November 30, 2008. It is the 91st birthday of Edward Schmidt, Stillwater. It is also the birthday of Phyllis Young Harrison and of Wilbur Kocher, high atop Whiskey Hill. Happy anniversary to Marv and Marilyn Seward. Watch for snow beginning this morning abut 7:30.
• The rumors continue that "Hardball" host and former Tip O'Neill staffer Chris Matthews, 62, will make a run in 2010 for the U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania now held by Sen. Arlen Specter, thanks to heavy coaxing by the Guv. Matthews would run as a Democrat. Brother Jim Matthews serves as a Republican county commissioner in Montgomery County.
• The Robinson Oil/Gas Group continues to accept lease agreements through December 20 for landowners in Fishing Creek, Benton, Huntington, Fairmount, Jackson and Sugarloaf townships and Stillwater and New Columbus borough. Contact Danni Fogg, 925-6867, for more information or to make an appointment to complete the lease documents.
Quote of the Day:
"Errol Flynn died on a 70-foot boat with a 17-year-old girl. Walter has always wanted to go that way, but he's going to settle for a 17-footer with a 70-year-old."
--Betsy Cronkite, wife of Walter, who seems to be firmly anchored
As we approach the holiday season, please remember to appreciate the sacrifices made by service men and women around the world for us, our families and our future. While supporting these men and women, there are some things to remember...
• Don't send a Christmas card to "A Recovering American Soldier" to a military hospital or overseas, even though it sounds like a good idea. All mail during these times of heightened security from a stranger to an unnamed American soldier is discarded unopened by the U.S. Postal Service. This applies to any variation of sending mail to unnamed soldiers; i.e., "Any Soldier," "Any Wounded Soldier, etc." If you include your return address on the envelope, the card will be returned; otherwise, the card will be destroyed.
• Consider sending a Christmas card to the American Red Cross for distribution to American soldiers, if you can do it by the deadline of December 10. The address is Holiday Mail for Heroes, PO Box 5456, Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456.
• A free service to send personal messages vis postcard to U.S. military personnel serving overseas can be found at the web site www.letssaythanks.com/Home1024.html. Xerox will print it, and it will be sent to a soldier currently serving in Iraq. You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to a member of the armed services.
• Consider donating to the site www.give2thetroops.org/donations.htm, which represents a company that at this writing has sent more than 70,000 boxes and more than 16 million letters and cards. Give2the troops® is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, non-profit corporation and donations to Give2TheTroops are tax deductible. As with all donations, consult your tax adviser.
Didja ever hear of a "water motor washing machine?" This is not about getting dirt out of clothes by pounding them on rocks and washing them in streams using sand as an abrasive to free the dirt. This is not about the scrub board. The machine powered by a "water motor" was an honest-to-goodness washing machine. The first washing machine in Benton was a water motor washing machine purchased by Mr. and Mrs. A. R. Pennington, Market Street. The original price of the labor-saving device was under $10.
The Wilkes-Barre Times in its edition of January 14, 1914, described a device called a "water motor washing machine" as a "handsome washerwoman who takes no muscle and creates no confusion in the kitchen." The article reminded women that it didn't "cost $1.50 a day and two good meals as the regular washerwoman does." When the spigot in the sink was turned on, the machine began to work.
Think back to that age and think of the delight there would be for a woman to learn that such a device existed. Advertisements noted that water operated the washer and the wringer at the same time. When the washing was finished, you could even iron with a mangle using a small length of belting. The mangle could be attached by a pulley on the washing-machine motor. Advertisements noted that when the motor starts, the contraption would "do your ironing for you."
Not content that this puffery would sell machines, the advertisement continued, "when you are not using the washing machine, you can also have the motor drive an ice-cream freezer, grindstone or churn." It apparently was capable of doing about everything but walking on water. Unfortunately, it did hardly anything. Remember, this was the only machine available to most women at that time. P. T. Coffield & Sons began building them about 1904 when they introduced the water motor washing machine to the American market. The company claimed to have built "in the neighborhood of one hundred thousand motor washing machines."
The Argus explained the contraption this way: "A small waterwheel arrangement furnished the little machine with power and comes from the Pennington's windmill bank. After going through the process of powering the washer's mechanical process, the water also goes into the clothing holding tank where it joins with soap to do the washing of the family's clothing needs."
The washing machine proved to be so popular with women that more than 200 washing machine manufacturers have existed. As the process of washing clothes became more mechanized, wringers came along, followed by metal tubs replacing the wooden tubs, drive belts came next for the steam and gasoline engines, followed by electric-motor power in 1906. Maytag introduced a system of forcing water through clothes in 1922 using an agitator.
From the September 4, 1921, edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer
Our very modern and convenient laundromat on Market Street is a far cry from the first laundromat in 1851 powered by ten donkeys.
The washing machine in our house is turned on daily, but for about a hundred years the routine of the housewife was rather uniform. Each day had its purpose and tasks went with that day. Monday, for example, was wash day, a day following a day of rest. It was a chore hauling all those wet clothes to the clothes line. It follows then that Tuesday would be ironing day (and for some women "gardening" day), followed by sewing day on Wednesday to do the mending and fix all the problems caused by crude washing machines. Thursday was market day, Friday a day devoted to cleaning to be ready for the weekend. Saturday was baking day in order to be ready for the weekend and Sunday was a day or rest. And this is the point where we'll let you take a break on this day of rest.
Remember that there won't be any rhyme or reason to the publication of the Benton News for the next two weeks. We'll be resting in front of a roaring fireplace listening to deer stories. And maybe telling some...
November 29, 2008. It is the birthday of Robert Edward Kline. It is also the birthday of Louisa May Alcott, born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, in 1832 on the anniversary of her father's birth. Thoreau and her father, Amos Bronson Alcott, educated the young girl, supplemented by a short stay in a boarding school. She began writing "blood and thunder" literature to contribute to the family income. Stories dealt with duels and suicides, opium addiction, mind control, bigamy and murder from her perspective as a Civil War nurse. Family fortunes were so low that she thought of writing about her family to earn money. An editor suggested that she try writing what he called "a girl's book," and the result was Little Women written in 1868 when she was 36, in which she recorded in a "careful hand" the story of Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, a semi-autobiographical account of her home life in Concord, Massachusetts. Other books brought her additional fame and fortune, but Little Women will always remain her best story. Her life was also a beautiful lesson in love and care and of generous thought for others. She was a disciplined writer and wrote a fixed number of pages each day in order to continue publishing. She was a nervous person, suffering from what was known as "nervous prostration." When during a visit to her father, she caught what appeared to be a cold which turned into spinal meningitis. Two days after her father passed away, Alcott succumbed to the side effects of mercury poisoning possibly acquired during the Civil War.
• Don't worry if you borrow. Worry if you lend.
• Don't bypass a town where there is a friend.
• If you are not a fish, how will you know if fish are happy?
• Advice after mischief is like medicine after death.
• The teeth that laugh are also the teeth that bite.
Most people forget the shade trees when the heat of the summer has passed. I prefer looking back at the things which have influenced me most, the happiest times of my childhood, like the hours our family spent sitting around the kitchen table. The kitchen table was where it happened! The family talked for hours after working their many daily jobs. It was the dessert at the end of the day, the reward for hard work, the coming together of the family, the warm welcome and something good to eat for anyone who stopped by.
Sence livin' in th' city, I been a-feedin' some
At them there uppish rest'rants, thit's crackin' swell, by gum!
There's finger bowls--dod gast 'em! an' waiters on th' jump--
At fust, I cottoned t' it, like any other chump;
But now I got a longin' f'r good old homelike ways,
An' mem'ry keeps returnin' t' them there early days
W'en on th' kitchen table, its red cloth blowin' bright,
Malindy set th' dinner--at noontime--not at night.
We talked and laughed at that table. We would "freeze the pile" in the game of canasta and turn over each card in desperate search of the left and right bowers in the game of "500," and cheer when someone got a "roundhouse" in the game of pinochle. We loved to buy Park Place and Boardwalk, and acquiring the "green" properties was usually my key to winning in the game of Monopoly. At that table, we ate Mother's milk pie, made almost daily from unpasteurized Golden Guernsey milk, and devoured her ham spread from the Mason jar in the refrigerator. But conversation was the special appeal of the kitchen table--the talking, sharing of thoughts and ideas, hopes and concerns, reliving the funny things that could only happen to a family Back Home in Benton, PA.
We would talk over dinner as we lingered over dessert, then it was back to work until late in the evening or if the Phillies were playing it was time for Father to turn the lights out in the living room, lean back on his favorite reclining chair, light up, kick back and listen in complete darkness to his favorite team. Mother would retire to her room and read magazines or a book. I filled my evenings with things usually not involving schoolwork. But at some point in the evening, we would all gather around the kitchen table again for more conversation, a glass of cold milk, a last piece of milk pie.
They wa'n't no pesky waiters a-workin' f'r a tip--
Malindy done th' waitin' an' et between each trip;
Th' knives an' forks was iron, th' dishes wasn't much,
We had a pewter castor, an' napkin rings, an' such;
Th' stove was piled with kettles a skillet an' a pot,
A-soakin' f'r th' washin', in water, b'ilin' hot;
They wa'n't no silver platters; they wan't no birds an' wine
Served on th' kitchen table--but, gosh! them meals was fine.
I was educated at the table by the warmth of family. I received an education about the world and how to think about it. I absorbed attitudes--not information--that linger with me today. There was no pontification or preaching, and yet I learned a great deal about life.
I understood the hopes and concerns of all my relatives, the Man in the White House, the state of the world. I heard about failures as well as successes, because there was never any need to impress. Embarrassment came easy, as I learned from honesty, openness, empathy and insight.
Perhaps this is why I choose to go through life meeting a variety of people of different ages and interests, rather than sticking with only people of one kind. My relationship with adults as I grew up makes me seek out older people. My days at the kitchen table made me realize that there is no one right way to live or to think.
When my parents passed on, I received a set of beautiful "his and hers" chairs which I cherish to this day. They were, I believe, the most "important" pieces in the house. What was really the most important piece in the house--the old kitchen table--is long gone. Apparently I didn't learn as much around that table as I should have, because I no longer even know what happened to it.
We lit th' lamp at supper--I smell th' durned thing yet!
Malindy hollered "Ready!" an everybody set;
Th' apple sass an' jelly an swellin' homemade bread
Was all a blame sight better than what town folks is fed;
You folks kin have yer candles an' courses by th' score,
I want th't kitchen table, heaped full o' things, once more;
This fussy stylish dinin' is plum ag'in my creed--
Oh, gimme th' old table an' let me set an' feed!
--Poem from the Wilkes-Barre Times, in its edition of May 19, 1906, written by "Puck"
One of the most charming fall drives in Northeastern Pennsylvania is from Mountain Springs Lake down the old, abandoned Lehigh Valley railroad grade to Noxen Township (population 926) and the former boom town of Noxen. Those who have taken this trip realize that there are simply miles and miles of miles and miles along the railroad grade that once thrived during the lumbering and tanning days. But like other former boom towns, not much has happened in Noxen recently. The annual budget of the municipality is about $200,000, which has been offset by leasing 118 acres for $327,000 to Citrus Energy for drilling of natural gas. Noxen is mentioned simply by way of example.
Two years ago, there was hardly a place to safely invest money. Regretfully, most of us didn't know that. A cigar box buried with cash out by the back fence would be worth less today than when the money was buried. Real estate, in most cases, is worth significantly less than two years ago--and probably the end isn't here yet! Look what stocks and bonds have done--wiped out $6 trillion of Americans' savings. There is a good possibility that defined-benefit plans (pension funds) will be next. The point is that there were few places to have escaped the downturn over the past few years. Northeastern Pennsylvania, however, was one of the places where conservation of capital--don't lose what you have--took place. Those people who have land above the marine sedimentary rock we often simply call Marcellus shale are better off today than they were two or three years ago--whether they have signed a lease for the natural gas or not. Across the United States--and in many other countries--net worth was decreasing--while in our area net worth climbed thanks to the potential of natural gas. Noxen is an example of a hard-up community which suddenly can see how to "make ends meet." Don't ever think that because you live in Northeastern Pennsylvania that you have to take a back seat to anyone...
November 28, 2008. It is Black Friday. The movie The Trouble with Cali began filming in and around Scranton two years ago today. A release date has not been announced.
• According to Dairy Herd Management, President-Elect Obama's choices for agriculture secretary have narrowed to three: Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff, former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack and former congressman Charles Stenholm of Texas.
• Dave White took pictures of the fire at the 120,000 sq. ft. Country Junction general store and Ashley Furniture Homestore on Mundy Street, Wilkes-Barre, Thanksgiving morning. The flames destroyed a wooden water tower, scorched the wood and faux-rock facade, and gutted the walls extending above the stores’ entrances.
• Remember the days when you kept a diary, using reams of paper? You still can keep a diary, but diary.com is now the way to do it. It is free, too.
The turkey leftovers have been put away, the Black Friday sale advertisements have been scanned and it is time to turn our attention to the holiday which begins Monday morning about the time sunlight breaks through the trees. It's the annual trip to the hunting cabin, a ritual in our part of the Commonwealth, but a concept of short-term communal living not universally understood. The concept of trekking off to hunt with a bunch of men comes from the days when eating venison was necessary to get through the winter and was accomplished from cabins of early settlers, chinked with stones and mud mortar, wooden pegs used as hangers, floor of earth, rough-stone fireplace functionally adorned with irons, spits, pots and pans. A rough-hewn table served as a place to eat. Benches were used in place of chairs. Cabin walls were decorated with past trophies. Sleeping took place over the main living area or off to one side. The early hunting cabins were often family endeavors and a son-in-law counted on being invited to join the hunt from the cabin.
Hunting is important to wildlife management as a population-control tool and a source of funding for the administration of management by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Hunting is also the subject of some disagreement as evidenced by this email from a reader who said the following about bear hunting: "Just don't understand harvesting a bear when we can get beef, poultry or fish at the grocery store, and they are bred, grown and harvested for food; they also have a better flavor than bear meat. I also understand the so-called species-management practiced by DCNR and as you can guess I totally disagree with their rules, regulations and policies. I just wanted to know what goes through the mind of a hunter while hunting for something that isn't used to survive for food anymore, just used for bragging rights. Is taking a picture a better hunt? I say yes! All the thrill without the destruction and death."
The number of hunters in the various states is in decline, although the number of bears harvested in the Commonwealth is up this year over last year and I would suspect that the same will apply for deer. Typically, new hunters are strongly influenced by older family members who hunt. A disruption of hunting in one generation may influence hunting in a subsequent generation. Relocating from a rural area to an urban area also disrupts the hunting cycle and often forces hunters to drive long distances to return to familiar haunts remembered as a youth.
Hunting areas that once were rural have become filled with houses. Some hunting clubs in Lycoming County and elsewhere in the state are suddenly overrun by huge trucks as drilling for natural gas begins, and over the years the same is expected in Columbia, Sullivan and Luzerne counties. The desire of hunters to seek the privacy of a hunting cabin is important, whether the stay is for the day, overnight, for a week or in a few cases for the complete span of hunting season. During the hunting period, the manhood of the hunter comes into play as whiskers emerge and larger quantities of beer are consumed than usual and card-playing involving money takes place. The hunting cabin is the place city dwellers dream of and boys hope to enjoy when they are old enough to run away from home.
Picture the scene in a typical hunting cabin following the evening meal as men lounge in front of a fireplace. One of the older, more experienced hunters begins the storytelling by unrolling a yarn about the "ten-point" seen by the "big rock, next to the tree." The hunter tells anyone within sound of his voice how he stepped on a fallen branch and scared the buck away--his excuse for not getting to fire a shot. Younger kids, perhaps on their first hunt, sit in awe at the stories and learn truths like "one shot, one deer; two shots, one deer, three shots, no deer." When the experienced hunters are alone, kids often shyly approach the older hunter and ask questions. "Why shouldn't I shoot a white deer?" "How can I get up high so deer won't see me?"
The older hunters tell the kids that they should hunt deer on the slopes in the evening, but hunt deer in the valley in the morning. "The smell goes up," they tell the attentive younger hunters, in a fashion somewhat akin to Buddha addressing the faithful. One tells of rubbing antlers together to attract deer and another says to watch for rubbings and scrapes on trees. A deer that turns its tail up so that the white underside shows is signaling trouble, and the entire herd runs for safety. The stories are starting to roll now as the whole room waits their turn so they can tell their favorite hunting story.
The awe-stricken kids learn that when stalking deer the wind must be blowing from the deer toward you, that waiting downwind by a water hole is a way of finding deer, that "buck fever" is missing the first shot in deer season or not being able to pull the trigger when a deer is in the gunsights. They learn that extra-heavy fur on an animal means a cold winter and that in a storm a wild animal normally heads into the wind and that hunting is better in moist weather.
Rainbow in morning, hunters take warning;
Rainbow at night, hunters delights;
Rainbow to windward, foul fall the days;
Rainbow to leeward, damp runs away.
"When the wind is to the west, hunting is best," Father always said. He also claimed that "the more miserable the weather, the better the hunting." The truisms continue: "The sound of a gun doesn't scare the animal, but the movement of the shooter does." One hunter ties a string to the end of the gun barrel to see which way the wind is blowing. Old hunters often kissed the bullet before loading the gun for good luck. "Lead a moving target with your rifle," a grizzly old hunter tells his grandson. "If you look the deer in the eyes, the target will stand still and you'll get a better shot," one fellow instructs his son, who actually wouldn't think of looking at anything but the buck if he is fortunate enough to even find one.
Instructions to the first-time hunter continue. The deer will probably be hiding where the going gets the roughest--swamps, for example. The best time to hunt is at sunrise or sunset because that is when deer feed. Hunters can find their way by looking at the moss on a tree which is always on the north side. Walk with the sun to your back so the sun will be in the critter's eyes, not in the eyes of the hunter. There is always a deer over the next knoll; keep walking even though your legs beg you to return to the cabin. Always gut the game as soon as you shoot it. The wide-eyed boy frets about being told he has to gut the deer he shoots, and isn't interested in the advice to soak wild game in milk to take away strong taste or to soak wild game in salt water and cook with an apple and an onion.
It is finally time to get off to bed amid the army of men snoring, belching from overeating, making constant trips to the bathroom. Like the vision of sugar plums dancing in their heads, the eager hunters await the time before dawn when they will be summoned from their beds to down some ham and eggs, load themselves with pounds of clothes and head into the woods to participate in their first hunting expedition. This is the dream of many young men as we approach the opening day at the hunting club where no one thinks of the internet, homework, instructions from mother. Thoughts are only on having a safe and productive hunt.
Good luck to all the young hunters, remember that the advice that you think will work won't, where the deer are expected to be will be wrong and when you think you have deer figured out, they will do something different.
We'll check in from time to time, but don't expect much out of us old fogies for the next two weeks.
November 27, the 332nd day of 2008, with 24 days remaining until the official start of winter. It is Thanksgiving. It is the birthday of Robert Hartman, Rochester, New York, and of Hope Miller. It is the 50th wedding anniversary of Max and Loraine Hartman, now North Carolina residents. Don't feel like our area is the only cold spot in the country. The Tampa area expected temperatures in the 20s last night and a hard freeze. OK, OK. You are reading this, so you got to your Thanksgiving destination without incident. Remember, you still have to head home. Last year, including the weekends before and after the Thanksgiving holiday, there were 4,925 crashes across the Commonwealth resulting in 46 people losing their lives.
The Dow industrials climbed 247.14 points, or 2.9%, to 8726.61. Blue chips have advanced 15.5% in the last four sessions.
The annual Christmas Musical at the Fairmount Springs United Methodist Church is Sunday, December 14. Arithe and Ashley Sorber lead off at 2 PM, followed at 2:30 by some congregational singing and prayer. Connie Johnson, Mill Street, will sing. The trombones will be there with the Baer Family. Lorraine and Joe Feola perform. Pastor Mike brings his trumpet, Gail and Adam Sorber will get together for a duet. Thelma Steinruck, Mill Street, will bring the audience to their feet when she leans back and does her yodeling. The Birth Brothers will probably have a couple of slow, romantic numbers. Dan Hess, grandson of Al and Pat Hess, will take the stage. Here are some more names you may recognize who will share their musical ability: Bill Dicdon, Harold Yaple, Dave Slusser, Drew Zeiser, Brooke McMichael, Mary Lou Bodek, Rayna McGlynn, Nathan Sorber and Bill Long, Helen Masters plays a piano as only she can do it. There will be some surprises, too. This is one of the joys of the holiday season, a tradition for probably the last 50 years thanks in great part to the musical ability of Helen Masters, her family and friends of the Fairmount Springs church.
The Swedish have a saying that sums up life: "The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected."
This would be a good time to head to the Longwood Gardens Christmas, which takes place at various venues throughout the 1,050 acres of gardens in Chester County. There are 500,000 outdoor lights, spectacular floral and holiday displays, open-air fountain shows and concerts. Events are now open and will run through January 11. For tickets or more information, call 610 388-1000 ext. 100.
