March 31, 2008. Happy birthday to Dottie Ann Pollock and happy anniversary to Joe and Emma Lou Savage. In the edition of the Benton News for Tuesday, we'll tell you about the darndest thing. It is about the egg that was laid by a chicken which contained a second egg inside the first egg. To the best of the knowledge of the chicken's owner, it was the first (and, actually, the second) egg ever laid by this chicken. Offers are coming from everywhere to see this chicken and to buy it. If you think gas lease prices are high, wait until you hear what is being offered for the chicken! It will be our Poison d' Avril story that you won't want to miss.
Helen Harvey remains hospitalized and could use your prayers.
A meeting on gas leases will take place tonight at the Iola Lumber yard at 7 for landowners in Columbia County. Jackie Root will give a presentation on gas and oil leasing. The meeting is free and open to the public.
State Representative Karen Boback has received official endorsements in her bid for re-election to a second term in office from the National Rifle Association of America, PA Gun Owners Association of Columbia and Montour counties, and the Republican Party of Luzerne County and Columbia County. Murray Holden, Columbia County Republican Chairman, said, "Karen Boback received a unanimous vote from our executive committee members who were very pleased with her job performance in representing the people here in the northern part of Columbia County."
Donald Baker and Sandra Baker Fritz remember staying with their grandparents, Cleon and Emma Baker, for a week at a time during the summer months when school was not in session. They especially loved playing in his blacksmith shop, which was located to the right of the main driveway to the house, just past the stone-arch bridge over Little Raven Creek. The shop, like many blacksmith shops, burned and had to be rebuilt by Raymond and Dallas, the two sons of Cleon and Emma. The shop is no longer in its original location. Bill Schnitzler, the current owner of the farm, moved the rebuilt blacksmith shop nearer the barn to the left of the driveway.
Cleon Baker shod horses brought to the farm, where farmers and their horses often arrived about the time that Emma Baker would make lunch. She often took pity on the horse owners and would invite them to stay for a free meal in her large country kitchen which doubled as a dining room. Don Martini remembers breakfasts with Emma and Cleon were a feast with home-cured, smoked bacon, eggs, homemade bread, jellies and jams. Don wrote, "Watching Cleon work in his shop was a treat that is now something I treasure. Those really were the 'good old days'."
I remember the dark interior of the blacksmith shop as being lit by a single kerosene lantern and by the flickering light put off by the red-hot coals. There were usually wagon wheels awaiting repair, their "fixin" postponed while "drop-ins" somehow got their repairs pushed to the head of the line.
Cleon had a Model A Ford loaded with his equipment and used it to drive from farm to farm to work on horses. Sandra and Donald loved to meet him when he returned at the end of the day. They would hear the noise of the vehicle coming down the hill from the former Carter Bache farm and would run to meet their grandfather. The kids were allowed to drive the heavily laden vehicle to the house, a real thrill for children who adored their grandfather.
Geraldine Laubach's Grandpa George Yost once had a blacksmith shop where Dan Stoneham's storage facility is located behine the Sub Shop.
Cleon Baker might disagree, but today's machine-made shoes are better and easier to work with than the keg shoes that were produced a century or so ago. Keg shoes were shipped in a keg, all sizes, shapes and thicknesses--a little like buying shoes in a store where all the shoes are $9.99. When the Neil S. Harrison store closed in Benton, there were kegs and kegs of horseshoes in their basement. Many of the shoes of today come in a variety of sizes and can be shaped without heating. The heels are rounded and smooth, and have the nail holes slightly graduated from the outside edge from toe to heel.
It would appear that horseshoeing would be an easy art to learn. After all, a horseshoe consists of simply the toe, the two branches, and the two heels. It appears that it could be learned quickly since there really isn't much to it. If you sign up for a "farrier school," it will probably be a short course that prepares a person about as much as a basic real-estate principles course prepares the real-estate agent. The first question out of the mouth of the first client is one for which he is completely unprepared. About the time that the farrier thinks that he understands his art, his body has worn out.
The B western movies that were so popular as I was growing up always depicted a grizzled old character in the towns of the old west, often shown working on the old-fashioned forges as a specialist in making and fitting horseshoes. The farrier is still around helping out at rodeos or at race tracks or simply taking care of the hooves of privately-owned horses.
Many horse owners supervise the shoeing of their horses and are persnickety in making sure that the shoe comes level on the ground, and the weight is in keeping with the horse's gait and balance. These are the people who know the subtle difference when a horse "dwells," or "points" (throws) his feet out too far, or when they "wing" or "paddle." An owner knows these things about his horse and he must either communicate this information to the farrier or tackle the shoeing himself. Obviously not everyone can shoe a horse properly and not all owners can communicate his horse's needs.
Old blacksmiths knew that it took as much skill to shoe a plug of a farm horse as a carriage animal and the man who owned the old plug was just as particular and knew every bit as much as the man who owned a fancy animal. In fact, when the common work horses would come to the blacksmith shop, the owners would stand by while the job was being done and were much more exacting than the owner of the fancy horse who didn't supervise the work and didn't know siccum about mistakes. The blacksmith charged no more to shoe a fancy horse than a common horse.
Horseshoes have taken some strange turns over the years, but generally return to their original form. The Philadelphia Inquirer in its edition of September 19, 1898, felt that a London experiment showed great promise. The article noted that in a "veterinary establishment" in London was a horseshoe which looked "strangely out of place in the glittering collection of shoes of all sorts, strangely nailed to models of hoofs. What was strange about it was it was made of compressed paper and required no nails to fasten it to the hoof.
The horseshoe was lighter and claimed to be nearly as durable as the solid-iron shoe. The shoe was a German invention and was used on carriages with "good success." The idea seemed to have merit at the time, and cost savings of about 20% were hinted at, but the real advantage of the paper shoes was the reduced danger from the use of iron shoes. The paper shoes were fastened with strong glue. Almost all hoof problems in horses came from the improper or careless shoeing of the horse, so the idea of using paper on the hooves sounded good to the English.
Injury to the foot was not uncommon because of bent or poorly-driven nails. Many horses were injured for life during the shoeing process. The Inquirer article quoted the London Mail as saying the "new paper horseshoes can be applied by any one, that they are slightly elastic, thus accommodating themselves to the natural contractions and expansions of the hoof, and are not capable of producing hoof falls, or cuts, should one horse be kicked by another." It was a great idea, but a great idea which didn't work.
Somewhat like our fingernails that need cutting, an excess growth of hoof can make the horse have difficulty maneuvering. The horse becomes clumsy with a tendency to stumble, which makes the horse dangerous to ride. When shoes are left on too long, the hoof overgrows the shoe. As the hoof becomes longer it also grows larger and since the nails are driven into the front part of the hoof the shoe will be driven forward by this growth. Geraldine Laubach remembers taking Bess, the Yost family horse, to Cleon Baker's blacksmith shop to get the horse's feet trimed.
When the Benton News crosses your desk tomorrow, we'll tell you about the egg within an egg and will finish the farrier story.
Bert William Getz Sr. (Jan. 7, 1934-March 23, 2008), formerly of Benton and Cocoa, Florida, died Sunday at his home in Dardanelle, Arkansas. He was 74. He was born in Sugarloaf Township to the late Alton P. and Pauline Camp Getz. He retired from the U.S. Air Force after serving 20 years as an aviation electrician and served two tours in Vietnam. He served his last five years at Andrews Air Force Base, Washington, D.C., working on Air Force One. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Ollie Collins Getz; and brothers Carl, Robert, Timothy, Jack, Arley and Alton Getz Jr.
Survivors include his children Cheryl Getz, Satellite Beach, Florida; Bert Getz, Jr., Dardanelle; Bonita Jo Getz, Titusville, Florida; Gene Getz, Dardanelle; and Teresa Spencer, Cocoa, Florida; three brothers Charles Getz and Dave Getz, both of Benton, and Nelson Getz, Clifton Springs, New York; sisters Shelva Jean Foust, Betty Reimard and Nancy McMann, Benton, and Deloris Myers, Shortsville, New York. A graveside memorial service will be held Wednesday, April 2, 2008, at 11 AM at Screven County Memorial Cemetery in Sylvania, Georgia. The family will hold a private memorial service on Friday, April 4, 2008, in Benton.
--Thanks to Rose Hack, a niece, for this obituary
March 30, 2008.
A Lackawanna County reader tells us that in Scott Township, Lackawanna County, residents were offered $2,100 per acre for a gas lease plus Jackie Root's fee of $5 an acre through a lease with North Shore Energy, which appears to trade under the stock symbol XCO on the NYSE under the parent company EXCO Resources. The company has closed about 140 acquisitions since 1968. This lease signing is said to be scheduled for two weeks from now. Additionally, if a rig is put up on the landowner's property they will get another $15,000 and will receive 16% per thousand cubic feet of useable gas.
The biggest risk for a gas-leasing company is for a rapid drop in the price of natural gas which could depress profits, slow development plans and reduce the value of its properties. The firms leasing land must rely on both cash flow and external financing to fund its acquisitions. Cash flow would be reduced if gas prices were to go down, which would make the cost of external financing go up, reducing the leasing firm's ability to acquire additional land. These companies all face some degree of geological, mechanical and regulatory risk.
Creditcards.com says it is as "simple as 1, 2, 3." The web site is referring to obtaining a new credit card, of course. They are about right! Just wait for the daily mail and sooner or later an offer "too good to pass up" comes in the mail. How is this different from the write-downs major banks are going through at the moment? Is this a "horse of a different color" out to get the U.S. consumer? We tend to puff out our chests and snort that we don't want the government to bail out the lending institutions that don't know their "A double" from a hole in the ground, but we get a soft spot in our hearts when we hear of a neighbor who gets in financial trouble.
We watched as lending institutions took things like fish that we are going to catch on opening day as collateral for a loan. "No doc" loans, the big guys said, meaning "come on in, we won't verify what you claim about how much you make. Come on in, our irresponsible lending practices will get you a fine mortgage!" When things turned to dog dodo for Bear Stearns, up jumped the government to infuse cash so JP Morgan Chase could buy the company on the cheap. Lehman Brothers could be next. Please don’t' get me wrong. I know of no such practices made by our local banks and in fact they appear to be in good financial shape.
Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts are grinding to a halt. Even the big guys can't come up with enough money to continue consolidating. What has happened to all of us has happened to the big lending institutions. We--you and I--have stopped or slowed shopping, and so have the big guys. The cash has been used up. What are the big guys to do? And more importantly, what are the little guys to do?
Well, theorized some smart wiz, lets flood the market with credit-card applications. Like the locust tree that sends out trillions of seeds each spring, if only 1/100 of them produce offspring the tree has done its job. The same goes for credit cards. With money being so tight, it is easy to get new cardholders to start charging even the piddliest of purchases. And if there is a chance the cardholders won't charge something on their new cards, send them blank checks to write using the line of credit on the credit card. What is the interest rate, you ask? I'll turn the question around. Do you know the interest rate on your credit cards? If you don't, your assignment for tomorrow is to find out.
I stood in line Saturday afternoon for a McDonalds ranch wrap and watched as the sweet young thing in front of me used her VISA to scoop up her $3.24 purchase--which, by the way, was less than the $3.47 a gallon for regular, unleaded gas here in New York state.
Some don't have the money to pay for what they are charging. Look at food around the world and at home. Beijing had to lock in the retail prices of rice and cooking oil after these commodities jumped 23.3% in February over the same month last year. In Russia, the government has cut the duty on dairy and vegetable-oil imports, sold grain from state reserves and added a grain-export duty. It isn't just overseas. Food inflation in the United States is the highest in nearly 20 years--bread up 32% since January, 2005. A carton of eggs is up almost 50% in one year. These are not isolated cases as food prices rose nearly 5% in 2007. Food banks are servicing more families each month. The local food bank gets three to five new people each month, according to Peg Krum, the director of the local food bank, although yearly participants are remaining fairly constant.
Consumers are finding it harder to make full payments on their credit card and car loans, and this is happening at the same time that home values are in a decline. The U.S. dollar will most likely be slightly weaker Sunday when you read this than it was Saturday night when I wrote it. Frankly, there just isn't much of a reason why things will get better before they worsen. Mother was right when she said things are in a "mell of a Hess."
Tomorrow's Benton News will take up the vanishing art of horseshoeing. Well, true, there are an estimated 9.2 million horses in the United States according to the American Horse Council, but the demand for a farrier or shoer of horses just isn't what it once was even though all the owners of the horses want their critters to be properly shod.
Competent farriers are "scarcer than pure religion," a tamale maker in Texas once said. There simply aren't many farriers left, and the ones who take a course in the subject--whether it is for a week or three months--realize when they hang out their shingle that they know very little about the subject.
A diploma from a modern school where horseshoeing is taught generally requires that handmade shoes be made from bar iron and steel. Students are taught normal shoeing, corrective shoeing, gated-horse and race-horse shoeing. Students have to work with live feet and learn to handle all sorts of horses.
Cleon Baker (1881-1964) shoed horses all his life. Most readers won’t remember Cleon when he lived in Benton at the corner of Third and Center Streets during the time he worked at the Long Wagon Works on Market Street, or when he and his wife, Emma, lived beside Little Raven Creek both before and after their move to Benton. They lived in the farm now owned by Bill Schnitzler, off Toy Factory Road, a familiar location for those who have their deer meat cut up or those who want to get some of his delicious homemade cider.
The old-timers in the business worked on horses most of their lives and probably shod their first horses when they were just kids. Some were members of the cavalry in World War I or II. Many got their training at Fort Reno, Oklahoma, where the army once had 22,000 horses and mules. In case you are wondering, the army used some beasts of burden during the second world war. The Coast Guard often used horses to patrol beaches.
Lets continue this discussion when we resume Monday.
March 29, 2008. Albert and Jayne McCann celebrate their anniversary and Jeannie Walters celebrates her birthday in Elk Grove.
If you are into eating, you can start today with the morning buffet at the Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech School. There is a full ham dinner this afternoon at the Sweet Valley Fire Company or you can pile up the dandelions and the ham down at the United Methodist Church in Catawissa. There is good eating at The Center as you shop for antiques today from 10 AM to 5 PM or Sunday from 11 to 4 PM. Dance away the night at the Round and Square Dance from 8-11 PM at the Jerseytown Community Center. Stop and say "hi" at the Ol' Country Barn as it reopens Saturday and Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM. And today is the day to pay a visit to the Benton Store Company Antiques, Main Street.
Sunday is the buckwheat cake and sausage breakfast put on by the Benton Volunteer Firemen at Benton Fire Company starting at 7 AM.
On April 13 is the fifth annual Scottish Heritage Days at the Benton United Presbyterian Church, Market and Park Streets, Benton, starting at 10:30 AM: highland tea featuring: oakcakes, scones, shortbread, clotted cream, Scotch broth, marmalade and lemon curd, as well as a tassie O’Tea or coffee. At 11, there will be a Celtic worship and music with Reverend Allen Lumpkin and special guests String Theory and bagpipers Stuart Erwin and Nick Franczak. The music director is Eleanor Klementik. A reception and fellowship follows.
The Country Cultivators will meet April 10 at 7 PM in the social hall of Christ the King Church, Mendenhall Lane. John and Sheila Butasek will give a presentation on Bonsai plants. Anyone interested in joining the garden club may do so then (Annual dues $10)
Do you have a question about money, banking and credit? You can find the answer here.
It seems like a long-awaited, magic moment when the opening day of fishing season finally arrives after the long winter. There is a scent of new growth in the air, the songbirds of spring are returning, clumps of green poke from the ground and the first flowers of the year make an appearance. The numbing cold of the rushing water is gone.
From 8 AM on the first Saturday after April 11, to midnight, Labor Day, local anglers head for our famed trout streams in an effort to catch their limit and improve their disposition for the following week. This year the season opens locally on Saturday, April 12.
Grown men will head for the swollen waters of Fishingcreek and surrounding streams on opening day, often with a son or a grandson in tow. A favorite stopping place is the food stands that spring up beside the streams for the convenience of the fishermen, before they stand in lines knee deep with carloads of other fishermen.
At the end of the day, many fisherman return home with feet just as wet as their fish basket is dry. Some stop at the seafood department of grocery stores where they can get a well-cleaned, plump fish to take home for the "Mrs" for their traditional opening day meal of trout.
I, for one, will be far removed. I grew up beside Fishingcreek and often spent opening day of trout season calling off the dog who couldn't figure out what the sloshing noise these men with the fishing rods were making as they waddled across our yard. I found no joy in wading chilly waters carefully stepping over the round, slippery creek rocks, taking care to avoid being hooked by fishermen eager to find the exact spot where the Fish Commission stocked fish.
I always liked to wait until mid-June when I could dangle my bare feet in the water, catch a fish or two without annoyance and without competing for the catch with others who by this time had returned to more exciting things to do. I fish the same stream each year and know its every ripple, rock and pool. I don't intend to give the impression that I am a great fisherman. I don't have the patience of Lynn Watson or Don Rabb, but I still have the memory of the morning when a quick shower disturbed the water and riled up the fish into a biting mood. What a morning. What a memory!
Even if my basket is empty when I come home, I will have enjoyed things like a staring contest between a groundhog and me, as well as memories of the huge suckers who once inhabited the stream, the wooden raft that I propelled in a deep pool as a kid, and the giant of all snapping turtles. I may see a muskrat, or some mistaken geese that think that living on a stream of water is a moving experience.
It won't be long until the opening day of fishing season. I'll be ready. I'll start for the seafood department at the supermarket as soon as I take a nap.
Are you a camper? You might check out the eBay listing where you can bid on a campsite at Whispering Pines Camping Resort with 30 amp service, sewer hookup and water, two bundles of fire wood, and one campground T-shirt.
Every penny of the proceeds from the eBay auction will be donated to Hope Lodge at 125 Lucy Avenue, Hummelstown, PA 17036 which was of great help to Valerie Wojton during her cancer treatment. Valerie is doing well and the family is trying to raise money to thank Hope Lodge for the housing and support they provided.
March 28, 2008. Birthday greetings go out to Mary Ann Bankes, Peggy Follmer and Jeannie Walters. A year ago today I was in Kingman, Arizona, with son David bringing a huge horse trailer and a motor home east from Santa Ynez, California, to Piffard, New York.
Paul Myers remember the dirt roads he loved as he was growing up and sent along the web site shown here.
The Ol' Country Barn will be reopening this weekend on Saturday. Its new hours will be Saturday and Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM. Take a look at its web page of upcoming events at olcountrybarn.blogspot.com.
Slow down today and take a look in the windows of the Benton Store Company Antique Shop on Main Street. Or stop in this weekend and get up close and personal with a wonderful old building.
It is very interesting to watch the race to sign up landowners for gas-drilling rights in the vicinity of the Marcellus as the race from southwestern New York State into Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia intensifies. The need for clean-burning gas is evident! We all want someone to find natural gas on our property, but none of us wants to get skizzled in the signing of contracts whereby that can occur. We all know, however, that unless we sign, we'll likely never participate in the rich rewards that are certain to fall in place in the coming months.
The names commonly mentioned in the gas-drilling business in the local area have all employed a strategy of acquiring properties on the cheap, sinking a well in a location that appears to make sense to a geologist and then rapidly head toward production. This strategy serves the companies well and should result in some impressive production growth over the next few years. One name commonly heard locally is Chesapeake Energy Corp., which yesterday announced its intention to sell 20 million shares to repay existing debt as the company prepares to spend an additional $275 million in 2008 and $675 million in 2009 on drilling and land leases.
Over the years, drilling opportunities have resulted in the need to explore unconventional reserves with low-geological risk. Extracting the gas is the real challenge. As soon as a company can perfect an effective drilling and well-completion technique, literally thousands of wells can be drilled in the same area with near 100% success rates. The challenge remains to find the most effective drilling and completion technique to exploit the projects of a company.
The leasing of gas-drilling land in the Marcellus Shales could prove to be very attractive to both landowner, speculator and driller. Frankly, the end result is anyone's guess at this point. Certainly the landowners don't know where the best acreage is or where the gas-drillers are plunking down their money, except in general terms. The companies are very tight-lipped about how much a well costs, about production rates, what they are paying to other landowners, etc., as drillers and their agents race to get all the land they can under contract. As a result, it is difficult for a landowner to determine what is a fair-market value for his land and probably equally difficult for the well-drillers to determine what the value of the land acquired is really worth.
Since December of last year, natural-gas prices have escalated by a third from the $15 an acre of two years ago to the $250 an acre as recently as the last month, to the $1,500 of two weeks ago in Williamsport, to the latest reports of $2,000 an acre. This is one whole heck of a lot of money to be infusing into farm communities. With these prices, the formation known as the Marcellus Shale makes sense for the first time in history. The shale has been estimated to hold 3.7 trillion cubic feet of recoverable fuel--enough to supply somewhere between the annual needs of as many as 51 million households to more than two years of U.S. consumption. If figures like these are achieved, Pennsylvania would go "back on the map" in the gas-starved United States.
Jackie Root, 49, who bills herself as a "gas lease guru" on her website seeks to become a gas-lease consultant in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania, following an offer to lease her farm land for $2 an acre. Efforts to learn more about her have not been entirely successful. Her web site answers many questions about her qualifications as "coming soon." A query to the Penn State representative about what state agency licenses her to operate in an agency capacity (represent others for a fee much the same as real estate agents, lawyers, doctors, and others must be licensed by the state in order to take money from others as a fee) resulted in an admission that they didn't know. Understand, that does not make her unqualified to do a job of representing landowners, but I personally would have a warmer feeling about things if that information would be provided up front rather than having to "dig" for it.
Many questions remain about the future of drilling in our area. One area of concern is in the fracturing of wells, where millions of gallons of water or other fluids are injected underground in an effect somewhat akin to a small earthquake. Much of what is injected underground--something like 70%--is retrieved, and the balance of toxic chemicals are allowed to evaporate or disperse into surface water. Similar deep-bed fracturing process has been under way for many years.
March 27, 2008. Celebrating birthdays today are Robert Sands, Jr., Shirley T. McHenry, Peggy Follmer and Jean Foust.
Erik and Krystal Jost, Fredericksburg, Virginia, became proud parents of identical twin girls Ellia Star Jost, 5 lbs 8 oz., and Heather Star Jost, 4 lbs. 8 oz., on March 26. Mom, dad, girls and proud grandparents Richard and Jan Jost are all doing fine.
• April 10 and 15, 2008, a workshop for landowners involved with gas leasing. Penn State Cooperative Extension will conduct a two-phase workshop entitled "Understanding and Negotiating Natural Gas Leases." The workshop will be held at Benton Area High School Auditorium, Park Street, Benton. The meetings will start at 7 PM and end at approximately 9:30 PM. Speakers include public and industry experts who will discuss the intricacies, advantages and disadvantages of signing a natural gas lease. The cost of the workshop is $15 each session. Call the Columbia County Extension Office, 570 784-6660, extension 18, to register to attend either or both meetings.
Most prior participants of these workshops have realized financial rewards worth thousands of dollars. This course is intended to inform the public of the concerns needed to address as a landowner considering a gas lease. The Benton Middle/High School is completely handicapped accessible, but if special accommodations are required, contact David W. Hartman at 784-6660, extension 12, in advance of your visit. The program is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice.
It is tax time, down to crunch time, turn off that TeeVee, break out the records, get your taxes finished! Beware of phishing scams in return for tax refunds. If you think that you might be the victim of a tax-related scam, contact the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service. Read more on this subject here.
Phishing is any attempt to get personal information for identity theft, about email concerning foreign lotteries, about online merchants asking for updated personal information, or about large amounts of Nigerian money someone you never met is willing to share with you if you'll help them get the money out of the country. You'll never phorgive yourself if you are phoolish by phalling for a phishing scam. Here is an unchanged example of the opening of one I recently received: "My name isMr.Abdullah Al-Gassab an Iraqi National based in Iraq.I am now partially disabled as a result of a bomb blast that claimedthe livesof my Father and other Members of my Family two years ago.Just recently I received a letter/notice from a financial institution..." You get the idea.
Pharming and phishing are related in that they both attempt to get personal phinancial information from you. Pharmers don't have 125 acres in Derrs. Instead, they set up phake web sites by copying actual web sites and make them look legitimate. For example, www.bentonnews.com could be a pharming site while www.bentonnews.net is a real site, actually the one you are reading at the moment. The pholks who pharm often send emails with fake web addresses in the message. When you navigate from the email to the web site mentioned in the email, you conclude that it is a legitimate site representing--say--a bank who claims you have an account with them or a credit card with them. They attempt to get you to update your password, re-enter your mother's maiden name, type in your Social Security number--whatever. Remember that pharming is hard to detect. Emails are sent out in larger numbers than we can imagine and almost always look very much like a real request. Learn more about pharming by going here.
Don't believe everything that you read on the internet. Don't pass it all off as the truth. Just as I suppose that everything that everyone writes in the much loved/much hated (take your pick on this one) column 30 Seconds believes that he or she writes their version of the truth, it just ain't so! Do you remember in 1996 when Pierre Salinger, the former White House press secretary and journalist reported that TWA flight 800 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Long island and that an errant US Navy missile caused the crash? His "source" was an internet hoax. Don't be a Pierre Salinger. When you receive a cockamamie, untrue email shoot back a reply after you check with snopes.com. Tell all the recipients the whole truth. For additional reading on this subject, go here.
Quote of the Day:
"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."
The "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Online Game" can be found at www.millionairetv.com/game/index.html.
A lawyer shared the information that a bachelor can be defined as a selfish person who has cheated some deserving woman out of her divorce settlement.
A reader asked where I first touched down in my recent travels. I was in a borough of Pennsylvania an inch or two under a hundred miles from Back Home in Benton, PA, which has existed since November 10, 1885, which in over ten generations has had five other names, including Hendricks, Fort Pleasant, Oysters Point, Bowmanstown, and White Hall. It was offered to Indian tribes in 1731 to use as a reservation. Nineteen years later, it became the Penn family's Manor of Lowther. In 1867, the growing but as yet unincorporated village needed a post office. White Hall, which is what the area was called at the time, was a post office elsewhere in Pennsylvania, so the post office assigned the name Camp Hill which had been used informally for years in reference to the annual Church of God camp meetings on a hill near the center of town. It is also argued--less successfully--that the name could have come from a camp of militiamen assigned to defend the area during the 1863 invasion by the Confederate armies.
Now here is some trivia we betcha you didn't know. The U. S. Supreme Court in a 4 to 3 vote in 1888 concluded that Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. Had the vote swung the other way, an eccentric character from Camp Hill by the name of Daniel Drawbaugh would have received the credit.
Drawbaugh came from a settlement known as Bloserville just outside of what is now Camp Hill and moved to Camp Hill later in his life. He took to tinkering like Gov. Rendell took to Hillary Clinton, following in the footsteps of his father who was a blacksmith. He only completed his fifth grade, fathered eleven children and drove his wife crazy with his tinkering rather than holding down a decent, wage-earning job. He even had to borrow $5 to attend his own father's funeral.
