July 31, 2006.
If you live in Columbia County and are interested in genealogy and family history, here is a good place to begin .
Since I just finished with removal of skin cancer, I may feel stronger about this than most, but I have a lot of compassion for Jonah Goobic who made all the football games and handed out signals from the third base box for Wilkes University and Northwest Area High School. John died from skin cancer, a melanoma, in July, 2000. His wife, Donna Goobic, now gives melanoma awareness talks and has developed quite a following in the Northwest school district. For more information on melanoma screenings, visit www.aad.org and click on find a dermatologist or contact your health care provider, or visit www.melanoma.com.
This is the week for the Firemen's Carnival in Benton, culminating Saturday night with the water battle on Main Street. We'll tell you more about that as the week goes on. There are quite a few new stands this year. One is a "play till you win" game with all sorts of glow in the dark, neon, and light-up prizes. The amusement rides are mostly inflatables. The fire company is offering several foods new to the carnival this year, including clams, a baked goods wheel, soft pretzels, corn dogs, homemade ice cream turned with a hit and miss engine, and more. On Saturday, August 5, the carnival will feature the first pony pulls beginning at noon. A chicken barbeque comes along later in the day, followed by the Firemen's Parade and Water Battle. WNEP-TV has been asked to cover the parade (they did not, however).
Luzerne County Community College and the NEPA Alliance will co-sponsor a Technology Expo and Science, Math and Related Technologies (SMART) Career Fair on Saturday, August 19, at the Nanticoke campus. Workshops, demonstrations, seminars, and presentations will center on fostering interest in technology, math, science, and engineering. Information on technology and related technical careers will be presented.
The fair is designed for middle school students, high school students and adults who are interested in a career in technology, math, science, or engineering. More information can be found at www.smartcareerfair.org.
Cinda Hartman, Berwick, told us about "Robin," a member of her staff, who received a letter in the mail from Arizona, addressed to her mother with the last name of Swank. She had been deceased for 20 years. The letter contained copies of a wedding announcement from the late 1800's, the 50th anniversary of the couple, the obit of the husband, along with copies of photos of members of the Swank family. Robin had never been a Swank--her mother had been married before and that is where the name was associated. The folks in Arizona, Jay and Dottie Confair, Googled and found the name Mary Swank in the Berwick phone book and sent off the letter. The name of George Confair was mentioned several times, so Cinda called Joselle Confair, Nescopeck, who said that was her grandfather's brother, Fred, a Prudential insurance agent! Joselle's cousin had moved and left no forwarding address. Cinda had just found Joselle's cousin--another link completed in the genealogical chain!
Picture courtesy of Gloria Mincemoyer
Taken at the Wehr farm just east of Mifflinburg on Rt. 45
Sunday, July 30, 2006. Happy birthday to the city of Baltimore, founded on this date in 1729, to staff reporter Chloe, now five years old, and to auto maker Henry Ford, born in 1863. Ford started the Ford Motor Co. in 1903 and was often called the father of the Model T, which originally sold for $850 and slowly dropped to the range of $280. By 1925, he was producing almost 2 million a year. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has a birthday today, too.
Old Zeke Perkins sold his hogs the other day,
The gosh-darned fool threw his money right away;
Rode into town, sittin' on a board,
Came home ridin' in a brand-new Ford!
Have you ever noticed that when you start getting your head in order, your body falls to pieces?
The 10th anniversary celebration of the homecoming of St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church will take place this morning at 10 AM. Archdeacon Paul C. Donecker will be the Celebrant. Following morning worship, there will be a social hour at 11:30 and about an hour later the friends and family of the church will gather for a genealogy workshop.
The version of the browser known as Internet Explorer (IE) 7 is scheduled for release by Microsoft in the fourth quarter of this year by "pushing" it to Windows XP users as a high-priority update. Users will get a chance to say no to installation. The new version has security updates and anti-piracy tools not available in the current version.
"If you see a Savage, you won't see a snake."
--Joe Savage, quoting O.B. Savage who hated snakes. Joe explained that O.B. once encountered a snake on the Frank Beishline farm when he was loading bales of straw. He simply unhooked the wagon, and drove his truck home. Neither O.B. nor his truck returned to finish the bailing. After all, "if you see a Savage, you won't see a snake."
Jennifer Bandura lives near Boyertown, and found the Benton News from a Google search for information on the West Paden bridge disaster. We can also report that she made a contribution toward the recovery/restoration effort of the local covered bridges. Anyway, she asked if we had ever been in Boyertown. She wrote, "You may already know that Boyertown is well known for its famous Opera House Fire in 1908. Because of that fire, all doors in public places open outward to this day."
Goodness, 1908 seems like a long time ago! General Motors was just being formed and birthday boy Henry Ford was just building his "motorcar for the multitudes," the Model T.
What Jen was talking about was the Rhoads Opera House in Boyertown and its fire of January 13, 1908. During a stage play on the second floor of the Opera House, a kerosene lamp was knocked over and ignited. Exits were either unmarked or locked. The fire escape was not accessible through a locked window. Entire families were wiped out--170 people total--when the exit was crowded against to escape the fire. A total of 105 new graves were dug in Fairview Cemetery, Boyertown, to accommodate the dead. An estimated 15,000 people attended funerals in a single day in Boyerstown. You can read more here.
The Pennsylvania legislature quickly passed new legislative standards for doors, landings, lighting, curtains, fire extinguishers, aisles, marked exits and doors. All doors were required to open outward and remain unlocked. Pennsylvania governor Edwin Stuart signed Pennsylvania’s first fire law within four months. Today, the opera house consists of apartments and stores.
Staff reporter Chloe, our Bichon Frise, is five years old today. Except when she is barking to warn of terrorists and evil doers in the neighborhood, Chloe is a very quiet dog, keeping to herself and her male Bichon friend, whom she calls "He" and to her parents, whom she calls "Leader" and "Mother." Chloe agreed to write a short article for today. It follows, translated to the best of our ability...
My brothers and sisters and I were born on a very hot day surrounded by our cousins and uncles who lived next door, separated from our family by the same stuff that keeps me from raiding the chicken pens in the field where Leader sometimes takes He and me. I came from an important family, but before I even learned the fun of chasing mousies we were separated and sent all over the United States on missions of kindness. I will never forget those early, formative months, when I learned to survive on food from a garbage can and I still love to turn over a garbage can and investigate its contents.
I had the good fortune to be sent to a family who loved me and fed me good and brushed me. Each day they left their apartment early in the morning and didn't come home until after dark. They left me tied to a leg of a table, and I am ashamed to admit that I had a couple of what Leader calls "accidents." I was told that I wasn't "working out," although if they had just taken me outside I would have done all the work that they wanted.
I was then sent to a house in the woods where Brenda took me in. I was allowed to run through the woods and warn of big mousies approaching and play with some friends and sleep on the couch. Life was good. There was a story that I don't completely understand about the expense of the man that pushes the sharp stick into my rear and gives pills to me, and I was send to live with Leader and Mother.
They seemed like nice people at first, but they had their evil side. They didn't let me run outside whenever I heard a sound I couldn't identify. They plunked me into the bathtub--a place I never will like. They put stuff on me that hurt my eyes and made me smell like I could never sneak up on a mousy. They cut my beautiful hair, something so prized by my cousins and my uncles and the rest of my family, stroked my whole body with a piece of wood with sharp wires sticking out of it and made me swallow a bitter pill that they said would make my itching go away. They made my beautiful ribs disappear. They made a noise that I couldn't understand, although with my superior intelligence I have now mastered most of their sounds. I slowly warmed up to Leader and Mother as I learned that noise like "hungry" and "ride" and "biscuit" were good words. As months went on, I taught them to use words that I would understand. I showed them that if they would hit metal dishes together He and I would run to the kitchen. I taught them to rub my belly and my ears. I taught them the joy of lying on the floor with me. I taught Leader and Mother that if they called me "Chloe" I would come to them. They quickly learned to pat me on the head and let me sleep with them and I decided to stay, in spite of He.
He is a problem. Mother says He is a year older and a lot wiser. I hope that I never get a year older! He can't even jump onto the front seat of the car and He can't run as fast as I can, He can't see the mousies as good as I can, He likes to sleep when I want to play. He eats my food if I leave a little for a snack in the afternoon. He does that disgusting thing if we go too long in the car without stopping. But He is my best friend. I wonder what he will give me for my birthday?
Muncy Creek begins in in Davidson Township in Sullivan County, becomes the border between Shrewsbury and Davidson Townships and flows west by southwest through Lycoming County on its journey to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. In its approximately 40 mile flow, the stream flows beside Route 220 and passes through Nordmont, Sonestown, and Muncy Valley. The stream flows through Picture Rocks, the borough of Hughesville and finally flows into the West Branch Susquehanna River just north of Muncy.
Muncy Creek is eating away at the Sonestown Covered Bridge. The old steam bed that flows straight under the bridge is almost dry, and most water veers sharply around and to the right of an island that has formed a quarter of a mile upstream from the bridge.
Looking upstream from the bridge. The stream bed is on the right side of the island. The new stream bed is to the left of the island. The picture was taken from the Route 220 side of the covered bridge.
The water then flows adjacent to Route 220 and has to made an abrupt turn to the original stream bed when it arrives at the bridge. Another abrupt turn is then needed to flow under the bridge.
A company by the name of Hawbaker Construction, Inc. plans to move 7,800 cubic yards of gravel, construct a riprap block, stabilize the creek banks and do as much of it as possible without getting in Muncy Creek.
The Burr Bridge, dating from 1850, known as the
Sonestown Covered Bridge
July 29, 2006. Ruth Taylor, formally of 2½ Street, Benton, celebrates her 98th birthday today. Ruth resides at Nottingham Retirement home, Northumberland. Elaine Hartman, Bloomsburg, is a daughter. There is an ice cream festival today from 4-8 PM at the Benton UM Church to benefit Benton FFA trip to Mississippi.
Duane and Ruth Braun of Bloomsburg University’s Geography and Geosciences Department will talk on "Glacial Geology: Moving Mountains and the Carving of Lakes," at Lacawac Sanctuary, off Ledgedale Road near Lake Wallenpaupack today from 10 AM to noon. $5. Many will remember Duane from his talk at the North Mountain Historical Society.
Commissioner Chris Young provided an email response to Benton News reader Jen Bandura which said, "the cost to rebuild West Paden will exceed 2 million dollars and the county will receive no help from FEMA; we don’t have that kind of money so we have decided not to rebuild. We do have plans to fix East Paden and the park and to memorialize its twin." Although we figured this would eventually be the response, it is numbing to have the impact sink in... The annual Columbia County Covered Bridges Assn. Inc. wine and dine event today at the Stillwater Covered Bridge from 2 to 6 PM will have a lot of sadness connected with it, even with The Feolas and their fine bluegrass music in the background.
Speaking of covered bridges, we are thrilled that John Lapp, Sr. has his boat back, thanks to an unidentified caller.
There are many people crying in their beer today. The last of the Rolling Rock brewed in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, came off the loading docks Friday. It has been made by Latrobe Brewing Company since 1939, but now Rolling Rock is owned by Anheuser-Busch who will make Rolling Rock from reservoir water in Newark, New Jersey. The Latrobe brewery will close Monday.
The website at www.letssaythanks.com allows you to pick out a thank you card which the Xerox Corporation will then print and send to a soldier currently serving in Iraq. The card will go to a member of the armed services, although you can’t pick out specifically who gets it. It is FREE and it only takes a second. A note from Back Home in Benton, PA, might make the day for a soldier.
The top story in the upper Fishingcreek valley Friday morning and later in the day on Channel 16 was the groundbreaking that took place for the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center (N4C). As Borough Council President John Jankowski put it, "It is a big deal here in Benton." Bill Hosking, Cecile Martin and John Jankowski ended up being featured on Channel 16 and about 80 showed up for the groundbreaking. On television, John talked about people "not just in Benton but in surrounding counties, using the facilities." Channel 16 announcer Brian Leckey mentioned working out in the gym, seeing an art exhibit and several of the other activities that will be possible when the Center opens. Construction is expected to get underway by the end of August, and will wind up by the spring of 2007.
Elsie Buyers, Jan Swan and Chuck Chapman were the most instrumental in getting the Center started, and Chuck Chapman reminded everyone that "what you see today is the start of the end" as eight years of work has gone on to get to where construction can begin.
Benton Mayor Jan Swan, as host-site speaker, said that she "had an idea for about a year and wanted to do something personal that would stay with the center for many years to come." Jan suggested a logo for the Center and presented her suggestion to the group. The logo colors are bright blue and gold. On the top of the logo is a star, with northern Columbia County relating to the North Star and the lower star relating to the community center. Mayor Swan reminded the group that the Center will only have a small staff, but in order for the center to be successful volunteers will be necessary.
Rev. David Diehl of the Benton Christian Church provided the invocation in which he thanked the "faithful leaders of our community" for the "guidance and help so great and wondrous things can happen in the facility."
Bill Klink, director of Columbia County Housing Authority, was responsible for building the elderly housing center, a neighbor of the Community Center. Bill thanked Laurie Gordner and Rich Kisner of his staff. He especially praised Rich Kisner, a member of his staff and a member of the Board of Directors of the Center, as "very helpful to the native Bentonian, even though he is from Lightstreet." Bill said that a "large amount of the credit has to go to the people who stepped up and convinced the people in Harrisburg and other places" that the Center was a worthwhile project," adding that a lot of people have worked on it. He noted that it is a "great thing for this area."
Senator John Gordner and Representative David Millard were introduced. Senator Gordner remembered when he suggested to the Board of Directors to "come down and meet with the head of our Republican caucus." The result was that the caucus came up with $600,000 for the center. Senator Gordner said that "lots of communities throughout my six county senatorial district would love to have community centers. They talk about them and have a couple of meetings, but "You have made it happen." He told about Rep. Millard and the Senator going to Harrisburg and convincing them that this project was going to work. He talked about the droves of people who come to the N4C-sponsored Village Sampler in a show of community support.
Senator Gordner congratulated the board on the hard work so far, and said that he looks forward to the dedication ceremony next spring.
David Millard commented that he agreed with Mayor Swan saying that this "will be a shining star in the northern end of Columbia County." He paid respect to Senator Gordner for bringing it to the leadership in Harrisburg.
Columbia County Commissioners Chris Young, Bill Soberick and David Kovach each spoke and when they were introduced their comments of some time ago were noted that their number one priority for Columbia County was the Community Center. Chris Young cited the extraordinary effort on the northern part of the county and said he was proud that the county could support the effort. He, too, echoed Mayor Swan's comments about the Center being a shining star in northern Columbia county.
Bill Soberick talked about the team effort of the three County Commissioners, equating it to the way that the people of the upper Fishingcreek worked together. Bill remembered coming to the Grassmere area about 1950 and falling in love with the northern part of Columbia County. He concluded his remarks by saying "I know it will be a success. Keep up the good work."
David Kovach told about going to the first Village Sampler. "I said 'WOW,' talk about community spirit! This is absolutely wonderful. This is a good project." He said he was absolutely excited to be a part of the Center and told how he was directing communities to go to the northern end of Columbia County and "they'll show you how to do it."
The N4C will support an area from Davidson Township in Sullivan County, down to Orangeville and from Shickshinny in Luzerne County to Millville. Benton serves as the host community.
At the entrance to Community Drive will be a pavilion and a regulation-sized horseshoe pit, thanks in part to Carlton "Butch" Young, who is the secretary of an eastern horseshoe pitching organization and who will attempt to attract some national tournaments to this area. Dr. Harold Ackerman, also a member of the Community Center board, has also made a commitment to the sport of horse-shoe pitching.
Two banks, Columbia County Farmers National Bank and First Columbia Bank, were represented. Lance Diehl introduce his staff, including Chairman of the board Paul Reichart, who is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Center; Dean Kelchner, Jeanne McDermott (also a member of the Board of Directors of the Center) and Ed Wenner were introduced. Lance Diehl stressed that surrounding townships have contributed so much to the bank and this is a way of returning it to the community.
First Columbia Bank has two active members of the Advisory committee for the N4C, Judith Scavone and Tina Wood, and both attended Friday's groundbreaking. The president of First Columbia, Randy Brown, spoke and introduced his staff of Judith Scavone and Tina Woods, along with the Chief Financial Officer of the company, Shirley Alters, and Kenneth Heritage, financial services officer. President Brown congratulated the Board of the Community Center for having "persevered in this project for many years."
Eric DeWald, Central Susquehanna Community Foundation, remembered his growing up in Millville, and lamented that he never had a "destination like this." He commented how "wonderful it would have been to have had something like this." He said that he was proud to be involved in this project. He talked about major goals of the foundation; i.e., getting kids ready for school, cardio vascular health, etc. Kay Hoosty, a charter member of the Center's Board of Directors and currently a member of the advisory committee of the Community Center, is a new member of the board of the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation.
John Jankowski, president of the Benton Borough Council, noted that the project was a "big deal, a very big deal for Columbia County." He said that it was "Wanted for a very long time." He said that it will be a place for both kids and for senior citizens. He said that "on behalf of Benton, the hosting community, we'll get a lot of use out of it."
Rick Iddings was mentioned for his contribution of a stone entryway on the south side of the building. Rick wanted to do something for the community and for kids. Rick came up with the idea of cathedral ceilings with exposed beams as an entrance to the 140' by 137' building. People in the center will be able to look out through glass and watch as children are picked up by their parents.
Representatives of other townships and boroughs were introduced, including the executive director of the Columbia/Montour County Visitors Borough and the mayor of Orangeville. The secretary/treasurer of Mount Pleasant Township also was in attendance.
Many of the dignitaries in the audience then took a turn at the gold-plated shovel, but for the record Elsie Buyers, President of the Community Center, turned the first spadeful of ground.
July 28, 2006. Happy birthday today to Gary Beach and Lee Ann Kline, both 21 (+).
The South Columbia quest for the state championship came to an end Thursday night when they lost to Punxsutawney 3-1. The girls played a great game and can celebrate in the knowledge that they are No. 2 in the state. It was a tremendous season, and these girls were terrific. The coaches did a fantastic job and deserve a pat on the back as well. Thanks to all the fans for the support--South Columbia will be heard from again next year!
Irene V. Swartley, 65, Sellersville, a self-employed Tupperware consultant and a former Girl Scout leader in the Perkasie area, died Wednesday, July 26, in Grand View Hospital, West Rockhill Township. Born in Milford Township, she was the daughter of Jacob M. and Mary (Bender) Janney, Benton. She was the wife of Donald E. Swartley. In addition to her husband and parents, she is survived by daughters Donna I. Swartley, Norristown, Sheila Copenhaver (Terry), Souderton, Tracy Dildine (Kenneth), Allentown and Nadine Barnes (Eles), Lansdale. Brothers include Jacob C., Ronald, Robert, Barry and David. Sisters include Nancy Fox, Sandy Rosenberger, Linda Reily, Judy Ashelman and Susan Reabuck. Services will be Saturday, July 29, 2006, at 3:30 PM in the C.R. Strunk Funeral Home Inc., 821 W. Broad St., Quakertown. The family will receive visitors from 2-3:30 PM in the funeral home.
--Obituary from the Morning Call, where a complete obituary can be found in the edition of July 27, 2006.
