October 31, 2009. Rick Wilson and Rod Vincent celebrate their birthdays today. It is Halloween . This is a good night to change the batteries in your smoke alarm. Move your clocks back one hour.
Quickies...• Bloomsburg Hospital will host a free buffet dinner for all area veterans in the hospital’s dining room. Reservations are requested. Details, as always, on the upcoming events page.• Huber Kline, Main Street, decided to run as a write-in candidate for borough council. There are three seats available. Jan Jankowski is on the ballot and Diane Laubach is running as a write-in candidate for the second position. Huber will make the third candidate.• Harry Warner has been "been kicking back in the hospital getting rid of a bunch of blood clots in the lungs." He says he is doing OK now, although he is on Coumadin for six months.
• Get in the mood for all the fun tonight by playing a game of Halloween hangman .Tonight in the borough is trick or treat from 6 to 8. Children should have a fun time but remain safe while trick or treating this Halloween. The Center is sponsoring a Halloween party from 6 PM to 10 PM. Wear a costume and enjoy entertainment and dancing with music provided by the Silver Foxx DJ. Prizes will be awarded for the best costumes. Cookies, cakes, candy and beverages will be provided, but feel free to bring a Halloween treat to share with other party goers. For more information, call The Center at 925-0163.
• Benton Area Schools Class of 1957 recently got together for lunch at Strevig's restaurant. You can view the class members in attendance by going here.
• Gas drilling in the local area is just getting underway on the farm of Merle and Christine Martin on route 487 north of the borough, adjacent to St. Gabriel's church. A new web album will travel with the well progress over the coming months and years. You can find this album here. You can print, copy and download pictures from this album. Contributions of additional pictures would be appreciated.Here are some simple guidelines for tonight's trick or treating...
- Check that your kids’ costumes are flame-resistant. There is a chance of a shower, so make sure the children stay dry.
- Kids like to be warriors, so keep their fake knives or swords soft and flexible.
- Keep safe by using reflector strips on children’s costumes and bags.
- Stay with your children on their rounds, or send someone you trust with them. Do your walking in familiar neighborhoods and if possible with familiar people.
- Make sure that the kids walk and stay on the sidewalks. Cross at intersections and crosswalks, not between cars. Look both ways before crossing the street. Streets will be very dark tonight. Don’t cut through yards, the park or alleys. Don't trip over lawn ornaments.
- Stop only at well-lighted homes if outdoor lights are on. Carry a flashlight with fresh batteries.
- Make sure your child knows your phone number.
- Inspect all treats before you let your kids eat them. Don't eat anything that is already opened.One night after he hit two home runs, Chase Utley hit into the crucial double play Thursday, with Rivera earning the save in the Yankees' 3-1 victory over the Phils. The World Series is tied at one game each, with Game 3 scheduled for tonight in Philadelphia. Last night was a bye.The last time that the Phils and the Yankees met in the World Series, Joe McCarthy was flaunting his "subversives" list, John L. Lewis had just won his United Mine Workers their first industry-wide contract, Transcontinental and Western Air, Inc. (TWA) changed its name to Trans World Airlines, troops had swarmed ashore at Inchon, the president of Boston University warned that "if the television craze continues with the present level of programs, we are destined to have a nation of morons" and the Yankees swept the Phillies in the World Series.Lets quickly review the World Series from 59 years ago.The Phillies were at the top of the National League thanks to twenty-game winner Robin Roberts. Roberts pitched three times in the last five days of the regular season and cinched the National-League pennant.
Curt Simmons had 17 wins, but was shipped to the Army shortly before the series began. Rookie pitchers Bob Miller and Bubba Church were injured. The Phillies brought in thirty-three-year-old right-hander Jim Konstanty, who had not made a single start during the 1950 regular season.
The Yankees were the defending World Champions and had swept six previous World Series in twenty-four years and captured twelve World Series titles. Konstanty allowed only one run and four hits in eight-innings. Unfortunately for the Phillies, Philadelphia's Vic Raschi pitched a two-hit, 1-0 shutout for the opening lead.
Roberts was ready for Game 2. He went against New York's Allie Reynolds and the two pitchers battled through a 1-1, nine-inning standoff. Through two regulation games, there had been a total of three runs scored as the pitchers dominated the contest. Joe DiMaggio added a fourth to the total after launching a leadoff homer in the tenth for a 2-1 triumph.
In the third game, the Phillies called upon Ken Heintzelman. The lefthander started in game 3 against Eddie Lopat and carried a 2-1 lead going into the eighth. After retiring the first two Yankees, Heintzelman walked three consecutive batters in the inning. Konstanty came in. Bobby Brown grounded to Granny Hamner. The Phillies' shortstop fumbled, and the tying run scored. In the ninth inning, Jerry Coleman stepped up and sealed the 3-2 victory.
Dear oh dear! The Phillies had lost by three consecutive one-run decisions. Casey Stengel introduced Ed "Whitey" Ford in the fourth game. Yogi Berra led-off the Yankees' attack with a run-scoring single and a bases-empty homerun, Ford breezed into the ninth inning with a 5-0 lead. A shutout seemed inevitable for Ford as he forced Andy Seminick to hit a fly to leftfield. Gene Woodling dropped the ball and both Phillies runners scored. Reynolds came in to get the last out, making the Philadelphia Yankees 5-2 winners and repeat champions.
Ford set several World Series records and holds the World Series records for most wins (ten) and most strikeouts (ninety-four).
Rev. Al Lumpkin has special memories of the "Whiz Kids." He has a baseball signed by that team and one of his cousin's (Granny Hamner's) bats. Al lived in Wilmington "back then" and frequently went to Shibe Park to see the Phillies. He got passes from his cousin and often met and talked to the players after the games. As a kid, he got the chance to "know Roberts, Simmons, Ashburn, Waitkus, and Konstanty and the others." Al remembers that it was "kind of a thrill for a kid to have Robin Roberts know me by name. Once I went to Philly to see the Roberts/Don Newcomb dual. The only seats Granny could get for us was in the press box, where I sat four or five seats away from Danny Kaye, who was an avid Dodgers fan and crazier in person than he was on the screen."
My Deadskins rant continues today. A guy walked into a bar wearing a Washington Redskins jersey and carrying a little dachshund with a Redskins jersey and a little Redskins helmet. The guy says to the bartender, "Can my dog and I watch the Redskins game here? My TV at home broke and my dog and I want to see the game."
The bartender replied, "Dogs in the bar are not normally allowed, but it's not terribly busy, so you and the dog can have a seat at the end of the bar. If there is any trouble with you or the dog, you'll have to leave."
The guy agreed and he and his dog start watching the game. Pretty soon the Redskins kick a field goal and the dachshund jumps up on the bar and walks down the bar and gives everyone a high five. The bartender says, "Hey, that's cool! What does he do for a touchdown?"
The guys answers, "I don't know, I've only had him for two years."
October 30, 2009. Congratulations were going out last year to the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies, the winner of the 2008 World Series--the first for the team in 28 years. The bottom line for the series: Phils 4, Rays, 1. This year, it is the Yankees' turn to get whooped. Marcia Worley, Dover, Pennsylvania, daughter of Marcia Kay Kline, has been moved from Holy Spirit Hospital, Camp Hill, to Select Care Hospital, Camp Hill. She is expected to remain in Select Care for two to three weeks. Marcia is improving, but continued prayers are needed.
We love to listen to the circular reasoning of people, including politicians. Language today is replete with obscurity and vagueness. Few people say what they are actually thinking. What is really meant is hidden so the listener doesn't know what the speaker knows or doesn't know.
I violate the passive-voice rule, and can't seem to break myself of it. Passive voice, for those who forget, ignores an active verb. As a result, nothing gets done, grammatically speaking, and no one can be blamed for anything. It often insures that the reader doesn't understand what you really mean. "A tax credit for first-time homebuyers and a reduced credit to some repeat buyers is proposed." Contrast this with "the Senate agreed Wednesday to a tax credit for first-time homebuyers and a reduced credit to some repeat buyers." The example reports the passage of the tax credits occurred without assessing blame or credit. (The government and individuals are miraculously absent from the picture.) Passive voice takes the emphasis off yourself by avoiding the first person or other parties. We could sayThe buckwheat cakes were scorched by a griddle that was too hot. We should turn it around and say"The overheated griddle scorched the buckwheat cakes.
The government is also good at circular reasoning; i.e., a problem is stated and a reason is given for the problem which is a rewording of the problem. Here is an example. "The creek is rising because of an oversupply of rain." "John was fired because the company had too many employees." Now that you understand circular reasoning, you should be ready for a quiz on the subject. Give it a whirl.
Rhetorical questions are ones with no answers which leads one to ask "why even ask." When Buster and Chloe get into a garbage can, I snarl, "Who did this?" Both dogs immediately put their tails between their legs, look sheepish, and go slinking off. They both know that what I really mean is "I am happy that you can't break into the refrigerator and steal the meat."
"They" are often referred to when assigning work, although none of us have ever met these people. "They will be unhappy if you skip a day of work." The "they" people are usually one or more levels higher than your boss. "I'd give you the money to buy that new car, but they are in charge and my hands are tied."
Didja ever wonder why it is that forgetful people don't sometimes forget to be forgetful? I loved the story out of Germany a few years ago about a man who was sentenced to six months in jail for bigamy because he had married four women all named Maria. He told the court: "I am terribly forgetful."
The most forgetful man I ever heard of lived near York. He fell ill with symptoms indicating appendicitis and agreed with his doctor that he should have an operation. To their great surprise and embarrassment, the surgeons found that the appendix had already been removed. The patient offered the explanation when he recovered from the anesthesia that he remembered, "come to think of it," that he had been through a similar operation two years before.
I mention all this because I can't remember if I ever asked you to take a look here , although now I can't remember what it is about.The Washington Deadskins, born the Boston Braves in 1932, passed away in October 2009, following a ten-year long illness inflicted upon it by team owner Daniel M. Snyder and pseudo-general manager Vinny Cerrato. After several false alarms and faint glimmers of playoff hope, the once-proud franchise developed a fatal aversion to the end-zone, and succumbed in a slow, painful death. The team leaves behind thousands of disgruntled fans, angry tailgaters and despondent season ticket holders, as well as tons of unsold Deadskins merchandise, one puzzled quarterback, and an emasculated head coach.
Oh, how the once mighty have fallen!
• Mark November 21 for the local Boy Scout's spaghetti supper from 4 to 7 PM at the Benton Methodist Church, Main Street. Details on the upcoming events page.
• Bloomsburg Hospital wants you not to come into the hospital if you have a fever, cough or sore throat, although any patient regardless of age can receive services for diagnostic tests or outpatient studies. Children under 17 are not allowed in any inpatient unit. Maternity wards are severely restricted. If you have an appointment with a doctor for a scheduled diagnostic test or medical procedure and you have a fever, cough or sore throat, you will be asked to wear a mask. Use hand-sanitizer stations and wash hands before, during and after visits.
• One night after he hit two home runs, Chase Utley hit into the crucial double play, with Rivera earning the save in the Yankees' 3-1 victory over the Phils on Thursday. The World Series is tied at one game apiece, with Game 3 scheduled for Saturday in Philadelphia.
Michael V. Kass (May 15, 1952-October 28, 2009, Benton, and formally of Allendale, New Jersey, died Wednesday at the Geisinger Medical Center, Danville. He was 57. He was born in Amityville, NY. He was a son of Dominick (Kasmauskas) Kass and Michaelina "Teenie" (Bobal) Kass. After graduating from Paul Smith's College, the College of the Adirondacks, Paul Smiths, NY, he was employed in the truck- and automotive-parts business for more than 30 years working in New Jersey and then in Pennsylvania. Besides being an avid-sports fan for football, NASCAR, and baseball, also a former high-school athlete, he was a practical joker at heart and enjoyed laughter and spending time with his family.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a sister, Joanne Kasmauskas. His wife, Cheryl Ann (Cheri Ostrowski) Kass, survives. The couple were married 20 years. Also surviving are children Justin M. Kass, Virginia; Michelle and Michael Kass, Jr., both at home; a brother, Dominick Kasmauskas (Janet), Rotterdam, NY; aunts Helen Kass. Houston, TX; Anna Ingraham, Brick Township, NJ; Kie Kasse, of New York. He was an uncle to six nieces and nephews and also had numerous cousins.
Memorial services will be held Friday morning, November 6, at 11 at the Stillwater Christian Church. Arrangements are under the direction of the McMichael Funeral Home. For online condolences or to sign the register book, please go to www.mcmichaelfuneralhome.com .
October 29, 2009. It is the birthday of Amy Bierbach, Randy Hack and the woman responsible for the mural in the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center, Dianne Derr. We'll have decent weather until Saturday and Sunday when drizzle and possible rain arrive. Sunday will begin to cool.
It has been 79 years since the day in 1929 known as "Black Tuesday," the day brokers walked through the doors of the stock exchange at 11 Wall Street thinking that the record selling of the Thursday before had been blunted by an emergency buying pool from New York's six largest banks. President Hoover and others had assured America that the economy was sound: "The fundamental business of the country, that is production and distribution of commodities, is on a sound and prosperous basis." John D. Rockefeller, the world's richest man, was quoted as saying, "My sons and I are buying common stock."
As stock brokers began reading overseas wire services on Black Monday in 1929, they learned that foreign markets were falling. From the opening gong there was nothing but sellers. Selling slowed at mid-day but when no buyers showed up by 1 PM institutions began dumping stocks. The market closed with its greatest loss in history to that date. The next day, Tuesday trading was even more frenzied. When an early rally failed, many thought the bottom would fall out of the financial world. The exchange leadership considered closing, but a rally began and they decided to stay open and tough it out. The rally held and the volume shattered all previous records.
Black Tuesday was the worst by three key measurements: total losses, total turnover and the number of speculators ruined. Orders marked "must sell" liquidated at any price in order to get more cash to back the record loans behind the falling stocks. On the New York Stock Exchange, the estimated loss came to $9 billion. For the month, the total was $16 billion.John McHenry, Camp Hill, will appear on the Halloween edition of the Good Life Live! this weekend on public radio station WITF-FM, operating at 89.5. John will play percussion with an ensemble that includes Les Vonderlin, Kevin Neidig, and Bob Arbogast of Voxology; David Ison and Paul Wegmann from the Good Life; and Kristina Machusic on vocals. The show will air Saturday, October 31, at 8 PM and Sunday, November 1, at 3 PM and Monday, November 2, at 2 PM. You can listen to the program locally via streaming web site.
Tuesday is election day. What a contrast it is today compared to the 1780s when only members of the House of Representatives were elected directly by the people. There was a lot of opposition to even allowing people to vote directly for representatives.
Senators were chosen by their state's legislature, and the President was to be chosen by electors. Roger Sherman, who represented Connecticut at the Continental Congress, felt that election of the members of the House of Representatives should be by the state legislatures. He felt that "The people immediately should have as little to do as may be about the government." Isn't this strange! Today many of us feel that government should have as little as possible to do with our lives!Hank Leonhard is retiring next month as Technical Coordinator of Purchasing at the Nassau University Medical Center, East Meadow, New York. He is moving to Columbia County next month. He concludes that "everyone is moving too fast and the proper due diligence is not being done to insure our future generations from irreversible damage" in matters relating to natural-gas drilling.
New York State just issued their "comprehensive guideline" of the chemicals used in the drilling process of hydraulic fracturing. You can read the New York state report by going here . The download document lists the names of 260 chemicals, more than eight times as many as Pennsylvania state regulators have compiled. The list is the most complete released by any state or federal agency and could help answer concerns about hydraulic fracturing.
Fishingcreek is plugged with rocks, trees and vegetation in a number of places, causing flooding of basements and overflowing of creek banks. It isn't quite as easy as simply going into the creek and fixing the problem. In a number of cases in the Central area, the problem begins on a neighbor's property. How do you fix a problem that begins on someone else's property? The island build-up north of the Benton dam jeopardizes the entire borough in the event of a flood. In the Zaners area heading south to Forks there are problems. There are applications that are required and permits that must be obtained. The bottom line is that this approach does not result in much progress. There is little or no funding available to assist homeowners in keeping the streams under control. If this is a problem affecting you, let me know about it. Pictures, narrative of the problem and what you have done to correct the problem would be appreciated.
CCFNB Bancorp, Inc. (OTC: CCFN) parent company of First Columbia Bank & Trust Co.), has released its unaudited consolidated financial statements for the third quarter of 2009. For the three months which ended September 30, 2009, net income was $1,461,000 compared to $872,000 for the same period in 2008. Year to date, net income for the nine months ended September 30, 2009, was $4,555,000. Earnings per share for the three months ended September 30, 2009 and 2008 were $0.65 and $0.43 per share, respectively--an increase of $0.22 per share, or 51.2%. Total assets increased $24.6 million to $593 million September 30, 2009, from $568.3 million at December 31, 2008. The investment portfolio increased approximately $22.0 million during the nine months ended September 30, 2009. Since the end of 2008, net loans increased $10.9 million, an increase of 3.4 %. Total deposits increased $8.4 million while short term borrowings increased $6.5 million since the end of 2008.Stockholders’ equity, excluding accumulated other comprehensive income, has increased $2.9 million to $62.0 million as of September 30, 2009. The current level of stockholders’ equity equated to a book value per share of $28.74 at September 30, 2009, as compared with $26.97 as of December 31, 2008. During the nine months ended September 30, 2009, cash dividends of $0.75 per share were paid to stockholders compared to $0.66 for the comparable period of 2008. The current dividend represents an increase of 13.6% as compared to 2008 amounts. The equity-to assets ratio of CCFNB Bancorp, Inc. is 10.92% as compared to 10.12% as of September 30, 2008.
October 28, 2009. It is the birthday of Lisa Gordner, Frances Baker and Bill Gates of Micro$oft fame. It is the wedding anniversary of June and Alvin Lynn. June and Al "made it through 53 years" without "too many battle scars." They celebrated early with an eight-day trip to Myrtle Beach along with their Jack Russells, Jack and Jill. It is the anniversary of the dedication of a copper lady dressed in robes who stands at the entrance to New York harbor, the Statue of Liberty. GO PHILLIES!
Sick bay...• Keep Jim Moore in your prayers for relief from shingles.
• The lung infection has cleared for Valerie Wojton, daughter of David and Teresa Wojton, Whispering Pines Camping. Her hair is gone but her smile is bright. Doctors are now just waiting to see if the chemo has knocked out the leukemia. She is still in the hospital in Hershey. Cards can be sent to 125 Lucy Avenue, Hummelstown, PA 17036.
• Put Larry Smith, Stillwater, on your prayer list. He is in Bloomsburg Hospital undergoing tests.
Last night's Halloween parade was a success in every sense of the word. Oh, sure, a little rain fell and when that let up a heavy mist settled over the valley, but there were more smiles on the faces of people than usual and little kids were out by the hundreds. There were small horses, big horses, big trucks and small trucks, dogs, fire trucks and an unusual show of togetherness when Millville and Benton schools joined forces marching down Main Street. There was good food served by the women of the Waller Church--although they forgot the onions for the hot dogs. The Lions Club did their usual outstanding job and it was a pleasure seeing the Rev. Vernon McDormand selling tickets to the Lions' chicken dinner November 19. That man can sell! And hats off to Lisa Campbell who rounded up the winners of the float contest so I didn't have to try to read my own handwriting.
Go here for a slideshow of the Benton Borough Halloween parade Tuesday evening. Go here for the same pictures if you wish to download, copy or print.
The entries in this year's Benton Halloween parade were exceptional--each and every one. The float winners in the parade were...
• 1st place - First Columbia Bank and Trust
• 2nd place - Stoney Acres
• 3rd place - The Wolfe Family
• 4th place - Country Fresh Market
• 5th place - Fishing Creek Veterinary
Oh, sure, we're going to have a quiz today. This one is an easy one to win, but a hard one to figure out how you actually won. Go here.
Fishingcreek needs a cleaning-out in places, just as the Delaware River will get cleaned out now that the Army Corps of Engineers has given the go-ahead for the dredging of the Delaware River ship channel to allow ocean-going vessels to utilize the Port of Philadelphia.Kathi Taylor has 13 cleaned and processed chickens for $18 each. These are not just any chickens! They are all natural with no hormones and no antibiotics. They are free-range chickens. Their average weight is nine pounds (a lot like a small turkey). The price is $18 and they are available until Saturday. If all the chickens are sold in the Benton and surrounding area, Kathi will schedule one day for pick-up in Benton. Call 256-3482 to order. Everyone who bought chickens the last time that Kathi offered them raved how good they were. Kathi has a family of three and they get four meals out of one. Tastes so much better than store bought.
Many of us don't remember the year 1940--the year FDR came back for his third term, the US Navy became a "two-ocean Navy," a draft lottery was started by Secretary of War Henry Stimson, a company by the name of Willys introduced a tough, lightweight truck and for fun people did the "Lindy Hop" and watched Walt Disney's Fantasia. It was in that year that the nation's population climbed to a new high of 131.6 million, and average life expectancy reached 63 years. This information was known because of something called the 1940 Census. There were signs of progress: an illiteracy rate of only 4.2%, 30 million American families had radios and 33% of American farms had electricity. New York had the most people (13.5 million) with Pennsylvania coming in second (9.9 million). Nevada came in last, with 110,000 residents.Ron Hontz pointed out some training videos from the 1940 Federal Population Census. The films were created by the US Census Bureau to train the 1940 census enumerators on their general duties and responsibilities. The videos include...• Introduction , an overview of the 1940 census emphasizing the responsibility of all citizens to participate.
• Census of Population .The video reviews the major questions relating to general population on the census schedule.• Census of Housing . The video discusses how the census of housing will be used for the first time by the Census Bureau. The training films for housing relate to two census schedules that were taken but were later destroyed.• Census of Agriculture .The video educates enumerators on the correct way to fill out the agriculture census. The training films for agriculture relate to two census schedules that were taken but were later destroyed.We mention the 1940 census because Census Day is April 1, 2010, less than six months away. The 2010 census will attempt to determine an accurate count of people living in the United States on that day. The 2010 Census questionnaire will be one of the shortest ever--there are only 10 questions, requiring about 10 minutes to complete. Go here to see the questions you will be asked. No--you cannot complete this form online.Census data are used to apportion congressional seats to states, to distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds to local, state and tribal governments each year, and to make decisions about what community services to provide.
