October 31, 2005. Happy birthday today to Rod Vincent and Rick Wilson. Did you remember to turn your watches and clocks back an hour and did you check the batteries in your smoke alarms? Please remember Leona Bardo, a patient in the Bloomsburg Hospital.
Today is the eve of All Saints Day, or All Hallows' (meaning hallowed or holy) Eve, and so Happy All Hallows Eve, the day we normally call Halloween. The observance is based on a Celtic holiday called Samhain marking the start of winter and the end of the harvest. November 1 became known as All Saints Day, or All Hallows Day, and honored Christian saints and martyrs based on the Medieval belief that dead saints regularly intervened in the affairs of the living. On All Saints Day, churches put bones of the saints on display and held mass for the living. On All Hallows Eve, Soul Cakes were baked and set on doorsteps for the poor, bonfires were lit and lanterns carved from turnips to ward off ghosts of the dead.
On this Halloween date in...
There is a candlelight dinner tonight at the Brass Pelican restaurant and it is Trick or Treat night in the Borough from 6 to 8 PM.
For those readers who do not know if they are too old to Trick or Treat, here are some guidelines. If you get winded from knocking on doors or if you have to have a kid chew the candy for you or if you only use high-fiber candy, or if you lose your balance and fall over when someone drops a candy bar in your bag, you might want to skip Trick or Treat this year. If people say "great James Carville mask" and you're not wearing a mask, or when the door opens and you yell "Trick or--" and can't remember the rest, or if you have to choose a costume that won't dislodge your hairpiece, or if you go as a Power Ranger and need to use your walker we suspect that you should skip Trick or Treat this year.
Fire up your pick-um-ups and your Firebelch 500s and head for Millville High School Tuesday. Be there before 5 PM for the semifinal clash of Southern Columbia and Benton boys soccer teams in the District 4 Class A semifinals. The winner of this David vs. Goliath match-up will advance to Thursday's championship against either Loyalsock or Muncy. Lets get the community spirit built up and attend this game!
Passing events from our local history in...
Josephine Winley was one of the people--along with J. B. Laubach, A. R. Pennington, President of Borough Council, Dr. M. McHenry, Abbie Krickbaum and Nora Albertson--who helped establish a Relief Committee responsible for adopting the procedures for distributing contributions to fire victims following the town's devastating fire of July 4, 1910.
The current owner of the parking lot is the Benton U.M. Church.
Making apple butter would take place each fall when the apple harvest was in full swing, when "the frost was on the pumpkin and the fodder was in the shock." The workers would grab wooden paddles and the stirring process would begin about 6 AM and continue until 11 or so at night.
The Benton Lions Club is conducting a fund raiser selling homemade apple dumplings. A box of four frozen dumplings is $10 and they will be delivered prior to Thanksgiving. Contact Jackie Malhoyt, 925-2722, or any Lions Club member to make an order.
|October 30, 2005. The email version of the Benton News for Saturday incorrectly mentioned the birthday of Terry Hack, when actually it was the 47th birthday of Randy Hack. We apologize for the mistake, but did appreciate the note from Terry with thanks for making him six years younger... Happy belated birthday, Randy!
Larry Hayman has been transferred from the adult-trauma unit at Geisinger Hospital and is now in the adult special-care unit on the fourth floor at Geisinger. He is still seriously ill with many complications. Prayers are desperately needed for his recovery.
Mark your calendars for Wednesday, November 23, at 7 PM for the area-wide Thanksgiving Eve Service at the Derr's Christian Church.
Benton and Southern Columbia will duke it out in District 4 soccer Tuesday in their semifinal matchup. The winner of that game will go against either Loyalsock or Muncy. Danville, Bloomsburg and Millville are now out of the running.
Fish deep fried in peanut oil and pancake flour, delicious vegetables and pie and ice cream pulled in a total of 667 "takeouts and sit downs" at the fish supper at the Sugarloaf school Saturday night. The dinner maintains a long tradition that extends back to the early days of the Central and Brandon churches, even before electricity made its way into the Sugarloaf area.