Today as you humbly give thanks for the favors you have received this year, remember to help others who have not been as fortunate. Look around you at the general spirit of goodwill, the free dinner at the Methodist Church, the donations to the food bank and the less fortunate, the desire to make the world a better place in which to live. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you should be your guiding light on this feast day.
As we often do in the Benton News, we turn our thoughts to the first American Thanksgiving celebration. Look around you at the loving members of your family and guests, and think back to the contrast that must have existed between the sober garb and quiet manners of the Pilgrims, schooled in persecution, and the garb of Massasoit and his people. There was an unusual confidence that existed between the colonists and the Indians during the three days of giving thanks and feasting.
We all know that Thanksgiving is special; for many, the most special of all holidays we observe. It is a holiday for the home as families reunite and share a common table. The precedent that took place in Plymouth ought not to be forgotten as those of us who share our joys of home should not forget to keep those less fortunate in our minds.
Many will turn up their nose, but when I read poetry, I love to flip the pages that have come from the pen of James Whitcome Riley, especially the children's verses such as Out to Old Aunt Mary's, The Raggedy Man, Little Orphant Annie and the Bear Story.
W'y, wunst they wuz a Little Boy went out
In the woods to shoot a Bear. So, he went out
'Way in the grea'-big woods--he did.--An' he
Wuz goin' along--an' goin' along, you know,
An' purty soon he heerd somepin' go "Wooh!"--
Ist thataway--"Woo-ooh!" An' he wuz skeered,
He wuz. An' so he runned an' clumbed a tree--
A grea'-big tree, he did,--a sicka-more tree.
An' nen he heerd it ag'in: an' he looked round,
An' 't'uz a Bear!--a grea'-big shore-'nuff Bear!--
No: 't'uz two Bears, it wuz--two grea'-big Bears--
One of 'em wuz--ist one's a grea'-big Bear.--
But they ist boff went "Wooh!"--An' here they come
To climb the tree an' git the Little Boy
--The Bear Story, By James Whitcomb Riley
The child was always in poet Riley. He "ran away" with a "wagon show" rather than follow in the lawyer's shoes of his father, but he was often hungry and without a place to live. He returned to his Indiana home after a year on the road and decided to become a sign painter and then a writer on a weekly newspaper somewhat like the Argus. This is where his first rhymes appeared. The Kokomo, Indiana, Dispatch printed a poem by Riley, signed only with his initials, entitled "Leonainie," and nearly every newspaper in the country picked it up and attributed it to Edgar Allan Poe. The instant fame elevated him to a more important newspaper, the Indianapolis Journal, where most of his later poems appeared. If you are not familiar with his writing, read An' the Gobbeluns 'll Get you Ef You Don't Watch Out, or The Old Man and Jim, or The Old Swimmin' Hole. What follows is a poem by Riley appropriate for today which begins and ends "When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock."
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then the time a feller is a-feelin' at his best, 5
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.
They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here— 10
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossoms on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock— 15
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.
The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries—kindo' lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin' sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill; 20
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below—the clover overhead!—
O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.
Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps 25
Is poured around the cellar-floor in red and yaller heaps;
And your cider-makin's over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With theyr mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and sausage too!...
I don't know how to tell it—but ef such a thing could be
As the angels wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me— 30
I'd want to 'commodate 'em—all the whole-indurin' flock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.
--James Whitcomb Riley. 1853–1916
Contrast that poem with this short poem, appropriate for Thanksgiving. As someone (may have) once said,
There are no flies,
On pumpkin pies.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving...
Bear hunters in the Commonwealth have bagged 2,518 bears during the first days of the season, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, up from 1,638 bears last year. The state record bear harvest was set in 2005 with 2,875 bears through the first two days of season. A Tobyhanna hunter got a male Tuesday with an estimated 716 pounds live weight. Potter County leads the state with 256 (87 in 2007), followed by Tioga, 205 (102) and Lycoming, 195 (97). County harvests for the first two days, followed by the two-day 2007 preliminary harvests in parentheses, are Sullivan, 76 (20); Luzerne, 35 (22); Columbia, 9 (14); and Northumberland, 2 (2).
It was an honor to have photojournalist Lynn Johnson, Pittsburgh, as a guest in our Camp Hill home Tuesday night. Lynn's life is a constant series of assignments to National Geographic, Life, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, Forbes, The New York Times Magazine, German Geo, Newsweek, Stern and Smithsonian. traveling with her Leicas from Siberia to Zambia. She has eaten rats with Vietcong guerrillas, climbed the radio antenna atop the John Hancock Center in Chicago and dangled from helicopters in Antarctica . She has photographed Tiger Woods and the entire Supreme Court, but her focus is on stories about ordinary people--a family struggling with AIDS (Life), a woman undergoing breast reconstruction after cancer (Life), children coping with the brain death of their mother (Newsweek). Her current article in the December 2008 edition of the National Geographic magazine is entitled "Necessary Angels" and deals with illiterate women in the Indian Untouchables castes. You can learn more about Lynn here or at the National Geographic site. You can view a photo gallery of Lynn's photographs by going here.
November 26, 2008. Robert Goulet, Rich Little and Tina Turner celebrate birthdays today. On this date in 1864, British mathematician and author Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, writing under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll, sent a handwritten manuscript as an early Christmas present to a twelve-year-old girl. The manuscript was titled 's Adventures Underground, about a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit-hole into a fantasy realm populated by talking creatures and playing cards. The manuscript was later renamed Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. The 1933 film version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland cast Gary Cooper as the White Knight, Edward Everett Horton as the Mad Hatter, W.C. Fields as Humpty Dumpty, Cary Grant as Mock Turtle, Jack Oakie as Tweedledum and Charlotte Henry as Alice. Alice
• Stocks had a third straight day of gains Tuesday, thanks to a continued rally in the financial sector. The Dow industrials rose 36 points.
• The Council of Churches met on Monday, November 24, at the Benton Christian Church. The food bank will include toys for the children at the December Food Bank. If you would like to help with this, please give Shirley Fulmer a call at 925-2936. The cost is $5 per toy. Carolyn Beach will have cookies and coffee or tea to give to the recipients at the December Food Bank on December 16. Anyone who can help with cookies, please call Carolyn at 925-2371. Many items of interest from the Council of Churches are listed on the Upcoming Events page of the Benton News.
• Rep. Karen Boback (R-Columbia/Luzerne/Wyoming) will not hold satellite hours during the winter months of December, January and February due to the possibility of inclement weather. Her three full-time offices will be open for regular hours, barring any weather emergencies, from to ,Monday through Friday. The offices are located in Mountain Top and Tunkhannock and at
at Sweet Valley 5315 Main Road, 570 477-3752. Residents can call toll-free at 1-800 278-3930.
• Although not recommended by police, a thirty-year old evildoer in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, was beaten with a frozen turkey while carjacking a woman's car in a Harris Teeter parking lot. Shoppers came to the woman's rescue. That is when the robber got the frozen-bird treatment. He made his getaway in the woman's car but was later arrested suffering from severe head injuries. No charges of assault with a dead weapon were filed after a bystander boinked the man during the reported carjacking. The man receiving the early turkey then crashed the car into five other cars.
Don't think that I am trying to influence the way that you think, but here are some very fine products--and they are all free...
• Sending and receiving email. Download Mozilla Thunderbird from www.mozilla.com/en-US/thunderbird/.
• Browser, Mozilla Firefox is free, simple to switch to, and extremely easy to use. The Firefox download web site at www.firefoxdownload.com/ will give you with the latest version as well as the most helpful information on how to get the most out of your new browser.
• Email. My vote is for Gmail, a free service of Google.com, offering up to 7 gigabytes of storage, accessible from any computer where the internet is available. easy to integrate with Thunderbird. Sign up here.
The first authentic celebration of Thanksgiving was the Harvest Festival held by the Pilgrim Fathers in 1621 and the first official proclamation was issued by President George Washington in 1789. Giving thanks actually goes back in history much before America was discovered. The Feast of Tabernacles by the children of
was such a celebration. The feast day was to express gratitude for deliverance from slavery under the Pharaohs of Egypt. The Bible tells that the Canaanites took time out to give thanks; i.e., they "went out into the field, and gathered their vineyards, and trode the grapes and held festivals, and went into the house of their gods and did eat and drink." Israel
It will be a time of Thanksgiving in the Kline household, too, following successful surgery Tuesday in the Hershey Medical Center of Kay's daughter, Marcia, and for many other reasons. Starting tomorrow and coinciding with buck season, the Benton News distribution schedule will be--well--spastic. Distribution will return to normal following deer season.
Here is a popular poem from 1917, in celebration of Thanksgiving...
Thanksgiving Day is coming near,
And the turkey's head will have to fear;
Pumpkin pies and all good cake,
All that mother will have to bake;
Grandma, grandpa, uncle, too,
All will come to dinner by you.
But we must think of the soldiers all,
For they will have no Thanksgiving this fall.
No turkey, goose, duck, pies and chicken,
All that these poor soldiers will be thinking,
And once more they will think of their mother's kind care,
And for him she is saying a prayer.
At the table will be a vacant chair--
Of her boy so kind and brave and fair,
Her only thought is--Where is my boy tonight--
Where in the trenches he fights for his right.
No slacker or coward, but a volunteer was he,
For the flag of his country, to be honored by thee,
As his forefathers fought at the Gettysburg stand
As they were fighting for the freedom of their land.
No Thanksgiving this year at home,
But somewhere in
he will roam. France
On Thanksgiving morning, for him she is saying a prayer:
"God bless my boy at war and of him take care."
Pennsylvania Game Commission officials announced that hunters started the 2008 black bear season with a preliminary harvest of more than 1,700 black bears in 50 counties, compared with 1,005 in 2007, the third highest opening day ever recorded for the Commonwealth. The largest bear was killed in Huntingdon County and weighed an estimated 691 pounds. At the end of the first day of bear season, Potter County lead the harvest with 152 (54 in 2007), followed by Lycoming, 135 (54); Tioga, 124 (63); McKean, 95 (38); and Clearfield and Huntingdon, both with 67. Locally, the harvest was as follows (with the opening day 2007 preliminary harvest in parentheses): Sullivan, 56 (12); Bradford, 33 (16); Luzerne, 30 (10); Lackawanna, 19 (5); Columbia, 6 (8); and Northumberland, 1 (2).
November 25, 2008. It is the birthday of Iva Mae Conner. On this date in 1945, most U.S. wartime rationing of foods ended, including meat and butter. In 1963, President Lyndon Johnson proclaimed November 25 a day of national mourning following the assassination of President Kennedy. On this date in 1998, Kenneth Brugger died. He was an American naturalist who in 1975 discovered the long-sought winter home of the monarch butterfly in the mountains of Mexico. For 38 years starting in 1937, Canadian zoologist Freud Urquhart tried to establish the route and destination of the insects. Using tags on the wings of some butterflies, he followed their trails to Mexican territory. Kenneth C. Brugger, a helper of Urquhart, finally found the first butterfly refuge in the center of Mexico, home of around 20 million butterflies. On this date in 1945, most U.S. wartime rationing of foods ended, including meat and butter. In 1963, President Lyndon Johnson proclaimed November 25 a day of national mourning following the assassination of President Kennedy.
Didja know that the stock market crashed for the first time a hundred and seven years ago on May 17, 1901, following a struggle over control of the Northern Pacific Railroad? The Dow is having its second worse year since 1901. Bear market losses have only been exceeded in the period from 1929 through 1933 and 1937-1938.
Didja ever notice that wherever you go, your habits follow?
If you go to www.firstgov.gov/Citizen/Find_Services.shtml you'll find government offices and services Back Home in Benton, PA, or at the state level--and not just for Pennsylvania. You can find farmers markets, social security offices, post offices, police departments, substance abuse treatment centers, veterans facilities, and state and local agencies by topic and much more.
It isn't often that I give praise to food, but my highest marks for balsamic vinegar for use as a salad dressing goes to a product sold at the Benton Farmers' Market where they sell fresh produce, fruits and berries, preserves, jellies, salad dressings, vinaigrette, pickled vegetables, relishes, BBQ sauce, salsa and much more in season. They have fresh cider for sale now. And try the balsamic vinegar!
A reader asked what a "derivatives" meant as relates to the stock market. Basically, they are bets made entirely or mostly with borrowed money. Derivatives can bet on stocks, interest rates, foreign currencies, whether a company will go "belly-up," etc. Banks can bet another bank or a brokerage firm or a hedge fund. Derivatives are high risk. If you don't believe that, ask former employees at Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers or Wachovia Bank. Using taxpayers money to bail out these betting fools goes against my grain as these yahoots help to bring down the world monetary system.
Turkey facts for turkey day, some old, some new...
• The word "turkey" may have originated with Columbus thinking that the bird was in the peacock family. Columbus, according to some stories, called the birds "tuka," the word for peacock in Tamil, an Indian language. Other stories hold that the name turkey came from Native Americans who called the birds firkee, which sounds like turkey.
• A young chicken, partridge, grouse, or turkey is called a poult. A male turkey is called a tom, a female is a hen. A group of turkeys is called a rafter. The tom makes the gobbler sound while the hen never gobbles. The hen makes a gentle clucking or clicking sound. A turkey under sixteen weeks of age is called a fryer.
• Tail feathers on a tom are helpful to identify jakes (1 year-old gobblers) from mature birds. When the tail feathers of a jake are fanned out, the middle 2 to 6 sets of primary feathers will be 2 to 4 inches longer than the rest of the feathers giving the fan a "bump" in the middle.
• The head and neck of turkeys have no feathers, but is covered with red, fleshy skin. A soft floppy growth which dangles downward over the beak is called the snood or dewbill. The fleshy, wrinkled, often brightly colored fold of skin hanging from the neck or throat of chickens, turkeys and some lizards is called "wattle." The warts on the wattle are called the caruncles. The head, neck, snood and wattle are reddish colored until the male turkey begins to strut, when the entire area turns brilliantly bright red.
• Ben Franklin thought the North American wild turkey should be the national bird, rather than the bald eagle, because it was quick to defend itself and fight against all predators.
• A domestic tom can weigh up to 50 pounds, while the domestic hen can weight up to 16 pounds. The wild tom can weigh up to 20 pounds, the wild hen up to 13 pounds, although local hunters discussing the hunt over coffee often claim they shot larger birds. The largest turkey is probably Big Bird of Sesame Street fame. He is actually dressed in nearly 4,000 white turkey feathers, dyed bright yellow.
• Breast and wings of turkeys (and chickens) are white meat, while the legs and thighs are dark. The dark coloration comes about because of specific muscle type and its ability to store oxygen, not the amount of blood in the muscles.
• The first turkey trot happened in England during the 1700s, when turkeys were walked to market in large herds. Farmers often covered the birds' feet with little booties to protect them on the long journey. In the dance known as the "turkey trot," dancers imitate turkeys by circling the floor in short, jerky steps somewhat akin to a fast way some of us slow dance.
• The average person in the United States will eat 15 pounds of turkey this year, according to someone who sits around watching what we eat.
• The domestic turkey can't fly and have such large chests that the tom is not able to fertilize the eggs of the hen in the natural mating position. The wild turkey flies for short distances, but it prefers to walk or run and has no problems in the other department. Wild turkeys can burst into flight at speeds up to 50-55 mph in a matter of seconds. A spooked turkey can also run at speeds up to 20 miles per hour. A turkey does not have ears per se, but does have excellent hearing. The turkey also has exceptionally keen eyesight and can see in color with a field of vision of about 270 degrees. A turkey's night vision, depth perception and sense of smell are poor, but have a keen sense of taste.
• An old weather proverb says that turkeys perched on trees and refusing to descend indicate snow. Turkeys can drown if they look up when it is raining.
May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey be plump,
May your potatoes and gravy have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious and your pies take the prize,
and may your Thanksgiving dinner stay off your thighs!
November 24, 2008. It is the birthday of Paxton DePoe, Luke Becker and Agnes Hess. Bill and Janet Beishline and Ron and Alice Strauch celebrate their wedding anniversaries. The "S" word is in the forecast for the next four days. Snow is never a good thing over Thanksgiving. Alter your plans now to avoid having to make a fast trip wherever your Thanksgiving travels might take you.
The 10th Annual Out Among The Stars Festival will be held July 2-5, 2009. Keep watching www.oatsfestival.com/ for groups who will be appearing. Here are some of the groups signed to date...
BLUE HIGHWAY -- Winner of 2008 IBMA song of the Year! and many other IBMA and SPBGMA awards. Simply the best contemporary bluegrass band of our time. (Sat)
THE STEEP CANYON RANGERS -- 2006 IBMA Emerging artist of the year (Sat)
DAN PAISLEY AND SOUTHERN GRASS -- Hard Drivin' Bluegrass (Sat)
THE BLUEGRASS BROTHERS -- Back by Fan Request! (Sat)
DAVID VIA AND CORN TORNADO FEATURING CURTIS BURCH -- David is three-time winner of the Merlefest Chris Austin songwriter competition. Curtis Burch was a founding member of the New Grass Revival (Sat)
WILLIAMS AND CLARK EXPEDITION -- One of the most entertaining bands around! (Fri)
THE HILLBILLY GYPSIES -- High energy old time sting band back by fan request! (Thu)
STRAIGHT DRIVE -- Straight up traditional grass with fiery pickin' (Fri)
BILL AND MAGGIE ANDERSON -- Traditional bluegrass and bluegrass gospel. (Fri)
STAINED GRASS WINDOW -- The house band! (Thu, Fri, Sat)
LYKENS VALLEY BLUEGRASS BOYS - A great band from the area (Thu, Sat, Sun)
REMINGTON RYDE - featuring the great banjo of Billy Lee Cox (Thu, Sat, Sun)
BLUE ROOTS -- Tight harmony and blazing instrumentals from this diverse band that smoothly mixes standards with bluegrass covers of other genres. (Fri, Sat)
MASON PORTER -- Old favorites mixed with great original material from this hot young band. (Sat, Sun)
Today is the day when many local hunters are out in the woods aiming to shoot themselves a bar. If that doesn't make sense, listen here and you'll soon catch on. Bar season opens in our area today and there have been reports of bar weighing an estimated 700 pounds. Men are out trying to shoot a critter too large to move without having a heart attack and whose meat is too tough to eat without dunking it in meat tenderizer. "Thar's a bar in thar," Daniel Boone once carved on a tree trunk, "D. Boone cilled a bar on this in the year 1760" is what he carved below those words. Because I can't bar hunt this year, I'll just tell some bar stories. Well, actually, not exactly bar stories. I'll tell you about some words, like "bar" that I have heard over the years which were once popular in everyday conversations but have slowly disappeared. You may recognize some of them.
The northern Fishing Creek valley has all sorts of people, mostly good and well-intentioned, their intelligence ranging from a whole lot of common sense to a whole lot of education--with all sorts of graduations between. Many might have been considered old-fashioned because of their speech in the days before television and good roads. Today, most would be hard to detect in their usage of English from the well-educated of our cities. The use of phrases like "young'uns" for "young ones," and "t'other" for "the other," does tend to give the language away from time to time.
Many of us have heard "old timers" talking about something they "et" (ate), often somehow tied into a dish which was "hot as thunder." I haven't heard the word "darst" (for dare) in years, but the word was often used. A term still used is "lay off," as in a change of diet when Mother would "lay off" the chocolates. "Go to," as in "Sam didn't go to do it" really meant "intend." Kids "growed" when they grew. Some may remember the fabulous "flibbertigibbet girls of the South"--or at least that is the way I think it would be spelled.
Today we rarely hear "hain't" for have not or "his'n," or "your'n," but the language was different when I grew up. Kids my age had Mary Hartman for English in the high schools, but our parents didn't and they sometimes murdered the language. Mother used to say "What for a time did you have last night?" The question is a takeoff on the old German speech "Was fur ein?" Other words with an old German heritage included "oncet" and "twicet."
A high-school classmate once told me he was "waiting on" a girl he was "sweet on," somewhat similar in word construction to Proverbs 20:22 which gives the same kind of thought with "Wait on the Lord."
When hunters would "leave out" for hunting at Painter Den, they would "pack" their essentials, which meant they "carried" them. Many years ago, my secretary in Washington, D. C. would occasionally use the term "plug up" as she talked about "plugging in" an electrical device. When I asked her about it, she got a very puzzled expression on her face as though I were crazy. She cocked her head to one side, her way of telling me that she was right and I was wrong, and told me that Back Home in West Virginia, each room in her parents' house only had one electrical receptacle--and often that would be in the center of the ceiling of each room. In order to connect to electricity, she had to "plug up" to the receptacle in the ceiling. The term made perfect sense to her.
My mother-in-law is fond of talking about "her man," a reference to her deceased husband. In Virginia, the word "heap," meaning either much or many, was commonly used. It could have come from Prologue to the Canterbury Tales in which Chaucer wrote "The wisdom of a heep of learned men."
A "poke" is a small bag, and a common usage of that would be "Don't buy a pig in a poke." Mother would tell me that I "traipsed around" too much, implying that I like to travel when she thought that I should stay home. She had a touch of contempt in her voice when she used the words.