October 27, 2009. It is the birthday of Charity Robbins, Elizabeth "Jayne" McCann and Emma Lou Funk Savage.
In Benton borough, the local offices include mayor, a four-year term. Janet (Jan) Swan is the lone candidate, running on the Republican ticket. There are three vacancies for member of borough council. Incumbent Jan Jankowski is on the ballot. There are two additional vacancies, both write-ins. Long-time Benton resident and a wife of a former borough council member is Diane Laubach. Diane has declared her intention to mount a write-in campaign for one of the three seats. No other candidate has emerged for the third seat. Carolyn Remley is running for tax collector.The most interesting office is that of "Assessor," and this is true in other boroughs and townships. The Assessor is on the ballot, but Senate Bill 141 eliminated the office of assessor in first-class boroughs and townships. Don't bother to write anyone in for this office. They won't be named to a non-existent position (This isn't Illinois or Luzerne County!).Terri Adams, Joseph Caserella and William "Woody" Ertwine are running for supervisors in Benton Township. Cathy Gordon is running for tax collector.For other boroughs and townships in Columbia County, go hereto determine what your ballot will look like Tuesday.
What to do with wastewater is the subject of an upcoming online seminar from Penn State Cooperative Extension. "Treatment/Disposal Options for Wastewaters from Shale Gas Drilling" will be webcast at 1 PM October 28. The "webinar" is free and open to the public. Instructions for pre-registration are available here. There will be an interactive portion during the live program when participants may type in questions for the presenters to answer.
The challenge with wastewater is in the large amount of fluids involved, the impurities in the fluids and the difficulty in treating the fluids. In our local area, there are no water-treatment facilities to handle the fluids. Our local sewage-treatment plants simply can't handle the volume or the pollutants, and according to John Watson there are no plans to change this. Wastewater generated in local drilling will have to be transported long distances for processing or the fluids have to be recycled and reused.
Fluids from fracking may include varying amounts of iron, calcium, magnesium, strontium and barium, and small amounts of arsenic and lead. Sodium will be prominent as water comes in contact with the rocks and brine that once was sea water.
Go here for a slideshow of the Biomass dedication at the Benton Area Schools Monday. Go here for the same pictures if you wish to download, copy or print.
The Press Enterprise provided excellent news coverage and photos of the devastating fire Sunday morning in the 100 block of West Main Street, Bloomsburg. See their Monday edition for complete coverage.
The fire destroyed several downtown store fronts and apartments. About 21 were left homeless. The fire caused the collapse of three buildings, many of them occupied by Bloomsburg University students. The fire destroyed Machine Heas Tattoos, Rosemary Beauty Salon and the law offices of David H. Trather and Janny Montgomery Scoll. Numerous apartments on the second and third floors of those buildings were destroyed.
This is what the buildings look like following the fire. Firemen remained on scene through much of the day Monday.
Samuel Lee Davenport (April 22, 1931-October 26, 2009), Hemlock Hollow Road, Benton, died Monday at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville. He was 78. He was born in Shickshinny. He was a son of the late Cletus V. and Lydia (Beaver) Davenport. He attended Huntington Mills High School. Sam was a machinist by trade and had been employed by Merit Manufacturing, Pottstown, for 28 years, retiring in 1996. Sam was an active member of the Bible Baptist Church of Benton.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Marguerite Alice (Rinehamer) Davenport, on August 17, 2006. Surviving are his children Cindy Russell (Hal), Elmer, New Jersey; Randy Davenport (Toniann), Benton; granddaughters Shawna Russell, Elmer, NJ; Sophie and Celia Davenport, both of Benton; a grandson, Samuel Lee Davenport, Benton; and brothers and sisters Harvey Davenport (Ellen), Benton; Lydia Seward, Bloomsburg; Boyd M. Davenport, Line Lexington, PA; Richard Davenport, Brunswick, Ohio; Timothy Davenport (Jan), Michigan; Faith Garrett (Don), Brunswick, Ohio; Jim Davenport (Sue), Stillwater; and Sheila Tripp (Ken), Stillwater. In addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by brothers Leonard Davenport and Cletus D. Davenport and by a half brother, Terry Davenport.
Funeral services will be held Thursday at 11 AM at the McMichael Funeral Home. Burial will be in the Benton Cemetery. A viewing will be held Thursday from 10 AM until the time of the service at 11 at the funeral home. For online condolences or to sign the register book please go to www.mcmichaelfuneralhome.com .
October 26, 2009. It is the birthday of Chandlee Stowe. Chandlee, for those who don't know, puts in long hours at The Center early in the morning as a volunteer. He looks a lot like Santa. When you are in the Brass Pelican, look at the excellent drawing of Chandlee which was sketched one morning at breakfast. It is also the birthday of Barb Minutelli, Ann Lewis and State Department head Hillary Clinton. It is the wedding anniversary of Bill & Nancy Fricke, Chandlee and Grace Stowe and Trina & Calvin Miller. Today should be an excellent day for sunshine, our second in a row.
Keep Robert Kelsey in your prayers. Bob received an early diagnosis of cancer. Bob recently retired as a parole officer, and was the minister at the Benton Christian Church at one time. He married a local girl and comes Back Home to Benton, PA, as often as he can. He and his wife, Sandra, are renovating the former Stillwater "one-room" schoolhouse. He loves to hunt deer in the area.
• For female readers only, a medley of songs sung by Engelbert Humperdinck are here.• Let the record show that Saturday, in pouring rain, a truck, a medium-sized backhoe and an off-the-road dump truck were off-loaded along the gas line in the field south of St. Gabriel's Church on along Route 487. Drilling for natural gas is about to begin.• The local firemen served Sunday breakfast to 187 hungry people, before a few of them were called to join an army of 75 fire fighters to battle a devastating fire in Bloomsburg. Read today's Press Enterprise for the complete details on the West Main Street fire. At press time, there were 21 people from four buildings without a place to spend last night.• Abraham Lincoln had things about right when he wrote that "You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves." He had some other classics, too, like "You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong," and "You cannot build character and courage by taking away men's initiative and independence."• There are several online resources dealing with the flu and the H1N1 virus...• The American Medical Association has this site. The website asks users a series of questions to determine how serious their flu symptoms are based on the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Users have the option to share their information with their doctor, as well as family members. The site also provides a set of online tools to help doctors monitor their patients' symptoms, make treatment decisions, and manage their practices' patient flow.• A one-stop clearinghouse for the latest news about the flu provides information on how to protect families from the H1N1 virus.
• Microsoft has a website which provides people with up-to-date relevant content and allows them to monitor symptoms and get advice using an H1N1 self-service tool.• Didja know that in the United States, Facebook accounts for one in every 4--25% of our total page views--on the internet. Google accounts for 8% of the total page views (or 1 in 12). The Benton News Facebook account is www.facebook.com/bentonnews , where friends of the upper Fishingcreek valley meet and greet. You can access Facebook with your cell phone touchscreen by heading to http://touch.facebook.com/ .• Take the time to read a real-life story of a Hughesville neighbor who is starting to receive monthly payments for the natural gas being drilled on his property. Go here for the story.• Matthew Rabb, grandson of Donald and Dottie Rabb, heads to the wilds of Idaho this morning. He'll head into the bush Tuesday for about ten days. He will be alone on his trip, but will have a spot device to monitor his whereabouts. You can monitor his travels by going here.
We used to go to nightclubs
and drink a little booze.
Now we stay home at night
and watch the evening news.
Dick Karschner and Monte Hittle donated their time and aircraft to provide 15 airplane rides over the upper Fishingcreek valley Sunday afternoon. Donations received from the rides totaled $420 and will be given to the "Save the Benton Dam" fund. To see a slide show of the local area from the air, go here. You can see all the pictures and download and print them by going here. The community owes Dick and Monte a huge "thank you" for their actions.
October 25, 2009. It is the birthday of the fellow with the Russ Seward haircut, the Director of the Community Center, Robert D. Hutchison, a man most in the upper Fishingcreek Valley call "Rob." It is the anniversary of the Windows XP computer-operating system, released by Microsoft on this date in 2001. The Benton Volunteer Fire Company has its monthly firemen's breakfast this morning. Early reports are that their sausage is first-rate this month.
The Friday edition of the Press Enterprise reported that "by the end of this month, better-paying leases should be on the table, organizer Danni Fogg said." The article went on about natural-gas drilling to say that "the deals will offer record-setting payments for northern Columbia County." Organizer Danni Fogg denies using those terms to Press Enterprise reporter Gary Pang. Danni and the Robinson group do "not want people to believe those falsehoods." For accurate information, attend the meeting for your group this coming week.
There has been a revision of the Robinson Group meetings, as of Friday, October 23. The new meeting schedule at the Benton Area High School follows:
• Tuesday, October 27, at 7 PM: Fishing Creek and Stillwater Borough.
• Wednesday, October 28, at 7 PM: Jackson, Sugarloaf, Fairmount, Benton, Huntington Townships.
Didja ever notice that no matter how long we nurse a grudge it won't get better?The long version would serve no one any good. So you'll get the short version. The Bureau of Waterways Engineering of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has authorized spillway repair to the Benton dam. The work is considered "repair of an existing dam and will not involve major modifications to the dam." A dam permit will not be required. The rehabilitation work requires federal authorization under the Clean Water Act and under the River and Harbor Acts of 1899. The federal authorization was provided. A careful review of all terms and conditions of the permit will be required prior to beginning work.
The authorization requires...• A plan for controlling accelerated erosion and sedimentation during construction. This plan may require a permit or prior approval. The Columbia County Conservation District will address permitting requirements.• A drawdown permit may be required from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission if there is need for partial or complete draining of water from the dam.• The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission's north central regional office must be contacted before work commences. DEPs north central Regional Office, Permitting and Technical Services Section, must be contacted at least five days before commencement of work.• The project must be under the "oversight and supervision of a registered professional engineer" and "photographic documentation" must be maintained.• Changes are not permitted without departmental permission. A "Dam Repair Completion Certification" must be submitted to the DEP within ten days of completion, with photographic documentation.Then there is the problem of extremely high water flowing down Fishingcreek today. Water was within a few feet of flooding last night. It will be sometime before repairs can begin because of the high water. The posted amount received as of yesterday was $31,500 and additional money will be raised this afternoon when Dick Karschner donates his pilot experience and his aircraft to take people to the air over Benton. Money received will be donated to the "Save the Benton Dam" project.Quickies...• Everyone wants to know about Windows 7. Especially the Japanese people after watching a demonstration of the new operating system. Take a look here.
• The North Mountain Art League is presenting the artwork of Russ Castrogiovanni at The Center through November. The art exhibit is shown in the library during normal business hours. There will be an artist reception Sunday afternoon, November 22, from 2 to 4. For additional information, call The Center at 925-0163.
"The little farming community of Benton, in northern Columbia County, grows big ideas," wrote Kathy Arcuri in the Inside Pennsylvania magazine, published in the Winter 2008 edition (updated). With the permission of the author, the article, entitled Homegrown Innovation, follows: "This Fall, a biomass heating system will start operating in the Benton Area School District, one of only several in school districts across the country--and the first-ever to burn prairie grass as the primary fuel source.
"The roots of this innovative project run deep in the community, and its implementation will reap benefits far and wide. Let’s look at how an idea like this germinated and grew.
"Kris Ribble, a Benton and Penn State graduate, works for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Columbia County as a grass specialist. The seed of the idea was broadcast when Kris learned of a state-grant opportunity to install a sustainable fuel furnace, as a pilot program to promote alternative heating.
"As luck would have it, the climate was right for Kris to plant his idea in the Benton School District. You see, Kris’ mom, Bev Ribble, is the business manager for the district. So mother and son approached the district’s new superintendent, Gary Powlus, hoping to find fertile ground.
"Mr. Powlus, a career educator, knew the importance of cautious research before letting such a far-fetched germ of an idea take root. So he appointed a Technical Steering Committee to examine this new species. With a green light from the Committee, and approval from the School Board, the $350,000 grant was obtained. But now the real work of preparing the soil began.
"The taxpayers were understandably skeptical. What were the financial implications? Would the furnace cause air pollution in the little town? Who would provide the prairie grass? Where would the new system be housed?
"As more was learned about the impact of this innovation on the school district and the extended community, it became apparent to all that this was a win-win situation.
"A primary beneficiary is of course the taxpayers, who will save over $100,000 per year on fuel costs. In fact, the prairie grass for the first two years is being donated by the Ernst Seed Company in Meadville and the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
"Then there are the environmental gains. Burning prairie grass in the ultra-efficient furnace will reduce the air pollution emitted by the old oil-burning system by a whopping 88%. In addition, growing these perennial grasses actually captures carbon, making this use of grass for fuel a net zero addition of carbon into the atmosphere.
"And business manager Ribble is particularly pleased about benefits to the local farming community. In northern Columbia County, two to three thousand acres are already planted in mixed-prairie grasses, for erosion control and habitat restoration, much of which has been supported by soon-to-expire CREP (Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program) funding. So farmers will be looking for a market for the native grasses they’ve planted and tended all these years.
"But the biggest winners may be the students themselves. The new building in which the furnace is housed is glass-fronted and visitor-friendly, allowing students and community alike to learn more about renewable energy.
"Indeed, education is a significant part of the grant, guaranteeing that this project will not only root deeply in the community but will spread its seed far and wide. Already, other school districts are consulting with Benton as they explore similar options; and Superintendent Powlus is happy to share the fruits of the district’s labor.
"So we come full circle. By using endangered native grasses, farmland and wildlife habitat are preserved, at the same time as a renewable fuel source benefits the pocketbooks of taxpayers and farmers, and the environment in which the students will grow. Benton does indeed raise winners."
The public is invited to attend an open house and be among the first to preview the Benton Area Schools biomass boiler plant on Monday afternoon, October 26, between 2 and 4. Tours will be available at 490 Park Street.
October 24, 2009. It is the birthday of Mark Burke, Greg Horne, Elwood Erney, Gloria Mincemoyer and Dale Ruckle. It is the wedding anniversary of Robby and Jody Karschner. Drenching rains continue today. Sunday and Monday should be mostly sunny and pleasant.
The public is invited to attend an open house and be among the first to preview the Benton Area Schools biomass boiler plant on Monday afternoon, October 26, between 2 and 4. Tours will be available at 490 Park Street.Authorization to proceed with repairs to the Benton Dam have been received from the state Department of Environmental Protection. Complete details will be provided in tomorrow's Benton News. Dick Karschner will provide airplane rides Sunday beginning at 2 PM from the Benton Airport amid the Fall beauty of the upper Fishingcreek valley. The cost? A donation in an amount you feel comfortable with to the Save the Benton Dam fund, P.O. Box 520, Benton, PA 17814.Didja ever notice that we don't laugh because we feel good? We feel good because we laugh.For all our friends south of the Mason/Dixon line, here are some pictures from beautiful Dixie .November 3 is election day. There are a handful of important local elections and some at the state level. We'll try to bring you up to speed on the candidates in the coming days. Today, we'll look at the Pennsylvania Superior Court, one of two intermediate appellate courts in the Commonwealth. The judges hear both civil and criminal cases appealed from county common pleas courts and often are the final arbiters of legal disputes. Judges are paid $176,923 and are appointed to a ten-year term. Notice the absence of small-town Pennsylvania.Pennsylvania Superior Court Candidates (Vote for 4)
Click on highlighted name for additional information supplied by candidate.
Theresa SarminaParty: DemocraticParty: LibertarianParty: RepublicanOccupation: attorney1974 B.A. (English) Washington & Lee University1977 J.D. University of Pittsburgh School of Law31 years of legal practiceParty: DemocraticOccupation: Common Pleas JudgeAppointed by Governor Robert P. Casey in 1991; Nearly 20 years of Judicial ExperienceChair, Ethics Committee of the State Conference of Trial JudgesFirst-ever Recipient of the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Pro Bono Award"Highly Recommended" by the Pennsylvania Bar AssociationCoordinated criminal homicide and major jury trials for the First Judicial District of PennsylvaniaAuthor of five Law Review articlesParty: RepublicanOccupation: Judge, Court of Common Pleas Allegheny CountyJD, cum laude, Duquesne University (2nd in class).BA, magna cum laude, St. Francis University.Rated "Highly Recommended" by the Pennsylvania Bar Association.Practiced over 25 years representing clients in state and federal courtrooms throughout the U.S.Experienced litigator in complex commercial- and white-collar criminal cases.Party: RepublicanOccupation: AttorneyGraduate of Washington and Jefferson CollegeGraduate of the University of Pittsburgh Law SchoolPracticing attorney for more than two decadesCattle farmerParty: DemocraticOccupation: AttorneyBachelor of Arts, University of PittsburghJuris Doctor, University of Pittsburgh School of LawAssistant District Attorney, Allegheny CountyAdjunct Professor, Habeas Corpus, Duquesne University School of LawAdjunct Instructor, Criminology, Carlow UniversitySteelworker, United Steelworkers of America, #3403-73Party: RepublicanParty: DemocraticOccupation: Judge, Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny CountyLawyer, Large Pittsburgh law firmLaw Clerk, Pennsylvania Supreme CourtLegislative Aide, United States CongressIntern, Allegheny County Public Defender's OfficeLaborer, Laborer's Union, Local #1058 (Pittsburgh)I can see through my bifocalsMy dentures fit me fine.My hearing aid does wondersBut, Lord, I miss my mind!
In the rush of things, we didn't mention the passing of Elaine Mueller, 84, Bloomsburg. If you were not involved in the Red Cross or didn't have a child who had been influenced by school teacher Elaine, you probably didn't know her. Elaine had the courage to live, knowing that anyone can die.
Friends and family met to remember the life of Elaine Mueller at the home of Diana Lehr earlier in October. Guests enjoyed pizza and hot cider in the gazebo while telling stories about a woman who greeted life with enthusiasm, a sense of adventure and a giant heart. "I love it! I love it! I love it!" was a common expression heard from her. Her grandson, Daniel played her favorite song, "I'll Be Seeing You," by Billy Holiday (1945).
The people in the concert photo are as follows: Left to right: Leilani Johnson, Tracy Belles, Elaine Mueller, Daniel (Grandson), Diana Lehr
Elaine loved to embrace new experiences. In 2006, as a treat to her grandson Daniel, she raced to her very first rock concert, Def Leopard/Journey, just weeks before her 81st birthday, joined by friends all more than 35 years her junior.
Friends her own age would ask her why all these younger people loved her so much and she admitted she had no idea. Those close to her knew while Elaine never tried to act young, (she had bad knees and had some difficulty walking) she was truly young at heart. She was willing to go anywhere, try anything, beaming with enthusiasm all the while.
Elaine had a love of people and an open heart. She loved her friends and was always willing and available to help. She spent countless hours helping her friends, babysitting, running errands, etc.
Elaine celebrated New Years 2009 vacationing in Maui, Hawaii, with Paula Lehr. They drove to the top of Haleakala, a dormant volcano. During this vacation, Elaine went with friends to check out an oceanfront cottage for rent. After driving down a steep pasture, their car got stuck, forcing Elaine to crawl up the hill on her hands and knees in high winds. Not only did she remain in good spirits, she laughed and was proud of the adventure she'd had.
She had a love of life and a generosity of spirit that is rare in a person of any age. Her enthusiasm was contagious. Several weeks ago, she prepared an extravagant crab dinner for friends who expressed concern that the meal might be too expensive. She responded, "I used to go to Atlantic City but I found I liked that a little too much. I don't get to travel as much as I would like, and I don't have any other vices, so if I want to spend money on my friends, that is my one extravagance." She called the meal one of her greatest accomplishments.
Elaine passed away on September 29, with her beloved grandson Benjamin and children Diane and Jay (Joseph) at her bedside. She will be sorely missed by all the people who cherished her.
October 23, 2009. It is the birthday of David Chapin and Shirley Ritter. It is the wedding anniversary of MikeLanne & Michael Welliver and Richard and Jan Jost. Stocks hit a five-year low a year ago today, following a raft of disappointing profits and outlooks from major U.S. companies. Expect a little rain on your parade tonight and Saturday.
We need a special prayer for a special person tonight. Carol Hess Follmer's cancer has progressed too far for treatment. She is on home hospice for pain control. Carol's address is 36 Meadow Ave, Tamaqua, PA 18252.Some readers will remember Doug Grabowski (Benton High School, class of 1982) and Mark Grabowski (class of 1979). Their parents, Ron and Carol Grabowski, live on Colley Street, Benton. Mark has a son, Jim, who plays professional basketball in Portugal. He plays in Penafiel, near Portugal's second largest city Porto, for a team called CB Penafiel in the Proliga Division, www.cbpenafiel.com/ . The regular season begins in November and runs through April. If his team makes the playoffs, Jim would remain there until June. Last year, he played in the Irish Superleague for Dublin's DART Killester. They won the Northern Division and placed second in the overall championship. Jim was named honorable mention All-Superleague. He averaged more than 16 points per game and 7.5 rebounds. Jim graduated from Southwest Baptist in 2008 after a highly successful career with the Bearcats. He was the first player in SBU history to play on two regular season MIAA championship teams, helping the Bearcats to titles in 2005-06 and 2007-08. He was selected to the All-MIAA first team in 2007-08.Family practice physician Richard Prisuta, DO, is now part of Bloomsburg Health System. Dr. Prisuta’s office, Benton Family Practice, will remain at 4469 Red Rock Road, Benton. Call 925-6424 for an appointment. Dr. Prisuta earned his medical degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, where he also completed his internship and residency. Dr. Prisuta is board certified in family medicine and has been practicing in Benton for more than 25 years.
Quote of the Day...
Must be boring to be a baseball fan in flyover country...
--Homer Felknor, referring to the Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels.
• You should get in the Halloween mood. Play a game for Halloween. It's a fright! Go here to play.
• Response to Windows 7 was positive Thursday following general release to the Macintosh community via Parallels and to the PeeCee community. Supporting products have updated drivers and things at this point seem to be working well. Is this the old Microsoft or have they turned over a new leaf?