The article that originally appeared in this location was about the J. Paul Laubach Construction Company. That article has now been transferred to the FEATURES section.
We stopped at the Orangeville Carnival Wednesday night, where we love to eat the golden french fries and the homemade ice cream whose recipe dates back probably 75 years to Marion Yost. We thought of the upcoming Benton Carnival July 31-August 5, and wished that we could go back in time to one of the Farmers' Picnics. For those who don't remember the Farmers' Picnics, here is a representative year--1925. Picture the Benton Park today and then visualize what we tell you about the event that took place 81 years ago today...
The crowd for the event was estimated by the Benton Argus at 16,000, unusually high because of the rain the day before kept the farmers out of their fields. Well, sure, there was no way of actually knowing how many were there, but 4,183 cars were actually parked, plus some horse-drawn vehicles. Most from the Borough walked to the park.
The Morning Press came to town, too. Their article on the event commented that "the greatest crowd in the history of that fine center of up-creek out-door activities during the summer months, the eleventh annual picnic of the Northern Columbia County Farmers' Picnic Association, broke all records." The Bloomsburg paper was a little more conservative in their estimate of the size of the crowd, putting it at "14,000 persons" and noted that at 9 PM there were still 4,000 on the grounds listening to the Shickshinny Band and the Mac and Daily orchestra.
Food is always popular at picnics, carnivals and even at the Farmers' Picnic. The dinner stand anticipated 1,000 people for the noon meal and when they reached 1,080 they ran out of food. Other food stands provided "hot dogs and the like." Workers at the dinner stand "got busy" and "provided a new supply for the supper hour."
Wouldn't it be wonderful if the Benton Park could again accommodate events like the Farmers' Picnic... Perhaps someday....
Here are some shut-ins who would love to hear from you...
• Jake Janney, Highlands Care Center, Laporte, PA 18626
• Eleanor Laubach, Bonham Nursing & Rehabilitation Facility, 477 Bonnieville Road, Stillwater, PA 17878
• Avis McHenry, Bonham Nursing & Rehabilitation Facility.
We were distressed to learn that Tour de France champion Floyd Landis showed "an unusual level of testosterone/epitestosterone" during testing.
Please remember the air conditioned N4C Thrift Shop located adjacent to the Dollar General store on Mill Street. The buys are wonderful. Hours are Thursday and Friday 10-4 and Saturday 10-2.
Sure it is expensive to buy gas for a new car, but consider the selling price of a television station. Take WTAJ-TV in Altoona, for example. Nexstar Broadcasting Group Inc. plans to buy the CBS affiliate for $56 million in cash. Nexstar now owns television stations in Erie and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (WYOU and WBRE). Nexstar will also acquire the license and certain assets of WLYH-TV, a UPN affiliate in Lancaster.
• The groundbreaking ceremony for the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center is set for Friday, July 28, 2006, at 9 AM. Speakers will include Benton Mayor Jan Swan; Bill Klink, director of the Columbia County Housing Corporation; Senator John Gordner; Representative David Millard; county commissioners; bankers; Eric DeWald, director of the Berwick Health and Wellness Foundation; John Jankowski, President of the Borough of Benton; and other dignitaries. The groundbreaking is open to the public and everyone is encouraged to attend.
Rendering by Diane Harvey Laubach
• There will be an old-time baseball game Saturday off Route 42 between Catawissa and Numidia starring 38 players and four coaches who will wear uniforms representing the local towns that used to have teams. The gates open at 11 AM and the game starts at 3:30 PM beside the corn-lined outfield. The Columbia County Historical and Genealogical Society will have a display of baseball equipment dating to the 1860s. There will be a question-and-answer session with Joanne McComb and Sarah "Salty" Ferguson, Orangeville, an adviser to the film A League of Their Own. Admission is $5 for those over the age of 15. Bring chairs or a blanket. WHLM-AM, 930 on the dial, will broadcast the game. Directions: Route 42 South through Catawissa to Numidia and follow the signs.
July 27, 2006. Today is Gary Beech's birthday. Bob Hope died at age 100 two years ago today.
How do these rumors get started? A rumor we heard suggests that the community center is going to cost taxpayers $300,000 for paving Third Street. John Jankowski, President of the Borough Council, confirmed that this rumor has no merit. John confirmed that no one from the center has even suggested that Third Street extended should be paved. The Center will use Community Drive, an extension of 2 1/2 Street, for most of their traffic. The Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center has no need for Third Street except in cases of emergency.
We read about Dean Pealer, Stillwater, and Daniel LeVan, Catawissa, in the February 19, 1925, edition of the Benton Argus. The boys had just been rewarded for outstanding boys' and girls' club work by Hoards' Dairyman, a national weekly dairy magazine. In 1925, Dean lived with his parents in the New Columbus area, but later moved to the Waller area where he was a grain farmer. Dean and his wife, Ruth Appleman Pealer, were the parents of Attorney Deanna Pealer, Bloomsburg. L. Ray Appleman was Ruth's father.
The article got me thinking about William Dempster Hoard and his publication, Hoard's Dairyman. Hoard became well known because he worried about the thin topsoil of Wisconsin and similar prairie land in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa. He thought of how farmers in New York State had alternated their fields with wheat and other crops. Cow manure had revived nonproductive farmland as it once was when created out of timber land.
Hoard decided to editorialize about the subject in his weekly newspaper, the Jefferson County Union, and a crusade was born. Hoard became the apostle of the dairy cow for prosperous, soil-conserving agriculture. He was called the "father of American dairying," as he discussed feeding, breeding and management of the dairy cow, and marketing of milk and cream
In 1885, he took his campaign national with the dairy-farm magazine. Slowly the nation realized that wagons carrying battered cans of warm milk, with deliverymen ladling out into housewives' pans and pitchers, would promote bacteria in the milk and create other health hazards. Hoard's Dairyman, the National Dairy Farm Magazine, is still printed, and still honoring young, outstanding farmers like Dean Pealer.
Boroughs in Pennsylvania were first authorized to establish an "office of manager" in 1917. The General Borough Act was reenacted in 1927 and revised and reenacted in 1947 as the Borough Code. The latest reenactment of the Borough Code came in 1966. The title of burgess was changed to mayor in 1961. In 1968, the new judicial article of the Pennsylvania Constitution removed all judicial powers from the mayor, gutting the office of its prior principal responsibility. The president of council gradually became recognized as the chief elected officer of a borough." Many will remember that Karl Fritz was the last "Chief Burgess." Todd Butt was another former Chief Burgess.
The article that originally appeared in this location was about the J. Paul Laubach Construction Company. That article has now been transferred to the FEATURES section.
Early Wednesday morning, an arrest was made of James L. Merrion, 42, a suspect in repeated burglaries in the upper Fishing Creek valley and in Luzerne County. Merrion lives in a house trailer on Park Street. An extensive article appears in the July 27, 2006, Press Enterprise, and we refer readers to that source for information.
Alexander Vance, 76, (Nov. 29, 1929-July 25, 2006), 58 Ledge Road, Benton, died Tuesday. A native of Castledawson, Northern Ireland, he was a son of the late Thomas and Sarah (Browne) Vance. He married Marlene Cadwallader on Dec. 28, 1974 and is survived locally by her and by a grandson, Ronald Rooker, and great-grandson, Shiloh Rooker, both of Benton. There will be no visitation or funeral service. Interment will be private and held at the convenience of his family.
--from the Press Enterprise, where a complete obituary can be found in the July 26, 2006, edition
John (Jack) Llewellyn, 69, (Aug. 4, 1936-July 25, 2006), Benton, died Tuesday at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. He was co-owner of Llewellyn and McKane Printing Co., Wilkes-Barre. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 9:30 AM on Friday, July 28, at St. John's Church, Larksville. Interment will be in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Carverton. Friends may call Thursday from 6 to 9 PM at the Anthony Recupero Funeral Home, 406 Susquehanna Avenue, West Pittston.
--from the Press Enterprise, where a complete obituary can be found in the July 26, 2006, edition
July 26, 2006. Happy birthday today to Christopher Ackerman and Brooke Laubach.
Judith Veitz has a new web site with the Veitz family genealogy at http://tribalpages.com/ . The User ID is "veitztribe," without the quotes, of course. And a password is needed, which is "civilant," again without the quotes. The Veitz family has experienced different spellings of their name, including Viets, Vietz, and Veitz. Their particular branch originates in Pennsylvania. The Steinruck family, Mill Street, is related.
Simon Snyder opened a store and gristmill in Selinsgrove, and when the county was formed in 1855 it was named after Snyder. He was a delegate to the state convention that revised Pennsylvania's constitution in 1790. He served in the state House of Representatives from 1797 to 1807 (except when he ran for governor in 1805) and was its speaker three times. Snyder headed the state's mobilization for the War of 1812. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1818. He was Pennsylvania's first governor of German descent. Snyder proposed moving the state capital from Lancaster to Harrisburg. Snyder died in Selinsgrove of typhoid fever in 1819, where he is buried there in the Old Lutheran Cemetery.
Governor Snyder also did something of local significance. In 1813, he signed a bill creating Columbia County from the Northumberland townships of Bloom, Briarcreek, Chillisquaque, Catawissa, Derry, Fishingcreek, Greenwood, Hemlock, Mahoning, Mifflin, Sugarloaf and Turbut. Danville had served as the original county seat until the voters passed a referendum in 1845 to build a new courthouse in Bloomsburg. Later, in 1850, Montour County, the smallest county in terms of land area in the state of Pennsylvania. was established from Columbia County, primarily because of opposition to the shift of the courthouse to Bloomsburg.
In case you have forgotten...
• Benton Borough was incorporated from Benton Township in 1894, after being laid out in 1833.
• Orangeville Borough was incorporated from Orange Township in 1900, after being laid out in 1822.
• Millville Borough was incorporated from Greenwood Township in 1892, after being laid out in 1770.
• Stillwater Borough was incorporated from Fishing Creek Township in 1899, after being laid out in 1832.
• Benton Township was incorporated from Fishing Creek Township in 1850, after being settled in 1791.
• Fishing Creek Township was incorporated while part of Northumberland County in 1789. Early settlers can be traced to 1783.
• Greenwood Township was incorporated from Fishing Creek Township in 1799. Early settlers can be traced to 1770.
• Jackson Township was incorporated from Greenwood and Sugarloaf Township in 1838, after being settled in 1800.
• Orange Township was incorporated from Bloom, Fishing Creek and Mt. Pleasant Townships in 1839, after being settled in 1780.
• Sugarloaf Township was incorporated from Fishing Creek Township in 1812, after being settled in 1792.
John Lapp, his four sons and another Amish man were the only ones Tuesday doing the work recovering the timbers from the West Paden Bridge along Huntingdon and Fishing Creeks. They came very early and stayed until after 4:30 Tuesday. Three articles in Wednesday's Press Enterprise provide full coverage of the day's activities for these volunteers.
One sad note to the event. John Lapp brought a flat-bottom boat for his younger sons to float down stream after the workday. They left it next to the East Paden Bridge for later use. Sometime in the morning someone stole it. It was to be a fun time for the younger Lapp children, but it turned out to be a sad day for them. (They did go for a swim after the workday, however).
Bob Parks provided a picture of the beam collections as of 2:15 PM Tuesday. Please note that these beams are county property and not to be taken as souvenirs.
Donna & Wayne Farver had their camper along Fishingcreek until Tuesday of "Flood Week" when they pulled it out. To get to where their camper had been parked, turn at Melonie's Cool Cup and go toward the creek as far as you can; then turn left and continue a short distance. You'll see a plot of land with nothing on it. That's where they were. Almost directly across the creek from this site are many of the remains of the Paden Bridges.
Susan Forsythe (sp) uses the concrete slab that some of the timbers washed up on for Sunday School and was happy that the Amish were doing this work. She even invited the Amish for lunch! They said thanks, but had brought their own.
A reader was very happy with the effort that Mr. Lapp was undertaking in looking for pieces of these bridges. "What a tragedy," she wrote, "but yet, how very kind of this gentleman to offer his services. Gives a person much needed faith in humankind!"
We never quite finished our story of building the road from Benton Borough to the Luzerne County line that we began about a week ago. We'll skip ahead from where we ended in the story to April 1, 1926, as workmen started arriving in Benton and the project began gearing up. One of the first acts that was taken was for the Borough Council to pass Ordinance No. 54 which incorporated the grades and widths of the Main Street extension from Market Street. The original copy of the ordinance was then sent to Harrisburg by special messenger. Larue Polk and his brother arrived at the State Highway office at the capitol when it opened on a Saturday morning and immediately the contract was signed with Lane Construction Company. Had the special messenger not taken the ordinance to Harrisburg at that time, the state had promised a delay in signing the contract. Benton breathed a sigh of relief!
The local newspapers "waxed poetic" at the news that a delay was avoided. The Benton Argus, for example, wrote in their issue of April 1, 1926, "When the road is completed, a demonstration is talked of as it is the end of a perfect day of continuously being on the job for ten years for this road on the part of the citizens of this end of the county (sic), and the Lord knows, there never was a piece of road needed any worse, as when completed it connects the richest markets of the anthracite coal fields with the fertile agricultural section of lower Luzerne county and Northern Columbia County." The newspaper then went on to talk about the extra cost of shipping the estimated 80 cans of milk transported over this road each day.
Not content to leave well enough alone, the newspaper continued, "None will realize, say for five years at least, the real benefit this road (provides) to this community. It is going to mean so much to our agricultural life. We are still optimistic enough to think that in ten years the prosperity and improvement in this community will be greater than it has been the past twenty-five years."
One of the largest employers in the upper Fishingcreek valley at one time was the J. Paul Laubach Construction Company. The company also existed in related and associated names. Beginning Thursday, we'll tell you about that company and the people who started it and made it the institution that it came to become. If any readers have anything to contribute in the way of stories or pictures, please let me know. All contributions will be appreciated.
PennDOT advises that the contractor replacing the bridge on Route 239 over Raven Creek in Benton Township will be implementing a 5-day detour to reconstruct the intersection of Route 239 and Toy Factory Road. The detour will begin on Monday, July 31. This intersection will be open to traffic until Monday. The detour route begins in Cambra: Route 4011 (Tioga Turnpike) to Route 1022 (Zaners Bridge Road) to Route 487.
July 25, 2006. Happy Birthday today to John Deeter, Ramona Diltz and Ruth (Chapin) Hilley. Robert and Margie Kline celebrate their anniversary today
The 10th anniversary celebration of the homecoming of St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church will take place on Sunday, July 30, at 10 AM. Join the members of the church for their morning worship. Archdeacon Paul C. Donecker will be the Celebrant. Following morning worship, there will be a social hour at 11:30 and about an hour later the friends and family of the church will gather for a genealogy workshop.
This will be a perfect opportunity to begin your Sunday worshipping in this historic church whose interior walls are native chestnut and whose pews are made from huge virgin timber. Enjoy the beautiful stained glass windows given in memory of some of the founders of the parish. Enjoy time together in the recently added social room. Listen to the organ music of Eric Fricke, 13. Share the afternoon with friends researching family roots and exchanging memories of past years. And don't forget those who can no longer be with us, friends like Helen S. Gammon, who died November, 2005, and Ruth Overdorf, who died in July, 2005.
John Lapp and other Amish workers plan to have an "Amish Frolic" to scour Huntington and Fishingcreek for the parts of the West Paden bridge that were swept downstream. The search party could use help starting somewhere around 9 o'clock today.
Nothing seems to bug a woman more than when women drop in and see the house as it generally is.
There are some things that we want exactly like they used to be. Take mashed potatoes, for example. We don't want crème cheese in them. We want buckwheat cakes just like Mother used to make them, and the same goes for pork and sauerkraut, elderberry pie and scrapple. Beer is in the same category. Take Rolling Rock, long brewed with mountain spring water in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. The beer soon will be brewed and distributed by Anheuser-Busch with water from the Wanaque Reservoir in Passaic County, New Jersey. The brew's green bottle will stay the same, as will the mysterious "33." But it won't be the same.
Shanna Fritz Hess and Jeremy HessShanna Fritz Hess and Jeremy Hess were married July 22 in the Benton Methodist Church. Shannna is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Shane Fritz. Jeremy is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Owen Hess. During the morning, 2.5" of rain fell and in the afternoon hard winds took place. Nevertheless, the wedding reception took place at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Owen Hess with about 250 guests attending. As the bridal party was ready to be announced, another downpour of rain fell and with all outside conditions saturated Jeremy carried his new bride across the puddles and the mud for all in attendance to view. Chivalry still exists!
Work is certainly an unpopular way of making money.
Cinda Hartman, Berwick, asked if we know of any Hartman Family Reunions coming up. We do not. Can any one help?
Benton is going to become a little more well known. The September page of the Reading Company Technical & Historical Society 2007 calendar has a picture of the Benton station taken by Jim Laubach when the Reading posted the closing of the station. The picture was taken from Market Street and showed the freight house, plus part of J. Paul Laubach's equipment in the background.
Here is a similar picture looking toward Market Street. This picture courtesy of Jim Laubach.
This calendar is sent across the country and to many foreign countries, so Benton should become known world wide.
Go here for a history of the Reading Company.
July 24, 2006.
On this date in...
• 1866, Ulysses S. Grant became the first American officer to reach the rank of General of the United States Army. Born Hiram Ulysses Grant, known as "Lyss" as a boy, the Congressman who appointed Grant to West Point forgot the name Hiram, but remembered that Grant's mother's maiden name was Simpson and thinking that was Lyss Grant's middle name he filled out the West Point application in the name of "Ulysses S. Grant."
• 1952, the Western cinema classic, High Noon, with Gary Cooper and newcomer actress Grace Kelly, premiered in New York. Cooper received the Academy Award for Best Actor and the movie received three other Oscars.
• 1970, The song (They Long to Be) Close to You, by The Carpenters, rocketed to the Number 1 spot on Billboard's record charts. During that period most weddings included that song. Burt Bacharach asked the Carpenters to perform with him and asked Richard to arrange a medley of Bacharach songs. Herb Alpert suggested they include Close to You, a little-known song. The single sold 1.8 million copies domestically.
Why do birds suddenly appear
Every time you are near?
Just like me,
they long to be close to you.
• 2003, the announcement was made that over half a million dollars would be spent to renovate the old Cole's Hardware Store at the corner of East and Main Streets, Bloomsburg. The result would be a 24-hour Greek diner with a bakery and delicatessen in the rear, display windows in front, and an awning around the building. Three years later, the building is still empty.
Sunday morning at the Benton Christian Church, Rev. David Diehl used the lines "Like a mighty army moves the church of God" in his sermon, an obvious reference to a line in the hymn Onward Christian Soldiers. This hymn was once sung proudly and often, but seems to be rarely sung today. Is it because this kind of talk is not in favor with today's churches? Do we no longer discuss Christianity in these terms? If so, it is a recent phenomenon, since the hymn was sung at Dwight Eisenhower's funeral in March, 1969.
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
Forward into battle see His banners go!
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.
Like a mighty army moves the church of God;
Brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod.
We are not divided, all one body we,
One in hope and doctrine, one in charity.
Rev. Diehl explained that we are beginning to see a changing political climate concerning the old hymns of the church. In an effort to be nonconfrontational, hymnology has changed. "Hymns," he wrote, are beginning to "eliminate or reduce archaic language, generic masculine references for humanity, and the negative use of metaphors about darkness or physical disabilities." The connotation of Christians as soldiers or being in battle apparently falls into that category. We'll go on record as saying that we sang that hymn as children and we still love to hear it sung.