Alanna was assisted by Dr. Ellen Flint on the piano. The recital by the Bendertown native was presented in partial fulfillment of the degree requirements of the Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree. The gifted voice major was enthusiastically greeted by friends from the area, fellow students and faculty members. The concert was recorded, partly for use in Alanna's pursuit of a Master's Degree.
Alanna is a voice student of Susan Minsavage who told us that the music selected for her was more advanced than music selected for other graduating seniors in order that selection committees for various colleges can see what she is capable of doing. We wish Alanna the best in the coming years, and feel that her name will become very familiar to the residents of the upper Fishingcreek valley.
The local VFW post has a long history of having men and women as members who serve in the Armed Forces who contribute their time and energy to the promotion of the American veteran and the veterans of the community. One of the outstanding accomplishments of the local post was the recent design and installation of a monument "dedicated to the memory of the veterans of all wars who served their country and God."
These words form a lasting and permanent memorial to the veteran and are the words inscribed on a monument positioned for everyone to see near the center of the Borough, on grass in front of the Columbia County Farmer's National Bank. A concrete walk leads to the front of the memorial.
The float winners in Tuesday night's Halloween Parade sponsored by the Benton Lions Club are:
The Benton Volunteer Fire Company is looking for pictures of local heroes. The heroes can be soldiers, firemen, police officers--all heroes are welcome! The pictures will be used to decorate the fire company Christmas tree. Pictures should be sent to Charity Robbins, 704 Mendenhall Hill Road, Benton. Pictures will not be returned.
|October 28, 2005. Happy birthday to Emma Lou (Funk) Savage, her 70th, and congratulations to Anna Dressler who recently placed third in districts for the VFW Patriot's Pen Contest and first in local contests. Happy 49th anniversary to Alvin and June Lynn. And we need to mention the anniversary of the dedication of a copper lady dressed in robes who stands at the entrance to New York harbor. Her complete name is Liberty Enlightening the World and she is one of the tallest statues in the world.
Visitors can view the statue through a glass ceiling, and can walk out onto the Statue's observation deck to see views of New York City and the New York harbor, and witness the Statue up close from her promenade and Ft. Wood. She is located on Liberty Island in the Harbor. The Statue of Liberty was a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States. The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on this date in 1886 and was designated a National Monument on October 15, 1924. The Statue was extensively restored in time for her centennial on July 4, 1986.
Didja know that...
Back on September 24, I wrote about The Apprentice and wrote specifically about contestant Jim Dillon, the son-in-law of an old friend. "Gentleman Jim" got booted last night by the Trumpster. The producers made sure that viewers saw Josh's hurt reaction to Jim's frankness. If Trump had stayed to the one fire a week "rule," Josh, the PM, would probably have been the one. They all did badly; they all blew this one. Bottom line: it would never be worth going through those boardroom debacles just for a chance to work for the Donald for a year. Oh, well. Now I can go back to watching Animal World reruns in that time slot.
October 27, 2005
"We must be the great arsenal of democracy."
"Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."
"Those who can win a war well can rarely make a good peace and those who could make a good peace would never have won the war."
|October 27, 2005.
The Farmhouse Quilters will hold an open house this Sunday, October 30, from 12-5, in Millville next to the Total Look Salon on State Street. They have plenty of beautiful hand-made items, including quilts, wall hangings, ornaments, etc. Head on over to Millville Sunday, enjoy the fall scenery and enjoy a visit with the Farmhouse Quilters.
I like to live in a little town
The Halloween Parade moved Wednesday night exactly on schedule. The Chief of Police started things off, followed by members of the local VFW post, then Mayor Jan Swan rode down Main and out Market in a convertible. The Benton High School band looked sharp, including injured Lauran McGrath who played her trombone from the comfort of a wheelbarrow. Lauran is recovering from a field-hockey injury. A sharp float entitled "Dreams come True" came next, followed by the Waller 4-H, cubs and brownies and boy scouts, the Benton AYSO and the music of "Al B Jammin." The First Columbia Bank provided a float, but in the dim Market Street light they were hard to spot. The smartly attired and hard-working local Red Hatters pulled off a third place prize with their cargo of ten red hatters and their bows and lights. The Millville high school band with all members dressed in their Halloween finest made a fine addition to the parade. Head Start, the Lear Day Care Center, the Market Square restaurant, a wonderful display by the Dzoch Family, a float marked L&K Oil, a float by the Old Filling Station, the Benton Elementary wrestlers all paraded by. There were a bunch of tractors including a Minneapolis Moline, John Deere, a Ford and various Heinz 57 varieties. Stoney Acres was there with a float and the Miller girls were in their Jeep and Julie Beishline got to ride on a cart behind one of her miniature donkeys. Millville Fire Company brought Tanker 231 for the parade, a nice touch, and all the equipment of the Benton Volunteer Fire Company was there. Bands from Catawissa and Northwest planned to participate in the parade Tuesday night, but because of the rain delay they were not able to attend Wednesday night.
