March 31, 2007. Former Benton Schools sixth-grade teacher Martha Karns turns 94 today. Down in warm and sunny Florida, Dottie Ann Pollock celebrates her birthday. Joe and Emma Lou Savage have a 50th wedding anniversary today.
They were not huge crimes by modern standards, but they happened in our own backyard to "salt-of-the-earth" people and reputable business people, witnessed in part by a member of town council, and confirmed by solid members of the community. Each illegal act was properly reported to authorities as soon as it occurred during the mid-December spree.
Police have now charged Timmy Adam Junkins, 26, at the time a resident of the Hess Hotel, and Jamie Dorothy Gledhill, 25, Third Street, with the crimes, according to an article in the Friday edition of the Press Enterprise.
According to reports, the two stole a checkbook, credit cards and $500 in cash (from a car parked at the local post office and owned by Emma Lou Savage), then forged six checks totaling $682 to buy car tires (later returned in a damaged condition) from Shannon Tire and to purchase items from the Riverside Market.
The two were each charged with felony counts of forgery and criminal conspiracy to commit forgery. They were also charged with stealing from a car, receiving stolen property and related counts.
Saturday, May 5, 2007, from 2 to 5 PM, Greenwood Friends School Spring Exhibition Picnic and Auction. This should be an exciting, activity-filled day for families, friends and alumni, culminating in a live auction at 5 PM. Science, art, music, and poetry projects by GFS students will go on display. Bloomsburg University geology professor Michael Shepard, a Greenwood Friends School parent, will present information about a new astronomical observatory that is coming to the campus. Potluck picnic, cereal box derby, an ice cream making fundraiser and science project, and "make and take tables" featuring gliders, light and color, bottle rockets, and more. For more information, hear over to www.greenwood-friends.org/ .
We drove from west of Kansas City, Missouri, today, adding 921 miles to our trip. Son David and I are now in Geneseo, New York, and don't have an ounce of energy left for anything. It is time for bed.
March 29, 2007. This edition comes from outside of St. Louis, Missouri, following a rather uneventful day of travel from Amarillo, Texas, to Thursday night's stay on I-44, a distance of about 700 miles. Everything ran like clockwork, thanks to two new rear tires on the motor home.
Let's see if you remember any of these incidents in...
. June, 1963, when Frank Beishline, Stillwater, then Democratic candidate for Columbia County Register and Recorder and former Superintendent of Highways, got tangled in the power-take-off unit of a forage harvester at his farm. It ripped off his overcoat, a new wool jacket was torn into four pieces, and he lost his shirt and undershirt. He was treated for lacerations and bruises.
. 1953, when Pvt. Wayne B. McMichael, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jay McMichael, Stillwater, entered basic training in Camp Chaffee, Arkansas.
. 1917, when every eligible boy in the Agricultural department of the Benton Vocational School took part in the stock judging at the Bloomsburg Fair.
. 1834, when the people of the area known as Waller established what was known as a union church as a place of prayer and worship for the entire community. The church served the community for 90 years until 1924.
. November, 1953, when the old Waller school house was moved on rollers about the equivalent of two blocks to become an annex of the Waller Memorial Hall. W. A. Albertson, Bloomsburg, moved the old landmark on a 28-foot truck, aided by the "husky men of the community." The main part of the hall was the old union church which had set empty for about a third of a century. Arthur Cole chopped down a tree to make room for the school house building, and gets much of the credit for the building. The one-room school was the only school he ever attended. The combined buildings give the memorial hall a length of 60 feet. The dedication of the Waller Union Memorial Auditorium took place on Saturday, May 29, 1954. It was dedicated to those of the entire area who served their nation in time of crisis.
. November, 1960, when defective wiring caused a fire in the Hamline Church resulting in about $3,000 damage to the building. The fire started in the basement ceiling underneath the pulpit area and burned upward into the church sanctuary. Smoke damaged most area of the church and basement dining room. When the local firemen exhausted their source of water to fight the blaze, Foremost Dairies, Benton, sent one of their large milk tank trucks loaded with water to the scene.
Quote of the Day:
"Having a season at all will have to be its own victory."
--Tim Hare, a reporter for the Press Enterprise, writing about the Benton girl's softball team
Dave Dinsmore talked last summer with 92 year old Malcolm Hirleman who lives in Light Street, but as a child lived in the first house on the dirt road south of the bed and breakfast in Central that once was the store of Alfred Snyder. This road winds up through the hill lands and comes out on Route 118.
Malcolm remembered that he and his parents came to Hurley Shultz' blacksmith shop south of the village of Central the day Hurley activated his home electric plant about 1920. Many people stopped to watch the equipment being hooked up as this was one of the early installations around the area. This most exciting event was listening to the radio that the equipment representative brought with him. Several people were quite excited hearing the radio voices for the first time. Malcolm said it was real exciting for him as a four or five year-old kid.
It have may have been exciting at the time, but little did Hurley and Malcolm know what the future would bring once electricity made its inroads into our society and become integral to our modern life.
Consider the impact of electricity on appliances for the household and on housewives and on domestic servants. Suddenly the advent of electricity created a whole new world of employment for women, and decreased the need for low-paid domestic help. Suddenly manageable "electric servants" could handle the chores that servants once performed.
Electricity in the local area in the early 1900s was supplied by the Benton Light Heat and Power Company, but that company went under shortly after the McHenry Distillery folded in 1913.
In 1914, Benton was supplied with electricity by a company of which Charles Bellas was president and manager; C. B. Whitmire, vice president; G. L. Hess, secretary and treasurer. A concrete dam, 280 feet long, had been built by 1914 at the site of the old Swartwout mill, and the powerhouse contained a 75-kilowatt generator, operated by a 100-horsepower turbine. The Benton Electric Company provided electricity to Benton until the 1920s when it became the property of the Pennsylvania Power and Light Company.
The Pennsylvania Power & Light Company sold the building to Terrence Smith, who retained the water power.
The use of electricity suddenly allowed housewives to keep their homes clean, their appearance neat, and at the same time to enjoy leisure activities. Electricity was a way for the housewife to do her washing, ironing, toasting and vacuuming, in a lighted environment. Electricity was safe, clean, and efficient and seemed to emphasize the disadvantages of using its competitors of coal and gas. And it made for good conversation when old friends gathered to listen to radio for the first time...
Here is an update on Dick and Shirley Wenner. Dick has been transferred to HealthSouth, a rehab unit on the Geisinger campus; he is expecting to be released by next weekend (Easter). Shirley is still in ICU, with expectation that she will remain there for a month or more.
Cards and notes should be addressed to their home at 346 Zaners Bridge Road, Stillwater, PA 17878.
When Dick returns home, various volunteer opportunities will open up for short-term help with driving, lawn work, etc.; a schedule will be coordinated through the daughters, Millville Friends, and Home Health Services.
March 29, 2007. Happy 59th anniversary today to Albert & Jayne McCann, parents of Elizabeth Christian, Maple Grove. The McCanns moved to the local area about two years ago and now live with Dr. and Mrs. Christian.
On this day in 1973, the last American combat troops left Vietnam, thus ending the direct involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War.
Over the years, the last three days of March have developed a reputation for "going out like a lion," because of adverse weather. Old Scottish folklore has it that these three days were "borrowed from April" so that the month could maintain its nasty side for a few more days.
March borrow it from April
Three days, and they were ill:
The first was frost, the second was snaw, The third was cauld as ever't could blaw.
Here is a little ditty by Heinrich von Alkman as told by the bull in the tale of Reynard the Fox that is worth repeating...
March said to Aperill,
I see three hoggs* upon a hill,
And if you'll lend me dayes three,
I'll find a way to make them dee**.
The first o' them was wind and weet,
The second o' them was snaw and sleet,
The third o' them was sic a freeze,
It froze the birds' nebs to the trees:
When the three days were past and gane,
The three silly hoggs came hirpling hame***.
* Hogg, a sheep in its second year. Sir Walter Scott calls it "A young sheep before it has lost its first fleece."
*** Hirpling hame, limping home.
The 29th of March is going out like a lion where I am tonight, in Amarillo, Texas. We are in a tornado watch, a new event for me. I frankly have never seen the sky as black during the daytime as I saw Wednesday afternoon.
And why am I in Amarillo, you ask. Because we had a second tire blow-out on the motor home involving the same wheel in two days, just about 600 miles apart. Tuesday we had one on the 40 and limped to Kingman, Arizona. Wednesday, we had one several miles from the Texas border on the 40 in New Mexico, the same inside rear tire on the driver's side. The Fleetwood motor home and its tires have about 4,500 miles on it. We slowly drove about 79 miles with blown tire to the first tire store in Texas. We parked in front of a Goodyear tire store in Amarillo for the night and wrote this report from that location, while the motor home whipped in the driving rain and wind as we waited out the tornado advisory.
Our estimated mileage for the trip is 2,782. We have completed 1,192 miles, so we aren't even half way home.
Amarillo was founded in 1887, when the Santa Fe railroad line intersected with the Fort Worth and Denver line. It appears to be a lovely city, clean, prosperous, very Texan. For example, at dinner tonight in a cowboy "steak" restaurant, there was a picture of cowboys herding steers. The caption under the picture simply stated, "If you drink, don't drive."
Take the second annual GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test by heading to www.gmacinsurance.com/SafeDriving/2006/test.asp . The statistics are that one in 11 licensed drivers would fail a written drivers test if taken again today. Answer 20 questions taken from written state drivers tests, and you will be given your score at the end. Good luck!
March 28, 2007. Birthday greetings go out to Pat Meggs, Mary Ann Bankes and Peggy Follmer. Jeannie Walters celebrates her 82nd birthday up in Elk Grove.
The Benton Area Rodeo Association will be meeting at 7 PM at the Benton Township building on March 29.
This edition of the Benton News comes from deep in the heart of the American west, written at a speed of 65 miles per hour (the speed of the motor home in which we are riding, not the speed of my fingers trying to find the keys). We--son David and I--are on Interstate 40 east of Kingman, Arizona, heading for Flagstaff where we'll finally bed down for the night in the exciting front yard of the Wal-Mart.
The trip began in Santa Ynez, California, Tuesday morning about 8 under gray skies and traces of drizzle. I used the word "drizzle," since at the rate rain is falling--or isn't falling--the 2007 water year could go down in history as the third driest in Santa Barbara County since records of such things started being kept about 136 years ago.
Yesterday had its share of problems, starting with the handlebars of a bike which thrust themselves through one of the front windows of the horse trailer we are towing, followed by an unhealthy scrape on the tow hitch as we exited a gas station following a fill up of "cheap" $3.299 unleaded, regular gasoline. Our worst problems began on Interstate 40, which most simply abbreviate as I-40 or "the 40." We got on the 40 for 155 miles heading east from Route 15 in Barstow, California, to the Arizona border and we could follow the interstate to Wilmington, North Carolina--but we won't. In fact, we were very happy to get out of Needes, California, and Kingman, Arizona, and getting off the 40 has become a goal of ours.
The tread on an inside left rear tire on the motor home inconveniently separated about 50 miles from the Mojave Valley, which straddles the California-Arizona border. We limped up the interstate as if we were trying out for a new highway mileage record before the tire blew. Thanks to AAA, we finally found A+ Tire Repair, a side-of-the-road AutoCare Center specializing in getting helpless souls through the Mojave Desert. We couldn't help noticing that the tire store/gas station sold regular, unleaded gasoline at $3.599 a gallon. We cast looks at each other as the "tire specialist" rough-locked at removing what he called "beauty rings" from the wheel hub. We considered walking down the road for something to eat while the tire was being repaired, but the only restaurant we could find was called "Munchies," a truck stop, and we decided we were not all that hungry. Our concerns were not over.
I had taken this trip on I-40 several times before, always loving the back roads paralleling I-40. I especially loved historic Route 66. This was my first stop in the town named after "The Needles," a group of pointed rocks on the Arizona side of the river, once frequented by Mohave Indians. The city of Needles was founded in 1883 as a result of the construction of the railroad, which crosses the Colorado at this point. My last trip through Needles was in the summer, when extreme heat of 120°F tests the ability and capacity of an automobile's air conditioning. On July 17, 2005, the high temperature at Needles was 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
Consider how hot the Joad family in John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath must have been when they stopped in Needles as they entered California. Charles Schulz, creator of Peanuts, lived in Needles as a boy. The Grapes of Wrath was filmed here in 1940.
Oh, and I did mention Kingman, didn't I. We stopped in Kingman about 9 PM for something to eat. It was David's first trip to a Cracker Barrel restaurant, and through no fault of theirs it may be his last. David said he didn't do it and I didn't do it and the dogs aren't talking, but someone locked all the doors on the motor home and we had to call a locksmith to get out of the freezing night air and back into the motor home. The lady locksmith arrived in a tee shirt and a no-nonsense mood and had the two of us, chilled to the bone, inside in short order.
Goodness! We have three more days of this. Getting Back Home in Benton, PA, sounds better all the time...
March 27, 2007. Celebrating birthdays today are Robert Sands, Jr. and Shirley T. McHenry. Jean Foust turns 70 today. Sarah Vaughan, "The Divine One," was born on this day. She sang Misty, Tenderly, All of Me, and had a range of four octaves, as wide as an opera singer.
On this date in...
• 1912, First Lady Helen (Nellie) Taft, wife of President William Howard Taft, and the wife of the Japanese Ambassador planted the first two cherry trees in Washington, DC. The trees were Yoshino cherries, and are breathtakingly beautiful this time of year.
• 1884, the first long-distance telephone call was made. Managers of the American Bell Telephone Company in Boston called their counterparts in New York City.
• 1512, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon sighted Florida.
• 1794, President Washington and Congress authorized creation of the U.S. Navy.
• 1973, The Godfather won the Academy Award for best picture of 1972, and Liza Minnelli won best actress for Cabaret.
• 1965, south central Alaska was rocked by a great earthquake releasing over twice the energy of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Extensive coastal damage resulted from submarine landslides and tsunamis.
There is a free online books page at http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/lists.html, a free searchable collection of over 18,000 English works. Other free e-book sites are
•Project Gutenberg at www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page
• The Free Ebook Ligrary for the University of Virginia at http://etext.virginia.edu/ebooks/
• Page by Page books at www.pagebypagebooks.com/
The Postal Service's "forever" stamp goes on sale April 12 at 41¢. The rate for first-class postage rises to 41 cents May 14. The image on the stamp is of the Liberty Bell. The stamp, which will carry the word "Forever" instead of a price, will remain valid for sending a letter, no matter how much rates go up in the future.
Debbie (Fritz) Dowen told us about a movie web site for parents that give them an overview of the movie as well as parental information (violence, sexual content, etc.) The site is www.screenit.com. There is a fee for current movies but older movies are free.
So what does Emily Post (October 27, 1873-September 25, 1960), a United States author who promoted proper etiquette, have to do with Col. Robert Bruce Ricketts? Now there is a question that we know you were dying to ask.
Emily Price was born in Baltimore, the only daughter of architect Bruce Price and his wife Josephine Lee Price. Bruce Price (December 12, 1845–May 29, 1903), architect of many of the Canadian Pacific Railway's Château-type stations and hotels invented, patented, and built the parlor bay-window cars for the Pennsylvania Railroad. He practiced from 1873 to 1876 in Wilkes-Barre and built a home for the Murray Reynolds family in 1873. Colonel Robert B. Ricketts, a hero of the Battle of Gettysburg, a lumber baron, and early conservationist, the man who donated Ricketts' Glen State Park to the people of Pennsylvania, once lived in the house.
Bruce Price married Josephine Lee. Their daughter, Emily Price, wrote books on etiquette under the name Emily Post. She was educated at home and at Miss Graham's finishing school in New York. She married society banker Edwin Main Post in 1892 and had two sons, Edwin M. Jr. (1893) and Bruce Price (1895).
Emily wrote the book Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home, and authored a column on good manners. She founded The Emily Post Institute which her daughter Elizabeth Post later headed. The spokesperson is now great-granddaughter-in-law Peggy Post who still writes etiquette advice for Good Housekeeping magazine.
Some of the projects Price took on influenced an architect by the name of Frank Lloyd Wright. Price was the architect who designed which are now owned by Wilkes University and are known as Ruflin Hall and Bedford Hall. Wilkes University acquired the former South River Street Ricketts home in 1989. You can learn more about Col. Ricketts by reading the FEATURES section of the Benton News, www.bentonnews.net .
Our "Southern Connection," Janice Dietrich, told us about McDonald's "Mickey D's Sweet Tea," sold in parts of the east and heavily in the South, but not in Hernando County, Florida, an area too "Yankee" to enjoy the delightful sweet taste of Southern tea. You see, the farther north you go in Florida, the more "Southern" the area becomes. The south is redefining "Southern." Well, yes, Hernando County does have its magnolias, cracker houses, Spanish moss, seersucker suits in the summer, and Southern belles, but draws the line on Mickey D's Sweet Tea.
Janice also told us that the South is really "embroiled" in other major issues. Besides the Mickey-D iced tea dilemma, other major problem area include a 76-year old retired Boston fireman/Cost Guard retiree battling with the board of his gated community over his colorful language in public and crossing a residential double line to pass a 7 mph golf cart.
An elementary school teacher is in a feud over another elementary school teacher touching her with a brown envelope as they passed her and said hello, and then letting the sleeve of her blouse touch her as she passed her in a doorway. So, it's to court over this incident. Makes me glad that I am from Back Home in Benton, PA, where we don't have worries like this.
Actually, my biggest worry of the day is to stay between the lines. Son David and I head east toward Geneseo, New York, this morning from Santa Ynez, California, in a packed-to-the-gills motor home towing a similarly loaded horse trailer filled with everything but horses. The horses actually arrived in New York State Monday following a week-long trip by tractor trailer. Although three mares were pregnant, they made it fine.
It appears as though this trip will be my fastest trip across the United States in a motor home, and may very well set records for having the most ever sleep with me at one time. I'll be sharing my bed with one neurotic cat who thinks it is a dog, and with four dogs, one of which is completely blind. The little blind Shiatsu didn't start life without the ability to see. Although she knows she is a dog, she also sometimes thinks she is a horse and loves to climb in the pens with the gentle Icelandic horses. For reasons she never explained, the little dog got kicked in the eye and lost her vision. The kick in the head also caused some head alterations and she gradually took on the adopted name "Monster." Her problems didn't end there. "Bear," a 110-pound German Sheppard, who thought she was agile as a cat, made the mistake of stepping on Monster's head one night and the little dog lost the sight in her other eye. Monster is 14 and is one of the family. It will be an interesting trip.
March 26, 2007. There are 87 days rema ining until the official start of summer. Please keep Elizabeth Christian in your prayers today as she faces surgery.
Pennsylvania's unemployment rate for February was 4%, compared with the national unemployment average for the month of 4.5%.
Didja hear about little Johnnie making coffee for his grandmother? He surprised her one morning by bringing her a cup of coffee which he had proudly made by himself. The grandmother had never had such a horrible cup of coffee, but would have no part of telling Johnnie. As the last sip finally was reached, she noticed three little green army figures in the bottom of the cup. Johnnie quickly explained that it was like on television, the best part of waking up is soldiers in your cup.
Karen Boback of the Pennsylvania 117th Congressional District was one of the 265 who stopped at the Benton Volunteer Fire Company Sunday morning during their monthly buckwheat cake and sausage breakfast. Dr. Boback will begin monthly meetings on the first floor of the fire hall in the near future. Her constituents are very pleased that she is so accessible and interested in our community.
PPL Electric Utilities is at the top for business customer satisfaction of all the electric utilities in the Eastern United States sayeth J. D. Power and Associates.
Talk about a small world. Jamie Watts, the youngest son of Jeff Watts, came home from soccer practice in Germany with the news that one of his coaches was from Benton: Tom Pollack. Tom's family once lived on Main Street, on Park Street, on Everitt Street and also in the big house at the former 4G farm beside the Mill Race Golf Course. Jeff was an assistant coach at Benton in 1983 when Tom played. And what is Geraldine Laubach up to, you ask? She spent Saturday in Brussels. Nice life!
Some readers may have missed it as we did, so it is worth mentioning that Thomas Arlington Bigler (June, 4, 1921-March 2, 2007), professor emeritus and pioneer in local broadcast news, died March 2 in the Heritage House Hospice in Wilkes-Barre. He was 85. Bigler served as News Director with WILK-AM radio, WNEP-TV, and WBRE-TV before retiring in 1986. He then joined the Wilkes University communication studies program as its endowed chair and professor of journalism.