We'll share some guidance about urban legends sent to us by Max Hartman. He writes, "Here is how urban legends get started. One person hears a third-hand story about some horrible thing that happened to someone, and he sends an email about it to a friend. That friend forwards it to six other people, and before you know it, everyone is all in a panic.
"Don't perpetuate this! If you get a warning from a friend about some dire consequence, don't forward it, and do some research to find out whether it's true. Two good places to look are www.scambusters.org and www.snopes.com. If you find out that it's not true, send the link to the article from ScamBusters or Snopes back to the person who sent it to you, with a kindly warning to check out their stories before they forward them. Together we can stamp out mindless forwarding."
On this date 50 years ago today, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis called it quits after making 16 movies in 7 years together. They made The Stooge (1953) in which Dean plays Bill Miller, a Broadway comedian who takes on a stooge, a person set up in his audience who can become the butt of his jokes. Jerry plays the stooge, a character by the name of Ted Rogers. The stooge steals the show, and the headliner is upstaged. The Movie The Stooge and the real life of Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin have a remarkable parallel.
Dean Martin began as a nightclub act in the 1940s and Jerry Lewis joined in 1946 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Within two years, from 1948 to 1953, Martin and Lewis shared a radio microphone broadcasting a situation comedy/variety series loosely based on themselves. The act usually involved Jerry interrupting Dean's singing. The duo became an instant success and led to movies in a wave of popularity second only to Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. Jerry was described as "zany;" Dean was the straight man.
But, wait! The plot of the The Stooge began playing out in real life as the duo began bickering. Their last comedy tour was in 1956. During the filming of their last movie together, it was reported that the two men would only speak to each other on camera. Jerry claims not to have seen the film to this day. The duo called it quits on this date 50 years ago, only performing once more together, and only appeared on the same stage three more times.
Dean Martin died in 1995, on Christmas Day. Jerry is 80 and now out of a hospital following after a heart attack and pneumonia scare in mid June. His spokesperson says he will host the Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon in September. She also confirmed that he plans to turn his comedy The Nutty Professor into a new musical.
If you would like to read more on the famous comedy duo, visit the Dean Martin Fan Center at www.deanmartinfancenter.com/ or the Jerry Lewis fan club at jerrylewiscomedy.com/fan_club.htm
Sunday scores for the South Columbia 11-12 year old girls all-star team game was Punxsutawney Over West Point 6-2 and South Columbia Over Caln (Reading) 15-1. How 'bout those girls from South Columbia! South Columbia's next game is Tuesday, July 25 at 5 PM in Back Mountain against Punxsutawney.
A rather obscure movie currently making its rounds and getting excellent reviews is Word Play, a documentary about the New York Times crossword puzzle, and the current and historical creative forces behind it. Reader Larry Paul was kind enough to compile a list for other readers who might enjoy crossword puzzles. The puzzles can be done on line and all are printable for those that prefer the old pencil and paper method. Archives of past puzzles are also available. We have added these hyperlinks to the side panel under LEISURE ACTIVITY for future reference.
• From the Boston Globe
• From the Washington Post Daily and Sunday
• From the Cape Cod Times
• From the Los Angeles Times
July 23, 2006.
We are going to describe an event in history that is of little significance to us today, but is still interesting. It was about the reign of Charles II of England (1660-85 AD). Charles' era is remembered as the time of "Merry Olde England" and during his reign England suffered The Great Plague of 1665 and the Fire of London in 1666 and in 1667 the Dutch sailed up the Medway, sunk five of Charles' battleships and towed the Royal Charles back to Holland. A quote from that era summed it up: "Charles II was always very merry and was therefore not so much a king as a Monarch. During the civil war, he had rendered valuable assistance to his father's side by hiding in all the oak-trees he could find. He was thus very romantic and popular and was able after the death of Cromwell to descend to the throne. He sired no legitimate children."
Two years after he ascended the throne, Charles II gave a charter that included the Wyoming Valley to the Connecticut colony. Charles II owed a large debt to William Penn's father and solved that problem by granting William Penn a charter to what is now Pennsylvania in repayment of the debt. He did this in 1681. The Pennsylvania and Connecticut charters therefore both covered a coveted valley in the Susquehanna River basin known as Wyoming. The pot didn't boil over until the 1750s when the Connecticut settlers began settling the Wyoming Valley.
The Susquehanna Company was formed in 1753 in Connecticut in order to purchase land from the native Indians and to organize a settlement. Settlers from the company arrived in the valley of Wyoming in 1762 and planted grain, erected basic shelters, then returned to Connecticut. They returned to the valley the following May. That October the settlement was attacked and twenty settlers were killed by Indians from the Delaware tribe. Both settlers and local Indians then sought safer ground.
The first Indian trading post was established in the valley in 1765, and the first permanent settlement of the valley took place in 1768. The Pennsylvania Proprietaries and the Susquehanna Company moved closer to conflict as the first forty settlers moved to the Wyoming Valley in February, 1769. Two hundred Connecticut settlers arrived in the Valley in May, 1769, under the leadership of Major John Durkee (1728-1782). Fort Durkee was erected near the present South River Street and Ross Streets, Wilkes-Barre.
In a discussion of state roads, we should mention the era of Pennsylvania Governor Gifford Pinchot. Pinchot (1865-1946) was the Republican Governor of Pennsylvania (1923-1927, 1931-1935). In his second term as governor in 1930, an era when travel was mostly limited to dirt and mud roads, Pinchot promised relief for the unemployed and construction of paved roads to "get the farmers out of the mud." On July 23, 1931, Gov. Gifford Pinchot broke ground for the first "Pinchot Road" in the state, part of the rural road improvement program of the Pennsylvania Department of Highways under the Act of June 22, 1931.
The South Columbia 11-12 year old girls all-star team game was rescheduled from Saturday to Sunday at 2 PM due to rain. All the games in this tournament are being played in Back Mountain (Dallas). The field is located on Church Street, which is off of Rte. 415.
A reader heard that St. John's Wort was good for something, and asked about it. First of all we know it is an old remedy since it was named for a saint that was beheaded. Its roots--so to speak--come from Germany. If what you find really is St. John's Wort, it will bleed red when you crush it. The old timers said that when the flowers were put in tea, nerves would be calmed and depression eased--something like nature's Prozac. The dried herb does cause increased sensitivity to the sun. St. John's Wort is an expectorant, analgesic, antibacterial and antiviral and some consider it a remedy for sore throats and cold symptoms.
Bonita Kile came up with a neat idea. Start keeping your car keys by your bed when you retire at night. The keys are a great security alarm system--and besides you'll always know where they are in the morning. If you hear an evil doer trying to get into your house, or if you hear a noise outside your house, press the panic alarm on your car key chain. If your car alarm goes off when someone is trying to break in your house, odds are the burglar or rapist won't stick around. Test it before you rely on it, and know in advance how to turn it off. The car keys serve the same purpose when walking to your car.
There was a young Lady of Lynn
Who was deep in original sin.
When they said, "Do be good!"
She said, "Would if I could."
And straightway went at it again.
July 22, 2006.
Antlerless deer license applications will be accepted August 7 at the Pennsylvania Game Commissioner's Harrisburg office for Pennsylvania residents by mail only. August 21: nonresidential doe antlerless deer license applications will be accepted by mail. August 28: first-round bonus starts (for WMUs not sold out). September 11: second-round bonus starts (for WMUs not sold out).
In yesterday's report, we mentioned that in 1906 the Physical Director at Harvard University made headlines when he advised women against playing any contact sports. "Let women," he said, "rather confine herself to the lighter and more graceful forms of gymnastics and athletics, and make herself supreme along these lines as she has already done in aesthetic dancing. Let her know enough about the rougher sports to be the sympathetic admirer of men and boys."
What a difference between then and now, as many schools include seventh- and eighth-grade teams and many of the teams include girls. One such team is a little league all-star softball team, a team to write home to mother about. We are talking about the South Columbia 11-12 year old girls all-star team which includes girls from Central Columbia school district and Southern Columbia school district. These young ladies sailed though the District 13 tournament undefeated. They continued on to capture the Section 3 championship, again undefeated. They are now at the State tournament, which includes only five other teams from the state (Reading, Scranton, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Punxsutawney). This is a wonderful record and teammates Joellen Blass, Lea Rehm, Jordyn Mertz, Bethany Faust, Lindsay Johnson, Devon Seigrist, Alex Diltz, Katelyn Martz, Brooke Clarke, Brianna Taylor, Robyn Klingerman and Nicole Lapinski deserve considerable credit and so do their coaches Steve Lapchak and Kelly Clarke.
The games started July 21 in Back Mountain (Dallas) and continue through July 27. It is a double elimination tournament, which means each team can lose one game and still have the chance to come back and win the whole thing.
Friday we went back 100 years and talked about roads in Pennsylvania. Today, we'll come forward in the process to 80 years ago and we'll look at a major road development in the area that happened in 1926--or at least began in that year. First, for most of us who can't remember what happened this morning let alone 80 years ago, here is what was happening in 1926...
A new machine capable of the wireless transmission of moving pictures was demonstrated by John L. Baird, a Scottish inventor. He called it "television." A reserved and mysterious Swede named Greta Garbo captivated America--well, at least the men in America. Rudolph Valentino, 31, died making it the women's turn to go gaga-eyed. At least one woman committed suicide. Reza Khan, a former trooper in the Persian Army, crowned himself Shah in Tehran. Floyd Bennett and Navy Commander Richard E. Byrd flew their Fokker tri-motor airplane over the North Pole. The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony that the Volstead or Prohibition Law was responsible for an increase in crime and insanity in the United States. Martial law was ordered for Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood following a hurricane that killed 1,000 and left an estimated 38,000 homeless. Harry Houdini died, following a punch in the gut that resulted in a poisoned appendix. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover confirmed what many Americans knew--they were enjoying the highest standard of living in the nation's history. The boom around the country didn't exactly extend Back Home in Benton, PA, as all railroad service to Jamison City ended. The nation and the area was shifting its dependence from railroads to automobiles.
The look of Benton and Benton Township changed a lot beginning in 1926, at least from the standpoint of roads. Thirty-one road building contractors bid for the right to build a road from Benton Borough to the Luzerne County line, a distance of 22,250 feet. The new road would be called Route 235. The lowest bid came from a Meriden, Connecticut, contractor by the name of Lane Construction Company. The company had an office in Troy, Pennsylvania. The bid price was $220,748. J. Paul Laubach worked for Lane Construction as a timekeeper in Goshen, New York, for several years after college, the town where Paul and Ethel began housekeeping in their first "home."
The contract stipulated that certain of the fill had to "lay over winter before the concrete is placed." Other fill had to remain two months before paving. The contract required substantial changes to the "line of the road and the grade" called for by the contract. The new highway also required the construction of three new bridges.
The most significant of the bridges was the bridge over Fishingcreek in the Borough, not part of the Lane Construction contract. This bridge was built by the county. A new portion of road was built connecting to the old road below the grist mill to the new bridge via a road built between the George Yost restaurant (now the Hoboken Sub Shop) and the Mather Grist Mill (Benton Roller Mills). The wooden covered bridge over Fishingcreek at the east end of Market Street beside the Presbyterian Church would be eliminated and with it would go the two sharp turns at the east end of the bridge. Main Street was extended from Market Street to the Fishingcreek bridge.
The Fishingcreek bridge today is officially known as "SR239, Segment 100, Offset 120 bridge." Showing signs of decay, the result of years of tree bashing on its concrete pillars, it was widened in 1971. The length of the bridge is 130', consisting of three spans of reinforced concrete I-beams.
The new road to Shickshinny generally followed the old road except the area near the present lookout where the road required a lot of fill. A change of grade made it uniform most of the way. Ira McHenry and Harry Laubach owned part of the property where the road traveled. Much of the roadbed was dug by laborers specially brought in for this purpose. There were certainly many more, but Dave Floyd and Dallas Baker worked on this road. Dave was not from this area, but stayed and several subsequent generations of the Floyd family have called Benton home.
At the top of the hill that came to be known simply as "The Dug," the new road caught up with the old through the former Jacob Minier property, cutting off several bad turns, then proceeded through the property of Freas Keefer. A bridge was required over Raven Creek and a number of substantial curves and steep grades were eliminated. The road proceeded "back of the home of George Crawford and back of the Hamline church and cemetery."
The new road joined up with the old at the property of C.L. Gibbons, then formed a new location to the former Daniel Ashelman property, where a new bridge over Raven Creek was built. Ironically, this bridge was removed a few weeks ago and a replacement bridge is now being built on what is now known as Route 239. The road then cut through the farm of John Bray and generally followed the old road to the Luzerne County line.
Do you feel like playing for a minute? Go here, then scroll down to the open area under "line in experimental." Click on the center dot and use your mouse to play. Click on dots at lower right to make background either black or white. Click on dots at lower left for various draw thingies. This should keep you occupied for several days.
July 21, 2006.
Clement Sharek, 79, 1211 S. First Street, Smithfield, North Carolina, is reported to be through with radiation treatments in his battle with lung cancer. Chemotherapy will continue. We wish the former Main Street resident a full and complete recovery.
Allen and Shirley Roberts begin their northward trip to Alaska again today following a right-front wheel blowout on their toad (An RVers' term for the auto that is "towed" behind a motor home). Before Allen got his rig stopped, the wheel had been ground to a pulp, even to the extent of breaking the front axle.
Join the Eckley Miners' Village Associates on Sunday, July 23, from noon to 5 PM, as they host an old fashioned music festival and fiddle contest open to musicians of all ages. There are four categories: 12 and under, 13-18, 18-60, and 60 and older. Prizes will be awarded to the top three contestants. Festival goers will experience a variety of music including country, Celtic, bluegrass, folk and more. Performers at the event include Paul Riffon, the Hickory Rose Band, Lowlander Highlands and others. For more information or to register for the fiddle contest call 570 636-2070.
We love to take forward looks by occasionally looking backward, which is what we will do today and tomorrow. We will go back in time exactly 100 years ago and look at the local area. We'll talk about "getting from here and going to there."
We'll pick up the story in 1906. Now you have to remember that in 1906 England ruled one-fifth of the globe--an estimated 400 million persons living on 12 million square miles within the colonies, dependencies and protectorates of England. The sun truly never set "on the British Empire." In this country, women were being warned about the dangers of playing contact sports, while out in San Francisco about a thousand men, women and children were killed by an earthquake and its aftermath, in Italy a raging Mount Vesuvius made it virtually impossible to breathe, and in Chile an earthquake killed an estimated 5,000 people. A project that Napoleon began in 1806 was completed 100 years later as the Simplon Tunnel was completed from Brig, Switzerland, to Isella, Italy. President Theodore Roosevelt became the first president to leave United States territorial jurisdiction so he could travel to Panama and "see how the ditch is getting on." Deciding that enough is enough, the President of the Mormon Church, Joseph F. Smith, was charged with polygamy following the birth of his 43rd child.
Now that you know what the world was like a hundred years ago, lets settle down and chat about Back Home in Benton, PA. Today, we'll specifically look at the roads of the area a hundred years ago.
We started by pulling out our copy of the Report of the State Highway Department of Pennsylvania for the year 1906 as presented to "His Excellency" Samuel W. Pennypacker, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The report was signed by Joseph W. Hunter, State Highway Commissioner.
The report indicates that during 1906 "the Department completed 235.5 miles of (improved) roads, of which 158.2 miles were built during 1906." The state had 216.5 miles under contract or in readiness to be contracted."
An act enacted during 1905 required the department to survey all its roads in the state. At the beginning of that process, the state maintained that there were 97,940 miles of public roads in the state. When the first 2,500 miles of road were surveyed, the department woefully announced that "the reports of mileage made by the county commissioners are very far from accurate, and the total road mileage of the State is consequently a purely unknown quantity."
One hundred years ago, according to the state report published in 1907, the highway department "experimented to a limited extent" with a "tar treatment for road surfaces."
An act, approved in 1905, required the department to begin issuing licenses to operators of motor vehicles and 14,082 licenses were issued, including about 1,800 to residents of other states.
Among the recommendations of the 1906 report were that the state construct a "trunk line" of "Good Roads" through the Commonwealth, that the state make "compulsory" the use of "wide tires" as "rapidly as the tires now used are worn out and abandoned for new ones" and that the state "authorize the planting of tree along the roads reconstructed by the state."
In 1906, Columbia County had 1,475 miles of public roads and no toll roads. The Highway Department listed the county population, "exclusive of cities and boroughs," as 23,895.
When we reconvene, we'll get into the specifics of road construction in the upper Fishingcreek Valley and tell you about changing the face of the Borough.
July 20, 2006. Scott and Dori Doty celebrate their wedding anniversary today and Dan McGarigle and Wayne McMichael celebrate their birthdays. There are 64 days until the official start of autumn. On balance, I am happy not to have to shovel precipitation--but I am fed up and sick with this heat.
The first two men to walk on the moon did it on this day in 1969 in a spot called the "Sea of Tranquility." Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong was the first to walk on the moon, simply because he was closest to the lunar module door. His companion in space and the halls of history, Buzz Aldrin, observed a moment of silence after the landing to give thanks for their survival and observed communion with a wafer and a tiny chalice of wine. Armstrong and Aldrin described the smell of moon dust as being like "wet ashes in a fireplace" or "spent gunpowder."
Quote of the Day:
"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
Have you wondered where Old Shep went? Click here to find out.
Five truck loads of steel rolled into Benton this morning from Tennessee. The loads were deposited at the site of the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center. The building is now in Benton. Actual construction will begin within weeks.
OK. I give up. So why was weatherman Vince Sweeney fired about a week ago? A "restructuring" in the news department? I don't think so...
The Sunbury River Festival comes up August 17 through 19. At the festival, you can sample Pennsylvania Dutch cooking, watch depictions of the troops that built and garrisoned Fort Augusta in 1756, and ride trains on Saturday, August 19, starting at 11 AM and 1, 3 and 5 PM. The rides last approximately 1 hour 15 minutes departing from the Daily Item building on Raspberry Avenue. The cost is $10. This is the place to see the Middlecreek Tractor Swingers square dancing on their antique tractors. On Friday at 10:30 PM and Saturday at 9:30 you can see 30 minute full-color laser graphics projected on a 40' screen. This family-oriented show features music clips from classic rock to today's hits. Bring your chairs, but leave your pets.
Wednesday's Citizens Voice reported that 23 bridges remain out of service in Luzerne, Lackawanna, Wyoming, Wayne, Pike and Susquehanna counties.
Julie Beishline has a new addition to her Bendertown miniature donkey family. Princess Bella Mina was born Saturday weighing about 20 pounds and standing about 21" high.
"I crossed a sponge with a potato the other day."
"Didn't taste too good but it sure did soak up a lot of potatoes."
--A joke from "Hee Haw"
"Hee Haw" will return to television July 29 for a CMT "Hee Haw Weekend." Through August, the network will show episodes of the country music show that ran from 1969 to 1991.