There's nothing quite as enchanting
Many readers will remember the Baker & Baker building owned by Edgar and Helen Baker, on the east side of Main Street just north of the town square. The building occupied a combination of several buildings and land that included the former Pennington & Sealy store building. The land was the former site of the home of Mrs. Oliver Hess and the J. J. Stubbs Hotel which stood on the site until 1860.
The Stiles Hotel later stood where Pennington and Seely built their store. When the store building was built, the Stiles Hotel building was moved back of this store. The former hotel was a two-story budding which was connected to the store. Wayne Baker does not recall this building standing when the building was purchased in 1959 or 1960 from A. Ross Pennington.
Charles W. Hess moved to Benton in 1909 and bought the meat market of Henry Unbewust which was in a building on the square which at that time housed the offices of the Benton Argus, a barber shop and a butcher shop. On the second floor of this building were the offices of the Congressman John G. McHenry. In the Benton fire of July 4, 1910, the building burned and as soon as possible after the fire, Mr. Hess built a meat market on what later became the site of the Baker and Baker Building.
Edgar and Helen Baker purchased the building in 1945. In 1949, the Baker family remodeled and made apartments on the second-floor of the former Mrs. Olive Hess property which was next door and attached to the butcher shop. The second-floor apartments in the Hess building were over both the meat market and on the second floor of the house which was behind the meat market building. There were two apartments over the old meat market and one apartment in the second floor of the house.
Edgar and Helen Baker bought the M.D. Pennington and Son store building which was across an alley and remodeled the building including three apartments on the second floor. Those apartments were added about 1960 at the same time as the Hess building and the Pennington building were combined by closing an alley that run between the buildings.
The State Department has issued rules for implanting electronic identification chips into all U.S. passports as of October, 2006. As of that time, all new and renewed U.S. passports will contain radio frequency identification chips that will include a digital photo and other information currently printed in passports. As older passports expire, everyone who holds a passport will get an electronic version.
Cherryholmes, The bluegrass group that wowed people at the O.A.T.S. Festival in Benton over the July 4th weekend, is scheduled in the 8-9 PM (ET) segment--that's the hour televised on GAC--and the 12:30-1 AM (ET) segments of the Saturday Night Grand Ole Opry show. Rhonda Vincent will star in the 9:30-10:00 (ET) and the 11:00-12:00 (ET) segments Saturday night.
The importance of what Pennsylvania grew on its farms, mined from the earth and extracted from its oil wells and turned out in its mills and factories during the tumultuous years of World War II can not be understated. On the war front, Pennsylvanians served with distinction on every battlefront. The state contributed top-ranking military men and outstanding Americans at the rank and file level. Bob Maynes was one of these people.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Don't forget the parade tonight at 7 PM
October 26, 2005. Happy birthday today to Chandlee Stowe and while we're at it we'll wish Chandlee and Grace Stowe a happy wedding anniversary.
The carved jack-o'-lantern dates back to medieval Ireland and a legend involving an Irishman named Stingy Jack, a miserable, tight old drunk. When Jack finally died and appeared at the pearly gates, he was told he was too mean and had led too miserable and worthless a life on earth to enter heaven. He then went down to Hell, but the Devil would not allow him to enter Hell. Jack's only choice was to wander, but because of the absence of light he could not see his way out of Hell. The Devil tossed him an ember to help him light his way. Jack placed the ember in a hollowed out turnip, a favorite food that he had stolen.
Trick or Treat Night in the Borough is Monday, October 31, from 6 to 8 PM, and would be a great night to display your jack-o'-lantern.