As I rode out of town Sunday in my trusted steed made by the folks at Jeep, I cast a glance at Ed Cole's Barber Shop. My mind wandered back to earlier in the week when I had a spirited conversation about who the Republicans would nominate and who the Democrats would nominate in the upcoming Presidential election. Although my poll is grossly unscientific, I would say that about half said they didn't much like any of the top three Republican candidates because they were not conservative enough. The other half of the shop didn't say a word, which lead me to believe they (a) didn't give a hoot who was nominated, or (2) didn't know who the top three candidates were, or (c) were Democrats and didn't much like their choice of candidates, either. I didn't know any of the customers in the shop, and I had to think the situation was somewhat akin to when saddle-weary strangers rode into town on their trusted steed in days of yore, then headed straight for the sign of the bloodstained pole.
These dirty, suntanned, bewhiskered strangers would soon be bathed and shaved and smelling like they just came out of a French establishment. In the process, the customer would have had his boots shined and his moustache curled. Some barber shops even threw in a mug of beer, although subsequent mugs were on the plus side of full retail. Politics would be cussed and discussed, as well as local employment opportunities and the best guess of everyone in the barber shop as to what the coming days would bring, weather wise. He even learned where he could spend the night.
Ever since Delilah got snipping around with the locks of Sampson's hair, there have been many rules about clean-shaven or shaggy faces, short or long hair, and even who would carve away when surgery was required. For centuries after the birth of Christ, priests and monks were the most educated group in society and bloodletting was an accepted cure for diseases. The clergy were the first to practice "phlebotomy" or bleeding and they also ran what would now pass as the first pharmacy stores. The monks couldn't handle the whole load themselves, so they hired young barbers to keep their heads shaved and since certain aspects of letting blood was on the messy side the barbers were soon told where to carve when surgery was required. All that changed with the council of Tours in 1163, when blood letting was defined as sacrilegious. With that, the barbers up and left the side of the monks and priests, establishing their own blood letting business, which combined with bleeding, hair cutting, the pulling of teeth and most minor surgery. George Washington much later bled to death as he counted his pulse after suffering a windpipe infection and a subsequent blood-letting exercise.
His pole with pewter basin hung
Black rotten teeth in order strung.
Rang cups that in the window stood
Lined with red rags to look like blood
Did well his threefold trade explain
Who shaved, drew teeth and breathed a vein.
--Author unknown, but believed to be from the 1700s
If we leap ahead to the half century between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of World War I, we can tell from the photographs of the period that we share on the pages of the Benton News that men were suddenly prim and proper. The nation entered the "Victorian Age." Barber shops stayed open Sunday mornings and the finery of the women and the lather on the faces of the men indicated a desire to look their best. A trip to the barber shop was then as it is now a social occasion for the men and in numerous towns there were actually more barber shops than saloons. In 1880, for example, the official estimates of the number of barbers in the nation totaled 45,000.But alas for the barbers. A fellow by the name of Gillette came up with something that took the name of "safety razor." The colorful shaving mugs and the brushes were cast aside, as well as the wonderful smell of fu-fu juice liberally applied to the head and neck following a shave. As time went on, some--gasp--ladies were seen cutting men's hair which was about as popular then as the concept of voting for a female was in the barber shop earlier this week.
March 25, 2007. Today is the birthday of Sandra Kelsey Hess who celebrates with sculptor John Gutzon Borglum, born in 1867. He carved the faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt on Mt. Rushmore National Memorial.
The article in the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star (Virginia) Saturday was about Columbia County, but we especially enjoyed the part that talked about Benton. It read, in part, "Whoever said America is homogenized was wrong. Consider the trout-shaped sign in a restaurant of Benton, Pa., which reads: 'When the speed of life gets you low on energy, tank up at the old filling station. Eat, drink and shoot the breeze.' That's Benton, home to Fishing Creek and evidently a place enjoyed by fishermen and hunters. The old filling station has been refurbished into a restaurant, but suburbanization has missed the town and its main street. That's the charm. Sure, central Pennsylvania has its suburbs and malls, but visitors can enjoy sights and pleasures distinct to the region."
Nothing makes me happier than a good movie, but I get upset with many movie reviews; i.e., they are not writing a review I can understand, the writer is arrogant and opinionated and probably never saw a movie that he liked. I have friends whose movie reviews I trust. If they like the movie, I know that I will like the movie. That is one of the reasons I rely on an internet site called "Spout," which can be found at www.spout.com/ . The Spout site has a community of users who both discuss and review movies, old and new. Give it a try the next time you are choosing a movie on the big screen on DVD.
A reader, responding to Saturday's article about children's names, asked if I had heard about the story of the man who had five children. As he told it, first "come three boys, then a girl, then another boy." So he named them Matthew, Mark, Luke, Ann, John.
The work of Diane Wolfgang Derr, a talented artist who once lived on Upper Raven Creek Road, Benton Township, is often viewed at the Town Perk, Bloomsburg. Those who know the Main Street coffeehouse known as the "Town Perk" will remember the painting on the back wall of the hand of God giving the spark of life to Adam. Diane has painted in local residences, as well as in commercial establishments throughout Columbia County.
Diane brings her talented brushes to the local area this spring as she paints a mural approximately 13' high by 20' wide in the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center (N4C). The mural will be of a historical nature depicting the countryside and items and events of significance in the history of the upper Fishingcreek Valley. As envisioned, the mural will sweep from the west to the east, covering from the Friends Meeting House in Millville, through the Townships of Benton, Fishingcreek and Jackson and the Boroughs of Benton and Stillwater, extending to the east to the New Columbus Academy. Diane expects that the mural will take a month to complete.
Diane was given the job of painting the mural because of her fine reputation and good recommendations from previous customers. A rough draft of the mural will be available for the next board meeting. Following the draft will come a full color sketch which will also allow for changes. The mural will then be painted. We look forward to the completion of the building and the completion of the mural.
Just because I write daily articles about Back Home in Benton, PA, that doesn't make me an authority on anything in the local area. Readers often think it does, however. Emails pour in and I try to answer them when I can muster up the time, but if the email looks suspicious--if the writer's name does not appear in the "From" column, or if there is no subject of the email, or if my SPAM alarm goes off--I usually toss them without opening or reading. Yesterday I was very behind on reading emails and my little finger was tired from hitting the "delete" key and I was in one of my grouchy moods. I decided to open an email that "might have been or might not have been" SPAM. It was a very real email. The writer wanted to know if Benton was a healthy place to live. I quickly replied that the area is very healthy. I told the writer that when I came here, I didn't have the strength to say a single word, didn't have any hair on my head, couldn't walk across the room, even with help. I had to be lifted in and out of bed. I wonder how long it will take the writer to realize that I was born here.
I suspect that one of Father's favorite words would come into play if he knew that I had pulled that stunt. The word was "kibosh," often used in discussions with Mother involving his youngest son. A typical use would be "I'll put the kibosh on that right now." There would be no further discussion on that subject again that night. The term was also used to directly rebuke someone, as when someone had put the kibosh on something and therefore rendering it incapable of completion or execution.
Our reports will become somewhat sketchy for the next week as we head for California by airplane and then turn right around and drive back across the United States. When I told a friend of my upcoming travel schedule, which included California, she gushed that "California is terrific. When you go there don't miss it!" I'll be traveling to California alone and will drive with my son back to New York state. This is the first trip in years that I haven't felt like Noah. When Kay and I travel together, somehow we seem to take two of everything!
Jack E. Monroe, (April 4, 1941-March 24, 2007), 65, Sones Hollow Road, Benton, Jackson Township, a wildlife artist, died Saturday at the Geisinger Medical Center, Danville. Born in Lightstreet, he was a son of the late James Monroe, Sr. and Thelma (Crawford) Monroe. He attended the former Scott High School and last year was inducted into the Central Columbia Sports Hall of Fame for soccer. Jack had worked in the Maintenance Department of the Red Rock Job Corps for 13 years, retiring in 2004. Surviving is his wife, Mary E. (DeWire) Monroe and his sons Thomas E. Baker (Kathleen), Rohrsburg, and Randall L. Monroe (Jill), Pennsdale. There are three grandchildren. There are also two brothers, James Monroe, Jr., (Doris), Lightstreet, and Frank Monroe (Linda), Lightstreet. A sister, Ann Hock (Richard), Mt. Pleasant, also survives. A Celebration of Life Service will be held Thursday, March 29, at noon at the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc., Benton, with visitation preceding. A luncheon and a time of fellowship will be held for his family and friends at the Raven Creek Memorial Hall. Burial will be private and at the convenience of the family in the Raven Creek Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to the Raven Creek Presbyterian Church, c/o Connie Wech, PO Box 296, Benton, PA 17814.
Hazel I. Ertwine (January 15, 1944-March 22, 2007), 63, Goshen, Indiana, passed away Thursday after a short illness. She was the daughter of Dorman and Grace Kocher and was born in Pittsburgh. Hazel graduated from Benton High School as a member of the class of 1961 and dreamed of coming back to Benton when she retired. She spent most of her working career in the drapery industry where she made many friends. Two infant children predeceased Hazel. She is survived by her daughter, Jodi Ertwine, Goshen. There are also eight siblings: Jay Kocher (Linda) Hockessin, Delaware; Ronald Kocher (Joan), Middletown, DE; Dorman Kocher (Jackie) Harrington, DE; Beth Baker (Fred) Bethel Park, PA; John Kocher (Connie) Bloomsburg; Lynn Biscan (Phil) Goshen; Danny Kocher, Anchorage, Alaska; and Wayne Kocher (Kate) Benton. A viewing will be held at the Swanson Funeral Home, 2386 State Road 118, Hunlock Creek, on Monday from 6 to 9 PM. Burial will be Tuesday at 10 AM from the funeral home, then moving to the Kocher Cemetery at Harvey Lake. The family requests that in lieu of flowers consideration be given to making donations in Hazel’s name to either the Goshen General Hospital, 200 High Park Ave, Goshen or to the Bible Baptist Church, 250 Shickshinny Hill Road, Benton, PA 17814.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will be published in Monday's Press Enterprise.
March 24, 2007. Today is the wedding anniversary of Richard and Tracy Fritz and Bob Sagar and Tanya Boston-Sagar. Celebrating birthdays today are Drew Bower and Bob Lewis (72).
In addition to the fare served at our local, fine restaurants, there is good eating tonight at the ham supper at the Sweet Valley Fire Hall from 4:30 to 6:30ish and a roast beef dinner at the Lightstreet Fire Co., beginning at 4 PM.
On the internet...
• It may be that we have been a little racy lately, or perhaps it was our comment that we don't like mushrooms in our egg foo yong, or maybe it was because I compared China's "Wangfujing Street" to Narragansett (Rhode Island). For whatever reason, the Benton News is banned in China thanks to the "Great Firewall of China,"
www.greatfirewallofchina.org/test/ . If you would like to know what the Chinese are allowed to read on the internet, turn to www.china.org.cn/english/index.htm .
• Do you like word games? Try Babble, listed as "The Ultimate Word Game." You can find it at www.playbabble.com/ .
When I was a kid in elementary school, there were certain names that were so popular that at least one of that name seemed to be in every class. We would call them Helen and Helen Ann, or Theodore and Ted, or Robert E. and Bob. These systems avoided the type of mess-up we experienced when a local fellow named all his hounds "Bob," so that when Bob was called all the Bobs in the pack came running.
Mother often said "What goes around, comes around," an obvious reference to the changing world in which she found herself. The names "Jacob" and "Joshua" now rank right at the top of the list of most popular names, while for the newly born girls the names "Emily," "Abigail," and "Emma" are the most popular. Take a look at the list at www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/ for the popular baby names, just updated by the folks at Social Security in January, 2007
These are names that we find in researching names from generations prior to ours, recycled again. What goes around, comes around. But these are not names that were popular when I was growing up. What happened to "Agnes," "Mildred," "Larue," "Viola," Edmund" and "Melvin?" Names that were popular in my generation were replaced by new names, and now the old names are coming back. What is old is new. Back in 1900, the two most popular names were John and Mary. The year I entered the world, the two most popular names were "Robert" and "Mary."
And where are the Susans and the Lindas, the Debbies, the Eva Maes?" Linda has dropped down to #416 on the most popular girls’ name list. Susan checks in at #609 and Deborah has dropped all the way to #662. Eva Mae doesn’t even make the top 1,000 and probably isn't on the next 1,000 list either.
What names could possibly replace traditional favorites like Stanley (#571), Verda (which isn't even in the top 1000 names for any year of birth in the last 15 years) and Brenda (#201) in the top one hundred?
For kids born this year, there is a good chance their name will be Isabella, Ashley or Christopher. For several years, Emily has been the most popular name for baby girls while Jacob (or Jakob) leads the list for boys as parents return to old-fashioned names. Back in 1917, Emily dropped from the most popular list and didn’t return until 1974. Since that time, Emily—a name once associated with an American poet and fragile 19th century poets—has been making a beeline for the top spot on the list.
According to the list of popular baby names, chances are slim that a sonogram this year will depict a Madelyn, Ursula or Zane. Jacob is old-fashioned to the point of being Old Testament and so are Michael, Joshua, Matthew, Ethan, Andrew, Daniel, Christopher and Joseph. Gone are the names of offspring of the free spirits of the 1970s and the 1080s, names like Sierra and Cheyenne and Chastity and Gypsy.
What goes around, comes around. We are back with Abigail and Olivia, names that your grandmother would have felt comfortable with, names that bring into focus special relatives.
Nationally, the name "Emma" is a fascinating name, although it was never the most popular in the local area. We can only think of one Emma graduate in our local school system, and she had the name "Lou" following her name to give special emphasis. Back in the 1880s, Emma was the third most popular name for girls in the country, but started a downhill slide as the turn of the century approached. The name had fallen out of the top one hundred by the time 1942 arrived. Emmas were starting to get scarce. Emma continued downhill in popularity until 1976 when it dropped to #463 on the baby girl name list. But what goes around, comes around. Emma started back up the popularity pole in 1982 when she climbed to #412. Emma reached #130 by 1990 and by 2000 Emma was up to #17. In 2002, the new baby on the television show Friends was named Emma and on Thursday, October 3, 2002, in an episode entitled "the One where Emma Cries," the adoring nation pushed the name Emma into the top ten and it has been number two since 2005.
Oh, well. The name "David" has been slipping, too. David has dropped from 8th place fifteen years ago to 14th today. Odd. Did anyone mention that in the Bible David is revered as the most powerful king of Israel during biblical times? Do you think that is because there are no records of David anywhere outside of the Bible? Oh, well, I am glad that I was named David, since that is what everyone calls me.
March 23, 2007. Happy anniversary to Alice and Gary Strauch and happy birthday to Alice Strauch and Bob Campbell. Jim Edson is 85 today, although he told us during a phone call to where he and his wife, Pat, are staying in Florida he thought that he was "83 or so," and that he "no longer celebrates birthdays." We'll spend a little time remembering Jim, his father, Frank, and his grandfather, Charles A. Edson.
The late Charles A. Edson was deaf. His one son, Robert, had greatly reduced hearing capacity. His other son, Frank, was "stone deaf" by 1930. Frank had two deaf nieces. Frank somewhat overcame the problem by lip-reading. Frank never considered himself handicapped nor did he expect or want sympathy. He once tried a hearing aid but said the noise and confusion were too distracting and he "just wasn't patient enough" to stick with it.
In his freshmen year at Penn State, Frank had the job of ringing bells to designate the end of each class and in return was allotted a rent-free study and bedroom. Between his sophomore and junior years, he was offered a job on the Pennsylvania Railroad, as a fireman on a locomotive that hauled coal from Pottsville to Philadelphia, returning with perishables. The train took from 10 to 16 hours going down, counting the loading and unloading of the coal, and eight hours back. The fireman was expected to work straight through, and had to make special application to the railroad in advance in order to get eight hours off. Frank saved all the wages he earned that summer and with it earned enough to pay for his final two years of college. He claimed he learned a lot he might never have known by working with the engineers--how to operate a locomotive, what some of the special problems were and how to chew tobacco!
Frank built his own home freezer using a marine plywood frame to withstand moisture, and insulated it with buckwheat hulls. It ran off a 1/4 horsepower electric motor, and in those days he claimed his total operating cost was $1.25 for six months. He later built the same type of freezer for Dayne and Ruth Kline at their farm below town.
In 1971, after Frank's first wife Ruth died, he married a widow and longtime friend of the family, Grace Hartman, instantly giving him four step-children: Jerrie Appleman, Dayne, Buddy and Tom Hartman. Frank's son, Jim, whose birthday we celebrate today, ran the C. A. Edson & Sons plumbing business with sons Frank and Phillip for many years until Phillip pursued a career with electricity rather than plumbing. The plumbing business finally closed under the name C. A. Edson and Sons, after operating since 1890.
Helen Snyder, who tells us she is "79¾ years old," worked for Frank Edson as a home-health aide, thanks to Jenet Vance and Jim Edson hiring her as she helped with Frank's health care in his declining years. Helen remembers that "Frank was a perfect gentleman through all phases of his care," remembering that she was the only daily help, although rehabilitation personnel did help out. Frank didn't much like the rehab people. Helen remembers that he would "throw stuff across the room while they were there."
Jim Edson became a member of Painter Den club in November, 1954, and along with his father, also a member of the club, took care of all the plumbing and most of the electricity issues for the cabin. Both men worked long hours in the plumbing trade, and valued their time when they could be "on the mountain." Many in the local area remember riding to Painter Den with Frank and Jim for a few hours away from work--except that they worked every minute they were there!
Please keep Vernon and Noreen McDormand in your prayers. Noreen says she will "soon be 88" and "has a few more things she would like to accomplish in this life," but she is currently in the hospital awaiting a decision on future course of events. At this writing, it is expected that she may be released today, pending a decision on the need for surgery. Son Ken and daughters Dorothy and Fran are with her.
Keep Max Hartman in your prayers, too. Max was operated on for prostate cancer Monday at the Duke University Hospital, and the operation was considered a success with all the cancer removed, but he had to return to the hospital. He may be released for the second time tomorrow.
One-room schools and country churches are always of interest to local residents, but many of us never give it much thought as to why. The tiny hamlets that dot our hills and valleys were noted for respectability, for family life and for a hard life for women. With a family in bygone days came a sense of isolation, a need for perpetual work, both in the home and in the fields, until exhaustion and old age overtook the women of the family. Bruce Kile told a few days ago of a relative who had 20 children--but it took three wives to accomplish that. The mothers in all these families had a common objective--her children would lead a better life than she and her husband had. While the husband intended for the boy children to follow in his footsteps, the mother rarely wanted that to happen. She could endure the rigors of the fields, the never-ending chores of the barn, the constant worry about money and food and the evils that always tempted her children--but she would never consider letting her children go uneducated. She always had the goal of a better eventual life.
And so the schools became an important element in the early days of our area--schools that basically were of the one-room variety, filled with six-year old students memorizing their McGuffey reader sitting next to a nineteen-year old who somehow just didn't quite seem to get it--with children of all ages in between.
Calling what the teachers earned a salary was a joke. The teachers earned up to $600 a year, while most only earned a few hundred. Rules for the teachers were mind-boggling, especially for women. The women were expected not to keep company with men, and were often told they were to be in their houses from 8 PM to 6 AM. Women teachers were expected not to marry, and many turned out to be "old-maid" schoolteachers because their contract specified that if they did get married during the school year their employment contract would be null and void. Bright colors were forbidden, coloring of their hair was out, they needed to wear at least two petticoats and keep their dresses not more than two inches about their ankles. There was no lipstick or mascara. The women who taught were almost puritanical in their dress
For these and other reasons, teachers were hard to come by and without a doubt some teachers were hired who were just a cut above the students they were hired to teach. But for the most part, local one-room school teachers are now remembered as being good teachers, contributing greatly to the children's education.
Many older readers will have heard of these teachers from 1911. In Sugarloaf Township was Prof. A.S. Fritz as the principal and Effie Edwards as his assistant. At Jamison City, Emory VanSickle taught grammar and Ida Smith the primary department.
Other schools and teachers for the year 1911 were Central, Bessie Steen; Elk Grove, Fred Stout; Dewey, Ellis Sutliff; Diltz, Warren Kile; West Creek, John Kelsey; Fritz Hill, Mrs. Florence Laubach; Coles Creek, Lulu Gibson; Moores, Sarah Parks.
In Benton Township, there were seven one-room schools: Pine Grove, Ada Hartman; Forks, Edna Pealer; Dodson, Mrs. Carola Fritz; Davis, Blanche Shultz; West Creek, Mary Butt; Welliver, Ethel Hartman, and Maple Grove, Susie Shultz. In Jackson Township there were four schools: Pine Grove, Rev. E.E. Haney; Waller, E.B. Beishline; Chestnut Grove, Julia Yocum; and Green Creek, Fannie Harris. Back Home in Benton, PA, Ray Appleman had just resigned as principal to attend the Bloomsburg Normal School "to improve his ability as a school head."