A compressor incident in southwest Pennsylvania has not gathered much press, but is of interest as residents of the local area prepare for the oncoming drilling of natural gas. On the afternoon of October 20 at about 1:15 at the Stewart Compressor Station in the 35.7 square mile Mt. Pleasant Township of Washington County, a loud explosion was reported from the MarkWest Liberty Midstream & Resources, LLC, Houston processing plant and pipeline by a neighbor who lives about 1,000 yards away. According to the neighbor who provided the information by email, "For at least an hour and a half the sound of gas escaping from the line rattled our home. It sounded and felt like a jet engine next door. The line was releasing pure, unprocessed natural gas. Full of hydrocarbons! In the beginning it had a grayish, brown color. The wind was blowing strait (sic) towards my house! While I was in my backyard trying to film some of this I was overcome by the smell and felt very light headed." Delivery pipelines are a part of and proximate to the entire development. The compressor station is about 200 yards from the Williams Gas refrigerated extraction plant.
The neighbor "phoned MarkWest at their Atlasburg office to notify them of the noise. MarkWest was not aware of any problems. However, they said they would "check with production." A second explosion went off. The neighbor called back. They said they would call her back when they figured out what was going on.
After about twenty five minutes, the neighbor "received a call back from MarkWest explaining the emergency." The story was that "an emergency valve was releasing pressure. The compressors were shut down" and the main line was emptied. This was done to prevent an explosion. The neighbor was then told that "someone would be out to check the station." The Pennsylvania DEP was called and an emergency complaint filed. More than three hours went by and no one from the DEP arrived to investigate. The neighbor filed a formal complaint with the township and wrote that "emergency personnel in that area are probably not capable of arriving on one of these sites and knowing what to do." Actually, Range Resources is said to have spent more than $250,000 in training the Washington County and Houston Fire Departments and emergency first responders.
This project of Range Resources and Mark-West Energy Partners, LLC. in the Houston, Pennsylvania, stripping plant was dedicated in late October 2008. There are two side-by-side 40,000 gallon liquefied condensate holding tanks at the main-processing area. The project appeared to be very well engineered, although safety measures and flow controls should have promptly shut off and contained the flow earlier than the period of time reported. The DEP is understaffed as is evident from the details of this incident and the speed at which the authorization to proceed is issued on repairs to the Benton dam.
As a volunteer fireman in Arlington, Virginia, Tom Kline had to put up with a lot of "smells and bells," his term for an event which eventually didn't create a crisis. It appears that there will be events that take place as a new technology arrives in the upper Fishingcreek valley that are simply "smells and bells." But what if it isn't that simple... What if... Is a Preparedness Prevention and Contingency Plan in preparation? Are our firemen being trained for emergencies at drilling sites?
LeRoy L. Musselman (June 17, 1943-October 22, 2009) passed away peacefully Thursday at his home on Dotyville Road. He had been in ill health since June. He was 66. LeRoy was born in Bloomsburg and was a 1962 graduate of Millville High School. He was a son of Ella (Musselman) Meyers. LeRoy was employed by PennDOT for 5 years, Bercon Packaging for 25 years, a self-employed truck driver for 12 years and with Berwick Offray for two years. He was a past president of the Chillisquaque Coon Hunters Club and a past president of the Benton Archery Club.He and his wife, Nancy (Smith) Musselman celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary on August 2. In addition to his wife, he is survived by sons sons C. Robert Musselman (Beth), Stillwater; Chris M. Musselman (Rebecca), Orangeville, and by daughters Brenda L. Jones (Alan), Bloomsburg; Gloria J. Mommo (Rickard), Catawissa; Sandra L. Musselman, Tremont and Jennifer L. Musselman, at home. Also surviving are brothers Donald Musselman, Benton, and Robert C. Meyers, Texas. There are ten grandchildren: Bridget Musselman, Orangeville; Christy Tucker, Stillwater; Matthew Musselman, Sinking Springs, PA; Nathan Musselman, King of Prussia; Melissa Ruckle, Orangeville; Andrew Brown, Harrisburg; Adam, Curtis and Katherine Mommo, Catawissa, and Jonathan Musselman, Bloomsburg. There are four great grandchildren: Timothy, Makenna and Emilee Ruckle and Brody Tucker.
Memorial services will be held Saturday at 2 PM at the McMichael Funeral Home. Contributions may be made in his memory to the American Cancer Society, 1948 E. Third St., Williamsport, PA 17701 or to the Geisinger Hospice, 100 N. Academy Avenue, Danville, PA 17822.
October 22, 2009. It is the birthday of Charles Parks, Almedia, and the wedding anniversary of Ed and Susan Cole. Breezy, sunny, warm weather through today; some rain Friday and Saturday.
We'll start off with a quiz on how well you pay attention. Go here to take the quiz.Quickies...• After doing a super job of contributing time and energy to the "Save the Benton Dam" supper Saturday night, the Benton Fire Company will be back at it with their monthly breakfast Sunday morning from 7 to 1 PM. The meal includes all-you-can-eat buckwheat cakes and pancakes.• It was 63° in Citizen's Bank Park when game 5 between the Phillies and Dodgers got underway for the National League championship series. The Dodgers had their share of pitching problems and the Phillies took advantage of it. The final score was Phillies 10-Dodgers, 4. Now on to the World Series for the Phillies. The Phillies are the first team since the 1995-1996 Atlanta Braves to repeat as National League champions. We are one New York Yankees victory away from a New Jersey Turnpike series. It has been 59 years since the Phillies met the Yankees in a World Series. This year they played three games in New York during late May, and the Phils took two out of three. The New York Yankees lead the Los Angeles Angels in the American League championship series three games to one. The two teams will play again tonight in Anaheim, with two more games scheduled for Yankees Stadium October 24 and October 25.• I sat in on a practice session for the upcoming Community "sing-a-long" at The Center which takes place in November and December. The November evening of musical fun will take place on the 12th. Old familiar songs will be sung with "something for everyone." One of the highlights of the evening will be the playing of two original numbers never before performed in public. The first one is entitled the "Benton High School Boogie" and it is marvelous. There will be some surprises, too! Mark your calendars now.
• Speaking of music, Eric Fricke will perform at the Covenant Central Presbyterian Church, 807 W 4th Street, Williamsport, at 3 PM December 20. Eric is a gifted piano- and organ player. The concert in the heart of downtown Williamsport will be in a church built in 1910 during the heyday of the lumber industry. The elegant-stone church is on Millionaire's Row.• There is a Joe Paterno eight-page feature article in this week's Sports Illustrated. Paterno will have 390 wins if the Nittany Lions beat Michigan. Read the article here.
• Microsoft rolls out their Windows 7 operating system today. It is touted as an improved-operating system over Microsoft's operating system Vista. If you've been holding off on buying a new computer, you might hold off for a few weeks. The first of anything usually has a few bugs in it. If there isn't anything wrong with the operating system you are currently using, keep what you have. Click here to watch a slideshow on Windows 7.
Quote of the Day:
A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have.
One of my favorite people was Sue Perry Laubach. Sue is now deceased, as is her husband, former Benton High School math teacher, Earl Laubach. They lived directly across from the L. R. Appleman Elementary School. Sue loved to travel and I found great fascination in sitting in front of her viewmaster with slides from California and the Midwest. She could whip out a great story about all those places. One such story was about Denver's Brown Palace Hotel, a sophisticated establishment frequented by presidents, celebrities and tourists--a place that Sue could not afford. Sue and a lady friend by the name of Peg Davis met each other in Denver from time to time and then traveled west and east from their meeting.
Sue once called The Brown Palace Hotel and said she was a ailing senior and could never afford to stay there. The hotel management listened to her story and agreed to provide a room at a good price. Sue then walked from the phone booth across the street to the hotel, and was greeted by a wait staff and a wheel chair in the shadows of the sweeping nine-story atrium lobby, the soothing strains of a harpist playing during the Afternoon Tea, Sue was thrilled, and the hotel staff never figured out why Sue didn't look more elderly and more ailing...
Jim Edson had a needlepoint stool that came from Sue and Earl's house. Sue always said that Paulette Goddard gave her the wool for that stool.
Sue had a number of favorite sayings, including (about the weather) "It is hotter than the hinges of hades," and (about people she had a momentary dispute with) "You don't have the brains that God gave an oyster cracker."
Earl Laubach passed away in 1984. Sue passed away two years later in 1986, after spending the final five years of her life in Bonham's Nursing Home, Register, a victim of Alzheimer's disease.
October 21, 2009. It is the birthday of Robert Rabb and Kathleen Harvey. David and Linda Bronson and Pat and Dennis Threlkeld celebrate their wedding anniversaries.
As days progress into the months with an "r" in them, most of us in the upper Fishingcreek valley look forward to our scrapple (When there was no refrigeration, pork was never eaten in the summer). For the uninitiated, scrapple is meat scraps made by boiling cornmeal in the liquid in which meat such as pork for headcheese (which you may know as "souse") and other products are boiled, seasoned with condiments and herbs, poured into a mold to cool and served sliced and fried.
If Father were alive, he might not use the country term "scrapple," but likely would call the concoction "panhaas," my best attempt to capture in print the pronunciation of the Pennsylvania German word. It is a good example of early Americans desire to waste nothing and want not. Scrapple over the years tended to be a "poorman's food," consisting of unwanted left-overs.
The word "scrapple" originated from the scraps of meat which the family had not used for other purposes. We would be remiss if we didn't tell you that pig lips, snouts and skin have at times been made into scrapple. The word may have come from the amount of "mixing'up" that is required to make it properly. Everybody knows that a general mix-up is sometimes called a "scrap," or a "scrapping match."
Scrapple was the last product made during the fall (or "frost") butchering. It also illustrates the amazing number of food products which originate with the pig--bacon, chops, spare-ribs and ham come to mind, but in previous generations, the pig also supplied the salt pork, souse or head cheese, cracklings, jowls, pickled pig's feet, and so on. The pig contributed greatly to the food farmers put on their tables.
Scrapple in prior generations was made in old-fashioned farm kitchens and in lean-to sheds as a byproduct of butchering. Next to buckwheat cakes and sausage, scrapple is thought of by some as the most delicious breakfast known to man.
Scrapple came to mind when last week's cold, raw weather arrived, last year's heavy coat came out of the closet and windows were slammed shut overnight for the first time since late spring.
Scrapple isn't just a delicacy in the upper Fishingcreek Valley. I read once that Baltimore in its farmer's markets got its scrapple from Pennsylvania. The scrapple would fill Conestoga wagons, cross the Mason and Dixon line on the York road about midnight and pull into the markets in time for a before-daylight opening. Slices of the first scrapple of the season would bring as high as a dime a slice.
Father made his scrapple in conjunction with other farmers in a huge iron kettle over an outdoor fire, and I believe it was made in the same kettle where soap from the previous year was made. This kettle was also used for making head cheese or souse as well as the scrapple. I don't have the exact ingredients or amounts Father put in his scrapple--he always said it was added by "experience" and varied from year to year. I do remember that a young pig would have its head dunked into the boiling water, sans ears, brains, eyes, hair and teeth, and boiled until the flesh separated from the bones.
Dale Ruckle, now a resident of Plano, Texas, worked at Baker's "Slaughter Shop" in Millville when he was in high school. He remembers chopping pigs heads in quarters and throwing them in a stainless-steel pot, "along with other pig parts. There were absolutely no organ meat in the brew."
Remember how Otto von Bismarck put it? He said, "Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made." The same applies to scrapple. I'll end this discussion here, except to say that while ingredients varied, the method of making scrapple did not.
Judging from other recipes, cooked pork and liver, cornmeal, salt, pepper and juice from onions were used. The meat was cooked and the juice that resulted was kept. Meat was ground fine. Water was added and then cornmeal (and sometimes buckwheat) stirred into it. This was cooked until thick. The stirring of what Father called "pudding" continued. The meat and seasonings were eventually stirred in and the boiling continued for another hour or so, then as the fire died down the mixture simmered for another half hour with occasional stirring. This was the time when stories were told about past sessions of making scrapple. Eventually, bread pans were filled and left to cool. All that was left to do was slice and fry it.
Filling the pans was the most vivid memory Dale Ruckle had of working at Baker's processing plant. Dale remembers that the pans "had sharp pieces of tin sticking out. While washing these pans, I would get wounds on both hands at a place where my little finger met the palm of my hand. That is on the outside of the hand, just below where the little finger is positioned." One day, Dale went home for lunch and his mother "noticed a tell-tale vein all the way up my arm." Dale had blood poisoning. That was alarming, but thanks to "Doc. Southhall, all ended on a favorable note."
Scrapple, if made correctly, should be rich enough to be fried without butter or oil. When fried to a golden brown, it turns crisp. As in politics, scrapple forms strong allies. I personally like the scrapple from Springman's General Store in Pennsdale, which most know as the "Country Store" brand. Other butchers turn out scrapple with great success, but often tend to "come and go."
It is true that people grow accustomed to one brand and no other brand will do. The difference is mainly in the seasoning--salt, pepper, sage, thyme and sweet marjoram--based on recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation.
As much as those of us with German backgrounds like our scrapple, it is not nationally known. There is a Southern version which I'll call liver pudding or liver sausage. Every region of the county has its favorite dish, and we have ours.
The price of a pig
Is very big,
And the cost of scrapple is high,
But no matter where the prices go
We'll eat it 'till we die!
The girls called each other "the big women" when they were in high school. Times change, but over the years the friendship of the group never waned. The "girls" have matured into pleasantly-sized women and recently got together in Hedgesdille, West Virginia, at the home of Nancy and Jack Lauer. Nancy is the daughter of the late Jerry and Martin Appleman.
The only one of the original group that was missing was Janet Dildine, whose father, Jim, died the Sunday the group left for West Virginia. Janet was there in mind, if not in person. Zane Unbewust went along on the trip, as did Deanna Pealer, Jill Pascale and Sharon Remphrey. The "girls" had such a good time, they plan to meet in West Virginia again next year. Sharon notes that "Nancy's husband, Jack, was our gourmet-maker and served us like the queens that we are."
All veterans and active-duty military personnel with proof of current- or former-military service are invited to eat free at Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar Restaurants Veterans Day, Wednesday, November 11, 2009. Proof of service includes U.S. Uniform Services Identification Card, U.S. Uniform Services Retired Identification Card, Current Leave and Earnings Statement, Veterans Organization Card, photograph in uniform or wearing uniform. For additional details, visit www.applebees.com/vetsday . Please don't forget to tip your servers as if you were paying the regular price.
Tony Lee Hess (May 15, 1959-October 19, 2009) died Monday at Grandview Health Home, Danville, where he had been a resident since September 22. He was 50. He was born in Lewistown. He was a son of W. Leroy Hess and Florence A. "Flossie" (Knepp) Hess Huss. Tony attended Benton High School and had been employed by G&B Specialties in Berwick for the past 11 years. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a brother, Leroy Hess, in 1980. Surviving are his sisters Dolly J. Wood (Charles), Benton, and Lilley M. Weaver (Kenneth), Cambra. Also surviving are nephews Charles L. Wood II, Brian M. Scheib and Matthew A. Scheib. Private services will be held at the convenience of the family under the direction of the McMichael Funeral Home, For online condolences or to sign the register book, go to www.mcmichaelfuneralhome.com .
October 20, 2009. It is the birthday of Edward Lee Cole and Monica Diltz. Bill Johnson, the nursery manager for the Fishingcreek Sportsmen's Association, celebrates his birthday today. Bill is a very dedicated man and active member for both Fishingcreek Sportsmen and the Benton Archery Club. The words "beautiful" and "delightful" are in the weather forecast until Friday.
• Today's time waster is in the form of instrumental music. You can find it by going here.
• I am still catching flack for suggesting that China would be the world power in the current century. China has been a world power for a very long time. Look at Marco Polo (1254-1324) when he returned from Cathay (China) following his relationship with Kublai Khan and his 24 years of travel in the country. He returned with new inventions and later wrote in his "The Travels of Marco Polo" about what he found: paper money, which revolutionized finance and commerce throughout the West; coal, a relatively efficient source of heat for Europe; ground lenses for glasses, which later turned into telescopes for naval engagements and for advancing the theory that the earth and other planets actually circled the sun. He told of gunpowder, which made crossbows and swords pretty much obsolete. As Marco Polo informed the west of what was going on in China, pay attention to what is going on in that country.Questions are being raised about the decision to cut the state Department of Environmental Protection budget by 27% in 2010--equating to approximately 300 jobs. The people of Pennsylvania look to that agency to provide continued and increased oversight of natural-gas drillers.DEP's share of the 2009-10 budget is $159 million--a reduction of a staggering $58 million from this year's budget. Go here to learn more about the budget cut and its effect on our Commonwealth.The importance of DEP oversight became understandable to Pennsylvanians when the agency issued its September 24 order to stop hydro fracturing in Susquehanna County following three spills in one week. A DEP directive giving permission to resume fracking has now been issued. With drilling in our immediate area only months away, DEP oversight is considered essential by most. For more information, call 570 327-3659 or visit www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: Oil and gas.A reader of the Benton News asked if she could receive her daily email in an HTML-formatted version. You can. There are multiple mailing lists for the Benton News, but in two basic formats...• To subscribe to the Benton News in an HTML format, send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org . For more information about this list, go here, This format is similar to the web version of the Benton News.• To subscribe in a plain-text format, use the sign-up form in the upper-left corner of the home page of the Benton News.Both versions are free. The HTML version was used for original subscribers, but has not been promoted for a number of years. Please remember that when changing email addresses, you must delete your old address. Both email versions provide instructions for doing that. You are welcome to sign-up with your current-email address. Neither email version provides a name to go with the email address, and sheer volume of readers keep me from knowing your old email address. Your email address would never be used for any purpose other than distribution of the Benton News. Email versions of the Benton News are rarely as inclusive as the web version.
Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Shoemaker drove "over Nordmont Mountain" as honored guests of the North Mountain Historical Society Monday morning. Dr. Shoemaker, known simply as "Doc" to most of his Sullivan County friends, was the guest speaker at the Brass Pelican.
Before the speech making began, I decided one thing and learned another. I decided after listening to Gary Beach and eLee Remley talk at breakfast that when the Benton News returns tomorrow, we'll discuss a traditional fall Pennsylvania project--the making of scrapple. If you have a contribution to that subject, please send it.I also learned about being a consultant. Dr. Wilson Ferguson told the story of a tomcat that prowled the neighborhood every night. The tomcat had a circle of female friends he visited nightly. His master finally got tired of this and had the tomcat "fixed." The cat, according to Wilson, still prowls the neighborhood, but now he is simply a consultant.The subject of Dr. Shoemaker's talk was journalism, referring to periodical publications, in book, sheet or electronic form, which are printed and distributed for the circulation of news and general information. Dr. Shoemaker specifically talked about the part of journalism known as "newspapers" and about his ownership of the Sullivan "Review" with his wife "Stevie."Newspapers have grown from an insignificant sheet relating the most meager intelligence to enormous proportions. Newspapers provide information on all subjects, circulate advertisements and acts on the public mind to such an extent that it was designated in England as a fourth estate of the realm. The Sullivan "Review" is an example. Its circulation base is larger than the entire population of Sullivan County.The Chinese claim the oldest printed newspaper in the world. The "Imperial Gazette," published in Chinese at Peking, has been around for more than 1600 years--or so the Chinese claim. The first real approach to the modern newspaper took place in ancient Rome. The contents were reports of trials, edicts of magistrates, listing of births and deaths, account of money paid into the treasury and information about the availability of commodities such as corn. These gazettes were apparently under the supervision of censors. They were placed in two or three public places to be read where people could easily gather and read the news.The newspaper industry in Sullivan County has been popular for a small area with only 452 square miles. In 1850, when the county population was only 3,694, Isaiah Barclay and A. J. Dietrick began publishing the Sullivan "Eagle" in Dushore. Anti-Lincoln sentiment in the country forced the creation of the Sullivan "Democrat" in 1851 with Laporte as its base. Copies of this newspaper are on file at Bloomsburg University on microfilm. It soon became necessary to have a word or two from the other side of the political fence and the Republican "Free Press," first owned by Attorney T. J. Ingham and J. T. Brewster, opened in Laporte, then moved to Dushore in 1869 when Brewster took on the newspaper by himself.In 1872, Ingham started the "Grant Standard," another Republican newspaper. Shortly after, the newspaper became the "Press and Standard" under the ownership of Ingham. There was the Dushore "Review," not politically orientated but providing community news. It was owned by Alfred Bowman.Other newspapers in Sullivan County included the "Democratic Sentinel," the "Day Star of Zion & Banner of Life" (published in Celestia), the "Sullivan Republican" and the "Republican News Item" (The "Republican News Item" merged with the "Sullivan Review" in 1922). George Streby published the (Democratic) "Sullivan Gazette and Herald." In 1900, the "Shunk Star" published for several weeks.The Sullivan "Review" came along as an 11x17" paper in 1885 and passed through about eight owners until 1966 when Dr. T. W. Shoemaker and S. H. Shoemaker purchased the newspaper. Doc Shoemaker admitted that they are the only two on the staff of the newspaper who still write their stories in longhand. Their son John and his wife Chris Shoemaker now run the newspaper. The Sullivan is "put to bed" each Tuesday night by sending it over the internet to Towanda to the "press" where it is published. In addition to the newspaper, the Shoemakers publish the Tourist Guide and Business Directory for Sullivan County.
October 19, 2009. It is the birthday of Carole Fornwald Whitenight and Joey Sue Laubach. This is the day when Thomas Alva Edison passed away in 1931. Today is the anniversary of the surrender that ended the American Revolutionary War and it happened in 1781 in Yorktown, Virginia. British general Lord Cornwallis surrendered about 8,000 British troops to George Washington's army as England appealed to America for peace. The Treaty of Paris officially ended the war two years later. Look forward to Tuesday through Thursday as temperatures rise from the low 60s to the mid-60s.
• Tom Austin, sportswriter for the Press Enterprise, wrote an excellent article about the Benton dam for publication in Saturday's newspaper. He wrote, "No one will ever know how many anglers hooked a trout below this dam, or how many kids and adults used the cold waters above the dam to provide some relief from summer's heat. It is almost impossible to picture what it would be like to drive across the bridge entering Benton, look up the stream, and not see the Benton Dam." Early Sunday morning, Clair Harvey's phone rang and his first call was from a Berwick businessman who contributed $1,000 to saving the Benton dam based on the article and his love of fishing.