"Git" was often used, usually in reference to a team of mules or horses, but sometimes a husband would "git" and that made Mother and the "girls" talk about the subject for days. In the days of the "poor" farms in Pennsylvania, people went to the "pore" house instead of the poor house.
We hear stories about "tejus" (tedious) happenings and sometimes hear stories about the "Injuns." We hear of "varmints," "yallow" is a color for some colorful speakers and "wrastle" for wrestle is still heard.
An introduction often began "I'll make you acquainted with Mrs. Fritz." When asked how she was doing, Mother would usually tell people that she was "tolerable." As a child, I can remember my parents entertaining some friends from the city (Kingston) and telling them at meal time that "We ain't got much, but you're welcome to what we got." No matter how bad things were, Mother never "talked short" (impatiently). If the unexpected happened, it would be that it was "fixin' to happen." Whenever baby pictures were brought out for examination, someone would say "It puts me in mind of...", meaning it reminds the person. Some hard-to-handle children were "fidgety," and we would hear about them over the evening meal as we rehashed the events of the day. Mother was often told by guests as they left her house, "Won't you come and go along?" Teenagers as I was growing up would often drive past our house "just a-sailin'" as Father would mutter, along with some other words not appropriate for this family column. Father preferred "no great shakes" to saying something was "inferior."
Incidentally, if you get your bar today, there will be no need to invite me to dinner...
November 23, 2008. It is the 62nd wedding anniversary of Bob and Kathryn Maynes, celebrated on Bob's 87th birthday. Bruce Jankowski turns 54. On this date in 1945, most U.S. wartime rationing of foods ended, including meat and butter. There will be two services today at the Stillwater Christian Church, at 8 AM and 10:45 AM. At 9:15, a processional will leave the church building at 42 Wesley Street and proceed to the new property for the church's groundbreaking ceremony. Two Thanksgiving meals will be served: 10:30 and 12:15.
Didja ever think that if you want someone who never criticizes
what you do, doesn't care if you are pretty or ugly,
fat or thin, young or old, who acts as if every word you say
is especially worthy of listening to,
and loves you unconditionally, perpetually,
your best bet is to get a dog?
• Emails continue to circulate naming the large-retail chains that are closing stores. Regretfully, the list is growing, but most lists are inaccurate or based on old information. The most complete list that I have found can be read here. As always, snopes.com is an excellent way of "checking things out."
• Microsoft has announced that Internet Explorer 8 will be released during the first quarter of 2009.
• The phone number 1-800-goog411 connects you with a free Google service which finds and connects you with telephone numbers. Click on www.google.com/goog411/ for a demonstration.
• Boscov's is now back in the hands of Al Boscov and his brother-in-law, Edwin Lakin, 84, and out of the hands of Boscov's nephew, Al Lakin, 54. The deal cost Al Boscov $305 million, but, hey, what is family for!
• Daryll Clark threw for a career-high 341 yards and four touchdowns, while running for another score, leading seventh-ranked Penn State to a 49-18 thrashing of 17th-ranked Michigan State, giving the Nittany Lions the Land Grant Trophy and a spot in the Rose Bowl.
Didja ever think that a handful of common sense is worth a bushel of learning?
The amount of oil consumed around the world is getting less each day. Oil prices are falling, dropping 7% on the New York Mercantile Exchange to $49.62 a barrel, while some analysts predict that oil could fall to $30 to $40 a barrel as the world economy worsens. The low prices could end up biting us down the road as oil producers cancel large-scale projects. Gasoline prices are down about half since July. The lower energy prices are great right now, but could result in a new phase of higher prices when the economy eventually recovers. The sharper the drop in prices now, the steeper the rebound might be when the economy picks up again. The OPEC cartel will convene another emergency meeting in Cairo next week. Gas prices locally are in the range of $1.859 for regular, unleaded.
Stephen Wiist, associate professor, Harvey A. Andruss Library, has received a $24,940 Library Services and Technology Act grant from the Office of Commonwealth Libraries for digitizing the Bloomsburg Daily Sentinel and Bloomsburg Daily Mail newspaper (1892-1909) and making it available full text to the public via the library's new Digital Collection. The Daily Sentinel was the first daily newspaper published in Columbia County.
The newspapers are free to the public for their use. Here is how to access them. Turn to the Bloomsburg University web site, www.bloomu.edu/, place your cursor over "Faculty and Staff" at the top of the page, then navigate on the pull-down menu to "Library, Andruss." Click on "Digital Collections" on the side bar. Click on "Bloomsburg Daily."
The digitization of the local newspapers comes at an excellent time for participation by middle- and high-school students in an essay contest sponsored by the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center. The contest involves an event in our history often known as the "Fishing Creek Rebellion" or the "Fishing Creek Confederacy." Here is a little background: at the time of the Civil War, Colombia County was a Democratic county. It became a focal point because peace Democrats opposed President Lincoln's wartime politics. Several hundred federal troops were sent into Benton and the surrounding area to suppress anti-war sentiments. Military, not civil authorities, arrested 42 men. The men were incarcerated at Fort Mifflin near Philadelphia. One man died, and the average time in custody for the rest of the prisoners was 101 days. By referring to the episode as the "Fishing Creek Confederacy," it is implied that these men were traitors who advocated the Confederate cause.
With that background, here are some possible essay subjects...
• Were the arrested men traitors?
• Were the men's civil rights violated?
• Was freedom of expression suppressed by the incident?
• What voting procedures were used in 1864?
• Do any accounts of the incident exist from the time of the Civil War that are supportive of the federal troops?
• Are there any accounts from this time period that could add to the history of Columbia County?
The length of the essay must be between 200 and 500 words and must be postmarked on or before March 15, 2009. Essays should be submitted to Ted Whitenight, 90 Mill Street, Benton, PA 17814.
The history and heritage of the upper Fishing Creek valley is rich and interesting. Stephen Wiist will consider adding local history material (i.e., books or newspapers) that the university could include in its mass digitization project.
We'll turn now to a landmark in Berwick which owes its fame to Clarence Gearhart Jackson (1842-1880). He was born into money as a son of manufacturer M. W. Jackson. He attended Dickinson Seminary, Williamsport, and at the age of 16 headed to Dickinson College where he graduated with honors. As a first lieutenant, he was injured and captured at the Battle of Chancellorsville, exchanged for Southern prisoners, then wounded again at the Battle of the Wilderness and taken to Charleston to serve as a "human shield" against the Union shelling of the city. His dream during his period of captivity was to return to Berwick and build a fine home. Again he was exchanged.
He did return to Berwick and his father's businesses in 1865. He was appointed as a major in the Pennsylvania National Guard and was later promoted to colonel. By this time, he was a vice-president in the Jackson and Woodin Manufacturing Company and a director of the First National Bank of Berwick. He was a school director and trustee of the Methodist Episcopal church. He died in May 1880 in his Berwick mansion, completed two years before he died. He was 88.
The Jackson Mansion, Market Street, Berwick
In January 1915, Berwick Town Council accepted the offer of the Victorian mansion, valued then at $100,000, for a borough hall. The mansion was the gift of Mrs. Elizabeth S. Jackson, Mrs. Henrietta North and Mrs. Jane J. Gearhart, children of Jackson. The Market Street mansion, which took up half a block, made from hand-quarried stone, with twenty rooms, was to be a memorial in honor of their parents. Council decided to occupy the building at once. City Hall found a new home in the Jackson Mansion.
The second floor of the mansion contained 5 bedrooms, reached via a curved sculptured staircase under a stained glass window above the center landing. Today, the Berwick Historical Society uses two rooms on the second floor that are being restored. The third floor has been turned over to the Society which can use the space for storage or start restoring when money and time are available. The Historical Society may get the police station, which is also on site, when and if the police move to the old Legion Building on North Market Street.
The Berwick Historical Society has started an action committee to raise enough money to fund the operation of the inside of the Jackson Mansion until it can become self-sustaining. The Society needs all the help it can get because of the responsibilities of heat, electric, water and other operational costs plus remodeling costs and getting the furniture to furnish the place back to a 1880-1900 Victorian Mansion.
The Borough of Berwick will maintain ownership of the grounds and the building according to the Jackson Will. When the Society can prove to council that they have a long-range plan to fund and restore the inside of the place, it will be turned over to the Berwick Historical Society. The Society is looking for any help it can get to achieve this goal. The Society needs money, such as a trust fund set up in the Berwick Historical Society's name, and a few more volunteers and all this can happen in the near future. The Berwick Historical Society needs members and donation. You can get the application on their web site or by clicking here.
The Society is a 501c3 non profit organization and donations are tax deductible. If the building reverts to the way it was, it could become an area tourist attraction and get tourists into the area which would help everybody in one way or another.
November 22, 2008. It is the birthday of Clair Harvey, Kelly Yost and Sharon Remphrey and the wedding anniversary of Barry and Sylvia Harrison and Jim and Pat Edson. On this date in 1963, President John F. Kennedy was fatally shot in Dallas, Texas. The first U.S. patent for a snowmobile was issued to Carl J.E. Eliason, Saynor, Wisconsin, on this date in 1927. Called a "motor toboggan," the machine had ski-like front runners and a rear-drive track. Between 1922 and 1926, Eliason handmade forty of them. The first machines used a 2.5 hp outboard engine mounted on a metal-frame body. In 1932, Eliason introduced a model that used a converted motorcycle engine and could travel moe than 40 mph. Eliason created the first reliable, self-propelled vehicle that could be manufactured on a sustained production basis. His basic design is still in production.
It is hard to believe that a group of strangers could be so poorly prepared to make a trip into the wilderness. They didn't seem to have a clue as to what to bring on their trip to "Northern Virginia" and they didn't have a real clear handle on directions. They packed sundials, candlesnuffers, a drum, a trumpet, and a complete history of Turkey. One man packed 126 pairs of shoes and thirteen pairs of boots, but they didn't bring any cows or horses, gear for fishing, or implements to till the earth. They were tailors, a printer, a couple of merchants, a silk worker, a shopkeeper, and a hatter. The man in charge of their 65-day voyage, their military commander, Miles Standish, was commonly called "Captain Shrimpe" and hardly the type of person who could best handle Native Americans encountered by members of the "Virginia Company." They were simply unprepared for life in America and in turn they died in droves until only half of them were left--54 people, half of them children. The Pilgrim fathers, thankful for having safely reached Provincetown--and intent on keeping fellow travelers as part of the group--gathered aboard the Mayflower to draft and sign the Mayflower Compact. They quickly decided that "majority rule" was a good thing.
Over the next thirty days, the Pilgrims shot crows, foraged, scared the daylights out of Patuxets Indians and generally had a hard time. They eventually ran into an Abnaki Indian who had been to England, a man by the name of Squanto who spoke limited English. He helped them survive by teaching how to tap maple trees for sap, determine which plants were poisonous and which had medicinal powers, and how to plant Indian corn by heaping the earth into low mounds packed with seeds and dead fish (for fertilizer) in each mound.
The next year, Pilgrim Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving for all the colonists and neighboring Native Americans. Squanto and 90 braves including their chief, Massasoit, came to the three-day celebration. They played games, ran races, marched and played drums. The Indians demonstrated their skills with the bow and arrow and the Pilgrims demonstrated their skills with the musket. This festival was the forerunner of the events that take place in our own lives during the coming week, including the community Thanksgiving meal put on by the members of the Benton Methodist Church at noon next Thursday. May you all have a happy and joyous Thanksgiving and keep your thoughts on the many things for which you give thanks.
The CCFNB Bancorp, Inc., 232 East Street, Bloomsburg, Pa, has issued its quarterly financial report for the period ended September 30, 2008, and both the bank and its stockholders have a lot to be thankful for. The bank shows total assets of $582,241,000 for the period ended September 30, 2008, compared with $245,324,000 for the period ended December 31, 2007. Net income during the same period was $872,000 compared with $718,000 and dividends per share during the same period were $.24 vs. $.21.
The consolidated financial statements include the accounts of CCFNB Bancorp, Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary, First Columbia Bank & Trust Co. Columbia Financial Corporation ("CFC"), parent company of the Bank was acquired by CCFNB Bancorp, Inc. on July 18, 2008, and Columbia County Farmers National Bank ("CCFNB") merged with the Bank on July 18, 2008. Financial results shown above include results of earnings of the Corporation from January 1, 2008 through September 30, 2008, which includes the earnings results of the acquired entities from July 18, 2008, through September 30, 2008.
--Information derived from SEC Filings
• The food bank sponsored by the Benton Council of Churches is now distributing to 94 households, up from 88 a month ago. The drop-off point at the First Columbia Bank & Trust has been of great help in gathering additional food necessary to provide food for these families. There have been monetary contributions to the food bank, too, and these are appreciated by the faithful group which work so hard each month to bring the spirit of Thanksgiving into local homes.
• Thursday night, the Benton Lions Club distributed 400 chicken meals to the community from the Benton Christian Church. This yearly event is a lot of hard work for the organization, but eagerly awaited by the hungry community.
• Didja know that Chevrolet makes five cars (excluding the Corvette) with average highway mpg of 32.4? Toyota makes six cars (excluding the Prius and Camry Solara) with average highway mpg of 31.8. Chevrolet makes eight trucks (excluding the Express Van) with average highway mpg of 21.8. Toyota makes nine trucks with average highway mpg of 21.8.
Mother grew up in Nescopeck, where, from her vantage point, she referred to the Borough across the north branch of the Susquehanna as the "town on the hill." She remembered her father talking about the large car shops, the rolling mill, pipe foundry and the constant employment characteristic of the town. Her mother and father often talked about building cars for railroads like the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railroad, Co. and the Fricksburg Railroad. Mother once told me that Berwick had sixteen blacksmiths at one time in its history.
My grandfather's writings painted a remarkable picture of Berwick before 1900, a few years before Mother was born. The town had electric lights, paved streets, underground drainage, excellent schools, eight churches, a worthy group of Salvation Army personnel, two banks and a viable municipal government.
Grandfather Hiram Kisbach worked for the Berwick Store Company, Limited, then a wholesale and retail dealer in general merchandise and one of the largest retailers within miles. He purchased furniture for the store, traveling often to a factory in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Someone once said that the store sold everything except dynamite and cigarettes. Albert Lowe 69, was a good example. In June 1917, he came into the store saying "I came to buy the suit I expect to be buried in." The words were hardly spoken when he fell to the floor. He died shortly after from cancer. Lowe had worked for the American Car & Foundry Company for forty years.
The Berwick Store Company The building was three stories high with a large basement. The main room in the building was 130 feet deep with a frontage of 54 feet. Every available inch of the store was filled. You can learn more about the original store by gong to Page 165 at this location.
The store was torn down to make room for the CVS drug store which now occupies the Market Street site.
We'll continue our discussion of Berwick on Sunday and tell you about the former home of Clarence Gearhart Jackson (1842-1880) which is in the process of a remarkable transformation into the new home of the Berwick Historical Society. We'll tell you how to stay current on the happenings in Berwick and tell some stories of humorous happenings over the years.
November 21, the 326th day of 2008 with 30 days until the official start of winter. Stephanie Spiece comes Back Home to Benton, PA, today, following cancer surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore. On November 29, the family, the community and the fire department will honor Stephanie and raise money in her behalf by sponsoring a ham supper at the Fire Hall. The ham will be Pennsdale, the mashed potatoes homemade, the Harvard beets and the beans excellent. There will be lots of other good food, like apple sauce and cake and beverages. Help would be appreciated to serve everyone and financial contributions would be greatly appreciated. Send Stephanie your best wishes at 260 Sones Hollow Road, Benton, PA 17814.
It was on this day in 1877 that Thomas Edison announced that he had invented a new device which he called a phonograph for recording and playing back sound. He used a stylus and a tinfoil cylinder. His first recording was himself reciting the poem "Mary Had a Little Lamb."
Most people who saw the early demonstrations of the phonograph described it as playing back the voice of a ghost. Edison demonstrated it for a reporter of Harper's Weekly who later wrote, "The telephone, which created such a sensation a short time ago by demonstrating the possibility of transmitting vocal sounds by telegraph, is now eclipsed by a new wonder called the phonograph." The amazed reporter went on, "This little instrument records the utterance of the human voice, and like a faithless confidante repeats every secret confided to it whenever requested to do so. It will talk, sing, whistle, cough, sneeze, or perform any other acoustic feat."
Congratulations to Carl Shaffer, operator of a 1,600-acre vegetable and crop farm in Mifflin township, has been elected to a third term as President of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. Shaffer operates a 1,600-acre vegetable and crop farm in Mifflin Township, Columbia County, where he grows corn, wheat and snap beans. Among the many recognitions for leadership and achievement in agriculture, Shaffer was named as a Master Farmer in 1996, one of the highest honors awarded to farmers in the commonwealth.
The fellows in Washington held off a decision on the auto-maker bailout until the week of December 2. In turn, investors turned bearish on certain stock market sectors and sold them to levels that almost no one could have imagined. When will we hit the bottom? In the tech-stock crash of 2000-2002, the Nasdaq composite index sank 77.9%. In the Great Depression years of 1929-32, the Dow Jones industrials fell 89.2% from its high to its low. Now some say that the next bank to fail will be the nation's largest bank, Citigroup. Wednesday, the stock plunged 23% over worries about its 185.1 million in global credit cards. Thursday it closed at $4.71. Everyone seems worried about the stock, except for Citigroup who sent me a letter yesterday telling me that I was "preapproved" and asked me to sign up for a new credit card.
The rumor is that failures with insurance companies could begin as early as January. Look at The Hartford (HIG) selling for $5.57, down about 100% this year. MetLife’s market cap has gone from $46.5 billion to $15.1 billion in eleven months. The same applies to Cigna, Prudential and Allstate.
Thankfully, we have politicians in Washington who find new solutions to fix the credit problems each day--NOT!
Doctors have also taken a position on bailouts. The Allergists voted to scratch it, the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves, Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve, and the Obstetricians felt they were all laboring under a misconception. The Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted. The Pathologists yelled, "Over my dead body!" while the Pediatricians said, "Oh, Grow up!" The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, the Radiologists could see right through it, and the Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing. The Internists thought it was a bitter pill to swallow, and the Plastic Surgeons said, "This puts a whole new face on the matter." The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists felt the scheme wouldn't hold water. The Anesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas, and the Cardiologists didn't have the heart to say no. In the end, the Proctologists left the decision up to some (unmentionable) names in Washington!
• With words like "cabin" and "mountains" floating in front of my face like night crawlers on steel hooks, I have bit the bait and will be taking some time off during the opening days of whitetail-hunting season. Incidentally, the hunting video on Thursday's Benton News proved to be so popular that a number of readers complained that it would not open because of heavy traffic. Keep trying. The Berwick article I promised for today will have to wait until tomorrow. Last night was pinochle night and I didn't have time to complete the article.
• Didja know that come December 1, lawmakers in our Commonwealth will receive an automatic 2.8% cost-of-living pay raise? Didja also know that the Guv forecasts the state shortfall as somewhere between a billion and two billion dollars in the current budget year?
• The Oak Ridge Boys will be at the F. M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre, December 20. Tickets are $45 and $39.50.
• Interstate 99 through Centre County will be fully opened following ribbon-cutting Monday at 11 AM. The last section is southbound for about eight miles from the Grays Woods interchange and continues over the Bald Eagle Ridge at Skytop to the Port Matilda interchange. Northbound lanes have been open for about a year. I-99 from the Pennsylvania Turnpike to the New York state border at Lawrenceville tends to "ride the ridges" and is one of the most scenic interstates in our Commonwealth. It was also one of the most expensive to construct, partially because of iron pyrite which threatened streams and groundwater and which held up construction.
• The Borough of Camp Hill increased water pressure to residents Wednesday after months of advising them of the pending change. Hours later, a major water main at the Camp Hill Bypass erupted sending chunks of asphalt across the roadway. Other than the water company, no residents reported problems.
• The Guv is diverting $35 million of federal Housing and Urban Redevelopment money to former owner Al Boscov and his family to help purchase the bankrupt chain of 39 stores. The cities of Wilkes-Barre and Scranton are also kicking in money.
November 20, 2008. It is the wedding anniversary of Earl and Joann Heimbach and Wayne and Mary Baker. On this date in 1929, the Leo Reisman orchestra recorded "Happy Days are Here Again" just three weeks after the stock market crash that plunged the nation into the Great Depression. The nation's economy seems to be very close to an economic nightmare or as General Motors' head Rick Wagoner described it, a "financial chasm." GM lost $4.2 billion in July, August and September and is now burning $2.3 billion per week--a rate that means disaster in weeks. What the lawmakers will do is unknown to any of us, although the speculation is rampant. The decision isn't that difficult for those of us who are armchair observers. It is more difficult if you are directly affected as the owner of a dealership, one of the 250,000 or so workers in the auto industry or have one of the nearly three million jobs at dealerships, carpet suppliers or parts organizations--well, the list is huge. When the decision is made, the economy, the stock market and a lot of people's lives will go into a tailspin of gigantic proportions. If a decision (let's call it "financial relief," since "bailout" is certain death) is made this week (which is unlikely), there is a strong possibility of a market rally next week. Thirteen of the last 15 years have seen a rally the week before Thanksgiving which could then turn into a Christmas rally for the many oversold stocks out there.