With the difficulties of the modern world, we have to wonder how in a one-room school discipline was handled and how the teachers coped with students of so many backgrounds and differing ages. These teachers were a tough lot but determined to follow the lead laid down twenty-five hundred years ago by Euripides.
Quote of the Day:
"Whoso neglects learning in his youth
Loses the past and is dead for the future."
--Euripides (c. 480–406 BC)
March 22, 2007. Happy birthday today to John Geffken, Patricia Petersen, Rachel Crispel and Michael Bath.
Louis Dearborn LaMoore was born in North Dakota on this date in 1908, the last of seven children. Well disciplined, he loved to write and started his day each morning, seven days a week, by pounding out pulp-fiction, often working on several different stories at the same time. He even wrote a handful of Hopalong Cassidy novels. Louis often met cowboys as they came through the Dakota Territory on the Northern Pacific Railroad, traveling to market from their ranches in the western part of the North Dakota or Montana. He eventually shifted over to writing western stores and eventually wrote more than a hundred under the name Louis L'Amour. Once L'Amour was typing rapidly at the typewriter, and his young daughter asked why he was writing so fast?" L'Amour answered, "Because I want to see how the story turns out!"
I am anxious to see how my story turns out next week, too. I picked up three audio CDs Tuesday from the Columbia County Traveling Library for diversion as I drive across the United States next week with son David, one of which was by L'Amour, the West's best-selling storyteller.
Son David and daughter-in-law Heidi are moving from California to a horse farm south of Rochester, New York. So far, they have shipped a car, most of their household effects, they pulled one horse trailer across the country, and Monday their horses were packed like sardines in a tractor-trailer and shipped. Today, tractors and grooming equipment will be loaded on a tractor-trailer truck and shipped.
What is left is a motor home, a small horse trailer, four dogs and one cat. There were two cats until yesterday, but with all the excitement of what was going on the cat got out of the house and was trampled to death by a horse at a neighboring ranch, which created a sad time in Santa Ynez. The cat was apparently trying to find "her" horses.
On Sunday, I'll drive to Geneseo, New York, and spend the night. On Monday, I'll fly from Rochester to Los Angeles and spend the night with cousin Dan McGarigle. Tuesday, I'll head up the 101 for Santa Ynez, help load the horse trailer and the motor home, then turn around and head east with the motor home, the horse trailer loaded to the gills, four dogs and one cat. It will be very similar to Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the Farm, a 1951 movie in which the Kettles leave their ultra modern home and return to the country looking for uranium. Nothing radioactive shows up except Pa's war-surplus overalls. I expect that news will be sparse next week!
In girl's Class A basketball, Bishop Guilfoyle defeated the Queenswomen of Bishop O'Reilly 46 to 34. Bishop O'Reilly was the team that defeated our local team. The Marauders of Bishop Guilfoyle advanced to the Class A finals against North Catholic, scheduled for noon Saturday at Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center.
The Fishing Creek Femme Fatale Chapter of the Red Hat Society gathered Wednesday at the Market Square Restaurant for a luncheon followed by several games of bingo in which prizes were won. It was a fun time. Their next gathering will be April 18 at noon at the Benton United Methodist Church. A catered buffet will be served including baked tortellini, meatballs, salad, rolls, two types of fruit cobbler, coffee and tea for $9.95, including gratuity.
Alanna Bath, Bendertown, will perform in Benjamin Britten's comic chamber opera Albert Herring in a full-staged opera with chamber orchestra. Alanna was cast as Lady Billows for the Friday night performance April 13. The performance begins at 7:30 PM, in Music Building I, Esber Hall, Penn State University. Seating is limited to 300 people and tickets are $14 per person. Tickets are available at the Eisenhower Ticket Center [814-863-0255 or 1-800-ARTS-TIX] or online at www.cpa.psu.edu .
For readers who routinely use Microsoft Word and need to made simple calculations within the program, consider adding the "Tools Calculate" command to the toolbar so that if you need to add numbers the calculator is in the program and you won't need to go to another program. To add the Tools Calculate item to the toolbar, click the Tools menu within the Word program and click Customize. Select the Commands tab. Under the list of Categories, click All Commands. Under the list of Commands, click ToolsCalculate. Drag the ToolsCalculate command to the toolbar. Click Close. To use the command, select a series of numbers in your document (horizontally or vertically). Click the Tools Calculate button that now appears on the toolbar. The sum of the numbers will be displayed in the status bar.
March 21, 2007. Happy birthday today to Doretha Mather and George Houseweart. This winter has been something. My car won't start running and my nose won't stop. Luckily, Frank Gough runs down the snowfall amounts for the immediate Benton area and here are the totals he recorded for the season so far...
March so far
We are in pretty good shape, since our seasonal average is around 45 inches and we didn't get our first measurable snow until very late December
Didja know that Lycoming County is larger than the State of Rhode Island? Didja know that George Washington designed and built a 16-sided barn? Didja know that the Madona Inn in San Luis Obispo, California, features rooms made from solid rock, including some that weigh an estimated two hundred tons? Didja know that New Year's Day was celebrated in England and in this country on March 25 until September, 1752? Didja know that the sewing machine was the first item ever offered for sale on the installment plan? Didja know that the first automobile to cross the U.S. traveled 900 miles without meeting another automobile? Didja know that the Columbia County Historical & Genealogical Society has 580 members?
The Columbia County Traveling Library Bookmobile had 15 kids and parents reading and dreaming and borrowing when I dropped in yesterday at Riverside Market. There was a smile on every face!
We'll share two stories today. The first involves a child who loves to see the fish at the Fishingcreek Sportsmen's Association stream beside the Mill Race Golf Course. We told you the other day about Mary Shaw, Orangeville, bringing her children to see the fish, only to find that the severe winter weather had kept the handful of volunteers from bagging the fish food. Clair Harvey promised to get the bagging started again. Mary now tells me that "the kids are really happy!" In fact, Mary was so pleased that she promised to "get a membership from the Fishingcreek Sportsmen's Association so I am aware when they need help. My daughter is always looking for volunteer work and surely would be able to bag fish food."
Many readers may not have heard of Mount Joe Palooka monument on Route 309 between Wilkes-Barre and Mountaintop. A plaque of granite shows a carved relief portrait of Joe Palooka, a comic-strip character of a heavyweight boxing champion, created by a writer born in Wilkes-Barre, Hammond "Ham" Fisher. The mountain behind the plaque was renamed in the character's honor. Fisher created Joe Palooka in the 1920s.
We mention the comic strip hero because of the following story about another comic strip hero who is virtually unknown Back Home in Benton, PA, but whose name many readers will immediately recognize, if only because of the association to his now-deceased father who had the same name. We'll also tell you about a local barber who is credited with giving this talented artist the incentive to get started in his career simply by doing a few good deeds.
The artist comes from a family well respected in the upper Fishingcreek Valley. The family started out as farmers on a farm straddling Route 487 a few miles north of the Borough, just before Cole's Creek. The grandparents, Anthony and Anna Raski, raised ten children: Tony, Dorothy, Pauline, Florence, Matthew, Anna Stell, Alfonso, Agnes, Barbara, and Tom. Six are still living. The youngest of the ten children, Tom, is deceased. His son, an artist, is also Tom Raski, named for his father who with his wife Thelma once lived on Third Street, Benton, in a house now owned by Cory and Carrie Lockard.
Tom Raski, the artist and comic book collector, often came into Ed Cole's Barber Shop and would beg Ed to give him used comic books, even the tattered and worn out ones. At the time, Harold's Market was the only place where comic books could be purchased. Tom remembers that he made three visits before Ed parted with the first comic book, but over the coming weeks he was able to get two more issues away from Ed.
Tom remembers that he wanted to be an artist since he was old enough to hold a pen. What Tom wanted was something Tom was going to get. After all, he had mastered Spanish before beginning elementary school probably from help from his parents and from something as simple as watching Sesame Street on television. Tom responded to requests from his classmates to draw for them, and many of his early drawings still exist in various forms around the local area.
Tom kept many of his drawings that he created in school, even the ones he scribbled in margins of books. As he gained more experience, he won "bunches" of Scholastic Art Awards and moved on to Kutztown University where he "honed" his craft over the next five years with what are now "completely outdated and obsolete technical skills," such as learning "how to draw perfect circles with a compass" and muddling through a "Microcomputergraphics" course with MacDraw and MacPaint assignments. He got a C.
He headed to Wilkes-Barre as the Assistant Art Director at the Times Leader newspaper and a year later moved on to Bucks County and the Bucks County Courier Times newspaper.
A few days ago, Tom walked in Ed Cole's Barber Shop and gave Ed one of his autographed illustrations and reminisced about Ed's role in getting him started in the field of comic books.
Autographed Tom Raski Illustration
Tom buys and sells comic books nationwide, has an art show planned during 2008 and leads a full life with the newspaper. He still finds time to return to Kingston to visit his mother every two weeks, and makes frequent forays to Benton to hike the mountains, go antique shopping and to drive around the area he so dearly loves and where he says he would consider retiring someday.
Here are the comics that came from Ed's barber shop. They're not the originals. Tom bought these in the 1980s to replace the worn-out copies. The three comics that Ed gave Tom many years ago. We told you that Tom doesn't throw any of his art out!
Because it is unlike Ed to give anything away, I asked him if he remembered Tom stopping for the comics. Ed did not remember the little boy among the thousands of heads of hair that he has cut, but he beamed from ear to ear as the small role he played in helping Tom along in his career. It is nice to be remembered...
• March 31, a chicken and biscuit dinner at the Raven Creek Memorial Hall on Upper Raven Creek Road, Benton. Follow the signs from Route 487 and Route 239. The dinner is sponsored by the Ladies Guild. Proceeds will donated to fund an eagle Scout project for the Raven Creek Presbyterian Church for a new sign. The cost is $7 for adults. For children from 6 to 12, the price is $3.50. Children under six eat free.
• A square dance callers jamboree is coming up at the Eagle Hose Company #2 Fire Station, 325 South Mercer Street, Berwick on Sunday, May 20, from 2 in the afternoon until 6. The music will be by the Master's Band, with Leon Johnson. All callers participating will be admitted free. Refreshments will be for sale. For more information, call 864-3618 or 584-3836.
• The Benton Carnival will take place this year July 30 through August 4, which means that the Fireman's Parade will take place on the last evening of the carnival.
This story will be old news by Thursday, we suppose, but officials of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission offered an alternative to the proposed lease of the 537-mile highway network to a private operator. According to the Patriot News, the plan includes...
• issuing bonds to fast-track some $4 billion in funds.
• levy an additive $1 "congestion fee" for all vehicles exiting in major metropolitan areas.
• Making I-80 a toll road by 2011.
Dick and Shirley Wenner are now at Geisinger Hospital, Danville; Shirley is in Intensive Care, Dick in Special Care, and both have broken bones and are heavily sedated; their two daughters are in town to provide support. The No Visitors and No Calls Signs are up at present, but cards or notes may be sent to either Wenner at Geisinger Medical Center, 100 N. Academy, Danville, PA 17821
March 20, 2007. We have a triple header today in that today is Eddie Davis' birthday, the birthday of his mother Edith Sterrett, and his grandson Taylor Kogut, son of John and Sandy Kogut. Three generations, all born on the first day of spring. Elma Remley Smith, Rochester, New York, was born on this date in 1906 on the Remley homestead in Divide, the eleventh child of thirteen born to Michael and Mary Remley. Elma Remley Smith is 101 years old today. She is the aunt of Jean (Remley) Becker; Lois (Remley) Rhinard/Stere, Mary (Remley) Jones; E. Lee Remley and Carl Remley and is the last of 13 children. She went to Pine Grove school in Divide and Benton High School.
Spring officially begins at 8:07 PM local time as the Vernal Equinox arrives. The old saying is that if the wind is northeast or north at noon of the vernal equinox, there will be no fine weather before midsummer. If the wind is westerly or southwesterly, there will be fine weather until midsummer. Of course, who believes in old sayings? Look at the mess that Punxsutawney Phil got us into this year! Oh, well, there are 93 days until the official start of summer.
The word "Equinox" means "equal night." Because the sun is positioned above the equator, day and night are about equal in length all over the world during the equinoxes. The daylight length is virtually the same everywhere today: 12 hours and 8 minutes.
There are not exactly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness on the spring and fall equinoxes. On the equinoxes, the very center of the Sun sets just 12 hours after it rose. But the day actually begins when the upper edge of the sun reaches the horizon, and it doesn't end until the entire sun has set. The sun is actually visible when it is below the horizon, as earth's atmosphere refracts the sun's rays and bends them in an arc over the horizon.
• There is free tax help if you are over 60 by appointment only at the Benton Senior Center Thursdays from 9 AM to noon. Call 925-6533.
• The Benton Christian Church sold 432 hoagies during last week's fund-raining effort. A mother and daughter from another church stopped to pick up their supper and saw all the work going on and they stayed and helped with the food preparation. Several youth of the community, not members of the church, also came to help with the labor-intensive task. All help was appreciated.
The W.S. Darley Company, Melrose Park, Illinois, has been building fire trucks for over 100 years and the Benton Volunteer Fire Company has been buying Darley engines since 1950. (only the first engine, a Hahn, has not been a Darley). The local fire company has now voted to purchase a 2008 Darley Quick Attack to replace the 1973 Darley engine (the only red one) and the 1967 Jeep brush truck. Both of these vehicles have safety issues. The unit will be on a Ford F-550 chassis with a 6.4L Diesel engine with 350 horsepower. It will have a polybilt body--which, translated, means no worry about rusting or corrosion. There is a 300 gallon poly tank and 25 gallon foam tank. The pump capacity is 1,250 gallons per minute with compressed air foam system (CAFS) to deliver fire retardant foam for the purpose of extinguishing a fire or protecting unburned areas from becoming involved in flame. It will have two ¾ pre-connected attack lines and one 3" pre-connected line. It will carry 200' of 3" hose and 500 feet of 5' hose.
The new Darley will have a high pressure pump mounted above the big pump which will allow for pump-n-roll operations as occur in wildfires. It will have a booster reel with 200' of ¾ inch booster hose and an electric rewind. There is also a 1¾ inch front discharge that can be reduced for use with forestry hose.
The new Darley will be used to a supplement the 1999 engine, which also has compressed air foam, at local fires and as a regional supply vehicle for mutual aid calls. With the large pump and four-wheel drive capability the unit will be able to get to creeks, ponds and streams that are currently inaccessible to our larger apparatus. It will also be used for field and wildfires in conjunction with our GMC brush truck. The Forksville Fire Company uses a similar fire truck.
The best part of this fire truck is the financing. The local fire company received a federal FIRE grant in the approximate amount of $164,000 and they currently have $60,000 in their apparatus account (funded by 50% of the taxes received from municipalities each year). The cost of the unit is $225,000. (The difference will be taken from their Fireman's Relief Account which pays for safety equipment such as lights, radios, sirens, etc.) The fire company will be able to purchase the unit and pay cash with no loan payments.
Bruce Kile was the featured speaker Monday at the North Mountain Historical Society held in Elk Grove at the Brass Pelican Restaurant. Bruce is the son of Wayne W. Kile and Betty M. Fritz Kile. Wayne, the son of Walter and Deborah Peterman Kile, was born in Jamison City and raised in Central. Betty, the daughter of Bruce W. Fritz and Irma Floy Cole Fritz was born and raised on Klinger Hill, Maple Lawn Farm.
Bruce was born and raised in York, PA, but spent many weekends, holidays and summer vacations at the Fritz Farm, the cabin and Kile home in Central. The summers of his 12th thru 16th years were spent working on the Fritz farm. He and his parents maintained close ties with their families and friends in the area, Bruce has 23 aunts and uncles and 35 first cousins, most of whom lived in the area, making for a lot of relatives to visit.
Bruce graduated from Paul Smith College with a degree in Forestry. He served two years in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam Conflict and later married his high-school sweetheart, Marcia. The couple moved to Adams County when he accepted a position with the Bureau of Forestry. Bruce recently retired from a 35 year career as a Forester with Pennsylvania DCNR, Bureau of Forestry.
Bruce's Power Point Presentation was informative and interesting. If I was not in a snit tonight about working on taxes until they are finished, I would tell you more about the morning. Perhaps soon when I have more time.
I will take a moment and tell you about Bruce's Father's pet dog, a large, white English bulldog with a black eye patch that loved to walk with his master from Central toward Jamison City and help while Wayne would go fishing or set out his trap lines. When he wasn't walking the woods, he mostly slept and his favorite place to rest was under the cook stove in the kitchen where the cheery radiant heat kept his old body warm. After banging his head soundly many times as he awoke from a sound sleep, the dog's long forgotten name was changed to "Clang." The dog was rather demanding and a walk to the mountain was not to be tinkered with, not to be interrupted. If Wayne met up with a friend and they stopped to talk, Clang would run on ahead and wait, then impatiently race back and tug at his master's leg. He would then run on ahead and impatiently wait again. This would go on for a few more minutes and then invariably the dog would come back and pee all over the pant leg on the person talking with Wayne. Clang loved porcupines and eventually went blind.
March 19, 2007. Celebrating birthdays today are Dan Stoneham and his sister-in-law, Linda Bronson, John Herbert Laubach and Betty Lewis.
Beatrice Marie (Hess) Roberts has only been out of her Third Street house four times in the past six weeks following hip replacement and related surgery. She thanks everyone who sent cards and letters during her recuperation. She said that cards came from as far away as California and Washington state.
. The National Cherry Blossom Festival on the Mall in Washington, D.C., will be held March 31-April 15 to celebrate the 95th anniversary of the gift of the cherry blossom trees to the United States from Japan. This year's blooming prediction is April 1-7 with peak bloom on/around April 4.
Many will remember...
. When Barchik's Market was on Market Street, Benton, in the former Ross Harrison IGA Store. Barchik's Market opened for business May 27, 1971, at the present location of what is now the Riverside Market. The Barchik family moved to the Benton area from Saddlebrook, New Jersey, where Stanley Barchik was a Greyhound bus driver. Carl and Kenny were just kids back then...
. The Friday in August when a dress shop opened on Main Street, Benton, in the former Joe Dalto Restaurant. The store was called the Robyn Ann Dress Shoppe and was operated by Iva Conner and Shirley Conner.
. When Richards Gun Shop sold new and used guns and bought, sold and traded guns. They were located on R.D. 4, Benton.
Their motto was "There is a Difference."
The illustration comes from the actual matchbook cover for Richard's matches. Thanks to the Columbia County Historical Society for this "different" sort of local history.
. Ridgeway's Restaurant, Bloomsburg, will reopen in mid April as the Three Willows Restaurant, according to an article in Sunday's Press Enterprise.
. Grant Conrad had the opportunity to see Mickey Finn live and in person Saturday night in Florida. After the show, Grant asked about the time that Mickey played with Jim "Ivory Knuckles" McHenry. Mickey said he remembered that evening. Grant says that Mickey had a good program but his wife, the banjo player, was not with him because she was stuck in New York and could not get a flight out in time to make the performance." Read more about their association by going here.
The Rev. Donna Laubach Moros, D.Min., became a member of the Benton Presbyterian Church, took her first communion at that church, sang in the youth choir and remembers Eleanor Klementik and the youth group which included at least twelve subteens and teens. Donna Laubach Moros is the daughter of Harold B. Laubach and Dorothy Kathleen Laubach. She formerly lived in Benton and East Stroudsburg.
She has served for over twenty years in Venezuela, Colombia and Spain. She and her husband, Edgar, have three grown children and five grand children. She remembers friends, and would love to get in touch with anyone who went to grade school with her while in Benton. Her grandparents were Harry and Clara, known in the area for their farm and fresh eggs and butter and bread and cookies prepared by Clara. They sold their products by the roadside from the first farm above the split of Route 239 north of the Borough, and also "up the river" to the immigrant communities settling in the Nanticoke area.
Feel free to email revdonna39 at yahoo.es (change to proper internet format), or read more about her here. Donna will be retiring from the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) as mission coworker and will retire from the Presbytery of Middle Tennessee, and will settle with her husband in Spain and in Venezuela. Her friends Back Home in Benton, PA, wish her the very best.