• Tom Austin also reported that the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has eliminated the delayed harvest area along Fishing Creek north of the borough.
• Civil War buffs will be interested in the November meeting of the Wyoming Valley Civil War Round Table, held on the second Thursday of each month at the Dallas American Legion at 7 PM. There will be a Powerpoint presentation by John Heiser, staff historian at Gettysburg, based around the 1913 Grand Reunion.
• Some have trouble understanding the estimated size of the Marcellus shale deposit. Dr. Terry Engelder of the Department of Geosciences at Penn State, puts it this way: About 6,000 cubic feet of natural gas is equivalent to one barrel of oil (42 gallons) in terms of energy use. The Marcellus contains an estimated 81 billion gallons of oil.
• So you haven't had tears in your eyes from a thrill lately? Take a look the entertainment at halftime in an Army/Navy basketball game by going here and get thrilled.
Original members of the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center assembled Saturday night for an anniversary dinner of ham or lasagna to celebrate The Center's prominence in the community, review the accomplishments for the first two years of operation and look forward to the coming year.Craig Merluzzi, president of The Center, introduced the past and current board of directors. The present board includes...
Craig Merluzzi – president
Paul Reichart – vice president and member of the finance committee and nominations committee
Jackie Malhoyt – secretary and chair of the front-desk committee
Judy Scavone – treasurer and member of the personnel committee
John Kitchen – financial secretary and chair of the finance committee
Dick Kriebel – chair of the personnel committee and finance committee member
Jim Vance – auctioneer at the fun auction fund raiser
Russell Seward – chair of the library and museum committee
Paul Randall – member of the program committee
Katie Knorr – a very active volunteer of the center
Abigail Richie – past secretary
Ellen Hall – chair of the volunteer committee
Bob Parks – chair of the facilities committee
Chuck and Kay Chapman - Chuck was past president of the board and Kay served as secretary.
Founders, donors, volunteers, members and the general public were recognized...
• The founders got together 11 years ago after a tragic accident where an unsuspecting youth at an unsupervised party was accidentally shot and killed. Merluzzi said, "These founders saw the need to provide a safe place with activities so our kids have a healthy environment and place to go to have fun."
• The donors committed hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop The Center. Without their generosity, The Center would not exist today. Dianne Derr is currently painting a donor tree in the main lobby.
• The current army of 110 volunteers "stepped forward to lend themselves to the project." The Center has only one full-time paid employee--Executive Director Rob Hutchison. Needs are supplemented with part-time staff and various contracted services, but it’s largely the efforts of this army of volunteers that keep The Center operational 360 days a year. They staff the front desk throughout the weekend hours and from 6 to 9 weekdays during regular months, and 6 to 8 weekdays during the summer. They maintain and operate the thrift shop and horseshoe court, they maintain the buildings and grounds, they operate the library and museum, conduct classes and art leagues, speaking programs and much more. A "volunteer committee," headed by Ellen Hall, maintains a database of 110 current active volunteers, recruiting new volunteers, assessing their skills and applying them to one of four operational committees at the center: Program Committee, Library & Museum Committee, Buildings and Grounds Committee and Front Desk. Many volunteers wear their green polo shirts and name tags. There is a "Volunteer of the Quarter" program to recognize the efforts of our volunteers. The first such person named was Gary Elliot. Saturday night, Jackie Malhoyt, former Chief of Facilities Management at the VA hospital, Wilkes-Barre, was named as volunteer of the quarter.
• The members are those who give their hard-earned money "to join the facility because it provides them with something they value." President Merluzzi praised the members, "Whether they come here to work out in our fitness room, play basketball or dodge ball or some other sport in one of our leagues, attend yoga or ballet, or play horse shoes or skate in our skate park. Or those members who come to do research in the library or check out a book, enrich themselves in the heritage of our museum, or simply browse the internet and check their email."
He challenged each member to find one other person to become involved. "If you are a member, attract another member. If you make a contribution, get one other person to make a contribution in kind. If you volunteer, seek to recruit, train and involve one other volunteer to help. In the words of Dr. Frank Laubach, Each one, teach one.”
The Center, a 501c3 corporation, receives no revenue from taxes. The Center is funded entirely through the revenue from operations, grants and the generosity of donations. Financial Secretary John Kitchen invested "literally 100’s of hours" organizing financial information into "numbers that make sense; numbers that we can build upon and forecast with."
The Center has two endowment funds: The Elsie Buyers Endowment fund and the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center endowment fund administered by Central Susquehanna Community Foundation.
During the past year, The Center has
• developed the Fishing Creek Heritage Days festival.
• hosted 74 programs and classes, including a speaker's program and an art league.
• offered babysitting services.
• completed construction of the skate park through the generous contribution of the "half-pipe" structure provided by an anonymous donor.
• generated assets of approximately $3.7 million.
• seen membership grow to approximately 1,000, of which 165 are charter members. Membership income results in 27% of meeting expenses. Day passes accounts for 3%. Program income is another 12%, usage fees are 6.5% and income from the thrift shop adds another 2.5%. These figures get The Center midway to its expenses for the year, not including depreciation. The difference is funded from collection of outstanding pledges, grants contribute another 5%, donations brought in about $90K and contributed 34% to meeting expenses. Endowment income provided the difference to meet the $260K expenses.
October 18, 2009. It is the birthday of Mike Minjack and Nicole Steiner-Stevens. It is the wedding anniversary of Richard and Jan Jost. In the years when summerlike days occurred around October 18, old-timers gave thanks for the days to St. Luke. The story went that St. Luke gave us some days that were keepers before the coming of winter. Technically, nice days at this time of the year are not called Indian Summer, since officially Indian Summer occurs between November 11 and November 20.
• Bill and Loretta (Strauch) Hiscox, reverse snowbirds, are in Hughesville following their drive from Florida earlier in the week. Bill scratched his head and said "I haven't turned off my windshield wipers since I arrived in Pennsylvania." They left 92° weather to come to this poor excuse for Fall. Chin up, Bill! It should be almost 60° Tuesday.
• Larry Paul spends a lot of time on the computer, telling wife Judy that he is "working." Actually, he is a great source to discover things, such as the printable puzzles of various type. We'll add them to the Leisure Activities section on the side panel.
• Photos of Saturday night's "Save the Benton Dam" supper hosted by the Benton Volunteer Fire Company are available for viewing as a slideshow here . They are available for downloading and printing by going here. The meal brought in memorials for Nancy Fox and for the Benton dam. The donations Saturday night for the dam totaled $843. Gross proceeds from the meal to support the dam brought in $1,725.23. A huge debt of gratitude is owned to the community who has supported the cause of keeping the dam. Special recognition is due the Benton Volunteer Firemen for their hard work and dedicated volunteerism Saturday night. The group "Raven Creek" provided music for dining and dancing--a group that contributes greatly to musical events in and around our area. "Raven Creek" Saturday night consisted of Joe, Loraine and Grace Feola, Doug Ward and Rick Marcera.• Keep Chase Emerson Stewart in your prayers. Chase Emerson is six months old, and has a leg disorder. He goes to Shriner's Hospital, Philadelphia, Monday for evaluation.It is a true fear of flying. I first knew it was serious when I lived in Middletown, Pennsylvania, and decided to get my pilot's license. I threw up at 1,500 feet on my first flight with a flight instructor. I did the same on my second attempt. On the afternoon of my third attempt, I repeated the event shortly after I came out of my front door and before I got in the car to go to what is now Harrisburg International Airport, then part of the Middletown Air Material Area, an Air Force supply depot. My reaction was a carry-over from the days when I helped Father deliver the U.S. mail on Benton R.D. 3.I would sit in the back seat of his mail-delivery car eating dust from the dirt roads and inhaling the smoke from his cheap White Owl cigars. My job was to help sort the mail so that Father had the right mail at each stop. I upchucked almost every trip. My car sickness was legendary...My problem with air sickness went away when I decided that I no longer wanted to fly. It returned when the Air Force started sending me on trips where the mode of travel was by airplane. On one delayed takeoff from St. Louis, I got sick simply waiting for the runway to open so we could taxi. It was unheard of to work for the Air Force and get airsick even before the plane took off!Someone finally suggested that I think about the experiences of brother Dayne during World War II and perhaps I could get myself under control. During the war years, Dayne had been a crewmember flying cargo airplanes filled with gasoline and ammunition over the Himalaya Mountains to resupply the Flying Tigers and to aid the Chinese Government of Chiang Kai-shek in its struggle against the Japanese. The United States Army Air Force called the action the "China Burma India (CBI) Theater and those who participated in this dangerous maneuver were said to be flying "the Hump," their name to the eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains over which they flew from India to China.Transport planes flew around the clock from thirteen bases in northeastern India, eventually landing at one of six Chinese airfields. Some crews flew as many as three round trips every day. Parts and supplies to keep the planes flying were scarce, and flight crews sometimes had to trudge into the foothills to gather up debris and parts from previous crashes to repair the remaining units in the squadron.
Fifty percent of aircraft flying along the route crashed each month--more than 600 planes, with the loss of more than 1,000 soldiers. In all operations, more than 2,000 aircraft were lost in the CBI, the majority of which were transports. Bullet holes in the sides of the planes were common. Weather forecasts for the CBI were unreliable and planes had no radar. Pilots would sneak into the clouds to avoid the Japanese, but those same clouds made flying more dangerous. One C-87 (a B-24 bomber converted into a cargo plane) crashed while flying the Hump over Tibet. Years later, the plane was found frozen in a glacier. One account of a ground-search party from October 19, 1944, read simply "plane was completely burned from middle of fuselage to nose. Part of fuselage and nose were intact. Number on tail plainly visible. No signs of survivors."
Dayne often said that all he could do on those flights was to say a powerful prayer, and ride it out. I finally got it through my thick head that if a prayer could get Dayne through a situation like that a prayer on my part would get me through a simple airplane flight. When I thought of it this way, things got much easier for me.
Robert W. “Rob” Pembleton, Jr. (September 1, 1947-October 15, 2009) died Friday at his home at 478 Beach Glen Road. His death at the age of 62 was unexpected. He was born in Wilkes-Barre. Rob was a son of Anne (Honas) Pembleton, with whom he resided and the late Robert W. Pembleton, Sr. He previously lived in Willingboro, New Jersey. He received both his high-school education and a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology and education from Divine Wood Seminary, Bordentown, New Jersey. He was a member of Christ The King Catholic Church, Benton; the Knights of Columbus and the Legion of Mary. Rob was an avid and expert videographer and was devoted to his mother and family.
Surviving in addition to his mother are siblings Deborah (Paul) Haden, Millville; Janet (Frank) Smolenski, Burlington, New Jersey; Richard Pembleton (Lee Ann), Atlanta, Georgia; Mary Anne (Russell) Novak, San Diego, California; Margaret (Wico) vanGenderen and Christopher Pembleton, (Rosemarie), both of Mt. Laurel, New Jersey; several nieces and nephews as well as a number of great nieces and nephews. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Tuesday morning at 11:30 in Christ The King Catholic Church. Interment in Wesley Chapel Cemetery, Talmar. There will be no calling hours. Arrangements were made by the Dean Kriner Funeral Home.
October 17, 2009. How things change. Three years ago on this day, Dushore reached 71° (followed by six inches of snow just a few days later). Last year on this day on North Mountain in Sullivan County, the temperature was a balmy 65° at 10:30 PM and water in the Benton dam wasn't running over the top, a very strange situation for this time of the year. Rain and snow will continue through this weekend. Don't forget the chicken dinner to support the "Save the Benton Dam" project at the fire hall today.
Despite everything the Pumpkin Festival is still on. Come out and enjoy the festival. The grit and determination of the Pumpkin Festival organizers reminds me of the inscription in Heradotus' Histories, which referred to the ancient courier service of the Persian Empire: It is said that as many days as there are in the whole journey, so many are the men and horses that stand along the road, each horse and man at the interval of a day’s journey; and these are stayed neither by snow nor rain nor heat nor darkness from accomplishing their appointed course with all speed. It almost sounds like something that the USPS could use...
We all have our problems with computers, but have you ever thought about the problems encountered by the first tech support guy? Go here and prepare to smile broadly.The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index is up 61% from March 9. Many have been crying that there is a wolf around the corner, but investors keep on buying based on the premise that our nation is in the midst of an economic rebound. When will it stop? Who knows? You decide, but when you come up with your answer keep in mind that with declining book-values, low dividend-yields, and high price-to-earnings ratios, stocks are now more over-valued than they were at their 1929 and 1987 highs, although slightly below the early 2000 bubble highs. Keep your finger on the "sell" button!My candle burns at both ends
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends -
It gives a lovely light.
--Edna St. Vincent Millay
• While certainly not a popular view, it is possible that the current century will belong to Asia (primarily China), while the last century belonged to the United States and the 19th century was under the control of the British. The handwriting is on the wall. With no offense intended to the youth of today, the Chinese are quite willing to get out and work, unlike many young people today in the United States. Asia has 3 billion people, half in China, who want to live as well as we do, but combine it with a good sense of saving. In our lifetime, we probably will see our schools teach Chinese rather than teaching Spanish. Unless they make more mistakes like shipping us another product like the 500 million pounds of Chinese gypsum board which emitted "volatile sulfur compounds" and contained traces of strontium sulfide, it could happen.
• The state Department of Environmental Protection continues an investigation to determine if salty sediment in the waters of the Monongahela are being caused by chemically-tainted wastewater from the state's natural gas industry. This comes at a time when the state budget reduces funding to the Department of Environmental Protection by 30%. Read about cuts to this agency by going here.• With the unfortunate passing of Nancy Fox Thursday, her obituary answered a lot of questions, and Becky Janney answered some I didn't question. Becky is the daughter of Roxie (Walters) and Ronald Janney, the granddaughter of Phoebe Jean (Jeannie) and Robert Walters and the great granddaughter of Mary (Bender) and Jacob Janney. Becky enlightened me on the origin of the name "Brannie." Becky takes full credit/blame for the name. She was Jeannie's first grandchild, and she gave her grandmother her original yet very unique name of Brannie. Becky wasn't able to pronounce the GR sound--it became BR. So, "Granny" becomes "Brannie." Even Becky's cousins call her Brannie. Becky knows that "unique is good and there's no one else like her!"
Herman G. Taylor (January 3, 1927-October 13, 2009), Stroudsburg, died Tuesday at Pleasant Valley Manor, Hamilton Township. He was 82. He was born in Stroudsburg. He was the son of George and Evelyn (Seese) Taylor and had lived in Wind Gap and Benton before moving back to Monroe County in October 2005. He was a veteran of World War II and served in the United States Navy. He was a truck driver for E. Brook Matlock in Bath until his retirement. Herman was a member of the Benton United Methodist Church where he sang in the choir. He was also a member of the J. Simpson Lodge #628 F&AM; the Veterans Lodge in Benton; the National Rifle Association and the Teamsters Union where he received a belt buckle for driving without an accident.
He was the husband of the late Marjorie (Hummel) Taylor who died in 2003. Surviving are a son, Michael Taylor (Janice), Hendersonville, TN; a daughter, Linda Alley of Charlotte, North Carolina; grandchildren Ryan Kanaga, Tracy Moreo and Heather Taylor; five great grandchildren; two sisters, Evelyn Smith, East Stroudsburg and Harriet Taylor, Neola; a sister-in-law, Doris Taylor, Stroudsburg, and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Amelia Jane (Carrington) Taylor who died in 1972; a sister, Geraldine May; and two brothers, Robert Taylor and William Taylor. A memorial service will be held at 10 AM Saturday October 17, at the Neola United Methodist Church with the Rev. Todd Glasmire and Rev. Calvin Miller officiating. Cremation will have taken place prior to the service. Arrangements by William H. Clark Funeral Home, 1003 Main St., Stroudsburg, PA 18360.
October 16, 2009. It is the birthday of Pedro Coen, son of actress Frances McDormand and filmmaker Joel Coen. He is the grandson of Rev. Vernon McDormand. David Keller also celebrates his birthday today. Please keep Marcia Worley in your prayers. Marcia is the daughter of Marcia Kay Kline. She is a patient in Holy Spirit Hospital, Camp Hill. Keep Gene Laubach in your prayers. Gene is at Millville Health Center, P. O. Box 320, Route 42, Millville, PA. He could use your cards and letters to cheer him up.
We recently mentioned the airfield between Eagles Mere and Laporte. About fifteen years ago, a man named George Jenkins purchased property and developed this airport to display and use his collection of antique/classic airplanes from the period before World War II. He named it Merritt Field after his son. It is now also called the Eagles Mere Air Museum and it is open to the public during the summer on Sunday afternoons. His original airstrip was grass but he later added an asphalt one as well. He sponsors a fly-in each year on a Saturday in June where fellow collectors fly their planes to Merritt Field and the public is invited to see them. The field has now been closed for the winter but will presumably open again for visitors next spring.A similar event will take place Saturday from noon to 4 PM at the Benton airport when manager Monte Hittle and others who love flying and our local community invite aviators to a fly-in at Benton's airport. There will be airplane rides. The community is invited to come out and extend our neighborly shake and howdy's to the visitors. Revenue from the fly-in will benefit the "Save the Benton Dam" fund. Angel Food orders can be picked up Saturday morning from 8 to 9:30 for those of you who ordered. For those who ordered this month, if you order again next month, you will receive a $5 coupon to be used with your December order (or some order during 2010).
I feel a little like Zsa Zsa Gabor’s eighth husband on their honeymoon. I think I know what I’m supposed to do but I’m not sure I can make it as exciting as it should be! This spring, the Guv issued an ultimatum that if Senate Bill 850 passed--which proposed cutting the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) budget by about $19 million--he would close 35 to 40 state parks. The Guv has signed into law a state budget which decreases last year's funding to DCNR by $26.6 million (actually a very slight increase over SB 850). The decreased funding will affect world travelers who love to visit Ricketts Glen state park and the numerous people and businesses who count on money they make from those tourists coming and leaving a little of their money behind. The park also employees a number of people in various capacities. At this time, operations for next year at Ricketts Glen are unchanged. DCNR will determine their financial condition for the coming year and decide what action needs to be taken and what parks will be affected. I feel like marching on Harrisburg and telling the politicians to leave our state parks alone. I suspect I wouldn't work up much excitement...
The state budget also reduces funding to the Department of Environmental Protection by 30% to funding levels last seen 13 years ago. Read about cuts to this agency by going here. Has the state not heard about Marcellus?
As Karen Musitano drove to church Sunday, she was in prayer for her nephew, Aric, asking that he be an instrument of God's Faith, Hope, and Love, through his ordeal with his brain surgery. Karen had no sooner said those words, when she rounded a bend in the road, and saw the scene which she later went back and photographed because it was so revealing. In the middle of a field was a green path that swung to the right through the withering weeds of summer. It was a sign of a new beginning for Aric, that he would be "born again," be a new person sprung from the old, and a path of inspiration to others who may be dead to the word of God. Karen couldn't have painted a better picture of her prayer than God did that Sunday morning. Here is the photo...
Photo courtesy of Karen Musitano
Nancy M. (Janney) Fox (March 11, 1937-October 15, 2009), South Comstock Road, Benton, owner of the Ol Country Barn which she founded in the early 1980s and who was instrumental in establishing the Pumpkin Festival which she had operated for the past 23 years and which takes place this weekend. died Thursday at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, where she had been a patient for the past week. She had been in declining health for the past several years. She was 72. Nancy was born in Milford Square, Bucks County. She was a daughter of Mary (Bender) Janney, Elk Grove, and the late Jacob M. Janney, who died December 26, 2006. She attended Quakertown High School. She lived in the Benton area since 1968. Nancy had been employed by numerous area sewing factories including Dol-Ang Manufacturing, Kristel Fashions and Milco Industries. Mrs. Fox was a member of Christ United Methodist Church, Central.
Surviving, in addition to her mother, are children James H. Fox, Benton and Colleen W. Bender and her fiancee, J. R. Peterson. Also surviving are granddaughters Tara Grigas (Teo), Benton; Carol Crawford (Jon), Jacksonville, Florida; her great granddaughter, Ainsley Mae Grigas, Benton; a step great granddaughter, Kelly Crawford, Jacksonville; her brothers and sisters: Ronald Janney (Roxie), Fountain Hill; Sandra Rosenberger, Benton; Robert Janney, Benton; Linda Reily (Stuart), Allentown; Barry Janney (Evelyn), Benton; Judy Ashelman (Glen), Stillwater; David Janney (Linda), Benton; Susan Reabuck (Joe), Stillwater and numerous nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Charles H. Fox, on July 17, 1993, and by her father. She was also preceded in death by brothers and a sister--Jacob C. Janney (September 24, 2009), Daniel T. Janney (Oct. 10, 1996) and Irene R. Swartley (July 26, 2006).
Funeral services will be held Tuesday, October 20, 2009, at 11 AM at the McMichael Funeral Home Inc. Burial will be in St. James Cemetery, Fishing Creek Township. A viewing will be held Monday evening from 6 to 8 PM at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in her memory to Save the Dam Fund, P. O. Box 520, Benton, PA 17814.
October 15, 2009. It is the birthday of Lee Iacocca and chef Emeril Lagasse. Mata Hari, one of history's most famous spies, was executed on this day in 1917.
Take the sun and sky and clouds of June
And gather all the flowers of July together,
You still won't rival for even a minute
The joy of October's bright blue weather.The Benton airport will be busy on Saturday, October 17, weather permitting. Airplanes will arrive for a fly-in from noon until 4 PM. Dick Karschner will give airplane rides in his Piper Super Cub. All revenue for the rides will go to the Benton dam repair fund. Everyone is invited to come enjoy the sights and sounds found only at an airport and take in the excitement of a ride high above our beautiful area. A chicken barbecue with proceeds going to the Benton dam will take place from 4 to 7 PM at the Benton firehall.Bringing Home the Bacon...