Quote of the Day:
"The wealthiest person is not he who has the most, but he who needs the least."
Thursday will be cold. Friday will be colder. Saturday will be the coldest. Sunday will be the best of the days, but chilly.
Hunting fever is sweeping the area. The shisters in Washington, the greedy in "Big Business," the "rescue" of the automobile industry and the problems on Wall Street were hot topics of discussion just days ago. With the arrival of winter-like weather, the shift in the conversation has been to hunting. Take a look at this video for the lament of one hunter (who did not take his shot).
In Saturday's edition of the Benton News, we'll take a look at the Borough of Berwick, what is going on there and what has taken place over the years. And in a subsequent issue, we'll answer a Florida reader's question about the responsibilities of the Speaker of the House, the Majority Whip, the Minority Whip and related questions. We have an issue coming up with nothing in it but jokes from a hundred years ago.
Do you like holiday music? SIRIUS will have four channels dedicated to holiday cheer. Channel 81 is contemporary holiday hits and traditional favorites. On November 27, Holiday Pops takes over Ch. 79, and will play beloved seasonal music by the greatest classical musicians of all time. On December 13, Ch. 113 becomes Bing Crosby Christmas Radio, featuring more than twenty years of Bing's classic holiday radio specials. Beginning December 21, Ch. 3 spins the dreidel as Radio Hanukkah, celebrating Hanukkah music and Jewish culture.
For reasons even I don't understand, here is a story I enjoyed from the August 1, 1915, Philadelphia Inquirer about "Little Willie," the "biggest, weightiest, fattest, most preponderous fat man who was ever exhibited as a curiosity in any show." It seems that Little Willie's principal occupation, according to the tattooed man and one of the hoochie koochie ladies, was eating. His usual morning diet was six eggs, soft boiled, one whole loaf of bread, a pot of coffee, a quarter peck of potatoes and anything else that might be served. He was a headliner with "Finegan's Great Ten in One Show" in Philadelphia, but Little Willie ate the owner "out of house and home," as Father used to say, and the show got stranded and all the circus items were locked up in "Jim Kelly's stable until the show people raised $35." Little Willie "stood the pangs of hunger for two days, then he threw up the job." According to the Inquirer, he was last seen walking toward City Hall "wearily carrying his 526 pounds of averdupois in that direction." Little Willie was heading back to take up his former occupation in the candy business where he wielded a tiny candy hammer to break lumps of candy "with a grace that many a blacksmith would envy."
If we were to describe the movement of people from the first records of white settlers in our area to today, we would have to begin with almost impossible access and talk about early trails following the animal migration, into a period of dirt roads filled with mud holes, advancing via roads sufficient for automobile use as they were slowly carved out of the countryside, and finally into a modern period with endless stretches of white concrete and black macadam slowly winding through the hills and valleys of our area. With progress like this must come restraint where someone rides herd on the drivers on our Commonwealth's highways. The group we'll discuss today is not the present Pennsylvania State Police; it is the former Pennsylvania State Highway Patrol, established to supplement the work of constables, sheriffs and other local officials and private law-enforcement such as the Coal and Iron Police. The private police were established to enforce whatever authority was needed by the group which hired the men. The Wilkes-Barre Times referred to the program not as keeping "road bandits and thieves" to a minimum, but to cutting down on speeding.
In order to understand the lawlessness which existed, here is a passage from the August 8, 1904, Wilkes-Barre Times: "A few days ago, a man on a motor bicycle stopped and robbed a party of motorists outside of Philadelphia; Lancaster county has been terrorized by tramps, murder and other serious crimes; three men stopped two men in a buggy near Altoona, murdered one, shot the other and stole three thousand dollars, and although hundreds of armed citizens have been watching a swamp, the miscreants have not yet been taken."
A similar organization still in existence, the Pennsylvania State Police, came about after the "Great Anthracite Strike." The need was evident that responsible officers employed by the public were needed. Senate Bill 278 authorizing 228 men known as State Police was signed into law in May 1905 and created the first uniformed police organization of its kind in the United States with authority to arrest because of motor-code violations. The decree was that state police had to be single.
The job of what many called the "Constabulary" was to patrol the state with troops headquartered in Greensburg, Wilkes-Barre, Reading and Punxsutawney. There was no work involving criminal investigation. Ted Fenstermacher in a Tracking Yesterday column noted that these recruits were housed five men to a tent. Over the years, a troop was added in Lancaster and troop headquarters have moved; i.e., Punxsutawney to Butler, Wilkes-Barre to Wyoming, Lancaster moved to Harrisburg, Pottsville moved to Reading, etc. By 1919, the force was increased to 415 men. The first drivers license examination for drivers in Pennsylvania was mandated in 1924.
The gray-uniformed state highway patrol was created in 1923 within the Department of Highways in order to handle the ever increasing number of cars on the road. Each patrolman was issued an Indian motorcycle, had a punch device to make a distinctive mark in the license of drivers who ran afoul of the law--but they did not have the power to make an arrest, although they carried a holster and revolver. A telephone and a typewriter were not standard issue at some of the substations. Their charter was to enforce the vehicle laws of the Commonwealth. Within three years, the highway patrol had 46 substations. Their training school, initially at the Hershey Inn, moved to Harrisburg. In 1927, two state highway-patrol troops were established, one at Harrisburg and one at Greensburg. In following years, troops were established at Bellefonte (1928), Williamsport (1929), Harrisburg (1931), Philadelphia (1932) and Franklin (1935).
The state highway patrol came to an end in June 29, 1937, when it merged with the state police. The new department was known as the Pennsylvania Motor Police, headed by a man by the name of Percy W. Foote at a salary of $8,000. A few readers may remember what were called "ghost cars," painted white with black hoods with lettering identifying them as Pennsylvania Motor Police on the sides.
November 19, 2008. It is the birthday of John McHenry Unbewust. The Wednesday Press Enterprise includes an article about the natural-gas leasing of Benton Township on public property, resulting in a $31,000 payment with 17% royalty fee. CNN Money, the Times Leader and other publications in the November 19 editions report on the Misericordia University conference just concluded to identify the problem areas in drilling in the Marcellus. State representatives were told that many of the problems are with the state itself in its lack of a standard set of rules to play by.
Julia Ward Howe wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic on this date in 1861. The poem was later set to Glory Hallelujah. Two years later on this day--November 19, 1863--President Abraham Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg address as concluding remarks in front of about 15,000 people to headlining minister, former Congressman, Gov. of Mass., Ambassador to England, President of Harvard and Secretary of State Dr. Edward Everett's two-hour speech. The speech was brief--just 272 words, two-thirds of them of only one syllable, in ten mostly short and direct sentences. It was over two minutes later. While Everett would probably have said "a great conflagration consumed the edifice," Lincoln might have said that a house had burned. The speech become one of the most important speeches in American history, but not everyone read the speech the same. Contrast the actual text of the speech with what was published in the Centralia, Illinois, Sentinel of November 26, 1863...
"Ninety years ago our fathers formed a Government consecrated to freedom, and dedicated to the principle that all men are created equal. and [sic] that we are engaged in a war testing the question whether any nation so formed can long endure. and come to dedicate a portion of a great battle- field of that war to those who had died that the nation might live. He could not dedicate, consecrate or hallow that ground, for it was consecrated above our power to add or detract. The world would not long remember what was said there, but it could never forget what was done there, and it was rather for it to be dedicated on that spot to the work they had so nobly carried forward that they might not have died in vain, and that Government for and of the people, based upon the freedom of man may not perish from off the face of the earth."
The Waller 4-H is having a bake sale on Friday at the First Columbia Bank beginning at 9 AM and running until they sell out.
Here is a valuable pointer from Attorney Loren L. Bly to all landowners who are concluding a lease of their oil and gas reserves..."If there is a difference, deeded and surveyed acreage overrides the assessed acreage figures maintained by the County."
Annie DePoe has three dogs she is trying to find a home for...
• A male, 6-7 years old, golden retriever, not neutered (but present owner willing to give amount for surgery with the people aho are willing to give him a good home). Good with cats, but should not go to home with toddlers. Is on thyroid medicine (not an expensive med).
• A male golden retriever, 6 years old, not neutered, but present owner may have had the surgery done by the time that you read this. not on any meds but should not go to home with toddlers.
• A three-year old female, spayed, Gordon Setter, nice dog, no known issues. Owner had to relocate to a nursing home.
Anyone interested may contact Ann DePoe, 925-2284, and she will direct them to the people that she is trying to help in the placement of these dogs. Leave your name and number and she will return the call.
Fred Trump was the featured speaker Monday at the North Mountain Historical Society. His subject was the Bloomsburg Fair. Fred became Secretary of the Fair Association in 1974 and assumed the presidency of the organization in 1984. During the intervening years, a lot has happened to him and he took great delight in sharing the stories of his many years of service to the fair. He told of "some of the things that might be in my book," referring to publication about "fair time" next year of his memoirs. Here are a few of the famous people who have performed at the Bloomsburg Fair since its formation in 1855 as the Columbia County Agricultural Association in Caleb Barton's field on what is now known as Main Street, Bloomsburg. So, in the form of "didja" questions, here are some things you might not know about the Bloomsburg Fair. Ready? Here we go.
Didja know that...
• Singer Michael Jackson once appeared at the fair? He arrived at the fairgrounds along with his family. The station wagon in which the family was traveling broke down and the family spent "a couple of days" in the back seat of their car.
• Singer Tina Turner appeared in a "hoochie-koochie" show at the eastern end of the fairgrounds? She appeared in a black review.
• Engelbert Humperdinck, 72, the balladeer with the three-and-a-half octave voice who once boasted he could “hit notes a bank couldn't cash," once played the fair? With each song, he had a glass of water. When he sang a song, he had another glass of water. Each song was better than ever. When he got to the very last song, Fred thought to himself "boy, that water was great." Later, he discovered that during the performance Engelbert drank almost a fifth of gin. "He couldn't walk, but he sure could sing," Fred quipped.
• The musical group Alabama once strung Fred "around like a cocoon on stage" with string art?
• Fred has chased cows, horses, pigs, a camel, chickens, a boa constrictor and an elephant on the fairgrounds? He told about the time that a camel spit in his face.
• Mickey Rooney brought one of his wives, "maybe number six, maybe number seven, I don't know." Mr. Rooney said, "Hey, now I'll tell you, Mr. Trump, I've got a problem and I can't go down all those steps." Fred knew what he meant, so stage hands brought a porta potty to the back of the stage. Jack Palance was there that Monday night, just before he passed away. Fred remembered that Palance was under the beginning symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease. Rooney got a little confused and couldn't remember if he was supposed to go to the front of the stage or the back, but it was a total transformation when Palance walked to the center of the stage to wish Mickey Rooney a happy birthday on his 85th. Fred remembered, "He was remarkable, like he was 20 years old again. That is a star!" Back stage, Rooney told Fred "now next year if you need me I'll come back." It was obvious that Fred loved the stars of yesteryear.
Fred has had a love affair with the fair ever since he was a little boy. He learned how to skin his knees, play ball, shoot marbles, and drive a car at the fair. His kids learned to ride their bikes there. It has been a Trump family affair.
There were bad moments, too. In 1989 on a Friday night as Fred was standing on the stage. a piece of shrapnel hit a young boy during a demolition derby. The boy bled to death. Fred took the mother home. Fred called it, "A traumatic moment." Randy Travis was appearing in front of the grandstand that night. In 2006, Randy Travis returned to the fair and the one thing that he remembered was that Fred had borrowed Randy Travis' limousine to take the mother of the boy home.
Fred once took Bob Hope to dinner. Hope told Fred that this was "the first time I had to go to the bathroom in a pig trough." Red Skelton was one of Fred's favorite people. Fred said that Red was "without a doubt one of the most honorable men he ever met. "Very religious," Fred put it. When Red came to his room, he had a "great big chest." When he opened the chest there was a picture of his wife, the blessed Virgin Mary and a picture of his dog--the three most important things in his life. Red drew a picture for Fred as a thank-you. Red stayed at the fair for three days.
Fred promised that his book would tell all the people who were on the paid stage with a chapter devoted to the various acts at the fair. Another chapter will be devoted to the free acts at the fair, and a considerable amount of space will be devoted to Ryan Pelton, who has become one of Fred's best friends. Fred first met Ryan at Hershey when he noticed a back-up of women outside of Pelton's dressing room. Pelton, "a very good impersonator of Elvis Presley," now lives in Indianapolis. Ryan will next appear in our area December 12 at Pickelner Arena, Williamsport.
Fred told of a group of musicians who came to Fred from South America wanting a job. Fred turned them down, but felt sorry for them when he saw the look on their faces. Fred finally, reluctantly said he would listen. The group went upstairs and Fred decided "they were pretty darn good. " He told them, "There is a place in front of the Arts and Crafts Building and we'll go down there and see how good you are." That was 14 or 15 years ago and they are still there performing. "They make a lot of good music and make a lot of people happy." Sensing it was time to cut the lecture short, Fred told the Brass Pelican audience, "It was a lot of fun, a lot of hard work sometimes."
Fred thought of retiring in 2004. He remembered a Friday night and an approaching storm. On Sunday morning, the entire fairgrounds was filled with four feet of water and the fair was going to start on Friday. Jim Vance confirmed that in his apple-dumpling stand there was a water mark four feet up on the side of the tent. Everything was covered with mud. It was a lot of work to put the fair back together, but that Friday night "we had vespers." In 2007, the "heart was not working like it was supposed to work and the stents needed a rest." He let the Fair Association know that it "was great fun being there. If you ever need me, you guys can do it." There was no doubt in anyone's mind that Fred Trump loved his job. Some even felt he missed it...
For more of Fred's thoughts on the Bloomsburg Fair, head here.
November 18, 2008. It was on this day in 1883 when the United States adopted standard time and divided the country into four time zones. Hang on! There is a lot to cover today and little time to do it.
• No. 17 Michigan State (9-2, 6-1) heads to Beaver Stadium at 3:30 Saturday afternoon to take on Penn State.
• The Benton Fire Company will host its buckwheat-cake breakfast on Sunday, November 23, from 7 AM to 1 PM. The full breakfast menu includes all-you-can-eat buckwheat cakes and much more. Adults $6 and children 6-12 $3.
• The Monday after Thanksgiving is a day hundreds of thousands of hunters in the Commonwealth wait all year to celebrate. It is the day the sportsmen wallop the whitetails! Hunters must wear 250 square inches of fluorescent orange on the head, chest and back and are not allowed to hunt, chase or disturb deer with a firearm within 150 yards of any occupied building without the occupant's permission.
• Stefania Luciani Binnick will draw portraits at Black Bear Pottery and Fine Art Gallery on Saturday, December 6, in Benton. Head to www.binnick.com for more information about the 255 Main Street location of this lovely gallery, or visit the web site of the gallery at http://blackbearpottery-finearts.com/ or call 570 925-1000. This is a great place to do holiday shopping for pottery and artwork while supporting local arts.
• Two weeks ago at Weight watchers at The Center, the group lost 84 pounds. Last week, the group lost 72.5 pounds. It really sounds like these people mean business.
Didja ever think that a taxpayer is someone who does not have to take a civil service exam in order to work for the government?
Fred Trump knows a lot about the Bloomsburg Fair. He became Secretary of the Fair Association in 1974, became President of the organization in 1984 and guided the organization through many good times and a few bad when floodwaters lapped at the survival of the Fair. Monday morning, Fred spoke to the North Mountain Historical Society on the subject of the fair and we'll tell you about what he said when we return Wednesday.
A building erected in 1904 has taken on a new life as a Main Street bed and breakfast. The "Mattress and Muffin Inn," 240 Main Street, Benton, has opened under the ownership of Chris Lattrell and the management of Sharon Hess. The lovely, historic, restored building in which Dr. and Mrs. Frank C. Laubach once lived is now a five-bedroom guest house, each bedroom with its own bath.
The building is completely equipped for wireless for ease of internet access.
There is one bedroom with bath on the first floor; four bedrooms with baths on the second floor. The third floor is the manager's residence.
The B & B features a parlor which is ideal for either conversation or kicking back with cable television, a library for those who have to combine business with pleasure, a completely modern "L-shaped" kitchen where overnight guests are served breakfast, baths that range from whirlpools to showers to claw-foot bathtubs, gas-log fireplaces--and much, much more. A website is under development. Rates including breakfast and all the amenities range from $85 to $125 a night. Reservations can be made by calling 570 925-5466 or by email at mattressandmuffininn(AT)yahoo.com.Former Benton resident and Sutliff Chevrolet manager Joe "Brooks" Sutliff explains the situation this way: "The GM issue is a complex one but the core problem is the union. If GM was placed on a level playing field with the competition, they would do quite well. They are making very good products but their costs are too high. There is also the perception that they don't make fuel-efficient vehicles. This is simply not true! Their mix of vehicle stacks up well with all manufactures on a MPG basis."
The location for the B & B was the former location of another hotel in the Borough known as the "Red Hotel" or the "Little Red Hotel." This building was built by Andrew Ikeler in 1870. "Drew" Ikeler was a hunter and he always kept several hound dogs for chasing foxes. The Ikeler Hotel was for many years a landmark at the corner of Main and Church streets with its large stables and its "Travelers Rest" sign atop a heavy pole. The hotel was run by "Drew" Ikeler and later by his son, Chancy Ikeler. The hotel was moved by Mr. Sealy to the west and converted into a two-apartment house. The former hotel still stands on Church Street, the first structure behind the B & B. Former owners of this building, after it became a private residence, included Ida Albertson and Marie Bailey. On the spot where the hotel set, Charles Seely, father of Grace Hosler, built Benton's first brick house in 1904. Former owners of the B & B building included Grace Seely Hosler, Mrs Frank C. Laubach, Robert Seely Laubach and Mr. and Mrs. Karl Myers.
This week is back to the bailout-and-financing front with the question of putting up billions in taxpayer-backed loans so that Detroit's "Big Three" automakers can be saved. GM is burning through cash at a pace that could mean bankruptcy, and all three players are struggling with high costs, weak vehicle sales, frozen credit lines and dwindling cash reserves. They probably cannot survive long without government help. Expect the debate to be hot and heavy this week.
The Patriot-News interviewed Greg Sutliff, 76, the principal owner of the 400-employee Sutliff Auto Group with eight General Motors franchises. In the article published Monday, Greg noted that Chevrolet once had 7,000 dealers compared with 1,000 each for Toyota and Honda. Today, Chevrolet is down to 4,000--four times as many to sell the same number of cars as Toyota. Greg was critical of General Motors abandoning Saturn's small-car philosophy in favor of SUVs. Greg noted that unions don't want General motors going bankrupt in order to not have to renegotiate labor contracts and pensions. The article noted that "Washington doesn't want GM going bankrupt because the federal government would have to assume GM's huge pension obligation." Greg favors a $2-per-gallon increase in the federal gas tax at the pump to help the U.S. auto industry reduce dependence on foreign oil and wean drivers away from Firebelch 500s in favor of more fuel-efficient cars. Greg suggested the federal government should offer a $5,000 tax credit to encourage new-car purchases of American-built automobiles.
The Sutliff dealerships were started in October 1931 by former school teacher Ellis Sutliff, a Painter Den member who joined that club in 1936. Alvin Sutliff was a farmer and educator well known in the local area. His farm was where the Benton Farmer's Market is now located. Alvin was the brother of Ellis and Frank Sutliff and of sisters Martha Sutliff Kile and Lulu Sutliff Laubach.
Leap-year baby Greg Sutliff was born February 29, 1932, a few months after Ellis Sutliff started the Sutliff dealership in Harrisburg. Greg's father was Leo Sutliff, the eventual owner of the Sutliff dealerships after the death of Ellis. Joseph B., Leo, Harold, Clifford and Dorothy Sutliff Shultz were brothers and sisters. Greg Sutliff became a member of Painter Den Club in 1970.
Gertrude E. (Cragle) Hoover (February 20, 1937-November 16, 2008), a long-time employee of Commonwealth Telephone Company where she worked for 26 years until her retirement in 1996 as a payroll supervisor, died Sunday at her home at 741 Austin Trail, Benton. She was 71. She was a daughter of the late Edgar and G. Beatrice (Killian) Cragle. She was born in Hunlock Creek. Surviving are her companion Carrol Fausey; a daughter, Karen M. McCarty (Douglas), Effort; grandsons Joshua Bower (Amy) and Thomas S. Adams; a brother, Fred Cragle (Peggy), Hunlock Creek; and other members of her extended family. She was preceded in death by her husband, Sheldon B. Hoover. Private services will be held at the convenience of the family with burial in the Maple Grove Cemetery, Pikes Creek. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in her memory to the Geisinger Hospice, 100 N. Academy Ave., Danville, PA 17822. Arrangements are under the direction of the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc., Benton.