He was a decent gunsmith and he tuned pianos. He was an inventor who came up with an electromagnetic clock by the time he was 12, designed a rifle about the time most boys today are graduating from high school. In all, he was awarded 70 patents for gizzies like a weather forecaster, a machine for attaching insulation to wire, an automatic fire alarm--well, hey, just go here and see what all he did.
Drawbaugh designed an acoustical telephone using a teacup transmitter and a mustard-can receiver. Businessmen laughed at him, and one even told him that a molasses faucet that automatically measured quantity was more important than a telephone. He persisted even when Bell filed for a patent for the telephone (three days before he ever got the phone to actually work.) Drawbaugh patented his phone four years later, saying that he would have patented it earlier if only he had $60 for the Patent Office. He soon sold the patent to the People's Telephone Company which did business in open defiance of the patent received by Bell--until the matter was adjudicated in the Supreme Court.
He then turned his attention to a gizmo that would send voice over the airways without wires. The black cloud that hung over his head most of his life was there for this one, too. Someone else had beaten him to the Patent Office!
March 26, 2008. Happy birthday to Ryan Farley, Distillery Hill. Janice Dietrich is recovering in a Clearwater, Florida, hospital after having a section of her colon removed. Janice is a niece of Ruth Kline and a recent convert to buckwheat cakes and sausage.
Here are some of the remarkable changes that have been made to the Benton Store Company Antique Shop on Main Street. The old plywood and tile floor in the original building has been removed and the floor is back to the charm of the original. Windows over the front doors and display windows have been uncovered and will again be visible, as will a large window in the rear of the original store building which now contains a stained-glass window with a cross at the top and the words "Honoring the Veteran" etched in the glass. The office space in the main building and its wainscoting have been removed and reused to cover the relocated open stairway to the second floor. The main store and the first of three warehouses in the rear of the store are entirely open now. Brick from the original outside of the main building is now visible in the second warehouse under the cathedral ceilings. There is much more, but we don't want to spoil the thrill of your first visit.
A reader asked where I had landed in my travels. Well--here is a clue. I am in a borough which has existed since November 10, 1885, which in over ten generations has had five other names, including Hendricks, Fort Pleasant, Oysters Point, Bowmanstown, and White Hall. It was offered to Indian tribes in 1731 to use as a reservation. Nineteen years later, it became the Penn family's Manor of Lowther. Answer in Thursday's edition. The first reader who correctly guesses gets a free one-year subscription to the Benton News.
Charges are now pending against Bloomsburg University freshman Kelsey Young, 18, after she fell down an embankment at Ricketts Glen State Park prompting a rescue Saturday which took nearly 10 hours and involved almost 80 rescue personnel.
Alanna Bath will give her graduate recital this Saturday, March 29, at 4 PM in Esber Recital Hall, Music Building I, Penn State University ( Main). Directions to her recital are listed on her website under "News & Events." Admission is free.
Here is a quick little game to keep you occupied during these cold spring days. Go here.
Didja ever hear the story about the undertaker who wooed and married a female snake charmer? Of the many marital gifts they received, their favorite was a set of towels embroidered "hiss and hearse."
The Tuesday edition of the Press Enterprise used the word "gobbledygook," which reminded me that there were still a few old words and sayings that were not covered in our recent article on that subject.
Jane Seeley Fabrio, Port St Lucie, Florida, remembered a few old sayings from the Sweet family in Bendertown. One was "A blind man on horseback wouldn't notice it," meaning something that wasn't perfect! The second expression was "what's a hog's time worth anyway?" which she pulled out of the hat when she complained about something taking too long because the task was difficult. Richard Shoemaker offered some additional sayings, including "an empty can makes the most noise," meaning that people who know a lot don't chatter about meaningless things to make people think they're smart.
Here are others. "A stitch in time saves nine." "A watched pot never boils." "Too many cooks spoil the soup (broth)." "Cleanliness is next to godliness." "The best advertisement is by word of mouth." "A knocks a boost," meaning if a competitor says something bad about you it usually backfires and helps your business.
Richard's father was a house painter and commented when less than professional workers would leave ladders up over the weekend or have paint splattered on sidewalks or roofs, "Threes a bunch of greenhorns." That saying came from new frontiersmen going into the woods with green-powder horns. Powder horns were treated to keep the bugs out and required some time to lose their green tint. New ones would be known by the green horns.
Richard's father would say when the kids slowed down or got discouraged "Keep plugging" and told them "You can't get away with anything," meaning do it the right way the first time and don't cut corners.
A porcupine has a personality about as cantankerous as its quills. When you expect to find it near water it will show up on dry land. It usually isn't near water at the hours other critters choose to have a drink. It sleeps on the ground during the summer months when reflected heat is quite warm, yet heads for tree tops during the coldest, windiest-winter months and that is often where it chooses to sleep.
I have seen evidence of a porcupine crossing streams via a fallen tree, and tracked the critter back to learn that it walked a long distance in order to avoid direct contact with water. I once saw a fallen tree and realized that a porcupine had walked a distance to cross via the tree, only to notice that once on the other side, the "grass was actually not greener." The animal waddled around a short distance, then recrossed the creek via the downed tree and continued down the edge of the creek bank looking for another tree where he could cross the creek.
A porcupine often heads for a hollow log when it gives birth in April or May.
Photo courtesy of Marcia Kile (Mrs. Bruce Kile), daughter-in-law of Betty Fritz Kile.
Porcupines usually doesn't have enough sense to get back in the hollow log in the winter when the snow is the deepest. It will sleep all day during a beautiful June day when all other woods animals are awake. If it is the dreariest and wettest of days, the critter will continuously walk. It sometimes refuses to eat anything all day, but at night when it can't see a foot in front of its face it has been known to stumble around until it spots the glow of a camper's fire and will walk up and eat everything in sight-- including discarded cans of vegetables--while the camper sleeps.
There are stories that the "old timers" tell about surviving on porcupines. It is the only critter in the wild that an unarmed man could catch and kill with his feet. In those cases where man has strayed from the beaten path, when it would be absolutely necessary to survive, man could stay alive by eating the animal. A man lost in the mountainous county to our north could starve to death if it were not for porcupines. A porcupine char-broiled over a campfire would certainly be a more tasty meal than the lost person's boots or the bark from trees.
Porcupines breed and lead long lives so long as they don't come in contact with man or with fishers. The large weasels known as fishers have been known to make quick bites on a porcupine's face and nose. Experienced human hunters know that a light tap on the snout just in front of the eyes will kill this curiosity of nature instantly. The weak spot on a porcupine for a dog is on the belly.
Porcupines are slightly smaller than beavers, but can weigh up to about 30 pounds in the summer, less in the winter. You can spot the trails they use every day, and they leave a strong smell of concentrated urine which some experienced hunters detect even before the porky comes into view. The animals crave sodium to counteract high levels of potassium from leaves and bark. Items touched by human hands are vulnerable, tools like axe handles, hoes, canoe paddles and gloves are especially attractive. The seats of outhouses are expecially prized by porcupines.
March 25, 2008. Today is the birthday of Sandra Kelsey Hess.
Benton will be hopping this weekend.
. Sunday is the monthly buckwheat cake and sausage breakfast put on by the Benton Volunteer Firemen.
. Saturday and Sunday the Northern Columbia Community and Cultural Center will hold an antique show and sale which is picking up a large amount of interest. Incidentally, The Center needs people to act as porters and restroom attendants (ladies' and men's) on March 29 and 30 for the antique show and appraisal. Individuals who will work for tips are needed to help transport purchased antiques and to ensure the cleanliness of the restrooms. The show times are 10 to 5 on Saturday, March 29, and 11 AM to 4 PM on Sunday, March 30. For further details contact center director Rob Hutchison, 925-0163.
. The Benton Store Company Antiques, Main Street, Benton, could reopen this weekend, now that they have a resolution of issues. There are a lot of people working very hard to make that happen. Tomorrow, I'll describe what the new store is going to look like when you open the door and return to the building of yesteryear, a transformation that will come as a big surprise for most.
The illegal trafficking of puppies into the state of Pennsylvania is finally getting oversight. Take the time to learn what is happening.
Elda Mae (Stout) Brittain (September 4, 1920-March 23, 2008) died Sunday at her home on Register Road, Huntington Mills. She was 87. She was born in Cambra. She was a daughter of the late Herman Ray and Utica Mae (Baker) Stout. She attended a one-room school house in Register and later Huntington High School. Mrs. Brittain had been employed by Deluxe Homes, Berwick, and was a custodian for the Northwest Area School District, retiring in 1982. Surviving are her children Marie Bovsun (Vladamir), Steelton; Loretta Benjamin (Clude), Benton; Alberta Ridall, Bloomfield, New York; Lawrence Brittain (Mary), Benton; Roger Brittain (Pam), Fairmount Twp.; Rebecca Eisenhauer (Rick), Berwick; Susann Davenport (James), Register; Clarence Brittain (Linda), Berwick; and Martin Brittain, Berwick. Also surviving are 32 grandchildren, 50 great grandchildren and 5 great great grandchildren. In addition to her husband, Lawrence Roger Brittain, she was preceded in death by a sister, Cora Stout; brothers Oliver and Glenn Stout and by a grandson, Quinn Davenport. Funeral services will be held Wednesday at 1 PM with viewing from noon at the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc. Burial will be in the Cambra Cemetery.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will be published in the Press Enterprise in their edition of March 25, 2008.
The Benton Borough Council met March 10, 2008, at the Benton Volunteer Fire Hall, called to order by President John Jankowski, at 7 PM. John Jankowski, O. Grant Little, Allen Hess, Dan Jankowski, Michael Klem, Joshua Price, Mayor Swan, Ed Kocher, Randy Karschner and Borough Secretary Kay Yankovich attended.
Zoning Officer Ed Kocher presented his report for the month of February, noting two upcoming zoning variances, one for Benton United Methodist Church and one for Benton schools.
Mayor Swan announced that the Police Department has received a $3,000 grant from the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation, for the purchase of an AED, AutoPulse, and First Aid Kit. Officer Mike Kreisher prepared the grant application. Police Chief Randy Karschner reported that several cars were towed from the street during the last snow storm. He also reported that he and Ed Kocher will be working together to address clean-up issues within the borough.
Mayor Swan stated she has received a request from the Benton Volunteer Fire Company for Council approval for their annual Mothers Day Flower Sale, May 8-10, 2008. Approved.
Zoning/Hearing Board appointments are Lynn Watson, Chair, with members Mel Beck and Jan Jankowski. Robert (Ed) Stevens will serve as alternate.
Council directed the borough secretary to contact Larson Design Group to prepare the bid package for the southern section of Park Street.
Benton Borough Council recognized the excellent job of the Benton Wrestling Team at "states" and expressed congratulations to all participants.
Grant Little attended the Water & Sewer Meeting on March 11 to discuss the renewal of Borough Office administrative services for another six months, at a fee of $1175 per month. Three Borough streets, Third, Colley, and North, are in need of repaving at an estimated cost of $700,000.
Fred Westover and Richard Haraschak will be hired as part-time police officers for the borough of Benton.
Discussions of current and future outdoor-burning issues within the borough will continue and the issue will be referred to the solicitor, if necessary.
Mayor Swan reported there were water problems on Hill Street (Cemetery Hill) with the recent rainfall. Dan Jankowski stated there are several pallets of sandbags in the hangar to be used if necessary.
The emergency operations survey was sent out to borough residents. As of the night of the council meeting, 75 completed surveys have been returned.
Josh Price reported that the building committee in conjunction with Mayor Swan have discussed two possible options for a new Borough Office site; i.e.,
(1) Fireside Video Building would be suitable; however, changes would have to be made. The property is listed for $159,000.
(2) A meeting was held with Rick Grassley to discuss new construction at the airport site. A manufactured building, 1800 square feet, approximate cost $150-$160,000 could be constructed at the site. Mayor Swan stated she received the following loan information from USDA: loan amount of $200,000, 40 year term, monthly payment $838.
Council agreed that additional office space is needed. The current site has no storage space and is very crowded. On motion of Grant Little with second by Mike Klem, Council voted to offer the Benton Volunteer Fire Company an additional $150 per month to rent the office adjoining the present Borough office site, under the current conditions of the lease. Dan Jankowski will attend the next Firemen's Meeting, and present this request.
It is "another day," and I said that I would say something about porcupines "another day." Hold on, then. Porcupines are the subject for today.
Porcupines aren't found just anywhere, but this unlovely yet interesting critter is found--in decreasing numbers each year--in the state of Pennsylvania. Porcupines are shaped something like an old-fashioned meal sack. I have never seen a thin porcupine. Its face reminds me somewhat of a monkey with a split lip which hides yellow, formidable teeth. The strength of the animal comes from the other end of its body, from its tail, its weapon of offense.
As I grew up, I was told that porcupines could roll into a passive ball when attacked while its assailant gathered in the quills. Buster, our Bichon Frise male dog, had one brush with a porcupine, in the state of Maine, but the porcupine did not roll into a ball. Buster did end up with quills in his mouth, chest and legs. Although I didn't see the entire skirmish, I can attest that no quills were "shot" from the porcupine. That porcupine fought with its heavy, muscular tail, using it as a man would use a quill-covered club. Turning tail to a porcupine is not an indication of defeat, it signals the beginning of hostilities!
The critter simply turned away from Buster, with its head toward its rear and fixed his black, beady eyes on what he perceived as the enemy. As Buster came into range to investigate, smack went the tail into the soft skin around Buster's face. One dose of quills convinced Buster to choose his friends more carefully. More aggressive dogs might attack porcupines as if they were slow learners.
Porcupines simply aren't fast enough to escape, yet its quills will protect it seventeen ways from Sunday. Some say that wolves and mountain lions can kill a porcupine by flipping them on their back and attacking through the belly where they have no quills. That might be true, but I have never seen an experienced dog have a desire to tangle twice with a porcupine, although I have heard that some do.
Porcupines are herbivores (vegetarians), with stubby, rounded noses. The critter has black to brownish-yellow fur and strong, short legs, no hair on the soles of its feet, small ears and a small head. The most recognizable feature of the porcupine is its quills. The quills are hairs with barbed tips on the ends. Quills are solid at the tip and base and hollow for most of the shaft. The porcupine has quills on all parts of its body, except for its stomach. The longest quills are on its rump with its shortest quills on its cheeks. And, no, this article won't get into the basics of how porcupines successfully mate!
The quills of the porcupine vary in length from an inch to up to six inches long. Quills are every bit as sharp as a needle and are somewhat akin to a fish-hook. Quills work into the flesh if not removed quickly and apparently tend to get more bothersome as time goes on somewhat like the sting of a bee. The swinging tail hits with a splat. The more the animal tries to bite the porcupine, the worse his wounds. Any person who has had his favorite dog tangle with a porcupine knows that he has to get the pliers out, get the dog between his knees and start pulling.
When Buster tangled with the porcupine in Maine, Kay held him and I pulled and Buster serenaded everyone within a mile. He eventually seemed to realize that this was the only way to get rid of the quills and eventually quieted down as I removed the dozens of the sharp barbs and applied vinegar to his tender face. The quills don't seem to be poisonous, but they do have the ability to build up an inflammation. Buster and I haven't run into any porcupines lately. I suspect that he would have an interest in the critter, but would keep his distance.
Landowners don't like porcupines. They ruin timber by selecting a tree that appeals to them, often birch or maple, and systematically strip the bark and buds from the top to the roots of the tree. I have seen a porcupine work at one tree until it is sure to die before it takes on a new tree where it continues its cycle of eating and killing.
The usual food of the porcupine is the inner bark of the trunk and the tender buds which appear on the ends of the limbs. The "porky" has been known to hack off six inches of limb in order to get the bud on the end of it and it will strip the outer bark in squares two feet across in order to get at six inches of the inner skin. This often happens in the spring when the sap is making its way through the tree. It is usually fatal, and is very similar to the girdling early settlers did when they wanted to kill off a lot of treed land in order to begin farm operations.
The critter seems to hate the water, yet he is often seen plodding along a stream looking at the water as if to say "should I change my unclean ways?"
The subject of porcupines will be taken up again Wednesday when we finish this story.
March 24, 2008. 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.
Alanna Bath, Bendertown, has some exciting news of her acceptance into one of the world's top opera and vocal summer program, IVAI (International Vocal Arts Institute). She is accepted into IVAI's Puerto Rico program which runs from June 1-21. I She will be studying with some of the world's top singers, coaches, conductors, and directors. Alanna will be studying voice under Ruth Falcon (Metropolitan Opera and Mannes College of Music) who is one of the leading teachers in the opera community. She will share pictures and experiences upon her return.
Last year at this time, the Benton News was banned in China thanks to the "Great Firewall of China," www.greatfirewallofchina.org/test/. Because of the upcoming Olympic games, the site has temporarily been shut down. 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.
Ricketts Glen State Park had some excitement Saturday when an 18-year-old hiker fell down an "off limits" embankment Saturday afternoon. Rescuers got the Bloomsburg-area hiker out, but it took ten hours to get her to where she could be airlifted to the hospital.
We all know about Punxsutawney Phil and the stories of the groundhog seeing his shadow on a sunny day. Old-timers felt that the groundhog dove back into his hole in fright and would sleep for six more weeks, which meant six more weeks of winter. The groundhogs are now out and about from their winter sleep. I saw two Easter Sunday, one very much alive and one dead as a wedge on the highway.
The local I.O.O.F. lodges, the former Benton Lodge #667, F&AM, the Odd Fellows Lodges, the local grange, the short-lived "Stag Roister D'Oister" and other exclusive men's organizations have often discussed in the Benton News, but the Benton area has never had a "Groundhog Lodge."
Groundhog Lodges began in the Allentown area with the first lodge (Nummer Ains) formed in 1933. In their first big lodge meeting the following year, 275 showed up from Lehigh, Northampton, Bucks and Berks counties. The following year, more than 600 attended.
Lodge names are unusual; i.e., Lodge #2 on da Schibbach, Souderton, Lodge #5 on da Schwador im Bind Bush, Pine Grove. All the lodges have adjacent to their numbers the name of a river or creek, since the animal they honor prefers a place by a stream of water. Groundhog Day is a big event in the lodges, simply called "the day" by the members--der Dawg in Pennsylvania German. It is the single day of the year when the Grundsow informs his dedicated watchers when winter will end by issuing his Wedder Barichda, his weather forecast. Stirring music is played and a ten-foot tall papier-mâché groundhog is wheeled into the room. A proclamation is then read, worded to fit the weather conditions that predict the following six weeks.
A meeting of a Groundhog Lodge follows roughly the following order. First is the moment of silence, the Ruichy Minut, followed by a group sing of America in dialect, a pledging of allegiance to the flag of the United States, a reading of the minutes, and an oath-swearing ceremony. The men stand, raise their hands and take their Ferbinnerrei, or annual oath. Songs are usually sung in the dialect and a few of the larger lodges have their own bands. Competitors in the weather-forecasting business are scoffed at, such as the Calendar Woman or the wooly caterpillar. A huge meal follows, made up of a salad with hot bacon dressing, apple butter and cottage cheese (which we described in our Easter Sunday report), a main course with all the trimmings, with "goose wine" (water) to drink, following by "belching mints." The festival speech ends the evening.
The purpose of the evening is to perpetuate Pennsylvania Dutch traditions and the groundhog is merely the catalyst for the occasion. Since the dialect is the key to the evening, penalties are assessed to those who slip up and utter a word in English.
The groundhog is sometimes called a whistle pig by the French Canadians since the critter sometimes whistles when it is startled. In the vicinity of Hudson's Bay, you'll hear it sometimes called a "thickwood badger" and in Alaska it is sometimes called a "tarbagan." It is sometimes called a woodchuck. It is short legged, heavy set and is generally a dirty brown. Regardless of what it is called, the groundhog lives, as they say in California, in pretty remarkable digs.
Its burrow is dug in the slope of a hill or by the side of a big stone--or where a horse might step. The critter makes an excavation twenty or thirty feet long which descends four or five feet from the entrance to his home, then gradually rises to a large round chamber where the groundhog family sleeps and bring up their young. The little ones are born three to eight at a time.
Farmers sometimes break into one of the critter's holes when he makes the mistake of traveling directly over his opening, although the farmer is not likely to feel as unkindly toward the groundhog as when farmers used horses. The legislators of New Hampshire at one time hated the animal so much that the state put a 10 cent bounty on the hide. Hunters don't go after them since the fur is worthless and the meat is not exactly palatable. I asked a number of hunters if they ever ate groundhog and many of the older ones said they had. I then asked when the last time was they had it. The usual response is "when I was a kid." Yeah, right! If it was so good, how come you haven't eaten one in fifty years?
I was told that "Woodchuck can be quite tasty if disguised properly. My mother makes a nasty woodchuck stroganoff. In fact not to many years ago she was challenged by her preacher that if she served him any type of wild game he would know it. She took him up on this challenge and made woodchuck stroganoff which she not only served to him, but also to lots of other people who attended a church fellowship meal. Her preacher found it to be very tasty and wasn't aware of what he ate until the following day when it was brought to his attention at church. I understand he found no humor in this and was rather upset with her."
Except for being a nuisance, the groundhog doesn't much bother anyone. He is strictly a vegetarian and loves clover and grass. He generally stayed out of Mother's garden, enjoying instead open fields and rocky hillsides. The first rains that fall after the farmer finishes his first crop of hay brings up a new stand of grass. The groundhog seems to fall in love with eating the young tender hay during the latter part of August and the beginning of September. The animal becomes increasingly fat and inert. About the end of September or perhaps a bit later, the animal goes into winter quarters and it doesn't come back out to face the world until the middle of March.
I can't think of a more remarkable example of a hibernating mammal. It doesn't lay up a store of provisions as does the squirrel. The food that it eats are not available in the winter, so the groundhog must sleep or he'll starve to death. It disappears with regularity within a few days of the autumnal equinox and remains underground until about the time when the sun cuts the plane of the equator at the vernal equinox. Often the weather is still very warm when it retires for the winter. And in the spring it often makes an appearance in March when snow is still on the ground. It is forced to make long treks to find patches of grass not covered by snow. The animal is thin, a mere shadow of his size the preceding fall.
Scientists have studied the animal during the term of hibernation. Physical waste is minimal, its heart beats very slowly and its breathing can only be detected by some sort of delicate instrument. Even pet groundhogs kept in a house follow the same rules of hibernation. Groundhogs in the south, however, do have periods of waking up when it goes out to get something to eat. The hibernating is simply a device of nature--one of the mysteries of nature--to insure that the animal can get along without food when there is no food to be had. If he didn't hibernate, the species would become extinct.
I suspect that there isn't a use for the groundhog that is worth mentioning. The same goes for porcupines, but that is a story for another day.
March 23, 2008. Happy anniversary to Alice and Gary Strauch and happy birthday to Alice Strauch, Jim Edson and Bob Campbell.
Today is Easter, the Christian holy day celebrating the resurrection of Christ after his Crucifixion. It is the annual reminder of everything the term "religion" implies. Churches will insure that the deep religious significance of the occasion is illustrated as beautifully as possible as a lesson to the eye and through that to the heart. Resurrection will be the topic of most sermons today on Easter Sunday.
The message of hope and the miracle of returning life should bring joy and happiness to those who realize that Easter is a pledge to mankind that life is eternal.
It wasn't until the fifth or sixth century that Easter became a festival. At that time, the first day of each week was kept holy in honor of Christ's resurrection and with this came the need for an annual commemoration. The exact day was the problem. Some observed it annually on the same day of the year, while others tied it to the fourteenth day of the first moon in the new year regardless of what that day might be. Still others celebrated the first Sunday after the first full moon, and these people couldn't decide among themselves exactly what Sunday that was.
The Council of Nice took up the question. That body settled the date as the first Sunday following the fourteenth day of the calendar moon which happened upon or next after March 21, so that if this fourteenth day be a Sunday, Easter was not to be on that date, but on the next following Sunday. Easter, therefore, may be any date within five weeks, inclusive of March 22 and April 25.
It was after keeping the Passover with His disciples that Christ's crucifixion and resurrection took place, yet the Christian Easter and the Jewish Passover seldom fall on the same day. Easter is a movable festival and its date depends on Lent, forty days before and also the Ascension forty days after Easter. Easter also fixes the feast of Pentecost--which in 2008 occurs on Sunday, May 11.
Some sources say that in German mythology Ostara was the goddess of Easter and that her name was given to Easter. The name is a form of the modern German "Ostern" and of the English "Easter." The early church found it wise to adapt to Christian purposes many institutions and customs of a Pagan nature which were being observed by people. The observances which in heathen times honored the advent of Ostara, the goddess of spring, survived to a certain extent in the Christian celebration of the resurrection.
Ostara is represented in mythological art as a dazzling creature, surrounded by winged babies, birds, flowers, rabbits and other things emblematical of Easter and spring. Mythological speaking, the sun used to leap with joy three times when Ostara appeared on Easter day. Easter eggs were supposed to be laid not by common hens, but by Easter hens. She is often shown as being surrounded by Easter eggs, mostly red since that color was said to be the favorite color of the thunder god and the first thunder storm of spring was sacred to Ostara. The custom of coloring Easter eggs is as old as the use of the egg as a symbol. At one time blades of wheat showing above the spring snow was used to color eggs.
And now it is your turn to get the Easter egg by going here.
Didja know that
. Pennsylvania has 158 delegate votes and is the largest of the ten states that have not yet voted?
. The flood of 1936 ripped out about 40 feet of the center of the Benton dam? The dike along Fishingcreek and the Benton park was nearly completed at the time. High water swirled around the up steam side where work was still in progress. The homes of Lee Kline and John Baker, and the Presbyterian manse and the Presbyterian Church--all on Market Street--were surrounded by water. Before the construction of the dikes, high water rushed through the Benton Athletic Field each spring, flooding the Benton Park and the area where Paul Shannon lived (now the home of Barbara and Frank Edson) in what was sometimes known as the (Harry) Bittenbender home. After flooding Main and part of Market Streets, the water eventually made its way back into Fishingcreek through a large pipe on the creek side of the Presbyterian Church. Over the years, the ability of the Work Progress Administration labor force in constructing the stone-fronted earth bank proved to be very effective.
. Sugarloaf Fish Suppers will be held April 19 and May 10, 2008.
. Few waitresses locally know what is really wanted when someone orders "smierkase?" The smierkase which I grew up with was simply cottage cheese and apple butter. Delicious.
Cottage cheese, I would guess, originated with small farm holders in England known as English cottagers. These thrifty people didn't let anything go to waste, including the milk which turned sour. There are references in old English manuscripts of "sawer ches" and drawings showing the lady of the house making what appears to be curds in her kitchen. The resultant product is known by different names, including smierkase, pot cheese, Dutch cheese and clabber cheese. The Russians at one time loved their "pashka," a mixture of cottage cheese, pounded nuts and honey, then packed into a wooden mold and cooled. It often was covered with paper roses and was set in the center of the Easter table.