The Endicott-Johnson Shoe Company, Endicott, New York, was for decades the largest shoe manufacturer in America. The company outfitted the U.S. armed forces with shoes in both World War I and World War 2. The workers were well paid and well cared for even during the hard times of the depression. The company's owner, George F. Johnson, was so well loved that company employees refused to unionize. Today, empty E-J factories dot the New York state and northern Pennsylvania countryside. An exception is the former Endicott Johnson Shoe Company building in Mildred, built in 1947.
Thanks to a family name familiar to many residents of the upper Fishingcreek Valley, the Mildred "E-J" plant, now known as the Mattern Building, is taking on a new look as a proposed "Financial Center of Sullivan County." Dick Holcombe, Jr. has gathered friends and family into an organization called "the Holcombe Group" to operate a distribution center out of the building. We'll keep you posted on progress.
As any reader of the Benton News knows, I am not a fan of winter and Sunday morning was as close to winter as any morning for the past few months. Monica Diltz noted that she saw more snowmobiles pass the Pelican Saturday than any other day this winter. Many parking lots have snow piled up six feet. We long for the days of warmth, which we pretend will arrive shortly after the official start of spring tomorrow.
Monica Diltz also provided another Forks picture, this one of the former Forks covered bridge.
Picture courtesy of Monica Diltz
The Forks Covered Bridge, Fishingcreek Township, known as PA/38-19-56 or as Forks Bridge (County #130), was a single span Burr Truss with a length of 107' and a 15'3" roadway, although other sources list it with 104'11" overall length. It was located on Winding Road (SR1020 - LR19068) until replaced by a new bridge in July, 1955. The covered bridge was demolished in July, 1955.
The term "Burr Truss" came from a prominent Connecticut bridge builder by the name of Theodore Burr, who gained popularity when he built a bridge in 1804 spanning the Hudson River. The Burr Truss design soon became one of the more frequently used systems. The Burr Arch Truss, as the design became known, used two long arches, resting on the abutments on either end. There are more bridges in Pennsylvania using the Burr Truss design than the total of all other truss designs.
The Forks Covered Bridge in Winter
Forks, for those who don't know the cluster of houses along Fishing Creek, a former stopping place for the old Bloomsburg and Sullivan Railroad, is about six miles south of Benton and four miles north of Orangeville on Route 487. Emma Harrison Burrus wrote about Forks in her 1979 book, The Life and Times of a Country Merchant.
Fishingcreek Township at one time had nine covered bridges; i.e., the East Paden bridge, the West Paden, Josiah Hess and the Jonestown Bridges over Huntington Creek; Buckalew's and the Pine Creek bridges over Pine Creek; Forks, Zaner's and West Zaner's over Fishing Creek.
Forks brings to my mind a nostalgic memory of a happy childhood. It brings to mind the old implements and old customs of the Pennsylvania rural farmer, the tractors, the reapers, the threshers, picking corn on a frosty night, apple-paring and quilters, old-fashioned fireplaces, couples courting in their buggies.
Kenneth E. Savage (February 17, 1946-March 18, 2007), 61, 168 Valley View Road, Borough of New Columbus, Stillwater, died Sunday at home. He was born in Bloomsburg, a son of the late Melvin E. Savage and Phoebe Viola (Yost) Savage. He attended Northwest Area Schools and served in Germany with the U. S. Army from 1965 to 1967. Mr. Savage was employed by PPL for 31 years, working on the line crew and later as a nuclear security officer until his retirement in 2003. He also farmed most of his life. Surviving are his wife, Darlene K. (Newhart) Savage, sons Kevin E. Savage (Maggie), Berwick, and Keith L. Savage, New Columbus. Three grandchildren, Cora, Abigail, and Carson Savage, also survive. Funeral services will be held Wednesday at 2 PM at the Town Hill United Methodist Church. Burial will be in the New Columbus Cemetery. A viewing will be held Tuesday evening from 6 to 8 PM at the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc., Benton.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will be published in the Press Enterprise of March 19, 2007
Lester R. Belles (July 25, 1921-March 17, 2007), 85, of S. R. 254, Orangeville, Greenwood Township, died Saturday at the home of his daughter and son-in-law, Marlin and Suzanne Lyons. Born in Orangeville, he was a son of the late Jay Howard and Emma (Reice) Belles. He was a graduate of the former Orangeville Vocational School and he served in the US Army during World War II. Mr. Belles had been employed by Kline Plumbing and Heating, Berwick, the Eyers Grove GLF and later by Girton Manufacturing, Millville. He was an active member of the Rohrsburg Christian Church. He was also a member of the Millville Fire Company and Oriental Lodge, F. & A. M., Orangeville. He was preceded in death by his wife, Miriam (Derr) Belles on October 7, 2005, severing a marital span of 63 years. Three children survive: Carl E. Belles (Carol), Lawrenceville, NJ; Suzanne Lyons (Marlin), Orangeville; and Kay Hulbert (Ron), Alexandria, VA. There are 7 grandchildren and 15 grandchildren. Four Orangeville siblings survive: Raymond Belles, Horace Belles (Eleanor); Howard Belles (Leona); Anna Margaret Robbins (Max). Funeral services with viewing preceding will be Tuesday at 11 AM at the Rohrsburg Christian Church. Burial will be in the Rohrsburg Cemetery. Masonic Services will be conducted at 10:30 AM at the church. Arrangements are under the direction of the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc., 4394 Red Rock Road, Benton.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will be published in the Press Enterprise of March 19, 2007
May the wind at your back
Not be the result
Of all the corn beef and cabbage
You had yesterday for lunch
March 18, 2007. Happy birthday to Carter Nathaniel Heim. A man with deep ties to the North Mountain area, Bruce W. Kile, will be the guest speaker Monday at the Brass Pelican Restaurant when the North Mountain Historical Society gathers for its monthly meeting. Breakfast is at 8 AM with the meeting beginning about 9 AM. The program is free and open to the public.
Read about two-year old Elizabeth Stewart in Sunday's Press Enterprise, the article that has Dan and Betty Lou Stoneham, Elizabeth's grandparents, beaming from ear to ear. Because tomorrow is Dan's birthday, this is a special birthday present for him. Elizabeth is the daughter of Brian and Carrie Stweart.
The Benton Area Boy Scouts served a total of 310 people at their Spaghetti Supper Saturday night. Service and food were excellent; in fact, 72 people helped with the dinner. The Boy Scouts thank the community for their support of their annual dinner on such a wintry day. The organizers planned for approximately 400 people before it snowed so 310 was a good number for the day. The group also thanks the Benton Methodist Church for allowing them to have their dinner there.
Dick and Shirley Wenner, Bendertown, were injured in a serious car accident during the storm Friday in Lehighton. Both are hospitalized with various fractures (ribs, wrist for Shirley; sternum for Dick) and will need a great deal of support once getting back home. They are in Lehigh Valley hospitals with their daughters by their sides. Along with healing issues there may also be transportation needs as time goes by as their car was totaled. Their condition is listed as "stable."
You might consider an alternative route if you plan to travel Route 118 toward Dallas Monday. Bridge beams will be placed Monday at the Route 118 bridge construction in Ross Township and both eastbound and westbound traffic will be affected. Traffic will be stopped three times between 7 AM and 3 PM for 15-minute intervals.
Yankees baseball slugger Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra--he is the guy who, among other things, once played for the Norfolk Tars of the Class B Piedmont League and is credited with driving in 23 runs in one day--once said of a popular New York restaurant and nightclub, "Nobody goes there anymore, it’s always too crowded."
The upcoming Out Among the Stars (O.A.T.S.) Festival is heading the same way. The festival is attracting the upper side of the middle tier of bluegrass stars, the price is right, the location is perfect, the music is everywhere. Patrons have a great time. In the years I have attended, I have never heard a single "bad word" or even an off-color joke, never saw any alcohol used, never saw any drugs used. It is a place where, as Garrison Keillor would say, everyone has "a female mom and a male dad." Bluegrass fans love climbing in West Creek to cool off. They love to pick under the buttonwood trees along the creek, or get up close and personal with the entertainers at this wonderful acoustic music festival.
Look at Saturday alone. Featured are the Cherryholmes family and Michael Cleveland intends to "Let 'Er Go, Boys!" These are two of the best names in bluegrass in the United States. Actually, there are 12 or more other groups appearing at the festival. These groups, while bringing in $50 or so a seat after paying $8 or so to park at other shows, are just part of the admission in Benton. And what happens if one of the performers isn't your cup of tea? Never to worry. Simply get up and walk around, listen to the clusters of pickers playing beside their campers, or adjacent to West Creek, or under a huge buttonwood, or tent. If you aren't playing, stand back because it won't be long before a bevy of blue grassers will slide up and tune up and turn up a favorite bluegrass or Americana music classic.
We need to turn up the local support for this fine organization. Local businesses should start thinking about how they can attract the scores of people attending from out of the area. The Benton Business Bureau should think about promoting local business. There is always a need for places to stay and restaurants where patrons can eat. As the people attending the bluegrass festival walk through the streets of Benton or drive into the beautiful countryside surrounding the rodeo grounds, put on your best smile and extend that hand and "Shake and How'dy!" They are a beautiful group; let's show them that we are too!
--The Out Among the Stars (O.A.T.S.) Bluegrass Festival, Benton Rodeo Grounds, June 29-July 1, 2007
Some jobs are just too big to tackle. We often heard about John Eves and his wagon works known as John Eves and Company in connection with Millville, the companion town to Benton about 12 miles to our west. A good source for the history of the Eves family and the history of Millville is the 1972 book, Millville The First 200 Years, compiled by Dean Girton and Paul Trescott.
John Eves was born in Millville in 1843, a son of Charles and Sarah (Kester) Eves. As he was growing up, he worked for his brother, Ellis, later joined in the business, and eventually "took the entire interest in the wagon manufactory, which includes the saw, bending and planing-mill, turning-lathe and hub factory, blacksmith and paint shops, and, in fact, all the necessary appliances for the successful manufacture of the excellent wagons turned out of the place." The Wagon Works generally employed from twelve to fifteen workers, manufacturing a "first-class article, which meets the requirements of his patrons." His wife was Susan Masters, and their children were Charles, Louisa, Rebecca, Mildred and Helen.
John Eves, the wagon builder, traced back to one of the first white men to visit the Greenwood Valley and Little Fishing Creek area in 1770. His name was also John Eves, owner of a reported 1,203 acres, the largest holding of land at that time in what later became Columbia County. There are many interesting stories about John Eves and his 17 children and 104 grandchildren, especially during the 1778 Wyoming Massacre. Over the years, the Eves family was prominent in the ownership of Millville's grist mill and a store, and several served as postmaster. Thomas Eves built the first house in what is now Millville Borough. David and Andrew Eves opened the first store in the community in 1827. A school began in Millville in 1785. A two-room Meeting House was erected in 1795. Several brick plants sprung up. A woolen mill, started in 1813. The Millville newspaper, the Weekly Tablet, published its first edition in April, 1887. As the years rolled on, a water company, sewer lines, and a bank were established. The incorporation of the 640-acre Borough took place in 1892 and Joseph W. Eves became the community’s first burgess (equivalent to mayor)
Few industries in Millville gained the status of the Millville Wagon Works. The company began about 1837 when Charles Eves began assembling and selling wheels and other wagon parts. He had a water-powered saw mill where he manufactured hubs and bendings for blacksmiths and wheelrights. Slowly he moved into assembling wagons as he was joined in the business by his four sons. Fire ravaged the company in 1879, but brothers Ellis, John and Webster continued in the wagon business. In 1883, John Eves took over the wagon works and eventually the family store and the wagon works became consolidated as one company.
By 1915, the Millville Wagons Works, using an 18-horsepower turbine to operate the equipment with an additional steam plant for use during the dry summer, employed 12 people producing farm and lumber wagons.
The Millville wagon works was located in what many would consider an improbable location, heading toward Bloomsburg from the "square" in Millville.
This is the present location of the former Millville Wagon Works. The original building was torn down by Earl Mordan, Jr. to build the home several years ago. He later sold the property to Marvin Fisk. It is located on South State street, adjacent to the Colonial Pharmacy. Picture courtesy of Harry Watts
Harry Watts purchased this wheel hub at a public auction in Millville. It came from the Millville wagon works, but was never used.
Harry Watts purchased this wagon seat at a Millville public auction.
The seat allegedly was never mounted on a wagon. Its condition would lead one to believe this is true. Harry obtained the seat is spirited bidding against an antique dealer. He told us, "I figured if I only paid one bid higher then what he was willing to pay I would get a pretty good buy." Harry's wife, Milly, likes to sit on it on her front porch and with only two more days until the official start of spring, she'll soon get her chance.
--The History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, was consulted in the preparation of this article. Quotes are from that source.
March 17, 2007. It is the birthday of Jo Laubach and the wedding anniversary of Ed and Jackie Davis and Albert and Elizabeth Donkin. Three years ago, gas prices in the Borough were $1.579 and $1.639. Last year in the Borough gas prices were $2.399 and $2.459. Yesterday, the same gas was selling for $2.589 and $2.529.
"Spring isn't "icumen in" fast enough to suit us. Today is St. Patrick's Day, the feast day of the patron saint of Ireland, a celebration of the man who brought Christianity to Ireland, a very popular day in the United States where for about 24 hours almost everyone is of Irish-American extraction. St. Patrick's Day falls during the fasting season of Lent and began this year during a driving snow storm. On St. Patrick's Day, the Catholic prohibitions against eating meat were lifted, and the Irish would celebrate their patron saint with dancing, drinking and feasting on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage. Today, the tradition continues with people from all walks and heritages by wearing green, eating Irish soda bread and corned beef (a Jewish substitute for Irish or "back" bacon) and cabbage, and attending parades. St. Patrick's Day has its folklore of the shamrock, the leprechaun and pinching those that are not wearing green. Chicago dyes the Chicago River green and in New York City people in green parade up Fifth Avenue past St. Patrick's Cathedral. I'll seek out my favorite of dishes--corn beef and cabbage.
Winter is not finished with the upper Fishingcreek Valley. While the nearly foot of newly fallen snow kept flooding away, at least for the time being, flooding could occur along the Susquehanna River today. Flood stage is expected to be reached in both Bloomsburg and Danville sometime Saturday morning, especially in the area of the fair grounds. Flood stage is 19 feet and by Saturday morning the North Branch could reach 22 feet. Dangerous water conditions next week are a real possibility.
A Boy Scout Spaghetti Supper today from 4-7 PM at the Benton Methodist Church, Main Street is on "no matter what!". Adults are $6 and the cost is $4 for ages 6-12. Under 6 are free. Menu is spaghetti and meatballs, bread, salad, cake, coffee and ice tea. Take outs are available. The event is sponsored by the Benton Boys Scouts. The Camps Echo and Little People Fish Supper at the Benton Fire Hall for today was postponed and the new date is April 14, 3-7 PM, Benton Fire Hall.
• Gail Sterner is slowly recovering from back surgery and a card to cheer her up addressed to 44 Harrison Road, Stillwater 17859 would be greatly appreciated.
• The Guv is lobbying to move up Pennsylvania’s primary election by 11 weeks, to the first Tuesday in February. The February 5 date, which at least other 19 states have gone to or are considering, would become a new Super Tuesday. Pennsylvania’s presidential primary is scheduled to be held April 22, 2008.
• The March meeting of the Fishing Creek Femme Fatale Chapter of the Red Hat Society will meet at Market Square Grill in Benton at 2 o'clock Wednesday the 21st. The chapter is open to new members and guests are welcome. Proper attire of a red hat and purple outfit are required.
• The Pennsylvania Game Commission estimates that hunters killed 361,560 deer during the 2006-07 hunting seasons.
We have finally heard from Dick McHenry, formerly of Stillwater--a man some many know as either Frank or Mac--following the terrible tornado that devastated his home in Enterprise, Alabama, the day he retired after 43 years in the aircraft simulation business. He was winding down and getting ready to go home from Ft Rucker when a tornado packing winds of 165 mph cut a swath through his home town of Enterprise ,AL, about one in the afternoon. Dick's wife, Janet, had to dive under their dining room table as sheetrock, glass and insulation flew around her. She ended up with only one small scratch.
The house had the roof torn off the double garage, the kitchen, the dining room, and holes appeared in the roof in various spots. It's debatable if the house can be saved or if it will have to be torn down. The house next door was demolished, one of about 800 homes that had damage, one of 300 homes destroyed and one of 200 homes severely damaged. Eight died at Enterprise High School.
Dick reported that Enterprise looked like a war zone. People from all over the United States started arriving to help. Helping out were the Red Cross, Salvation Army, churches, and "just common ordinary people who cared about us and our town." Their kids, Eric and Beth, came to help and Eric spent two weeks of vacation helping his parents. The family rented a three-bedroom town house at 71 Courtyard Drive, Enterprise, AL 36330 (334-347-3791).
It will take two years and an estimated 70 million dollars to build the new Enterprise high school. In the meantime, local junior college students go to the college in the morning and the high school students use the college in the afternoon. One of the grade schools was damaged very bad so they and another grade school are sharing the other grade school.
Luckily for us, back on July 29, 1989, Karl Fritz and Robert Lewis sat down in front of Bob's Appleman Wagon and began a chat session that was recorded on video tape.
Bob bought his Appleman wagon from Carl Keller, who once lived in the O'Brien Hill area, a son of Marvie Keller. The original selling price of the farm wagon was $50. Pictures of the Appleman Wagon courtesy of Robert Lewis
When he bought it, Bob thought that it was one of the popular Long Wagons, but then found the telltale rear axle marking used only by the smaller wagon manufacturer.
The rear axle has the word "Appleman" in raised letters.
The only thing not original on this wagan was the rear tailgate, which had apparently been broken and had been replaced by new boards.
The S(amuel) F(rancis) Appleman signature is prominently displayed on the rear axle.
The original paint and lettering made the wagon very valuable. Jim Vance, Orangeville, is the current owner of this wagon.
The proprietor of the wagon company was Samuel Francis Appleman. Karl Fritz married Sara Appleman, one of Sam Appleman's daughters, and for a wedding present from her father Sara received a shiny new Appleman Wagon--possibly as an incentive to keep Karl busy on the farm!
Sam Appleman was busy making Appleman wagons before the turn of the century and continued up to 1920. The wagon we show was manufactured around 1910. When Bob Lewis bought the wagon, Carl Keller reminisced about the day he brought it home. The wagon had steel wheels four and a half inches wide. The wagon was made to haul stuff on the muddy roads so as not to sink into the mud of what they called dirt roads. In the video, Karl noted that the wagon was "made awfully strong," with its four inch wide and high wheels. Karl only used his wagon for hauling hay and grain. Karl summed up the wagon by sighing as he said, it "couldn't be beat."
According to Karl, the Appleman Wagon Works did not make buggies, just wagons, although we determined that they also made sleds for dragging behind horses. The company apparently did not employ many. Along with Sam Appleman, a brother, Will Appleman, was employed, but Kay recalled that William "got sick" and left the company. A young Burr Appleman and his brother, L. Ray Appleman, helped in the family business. Ray would head for the wagon works after his teaching day ended and he would paint the spokes leading from the wagon hub. For those who don't recognize the name, Ray Appleman was a former principal of the Benton Schools. L. Ray Appleman was the oldest child of the marriage of Sam Appleman to Nellie Hess.
Samuel and Nellie had seven children: Leslie Ray Appleman, Edith Florine Appleman, Reuben Glen Appleman, John Burr Appleman, Sarah Ellen Appleman, Ethel Vee Appleman and an unnamed child born in November, 1887, who only survived for twenty days. Karl noted that the wagon works was Sam's primary occupation. He did not have a farm on the side, although he at one time lived on what some call the Harry Troy farm. Sam and Luella Kline later bought that farm and after Luella's husband died she moved to Mill Street to live close to Lillian Kline.
Like the Long Wagons, the Appleman Wagons were black with Chinese looking scroll. Each of the wagons was marked "Benton." Picture courtesy of Robert Lewis
Karl called the company a "progressive business." Karl Fritz also owned the last Appleman Wagon manufactured. At one point, he took the steel wheels with the huge oak and hickory spokes off and put rubber-tired wheels on. John Englehart was the Appleman blacksmith. Karl reminisced that a "car wasn't thought of when I was a pup." As time went on and the first closed car appeared, Karl remembers telling someone that soon "we'll be so dang soft we won't be able to do anything." Karl actually got to see much more of the world than many his age got to see. Karl remembers that he worked in the state of Washington until he left there January 1, 1913, when he was 23.
Appleman wagons were produced nearly adjacent to the Long Wagon Works on what is now Fifth Street from somewhere around 1880. The street at one time was known as Railroad Street. The garage was in what some may know as the Paul Stevens garage, formerly owned by Elmer Lyons and also used at one time by Fred Motchman. Later Motchman moved to the "bend" in Market Street and Paul Stevens subsequently owned the former location of the Appleman wagon works.