Harley-Davidson has been allocated $15 million in state tax dollars to keep its assembly plant in York County. The F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts in Wilkes-Barre, the former site of the Comerford theater and later the Paramount Theater, got $150,000 to replace its leaking roof, thanks to U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-11.When times got tough for Mother and Father during the war years, they tightened their belts and "lived off the land." Father bought an incubator and mother bought some "peeps." There are about a million ways that an incubator chicken can die, and they tried every one.A brooder came next. For those who don't know, a brooder consists of runways and sun parlors and places to feed. All of this is kept at different temperatures so that when a chicken decides it wants to roast to death in the glassed portion he can do so, or if he likes the old-fashioned method of strangling he can do that in another part. The brooder made growing chickens just a little more difficult. One thing I learned was that a mother chicken has a lot of sense when setting on her eggs, but peeps living in an incubator have absolutely no sense. A mother hen teaches her chicks how to scratch for its food. A peep hatched in an incubator where its food is provided without work never learns to become a useful member of chicken society. Didja ever notice that humans are much the same?It wasn't long before chickens ran everywhere and chicken became the basic dish of the Kline household. The chickens never thought for a second about the fate that lay ahead for them. They felt they were household pets. We simply knew they lived in the fields and little or no feed was needed for them. In return, they provided an abundant number of wonderful fresh eggs for the kitchen table and for Mother's constant baking. The chickens provided a constant source of fertilizer with lots of nitrogen in it which seemed to take care of weeds that the horse manure produced in record amounts. Each chicken had its own personality, but like the family cat chose to keep its distance by flying to a tree limb or to the back of Father's rocking chair. This often happened shortly after a dust bath, which somehow they equated with keeping clean.John Mather kept the chickens well supplied with oyster shells and pellets. When the chickens heard the rattling of the paper bags with oyster shells they would come running. Vegetable remains from the kitchen table were a great delight to the birds. There was a rooster who broke all the rules by staying away from the house, except shortly before daylight each morning. He seemed to understand his role in life and fulfilled that role with gusto. Luckily for him, no other rooster showed up to share his bounty. Having two roosters in the same area would be like locking a Democrat and a Republican in the same room.
The aspen is the latest tree to come down with a mysterious disease. Like the chestnut blight, the pine-beetle invasion of the lodgepole pine and the hemlock blight, the aspen is in serious trouble in our western states. As the aspen dies, the potential for devastating fires increases, the native habitat of the elk and smaller animals disappears and the vast numbers of tourists find more scenic views elsewhere. Warm-winter temperatures from the past few years are blamed on the supply of beetle larvae, but scientists haven't come up with an answer of what is killing the aspen. The disease has taken on a name: SAD, or Sudden Aspen Decline.Quickies...
• There is a lot of confusion about Afghanistan and what the United States should do about the problems in that country. You will better understand the complexities of the country if you head to the CIA World Fact Book and specifically look at Afghanistan.
• The latest animated card by English artist Jacquie Lawson can be viewed here.
• How do you figure the 14th-ranked Nittany Lions, which blows teams like Eastern Illinois out of the water, can lose to Iowa?
• MerleFest 2010 takes place April 29-30 and May 1-2, 2010. The full line-up will be posted on Friday, October 23.
• Now that a Democratic administration occupies the seats of power in Washington, D.C., the Federal Turnpike Commission has decided to try for the third time to convince the Federal Highway Administration to add tolls to I-80. It doesn't make any more sense now than it did on the two previous tries.
• The Dow industrials closed above the psychologically important 10000 mark for the first time since Oct. 3, 2008 (and the 29th time in its history). Analysts immediately began telling customers that with the S&P 500 selling at 20 times earnings stocks should continue to be purchased and companies should acquire companies in trouble rather than concentrating on improving the products they sell. The same old malarkey is being cranked out to buy, buy, buy. Remember how analysts make their money! When they are telling you to buy, watch the short sales as the analysts begin to sell. Give up on the idea that these analysts are going to help you make money.
Zane R. Creveling (December 7, 1936-October 13, 2009), Honeytown Road, Stillwater, died Tuesday at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville. He had been in declining health for the past several years. He was 72. Zane was born in Fishing Creek Township. He was a son of Woodrow C. and Helen G. (Rough) Creveling. A graduate of Benton High School, Class of 1954, Zane was on the school's first wrestling team and was District-2 runner-up his senior year. He also played soccer and baseball in high school. He served his country in the U. S. Air Force from 1954 to 1958 and was a member of the Disabled American Veterans and the Air Force Sergeant's Association. Mr. Creveling was a self-employed carpenter, retiring in 1997.
Zane was a lifelong resident of Columbia County. He was a member of St. James United Church of Christ near Bendertown where he served on the Church Consistory. He also was on the board of the St. James Cemetery Association where he served as secretary until the time of his death.
Surviving are his wife, Nancy A. (Coombs) Creveling, with whom he celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on September 5. Two children survive: Jeffrey A. Creveling (Rebecca), Riverside, and Jean E. MacDermott (David), Stillwater. Also surviving are grandsons Keith E. MacDermott, Stillwater, and Cody J. Creveling, Riverside; brothers Curtis E. Creveling (H. Elaine), Stillwater; Verncel Lee Creveling (Betty), Berwick; Albert E. Creveling (Patricia), Berwick, and a sister, Eileen Knouse, Bloomsburg. There are numerous nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be Monday at 11 AM at the McMichael Funeral Home. Burial will be in St. James Cemetery with full military honors accorded by a combined veterans group. A viewing will be held Sunday from 6 to 8 PM at the McMichael Funeral Home as well as Monday from 10 until the time of the service. For online condolences or to sign the register book, go to www.mcmichaelfuneralhome.com .
October 14, 2009. It is the birthday of Kris Karl, Bellefonte, William Penn (October 14, 1644-July 30, 1718), founder of Pennsylvania, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the nation's 34th U.S. president and the poet e. e. (Edward Estlin) cummings. We note the passing of Zane Creveling. An obituary will be provided later today. The one word to describe this week's weather is "cold."Health Issues...
• Valerie Wojton, daughter of David and Teresa Wojton, Whispering Pines Camping Estates, had a difficult night Monday but is holding her own. She received her third of five chemotherapy treatments Monday night. She has developed a lung infection and is being treated with antibiotics. Because of the infection, she is on oxygen and is very tired. Valerie needs your prayers.• Dorothy Hartman Passamonte, Mount Morris, New York, recovering from a stroke.Picture a dinner party where four snazzily-dressed couples gather to celebrate the tenth wedding anniversary of their hosts. But there is a problem. The host is upstairs with a bullet hole in his ear lobe, and the hostess is nowhere to be seen. The friends try frantically to protect their host by hiding the evening’s events from the outside world. Neil Simon wrote about the comic complications that arise in keeping the evening's events from the local police and the media. The play was called Rumors.
The Fishing Creek Players, a community-theater group under the direction of M.R. Daniels, will hold auditions for its first production of 2010 tonight and Thursday night at 7 PM at The Center. The play will be performed January 8, 9 and 10, 2010, on the Benton High School stage. Rumors has roles for five men and five women. Experienced or inexperienced actors or actresses are encouraged to audition and get involved with Fishing Creek Players. Also needed are set builders, costumers, and props people. Other productions planned for 2010 include another original play in July, Count Dracula in the fall, and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever in December. For more information call M.R. Daniels at 925-2080. Ms. Daniels wrote and directed the successful play, The Dividing Line, which was presented as part of the Heritage Days celebration in July.
• It took 101 days to close this year's state-budget impasse. The $27.8 billion budget this year (down 1.8% over last) was based on last year's income levels and the budget next year will be determined the same way. With little in the way of huge improvement in the state's outlook for next year, the budget process next year will be difficult. If it is true that the state is running $100 million behind this year over last in the first three months, as some sources claim, expect a tough sell as income goes down and expenses go up.
• We wonder whatsa going on that would prompt so many house fires in Wyoming Valley. Forty or more residents have become homeless from fires since September 7.• First American CoreLogic, Inc. provides property-value information and notes that approximately one of every 16 mortgagees in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton metro area was in serious trouble with their lender in August.• Santa Barbara, California, will always be one of our favorite cities, but now that the rainy season is arriving on the west bank we'll stick close to home. The National Weather Service anticipates between 2” and 5” of rain to fall in Santa Barbara though Thursday. Because of the damage done to the vegetation on the foothills above the city by the Tea and Jesusita fires, flash flooding and mudslides present an increased threat to the county and its residents.• Tickets for Steamtown National Historic Site's popular "Holiday Express" steam-powered excursions to Moscow will be available as of Thursday. The site will offer excursions on November 27 and 28 and December 5. Each excursion will depart from the Steamtown boarding platform at 11 AM and return at 2 PM. For reservations, call Steamtown at 340-5204.
• Geologists and engineers from Europe are visiting the Commonwealth to figure out how to cash in on natural-gas extraction from shale formations in their own countries as the global rush to switch to natural gas begins. In our lifetime, expect that these global companies will send ships loaded with Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) to the US market when we have all the natural gas we need right here.
• It is time to cut your fire wood for the winter season. Learn how (not) to cut wood by heading here.Richard Rhoades, Arlington, Virginia, visited Shanksville Friday, not expecting to encounter a lot of people. There were about 100 people and the parking lot was filled. National Park construction starts next month and the Government is putting in a new road system off Route 30. The park service guide who spoke to Dick's tour was excellent. Dick recommends seeing the site before construction starts or is fully underway, saying "Something about how it looks now and will never look again." Dick equated his visit as much like visiting The Viet Nam Memorial--very moving. Shanksville is 209 miles, three hours and 45 minutes from Back Home in Benton, PA.
William M.Williams, Land Management Group Supervisor for Sullivan, Luzerne and Wyoming Counties since January 2008, will provide a one-hour program for members of the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center entitled Pennsylvania Black Bears. The program will be held at The Center Wednesday, November 4, at 7 PM. The program will cover the biology and behavior of black bears, biological studies, the trapping and transfer of nuisance bears, and bear hunting in Pennsylvania. The program will include a 30-minute film about bears that Wildlife Conservation Officer Williams narrates. The speaker will bring a bear pelt, skull and informational materials. A question and answer period will follow the presentation. Williams, a native of Forty Fort, received much of his experience in Sullivan County following his assignment there in July 2001. Williams was named the Pennsylvania Wildlife Conservation Officer for the year 2005 by the National Wild Turkey Federation.
October 13, 2009. It is the birthday of Bill Danilowicz, Art Search, Mary Gaye Kline, Rose Zimmerman and Jill Byrum, known better as Lacy J. Dalton. It is the second anniversary of the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center. Congratulations to daughter-in-law Lydia Becker, Camp Hill, for finishing first in her age group and ninth overall for the women runners in Sunday's Steamtown marathon. A record 2,322 participated with 1,900 runners finishing the race.
The Columbia County Land Owners Coalition will have a meeting Thursday night, October 15, at the Benton High School auditorium. The coalition will be holding three meetings that night so members are asked to check the web site for times.
- 6 PM to 6:45 PM -- Fairmount Township
- 7:15 PM to 8:00 PM -- Ross Township & Columbia County north of Route 254 and 239
- 8:30 PM to 9:15 PM -- Columbia County south of Route 254 and 239Subscribers sometimes tell me that the email version of the Benton News does not arrive. The newsletter does go out, but there are always bounces and I don't have the time to try to figure out each one. Most of the bounces occur because the recipient's email box is full. For email domains that have quotas on the number of emails that can be in a subscriber's mailbox at any one time, this is a problem. Emails with photos will eat up your capacity to store quickly.Feel like doing some reading...• You can find free online books at www.readprint.com/ .
• If you want to stop at a nice library, stop at the Hughesville Public Library , 146 South 5th Street, 584-3762. Be sure to strike up a quiet conversation with the staff. They have the answers to the most difficult questions.
• There is a genealogy fair in Berwick Saturday from 10 AM to 2 PM. Local and internet resources; lineage societies; guides, research materials, demonstrations, family research, photo framing and preservation, digital photography and restoration, refreshments. Find your roots! Sponsored by the Columbia County Historical & Genealogical Society and the Berwick Historical Society. It takes place at the McBride Memorial Library, second floor, 500 Market Street, Berwick. 784-1600.We remember back to September 1964 when there was nary a drop of water in the Benton dam and over in Huntington Creek hundreds of fish died. In Fishingcreek, area sportsmen scooped up the fish and moved them to deep holes of water.The water is coming over the dam pretty good these days, but the Department of Environmental Protection has not yet granted authorization to commence repairs. A promise of approval by the end of this week was made to Mayor Jan Swan in a phone call to the head of the state agency. Funds are in hand to the tune of $26,000 for repairs, with three suppers coming up with proceeds going to the "Save the Benton Project." A memorial to John Unbewust brought in more than $4,000.
October 12, 2009. It is the birthday of Ann Bower and Corey Becker, Camp Hill. On this day in 1997, singer John Denver, 53, was killed during his maiden flight in his new plane when it crashed off Monterey Bay. He was the pilot and only passenger. Authorities were unable to identify the mangled body, and it was only through fingerprints that it was confirmed the following day that Denver was the victim.
Every school child in this country knows that at 2 AM on this day in 1492 a sailor on board a tiny ship known as the "Pinta" cried "Tierra, tierra!" Italian-born Cristoforo Colombo, 40, arrived at his Bahamas landfall from the port of Palos in southern Spain on his first voyage. His three ships were the Santa Clara, named after the Saint, but which the crew nicknamed Niña, the 69-foot Pinta and the 85-foot Santa Maria. Over the ensuing years, cars, mattress sales, and even streets and whole cities were named in his honor, much to the chagrin of people with names like "DeSoto" and "Cabot." The stories about Columbus range from the good (going bravely where man had never gone, navigating an unknown ocean), to the bad ("discovering" an inhabited land that he thought was India), to the ugly (theories of him being syphilitic and his crew learning to suck smoke from burning sticks introduced by natives Columbus called "Indians").
Admiral Cristóbal Colón, his new name in Spanish and his honorary title bestowed on him simply because it appeased Columbus and didn't cost the court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella any money, had little trouble convincing the Spanish Sovereigns to finance a second voyage, this one with seventeen ships, over a thousand men, and horses, sheep, and cattle. Columbus, however, became increasingly ill and nervous, a cough developed and his log mentions his aching bones.
Although Columbus was Spain's greatest explorer for the Crown of Castile, he returned to Spain in chains from Hispaniola after the Queen's commissioner found seven Spaniards hanging in the colony of Isabella.
Columbus did not actually reach the mainland of what is now North America until his third voyage in 1498, the first voyage where women were allowed to sail with the men.
In 1503, attempting to return home from his fourth journey and still looking for a strait linking the Indies with the Indian Ocean, Columbus did find gold by trading for it with natives of the present Panama. Columbus desperately needed the gold to repay his loans. Off the coast of Cuba, Columbus and his ships were hit by a storm, and the ships finally had to be beached in St. Anne's Bay, Jamaica. In 1503. Jamaica was not a Spanish colony and with no one to rescue them, they were marooned. One of Columbus' captains rowed a canoe to Hispaniola where he was imprisoned for seven months. Meanwhile Columbus had his share of problems when half of his men staged a mutiny, which he eventually put down. Columbus was rescued in 1504, returning home to Spain on November 7, 1504, his last voyage complete.
Columbus, 54, died in the spring of 1506 believing that he had found the Indies and China. It wasn't until 1513 that it was discovered that the western lands were not Asia. An edition of Ptolemy's Geography displayed the land mass as two continents. Columbus had been mislead by the Romans' 1,400 year-old calculations, which underestimated the circumference of the earth.Keep Nancy Fox in your prayers. She remains in the hospital where two growths were found on her brain, a respreading of the cancer to that part of the body. She remains in good spirits. She wants to come home for the Pumpkin Festival where she enjoys visiting with everyone. When we talk about "the festival," we are obviously talking about the Pumpkin Festival at the Ol' Country Barn four miles north of Benton off Route 487, behind the Benton Foundry on Fritz Hill road. The festival is October 17 and 18 from 10 to 5. There is food, entertainment and free hay rides. There are vendors set up throughout (crafts and antiques). Come spend time with the beautiful fall colors.
The Haverford/Bryn Mawr College Orchestra has more than sixty members and has performed a wide range of the standard symphonic repertoire. The concert master of the orchestra is Eric Sumrall, grandnephew of Chuck and Kay Chapman and grandson of Allen and Ann Chapman (residents of the Bonham Nursing and Rehabilitation Center). Eric will make a unscheduled appearance at the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center this morning following "Sit 'n Fit" classes at 10 AM where he will provide a mini, free concert of his extensive violin skills. Take the opportunity to get some excellent exercise at 10 AM, following about 11 AM with this free concert.
The Fishing Creek Confederacy plate signing at The Center Sunday afternoon with Eric Fricke playing the organ that Bill Mather donated to the library and museum featured the artist, Dorothy Wilson. George Turner also attended. Dorothy has provided illustrations for Turner's book on the Fishing Creek Confederacy which is expected from the printer in the spring. Dorothy discovered she had a flair for art when she began sketching pictures of airplanes on t-shirts during high school. Dorothy did not have the money to attend college, but the supervising principal of the high school made Dorothy promise that his name was not to be revealed in his lifetime, but that he would pay her way through college for a career in art--so long as she returned the favor to an outstanding student sometime. She did--and her career has been outstanding.It was a beautiful Sunday in the upper Fishingcreek valley. The participants in the turkey tournament at the Mill Race golf course had a gorgeous day to play. John Sorber and Steve Safka had the winning combination to come out ahead for the day with a match of cards 67. Everyone who played enjoyed a turkey dinner. Thirty-six golfers went home with the prize of a turkey.Today's high will be about 54° following last night's frost for many readers. Tuesday will break 60°, but Wednesday will barely break 50° and Thursday won't reach that temperature.
This has been an almost ideal season for the development of fall colors. Sunday's orange, yellow and red colors against the deep blue autumn sky was one of the glories of this fall season. There have not been any droughts, extreme temperatures or insect infestations to affect the tree populations. The maples, birch and beech trees are now at their peak with the oaks holding back slightly. Last night's cold, crisp weather will help with the turning of the color. Want to know more about the turning of leaves? Head to the foliage network at www.foliagenetwork.com/ .
Once leaves have fallen, they don't retain their color for long, so admire them where they lie before picking up that rake. If you remove the leaves, don't forget that they make excellent additions to your compost pile.
James Arthur Dildine (June 3, 1921-October 10, 2009), 475 Third Street, Benton, a former businessman, farmer, councilman, mayor of the borough and quite possibly Benton's most recognized and respected resident died Saturday at St. Luke’s Hospital, New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he was a patient for almost two weeks. He was in failing health for the past six months. He was 88. Jim’s booming voice and personality will be missed.
Jim was born in Greenwood township. He was a son of the late Howard C. and Jennie Ada (Young) Dildine. He moved to Sunbury at the age of six and to Benton in 1937. He was a 1939 graduate of Benton high school. His class recently celebrated its 70th reunion. He married the former Ruth Marie Treasure, a teacher in the Benton-school system, September 12, 1942. The couple celebrated 48 years of marriage before her death on June 2, 1991.
Jim and his father started the Benton GLF in 1939. He was in the trucking business, he spread lime for area farmers, he was a dairy farmer and owned Sunny Hillside Dairy, Benton. He later became a milk supplier and wholesale/retail supplier for the former Dairylea Co., Berwick.
He was a founding partner of J & B Honda, Bloomsburg; a partner in Dildine, Dildine & Clement, a real estate development firm in northcentral Pennsylvania; a partner in Susquehanna Nursing Home Associates, Selinsgrove; and a partner in Monroe Commercial Properties, a commercial real-estate developer in Selinsgrove.
He enlisted in the US Army in 1942, and served in the Army Air Corps as a control-tower operator in the South Pacific theater until 1945. He was a charter member of Ft. Rickett’s Post 8317, VFW, Benton.
Jim was a member of the Benton United Presbyterian Church for 70 years, and served as deacon and elder. He also was a member of the former Benton Lodge #667, F & AM, serving as worshipful master in 1958. He became a member of Oriental Lodge 460 F & AM, Orangeville, when the two lodges merged. He became a member of the Chimney Stack Rod & Gun Club, Red Rock, in 1956, and was its most senior member at the time of his death.
He served his community as a member of the Benton borough council for two terms (eight years) and as mayor for 15 years. He was Benton's director of reconstruction following the devastation of Hurricane Agnes in 1972.
He was a charter member of the Benton flying club, holding a private pilot’s license for more than 25 years. He was an avid golfer, and was a member of Mill Race Golf Club, Benton, and Whiskey Creek Country Club, Fort Myers, Florida, where he wintered.
Jim was a great lover of automobiles, owning more than 40 cars in his lifetime. One of his favorites was a 1949 Chrysler Town & Country “Woody” convertible, now being restored to its original condition by his son.
Surviving are a son, James T. Dildine (Carol), Mattapoisett, Massachusetts; daughters Linda (Robert) Patton, Beaufort, North Carolina, and Janet (Michael) Spitzer, Richmond, Virginia. There are seven grandchildren: Dr. Jennifer Russell, Mattapoisett, MA; James A. Dildine, II, Los Gatos, CA; Dr. David Dildine, Providence, RI; Michael Spitzer, II, Richmond, VA; Eric Spitzer, Woodbridge, VA; Kristie Patton, Chapel Hill, NC; Robert Corey Patton, Washington, D.C; seven great-grandchildren: Nicholas, Oliver, Grace and Ava Russell, Mattapoisett; James A. III, Ethan and Alexandra Dildine, Los Gatos, and a sister, Eleanor Klementik, Benton. Also surviving are a niece and two nephews.
Funeral services will be held Saturday at 11 AM in the Benton United Presbyterian Church, Market Street, Benton. Interment will be in the Benton cemetery with full-military honors by the combined VFW group. Friends may call at the church Saturday morning from 9 to 10:45. Masonic memorial services will be held at 10:45 AM.
The family will provide flowers. Memorials may be sent to the Columbia-Montour Home Hospice, 410 Glenn Avenue, Bloomsburg, PA 17815. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the care of the Dean W. Kriner, Inc., Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Benton. To sign the guest book or to send a message of condolence, please go to www.krinerfuneralhomes.com .