Isn't it interesting that many believe that Speaker of the House Nathan Templeton, played for all its worth by Donald Sutherland on ABCs hit show Commander In Chief (Tuesdays from 9-10 PM ET), fairly represents the average politician! USA Today's lead story Wednesday highlights the low approval ratings for both congressional Republicans and Democrats and reports on a poll showing President Bush's rating approval rating at 42%. The article also says that 65% of respondents say their "own representative deserves re-election" and that is the statistic that counts.
The end of the rainbow had its pot of gold, the Central area had its copper mine and Jerseytown had its coal mines--none of which ever paid off. To read about Jerseytown coal pick up Wednesday's Press Enterprise and read Mining for Answers.
We'll know Thursday. That is the day that Wilkes-Barre city council votes on a winning contractor to make the entire city wireless. Will it end up costing the city money or will it bring in needed revenue?
Pennsylvanians contributed a great deal to the war effort during the Second World War. At home, we produced food, munitions, ordinance and other necessities in order to achieve a mighty offensive. The results of what we did at home were felt on battlefields of North Africa, Italy, on the plains of Russia and in the North and the South Pacific.
A man who recorded part of the struggle of the Pacific conflict served on the U.S.S. Chepachet (A.O. 78) from July 8, 1944, to December 21, 1945, and experienced some very exotic ports of call. Bob Maynes recorded his thoughts and deeds and those of the crew in an article which originally appeared in this section. It has been moved to FEATURES under the title of "Chepachet."
Bloomsburg University this weekend (Oct. 29-30) will be bustling for Homecoming 2005. The football game (The Huskies, 9-0, will battle West Chester for the PSAC East Conference Title) will be special.
Leaf pick up will start Monday, October 31, in Benton Borough. Leaves will be picked up on the even sides of the street on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Leaves will be picked up on the odd sides of the streets om Monday and Wednesdays.
Hersheypark officials have plans for new park attractions for the 2006 season while they prepare for the park's 100th anniversary in 2007.
October 25, 2005.
Christine's Karaoke will be at the Elk Grove Inn from 9:30-1:30 Saturday night. Christine will be dressed for Halloween, and you should be, too.
Trick or Treat Night in the Borough is Monday, October 31, from 6 to 8 PM.
We'll share a couple of stories about Franklin D. Roosevelt, a notorious practical joker. As President, he soon learned that most people who met him for the first time were in such awe of being in the presence of the President that they didn't listen to any pleasantries that were exchanged during the introduction process. At one party in the White House, he tested his theory by whispering these words in the ear of each person he was introduced to: "I murdered my grandmother this morning." A Wall Street banker was the only one who acknowledged the President's greeting. He responded, "She certainly had it coming."
We loved walking through the Roosevelt world in Hyde Park, looking at a speech, for example, where the President lined out his speech writer's words and substituted "infamy" in the lines that were delivered December 8, 1941, to a joint session of the U.S. Congress. The lines begin: "A date which will live in infamy" and were delivered following the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor as Roosevelt declared war on Japan.
Saturday night at 7 PM, Alanna Bath, Bendertown, will have her senior voice recital at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, South Franklin Street, Wilkes-Barre. She will perform works by Copland, Puccini, Dvorak, Faure, Wolf, and others. Admission is free and open to the public.
Didja know that...
"I wanted to be the first woman to burn her bra, but it would have taken the fire department four days to put it out."
Chairman Wayne Spilove of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission presided at the groundbreaking ceremony at Pennsbury Manor on Oct. 19 as work begins on the new $3.5 Visitor Center. The new center will feature state-of-the-art storage space, a classroom, exhibit gallery and more. Work will take about 18 months.
A historical marker for Tun Tavern, the birthplace of the United States Marine Corps, will be dedicated on Veterans Day, Friday, Nov. 11, at 10 AM on Front Street, between Walnut and Chestnut Streets in Philadelphia. Brig. Gen. Ronald S. Coleman will represent Gen. Michael Hagee, the Commandant of the Corps, at the event. The Marine Corps will provide a color guard and other speakers will honor American Veterans.