Robert Lewis taking his Appleman Wagon for a ride
March 16, 2006. Happy anniversary to Ken and Lynn Sutton and Ted and Shirley McHenry. Congratulations to Benton's new Chief of Police, Randy Karschner. Randy has a long record of serving the community and we suspect he will make a fine Chief.
Something isn't right here. It can't be! Snow is in the forecast--big time--and people are talking about having an "onion snow." March 17 is not only St. Patrick's Day but the Pennsylvania Dutch know the day as St. Gertrude's Day, the beginning of the planting season for peas, potatoes and onions. After basking in the sun for a couple of days, the cooling temperatures experienced beginning Thursday afternoon were not welcome and the prospect of "several inches of heavy wet snow to eastern Pennsylvania" into Friday night disappointing. Latch onto a snow shovel and hold off planting the onions for a couple of days.
• March 25, Benton Volunteer Firemen's Breakfast from 7 AM to 1 PM. The menu consists of all the buckwheat cakes and sausage you can eat, and the firemen throw in eggs, ham, bacon, buttermilk cakes, home fries, French toast--and it is all made to order. Adults pay $6 and children pay $3. Lynn Musser, 925-2669, has details.
• The Northern Columbia Community's Center's Thrift Store will be open Friday night from 4 to 7 thanks to Kitty and Bob Genthe. Stop in and look at the great things on sale at remarkable prices--and serving an excellent cause, too.
• The Millville Carnival will take place from June 29 through July 7. Here is the entertainment lineup for the 2007 carnival.
• Friday June 29 - The Legends (oldies)
• Saturday June 30 - The Mudflaps (oldies)
• Monday July 2 - Remington Ryde (bluegrass)
• Tuesday July 3 - Covert Action (Variety)
• Wednesday July 4 - Joe Bonson and Coffee Run (country)
• Thursday July 5 - Plum Crazy (classic rock)
• Friday July 6 - The Cramer Brothers (country)
• Saturday July 7 - Tim Johnson Band (country)
The fireworks will take place on Saturday, July 7, at midnight.
• Mary Shaw, Orangeville, asked about fish food in the Fishingcreek Sportsmen's Association feeders beside the Mill Race Golf Course. Clair Harvey promises that fish food will again be stocked in bags for purchase by this weekend. Clair notes that the ice has only recently gone off the stream and the club experienced technical difficulties in getting fish food bagged because of the cold weather. Their problems are behind them and food will be available again this weekend.
• The Patterson Bridge is north of Orangeville off Rohrsburg Road at Hartman Hollow Rd, (west of Route 19067 on T-575) approximately 1.5 miles NW of Rt. 487, The 56' bridge spans the Green Creek over its 81'8 length. The historic bridge dates back to 1845. Sheila Brandon, the webmeister of the Lower Luzerne Web Site, donated a large, framed print of the bridge for the upcoming Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center Auction.
• From a sign seen in a local, country kitchen: "Cats are like potato chips--you can't have just one."
• Thanks to a grant from the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation, the Benton Police will get funds for installing a camera on the dash of the police car. Incidentally, the Benton Borough police department consists of Chief Randy Karschner, and officers Mike Kreisher, Harold Morris and Gene Barrett, with one additional officer under consideration for hiring. Through the efforts of these four dedicated officers, the Benton Police Department has received $14,500 in grant funding for various purposes. One of the grants was for a $500 computer from Wal-Mart, which will make the local police completely compliant with other police departments in the county. A Homeland Security grant provided funds for protective vests for the officers.
Mayor Jan Swan tells us that five more hours have been added to the police surveillance each week, which comes at a good time following the damage recently done to the interior of the Benton Christian Church. Skateboards were used in the narthax (church entry), center aisle and the raised platform beside the altar, seriously damaging the carpeting in the church. The Borough police have promised to make periodic inspections of the interior of the church and neighbors of the church are asked to report any skateboard activity in or around the church.
• Dan Jankowski has been named to fill the unexpired term of John Herbert Laubach on Benton Town Council. At the May 15 election, the town council offices of John Herbert Laubach (now filled by Dan Jankowski), Mike Klem, Grant Little, Mike McCormick and Dan Hartman will be filled. It appears as though three incumbents will run again. Josh Price has filed to run as a Democrat candidate.
The wagon was a staple in early life of the upper Fishingcreek Valley. There was the Millville Wagon Works, the Long Wagon Works and the Appleman Wagon Works locally. They may have been more, in fact, made in the barns of the backwoods and produced in limited numbers. The wagons were needed locally, and there was lots of coal and iron made in Pennsylvania and there certainly was no shortage of wood. The wagon styles were extensive. There were, for example,
• the Wagonette, a kind of pleasure wagon, uncovered, with seats extended along the sides, designed to carry six or eight persons besides the driver
• the Vis-a-Vis, a popular style used for weddings.
• the Surrey, a four-wheeled horse-drawn pleasure carriage having two or four seats.
• Hitch Wagon, a four-wheeled carriage; usually drawn by horses and used for carrying freight or merchandise.
• There are many other types of wagons, including the Express Wagon, the show cart, the trail wagon, the Meadowbrook, the Victoria, the Trail Buggy. There were sleighs and side bar runabouts and two-seat spring wagons, fringe-top spring wagon, the two-horse surrey, the touring buggy--and others by local names.
We have taken a look at the Long Wagon Works, the larger of the two wagon manufacturing companies in the Benton area. We'll look at the Millville wagon in a future article, and because we have so much other news to report we'll postpone looking at the Appleman Wagon until tomorrow's report when we can lay out some pictures.
Fred L. Laubach (July 6, 1927-March 14, 2007), 79, Benton Manor, died Wednesday at Bonham Nursing Center, Register. Born in Briar Creek Township, he was a son of the late Elmer and Margaret Anna (Lutz) Laubach. He and his wife, Dorothy M. (Rose) Laubach, celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary this past November. He was a 1945 graduate of Benton High School and a veteran of the U. S. Navy where he was awarded the American Theater Ribbon and the World War II Victory Medal. He served in the Naval Reserves. He was an avid golfer and had a hole-in-one on the 12th hole at Windsor Heights in 2002. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy, a daughter, Dawn L. Kerr; a Granddaughter, Heather Kerr, and a Great Granddaughter, Heaven L. Kerr, all of Levittown. Sisters Ruth Alice Karns, Rohrsburg, Barbara E. Everett (William), Orangeville, and a brother, Gerald T. Laubach, Carlisle, also survive. Two brothers survive: John F. Laubach and David E. Laubach. Funeral services will be held Monday, March 19, at 2 PM at the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc., Benton. Burial will be in Jackson Cemetery, Derrs. A viewing will take place Sunday afternoon from 4 to 6 at McMichael’s.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will be published in Friday's Press Enterprise.
March 15, 2007. The Ides of March are upon us. This day has long been considered an ill-fated day. The ides ("to divide," from the Latin) occurred on the 15th days of some months in the ancient Roman calendar. The ancient Romans considered the ides of any month, the calends (first of the month) and the nones (ninth day before the ides) as unfavorable days. Julius Caesar, who was assassinated on March 15, 44 B.C., if alive today would certainly agree that we should "Beware the ides of March."
Happy birthday today to Michelle Turner and Kay Chapman.
• You have a month to complete your Federal and State Income Taxes.
• The Flying Karamazov Brothers will sing, dance and juggle as part of the Celebrity Artist Series on Saturday, March 24, at 7 PM in Haas Center for the Arts, Mitrani Hall, Bloomsburg. Tickets are $25 for adults and $12 for students and children. For information or for tickets, call 389-4409.
• The Guv spoke at a gambling industry conference Tuesday saying that he was urging state lawmakers to approve his proposal to shift more public school funding to a higher state sales tax--a 1 percentage point increase to shift some public school funding off local property taxes.
• Appearing with Like Father, Like Son, at the bluegrass show Saturday, April 14, at 6 PM will be Chester Johnson & The Foggy Mountain Grass. Chester has an unique voice and plays traditional bluegrass the way it was done back in the 1950s. Joining in are band members Dan Stewart on mandolin, J.R. McFalls on banjo, and Danny Stewat Jr. on bass, It all takes place at the Raven Creek Community Hall, 999 Upper Raven Creek Road, Benton. The donation is $8 at the door. For more information, call 925-5790.
• Didja know that the world's record for most rainfall across a 270-minute period is held in McKean County, PA, when in 1942 30.8 inches of rain fell? Aren't you glad that didn't happen in the upper Fishingcreek Valley!
--Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's watershed management office, Harrisburg
• Over on Millertown Road outside Millville is a unique place known as the Stanley Clock Works, making and selling clocks from the traditional to the unique to the--well, strange. On Wednesday night, WNEP's On the Pennsylvania Road with Mike Stevens stopped to chat with this ingenious local clockmaker. If you can't stop in, at least visit their website at www.stanleyclockworks.com/Index.html .
• A New Zealand study on deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) concludes that office workers at their computer screens are at greater risk of deadly blood clots forming in their legs than long-distance air travelers. The study found that 34% of patients admitted to hospital with blood clots had been seated at work for long periods. DVT is a condition in which a blood clot forms in the deep veins of the legs. The condition can be fatal if part of the clot breaks off and blocks a blood vessel in the lungs. The study will be published next month in the New Zealand Medical Journal. Read to the end, then get up and take a walk.
Here are two good ways to flip through desktop windows...
. ALT + ESC: Press and hold the ALT key on your keyboard, then press the ESC key while you cycle through all Windows on your desktop. When you find the window you want, let go of the ALT key.
. ALT + TAB: This will display all open windows on the desktop. Press and hold the ALT key on your keyboard, then press the TAB key to bring up a list of all windows on the desktop. If you press the TAB key again, the cursor will select the next [icon] window in line. To stop cycling windows, release the ALT key.
What comes next may seem like a strange subject when everything is probably very pleasant for you. There have been several days of sun, robins are strutting around the yards and serenading us with their songs, things are right with the world. Well, OK, you guessed it. Taxes aren't finished yet in our house and although I admit that I didn't even look at them Tuesday, Wednesday I shuffled some papers and lost some papers in the process. The progress for the day was zero or maybe even on the minus side. Today I get serious about taxes.
I have known some parents in my day who would agree that spanking a young’un is not good business, but they did it once or twice anyway. In a world where husbands are not allowed to beat up on their wives, animal mistreatment is just not tolerated, and civil rights has tipped the pendulum to the breaking point, getting a parent's point across to a child is sometimes very difficult work.
I rarely watch the local news on television or in the newspapers, not that I am not interested but because there are so many stores of barn burnings, misappropriation of funds, misleading and untrue statements by politicians that sound so convincing I am confused in reconciling facts with statements. And there are the increasing number of stories of young people who have gone wrong.
I would be roundly criticized if I told you how to raise your children. California lawmaker Sally Lieber found that out when she proposed a bill that would make it legal for parents to swat their young children on the rump, but would punish parents for hitting kids in the head, or whacking them with a stick or a belt. Cries of child abuse came from everywhere. Still, it is possible that action such as a thwack on the tush is the last hope for the desperate and frustrated parent. Father once told me, "It hurts me more than it does you."
As I listen to the sheer frustration of some parents as they near the breaking point, as these fine people are pushed to the absolute edge of what they can take, I have at times felt like leaning closer to them to whisper in their ear, "If they were my child..."
The discussion of wagons of the local area--the Millville Wagon Works, the Long Wagon Works and the Appleman Wagon Works--has been moved to the bottom of the FEATURES page and removed from today's archived articles.
March 14, 2007. Robert Rabb, II, celebrates his birthday today along with comedian Billy Crystal. Physicist Albert Einstein was born in Germany on this date in 1879.
We have a few questions this morning...
* What did cured ham actually have?
* If a deaf person has to go to court, is it still called a hearing?
* Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies wake up every two hours?
* Why are you in a movie, but you're on television?
* Did you know that in 1850 the first all-white Dalmatian dog was spotted?
* Why do people say they are sicker than a dog? Buster hasn't been sick a day in his life.
* Which ones are the kibbles and which ones are the bits?
• Dennis C. Wolff, 55, Millville, appears to be heading back for another term as the Guv's agriculture secretary following a state Senate panel vote Tuesday. Confirmation requires a vote from the full Senate.
• Dollar General Corp. is being sold for $7.3 billion with the buyer, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., assuming the discount retailer's $380 million in net debt. Dollar General has 8,260 stores nationwide, including one Back Home in Benton, PA. Dollar General (NYSE: DG) shareholders will receive $22 in cash for each share of the company's common stock, a 31% premium over the stock's March 9 closing price of $16.78. Dollar General's stock closed at $21.13 per share Tuesday.
• The appearance of the Borough is changing daily as "The Bakery" on Main Street takes on a new overhang roof over the sidewalk, reminiscent of the roof that was on the building during the Keller and Conner Hardware Days. Steel virtually surrounds the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center on Community Drive as the steel roof gets welded into place.
• Please keep Hannah Seely in your prayers today as she faces surgery for a broken nose following the collision with Alyce Gerhardt while scrambling for a loose ball in the Wilkes gymnasium Saturday afternoon.
• We salute the years of dedicated service that John Herbert Laubach gave to his community as he volunteered as a member of Benton Town Council. John has decided to step aside, but his level-headed decision making will be missed. He saw things differently from most of us and sometimes set his priorities according to the way he viewed things, but his reasoning was always sound and his opinions respected. He will be missed.
• For Macintosh users operating System X, we recommend that you consider the use of Safari as a browser. Apple Safari 2.0.4 can be downloaded from www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/17743 .
• We heard a rumor that the Community Center would like the skateboard park to move to the town park and from what we can gather a number of people are lobbying to convince people that it should not go to the park. Of course, like most rumors, officers of the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center were not consulted. As a result, members of Town Council have been pestered and townspeople have become riled up with this rumor. The rumor apparently surfaced when the Center Director, Rob Hutchison, acknowledged that larger grants are available if the facility is built on borough property. Hear this loud and clear: The skateboard park is still scheduled to go into the community center property. This whole matter reminds us of something Alexander Pope once wrote, which we'll make our quote of the day.
Quote of the Day:
The flying rumors gather'd as the roll'd,
Scarce any tale was sooner heard than told;
And all who told it added something new.
And all who heard it made enlargements too.
The discussion of wagons of the local area--the Millville Wagon Works, the Long Wagon Works and the Appleman Wagon Works--has been moved to the bottom of the FEATURES page and removed from today's archived articles.
March 13, 2007. Sean Christian turns 17 today. We also celebrate the birthday of John McMichael, Sophie Watts and Tom Hartman. It seems as though every time my ship comes in the Government unloads it. Yesterday was Federal Income Tax Preparation Day in our house, and so tempers are short today. Come to think about it, tomorrow will be Day 2 of the Federal Income Tax Preparation Day. We'll get back to normal after those chores are behind us.
I was asked about what comes up in the near future on the pages of the Benton News. Well, we have told you about the Long Wagon Works of New Columbus and Benton, and soon we'll have an article completed on the Appleman Wagon that was once produced locally. We would love any help we could get from readers, either in personal experience or with pictures. Following that, we are going to release the article we have been promising for two years.
The article won't be a popular one with some, but we take our lumps and keep on going. The article heads back to the era of the roaring twenties, a time of calm between the First World War and the Great Depression. It was a time of quiet normalcy, with Americans settling down in their homes listening to the radio for the first time, talking on the telephone, driving an automobile or at least watching their more affluent neighbors drive a car. Motion pictures arrived on the scene. Millions of immigrants poured in from the old country, from Eastern and Southern Europe. African Americans were descending on cities like Philadelphia.
Suddenly a new player entered the scene to stop this alien invasion--a person who was White and Protestant, a person who belonged to the Ku Klux Klan. One of the four largest concentrations of Ku Klux Klan members in the United States was in Pennsylvania--in Philadelphia. The city apparently had the largest Klan concentration on the East Coast and the third largest in the United States. Kenneth T. Jackson wrote a book entitled The Ku Klux Klan in the City in which he claims that over 35,000 Klan were centered in Philadelphia, most generally in West Philadelphia.
We'll tell you about William Joseph Simmons, the founder of the second Ku Klux Klan in 1915 and the man many referred to as "the Grand Wizard of the new Klan." We'll tell you about his idea of a secret order that somehow he thought would foster patriotism, brotherhood and would renew the "moral fervor" of the country. We sort through the pages of the Fellowship Forum and tell you some local stories. But this article will have to wait its turn until after we have our taxes done. As always, reader's participaton is welcome.
In the meantime, I am looking for an aerial shot of the upper Fishingcreek valley showing North Mountain in the distance. Can a reader help?
We got misty eyed when we heard the story about the four-year old who climbed on his elderly neighbor's lap following the death of the man's wife. The little boy didn't say anything. He later told his mother that he didn't say anything to the man, but that he just helped him cry.
We published this before but needed the information yesterday and could not find it, so we'll publish it again now that we have found it again. To speak directly to a human being and avoid voicemail systems for many large companies, go to www.gethuman.com/us/.
Eric McHenry has been in Enterprise, Alabama, since March 3 helping his parents, Dick and Janet McHenry clean up, recover and move to a new temporary residence. Eric and his sister Beth, along with his parents, moved to Enterprise in 1974 when Eric was three. He told us of the absolute devastation everywhere following the March 1 tornado that smashed into the town. The beautiful Enterprise High School where Eric graduated in 1989 and Beth graduated in 1979 was mostly destroyed and eight students were killed. The town and the school changed forever on March 1, 2007.
Dick and Janet are doing fine and are now living in a townhouse a few miles away from their home. This temporary move will probably be at least six months due to the amount of damaged homes. They are currently talking to friends who are contractors that are surveying the damage and attempting to figure out what will happen with the house. Eric hopes that authorities will condemn the whole thing. Once they figure out what all has to be done then they will have to wait a while until the construction can start.
Dick and Janet McHenry have a new address at 71 Courtyard Drive, Enterprise, AL 36330.
Eric says "We are all still in a little shock over what happened around here and our bodies are sore and tired but we are all so happy that mom made it through the storm okay and that nobody we knew was killed or seriously hurt. Buildings can be rebuilt but bodies can't so we are thankful that everyone is well." Eric heads back to Fort Walton Beach, Florida, today. He complains that "the paperwork has us mentally tired. We are so thankful for the churches, red cross and many other organizations that came in immediately to help out."
Dick and Janet ask that we "pass on our thanks and gratitude to all the people that have called to check" on them. We will, but wish that we could do more.
Kenneth A. Musselman, 64, who grew up on a Fishing Creek Township farm, was a 1960 Benton High School graduate and former Sullivan County resident and a retired Mansfield University Professor, died Friday, March 9, in the Shands Hospital, Jacksonville, Florida, after suffering a stroke while fishing with a friend. Ken was born August 7, 1942, a son of Kenneth, Sr., and Viola Musselman. Ken taught for one year at Northwest High School after graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and an English major from what was then Bloomsburg State Teacher’s College in 1964. He began his teaching career with a year at Northwest High School and then moved on to Sullivan County, where he became a member of the High School English Department.
In 1966 he married the former Joy Whiting, and they eventually built a home on the outskirts of Laporte and began to raise a family. Ken was active in church and community affairs in Laporte, and he was the force behind the founding of the Laporte Little Theater. He and Joy were involved for years, both behind the scenes in producing the shows, building sets, erecting the tent in the park, designing and making costumes; and also in performing several key roles. Besides his interest in theater, Ken enjoyed singing, sports, building, and creating stone fireplaces and walls.
He continued his education with graduate work at Columbia University, and when he became a professor at Mansfield University they eventually moved their family to Troy, Pennsylvania, to be closer to his work. There they soon made many new friends as they continued their community and church involvement. His assignment at Mansfield evolved to include supervision of student teachers, and he touched many lives during his thirty-plus years in education. After his retirement from Mansfield, they sold their Troy home and began dividing their time between their summer place along the Allegheny River in Venango County and their winter home in St. Mary’s, Georgia, where they were when he was stricken.
Ken was pre-deceased by an infant son and his parents. He is survived by his wife Joy, 404 Ready St., St Mary’s, Georgia 31558; his daughter Amy Musselman Pinoargote (Gerardo), and their two young sons, Diego and Dante, in Florida; his son Luke Musselman (Mindy) and their young son Matthew Hayden, in Arizona; a sister, Ruthann Musselman Gavitt (Wayne), Forksville; and two nieces and a nephew.