October 11, 2009. It is the birthday of retired teacher Beatrice Marie Roberts, Benton Mayor Jan Swan and the 77th birthday of Mike Rudick. It is the wedding anniversary of Philip and Susan Shultz and Peter and Sharon Shultz. It will be sunny with temperatures reaching 61° or so today, but some areas around Benton will get a frost tonight and/or Wednesday night. The gold and green colors of the area are beautiful this autumn.Let's go back to 1909 for quick visit. It was in that year that the Pennsylvania Copper and Mining Company, which began operating in 1901 near Central, was sold at a sheriff's sale. The population of Jamison City dropped from about 500 people from 1904-1907 to 300 by 1909. It was in this year that the "SOS" radio distress call was first employed by an American ship, the "Arapahoe," when it got in trouble off the coast of North Carolina. In 1909, the Long Wagon Works opened in Benton in a building beside the railroad tracks on Market Street. Frank C. Laubach received his bachelor of arts degree at Princeton University in 1909 where he received the McLean prize from Princeton President Woodrow Wilson for a speech on peace among nations. Benjamin Shibe patented baseball's cork center. Philadelphia's baseball stadium, Shibe Park, home to the Philadelphia Athletics of the American League from 1909 to 1954 and the Philadelphia Phillies of the National League from part of 1927 and from 1938 to 1970, was built by and named for him. The stadium later became Connie Mack Stadium, the home of the Phillies until 1971. The Wright brothers formed a corporation for the commercial manufacture of airplanes.A hundred years ago during October 1909, the Wilkes-Barre Market Street bridge became toll-free, the first bridge in Luzerne County to do so. Gilbert Walker, one of the founders of Fowler, Dick and Walker, Wilkes-Barre, died in Binghamton. The Kirby and Company store on South Main Street opened. On October 28, the drought in the area ended when drenching rains finally arrived. Luzerne County teachers recommended a bill be passed giving teachers a monthly salary for the entire year, the minimum to be $40. On the 30th, a street car and a coal train collided at the Pettebone switch on Wyoming Avenue, crushing the car and injuring 25.
• The Guv signed a $27.8 billion state budget Friday night, bringing an end to one of Harrisburg's worst political battles in decades.
• Bring your Fishing Creek Confederacy plates to The Center today from 2 to 4 PM for Dorothy Wilson, the artist who painted the scene of the Federal troops knocking on the farmhouse door, to sign. George Turner will also attend, in case you have questions about this episode in our history. Don't have a plate? There are a few for sale at The Center.
• Mill Race golf course will hold its annual turkey tournament this morning at 10. Tickets are $100 per team. There will be a turkey dinner following play. Half of the field will also receive turkeys.
• Verizon will break ground for their new site behind the Inn Under around the first of the year. The Verizon cellphone reception from the four tower sites along Route 118 toward Dallas is great!
• The alumni banquet and hall of fame induction at Benton Area Middle Schools will take place May 29, 2010. Have you started thinking about who you would like to nominate to the Hall of Fame? In an effort to update alumni records, class members are encouraged to help. I will provide members of classes the names and addresses of others in the class for the purpose of updating records. The information will only be provided to members of their class for the purpose of updating the school's data base.
• Benton Lions' Club members are selling tickets for the take-out BBQ chicken dinner. Tickets will also be available at the Halloween parade. Pick-up is November 19 at the Benton Christian Church. All profits will be donated to "save the Benton dam."
• Monday will begin another week of not receiving authorization from the Department of Environmental Protection to begin work on the Benton dam. I only wish that organization would ask me sometime for authorization to do something!
• The Robinson oil/gas group will hold a meeting on Wednesday, October 14, at 7 PM, at the Benton high school. The parcel map will be on display. Please review the map to confirm your acreage is listed. The group will update the assembly on current negotiations with gas companies. The group is accepting new members residing in Greenwood township. The acreage boundary is Route 254 North/East of Millville. The group continues to accept new members, but the deadline for contracts is November 1, 2009.
• Harry Warner had the staples removed from his knee on Thursday. His range of motion and everything else is as good or better than expected. Harry's next visit to his surgeon is November 6, when he expects to see full range of motion, etc. Harry faces another couple months of therapy to regain strength. He sends his thanks for your support, prayers and consideration.
Wilkes-Barre has long been the business and social center of Wyoming Valley. At one time, I knew my way around Wyoming Valley, but then a flood changed the profile and character of the area. In 1980, Congressman Dan Flood from Pennsylvania's 11th district ended his hold on the valley. Wilkes-Barre just isn't the same as when I went to college there and I rarely return. I did go back for a college reunion this weekend--and it was a hoot.
Most readers know Wilkes-Barre, so there is nothing new here. The 35 acres running between River Street and the Susquehanna River is known as the River Commons. At the center of Wilkes-Barre is a diamond-shaped hunk of land of about four acres which is the public or common area of Wilkes-Barre. It is the "Center Square" or "Public Square."
I mention this because it was the setting of the funniest story I heard over the weekend. Don Murry, a dentist's son from Queens, New York, arrived for his first day at Wilkes College almost 50 years ago. He and his suitcases exited the Frank Martz bus line on Public Square, Wilkes-Barre. Bewildered, he looked around and asked the first man he saw which way to the subway. The man looked Don up and down, then said, "So, it's the subway you wanna go to." He directed Don to cross the street to the center of the square where Don was to descend the stairs. As it once was at the courthouse in Bloomsburg, Don soon found himself in the men's room of public square with no subway in sight.
October 9, 2009. It is the wedding anniversary of John and Sandy Kogut. Here are the birthdays for Saturday, October 10: Loraine Hartman, Don King, Dottie Rabb, Frank Edson, and Jerri Ann Danilowicz. This was the last day in 2007 to hit 70° and the day after the Dow closed at 14,164.53 two years ago. The Dow closed at 8,579.19 a year ago. The Dow closed at 8,579.19 a year ago. The Dow Industrials rose 61.29 points Thursday to 9786.87. Bill Repko is home from the hospital.
The Picture Rock’s Volunteer Fire Department breakfast buffet is Sunday from 7 AM to 1 PM. Adults $7, children ages 6 – 12, $3.50; 5 & under free. The menu includes eggs to order, sausage, bacon, home fries, scrapple, liverwurst, pancakes, french toast, biscuits, ham gravy, toast, orange juice, coffee, tea and hot chocolate.Dorothy Wilson, the artist who painted the scene on the Fishing Creek Confederacy plates of the Federal troops knocking on the farmhouse door, has graciously offered to have a plate signing Sunday for the beautiful Heritage Days plates. The signing will take place from 2 to 4 PM at The Center. Eric Fricke will provide background music.The Benton News will not be published on Saturday, October 10. I am taking an overnight vacation in Wilkes-Barre for a college-dormitory reunion at Wilkes University, which was Wilkes College in the years when I attended. Wilkes had no fraternities in those days. The Wilkes president, Eugene Farley, was a Quaker and fraternities just wouldn't do unless everyone could be admitted. The dormitory was not a run-of-the-mill building. It was a three-story mansion named for Obadiah Gore and located on the northeast side of South Franklin Street, across from the Wilkes gymnasium. It's a parking lot today.Obadiah and his brother were the first to figure out that anthracite coal worked just fine in their blacksmith shop, and through their success anthracite was burned in a grate in the old Fell house. The rest was history. The future role of coal in America was assured! He acquired land though the Connecticut grant and participated in the Pennamite war partly with the help of a wooden cannon he build. The canon exploded when it was fired, but the enemy worried a great deal about this new force. He built a still, then opened a "house of entertainment" (tavern) which gained him enough friends so that he could become an associate judge of Luzerne county. He served two terms in the state legislature. His home was acquired by Wilkes and made into a dormitory which held 22 students in grand style. I had the good fortune of being president of Gore Hall for several years.This is homecoming weekend at Wilkes. Things won't be the same as when I attended. Gerry Newhart and brother Dayne once brought horses to Gore Hall for our homecoming weekend and Larry Pugh and I sat on guard on the horses in front of the dormitory during judging for the best house on campus. Larry went on to become the head civilian at Warner-Robbins Air Force Base, Georgia. Another year, we decided to make the spooky-looking building look like Halloween. I gathered a carful of Gorehallites and headed for the Bloomsburg Fair where we recorded freak-show barkers and crowd noise and anything weird we could find. We then played it at homecoming on my Wollensak tape recorder and amplified the sound to South Franklin Street where the exterior of the building was bedecked in its Halloween finery. It wasn't a cheap experience. I got a speeding ticket as I entered Shickshinny on our way to the fair. A revenue officer saw five students in a Volkswagen bug and saw dollar signs.We call the group who are returning the "core Gore." It is the same group who answered the only phone in the building (a pay phone) "Gore Hall. Who in the hall do you want?" Our reunion this weekend won't be with a large group.An Arlington, Virginia, CPA has health issues and won't be able to come. A brilliant engineer who kept his ham radio active each night graduated and then got a job which took him to sea trails in a nuclear submarine. The weeks of submersion kicked in his claustrobohia and for the rest of his life the most stressing job he could handle was clerking in a Baltimore food store. One dorm-mate went from working at what we always called a "glue factory" to being president of L. D. Davis Industries, a supplier of paper adhesives. His stressful position took his life. Senator Murray will be there. We always knew he would be a politician. He was the kind who would take candy from a baby or candy from a fellow student. I always had a dish of candy on my desk. Don would come visiting each night and leave with his share of the candy. I finally bought some ex-lax®, shaved the embedded name off and filled the dish. The dish was soon empty and so was Don. An airline pilot who flew 747s around the world will be there with the beautiful girl with the enchanting name--Tinklepaw--he married while at Wilkes. A retired Navy O-6 will be there. A former roommate from Dallas, Ted Toluba, a mid-Atlantic wrestling champion, will hopefully be there--if he can get whoaed from his around the world travels long enough. A professor from Syracuse University who liked to run around in his underwear and who talked twice as fast as anyone could understand will show up. A lanky veteran from Allentown who also got married while a student will be there--he stole the heart of a secretary to one of the deans. The freshman-class president the year that I first arrived at Wilkes will make his first trip back. He comes from Tom's River, New Jersey. A CPA from New Jersey and the fellow student he married will come for the reunion. It seems like a lot of us married fellow students. I did--an accounting major from Leraysville, Pennsylvania.What did I do after college? Well, I'm a little like the young fellow who applied for work in a store. The owner said, "Sure, I'll give you a job. Sweep up the store." "But I'm a college graduate," protested the young man. "Okay, I'll show you how."So that is my excuse for not showing up with the Benton News on Saturday.
Silent Whispers, Notes From the Ricketts Ghost Town,
by William M. Williams,
Pennsylvania Game Commission Land Manager
Two young ladies stand along the railroad tracks. The surrounding trees are heavy with wet snow under a slate-gray sky. They are wearing long woolen coats and boots made of leather. Kerchiefs on their heads offer minimal protection against the cold and wind. They are not smiling.
Behind them the tracks sweep to the north and follow the Mehoopany Creek before turning back again towards the town of Lopez. Behind them and to their left, a wooden footbridge strikes across the creek. On the far end of the bridge several steps drop down and connect to a crude plank walkway that leads to the town hall. The two are facing in the direction of the general store and stave mill. To their right on the hill sits the hotel, Wyoming County schoolhouse, and a number of mostly modest homes.
The man about to take their picture re-positions his camera and makes some final adjustments. He is a professional free-lance photographer in the lucrative business of making postcards. Postcards are very popular these days and he has the local market cornered. The shutter is released with an audible click and the moment is forever frozen in time. The photographer gives the young ladies a nod and a smile in appreciation of their participation. It is all he can do. As a child of five he barely survived a battle with scarlet fever, measles, and whooping cough that left him deaf and mute. They part ways.
The names of the women near the tracks are unknown. On this day they are somebody’s daughters. They will become mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers. They will pass away. The photographer is Ranald Douglas of Syracuse, NY. It is the winter of 1908. The name of this town is Ricketts. It is located atop North Mountain in Northeastern Pennsylvania and is oriented in a Southwest to Northeast fashion in both Sullivan and Wyoming Counties. On this day it is a booming lumber town home to over 800 people of various lumbering occupations and their families. It has been here since 1890. It will remain here in its current form until roughly 1913.
State Game Lands #57 and #13 combine for an area of nearly 100,000 acres and stretch across and into four counties. These game lands are mostly mountainous and home to a wealth of wildlife including deer, black bear and wild turkey. It is a popular hunting ground for countless hunters, many from the Wyoming Valley. State Route 487 ascends North Mountain in Luzerne County passing Ricketts Glen State Park before dissecting the two game lands into more-or-less equal parts. This is the largest tract of contiguous game lands in the state of Pennsylvania, for all intents and purposes.
On the plateau, the road can feel desolate with game lands on either side for many miles. Sections near the park may give a person the impression of being in Maine. Boreal hemlock and spruce swamps make up a large portion of this area. Seeing a moose cross here may be unlikely but somehow seems plausible. There is a game lands parking lot on the west side of SR 487, just past Mountain Springs Road that beckons travelers to rest and try their cell phone. It offers hunters an ample place to park and start off into the woods in search of game. It is here that a few concrete foundations can be seen among a thick growth of spirea and blueberry bushes. A short walk across the road may find a visitor walking along a service road that follows the Mehoopany Creek.
After passing a few more foundations and the remains of a railroad trestle, the road sweeps to the north and follows the Mehoopany Creek for a short while before turning back again towards Lopez.
I have been serving as the Game Commission Land Manager for these and other state game lands in the Northeast Region since January of 2008. The primary mission of the agency is to manage wildlife and its habitat for current and future generations. However, game lands across Pennsylvania also often have areas that contain structures and other tangible property of historical significance that should be protected and preserved whenever possible. Game lands regulations highlight this concept by making it illegal to remove, or attempt to remove, any archaeological or historical artifacts. I have the honor of playing a part in managing, protecting, and providing informational education on such an area. The town of Ricketts played an important role in the development of the region, and the products produced there had statewide implications.
Today I find myself looking up at the old railroad bed from a flat area below, where the Mehoopany Creek and a small feeder stream meet. It is early spring and the growth of ferns and shrubs that will make searching for clues more difficult is only a few weeks away. I am trying to determine where the young ladies and the photographer stood and find remnants of the footbridge. Mostly, I am trying to verify the exact location of the Ricketts Town Hall.
The town of Ricketts was named after civil war Colonel Robert Bruce Ricketts. R.B. Ricketts was the fifth of nine children and was born on April 29, 1839. His father was a merchant and farmer in Orangeville, PA. The heroics of Battery F of the First Pennsylvania Light Artillery during the battle of Gettysburg are especially well known to civil war historians. Perhaps the most notable highlight of the military career of then Captain Ricketts was the role he played as the commander of “Ricketts Battery” in the successful defense of Cemetery Hill on the late afternoon of July 2, 1863. After the war, colonel Ricketts returned home to Orangeville a hero. For the rest of his life he was famously referred to by just about everyone simply as “Colonel.” The colonel soon started purchasing large tracts of timber land in Luzerne, Wyoming and Sullivan Counties. By 1873 he had amassed over 66,000 acres, most of it on North Mountain.
Colonel Ricketts eventually leased thousands of acres of land on North Mountain containing valuable virgin timber to the Trexler and Turrell Lumber Company toward the end of the 19th century. The town and related lumber operations that developed as a consequence of this business venture included a massive sawmill on the Sullivan county section of town and a barrel and heading mill on the Wyoming side. The two areas were (perhaps with a little tongue-in cheek) referred to as Uptown and Downtown Ricketts. The uptown area contained the sawmill, planning mill, horse stables, blacksmith shop, Lutheran Church, Patriotic Sons of America Hall, and a number of company homes. The Downtown area was home to the stave mill, drying sheds, train station, general store, post office, hotel and several homes. Years after the boom was over, this area was purchased by the PA Game Commission and became public land.
I had the good fortune of spending an early spring day with local historian and author Peter Tomasak who gracefully showed me several remnants of the “ghost town.” His book entitled In Command of Time Elapsed, The Life and Times of Robert Bruce Ricketts is an extensive and authoritative piece on the subject.
We first examined what remains of the Patriotic Sons of America Hall and a few other foundations on Church Row. The POSA was a nationwide fraternal organization formed in 1847 to uphold and keep alive patriotism and religious values. Chapters of the POSA still exist today and the organization has their own web site. Next we walked along what was once Whipple Street and the foundation of the Sullivan County Schoolhouse, still very much intact. A number of apple trees in this area remind us that this was once where the homes of mill workers stood. These trees still produce a valuable food source for deer and other animals. Closer to the mill pond we entered the blacksmith shop. The remaining cement walls of one section still remain (without a roof) and rusted iron debris can still be found in the leaf litter around the structure. Further along, we examine the base of the water tower that holds pure spring water. The tower once provided water for the underground steam boilers that serviced the massive engines that powered the mill saws. The engine and saw foundations are located in an especially wet area behind the breast of the old mill dam. Peter shows me a few pieces of saw blade amongst the grass and muck. We slosh our way past the planning mill and follow a rail bed heading “downtown.”
I asked Peter about the location of the Town Hall. He explained that he searched for the foundation a number of times in previous years and has been unable to find its exact location. I admitted that I looked the previous fall and was also unable to locate any remnants. Before parting ways, I told him I would give it another try.
The town hall was the social center of Ricketts. It was here that many church services, meetings, and Saturday night dances were held. It was even the venue for boxing matches. The winner of the bouts at Ricketts would sometimes travel to Lopez to take on the winner of contests there. The Saturday night dances were lively affairs that usually included a fiddle player. Folks could unwind and shed the pressures of work at the lumber camps or at the mills. Also shown in the town hall were “magic-lantern shows,” an early version of a movie-theater production. These shows have been described as a combination of color images, live drama, live music, hilarious comedy and boisterous audience participation. As the town grew, the activities of the original town hall were moved to the larger POSA building.
The most curious point about the original town hall was it’s unusual location. It was the only structure near downtown Ricketts that was on the east side of the creek and was only a few feet above normal creek level. A Douglas photo dated December 10, 1907, shows the town hall with the muddy waters of the Mehoopany Creek about four feet up the sides of the building. No doubt this was also a factor in moving activities to higher ground.
I find myself gingerly stepping around a Northern water snake. It is coiled and resting on a deer trail leading away from the creek, soaking up the afternoon sun. I will soon learn that this area is a favorite sunning location for these large reptiles known for their impressive size and aggressive bite. While admitting no abject fear, I do sense a primal sense of unease whenever walking amongst them and remember an old historical precautionary warning; “Don’t Tread on Me.”
The photographs of the town hall that I previously studied were taken from almost the same identical location. They were shot from only a slight angle off the footbridge looking across the creek, making the structure appear closer to the bridge than it actually was. On this day, the photo I am currently using for reference was taken at almost a ninety degree angle to the bridge and instantly gives me a better appreciation of the distance that the building was away from the creek. The town hall is barely visible in the picture on the far right. Two young ladies dressed in woolen coats stand near the tracks on the far left. I had been looking in the wrong location!
The outline of a row of moss-covered rocks rises before me just above the forest floor. It is partially hidden by blueberry bushes and fallen logs. The structure appears too straight not to be man-made. A carpeting of moss peels easily away from the rocks with only a slight pull, revealing flat stones that were placed there with some precision. The line of rocks comes to a corner and makes a ninety-degree turn back towards the creek. This must be the back of the foundation. A subsequent detailed search around the immediate area produces two sections of stove-pile flashing and a corroded axe head. The most significant items I find are the most numerous and scattered under the leaf litter. Around the perimeter of the foundation are several cut nails dating back nearly 100 years. I am standing in the center of the Ricketts Town Hall.
The shutter of the camera released with an audible “click.” I look up the embankment toward the railroad bed to an image of three figures standing by the tracks. I give the photographer and two young ladies a smile and a nod. They part ways.
October 8, 2009. It is the birthday of Donald Baker and Marissa Whitenight. There may have been multiple reasons for losing power, but much of Columbia County--1,200 customers by one count--lost electricity Wednesday afternoon when a Bloomsburg transformer blew.Please keep Jim Dildine in your prayers. Bob Edwards is home from the hospital following a "silent" heart attack this weekend. Joselle Confair remains a patient in Geisinger Hospital. Bill Repko remains hospitalized. Carol Vance is resting comfortably following knee surgery. Rosie Fronheiser's surgery went well, and only one side of the knee needed work..Quote of the Day:
"What's the world coming to when Chicago can't rig an election?"
--Indiana governor Mitch Daniels, in reference to Chicago not getting the Olympics despite "political help." Illinois officials reportedly were not amused.Quickies...
• The Lions Club thanks everyone who participated in the blood drive of September 17 at The Center.
• Benton's Halloween parade is Tuesday, October 27. Lineup is at 6 PM on McHenry Alley behind the high school. Parade moves at 7. Call 864-2735 to register floats. Donations can be made to the Benton Halloween Parade committee, P.O. Box 196, Benton.
• Tickets are available from any Lions Club member for the take-out BBQ chicken dinner. Tickets will also be available at the parade. Pick-up is November 19 at the Benton Christian Church. All profits will be donated to "save the Benton dam."
• Lions Club meetings are the first and third Thursday of the month at the Benton Christian Church. New members are always welcome.
• An evening of musical fun was planned for the third Thursday of October, November and December. Because of major illness for a family member of one of the primary participants, the October presentation must be cancelled. The sing-a-long will take place on Thursday, November 19, and Thursday, December 17. The evening will feature both organ and piano music in a sing-along concert where the entire audience will be singing familiar and fun numbers. There will be some high-steppin' piano music to fill in the gaps. Don't worry if you don't know the words: the words to all the songs will be provided.
• The Gordners and members of St. John's Church near Unityville will be in full apple butter mode Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the Covered Bridge Festival at Knoebels. The fine folks of that church make it and sell it there, so stop by for a taste of apple butter. When you are there, say hello to Chris Krepich Saturday and Sunday.
A well-seasoned Main Street male told me that he qualifies for the cash for clunkers program. He says that if his body "were a car, this is the time I would be thinking about trading it in for a newer model. I've got bumps and dents and scratches in my finish, and my paint job is getting a little dull." On close examination, it was obvious that his headlights are out of focus, and he has trouble seeing things up close. His traction isn't as graceful as it once was. He slips and slides and skids and bumps into things even in the best of weather. His whitewalls are stained with varicose veins. It takes him hours to reach his maximum speed. His fuel rate burns inefficiently. Almost every time he sneezes, coughs or laughs--either his radiator leaks, or his exhaust backfires! I would say he qualifies for the cash for clunkers program.