A reunion of the family of Elvin M. and Esther D. Miller Remley will be held August 19 at 12:30 PM at the Carl and Betty Remley farm in Divide, the old Remley Homestead. Elvin and Esther had seven children: Edward and Herbert are deceased. Jean Becker, Lois Stere, Mary Jones, Lee and Carl Remley are still living.
Lee Remley, Lois Remley-Rhinard Stere on the occasion of her 80th birthday, Mary Jones and Carl Remley
Photo courtesy of Richard Shoemaker
There will be lots of good food, reminiscing with relatives, looking at photos and sharing of information about the Remley family. Relatives from New York, Michigan and several other states are expected, hopefully including 100 year old Elma (Remley) Smith.
I solved the problem of family reunions. At the last one I attended, I borrowed some money from some of the rich ones, lent some money to some of the poor ones, and none of them ever came back!
July 19, 2006. Lois Remley-Rhinard-Stere turns 80 today. Also celebrating their birthdays are Margie Kline, Kermit Moss, Carl Spiece, Bruce McMichael and former-Pennsylvania Governor Bill Scranton (1963-67) born on this day in 1917. Congratulations to Randy Gordner, Benton, who won $451 for his skill at bass fishing during the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Empire Division event on Lake Cayuga over the weekend.
Former Benton resident Wayne Baker was in Michigan over the weekend and happened to buy a copy of the Sunday Detroit Free Press. The Sports Section contained a picture of Nathan Watson, 5, competing in the mutton-busting event at the Benton Rodeo. The picture was credited to Jimmy May, the skilled "capture-the-moment" photographer of the Press Enterprise. Nathan always said that he wanted to be either a baseball player or a bull rider when he grew up. After the mutton-buster experience, he decided on baseball. With a child's wide-eyed innocence he asked his grandmother Carolyn, "Grandma, did you see the size of that sheep? Did you see how fast it ran?"
The Columbia County Planning Commission approved the site development for the Northern Columbia Community and Cultural Center last evening. This morning between 7 and 8 AM five trucks are scheduled to arrive at the Community Drive location to unload the steel for the building. Requests for proposals for site preparation, erection and interior construction will be released in the immediate future.
The Pocono Raceway will be the host of this weekend’s Pennsylvania 500 with practice on Friday at 12:05 PM. A single round of qualifying at 3:40 PM will determine Sunday’s 43-car stating field. Saturday’s action includes practice sessions at 9:30 AM and 11:05 AM. Sunday’s Pennsylvania 500 (500 miles/200 laps) has a 2:05 PM EDT starting time. You can see live coverage on TNT-TV and MRN Radio.
Jacob Vincent received six WEBELOS Activity Pins at his last scout meeting in Alabama before he and his parents, Amy and Chris Vincent, head north to Maryland for a military assignment in that state. Jacob needs one more pin to achieve the Heavy Shoulder Award for earning all 20 pins. He also earned the Summertime Activity Pin. Joshua's troop held a special Court of Honor for him in recognition that for the last four months Joshua had been working on 10 merit badges, including five required ones for Eagle Scout. In addition to receiving these merit badges, Joshua also advanced to the rank of Star Scout.
A reader asked for a repeat of a tip that we provided a couple of months ago. Hold down the Ctrl key on your key board and turn the small wheel in the middle of your mouse. The print size will change, either becoming larger or smaller depending on which way you turn the wheel.
Fishingcreek has a long love affair with dams, dating back to the planing mills and the grist mills that dotted our area. Centers of commerce sprung up from the areas around where water was ponded. Almost all of the local towns along a body of water have their roots in some kind of a water-powered mill.
We'll take a look at the Empire Roller Mills, once run by C.W. Shannon. For more information on local mills, please turn to the FEATURES section.
The Shannon mill, constructed in 1850 by William Hulme, was later acquired by Thomas Edwards. Edwards operated the mill until 1906 when Clark Wesley Shannon purchased the property and operated the mill until 1943. It ceased operations in 1943 upon the death of Mr. Shannon, 93 years after it commenced operations.
Shannon Mill picture courtesy of Bruce Crawford
On September 19, 1949, the Shannon Mill was acquired as a home for both the Ft. Ricketts Post, No. 8317, Benton Veterans of Foreign Wars, and its Auxiliary.
Transfer of Ownership to VFW. Picture courtesy of Bruce Crawford
People we can recognize are, from the left: Bruce Crawford, Harold Botsford, Dick Bender, Harold Ash, Robert Clewell, Carrol Fritz, Paul Shannon and ? Drabot.
An old mill race had long stretched from the dam over Fishingcreek to the mill. The dam and the mill race were both in disrepair when the VFW acquired them.
Fishermen recognized the sports paradise created by the dam and in July, 1964, a meeting at the VFW resulted in John King, William Schuster and Wayne Schuyler forming a committee to come up with funding to repair the old Shannon dam. The dam was washed extensively and what was once a five-foot breast dwindled to little more than two feet with some areas torn completely away. Local businessmen, VFW members and local residents banded together to raise money, prepare plans and specifications and get bids. A great deal of money was raised by The Berwick Enterprise, The Morning Press and the Bloomsburg Water Company. Bids came in and the contract was awarded in September, 1964. The dam was rebuilt by October of that year by the J. Paul Laubach Construction Company. The debt incurred was completely repaid during the following year with no funding coming from the Federal or State government.
The Fishing Creek Sportsmen's Club built a fish hatchery in the mill race. That hatchery provides for thousands of trout each year that are released in area streams. Property values rose as a result of the action and in 1974/75 the Mill Race Golf Course was built. The success of the golf course was due in part to the beauty associated with the mill race. Originally named "the Mill Creek" golf course, the Mill Race Golf Course got its name from this body of water.
The Shannon Mill was located behind the VFW hall, off route 487. C. W. Shannon lived in the house that is now the VFW. The mill was adjacent to the hatchery.
The rebuilt dam was dedicated to Robert K. Brewington, editor and publisher of the Argus, in October, 1964. The dam survived both hurricane Eloise and Agnes, but the June, 2006, No-Name Storm did its share of damage to the dam.
The Benton VFW, the Mill Race Golf Course and the Fishingcreek Sportsmen's Club have banded together to make the necessary repairs to the wing wall of the dam.
The local VFW actually owns the dam, but the necessary repairs are being spearheaded by Clair Harvey and the Fishingcreek Sportsmen's Club. This group stands to lose the most if repairs are not effected immediately. The club has received most of the 22,000 Rainbow, Brown and Brook Trout and the 500 Palomino Trout for the year that they will use next year to stock the mill race for eventual release into Pennsylvania's streams.
Didja know, for example, that the local club released approximately 1,000 trout a week from early April of this year just so that fishermen could continue enjoying our local streams? Didja know that the club sold over 2,700 milk shakes during the rodeo in order to make enough money to continue the practice? If high water would take out the dam, the effect would be devastating on the area, on the golf course and one of the beauty spots that we have grown to love and take for granted.
July 18, 2006. The Benton News was not published in email or web versions.
July 17, 2006. With regret, we are not able to access the internet via our cell phone from where we are hiding in the mountains of Sullivan County. Therefore, we will not send out a Benton News for Tuesday. Happy birthday Tuesday to Chelsea Lamoreaux.
There are several ways to get to the "System Properties" on your computer. You can, for example, left-click on the "start" menu, right-click on "My Computer," and left click on "Properties. Another way is to open "Control Panel" and click on System. The easiest way is to hold down the "Windows key," then click on the "Pause/Break" key.
We'll switch gears for a moment as we turn to the subject of the Benton Park and head over to the dam and the dike. To do that, it would be best if we went back to the spring of 1936 as the dam and the dike were under construction by the U.S. Works Progress (later Work Projects) Administration (WPA) that existed from 1936-1940. Heavy spring rains suddenly raised the level of the creek and the unimaginable happened: about forty feet of the center of the dam washed out.
It is hard to imagine that the dikes that have served us so well and the dam that has provided so many hours of joy to the community would be wiped out in a single stoke. At the upper end of the dike system, across from the present high school and middle-school building, heavy rains washed around the dike which was still under construction.
As the dam gave way, the level of the creek dropped upstream, but the damage had been done. The basement of the high school was flooded and school had to be cancelled for a week. The torrent of water spilling over the area where seconds before the dam stood created havoc with the stream bank below the dam and with homes on Market Street near the present Park Street. In that area were homes of Lee and Sara Kline, Sara Kline's father, John S. Baker, the Presbyterian church and the manse for the church, now owned by Eric and Kelly Kocher. The retaining wall crumbled in a flash.
Those who can remember the flood recall that prior to the construction of the dike and the dam each spring would bring its share of high water and resultant flooding. The stream would overflow its banks north of the town park, cascading through the athletic facilities and the park, flooding the Paul Shannon home on Park Street now owned by Frank and Barbara Edson, flooding the East side of the lower end of Main Street flooding houses in that area and on Market Street East of Main Street. The creek water would eventually reenter Fishing Creek via a large drain near the Presbyterian Church.
The dike and the dam stood another great test on Wednesday, June 21, and Thursday, June 22, 1972. The water levels in that storm exceeded the June, 2006, No-Name storm.
Fishingcreek is just behind this dike. The dike is about two feet thick at this point. A view of a different break on the dike. In all, there were five spots where the dike was weakened. In addition, drainage pipe was lost on the west side of the breast of the dam and a gaping hole now is in this location.
Now seventy years have passed, years that the dike system has successfully protected the town and the valley south of the Borough. Deteriorating conditions now existing on the dike require the Borough to take almost immediate action. Recently, but before the June No-Name storm, Larson Design estimated labor and material costs of the project at $20,025, plus engineering costs that could reach another $9,000.
Funding in the amount of approximately $11,000 is on hand from the Community Development Block Grant and the Federal Emergency Management Agency provided another $11,000 following damages incurred during Hurricane Ivan.
Water problems also abound at the Benton Dam, and swimming and fishing from the dam are now not allowed. When coupled with the problems at the Benton Town Park, we all need to know that resolution will be an uphill struggle.
The administration of the Benton Town Park has been run for a number of years by an organization that, because of circumstances beyond their control, was unable to effectively govern the affairs of the park. We hope that control has not passed from one such organization to another.
We will head upstream for our next report on the conditions along Fishingcreek.
A reader asked about a former Benton resident whose name he had seen on a window in the Benton Christian Church. The man whose name is inscribed in the church was Samuel F. Appleman, a man who was the janitor of that church for more than 50 years.
Samuel decided to become the caretaker of the church when he was only 15, when the Christian Church was not at the corner of Third and Church Streets, but was across Fishingcreek high on Cemetery Hill. Samuel's duties were a mission of love for his church and the matter of drawing a wage for his labors never entered his mind. Oh, Samuel probably did receive some money over the years--mostly when some member of the Board thought that Sam should get something for his work of building and tending the fires, sweeping walks, cleaning off snow and mowing the lawn. From everything that we could determine, however, Sam was the subject of resolutions to get paid, but the financial condition of the church usually precluded that actually happening. The most we think he ever received was a copy of the resolution honoring him and a firm "thank-you" from all the parishioners. But, then, we suspect that he never asked for any remuneration, either.
While he and his entire family were dedicated members of the church, the love for his church and what it stood for was why he gave so freely, not only of his time but of his finances, too. We doubt that the service of Samuel Appleman is without parallel and we are happy to remember him today.
By this time, readers may be fuming over the lack of current news. After all, we have mostly been chatting about the Benton Town Park for the last week. Today we are writing from Painter Den Club in Sullivan County where we have no access to the internet or email and thus no access to current news. We haven't a clue what is happening in the "real world."
We did find a gizmo in our travels here in the Endless Mountains that we thought we would write about, but we discovered that we couldn't think what to call this gadget, which for a time we called a "whatchamacallit" after we couldn't think of "thingamajig" or "thingamabob." The contraption we are talking about might be either a "doohickey" or a "doodad," but we aren't sure which. Isn't it wonderful that the English language has so many words for everything under the sun, but also has a bunch of words for things we can't find a name for! We finally decided that it was too much work writing about this contraption when we couldn't think of its name, so we quit that project. We did bring along some old newspapers from the 1880s which we'll scan for interesting stories, so we'll tackle an article about this gizzie at a future time.
The newspapers we brought with us range from the Argus to national papers. Here are some items that you might enjoy, all presented as written...
"the Englishman enjoys fox-hunting more than any other kind of work. He has a horse to carry him, a dog to do the smelling and a servant to kill and skin the fox."
"New Jersey is trying to claim Noah, because he was a New-ark man. Yes, but we know he looked out of his Ark-ansaw land. Give the South a fair show in this thing."
"'Is there any opening here for an intellectual writer?' asked a seedy, red-nosed individual of an editor. 'Yes, my friend,' replied the man of quills, 'a considerate carpenter, foreseeing your visit, left an opening for you. Turn the knob on the right.'
"Never eat soup with a fork. It is more elegant to eat with a spoon, and you get more soup."
Good night, good night, we are going to bed!
Our kisses are given, our prayers are said.
July 16, 2006. Sandy Johnson celebrates her birthday and Edna Knecht Laubach turns 82. At 7:30 PM, the Bull-A-Rama begins at the rodeo grounds.
Veronica Mars cast member Krysten Ritter will appear in Rajiv Joseph's All This Intimacy as part of the New York City Second Stage Theatre Uptown series at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre. Krysten is the daughter of Garry Ritter, North Street, and granddaughter of Harry and Shirley Ritter. The story is about a poet who finds his three girlfriends have news for him that is sure to rock the cradle. Special events for the play are in effect July 17 to July 23, enter online code EM10 on the All This Intimacy website, www.secondstagetheatre.com, for tickets at $10 (normally $30) or you can call 212 246-4422.
We'll return to our continuing series on the Benton Town Park
For the purposes of this report on the Benton Town Park, we are going to lump the Benton Dam and the Benton Park into the same report, although the origin of both are somewhat different. The Benton Dam, for example, dates back to the grist mill once owned by the Mather family and later purchased by the Borough of Benton.
The Benton Town Park totals 19 acres. Without getting overly specific, the park extends from the Benton Dam to the L. R. Appleman Elementary School parallel to Fishingcreek, and runs from Fishingcreek to Park Street. It includes an extensive dike system.
The park was first developed in 1913 and is owned by the Borough of Benton. Until Monday, July 10, 2006, when the Benton Park Commission was disestablished, the town park was governed by that board operating essentially as a subcommittee of the Benton Town Council. We attempted to determine how long the Park Commission had been around. Jim Dildine, a former mayor, said the Park Commission existed when he came to town in 1937. The Benton Park Commission and the Sewer and Water Authority had originally been created to operate under the umbrella of the Benton Town Council.
At the time of the disestablishment, the park committee members were Doug McCracken, President; Cheryl Kelsey, Vice-President; Cheryl McDonald, Secretary/Treasurer. Other members were Ron Kelsey, E. Lee Remley, Bess Colley, Kelly Yost, Faith Follmer and David Albertson. The park committee had as many as 15 members at one time. In addition to these members, three members of the Benton Town Council were on the park committee. They were Grant Little, Dan Hartman and Allen Hess. According to park commission members, Grant attended some meetings, but Dan and Allen did not attend any regular meetings. Mayor Jan Swan came to most meetings, according to Cheryl McDonald.
The purse strings for the park were controlled by the Treasurer of the Park Commission, who maintained a checking account with approximately $400 in it, and a money market account with approximately $1,400 in it. When the Benton Grange dissolved, the group benevolently donated $15,000 to the park commission with those funds strictly earmarked for the acquisition of playground equipment for use in the park. That money has not been spent.
The second part of the money for the Benton Park came in the form of money held by the Borough Council, and included moneys received from their share of the Joseph Derr Fund. Borough Secretary Dee Moyer did not have an exact amount in the "Park Fund," but estimated it to be in the neighborhood of $100,000. The money was made up of funds from the Derr Fund and from insurance proceeds of approximately $90,000 from a recent storm that wiped out a number of buildings. Cheryl McDonald was not able to provide the amount held by the Borough Council, saying that "running total was never given to us."
Before the recent barrage of bad luck in the park, about $90,000 was under the Borough control for the park from insurance proceeds and about $45,000 was available from prior proceeds from the Derr fund. The bills that reduced the amount available to $100,000 were not available when we inquired about them with the Borough Secretary.
Cheryl Kelsey spent many hours writing an application for a "Master Site Plan" grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. DCNR in a letter written four days before the Park Commission was disestablished, approved a matching grant of $10,000 and requested that on behalf of the Benton Town Park certain items be submitted for consideration including a Scope of Work that would lay out a plan for the future of the park. Items such as drainage, electrical, bathroom and cooking facilities are to be addressed. With the funding, it will be possible for community needs to be incorporated into the resultant upgraded park. It is an essential first step before the Borough can proceed in maintaining or upgrading the park.
The responsibility for the compliance with the grant was turned over to the Borough Council the day after it was received in Benton. The deadline for submission is October 1 by the Town Council. The need for submission on schedule is very important, since non-compliance on the part of the Borough could impact the next rounds of grant submissions that will be required in order to recover in other areas from the June No-Name Flood.
We'll continue with our discussion of the Town Park when next we gather for our morning cup of coffee.
It just isn't the easiest to get into or out of the upper Fishingcreek valley these days...
• Contractor Robert C. Young, Inc. has closed the Route 239 bridge over Raven Creek near Toy Factory Road in Benton Township, effective July 10. The detour route is as follows: beginning in Cambra, Luzerne County – Route 4011 (Tioga Turnpike) to Route 1022 (Zaners Bridge Road) to Route 487. Work on this bridge replacement project is not related to the recent flooding. Completion is expected on or before September 19.
• Route 29: Flood damage repairs on route 29 in Lake, Ross, Lehman, Huntington and Fairmount Townships.
• Route 118 in Ross Township. Flood damage repairs are scheduled Monday to Friday from 7 AM to 3 PM. Detours are in effect.
• Route 487 is open for one-lane traffic between Lightstreet and Orangeville.
• Route 239 N of Benton in the vicinity of the former Norton Cole Mill will close beginning Monday.
• The iron bridge on Camp Lavigne Road is closed for repairs.
Saturday, July 15, 2006. Mary Travelpiece, Karl Myers and Keith Harvey celebrate birthdays today and Brian and Lydia Becker, Camp Hill, celebrate their wedding anniversary. The Benton Rodeo continues to have the best fireworks year after year: hearts, smiley faces, rain, cascading streams of light and sound.
The subject Monday at the North Mountain Historical Society is "Growing Up Female" in the 1880s and the guest speaker is Dr. Wilson Ferguson.
Many will remember last year on this date at the Benton Rodeo. Banners were scattered to the next county and electricity was in scarce supply. Some vendors had few items to sell. PPL had not yet restored service to Mendenhall Lane and the rodeo following a violent storm. Neighbors from Orangeville and Millville pitched in with generators on their fire trucks to supply enough lights to see the arena after dark, and events began 15 minutes early in an effort to accommodate all the loyal fans.
Today the weather service promises wonderful weather as breakfast is served in the main dining room of the rodeo grounds at 7 AM. At 8 AM, the rodeo run for leukemia cure begins. There will be a special kids roundup at 10 AM where all kids with special needs are guests of honor. There will be a petting zoo for the kids and the guests of honor are fed courtesy of the rodeo. At 5 PM, chicken Bar-B-Que comes off the grill and the Tim Johnson Band head for the stage. The popular group plays in concert again at 10 PM. The Championship Rodeo begins at 7:30 PM.