Ken was laid to rest in the Mountain Ash Cemetery in Laporte. Friends are invited to a memorial service celebrating his life at the Laporte United Church on Sunday, March 18, at 2 PM. Memorials may be directed to the Laporte United Methodist Church, % Vivian Smith Treasurer, PO Box 223, Laporte, PA 18626, the First Presbyterian Church, 121 W. Main St., Troy, PA 16947, or the Sullivan County Library, PO Box 309, Dushore, PA 18614. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the P. Dean Homer Funeral Home, 206 Water St., Dushore, PA.
March 12, 2007. Happy birthday today to Lydia Becker, Camp Hill.
A week before the official start of Spring in 1888, the most famous snowstorm in American history created weather conditions never again matched. The East coast--including New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington--was paralyzed by the Blizzard of 1888. Two hundred ships were grounded, at least one hundred seamen died. Property loss from fire alone was estimated at $25 million and more than 400 deaths were reported. The days before the blizzard were unseasonably mild, with temperatures in the 40s and 50s. Torrential rains began falling, and on March 12 the rain changed to heavy snow, temperatures plunged, and the wind began. The storm continued unabated for 36 hours and people were "praying as much as Noah prayed for a rainbow." The National Weather service estimated that fifty inches of snow fell in Connecticut and Massachusetts with forty inches in New York and New Jersey. Winds blew up to 48 miles an hour and created snowdrifts forty to fifty feet high. Throughout New England, trains actually froze to the tracks. The transportation crisis created by this blizzard led to the creation of the New York subway, approved in 1894 and begun in 1900.
As relates to your computer ...
• You can add a web page to your Favorites folder just by pressing CTRL+D. The page is automatically added to your Favorites list.
• You should do your spring housecleaning. As your computer runs, fans draw air through your machine. You need to clean out the dust buildup just like you do behind and under your refrigerator and you need to do it about every other month. Shut off the computer, unplug the power, take the sides off the computer tower. Do it when no one will see the inside of the computer because if you didn't do it two months ago it is probably cruddy, looking a lot like dryer lint, especially if you have a pet. You need to do it before the summer heat causes an excessive heat buildup in the computer.
• Didja hear about the Amish divorce? Seems that he was driving her buggy.
• Krysten Ritter will appear on the Fox Network's Til Death after American Idol on Wednesday, March 14, and Wednesday, March 21. Krysten will also appear on American Idol on Wednesday, March 21, in support of Til Death.
• Congratulations to Barbara McHenry, who recently celebrated her 51st anniversary of playing the piano and the organ at the Benton Christian Church.
• In the Old Lycoming Presbyterian Cemetery in Lycoming County is an epitaph on the grave stone of Issac Smith which attested to his strong spiritual faith. It reads...
"Go Home My Friends,
Dry Up Your Tears
I Must Lie Here
'Til Christ Appears."
The Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center will host a food sampling and foot stompin' afternoon starting at 4 PM on Sunday, April 29, at the Benton Volunteer Fire Station. Area restaurants and caterers are donating samples of appetizers, main courses, and desserts. At 6 PM, the auction begins of items donated through the generosity of a lot of fine businesses and people dedicated to the cause of insuring the success of the Community and Cultural Center for the northern part of Columbia County and serving the southern part of Sullivan County and the western part of Luzerne County.
Remember that the Center is a non-profit organization and your contributions and your purchases are so very important. If you have a major contribution that you would like to donate or a suggestion for the success of the event, please call 925-6972 or 925-6974.
Quote of the Day:
Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy!
--Said by men Edwin Drake tried to attract to his project to drill for oil in 1859.
Pilots love their jobs. They know that only two bad things can happen to them; i.e.,
• One day they will walk out to the aircraft knowing that it is their last flight.
• One day they will walk out to the aircraft not knowing that it is their last flight.
Heather Radick, Quakertown, has been a black and white film photographer from Bucks County since she took her first photography class over 15 years ago. Most of her images are landscape and architectural scenes and her favorite subjects are "farms, old buildings and anything along the Delaware River." Heather only shoots with available light, using 35 mm or 120 film. All images are created in a traditional wet darkroom, including hand processing film with reels and tanks, exposing the negative to paper with an enlarger, and developing the print through a series of chemical baths. The final print is either sepia or selenium toned.
Heather is a staff photographer for the Haycock Township’s Historical Society as well as a member of their newsletter committee, contributing photographs and articles to their publications. Her latest project was the creation of a 2007 calendar featuring black and white photographs of Haycock Township’s barns that were offered for sale through the society. She is a writer and photographer for the Bucks County Herald. She has exhibited at the Banana Factory in Bethlehem, Canal- Frame Crafts in Washington’s Crossing to benefit Friends of the Delaware Canal, and Prallsville Mills to benefit the Delaware River Greenway Partnership.
Heather and her husband, Eric, own a cottage in Central/Jamison City and took advantage of having the severity of the winter behind us for the weekend by coming to the upper Fishingcreek Valley for a short visit. Although they didn't have hot water for the weekend, they nevertheless had an enjoyable winter weekend in the area. Heather brought with her a donation for the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center. It is a black and white photograph of the O.B. Savage barn and will hang with pride in the building now under construction on Community Drive.
March 11, 2007. Happy birthday today to Linda Sharek, Nancy Fox, Judy Search, and Andrew Vincent, and happy anniversary to the Old Filling Station. Did you adjust your clocks before you head into the day's activities?
The Town Watch Program meets on the second and fourth Wednesday nights of each month in the Benton Methodist Church, Main Street, at 7 PM. Mark your calendar to attend this Wednesday night. Note that the meeting nights have changed.
The girls of Benton (17-9) lost in their PIAA Class A first round with Bishop O'Reilly (20-7) yesterday at Wilkes University. We don't feel that the score of the game is important enough to mention. With Bishop O'Reilly playing an outstanding scorer like center Marissa Chesnavich, we found it amusing that the sports announcer was unable to properly pronounce one four-letter word, the name of one of Benton's players. He insisted on pronouncing a common Benton name--"Doty"--as "Dottie," but never stumbled over Chesnavich and similar names.
Roy Davis, an occasional Jamison City resident, a snowbird in Ft. Myers until the madness of spring break begins, and mostly a Michigander (mish-uh-GAN-der), writes the Paw Paw River Journal, a weekly feature for the Tri City Record, Watervliet, Michigan. Roy told us yesterday about a local writer in the Ft. Myers News/Press named Frog Smith. Frog long since has gone to his eternal reward, but told Roy this story when Frog was in his 90s.
The story went that "a friend lived in a shack out in the piney woods. He had a double barrel 10 gauge, an old hunting dog, and a flock of chickens that roosted at night in a tree in his back yard. One dark night he heard the hens fussing and thought there might be a varmint trying to get them. So he got out of bed, reached for his 10 gauge behind the door. and went to see. His old hound, perhaps sensing an impending hunting expedition, followed him. He opened the back door, poked the gun out and peered up into the darkness of the tree wherein his hens were roosting. Nothing to be seen. The hound, getting impatient, cold-nosed him under his nightgown shirt tail. The old guy was so startled he pulled both triggers and shot half his chickens right out of the tree!"
The authority on coins in the upper Fishingcreek Valley is William "Bill" Yanchick, the owner of Benton Coins & Collectibles, on the square at 99 Main Street, Benton. Bill provided some insight into the miscast new dollar coins. Bill tells us that to the best of his knowledge, "all of the incused-worded edge letters are missing on the error coins, including 'IN GOD WE TRUST E PLURIBUS UNUM 2007 D' although the media stressed just the 'IN GOD WE TRUST'" portion. Also, the only coins that are now known to be of this error are those produced at the Denver mint.
Bill notes that "One way that this error could have occurred is that IF the planchets had been prepared with the incused edge prior to striking the obverse and reverse, some plain edge planchets intended for use in striking Sacagawea dollars could have been fed into the dies by mistake. IF the incused edge is imparted onto the coin in one step, that is, a lettered collar in use as the planchets are being struck, then this error may have occurred because the wrong collar was used. Since the letters are incused on the coin, they are in relief on the collar. This means it is not possible to have a 'filled die' error whereby some of the letters can be missing while others are still present.
The bottom line is that this is an all or none phenomenon. You can't have the date, mint mark and or E Pluribus Unum and not have the words In God We Trust, unless of course there was a defective collar or an employee at the mint surreptitiously removed the letters on the collar by filing them off.
Bill believes that the jury is still out on the value of the coins, saying that it depends on how many coins are out there, and that in part depends on how this error occurred. "If there were only 50,000 such errors estimated, then the price tag of $50 seems relatively cheap because there is a lot of interest and fanfare regarding the coin." Bill estimates that "50,000 to 100,000 is about the number of coins you would expect one die pair to strike for this type of coin. If this error is believed to be from just one die pair then diagnostics for that error will be easy to identify, making alterations to normally struck coins easily distinguishable."
Wherever we travel, it is still a thrill to poke around our home state of Pennsylvania looking at its natural beauty, its endless history and meeting "salt of the earth" folks. We are always amazed when we dig up a treasure from a previous generation, and love to travel our own state to find something new.
• James A. Michener (February 3, 1907-October 16, 1997), a famous son of Pennsylvania who used the words "traveler, citizen, writer" for his epitaph, would have turned 100 years old this year. How many have visited the James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, dedicated to this "man-of-the-world" Pulitzer Prize-winning author of more than forty books of both fiction and non-fiction? For more information about events and programs at the James A. Michener Art Museum, call 215.340.9800.
• How many have actually been in the New Columbus Academy, or the Friends Meeting House in Millville, or walked the falls at Ricketts Glen State Park, or tramped down to Mountain Springs Lake, or visited the Eckley Miners Village, or watched the joy on children's faces as they visited the Knoebels Grove Amusement Park or the numerous carnivals of our area? How many have gone swimming in the Benton Dam or helped feed the thousands of fish swimming at the fish hatchery beside the Mill Race--or for that matter picked up a set of golf clubs and actually played a round at the local course? How many have actually seen all the covered bridges in Columbia County or photographed or sketched the beautiful O.B. Savage barn or attended a church supper? How many have spent a whole day at the Bloomsburg Fair?
• How many have visited at the Eisenhower Farm in Gettysburg? No, I didn't say how many have driven past on Route 15, I said how many have stopped to visit. How many have listened to bluegrass at the O.A.T.S. Festival each July or watched a quality rodeo in August or got soaked as the firemen come down Main Street on the last Saturday night of the Benton carnival?
• How many have seen the Falmouth Goat Races that take place each year 112 miles from Back Home in Benton, PA, between Harrisburg and Lancaster? The race got its start when a bunch of old timers bet on the bays and lost their shirt. One remarked that they might as well bet on the goats, another old timer as a joke put it in the paper with a friend's telephone number on it. So many responded, the race was actually held and has become a tradition.
• How many have actually heard a thunder storm in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania, or been up to their axles in snow at the same place in the winter? How many have eaten dandelions and bacon, or sweets and sours, or "bucks" and bacon? How many have been in the Switzerland of Pennsylvania or toured the haunted house nearby, or camped beside the 1,085 surface acres of water at Cowanesque Lake? Plan to visit some of our state attractions this summer, and for readers not from the local area include Back Home in Benton, PA, on your list of places to see this year.
March 10, 2007. Happy birthday to David Depoe. Zelda Fitzgerald died in a fire at the Highland Hospital outside Asheville, North Carolina, on this day in 1948, after suffering a mental breakdown that kept her in and out of psychiatric hospitals for 18 years. A fire broke out just after midnight. Zelda was locked in a room on the top floor, awaiting electroshock treatment scheduled for the next day, one of nine women who died as the fire swept through the building.
Tomorrow morning at 2 we begin daylight time in the United States. All clocks move forward to 3 AM as part of an energy-saving move enacted by Congress in 2005. The end of daylight time also moves back a week to the first Sunday in November. This is a good time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors.
Take the time to check out state representative Karen Boback's web site at www.karenboback.org/ .
Who says we should only do it at Thanksgiving? I think we can give thanks any time we want--and I shall!
I am thankful that Kay and I married ten years ago.. Thank you, Kay, for sharing your life and your four children and their families including eleven grandchildren. I am thankful for son David and his wife, Heidi, and the menagerie of critters in their stable, and for their move to within three and a half hours of Back Home in Benton, PA. I am thankful that most of my friends and family are fine and in good health. For the ones who are not in good health, know that I treasure every day I have spent with you during good times and bad. I am thankful for family and the way that some of them hang on when lesser folks would have bailed out. Every day I can spend with them is a blessing. I thank my many friends. I thank those no longer with us whose memory I attempt to dignify and whose community I seek to remember and honor. I thank the upper Fishingcreek valley for being a wonderful place to live. I am thankful that Kay and I have a warm, comfortable home.
I am thankful that I'll be able to watch the Benton Girls' Basketball playoffs at Wilkes University this afternoon, the same gymnasium where I met my first wife when she was a scorekeeper for the Wilkes Colonels, the same gym where I swept the floors for 25¢ an hour in order to get spending money on my way through college. I am thankful that I can have lunch in Ray Hottle's Restaurant on South Main Street, Wilkes-Barre, today, the place where often on Saturday night I would take two hours pay from the gymnasium and "splurge" on a 45¢ quart bottle of Gibbons Beer and then take it, as if the law didn't apply to me, back to my South Franklin Street dormitory and drink all of it in a single evening. I am thankful that I can sit in the warmth and camaraderie of the Raven Creek Hall tonight to watch some very talented bluegrass pickers play their hearts out.
I am thankful that I love to eat Thai and Vietnamese and Mexican and Spanish foods, and even get excited about getting down and dirty rolling up an Ethiopian Injeera. I especially am thankful for buckwheat cakes and for the sausage that gets put on my plate. I am thankful for Yuengling Beer, although I gave up drinking it a few years back. I am thankful that on special occasions I can revisit a Yuengling and tell my friends the exact date when I gave up alcohol.
I am thankful for the coming Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center and for knowing the many people who have worked so very hard for its construction. The people at the Columbia County Traveling Library and the Columbia County Historical and Genealogical Society are folks to be thankful for knowing, too. I am thankful for people like the owners of Benton Antiques, Etc., who have invested so much in making Benton beautiful again, and Elsie Buyers who has contributed her passion and resources to the betterment of the community. There are so many in this category they simply can't all be named.
I am thankful that I'll get to see California again this month, although I am sad that it may be the last in some time. I am thankful for the coming of spring, that I can tolerate the drinking of horrible coffee but know how to make wonderful coffee. I thank all the United States military men and women wherever they may serve, and extend my thanks for all the servicemen who have made it home from harm's way, and offer both my thanks and my condolences for the families who have lost loved ones wherever they served. I give thanks to anyone who is genuinely searching for a way to honorably end the conflict in which we now find ourselves.
I am thankful for all the readers of the Benton News, who love to barrage me with comments on my rambling, noting when I use the word "happy" and they thought that "glad" would be more appropriate, or write telling me that they saw a mountain lion five miles north of the Borough. I am thankful for various County Commissioners who are attempting to preserve the covered bridge that spans Little Muncy Creek on TR664 southwest of Lairdsville, or the Twin Bridges or the Josiah Hess bridges here in Columbia County. I am thankful that I am still here to give my thanks.
I don't get it! The Ford Motor Company lost a record $12.7 billion last year and mortgaged most of its assets, but announced Thursday that it was bonus time for all based on improvements in quality and cost savings. Ford’s chief executive, Alan R. Mulally, announced that union employees of the United Automobile Workers or the Canadian Auto Workers union will get $500, nonmanagement employees range from $300 to $800, and management-level positions will receive higher awards. The good time for all extends to Mr. Mulally whose stock option bonus was upped by $1 million to $6 million. What don't I get, you ask? The stock of Ford Motor was up mid-day Friday 2.1% at $8.10.
From Our Past...
• Do you remember when we referred to local interstate highways as the Anthracite Expressway and the Keystone Shortway?
• How many can remember when local churches had "Religion Day" on a Sunday in June?
• Didja know that the choice of Columbia County's seat was given to "three discreet, disinterested persons" to chose a central location and that Danville was chosen? (The decision was so unpopular that thirty years later, the county seat was moved to Bloomsburg following a referendum vote. The first court case was handled in Bloomsburg in 1848 following the opening of the Columbia County Courthouse the previous November. Danville became the county seat of Montour County in 1850 when that county was formed. Columbia County was left with 484 square miles.)
• Didja realize that the present court house was not Bloomsburg's first court house? A "colonial-style" court house, built before Montour County was formed, cost about $4,000, which included $64, according to a 1918 Morning Press article, for sixty-four gallons of whiskey consumed by the builders. When the old court house was torn down, bricks were recycled and used in the new court house, thanks to about 100 volunteer boys ten years or so old who cleaned the bricks for about $.50 a day.
• Millville's Merry-Go-Round, built by the Allan Herschell Company, which specialized in building carousels and roller coasters, was purchased for $500 from Columbia Park, Lime Ridge, shortly after the fire company was formed in 1938 . The carousel has 36 wooden horses and two chariots. Knoebels Amusement Park & Resort also owns and operates a 1913 Allan Herschell carousel.
• Benton was designated as a "Bicentennial Community" in November, 1974, by the Pennsylvania Bicentennial Commission and the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration, making it one of the first communities in the state to receive approval of their plans for the 200th anniversary celebration in 1976. Eleanor Sands Smith, then vice-president of the Benton Garden Club, got the plans rolling and Mayor Jim Dildine appointed her as chairperson to spearhead the project. Her theme became We Came, We Stayed, a reference to the fact that many of Benton's residents were descendents from the area's first settlers. Martin Appleman was the general coordinator for the project.
For Kids of All Ages...
• Superman has been spotted in the area. Go here to get his picture.
• Cat lovers will enjoy the black cat with the green eyes here .
March 9, 2006. Joe Snedeker, the weatherman on WNEP-TV 16 who recently was awarded his Masters Degree in Biology/Environmental Science from East Stroudsburg University, issued a fearless forecast that last evening would be the end of the very cold nights until fall. How wonderful! After the long, cold winter, magic days will soon be here. Just hearing that spring will officially arrive in eleven days takes the chill out of the air for me. I can almost hear the frogs croak along a favorite pond and I look up and see geese flying in a "V" formation. Joe must be right!
Spring and the inevitable coming of warmer weather will soon rouse the earth from its dormancy. It seems that each day someone sends along a picture of the first robin of the spring, yet we all know that the ground is far too frozen to find any earthworms. There have to be factors other than "spring" for the migration of birds, the sprouting of seeds, the influx of insects, the popping out of the ground of the early spring plants like crocus, daffodils and tulips. The advent of spring is somewhat akin to the flying squirrel who sleeps through the day in his den tree and then rouses within a minute or two of dusk to begin his round of nocturnal activity. All these things must operate from a similar internal clock which we humans possess, the same clock that tells me, when I check the evening television schedule, that I might as well go to bed, the same internal clock that tells me to get up when it is still the middle of the night and the activities of the rest of the world haven't begun. It is the same internal clock that makes typical hibernators like ground squirrels, when kept in a windowless room at a constant 72°, hibernate none the less when winter arrives, even though they have absolutely no clues of the onset of winter. Ah, the mystery of spring--and the joy of spring! Bring on that warm air!
Benton Assembly of God Church will be holding an afternoon Easter Egg Hunt and a Puppet Show on March 31 at 1.
If you are receiving an influx of "bounced" or "undeliverable" messages from mail hosts that you didn't send any mail to or there is an influx of strange message which APPEAR to originate from your email, this is likely due to one of two causes.
The problem occurs because it is possible to configure the FROM and REPLY to address in an email program to any email address. When spam is received it appears to come from your email address, even though the headers in the email report otherwise. The problem is people don't check the headers. There isn't really too much that can be done except examine the headers in the bounced message and send the spam report to the ISP where the mail originated.
Emails can also be generated by a virus on either your system or an infected system which has your email address on it. There are some viruses which will scan a person's hard drive for email address and then send subsequent messages.
To protect yourself from a virus infection it is recommended that you be vigilant in the following habits...
• NEVER open a file attached to an email message from an unknown source, and only open an attachment if you KNOW that a person you trust absolutely sent it to you.
• DO run anti-virus software and ensure that the virus definitions are kept up to date. New virii (A purist might call them "viruses") are being created daily and it is important to keep current with updated AntiVirus software.
• If you do suspect your system may be infected with a virus run a full system scan.
• Don't forward email that includes the email addresses of a significant number of other people you do not know. If you must forward an email from someone else, remove the list of email addresses first before they fall into the wrong hands and start the sending of virii to loads of other people.