Benton’s "Plant A Row" program ended September 15. The program is a pilot fresh-food program that everyone deemed a resounding success. From mid-June until the harvest season drew to a close in mid-September, thirty-five local gardeners and poultry keepers contributed hundreds of pounds of vegetables, herbs, flowers and eggs to the eighty-five households who participate in the Benton area food bank, housed in the Northern Columbia Community and Cultural Center. Contributions came from children who planted and harvested beans; from food bank recipients who shared their garden extras with others; from senior citizens who appreciate the value of garden-fresh produce; and from gourmet gardeners with contributions of exotic and heirloom vegetables. Eggs were an especially big hit, and surprisingly flowers and herbs to delight the senses.
Memie Christie, a nutrition educator from the Penn State Extension Program, enhanced the project with her cooking demonstrations featuring the main crops of the season. Ms. Christie will continue to work with food bank recipients throughout the year, focusing on healthy eating and hygienic-food preparation.
Another feature of this pilot year was a small vegetable garden outside the food bank entrance, planted with heirloom beans and tomatoes, colorful chard, kale and herbs. Beautiful hand-painted vegetable labels were donated by Kathy Ball, along with a large sign proclaiming "Fresh Is Best."
Next year’s planning is already underway, including a seed swap for gardeners in late winter, broader participation with the demonstration garden, increased egg donations, and approved gleaning of large production fields.
The 2009 donors included Kathy Arcuri, Becky Ardwig, Marie Castrogiovanni, Terry Coppola, Kay Carter, Kay Chapman, Caroline Ciak, Memie Christie, Nancy Depoe, Janet English, Sandy English, Elaine Fisher, Denise Hack, Ellen Hall, Cathy Hartman, Alan Harvey, Ken & Wendy Houck, Annabelle Huntington, Cheryl & Ron Kelsey, Peg Krum, Peter Langenbach, Cindy Lewis, Scott Masich, Ginny Mazzei, Larry Paul, Susan Root, Ed Smith, Joanne Smith, Brad Stackhouse, the Strait Children, Dawn Swisher, Kareena Tapsak, Lynn Watson, Eva Weston, Dorothy Winthur, Tony and Melissa Wright and several anonymous donors who dropped things off early. Thank you to all!
Didja ever think that now that cooler weather is arriving,
the stuffed shorts of Florida will soon be replaced
by the stuffed shirts from up North?
When we get together over coffee Friday morning, you'll be able to read "Silent Whispers, Notes From the Ricketts Ghost Town," by William M. Williams, Pennsylvania Game Commission Land Manager. The article will be published in the Pennsylvania Game News in the spring. Perhaps no one alive today remembers anything about the former town of Ricketts. Bill will paint one side of life in the town in tomorrow's edition, but in order for you to appreciate the environment of the area and set the stage let me take you to South Mountain outside of Ricketts and Noxen and into the dining room of one of the crude-lumber camps.
The room was one long dining room with tables running lengthwise of the room. The men ate on hardwood benches. Men had no time for table manners after working in the woods from 7 AM to 5:30 PM--it was every man for himself. Meals were plain, but wholesome: potatoes, canned vegetables, salt-cured meats, such as "Red Tiger," "Spec" and bacon were the available meats. In the fall, there was plenty of meat from the porkers that ran wild in the woods eating roots, herbs, nuts and table scraps.
There was a lobby or recreation room with a pot-bellied stove and some benches lined up against the walls. There was a sand box and some pails filled with sand scattered around the room so that those who chewed could spit as they needed. The second floor was a large room filled with beds made from rough-hewn boards and in bunk-bed fashion piled two or three high. Hemlock and spruce boughs were the primary mattresses, although there were a few real mattresses that had not become infested with lice and bed bugs. The beds and the belongings were generally recycled every three months.
Sometime before bear season, Bill Williams will speak at The Center on the subject of bear--a subject he knows a great deal about. The date and time will be announced soon. This is a discussion you won't want to miss. His pictures and first-and experience will prove to be a rewarding evening.
October 7, 2009. It is the birthday of Brian Laubach and Josephine Wilson. We missed the birthday of Louise Lewis, Market Street, on October 3. We apologize for the omission. Rosie Fronheiser has knee surgery today in Bloomsburg. Bill Repko remains in the Geisinger hospital, but improvement is noted. Please add Jim Dildine to your prayer list.
The Fishing Creek Players, a new community-theater group which developed from the July production of "The Dividing Line" performed at the Heritage Days Festival has chosen Neil Simon's "Rumors" as their January production. Auditions will be held at The Center October 14 and 15 at 7 PM. Five men and five women are needed for this adult comedy, and all experienced or novice actors and actresses are encouraged to audition one or both nights. M.R. Daniels will direct. The play will be performed at Benton High School. The theater group is dedicated to bringing the area legitimate theatrical entertainment, and welcomes actors, set builders, costumers, makeup artists, sound- and light technicians, props finders and makers, publicists and anyone else interested in the performing arts. M.R. Daniels will offer a set-building workshop at The Center Thursday evening, October 8, at 7. She will describe the methods used for building standard-stock stage scenery. There is no charge for this workshop and is open to all. Ms. Daniels and her partner owned a professional-scene shop in Philadelphia which designed and built sets for every theater company in the region as well as national and international venues. As artistic director of The Fishing Creek Players she is proud to announce plans for four productions in 2010: "Rumors," in January, another original play in July, "Count Dracula" in the fall, and a Christmas show which will involve children as well as adults. Money earned from ticket sales will be for the benefit of the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center. For further information, attend the workshop on October 8, the auditions October 14 and 15, or call M.R. at 925-2080.
• The Pennsylvania Game Commission will highlight its habitat improvement initiatives to the public by providing tours October 11 of State Game Lands in the Northeast Region (Luzerne and Wyoming Counties). Game Commission personnel will be on hand to explain various points of interest, including wildlife-habitat improvement projects. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended for this three-hour, 30-mile, self-guided driving tour. Take Route 487 north at the intersection of Route 118 at Red Rock and proceed 7.5 miles and turn onto a dirt road near SGL sign on right. Travel on dirt road 1/10 mile to a “Y” intersection and proceed left 3/10 miles to the headquarters complex. Each vehicle will be provided a map and brief explanation of wildlife-management programs being carried out on this magnificent tract of public-hunting land. Registration to be held from 7:30 AM until 12:30 PM at the headquarters building complex on SGL #57, Ricketts Station, Forkston Township, Wyoming County.
• Benton Fire Co. will be serving their monthly breakfast on Sunday, October 25, from 7 to 1 PM. The firemen will feature a full-breakfast menu including all you can eat buckwheat cakes and pancakes. The price is $6 for adults and $3 for children 6-12. This is the first breakfast for the fall and winter season, and the firemen hope to see all of their friends at breakfast.
• There are a limited number of Lions Club 225 raffle tickets available at $35 each. The raffle includes numerous monthly awards as well as final awards and dinner. See any Lions Club member.
I started thinking about apple butter when Fred Mitchell, Jr. told me he was heading to the Daytona (Florida) farmer's market to get a peck of apples. He was lamenting that he can only find four varieties: Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Gala and Macintosh. He recalled that in his "Grandpa Herman's orchard there were more than a dozen apple trees, two pear trees, an apricot, a plum tree or two, a black cherry tree, and three or four peach trees." The apple trees of seven or eight different varieties each had their own use. There was a single Spy-apple tree that "produced quite well and one Grandma particularly liked for cooking. There were also Winesaps, Macintosh and Braeburn. There were also some wild crab apple trees, growing amongst the stones dividing the buckwheat field from the strawberry fields."Little in life pleases me like taking a trip to a place where I have never been. The chance to see new county is great, the opportunity to meet new people is fun and the best part of all is the stopping to find a good meal. One such trip through the Texas countryside resulted in an off-the-road stop at a Mexican restaurant which football announcer John Maddon claimed was his favorite for a stop when his motor home raced back and forth across the United State. On the basis of that one stop, I concluded that John Madden didn't know diddly about good food, although quantity was something he excelled at! Another early morning restaurant stop in Iowa was a pleasure. Each table in the Mom 'n Pop "hole in the wall" had a canning jar of freshly made apple butter waiting for spreading on the morning toast. It was pure joy! I'll give you the recipe as I reconstructed it from memory in a minute, but lets look at the recipes our ancestors used first. After all, the canning season would have been in full swing for them at this time of the year. It would have been apple butter "making time" and the season for canning applesauce and even for making apple relish.
Apple harvest got in "high gear" when "the frost was on the pumpkin and the fodder was in the shock." This wasn't a job for the men of the family who were off shucking corn. The women in their sun bonnets were in charge. The smoke put off by the fires got into everyone's eyes, but the stirring went on constantly just the same. The copper kettles, their orange-pink color obscured by the soot, were somewhat fragile. The top rim was rolled over a heavy iron circlet, and the equally heavy iron bail was fastened on with huge copper rivets.
Over the next 12 hours, workers would tell stories about the "good ole days" when they walked home from school and walked their sisters to the outhouse and walked to the barn and walked to cut wood, and walked to carry water from the nearest spring. The workers would take turns pushing the paddles back and forth through the thickening sauce. Workers would slowly pace 'round and 'round the bubbling broth, pushing the paddle back and forth across the kettle bottom to keep the sauce from sticking.
The dark mixture was flavored to taste with cinnamon or cloves, and in some cases with wintergreen or sassafras, then ladled into red ware clay pots glazed on the inside. The pots were covered with cheesecloth or paper, fastened with string and set in a dark cupboard until needed. Probably thousands of these pots once existed, but the number is now down to a few, and most don't even know what they are when seen. Press Enterprise writer Chris Krepich tells good stories about his apple butter making days. He should write a column about it some day.
Few of us have copper pots or roaring fires or the patience to make apple butter these days, so I'll share my recipe for these modern times. Give it a try and let me know how you like it, remembering that (1) there is no butter in apple butter, and (2) you can alter the spices you use to suit your personal preference. Take five cups of applesauce and seven cups of sugar and a quarter cup of vinegar. You'll need about a teaspoon of cinnamon and allspice (and consider ground cloves, too), as Mother said, "to taste." Combine the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cut the heat back and slow boil for 15 minutes, stirring the mixture from time to time. Presto. You're ready for a topping for your buckwheat cakes or for a luncheon sandwich or on toast or Panini or freshly made homemade bread. It is just right both warm or cold.That is a much easier recipe than this old family recipe, which I have cut down to size. Take three pounds of apples and two cups of cider. Add a teaspoon of ground cloves and two of cinnamon. You'll need three cups of brown sugar. Wash, quarter and core the apples, removing any soft spots. Put into a preserving kettle with cider and simmer gently until the apples are soft. Run through a strainer, add seasoning and sugar mixed together. Cook until thickened, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Turn the mixture into sterile jars and seal. If you cook in a flat pan in the over, there won't be so much stirring involved. Bake at 375°.Here is another recipe I found in a cookbook from 1914. This one was used when the lady of the house could not find the cider to make apple butter. Cut up apples without pealing, take out the cores and bad places, cover them with water and put on the stove. Cook until soft, then put through a colander. Set back on the fire and add a cup of sugar and one of molasses to about two quarts of the apples and a lemon cut up fine. Let this cook slowly for about half an hour, stirring often. A little cinnamon and allspice may be added if desired. Serve cold or put in jars while hot and seal.
The state Senate passed (43-6) a $27.8 billion general-appropriations bill Tuesday--which scraps taxes on cigars and chewing tobacco, natural-gas production, admissions to concerts and cultural attractions and small games of chance. It would appear that the beginning of the end of Pennsylvania's 98-day state-budget impasse has arrived. The House could take up the budget bill Thursday if normal rules for considering appropriations bills are suspended, although there is a good chance that won't happen.
October 6, 2009. It is the birthday of Robert Zeitler and Marisa Whitenight. Last year on this day, there were 29 days remaining until election day and political signs were everywhere. It should be a very nice day through the daylight hours today. Rain overnight.Someone certainly knows the answer, but until that person corrects me I'll assume that the concept of "family-style" eating originated before the term came along. But for those of us who can remember the dim past, family-style eating took on its real meaning in 1946 as "Uncle Sam's boys," who the previous year ate turkey dinners overseas, sat down to heavily-laden tables in their own homes and gave thanks with their families. They joined old-fashioned family reunions in full swing around the upper Fishingcreek valley as the second peacetime Thanksgiving in five years was celebrated.Mothers were thankful for many things, but especially that their sons were home safely from the war. It was a time for all the family to come together in good health, a time to meet the new granddaughter or the special person in a family member's life. It was a time to recall times past and look forward to what was to come and give thanks for the blessings of the family.Family members sat around and talked, then when the lumps were out of the potatoes and the final stirring of the gravy had taken place, everyone headed for the dining room for a sit-down meal. Food was brought to the table in serving dishes from which everyone helped themselves.Saturday afternoon, October 10, from 3 until 7, the Sugarloaf Memorial School's Fish Supper will serve another wonderful "family-style" meal. The "Fish-Supper Family" will be together again as a lot of arm waiving and "Hi'Ya's" are exchanged. Generous take-outs are available at the same price. The ice cream and pies are home-made. I'll see you there...
What happened to the deal we heard about on September 11 or the one we heard about on September 18 from legislative leaders? Is this the same deal that the Guv says still can happen quickly? We are now more than three months late and the entire nation is looking at our ineptitude. Can't we at least have funding for nonprofit agencies which provide child care for working parents or a shelter for battered women. Why close shelters until this is signed? Either close them for good or get on with it! Non-profits are either trimming back, closing their doors or laying off workers. Many of the ones which stayed open have been hit with interest from funds they had to borrow to keep operating. Why are the lawmakers being paid when the people who pay their salaries are not being paid? Back in August, state workers won their fight to get paid. Incidentally, progress by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for a simple approval to repair the Benton dam progresses at the same speed as getting on with the business of the state.
• Here we go again with Governors coming from big cities. The Pittsburgh Post Gazette claims that the Democratic front-runner for the post of Guv of our Commonwealth is Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato. On the Republican side, Tom Corbett's experience started out when he was a criminal prosecutor in Allegheny County.
• There is a good video here of Wisconsin deer, the "ghosts of the forest.
• Explore the natural and cultural history of Roaring Creek Valley October 24 from 9 AM to 3 PM on an educational tour with local experts. Learn about streams and our role in protecting local water quality, see unique natural features and discover historical sites while enjoying the ride on a chartered bus. Stops will include preserved farmland, Weiser State Forest-Roaring Creek Tract, hooded graves, a Quaker meeting house, the confluence with the Susquehanna River and much more! To register, call 570 784-1310 x 102 by October 15. $5. Registration required. Space is limited. Please bring a bag lunch. Sponsored by Roaring Creek Valley Conservation Association & Columbia County Conservation District.
For those familiar with the drive across the top of North Mountain between the Job Corps Center and the town of Lopez, there isn't much in the summer except hay-scented ferns, cherry and beech trees, huckleberry bushes, an occasional vehicle with its radiator at the boiling point from its trip up Red Rock mountain and white-tailed deer taunting drivers to keep their eyes on the highway. Winters on that route turn frigid as one drives toward Lopez, "the icebox of Pennsylvania." That section of our Commonwealth is not for the faint of heart.
For those who love the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania, there is an allure to the area. It is close to what was once known as Mud Pond, now Lake Jean. There is an authentic artesian well nearby which always astounds visitors as water shoots out of the ground high above a stream bed. The beautiful Mountain Springs Lake is within a long walk, and Mehoopany Creek slowly meanders on a level part of the ground. The slow descent via the old Lehigh Valley railroad grade into Noxen begins a stone's throw away. The former Benton Air Force Station, now the Job Corps Center, is a mile away. The charm of the mountain setting of Ricketts Glen State Park is close. In fact, the Ricketts influence is everywhere, even in a ghost town which was named for Col. R. B. Ricketts. The town was simply known as Ricketts.
The town is no longer there, remembered only through the writings of a Wilkes-Barre attorney, Luzerne County historian Peter Tomasak and now by PA Game Commission Land Manager William M. Williams, a resident of Laubach, PA. The Pennsylvania Game News will publish an article written by Bill Williams about the once-thriving town of Ricketts with its two schools, Lutheran church, a doctor, post office and store, saw, spool and stave mill, railroad station, hotel, social groups and a hundred and fifty or so houses. The article will appear in an upcoming issue.
To subscribe to or renew your Pennsylvania Game News magazine in order to read the article, go here.
The DOW closed Monday at 9,599.75, up for the day 112.08 (1.18%). The DOW, of course, stands for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, a market indicator which has been around for 113 years. A method for predicting stock prices was needed on Wall Street. Charles Dow, co-founder of Dow, Jones & Co. in 1882, came up with the Dow Theory. The Dow Theory holds that trends in stock prices, once under way, will tend to persist until the market itself sends out a signal that these trends are about to lose their momentum and do the opposite of what they have been doing. With newspaper buddy Eddie Jones and a friend named Charles Milford Bergstrasser, they went into the news-distribution business. Dow Jones and Bergstrasser didn't have that magic ring to it, so the new company took the name Dow, Jones & Co. (the comma disappeared later). Their business operated at 15 Wall Street on a lower level of the building in a small, unpainted room. Dow became the first editor of the Wall Street Journal.
Charles Dow was responsible for the Dow Jones Averages as an indicator of stock-market. On July 3, 1884, the first Dow Jones Average consisted of the closing prices of nine railroads and two industrials.
Dow revised the companies represented in the Dow Jones Average numerous times. His first strictly industrial list of 12 stocks was published May 26, 1896. One stock--General Electric--continues to appear in the Industrial Average.
A local organization which relies heavily on the DOW is the Fishingcreek Investment Club, with its membership comprised entirely of local people. It is an investment club which invests $100 per month per member. At the present time, the club is ahead on eleven stocks and behind on seven stocks. The club meets monthly at the home of David Kline, Market Street, Benton. There is a meeting tonight at 7 and those who might be interested in learning more about the market with a possibility of becoming a member are welcome to call 925-6974 and I'll discuss it with you. You'll find it to be educational and a lot of fun. You may make some money in the process.
October 5, 2009. It is the birthday of Dr. Bob Sequenza, Camp Hill, and Carol Lehet, Jacksonville, Florida, daughter of Richard H. Lehet and Colleen Bender.There is a homework assignment for tomorrow. Most of you will ignore this assignment, but one day you'll tell me that you should have taken care of it. Here is the problem. It isn't a matter of "if" your computer will go on the fritz. It is a matter of "when." Yes, you! If you are a student, can you imagine what will happen when your computer gives up the ghost and your entire academic year plus your iTunes, games and personal information is lost? When your hard drive fails, everything will be put in jeopardy. Yes, I know there is a manufacturer's guarantee, but that won't restore your data. Backup your data today. If you don't know how to do that, read the books which came with your computer. Or Google it. Dan McGarigle correctly points out that the absolute best method of addressing the problem of a lost hard drive is to have your computer keep itself backed up all the time, so when a hard drive fails there is another exact duplicate hard drive already inside your computer that you can copy to a new drive and keep right on going.
the March Toward the Marcellus...
• The local area has a renewed interest in natural-gas leasing, as colored markers pinpoint where wells will be drilled before the beginning of the new year. Columbia County lags the gas-producing counties in the Commonwealth. About 4,000 new oil- and gas wells were drilled last year alone, more than in any other state except Texas. Contrast that with New York where Marcellus-shale drilling remains nonexistent for now. New York has proposed new rules to cover natural-gas drilling and is taking public comment on the rules through November 30.
• The Robinson Gas/Oil Group will hold a meeting on Wednesday, October 7, at the Benton Area Schools high-school auditorium. The meeting begins at 7 PM. Discussion items are negotiations updates, landowner responsibilities, leasing pitfalls and water. The group is accepting new members. Agent contracts will be available starting at 6 PM.
• Chris Hoyt, a local hero for doing so well in the tractor pull at the Bloomsburg Fair Saturday night only months after losing his foot, did a great job of piloting his Case tractor. Miss it? You can see it by going here.
• Keep Claude Eugene ("Beanie) Laubach in your prayers. He is a patient at Bloomsburg Hospital.
• Today begins another week of waiting for Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection approval to begin repairs to the Benton Dam.
• How 'bout that lovely October full moon last night! Today should be sunny and breezy--a great day. There is a slight chance of rain Wednesday, but the weather should be great through Thursday. Drive into Sullivan County and take a look at the slowly changing colors of the fall finery.
• Verizon cell-phone users are happy about the improved reception along Route 118 toward Dallas. There is renewed activity in providing cell-phone service to the Benton area--but that has happened before and nothing of real value came of it. When I am convinced that it will happen, you'll be the first to know.
• An indication of how bad the economy is happened when I tried to get an estimate of my Jeep's value for trade-in purposes. The question was immediately asked if the gas tank was full or empty.
• The Historical Society of Schuylkill County is conducting a Coal Heritage Tour on Friday, October 23, and Saturday, October 24. You do not have to be a member to take part in any of the events. From 7 to 9 Friday night, there will be several short videos that will show the history of anthracite mining and how the various ethnic cultures of Europe blended together in Schuylkill County and helped fuel the Industrial Revolution. There will be another video and talk session on Saturday morning starting at 8:30 to 10 at the Sovereign Majestic Theatre. Each of the video sessions will cost $5 each. Following this session, you will board buses for the tour. The first stop will be the huge Wadesville stripping pit. From there, it is the Ashland Pioneer Mine Tunnel via the Heckscherville Valley and Gordon Mountain. You will go into the Pioneer Tunnel and have a box lunch. After lunch, it is off to Centralia where the underground-mine fire continues to burn, then on to Girardville and Route 54 to Shenandoah pointing out the coal mining and Molly Maguire points of interest. The tour will stop at the Miners Memorial and then proceed toward Gilberton/Mahanoy City passing the Reading Anthracite's old St. Nick Breaker and possibly a cogeneration plant. The bus tour is $40 which includes lunch and admission to the Pioneer Mine Tunnel. Reservations for all events must be made by Saturday, October 10, by calling the Historical Society of Schuylkill County at 570 622-7540.