AVG is a free program that lets you scan for viruses. It is that simple. Most software requires you to pay for it. AVG has a free version which works well. Download it at http://free.grisoft.com/. Follow the "free" links.
From the time I was growing up with the cows and chickens and goats on a farm south of the borough of Benton, I loved to climb on the tractor and plow fields or ride horses or explore the hidden trails of the surrounding hills and woods. Ever since I hooked my bare big toe through the spokes of a moving bike, I concluded that a walk or a ride in the car or even later in some kind of camper suited me just fine.
Father and Karl Fritz decided that a trip to the state of Washington and Oregon on a Canadian train would be fun, and in the twilight of their years they did it together. I enjoyed traveling, whether it was a simple trip into the wilds of Sullivan County to trace the old Susquehanna & Tioga turnpike or staring at the magnificent views from Leonard Harrison or Colton Point state parks or a move to outside of our state. I'll never forget the first time I saw Devils Tower National Monument, the nation's first national monument soaring straight up over 1,200 feet with a acre and a half flat area on top. With gasoline prices what they are, it will probably be a long time before I make that trip again--although I certainly hope that before my tired old body gives out completely I can do it. I am going to make an effort this week to see some country I have never seen before. I'll keep in touch.
March 22, 2008. Happy birthday today to John Geffken, Patricia Petersen, Rachel Crispel and Michael Bath. Prayers are needed for Marvin Albertson, 67, Winding Road, Orangeville. On Wednesday, March 12, he entered Bloomsburg Hospital for shoulder surgery and since has encountered life-threatening issues. He recently has been discharged from the hospital and is now in Orangeville Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.
May your Easter weekend be filled with calm, happy, peaceful days. The weather doesn't seem to belong to either winter nor to summer, and it isn't quite spring--it should be a combination of the best of all three, a kind of compromise weather, something like a genial October day that somehow found its way into the middle of March. Easter should be a day weather-wise to please everybody. Those who like the comfort of home should find the bracing air cold enough to furnish an excuse to stay indoors. Others will welcome the evidence of springtime's arrival as temperatures stay in the mid-40s.
There are many legends and myths connected with Easter, and the egg finds a prominent place in most of them. The egg is the beginning of many things. One ancient myth ascribes the creation of the universe to the breaking of an egg laid by a strange bird in the lap of Vaimainon who held it to his chest, but let it fall into the water where it broke. The lower half became the earth and the upper half the sky, the tiny particles of broken shell the myriads of shinning stars; the fluid white, the sun; and the yoke, the moon.
Today is a good day to hunt for Easter eggs and prizes either at 1 PM at the Benton Community Park, for children ages 10 and under, sponsored by Benton VFW and the Ladies' Auxiliary, or from noon to 2 PM at the North Mountain Fire Co. for children up to age 12. It is rumored that the Easter Bunny will show up courtesy of the Royal Order of Raccoons of Jamison City.
This is one of our most cherished weekends to spend with family and friends. The staff and volunteers of the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center will take Sunday off to do that. This afternoon would be a good day to expand your family by joining with some of the 130 or so members of Camp Little People (dwarfism) and with the hundred or so members of Camp Echo (heart disease), along with their medical team from Geisinger Hospital. Both are partner groups of Camp Victory, Millville. Camps Echo and Little People will be serving fried fish or chicken fingers, a choice of potato and assorted sides, desserts, and sodas this afternoon from 3 to 7. The main course benefits the two camps, while desserts, sodas and tips benefit the Waller 4H group. Take outs are available. The cost is $8 for adults and $4 for children from 3 to 12. Children under 3 eat free.
Frank Gough lives on upper Raven Creek Road and he records all the snowfall for the area and gives us a report about this time of the year. First, lets refresh our memory about the snowfall amounts for the immediate Benton area for 2006-07, noting that there was no significant snowfall for the winter before January, 2007. Thirty-seven inches fell in 2006-07 with the heaviest snow coming in February with 17.3 inches and 14.4 inches in March. Our seasonal average is around 45 inches.
Here is what happened in the 2007-08 winter. Frank recorded that we had 49.7 inches, of which 7.7 inches fell in November, 16.4 inches fell in December, 3.8 inches fell in January, 17.5 inches fell in February, and 4.3 inches fell in March. Frank notes that the totals so far are about normal for this area. The coldest temperature he recorded was -2° on January 21 and the most snow from one storm was 7.7 inches on November 18-19, 2007. This was a year when we had a lot of freezing rain, which is typical for a strong El Nino winter in the northeast.
. The Pennsylvania Game Commission reported Friday that hunters harvested an estimated 323,070 deer in the state's 2007-08 seasons, down 11% from the previous year. Hunters took 109,200 antlered deer in the 2007-08 seasons, down 19% from the previous license year's harvest of 135,290. Hunters harvested 213,870 antlerless deer in 2007-08, a 5% drop from the 226,270 antlerless deer taken in 2006-07.
. A simple program called TinySpell allows you to easily and quickly check and correct the spelling of words in any Windows application. It can watch your typing on-the-fly and alert you whenever it detects a misspelled word. It can also check the spelling of the text you copy to the clipboard. TinySpell installs itself in the system tray for easy access. It comes with an American-English dictionary containing more than 110,000 words. Download it free at http://tinyspell.m6.net/.
The push to drill for gas in the Commonwealth continues to push forward at a breakneck speed with meetings designed to educate landowners occurring each week. The Bucks County Intelligencer of February 28 reported that heavy drilling equipment is running into bridge restrictions in Nockamixon township. A Michigan company that wants to drill for natural gas beneath Nockamixon Township received the state-issued permit to drill but needed to cross a 106-year-old bridge. The truck carrying the rig weighed 110 tons and the stone-masonry-arch span can only support up to 40 tons. A route through neighboring Tinicum Township to the drilling site was also declared off limits because of their roads and bridges. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection regulates well drilling and issues drilling permits, but some local townships are trying to have their voices heard about environmental and safety issues and a few are passing their own regulations limiting drilling to the quarry and industrial areas of the township. The Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act may invalidate the local actions.
Man's life's a vapor full of woes.
He cuts a caper and down he goes.
He's born in trouble, lives in sin,
And then into the grave falls in.
The man who wrote the verse shown above and placed it a hotel register in 1830 was simply a member of the "Ye Bowl and Pitcher" spending his nights in a hotel. The people in generations before us seemed to grow facetious when they approached the hotel register. They would record that they were "sober" or "at large." They wrote their names in a handwriting with so many flourishes that it is almost impossible to read today, except by the most skilled and experienced eyes. These travelers who checked into hotels "back then" noted where they were going and where their last stop had been. The traveling salesmen wrote lines about other salesmen or made notes about their product line. If they were "available" for the evening, that might be noted.
An old New Jersey register included these three notations, made at different times.
. John Graham and Servant.
. G. Squires, wife and two babies. No servant, owing to the hardness of the times.
. G. W. Douglas and Servant. No wife and babies, owing to the hardness of the times.
I remember hearing the story of when Andrew Jackson lived in Salisbury, North Carolina, he once attended court in a neighboring county seat, but left his hotel without paying. The bill was charged to him on the hotel register where it remained for many years. When the news of the victory of January 8, 1815, was received in the remote Carolina town the old landlord was said to have taken his pen and written under the account against Andrew Jackson, "Settled in full by the battle of New Orleans."
We are going to make a stop today north of Benton in the village that is the gateway to Jamison City and the Elk Grove valley if one approaches from the south. Picture the year of 1892 and picture the events of the day taking place in what is now the Central Park Hotel. The following information comes from the hotel register for the Central Hotel from the year 1892. The original ledger is safely stored in the Columbia County Historical Society. The ledger logged guests in and out and on the opposite side of the ledger was advertising, which included the following...
The Jamison City Planing Mill, where "All kinds of work [is] done in my line," was under the control of P. J. Suet. There was a "Fashionable barber" opposite the train depot in Jamison City by the name of Chas. A. Lambert. Lloyd Zaner kept "First-class Turnouts" at his "livery and sale stables" in Jamison City. There was even a store run by J. M. Kline that sold "5 and 10 goods," but specialized in sewing machines and organs. W. G. Evans was a "dealer in stationery, ice cream, oysters &c. (an archaic abbreviation for "et cetera") on Broad Street, Jamison City, near the butcher shop of J. M. Dewitt.
In Central, Tony Bush was a "R. R. contractor" and a dealer in "general merchandise." F. M. Lutz was a fire and life insurance agent in Benton who provided a number of policies to the Central and Jamison City areas. In Stillwater, H.D. and I.W. Edgar were manufacturers and dealers in doors and sash and "all kinds of planing mill work."
The Exchange Hotel in Benton was advertised as "A first-class hotel in every respect" under the leadership of Samuel Drake, Proprietor. The McHenry Hotel, Benton, was "First-class in every respect." The City Hotel, B. Lewis, proprietor, was "entirely new" in Jamison City. Hotels were a big business in the upper Fishingcreek valley a hundred and sixteen years ago. Many cases have gone to trial where the defense or the prosecutor produced a hotel register, cash book or ledger from a hotel which was used in evidence.
Missing from the advertising was any reference to the Perry Hotel, Elk Grove. The reason was that although the land was purchased for the hotel in 1882 from Elija Hess, the location at the time had a small hotel known as the Hess Hotel, a log-cabin inn. The Perry Hotel in Elk Grove was built in 1893 and opened in July, 1894. The disposition of the hotel ledger for that hotel is unknown, but Jeannie Perry Walters remembers that prominent Benton men would come to that hotel and stay for a week or two at a time while they fished the streams or hunted for bear or whitetail deer. "Uncle Ben" McHenry (who was everyone's uncle) and Mike Hess were two who would spend two weeks at a time in the Perry Hotel.
The rooms of the hotels of the area were filled as salesmen made their rounds. After all, salesmen were very much needed. Times were different then. The people didn't go to a "big-box store" under one roof to get everything they needed. The salesmen came to the people. Advertisements like this from the Philadelphia Inquirer brought in the men waiting to sell. "Salesman wanted, first-class, to travel for the largest whip manufacturer in America. An exceptional opportunity for a hustler, chance of a lifetime, strictly commission basis. Address J. D. Dean, Hanover Hotel, Phila."
A famous case in Wilkes-Barre in November, 1901, involved the Windsor Hotel, which local newspapers called a "common bawdy house" or as one witness called it, a "bed house." Underage girls from Nanticoke testified that they had been taken to the Windsor, supplied with a drink and then "ruined." Girls testified that they had "visited the Windsor Hotel with men and had been sold drinks by the owner and furnished with a room. A number of other women were called to the stand. All of them answered to the names of 'Pearl,' 'Beatrice,' 'Hazel,' 'Mable' etc. and all unblushingly testified" that they were "sporting women."
The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader advertised John C. Madden, stationer, 96 South Main Street, 55 S. Main and 48 W. Market Street, Wilkes-Barre, as a source of getting "Due Ledgers" for lodges, societies, locals and hotels.
The local hotels were nothing like hotels such as the Hotel Astor in New York city, which was described by the Wilkes-Barre Times in December, 1906, as a "great hotel palace" which fed between 4,000 and 6,000 people every day. On December 28, 1906, the hotel had on its rolls 221 waiters, 6 head waiters and had 50 extra men, which they called "monibuses" to remove the soiled dishes from the tables. Simultaneously, 114 cooks and assistant cooks were kept busy in the kitchen. Someone once remarked that the hotel was so large that he owed three days rent before he made it to his room!
The last hotel I stayed in had a sign by the exit door asking if guests had left anything. At the prices they charged, the question really should have been if guests had anything left!
March 21, 2008. Happy birthday today to George Houseweart and to Doretha Mather, a patient in the Orangeville Nursing and Convalescent Home. There is a full moon tonight.
Richard Shoemaker and I sat around Thursday afternoon trading "dastardly" old-time words and sayings. Richard was able to recite them "backwards and forwards." Some older readers may remember a few. There were words like "onced" to describe how an event occurred a single time, as contrasted to an event that was "twiced." There was the mother who loaded her children at Ricketts Glen State Park on a hot Sunday afternoon in the middle of the summer and asked "Jaw-P?" The term had something to do with going to the bathroom before a long ride. If the car would get out of control on the way home, Richard's father would say "Hold'r, Elmer, she's heading for the river," even though Elmer wasn't in the car and there was no river in sight. If Father had his church clothes on, Mother said he looked like "Dapper Dan." If the destination wasn't of much interest, Richard's father would say, "I wouldn't cross a free bridge to see that." Something that didn't look too good was said to look like the "last rose of summer."
Didja ever hear of having dinner for lunch and supper in the evening? "Jeet" was a word Father used when he came in from plowing when he feared that Mother had snarfed up some of the evening meal before he got his share. Everyone swam in the "crick." Later, people shopped at "Wally World." An even older term applied to a knife when one could "ride to Shickshinny and back on this," meaning that the knife was dull. A similar saying was "They go the short way, you go by Funston." When things went wrong, people would say "you don't live right" even if they believed that "Honesty is the best policy." Some sayings didn't seem to mean much, ones like "I'll be swanned to Guinea." and "Talk is cheap, still water runs deep." Bruce Gilbert, writing from the Old Dominion state, remembers "talk is cheap, but it takes money to buy whiskey."
The Tri County COG citing the International Builders Code is slowing down an important project in the upper Fishingcreek valley. We have written several times lately about the work being done to the former Benton Store Company. We haven't finished the history of the store or the work in progress in the store, but we need to continue holding back on the completion of the article. We were going to tell you about the plywood and the tile covering the plywood that has been removed in order to return to the stunning floors that date back to 1905. We were going to tell you about the original windows in the building which had been boarded over and which were going to be exposed and utilized. We were going to tell you about returning the store to its original 1905 configuration where some interior walls were removed. We were going to tell you about the areas where the original bricks of the building were exposed inside the building.
Regretfully, the Tri County COG representative who has given so many in the upper Fishingcreek valley a hard time over simple projects has levied a host of demands for completion of the building. I have seen the inside of the building and am in love with it. The workmanship is superb and above reproach. It should be a building of which Benton is very proud, but instead it appears that the lack of common sense on the part of the Tri County COG representative will needlessly delay the project.
Don't forget these important dates:
. Last day to REGISTER in Columbia County before the primary is Monday, March 24, at 4:30 PM. That is also the last day to change your party if you wish to do that.
. Last day to apply for a civilian absentee ballot is April 15.
. Last day for County Boards of Elections to receive voted civilian absentee ballots is April 18.
. The general primary is April 22.
Dorothy Coady, Columbia County Traveling Library Director (CCTL), attended two events in her honor during the past six days, the first given by the Friends of the Columbia County Traveling Library and the Board of Directors of that organization Saturday night and the second in the Columbia County courthouse when the Commissioners read a proclamation on her behalf Thursday afternoon, the last day Dorothy reports to the Perry Avenue library in Bloomsburg or delights school children who tell her about the books they read during the week as they visited the Bookmobile.
Dorothy served the CCTL for over twenty years from May 5, 1987. CCTL Board President Derl Derr recently said "Her love for books and people is reflected in her 20 years of loyal, dedicated service and will be an important legacy in the long history of the County's bookmobile."
The bookmobile, a service provided by Columbia County, regularly visits over 40 locations in Columbia County. The CCTL permanent location at 15 Perry Avenue, Bloomsburg, is open to the public for computer usage and library usage. The phone number for the CCTL is 387-8782.
Chris Young, speaking for the Columbia County Board of Commissioners, said that the Commissioners are "always proud to recognize its citizens who generously contribute their energies for the benefit of their communities and thus to all the citizens of Columbia County." The proclamation issued to her read, "Dorothy Coady served as Director of the Columbia County Traveling Library and generously committed of her energy to the benefit of her community." During her tenure, Dorothy guided the move from the Bloomsburg Public Library to its separate facility at 15 Perry Avenue. Her love for books and people is reflected in her years of dedicated, loyal service and will be an important legacy in the county's history of the Bookmobile.
From the L: Chris Young, Dorothy Coady, Bill Soberick, David Kovach.
Dorothy noted that it "has been a joy for me to connect the books with the people of the county." David Kovach remarked that the people of Bloomsburg and Berwick don't appreciate the Bookmobile as much because they have big, beautiful buildings to go to." He continued, "What you have done is to make books available to all the other areas of the county." He reinforced how important reading is for the rural areas of the county. Dorothy specifically mentioned the Benton area as being an important patron of the bookmobile.
We wish Dorothy a quiet corner where she can curl up with a good book. We know she will miss the mobs of children and their parents who regularly visit the Bookmobile, just as so many of us will deeply miss her.
. The survey team on Park Street Thursday was preparing for the bid package for the repaving of that street which will take place this summer. The bid package will go out in the near future. Park Street will be repaved this year from Route 487 at the bridge over Fishingcreek to the south end of the Benton Middle/High School.
. The park bench under the Route 487 bridge in Benton Borough was dragged from the front of the home of Becky Stoneham and thrown over the bridge where it lodged against one of the pillars of the bridge. If anyone has information, please contact the Benton Police Department.
. It turns out that contrary to what we previously said, Ed Cole does have a torn rotator cuff.
There will be a gas drilling follow-up meeting Tuesday evening at 7, March 25, for residents of Luzerne County in the Fairmount Fire Hall, Route 118. Boyd Reigel will be a contact person for Lycoming County and Paul Yankovich will handle Luzerne County. A gas drilling follow-up meeting will take place Monday, March 31, at 7 PM at the Iola Lumber Yard. Bruce Anderson, 458-4337, and Dan Hartman, 925-6250, can provide additional details.
There are always two sides to every story, and it seems in divorce actions there are all too frequently three sides to the story. In order to learn more about the "other side of the gas-drilling story," we turn today to some folks in Texas who simply don't think that drilling for gas is all that excited landowners locally think it is. What follows is some of what they have found. When you read it, please understand that there are two sides to every story and you have to figure out which side makes the most sense to you.
We'll head to Texas and the area around the eighteenth-largest city in the United States, Fort Worth. The city is something like 300 square miles in Tarrant and Denton counties, has a population of over 653,000 and is the fifth-largest city in the state of Texas. An organization founded in 2005 and known as the" Fort Worth Citizens Against Neighborhood Drilling Ordinance" warns that gas drilling could be a problem for urban dwellers, and they refer to a number of news reports to back up their claims.
The group warns that by signing a gas lease, the average homeowner may be subject to changes in income and property taxes, mortgage fees, increased homeowner insurance, increased electric bills, air and water pollution and soil contamination, loss of green space, reduced quality of life, and an increased risk of catastrophic accidents. The experience of the organization in Texas is that taxes owed on gas-well income was not fully considered by landowners. Neither were environmental, safety and quality of life issues that we all value so highly. The lure of the "We All Win" scenario eventually begins to diminish and common sense settled over landowners as being nothing more than a corporate slogan.
The Texas organization cites by way of example the increased demand for natural-gas powered energy-generating plants, fueled in part by Barnett Shale, that have caused a 20% increase in electric bills, which represents a substantial cut of the landowner's monthly royalty payment. In Texas, gas wells are allowed to be closer to people's houses than "gentlemen's clubs.". What about the possibility of a gas well "accident" that would cost human lives? Do you feel that the industry will tell you the whole truth about environmental impacts? Do you have confidence in people who are making personal fortunes from gas drilling to look out for your greater good?
The point is that there is a choice when it comes to gas drilling on your property by unregulated gas drillers. Here are some news reports which, if the subject is of interest to you, should be read...
. For a dose of property tax reality, read this.
March 20, 2008. Spring arrived at 1:48 this morning. Today Eddie Davis celebrates his 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! Eric Ackerman turns 40 today.
Need a place to stay when visiting Back Home in Benton, PA? How about a cottage on a peaceful 30-acre hilltop farm near Divide where you can listen to nature’s murmurings, be awed by the night sky, breathe fresh-country air, and drink pure-aquifer water. Skymeadow Cottage is fully equipped for comfort all year round. In summer, enjoy outdoor dining and visiting wildlife. In winter, cozy up in front of a pellet stove. Spend your evenings enjoying game and library offerings in the cottage. Head to skymeadowcottage.com/ to get more information.
An excellent reference book is Barclay Mountain, A History, inspired by the research of Dr. James S. Smith. The section on the people and the town of Laquin, the history of the leather industry in Bradford County, the Civilian Conservation Corps in the area and the Susquehanna and New York railroads were especially interesting. Thanks to Charlotte Sibly for sharing the book. Charlotte and John Sibly have promised to take me to Laquin when the weather improves.
Didja know that...
• Si Holcombe, the former funeral director in Benton, played the only banjo in the Penn State Concert Band and had his own dance band at Penn State, featuring his banjo. Pier, Sue and Mary Ann grew up listening to the banjo between funerals.
• Zach Remley recently participated in a choral performance group, Sound FX, which recently won Grand Champions at an Invitational Competition. Zach also recently competed with all of the Virginia "All District" choral winners for a spot on the State team and was selected.
• Scott Hughes is running a USA-Sanctioned Freestyle/Greco Roman clinic known as the Benton Tiger Wrestling Club 2008. Spring sessions are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at the Benton High School gym, Park Street. The clinic costs $150 for 30 wrestling sessions, or $10 per session. For info, call Scott, 864-3961.
• According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, hunters took a total of 2,360 bears in 2007--41 bears during the second archery bear season, November 14-15; 2,026 bears during the statewide 3-day season, November 19-21; and 293 bears during the extended season, November 26-Dec.
• The Senate Judiciary Committee passed by a vote of 10-4 Senate Bill 1250 to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage and civil unions. The measure would define marriage as only the union of one man and one woman and would prohibit civil unions. A constitutional amendment requires approval from both the Pennsylvania house and senate in two consecutive sessions and ultimate approval in a statewide referendum.
• The dates of the Benton Carnival are July 28-August 2, 2008.
• Ennio Marchetto is a comedian who uses mime, dance, music and costumes that he can change quickly without disappearing from in front of his audience. If you haven't seem him perform, go here and take a look.
The instability of the stock market at the moment is phenomenal. Wednesday, the Dow industrials plummeted nearly 300 points which turned around the impressive rally (of about 420 points) of the previous day when the Fed cut interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point to 2.25%. Meanwhile, the dollar hit new lows against the euro, the housing market continued its freefall, the credit crisis continued to spread to the point where it was "taking the good girls with the bad." Inflation continued higher. Commodities, on the other hand, are now $111-a-barrel for oil, over $1,000-an-ounce for gold and $21-an-ounce for silver. Even MSNBC's Jim Cramer didn't begin to predict the outcome of the Bear Sterns debacle. Real inflation continues to rocket higher! The U.S. Dollar Index has tumbled 36% during the Bush Administration. Unstable is a good way of describing investing in the market right now.
I stand with my head bowed,
And gaze into the past,
Everything's changed now
I knew it wouldn't last.
Early American pioneers arriving on the Great Plains had concerns about both water and fuel. There were always pieces of "prairie coal," which here we tend to call by its more earthy name of cow chips. There were stumps of trees to dig out, dry and burn. There were extensive stands of grass which was found to have heating units equal to wood. The grass was tied into stove-length strands to slow the burning, often about the thickness of a man's arm. Of the three, I'll take my steak broiled over grass, thank you.
The Benton Area School District moved closer to returning to the "Great Plains" days of heating with grass when they opened the bids Wednesday leading to the utilization of a biomass system for heating the three buildings of the Benton Area School System. Wednesday evening, Gary Powlus, Superintendent of the Benton Area School District, hosted a meeting on the utilization of biomass. The program came about through a grant application process completed by Gary Powlus, Beverly Ribble, Business Manager of the school district, Ryan Koch, Pocono Northeast RD+D Coordinator, and Scot Singer, USDA Wildlife Biologist.
Following the submission of the grant application, the local school system received $350,000 to install necessary equipment needed for supplying three school buildings with biomass heat of native grass, wood chips, wood pellets and corn. Sawdust can also be used, but was not named in the grant application. Construction, testing and boiler operation is expected to be completed for the 2008 heating season in October, 2008, and is expected to reduce fossil fuel consumption by at least 44,450 gallons of oil annually--saving a minimum of $57,000 annually in fuel cost. Air pollution could be reduced by as much as 88%. The system will provide growth for the local economy through the utilization of locally provided renewable energy. Even the wildlife habitat in the area is expected to benefit.
The biomass boiler system will be installed in such a way that it will allow the public and all interested parties a chance to view the system in operation. The biomass system could burn 461 tons of corn per year for an annual savings of $37,089. For wood pellets, the system could use 403 tons per year at an annual cost of $88,257 and an annual savings of $53,018. Grass pellets could realize a savings of $87,525 annually and wood chips a savings of $96,500 annually.
Fuel oil in three years has increased from $1.54 to $2.32 per gallon, an increase of $.74 a gallon. Current prices exceed that figure. The estimated cost for the 2007-2008 heating season is $141,275 for the three buildings.
The system is the first of its kind in the United States and is eagerly being watched by school systems across the country. Several school districts from out of the area attended the meeting Wednesday night. A number of farmers also attended, since crops dedicated to the conservation of energy will be helpful to local farmers. The growing of native grasses, highly tolerant of droughts, are low risk to the farmers, since they can handle a wide range of soil and the stands last for a long time once they get established. The crops can provide increased revenue from land which previously was classified as marginal land. The harvest can take place in what is considered a slow time of the year.
The bid for the building will be advertised April 7 and the plan is that the bids will be opened April 21. When completed, the biomass system will provide 85% of the heat for the buildings. Either system will be able to be used, or both can be used at the same time.
March 19, 2008. Celebrating birthdays today are Dan Stoneham and his sister-in-law, Linda Bronson, John Herbert Laubach and Betty Lewis.
We missed seeing Dorothy Coady on her "Benton Run" of the Columbia County Traveling Library Tuesday, but the new director, Mike Geary, was on board in his Hawaiian print shirt. Dorothy's last day with the CCTL is March 20. She will be missed, but she appears to have an excellent replacement with Mike. Stop and see him the next time you see the Bookmobile.
Ed Cole can begin the process of being on the mend. He does not have a torn rotator cuff (rotor cuff), but has a broken bone in his shoulder. The painful job of setting his shoulder was taken care of by Ed when he extended his left arm in its sling. An ensuing crack heard across the room was the sound of his shoulder snapping back into place. Ed was happy, now that it took place, that he didn't have to pay for general anesthesia to get it set, but he wouldn't want to go through that painful procedure again.
Normally I begin writing the Benton News at or slightly before 8 PM and write until I get tired at 10 or 10:30, publish both the web and the emails versions and go to bed. Tuesday night I decided at the last minute to head to the Fairmount Fire Company and listen to Jackie Root discuss leasing land for natural gas exploration and development. She is both a landowner and a gas-leasing consultant and can be reached at 570 537-3829. I'll tell you about the meeting in a moment, but first I have to explain that I didn't have the time to write anything about the Benton Store Company, as I had promised that I would do. As the Amish say, "My git up and go has got up and went."