The Andrew Bellanca Trio will perform at the Quarter, a "Gin Mill on the Lower Level" on Second Street, Harrisburg, Saturday, March 10, beginning at 10 PM. John McHenry will be on percussion, Beth Trez will handle the keys and Andrew Bellanca is in charge of the electric bass. The group will perform "World Beat Jazz, Latin, Brazilian and Funk and Blues." John McHenry, Camp Hill, is the son of former Benton residents Ira and Lois McHenry and is a frequent hunter at Painter Den Club.
Our recent mention of Derl Derr, Millville, in his capacity as President of the Columbia County Traveling Library prompted a question from a reader about whether we knew of his ability as a soccer player. Derl played freshman soccer for the Big Red. During his three years as a center forward, Cornell University (Ithaca, New York) won the Ivy League title in 1948 and 1949 and finished just behind Army the third season. By the time he was graduated, he was captain of his 1950 soccer team which finished second in the Ivy League that year. Derl was named to the All-American College Soccer team twice. He was one of the eleven first stringers named by the University and College Coaches Association in 1950. Derl was an All-American in 1948 as a Cornell sophomore and received honorable mention in 1949. In 1950, he kicked 12 of the 19 goals scored by Cornell as the Big Red narrowly missed tying Army for first place in the Ivy League. He was honored for his soccer achievements when he was given the Nick Bawlf award as the Cornell senor who had done the most for soccer during his college career. His name was engraved on the plaque which rests in the Cornell field house. Derl graduated in June, 1951.
Give my regards to Davy,
Remember me to Tee Fee Crane.
Tell all the pikers on the hill
That I'll be back again.
Tell them just how I busted
Lapping up the high highball.
We'll all have drinks at Theodore Zinck's
When I get back next fall!
--Cornell Big Red Fight Song
I tend to think that an eccentric is a logical man in an illogical world.
Like the waves in the ocean, life has its gives and takes. Increased corn acres, spurred by ethanol production, could translate into something like 14% fewer cotton acres in 2007. We checked with Dr. Donald Baker, a cotton production consultant who is also a member of the Benton Area Schools Hall of Fame. Don did not argue with the Government's statement regarding the potential for fewer acres of cotton in production, but went on to tell us that "I am not convinced about the energy savings of ethanol. Counting the high cost of fertilizer and other chemicals and the energy consumed by the equipment (including irrigation) to produce corn, I question the net energy gain. All of these ethanol schemes for converting biomass into ethanol result in less organic matter being returned to the soil and over time that may have a very bad effect on soil productivity. Finally if the corn goes to ethanol, look for significantly higher meat, poultry and fish prices. There are other possible unintended consequences, e.g. if cotton is less available, will spinning mills move more to synthetics? Synthetics are made from oil, etc., etc."
The King Street Coffee House, 80 King Street, Northumberland, provides an arena for local musicians to perform acoustic music of all styles to an appreciative audience in a safe, smoke and alcohol free environment. The Coffee house operates on the second Friday of each month from September through May. Rev. Al Lumpkin with his wife Jean perform at the King Street Coffee House. Learn more at http://home.ptd.net/~paulbarb/coffee.htm .
Back in 1863, the Director of the Mint submitted designs for a new one-cent coin, two-cent coin, and three-cent coin proposing that the designs include the words "Our Country," "Our God," "God," or "Our Trust" as a motto for the coins. The proposal was approved, with a significant change--the wording became In God We Trust. Since 1938, all United States coins bear the inscription. In God We Trust is the national motto of the United States, displacing the former national motto, E Pluribus Unum.
On the new Presidential coins, In God We Trust is on the edge of the coin, rather than on the face of the coin. Apparently the 215 year-old U.S. Mint in Philadelphia struck an unknown number of the new one-dollar coins without the words In God We Trust or marks of any kind of the edge of the coins. With 300 million of the new gold-colored George Washington coins now in circulation the "error" coins are currently bringing around $50 on eBay. Local banks are having a run on the coins.
On the Mend...
• Beverly Stackhouse, in intensive care at Bloomsburg Hospital, a recipient Wednesday of a pacemaker.
• Bill Lenhart, a recipient Thursday of a pacemaker.
Thursday, March 8, 2007.
Carole Griffith Zeisloft grew up in Elk Grove, the daughter of Joe and Esther Griffith, owners of the former Elk Grove Hotel. She graduated from the Benton Schools as a member of the class of 1956, was the "first person to receive a master's degree from Bloomsburg State College when they started the program," married her high-school sweetheart from Millville, Warren Wilmer Zeisloft, and taught grade school for 41 years. Today she is a member of the Business Advisory Council in Washington, D.C., a member of the Presidential Business Commission and President of the Three Z's, Inc., a Delaware Corporation owned by Carole and her husband. On March 15, Carole will be honored as one of the 2006 Businesswomen of the Year by President George W. Bush at the 2007 National Republican Congressional Committee March Dinner at the Hilton Washington Hotel in Washington, D.C. This is the third year Carole has received this award. Newt Gingrich will be an invited guest. Carole will be formally recognized and have her picture taken with members of Congress and in a special photo op with the President.
For many, it was the decade that gave us things like the hula hoop, Peyton Place, Pat Boone, the Edsel and Mickey Spillane. For some, it was a "Golden Age" of greased up, slicked back. ducktail haircuts and listening to the music of Elvis, the Fleetwoods and Bill Haley and the Comets. We think of Howdy Doody, Rosemary Clooney and her sack dresses, Patti Page wailing out the Tennessee Waltz or Roseman Clooney inviting us to Come On-a My House, or Nat "King" Cole making the women misty eyed crooning Mona Lisa. These were the years of the Kennedy assassination, Spiro T. Agnew, the Black Panthers and the Vietnam war. The decade of the 1950s was much too large to view in its entirety at one sitting, so lets just look at the early part of those years..
Truman had just authorized the build of the first H-bomb and in the summer of 1950 we found ourselves embroiled in the Korean War. On March 15, 1951, Seoul was recaptured from the Chinese and North Korean troops. The Rosenberg were sentenced to death in April, 1951, for selling atomic secrets. The fifth and final atomic test was carried out near Los Vegas. President Truman formally relieved General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, the senior general in the United States Army, of all commands, including that of United Nations Commander in Korea. Joseph McCarthy, a Republican from Wisconsin, became one of the most feared, famous and politically powerful men in Congress.
On the national level these events were of little consequence to local men who were packing up and heading into military service. We certainly do not intend to miss anyone, but we know that we will and for that we apologize. But here is what some of the local boys were doing at the beginning of the 1950s.
• In January, 1951, Leroy Sitler, Stillwater, Carl Albertson, Rohrsburg, and Donald Martini, Main Street, gathered in the Berwick Post Office Building, then headed for Wilkes-Barre by bus, in order to leave by train for Lackland Air Base, San Antonio.
• On March 7, 1951, Jack Fritz, Niagara Falls, New York, Zane Loys Hartman and Charles Leroy Kline reported to the courthouse for induction.
• About the same time, Navy enlistees left Bloomsburg for Philadelphia, including Edwin Harry McHenry, Rohrsburg, Richard Dale Kindig, Stillwater, Andrew Clair Harvey, Benton, Teddy Carl McHenry, Orangeville, Ronald Henry Keller, Stillwater, Thomas Roger Hartman, Benton, and Donald Leroy Doty, Orangeville. Their destination was boot camp in either Newport or Great Lakes. Others in the same group included Doyle Leroy Young, Stillwater, William Wayne Zeisloft, Jerseytown, Murray Frank Holdren, Millville, Don Ellis Bangs, Orangeville, Harold Chester Fritz, Jr., Benton, and Paul Drabot, Millville. Harold Fritz was at Great Lakes facility in Illinois. Machinist's Mate Second Class Clifton Doyle Hess was the envy of other Navy men, since he was stationed on the French Riviera aboard the Navy Destroyer, USS Lloyd Thomas. John Conner headed off for Great Lakes.
• On November 22, 1951, Robert James Moss, Benton, Gerald Leroy McHenry, Benton, Joseph Glenn Savage, Benton, Glen Raymond Baker, Benton, Edmund William Keefer, Jr., Stillwater, and Herbert Dean Remley, Benton, received their pre-induction physical. Private Joseph Savage headed to Ft. Bliss.
• Andrew Van Sock, 20, an employee of the GLF Feed Mill, and Frank M. Lockard, 20, an employee of H. C. Dildine, enlisted in the Air Force and headed to Army Air Force Training at Sampson Air Base, New York.
• Some were left behind. Anna Stell Raski became engaged in June, 1951, to Glen Raymond Baker who had recently been drafted and was serving in Virginia. Shirley Thompson became engaged to Frank Lockard, formerly employed at the GLF, but then stationed at Sampson, New York, with the Army Air Force. Bernice Sharp married Charles Kline February 18 before he entered the Armed Forces March 7.
Those who were left behind were concerned about being blown to smithereens by the Russians after they tested their first atomic bomb. Backyard bomb shelters were built by those who could afford them, and then stocked with Franco-American spaghetti, bottled water, powdered milk and a flashlight with a several-week supply of batteries. The Bible was the best selling book of nonfiction in 1952, 1953, and 1954. A few miles from Benton, the 648th Aircraf Control and Warning Squadron was activated in October, 1951, and was often simply known as the Benton Air Force Station.
As the 1950s continued, new concepts--panty raids, chug-a-lugging beer, crew cuts, white bucks--took over, but during the early years of the 1950s none locally even considered burning a draft card or sneaking off to Canada. We heard slogans like "I Like Ike" suddenly appear. As our soldiers slowly came Back Home to Benton, PA, it was time to figure out how to buy a house, a 10" television and a Chevrolet from Doyle Sutliff. But we'll leave that portion of the 1950s for some other day...
• We are not promoting anything shady or underhanded, mind you, but for you ladies who have a problem with your husbands reading your email, we suggest that you simply rename your INBOX to "Instruction Manual." Your problem will go away.
• Christine’s Karaoke will be at Kameeo’s Friday night from 9:30 to 1:30 and on Saturday night will be in the Millville Legion from 8.
• The Pennsylvania Game Commission recommends that repair or creation of new homes for eastern bluebirds begin now, in spite of the cold weather.
• Nearly new, slightly used, no creases, no marks and only one-day old. Only defect is that no numbers match. Fifty percent discount off face value, thanks to a truck driver from Georgia! Five tickets available. When you call, ask for David.
• Please take the time to send a "get well wishes/card shower" for Maude Luskey, who just spent a month in the hospital with pneumonia. Maude's address is 36 Talcott Hill Road, Shickshinny, PA 18655.
• The next Fishing Creek Watershed Association Membership meeting will take place March 12 at 7 PM. The location is the Columbia County Ag Center, 702 Sawmill Road, Bloomsburg.
• The Benton Christian Church needs someone to fill the secretarial position of the church. It is a part-time position 10-15 hours per week. Computer skills are required and anyone interested should send their resume to "Church Moderator," the Benton Christian Church, Church Street, Benton, PA 17814. Resumes should be submitted by March 19.
March 7, 2007. Happy birthday to Richard Fritz. Isn't it strange that the winter that didn't want to get started now doesn't want to quit!
At 2 AM Sunday, daylight saving time starts three weeks earlier than usual in a federal effort to save energy. Congress' rationale in making the time shift was to give people more hours of daylight in the late afternoon and evenings, cutting electricity needs. Benjamin Franklin, in fact, used similar logic in the 1700s when he suggested people save money on candles by taking maximum advantage of the sunlight. With all the doom and gloom forecast for electronics because of the early transition, simply change your time zone to Mountain Standard for three weeks if you encounter computer problems.
. JoAnn Walk is in Thailand. She started in Bangkok and traveled north to Ching Rai, then went up the Mekong River to Laos. She says she "loves the people and the beautiful country and flowers everywhere."
. Geraldine Laubach, visiting in Germany, is making a side trip to Ireland and helping grandchildren with the German version of "Odyssey of the Mind."
. David and Heidi Kline returned to Santa Ynez, California, by the light of the day after moving most of their household items to Geneseo, New York. Blizzard-like conditions cancelled their Tuesday early-morning planned departure from the Rochester airport and then cancelled their mid-afternoon flight. They still have lots of critters--Icelandic horses, dogs and cats--to move and that will come at the end of this month.
. All this reminds me of an aside I once saw in Around the Town, an Argus feature, which once reported that (someone) "motored to Maple Grove." For readers who don't know Maple Grove, it is a distance of less than two miles from the Borough.
Gasoline prices are soaring reflecting a national trend that some say will get even worse. In New York state Monday we shelled out $2.569 per gallon for $20 worth of regular, unleaded gasoline thinking that we would fill up when we got back to the less expensive prices in Pennsylvania. As we crossed over the Pennsylvania we saw the price: $2.599. In the last month, the average for regular unleaded in Pennsylvania has gone from $2.229 to $2.529, according to the AAA fuel report, which is probably obsolete by now.
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and Stackpole Books have just published a new book, Pennsylvania Civil War Trails, The Guide to Battle Sites, Monuments, Museums and Towns, by Tom Huntington. It has detailed information about Civil War sites in Central Pennsylvania and includes maps and photographs. The books sells for $14.95, plus tax and shipping, and is available at the State Bookstore in the Keystone Building in Harrisburg, by mail or by calling 800 747-7790.
A reader asked about Icelandic Horses and I'll take a minute to explain about the breed. The horse arrived in Iceland with the Vikings, and is as well preserved as a breed as the Icelandic language, which is relatively unchanged over the centuries. The people of Iceland probably mostly came from Norway, and so the horses they brought with them traveled on open ships and were certainly of the finest stock. In the horse's new home, it was in a position of honor. No one but the owner was allowed to touch the horse, and death was the penalty for not honoring this rule. When a Viking died, when his time had come to join the warriors in Valhalla, his horse was killed and buried in full tact with its owner.
In the large, sparsely populated country of Iceland, the distances to travel were large and the going was difficult. The horse was originally used, in part, for herding of sheep on the island. Today, the horse is generally regarded as a riding horse to be used for pleasure and enjoyment.
The Icelandic horse is relatively small compared to other breeds, but it has tremendous strength and endurance. Although it is more compact and has shorter legs than most other popular breeds, it is not classified as a pony and no other horse breed has the same ability as far as gait is concerned.
The Icelandic horse is most famous for the quality of its five gaits, but is also known for its calm temperament. The horse is very amiable and easy to handle and loves to work. Besides walk, trot, and canter, it has the tolt (running walk) and pace. To me, the most fascinating gate is the tolt, which has been bred out of most breeds but can still be found in certain breeds in North and South America and in Asia. The tolt of the Icelandic horse is smooth but powerful. It is possible to ride an Icelandic horse in tolt with varying speed, while carrying a full glass of beer--without spilling a drop. The tolt is a four-beat gait and for a clear-gaited tolt the length between hoof beats must be the same.
All exported Icelandic horses retain the place of birth in their names. It is also a tradition that Icelandic horses are given Icelandic names as well as the name of the farm.
We mention the Icelandic Horse because of the following notice: David and Heidi Kline and the Hobby Horse Ranch, Santa Ynez, California, have moved to New York. The horse farm is now known as Westerly Icelandic Horses and is located at 3160 Chandler Road, Piffard, New York 14533, 585 243-9301.
March 6, 2007. We celebrate the birthdays of Nettie Lunger and Wendy Kriebel today. There are 14 days remaining until the official start of spring, although no one would know that from the artic-like cold front that is dominating our area today.
The Benton Women's Club will hold its first meeting of 2007 Thursday, March 8, at 7 PM in the library of the LR Appleman Elementary School. New members are welcome and encouraged to attend! For more information, call Michele Minier, 925-2845.
Need to read a file someone sent you? Don't have Microsoft Word? Microsoft has a free Word viewer. You can download a copy from Microsoft at http://tinyurl.com/5ye9c . Another option is the free Open Office, www.openoffice.org , that can both read and write Word documents. A third option is to use Google Docs at http://docs.google.com/ . Once there you can upload the Word file. You will need a Google username to access the site but will not need any software on your computer other than your browser. And finally WordPad that comes with Windows will open Word files.
We recently wrote about the Columbia County Traveling Library and in that article mentioned the Frank and Effa Laubach Memorial Library Association. A reader asked if we would tell her more about that library. My response to her is contained in the following paragraphs...
The idea of a library to honor Dr. and Mrs. Frank Laubach in their home town took shape in 1977 when 19 people gathered at the Benton Elementary School to help in the planning for the founding of a library association for the Benton area. The Benton Bicentennial Commission sponsored the meeting.
Younger readers may not know about Dr. Frank Charles Laubach. He was born in Benton September 2, 1884, in the home where John and Zane Unbewust live in on Main Street. His boyhood home was also on Main Street in the home now of Catherine Harrison, the former location of the Horace Harrison IGA.
Effa Emmaline Seely was born in Fairmount Springs, December 25, 1882. Her family moved to Benton in 1893 and built the first red brick house in the Borough. Effa's sister, Grace Seely Hosler, later owned the house Frank and Effa lived on Main Street at Church Street. For a time, the Benton Area Health Center was housed in the building. The house is adjacent to the old bakery that is now being turned into a second major antique center in the Borough.
Frank and Effa graduated from the Benton schools. Their paths separated for a time after high school while he pursued the ministry and Effa a degree in nursing and Bible study for mission work. Dr. Laubach was reared in the church, his was the first wedding solemnized in the local Methodist church, and he possessed a heart full of love for the church. Local residents mostly read of their couple's accomplishments following the marriage as the couple spent the rest of their adult life in the education of the illiterate of the world and in missionary work. Dr. Laubach devised a simple picture-phonetic system of teaching illiterates to read. By the time of the dedication of the Laubach Library, the couple had visited 108 countries and worked in 312 languages and dialects, in many cases the first time a specific language was extracted into print.
Dr. Laubach, as a world missionary born and raised in the Benton area, had the enthusiastic support of the community. That fact became evident from the moment that Martin Appleman opened the library meeting by explaining that the Commission wanted the project as a memorial to the Laubachs. A motion to name the library the Frank and Effa Laubach Memorial Library Association passed unanimously. By-laws for the organization were prepared prior to the meeting, discussed, changed slightly, and then passed. Dues for membership in the library were set at $1 a year and cards were distributed to volunteers to sign up additional members.
The Benton Women's Club had recently been formed and that group pledged their full support. Bernard Shultz was high school principal and he offered a number of suggestions to the organization. Preliminary plans called for full cooperation with the local high-school library in the operation of the library's services. The group agreed to approach the Benton Area School Board at their next meeting to get formal approval of the cooperative agreement.
The people who were present for the meeting were enthusiastic, expressing hope that the group could instill a love of reading in youngsters and vowed to reach out to older students and adults who might have reading problems. The organization recognized that at some point they would have to strive for a community library and museum separate from the school.
The original by-laws called for a Board of Directors to handle the month-to-month affairs of the association. Members of the board were elected from the membership during an annual meeting.
Neither Frank nor Effa Laubach ever retired, although she lived to be 90 and he to 85. They were totally dedicated to the premise that the world's population could be liberated from ignorance through the concept of "each one, teach one."
Many will remember the dedicated effort put forth by Betty Jane Trout in support of the library and her continued support later when the assets of the former Frank C. Laubach Library were transferred to the Columbia County Traveling Library about 1996. The long-anticipated area museum and library will come to pass in the spring with the opening of the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center.
March 5, 2007. Happy birthday today to Elizabeth Brianne Stewart. On this date in 1953, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin died at age 73 after 29 years in power. In 1963, country music performers Patsy Cline, "Cowboy" Copas and "Hawkshaw" Hawkins died in a plane crash near Camden, TN. In 1946 in a speech at Missouri's Westminster College, Winston Churchill introduced the term "iron curtain" to describe the repression of Soviet-dominated Europe. Towanda was incorporated as a borough 177 years ago today.
The Port Clinton Fish & Game coyote hunt had 95 registered hunters with six coyotes harvested. John Killian, Shickshinny, killed a 44-pound male coyote in Luzerne County and got first place. Robert K. Cragle, Shickshinny, took second place with a 41-pound female he got in Luzerne County.
Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, is a popular place to head for college. Now we find that the University is considering adding a law school. Faculty members will vote on the proposal April 1, and the university's board of trustees will take up the issue April 13.
If you have some extra time, watch "SpaceWander Roundtrip First Class." While watching each picture push the info button on the left side and you will get more facts. There is no sound after the lift off until they re-enter earth's atmosphere. This is an incredible journey that really makes you feel insignificant in the big scheme of time and creation. Just sit back and enjoy, it takes a minute to start. Click here.