And mark your calendars now for the 2007 Benton Rodeo from July 10-15.
On this date in 1828, a log building was consecrated as St. Gabriels Church by Bishop Henry U. Onderdonk conforming to the rites of the Protestant Episcopal Church. According to the 1887 History of Columbia County, the building was made of "hewn pine logs, with galleries around three sides of the interior" in a "U" shape. During the cold months, the church was heated by a "fire pit" in the center of the church.
During this period, St. Gabriels church was jointly owned by Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Lutherans. The members of the church represented the early settlers of our present townships of Benton, Sugarloaf, Jackson and Fishingcreek. The log church burned after being used for 64 years as a place of worship in a fire that happened on Palm Sunday, April 9, 1876.
Robert E. Pennington, lifelong resident of Sellersville, passed away June 25, 2006, at the Lutheran Community of Telford, PA. He was 90 years old. He was born in Philadelphia, son of the late Nathan and Elizabeth (Pealer) Pennington. Nathan, was the son of John and Rocelia Pennington, Fairmount Springs. His mother, Elizabeth, was the daughter of Francis Marion and Rebecca Pealer, Fishing Creek Township. Her brother was also Francis Marion--the grandfather of RuthAnn Focht who told us of Robert's passing in hopes that some of the Pealer/Pennington extended family would remember him or his family. RuthAnn's paternal grandfather was J.P. Laubach and maternal grandparents were F.M. and Emma (Wenner) Pealer, Fishing Creek Twp.
Robert's wife, Florence E (Worthington) Spanninger, died in 2001. He owned and operated the former Pennington and Pealer Wholesale and Retail Paint Store in Sellersville, before retiring in 1981. He is survived by a sister, Rebecca E. Walton, Telford, and was preceded in death by a brother, Jim. Funeral services were held Friday, June 30, in Sellersvile with interment at St. James.
We have to feel sorry for Brian Goode. Brian recently lost both his car insurance and his driver's license. Losing his car insurance was partly our fault, but we take no blame for the loss of the driver's license. Here is how it all happened...
We recently wrote about the life and times of Brian now that he has moved to the Charleston, South Carolina, area. Brian's local insurance agent also read what we wrote and called Brian saying that the company does not insure in South Carolina and his insurance would be cancelled. Yesterday we received an email from Park Ranger Bill Martin, the lost and found coordinator at Fort Sumter National Monument, Charleston. Bill said that "recently a Pennsylvania driver license was turned in to me. The license is issued to one Brian Joseph Goode of Benton, Pennsylvania." Bill googled Brian's name and came up with www.bentonnews.net/home.htm and the July 10 entry where Brian Goode was mentioned "as having moved to Charleston, and his given age matches that on the driver license." The purpose of the email, obviously sent by someone who went above the call of duty to find the owner of the driver's license, was to arrange for returning his license to him. I lose my car keys all the time, but I suspect that losing one's insurance and driver's license would be a tad worse.
We'll return now to the subject of the Benton Town Park.
Two years ago at the end of June, Judge Naus ruled that Benton Borough can utilize a portion of the Joseph F. Derr Trust distributions presently held by the Borough for the benefit of the Benton Town Park to acquire tools and equipment to maintain the Benton Park grounds. Future distributions of income from the fund may be distributed one-third for the Borough to acquire permanent improvements to the park and two-thirds to be utilized for wages, tools, and equipment for the maintenance, grooming, and planting of the Benton Park. For those who came in late, Joe Derr made the various causes in Benton the recipient of approximately half of Derr's 1.2 million estate. You can read more about this man under FEATURES.
Despite the infusion of money to support the park, things were going poorly for the park. Maintenance was a constant problem, the bathrooms were always a source of irritation, not only to the volunteers who kept them clean, but to Lee Remley and Tom Shaw who made periodic repairs, and to the people using the park who often found them to be dirty and often trashed.
The bylaws of the Benton Park Commission stated the objectives of the Benton park Commission, namely...
• to encourage a standard of excellence in the park.
• To promote and encourage development of the park
• To deal with matters of common interest to the members that they may lawfully undertake that which relate to the organization.
The August 20, 2003, minutes of the Park Commission openly expressed the frustration being felt by members. "The park committee feel they are being left alone too much with keeping the park, taking care of it, doing all the volunteer work, etc," Cheryl Kelsey, acting on behalf of the Park Commission, wrote in a letter provided to Town Council member Susan Shultz to read to the council. The letter expressed the Park Commission's feelings on this matter and attempted to obtain help from Town Council.
A letter to the Town Council dated August 23, 2003. read, in part, "The park commission members all feel that over the years we have given many hours back to the community, but do not feel the borough is behind our service to the community. As a sub committee we have raised funds, made repairs, sponsored events and become caretakers for the park." In a move designed to get additional help and support from the Town Council, the letter pleaded "This is not the committee members' park, it is the Benton Borough's park."
We'll continue our discussion of the Benton Town Park next week.
Road openings and closings...
• Route 487 is now open to one-lane traffic between Lightstreet and Orangeville.
• A section of Route 239, about 1.5 miles north of the intersection with Route 487 and just north of the former Norton Cole Mill, will close Monday, July 17. Pennsy Supply, Inc., West Hazleton, will place a detour into effect following Routes 239, 487 and 118. The work will include embankment repairs including rock placement, resetting of guardrails, and new pavement and pavement markings along Route 239. All work is to be completed on or before August 3. This detour will affect traffic presently operating on a detour around the iron bridge on Camp Lavigne Road utilizing a route over Klinger Hill. Traffic from Benton and points south bound for Central, Jamison City and Elk Grove may utilize Route 118 or secondary routes over Fritz Hill.
The serpentine routes to get from point A to point B remind me of a copy of an email I once received telling of the fun a person was having in Elk Grove. The email said something to the effect that "Elk Grove is great fun. If you go there, don't miss it!"
The Brass Pelican Restaurant is featured in the June/July issue of Country Discoveries, a national travel magazine that focuses on unique and off-the-beaten-path destinations. The article said, in part, "For a hearty breakfast, you can't beat the Brass Pelican, a family restaurant in Elk Grove in northeastern Pennsylvania."
July 14, 2006. David Albertson and Edith Hartman Witchey celebrate their birthdays today and Don and Deliah Kocher, Jamison City, celebrate their wedding anniversary. Breakfast is served starting at 7 AM at the rodeo grounds, and the chicken bar-B-Que will be ready at 5 PM. "Reno" plays at 5 PM and 10 PM. The Championship Rodeo begins at 7:30 PM and the fireworks begin at 11 PM. These fireworks are the area's biggest and best. We'll see you there.
Hazleton City Council passed an illegal immigration ordinance Thursday night. The ordinance bans illegal immigrants from renting property, punishes employers who hire these immigrants and makes English the "official" city language.
The obituary of Frederic Arthur (Fred) Clark can be found here.
Game refuges were first authorized in 1905 for state forests and in 1915 for forest lands other than state owned. A game refuge was once located on land owned by Central Pennsylvania Lumber Company north of Jamison City. The east boundary of the game refuge began at the gamekeeper's home just north of Jamison City and continued along the west side of the Grassy Hollow Road parallel to Heberly Run and extending to Meeker Run The north boundary followed below the rim of the mountain for about eleven miles west to Long run, then south to the foot of the mountain. This refuge was maintained until deer established a viable population.
Guy and Earl Carpenter used to mow the perimeter of the entire refuge making a two-swath path. In later years, the boundaries were moved closer and closer together to reduce the refuge acreage at least three times before it was removed entirely in 1956.
The game refuge had as its overseer a refuge keeper, who lived on the tract adjacent to the road from Jamison City to the Grassy Hollow gate where the Pennsylvania Game Commission building are now located. The duties of the Game Protector were to "prevent and extinguish forest fires, destroy predators, guard the refuge against poachers, feed game in the winter and enforce the law within a fair riding distance."
Ed Carpenter was one of the Game Protectors and yesterday his nephew arrived Back Home in Benton, PA--actually his first visit to Benton and to Jamison City. Jerry Carpenter arrived from his Arizona home in the area where former Chief Cochise and the Chiricahua Apaches lived in the rugged Dragoon Mountains. He was looking for clues to the life of his uncle, Ed Carpenter. After driving from Arizona in two days, he was treated to the hospitality of Chris Dawson at the Old Filling Station, the location of his uncle's tombstone at the Benton Cemetery thanks to the memory of Dayne Kline, the confirmation of his uncle's photograph by both Bill and Dorothea Mather, and some insight into the Diltz side of his family by Monica Diltz and by Dick Diltz, Shickshinny. It was a full day.
An interesting side of Ed Carpenter came to light when we talked with Bill Mather. Bill told us about the time that he got permission from Ed Carpenter to shoot two deer during a single season because the deer population was destructive in the Jamison city area. The problem came about when Bill actually shot his second deer. Somehow the Game Protector forgot that he had told Bill that he could shoot a second deer and arrested him. Straight-shooter Bill immediately hired an attorney and headed for Squire Freas to get the matter straightened out. Who won the case? We didn't exactly find out, but Bill said that the Game Protector "never forgot me after that."
Ed Carpenter (center) in his Game Protector uniform.
Fort Augusta, at the confluence of the North and West Branches of the Susquehanna, is celebrating its 250th anniversary this week. Logs laid up as walls in 1756-57 by the Augusta Regiment of English Colonial troops helped protect the Pennsylvania frontier against French invasion. During the War for Independence the fort was a base for men and supplies and headquarters of American forces in the upper Susquehanna Valley. The structure burned in 1852. In 1920 the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania acquired land, the well and powder magazine--all that remained of the original fort.
On Saturday, there will be food and activities from 10 AM to 7 PM at the Hunter House Museum at Fort Augusta. There will be strolling musicians. The rededication of the Hunter/Grant Cemetery by the Fort Augusta Regiment will take place at 6 PM. The museum will show original Hunter documents and items from various archaeological digs. Fort Augusta is a mile north of Sunbury on PA Route 14, Northumberland County.
Think back to when you were a child, when your mother walked you to the Benton Town Park along Fishingcreek, when you attended the annual Farmers Picnic or the Firemens' Carnival in the park, when a family reunion met in the park. Remember your days in the Benton School System when you played on the swings and slides and enjoyed the great outdoors and friendly fresh atmosphere of the park.
The park has served as a meeting place for generations and without exception everyone in the upper Fishingcreek valley hope that the park is around for many more years.
But things both good or bad happen, and often it happens more than once and often within a short period of time. The old saying, When it rains, it pours" comes to mind. There are few places where that is more true that at the Benton Town Park. The park has been damaged several times by high water and by high winds.
On June 13, 2005, for example, high winds devastated the park. Many volunteers later, including a major assist by the North East PA Baptist Association from Williamsport, the park appeared to be heading back to where it once had been. Thirty or so volunteers with chainsaws descended on the Borough at that time.
Back in July, 2001, Wenner Burton tore down the old two-story bandstand and took it to the airport for a controlled burn. A replacement bandstand was designed by Rick Martin and Lee Remley drew up blueprints for a replacement in a desperate race in time for the 2001 Fireman's Carnival that began on July 27. On July 9, 2001, Benton Borough authorized Lee Remley to organize a crew of volunteers to demolish and rebuilt the bandstand at the Benton Park.
In February, 2005, a major water leak was discovered in the park, during a month when all water was shut off to the park. Meanwhile, a push was on to hire a caretaker to relieve some of the workload from volunteers and in order to open park before Memorial day. The Park Commission officially went on record in the minutes of their meeting that they were "Paying for more than they should."
A similar water event happened in October, 2001, when the Benton Municipal Water and Sewer Authority notified the Park Commission that 1,978,000 gallons of water were used. At the time, the water commission was only billed for water from June through September of each year and the meter was not read on a monthly basis. The Water Commission advised the Park Commission on October 10, 2001, that in the future the meter would be read monthly.
We will continue our discussion of the Benton Town Park when we reconvene over coffee Saturday morning.
The flowers maintained by the Country Cultivators provide a welcome park entrance, rising above the flood-damaged ground and away from the eroded dike system. A first glance does not show the problems that exist in the park
We all have heard someone say not to take any wooden nickels (or any Susan B. Anthony dollar coins, for that matter), meaning not to fall for any schemes or swindles, but didja know that wooden coins actually were "minted" as promotional gimmicks and often were honored at "face value" by participating merchants?
The Citizen's Bank failed in a town in Washington state pronounced 10-9-0 (spelled "Tenino") back in December of 1931, creating a shortage of money. Merchants in that area were not able to get change without traveling a substantial distance. The Chamber of Commerce decided to have the local newspaper print up the first issue of wooden money in the United States. The idea soon caught on, and became popular. The problem was that there was no real money behind them, hence the saying "Don't take any wooden nickels" became popular, since they had no buying power. Learn more about this subject by visiting the Wooden Nickel Historical Museum.
Benton Coins and Collectibles provided a number of wooden nickels from their collection.
July 13, 2006. Huber Kline and Phil Edson celebrate birthdays today along with bluegrass singer Rhonda Vincent, 44. The Championship Rodeo begins tonight at 7:30. The group Covert Action plays at 5 PM and 10 PM.
On this date in...
. 2005, a "crushing wind" swept through the Upper Fishingcreek area. Market Street resident Scott Kline had a tree land on his kitchen roof and Scott subsequently fell through the kitchen skylight. Barely a year later during the No-Name storm last week, Scott and all other residents of Market Street east of Main Street were severely flooded by high water.
. 1947, three sisters from Montgomery County died and a fourth was in critical condition as a result of a car that ran away down Red Rock mountain and plunged "into space" near the "Hope Larish barn" after knocking off three guard-rail posts. The runaway car was one of two cars in the party. The husband of one of the sisters, her two sons and the blind brother of the sisters were in the lead car, but were passed by the victim's car with horn blaring. Traveling at speeds estimated by police at 100 mph, the car flew 45 feet "into space" before hitting a large tree. Dr. Sentener, Chief of Police Meeker and the Holcombe ambulance aided the accident team.
The gulley washer that began falling on the area last evening about 7:35 and the Red Rock mountain accident got us thinking about another accident in which music teacher Margaret Kendig was killed in mid-December, 1951. The accident happened just above Orangeville. Gene Bardo found the overturned car in Fishing Creek about 12:30 in the morning. Mrs. Kendig was a talented pianist, organist and vocalist and gave lessons in vocals and piano. She was the mother of four small children and lived in the house on Third Street later occupied by Karl Fritz. The accident occurred during a heavy snowstorm, when the car veered off the road just north of the present Orangeville Masonic Hall. Mrs. Kendig, 43, left four children: Roscoe, Jr., 13, known as Robin; Warren, 12; John, 10; and Peggy, 9. The father, who worked at ACF, Berwick, had passed away about 1949. She was a native of Williamsport and although she was active in St. Gabriel's Church she was buried in Wildwood Cemetery, Williamsport.
According to an article in the June Journal of Dairy Science, dry cows cooled with sprinklers, fans and shades gave nearly 186 pounds more milk in early lactation than they would have as dry cows cooled with sprinklers only. The result was an additional $2,131 profit per cow per year. At this stage in my life, I closely align with the concept of a "dry cow" and with the humidity in the area at the moment sprinklers, fans and shades work for me, too.
A reader asked about the longest covered bridge in the state. At the time of its demise, the longest covered bridge remaining in Pennsylvania was the 408-foot long, 19-foot wide, three-span Oyster's Bridge (Eyster's Bridge) (1881-1958), often referred to as Oyster Mill Bridge, in East Pennsboro Township, on the West Shore, Cumberland County, used to cross the Conodoguinet Creek.
As most of us are wont to do, the Burr-type bridge was getting tired by 1939. The posted load limit was down to two tons, too low to allow fire equipment or school buses over it. The State Highway Department announced they would no longer maintain the bridge. The Harrisburg Evening News carried a story on March 15, 1956, entitled, "East Pennsboro Bridge--Unwanted, Unsafe, Awaits State Replacement." Two days later, the bridge burned, the unmistakable odor of gasoline permeated the air around the bridge, as the bridge burned quickly from one end to the other. The arsonist was never apprehended.
A convenient creek crossing didn't come along until 1969. Urbans Bridge, a pre-stressed concrete beam structure is now the replacement, located three quarters of a mile downstream.
Want to know more? Head for the free State Museum of Pennsylvania exhibits until September 10 on "Covered Bridges: Spanning the American Landscape." It takes place at the State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg. Tuesday through Saturday 9 AM-5 PM; Sunday noon until 5 PM.
Sign-up now to have a 2006 Property Tax/Rent Rebate form mailed to you when they are available in February 2007. If you qualified for the 2005 rebate program and received a rebate in 2006, you will automatically receive a book next year and do not need to sign-up.
We have mentioned this before, but the matter is still unsolved. Ken Kadoya was a Japanese exchange student who spent the school year two years ago with Sean, Laura and Dr. Dean Christian, Maple Grove. The Christians bought a 2004-2005 Benton Yearbook for Ken. Sean had it at school for everyone to sign, and someone stole it! Do you know of anyone who has an extra copy that Laura may buy to send to Ken? Please help if you can.
We keep receiving questions about travel on local roads. We know that Hillside Road and a bridge over Hillside Creek in the Back Mountain of Luzerne County were taken out by the flooding. A portion of the road near the Huntsville Dam was washed away. A bridge east of Ricketts Glen State Park was destroyed and part of Route 118 remains closed.
In your wildest fantasy, have you ever thought about riding on a jackhammer using only one hand? Probably not. We'll try it a different way. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go bareback bronco riding with no saddle and no reins? Come to the 22nd annual Championship Rodeo tonight and see up close and personal the punishment of bareback riding, the most physically demanding event in rodeo.
Muscles stretch to the limit, joints are pulled and pounded, ligaments are strained and frequently rearranged. The strength of the broncos is exceptional and challenging them is often costly. Bareback riders endure more punishment, suffer more injuries and carry away more long-term damage than all other rodeo cowboys.
The bareback rider uses a rigging made of leather in order to stay on the horse. The rigging, which resembles a suitcase handle on a strap, is placed atop the horse's withers and secured with a cinch.
As the bronco and rider burst from the chute, the rider must have both spurs above the horse's shoulders until the horse's feet hit the ground after its initial move from the chute. If the cowboy fails to do this, he is disqualified.
The bareback rider is judged on his spurring technique, the degree to which his toes remain turned out while he is spurring and his willingness to lean far back and take whatever might come during his ride. It is the wildest 8 seconds in rodeo.
The Benton High School class of 1981 recently held their 25th class reunion at the Central Park Hotel. Members of the class in attendance included...
Bottom row L to R: Nelson Fritz, Perry Search, John Watson, Raymond McCourt, Andrew Vincent, Robert Conner.
Second row-L to R: Lisa Shultz-Carver, Donna Remley, Brenda Black-Glidewell, Karen Ricker-Cotter,Vicki Allegar-Lockard, Dean Bogert, John Kingsbury.
3rd Row-L to R: Maureen Maier-Longnecker,Janet Evarts-Snead, Lily Huss-Scheib, Jeanne Laubach-Michaels.
4th Row-L to R: Faith Kriebel-Schlilchter, Carla Remley-Emery, Rebecca Eveland-Musselman, Cathy Cole-Hartman, Mary Long-Rundle.