The Monday edition of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review includes an article about natural gas-drilling company Atlas Energy Resources LLC moving 40% of its well-drilling program for the winter and spring from Pennsylvania to other states, saying our Commonwealth's drilling requirements are "confusing and inconsistent, and permits are slow in coming." Watch for the pendulum to start to swing toward the other side; i.e., to change from a "move carefully" to a "they will be good fellows, let's get on with it" approach.
November 17, 2008. It is the birthday of Julie Bardo and Cindy Becker. The next three nights should be the coldest of the fall season. Hopefully, it will finally rid the outdoors of fleas and ticks which have been plaguing local pets.
On this date in...
• 1978, a murder-suicide took place in Jonestown, Guyana, when religious-cult leader Jim Jones directed the ingestion of Kool-Aid laced with cyanide by at least 900 of his followers. He and his mistress then did the same. Earlier that day, Jones directed the murder of California Congressman Leo J. Ryan, three news people and several "defectors." Ryan, on a fact-finding tour of Jonestown, was boarding a private airplane with his group when they were shot down.
• 1869, the Suez Canal formally opened to traffic. The waterway is 100 miles long, connecting the Mediterranean Sea with the Gulf of Suez and the Indian Ocean.
I promised to help with email redirecting and spam control in today's edition, but found that it became hopelessly complicated. I finally put the article aside for the day and will relook at the effort again in the near future.
Didja ever wonder...
. If the counties of Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Wyoming make up the "Endless Mountains," why aren't the mountains "endless" when they get to the borders of those counties?
. How can we get "useto" terms like "up back of Benton," and "down cellar"?
. Why did the Delaware Indians call themselves "real men" (Leni-Lenape?"
. What was in the lunchtime favorite sandwich known as "Hoggies" at the Hog Island Shipyard in Philadelphia? (the word was later changed to "Hoagies.")
The nine-mile Berwick "Run for the Diamonds" is only nine days away. Go to www.runfordiamonds.com/ for more information.
Think what made the early settlers thankful. Think, for example, what it was like for the wives of the early settlers who came up the Fishing Creek Valley and lived for months at a time without seeing a person outside their own family, except for the new addition which seemed to arrive each year. Think of making the garden in the spring, spading the earth, throwing up some sort of fence around the plot of ground, hauling water to the garden, maybe walking to town to get a little sewing from the "hotel women" in order to have a little money. An addition of a cow brought unexpected joys and some welcome changes to the meal situation. The unexpected death of one out of the team of horses threw all schedules off balance. Some years the entire crop of food would be corn meal. The house slowly enlarged to the point where a living room and two bedrooms emerged. A milk cow and then another made it possible to work toward the day they could say they had a "herd." More money came into the family as the mother took in washing when it was available, and did her share of the milking and made a little butter for selling, and made all the clothes. With unabashed joy, the farm families of our area gave thanks at this time of the year.
Think for a moment of the things in your life for which you can give thanks. You can finish the story yourself. You don't need me to do it for you.
The Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center will sponsor the second annual antique show and appraisal March 28-29, 2009. The hours are Saturday 10 AM to 6 PM. Sunday's hours are 11 AM to 4 PM. The Center will have quality antiques to display and sell. John A. Shuman, III, will again appraise items brought in by customers. Mr. Shuman has written nine collector books and will donate one for a door prize. There will also be a grand prize of a one-year individual membership. Admission is $3. Appraisals $3 each. The show will take place at 42 Community Drive, Benton. Individuals wishing to contact The Center should address correspondence to P. O. Box 305, Benton, PA 17814.
As you drive our local roads and look at the fields of corn, think fast food. Didja know that the bulk of the hamburgers at McDonald's and Wendy's came from corn-fed cattle? Corn is abundant in the feeding of chickens and the fries you eat are probably fried in corn oil. The true cost of a corn-fed diet vs. a grass-fed one comes in the amount of fertilizer it takes to produce corn, in the environmental impact of the water necessary for the crop, in worn-out soil, and the need for the use of fossil fuels for fertilizer, pesticides and fuel to bring the corn to market. So why corn? Some say it is because of the delicious flavor it gives to chicken fingers, or a T-bone steak and fries.
Those of us who grew up on farms know the frenzied call of male turkeys as they gobble as if on cue. Take a listen to 300 adult male turkeys as they participate in "singing." When the singer raised his voice during the chorus, the turkeys joined in.
Didja ever hear of the evil of smoking and the wonder of vitamins, as told about a man who means a great deal to all Pennsylvanians? The man was Milton Snavely Hershey who was raised among the "Plain People" of the Mennonite faith. The story goes that he went on a vitamin kick in the 1940s, and started experimenting with different vegetables. He concluded that it was easier to get vitamins by drinking them than by eating them.
Hershey ate onions and carrots and celery and combinations of all those, and finally decided that beet sherbets tasted the best and he added them to the menu at his Hershey Hotel. Now for the man who gave the world the Hershey bar and Hershey kisses to make a mistake like that was unthinkable, and patrons who tasted the beet sherbet actually gagged from the terrible taste.
Milton Hershey had three lifelong passions: chocolate, children and cigars. Hershey is said to have smoked eight to 10 cigars a day until his death in 1945 at the age of 88. A former CEO of the company later said that Hershey simply had burned out his taste buds and could not taste or smell a thing.
By the time Hershey died, his company owned an estimated 65,000 acres in Cuba. The manager of the Hershey Havana operations regularly sent his boss boxes of cigars with Hershey's picture printed on the cigar bands. A much cheaper brand of cigars made in York was sold around the Hershey area with a "Hershey" band. They were sold for five or six cents apiece in the town drugstore, at the golf course and at Hershey park and were known as the Hershey Invincible, Hershey Park Golf Club Special, Hersheytown and Havana Perfecto brands. Until the early 1980s at Hershey park, cigar rollers made cigars at a kiosk in the craft area and sold the hand-rolled products to park patrons.
Norman Vincent Peale once addressed students in the Hershey school auditorium and asked, "How many of you would like to have millions of dollars someday?" The children all raised their hands. "And, how many of you would, 25 years before you die, give it all away to strangers?" After seeing that not a single hand was raised, Peale looked over his shoulder and said, "Hershey did just that." But he could never give sell or give away his beet sherbet.
Quote of the Day:
"Boys, don't rock the boat, row it."
--Milton S. Hershey
Gertrude E. (Cragle) Hoover died Sunday, November 16, 2008, at her home at 741 Austin Trail, Benton. She was 71. Arrangements will be announced by the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc., Benton.
November 16, 2008. It is the birthday of Mikelanne McHenry Welliver and David McHenry. Keep Kay Kline in your prayers as she struggles with a problem hip. And include Elaine Rogers in your prayers as she begins recovery at the Orangeville Rehabilitation Center following an operation. We'll have a high of about 46° today, a huge change from the weather of yesterday. Max and Lorraine Hartman stayed up until 5:30 in the morning Saturday, but are OK following the storms in North Carolina 25 miles east of them. They went through another tornado warning Saturday night. There were at least two dead, one injured and one missing Saturday in two communities east of Raleigh.
Pennsylvania's bear season is three days, statewide, just prior to Thanksgiving, from November 24-26. Remember that the North Mountain Historical Society meets Monday morning for breakfast at the Brass Pelican restaurant. The topic is the History of the Bloomsburg Fair, told by a man who should know--Fred Trump, the man who has been bringing people back to the fair for many years. The speech-making is all free and open to the public. Show up about 8 AM if you want breakfast.
It was January 2, 1995, and I celebrated with 102,000 others, give or take, as the No. 2 Nittany Lions and the Pac-10 champion No. 12 Oregon Ducks duked it out in the 81st Rose Bowl. I had just driven across the country in a motor home with my brother-in-law, his wife and a friend. The motor home was decked out in signs proclaiming the invincibility of Penn State as we crossed the United States narrowly missing most snowfall, except for a 10 PM whiteout at Flagstaff, Arizona. At every stop, we told everyone who would listen that this win would give coach Paterno his 16th major-bowl win and he would be the first to win the Cotton, Sugar, Orange and Rose Bowls. Penn State didn't disappoint in their 38-20 win over Oregon. Even with the win, I vowed never to go back.
Some explanation is needed. I had been to the Rose Bowl before when son David was married at the Brookside Country Club on the grounds of the Rose Bowl, so my group designated me as the most knowledgeable. I turned out to be a poor tour guide! The Rose Bowl is designed to seat 90,000, give or take. It turns out there were 102,000 attending, according to the half-time announcement, but that wasn't my first clue never to go back. Didja know that it would take a solid mile of walking to pace off around the fence at the Rose Bowl? Didja know that getting to the stadium is one fourth the battle of the day. Getting home from the stadium is another fourth of the battle. What is between is the hard part.
After driving across the United States, none of us was particularly excited about getting up at daylight for a football game It would have been smart to have done that! It is impossible to get anywhere near the general area of the stadium in a car, let alone a gigundous motor home. Streets are blocked off. Traffic patterns become one-way, Oreganders suddenly hate Pennsylvanians. There is nowhere to park, no streets with traffic flow, no matter what you do, someone yells at you. We were finally directed to a level spot on the golf course and told to pull onto the grass and park. Thousands of cars did the same. The grass of the golf course was suddenly a parking lot.
The long walk from the golf course was invigorating and we met scads of Penn State fans and talked with a number of people from Oregon who, like us, had driven from a very long distance into the parking lot from hell. Of course, we tried to enter at the wrong entrance and had to circle most of the way around the stadium. I had a nosebleed seat 77 rows in the air about 880 feet from the south rim which allowed me to stare directly into the hot Pasadena, California, sun. Had I had the benefit of the Hubble space telescope, I might have seen my friends. I didn't care if the stadium had hosted events from the 1932 and 1984 Olympics; except for the color of the uniforms, I didn't have a clue who anyone was on the field. On Penn State's first offensive possession, one of the Oregon's players streaked 83 yards for a touchdown. Where was the instant replay?
Suddenly it was halftime. Do I go left or do I go right to get out? Darn, I am exactly in the middle of the row. Six of one, half dozen of the other. Some of the California rotgut I was drinking needed to be drained. But how to get out? I never did get out of my row at halftime and couldn't exit the stadium for an hour and a half after the game was over. Walking cross-legged took on a new meaning!
No cell phone, of course, no friends in sight, no daylight remaining, no lights on the golf course, no idea which way to head since I am completely screwed up on directions. I fell into a sand trap, walked into a hedge of rose bushes, didn't have a clue at which hole the vehicle was parked or even which way to head. It was a nightmare--and I wasn't alone. Virtually everyone was from out of town and we all had the same problem. It seemed like midnight when enough of the vehicles had driven off that I could identify my vehicle from the headlights of others cars. Lets just say I wasn't the first of my party to find the welcome sight of the vehicle. I vowed never to return, even if Penn State returned to the Rose Bowl in the future. Now, it seems, there is a chance that Penn State is getting closer to the Rose Bowl this year following the trouncing of Indiana Saturday 34-7. Sorry, but I don't intend to go back.
You've hunted them, watched television shows about them, read books about them, but how much do you really know about deer? Gauge your knowledge by heading here.
Jay Leno said, "American Express is now looking to borrow $3.5 billion from the taxpayers. I think we should lend them the money, but do it the way they do it with us: charge 18% interest, which will go to 34% if they miss a payment."
The Japanese call them "Kei cars," and they are a lot like the Tata Motors People's Car Standard Version which the Indian manufacturer intends to market. If Detroit had any sense, cars like the Kei would be the transportation of the future in this country. Toyota, by gosh, is talking about introducing one to this country. The Kei car is always compact, a throwback to the times when money was tight. Fuel economy is great and emissions are low. Why can't manufacturers and consumers think small?
A Kei-class car can be no more than 11.1-feet long, 4.6-feet wide, and 6.5-feet high, with a 660 cc engine and get 40 to 60 miles per gallon. Americans and their Firebelch 500s weighing around three tons, capable of seating eight and rarely seating more than two, will snort at something so small. But wouldn't it be neat for running errands or going fishing or taking the kids to a soccer game? The Japanese government offered generous tax and insurance breaks to Kei car customers after World War II in contrast to our country where tax incentives help sell SUVs. If the Big Three intends to survive, they need to put on their thinking caps. Maybe a Kei-class car would get American workers back on the assembly lines and keep the companies afloat through these trying times.
When we get together Monday, I'll tell you how to use your old email addresses that are filled with spam and arrive at a spam-free inbox without losing valuable messages.
Didja hear that American Airlines is implementing a mobile boarding-pass program at select airports with the full blessing of the Transportation Security Administration? Airline customers will be able receive a two-dimensional bar code on their cell phones that will act as a boarding pass. Customers can walk straight to security and then to the aircraft if they have an active email account and a phone that's internet-enabled. When the customers check in, they will have the option of getting a boarding pass sent to an internet-enabled mobile device. Once the customers are at the airport, they can proceed directly to the security checkpoint where airport personnel can scan their phones.
November 15, 2008. It is the wedding anniversary of Ken and Dorothy Wilson. Friday's Dow industrials ended another volatile day as traders worried about the economy. The market was down 338 points and 5% for the week.
• How 'bout a 60-Inch 1080p HDTV for $999 or a 42-inch Plasma HDTV for $599? Best Buy will have a dilly of a sale on November 28, "Black Friday, according to a web site that monitors the unofficial opening of the holiday-shopping season. The discount prices are often available for one day only, may include restrictions on time and supply and will require you to get up with the chickens and make you treat other customers as the enemy.
• Yet another article on the effects of natural gas drilling on U.S. water supplies can be found here.
• The November 19 meeting of the Red Hat Society will meet at Becky's Hoboken Sub Shop at 2 PM for the annual Thanksgiving dinner and the coronation of new Queen Mother Evelyn Christalaw. Please plan to join the fun-loving women for this fun event. The chapter is open to new members and guests are welcome. Proper attire of a Red Hat and purple outfit is required.
• The Benton post office lobby is again open 24 hours a day, postmaster Bart Weaver tells us. The robbery investigation continues.
• The list of stores closing changes by the day, so there is no purpose in trying to keep up during these trying times. The point that should be made is that gift cards might not be the perfect Christmas present this year. A chain could remain open, but close stores in our area.
In the World of Physical Therapy and Personal Training...
• Todd Bardua PT is the new Director of Rehabilitation Services at Bloomsburg Hospital. Bardua is a graduate of Misericordia University and has previous clinical experience in outpatient orthopedic and geriatric-physical therapy. Bardua also oversees rehabilitation services at Bloomsburg Hospital's satellite orthopedics and rehabilitation clinic at 480 Central Road, Bloomsburg.
• The Center's new Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist is Kasey Shaffer. Kasey comes to The Center after working as a personal trainer at Paramount Health and Fitness Club, Berwick. Kasey’s training approach takes the entire individual into consideration, giving students the knowledge and tools needed to live a healthy lifestyle. Her lessons are broad-based and consist of stretching, weight training, and cardio conditioning to help individuals reach their goals; she also advises on health and nutrition issues. As part of her thorough conditioning program, Kasey not only provides the motivation to help students use their training time effectively, but also monitors progress and makes program changes as necessary. As part of her personal training regimen Kasey also offers supplements, vitamins, weight loss/gain products, and weight training supplies. Session rates are $10 per half-hour or $20 per hour.
When I was gainfully employed, I had a sign over my desk which simply said, This is a busy day. Please be brief. It was worth its weight in gold.
The wood is in the wood house
And the coal is in the bin
The mercury, its a tumblin'
And its gettin cold as sin.
The wood is in the wood house
And the coal is in the bin
I wonder why my wife don't
Hurry up and fetch it in.
So go and get the stuff yourself,
Thats what you better do,
For if you don't when she returns,
She'll make it hot for you.
--A popular ditty about 1912; author unknown
Sometimes the little things are the things that impress us most. On the wall of Sally's Kitchen in the Benton United Methodist Church proudly hangs a wall clock dedicated in memory and honor of Sally Hartman. The dedication of the clock took place during services with Terry Adams, Asst. Ad Board Chair for Benton and Mark Lovelace, Benton Trustee representing the congregation. Attending were Ed Hartman and two of the Hartman family, members, daughter Ginger Knudson and son Scott Hartman.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter proposes drastic actions as his city faces a deficit in excess of a hundred million dollars in the current fiscal year and in excess of $1 billion over five years. The Mayor proposes to cut the salary of everyone working for the city, including his own; eliminate 220 existing jobs, 600 unfilled jobs and 2,000 seasonal and part-time jobs; reduce all overtime including in the Police Department; cut five fire-department engine companies and two ladder companies; close eleven branches of the Free Library and end Sunday hours at three other branches. He would end the Mummers' Parade support of $350,000. Head here to learn more.
Stories like the one out of Philadelphia make us happy to be from this part of the Commonwealth. For example, the Bradford County Commissioners have approved a lease with EOG Resources Inc. which will provide the county $2.4 million to lease natural gas on 939 acres of land owned by the county and will pay the county a 17.5% royalty on the gas that is produced. One of the terms, as reported by the Towanda Daily and Sunday Review, was tossed by the county. The bothersome term was that EOG could drill an injection will on county land to permanently store waste water from hydro-fracturing operations. The executed lease prohibits EOG from the use of an injection well.
There may be a promotion in store for a Millville man. The Lancaster Farmer reports that President-Elect Obama is considering Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff, 57, as a possible candidate for the U.S. secretary of agriculture post. Wolff's name was on a "short list" of nine potential agriculture secretary candidates as reported in Agri-Pulse, and is now on a list of five possible picks which is slated to appear in an article in Kansas-based The Packer. Sec. Wolfe's participation in the use of renewable energy initiatives, such as the heating plant now under construction to serve the Benton Area Schools probably helped in the consideration of him. He was the creator of the Pennsylvania Center for Dairy Excellence and is a member of the Northeast Dairy Leadership Team. His discussions outside the Commonwealth on crop-insurance programs and his service on the World Trade Organization's Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee made him well known. His family is well known in the local area through his father's participation in the raising of Golden Guernsey cattle and his raising of Holstein genetics at his Pen-Col Farms between Millville and Rohrsburg.
Ora Karns thanks those who have written to her and would like her friends to know that she has moved permanently to Bloomsburg Health Care Center, Room 229, 211 E 1st street, Bloomsburg, PA 17815, 570 387-0868.
November 14, 2008. There is a bake sale and Chinese auction at the First Columbia Bank on Market Street beginning at 9 this morning. All proceeds go to the rehabilitation of Stephanie Spiece, including any donations that you might be inclined to leave behind. A Baltimore reader of the Benton News offered to let the family stay with them during her recovery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Others are donating time and money, backed goods, and tons of moral support. Nowhere but Benton could an outpouring like this come about.
On this date in 1972, the Dow Jones industrial average closed above the 1,000 mark (1,003.16) for the first time in its 76-year history. Two years ago on this date, the market closed at 10,539. Last year, the Dow Jones closed at 10,686.04. Yesterday, the market closed at 8835.25. It was a wild ride Thursday: down 300, then swinging up 900, for a 6.7% gain. The S&P 500 rose 6.9% to 911.29.
State politics is strange indeed. Republican State Senate President Pro-Tempore Joe Scarnati is now lieutenant governor after the death of Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll, 78, Wednesday. For the first time in Pennsylvania history a governor will have someone from the opposing party serving as lieutenant governor. The Guv would never take a job in President-Elect Obama's administration or Scarnati would become governor as provided for in the state Constitution.
Members of The Center are asked to pick up their new membership photo ID cards between 12 noon and 4 PM on the next two Saturdays and Sundays, November 15/16 and November 22/23. The new cards have photographs affixed to them. All members of a family need new membership cards. If you have questions please call the Center at 925-0163.
April 14, 2009, is the date that Microsoft will end support for Windows Operating System XP. From that date on, questions directed to Microsoft about XP will be answered, but the answer will cost you. The downloading of critical security patches for XP is expected to remain free. Many users prefer Windows XP to the Vista operating system and there are ways of buying a new computer with XP in lieu of Vista loaded.
Fred Trump, Bloomsburg, will be the featured speaker at Monday's monthly meeting of the North Mountain Historical Society at the Brass Pelican Restaurant. The buckwheat cakes are ready by 8 AM and the speaker will have his throat cleared by 9 AM. The meeting is always free and open to the public. Fred has a book about the history of the Bloomsburg Fair coming out about "fair time" next year, and this will serve as a preview to that book. Here are some things that you might not know about the fair...
• The inclement weather kept people away on the final day of the 1894 fair. Only 10,000 showed up for the day.
• The Columbia County Fair in 1899 had the benefit of the Pennsylvania Railroad providing excursion tickets from Newberry, Lewisburg, Wilkes-Barre, Tomhicken and intermediate points at a single fare for the round trip of 25 cents.
• A crowd estimated at 85,000 attended the closing Saturday in 1900. That represents a heck of a lot of buggies and horses and a lot of railroad trains.
• The 1902 fair attracted a larger cattle and poultry audience than usual. Color was important this year, with the Ferris wheel and the motor-cycle wheel. The railroads all ran excursions.