Paul Yankovich, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), introduced Jackie Root by talking about the involved process of leasing gas-drilling rights. He mentioned that about a year ago land was leasing for $5 an acre and the price has risen recently to where $1,500 an acre has been quoted. He talked about the advantages of joining with others in an effort to get higher lease rates because the drilling company does not have to deal with a lot of different owners. He pointed out there are a lot of addendums that need to be in a lease, and said that "if you sign a standard lease from a company it is very highly in their favor and there are a lot of things that should be in there that might be missed."
The intent of the meeting was to get a number of people who have somewhat contiguous land interested in signing as a group in order to get the most favorable terms and conditions. Paul stressed not to be in a hurry to sign a lease, and recommended that everyone get as educated as they can. Paul attempted to determine how many people were interested in banding together.
Jane (Bogart) Sterner (April 7, 1924-March 18, 2008), Pealertown Road, Orangeville, died Tuesday at the Bloomsburg Hospital. She was 83. She was born in Orangeville. She was a daughter of the late Zehnder R. and Emily (Bowman) Bogart and a step daughter of the late F. Pauline (Rhinard) Bogart. She was a 1942 graduate of Orangeville High School and was secretary of the Class Reunion Committee for many years. Mrs. Sterner had been employed by Karen Manufacturing in Sweet Valley as a supervisor, retiring in 1986. She was preceded in death by her husband, Paul E. Sterner, and by a brother, James Wright. Surviving are her children Eugene L. Sterner (Helena), Orangeville; Barbara Posey (Alan), Orangeville, Janet Weaver (Victor), Stillwater; six grandchildren, and a sister, Mary L. Gensel (Howard), Southdale, as well as many nieces and nephews and other relatives. Funeral services will be held Friday at 10 AM at the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc. Burial will be in St. James Cemetery. A viewing will be held Thursday from 6 to 8 PM at the McMichael Funeral Home.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will be published in the March 19, 2008, edition of the Press Enterprise.
Staff Sgt. Brandon Hess has returned to the United States from his fifteen-month tour of duty in Iraq with the 82nd Airborne. He arrived at Ft. Bragg Monday, March 17, where he was reunited with his wife Autumn, daughter, Alexis, and with Momma Jackie Hess.
A white German shepherd female dog, with some pale beige on its ears and back, was found in the Derrs area wearing a chain collar, but no tags. The dog is about a year old. Call 458-6389 to retrieve.
In Tuesday's edition of the Benton News, the term queensware was tossed out without explanation and a question came roaring back about what the term meant. For a definition, head here. The white pottery known as "Creamware" or "Queensware" has been around for a long time as evidenced from the following advertisement from the 1815 Pennsylvania newspaper, the Democrat Republican. The advertisement was short: "James M'Farland, at his store, nearly opposite Jacob Snider's Tavern, has on hand a general assortment of dry goods, groceries, queensware and liquors, which he will sell at reduced prices for cash or approved country produce. October 31, 1815." I found the reference in a collection of Philadelphia newspapers.
From the Things That Take Me By Surprise Department comes this, from the Morning Press in 1903, although I could not determine the exact date. I'll start by reminding you that the American Civil War (1861-1865), was long over by 1903. The article indicated that "a counterfeit Confederate $50 bill, an innocent employee and a slick individual went together to make possible this latest sensation for Benton." According to the article, this is what took place in the Star Clothing Store owned by Joseph Mamolen when his clerk, Jacob Mamolen, was "worked" with the bogus money. It is probably safe to say that if it was raining soup, Jacob would have stood there with a fork!
A stranger came into the store 38 years after the end of the Civil War and bought $8.50 worth of clothing and paid with a Confederate bill. Jacob gave him change but soon he concluded that "all might not be right" and found out that he had been duped. Two local men decided to get on the case and "went after him." A reporter from the Morning Press made a "telephone communication" to Benton, according to the article, and were told that Benton officials had received word from Jamison City that a man answering the description of the man they wanted had disappeared into the lumber camps "above Jamison City." He was expected to be "secured" in the near future.
The Out Among the Stars (O.A.T.S.) Festival is heading our way July 3-6. 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.
Here are the entertainers who will appear:
Karl Shiflett (Thurs)
Doerfel Family (Thurs, Fri)
Pine Mountain Railroad (Fri)
Chris Jones and the Night Drivers (Fri)
David Davis and the Warrior River Boys (Fri)
Dan Paisley and Southern Grass (Fri, Sat)
Hillbilly Gypsies (Fri, Sat)
Lonesome River Band (Sat)
James King (Sat)
NewFound Road (Sat)
Special Ed and the Short Bus (Sat)
Aimless Pursuit (Thurs)
Stained Grass Window (Thurs, Sat, Sun)
Hillbilly Water (Fri)
Reverend Al Lumpkin and Friends (Sun)
Folk Spirits (Sun)
Raven Creek (Sun)
The Grasscutters (Sun)
Marc Silver and the Stonethrowers (Fri, Sat)
If one of the groups isn't your cup of tea 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 under the tent provided to shield you from the July sun. If you aren't playing, stand back because it won't be long before a bevy of blue grassers will slide up, tune up and turn up a favorite bluegrass or Americana-music classic.
The OATS Bluegrass Academy for Kids is a free three-day learning experience held Friday through Sunday during the OATS Bluegrass Festival. Students from eight to fifteen attending the festival with an adult weekend ticket holder are welcome to participate. Each student must have his or her own bluegrass instrument. During the classes, students will learn how to play, sing and perform bluegrass music. The last day of the festival, the kids will have the opportunity to show what they have learned with a performance on the main stage during the Sunday show. If you know of a child interested in participating please contact Jodie Fishbein, 908 756-2909 to register or for any other information. Advance registration is encouraged but not mandatory.
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, but last year's problem of patrons not wishing to break the law by walking across the posted airport runway to walk "to town" needs a revisit. 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, July 3-6, 2008.
March 18, 2008. Happy birthday Justin Ridall and Carter Nathaniel Heim. Novelist John Updike was born in Shillington, Pennsylvania, on this day in 1932.
Tickets are on sale for The King and I, the musical production of Benton High School. Ticket prices are $7 for adults, $4.50 for children and seniors, and $10 for preferred seating (first four rows center). The production tells the story of the Welsh school mistress who came to Siam (now Thailand) in 1862 to teach the children of the King. During her tenure, she and the king learned from each other, and both were greatly affected by the other's beliefs. Benton High School students have built scenery, made costumes and props, and will provide lighting and music--a complete school production! M.R. Daniels provides direction from her career in professional theater, and has called upon colleagues in the theater world to do lighting workshops and donate materials. The result is glittering and exotic. This production will be magical! Call 925-2651 or visit Benton High School to reserve tickets. Performances are April 4 and 5 at 7 PM, and April 6 at 2 PM.
You can learn the art of ballroom dancing country style at the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center with Bob and Donna Andrews through an eight-week course starting Sunday evening, April 6, from 6 to 8 at The Center. The cost is $40 per member and $60 for non members. It is time to learn the fox trot, cha cha, waltz, and more--country style. All that means is there are no fancy gowns or tuxes! But the steps are the same as traditional ballroom dancing. Country Ballroom Dancing is choreographed couples dancing with a country flair. Visit The Center on the web or call 925-0163.
Didja hear about the woman who danced the polka so hard Saturday night at The Center that she had to have a chiropractic examination Monday?
Kay Emily Kline was recently honored by Suncom Industries. Kay first walked through the door of Suncom on April 19, 1977. She started working in what the company calls the "other building," which was by the Magee facility in Bloomsburg. According to an article in the Winter/Spring 2008 edition of the magazine SUNCOM Potential, Kay has become a very "important part of the Suncom work force." The article noted that Kay "loves coming to work and that Kawneer jobs and silverware are her favorite to do. When asked what Kay likes best about Suncom, she said, "I like to get a good paycheck and it's nice coming here!"
When Kay is not working, she lives on a farm on the south side of Benton with her brother and sister-in-law, Robert and Margie Kline, her niece, Tara Lane Kline, two cats, one dog and four horses, all of whom she loves dearly. She enjoys visiting her mother, Ruth Kline, Green Acres, and she especially loves to go out to eat, shop or see a movie. Dancing is a big hit with Kay, too. Congratulations to Kay on a wonderful 30 years of service and dedication to Suncom Industries.
Suncom Industries Inc. is a non-profit, human-service agency providing vocational opportunities for individuals in Central Pennsylvania who have disabilities. The company promotes socialization and provides vocational assessment, training and employment opportunities in order that persons with disabilities can achieve their potential. The company depends on donations for continuing their service to the community. Donations to Suncom are tax deductible. If you would like to contribute to Suncom Industries, contact them at PO Box 46, 128 Water Street, Northumberland, Pa. 17857, or call 570 473-8352.
Yesterday, we were telling some of the history of the Benton area as the plans were being formulated for construction of the Benton Store Company, Ltd., which was in the brick Main Street building now the home of Benton Store Company Antiques which reopens March 29 after being remodeled. One of the major sources of excitement in the upper Fishingcreek valley in 1903 and 1904 was the Columbia County Telephone Co. which was to be housed in Benton and which promised to be an important factor in the business and farming interests of Columbia, Lower Luzerne and Lycoming counties. The plans were for the lines to extend as far as Cambra and Fairmount Springs; to Emmons and into the lumber camps of Lycoming county, and to Millville, Jerseytown and Rohrsburg, with a hint that the lines would be extended to the "south side."
The company was the brainchild of John G. McHenry, George Hummer, Elk Grove; the Union Tanning Company and the Breon Lumber Company, Jamison City; D. B. Cole, Jamison City; Robert Mather, Jamison City; C. E. Yorks, Central; William Mather, Millville; George Appleman, Rohrsburg, D. Carey, Cambra; and Dr. Bowman, Fairmount Springs. Judge Herring was counsel for the company.
Company literature promised that "a patron in Jamison City" could talk to Jacksonville, Florida, with "as much satisfaction as talking to someone in the county seat."
As part of the increasing growth and development in the upper Fishingcreek valley, on January 31, 1905, the first official meeting of the Benton Store Company, Ltd., was held with officers of the company, R. T. Smith, T. C. Smith, W. A. Butt and P. G. Shultz. R. T. Smith was elected chairman and P. G. Shultz, Secretary. By-laws were approved on February 2, 1905. A year later, February 5, 1906, the company declared a dividend of 27.2% on the capital stock.
P. G. Shultz was named manager of the Benton Store Company for an eleven-month period beginning March 4, 1905, to Feb 1906. In 1906, the building was valued at $6,000, plus $246 for improvements to the real estate. The merchandise was valued at $8,000, and there were store accessories and other items which totaled with cash on hand and coal in the bin and stock in what was known as the Benton Rural Telephone Company. The company was then worth $18,649, a net gain in one year of $3,123.51. The corporation had been formed for the "purpose of buying at wholesale and selling at retail of meats, harness, hardware, furniture, furnishings, clothing, farm implements, queensware, groceries, dry goods, oils, paints, notions, flour, feed, grain, coal, wood, carpets and all articles usually bought and sold in a general or a department store."
The two Smith partners sold their interest in the company to W. A. Butt and P. G. Shultz during a meeting February 17, 1912.
The Ford business was going well for the Benton Store Company. As an example, on December 30, 1916, Samuel A. Yorks put down $50 on a Ford Touring Car with a balance due of $375 and on April 3, 1917, he paid it off.
The large three-story building was certainly one of the best in the county. A Bloomsburg paper noted that "none are larger or better and the stock of goods is conservatively priced." The Benton Store Company, the article noted, is " one of the best stores in the country, one that is in reality a department store with everything that the name implies." The storeroom was "equipped with up-to-date fixtures including showcases, glass counters and so forth. At the head of this building is P. G. Shultz who has directed its operation since the store was opened in March, 1905." From the start, the store was "favorably named among the stores in the county." "Mr. Shultz has been an invaluable asset to the business side of the community," stated the article.
According to an article in the Morning Press, Shultz completed 30 years of service on the Benton School Board and played a large part in the development of the Benton School System from a small county school to one of the finest vocational schools in Pennsylvania. During these years he served on practically every position on the board and he was never too busy to devote his untiring effort to the interest of the schools, not only in the schools but in the Benton Community Association in which he served as president. The Morning Press indicated that "He had a deep interest in the whole town. Into every worthwhile community enterprise, he has throw himself heartily. And he has been one of those who could always be counted on to promote the interest of his home town."
We'll return to the history of the store as it became the Benton branch of the Neil Harrison store and then the C.A. Edson & Sons plumbing store, and eventually the Benton Store Company Antique Store.
There isn't room to relate the events of Monday's North Mountain Historical Society with speaker Bob Webster, but it will be included in a future edition. Here are the upcoming speakers for the third Monday of each month...
• April, Bill Baillie, General Montgomery, including his role in the Elk Grove area.
• May, George Turner, Memorial Day
• June, Wilson Ferguson, the town of Emmons
• July, planned for Ruth Rode on "old-time logging."
• August, Bill Vezendy, native Indian history
• September, Steve Runkle, native American life in the Susquehanna river basin
• October, Melonie Norton
• November, not yet scheduled
• December, Robert Webster, Customs of Christmas
Our state has long been rich in resources to satisfy our need for fuel--coal, oil, and gas--and our need for metals, aggregate, brick, and cement needed for construction, manufacturing, agriculture, and other industries.
Native Americans were said to use crude oil over 500 years ago for medicinal purposes. They found the oil in seeps along Oil Creek in Crawford and Venango counties. Quaker settlers in the late 1600s used shale and clay to make bricks to build their homes. During the 1700s, iron, lead, copper, and other metal ores were mined in the state for use in building cannons, ammunition, nails, stoves, and other household items. Coal has been mined in our state from about 1761. Drake's oil well in Titusville came along in 1859. In the 1950s, uranium and thorium were mined in Pennsylvania. The future of our nation must rely on materials that only come from the earth and these include oil, gas, and mineral reserves.
Leasing gas wells is currently the "hot ticket" around the state and in a few adjoining states, but the leasing of land to a gas company can be a risky business. Gas-leasing companies are making offers to landowners for leasing and mineral rights in exchange for an offer of what appears to be a significant amount of money for the right to drill. Tests indicate that the discovery of gas on one's property is a possibility with odds of discovery somewhat better than playing the lotto. It remains highly speculative.
You will never get to reap the rewards if you don't sign. The money paid up front is pure peanuts compared with the rewards if gas is found. Do this. Take a look at a "pro-signing" site, this one for "The Unconventionals." It can be found at http://theunconventionals.com/. While there are other sites, this and the following three sites are your homework for tonight. I will make no effort to sway your decision one way or another, other to reiterate that an attorney should review any lease of drilling rights.
Here are three places to visit if you are considering the lease of gas rights on your property:
Susan Ridall was the winner of the third weekly contest of the "Digital Photography" class taught by Chuck and Karen Musitano at The Center. Other weekly winners were Emilie Getz (Duck and Ducklings) and Laura Shaffer (Waterfall).There were twenty participants in the "Introduction to Digital Photography" class which covered the basics of camera setup and use, lighting, composition, emailing and editing photos.
This photo was taken by Susan Ridall of her husband Robert, dressed in boxing attire, along with one of their 8 new Boxer puppies. Laura Shaffer took this wonderful waterfall photo.
Have you ever wished that you had protection from the evil doers on the highway? Now you can with Trunk Monkeys.
A new sign appeared at the north end of Benton Monday.
Hours will be...
Friday, Noon to 6 PM
Saturda,y 10 to 3:00
March 17, 2008. It is the birthday of Jo Laubach and the wedding anniversary of Ed and Jackie Davis and Albert and Elizabeth Donkin.
There are three days until the official start of spring. Today honors Saint Patrick (circa 385-461 AD), one of the patron saints of Ireland--probably the favorite saint of Ireland--who is generally observed with appropriate celebrations by the people of that country. The day is usually not regarded in a religious sense, but in Ireland it is observed with devotion and the Catholic churches hold services at an early hour. There were occasions when church authorities moved the observance when it fell during Holy Week, as it does this year. In 1940, Saint Patrick's Day was observed on April 3 instead of March 17 in order to avoid it coinciding with Palm Sunday. This year, many St. Patrick's Day observances in the United States were held March 15. March 17 will occur during Holy Week again in 2160.
Various references note that nine of the people who signed our Declaration of Independence were of Irish origin, and nineteen presidents of the United States proudly claim Irish heritage including our first President, George Washington!
A man down on his luck saw a man next to him remove a large bill from his wallet, so he said to the well-heeled man that he had a talent of knowing almost every song ever written. The man with the money laughed, but the poor man persisted, saying that he would bet everything in the man's wallet that he could sing a song with a woman's name of the richer man's choice in it. The man with the money laughed again and said that his daughter's name was Emily Evangeline Hess. The rich man went home poor and the poor man went home rich. What song did he sing? Answer at end.
Congratulations to sophomore 130-pound wrestler Eric Hess, named by the Press Enterprise, along with Dan Winnie, Danville, and Nick Venditti, Berwick, as that newspaper's "Tri-Athletes of the Week for March 2-8. The article details Eric's achievements leading to the 3-1 record in the state tournament and his two-year career achievements of 73-10. Our best to the best--Eric Hess!
Worshipers Sunday commemorated events in Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem when the people spread fresh boughs from trees in His path. It was a day with a gleam of joyousness in the church in a week filled with Lenten gloom. We know the day as "Palm Sunday," and we are in what Christians call "Holy Week." If you would like some Bible study in your own home during this holy time, you might want to consider E-Sword, www.e-sword.net/, a free Bible study program that lets you create your own commentaries or study notes. It even includes spell checking and a thesaurus! Notes are "linked" to the Bible for easy viewing and can also be exported for portability. It has print capabilities, including a print preview if you want to create Bible study handouts from the Study Notes Editor. The program is free.
• If you enjoy brain teasers, head here where you'll find that "Happy Birthday" can be sung with anyone's name in it--which also happens to be the answer to the question posed at the top of the page.
• Four years ago, gas prices in the Borough were $1.579 and $1.639. Two years ago gas prices in the borough were $2.399 and $2.459. A year ago today, the same gas was selling for $2.589 and $2.529. Today, the lowest gas price in the borough is $3.229.
• The article The St. Patrick's Day Pea Scam by Kathy Arcuri in Sunday's Daily Item was very enjoyable. There may be some copies left in newsstands; pick one up if you can find it.
. March 19, 2008. The March meeting of the Fishing Creek Femme Fatales Chapter of the Red Hat Society will meet at 2 PM at Becky's Hoboken Sub Shop. The menu will feature Becky's famous fried fish. The chapter is open to new members and guests are welcome. Proper attire of a Red Hat and purple outfit are required.
Not getting enough sleep is a problem for many. Here are some tips to get a good night's sleep...
. Get on a schedule and stick with it. Set a time to go to bed. During my working years, that time was 10 PM, since I was always at work by 6:30 in the morning after a difficult morning commute. Set a time to wake up every day, even on weekends. Your "biological clock" will adjust quickly and your body will thrive on its new sleeping routine. After a few weeks of this, throw away your alarm clock. You won't need it.
. Sleep in darkness. A small amount of light into your room will severely disrupt you when you try to get to sleep. When waking up in the morning, you should do so with bright lights, especially if you find it hard getting out of bed.
. Watch what you eat and drink. Going to bed on either an empty or full stomach is not good. Have your evening meal at least three hours before retiring. Your body cannot digest food well when you are asleep. Caffeine takes at least eight hours to get out of your system and can keep you awake in bed.
. Sleep cool. When the price of fuel was more reasonable, we always threw open a window at night, but for most those days are behind us. Put on thinner sheets.
. Get eight hours of sleep at a time, if you can. Stress often develops when short sleeps are taken.
It is always a great joy to learn about the way "things were," to duplicate the time that our grandfathers walked our streets, worshiped in our churches, shopped in our stores. In the early days of the village that grew into Benton Borough, the community consisted of two and later three churches, a smithy, some shops of craftsmen, some homes of community professional people--ministers, doctors, teachers--and homes of the more prosperous farmers who had turned their farms over to their sons.
The center of the community was the church. Residents, from all accounts I have read, were sincerely religious. The churches, however, tended to end their community involvement when the last tones of the church bell sounded the end of the morning service. There were only a few social occasions associated with the churches.
After farm families traveled a relatively great distances to attend church they tended to stay in the Borough for the remainder of the day. Sunday was a day of rest and often a blanket would be spread in the Benton Park after services. Food neatly packed for the picnic would be eaten and stories told and the children would let off steam both in the cool waters of Fishingcreek and under the stately buttonwood trees.
The school was not the center of community life, although from time to time it did draw people together. The true social center of the community was the neighborhood store. Farmers and their wives brought eggs, butter and cheese to the store and exchanged them for plug tobacco, molasses, leather, brown sugar and other items not readily available simply from the ingenuity of the farmers. Stories were told, politics were cussed and discussed, and opinions ran rampant. The senior statesman in all this was the owner of the store. The cracker-box philosophy carried out in the store determined the outcome of local elections and issues at both the local and national level. While other communities like Benton might have solved the problems of the world in a tavern, that was not true in the history of Benton, although many problems of the farming community were solved in the Benton Roller Mills after it was chartered on September 1, 1911.
One of the predominant stores was the Benton Store Company Department Store, built in 1904 and chartered January 31, 1905, by R. T. Smith, T. C. Smith, W. A. Butt and P. G. Shultz on the site of what was known as "Appleman Block." Prior to the building of the store, notes made by former banker Davey Yost indicate the lot was formerly occupied by a wagon maker and by a blacksmith shop. Records are scant on the property, but over the next few days we'll tell you about the store that has been continuously occupied for the past 103 years and the store that is slated to reopen following extensive remodeling on March 29. In future columns, I'll describe what the building looks like following the renovations. The bottom line is that it is absolutely wonderful!
Benton should be the antique mecca of Pennsylvania on March 29 and 30 as Benton Store Company Antiques, the Bakery Antiques across Main Street, and the huge antique show and appraisal at the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center all are open with antiques galore for the weekend. And mark my words, the Benton Store Company Antique Shop on Main Street, when it opens, will completely knock your socks off! It is fabulous.
Over the years, the Benton Store Company sold all lines of food and clothing and even sold the "Ford--the Universal Car." Henry Ford had begun selling the "Model A" auto for $850 in 1903. The Ford touring cars were brought to Benton six at a time on a railroad car. The front ends of the cars would be tilted to the sky and the weight of the cars would rest on the rear wheels. The cars would be unloaded at the railroad terminal, driven to the rear of the Second Street (now Main Street) store and lowered to the basement of the store using a block and tackle with the wheels of the cars riding on a concrete ramp which is still visible through the basement doors of the building.
Lets take just a second to go back to 1903 as the brick building known as the Benton Store Company was beginning the construction process. President Theodore Roosevelt was sending the first message across the Pacific Cable between San Francisco and Manila, the Panama Canal construction began, something called a "Wright Flying Machine" took to the air, and the Benton United Presbyterian church was founded on May 23, 1903. Ground was broken for the church about July 20, 1903.
President John G. McHenry wrote that the Columbia County National Bank at Benton had deposits of $50,000, "double the amount of capital stock." Before the end of the year, the bank advertised in the Morning Press that "new business keeps on coming" noting that the capital stock of the bank increased three times in eight months and the bank had "73,500 dollars on deposit." Benton sportsmen were actively engaged in live pigeon shoots. Residents of the Borough cast 147 votes in the general election. "Large gasoline lights" were hung on the borough streets and everyone was thrilled at being able to see to walk at night. C. L. Hirleman and Frank Laubach were appointed to a committee to "enrich the school library." New stables were added to the rear of the Exchange Hotel and a new furnace and radiators added to the interior.
E. B. Hartman was superintendent of the Jamison City tannery and A. K. Borcher was the head wood foreman of the Union Tanning Company.
The excitement in the Borough in May, 1903, came about when Nehemiah Cole's lantern exploded. He was counting his money late at night when the lantern exploded. He had been in his barn where he used the lantern, then locked up his confectionery store and went to the second floor of his house to count the money he had taken in. He was sitting on the bed with the lantern between his feet. The lantern set the bed on fire as well as his trousers. Down the steps he hurried and out onto the lawn where he threw himself on the grass and rolled and rolled in an effort to extinguish the flames. Dr. McHenry "saw his predicament" and ran to his aid. Nehemiah was badly burned. In the meantime, the flames were spreading on the second floor of his house. The "hired girl" couldn't get the bedding extinguished using pillows, but had the presence of mind to throw everything out the window averting a serious fire.
Parades in Benton have always been popular, but the 1903 parades were held much differently than today. For example, here is a typical parade, this one in mid-July, 1903, for the Sons of Veterans and the members of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) of Columbia County. The GAR was a fraternal organization made up of veterans of the Union Army who had served in the American Civil War. The parade formed at the Bloomsburg & Sullivan station on Market Street at Railroad Street (now Fifth Street), at the building which is now the home of Lee and Carolyn Remley. The passengers on the train paid seventy cents to ride to Benton from Bloomsburg and thirty-seven cents from Orangeville. The parade then headed east on Market Street to Second Street (now Main Street), then north to Everett, then to Third and "out" Third Street to the Town Hall. Russell Karns was chairman for the day, and began his speech "I am agreeably surprised to see the patriotism manifested among the large crowd."
Riding the Bloomsburg & Sullivan train at that time was done apprehensively. A work train and special engine had recently collided on the "trestling over the race at the Irondale Electric Light Company's dam." Engine number 2 and engine number 3 were involved. The work train had left the paper mill at Paperdale while the other train was steaming toward Stillwater where a train was broken down. The crash dampened the spirits of those who rode the train.
This story is heading toward the background and the future of the Benton Store Company, although it is hard to tell that right now. I'll continue Tuesday.
March 16, 2008. Happy anniversary to Ken and Lynn Sutton and Ted and Shirley McHenry. And the same to Benton's Chief of Police, Randy Karschner, who has been in his post for one year. There was a sea of green in The Center last night as about a hundred people enjoyed a St. Patrick's Day dance. Russ Seward was the big winner of door prizes.
For those who might want to run a telephone cable to another room in the house, you can go here to figure out how to do it. You don't need to call the phone company. The step-by-step procedures involve only a bit of simple wiring that can save you cash and a lost morning waiting for the phone company to show up. Telephone wires are color coded with red and green normally used for the first line, yellow and black for the second, and blue and white for the third.
Didja know that the Boy Scouts served 289 members of the community at its recent spaghetti supper at the Benton United Methodist Church?