Have you ever noticed that almost anything is easier to get into than out of and it is harder to find a job than to keep one? And while we're tossing rules around, have you noticed that anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment. We recommend that you trust only those who stand to lose as much as you do when things go wrong. And finally in this dump of useless information, if you have something to do and you put it off long enough, chances are someone else will do it for you.
We worried about Bill and Loretta (Strauch) Hiscox, residents of Palm City, Florida, as Hurricane Wilma swept over the east coast of Florida, slightly south of where they live. I reached Bill by cell phone in a hotel in New York City. The couple were awaiting a 17-hour flight to Johannesburg, South Africa, for a 27-day vacation. Bill's voice was filled with anxiety about the prospect of such a long trip when there was no electricity at home. Bill and Loretta will remember Hurricane Wilma much longer, we suspect, than their neighbors will. Their return to Palm City will be eventful as they open their refrigerator and clean clean up debris leading to their home...
Our thoughts are with Jack and Gaye (Beishline) Moser, residents of Okeechobee, Florida, who have been displaced by hurricanes so many times over the past year and with all Floridians affected by the storm.
October 24, 2005. It is the wedding anniversary today of Robby and Jody Karchner. Tornado and water spout warnings were posted as far north as Titusville, while the eye of Hurricane Wilma passed South of Naples, Florida. Streets are flooded in Key West, but at this writing the worst is yet to come as the 125 mph winds come ashore as the storm moves east about 20 mph.
From all reports, the coffee house concert at the Benton UM Church was a huge hit. We heard from several who attended and enjoyed... We hear more are planned.
A reader suggested that we are in the Catskill Mountains, which is correct when we are west of the Hudson River. Sunday was spent touring the Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site and FDR's home, Springwood, as well as the grounds, gardens and trails at the Hyde Park site on the east side of the Hudson River about ten miles below Kingston, halfway between New York City and the state
Marjorie H. Edwards, (April 18, 1917-Oct. 21, 2005), 36 Savage Hill Road, Orangeville, died Friday. She was a former Orange Township tax collector. Marjorie was 88. She was born in Bloomsburg, a daughter of the late Neil S. and Florence Edna (Crouse) Harrison, merchants in both Forks and Benton. She graduated from Benton High School in 1935 and from the former Ja'Mel School of Cosmetology, Bloomsburg, and operated a beauty shop at her home until 1969. Preceding her in death were Gerald Edwards, her husband of 56 years, a son, Myrom Richard "Ricky" Edwards on Aug. 7, 1997; and her only sister, Jean Louise Hile on April 23, 1998. Surviving are children Robert Neil (Ann) Edwards, Somers, Montana; Gayle (Daniel) Sterner, Orangeville; Deborah S. Barone, Bloomsburg; and G. Scott (Karen) Edwards, Orangeville; grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and a nephew, Neil H. "Nick" (Sandra) Hile, Benton. Funeral services will be Friday, Nov. 4, 2005, at 11 AM in Zion United Church of Christ, north of Forks, with interment in Zion Cemetery. Friends may call at the Dean W. Kriner Inc. Funeral Home, Benton, on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2005, from 7-9 PM.
|October 23, 2005. It is Shirley Ritter's birthday and the wedding anniversary of Richard and Jan Jost.
The U. M. church on Main Street will hold a "coffee house" concert tonight at 6 PM. The popular group headed by Joe and Loraine Feola will headline, and we have heard of a number of surprise and talented guests. Refreshments will be served. Plan to come on out and have an enjoyable evening.
We heard that Donald Rumsfeld gave the President his daily briefing and concluded by saying: "Yesterday, three Brazilian soldiers were killed in an accident. "Oh, dear God, no!" the President exclaimed. "That's terrible!" His staff sit stunned at this unusual display of emotion, nervously watching as the president slumped forward, head in hands. Finally, the President, devastated, looked up and asked "How many is a Brazillion?"
The Dutch influence around us here in Rhinebeck is everywhere and very old. Henry Hudson, after all, sailed up the Hudson River in 1609, twenty years later the Dutch settled what is now New York City and soon the Dutch West India Company granted huge tracts of land--which they called "patroonships--to entrepreneurs who had the guts to colonize the holdings.