• At the sixty-first annual fair in 1915, more than 8,000 birds were judged. There were three days of racing at the fair, too.
• Jack Armstrong never quite recovered from a horse falling on him after a fall from a sulky at the Bloomsburg Fair two years previous and on March 14, 1910, he passed away in Berwick.
• William Showers, Sunbury, took his first day off in ten years in October, 1915. He probably should have gone to work. He arose before daylight to catch the first train to the fair for a "full day of pleasure." Groping in the darkness, he fell down the stairs, suffering bruises of the face. Then he started for the cellar to get bread and bumped his head against a bucket that hung on a nail, suffering a deep gash. Going upstairs, he stepped on a piece of coal and fell to the bottom, getting back on his feet only to discover he had a sprained ankle. When he arrived at the train station in Sunbury, he fell as he boarded the train and badly wrenched his right side. At the Bloomsburg station, he was knocked down by a jitney and while trying to get inside the gates was thrown against a post and suffered lacerations. Inside, a girl ran a tickler stick in his eye, nearly blinding him. William attended the fair and like millions of others he had a hoot! You will too when you hear the stories that Fred Trump will tell Monday. See you there.
What a present for an otherwise dismal November day! Regular, unleaded gas in Camp Hill is now under two dollars a gallon. It doesn't seem long ago that I shelled out over $50 to fill my Firebelch 500. Thursday, the regular price at the Giant Market gas station was $1.99 per gallon and I got $.30 off per gallon. That's right, $1.69 a gallon. I filled the car for $22.92. Joy be to the world! Prices seem to go lower the further south you go. How 'bout $1.87 in Carrollton, Virgina!
Elizabeth M. (Emrich) Arsenyevictz (October 21, 1914-November 13, 2008), Upper Raven Creek Road, Benton, died Thursday at Bonham Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. She was 94. She was a daughter of the late Andrew and Barbara (Smilnak) Emrich. She was born in Bound Brook, New Jersey. Surviving are her children Paul M. Arsenyevictz (Linda), Raven Creek; Martin P. Arsenyevictz, Stillwater; Marie A. Romanchik (Wayne), Waterloo, Iowa;. There are eight grandchildren: Ann, Dawn, Martin, Paul Jr., Harry, Martin III, Nicole, Jon Paul, plus 14 great grandchildren. In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by six sisters. Private services will be held at the convenience of the family with burial in the Raven Creek Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc., Benton.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home
Jesse Lee Rhone (June 9, 1939-October 3, 2008) Crescent City, Florida, passed away at the Malcom Randall Veterans Administration Hospital, Gainesville, Florida. He was 69. Jesse was a son of Samuel J. and Florence A. Rhone. He was born in Bloomsburg and attended Benton Schools for a time as a member of the Closs of 1957 when he lived in the Divide area. He served in the U.S. Air Force. He was preceded in death by his parents, his sisters Evelyn Palmer and Joyce Puderbaugh and his son, Scott Rhone. He is survived by his widow, Connie J. Rhone, Crescent City; son George W. McLaughlin, Starke, daughters Sandra Dee Morrissey (John), Gainesville, and Dawn Marie Shimmin, Crescent City; brother Robert Rhone, Hughesville; sister, Arlene Ropel, Benton; 12 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Memories and condolences may be sent to the family by signing Jesse's guest book at www.WattsFuneralHomes.com. A celebration of his life was held Saturday, Nov. 8, at the Crescent City Family Moose Center 1641 in Crescent City.
--Obituary courtesy of the Watts Funeral Homes
Robert Leroy Brown (March 14, 1923-October 13, 2008), Orlando, Florida, passed away October 13, 2008. He was a son of Harry T. and Pearl (Rantz) Brown. He was born in Benton and graduated from the local school in 1942. He was a former manager of the Pied Piper Restaurant, Maple Grove, when he resided at R.D. 1, Stillwater (Maple Grove) When he left the Maple Grove area about 1963 to live in Florida, he sold his property to Mac Ritter. That site is the current location of the Wodrig's Nursery. He was owner of Brown's Garage, Orlando, where he specialized in the repair of antique automobiles. He was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He is survived by his wife, Lahoma; children, Roberta Czuchaj, Susan Brown and Gary E. Brown; grandchildren, Christy, Allen Angela and April; great grandchildren, Chase and Addison and sister, Marie. The Baldwin-Fairchild Cemeteries & Funeral Homes, Altamonte Springs, handled the services.
--Obituary courtesy of Baldwin-Fairchild
November 13, 2008. It is the birthday of Betty Zane Unbewust, Dick Karschner, Lucie Hartzell, Donald Ribble and Maria O'Brien. These fine people share their birthdays with Robert Louis Stevenson, who wrote the novel Treasure Island in a single month in 1883. It continues to be printed.The wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated on this date in 1982.
About the time that the financial crisis had wiped out over $6 trillion of Americans' saving and the "average" retiree with $175,000 invested finds he has lost $52,500, along comes the report that U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson plans to scrap an effort to buy devalued-mortgage assets. As he acknowledged that the bill of goods he sold to Congress for the bailout hadn't delivered what was promised, there is a good chance Paulson can kiss the balance of the $350 billion goodbye after using most of the first half to buy bank stakes. And the stock market, you ask? The Dow industrials dropped 4.7% to 8282.66, bringing blue chips' losses over the last three days to 7.4%.
Fun and games on the internet...
• There is a redneck play station that will take up your time if you go here.
• Is there a song you would like to hear? Try StreamDrag and listen free.
The Little Tiger Teachery day-care center on Main Street has come under new ownership and management. Openings are currently available for full-time and part-time students of all ages, including infants. Hours of operation have been expanded from 6:30AM until 6 PM, Monday through Friday, and includes before- and after-school care with transportation to and from Benton Elementary School. Professionally-trained staff supervise educational, creative, age-appropriate activities designed to encourage enthusiasm for learning. Beginning in December, the Little Tiger Teachery will furnish a nutritious breakfast, lunch, and snacks for all students.
Joanna Anderson purchased the Little Tiger Teachery in October 2008, and assumed responsibilities as Director. Joanna has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bloomfield College in Bloomfield, NJ. She previously taught at All Saints Day School in Hoboken, NJ, and Pitter Patter Day School in Williamsport. Additional staff are also well-qualified and in compliance with Department of Public Welfare regulations. The Little Tiger Teachery is a Pennsylvania state licensed child-care facility conforming to all safety regulations and will be joining the Keystone Stars program to ensure the highest quality in early learning standards.
Interested parents are encouraged to schedule an appointment by calling 925-5499 to visit the facility and discuss their child's needs. Please also inquire about possible government aid. For additional information, contact Joanna Anderson, Owner and Director Little Tiger Teachery.
Share your bounty...
The First Columbia Bank on Market Street is accepting food donated to the area food bank through November 21. When you head for the bank, take along a nice can of food and help assist area residents.
Speaking of the First Columbia Bank, there are several services that the bank provides that you might not know about. They include...
• FIR$TLink. To find out account information 24 hours a day, seven days a week, simply call 387-4602 or 800 454-6504 from a touch-tone phone. Find out if a check has cleared, a deposit has been credited, or where the nearest ATM is located. You can order checks or request a fax copy of your statement. Simply have your account number ready when you call.
• Head to www.firstcolumbiabank.com and simplify your life and save time with e-statements. Your paper-free account can be accessed through their secure website. You can also sign up to mail your payments electronically. I have been using their free service for several months and find it easy and convenient.
Didja ever think that everyone you meet is actually waging some kind of battle?
Stephanie Spiece needs the community to come together on her behalf. Most know the story, but in a nutshell it goes like this. Stephanie developed cancer of the mouth and tongue and went for surgery at the Geisinger Hospital a year or two ago. The cancer was slowed, but not stopped. Stephanie entered Bloomsburg University while continuing to work at the Sub Shop and Cracker Barrel Restaurant. On Tuesday, Stephanie underwent surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, in an attempt to stem the cancer. The all-day surgery removed more of the tongue and substituted parts from her left arm. Her recovery is in progress, although a hospital stay of a week is expected.
On November 29, the community and the fire department will honor Stephanie and raise money in her behalf by sponsoring a ham supper at the Fire Hall. The ham will be Pennsdale, the mashed potatoes homemade, the Harvard beets and the beans excellent. There will be lots of other good food, like apple sauce and cake and beverages. Help would be appreciated to serve everyone and financial contributions would be greatly appreciated.
Can you help? If you can, call the Fire Company and ask how. In the meantime, send Stephanie your best wishes at 260 Sones Hollow Road, Benton, PA 17814.
The article which originally appeared in this location on this day relating to the development of the telephone system of the local area has been transferred to FEATURES and appears here in a consolidated form.
November 12, 2008. It is the birthday of Dr. Andrew Pollock and Kevin Schlichter, and the anniversary of the opening of the Brass Pelican restaurant.
From the "Some Might Remember" Department...
• Phyllis McHenry, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ted McHenry, Benton, married James Babb, Central, son of Mrs. Anna Babb on August 9, 1941, in West Hickory at the Methodist Church. Jim's brother Henry and his wife attended the couple. The accounts of the wedding pointed out that Phyllis was wearing a navy blue and red "redingote" dress. We had to look that one up! Redingote means a dress or lightweight coat, usually belted, open along the entire front to reveal a dress or petticoat worn underneath it. Henry worked as a truck driver for George Yost at the time of the marriage. Jim always had a dry story to tell, and usually told it in no hurry. We remember once some twin cousins of ours were telling Jim about paying $75 each to have two cats "fixed" in Maryland. Jim slowly scratched his head and said that "Goodness, I'd a bitten 'em off for half that amount."
• In 1942 the promotion to the rank of major was a holiday present for Captain William Confair then serving in the medical corps of the United States Army at Camp Meade as chief of medical services in the 1,100 bed hospital. The promotion was effective January 2, 1943. A second present was the announcement that he had been made a Fellow of the American Medical Society.
• In September, 1941, four friends entered the Pennsylvania State University. The four friends whose birthdays were within a five-day period, March 24 through March 18, were John Ikeler Mather, James Edson, Betty Jane Yost and Franklin Klase. They all entered first grade together, the three boys each received the Boy Scout Eagle award at the same time and all four graduated with honors from Benton High School. John and Jim registered in the engineering school. Franklin went for the college of liberal arts for business administration and Betty Jane for elementary education.
• On a Saturday in January, 1942, Helen Kent Dixon, Benton, became the bride of Edward Karns, Orangeville, in the South Williamsport Methodist Church. Helen Kent graduated from Benton High School in 1937 and from Bloomsburg State Teachers College in 1941. At the time of the marriage she was teaching first and second grade in Orangeville. The groom was graduated from Benton High School in 1937 and at the time of the marriage was working at the American Car and Foundry Company, Berwick.
• Beatrice Drescher, Stillwater, became engaged to John McMichael, Stillwater, early in January, 1942. "Bea" was a graduate of Benton Vocational High School and the Geisinger Memorial Hospital's School of Nursing. At the time of the engagement, Bea was the assistant nursing arts instructor at Geisinger Hospital. John was also a Benton graduate and was employed at the Bloomsburg Silk Mill at the time of the marriage.
• Even as life went on back then, things came to an abrupt halt when the air raid alarms went off. The air raid warden and the fire company required that no one use the phones during an alarm of any kind, except in the case of an emergency. "The lines must be kept clear," the authorities demanded, and reminded local citizens that if "you are in your car, park immediately and go for shelter." Two blasts of the air-raid siren meant business! One blast meant "all clear."
Didja ever think that the happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have?
The article which originally appeared in this location on this day relating to the development of the telephone system of the local area has been transferred to FEATURES and appears here in a consolidated form.
November 11, 2008. It is the day we pay tribute to the dedicated service and sacrifice of the men and women who in defense of our freedom have bravely worn the uniform of the United States. It is the day we once knew as "Armistice Day" or "Remembrance Day" to commemorate the signing of the agreement that ended World War I at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. The day was changed to Veterans Day in 1954. At that time, it became a day to honor all the men and women who have served in the armed forces of the United States. Don't bother heading to the bank or the post office today.
The L.R. Appleman Elementary Center will honor veterans with a ceremony at 10 AM. The ceremony is open to the public. Members of the V.F.W. Post #8317 will be honored, all veterans in attendance will be recognized, as well as a presentation to the Veteran of the Year. Students will tell how the day was named, the meaning of the day, sing some patriotic songs, and make all guests feel very welcome. A free luncheon for registered veterans follows.
It is a good day to listen to the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. Go to http://patriotfiles.org/Pledge.htm.
It is the tenth anniversary of Starla Grassley operating the Kozy Korner Restaurant. If you don't know about the Kozy Korner, head here.
Congratulations to step-daughter Lydia Becker, 37, Camp Hill, first-place woman's winner in Sunday's Harrisburg Marathon in which 1,160 runners participated. Lydia placed 33rd overall in 3:03:02. Lydia has been running marathons for 12 years.
Somehow Fall got away from us before we showed all the autumn scenes from the Benton area. There is a video from the "Close to Home" page http://www.joyinthemorningetc.com/close8.html dedicated to the waning of summer and the arrival of fall. As days hurried on and the bright colors faded away, animals found new paths to get to their destination. Enjoy the vibrant colors of the leaves, the thoughtful poses of the deer, squirrel and turkey. All photography was shot from Paperdale and Kinney Roads outside Stillwater and it is all courtesy of Jim and Dottie Moore.
Didja ever wonder why drug addicts and computer aficionados are both called users?
The 240,000 available tickets for the inauguration of President-elect Obama are supposed to be free to the public and distributed through congressional offices, but are being offered for exorbitant prices at places like craigslist.com.
There is a "this-spring" albino deer with a coat as white as snow and eyes a delicate pink in the Benton area.
Over the years we've read about true albino deer, usually separate from the main herds as if they were being shunned and usually seen only during the cover of twilight or darkness, usually too shy to be approached. Some might say that an albino is a freak of nature and they would not want the deer to reproduce since it would degrade the species. At the risk of having sportsmen get their knickers in a knot, I would suggest that this deer be allowed to enjoy our beautiful scenery for a few more years.
The Philadelphia Inquirer in its edition of November 20, 1910, told of a Williamsport man killing a large albino deer. The deer was shot on the Larry's Creek Club preserve. With the exception of a small brown spot on the nose, the deer, which weighed nearly 250 pounds, was pure white. Although the deer was eventually shot, it enjoyed several years in the wild and provided enjoyment to a large number of people.
An albino deer is often regarded with superstitious feelings, especially by French-Canadians. Older French-Canadians claim they never kill or molest an albino, and feel there is an evil influence about the deer. I read in a March 1902 edition of Labor Advocate published in the Adirondacks about an albino that residents tried to run down in the heavy snow and capture alive. Regretfully, some dogs got to it before the people did.
It is legal to ask a hunter not to shoot this albino, but it is illegal under the laws of the Commonwealth to harass a hunter into not shooting it. I admire this tiny deer very much and hope that it is not killed. There is nothing superstitious about my decision not to shoot it--but, hey, with the luck I have been having, it is easier to be safe than sorry.
For information on the management of the deer population in our Commonwealth, visit the Game Commission’s YouTube video.
The article which originally appeared in this location on this day relating to the development of the telephone system of the local area has been transferred to FEATURES and appears here in a consolidated form.
Didja ever think, like most initiatives brought about by the Government,
what it costs for a financial-crisis bailout
will exceed what it should cost to fix the problems
the crisis actually caused?
Quote of the Day:
"The Best Little Village by a DRILL Site."
The development of the potential of the Marcellus shale creates opportunity in abundance for the local area, but with the good comes some degree of risk. Readers would be well served to read a report which highlights potential issues to consider if full-scale development occurs in the Marcellus shale. The report can be found here.
November 10, 2008. It is the birthday of Frank E. Beishline. It is the wedding anniversary of Allison and Michael Hack. It is the birthday of Martin Luther (1483). Originally organized as naval infantry in 1775 and known as the Continental Marines, the U.S. Marines Corps celebrates its 233rd birthday today. Semper Fi!
One Benton daughter had to go to great lengths in order to exercise her right to vote. It didn't happen quite like walking to downtown Benton or driving to the township building to vote.Reverend Doctor Donna Laubach Moros, granddaughter of Harry and Clara Laubach, Benton, lives in Merida, Venezuela. Donna's ballot did not get to South America from Mercer County, New Jersey, the last place she registered while on homeleave as a missionary for the Presbyterian Church USA. Unlike Dr. Frank, she did not have a homestead in Benton, but had to wait for the mailman to bring her ballot. Donna suspects that the ballot was never sent from Trenton. She flew to the capital city Caracas, attended a meeting on theological education, then headed for the bunker of the American Embassy, the American Citizens Division, and filled out an absentee ballot. It was delivered by diplomatic pouch to the office in Trenton. So, among those votes, was one cast by Donna.
Donna volunteered that she voted for Obama, believing him to be "more dialogical and more rational in decision making." To her, an end of the war in the middle east and hope for no more wars in any area of the world today" is important. She felt a kinship with the "spirituality of this bicultural son of America," saying that he is much like her own children who are a "mixture of race, culture, and are highly educated." Her Venezuelan-American children are mixes of "Afro, American Indian, and Germanic-Laubach cultures." All three are pursuing doctoral studies in the United States and Europe. Donna continues to watch the coming years with great hope for the "mestizo president," while cheering for her own multicultural children and grandkids.
Didja ever wonder why it is that families have to squeeze their budgets
when the federal government refuses to squeeze its budget?
Another Pennsylvania covered bridge has met with disaster. The historic Gudgeonville covered bridge, an 84-foot multiple king-post truss covered bridge over Elk Creek in Girard Township, Erie County, built in 1868 and the oldest of the three remaining covered bridges in Erie County, was burned on the night of November 7.
The article which originally appeared in this location on this day relating to the development of the telephone system of the local area has been transferred to FEATURES and appears here in a consolidated form.
Didja ever think that the only people affected by gun control
are middle class, law-abiding citizens?
If we ever locked up all our violent criminals
and had enough prisons to house these evil doers,
I then might consider reconsidering my position.
Miriam E. Kuziak (Feb. 7, 1931-Nov. 8, 2008), a frequent user of the Senior Center at the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center, died Saturday at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville. She was 77. She had lived in Bloomsburg previously for 44 years and at the time of her death lived at Kramer Hill Road, Benton. She was a daughter of the late George and Bessie (Wills) Getty. She was born in Centralia and was a 1949 graduate of Con-Cen High School, Aristes. Survivors include three daughters: Shelley Kuziak, Bloomsburg, Holly Steinruck (Ronald), Benton, and Lori Kuziak, Ephrata; two grandchildren: Nathan and Kaylee Steinruck; two sisters: Eleanor Searls, Kulpmont, and Beverly Weikel (Charles), East Brunswick, New Jersey; three brothers: Earl Getty (Trudy), East Brunswick, New Jersey, Donald Getty (Sandra), Stevens, and Gerald Getty (Pauline), Kulpmont; and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband of 44 years, Paul J. Kuziak, March 8, 2003, and a sister, Jean Fisher, in 1981. Funeral services will be Thursday, November 13, at 11 AM ,with friends received preceding, from the Allen Funeral Home, 745 Market at Eighth Street, Bloomsburg. Burial will be in St. Paul's Lutheran Cemetery, Numidia.
--Obituary courtesy of the Oct. 9 edition of the Press Enterprise, where a complete obituary can be found
November 9, 2008. It is the birthday of Christopher Kelsey, Budd Fritz and Ginny Mazzei.
Limping along with fingers on my left hand that aren't functioning, without my laptop computer and without a reliable way of sending a web version of the Benton News and one of the email lists, simply isn't easy. I blew leaves Saturday afternoon using a gas-powered leaf blower. No problem. But later when I tried to use my left hand, I was unable to control my fingers. I absolutely cannot type with my left hand. My fingers will not work. There is more pecking on this page than a woodpecker. This will be a short edition. Frankly, I would rather see Beverly Hills Chihuahua than have to type this edition.
"Amazing Grace," as most of you know who have glanced at the bottoms of your Sunday hymnals, was written by John Newton (1725-1807), but there are things about old John that you might not know. John had a tough beginning. Born in 1725, he went to sea at the age of nine as an orphan. He deserted from the British Navy, but was captured, placed in irons and publicly whipped. He signed on with a slave ship carrying human cargo from Africa to America. Whipping ahead to when John was 23, his ship almost went down in a violent storm, and he turned to God and began studying the Bible, while becoming a captain of his own slave ship. At the age of 33, he gave up the life on the high seas and became a minister in the Church of England. Legend has it that he still wore a sea captain's uniform, carried a Bible in one hand and a cane in the other. While serving as pastor of a church in Olney, England, he composed "Amazing Grace". Perhaps the best known hymn in America today, it was originally known as "New Britain" or "Harmony Grove". Newton's lyrics sum up the Christian doctrine of Divine grace and loosely came from the text of Ephesians 2:4-8.
"Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed."