We liked the story about the young boy who announced to his mother, "Mom, I've decided to become a minister when I grow up." "That's okay with us," the mother replied, "but what made you decide that?" "Well," said the little boy, I have to go to church on Sunday anyway, and I figure it will be more fun to stand up and yell than to sit and listen."
It is possible that people did descend from lower animals because some church members seem to be stubborn as MULES about church work, sly as a FOX in business deals, busy as BEES in spreading the latest gossip. But they have eyes like a HAWK, they are eager as BEAVERS about church suppers, but lazy as DOGS about prayer meetings and mean as SNAKES when things don't go their way. They are noisy as CROWS in calling for the church to advance but as slow as SNAILS in visiting. Many are night OWLS on Saturday night and BEDBUGS on Sunday mornings and as scarce as HEN'S teeth on Sunday night.
March 4, 2007. On this date in...
• 1801, the House of Representatives chose Thomas Jefferson to be the country's next president, and named Aaron Burr Vice President. The House had been called upon to select the nation's highest elected officials when the two Republican candidates, Jefferson and Burr, received the same number of votes in the Electoral College. According to the Constitution, presidential electors did not specify their preference for their choice of candidates for either president or vice president. The candidate with the majority of electoral votes became president, while the man with the next highest number of votes automatically became vice president. The House of Representatives had 36 ballots before Jefferson won.
• 1861, Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated president (since today is the original date for the inauguration of presidents in the United States).
• 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated president, based partly on his pledge of leading the country out of the Great Depression. FDR (1882-1945) was the 32nd (1933-1945) President of the United States, was elected for four terms, and the only U.S. president elected more than twice.
• 1945, Corporal Bob Sands was a patient in a Belgium hospital due to shrapnel wounds he sustained of the forehead, ear and left leg. The War Department awarded the twice-wounded soldier the Bronze Star, two Oak Leaf Clusters and the Purple Heart.
• 2003, the Benton Volunteer Fire Station celebrated the first pouring of the first section of the concrete floor in the truck bay. The second pour took place March 6. The Social Hall was the old showroom of the Little Lumber Company.
• The last day Verizon will provide analog cellular service will be Feb 18, 2008. Those bag phones will finally have to go.
• The Philadelphia Flower Show is at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th and Arch Streets, Philadelphia, March 4-11. This year's theme is "Legends of Ireland." Show hours are: Sundays 8 AM to 6 PM, Monday through Friday 10 AM to 9:30 PM, Saturday 8 AM to 9:30 PM.
• Please keep Mary Janney and Rev. Don Miller in your prayers today.
• Congratulations to the Benton Odyssey of the Mind Team as they advance to state competition with their "The Large and Small of It" problem.
• Benton 's girls basketball team outscored Montgomery in three of the four quarters but their second period let the Red Raiders win 44-35 in the District 4 Class A championship game. Full details are in Sunday's Press Enterprise.
Didja hear the one about the Englishman who was served the soup du jour in a local restaurant, and immediately showed his displeasure. He demanded to know from the waitress what it was. The enthusiastic waitress explained that "it's bean soup!" The Englishman arched his back, and told her that he didn't care what it had bean, he wanted to know what it was now.
Long-time readers of the Benton News know that we love to attend both the O.A.T.S. bluegrass festival at the Benton Rodeo grounds and the Kutztown Festival at the Kutztown Fairgrounds during the period around the Fourth of July.
The Out Among the Stars Festival runs from June 29-July 1, 2007 and features these outstanding groups: Cherryholmes (Sat); The Gibson Brothers (Fri); Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike (Fri, Sat); The Bluegrass Brothers (Sat); Kickin' Grass (Thu, Fri) Michael Cleveland and the Flame keepers (featuring Audie Blaylock) (Sat); Buncombe Turnpike (Fri); Blue Roots (Fri); Stained Grass Window; Louie Setzer and the Appalachian Mountain Boys (Sat); Outskirts; Remington Ryde (All Days); Grass Stained Genes (Thu); and Second Wind (Thu). More acts will be announced, but as far as I am concerned the admission price is worth it just to hear Cherryholmes and Michael Cleveland. The rest of the groups represent icing on the cake. This festival will only get better and better over the years now that it appears that a long-term lease of the rodeo grounds could be signed soon.
The Pennsylvania Dutch flavor of the 58th Kutztown Festival mid-way between Allentown and Reading begins June 30 and runs to July 8 at the Kutztown Fairgrounds. It is the oldest, continuing folklife festival in America. In 2006, the festival drew over 130,000 visitors. An art show of nearly 2,500 hand-made Pennsylvania German motif quilts is one of the most popular events at the festival. From 100 outstanding quilts in the show, the field is narrowed down to twenty-four and these are awarded top honors. From these quilts four are designated as the best of the show. The quilt auction on the second Saturday of the festival is the highlight of the show and is attended by large numbers of bidders.
Kutztown features live music ranging from folk singing and country fiddling to the sounds of brass bands. The Heidelberg Band and the Sauerkraut Band will return to provide oom-pah sounds. Familiar folk music will come from the Blue Mountain Gospel Express, Echoing Heart, and the Mountain Folk Music Duo. Keith and Karlene Brintzenhof will sing songs in the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect. Centuries-old Mennonite music sung by a capella choir will be a special treat.
Lester Miller and the Country Folks will be on the hoedown stage. Lester gets his children, grandchildren and friends on the festival stage for jigging and hoedown dancing which he describes as "Pennsylvania Dutch aerobics." For the kids, there is the famous HexExpress made of 55-gallon oil drums and "Der Korn" filled with corn kernels.
There are ham and chicken dinners, home-made soups, chicken pot pie, corn fritters, funnel cakes, shoo-fly pie, strawberry shortcake, and apple dumplings and the famous Pennsylvania Dutch ox roast.
The Kutztown Festival is a partnership of the Kutztown University Foundation, Inc. and the Kutztown Fair Association, Inc. Two dozen community organizations and nearly 400 volunteers help to make the festival possible. Admission prices are adults, $12, seniors, $11, children 12 and under, free. Parking is free.
Many of us have "cabin fever" about this time of the year. Ida Albertson had cabin fever in February, 1967, and went through old papers and wrote down these local occurrences...
May 22, 1844: "Corn and apples froze."
September 29, 1844: "Snowed 4 to 6 inches on the mountain.
January 29, 1845: "Several grasshoppers were seen hopping around."
February 21, 1845: "Saw the grasshoppers again and they were very lively."
November 30, 1847: "Very heavy thunder and lightning, while snowing 3 to 4 inches."
November 15, 1848: "Coldest I ever knew."
July 2, 1848: "The awful flood in Fishingcreek."
April 18, 1849: "Snowed 18 inches on the mountain."
June 28, 1849: "Highest water ever known in area streams."
October 24, 1853: "Snowed 8 to 15 inches in the area."
April 14 to 17, 1854: "Snowed 14 inches here and 30 on the mountain."
April 20, 1857: "Snowed 24 inches on the mountain and a foot here."
March 3, 2007. Today we celebrate Bob and Iva Conner's wedding anniversary, plus the birthdays of Steve Zeveney and Herr Klink. Please keep your speed down on Waller Road and on Route 239 now that automobiles and trucks share the road with horses and buggies.
On this date in 1931, the "Star Spangled Banner" officially became the US national anthem and although there is absolutely no connection, two years later Mount Rushmore was dedicated and a year later John Dillinger broke out of jail using a wooden pistol and that is the end of this nonsense for today.
The Benton Boys Basketball team had a great season, but it all ended Friday night when St. John Neumann came out on top in their 76-69 District 4 Class A consolation game with the local team. Read the details in Saturday's Press Enterprise. In Benton Girls Basketball, the local team plays Montgomery today for the District 4 Class A title and they also have a nice article in the Bloomsburg paper.
It appears as though Dick and Janet McHenry's house in Enterprise, Alabama, will be okay but "will need some major work done to it" following a hit by a tornado. The man that did work on the Alabama McHenry house had to be dug out of his as it collapsed in on him. Dick and Janet own a house in Benton Township and are visitors in the area when they can. Dick is formerly from Stillwater and his sister, Mary Evans, still lives in the area. Here is what Beth McHenry told us about her parents' incident...
"Thank you for your prayers! My parents are both alive and for that I am thankful. My mother was in the direct path of the storm. As she heard the roar of the tornado approaching she had only seconds to take shelter under the dining room table. Debris was flying all around her. Rescue personal gathered her and others in the neighborhood and walked them to a nearby store so they could account for everyone and keep them safe. My father was at work at the time at the Fort Rucker Army Base. This was his last day at his job because he has retired! He was not able to get to my mother for a while. When he could leave the army base he could only get so close and had to walk into the neighborhood where they live. He was able to find my mother and they were able to get some important items out of their home. Their home has sustained damage and can not be lived in until it is repaired. At this time they are staying at the home of one of their church friends."
Beth added, "Please keep my parents and those families that lost children at Enterprise High School in your prayers." Beth and her brother Eric are on their way to their parents and promise to send pictures when she can survey the damage first hand.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reviewing the status of the endangered eastern cougar, which we commonly refer to as a "mountain lion." Anyone wishing to submit information regarding the eastern cougar may do so by March 30 by writing to Eastern Cougar, Northeast Regional Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 300 Westgate Center Drive, Hadley, MA 01035. Comments may also be submitted via email to EasternCougar@fws.gov.
We do a lot of traveling with people of our own age, and from them we have gained the following information. We know, for example, that we...
• are often more interested in going back home than continuing to our destination.
• when we arrive at our destination, we quickly say "Hi'Ya!" then ask for the nearest bathroom.
• engage in conversation and smile a lot, since we only hear half of what is said, only understand a quarter of what is said that we hear and don't agree with what is left.
• talk about our grandchildren so others know that none are as skilled, talented or intelligent as ours.
• don’t like waiting in line in our car or for something to eat, we avoid crowds and the heat of the noonday sun, don't believe politicians, and avoid young children not directly related to us.
• are skilled with the use of a hammer when opening childproof tops.
• are certain that young people today do the same things we did when we were young, only they do it at a younger age.
On the Weekend...
• Saturday. Spring Craft Show with more than 100 crafters and refreshments. Columbia Montour Area Vo-Tech School, 5050 Sweppenheiser Drive, Bloomsburg. From 9 in the morning to 3 PM. 784-8040.
• March 24. Craft show, handcrafted items for the home and garden. Homemade baked goods, breakfast and lunch items and raffles. Lake-Lehman High School, Old Route 115, Lehman., 10 AM to 4 PM. Vendor information at 477-3657.
• April 25, 2007, a Red Hat celebration and buffet at the Carriage Corners, Mifflinburg, beginning at 11:30 AM. The price is $10.50 including tax and gratuity. Entertainment will be by the ladies of the Red Hat organization. Let Jackie Malhoyt know before April 4 if you will be attending. Phone 925-2722.
Florence A. “Flossie” Huss, 79, (November 13, 1927- February 28th, 2007), Rohrsburg Road, Orangeville, died Wednesday. She lived in the Benton area since 1963. She was a daughter of the late Richard F. and Sudie I. (Hassinger) Knepp. Surviving are children Dolly Wood (Charles), Benton, Tony L. Hess, Rohrsburg, and Lilley Scheib, Cambra, plus three step-children. She was preceded in death by her husband, Winey M. Huss, and by a son, Leroy Wilmer Hess. Private services will be held at the convenience of the family. Arrangements are under the direction of the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc., Benton.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will be published in Saturday's Press Enterprise.
Some sermons are worth repeating. A couple of years ago today Father Joe Hess, long associated with St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church, gently wrote to us after we wrote about one of Mother's favorite sayings about this or that being in a "mell of a Hess." Father Joe respectfully recommended that we change it to "If you're ever in a mess, call on Hess."
From the "Old Sayings Department" comes this...
"If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb. If March comes in like a lamb, it will go out like a lion."
March 2, 2007. We neglected to mention that yesterday or the day before was the date to celebrate the birthday of Greg Sutliff, owner of Sutliff Chevrolet, Harrisburg, and frequently seen at Painter Den Club. His birthday actually occurs on the 29th, a date we'll have one of next year.
Franklin Richard Mc Henry's last day of work at Ft. Rucker Military Base in Enterprise, Alabama, was yesterday, the same day tornadoes ripped across the Southern and Midwestern United States killing a number of people. Apparent tornadoes killed at least seven people in Alabama, including five at a high school in Enterprise where students were trapped under a collapsed roof. Regretfully, a tornado struck the McHenry home in Enterprise about 1 PM. There is much damage to their home. Dick and his wife Janet are both safe. What a way to begin a retirement! Dick, a Stillwater native, and Janet own a house in Benton Township.
The state Public Utility Commission approved the merger of Commonwealth Telephone Enterprises Inc. and Citizens Communications Co., telephone companies Thursday, noting that the merger was" in the public interest." Citizens Communications Company (NYSE: CZN) and Commonwealth Telephone Enterprises, Inc. (Nasdaq: CTCO), have completed all required regulatory approvals for the acquisition. The parties anticipate that the transaction will close during the first half of March 2007.
• March 18, Catawissa First United Methodist Church's ham and dandelion supper.
• March 30-April 1, Fiddler on the Roof, starring Northwest High School students and community.
• March 31, 2007. The Raven Creek Ladies Guild is sponsoring a Chicken and Biscuit Dinner from 4-7 PM at the Raven Creek Community Hall on Upper Raven Creek Road off Route 239. The cost is $7 for adults, $3.50 for children ages 6-12, and under 6 are free. The menu is chicken and biscuits, mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, beverage and dessert. The proceeds will be donated to fund an Eagle Scout Project for the Raven Creek Presbyterian Church for a new church sign.
A move to New York state in the middle of the winter takes guts! It also takes supplies not normally found on ranches in California. We're talking snow suits, muck boot with steel tips, ski goggles, neck warmers with two or three on the drying rack, gloves of differing weight and insulation for all kinds of eventualities, snow blowers.
Hats are essential, especially when the hoods are removed to back up the tractor. Knit caps and a "bomber" type Russian style fur hat with fold-uppable flaps looks ridiculous but is essential. Tractors need a plug-in (built-in) core heater. An easily accessible box of shear pins for said snow blower for the rock/wood/frozen dog you'll invariably hit while driving around. You'll need a dedicated two-piece wrench set for aforementioned box of shear pins. A ready supply of diesel for the tractor, plus a case of Diesel Anti-Coagulant. A case of Gas Line Anti-Freeze for cars. A 6' heavy steel rock post-hole digger "spear" for breaking ice. A Mapp gas blowtorch with integrated push-button lighter for ice removal.
Next a rechargeable fire extinguishers is needed in every building so that when you set something on fire from the Mapp Gas Ice Torch you can put it out quickly without your better half noticing. The fire extinguishers need recharging every two years.
Two stainless steel heated tall dog "bowls" with steel springs protecting power cord from chewing. You'll need this for the horses in a pinch when invariably one of your Nelson waterers craps out on the coldest day of the year. You need two because one will be destroyed somehow. Two outdoor water-proof extension cords in each building you own.
In the useful category are hand axes that feel really good. One short (for belt), one for power-chopping. Move to critical list if you use a wood-burning stove. It will dry all your clothes out in less than a half hour. There is nothing worse than putting on a wet pair of boots than when it's 1° outside. A Tormek brand tool sharpener with all the attachments would be useful. A halogen headlamp minimum 3 bulbs powered by rechargeable AAA batteries will extend your useful working time by hours in the winter.
Iris P. Penman, 93, (Nov. 26, 1913- Feb. 27, 2007), 212 W. Pine Ave., Bloomsburg, died Tuesday at the Baltimore Washington Medical Center, Glen Burnie, Maryland. Iris was born in Sonestown, a daughter of the late Peter and Tressie (Klinger) Savage. Iris was a 1932 graduate of Benton High School, where she playing on the girls basketball team. She lived in Benton until 1958 when she moved to Bloomsburg. She was preceded in death by brothers Roscoe, Lawrence and Floyd Savage and sisters Emmaline Sorber and Blanche Fenstermacher. She is survived by a daughter, Marlene M. Pegg (Roy), Pasadena, Maryland; sisters Katherine Novotny, Whiting, NJ, and Willard O. Phillips, Bloomsburg. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren also survive. Funeral services will be Sunday at 2 PM with visitation prior in the Dean W. Kriner Inc. Funeral Home, Benton. Interment will be in Benton Cemetery.
--Obituary courtesy of the Press Enterprise, where a complete version can be found in the March 1, 2007, edition
March 1, 2007. Today is St. David's Day, commemorating the patron saint of Wales who was born in the sixth century at Henfynw, Cardigan. True and loyal Welshmen wear yellow on St David's Day and eat leeks and faggots (Traditional Welsh Liver Cakes or Croquets) . Shamokin, where Bob Thomas was born, has many Welsh, which is true of many mining communities. Bob remembers the Welsh miners he calls "Brother Jacks" for their habit of saving money to bring "my Brother Jack" to America. Bob remembers the Welsh Church in Shamokin and the congregation that sang "their" hymns and used Gaelic Hymnals and had an outstanding choir. Bob comments that "even us Methodist Welsh flocked to their holiday concerts."
We associate the leek with St. David, which is said to have protected him in combat and was worn by his countrymen to distinguish them from their Saxon enemies during battle. In honor of the dude by the name of David, plant some leek or onions as soon as the ground can be worked.
Today is Rodney Van Pelt's birthday. Rod shares his birthday with blind bluegrass picker Doc Watson. In 1961 on this date, President John Kennedy created the Peace Corps and in 1932 on this date 20-month-old Charles A. Lindbergh Jr., son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh, was kidnapped from the family home near Hopewell, NJ.
Franklin D. Roosevelt once said something to the effect that rules are not necessarily sacred, but principles are. Well now that we know that, we'll change it. If you go to www.everyrule.com/you can access the largest database of rules in the world for sports, games, etiquette and--well, everything.
In Benton girls basketball, the local team defeated Mansfield 54-52 and will head on to the District 4 title game with Montgomery at a site and time to be determined. The boys side came out with Mansfield winning 51-32 in the District 4 Class A semifinals and will go on with Benton (14-12) playing St. John Neumann in the consolation game at a site and time to be determined. The entire community is very proud of their basketball teams, coaches and teachers who work so very hard. Read all the details in Thursday's Press Enterprise.
Didja know that snow can actually be different colors? Snow can be red, for example, if the air during the snow contains red dust particles. Red snow is relatively common in parts of Europe where the air is filled with dust particles from the red sands of the Sahara desert. Certain types of algae stain snow yellow, purple, orange, green, and red. We hope that we don't see any more snow of any color this winter.
A Boy Scout Spaghetti Supper is coming up March 17 from 4-7 PM at the Benton Methodist Church, Main Street. Adults are $6 and the cost is $4 for ages 6-12. Under 6 are free. Menu is spaghetti and meatballs, bread, salad, cake, coffee and ice tea. Take outs are available. The event is sponsored by the Benton Boys Scouts.
You should have it done by now, but in case you haven't remember that pruning is the key to good raspberries. Prune all the old brown canes, cutting them off at ground level. Leave six of the strongest green canes per 12 inches of running row and keep the plants inside an 18-inch-wide row. Mow down new unruly shoots, or you'll end up with a jungle instead of neat rows.
Have you ever wondered how the early settlers knew when to prune, or when to plant or when to harvest? They consulted almanacs to get the proper planting information. The Pennsylvania Dutch, for example, believed in planting by moon signs. For instance, fruits and flowers were planted when the moon was rising, root crops were planted when the moon was going down. Beans and other vegetables were never planted during the sign of Virgo (August 23 to September 23), the "Posie Lady." (The Posie Lady was Virgo, the Virgin, and usually displayed in almanacs holding a flower or posie.) Virgo gives flowers but no fruit, according to almanacs.
Root crops should be planted in the sign of Taurus, the Bull, and it was believed that you should prune just before the full moon in Taurus, Cancer or Scorpio to keep birds and bugs out of the grapes. Gemini and Leo are not good signs for planting. An early almanac tells us "Never prune during Leo because the trees will surely die," and claims that Virgo is not good for planting or transplanting, planting during Cancer assures an abundant yield, and red beets should be planted in March so they won't get woody and tough.
And by a modern calendar, March 17 may be St. Patrick's Day but old Pennsylvania Dutchmen knew the date as St. Gertrude's Day, when Dutchmen planted peas, potatoes and onions. St. Gertrude, or St. Gertraut, was a seventh century Belgium nun and March 17 is shown as St. Gertrude's Day in many almanacs. The almanacs mention that soon after the onions are planted on St. Gertrude's Day, a light snow that melts quickly will occur. This is called the "onion snow" since it falls on the onions already in the ground. It is often celebrated as the last snow of the winter.