The patroonship system didn't quite work as planned, but nevertheless the large estates insured that areas along the Hudson remained wild and unsettled. Names we know but people we don't know--like the Roosevelts, Vanderbilts, Livingstons, Goulds, to name a few--began to line the shores of the river from New York City to Albany, and today their lovely homes are historic and treasured.
We are writing from this area today, just above where the Dutch felt that their beloved river became so wide that it was truly a sea--and called by them the Tappan Zee. We are drying off from the constant rain falling on the Dutchess Country Fairgrounds and warming up from sitting in a freezing grandstand while a constant parade of five-gated Icelandic horses strutted their stuff with the walk, trot, canter/gallop, tolt and pace that is being evaluated at the breeding show. As darkness settles over us late Saturday night, we can't help but think of the mythology of this area and characters like Rip Van Winkle, Ichabod Crane and--gasp--the Headless Horseman.
"A drowsy, dreamy influence seems to
The Hudson begins its 306-mile journey in the most desolate section of New York in the Adirondacks to its month in the most populated, just past Manhattan. The river has long been coveted as a lifeline from Canada to New York city. It is a joy to experience the area.
When summer turns to autumn
Dayton, Atlanta, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Norfolk, Bangor, Hartford, New Haven, Phoenix, Stamford, Urbana and Newark are all towns in New York state.
Sunday, October 22, 2005
A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete
Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
|October 22, 2005. Today is the wedding anniversary of Ed and Susan Cole.
Today would be an outstanding day to have a chicken barbecue at the Zion United UCC, just off Route 487 north of Forks. It starts at 4 PM. Adults pay $7 and kids from 6-10 pay $3.50.
The popular Bloomsburg band Evermore has been selected as one of ten bands appearing in the New York International Music Festival, held in New York City, November 10-17. Bands perform for A&R executives, music journalists, talent scouts and managers, casting agents and filmmakers. Evermore will perform in The Cutting Room, from 3:40 PM-4:10 PM, November 11. A charter bus to New York City from the Bloomsburg area is planned. Readers who would like to attend for November 11 only will be considered for a bus seat on a planned charter bus. Contact us and we'll forward your emails to the proper people.
Readers often ask why we don't include email address on the web page or the email versions of the Benton News. We do that so that evil doers don't get your email address and deluge you with spam.
We like to follow the happenings of George Heg/Phil Nickolai, whether it took place in Jamison City or during Hurricane Katrina. (If you don't understand what we are talking about at this point, head on over to the side panel under PERSONALITIES.) Phil told us that "the replacement for the bike that was made a submarine in the storm is here now and I went and got a license plate for it yesterday. While waiting in line for service a fellow I was speaking to told me this story" of a recent event in his life.
"A neighbor lady had a very young daughter who was just learning to speak fairly well. Her husband had a one-ton truck that had a backup beeper installed. Every time he would go backwards it would go "beep beep beep". The little daughter had heard the beeper many times. One day this woman was in Wal-Mart with her little girl. She had completed her shopping and was lined up at a register to check out. Immediately ahead of her was a woman who was very heavy, she was huge. This heavy woman had a pager and suddenly it started to beep. The little girl immediately and in a very clear, loud voice said, 'Lookout mommy! She's going to back up!' The huge woman turned around with a very indignant expression on her face and before anything was further said the woman with the little girl picked her up and fled the Wal-Mart leaving her full unchecked shopping cart behind."
We often poke around old newspapers to see what we come up with, and today we found genuine rules for spoiling a child. The rules still apply today. They are...
"I growed up backhere in the mountain
Anyway, the bum advise came when we said that computer users who use a wireless connection can tell who might be logging onto a network by hitting Ctrl-Alt-Del to bring up Task Manager, and then selecting the "Users" tab. Ryan Brewington immediately disagreed, saying "Actually the users tab only shows you who is logged into that workstation or server. If you have fast user switching enabled it can tell you if there are multiple users logged in. It can't tell you anything about your network. It is possible for users to connect to an XP computer remotely with the remote desktop feature but this only works on XP Pro. XP Home edition doesn't support that ability."