I received a number of questions about getting ready for a momentary uptick in the stock market for oversold stocks--being "selectivelly bullish" might be a better way of saying it-- which did come Friday. Although the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Money Morning and others are generally positive about the new administration and its ability to avert a global recession, the fundamentals are there: more and major debt collapse on the horizon as the nation wrestles with the worst federal deficits in our lifetime. There are housing and commercial real-estate problems, the stock markets are in the tank, automakers are on the verge of bankruptcy, and Humpty Dumpty isn't able to put it all back together again.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
can't put the economy together again.
A dollar amount larger than I could ever understand has been lost on the market--and on financial rescues, the sinking economy, real estate values. Mid-level companies are in a "Mell of a Hess."
The bottom line is that the stock market should continue in its up and down pattern--like Uncle Charlie's knee, good one day, bad the next. It is going to take more than a rally or two to get this country out of the economic recession in which we find ourselves. Look at it this way. If the pillar of the automobile industry either must have a federal bailout or go bankrupt, things are bad! General Motors lost $3.25 billion in the first quarter and $15.5 billion in the second quarter this year. A merger of two companies neither of which is making money won't work.
And then there are banks hanging on for dear life... Don't worry about our local bank. The last FDIC rating of the former Columbia County Farmers National Bank was a resoundingly good "A-." A rating on the merged bank has not yet been released, but is expected to be good. There are probably hundreds of banks in distress right now hoping to hang on until spring. Happy days aren't here to stay--yet.
November 8, 2008. It is the birthday of school-board member Bob Ridall and Raven Creek member and organizer Joe Feola. On this day in 1769, two separate tracts of five hundred and thirty acres each of "Penn Manor Lands" were surveyed in what is now generally known as Benton and named for London's Putney Common, a large, wild-green area close to Putney and Barnes in south-west London, an area often used for organized sports activities and for walks in the wild yet close to the city, an area known for its rare wildlife, bird life and plant life. The second warrantee of the local Penn Manor Lands was Francis Hopkinson, father of 12, a District Judge of the United States for the State of Pennsylvania, a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1776 where he signed the Declaration of Independence. He died in 1791.
The warrants for the upper Fishing Creek land were issued eighty-nine years after Penn received what is now Pennsylvania, on March 6, 1770. The warrants were for land on Fishing Creek, "eight or ten miles above the end of Fishing creek mountain," or about two miles north of the town of Benton.
• President-Elect Obama and his press office have created a new YouTube-type web site at http://change.gov. The web site includes many previously posted policy positions in a blog-like fashion. intimate family pictures, web forms for people to share stories and YouTube videos.
• In the 117th District, State Representative Karen Boback, R-Harveys Lake, won Tuesday by an overwhelming margin capturing more than 70% of the votes. Columbia County voters gave Rep. Boback the highest percentage of votes at 74.5% with Rep. Boback at 685 votes while her opponent had 227. All totals are unofficial at this writing.
• In Harrisburg, Sutliff Chevrolet will honor all veterans with its annual Veterans Day ceremony at 10 AM Tuesday. Remarks and a prayer of remembrance will be followed by recognition of veterans in attendance and the raising of the giant American flag on the tallest flagpole in the area (140 feet). The event will take place at 13th and Paxton streets, Harrisburg.
• Didja know that PPL Corporation controls more than 11,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the United States, sells energy in key U.S. markets and delivers electricity to about 4 million customers in Pennsylvania and the United Kingdom?
• By now, many readers have seen the "Wing and a Prayer" YouTube video of an airplane landing after losing a wing. Is it real or a digitally altered video? Go here and find out. And while you are at www.snopes.com, take the time to read about other stories that make their rounds on the internet.
It was nice to hear from GySgt Joel Y. Whitmoyer, currently stationed in the United Kingdom. Joel is the son of Dennis and Ruby Whitmoyer, Benton. With the holiday season approaching and so many of our local sons and daughters serving in the United States military away from friends and family, it would be a nice gesture if you would peck out a few lines to say hello from Back Home in Benton, PA. These guys and gals have a dedication of which we are all proud. In his email, Joel mentioned that a captured North Koran Major once said, "Panic sweeps my men when they are facing the American Marines." The address is GySgt Joel Whitmoyer, PSC 46 Box 118, APO AE 09469.
It didn't seem to "rattle the bush," as Lee Remley is fond of saying, when Penn State geologist Terry Engelder reported that earlier estimates of the natural gas in the Marcellus Shale needed to be adjusted upwards by an order of seven! We didn't exactly understand the figure of 50 trillion cubic feet of gas and now that the figure has been upped to 392 trillion cubic feet we are completely bamboozled. The new figure is something like 13 times the annual natural gas production in the entire United States. (Sure--go back and read that last sentence again!) With the Commonwealth facing up to a $3 billion shortfall by the end of the fiscal year in June, look for the Guv to try to get some kind of a tax on gas production.
And wouldn't it be nice if water concerns in the state related to natural gas drilling could be put to rest by the state. A case in point is a polluted water well at Montrose under investigation by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, as well as disposition of fracing fluids and other issues.
Quote of the Day:
"A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money."
--Usually attributed to former Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen
November 7, 2008. It is the birthday of Richard Bardo, Jane Fritz, Lorena Bennett and Peggy Laubach, one of the few Laubachs still living in Laubach, Pennsylvania. It is the anniversary of The Reverend David Diehl becoming the full-time pastor of the Benton Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in 2004. Billy Graham was born on this date in 1918, Al Hirt in 1922, Dame Joan Sutherland in 1926. William Appleman, a farmer in Benton Township was one of many citizens seized by soldiers on the morning of August 31, 1864, because of his opposition to the federal draft. Appleman died on this date in 1883 when he was 73. On this date in 1874, the Raven Creek Church building was dedicated.
It was on this day in 1933 when votes were counted in the Keystone State and sports were eliminated from the forbidden activities of the Blue Laws. The Blue Laws in Pennsylvania meant that things like shopping, drinking and watching sports were not allowed on Sunday.
The site at www.investopedia.com/beginner.asp will take some of the concern out of the financial market as we head toward a period where if you invest you should be paying attention.
On the Benton News blog, there is some discussion of a stone schoolhouse at North Mountain. If anyone has the answer to the questions being asked on the blog, please respond. The reference might be to Greystone, with the burial site at St. Gabriels cemetery.
Today is the deadline for the youth indoor soccer program, at The Center. The program is for children four years until the time they reach sixth grade. Call 925-0163 for more information.
Columbia County will consolidate their operations by agreeing to purchase the First Columbia Bank building in Bloomsburg adjacent to the court house for $825,000 along with the adjacent parking lot for $100,000. When completed early in 2009, most county activities will be in the downtown location while the county office building along Sawmill Road in Scott Township will become home to mostly state- and federally-funded services. The Press Enterprise has a complete article on the purchase.
November 6, 2008. It is the birthday of Charles Hartzell. The high temperature "on the square" Wednesday afternoon was either 61°, 64° or 71°, depending on which temperature reading, taken at the same time, was believable. Wednesday, prices on the stock market tumbled 5.3%. It is now time to carefully select oversold stocks.
The computer motherboard in my laptop, used whenever I am on the road, is kaput. The motherboard allows the parts of the computer to receive power and communicate with one another. For a period of one to three weeks, I will probably be unable to provide a web version of the Benton News while I travel. The email version may be eliminated or curtailed while I travel, too. The problem begins tomorrow and lasts until Sunday.
Just about this time of the year 4000 years ago--1772 B.C., to be exact--the sixth king of the first Babylonian dynasty, who may not have even been Babylonian, issued a code of law. Our earliest history lessons in public schools taught a little about Hammurabi the Great. This guy didn't have the teachings of Socrates, Caesar, Christ or Moses to help guide his code of conduct of "an eye for an eye," "the strong shall not injure the weak" and everyone has a right to get out of life in proportion to what they put in it.
His code touched on kidnapping, property rights, digging canals, stolen property, divorce, military service, regulation of food, inheritance, loans, bankruptcy and edicts between landowners and cultivators. It touched on medical malpractice claims and limits on bankrupting the family of those chronically ill. His country prospered under the code for centuries until politicians came along and dorked it up. Head over to www.fsmitha.com/h1/ch03-ham.htm and learn more about why adding "The Great" to his name made sense.
Didja ever think that the trouble with having an open mind is that people keep trying to put something in it?
Blanche C. Campbell, Basking Ridge, New Jersey, needs some help tracing a family who once leased land from Russell Karns on Distillery Hill. She is looking for information on Thomas O. Campbell from Huntington Township, later Fairmount Township, and an earlier Campbell by the name of James in 1811 in Huntington who bought land from Samuel Culver. Chester (1910 census) is the son of Alexander Campbell who was married to Rebecca Eveland. Thomas O. was married to Rebecca's sister Elizabeth. Alexander and Thomas were at least brothers-in-law, but may have been brothers as well. Alexander and Rebecca are buried in Hamline Cemetery. Thomas and Elizabeth are buried in New Columbus. Contact Blanche at bcamp72855(AT)aol.com
November 13, at 6:30 PM, there will be a candle and fragrance crafts session at Whispering Pines Camping Resorts as they make poured and hand-dipped candles as well as a cinnamon pine-cone basket. Refreshments will be served. It could be a ladies night out! The cost is $6 per person. Reservations are required, but it is open to the public. Whispering Pines Camping Estates has winter sites and rentals available. You can discuss rates by calling 570 925-6810 or 877 925-6810. Their gift shop and convenience store is open 10-6 daily, except for Tuesday and Sunday.
• In Pennsylvania, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission has given approval to natural gas companies to take water from several public water systems, including Tunkhannock, Meshoppen and Towanda. Withdrawals from the public water systems were given the green light under a process known as "Approval by Rule," described at www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol38/38-40/1802.html. The Approval by Rule process now extends to companies that want to use wastewater and acid-mine water for natural-gas well development. A natural-gas company has approached the Benton Water Authority to acquire wastewater.
• Bloomsburg Health System is hosting an open house at its newly renovated Orthopedics and Rehabilitation office at 480 Central Road, Bloomsburg, on Thursday, November 6, from 5:30-7 PM. Stop by to meet orthopedic surgeon Zeferino Martinez, MD, meet the new physical therapy team, check out the new physical therapy satellite clinic, and enjoy light refreshments.
. Pennsylvania's three-day black-bear season opens November 24 and runs through November 26, Only one bear may be taken during the license year. It might be well to read about Wildlife Management Units here.
• An article in the Wall Street Journal's edition of Nov. 5, discusses the "sudden end to the energy boom" in regions of the country like North Texas. The reason is the fall by half of the price of oil and the fall of natural gas by nearly half from its 52-week high of $13.577 per million British thermal units to the Wednesday close of $7.28 per million BTUs. Texas and parts of Pennsylvania have been seeing natural-gas companies pulling lease offers and canceling drilling projects on land they already control. In Texas, drillers are mothballing rigs and laying off employees as landowners watched the leasing business change almost overnight. According to the Wall Street Journal article, analysts predict a 15%-25% decline in drilling nationally during coming months.
. Until 1880, there were fifty different standard times in use in the United States, though nobody had ever heard of daylight saving time.
. Statesmen gathered at Samuel Dimmick's law office, Honesdale, and at that location in 1859 Horace Greeley, Dimmick and others agreed to nominate Abraham Lincoln for president.
. The magazine Saturday Evening Post was first published on August 4, 1821, in Philadelphia. Initially it was four-page newspaper with no illustrations.
A monthly gardening column, Green Thumb Therapy, will appear in future editions of the Benton News. It is appropriate to introduce the author, Kathleen Arcuri, who has made the transition in retirement from psychologist to garden writer--but maybe that’s not so odd! Let's have the author tell you in her own words...
"Immersion in the life cycle of growing things can anchor us to basic human experiences--beauty, abundance, hope, gratitude, nurture, as well as disappointment, humility, hard work, and ultimately mortality. What better way to stay connected to the realities of life outside of the consulting room!
"’I've been gardening for forty years, longer than my stint as a psychologist. I’ve gardened in northern Japan, the Philadelphia suburbs, and for the last fourteen years here in the little village of Divide. If you visit my farm, you’ll find naturalized perennial plantings, a motley collection of trees, prairie grasses, and a large vegetable plot. But I’ll also write about many other plants growing in this area, including houseplants native to more exotic climes.
"And sometimes inspiration may come from other parts of the natural world, perhaps from the albino twin fawns who frequented our meadows one year, or from the rosy tones of autumn light. Climate change and its effect on all our gardening endeavors will also play a supporting role in my stories about the characters of the plant world.
"For the last year-and-a-half, I've had the privilege of writing "Green Thumb Therapy" for the Danville Daily Item. During this time, I accrued a following of readers who receive my column online. My column will now be included in the Benton News. So watch for it on the first Sunday of each month, and maybe you too will subscribe to the Chinese proverb: "If you want to be happy all of your life, be a gardener."
THE GREAT PUMPKIN
No, this is not a Charlie Brown story -- it’s about the first Thanksgiving, and the orange squash which many have suggested should be the national vegetable (or fruit).
Pumpkins have been part of the diet of the Americas for thousands of years, probably originating in Central America. North American Indians grew them as a food staple for centuries and fortunately shared their harvest with the Pilgrims, who adopted them for sustenance during the challenging adjustment to their new home.
Perhaps thanks to the pumpkin, we are all here today, preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving--honoring the generosity of Native Americans, and the bountiful foodstuffs available in this Great Land.
Although not specifically mentioned in diary entries about the first Thanksgiving, historians feel that the pumpkin was likely part of the famous harvest celebration of 1621. But pumpkin pie it was not! The Pilgrims reportedly cut off the top; filled the cavity with wild apples and cranberries; and baked it in hot ashes right in the shell.
Thankfully, the seeds of these original pumpkins have been saved. Called "Connecticut Field," these 20-pound fruit have bright-orange skin and golden flesh. For those who want to grow a smaller hybrid of this behemoth, there’s "New England Sugar Pie," dating from at least 1863, and weighing in at four to five pounds (both can be ordered from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, at 417-924-8917, or http://rareseeds.com/.
Now fast forward to 1929 Chicago and the Libby canning factory, where a new product rolled down the production line--canned pumpkin puree. With this, the Thanksgiving holiday tradition of pumpkin pie really came into its own.
The Libby folks are still the largest suppliers of canned pumpkin, contracting 5000 acres around Morton, Illinois, the self-proclaimed "Pumpkin Pie Capital of the World." And Libby’s also has a monopoly on the variety grown, the Dickinson, which they’ve been perfecting for years--a small meaty pumpkin very different from the watery Jack-o-Lantern type.
Finally, a charming part of pumpkin history is the derivation of the odd-sounding name. Spanish Conquistadors quickly appreciated the value of the big orange orbs, and shipped the seeds to all corners of the globe. A Greek word "pepon" ("large melon") was used to describe them; nasalized by the French to "pompon;" pronounced "pumpion" by the English (see Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor”); and finally christened "pumpkin" by the American colonists.
The Native American word "askutasquash" ("eaten raw or cooked”), was abridged to describe the whole family of summer and winter squash.
Perhaps during this time of Thanksgiving, we should pay homage to the beneficent natives and their bountiful homeland, and close the gratitude circle:
"A noble person is thankful and mindful of the favors He receives from others."
"Gratitude to gratitude always gives birth."
So say thank you by doing something special for someone this month--maybe even bake them a pumpkin pie!
Didja ever think that Daylight Saving Time is a little like cutting a foot off the top of a blanket, sewing it to the bottom of the blanket and then proclaiming that a longer blanket has been created?
Louise (Guido) Mazzei, Jersey City, passed away November 2, 2008. She was 80. She was the widow of the late Peter N. Mazzei, and the mother of Ginny Mazzei and her husband Carl Chimi, Benton; Loretta (Dennis) Crowley; and Peter J (Sonia Manalo). She was the sister of Nancy O'Keefe and the late Tony, Patsy, Pete Guido and Helen Masciale. The funeral was conducted from the Alvarez-Marshello Funeral Holme, 235 Ege Avenue, Jersey City, New Jersey, on Wednesday, November 5, 2008, at 9 AM. The entombment was in Holy Cross Mausoleum, North Arlington, New Jersey.
Willard C. Mace (July 12, 1920-November 5, 2008), a former chemical operator for Merck Riverside for 30 years, died Wednesday at his home on Kramer Hill Road, Benton. He was 88. He was a son of the late Lawrence and Minnie (Klawitter) Mace. He was born in Mt. Carmel. He served in World War II and the Korean War. He was awarded the American Area Campaign Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Medal with one star, the World War II Victory Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. He is survived by his widow, Leona M. (Stewart) Mace, with whom he celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary on May 12; his daughters Brenda Steinruck (Ted), Benton; Evelyn Camfield (Les Jr.), Fairborn, Ohio; Ellen Craig (John), Bloomsburg; six grandchildren and six great grandchildren and a sister, Evelyn Erdley, Danville. Funeral services will be held Saturday, November 8, at 11 AM with viewing preceding at the Stillwater Christian Church. Burial will be in the Stillwater Cemetery with military honors conducted by a combined veterans group.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will be published in the Press Enterprise in its edition of November 6, 2008.
November 5, 2008. ABC News predicted the state of Pennsylvania will go for Sen. Obama. This prediction came three minutes after the polls closed at 8 PM. Watch for a market sell-off today and then begin watching for buying opportunities. And watch out for the fog this morning. Gas prices in Camp Hill Tuesday afternoon were $2.109 for regular, unleaded gas. Local prices began at $2.399 Tuesday afternoon.
Unofficial voting results...
Benton Borough and Benton Township...
• President and Vice-President of the United States:
• Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Democratic Party
Benton Borough, 136
Benton Township, 206
• John McCain and Sarah Palin, Republican Party
Benton Borough, 164
Benton Township, 330
The Press Enterprise provides unofficial tabulations for Columbia County: McCain 13,704 to Obama's 12,597. In Pennsylvania, Sen. Obama defeated Sen. McCain by over 630,000 votes out of a total of over 5.7 million cast in the state.
Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a four-year term:
• John M. Morganelli, Democratic Party
Benton Borough, 90
Benton Township, 177
• Tom Corbett, Republican Party
Benton Borough, 197
Benton Township, 357
Representative in Congress, 11th Congressional District, a two-year term
• Paul E. Kanjorski, Democratic Party
Benton Borough, 118
Benton Township, 177
• Lou Barletta, Republican Party
Benton Borough, 179
Benton Township, 369
Rep. Kanjorski was the eventualy winner, but Barletta won Columbia County 15,417 to 10,893.
Senator in the General Assembly, 27th Senatorial District, a four-year term
• John R. Gordner, Republican Party
Benton Borough, 268
Benton Township, 455
Representative in the General Assembly, 117th Legislative District, a two-year term
• Russ Bigus, Democratic Party
Benton Borough, 63
Benton Township, 154
• Karen Boback, Republican Party
Benton Borough, 242
Benton Township, 391
Dr. Boback easily defeated Bigus in the 117th District.
Ballot Question: Vote Yes or No
Do you favor the incurring of indebtedness by the Commonwealth of $400,000,000 for grants and loans to municipalities and public utilities for the cost of all labor, materials, necessary operational machinery and equipment, lands, property, rights and easements, plans and specifications, surveys, estimates of costs and revenues, feasibility studies, engineering and legal services and all other expenses necessary or incident to the acquisition, construction, improvement, expansion, extension, repair or rehabilitation of all or part of drinking water system, storm water, nonpoint source projects, nutrient credits and wastewater treatment system projects?
Benton Borough, 166
Benton Township, 225
Benton Borough, 114
Benton Township, 280
About 62% of Pennsylvania voters went for the measure.
Rep. David Millard will again represent Columbia County, defeating Democrat Nancy Schott.
A final tally of voters is not available at this writing. At 6 PM, 333 had cast ballots out of the 568 registered voters in the township. There were 12 absentee ballots.
There are 593 registered voters in the township; 308 ballots were cast. It was interesting that two proponents of candidates were stationed outside the Fire Hall where the voting took place. One well-fed volunteer looked very hungry, but said he had nothing to eat until the polls closed, although he admitted that his candidate had dropped off some tee shirts for him--which didn't seem like such a bad idea in the 63° weather. The volunteer representing the interests of the opponent noted he was well fed. His candidate's team had brought him two dozen doughnuts (as if anyone should eat two dozen doughnuts)! There were 30 absentee ballots cast.
There were 553 ballots cast. A reluctant, youthful volunteer outside the township building approached as voters arrived at the polling place. "Support Pro-Live, Support John McCain," he almost whispered. The middle-aged man beside him then walked forward and said, "All the same. We want to see babies saved by not being killed by abortion." He then took a few steps back, then in a volume level higher than before, he commanded "get some chips on the way out." Another simply said, "We are working for John McCain." There were 37 absentee ballots cast in Benton Township.