5th Row-L to R: Christopher Musselman, Gregory Starr, James Meigs, Robert Whitenight, Daniel Hartman, Stuart Hartman, Richard Shannon.
Missing from the photo are David Lockard and Edward Snyder.
July 12, 2006.
The Crilly family golf benefit takes place on Friday, July 14, at Mill Race Golf Course. Everyone is welcome to participate. The golf course is still taking golfers and hole sponsors and will welcome "the good ole' down home kind-of-person who knows a good cause when they see one." The Crilly family lost not only their father but their mother, too. Vicki Crilly, the oldest daughter, is now the guardian of the five other siblings. Please take a moment and give Mill Race a call at 925-2040. The shotgun is at 8 AM.
The Grascals, a bluegrass group appearing at the O.A.T.S. festival earlier this monthly will release their second album on August 29. The album will include a song featuring the Jordanaires, who performed with The Grascals earlier this year on the Grand Ole Opry.
Good news! Flood-damaged Route 487 between Lightstreet and Orangeville will reopen to one-lane traffic controlled by temporary signals within a “day or two,” thanks to a $409,000 emergency contract. A PennDOT contractor, Robert C. Young, Inc. will make embankment repairs, including “rock placement, repairing damaged sections of roadway, paved roadway shoulders, guide rail replacement, widening and new pavement markings” along a half-mile section of Route 487 in Orange Township. All repairs associated with this contract are scheduled for completion by July 29.
As Ralph Kramden used to say during the Honeymooners episodes, "How sweet it is." Sure we get drenched from time to time and our lives are thrown upside down for weeks on end, but we recover, just as our ancestors did before us, There is never enough money to go around, the jobs we find don't match the expectations we hold for ourselves, but "how sweet it is" compared to our forefathers.
Picture, for example, your great-grandmother, or a woman of her generation, coming into the upper Fishingcreek valley. Food, always a popular starting point for me, would be a problem. I suppose that the woman of the house would claim a chunk of ground for a garden, remove the sod, fence it and till up the soil. If rains didn't come, buckets of water were carried to nurture the plants. If rains came, the garden was good--unless, of course, too much rain came.
We received a question in Tuesday's email asking about the worst flood ever to hit the local area. Well, it is obvious that the worst flood was the one that did the most damage or created the most inconvenience to you or someone in your family. Based on what we read, however, the worst of the worst was the flood of 1848.
The Welle Hesse covered bridge, Sugarloaf Township (between Grassmere Park and Laubach) replaced a bridge known as the Laubach Bridge which was destroyed by the 1848 flood.
The mill built by Isaiah Cole in 1799 which operated for almost half a century, later known as the Swartwout Mill, operated until 1848 when the cloudburst and flash flood destroyed it.
Daniel McHenry built the large McHenry home in Stillwater. Daniel and his brother, James, built the second Stillwater covered bridge. The first was an open bridge erected in 1823 and destroyed in 1848 by what became known as the Kauff flood, named for members of the Kauff family who were flood victims.
Locally the flood of 1848 was known as the "Great Freshet." In case this is a word you don't currently have in your vocabulary, "freshet" is defined as the occurrence of a water flow resulting from sudden rain or melting snow.
This flood probably was the all-time record high water for the Fishing Creek valley. The records of the McHenry family indicate that the flood "followed a cloudburst" and destroyed many "buildings and carried away every bridge on Fishingcreek from North Mountain to Bloomsburg." Every single bridge!
Benton Town Council did away with the fifteen-member Park Commission at their Monday night meeting effective immediately. The Town Council will notify members of the Park Commission in the near future telling the former members about the loss of their jobs and thanking them for their years of service.
The administration of the Benton Town Park will be run by a three-person group from the Town Council and by two people selected by the Council "at large" from community people sympathetic to the cause of preserving the park. At the present time, the Council's Park Committee consists of Grant Little, Allen Hess and Dan Hartman. The two "at large" members will be designated at a later time.
In a related development, Town Council voted to close the Benton Dam indicating it was now a "dangerous area" for both swimming and fishing. Signs will be posted making the dam off limits. Many generations of area residents who have used the Benton dam for swimming will wince at this development.
The change of management for the park comes at a trying time, since many groups are attempting to use the park during the summer months, and use of the park is desired when school resumes. Getting the park and dike system back in usable shape could cost in excess of half a million dollars, before any park improvements are made that would bring the facilities up to public standards that would allow its use for carnival or other uses.
Larson Design Group's Sam Young discussed the problems with the dike along Fishingcreek in the Borough. Mr. Young presented several engineering solutions to resolving problems both in the vicinity of the dam and along the dike system extending to the L.R. Appleman Elementary School.
The dike eroded in five places, with significant weaknesses occurring in lengths from four feet to 50 feet. The engineering report indicated that had the dikes continued to overflow for another hour, the dikes could have failed completely and flooding in the Borough could have been much more extensive.
Streets in the Borough were badly damaged and there is still debris that needs to be cleaned up.
Tuesday's Press Enterprise quoted Mayor Swan as saying the total price tag could reach $953,000 for flood-related damage, but that figure did not include business-related damages. The final figure will probably exceed a million dollars.
Benton Borough residents who sustained flood-related damage are reminded that it is necessary to contact FEMA directly in order to make sure that there are no problems on benefits, even if paperwork has been filled out by a Borough volunteer. The number to contact FEMA is 1 800 621-FEMA. For anyone in the local area hurt by the flood, please contact FEMA.
First Columbia Bank and Columbia County Farmers National Banks in Benton are assisting in providing low-interest loan for flood-related problems. However, FEMA should be the first avenue of help.
Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Swan was contacting local politicians for any monetary aid that might be available through that route.
July 11, 2006. Happy birthday to Lawrence Shaw. JoAnn McHenry Walk celebrates her 70th birthday today. She observed it Saturday with family and friends at Gabriel's Restaurant at the Inn at New Berlin 54 miles from Back Home in Benton, PA, south of Route 45. And speaking of parties, that was a humdinger of a party daughter Annie threw for Bob and Betty Lewis at the RicMar Restaurant five miles south of Danville Sunday night. The restaurant advertises "Home Cookin' at its Best" and it was! The occasion was the couple's 50th wedding anniversary.
Starr Portables, Millville, made national news last week when they booked all 525 of their porta-potties following the recent flood. The company even trucked in toilets from as far away as Hazleton and Schuylkill County.
Never frown, even when you are sad, because you never know who is falling in love with your smile.
Members of Benton Town Council Monday night voted to write an ordinance accepting Third Street from the former railroad tracks to the Sewer Plant. This should permit the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center (N4C) to get land development from the planning commission and move on to construction. The N4C building will be delivered Wednesday, July 19, sometime in the morning.
Janice Dietrich, a Florida reader experienced in battling fire ants, writes, "bath the bites in either ammonia or Dr. Tichenor's (an old-fashioned antiseptic available at drug stores)." Janice's school of thought on the after-effects: "Leave the festered bubble and let it resolve on its own (usually about a week), or pierce it with a sterilized needle. I do the latter to drain the poison and relieve the continual itching." Janice recommends using a 2% benedryl cream on the bites to help relieve the itching. A shot of prednisone is a last resort.
We talked about lard sandwiches the other day and got a reaction out of Frank Vincent who lived in Germany for nearly ten years of his 20-year military career. With his wife, Silvia, they enjoyed "gasthaus" that offered "schmaltz" on the tables as an appetizer. "Schmaltz" comes from the German word "Schmalz," which is a generic term for any kind of rendered animal fat, including lard and tallow. The word comes from the word schmelzen ("to melt"). The fat is filtered and clarified, then stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry location. Readers have told us that Schmaltz has a distinctive, strong aroma. It is often spread on whole-grain breads.
Frank says that the lard sandwich, the "smaltz," wasn't too bad, but it wasn't something to "write home about." Spread on "klosterbrot" it was 'bearable' probably because of klosterbrots' overwhelming sour-dough rye flavor minimized the unique flavor of the schmaltz! Frank recalls that "most were made with the drippings of bacon, pork or beef roasts. The 'home-made' versions had bits-n-pieces suspended in the lard.
Just like the beer...most villages in Germany each had their own unique recipe for schmaltz. A good local "bier" like a "Giessener," "Licher" or "Bitbinder" usually "cleansed one's palate nicely." But then again, what good German bier wouldn't!
The McHenry Reunion is scheduled for Saturday, August 12, with the meal beginning at noon. Vinnie McHenry Hippensteel, 570 752-1761 or 752-7467, can provide details if you have not received an announcement. There will be a special raffle prize of an original McHenry shot glass. The committee has gathered several door prizes for this year's event. The McHenry reunion committee will make plans for next year's 25th special celebration! The plans are to hold this year's event at Benton Park but this may change due to storm conditions, so if you are planning to attend please RSVP so you will be in the correct place and not sitting all alone at Benton Park.
I recently told a reader who commented on the choice of news presented on the Benton News that I didn't bother to report information that didn't interest me. The reader promptly accused me of being of the Rush Limburger school of journalism and asked just who I thought that I was. I shall attempt to answer that question here.
I consider myself a heck of a guy, somewhere between James Bond and Genghis Khan. I accept no responsibility and am well on my way to developing the art of irresponsibility. I am not a joiner, love to hit the open road, naturally handsome to the point that both Buster and Chloe recognize me in a crowded room even without pockets filled with Kibbles 'n Bits. I would love to see the head of any adversary on a pointed stick. I stride through mud puddles with assurance. My ability to microwave fish sticks would bring tears to Julia Child's eyes, I operate a channel clicker with speed and assurance.
I don't sweat the small stuff. The lack of hair on top of my head isn't a big deal, nor is my unusual turnip shape. My ability to bring a functioning computer network to its knees is legendary. It has been years since I had two drinks in the same day, months since I had my last drink, and years and years since I last sucked a cigarette.
The fact is that I am a short, balding middle-aged man, both tired and retired. I meet lots of people while writing a daily scandal sheet about a small area of Pennsylvania, even though there aren't many people left who even give a hoot about what we do Back Home in Benton, PA.
I built friendships in a city atmosphere, then tossed them away and started again in a completely new world when I moved Back Home to Benton, PA. It's disappointing to realize that my friends did not remain frozen in loss and admiration at my departure, and that my job was filled with more capable individuals.
I mention these things about me, since next I will tell you some notso good things. I spent much of Monday involved with tick removal, a subject Owen Hess recently told me about. Early Monday morning during my wake-up shower I discovered what I assumed was a tick hanging from a part of my anatomy that I haven't seen in years. I spent much of the day attempting to rid myself of this critter, using approaches like gobs of liquid soap, nail polish remover, the prongs of a fork. It was so solidly embedded in my body, that I broke the fingernail on my thumb trying to pull it off me. Finally I camped out in a doctor's office, my bloodied body clamoring for someone else to solve the problem. The offending protrusion was finally cut from my body. I had grown a benign mole that just seemed like it was a tick. I may buy a periscope for future problem solving...
Ethel I. Westover, a former President of the BentonSenior Center and the Waller United Methodist Church, died at the Bloomsburg Hospital Sunday, July 9, 2006. She was 95. Mrs. Westover was born in New Columbus May 11, 1911, a daughter of the late Thomas and Sarah E. (Brandon) Peters. She resided at her home on Savage Hill at 152 Pealertown Road. She worked at Milco Industries in Benton and Bloomsburg for 15 years. She was preceded in death by her husband, Paul E. Westover, and by brothers Charles B. Peters, Harry H. Peters, Arthur Peters and Lawrence Peters; and by two sisters: Iota Wilkinson and Hazel Gearhart. Surviving are children Jack E. Westover (Gail), Fred A. Westover (Becky), both of Orangeville; Shirley Louise Long, Gettysburg, and Joan A. (William} Carroll, Gainesville, Florida. Funeral services will be held Wednesday at 10 AM in the Dean W. Kriner, Inc., Funeral Home, Benton. Interment will be in New Columbus Cemetery. Friends may call Tuesday, 6 to 8 PM.
--Obituary from the Press Enterprise, where a complete obituary can be found
Monday, July 10, 2006. Birthdays today include Eugene Laubach, and sisters-in-law Denise Kline and Susan Cole. Let's start off with a little flattery for you. Begin by going here .
Tonight is the "Full Buck Moon," called that by some American Indian tribes to signify the growing of new antlers by our white-tailed deer. Another name for the July full moon is the "Full Thunder Moon," so named because of the frequency of thunderstorms in July.
Brian Goode, 25, is now a resident of Charleston, South Carolina, and gave us an update on how things are goin' down south. Brian says there is much to learn. He cites as examples...
. Fire ants. "It's best not to wear sandals--EVER! Those things hurt like--well--fire. Just ask my feet."
. Alligators. He experienced one at 15 feet and it only stared him down "like a piece of sausage."
. Southern accents. Not everyone has one. People from Columbia generally talk just like people Back Home in Benton, PA, and they don't like being asked if they are from the No'th cun'ry. It's the same stereotype that everyone in Northeast Pennsylvania says "you's guys" and "two or tree" and "ho butt."
. Snakes. He recommends memorizing the lines "red touches yellow... kill a fellow, red touches black...friend of Jack." There are five species of poisonous snakes in the U.S., and Brian said "we have all five."
. Humidity. "Coastal humidity is different from landlocked humidity," saying "Our humidity is often (but not always) cut by a breeze. It's beautiful most of the time. When it's hot...you know it, but I've honestly felt like curling up and giving up on life on a 90 degree Pennsylvania day, where I can at least manage through a 90 degree Carolina day. People around here complain about it being too
hot, but people from the north know the difference."
Brian had to get used to terms like "honey," "sweetie," "baby" and "sugar." He found out that "None of them are a sign that you're being hit on. It just means that you need better directions, are about to be used for a favor, or you are being thanked for something."
Brian tells us that he has been "working like a dog lately between with my kids 35 hours a week and waiting tables at Ruby Tuesday six days a week." He is doing it in what he calls "a virtual paradise." In his free time, he is learning to ice skate again. "I have 5 months of tundra-like winter on Red Rock Mountain, and I need 3 weeks in the south, to learn to ice skate," was Brian's comment. Brian loves his family and friends and misses all of them, and ended with a hearty "Go, North!"
Anthony & Deirdre Warren are readers from Mississauga, ON. Canada, 372 miles northwest of Benton and a few miles north of Hamilton, Ontario. They were saddened to hear of the loss of one of the Twin Bridge spans. The couple had the pleasure of visiting the bridges last November returning with many photographs "by which to remember a very pleasant experience."
They are members of the New York State Covered Bridge Society, in fact the only Canadian members. Anthony prepared a composite of the interiors from the West Paden span plus an exterior view that I had taken.
Courtesy of Anthony & Deirdre Warren
Anthony did it for the Covered Bridge Society of New York which meets this week. You can go here to see the West Paden site.
Anthony also prepared a collage with the interior shot plus a full side view of the lost span taken last year by Deirdre. These were layered and masked with some detail removed but to leave as much detail of the remaining span as possible; Anthony says he "tried for an impression of chaos in the storm." Anthony reflected that the origins of the picture "are wreathed in a sad event. One is even more conscious of the passage of time, the imprint of history and the loss of community markers. I think attention must be paid by photographers to capturing as many photos of standing bridges as possible."
An entire butcher shop dating back to 1911 was officially opened Saturday in a 40-foot-by-60-foot barn at the site of the Sullivan County Historical Society Museum, Laporte. Anna Waldron, Lopez, donated the shop. It was dismantled and moved from Lopez to the museum on Neylert Street, located behind the Sullivan County Courthouse. Inside the butcher shop is a six-foot-by-eight-foot wood cooler reminiscent of the one Jim Vance had here in his Market Street butcher shop. The Historical Society's cooler was chilled by ice, probably obtained from Mountain Springs Lake. Meat was hung by the slab over a wooden butcher’s block. The cash register is original, as is the store counter and wainscoting. The butcher shop joins an exhibition of how a family would have lived during the period from 1860 to 1880. The museum is open to the public from 1 to 5 PM on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, from mid-June through Labor Day.
Here are the Rodeo Girls of 2006.
See them in person beginning Tuesday at the Benton Rodeo.
Photo courtesy of Brian Bower
Sunday, July 9, 2006. Al LaBonte was born 81 years ago on this date in 1925. He celebrates the day with Donald Rumsfeld, born on this date seven years later.
The equine science program in Penn State's College of Agricultural Science will offer a horse camp July 13-16 designed to appeal to all ability levels. There will be lectures and demonstrations on environmentally sound horse keeping, avoiding horse hazards, vaccination and deworming, composting, and pasture maintenance, trail riding, horse maintenance, horsemanship, trail stewardship, and property management. There will be riding lessons in dressage, hunt seat and western. The Penn State horse camp will take place at the Ag Progress Days site at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College on Route 45. Registration can be taken care of by calling (814) 865-7810.
. On July 17, 18 and 19, Eckley Miners' Village will hold two sessions of Summer History Camp for children ages 6-13. The first session will run from 9 AM to noon each day and the second session will run from 1 PM to 4 PM each day. This year's history camp will include a living history presentation on Native Americans. Other activities include period arts and crafts, storytelling, old-fashioned games and more. There is a fee to attend the camp and pre-registration is required. For more information call (570) 636-2070.
. Bill Vezendy, a member of the Board of Directors of the Berwick Historical Society, will be putting on a small one-man show at the new Information Center at Ricketts Glen State Park next Saturday, July 15, from 2 PM until 7 PM. The show will consist of about three table displays of local artifacts, plus throughout the day Bill will be doing Atlatl demonstrations behind the building.
Didja know that the famed Catawissa Military Band will play in Benton on Saturday, August 5, at 6 PM during the Fireman's Parade? For those who are fans, you can get the complete 2006 schedule by going here.
The Catawissa Military Band has been popular in this area for the past 125 years or more. The band was organized in February, 1878, when a number of players employed in the Reading Railroad shops broke off from an earlier group, the Union Brass Band. The new organization was originally known as Lewis' Band, after Archibald Lewis, the founder, first President, and solo cornetist. When incorporated on April 7, 1879, the band officially adopted the name Catawissa Silver Cornet Band. For the first 35 years of its existence, C.H. Smith led the group. There was even a training school for the band in the form of a Boys Band organized by Prof. J.T. Berger.
If you really want to get technical, the band goes back even further than 1878 because it was an offshoot of two others bands in Catawissa, both playing before the Civil War. The names of the bands? Hold on, the names aren't your run of the mill names. The first was the Yapyaws, all shop employees of the Catawissa Railroad. There was also a German brass band known as the Guttersnipes.
We get a lot of email here at the Benton News and many of the emails display the wrong time. Windoze XP has a built-in time-synchronization feature to automatically set your computer's clock using an Internet Time Server. To set it, double-click the clock in the taskbar. Click the Internet Time tab. Check mark the box that says "Automatically synchronize with an Internet time server." You can manually set the clock anytime by clicking "Update Now," especially useful if you connect to the Internet using a dial-up connection.
A graduate student from Bucknell University plans to pop in Wednesday to chat about small towns. She'll probably ask--preparatory to receiving her Master's Degree and heading off to New York City to work on the 67th floor of a piece of concrete, what folks are like Back Home in Benton, PA. It will be difficult to describe the people of this area, since my thoughts go back in time to the ones I once knew, whose values I admired, whose advice I memorized, whose passing left a void in my life. There are a considerable number of people like that around these days, but a new kind of person is emerging in the community and I don't know much about that person.