October 4, 2009. Happy birthday today to Stephen Becker, Camp Hill, and happy anniversary to John and Paula Deeter and Grace and Chandlee Stowe. It is the full moon tonight. Saturday's attendance at the Bloomsburg Fair was 75,287 and for the week the total was 401,290.
Congratulations to Kris Hoyt who last night clinched the Eastern Pennsylvania Division Full-Pull Production at the Bloomsburg Fair.There was a flicker of excitement from readers at the prospect of local employment after reading yesterday's report of the The MARC I Hub Line which will hook up with the Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Corp west of Benton. There is certainly some cause for excitement, but if what has taken place in Lycoming County counts, don't anticipate a lot of jobs for local people. At locations within 45 minutes of Benton, the workers tend to speak as much in Spanish as in English. Heavy equipment is initially in demand from local contractors, but as the weeks go on the local equipment is generally replaced with equipment brought in from Alabama or other locations far from Pennsylvania.To set one reader's mind at ease, Transcontinental Gas is a subsidiary of The Williams Companies, Inc. Williams operates more than 15,000 miles of natural gas pipelines. Its Transco division operates 10,500 miles of pipe with New York city and the Mid-Atlantic region its major clients.At this time of the year, we suggest that you start thinking of income taxes. It's always wise to "get your affairs in order," as Dave Letterman likes to say. Collect your receipts. Read up on ways you can save on taxes. Paying your income tax is what transforms your nest egg into a goose egg. You probably can prepare your own taxes if you start now working on the questions you have. Remember that an income-tax expert is someone whose fee is the amount he saves you in making out your tax return.Just for grins and giggles, lets look at income taxes. Our income-tax system came about in 1913 with a $3,000 exemption, plus an additional $1,000 exemption for married couples. The tax applied to about 4% of the population. The tax was 1% on all incomes above the exemption with additional surtax rates imposed for progressively-higher incomes. Those surtax rates started at 1% for those making $20,000 or more and topped out at a mere 6% on incomes in excess of $500,000. The income tax had only a minor role in the federal-revenue system during its infancy. In its first year in operation, it was responsible for raising less than 10% of federal revenues. Income taxes in 1913 didn't even merit its own act. It was adopted as part of the Underwood/Simmons Tariff Act of 1913. This act helped the federal government expand over the next thirty years.
The United States levied taxes on products manufactured in the United States (excise taxes) or imported into the country from elsewhere (tariffs) for the bulk of federal revenues during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. When trade dropped off, revenue from tariffs became disrupted. Both types of taxes went directly to consumers in the form of higher taxes--and this impacted the poor. It was because of these problems that an income tax was established.
The federal government doubled the customs duties when the War of 1812 began, but with a drop in trade came a drop in revenue as the national debt increased. With the advent of the Civil War, Congress could no longer avoid the income tax.
Abraham Lincoln took over the presidency in March 1861 with a pre-war debt of almost $75 million. The war exacerbated the situation. Congress adopted an income tax in 1862--the country's first income tax, and the first use of rates that increased progressively with the rise in a taxpayer's income and raising revenue shifted from the poor to the rich. As the economy improved after the war, budget surpluses replaced deficits and the income tax was repealed in 1872. The "most odious, vexatious, inquisitorial, and unequal of all of our taxes," was the way the New York Tribune described the situation.
For more reading on this subject, look at
• Stanley, Robert. Dimensions of Law in the Service of Order: Origins of the Federal Income Tax 1861-1913. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.
• Waltman, Jerold L. Political Origins of the U.S. Income Tax. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1985.It is the first Sunday of the month. Kathleen Arcuri stopped by with her column appropriately entitled "The Last Bloom of Autumn."
Just when the brilliant asters are fading, when peegee hydrangeas and sedums are peaking in their rusty-rose finery, and while ornamental grasses are waving their heathery plumes, a modest latecomer is preparing to burst into bloom.
The ‘Sheffield Pink’ chrysanthemum has been a favorite of European cottage gardens for years, and is slowly attracting followers in the states as well. Originally from Asia, this aster-family daisy, peachy-pink with a yellow center, waits until October in northeast Pennsylvania to take its place as the rear guard of the ornamental parade, delighting gardeners eager for an encore to summer’s extravaganza. It is also useful for lingering bees and butterflies who flock to this important nectar source at a time of scarcity. Best yet, grazing deer and rabbits ignore it.
Growing to three feet in full sun, and hardy to zone five, the sturdy ‘Sheffield’ spreads generously to fill in bare spots left by summer perennials. To curb its occasional leggy growth, you can pinch back the branches in July for a stockier form, although many like its rangy exuberance, as it takes center stage in autumn with its healthy-green foliage and cheery star-like flowers.
Create a beautiful montage by pairing this bright daisy with russet-tinted grasses, a reminder to leaf peepers that flaming foliage isn’t the only show in town. In fact, this garden stalwart keeps right on blooming after the last fallen leaf, often through November, to grace the Thanksgiving table with its fragrant and long-lived blossoms arranged in a vase.
If you are tempted to add the ‘Sheffield Pink’ chrysanthemum to your wish list for next season, check out the Burpee catalogue. Consider buying only one plant at $9.95, or at most three plants for $7.50 each, and then wait a year or two and divide this fast grower, or take cuttings for rooting, because you will certainly find more than one place for this welcome latecomer.
To view the plant in its full glory, keep a lookout at the Community Center gardens, in front of Elsie Buyers’ memorial plaque. Indeed, this resolute “last bloom of autumn” is an appropriate tribute to the special woman who brought such joy to the Benton area in the autumn of her life. Elsie Buyers lived to see her generous gift to the community inaugurated in October 2007, just when ‘Sheffield Pink” was blooming its little heart out. Now, each year, we can celebrate the anniversary of Elsie’s legacy with this cheery little autumn daisy.
October 3, 2009. It is the birthday of Grant Gault, Louise Lewis and Eleanor Sands. The Friday Fair attendance was 54,800.Didja ever notice how the logical things in life are no longer working out the way they should? Logic nowadays is the procedure by which we go wrong with confidence and certainty. September is historically tough on stock-market investors, but this year September was simply the seventh-straight month of gains. My logic tells me that what goes up must come down, that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Logic tells us that the 200-day rebound in the market has overreached from the market panic decline from November 2008 to March 2009. The S&P 500 is up almost 60% since March. The Dow just had its best quarter since '98.
Logic would tell us that the longer this rally lasts, the greater the danger ahead. Look at the lack of corporate earnings, look at price to earnings ratios, look at the nation's jobless rate in September which crept up to 9.8% as employers cut 263,000 jobs. Look at capitalization to replacement costs. US companies cut 254,000 more jobs in September. Carmakers are back in the doldrums following the buzz of the cash-for-clunkers sales. Thursday's news was that GM's sales are down 45%, Chrysler down 42%, Honda 20%, Toyota down 13%. In aggregate, sales dropped 23% from last year and 41% from August. The market is overvalued--by how much is anyone's guess.We all learned the hard way that we should not count on the stock market to get us through our retirement years. Back in March (adjusted for inflation), the small investor was right where he was 40 years ago. Think about that! It means that the small investor, not counting dividends, didn't make a dime from the market over his entire adult life. Logic tells us that right now we should--ah, heck! Forget about logic. It hasn't worked in the past, and it probably wouldn't come into play in the coming days.
A 40-mile gas-transmission line costing about $200M will be built from Bradford county, through Sullivan county and into Columbia County, ending at the Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Corp.'s ("Transco") pipeline outside Benton. The existing pipeline, known as the Leidy Line, travels through southern Lycoming and Columbia counties.The exact footprint of the new pipeline has not yet been determined, but the north/south laterals would be as depicted here. The pipeline would be owned by Central New York Oil and Gas Company, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Inergy Midstream, LLC, and would be called the "Marc I Hub Line and North-South Project."The local connection would be to a 36-inch Leidy Line ‘D’ from Leidy Line Valve 517D20 (Leidy MP 142.74) west of Compressor Station 517 in Benton (Leidy MP 115.18). The connection is in Columbia County.This north/south transmission line would allow shippers to distribute gas to and from the Millennium Pipeline in Tioga County, New York, approximately 75 miles to and from Transco's Leidy Line near its CS 517 in Jackson Township and to and from all points in-between. The planning is that the lines would go operational October 1, 2011.
Inergy Midstream, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Inergy L.P., Kansas City, Missouri. The company owns and operates Central New York Oil And Gas Company, as well as a number of natural gas-storage facilities. The company serves approximately 700,000 retail customers from over 300 customer service centers throughout the eastern half of the United States. The company is involved in the retail trade of the sale and distribution of propane to residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural customers.
The MARC I Hub Line would join the Tennessee Gas 300 Line to the Transco Line. This line would travel south from the Wyalusing area through eastern Sullivan County to a point west of Benton where it would be linked to the Transco line. The northern end of the MARC I Hub Line would permit gas storage in the Stagecoach Gas Storage Facility near Owego, New York.
As is the case with the construction of interchanges on interstate highways, the pipeline is expected to stimulate gas drilling along its route. Feeder lines to the transmission line will stimulate development in that area. This will be similar to the gas-well drilling around the existing east-west pipeline near Benton.For additional information, read a related Daily Review story .
The Benton News often uses the term "old-timer." As we tend to use it, there aren't any "old-timers" around any more--although we do have our share of people getting up in years. An email we finally got around to reading asked who we thought were still "old-timers" in Benton. We aren't going to touch that one by using actual names, but here is how we would define the term.An old-timer would sit at the dinner table and count blessings rather than calories. He would never be able to understand why it takes women as long today to dress as it did when women wore "real clothes" and lots of them. He would be the kind of person who would be able to remember when people who wore blue jeans actually worked. He could tell about his daddy telling of medicine men who came to town--and not on the air waves of WNEP-TV. He could probably tell us of a dozen or more people from the local area who set out to set the world on fire--and did. He would remember that the only problem with parking was to get the girl to agree with it. An old-timer remembers that a job was the first thing that you went steady with. He remembers that the wonder drugs of the world were castor oil and camphor.I liked the story Garrison Keiller recently told about the tough old farmer who told his grandson that the secret to long life was sprinkling a little gunpowder on his oatmeal every morning. The grandson did this religiously and, sure enough, lived to the ripe old age of 96. When he died, he left behind 7 children, 28 grandchildren, 35 great-grandchildren, 3 great-great grandchildren and a 15-foot hole in the wall of the crematorium.
October 2, 2009. It is the birthday of Jackie Becker and Gena VanPelt Gray and the 73rd birthday of Bert Hayman. It was the birthday of comedian Groucho Marx. The Marx Brothers--Groucho and his brothers Harpo and Chico--were an American institution. Groucho coined it differently: "Marriage is a wonderful institution. That is, if you like living in an institution.
On this date in 1920, the only triple-header in baseball history was played. The Cincinnati Reds won two out of three against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Today's Press Enterprise includes an article entitled "Bad economy wilts exotic-plant business" about the problems with exotic plant sales experienced by Jan and Richard Jost. The plants are familiar to patrons of the Old Filling Station where its beautiful summer garden is supplied by the Josts.
The Thursday attendance at the Bloomsburg Fair was 59,788.
This high-flying photo of the Bloomsburg Fair is courtesy of Harry Watts, Millville.
Didja hear about the new and tougher speeding laws in the state? A motorist asked a police officer what the officer felt the man should do with the ticket for speeding that he just received. "Keep it," the officer advised. "When you get three of them, you get a bicycle."
If you are going to Benezette Township in Elk County this fall to see the elk, it is time to get going. Benezette is a wonderful place to watch the elk population of Pennsylvania. Winslow Hill as one of the most popular viewing areas. There aren't many roads on the 835-square mile elk range that pass fields where the big elk graze, and so eventually elk watchers seem to be drawn to Winslow Hill to see and hear the wild elk. We have often seen the intense look on people's faces as they turn at the Benezette Restaurant on route 555 and head up the curves of Winslow Hill, past the cemetery and the woods and the neatly lined houses and the occasional dumpsters marked "Elk Waste" and run kerplunk into droves of other elk watchers. Winslow Hill is the state's most popular elk-viewing area, but is usually clogged with traffic at daylight and shortly before sunset.
Elaine Laubach, wife of former Benton resident Jim Laubach, told us a few years ago that her "father was a Winslow and was born and raised on Winslow Hill. The area that now comprises the elk range was owned by all my dad's family." Elaine's grandmother sold her rights to the hill to her brothers and wanted off the farm. Elaine said that "as kids, my brother and I were sent to the farm at Winslow Hill for our summer 'vacations.' Since three of the four uncles maintained farms, we sure got in a lot of 'vacations.' We go over to the old homestead on occasion, but the traffic is so bad. But we do see the elk and they are a sight to behold."
Jim and Elaine have owned three railroads in their lifetime and love anything related to railroads.
Besides the lure of Winslow Hill, Elk County visitors should consider these areas to view elk and other wildlife: Sinnemahoning State Park along Route 872; Hicks Run Viewing Area, along Route 555, about 12 miles east of Benezette; Elk Trail, a 19-mile loop off Route 555, 10 miles east of Benezette; Thunder Mountain Equestrian Trail, a 26-mile loop, off of East Hicks Run Road, 12 miles east of Benezette; and Beaver Run Dam, off the Quehanna Highway, southeast of intersection with Route 555.
My cardiac catheterization at Holy Spirit Hospital Thursday resulted in doubling doses of two medicines and the addition of a medicine called Imdur (isosorbide mononitrate). The surgeon and I agreed that we would proceed with heavy-duty doses of medicine as a cure rather than the alternative of quadruple by-pass surgery.
When the Fair for 2009 is history, a few people will begin boiling down apple butter--at one time an autumn ritual for members of the Raven Creek United Presbyterian Church. A group of women would sit around a table in the Community Hall paring and coring apples, while gathered outside would be a group of men with the same last names as the women working inside--familiar names like Houseweart, Stackhouse and Campbell. The men would stir the forty-four gallon copper kettles of boiling cider and chunks of apples fueled by a hot fire under the kettle. My recipe for making apple butter will be published next week for comparison.
Tim Franklin has posted 31 new photos on www.facebook.com/bentonnews of his Greek Isles adventure.
October 1, 2009. It is the birthday of Carla Lee, Donald Baker, Tara Lane Kline and Gerald Kocher. On this day in 1971, Walt Disney World opened in Orlando, Florida. Today there are four theme parks, two water parks, twenty-three themed hotels and numerous shopping, dining, entertainment and recreation venues. The story of how that happened is a true "rags-to-riches" story. In 1908, the Disney family lived in Kansas. Walt Disney's father, Elias, couldn't find steady work. Walt was eight years younger than Roy, the brother with whom he would create the Walt Disney Company and from whom he would be essentially inseparable throughout his life.Quickies...• By the time you get around to reading today's Benton News, I will be undergoing a procedure at Holy Spirit Hospital, Camp Hill, beginning at 6 AM.• Congratulations to baseball's National League East titleholder--the Philadelphia Phillies.• Best wishes, too, to Lucas Matthew Guillen, born September 8 weighing 6 lbs., 12 oz. "He was 16 days early but very healthy and ready to meet the world." Proud parents Christina (Savage) and Alex Guillen are very happy.• There will be a public screening of the documentary entitled "Shanksville, PA: A Place of Inspiration" at the Dietrich Theater, Tunkhannock, Sunday afternoon, October 11, at 3. Admission is free. For reservations, call 996-1500. Tickets will be at the door if available. Visit www.dietrichtheater.com for additional information.• The Wednesday Fair attendance was 37,756.• Joe and Lorraine Feola will be the featured entertainers at the Wyoming Valley Civil War Round Table December 10 held in the lower level of the Daddow-Isaacs American Legion, Route 415 Memorial Highway, Dallas. Joe and Loraine will play Civil War music and tell stories of the Civil War. The meetings are held the second Thursday of each month September through June at 7 PM. For more information, contact Maureen Follmer, 356-4413, or Reese Pelton, 675-5790, or write to WVCWRT, Box 613, Dallas, PA 18612. For the remaining 2009 and the 2010 schedule of the Civil War Roundtable, consult the Upcoming Events portion of the Benton News.• Haymart, Center Street, Benton, announced its winter hours: Wednesday through Saturday 11 AM to 6 PM, Sunday from noon until 4 PM. This store has an excellent collection of books and is an interesting store to meander through.The following is the report of the Benton Borough Council Meeting held September 14, 2009, as reported by Borough Secretary Kay Yankovich. The minutes have been edited for brevity, but not content. The September 2009 meeting, held at the Benton Volunteer Fire Hall, was called to order by President Grant Little. In addition to council members, Holly Green, Joann Smith, Ron Roberts and a Press Enterprise representative attended.
Joann Smith expressed her concern regarding dogs running at large in the borough. On August 18, two dogs killed one cat and attempted to hunt another at 330 Park Street. These dogs also match the description of the two dogs that mauled and mutilated a deer in the ballfield next to the elementary school this summer. She presented a written statement providing information on the breed and color of the dogs. She expressed her concern as to the danger that these dogs could do to small children. She asked that anyone interested in receiving training on “Dangerous Dog Self-Defense” contact her.
Bryan Getz stated that he received a call from Dean Kriner asking if the Stop Sign on Beaver Alley could be moved. The sign is extremely close to his building. Council directed Bryan to look at the sign and determine if it is possible for the sign to be moved further from his building. Bryan reported a problem with residents sweeping/blowing grass into the streets which then creates a problem by blocking the drains. Ed Kocher will research existing ordinances to determine if there is anything currently in place which would address this issue. Bryan presented to the Finance Committee a written request for a salary increase effective January 2010.
Josh Price reminded Council that the deadline for owners of Outdoor Furnaces to be in compliance is September 30, 2009. Ed Kocher responded that he has plans to meet with the owners to inspect/discuss this issue.
Mayor Swan announced that Officer Chris Brock has started his employment with the Borough. The Mayor stated that she took into consideration council’s request to work out of the police office. She reported the area is too small and it will not answer the need for additional space which is needed for office files.
The Mayor reported donations to save the Benton Dam have reached $22,633. The Family of John Unbewust requested that donations be made in his memory for this purpose. To date, $1800 has been received.
Citrus Energy has been contacted regarding a donation for the Benton Dam repairs. Mayor Swan expects to have a response from this company at the end of this week. Mayor Swan announced the Benton Volunteer Fire Company is holding a chicken barbeque dinner on October 17 to raise funds for Benton dam repairs. Dan Hartman reported that he has met with Doug Vincent, Benton Mobile Concrete. Questions regarding the size of rock for rip-rap to be placed at the lower apron of the dam have arisen. Dan has contacted Bassett Engineering regarding this issue. They have not yet gotten back to him. When this issue is addressed, the repair work can move forward. Council approved the Scope of Work (replace slab/rip-rap) as recommended by the Save the Benton Dam Committee. The committee will proceed to hire a contractor to have the dam repairs completed. Mayor Swan reported that the letter of authorization from DEP will be received by the end of the week, per Senator John Gordner’s office. (Editor note: the letter of authorization has not been received as of October 1).
Grant Little submitted his formal letter of resignation as chair of the park committee, effective August 10, 2009. Dan Hartman was appointed chair of the park committee. Ed Hartman was appointed as a member to the Park Committee.
Trick-or-Treat in Benton Borough will be held October 31 from 6-8 PM.
Grant Little and Mayor Swan met with Britt Bassett and Bill Scott, Bassett Engineering, to discuss the paving project on Park Street. The engineers recommend total reconstruction of the street; however, their estimate exceeds the Borough’s budget by $40,000. The engineers want to advertise the total reconstruction project and feel that bids will come in for the amount that the Borough can afford.
Grant Little reported that the tentative budget for 2010 will be ready for the November Council meeting.
Dan Hartman reported that he and Bryan measured Market and Park Streets to determine a parking plan. It was the recommendation of the committee to have no parking from Park Street to the light pole on the north side of Market Street, and paint parking spaces on the west side of Park Street. Dan Hartman moved, Josh Price seconded, to make a no-parking area from Park Street to the lightpole on the north side of Market Street and paint parking spaces on the west side of Park Street. The motion carried 6-1; one negative vote from Dan Jankowski. Attorney Leipold will be contacted to prepare an ordinance for this action.
Ed Kocher stated that it is the borough’s responsibility to pay for the work completed on the drainbox at the Hart property on Market Street. This area is on the Borough’s line.
Dan Jankowski moved, Josh Price seconded to accept the proposed Master Site Plan with the following changes: (1) keep the basketball court at its current site (2) locate the proposed new amphitheatre in the general location of the existing amphitheater, moving it as necessary to be out of the floodplain.
Dan Jankowski moved, Ed Hartman seconded, to enact the mailbox ordinance, Ordinance No. 224, "An Ordinance of the Borough of Benton, Columbia County, Pennsylvania, Regulating the Placement of Mailboxes Within the Borough." The roll-call vote: Jan Jankowski, yes; Dan Hartman, no; Ed Hartman, yes; Allen Hess, no; Dan Jankowski, yes; Josh Price, yes. Motion carried 4-2.
Dan Hartman reported that the Committee is still looking into the parking issue on Colley Street. The committee is also working on an ordinance to create fifteen-minute parking by the post office.
E. Pauline (Zimmerman) Deiter (July 29, 1920-September 29, 2009), Benton, passed away Tuesday at the Orangeville Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. She was 89. She had been in declining health for the past several years. She was born in Salem Township, Luzerne County. She was a daughter of the late T. Eugene and Jennie (Rowe) Zimmerman. She attended Shickshinny High School. She worked for various sewing factories including Luzerne Outerwear, Dockey Shirt Factory and Catawissa Shirt Factory. She had also worked for Country Impressions and last worked for Flowers by Scott. She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert H. Deiter, on December 24, 1990. Surviving are her daughter, Patti J. LaBonte, and her granddaughter, Kera L. LaBonte, both of Benton. She was the last member of her immediate family. She was preceded in death by brothers and sisters Irene McMichael, Blanche Stuttler, Bertha Sult, Chester Zimmerman and Eugene Zimmerman. Graveside services will be held Friday at 11 AM at the Bethel Hill Cemetery, Fairmount Township. There will be no public viewing. Arrangements are under the direction of the McMichael Funeral Home. For online condolences or to sign the register book: www.mcmichaelfuneralhome.com .