The annual Scouting for Food drive begins Tuesday, April 1, when scouts place plastic bags on the doors of all houses in Benton and Stillwater boroughs. Canned or boxed non-perishable food items that residents wish to donate should be placed in the bags and then put in front of their houses. The scouts will pick up on Saturday, April 5, between 9 and 11 AM. All items collected remain local. The food will be distributed by the Food Bank at the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center to their clients. Questions? Call Audrey Schupp, 925-5394.
Richard Sutliff tells us he is "doing quite well" with his walker. The target date for his discharge from the rehabilitation facility remains Easter Sunday. Richard puts it, "I shall rise on Easter morning!" Richard has changed his mind about the importance of physical fitness. "All my life, I've poo-pood it but not any more," he says.
Being confined to the Community Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Naperville, Illinois, has opened his eyes to many things, including how the elderly live in a typical nursing home. He said, "I have been so moved by the kindness and consideration I've been given by staff members who are overworked and underpaid and short staffed. Most of the people are champions, IMHO. Once I get to walking well again, I think I'll volunteer maybe one day a week here at Community or some other nursing facility."
Just as people often mention after exercising at The Center, Richard says "I can't tell you how much better I feel after two hours or so of marching in place, leg kicking, stairstep-climbing, holding a big ball under my feet and rolling it around, practicing lying down and getting up, peddling a stationary bicycle, doing all manner of arm and shoulder procedures, standing for 15 minutes or more and other stuff." He ended by saying, "Now I'm sorry I skipped physical education at Benton and instead went to study hall during those periods."
Didja know that since January, 2001, the federal debt has risen from $5.6 trillion to $9.3 trillion on Wednesday?
Monday morning will be the third Monday of the month and so it is time to gather around the breakfast table and listen to a speaker address the North Mountain Historical Society. The subject will be the Borough of Hughesville and the speaker will be Bob Webster, a favorite speaker for the History Buffs. The coffee will be on the table about 8 in the morning as the buckwheat cakes and sausage flows out of Monica's kitchen at the Brass Pelican, Elk Grove. The knives and forks stop clanking about 9 and the speaker will begin. The talk is free and open to the public.
Bob Webster will talk about a good many things that you most likely don't know about the Borough 25 miles west of Benton. Pennsylvania had been a state for 130 years when in 1816 Jeptha Hughes laid out the new town and named it after himself. Didja know that Hughesville residents opened a log-cabin school in 1818? Two years later the community’s first tavern opened as did Hughesville's first church which met in a log school house. A post office came along in 1827, a doctor in 1828 and the postmaster became the community's first storekeeper in 1830. There is a lot of history in this town. Here are some examples...
Hughesville is the site of the Lycoming County Fair, held annually at the fairgrounds at the south edge of the borough. Didja know that on September 24, 1903, a crowd estimated at 10,000 gathered to watch the horse races? By 1908, what was then called the Muncy Valley Farmers' Club's annual Hughesville fair signed up sixty-three horses thanks in part to larger appropriations from the state which made the offering of larger premiums possible. One of the events of the fair was the visit of Governor Stuart who was the guest of the president of the Muncy Valley Farmers' Club. This was the first visit of a chief executive to the agricultural fair in Lycoming County.
At one time, Hughesville had its own airport and the United States postal service actually issued an air-mail stamp in honor of the airport in Hughesville. Amelia Earhart set her plane down in Hughesville. At one time, national recognition was given for the auto races held in Hughesville. Some of the biggest names in American auto racing including winners and veterans of the Indianapolis Race on Memorial Day regularly came to Hughesville. The settlement owned and operated its own railroad for a number of years.
Some readers may remember when the Benton News had an article about the aftermath of the Benton Fire in 1910. Less than a month after the fire, the board of directors of the Columbia County National Bank made a trip to Hughesville to look at the bank building in order to come to come to some conclusion as to the style of building that they would erect Back Home in Benton, PA.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer (edition of December 24, 1902), the youngest soldier of the Civil War was the pastor of the Hughesville Lutheran Church, the Rev. I. B. Crist, who as a drummer boy entered the service when less than eleven years old enlisting in Company G, 138th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, recruited at Gettysburg. He served two and a half years until he was honorably discharged for disability after being wounded in the arm at Cold Harbor. Until the battle of the Wilderness, when he was wounded and carried off the filed, an older brother was his guardian.
On November 18, 1900, the Hughesville Furniture Company's plant at Hughesville was destroyed by fire. A hundred men lost their jobs. The loss was $75,000, only partially covered by insurance. There was a stiff breeze and for a time it was feared that the entire town would burn. The plant of the Citizens' Electric Company, furnishing light, also burned. The furniture company was rebuilt and in 1922 sold to the secretary of the New York Furniture Exchange, Walter Engle, for approximately $300,000.
The Borough had some excitement on November 10, 1910, when an alert night watchman nearly cost an inebriated man his life. The night watchman at the First National Bank fired through the glass door of the bank at a supposed burglar and the bullet almost grazed the man's head. The man didn't run, and the night watchman decided he better check out who he was shooting at. He discovered he had narrowly missed a well-known citizen "who, tangled up by a night out, was trying to unlock the bank door in the belief that he had reached his home."
John Shuler, 73, one of the most respected citizens of Hughesville was an ardent student of the Bible. In 1903, he got national recognition when the Philadelphia Inquirer confirmed that he had "read it through, from Genesis to Revelations, forty-three times, and soon will have made it forty-four times.
March 15, 2008. Happy birthday to Michelle Turner and Kay Chapman. The Ides of March 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."
Ida Mae Kelchner (Feb. 22, 1913-March 13, 2008), 121 Sunnyview Lane, Millville, passed away Thursday at Geisinger Medical Center. She was 95. She was born in Nescopeck and graduated from Nescopeck High School in 1931. She was a daughter of Albertus and Clara DeHaven Kishbaugh. She lived in the Millville area with her son and daughter-in-law since 1975. She was preceded in death by her husband, Donald L. Kelchner; a son, Dennis Kelchner; a granddaughter, Kathy Kelchner; two brothers: Raymond and Victor Kishbaugh; and sisters Emma Derr; Doretta Schalles; Alice Shotwell; and Ellen Bobchak. She is survived by son Dean R. Kelchner ( Peggy), Millville, Tim Kelchner, Starkville, Mississippi; a brother, Richard Kishbaugh, Albuquerque, NM; and several nieces and nephews. Service will be Tuesday at noon at Millville United Methodist Church. The family will receive friends from 11:30 AM until the time of service. Burial will be at Pine Grove Cemetery with interment at 3 o'clock.
--Obituary courtesy of the Press Enterprise, where a complete obituary can be found in the March 14, 2008, edition
Martha (Marr) Karns (March 31, 1913-March 13, 2008), a former sixth-grade teacher in the Benton Elementary Schools, died Thursday at the Berwick Retirement Village II. She was 94. She was born in Berwick. Mrs. Karns was a daughter of the late Charles and Rebecca (Gulliver) Marr. She was a graduate of Berwick High School and Bloomsburg State Teachers College. Mrs. Karns was an elementary teacher for 37 years with most of her teaching career in the Benton Area School District. She was the widow of Edgar "Jake" (Johnny) Karns, who died April 18, 1990. She is survived by her daughter, Kay Galbraith, Carlisle; and her granddaughters Jody Minich (Rick), Carlisle; and Mindy Williams (Scott), Newville. Martha is also survived by great-grandchildren: Kelsi Minich, Carlisle, and Tucker Williams, Newville, and her brother in-law, Maurice Creasy, Bloomsburg. She was preceded in death by her siblings Emmaline Houck, Lona Kinkade, Elizabeth Stout, Jean Creasy, and Charles Marr. There will be no calling hours. A graveside funeral service will be held Monday, March 17, at 1 PM at the Pine Grove Cemetery, Market Street, Berwick.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will be published in today's edition of the Press Enterprise.
• March 30, 2008. Monthly firemen's buckwheat cake and sausage breakfast, Benton Volunteer Fire Company, 7 AM to 1 PM.
• Through March 22. Noël Coward's Blithe Spirit at the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, 226 Center Street. At a séance, a writer gets more than he bargained for when the spirit of his first wife is summoned from the other side to wreak havoc on his second marriage. 800 282-0283
The Benton Women’s Club met Thursday night, and two new members joined. The next meeting is April 10 and new members are always welcome. The new officers are Barbara King, President; Sandy Lehet, Vice President; Marie Morgan, Secretary and Nora McDaniel, Treasurer. Jill Good and Janese Fundock presented Enchanted Thymes and their party favors and baskets for one! Each lady attending received a favor and Janese made a presentation. Their website is now up and running at www.enchantedthymes.com. You can call Jill Good at 394-3860 or Janese Fundock at 204-1057.
Quote of the day:
"Gasoline is now 25c per gallon retail. The automobile pleasure trips will be fewer and shorter, if the price of gasoline continues to soar."
--Benton Argus, February 3, 1916, edition. Originally contributed by Susan Messersmith, Albany, Oregon
Have you noticed that too many people have their wishbone
where their backbone should be?
The temperature climbed over 60° Friday, and each day gets a little warmer. It is almost time to bring out the golf clubs and head to Mill Race for a round. Here are some tips for the golfers, starting with the rules...
Golf is a series of tragedies obscured by an occasional miracle, followed by a good bottle of beer. If you hit down, the ball should go up. Swing left and the ball goes right. Lowest score wins and the winner buys the drinks. The term "mulligan" comes from the phrase "maul it again." A "gimme" is an agreement between two golfers, neither of whom can putt very well. If your best shot is the "gimme putt," learn another sport. Golf is like marriage: Both are expensive and if you take yourself too seriously it won't work. The greatest handicap for a golfer is the ability to add correctly.
Golf's a hard game to figure. One day you'll go out and slice it and shank it, hit into all the traps and miss every green. The next day you go out and for no reason at all you really stink.
Don't you just love the people who do today what could be done tomorrow.
Didja ever notice that the world is made up of a few who do tomorrow
what they could have done today.
Congratulations to Garrett Hittle, a ninth-grade student from Northwest High School. Bob Parks and I were recent judges when Garrett participated in a FFA speaking contest at Benton High School. Garrett was among the members of the school’s FFA chapter who participated in several area FFA Career Development Events (CDE) held Feb. 8 in conjunction with Benton, Central Columbia, Columbia-Montour Vocational Technical School, Danville, Northwest, Tunkhannock FFA, and Wilkes-Barre Vocational Technical School chapters participated. The CDE’s were held at the Columbia-Montour Vocational Technical School and Central Columbia High School. Garrett achieved first place in Luzerne County. The Northwest FFA placed second overall in the Junior Interview CDE. Dave Halchak, Steve Cresci and Brad Hamilton participated in the Agricultural Mechanics CDE and placed first in electrical, welding, soldering, masonry, and tool identification.
Didja know that it is best if you don't fully discharge your notebook battery? Power management settings should shut down the computer when the battery charge reaches 15 to 20% rather than 5 to 10%. Rechargeable batteries can become damaged if fully discharged too many times. When storing a battery, do not store the battery fully charged for more than a couple of days as many notebook batteries are designed to be stored at around 40% charged.
Tara Baker, Benton, was recently in a singing competition and was chosen as one of the top three to compete on the radio. She recorded Friday and it will be aired tonight from 10 until 10:30 PM on WGRC radio. You can listen online at www.wgrc.com or you can listen on the radio. WGRC is heard on frequencies: 91.3 FM, Lewisburg; 90.7 FM and 107.1 FM, Williamsport; 90.9 FM, Lewistown; 91.9 FM, Pottsville; 101.7 FM, State College; 107.7 FM, Bloomsburg. After you listen then you can vote for your favorite competitor. To do this go to www.wgrc.com/getreal/ It should have the program listed around 10:45 PM, on the top of the page click on the comments page and vote for your choice! Your comments will not show up on the web page. Please only vote once. If you don't get to listen Sat. night you can also listen at www.wgrc.com/getreal/ in the form of a podcast. Just look for the program (it should be the at the top of the page) and follow the instructions. The winner is determined by the voting audience, so please don't forget to vote! You can vote up until Wednesday, March 19, at 10:30 PM.
March 14, 2008. Robert Rabb, II, celebrates his birthday today along with comedian Billy Crystal. Physicist Albert Einstein was born in Germany on this date in 1879. It is about a week away from the official start of spring, time for spring housecleaning for your computer. As your computer runs, fans draw air through the machine. You need to clean out the dust buildup just like you do behind and under your refrigerator. This should be done about every other month. Shut off the computer, unplug the power, take the sides off the computer tower. You need to do it before the summer heat causes an excessive heat buildup in the computer.
• The Benton High School production of The King and I needs volunteers for makeup, hair, and wardrobe management. This person or persons would help the actors with costume changes and makeup preparation during performances on April 4, 5, 6. No special skills are required, just interest! Please contact M.R. Daniels at 925-2080 if you can be involved. A seamstress or two would also be appreciated right now for hemming and finish work on costumes.
• Keep Florence Kocher in your prayers as she spends the second night in the Berwick Hospital with heart-related problems.
• For the first time in nearly six weeks, Richard Sutliff is "cavorting around" his rehabilitation center with a walker. He believes that he will be casting it aside in the next few days, noting that "they finally found a drug cocktail that lets me get a good-night's sleep. One is Lyrica, the other Seroquel. I slept 6 1/2 uninterrupted hours last night."
• Not satisfied with who you are? The web site at www.hairmixer.com/ allows you to take on a new life, one with hair! Try it for a fun site creating interesting images using basic image editing functions. You can change your hairstyle and body, you can choose from celebrity photos or upload your own. You can crop the boxes around the faces. You’ll see the both the final image and a copy of it as the cover of a fake magazine. I currently look like Princess Diana, but I can't figure out how to make the mirror look the same!
• The Pure Networks Security Scan is a free online wireless network security check for security issues on their computers and their wireless networks. The tool is ideal for home users for a quick assessment of potential network security problems. The tool is easy to use. It checks the network for potential issues and vulnerabilities and then provides a “score card” with detailed self-help information about how to fix wireless network security problems that are network related and security problems that are computer specific. As simple scan can determine if there are unknown computers or devices on the network, plus much more.
• If you use Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express you should read this and the next paragraph. If you don't use these programs, skip this paragraph. Both programs have a certain size past which the file cannot exceed. Those who receive a lot of emails find that their files fill up and need cleaning out. Here is away of culling out what you don't really want to retain. Following that, we recommend that you file them away outside of Outlook or Outlook Express. First, create a folder on your desktop by right clicking your mouse; give it a name that you will remember, and put it on the right bottom side of the desktop. Open Outlook or Outlook Express, then open the folder or the individual emails that you want to archive. Go to edit, click on select all (CTRL+ A), then drag that page over to the new folder you just created, then drag all the highlighted messages to this folder and release. If you drag hundreds of emails at a time, it will take a little time, but is worth it. All the items you decided to archive are now in this folder and you can delete the ones in your outlook file. Drag the new folder to "My Documents." Name the file by Month, or Subject or Date Created, etc. This is a good way of archiving your old email copies of the Benton News.
Various dictionaries suggest that the word Yankee came from Jan Kees (or Jan Kaas), 'John Cheese', a nickname for a New Englander that dates from the mid-18th century when many sailors visiting New England were of Dutch origin. The -s at the end sounded like a plural to English speakers and was dropped. Those who hold with this theory believe that the name was first used to describe Dutch pirates by the English and later used by the New York Dutch for their Connecticut neighbors. James Fenimore Cooper once suggested that the word came from an Indian pronunciation of "Yangees," an Indian pronunciation of English.
In 1775, the British troops used Yankee as a derogatory term for the citizens of Boston. The song Yankee Doodle Dandy was played by the British on their 1775 march to Concord as an insult to the Americans ("doodle" was a slang word for a part of the male body). After the battles at Lexington and Concord, the Americans adopted the song as their own and taunted the retreating British with it. Yankee slowly became a complimentary term. The version of the song that we know dates from 1776.
A group calling themselves The Unconventionals is a consortium of energy professionals focused on shale-gas exploration. This group believes "that Shale Gas represents the greatest potential for natural gas reserves in North America." The group examines prospective "Shale Gas Basins in order to provide the best opportunity for commercial Shale Gas production and to be the first ones to do so." The group has approximately 1,000,000 acres leased in 21 Shale Gas Projects within 8 basins of the gas. The result of this leasing is 200+ producing wells run through companies that are leasing in the local area, including Chesapeake Energy, Devon Energy, Newfield Exploration, Southwestern Energy, EOG Resources, Range Resources, Chief Operating LLC, Antero Resources, Cabot Oil and Gas, and Carrizo Oil and Gas. Another company leasing gas lands locally is Western Land Services.
Please note that not all of these companies have been verified as leasing gas and mineral rights in the local area, but we hear of new companies each day.
March 13, World Kidney Day, the 73rd day of 2008. There are seven days until the official start of spring. We celebrate the birthdays of John McMichael, Sophie Watts and Tom Hartman. Sean Christian turns 18 and Bob Brewington, Jr., the oldest of eight children, turns 57 today. Bob is the son of Robert and Sally Brewington. His favorite foods are Tandy Kakes, Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies and Sticky Buns that he bribes his sisters to make for him.
. March 19, 2008. A public meeting will be held Wednesday evening at 6:30 in the Benton Middle-High School cafeteria to provide an update on the progress of the district's biomass project. Presentations will include information on building plans and project timelines. Speakers will include architect Mark Barnhardt of E.I. Associates, engineer Michael Mills of Martin Rogers Associates, Regional Chief of Air Quality Control Dave Aldenderfer of the DEP, school business manager, Beverly Ribble, and Superintendent Gary Powlus. This meeting will provide an excellent opportunity for the community to learn more about the project and have any questions or concerns addressed by the professionals leading this endeavor. For additional information, please call the Benton Area School District Office, 925-6651.
. Various. Greenwood Friends School, Millville, will offer a dozen day camps this summer in subjects from astronomy to whitewater dynamics. These courses will help young and old alike develop creative thinking, problem-solving, and physical skills through hands-on and minds-on activities. Each week from July 7 through August 1, Camp Greenwood will welcome children and adults from throughout our area. Teachers for the classes include current Greenwood faculty, school parents and grandparents, Bloomsburg University faculty members and others.
During Camp Greenwood's opening week, July 7-11, children and adults ages 7 and up will enjoy four Art Camps, in Painting and Drawing; Paper Making; Computer Art; and Beading. Also that week, Camp Greenwood will offer a tour of the solar system and beyond in Astronomy Camp, for those 7 and up, and budding thespians 7 and older can attend Drama Camp.
Children 7 and up can go to Animal Farm Camp--"animals you have seen but never met"--during the week of July 14-18, and adults and children 7 and up can learn kayaking and rafting skills in Whitewater Dynamics Camp. Anyone 7 or older will have the opportunity to earn certifications in CPR, AED, and babysitting skills in American Red Cross Camp.
Bang, WHOOSH: the Science of Fire and Fire Safety comes to Camp Greenwood during the week of July 21-25, for ages 7 and up, while children 10 and older can meet the Bard in Shakespeare Camp.
At the end of July, Camp Invention comes to Camp Greenwood, by way of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. For children entering grades 1 through 6 in the fall, the CREATE program in science enrichment includes experimentation, invention of never-before-seen contraptions, and re-invention of everyday machines. Move your body and your mind!
For more information and to register, call 458-5532 or visit Greenwood Friends School's web site, www.greenwood-friends.org.
Johnnie Carson would be thrilled! Polyester is making a comeback. Some elite designers are returning to the image of disco and the world created by chemical giant E.I. DuPont in the early 1950s. For the lucky readers who don't remember the fabric that didn't stain and didn't require ironing, it gained popularity with TWA for flight attendants' uniforms--and we all know what happened to TWA!. DuPont aggressively advertised wash-and-wear garments made of "Dacron" fiber as a godsend for professional men. Baltimore filmmaker John Waters directed a film, appropriately named Polyester, about a 1950s housewife played by an overweight drag queen. And now it is coming back. Woe is me! Do you think horn-rimmed glasses will be next?
Charles E. Young (October 3, 1936-March 11, 2008), Welliver Hill Road in the Derrs area, Benton, died Tuesday at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville. He was 71. He was a son of the late Bruce and Lula (Musselman) Young. Mr. Young was a long-time employee of Millville Lumber Products. He had also farmed for most of his life and in later years worked for Max Starr. Surviving are his children June Hutton (Edward), Berwick; Edward C. Young, Wayne E. Young (Tina); and Gary L. Young (Pollyanna), all of Derrs. Also surviving are four grandchildren, three step grandchildren, four great grandchildren, eleven step great grandchildren and siblings Mary Lou DeFrain, Donald Young, Bruce Young, Carlton Young, Dale Young, Edna Gearhart, Evelyn Shultz and Larry Young. He was preceded in death by his wife, Betty Irene (Goss) Young on July 24, 1994, and by two great granddaughters. Funeral services will be held Friday at 2 PM at Jackson Baptist Church, Derrs, with burial in Jackson Cemetery. A viewing will be Friday from 12 noon until the time of the service at the Church.
--Obituray courtesy of McMichael Funeral Home
The "belling of the bride" was the subject in Wednesday's Benton News, a tradition popular about 1876. Picture the little village of Benton, old-fashioned by today's standards, in the year 1876. The streets were laid out just as the village was originally laid out, but they were dirty and muddy in the spring and dusty in the late summer. There were always people walking, including children heading to school. Softball was big on the school grounds, and games we would hardly recognize today were common. Everyone had a nice word for the people they met. Front porches got their share of use, and in the back all sorts of vegetables and flowers made it unnecessary to do a lot of lawn mowing.
Before we move on to what Benton looked like in 1876, we really should tell you about the United States back then. Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent for an invention he called the telephone and demonstrated its utility in the first successful telephone call by saying "Mr. Watson, come here, I want you." The telephone caught on when the Emperor of Brazil listened to Mr. Bell recite Hamlet's soliloquy at the exposition to mark the centennial of the United States in Philadelphia. The emperor remarked in awe, "It talks." The Seventh Calvary Regiment under the direction of General George A. Custer ran into a Crazy Horse kind of guy on the banks of the Little Big Horn in Dakota Territory. Tom Sawyer faked his death, attended his own funeral, solved a murder and reconciled with his sweetheart, Becky Thatcher, and helped a river rat kind of adolescent named Huckleberry Finn. John Harvey Kellogg was developing flaked cereals to curb the sexual appetites of Americans. President Grant was having scandal problems in his administration. Jesse James and Bob Younger were busy robbing banks. Jack McCall shot "Wild Bill" Hickok in the back after he retired, married and went into the business of gold prospecting. Hickok was holding a poker hand of two aces, two eights and another card--a hand that immediately became known as a "dead man's hand." Thomas A. Edison patented the mimeograph machine.
Back Home in Benton, PA, Benton Township was 26 years old, having just been formed from part of Sugarloaf and Fishing Creek Townships. It was the year when the house where John and Zane Unbewust now live was built by Eli Mendenhall, the house which later was the birthplace of Dr. Frank C. Laubach. The log church dating from 1812 jointly owned by Episcopalians, Lutherans, and Presbyterians burned to the ground. The replacement church today is known as St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church. A State Board of Agriculture was created in 1876 and made into a department in 1895. Henry Hess became the postmaster of a village in the north-central part of Sugarloaf township once known as "Campbell," and the town took the named Central. In Sullivan County, the County Commissioners erected a wooden bridge across Lopez Creek, coated the wood with a protective coating of coal tar, and for a time called the area that we know today as Lopez "Tar Bridge." The Union Turnpike Road company was chartered in 1876, which allowed the company to extend its road from Shickshinny to Fairmount Springs. Daniel McHenry (1827-1901), Treasurer of Columbia County, built the McHenry home, Stillwater. The Columbia county fair was held in Bloomsburg October 13, 14 and 15. Mollie Maguires continued to be arrested in Schuylkill county. Potatoes were bringing a dollar a bushel.
It is often difficult to gather information on the local area. It was not until about the time of the American Centennial in 1876 that amateurish authors started running madly about recording information about previous generations. Often names and places would be used and then reused by other writers without a real shred of truth in any of it. The readers didn't know and the writers sometimes didn't get very careful about separating myth from folklore from fact. Many of the histories of the last part of the 1800s were written by men paid to insert nice things about the person. More myths grew on the myth pile, making it difficult to draw the line between fact and fiction. Dates copied for a family bible, for example, are generally quite accurate--so long as the birth occurred more than nine months from the date of the marriage! We side with the old Scottish proverb that "Error can go around the world twice while truth is putting on its boots."
The growth of the Borough primarily took place after 1860, coinciding with the growth of the lumber and tanning industries north of town. By 1868, the town consisted of fifty houses, a tavern, a church, a schoolhouse, a post office and a sawmill.
This is what Benton looked like in 1876, thanks to a map published by G. H. Walker and C. F. Jewett in that year.
The Exchange Hotel, dating from 1872, stood on the corner of Main and Market Streets, and was a center of activity for the area.
Benton in 1876 had progressed from the four or five houses of a few years previous--the Parvin Masters dwelling and barn and a small one-and-a-half-story house on Second Street (now Main Street). Farther south on the street was Peter Oman's wheelwright shop and dwelling, and south of where the McHenry House was later built was an old-time country hotel and stables, run by Wesley Piatt, later on by A. Overholtzer and Hiram Hess. Below the hotel was the Geiser residence and the Rohr McHenry dwelling, which later became the site of the Benton Post Office building for many years. The houses looked old when really they were not, but they had, from all accounts that I have read, the most beautiful gardens you have ever seen--gardens where the most basic and the most beautiful of flowers bloomed, like the great white, pink and red roses, where tall hollyhocks shielded the walking neighbor from scenes at the rear of the house, and where fine trees were taking shape along the main streets.
Benton was a settlement where new customs never came. What your grandfather did or your grandmother did was what you did. Brides were all marred in a white satin frock--even if that was the only gown in her closet. The babies were baptized with old-fashioned names, like Emily and Evelyn and Evangeline, and some of the girls were given the same names as given to the boys on a nearby farm.
When someone died, he was buried in the same old-fashioned way that his grandfather had been buried. The white flowers were gathered from the gardens behind the houses, and made into old-fashioned bouquets, tied with white ribbon and sent to the house for mourning. On the day of the funeral, the entire town would turn out to attend church service and the appropriate readings of that church would be delivered over the body of the departed.
The church would be filled with sunshine streaming through the window over the alter filtering down to the coffin laden with flowers. After the service, two simple wagons would slowly pull the long, difficult hill to the cemetery. The body would ride in one wagon. The family would ride in the second. Much of the town walked in procession behind, children solemnly holding their parent's hands, the young boy who had been his friend, past the tombstones haphazardly standing at attention, until the freshly piled earth gave away the fact that a grave lay ready to receive a body. There were no strangers in the community; everyone knew everyone. Everyone mourned together. It was that kind of community.
Lets hope that the community never strays far from the course and direction it set so many years ago.