Oh, I am not saying the person I am trying to describe is a bad person, but they don't look at things like I do. Many are escaping from what this Bucknell graduate student is heading toward. Some are retired from businesses outside of Pennsylvania and eagerly await the weekend arrival of children and grandchildren. Some live here and commute long distances. Many never made a slingshot or captured fireflies in a Mason jar with holes poked in the lids, or hunted through the clover until they found one with four leaves, or walked great distances to school or to the outhouse. They don't know pea-shelling, or how hot the upper Fishingcreek valley gets without air conditioning. They have never operated a milk separator, hauled manure, dug sand and gravel from the creek to make their own fireplace, shucked oats or plowed corn. They have never pulled giant slivers of ice from the "rocks" below town to make ice cream. What would they know of Friday night suppers of tuna-noodle casserole, put together with Campbell's mushroom soup and crushed potato chips, or Mother's milk pie or dust-mopping the bedrooms or getting the fuzzy "kitties" from under the beds. People don't play cards on Saturday night or go roller skating on Sunday nights.
Gosh, I hope she doesn't ask about what local folks are like. I guess I don't know any more.
I remembered a poem by Edgar A. Guest that might partially explain the folks back home. It took me awhile, but I finally found the poem in my wonderful filing system, made difficult because I haven't perfected the retrieval part of the filing system. The poem goes like this...
I have a kindly neighbor, one who stands
Beside my gate and chats with me awhile,
Gives me the glory of his radiant smile
And comes at times to help with willing hands.
No station high or rank this man commands;
He, too, must trudge, as I, the long day's mile;
And yet, devoid of pomp or gaudy style,
He has a worth exceeding stocks or lands.
To him I go when sorrow's at my door
On him I lean when burdens come my way;
Together oft we talk our trials o'er,
And there is warmth in each good-night we say.
A kindly neighbor! Wars and strife shall end
When man has made the man next door his friend.
Are you having a bad day? Want to punch someone out? Maybe it will help if you go here.
July 8, 2006. Happy birthday today to Joan Franklin. On this date in 1889, John L. Sullivan defeated Jake Kilrain in the last championship bare-knuckle fight. The fight lasted 75 rounds, taking 2 hours and 16 minutes to finish.
The blues are in control this weekend, as the Briggs Farm Blues Festival concludes today in Nescopeck and the blueberries in the area turn from green to blue. Each day on North Mountain brings the delicious wild blueberry, which locally we call the "huckleberry," closer to picking. Helped this year by the wet weather, the crop should be outstanding. Didja know that the United States produces 90% of the world's supply of blueberries? And didja know that this is National Blueberry month?
President Bush has issued a disaster declaration for numerous Pennsylvania counties including Columbia. This declaration allows eligible individuals in these counties to apply for federal disaster assistance for grants for temporary housing, home repair, home replacement and permanent housing construction. If you have been affected by recent floods, contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as soon as possible to apply for possible relief. FEMA can be contacted at (800) 621-FEMA. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) is also assisting.
In Benton Borough, volunteers helped complete flood assessment forms. The following people helped: Dave Albertson, Jimmy Albertson, Karen Reed, Judy Wenner, Ron Roberts and Samantha Andes.
The Borough is attempting to get figures to FEMA and PEMA as soon as possible. Those affected by the storm who have not filled out the necessary forms should contact the Borough Office at 925-6101 or Mayor Swan at 925-5292.
• The Ol' Country Barn is having a tent sale today and Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM.
• All Nations Pow-Wow, Saturday and Sunday, Acorn Acres Campground, 1334 SR 118, Benton; 925-2656. Gates open 10 AM; $3 for adults, $2 for ages 6-12; free for the disabled and for ages 5 and younger.
• Frontier Day begin at the rodeo grounds Tuesday and runs from July 11-16. There will be championship rodeo and Bull-A-Rama, entertainment, food, vendors. Breakfast and chicken barbecue are served July 14 and 15.
• The Pennsylvania 500 stock car race begins on Sunday, July 23, at 2:05 PM at the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond on the NASCAR Nextel Cup schedule.
• The Femme Fatale Fishing Creek Chapter of the Red Hat Society invites readers to join them July 19 at noon at the air-conditioned Benton Fire Hall on Colley Street. Each Chapter will bring its own food, beverage and place settings. There will be a fashion show, vendors, great food, dancers, free parking and it is handicap accessible. For more information contact Joselle Confair, 379-2407, Marilee Yost, 925-6718, or Carol Vance, 925-2591.
Up at the Richard Kriebel Farm every July 4th, the annual picnic get together of family and friends results in a lot of eating and a lot of fun. Every year, young and old alike head for the golf course to go tubing and kayaking. This year was an exceptional year due to the high water as the group floated and rode the rapids to the Benton Dam.
A Fishingcreek Floating Party
A Pennsylvania German I met at Kutztown Wednesday asked if I had ever eaten a lard sandwich, and I had to admit that I had not. He described the sandwich as an open-faced, white-bread sandwich spread thick with lard as I might spread a slice of home-made bread hot from the oven. He only added salt and pepper to make it "delicious."
Clark Sellers remembers eating lard sandwiches and suddenly knows why his cholesterol is now "260, thanks Mom. Yes, we ate them." The mention of the lard sandwiches jogged Clark's memory back to the time "during a thunderstorm when we lived on Route 93 in the early 40's when we got to see them road testing the tanks from ACF. Brings back memories, like riding the tractor and falling asleep and fell under the cultivators, got a few scars out of that."
Ruth Cavanaugh's grandfather used to eat lard sandwiches, which he called "lurdebrod" in his Germanic accent. He was originally from Schleswig-Holstein, and this seemed to be a holdover from "the old country." Ruth tells us that "grandmother and grandfather both lived well into their eighties, so I guess it didn't hurt them any."
For those readers who have heard the term Koom Essa they know that means to come running. It is the call to the Pennsylvania Dutch that a meal that is "good and plenty" is about to be served. Soups are enjoyed by the Amish at a meal, soups like Brown Flour Soup, Pretzel Soup and Rivvel Soup. The word rivvel means "lump." Rivvels are made by mixing flour and eggs and rubbing them together in the hands to form. They are then dropped into milk or chicken broth. A recipe for the soup is
* 1 cup flour
* 1/2 tsp. salt
* 1 egg
* 1 quart milk
Mix salt with flour, then toss egg lightly through flour with fork until small crumbs form. Stir into 1 quart of scalding whole milk. Bring to a boil and serve at once.
At the Kutztown Folk Festival Wednesday, one of the cooks at the church stand told me something to the effect that "angels in heaven will weep if you lay a loaf of homemade bread upside down." Noting the bewildered look on my face, she told me that it would be dishonoring the Christian faith to turn it upside down. Her Palatine ancestors put a mark of a cross on loaves of bread, and to turn the bread upside down dishonored the faith.
After listening to a lecture on Pennsylvania German religion Wednesday, I sat in the back of the Union Church and began chatting with a man whose name and where he lived I never got. I noted the skill with which the man who had just spoken had been able to speak extemporaneously. He told me that it is a mark of a good preacher to be able to do that, and reading a sermon is considered in bad form. He then told me a story about a preacher who said that he didn't prepare a sermon, that the Lord would guide him and tell him what to say. When Church let out, according to the story, a parishioner criticized the sermon saying in the first place the minister read it. In the second place, the minister "read it badly." Then he said, " and in the third place, it wasn't worth reading."
The man seemed very reassured that I found the story funny, so he elected to tell another, this one about a Pennsylvania German who found a mirror. He hid it in his barn and every day went to the barn and preened himself in front of the mirror. His wife eventually got suspicious of why her husband came back from the barn looking better than when he went. When her husband wasn't around, she went to the barn, found the mirror, looked at it, and said, "So that’s the old hussy he's been a runnin' around with."
Kutztown Festival, at fairgrounds, Route 222, Kutztown, through July 9, 9 AM-6 PM, 888-674-6136 for info.
July 7, 2006. Today is Carolyn Sue Evans Remley's birthday.
Dumpsters will be placed in the Borough by Saturday, July 8. The locations will be at the back of the municipal parking lot between DR's Quik Mart and Benton Sports Center; at the parking lot at the south end of the park and at the south end of borough leaf dump at the airport. The dumpsters are for the use of Borough residents only in order to clean up from the No-Name Storm.
The Country Cultivators will meet Thursday, July 13, at 7 PM at the home of Russ and Marie Castrogiovanni, 93 Hartman Hollow Road. The topic of the meeting will be "Digging the Dirt with Professor Tapsak" Please bring a small jar of soil (baby food jar is perfect). The speaker will analyze the soil. Directions: North on 487 through Benton. Hartman Hollow road is the first right after Camp Lavigne Road (opposite Lehet's Village). Call 925-5031 for additional information. New members are always welcome.
Life is so very different from when I grew up. Take one of my favorite things, for example. Take food. When I was growing up, we had cows, we had goats, we had chickens, we had fruit trees and enriched by an endless supply of Golden Guernsey cow manure we had a huge garden.
It was always a thrill to take a package of seeds, prepare the soil according to strict instructions that seemed to change from year to year, water and fertilize and weed. Mother even said that talking to her plants helped them grow. The result was a wonderful garden. But much of what we grew was seasonal, and so Mother canned.
In our laundry room, created by Father's signature style of carpentry, we had sway-back shelves that bulged in the center from all the weight of fruit and vegetables. Every inch was filled. Elderberry jelly was a favorite, but jams and preserves and pickles came in a close second. Peaches and cherries were a must with Father when winter arrived. The problem with canning came with the heat. Everything seemed to get so hot in our small country home when canning was underway. Wheelbarrow loads of tomatoes and lima beans, for example, would be wheeled onto the porch. Mother would put on her sun bonnet and get her pairing knife out and go to work. It wasn't long before the kitchen was filled with the smell of boiling fruit or vegetables, and soon after that drab jars would begin to get filled with brightly colored food. It took me years before I found out Mr. Mason didn't personally lend us his jars.
I didn't know then, as I listened to the Phillies in the darkened room with Father, how much work Mother had accomplished that day. Her work continued long after I felt that I had done everything that I could do. The work continued day after day through the time that we put up the dried sweet corn. The work slowed down a little as fall arrived, and slowly the pantry contents began to shrink in size as winter bore in on us.
I still want to go into the pantry and pick out some of Mother's prize fruits and vegetables, or some of her jam or jelly. It seems that when I get to the panty these days I find only bags of potato chips and cartons of cookies and something called "chicken of the sea," and a jar of garlic. I can't even find the old Norton Cole Mill bag of walnuts, husked but still in the shells, that always occupied the corner. Life is so very different from when I grew up.
Here is the July entertainment at Kristie's Kafé, 3694 Suite E Route 487, Stillwater. On the 7th, 14th and 21st is an acoustic jam from 6-8 PM. On July 28th is an open microphone night from 6-8 PM.
American Idol winner Taylor Hicks started his "American Idols Live" cross-country tour Wednesday in Manchester, New Hampshire. The tour ends September 24 in Wilkes-Barre.
A detour to close Route 239 south of Benton will be put in place Monday, July 10, by Robert C. Young, Inc. The detour over Raven Creek near Toy Factory Road in Benton Township will begin near Cambra on Route 4011 (the old Tioga Turnpike) and will utilize Route 1022 (Zaners Bridge Road) to Route 487. This is a bridge-replacement project, not related to flooding associated with the No-Name Storm of June 28, 2006. Completion is set on or before September 19.
Wednesday was Kutztown Folk Festival time for me, a popular event that ends July 9 this year. Most Pennsylvanians know that Kutztown is a Berks County Borough, 18 miles west southwest of Allentown and 17 miles northeast of Reading. It is located on the old Easton Road and was a popular overnight stopping place for early travelers. The Borough has a little over 5,000 residents.
The town dates back to 1755 when George Kutz (then spelled "Coots") bought land and four years later laid out "Cootstown."
Berks County and Kutztown were settled mainly by Germans, most of whom came from an area in southwest Germany called the Palatinate, which borders the Rhine River. Without getting too technical, people in the northern part of Germany, say from Berlin north, speak "high German" and understand each other easily. The south of Germany is a different story, with a number of dialects, Palatinate being one of them. An officer of a local Kutztown Grundsow (Groundhog) lodge--an organization dedicated to keeping the spoken Pennsylvania German language alive--explained that when he goes to Germany the people who speak the Palatinate dialect understand him very well.
We have often written about the local I.O.O.F. lodges, the Benton Lodge #667, F&AM, the Odd Fellows Lodges, the local grange, the short-lived "Stag Roister D'Oister" and other exclusive men's organizations, but the Benton area has never had a "Groundhog Lodge." This is what I learned Wednesday over coffee with some of the members of a Kutztown lodge.
Groundhog Lodges began in the Allentown area with the first lodge (Nummer Ains) formed in 1933. In their first big lodge meeting the following year, 275 showed up from Lehigh, Northampton, Bucks and Berks counties. The following year, more than 600 attended.
Lodge names are unusual; i.e., Lodge #2 on da Schibbach, Souderton, Lodge #5 on da Schwador im Bind Bush, Pine Grove. All the lodges have adjacent to their numbers the name of a river or creek, since the animal they honor prefers a place by a stream of water. Groundhog Day is a big event in the lodges, simply called "the day" by the members--der Dawg in Pennsylvania German. It is the single day of the year when the Grundsow informs his dedicated watchers when winter will end by issuing his Wedder Barichda, his weather forecast. Stirring music is played and a ten-foot tall papier-mâché groundhog is wheeled into the room. A proclamation is then read, worded to fit the weather conditions that predict the following six weeks.
A meeting of a Groundhog Lodge follows roughly the following order. First is the moment of silence, the Ruichy Minut, followed by a group sing of America in dialect, a pledging of allegiance to the flag of the United States, a reading of the minutes, and an oath-swearing ceremony. The men stand, raise their hands in a fashion I have often seen in groundhogs and take their Ferbinnerrei, or annual oath. Songs are usually sung in the dialect and a few of the larger lodges have their own bands. Competitors in the weather-forecasting business are scoffed at, such as the Calendar Woman or the wooly caterpillar. A huge meal follows, made up of a salad with hot bacon dressing, apple butter and cottage cheese, a main course with all the trimmings, and to drink will be "goose wine" (water) following by "belching mints." The festival speech ends the evening.
The purpose of the evening is to perpetuate Pennsylvania Dutch traditions and the groundhog is merely the catalyst for the occasion. Since the dialect is the key to the evening, penalties are assessed to those who slip up and utter a word in English.
The Kutztown Folk Festival dates to 1950 when three Franklin and Marshall college professors organized it to present German culture to a wide variety of people. Farmers, mechanics, cooks, butchers and craftspeople were asked to display some aspect of their daily life. Visitor participation was encouraged and continues to this day.
Many readers will remember a comedian named Professor Herman F. Schnitzel. Although Prof. Schnitzel is dead, we talked with many who sounded just like him. We enjoyed talking with a Pennsylvania German man who was sitting on a rocking chair powered by a Hit 'N Miss engine and another who was churning ice cream by pedaling a stationary bicycle. I sat in the Mennonite Church and watched a couple from New Jersey have their marriage vows renewed, sat in a Union Church and listened to a hymn sing--all in Pennsylvania German. I ate until I "ouched" at the family-style Women's Guild of Zion's Church of Christ stand from Windsor Castle where on the Fourth of July 1,500 ate ham, chicken, chicken pot pie, with all the trimmings. I topped off my meal with shoofly pie and Schnitz und Knepp (apples with dumplings). I listened to dulcimer music, oompah-type music and listened as a woman standing on a gallows, coffin waiting expectedly underneath, told about a 1785 hanging. I watched funnel cakes get devoured and drank brown birch beer marked Eis Kalt Drinka.
I walked through the festival's quilt sale and show, where last year the highest price quilt sold for $15,500. The show is the largest in the United States. The quilt sale takes place on the second Saturday of the show. We were offered a seat to try our hand at making a "patch" as part of the 2006 visitor's quilt. There were quilting demonstrations and quilting bees all day.
Set your calendars now for the 2007 Kutztown Folk Festival, June 30-July 8.
July 6, 2006. Happy birthday to Herbert R. Fritz, 77. On this date in 1912, Jim Thorpe earned fame as the world's greatest athlete during the Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden. Thorpe, a full-blooded Native American, was known as Wa-tho-huck, which in English means "Bright Path." When the King of Sweden called Thorpe "the greatest athlete in the world," Thorpe brightly replied, "Thanks, King."
Glenn O. Hawbaker, Inc., State College, will begin work on about a five-mile section of Route 254 starting this morning. Road paving will take place from the intersection with Rohrsburg Road in Rohrsburg to the intersection with Route 487, just south of Benton. The contractor plans to begin with roadway base repairs and shoulder upgrades at the Rohrsburg end of the project area. Actual paving should begin during daylight hours about July 24, with all work completed on or before August 25.
Speaking of traffic, watch for brake lights on I-80 westbound starting about one mile east of the Danville Interchange (Exit 224) and extending west for 4.5 miles. Actually, watch carefully from just west of the Buckhorn exit. Traffic from Benton heading west on I-80 is encouraged to take Route 254 from Maple Grove to Limestoneville to access I-80.
Isabel (Rodriguez) Welch, 90, (February 28, 1916-July 4, 2006), 517 Lower Raven Creek Road, Stillwater, died Tuesday at home. She was born in West Virginia, a daughter of the late Serafin and Natalia (Fernandez) Rodriguez. She was preceded in death by her Husband, William F. Welch. She is survived by her 3 daughters: Vicky A. Mitchell (George), Stillwater; Isabel M. Harris (Louis), Plainfield, Indiana; and Mary E. Saienni (Robert), Stillwater. Funeral services will be Friday at 2 PM at the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc. Burial will be in Elan Memorial Park, South Centre Township. A viewing will be held Friday from 1 PM until the time of the service.
--Obituary courtesy of McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will be published in the Thursday edition of the Press Enterprise.
Doug A Deitrick wants to "thank all the people from my home town area of Benton for all the prayers, phone calls, cards during by bout with pancreatic cancer over the past year. I am very happy to announce that thanks to all the prayers and Johns Hopkins hospital that we are winning this fight. With surgery at Johns Hopkins the cancer was totally removed and test showed no negative margins. It has been a long road and I don't think I would be here without the support I received from all the well wishers from the Benton area. Thanks so much!" Doug had successful pancreatic surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in April. The technique is called the Whipple Procedure. His doctors have diagnosed him as "cancer free!" He lost considerable weight that he is very slowly regaining along with his strength and stamina. He started back to work full time in mid-June. He expects monthly visits to Johns Hopkins to monitor his progress.
Residents who have not been contacted by a borough representative to gather information as to damages or losses of property due to the flood of 6/27 & 6/28 are asked to go to the Benton Fire Hall. The hours are as follows:
Wed 4PM to 7PM
Thurs 10AM to 7PM
Fri 10AM to 3PM
If these hours aren't convenient, call the Borough Secretary at 925-6101.