October 21, 2005. Happy birthday to Robert Rabb who celebrates with TV's Judge Judy Sheindlin, 63. Happy Anniversary to David and Linda Bronson--their 33rd--and to Benton Borough Secretary, Dolores Huda, who was selected for the position a year ago today. Dee took up her duties on Monday, November 1, and almost a year later changed her last name to Moyer as she and her new husband Steve exchanged marital vows. Pat and Dennis Threlkeld celebrates their 20th wedding anniversary today.
We celebrate the birthday of Samuel Taylor Coleridge today, a man born in Devonshire, England, in 1772. What Coleridge did can best be summarized in these lines he reportedly uttered to Charles Lamb: "I think you never heard me preach," to which Lamb could not resist retorting: "I never heard you do anything else." Coleridge and his friend and fellow-poet Robert Southey evolved the idea of Pantisocracy, a Utopian model community to be established in America, close to where Joseph Priestley lived in Northumberland. These dreamers thought that they could cut down trees and discuss metaphysics and just have a high-old time. Coleridge wrote his most famous poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, about a sailor who brings a curse upon his ship after he killed an albatross.
On this date in 1925, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that it had fined 29,620 people for--gasp--alcohol prohibition violations. The fines totaled $5,000,000.
The music of Richard Rodgers and the lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein II will be heard this winter on the stage at the high school, if all goes as now planned. The team who went on to create Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I and The Sound of Music wrote this musical based on the book Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs, an Oklahoma native (1899-1954). You guessed it! The talented Mrs. Bates and the students of the area will team up to present Oklahoma.
This Pulitzer prize-winning play has been popular since 1943. Set in the Indian territory of the American West at the turn of the century--against a background of conflict between farmers and cattlemen--it is the story of Laurey and two guys who want to lavish her with affection: cowboy Curly and Jud, the hired farmhand.
The musical is famous for songs like Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin', The Surry with The Fringe on Top, People Will Say We're in Love, Many a New Day, I Can't Say No, and the final rousing chorus of Oklahoma.
For computer users who use a wireless connection and do not encrypt that connection, you can tell who might be logging onto your network by hitting Ctrl-Alt-Del to bring up Task Manager, and then selecting the "Users" tab.
We will be at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, Rhinebeck, New York, later this afternoon at the 2005 Icelandic Horse Breeding Evaluation. Our reports will be short through the weekend.
We are happy not to be traveling now with Robert and Matt Rabb or (after the 27th) with Grant Little and his two sons. The group will be hunting mule deer and elk high in the mountains west of Boise. Their base camp will be at an elevation of 8,000 feet and they will be hunting at a higher elevation. They have a 4-wheeler to take some of the back work out of transporting their gear, food, water, tents, sleeping bags, guns and ammo up the 13 mile trail up to their base camp. It will also be helpful for hauling out all of the game they harvest which must ALL be hauled off the mountain.
October 20, 2005
If Harriet Miers were a soft drink, she would be New Coke: a carefully marketed product that no one is buying.
|October 20, 2005. It is the birthday of Bill Johnson and Edward Lee Cole. We would also be remiss if we didn't tell you that the Queen of Buckwheat Valley is 48 today. Yes, we are talking about the buxom buckwheat baker Monica Diltz. Stop at the Brass Pelican today and ask about her birthday cake. We actually don't know if she has any, but--hey--it never hurts to ask!
"If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place."
Dr. David G. Alciatore at Colorado State University has a collection of slow motion videos of everyday events including how a computer hard drive works. It will leave you wondering how these things manage to work at all and you should have a better understanding of why they fail. For high-speed users...
Annoyed by spam? One way of keeping spam email from clogging your inbox is by creating a disposable email address. Here is a list of 16 free places to get a disposable email account. Some require registration, some don't.
There neither sham nor sneering
Helen G. (Sherwood) Hess, (April 11, 1906-Oct. 17, 2005), 13 Talmar Road, Benton, died Monday. She was a daughter of the late Charles and Nora (Peterman) Sherwood and educated in a one-room school in Pine Township and at nursing school in Berwick. She was a LPN. Her husband, Thomas R. Hess, died May 20, 1952. Surviving are her three children: Carrie B. Whitenight (Darcy) Matthews, NC; Maxine H. Stine (Clair), High Hill, MO; and Wayne Hess, Benton, along with their descendants. She was preceded in death by a son, James R. Hess; and brothers and sisters Wayne, Harold Sherwood, Cletus Sherwood, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Star, and Beatrice Bergenstock. Funeral services will be held Saturday at 11 AM at the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc. Viewing will be Saturday from 10 AM until the time of service.