March 12, 2008. Happy birthday today to Lydia Becker, Camp Hill, Jean Stackhouse, Upper Raven Creek Road, Judy Search, Jerry Zevney, Esther Little and Miles Little.
Esther Nasta (Klem) Little was born on March 12, 1926, the eighth of 11 children of Stephen and Mary Klem, Lopez, who were immigrants of what is now Poland. Miles O. Little was born a year earlier to the day, on March 12, 1927, in Michigan, the first of three children of Otto and Merion Little. He worked as a draftsman for a short time before returning to work with his father in the sawmill business. Esther and Miles married July 23, 1949. They have lived their entire married life in Benton--all 59 years. They have two children, eight grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
Didja ever realize that if you see good in everything,
you may be an optimist. On the other hand, you may be nuts.
When I don't have the time to write a daily article, I call on either Buster or Chloe, our two Bichon Frise cub reporters to report their version of the news. Chloe took on the assignment for today, and as usual she is complaining about something. She writes...
"Leader has invented a new way for me to be a pest. He wants me to obediently lie on the floor at his feet while he eats his breakfast, preferably with my head resting on his feet. This is not time for sleeping, as little snibbles of food fall from the table and bounce off Leader's stomach onto the floor. Quicker than Mother's noisy machine can suck up things I can swallow the food and return to my perch in hope of more falling my way. I am forced to patiently wait until Mother and Leader finish their breakfast before I am allowed to eat and get my second walk of the day. When I sense that Leader has gone too long without dropping anything my way I simply stand on my back legs and with my right front paw I give him a good, swift scratch in the stomach.
"I'm almost not sure what my name is anymore. I am beginning to think that Leader changed my name to "Down, Girl!" I got so hungry one morning waiting for Leader to finish his breakfast that I began to chew on one of his books. He got so mad when he grabbed the book he told Mother that he "took the words" right out of my mouth. Leader makes my dog food now by boiling chicken and adding peas and carrots and squash and rice and garlic. Leader told Mother last week that now my bark is worse than my bite--and then they both laughed about the garlic! Mother said I was the best dog because I wag my tail instead of my tongue.
"A long time ago Leader and I agreed that there would be no tricks. No roll-over-and-play-dead, no shaking of paws, no pretending there is not a pill in the peanut butter. No tricks. But recently when I want a biscuit I have been telling Leader by raising my right paw, turning my head and looking at him from the side. Leader is so proud of me, saying I learned it on my own, and he gives me a biscuit whenever I do it. I did it six times after breakfast this morning. But I have my standards, and I am afraid that I am going back on my word. No tricks. I am afraid that I am teaching Leader a new trick after we both agreed we would not do that."
Didja ever notice that when some people have a parting of the ways
they go both ways?
A St. Patrick's Day dance sponsored by the Northern Columbia Community and Cultural Center, Benton, comes up Saturday evening from 8 to 11. The Silver Fox will play his music, there will be a 50-50 Raffle and a Chinese Auction. Attire is dressy casual. Cost is $5 for members of The Center and $10 for non-members. Tickets are available at the Center Reception Desk. For further information, call 925-1063. Be Irish for a day!
A reader asked about the worst flood ever to hit the Borough of Benton. One of the worst happened before we have much memory of such events. The Argus described it this way: "Benton's Main Street looked like a giant chocolate-milk dispenser on July 5, 1928, when a cloudburst hit the Fishing Creek watershed at noon." During that storm, a potato field on the Alvin Sutliff farm just north of the Borough was ruined and plants were found on the streets after the waters receded. Farmers throughout the area suffered crop damage and many cellars in town were filled with water. The former Alvin Sutliff farm is the current location of the farmer's market at the corner of Green Acres Drive and Route 487 which everyone is anxious to have open for the season. Deb and Bob Antanitis are the current owners of the farm.
A common practice about 1876 in the area around Benton was "belling," sometimes known as "belling the bride," a term rarely used today. At that time, even if it took several weeks to accomplish the deed, every newly married couple could expect a belling. And residents of rural communities especially didn't miss an opportunity to surprise newlyweds. Often a kitchen shower was a part of the event and useful items were given to that couple.
A report published in 1928 in one of those "It Happened Fifty Years Ago" articles in the Benton Argus talked about belling of Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Whitenight, Orangeville, when they were "serenaded" at the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Whitenight, in front of about 80 people. Mr. and Mrs. Earnest Roberts were honored the same way at the home of the bride's parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Taylor, Fishingcreek Township. Both of these couples had something in common and both had done something unusual: they were "motored" to Bakerton, Cambria County, Pennsylvania, 189 miles away, to be married by the Rev. Harry W. Newman, who was a former pastor of the Benton Methodist Charge.
In those days, "belling the bride" was the fashion. It was woe to the newly married couple if they did not appear at the door during the serenade and stand in front of the crowd. The event was usually noisy and boisterous, often given by friends and relatives. The custom may have originated in Scotland and Ireland as a prank of "bride abduction" on the wedding night when rivaling clans would abduct the bride. Settlers brought the custom to the United States carrying on the tradition with their European cousins in their former countries of England, Scotland, Germany and Russia. In some of these countries, the tradition involved escorting the couple into their bedchamber and then spending the night with them.
Belling the bride often involved a rowdy gathering in which the friends of a newlywed couple would make the wedding night a nightmare. Friends would bang on pots, pans, washtubs and saws and ring bells outside the room where the couple was staying. There are records of guns being fired into the night during some bellings in the United States. Bridal couples were well aware of the tradition and frequently asked their friends and neighbors to come inside for a cigar for the men and lemonade or tea for the ladies. Some brides were carted around in a wheel barrow.
Time moved on and couples began taking their honeymoon away from where they were going to live. When they returned, friends met them with an improvised "Bull Band" consisting of any "instrument" that made noise--cowbells, car horns, dishpans, whatever.
Belling of the bride a few years ago meant decorating the "get away" vehicle of the couple with shaving cream and tin cans tied to the bumper. Vaseline at one time would be liberally applied to the gear shift, bananas ended up in the tail pipe, windows got soaped, parades formed as vehicles drove the streets in what today we often refer to as a "drumming." Horns were blown incessantly, rice was everywhere, the marital bed was prepared for the couple's return by short-sheeting the bed, removing a slat from under the bed or adding cracker crumbs to the sheets. Call it what you want, it is a modern version of the belling of the bride.
There are many examples in the local area. As I was being married, my car was placed on blocks so when I went to make my rapid get-away from the church all I could do was race the engine. The wheels were not on the ground and I couldn't go anywhere until the wedding party allowed me to get the car off the blocks and I could drive away in my bedecked car. Even then, inside the gas cap, words were etched to the effect that I was on my honeymoon. In those days, we didn't pump our own gas so it was months before I figured out why gas station attendants knew I was recently married.
Lee Remley had to dance in a pig trough when his younger brother, Carl, married before Lee did, a form of belling. Carlton Fritz also had to dance in the hog trough about 1951. Other memorable drummings took place following the marriage of Junior Laubach and Janet McDaniel. Locally, there are marriages that were sealed in a wagon on hay bales behind a John Deere with neighbors banging on hand saws. Others took place in the back of a pickup truck. Louise Boston and Ed Keiffer were "honored" in this way.
John and Betty Mather had their version of belling the bride. A now-deceased member of the community smeared limburger cheese on the manifold of John's car engine on that hot August day. Years later, John told me it was about Amity Hall before either the bride or the groom got the nerve up to ask the other about the terrible smell in the car.
Brother Dayne hooked up his old manure spreader and loaded Phil and Jackie Malhoyt into it for a tour around Benton when they got married--something the former U.S. Park Policeman never did figure out. There are many variations of this story in the upper Fishingcreek valley.
When we get together Thursday around the coffee pot, I'll tell you a little about the Borough of Benton in the time period about 1876 when these bellings were common.
Bernice L. (Petroski) Beishline (July 14, 1944-March 10, 2008), Old Tioga Turnpike, Benton, died Monday, at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. She had been in ill health since July. She was 63. She was a daughter of the late Willard and Elizabeth (McAfee) Petroski. She was born in Berwick. She was a 1963 graduate of Benton High School. She was formerly employed by Dol-Ang Manufacturing, Benton, and the former Harold’s Market, Maple Grove. Surviving are her husband, Russell H. Beishline, her children Anita Jo Beishline, Lairdsville, and Leroy Beishline, Berwick, and grandchildren Cody and Adam Temple. Private services will be held at the convenience of the family.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will be in the March 12 edition of the Press Enterprise
March 11, 2008. Happy anniversary to the Old Filling Station. Happy birthday today to Linda Sharek, John McMichael, Sophia Watts, Judy Search, Andrew Vincent and Nancy Fox. Something special needs to be said about Nancy Fox, the owner of the Old Country Antique Barn near the Benton Foundry. She turns 71 today. She is one of 12 children born to the late Jacob Janney and Mary Janney, Benton. She has two children--Jim Fox and Colleen Bender, both of Benton--granddaughters Tara Grigas (Teo), Benton, and Carol Crawford (Jon), Jacksonville, Florida, a step-great-granddaughter (Kelly Crawford, Jacksonville, FL) and a great-grandbaby on the way in June from parents Teo and Tara. Nancy is home and she is improving every day. The doctors say she is doing much better than they had anticipated. Cancer treatment will commence after she has had time to get a little stronger.
At a meeting Monday night at The Center, 30 people signed up to participate in a weight-watchers club. The club is looking for a "lifetime member" to act as a receptionist and leader. If there are any lifetime members out there, please contact Jackie Malhoyt at 925-2722.
John Orlandini, a resident of Lehman Township, retired from the Pennsylvania Game Commission in 2006. John is a registered surveyor and has worked a great deal establishing new game lands in the Endless Mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania. He has taken all the interesting things that he came across in his 42 years with the Game Commission and has written a book entitled Indians, Settlers, and Forgotten Places in the Endless Mountains.
Here are some of the titles of different sections of the book, starting with the section entitled "In Search of the Goose," a subject sometimes referred to as the Moravian Cabin in Sullivan County. Other titles include "Indian Graves at Mehoopany," "Bellatimer Settlement Lands," (includes Bellasylva and Shady Nook), "The Colony of New Thuringen in Sullivan County," "Mystery of the Painted Post, Susquehanna Co.," "Old Time Conservation," "French Azilum," "Friedenshutten," " Celestia," "The Summit Cottage," "The Red Rock Game Farm," "The tabernacle at the foot of North Mountain," "History of District No. 1 of the C.C.C.," "Buffalo in Northeastern Pennsylvania," and about two dozen more sections that should be of great interest. Most of the places are familiar to the locals but almost unknown to people only 50 miles away.
Many readers will know a little about the subject of each of the chapters, but the term Summit Cottage will be unfamiliar to most. F. Charles Petrillo, a member of the Board of Directors of the Wyoming Historical and Geological Society and the author of about five local books, asked John about a post card he had acquired which was marked the "Summit Cottage Lopez, Pa." Over the next few years, Charles and John acquired two more different Summit Cottage post cards with pictures of the mystery cottage. These cards placed the cottage on Lake Bella Sylvia, 4 and 1/2 miles from Lopez. A fourth postcard put Summit Cottage 1/2 mile from Lake Bella Sylvia. John took an educated guess and put it on High Cobble a half mile from Schmittenhenner Lake. You'll have to buy the book to learn the "rest of the story."
John is much more exacting than I can ever hope to be. For example, he read what I had written about Bishop John Ettwein on his exodus from Friedenshutten when Don Rabb and I were writing the History of Painter Den. John noted that Bishop Ettwein "did traverse the Wyalusing Path and kept a journal. However, each historian that wrote of his adventure added something to Ettwein's exact words. This made it necessary for me to go to the Moravian Archives in Bethlehem and have the journal translated into English to see exactly what Ettwein wrote. This sounds like a lot of work, but I had a lot of fun and met some great people."
The cover of the book is in preparation. The manuscript is complete and the book should be available at the end of May. There is a good deal of archaeology throughout the pages. The book will be sold at the Mountain View Barn, 958 State Route 118, Sweet Valley, and other locations now under consideration. We'll keep you informed when the book is available for purchase.
Didja ever notice that the free things in life
are sometimes the most expensive?
Basic personality traits of people come out shining like a full moon when we look at how write. Look at the handwriting of your doctor as he scribbles on your prescription, or the handwriting of the third-grade teacher in a well-crafted note to a parent, or the person with a lot of self-confidence--or the lack of it. Pride, dignity, leadership, artistic talents and even deceit come out. Handwriting to me doesn't seem to display either sex or age--but certainly does come in different packages, depending on race, nation and age.
Handwriting has evolved from the old English with its upward shading that probably came from the use of quill pens. The published writing of Queen Victoria changed handwriting to more of a faddish angular type of writing. For many of us of a modern generation, our handwriting isn't based on what we learned in school or acquired through heredity, but is simply imitation. Most of us learned to write at our mother's knee and we formed our letters as we were shown. Today we design our letters unconsciously by force of habit although Mother's second son writes with a sprawl that makes his handwriting virtually illegible and decidedly bad. But--hey--some handwriting will always be bad. Look at James Fenimore Cooper. His handwriting looked like he used a blunt pen. Forget trying to understand what Napoleon wrote. Dickens lived up to his name: he was a dickens to read! I am not far behind.
Noting that there are exceptions to all rules, we show the penmanship of John Reece who lived in the Greenwood valley before moving to the Boston area where he worked for the New England Mutual Life Insurance Company. John was the son of Mattie and Alfred Reece, Rohrsburg. The example we use is an envelope with a 2 cent stamp dated January 25, 1921, addressed to "Miss Ora Jean Miller, Rohrsburg, Pennsylvania." Mr. Reece wrote with what Father would have called a "gentlemanly hand." It was neat and elegant, with many curious flourishes. I know almost nothing of Mr. Reece, but still conclude that there was a link between character and handwriting.
Didja ever think that we can't put our troubles behind us until we face them?
On the internet...
. Many in the local area are gun enthusiasts. "You ain't seen nothing yet," as the story goes, until you take a look at the Knob Creek Gun Range in West Point, Kentucky.
. Didja ever think about what dirt roads meant to our society? For those of us who know dirt roads very well, go here.
• Older readers will enjoy a review of television from previous generations.
Penn State Cooperative Extension announced that a two-phase workshop for landowners involved with Gas Leasing entitled "Understanding and Negotiating Natural Gas Leases" will be held on Thursday, April 10, and Tuesday, April 15, 2008 at Benton Area High School Auditorium. The meetings will start at 7 PM and end at approximately 9:30 PM.
Speakers include public and industry experts who will discuss the intricacies, advantages, and disadvantages of signing a natural-gas ease. The cost of the workshop is $15 for each session and you can pay at the door. Please call the Columbia County Extension Office at 784-6660 to register to attend either or both meetings.
Most prior participants of these workshops have realized financial rewards worth thousands of dollars. This course is intended to inform you of the concerns you will need to address as a landowner considering a gas lease. The program is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. Consult an attorney before entering into a binding agreement.
The Benton Middle/High School is completely handicapped accessible, but if there are questions about access to the building contact David W. Hartman, Penn State Cooperative Extension in Columbia County, at 784-6660, extension 18, in advance of your participation or visit.
William E. "Bill" Savidge (August 7, 1940-March 9, 2008), a resident of Bonham Nursing Center since November, 2006, and formerly of Fairmount Township on Old Tioga Turnpike, Benton, died Sunday at the Bloomsburg Hospital. He was born in Sunbury. He was a son of the late William B. and Sara (Cornelius) Savidge. Mr. Savidge worked for ARGO in Berwick, for Orangeville Manufacturing and last worked for the Red Rock Job Corps until his retirement in 2005. He was preceded in death by his wife, Katherine Jean "Kate" (Templin) Savidge. Surviving are his daughter, Tammy J. Doty (Todd), Benton; granddaughters Nicole and Kristen Doty. Also surviving are his brothers and sisters: Margaret Naugle (Larry), Carolyn Allen, Robert Savidge, Jess Savidge (Mary), Sally Shannon, Kathy Woodcock ( Bruce), Jim Savidge, and Kay Treas, all of Sunbury. Also surviving are numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews. Funeral services will be held Wednesday at 1 PM with viewing preceding at the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc. Burial will be in Harmony Cemetery, Milton.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will be published in the Tuesday edition of the Press Enterprise
March 10, 2008. 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.
The lead article in Monday's Press Enterprise provides an excellent history of voting in Columbia County, drawing on the experience of Prof. George Turner and Chief Registrar/Director of Elections for Columbia County, Joanne Reichart.
Tonight at 7 is the weight-loss meeting at the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center. The purpose of the meeting is to determine if there is a sufficient level of interest in having a weight watchers chapter in the local area. Questions or more information? Call 925-2722. There is no charge for either members or non-members to attend this meeting.
Christy Musselman graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of Pet Grooming, Indiana, PA, and has begun the grooming of all breeds of dogs. At the present time, Christy will use the grooming facilities at Critter Sitter's Kennel, Dotyville. Grooming is by appointment by calling 683-5320. Christy is the daughter of Chris and Becky Musselman and granddaughter of Leroy and Nancy Musselman and Ed and Norma Eveland. Christy worked with Ann and Dave DePoe for about a year before she went to school. Directions for Critters Sitter's Kennel: From the Borough, take Route 239 South for 2.7 miles, turn left onto Dotyville Road (across from the Hamlin Church) and drive for 1.1 miles, then turn right onto the dirt lane to the kennel. (Green Mail box at end of lane with DePoe and 222A on it.) The kennel is on the left and is part of the red barn. Christy's Aunt Annie says that "Christy is great with the dogs, and turns out fine looking pooches."
The current estimate is that from now until the April 22 primary, something like $10 million will be spent on TV ads for Senators Obama, Clinton and McCain with another $20 million being poured into direct mail, phone banks and other grassroots and election-day-turnout spending. Based on voting on the Democratic side of a week ago Tuesday, Obama will go to the Democratic Convention with something between 100 and 200 elected delegates more than Clinton, regardless of the exact outcome in our state where reports are that Sen. Clinton is ahead or in North Carolina where Sen. Obama is said to be ahead.
Didja ever notice that the sneakiest thing about women drivers is the way they turn out to be men, right after you criticize their driving to your wife?
Jim Collins wrote in the Sunday Towanda Daily and Sunday Review about the cucumber tree. He wrote that the cucumber tree is a member of the magnolia family and is often called a "cucumber magnolia." This tree grows in a range from western New York and southern Ontario, south and west to Arkansas, and in the Appalachian Mountains to northern Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi." He described its growth in our Commonwealth as mostly being in mountainous areas. "It favors rich woods and moist soils near streams although it will grow in drier areas. It does particularly well in limestone soils."
The cucumber-tree is related to the tulip tree. It matures in 80 to 120 years and full-grown trees can reach 60 to 80 feet. The "cucumber" in its name comes from the green immature fruit of the magnolia, which looks like a cucumber. It has brilliant flowers in spring. The tree is especially nice in a park. The wood is light and has been used for slats for Venetian blinds and for boxes and crates and interior house trim.
One of the places I always wanted to visit was the ghost town of Laquin in Bradford County. I subsequently found out that the former railroad stop on the Susquehanna and New York Railroad is behind gates on PGC land, and accessible only when hunting season is ongoing, but Sunday afternoon when Marcia Kay and I walked into the charming antique shop known as the Mountain View Barn on Route 118 near Sweet Valley my eyes focused on a 1906 Williamsport Sun newspaper about the then-thriving town. Gisela Demko, the charming German-born owner, prices everything in the shop reasonably, and I bought the newspaper immediately.
According to the July 2, 1906, edition of the Sun, Laquin was a "large and thriving lumber town," with a population estimated at 1,200 in 1906. The paper noted that the "dwelling are comfortable and attractive, and everywhere there are signs of bustling activity. In fact, Laquin is a hive of industry. It has well laid-out and graded streets, excellently lighted, lined with stores, hotels and substantial residences, several churches, a graded school, and other evidence of prosperous, permanent town. A number of the houses, occupied by the superintendents, are very up-to-date and comfortable. The most notable of these is a genuine log house, equipped with electric lights, running water and steam heat."
The article continued, " This place is becoming well known throughout the state as a centre of commercial importance. One of the largest plants of the Central Pennsylvania Lumber company is located here, comprising saw-mills, lath mills and planing mills. Other industries are the Brooklyn Cooperage Company of New York, which has here one of the largest stave and heading plants ever constructed, operated by the Pennsylvania Stave company; The Pennsylvania Hub and Veneer company's manufactory; the Schrader Wood company's large and complete kindling wood plant, the biggest in the state; the Barclay Chemical company, turning out charcoal, acetate of lime, wood alcohol and other chemicals."
The Carbon Run coal mine of the Susquehanna & New York railroad company was located about two miles north of Laquin. The coal was brought to the main line by a narrow gauge branch road to the tipple at Laquin. The article noted that "The coal is excellent steam coal, and a ready sale is found for it in all seasons."
For those who don't know, Laquin later was a CCC camp--but by 1941 the town was a ghost. Population of the town, which in many ways paralleled the history of Jamison City/Elk Grove/Emmons, at one time was near 2,000. The town once had a hotel, two churches, a school, a boarding house, store, depot, town building and several homes. The last building disappeared sometime in the 1960s. Former Benton resident Joe Sutliff was born in Laquin in 1915 when his father, Joseph Sutliff, ran the lumber business there. Joe was the father of Ann Sutliff Ganshaw and Joe "Brooks" Sutliff. Charlotte Sibly's father worked for the CCC in Laquin. The main street is still the major access road. The town is about 51 miles from Back Home in Benton, PA, about straight north of Route 154 from Forksville. By the way, the Mountain View Barn is open Saturdays and Sundays, and most weekdays during better weather. Call 477-2483 to be sure.
Didja ever think that nature might be trying to tell us something?
The more we overeat, the harder she makes it for us to get close to the table.
Benton Borough EMA Coordinator Dan Jankowski and Deputy EMA Coordinator Joshua Price have distributed a letter to Benton Borough residents as part of updating its Emergency Operations Plan for when a disaster is declared within the Borough. Residents are asked to complete the assessment form and return it not later than March 17. The information will be kept confidential and used only in times of community emergency. This plan will be crucial in the event of a flood or serious fire so that EMA officials and Fire/EMS personnel know who needs special assistance during a disaster.
The Borough learned many things from the flood of 2006. Although the response from local/county officials and emergency services was excellent, there are places where improvements are needed. The elderly, disabled and those with special health needs such as requiring home oxygen, ventilator-breathing assistance, etc. will be identified. Likewise, if residents list what equipment they have available, the Borough might be able to call on them for assistance in time of disaster.
Please promptly respond to this important survey. A return envelope will be provided for your convenience
In tomorrow's Benton News, we'll discuss penmanship in our area and made a stop on the Austin Trail.
March 9, 2008. Are your clocks moved ahead an hour? Birthdays today include the explorer for whom America is named, Amerigo Vespucci, in 1451; country singer Mickey Gilley, in 1937; shortstop Dagoberto Blanco Campaneris, known as Campy, in 1942; Charles Gibson, 1943; and Yury Alekseyevich Gagarin, 1934, the Soviet cosmonaut who became the first man to travel into space, after being notified three days before the flight that he had been selected to pilot the Vostok 1 spacecraft. He later died in a jet plane accident and his ashes were placed in in the Kremlin wall.
Jim Collins promised to write about the former Cucumber Street in Divide in his column which will appear in today's edition of the Towanda Daily and Sunday Review. For months, I have been trying to find out what is known about Cucumber Street, where it is, where it went, how did it get its name and who lived on it. Everyone in the Divide area knows about Cucumber Street, but for every foot of that darn street there is a different story that went with it. Jim found the subject interesting and will include it.
There were responses from as far away as Florida from readers who were interested in forming a travel club in the area. The response came from the article in Saturday's Benton News about the formation of the Fishingcreek Travelers. Specific information will be provided to those who inquired within the next week or so. A reader asked if the Fishingcreek Travelers might someday take a tour of caves in Pennsylvania. Well, they might if there is enough interest. Here is a trivia question along those lines. What is an easy way to remember the difference between stalactites and stalagmites? Answer at the end of today's post.
Spring and the inevitable coming of warmer weather will soon rouse the earth from its dormancy. The endless flocks of geese flying over the Borough last week was evidence of the coming of spring. 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 often 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!
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 Three Z's, Inc., a Delaware Corporation owned by Carole and Wilmer.
In 2007, Carole was honored by being selected as the Business Advisory Council woman of the year from Delaware and was named 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., the fourth year Carole received this award. Her accomplishment was noted in the Wall Street Journal.
Carol is currently an active member of the National Republican Congressional Business Committee, the business Advisory Council and the Presidential Business Commission and the National Small Business Administrating.
Carol will be honored as a delegate from Delaware to the small business National Republican Congressional Committee March Tax Summit in Washington, D.C. At the same time, she will be recognized for her nomination and selection for induction into the Reagan Congressional Commission. The Reagan Commission is reserved for select individuals who have shown outstanding dedication and commitment towards and for "Tax Reform & Tax Relief" for Small Businesses, Business Owners and Entrepreneurs. The Commission was formed in honor of the former president to continue his pro-growth policies. President Bush and other dignitaries, as well as the 2008 presidential candidates, will be guests.
There is a test at www.humorsphere.com/fun/8787/colortest.swf which most don't get correct on the first try It is a test using colors, and I found it harder to master than most tests. Give it a try.
Harry Ackerman told us about a site which is quite useful to show current stream and river conditions in the counties of the Commonwealth. It also gives flood stages (in some cases) and a percentile which indicates the relationship between current stage and flood stage. A high number such as 98% is not, in this case, a winner. The page is useful at the time and after the fact; unfortunately, it isn't much good a day or two ahead.
Didja ever think that a good family tree is darn handy to have
if you are trying to climb into society.
A rapid conversation took place yesterday which I happened to overhear (by accident, mind you!). I may have misunderstood, but I believe it went something like this. A local girl returned to the area and was eating at a local restaurant when in walked her old boyfriend. She apparently wanted to show off her new boyfriend as her old boyfriend walked up. She said to her old boyfriend, "I didn't get your name."
The old boyfriend simply said, "You certainly tried hard enough" and he walked off. That was the extent of the conversation. Short conversations are the best...
Didja you know that stalactites hang tight from the ceiling,
and stalagmites might reach the ceiling some day?
Derek Reber came out on top in the 130-pound finals at Hershey Saturday over Eric Hess, 3-1. The Benton Boys Wrestling did the area proud again this year.
March 8, 2008. Happy birthday today to Mark McGarigle, who turns 62. Don't forget to turn those clocks ahead sometime tonight.
In Friday wrestling in Hershey...
• 103 pounds. Coltin Fought, lost 10-4 to Justin Mazza.
• 112 level, Zane Yocco, Brandywine Heights pinned Mike Rhone, Benton, 1:53.