Tara Deedy Zebrowski of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Garrett Zebrowski, Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, wish to announce the engagement of their daughter to Nicholas John Pascale of Baton Rouge, son of Dr. and Mrs. Joseph Pascale, Manassas, Virginia, and grandson of Mr. and Mrs. John Unbewust Jr., Main Street.
The bride-elect is a graduate of Wyomissing High School and Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia where she received a bachelor's degree in Spanish. She is employed by Louisiana Secretary of State, Baton Rouge. Her fiancé is a graduate of Paul VI Catholic High School, Fairfax, Virginia, and Virginia Tech, where he received a bachelor's degree in political science. He is attending LSU Law Center in Baton Rouge. An October, 2007, wedding is being planned in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The article that originally appeared in this section about Mountain Springs Lake, Splash Dam #2 and Bowman Creek has now been moved to the No-Name Flood section.
July 5, 2006. Keith Yorks, Jesse Whitenight and Harry McClure celebrate their birthdays today. Elvis Presley recorded his first rock and roll song and his first hit on this date in 1954. We will report first hand on the Kutztown Folk Festival in tomorrow's Benton News.
Following the community service performed by Jan Swan and John Jankowski, Mayor and President, Town Council, we hope to see teams of state and federal officials come into our area to collect data to determine if last week's flooding caused enough damage to warrant federal assistance for homeowners. The business community will be looked at next.
FEMA officials will take the next step after looking at the assessments performed by the volunteers and decide if the affected homes should be listed as sustaining major damage or minor flood damage. FEMA representatives could recommend that county residents be declared eligible for individual assistance, which would allow victims of flood damage to apply for federal grants and low-interest loans among other forms of aid. Most agree that the decision could come any day.
We heard an expression on the Fourth of July that we hadn't heard in years, an expression we grew to dislike during the years we were growing up. "Mind your P's and Q's" was once a very common expression and we had once heard that it referred to minding ones Pints and Quarts that a man would consume at stopping place along the road so that at the end of the week when the bill was tallied up the bill would reflect what had been drunk and the size of the "tab." Of course, it is possible that because of the similarity of the letters "p" and "q" it is just a reference to watching so type setters would not reverse the letters.
It was a huge disappointment for those who enjoy the annual 4 Wheel Jamboree event in Bloomsburg. The organizers had a team of 20 workers and reclamation specialists on the ground at the Bloomsburg fairgrounds working relentlessly to prepare the grounds for the show. Despite their valiant efforts, the town and the fair board, in conjunction with health officials and state police, cancelled the show. The annual 4 Wheel Jamboree Nationals in Bloomsburg are now rescheduled for Friday, August 18, through Sunday, August 20.
The original article that was in this section about the Josiah Hess Covered Bridge has been moved to the Covered Bridge Section.
The ground-breaking ceremony of the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center will take place Friday, July 28, 2006, at 9 AM at the future site of the Center. We'll provide further details at a later date.
During the No-Name storm of June 28, the site of the Center had some water on the ground as did other land from New York to Virginia. During the worst of the water runoff in the Borough on Wednesday morning, I went to the site and photographed the situation as a matter of record. The Center will be built 3.5 feet above current ground level and had the Center existed at the time of the flood would have been at least 2.5 feet above all high water marks. Parking lots would have experienced water but not the building.
The skateboard park at the Community Center has received a $4,000 grant from Berwick Health & Wellness made possible by the Benton Area School. Funding is available to built a very nice skateboard park at the Center.
It is almost time for the Benton Frontier Days and Championship Rodeo, which begins Tuesday, July 11, and extends until Sunday, July 16. Blake Good is the show's rodeo specialty act. Good loves Roman Riding on top of two trained white bulls, Geronimo and Apache, and on two galloping white horses known as The Flying Aces.
The sight of Blake galloping into the arena Roman Riding astride two huge white Brahmas is always fun. He also rides horses that jump through a blazing ring of fire in a dramatic bonding of human and animal. Blake Good has been nominated for the PRCA Rodeo Entertainer of the Year Award. He has performed for Bruce Springsteen, and is a versatile, talented, athletic and a warm young man.
A 65-year old Tennessee man by the name of Bill McEnaney is this year's rodeo clown and performs with his miniature horse, Trigger.
The championship rodeo will be Thursday to Saturday, July 13-15, each night at 7:30. The Bull-A-Rama is set for Sunday, July 16, at 7:30 PM. Fireworks go off Friday, July 14, at 11 PM. Tickets are available at the gate. Parking is free Tuesday and Wednesday, $2 Thursday to Sunday. Primitive campsites are $5 per night.
There are no butts about it. We support the measure! The Pennsylvania Restaurant Association says that it now favors a statewide smoking ban in restaurants and public places.
Have you ever noticed that people want the front of the bus, the back of the church and the center of attention?
Sgt Kevin Forte, formerly of Jonestown, sent a video clip of his Marine Security Guard Detachment in Wellington, New Zealand, that was just re-activated after the Marines eleven-year absence from the embassy in that country. Kevin acknowledged that it is "a proud honor to be one of the six Marines to re-activate a Marine Detachment overseas. I just wanted to show that a young Marine from Benton (Jonestown) was a part of the U.S. embassy and America's long standing relations and history in New Zealand." Sgt Kevin Forte is with Marine Security Guard Detachment, Wellington, New Zealand. Semper Fidelis!
It is the Fourth of July, 2006, Independence Day. Happy birthday, America and happy birthday to Joe Curtin and Matt Crusan. These two men share their birthday with Nathaniel Hawthorne, born in Salem, MA, in 1804, author of The Scarlet Letter and The House of Seven Gables, who once said "Easy reading is damn hard writing."
On this day in 1776, the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence that Thomas Jefferson had written in Philadelphia, with a few nitpicks from Benjamin Franklin (Jefferson wrote, "We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable." Franklin's version: "We hold these truths to be self-evident.") The United States was officially out from under the rule of England.
Cheers go out to Mom, apple pie, the American flag and fireworks tonight at Crispin Field and on Saturday night at the Millville Fireman's Carnival. Remember the Millville and the Lightstreet carnivals run through July 8.
We associate certain words with the Fourth of July, but we aren't alone. Take "Liberty," where across our county 30 towns are known by that name. There are 32 places in the United States known as "eagle," 11 places include "independence" and five with the name "freedom." There is a town in Indiana named "Patriot," and a movement in the local area who give "voice" to the word.
When summer comes, I won't complain,
I'll welcome summer's heat again.
That's what I said, I must confess,
When snow and cold caused distress.
Now summer is here, the heat is up.
And I am panting like a pup.
When winter comes, I'll not complain
I'll welcome winter's cold again.
The heat in the area must be about the same as when the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence met 230 years ago in Independence Hall to break away from Britain's King George III to form a new nation. Officially known as the Pennsylvania State House, Independence Hall hosted the event in a small room where the men wrote and signed in layers of colonial dress--complete with silk stockings, woolen breeches, heavy jackets and powdered wigs.
Didja know that the Pennsylvania signers of the Declaration of Independence were Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, and George Ross.
The tenth annual St. Gabriel's Church Homecoming and Genealogy Get-Together will take place on Sunday, July 30. in an all-day celebration. Church will begin at 10 AM, with refreshments about 11:30 AM. Tables will be set up in the back for genealogy all afternoon. There will be electric outlets for copy machine and computers. Those attending are asked to bring pictures they may have to share. The Homecoming and Genealogy Get-Together are completely free and open to EVERYBODY.
July 3, 2006. Happy birthday today to Frank Vincent and Professor Christina Savage Guillen, Long Beach, whose mother, Peg, is now a Benton resident again. Peg and Len had one full night in their new house before the order was given to evacuate because of rising waters. That has to be a difficult introduction to a newly purchased home.
We are in the dog days of summer. Dog days span the period between July 3 and August 11. During this time the sun occupies the same region of the sky as Sirius, the Dog Star. Early legend was that due to the star's position at this time of year it somehow conspired with the sun to make the days hotter. Many people also believed that the hot days of the summer caused dogs to go mad, thus the name.
It is the time of the year when we normally write about the campaign at Gettysburg and the battles that ensued during the first part of July. Chris Vincent tells us that the annual reenactment has been postponed until July 7-9. Chris' future boss at Fort Meade and 'Rebel' reenactor friend "can't wait to go kill some Yankees!" Here is a link Chris recommended to get a snap shot of the battle.
Although we aren't going to describe the July battles at Gettysburg as we so often do when we write the Benton News during this period each year, we did dig out a story written shortly after the end of the Civil War that came from the memoirs of "Abe" Lincoln, as the President was called. It seems that one of General Fremont's batteries of eight Parrott guns, supported by a squadron of horses commanded by Major Richards, was in "sharp conflict with a battery of the enemy near at hand." Shells and shot were flying thick and fast when the commander of the battery, a German, one of Fremont's staff, rode suddenly up to the cavalry, exclaiming, in loud and excited terms, "Pring up de shackasses! Pring up de shackasses! For Cot's sake, hurry up de shackasses, im-me-di-ate-ly!"
At this point, we should explain that "shackasses" were mules that carried mountain howitzers, which were fired from the backs of that much-abused but valuable animal. The immediate need for the "shackasses" was that two regiments of rebel infantry were at that moment ascending a hill immediately behind the Union batteries.
The "shackasses," with the howitzers loaded with grape and canister, were soon in ready. The mules squared themselves for the upcoming shock. The story relates that "a terrific volley was poured into the advancing column, which immediately broke and retreated." At the end of that campaign, "two hundred and seventy-eight dead bodies" were found in the ravine the next day, "piled closely together as they fell, the effects of that volley from the backs of the "shackasses."
For more on civil war artillery, go here. We don't have any suggestions for more information on "shackasses."
A lot of money is tainted. It taint yours and it taint mine.
One of the nice events of the summer is the Rough and Tumble "hit 'n miss" steam engine show at Kinzer, PA, near Lancaster. This year the Old Thresherman's Reunion will take place Aug 16 - 19.
Didja hear about the sweet young thing who played Trivial Pursuit one night. When I was her turn, she rolled the dice and landed on "Science & Nature." Her question was "If you are in a vacuum and someone calls your name, can you hear it?" She thought for a time and then asked, "Is it on or off?"
Song of the Day:
"I don't want a cabin down in the valley, I just want a shack up in the hills."
--Discobilly music by Rainbow Canyon
A reader, a former high school classmate, sent this entitled "All I Need To Know About Life, I Learned From A Cow."
1. Wake up in a happy mooo-d.
2. Don't cry over spilled milk.
3. When chewing your cud, remember: There's no fat, no calories, no
cholesterol, and no taste!
4. The grass is green on the other side of the fence.
5. Turn the udder cheek and mooo-ve on.
6. Seize every opportunity and milk it for all its worth!
7. It's better to be seen and not herd.
8. Honor thy fodder and thy mother and all your udder relatives.
9. Never take any bull from anybody.
10. Always let them know who's the bossy.
11. Stepping on cowpies brings good luck.
12. Black and white is always an appropriate fashion statement.
13. Don't forget to cow-nt your blessings every day.
Our hats are off to Mayor Jan Swan and Town Council President John Jankowski for donating their Sunday and their valuable time to solicit Borough residents to determine the amount of monetary damage accrued during the June 28 storm. If you own a business in the Borough, statistics on your damage will be gathered later.
July 2, 2006. Happy birthday today to Tracy Fritz and School Board President Dennis Threlkeld. Happy Anniversary in Camp Hill to Tom and Jackie Becker and on Lower Raven Creek Road to Bill and Agnes Hess.
With a stream like Fishingcreek in our local area, it is only natural that fishing is important to all of us. There is no fishing as challenging as fly fishing. The American Museum of Fly Fishing, located in Manchester, Vermont, just south of the Orvis Flagship Store on Historic Route 7A, is home to the world’s largest collection of angling art and angling-related items. Didja know, for example, that an artificial fly used to lure fish is mentioned in the writings of Aelian, from 200 A.D.
Walter Brasch, a journalism professor at Bloomsburg University, has authored a new book entitled Unacceptable, about the shortcomings and blunders which led up to the response to Hurricane Katrina. Brach's latest book is available online from Amazon.
The Benton Borough Town Council meeting for Monday, July 3, was cancelled for lack of a quorum.
FEMA figures relating to the recent flooding must be submitted to the county EMA by Tuesday morning, July 4. Volunteers are going door to door in the Borough to get as much information as possible. If residents are not contacted in this manner, they can leave a message including the following: name. physical address, phone number, damage to structure or water in basement, how many feet of water, what those losses are such as furnace, water heater, washer dryer. If damage reached living quarters what those losses are. If you want to be included you must do it now! If you want more information on the subject, read the Press Enterprise article in Sunday's paper.
The article originally published in this section about the former ice dam now owned by the Fish and Boat Commission at Mountain Springs along Bowman’s Creek in Sullivan County has been moved to the No-Name Storm section.
In recognition of the hard times experienced by the local area during the recent flooding, the organizers of the O.A.T.S. bluegrass festival will allow free admission to the festival currently ongoing at the rodeo grounds Sunday beginning at 9:30. The Sunday morning’s presentation of "The Music of the Spirit" will close this year’s festival, as the Rev. Al and Jean Lumpkin are joined by friends to recognize and celebrate the consistent emphasis in bluegrass on songs about faith and the human struggle.
For those in the local area unable to attend the Festival on Sunday, it is possible to listen to the entire weekend's music by tuning on the FM dial to frequency 89.5.
The article about the covered bridge owned by Emily "Freddie" Bittenbender at 176 Waterton Road, south of Huntington Mills off LR 40076, Huntington Township, which originally appeared in this section has been moved to the covered bridge section.
Thomas Kipphorn is compiling a list of the covered bridges of Luzerne County. The list is preliminary. The longitude and latitude of each bridge are at the old site, which may not be where the current bridge is located. Here is the Luzerne County list so far. Luzerne County is a large county and there may be more bridges. Can any readers help with additional information about the bridges or with photos?
• The first bridge is the Bittenbender Bridge over Huntington Creek, which we described above.
• A covered bridge over Nescopeck Creek.
• PA/38-40-03, Red Rock Bridge. It was a single span of unknown truss design 74' long, with a 13' roadway. It was built about.1870 and was located in Black Creek Township on Cedar Head Road, just east of its intersection with Tank Road (SR3016 - LR40015 to the north of T340 and T308 to the south). The road was formerly LR40012, but was redesignated as T340. The bridge alone was SR3038, located 40.998N / -76.165W // 40° 59' 54"N / -76° 9' 53"W
• There were five covered bridges on the North Branch of the Susquehanna River; i.e.,
• PA/38-40-06 Pittston Ferry / Fort Jenkins Bridge,
41.327N / -75.792W // 41° 19' 36"N / -75° 47' 29"W
• PA/38-40-04 Depot Bridge
41.324N / -75.793W // 41° 19' 27"N / -75° 47' 35"W
• PA/38-40-05 Market Street / Wilkes-Barre Bridge
41.250N / -75.885W // 41° 14' 58"N / -75° 53' 7"W
• PA/38-40-07 Shickshinny Bridge
41.148N / -76.146W // 41° 8' 53"N / -76° 8' 47"W
• PA/38-40-02 and 38-19-85 Berwick / Nescopeck Bridge-
41.054N / -76.228W // 41° 3' 14"N / -76° 13' 41"W
From the Panoramic Maps Section of the Library of Congress
The fascinating study of covered bridges can be made more interesting by visiting the Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society of PA, Inc.
***Wyoming Valley Flood Photos 2006***
Flood photos of the Wyoming Valley will be collected by Sheila Brandon and added to her web site over the coming weeks. Email your photos to Sheila or send them by CD to 1335 State Route 118, Sweet Valley, PA 18656.
July 1, 2006
Didja know that...
• PPL has generating plants in six states and sells electricity to more than 5 million customers in Pennsylvania, the United Kingdom and Latin America.
• The Pennsylvania House on Thursday voted to make English the official language of the state. The House approved the English amendment after an attempt to defer the debate failed through a 96-96 tie vote. The measure now goes to the Senate. ¿Comprende?
• .Luzerne County officials ordered the mandatory evacuation of nearly 200,000 people Wednesday. These residents are now safely home.
• Pennsylvania does not have a lobbyist-disclosure law, so no one really knows how many vacation trips, dinners, or companions a member of the General Assembly receives for various favors.
Articles originally published in this section have been moved to the No-Name flood coverage area.
I saw the first roadside sign for sweet corn Friday, but I was much too busy cleaning out debris from the basement to take the time to buy some and prepare it. We did notice that Farmer Moofie lost all of his "early corn" to flood waters on the Flats around Stillwater.
How we like the food that comes from the garden, like the toe-mah-toe sandwiches we make with cucumbers and onions, which for Southern readers are called 'mater samiches. We can think of a lot of differences between those of us from "up North" and those from the south. Here, for example, we often have double last names, while in the South they have double first names. In the South, the sick are transported by amalance, and I always figured it was because they ate collard greens (instead of green salads) that they bought a store that had movie rentals and sold bait at the same time. In the south, you might hear the word "Ought!" said to either a dog or a child. The word is short for "Y'all ought not do that!" a term for which we substitute the word "No!" Just as "new folks" are accepted slowly in the upper Fishingcreek valley, the same applies in the south. If you move to the south and bear children, they won't automatically be Southerners or accepted as such. After all, if a cat had kittens in the oven, they wouldn't call 'em biscuits!At 2:12 PM Friday, it was reported that someone stole the "West Paden" sign that was hanging in a tree limb downstream from the Twin Bridges. That sign was not the property of the person who stole it. It should be returned to the Covered Bridge Association.
Karen Dussinger, Community Relations Coordinator for PennDOT, District 4, provided these detour routes for 118. Karen tells us that "Bridges are the issue here, not just holes in the road. These detours are UNOFFICIAL as they still need signage and need to be finally approved by people in the field. But if you absolutely need to get somewhere, this is what we recommend for now. IF you know other local roads, feel free to use them as the western–most detour is quite long. However, PennDOT always needs to provide official detours using state routes." These are PennDOT recommendations:
• Rte 4028 to Rte 29 for one segment.
• For another (western-most) Route 4011 to 4033 to 4020 to 4018 to 4015.
Sheila Brandon, the webmeister of the Lower Luzerne County site, provides this detour information "from one who lives it!"
• Take Mooretown Road (all the way to Route 29) or you can hang a right on Bronson road (dirt road) to Whitesell and come out just above Mountain Fresh
• Or take Grassy Pond Road to the Main Road of Sweet Valley but please note that the sides of the road are slowly disappearing (use caution and drive at a safe speed).
A second historic covered bridge over Huntington Creek was severely damaged from Wednesday's flood. The Josiah Hess Bridge is a few hundred feet off Winding Road, about a mile above the East and West Paden twin bridges. The bridge was in danger of collapse through Friday morning as a result of an heavily eroded abutment on the south side, downstream. The article written on this date is now found at the bottom of the FEATURES section.
We took pictures of the Josiah Hess bridge two hours after the twin bridges collapsed, with water abated by several feet. At that time the bridge did not show the damage because the abutment was under water.
We visited the bridge at 6:30 Friday.
A slight sag in the window is evident on the left of the bridge
Contributions can be sent to The Columbia County Covered Bridges Association, c/o Chris Young, 529 Zaner-Rohrsburg Road, Orangeville, PA 17859. Checks may be made out to "CCCBA."