Thursday, November 27, is Thanksgiving this year. Turkey Tuesday happens the Tuesday before Thanksgiving at the cafeteria in the Benton Middle/High School. "Jared Kline and Bill Bailey grew a couple of turkeys" and Mr. McCracken's AG kids get together and prepare a meal and invite family and friends to "get stuffed." It isn't run as a fund raiser, although there is a donation jar where everyone who attends who can donates an amount which helps to enrich the activities of the group. "It is for anyone in the community who wants to go eat turkey with us," Mr. McCracken explained. He even noted that if someone wants to come and they don't have the money they should still attend. Mr. McCracken said the event will start about 6:30 or 7 and when the boys decide he'll let us all know. And we'll let you know...
• Didja know that on this date in 1912, Woodrow Wilson won the United States presidential election, becoming the only president to defeat two former presidents in one election? In an unusual, four-cornered contest, Democrat Wilson received 41% of the vote, Teddy Roosevelt running on the Bull Moose ticket got 27%, President Taft, the Republican candidate, got 23% and the Socialist nominee, Eugene V. Debs, got 6%.
• Ginny Mazzei (pronounced May-zee) is one of the many active volunteers at The Center where she teaches yoga classes. Ginny grew up in Jersey City, New Jersey, but appreciates the friendliness and charms of this area. Ginny’s mother, Louise Mazzei, 80, passed away Monday morning at her home in Jersey City.
• The Chris Robinson Oil/Gas Group will hold a meeting tonight at The Center beginning at 7. Group leaders will be on site at 6 PM. The final-lease document and side letter will be discussed in full detail at the meeting. Both documents have been revised (per legal counsel) and address many issues discussed at last week's meeting. This will be the final discussion/review of the documents before the lease signing on November 11-13, 2008. Due to limited seating at the Center, it is advisable for your comfort to bring a chair.
• If you need products like Microsoft Word or Excel, you might look into the free Open Office software as a substitute for Microsoft Office. Go to www.openoffice.org/ <http://www.openoffice.org/> to download.
• It was reassuring to hear that Boscov's Department Store signed an Asset Purchase Agreement for the sale of substantially all of its assets to a family group led by Albert Boscov, retired Boscov's Inc. chairman, and Edwin A. Lakin, retired Boscov's president. Boscov's closed 10 of its 49 locations after declaring bankruptcy in August.
• Nothing is more perplexing than to get the phone bill and find that someone in our family (and there are only two in our family, if you get my drift!) has incurred a charge of over a dollar to find out a phone number by dialing the number "411." If you need a number to make a call on either your cell phone or your home phone, call 1 800 FREE 411 (1 800 373-3411) without incurring any charges (except for normal phone usage charges.) You will have to listen to a short advertisement.
• Do you have some unopened, not stale-dated food that you would like to contribute to the Council of Churches' Food Bank? There is a container for this purpose at the First Columbia Bank. Do your part to help some hungry people this winter.
Chooseday, November 4, 2008, election day, the day we choose who guides our nation for the next four years. It is the birthday of Jeannette Hartman, Casey Hartman and Carley Jane Kocher.
If you happen to be in the state of Oklahoma today, you will be honoring the rope-yielding cowboy and entertainer who was born in that state in 1879. His rope tricks eventually led to a career on Broadway, the movies, broadcasting and as a newspaper columnist. William Penn Adair Rogers was taught by a former slave how to use a lasso as a tool to work Texas-longhorn cattle. The Wilkes-Barre Times once used the words, "His face isn't his capital. His capital is his brains, his character and his inimitable wit. Mothers and wives think faces like his are beautiful."
He left his position as an Oklahoma cowboy to join a Wild West show as a lariat-thrower. Following his tent experience, he tried his rope act in vaudeville. He appeared in what was called a "two-a-day," then Rogers realized he might improve his lariat-throwing act considerably by adding a little chatter. He wrote a small monologue which he delivered while throwing the rope. The addition made the act a headliner in vaudeville. F. Ziegfeld, Jr. placed him under contract for his "follies."
In addition to his stage duties which kept him busy fifty-two weeks a year, he owned and managed a cattle ranch in Oklahoma. He owned more than 1,000 acres of land and the comedian raised and marketed about 1,500 head of cattle annually. He actually seldom visited his ranch, but directed the daily operation by night messages and letters of instruction to the heads of the various departments on the ranch.
The October 22, 1916, edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer said of Rogers, "When the comedian makes his entrance upon the stage, he is simply Will Rogers, and as Will Rogers succeeds in entertaining an audience by being natural. The former cowboy does not find it necessary to resort to a comedy makeup or a ridiculous costume."
Visit the official Will Rogers Web site to learn more about this man.
Quote from Will Rogers:
"A fool and his money are soon elected."
Didja ever think that maybe Santa is right? If you just visit people once a year, they'll be happy to see you.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has put the lid down on nine sewage plants discharging processed fluids into the Monongahela River that had been hauled from oil- and gas-drilling sites. Drilling companies will need to either find storage for their wastewater (called brine for its salt content) or haul it to sewage plants farther away, such as the one in Franklin, Pennsylvania. Wastewater is different from frac water--water used to break up rocks from oil- and gas-drilling operations. Sewage-treatment plants treat biological waste such as bacteria--not chemical-well waste which could disrupt the treatment processes of the plant. The Benton Sewer Authority has been directed not to accept fluids from frac water, but is discussing the sale of processed water to drilling companies for their use to frac wells.
Didja ever think that faith is the voice in the back of the head that tells you to listen to the voice in the back of your head?
Mark Fritz is a Contributing Editor to Streaming Media Magazine (list of articles) and to http://emedialive.com/. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Columbia County Historical & Genealogical Society and a freelance writer from Bloomsburg with an impressive list of articles to his credit. Mark is working on a biography of inventor Samuel B. McHenry and asks anyone who knows anything about S. B. (stories passed down through your family, for example) to contact him at markfritzATintergrafix.net. The following is an introduction Mark entitles Wacky Inventor's Not-So-Wacky Politics.
"After an overlong and contentious election season, many Americans are probably sick of the whole two-party political system. Below is an essay on that topic written in 1907 by Samuel B. McHenry (1860-1934), whose unique tombstone in the Benton Cemetery has captured the attention of many who have visited there.
"Besides being an eccentric inventor, S. B. was also a bit of a philosopher. He had earned a reputation as being slightly wacky and, in fact, had spent some time in the National Government Hospital for the Insane in Washington, D.C. (around 1911).
But during his lifetime he also managed to obtain more than 30 patents, some for practical things (like the brooms and brushes from which he derived a living) and some for visionary things, like his device for harnessing the energy of tidal waves and converting it into electricity.
"In this essay from a 24-page pamphlet entitled Globe and Sun and How Things Will Be Done, published in 1907, McHenry argues for the abolishment of the two-party system. Like the writings of an idiot savant, S. B.'s essays were a mixture of childlike simplicity and straightforward profundity. Maybe he wasn't as crazy as people thought he was. Or in the words of Shakespeare: "If this be madness, yet there be method to it." See what you think."
Politics "The present system of politics is for one party to down the other in any way they can, to favor and work for the class of people and the principle of those that fought for them to secure the office. The majority of them seem to favor those that worked hard to get them elected.
"To look at it from a disinterested point of view, it would seem as though the party in power was for the party, by the party and to the party.
"The new way would be to abolish all politics, stop having the country continually in an uproar and confusion. Let the old political sword be buried; it is a dangerous thing to handle, it has cut the love of blood relations, it has outgrown its usefulness and it is time it is laid away. Let the people become consolidated. Let them become as one family. Let us drop this party jealousy that is now practiced beyond good reason.
"Let us be a nation for America, by America and to America. What is good for you is good for me and should be good for all American citizens.
"The new way would be not to reduce the number of offices, nor the way of electing them, but instead of having a party issue, let it be a man issue. Let them be chosen at a convention of not more than five nor less than two candidates for each office. And when election day comes, every American citizen must go to the polls and vote or be punished if he cannot furnish good reasons that he was not able to go. Then the man that got the most votes would be the choice of the nation, and any time they show partiality, to be removed from office.
"He who should be a statesman with principles most noble and true; and give us a grand administration under the colors of the red, white and blue. "
S. B. McHenry, published 1907
November 3, 2008. There is one day remaining before election day. Start thinking of when between Tuesday at 7 AM and 8 PM you can get to the polling place. It is the birthday of Doug Pennington and Dan McHenry and the 57th wedding anniversary of Whittier and Joyce Letteer, Stillwater.
It will be a busy week ahead. Tuesday is election. After you vote Tuesday, you can stop to eat at...
• the Benton United Methodist Church, Main Street, from 11 AM to 2 PM.
• the Sugarloaf Memorial Schoolhouse in Grassmere from 8 AM to 7 PM.
• the Millville Fire Hall, from 10 AM through noon, and evening meals.
--As always, complete details are available on the Upcoming Events page of the Benton News, www.bentonnews.net/events1.htm.
There is the annual buckwheat cake and sausage supper Wednesday at the Benton Christian Church, 4:30 to 7 PM. $8 adults.
An act of Congress in 1845 designated the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November as Election Day for future presidential elections. The first such election took place on November 7, 1848. Whig Party candidate Zachary Taylor beat Democrat Lewis Cass and Free-Soil candidate (and former president) Martin Van Buren.
Quote of the Day...
"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first."
Thanksgiving is sandwiched before Christmas and right after Halloween and the election. We will be ever so happy to concentrate on Thanksgiving rather than the election. I remember my parents collecting some of their favorite people on election day and can remember them talking about the Dewey/Truman election. After voting, the women would all collect some of their favorite casseroles and the men would collect some clear beverages with names like "O.B. Special" and head into the mountains with their radios. They would drive up Grassy Hollow out of view of the rest of the world. They all headed for Painter Den in Sullivan County, and there in the flickering light provided by carbide lamps would listen intently to the radio and the results of the election. The broadcast on election night began at 8 PM and ran until after midnight. Various announcers would read the bulletins as they came in. The evening was always a smashing success, even if the election came out differently from what was wanted.
It isn't hard to appreciate the frustration that the Wilkes-Barre Times expressed in its edition of October 13, 1919, when the local elections didn't go the way the paper wanted them to go. The paper noted "Eggs are only 80 cents a dozen now. Do your throwing before they go up."
Speaking of the Wilkes-Barre Times, one of our favorite columns from that newspaper was simply called Coal Dust, and was usually filled with homey tidbits of the "Valley." This tidbit is from the Times edition of October 13, 1919, fifteen days before the (veto by President Wilson and) the overide by Congress of what became known as the Volstead Act. The act intended to stop the production, sale and distribution of alcoholic drinks inside the USA. It was backed up by Church and Women's groups who blamed the fall in moral values (as they saw it) on drink.
"The melancholy days are here,
The saddest of the year.
When Congress says we only can
Have one-half percent beer."
Here is another jingle from the October 13, 1919, edition:
A hick, by jings,
Is Oswald Blose;
He says: "them" things,
When he means "those."
A nut by gum
Is Gussie Green:
I've "saw," he says,
When he means "seen."
After the election is over and the candidates take off for a short vacation before the real work begins, we'll revisit Coal Dust and devote a column to articles from that source. You'll find it a hoot and a good insight into the Wyoming Valley eighty or so years ago. A. J. Minier wrote the articles if you want to research the columns before we begin. Oh, well, heck, some of those won't be much fun after the election. Here are a couple of them relating to elections...
"Mother, may I go out to vote?
Yes, my darling honey;
Before you cast it be real sure
that you can get the money."
--All Coal Dust columns were published in the Wilkes-Barre Times.
And there was this one from 1915 during the period when large suffrage marches and parades were helping to bring the cause of woman suffrage back to the center...
"When men address the women in the future at political meetings, they won't dare begin: 'I am pleased to see so many of the old faces here.'"
We'll close for today with this gem, just as true today as when published on November 2, 1914. It read...
"You bet your life we'll all be glad,
We'll feel we're right in clover
When the cruel war and election
Will both by gosh be over."
November 2, 2008. In 1948 on this date, President Harry Truman (1884-1972) won re-election by a narrow margin in an upset over Republican challenger Thomas E. Dewey. Truman was a prosperous Missouri farmer for 12 years, was a Captain in the Field Artillery in France during World War I, and ran a haberdashery in Kansas City. Truman was elected a judge of the Jackson County Court in 1922 and became a Senator in 1934. During World War II he headed the Senate war investigating committee, checking into waste and corruption. As President, Truman ordered atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japanese surrender quickly followed. In June, 1945, Truman witnessed the signing of the charter of the United Nations. He spearheaded the expansion of Social Security, a full-employment program, and a permanent Fair Employment Practices Act. Truman retired to Independence at age 88. He died in 1972.
Keep Rev. David Diehl of the Benton Christian Church in your prayers tonight. He is a patient in a local hospital.
A site for mapping information is http://atlas.freshlogicstudios.com/. Give it a try.
Quote of the Day:
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."
PPL’s Montour power plant and coal train will be part of a premiere episode of The History Channel about the history and importance of trains in America at 10 PM EST November 11. “Extreme Trains” is hosted by Matt Bown, a train conductor who reveals the incredible inner workings and past lives of the powerful locomotives that haul huge loads across the nation and deliver passengers to their destinations. The eight-part series shows the part these trains have played in shaping American history and how vital trains are to American life today. Matt pitches in with the crew as they load up the train. He learns how the Nazis tried to blow up the tracks during World War II.
Filmmaker Bown followed a 1,400 ton PPL coal train from the Bailey mine in southwestern Pennsylvania, across the famous Horseshoe Curve west of Altoona to its final destination at Montour. The crew then toured the plant and interviewed plant employees and plant manager Michael Munroe.
PPL was one of the power companies to pioneer the idea of owning coal cars. Since 1964, PPL-owned railroad cars have been delivering coal to the company’s Pennsylvania coal-powered plants. By owning its own trains, PPL reduces fuel transportation costs and provides greater certainty of fuel supply.
Over the years, train locomotives operated by such rail giants as Norfolk Southern, Conrail and Penn Central have been used to pull the coal cars. But PPL owns the individual hopper cars. One train with 115 cars carries 14,000 tons of coal. It takes about two minutes per car to unload the coal. The coal is then transferred on conveyors at the plants. In 2007, the Montour plant generated 10.9 billion kilowatt-hours, enough electricity to supply about 1 million typical homes.
Future episodes of the show will cover the use of freight and high-speed trains. Featured trains will include a Union Pacific refrigeration train, a steam train, Amtrak’s Empire Builder, the Ringling Brothers Circus train and the Transcontinental.
Ownership of the 1881 Shoemaker Covered Bridge near Iola has been transferred to the Columbia County Covered Bridges Association. Go here if you have not seen the bridge in person.
The link at www.imdb.com/video/hulu/vi1540882457 will take you to the HULU page where you can watch a full one-hour 1957 episode of the Alfred Hitchcock Hour. This episode stars Robert Redford in his pre-Hollywood years in a Hitchcock story called A Tangled Web. The program includes the original footage of Alfred welcoming us to the show describing his own current condition, and then introducing the movie. Just the first two minutes with Alfred's opening are worth a click of the link to remind you of just how hilarious Hitch could be.
We suspect we'll make some people mad, but head over to www.jibjab.com/originals/time_for_some_campaignin to see how campaigning is going.
Didja remember that the the Electoral College vote by state is equal to the number of its representatives in the House, plus its two Senators. So California, for example, which has more electoral votes than any state, has 55--a total of 53 for each of its congressional districts, plus its two members of the U.S. Senate. Adding up the total electoral votes for all states equals 538; this means that the candidate who gets 270 electoral votes--50% plus 1--wins the presidency.
We are down to where we can count on two fingers the number of days until we vote. We are in the home stretch for those who have been obsessing on the outcome for the past two years. With only two days to go, here is some last-minute advice, even though I haven't heard anyone say they needed it:
• Forget about who is ahead in the national polls. It is usually easy to figure out which side the party supports with those reporting the national-polling figures.
• Watch the state polls. The national figures are made up of 50 states plus the three electoral college votes of the District of Columbia. Ask Al Gore--what counts is not the popular vote, but the aggregate of votes for all the states that come up with 270 electoral votes. You don't vote directly for the president. You vote for the person in your state who will actually vote in the Electoral College. State population determines the number of college votes, ranging from California with 55, to the District of Columbia with three. It is a "winner takes all" vote. Candidates need to receive 270 of the 538 possible votes to become president.
• Senator Obama appears to have a lead in 20 states totaling 238 Electoral College votes. Senator McCain appears to hold a lead in 16 states totaling 127 Electoral college votes. Forgetting about these 36 states for a moment, leaves 15 states (including the District of Columbia) with a total of 173 electoral votes. To be elected, Obama needs to win just 32 of the 173; McCain needs to capture 143.
• The election will most likely be decided among seven states. You can see it is no coincidence that the candidates have spent enormous amounts of time in these important states. Of the seven key states in play, all but one--Pennsylvania--were won by George Bush in 2004. There is no one alive today who has a clue who will win these states, although all the talking heads, within minutes of the closing of the polls, will claim they knew.
• A win in two of the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio or Virginia would most likely mean that the votes of California are not even needed for Sen. Obama. A loss of two of the three of these states would probably mean that the West would decide the election.
• Look for confusion and chaos in voting booths. It is possible judges will be asked to keep polling places open after the designated closing time. There will be challenged ballots. One side will claim that minority votes are suppressed while the other side will claim their opponents are trying to steal the election. One man--and a whole lot of lawyers--will win on Tuesday. Our best hope is that the best man is elected--and that never again will the American public have to endure two years of solid electioneering for the highest office in the land.
November 1, the 306th day of 2008, 50 days until the official start of winter. Today is All Saints Day. It is the birthday of Gloria Milnarik, Walt Leonard and Ethel Kelsey. Ken and Ethel Kelsey celebrate their 67th wedding anniversary. Don't forget to set your clocks back one hour when you go to bed tonight, as we return to standard time on Sunday.
Didja notice how scrap metal prices have dropped to almost nothing?
• Good luck to the Benton Tigers (18-2) as they head to Hughesville at 3 PM to play Loyalsock. The Benton team is without the outstanding goalie David Root, injured in his last game when he was kicked in the head. David has a concussion. The winner of this game will advance to the PIAA playoffs.
• Bravo to the firemen of Benton for their participation in saving Matt and Ashley Snyder's Orangeville home from heavy damage when his father's pizzeria building burned during a blaze that started late Wednesday. Benton firefighters kept the rear of the house coated with fire-suppressing foam to help save it. The Press Enterprise reported about 75 firemen worked the blaze. You can get all the details from the Friday, October 31, edition of the Press Enterprise.
• One of the best of the recent movies is The Secret Life of Bees. A young girl, played by Dakota Fanning, lives on a peach farm with her abusive father. A woman hired by the father to be a stand-in mother is insulted by racists and the girl and the surrogate mother run away to a town where the girl thinks her mother once lived. They live with three estranged sisters on a honey farm, and Lilly soon learns what it is like to have a real family. I would love to see Dakota Fanning, 14, get a "Best Actress" award for her performance.
Many readers will remember and others may recall when...
. in May 1971, William E. Strausser, R.D.2, Bloomsburg, opened a funeral home in the former P.J. Holcombe property on Route 487 in Benton Township. Strausser had purchased the property a few years before he opened the funeral home and in the year before he opened as a funeral year he completed an addition to the property. The location is now the McMichael Funeral Home.
. Charlie Hess delivered large cakes of ice three times a week to Benton residents and even put the ice in their wooden ice boxes.
A vicar visiting St. Gabriel's Church came up the valley and encountered Federal troops encamped at Appleman's Grove, just below the Borough along Fishing Creek. When the vicar reached the peace and quiet at the Swartwout House above Benton which was nestled among the large pine trees he gave the property the name "Pine Rest."
. When Professor George J. Keller, Bloomsburg, often called the only "college professor-lion tamer in the world," brought five of his best wild-animal performers to the 1938 Farmer's Picnic. He also moved his entire Jungle Farm exhibit to Benton, consisting of over thirty different specimens. The big feature of the attraction was the collection of rare albino animals. Excitement was high over the appearance of Prof. Keller, since he had just returned from New York where he broadcast over a nationwide radio hookup on training wild animals. A baby bear, known nationwide as "Grumpy," came along and created quite a hit, since he was the only bear ever to have been heard over the radio at that time. Prof. Keller also brought along several circus ponies to provide rides for children.
• "Tick-tacks" were once a main part of how Halloween was celebrated. A "tick-tack" was a piece of thread about a foot long, with a thumbtack on one end and a small weight that was often notched on the other end. The tack would be pushed in at the top of the window sill, with the weight hanging down, near the glass. A long thread came from the weight, and was held by someone hidden away from the area. When pulled, the thread would cause the weight to tap on the window. usually, the homeowner would go outside to see what it was, but couldn't see the "tick-tack" in the darkness. Once the resident of the house went inside, the cord was pulled again.
• "Corning" was also a popular Halloween diversion. It simply involved throwing hard kernels of corn at houses sided with aluminum.
• In the Divide area, old timers warned young children to "watch out for the 'Monkey Moonshine'(the carved scary pumpkin) on Halloween. One of the old-timers remembered the term, but was a bit hazy on its meaning. Lee Remley said it was simply a light inside a carved pumpkin, but I suspect there is more to the story.