of their wives or children or for noncompliance with any court order relating to the support of dependents.
There Were Evil Doers Back Then...
• "A fiendish outrage" is the way the Wilkes-Barre Times began their January 18, 1907, story about an incident in Brynesville (1856-1996), a coal mining village near Centralia. The underground-mine fire that started in Centralia resulted in the relocation of all the people in Brynesville in order to avoid the smoke and fumes. The last house was torn down in 1996. Anyway, a couple in Brynesville "were seized by masked robbers and burned with a hot poker to reveal the hiding place of their money." Six masked men entered the home while the husband and wife were at their kitchen table and demanded their money. The husband threw 20 cents on the table and said that was all he had. The men accused him of lying and tied him in a chair, got a poker from the stove and when it got white hot tore the clothing from the lower part of his body and "applied the poker with the demand that he tell them where he kept his money." He soon "lapsed into unconsciousness." The "brutes" then "secured the wife and tying her to a chair removed her shoes and stockings and applied the poker until her feet were a mass of burns," and she passed out. The men then ransacked the house, found nothing and left. The sheriff and a posse searched the area but didn't find the men. The victim told the sheriff that a few days before he did have a few hundred dollars in the house, but had mailed it back to relatives in Europe.
The Beginning of the End of the Covered Bridges...
• In 1907, the scarcity of lumber drove the Columbia County Commissioners to seek other material for use in the construction of county bridges. Three new bridges in the planning stage "will not have a stick of lumber in them, but will be built almost entirely of concrete," the Commissioners proudly announced. One of the bridges built in 1907 was in Fishing Creek township, an arched culvert; another in Benton township, 27 feet long. The third bridge was in Madison township.
There are many more stories to tell of Columbia county and I'll continue tomorrow and again when the spirit moves me. If you have a favorite story about your favorite place to live send it to the Benton News. Please indicate whether I can publish your name or whether you want the story told anonymously.
Terry Graydon Beishline (July 14, 1938-January 23, 2008), formerly of the Stillwater area, passed away Wednesday in Cape Coral, Florida. He was 69. He was born in Chambersburg to Pauline (Welliver) Beishline, now 100 years old and residing at the Masonic Home, Elizabethtown, and the late William Graydon “Ted” Beishline. He graduated from the Bloomsburg schools in 1958. He is a member and a Past Master of the Oriental Lodge, No. 460, Orangeville. He served in the U. S. Army from 1958 to 1961. He worked at the Milton Standard, Haddon Craftsmen and retired from R. R. Donnelly. He moved to Florida in 2004. Surviving are his mother, his wife Ann, daughters Elizabeth and Margaret; four grandchildren and two great grandchildren, and many cousins and friends. Burial will be at the convenience of the family. A memorial service will be announced at a later date by the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc., Benton.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will be included in the Tuesday, January 29, edition of the Press Enterprise.
January 28, 2008. Happy birthday to Cathy Cole Hartman and Ellen Lenbergs. Nancy Fox will undergo open-heart surgery early Monday morning for removal "as much of the cancerous growth as they can." Nancy has one of the few cases of cancer of the heart ever recorded.
We'll start by getting the serious stuff out of the way. In the United States, the president is vested with great authority and most would say he is the most powerful elected official in the world. The founding fathers somewhat distrusted the office of the presidency and created it as a narrowly restricted institution. They were still stinging from the actions of George III and felt that a strong executive branch would be incompatible with the intent of the Declaration of Independence. At the state level, early constitutions provided for only nominal executive branches and the first national constitution embodied in the Article of Confederation established no executive branch.
The Constitution defines the powers, functions and responsibilities of the president. His duties, in case they have slipped your mind, are to insure that laws are faithfully executed. He does this through various executive agencies headed by cabinet-level departments led by cabinet heads. Presidents nominate all judges of the federal judiciary, including members of the Supreme Court. Appointments come from the president, approval of the appointment comes from the Senate. The president is the commander in chef of the military and has the ultimate power to affect movements of land, sea and air forces. He can make treaties with foreign governments, although the Senate must approve. The president has the power to approve bills and at the same time he can reject bills passed by Congress through the veto process. Congress can override the presidential veto with a two-thirds majority in favor of the veto--but I am drifting away from where I should be heading. Lets get back on track.