• 130 pound level, Eric Hess, defeated previously undefeated Nick Nichols of Port Allegany, 7-0, in the quarterfinals and Victor Konno of Northwestern Lehigh in the semifinals, 6-4.
• at the 152 level, Corey Lear, advanced to the semi-finals where he lost by a decision.
Stay current on events in Hershey by visiting http://states.pawrsl.com/ and reading the excellent coverage in Saturday's Press Enterprise.
Congratulations to the wrestlers of the Benton Area Schools and their wrestling coaches and especially to Eric Hess, the first Benton wrestler since Mike and John Robinson won state titles in 2000. Eric goes up against Derek Reber, Lewisburg, about 2:30 today for the state title. Eric's grandmother, Jackie, may still be shaking Sunday when she serves the coffee at the Pelican, but congratulate her.
A number of RV owners in the area plan to get together to form a loosely organized travel club for the purpose of fun and fellowship. The plan is that it will be free of charge and organized simply to bring people of a common interest together. If there is sufficient interest in the group, an email message system will be set up to notify the group of upcoming trips and to notify club members of events, rallies and news. Just as a suggestion for a name, we'll call ourselves the "Fishingcreek Travelers" until a better name comes along.
The intent of the club is to remain as simple as possible with no rules. All members will be equal and each club member may do as he or she wishes, knowing they are responsible for their actions in the club. The RV Club is totally FREE and assumes no responsibility or liability for anything. The Club is governed by and belongs to all the members of the club! Because of high fuel costs, trips will be limited to scenic locations within an easy commute.
For those who wish to learn more, there will be an introductory meeting in a few weeks where details of an upcoming trip through the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania to Wellsboro, then to area around the Tioga-Hammond Dam and scenic Pennsylvania Route 6, continuing north to the Grand Canyon of New York state known as Letchworth State Park, returning Back Home to Benton, PA, via one of the finger lakes stopping for some bubbly on the way. Travel will be leisurely, you will have free access to the internet during your travels, happy hour and meals will be in a community atmosphere. There will be plenty of time for relaxing and for side trips as desired. Email me at dkline AT epix.net if you would like to be invited to the planning meeting. All are welcome.
Life is too short to spend it all in one place!
• Congratulations to Peter "Pete" Winther, 65, who will be taking the bench for Senior District Judge Donna Coombe for an undetermined time. Peter's experience was in the Chester County court system prior to moving to the Benton area.
• It was nice hearing from John Stevenson, webmeister of the Northeast Pennsylvania Genealogical Society. The web site has many of the area cemeteries and tax records on microfilm. John is a relative of Harold Hess, now a resident of Pennsdale, who grew up in the former residence of his father, Earnest Hess, Main Street. The building is now known as the Colonial Pharmacy.
• The prospects for fishing in the Commonwealth can be found here.
• April 12, 2008. St. James Church, Bendertown, is having its annual all-you-can-eat Buckwheat Cake and Sausage Dinner. Serving will start at 3 PM. The meal also includes sausage gravy, browned potatoes, pickled cabbage, applesauce, beverage and their famous homemade ice cream. The price is $7.50 for adults, half price for children and ages 5 and under free.
I had promised to interpret the terms and conditions of a standard "Oil, Gas and Coalbed Methane Lease" but that will not happen. I asked several people to read what I had written based on the four-page lease and five-page "Oil and Gas Lease Approved Addendum,” but I was not able to get anyone to agree with anyone else. The Penn State Cooperative Extension will hold a seminar and learning session at the Benton Area Middle/High School on April 10 and 15 from 7-9:30 PM on the subject of gas leases. Admission will be charged. More details when received.
MerleFest 2008 will be held April 24-27 on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, NC, with ticket orders received through March 14 discounted. A four-day general admission pass can be purchased for $135 through March 14, but starting March 15 that ticket will be $150. For more information on all ticket prices and all the latest MerleFest news, visit www.MerleFest.org. Artists appearing on the twelve stages of the festival include Doc and Richard Watson, The Avett Brothers; Abigail Washburn & The Sparrow Quartet featuring Bela Fleck, Casey Driessen, & Ben Sollee; Sam Bush; The Carolina Chocolate Drops; Jerry Douglas; Levon Helm and the Ramble on the Road with Special Guests; Tim O’Brien; The Waifs; The Waybacks; Old Crow Medicine Show; Solas “Reunion,”with Karan Casey & John Doyle; Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby with Kentucky Thunder; Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mtn Boys; Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives; Dan Tyminski Band; Alison Brown Quartet with Joe Craven; Donna The Buffalo; Blue Highway; The Claire Lynch Band; Dirk Powell & Riley Baugus; Tony Rice; Peter Rowan; Ollabelle; Sally Van Meter; Rhonda Vincent & The Rage; Pete Wernick & Flexigrass.
MerleFest will also feature performances by Bearfoot; The John Cowan Band; David Holt; The Infamous Stringdusters; Jorma Kaukonen; Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands; The Lovell Sisters; Nashville Bluegrass Band; Tift Merritt; The Wilders; Susana & Timmy Abell; Tom Ball & Kenny Sultan; Banknotes; Roy Book Binder; Laura Boosinger; Bob Carlin & Cheick Hamala Diabate; The Captain’s Crew; Carl & Kelli Jones; The Circuit Riders; T. Michael Coleman; Robert Dotson; Mike Dowling; Ruthie Foster; Future Traditions; Terry Garland; Buddy Greene; Mitch Greenhill; George Hamilton IV and George Hamilton V; Bob Hill; Hot Buttered Rum; Clint Howard Band; Sierra Hull & Highway 111; The InterACTive Theater of Jef; Phil Jamison; The Key City Boys; Jim Lauderdale; Jack Lawrence; Mark Lippard; Jeff Little; The Local Boys; Bill Mathis; Cliff Miller; Paul Oscher; The Pine Leaf Boys; Polecat Creek; Tom Sauber; Shana Banana; ShoeFly; Ryan Shupe & The RubberBand; Joe Smothers; Rafe Stefanini and Clelia Stefanini; Rodney Sutton; Scythian, Tish Hinojosa; Tut Taylor; Joe Thompson; Happy Traum; Bil VornDick; Charles Welch; Whitetop Mountain Band; Wilkes Acoustic Folk Society; The Alberti Flea Circus; Buffalo Barfield; Willette Hinton & Family; and Tony Williamson. Buster and Chloe will be special guests.
March 7, 2008. Happy birthday to Richard Fritz. DeAnne Bergstrom and the girls of the Benton Girl Scout Troup 2301 were selling girl scout cookies yesterday at D.R.'s QuickMart and may be sold out by now, but there is a chance that the girls have some cookies left. Call DeAnne at 925-2010 if you would like to pick up your Trefoils Old Fashioned Shortbreads or other girl scout cookie.
Eric Hess and Corey Lear advanced to the quarterfinals in the PIAA AAA Wrestling Championships in Hershey Thursday. Coltin Fought and Mike Rhone lost their preliminary bouts but came back in consolation matches. The Press Enterprise, as usual, has a good article about the wrestling in Friday's paper.
The 2008 Benton Area Schools Hall of Fame Inductees will take center stage at the Alumni Banquet May 24. Induction of new members of the Hall of Fame will take place at that time. The inductees selected for this year are Jimmie Johnson, a member of the Class of 1949, Donald Paul Martini, a member of the Class of 1950, and Sue Albertson Walker, a member of the Class of 1961 The honorary inductee is Warren Ketner. You were introduced to Sue Albertson Walker in the Thursday edition of the Benton News. Over the coming days, we'll tell you more about the other inductees.
• Jimmie Johnson. Jimmie graduated from Bloomsburg State Teachers College in 1953 and completed his graduate studies in Meteorology at Penn State. He served as a meteorologist in the Air Force and retired from the Air Force Reserve after 28 years. He later worked as an Oceanographer serving from the Antarctica to Newfoundland. He was the Station Manager of NOAA's weather satellite station at Wallops Island, VA.
• Donald Paul Martini. Don graduated cum laude in December, 1980, from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology with a BS in Civil Engineering. He entered the Air Force as a private and retired as a major after receiving several commendation medals and an Air Medal. He flew 50 missions in Vietnam. For medical reasons, Don will be inducted in 2009.
• Sue Albertson Walker, deceased. Sue earned her bachelor's degree in education in 1964 from the former Millersville State and earned a master's of library science from Syracuse University along with doing additional graduate work. She also served as an adjunct professor at Millersville University and Drexel University. She served on Millersville University's council of trustees from 1997 until her death.
• Warren Ketner, deceased. Warren is an honorary inductee. He received his B.A. from Gettysburg University in 1926 and his M.A. from Bucknell University. He was principal and a teacher at Sugarloaf High School from 1926 until 1945 when the district was merged into Benton Vocational School. He served the Benton School District from 1945 to 1969.
Didja know that Windows XP is scheduled to disappear from store shelves June 30? You can still buy a computer with XP preinstalled or you can make sure that a Vista computer you buy comes with an XP downgrade disk. Except for Gateway, computer manufacturers offer a preinstalled XP-equipped computer. Your best chance of finding one is probably via the internet. Some of these computers will come with an XP disk. It is hard to find one with XP preinstalled. Try the business division for the manufacturer and look for inclusion of an " XP recovery disc." The recovery disc with the necessary drivers when you run it will wipe out the computer's existing operating system and everything else that was on the boot partition. You should make a VISTA recovery disk before you do anything else.
Didja know that in 2002, three candidates spent more than $70 million in their race for governor of our Commonwealth? Not a single advertisement for the three Senators who are running for President has yet appeared on local television, but as they say "just you wait..."
Didja ever think that truth is one thing
for which there are no known substitutes?
A question was raised about where to put excess money. If I knew, that is where I would put the contents of my cookie jar. The stock market is far from stable at the moment, and with the state of the economy one might say "cash. Keep your money in cash." Using figures borrowed from the analysis of a stock broker, on November 7 of last year, an investment of $100,000 would have bought 119.97 ounces of gold, while in Wednesday's market it would buy you 102.56 ounces. Your "ultra-safe" investment in cash would buy you 14.52% less gold today than three months ago. And look at wheat. Three months ago you could have scooped up 12,694.38 bushels of wheat; today, only 9,319.66 bushels for the same $100,000--a loss of 26.58% in three months! An investment of $100,000 buys you nearly 30% less corn, 29% less sugar and coffee, about 30% less cocoa and nearly 33% less platinum! The 100,000 three months ago would have bought 1,037.66 barrels of oil; today it will buy you just 981.93 barrels--a 5.37% loss.
Many won't be happy with this, but your cash is losing against the economies of almost every other country on the planet. It makes sense from the standpoint of an investment to look at foreign currencies and selected foreign-stock markets in countries rich in natural resources, countries like China, India and southeast Asia. Or look at natural resources that are rising as the dollar declines: gold, oil, gas, iron, steel, aluminum, zinc, nickel, uranium, wheat, corn, soybeans, sugar, coffee and water!
Gas and oil appeared in the list above several times. So lets return to our discussion from yesterday about drilling for natural gas and oil in our area. If there is one thing to stress in this discussion, it is to keep your eyes wide open. As a local farmer told me, "this isn't the first rodeo these guys have ridden in."
Oil and gas corporations are aggressively trying to gain control of drilling rights in Pennsylvania. The type of wells planned for drilling in Pennsylvania are called Marcellus wells. The drilling company bores diagonally, vertically or horizontally into the shale, then pumps large amounts of water into the formation and pressurizes it. The water pressure fractures the shale formation, releasing natural gas for the driller to extract.
It is important that landowners both read and understand what they are signing, knowing that it is a legally binding contract between both parties. A review by an attorney prior to signing is advisable. Know what you are signing and the duration of all aspects of the agreement. Remember that land with a mineral lease is encumbered and keep that in mind if you happen to buy any land in the area. Also remember that I am not a lawyer and do not pretend to be one. Seek competent legal advice before tying up your land for multiple years.
A mineral lease is a lien against the property for the resources contained on that property. Terms can be negotiated. The lease must pay at least 12.5% of the value of the gas removed and will continue until the well is no longer economically feasible. A few companies have asked for a "conveyance," which some landowners in the state have mistaken for a lease. People who agree to a conveyance are actually selling the land and not just the mineral rights to the land. Contracts of this nature have been offered in our area, but I found no record of any acceptances by the landowner.
Other considerations include responsibility for the diminishing condition of water within 1,000 feet of a well. What happens, for example, when the quality or quantity of water in a neighbor's well changes because of drilling. Landowners need to be aware of rights under the law for water-supply protection. They also need to be aware that a small number of landowners approving drilling could affect a large percentage of neighbors. About eleven acres in Benton Borough and 120 acres in Benton Township are under lease at the moment. One contiguous plot of 38 acres is located in the Borough (6.022 acres) and adjacent Benton Township. It is obvious that no one downstream wants the quantity or quality of their water diminished through a lease arrangement. I see you nodding your head, saying "Oh, that would never happen!" Uh, huh...
Signing a lease assumes that the landowner is knowledgeable that the lease favors the driller and not the landowner. Find out from your local township if steps are being taken by them to safeguard the rights of their citizens. We hate to harp on water conditions, but our local water is excellent. In addition to water, crops, livestock, buildings and personal property need to be safeguarded.
Heather Radick and her husband have a summer home in Central. If the name is familiar to you, it is perhaps because of her excellent photograph of the O. B. Savage barn which she donated to the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center. It hangs in the hallway of The Center leading to the gymnasium and the physical fitness room. Heather authored an article published in Thursday's Bucks County Herald about this "hot button issue down in these parts" for Nockamixon and Tinicum townships. She tells us that it is an area which seems to be equally divided between those "looking to strike it rich, and those who are worried about the environment."
Gas companies generally tend to offer the minimum royalty. We know of landowners who have recently been paid $5 an acre for five years. Just weeks ago, the going rate was $200 to $600 an acre in Lycoming County. In Unityville earlier this week, a company was offering $725 per acre over five years. Wednesday night in Williamsport, a different company offered $1,500 an acre for a seven-year lease.
The Press Enterprise recently published a list of the acres under lease. Noting that leases are being snapped up like buckwheat cakes on the table at the Brass Pelican, the (perhaps now outdated) article noted that Sugarloaf Township had 3,660 acres under lease, Jackson Township had 2,802 acres; Benton Township had 120 acres and the Borough of Benton, 11 acres. Many of these leases were initiated by a land agent known as the Keeton Group, L.L.C. This group then transferred the contract to the Denteer Energy, L.L.C., whose given address is 3429 Melanie Lane, Plano, Texas 75023.
For additional information about Denteer Energy, refer to the March 14, 2008, edition of the Benton News.
Quote of the Day...
"Here is to Boston, the land of beans and cod, The Adams' speak only to the Cabots' and the Cabots' speak only to Lodges, the Lodges speak only to God."
--Henry Cabot Lodge
The Keeton Group represents companies like Chief Oil & Gas LLC, a Dallas-based oil- and gas-production company, the second largest gas producer in the field, which hopes to extract natural gas from the Marcellus shale formation in Pennsylvania. Chief Oil & Gas is drilling four wells in Lycoming County, with one completed. Most of the financial activity has involved oil and gas leases covering terms of about five years, plus conditions that allow for lease renewal after the original term is over. The Keeton Group signed contracts with annual payments of $5 an acre plus a one-eighth royalty in the event oil or gas is produced from the lease. These prices are no longer competitive.
Pennsylvania Mineral Group is buying mineral rights (hydrocarbon rights) which differs from leasing them in that the rights never revert to the former owner and instead result in what is legally called a severed estate. Good luck if you try to find the Pennsylvania Mineral Group. I could not find any trace of them, although I expect that I will hear from them soon.
We'll return to this subject again tomorrow when we again gather around the coffee pot.
March 6, 2008. We celebrate the birthdays of Nettie Lunger and Wendy Kriebel today. There are three days until the return of Daylight Saving Time and two weeks--fourteen days--until the official start of spring. In the Friday edition of the Benton News the 2008 Inductees into the Benton Area Schools Hall of Fame will be announced and the careers of the recipients noted. Ed Cole fell on ice Wednesday and injured his shoulder. The barber shop will be closed until 1 PM Thursday, but will be open Thursday afternoon through next week. Edward Cole will handle the barbering detail during his spring break from Bloomsburg University.
Didja know that Pennsylvania is...
• carrying a $290 million surplus into March and April, the two biggest revenue-collection months of the year, according to Forbes Magazine?
• budgeting to nearly triple the number of acres of forestland to be sprayed through fly-overs for gypsy moths and other pests this spring? The funding plan would allow the department to target 200,000 acres of forestland.
The Royal Order Of Raccoons will be having its Easter egg hunt from 12 until 2 March 22 at the North Mountain Fire Co. The Easter bunny will be there for children up to 12 years. Food and prizes will be offered.
For mature baby boomers, head here.
Didja think about the national headlines our area would have made into Wednesday morning had the rain been snow? The word "paralyzed" comes to mind. For out-of-town readers, the local area received somewhere between an inch and a half to three inches of rain, then suffered winds of something like 34 miles an hour. We could have been talking over two feet of snow! A boulder fell on Route 11 near Shickshinny, shutting that road for a time. The knurly pine tree that called the top of the Benton dam "home" for weeks was finally swept downstream. All the churches in Benton and many homes had water in their basements. The worst of this long winter still may not be over!
The Benton News has been including articles for the past few days about Dr. Albertson, a family practitioner who lived and practiced in Benton until his death in 1944. Many will remember that Dr. Albertson's daughter-in-law, Sara Albertson, was a librarian in the Benton Area Schools for many years. In later years, for a short period, her daughter, Sue Albertson, was librarian in the high school. Our topic of the day for Thursday is Sue Albertson Walker, now deceased, a resident of East Petersburg. Sue was the daughter of the late Robert and Sara Albertson, Benton, and the granddaughter of Dr. Charles Kase Albertson and his wife, Sarah.
Sue graduated from Benton High School with the Class of 1961. She earned her bachelor's degree in education in 1964 from the former Millersville State, where she majored in library education and English. She earned a master's of library science from Syracuse University and did additional graduate work at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Elizabethtown College and Drexel University.
For the next 37 years Sue was an educator, following in the footsteps of her mother, Sara Albertson, a former librarian at the Benton Area Schools. Sue returned to Benton High School in 1964 as librarian for Benton Area High School, and later moved to Virginia and the Fairfax County public schools in 1968 as Falls Church High School's audiovisual librarian. She later worked as a librarian for Glasgow Intermediate School and in 1972 became media coordinator for Lake Braddock Secondary School and taught at several other Virginia schools. While head of the library department for the School District of Lancaster where she was employed for 26 years, the school district won an award for best library in the state. In 1987, Sue was promoted to coordinator of curriculum, the third-highest administrative post in the district.
Following her retirement, she worked as an educational consultant and co-authored a popular education book, Standards of Practice for Teachers: A Brief Handbook.
She also served as an adjunct professor at Millersville University and Drexel University. She served on Millersville University's council of trustees from 1997 until her death. She chaired the council from 2000 until 2005 and also was co-chair of Millersville University's 150th anniversary celebration.
Sue was active in additional educational enterprises as a delegate of the steering committee for the Pennsylvania Governor’s Conference on Libraries Information Services. In 1978, she was a delegate to the White House Conference on Libraries. From 1983 to 1988, she served on the Pennsylvania Governor’s Advisory Council on Libraries.
Sue served on the university’s Council of Trustees beginning in 1997 and chaired the Council from 2000 until 2005. She was also co-chair of Millersville University’s 150th Anniversary Celebration and was a recipient of Millersville Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Award. She served on the Board of Directors of the American Association of School Librarians, President of the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association from 1980 to 1982 and a member of its Board from 1982 to 1987. She was a member of the Association for Supervisors and Curriculum Development and the National Staff Development Council.
Beyond her educational activities, Mrs. Walker was well- known in national, state, and local political circles, including the Lancaster County Republican Women. She attended G.O.P. National Conventions, numerous political and governmental events and was a well-known congressional wife on Capitol Hill following her marriage to Robert Smith Walker, who represented Pennsylvania in the United States House of Representatives from 1977 to 1997. She divided much of her time between "the privileges and responsibilities of a congressman's wife" and her career in education. Sue was a member of the Benton Presbyterian Church and attended the Bethany Presbyterian Church, Lancaster.
After her death on May 9, 2007, Sue was a recipient of the Millersville University of Pennsylvania’s Council of Trustees “Memorial Resolution.” Sue served as a trustee of the University since 1997. She chaired the council from 2000 to 2005. She co-chaired the University’s 150th anniversary celebration in 2005 with her husband and received the alumni association’s distinguished service award. The couple received the 150th Anniversary Medallion of Honor for their leadership. She also received the Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor bestowed upon an alumnus. Sue did her family proud in carrying the proud tradition of the Albertson name.
Edwin Drake set off a frenzy of activity when he drilled the nation's first commercial oil well in 1859 for the Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company in Titusville as a way to replace kerosene as a substitute for whale oil. Our state went on to produce half of the world's oil until the East Texas oil boom of 1901. A resurgence of drilling activity is taking place in the state as a mini oil and natural gas-drilling frenzy takes place with landowners seemingly falling over themselves in an effort to sign up at what appear to be attractive rates to lease their land.
A flurry of neighborhood meetings has occurred and continues to take place. Penn State Cooperative Extension Offices, through their Natural Gas Exploration and Leasing Team, are consulting with landowners about leasing land for natural gas exploration. A workshop on negotiating gas leases is set for 7 to 9 PM April 10 and 15 at Benton Middle/High School. Ken Balliet, Earle Robbins and Thomas Murphy are names you will hear associated with the team. The Penn State Cooperative Extension at 784-6660 has more information, and additional information will be published in the Benton News over the coming days. Related information is available at naturalgaslease.pbwiki.com/.
Gas leases are not new, but what is new is the amount of money offered per acre. With the prospect of turning raw land into producing income, speculators, brokers and energy companies are vying to "tie-up" large blocks of land with a company lease. There are several companies renting and buying gas and oil rights from local landowners. Marcellus Shale is what is causing the excitement. The shale stretches across western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and West Virginia and is thought to contain more than 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
When land owners sign a lease, permission is granted to gas companies to explore their land for five to ten years, with most landowners receiving their entire payment in the first year.
Tuesday night in Unityville, a company known as North Coast Energy, a subsidiary EXCO Resources, Inc., provided a two-part seminar. The first part was to "educate" landowners, while the second part was to sign landowners to a lease arrangement for their land. Landowners lined up in an effort to offer up their land in exchange for a one-time payment for a five-year lease of oil and gas rights. In tomorrow's Benton News, we'll look at the lease offered by North Coast Energy for the land.
It might be interesting to learn more about EXCO Resources. This company follows a strategy not uncommon in the oil and gas industry. The company pursues an policy of "acquire and exploit." With the potential in size and interest of the Marcellus Shale, the firm will probably seek partners for its exploratory projects. There are untapped potential for resources, like the Marcellus Shale, under some of EXCO's mature properties and could add significant value for shareholders in the future.
At the Unityville meeting, the claim was made that "through the end of 2007," North Coast Energy "achieved nearly a 100% drilling success rate on the 176 gross wells drilled on the Appalachian properties." The majority of the wells targeted the "Silurian Clinton/Medina Sand, Sevonian Sands and Shales, and Mississippian Sands," among other formations. For the year, 230 gross wells were drilled on 800,000 leasehold acres. According to investor analysis of the company, EXCO plans to drill seven to 10 vertical wells and four horizontal wells in the area generally known as the "Marcellus Shale" during 2008.
We'll return to this subject in Friday's Benton News.
March 5, 2008. Happy birthday today to Kendall LeValley, Stillwater, and 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.
• Senator John McCain for wrapping up the Republican nomination by winning primaries in Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island and Vermont by overwhelming margins. The election is generating record turnout--but only among Democrats. Despite McCain’s victory speech being preceded by the Rocky III anthem Eye of the Tiger, unless McCain can drum up similar interest among the Republican base, he's going to have a very tough fight in November.
• Senator Hillary Clinton for her decisive win in Ohio and narrow win in Texas in what became a referendum on NAFTA and for taking 13 out of the state's 21 delegates in Rhode Island. Her slim margin in the Texas popular vote and an additional caucus process in the complicated Texas voting in which she trailed at press time made clear that she would not win enough delegates to put a major dent in Sen. Barack Obama's lead. She emerged from Ohio and Texas with a campaign mired in debt. Her first Pennsylvania stop will be in Scranton Thursday.
• Barack Obama for his win in Vermont. Obama still leads in the national delegate count, regardless of the popular-vote outcome Tuesday.
• Representative Ron Paul for regaining his seat in Texas’s 14th Congressional District.
• The voters of Pennsylvania for their stamina to endure seven more weeks of newspaper, television and radio bombardment leading to what will certainly become the "Super Bowl" of voting for the Democratic candidate in the Pennsylvania primary on April 22.
• Mike Huckabee for showing the nation that presidential candidates can be charming and charismatic. Many Americans will miss the down-home Mike Huckabee, who last night said, "I would rather lose a race than lose the principles that got me into politics in the first place."
• March 11, 2008. The soup stirrers of the Benton Christian Church will be turning out beef vegetable, ham and bean and turkey rice soups. But in order to get them you need to order now! Call Barbara King, 925-6242, and tell her how many quarts you want at $3.50 a quart. Pick up the soup at the Benton Christian Church Tuesday between 11 AM and 4 PM.
• March 13, 2008. The first meeting of 2008 of the Benton Women’s Club will be held on Thursday evening at 7 PM in the Library of the L.R. Appleman Elementary School. Jill Good and Janese Fundock from Enchanted Thymes, Stillwater, will be the guest speakers. The club is always looking for new members. If you have any questions, please contact Lorena Bennett, 925-6861.
• March 16, 2008. Jerseytown Jam at the Jerseytown Community Center Sunday, featuring bluegrass, old-time country and gospel with a special appearance by the "Benton Beauties." Doors open at 10 AM. Good Pickin' - Good Jammin' - Good Eats. For information, call 925-5201.
• March 29, 2008. A graduate voice recital by Alanna Marie Bath, soprano, assisted by Wenny Chandra, piano. The program will be Saturday at 4 PM in Esber Recital Hall, Music Building I, Penn State University, University Park. Admission is free and open to the public. Works to be performed by the Bendertown native include Verdi, Schubert, von Weber, Duparc, Massenet, and Moore. Directions to the recital can be found on Alanna's website. The recital is part of Alanna's graduate requirements prior to graduating this May. After graduation from Penn State University, Alanna plans to move to New Jersey and continue taking lessons with Beth Roberts, the Chair of the Voice Department at Mannes School of Music in New York city. She plans to "work my way up the ladder in the next five years" including auditioning for opera house's young artist programs (an apprentice program).
• March 15, 2008. A St. Patrick’s Day dance sponsored by the Northern Columbia Community and Cultural Center, Benton, comes up Saturday evening from 8 to 11. The Silver Fox will again provide a mix of music from all decades to satisfy all tastes. In addition to the musical entertainment and refreshments, the Center will also hold a 50-50 Raffle and a Chinese Auction. Attire is dressy casual. Cost is $5 for members of The Center and $10 for non-members. Tickets are available at the Center Reception Desk. For further information, call 925-1063. If you’re tired of the cold, snow, and damp weather create your own warm atmosphere with friends at The Center's St. Patty’s Day Dance.
It may not be a necessity for admittance at the St. Patrick's Day party, but I would suggest that everyone wear an emblem of the saint whose memory the day celebrates. We can all be Irish for a day! You'll be able to find a flag with a shamrocks embroidered on them, or you can find plain little shamrocks. It is a day for the Irish. Wear your shamrock! The man who does not wear the green of St. Patrick's Day won't cut much ice.
Didja realize that the Irish are always talking about the "wee people." I only recently realized they were talking about the ones with a kidney problem.
Coltin Fought, the 103-pound wrestler from the Benton Area Schools, gets sports attention in today's Press Enterprise as he prepares for the PIAA wrestling tournament.
Didja know that 229 miles of the 2,175-mile Appalachian trail
goes through Pennsylvania?
What's loading on your computer at startup? Find out with a free utility, which improves on MSCONFIG. To find out what programs are loading on your PC at startup, you can run the Windows-resident system configuration utility called MSCONFIG. But there's another free utility called Autoruns that does the job better. MSCONFIG entries tend to be rather cryptic, for example, but Autoruns includes a line of description for each entry in plain English. Autoruns also lets you Hide Signed Microsoft Entries, which allows you to quickly narrow your focus to third-party programs. Disabling or deleting entries requires just one click (so you'll need to be careful!).
If you have a gift card that you are carrying around, consider using it soon. Firms like Sharper Image are no longer honoring their gift cards. Their cards are worthless at the moment and as additional retailers go out of business you could get stuck with their gift cards.
Didja ever think that in the old days charity was a virtue instead of an industry?
Dr. Charles K. Albertson was only 59 years old when he died in 1944. His Main Street home served as his office; the family lived in the right side of the house and his office was on the left. In fact, the viewing for Dr. Albertson was held in his former office, as family, friends and patients walked through his office in silent tribute to the physician. The funeral was held at the funeral home he jointly owned known as Albertson & McHenry.
Dr. Albertson was a descendent from pioneer residents of the local area. His line went back on the maternal side to William Hess, the first settlers in Sugarloaf township and on the paternal side it went back to John McHenry, the first settler in Fishingcreek Township. His father was Elijah Albertson and his mother was Pruella Larish Albertson, who were both born in Benton. Dr. Albertson received his degree at the University of Mary land in 1907, then practiced at Huntington Mills and later took over the practice of Dr. Bonham, Fairmount Springs. He practiced in Benton beginning June 1, 1917, where his practice required him to travel the entire region administering to the ill.
Dr. Albertson was a member of the Benton Masonic Lodge, Caldwell Consistory, Bloomsburg, and Iren Temple, Wilkes-Barre. He had been a member of the staff of the Nanticoke Hospital. At the time of his death, he was affiliated with the Bloomsburg Hospital. He was an active member of the Columbia County Medical Society and had served as past president of the Pennsylvania State Medical Society and the American Medical Association.
He was married to the former Sarah Gibbons, who continued living in the family home after his death, taking his former office as her resident, while her son, Robert W. Albertson, and his family lived in the south side of the house on the east side of Main Street. The house is now owned by Tom and Judy Wenner.
Charles and Sarah had one son, Robert W. Albertson, a daughter Mrs. Charles Jones, Hatboro, a brother, Joe Albertson, Peekskill, NY, and three sisters, Atta Albertson and Mrs. E. M. Oman, Bloomsburg, and Mrs. Harold Unger, Scranton. At the time of his death, Dr. Albertson had three grandchildren: Sara Ann and Sue Ellen Albertson, Benton, and Charles Jones, Jr. Hatboro.
Dr. Confair became Benton's only attending physician when Dr. Albertson died in May, 1944. When we get together around the coffee pot tomorrow, we'll tell you about one of Dr. Albertson's granddaughters.
Alfred C. “Pete” Wolford (August 24, 1918-March 3, 2008), passed away Monday afternoon at his home on Ridge Road, Benton, surrounded by his family. He was 89. Pete was born in Milton. He was a son of the late John and Florence Irene (Hagenbach) Wolford. He was a graduate of Milton High School. He entered the U. S. Army in 1942, serving his country in World War II. He was an employee of the Magee Carpet Company where he worked for 27 years until 1975. He later was employed by Benton Township for 13 years, retiring in 1988. He was an active member of Jackson Baptist Church, Derrs, and served on the Church Board for many years.
He and his wife, Dorothy I. “Dot” (Hess) Wolford, celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on January 28. Including his wife, survivors include his children John A. Wolford (Charlotte), Rohrsburg, and Dottie M. Wetzel, Benton; grandchildren are Jeffery S. Wolford, Richard C. Wolford, Crystal Lee Michael, Brian Wolford, and Gary E. Wetzel; eight great grandchildren; a sister, Elva Mazell, Milton, and a brother, Ernest, Watsontown. He was preceded in death by a son, Alfred C. Wolford, Jr. on October 14, 2004, and by two brothers and two sisters John, Clifford and Lucille Wolford and Hazel Follmer. Funeral services will be held Thursday at 3 PM with viewing preceding at Jackson Baptist Church, Derrs. Burial will be in the Jackson Cemetery with military honors accorded by a combined Veterans group.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home
March 4, 2008. The states of Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and Vermont hold contests today that could be make-or-break for both parties' presidential hopefuls. There are 370 Democratic and 256 GOP delegates to be reckoned with. The primaries could give Arizona Sen. John McCain enough delegates to claim the GOP nomination. Sen. Hillary Clinton hopes to stop Sen. Barack Obama's winning streak of 11 straight contests since Super Tuesday. Going into this morning, Obama has 1,369 delegates (pledged: 1,184 superdelegates: 185). Sen. Clinton has 1,267 delegates (pledged: 1,031, superdelegates: 236). To win the nomination a candidate needs 2,025 delegates. Residents of Pennsylvania could know tonight if the state primary on April 22 will mean anything. Today's primaries could muddy the water or could reduce the candidate field to two players for the time being. Pennsylvania could end up being a presidential politics player or your vote could be worth nothing.
The old adage (In March much snow, To plants and trees much woe) about March didn't apply yesterday. It was a keeper of a day, lots of sunshine and warmer weather. In Shickshinny, a boy got off the school bus and removed his shirt for the walk to his house.
• March 11, 2008. Meeting to discuss the possible connecting of existing snowmobile trails in Sullivan County, 7 PM, in the Hillsgrove Fire Hall. The meeting is of importance to the estimated 44,000 registered snowmobile owners in the state since it will discuss snowmobile trails in eastern Lycoming, Sullivan, southern Bradford and northern Columbia County. Of local interest are trails at Ricketts Glen State Park and in the Elk Grove and Jamison City areas of state game lands 13. Hillsgrove is about an hour from Benton, about 30 miles, and is northwest of Eagles Mere via Route 87.
• Do it today. Head to the Columbia County Conservation District website at http://columbiapa.harrymartenas.com/cccd/ and get your order made up for seedlings. You need to order now in order to pick up Thursday, April 24, Friday, April 25, and Saturday, April 26.
Valerie Wojton's transplant "seems to have worked" according to her mother, Teresa, who says that "All is going well and she is back home." Valerie's visits to Hershey will continue once each week as her doctor closely monitors her progress. "She still gets tired quickly but the smile on her face shows her joy and inspires all who know her." Teresa asks for prayer for all of the friends the family made at Hope Lodge (run by the American Cancer Society) in Hummelstown. The lodging they provided was a blessing both financially and spiritually. Teresa notes that "We met wonderful people there and we shared our triumphs and occasionally grief. The family thanks all who have faithfully prayed for our daughter and family."
Didja know that a product called Eradicoat promises to kill caterpillar larvae as they crawl down tree trunks. The State College area is expecting a high concentration of gypsy moths as hot weather arrives.
Just as I have great difficulty reading the scrolling handwriting often found in family bibles, the old English manuscripts are hard for me to understand. The manuscripts simply didn't use punctuation, often didn't even space between words, and this didn't change until reading aloud dictated the need for marks of punctuation. It still wasn't easy to read the manuscripts. A point was used as a pause rather than as a period, and the higher the point the longer the pause! Printers, out of necessity, made decisions about punctuation and three kinds of pauses came into existence: the point, the virgule (/) and a point and virgule. Line breaks were shown as a double-virgule (//). The comma came along in the early 1500s and began to replace the virgule. The colon (:) arrived on the page, and soon the question mark, the semicolon and the comma appeared. The apostrophe indicated an omitted letter.
Didja know about the development of penicillin and the role of the drug in the history of Benton? To explain the story, we'll have to tell you about pharmacists John and Frank Wyeth opening a drugstore with a small research lab in 1860 which began supplying medicine to the Union army during the Civil War. Products like Anacin and infant formulas and antibiotics for arthritis vaccine research came along. When our nation entered World War II, wartime drugs such as sulfa bacteriostatics, blood plasma, typhus vaccine, quinine, and atabrine tablets were introduced. It was during this time that Wyeth launched its penicillin research facility and became one of 22 companies selected by the government in 1944 to manufacture penicillin for the military, and later for the general public.
What did this have to do with Benton, you ask? Hang on, these things take time.
Charles K. Albertson was a practicing physician in the upper Fishingcreek valley for 37 years and maintained an office in Benton from 1917 until he passed away May 8, 1944. Father always told me that Dr. Albertson put the welfare of his patients ahead of his own welfare, and that fact was borne out when Dr. Albertson passed away in the Bloomsburg Hospital from a ruptured appendix. The local hospital obtained 800,000 units of penicillin, then known as the "magic mould," in an effort to save his life. This use of penicillin was the first use of the drug for civilians. Dr. Beckley, another local physician, obtained the drug by special permit from Dr. Chester S. Keefer, Boston, who had the responsibility of rationing the remarkable new drug. Dr. Beckley chartered an airplane to fly to Philadelphia to get the drug where M. M. Ricketts, assistant secretary of Wyeth, Inc., was waiting at the airfield with the penicillin when the plane landed.
Dr. Albertson had appendicitis and he wanted to come to his granddaughter's first birthday party. Anne Albertson Cairns remembers that he waited until the party was over and then he said to his son, Robert, "You need to drive me to the hospital." When Dr. Albertson arrived at the Bloomsburg Hospital, his appendix had burst. The entire family soon realized that Dr. Albertson knew that his appendix had burst but wanted to see his granddaughter, Sue, experience her first birthday.
When we get together Wednesday, you'll learn more about this remarkable doctor and on Thursday you'll find out some details about Dr. Albertson's granddaughter that you probably didn't know.
Sandra K. “Sandy” Johnson (July 16, 1959-March 2, 2008), Red Rock Road, Benton, died Sunday at her home with her family and friends by her side. She was 48. She was born in the Bloomsburg Hospital to Joyce (Thomas) Johnson, Millville, and the late Clair E. Johnson, who died in 1992. She was a 1978 graduate of Millville High School. Sandy worked at Berwick Industries for many years and later was a cook at Donna’s Place, Unityville, and the former Kameeo’s, Benton, as well as helping at the family-run business "Top of the Beef" and "Top of the Salad" at the Bloomsburg Fair. Sandy was a member of the Benton Assembly of God Church. Surviving, in addition to her mother, are her brothers David E. Johnson (Kathy) and Scott L. Johnson (Glenda), all of Millville. Also surviving are four nephews, three nieces, two great nephews, seven great nieces, two aunts and an uncle as well as her special friend and care giver, Rosie Zimmerman, of Benton. In addition to her father, she was preceded in death by a brother, Kenneth Johnson, and by a nephew, Wade Johnson. Memorial services will be held Friday, March 7, 2008, at 2 PM at the Benton Assembly of God Church. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Sandy’s memory to the Benton Assembly of God Church, 3686 S. R. 487, Stillwater, PA 17878.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will be published in the Tuesday edition of the Press Enterprise
March 3, 2008. Happy birthday to Steve Zeveney and Herr Klink. Happy anniversary to Bob and Iva Conner. On this date in 1931, the Star Spangled Banner officially became the US national anthem. Sandy Johnson lost her long-running battle with cancer Sunday. Details Monday.
The March 16 Lenten Services will be at the Benton United Methodist Church with both speaker and music from the Benton Presbyterian Church. The Good Friday services on Mary 21 will be at the Benton Presbyterian Church.
Judging from the skid marks found Saturday morning, the Borough had a "near-miss" of their "Welcome to Benton" sign on Route 487 south of the Borough line between the Robert Kline and Wilson Lynn properties. The unidentified car ended up in the small stream that flows into Fishingcreek near that point, missing the Borough sign by about ten feet.
• March 9, 2008. Sunday morning millions of Americans will clumsily and cantankerously clank from clock to coffeemaker, from their DVD player to their wristwatch, changing the time ahead one hour. Some will arrive at church or at brunch late. This is the time to "spring forward" as Daylight Saving Time arrives. As in everything about life, there are a few holdouts, states like Arizona and Hawaii and territories of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and American Samoa which stay on "standard" time.
• March 15, 2008. The Jonestown UMC Ham and Egg Supper, from 4 PM.
• April 12, 2008. The revised date of the Town Hill United Methodist Church ham supper.
• April 19, 2008. The Annual Meeting of the Columbia County Historical Society, 6 PM, at the Ridge Street United Methodist Church, Almedia. The public meeting at 7:45 will feature Mike Stevens of WNEP-TV. For 25 years, Mike has traveled throughout Northeast and Central Pennsylvania to gather stories for "On the Pennsylvania Road." Mike will talk about folks he has interviewed who whittle, whistle, fiddle, climb, and otherwise do out-of the-ordinary things that interest Mike's viewers. This special program is free and open to the public.
Didja know that the students and the alumni and friends of the Bloomsburg High School published their yearbook The Red and White in June, 1923, and the lead article was entitled "America the Melting Pot." The article was written by David Kline.
The yearbook was part of a collection donated by Harry Savage, Catawissa, on behalf of his now-deceased mother, Lois Naomi Trainer, a graduate of the Benton Vocational School in 1924. The collection from the mid-1920s will be given to the Columbia County Historical & Genealogical Society and the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center.
When Lois Trainer graduated, she kept an autograph book, signed by teachers and classmates alike. Here are some of the things written in her book...
•The Eskimo sleeps in his little bear skin,
To keep himself warm, I suppose.
Last night, I slept in my little bare skin
And darn near froze.
• Aren't men curious?
•Love none, trust few and always paddle your own canoe.
• God made the world and he rested.
God made a man and he rested.
Then he made a woman, and since that time
Neither God or man has rested.
• Lois Trainer is her name,
Single is her station,
Happy will that man be,
Who makes the alteration.
• Take the advice of a poor married woman and don't get married.
• Here's to the luck of Strawberry Bill.
He never took a drink and never will.
But on his tombstone shall he wrote
That many a gallon went down his throat.
• Let us endeavor so to live to that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.
• Beef steaks when you are hungry,
Whiskey when you are dry.
Green backs when you are busted
Heaven when you die.
• In a foregone conclusion of an election, Dmitri A. Medvedev, 42, will become Russia’s next president, a considerable feat considering the man only appeared at staged events, has never held elected office, would not debate his opponents, vowed to crack down on corruption and promote the rule of law while governing under a joint leadership structure with two centers of power. Mr. Putin was not permitted to run for a third consecutive term under the Russian Constitution. Medvedev ran against Gennadi A. Zyuganov, a Communist; Vladimir V. Zhirinovsky, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, and Andrei V. Bogdanov, who had a party created for him by the Kremlin. These three men were not permitted to say anything negative about either Mr. Medvedev or Mr. Putin.
• The local summer Bible School will take place at the Benton United Methodist Church starting Monday, June 16 to the 20th in the morning. The name of the school will be Happy Trails--West of the Story. The story is about James, the brother of Jesus. The closing will be held Friday evening, June 20, and will be called the Hoe Down.
• The local churches that are part of the Council of Churches will hold a hoagie sale on Wednesday, May 4. Member churches will take orders.
• For those readers who are interested in the history of Ron Hontz and the Sweet Valley area, visit http://ronhontz.com/.
Elma R. Hegedorn Smith (March 20, 1906-February 28, 2008), a spiffy woman, who even on her last day of life fixed her hair, dressed in her very best, put on her sparkling lip stick and trotted off to grocery shop, was just weeks from her 102nd birthday when she passed away Thursday. She continued to live independently. Born to Michael and Mary Remley, Benton, she later moved to Rochester to raise her family. She was predeceased by her husband Charles, longtime companion Lew Woods, and beloved pet, Duffy. She is survived by daughters Joyce Shults (Al), Mary Hegedorn (Bruce) and Carol Couch; and her 8 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great grandchild; and niece Jean Becker.
Elma spent her life rooted in family, and during the depression worked hard to support herself and her loved ones. During her lifetime Elma held many jobs but her favorite was that of first cashier at Hegedorn's supermarket in Webster, New York. Happy to greet and mingle with customers, Elma enjoyed the grocery store as a social place right up until her last days.
Elma accompanied her extended family on almost all vacations and helped make them special as only a Gramma can do. Her boat house in the Adirondacks held a special place in her heart. It was decorated with quirky objects, each with a story she was always willing to share. The home overflowed with fun, love and was frequent host to Elma's specialty: vegetable soup with dumplings in yummy pools of butter. Elma spent many a Christmas and Spring Break in Florida, a second favorite vacation spot, where she would sit by the pool teaching each generation card games. Later in life Elma enjoyed road trips with her daughter and son-in-law, returning Back Home to Benton, PA, Maine and Canada. Last year at a luncheon in Florida, she was thrilled to be honored by Willard Scott.
Friends are invited to a funeral service on March 20 at 2 in the afternoon at the Anthony Funeral & Cremation Chapels at 1031 Ridge Road, Rochester, New York. Friends are invited to bring a written memory or a favorite photo of Elma for the Family's Memory Book. Donations in memory of Elma may be made to The Webster Comfort Home, 700 Holt Rd Webster, New York.
March 2, 2008.
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."
Didja ever think that a dress that zips up the back will bring a husband and wife together?
On this date in...
• 2007, Thomas Arlington Bigler (June, 4, 1921-March 2, 2007), professor emeritus and pioneer in local broadcast news, died 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.
• 2004. local residents left the comfort of their television and easy chairs and came out in force to say what they felt to the town council. The item of interest was a proposal by the Historic Benton Preservation Society for rejuvenating and recycling the town hall. The Historic Benton Preservation Society, a non-profit charitable organization, wanted to "rejuvenate" the building and put it in "first-class shape," guarantee a "not-to-exceed" price for the fix-up, then turn the building back over to the Borough within a year for use as a functioning town hall. The group even believed that the major structural modifications and the first-floor changes could be far enough along in 90 days that the building could be partly used in that time frame. The group was quite vocal, but staying home would have had about as much effect on town council.
• 1904, children's author Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to the world simply as Dr. Seuss, was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. His mother, Henrietta Seuss Geisel, frequently chanted rhymes remembered from her youth in order to get her kids to sleep. Ted credited his mother with the rhymes for which he became so well known.
Quote of the Day:
Be who you are and say what you feel 'cause people who mind don't matter, and people who matter don't mind.
--Theodor Seuss Geisel
Didja hear the one about the three engineers riding in a car? One was an electrical engineer, one a chemical engineer and one a Microsoft engineer. The car suddenly stalled and the three engineers looked at each other in bewilderment, not knowing what was wrong. The electrical engineer, not knowing much about mechanics, suggested they strip down the electronics of the car and try to trace where the fault occurred. The chemical engineer, not knowing much about electronics, suggested that maybe the fuel had become emulsified and caused a blockage somewhere in the system. The Microsoft engineer's suggestion was to "close all the windows, get out, get back in, open the windows again, and maybe it will work."
• A reader bought a World War II vintage Jeep painted red white and blue in Benton in July, 2007. The new owner heard that it was in a 1976 bicentennial parade in Columbia county. The reader loves his Jeep and would like to know of any photos of the Jeep or any history of the Jeep that readers might be aware of. The previous owners have no prior information.
• If NASCAR ever opens a category for the fastest white truck with a snowplow, the Borough truck would blow away its competition.
• Are you worried about reading the Benton News just when your boss pokes his head around the corner? Hold down the Shift key and click on the close box (X) in the upper right corner of the folder window to quickly close multiple folders.
• The price of first class postage stamps goes from $.41 to $.42 on May 12. You can purchase the "Forever Stamp" now at $.41 and it will be good as near to "forever" as the post office comes.
• If you have a bunch of ingredients in your cupboard, but haven't a clue what to prepare for dinner, try www.supercook.com/. All you do is take the ingredients you have and feed them into the program. The web site will come up with recipes using your ingredients.
In past years the Benton News would have been originating in Florida at this time of the year. Here is a recipe for a favorite orange juice shake that we enjoyed in Florida using freshly squeezed oranges...1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed in Florida is best)
2 cups vanilla ice cream
1/2 teaspoon orange peel, finely grated
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Blend ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into chilled glasses.
Serves 3.A familiar email about the date on which Easter will fall this year has made its internet and newspaper rounds. As Yogi Berra once said, "This is like deja vu all over again.' The earliest possible day for Easter to fall is March 22, which last happened in 1818 and won't happen again until we are all gone to a better place. We more often get to see an Easter that falls late in its possible cycle. In 1943, Easter fell on April 25 (Don and Dottie Rabb were married Saturday evening April 24, 1943, and had Easter dinner in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the next day). Easter will occur again on April 24 in 2038.
Congratulations to Benton Boys Wrestlers Coltin Fought (103 pounds), Mike Rhone (112), Eric Hess (130),and Corey Lear (152) who will be going on to states following wins in this weekend's Class AA Northeast Regional wrestling tournament.
March 1, 2008. 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) . 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. A year ago on this date, a devastating hurricane slammed into Enterprise, Alabama, and the home of Dick and Janet McHenry, formerly of Stillwater.
• Didja know that the state agriculture department estimated that a half million people attended the 92nd Annual Farm Show during the first two weeks of January?
• Didja know that Jay C. Derr was affiliated with the First National Bank of Millville for 26 years, becoming president of the bank in 1940. Mr. Derr left active management of the bank with total resources in excess of $4,200,000, an increase of $3,500,000 during his tenure. He later represented the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance in Columbia and Montour Counties.
• Some older readers may remember Mr. and Mrs. Roy Treasure, Church Street. The couple was married in New York City by the Rev. Barber on September 15, 1913. Mrs. Treasure was the former Lula Knouse, daughter of George and Ida Knouse, Derrs. Mr. Treasure's parents were George and Anna Treasure of Fayette City, PA. Mr. Treasure was a prominent business man in the tourist field before retiring. With his brother, Ray Treasure, he established Treasure Village in St. Petersburg, FL. The Treasures had two daughters, Vivian Beishline, who now lives in Florida near her daughter, Fran, and Mrs. Bess Colley, who now lives off Two and a Half Street. One of the four grandchildren: Roy Colley, Hughesville, is still a familiar face as he makes daily deliveries with his DHL delivery truck.
• March 6 thru March 22, 2008. Noël Coward's Blithe Spirit comes to the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, 226 Center Street. At a séance, a writer gets more than he bargained for when the spirit of his first wife is summoned from the other side to wreak havoc on his second marriage. 800 282-0283
• April 12, 2008. Ham Supper, 4:30-7 PM, Town Hill UM Church, Shickshinny.
• March 29, Ham and Dandelion Dinner, 4-7 PM, Catawissa First UM Church, 228 South St., tickets sold in advance only; call 356-2152 or 356-7057. Deadline for tickets is March 21.
• April 27. Scenic Train Ride from Bloomsburg to Danville to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association; departures 1 and 3 PM; 784-2453 for reservations. Benefits Muscular Dystrophy Association.
A 16 year old German student by the name of Hannah who has finished high school and will be going to college would like to experience American culture for a few weeks in April and/or May. She will pay her own expenses. She is in need of a host family. If you are interested, please contact Jeffery M. Sheaffer, President of the German Heritage Society of the Susquehanna Valley through me. Hannah Schwedler writes that she wants to improve her English. She says "I have learnt English for six years and I had already two holiday stays in a British family. I enjoyed my stays there very much, but now I wish to learn a bit more of America and the life there." Hannah is a volunteer in a kindergarten in Berlin and plans to study social or educational affairs. She likes baby-sitting and looking after kids, playing the flute and horseback riding.
Happening in the local schools...
• The FFA Department of the Benton Area Schools hosted FFA members Friday from chapters in Central Columbia with their advisors Douglas Brown and Curtis Turner; from Danville, Kelly Smith-Wells, advisor; Northwest, Ms. Barry, advisor; and Benton, Doug McCracken, advisor. Didja know that Benton has more students in FFA than in any other organization? In fact, there ore more people in FFA than all other sports teams combined. Bob Parks, George Wilcox, Mimi Christey, Todd Lehman and I were honored to be judges in the public-speaking competition.
If you have broadband and QuickTime, you have a treat ahead of you as you journey to Penn State University and watch as Alanna Bath, Bendertown, stars in the opera via a documentary about opera and opera at Penn State. Interviews from faculty and performances and rehearsals from Die Fledermaus and Opera Intermezzo appear in this documentary. Alanna appears many times throughout the video--as Octavian in Strauss Der Rosenkavalier, Sensuous Woman in Granger's The Proposal, and Prince Orlofsky in Strauss Die Fledermaus and in rehearsals as well. (Alanna is in a big, tan coat). Director E. Loren Meeker produced Die Fledermaus on stage with the students and faculty of Penn State's School of Music. For additional Penn State Public Broadcasting resources, visit http://streams.wpsx.psu.edu/Opera02242.html?WM=1. Allana has a lovely personal web site. Click on her picture to enter.
Living in a small town certainly has its advantages. Glen Chapin was plowing my sidewalk as I arrived home from listening to Joe and Loraine Feola, Raven Creek, and Glen Ward, Lairdsville, make beautiful bluegrass music at The Center. The audience was a group who appeared to be Southerners in exile, people sick for cornbread, hominy and hoedowns as they listened and applauded to the supercharged musical idiom of the south. Joe Feola reminded the audience that the last time they performed Elsie Buyers paid a visit to listen to the music.
Leap Day Bluegrass Music at The Center
Elma Remley Smith, Rochester, New York, passed away on Thursday, February 28, 2008, in her sleep. She was aged 101 years 11 months and 28 days. She would have been 102 on March 20. Arrangements are pending. She was born on the Remley homestead in Divide, the eleventh child of thirteen born to Michael and Mary Remley. 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.