We seem to have nosedived back to the days of the Articles of Confederation in our disdain of the candidates for the highest office in the nation. None of us has a clear idea who will lead out country following the next presidential election, but the number of contenders is thinning. On the Democratic side, the nominee will either be the polarizing Hillary Clinton or the untested Barack Obama and on the Republican side moderate John McCain or a man with no foreign policy experience Mitt Romney--or a long-shot Rudy Giuliani if he "wins" Florida January 29.
Barack Obama probably never guessed what an uphill battle he would encounter with the Clintons double-teaming him. He correctly deduced that he had to go on the attack or he would get wiped out. The former president responded with outbursts uncharacteristic of a former president. It makes me wonder what role a Vice President would play in a Hillary Clinton White House with the two Clintons at the top. The Democrats are throwing gender, racial and generational barbs at each other and the two camps seem to be divided into "looking-forward" and "looking-back." Obama seems to have the uphill battle in their skirmish.
The "Comeback Kid" on the Republican side is John McCain following his victories in New Hampshire and South Carolina, but the conservatives in the party don't seem to jump on his bandwagon. Consider the possibility of Mike Huckabee (or former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge) ending up as McCain's Vice President should McCain come out on top. McCain's temper seems to be about as explosive as that of former President Clinton, but there isn't a whole lot of Democratic/Republican bantering. Romney has both the money and the conservative backing to continue, but evangelical Christians aren't won over yet. McCain and Romney just don't seem to care for each other and provide their share of snide comments back and forth.
It just seems unnatural to hear the negativity of the four top contenders for the most important post in the world. All candidates are getting slam dunked, and throwing it back as fast as they receive it. Let's hope all four rise above this level of mud-slinging soon. I just may decide to support the first person who decides to act presidential.
• Didja hear that a recent president had three envelopes. During the first year, when the going got rough, he opened the first envelope. The message inside read "Blame the guy who was in the office before you!" When things were still not smooth at the end of the second year, he opened and read the second letter, "Blame Congress!" At the end of the next year, when he was battered and bloody, he opened the third envelope and read its message: "Prepare three envelopes!"
• Didja hear that a family in Canonsburg plans to have its five-legged cat, named "Babygirl," operated on to remove a superfluous paw growing from the left side of her body and amputate a deformed left hind leg. The operation will leave the cat with three legs.
• The Penn State Opera Theatre, in conjunction with the School of Theatre, is producing Johann Strauss's Die Fledermaus. Alana Bath, Bendertown, will perform the role of Prince Orlofsky in all performances. Tickets can be purchased in advance and more information about the show is available here. The performances will be held February 22 at 8 PM, then evenings at 8 on the 23rd, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th and March 1. There is a matinee March 2 at 2 PM and previews February 20 and 21. The opera will he conducted in the Playhouse Theatre, Arts Building (located behind Music Buildings), Penn State Main.
Want to have fun preserving your family history and treasured life stories? If so, join like-minded folks at the Northern Columbia Community and Cultural Center, Benton, to learn the art of 'Cinderella’ Scrapbooking. People have been saving special family memorabilia, whether it is children’s handmade cards, newspaper clippings, family photos or special letters or documents for centuries. If you want to develop your creative skills in ‘Cinderella’ Scrapbooking, join Darlene Pearson who will teach techniques to develop personalized scrapbooks about your own family history. Darlene is an independent consultant for Top-Line Creations, Salt Lake City, Utah, a direct sales scrapbook company. This special class will meet on Friday, February 1, from 6 PM until midnight (the Cinderella hour) at The Center. Cost is $5 per class for members and $7 for non-members; materials cost is extra. Call The Center at 570 925-0163 if you have additional questions.
Bill Fester, originally from "the home farm" near Berwick (close to Evansville), now lives in Houston, Texas. Bill emailed about a recent article on black-eyed peas. Bill says he is a pork and sauerkraut guy, but "down here in the South that's pretty alien stuff." Bill married a girl originally from Memphis, and "she can't abide this, mostly since her family was brought up to believe that sauerkraut was Yankee food, and following what they refer to as the War Of Northern Aggression (a conflict that in their minds has not been completely resolved), it should have never crossed the Mason-Dixon Line." The family also feels that rhubarb is in a similar category.
Anyway, Bill liked the recipe of Linda Stradley on her web site What's Cooking America for something she calls Hoppin John, which is somewhat comparable to sauerkraut and pork chops. Incidentally, Bill says he "sneaks a can of Silver Floss whenever the wife's out of town."