Many hunters are anxiously awaiting fall wild turkey season which opens October 29. All indications are that hunting will be good. Blinds now are legal to use while turkey hunting. The law defines a blind as "any artificial or manufactured blind consisting of all man-made materials of sufficient density to block the detection of movement within the blind from an observer located outside the blind."
Shield your ears for a second. We are going to talk trash! What do you think of when you are driving the interstate and see those large trash trucks go whooshing by? You might consider that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) found 31 operational and safety violations against 24 trash haulers during an inspection last week at the Lycoming County Landfill.
Right now is perfect to start composting. Organic materials compost without any assistance from humans, but a couple of steps will make the process quicker. A compost bin or an open pile is a great place to mix brown and green organic materials, then keep it moist and aerated. A well-tended pile made of chopped materials can be finished in a month, while brown leaves left on their own may take a year. Small quantities of extra grass clippings can be mixed into a compost pile or used as a thin mulch layer .
Some may remember when Jake Pultorak, Pittsburgh, found the Dragonfly token from A Treasure's Trove in Ricketts Glen State Park. The book's original twelve tokens have now been redeemed and the author has now announced the release of The Official Solution Book to A Treasure's Trove. The guide offers Trove enthusiasts a peak inside the author's mind to understand how clues in A Treasure's Trove were solved and prepare for the anticipated second book. It may even help readers crack the code to find the gold token named for the book's villain, the evil Rusful, which was recently announced by Stadther as the fourteenth token that is still at large! A Treasure's Trove inspired readers across the country to seek out the locations of twelve hidden gold tokens, each representing one of the fairy tale's characters.
Drew Carey and stars from The Drew Carey Show and Whose Line Is It Anyway bring their improv comedy show to the F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre. Drew and his friends have two shows on Sunday, October 23, at 3 PM and 7 PM. Ticket prices are $35 and $52.50.
While not of general interest to readers, it nevertheless holds a fond place in my heart. It was a gigantic thing situated along the eastern bank of the Susquehanna River about ten miles south of Harrisburg. At one time, it was one of eleven such depots in the United States serving the complete needs of Army Air Forces stationed at home and throughout the world. The Secretary of Defense during the Kennedy and Johnson Administration, Robert S. McNamara, closed the Middletown facility in a "cost-saving" stroke of the pen.
|October 19, 2005, the birthday of Joey Sue Laubach. What beautiful weather we are having. Just two years ago today, the overnight low was a damp and cold 44 degrees and the high only reached about 54.
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.
We have a pop quiz today about things Pennsylvania. No question asked has not been previously answered on the Benton News. Answers at the end...
Q 1: Where was frontiersman Daniel Boone born in 1734?
The friends and family of Eric Hess would like to thank all participants and hole sponsors for the golf tournament in his memory Saturday. Diane Brown reminds us that "it was a wonderful day. The sun was out, no rain, just a little breezy." The proceeds from the tournament will be donated to the Benton Tigers Athletic Association.
EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have released the 2006 Fuel Economy Guide to help consumers make well-informed choices when purchasing new vehicles. You can check www.fueleconomy.gov/ for this information.
Things "collect" in our house. I have drawers and drawers of clippings, many from local newspapers and day books and magazines and scrap books. It is time for the annual "cleaning out" of the my files of clippings.
Answers to our pop quiz follow...
A 1: The Daniel Boone Homestead is at Baumstown, southeast of Reading. Daniel Boone's ancestors migrated from England with other Quakers. His father, Squire Boone, (1696-1765) left Devonshire for America in 1713 with his brother and sister to help decide if the entire family should emigrate. From Abington in present-day Montgomery County they sent favorable reports back home and the remaining Boones arrived four years later.
A 2: Scranton has been called by lots of names. Some claim its first name was Capouse, named after the chief of the Munsee tribe, from which Muncy takes its name. It has also been called Slocum Hollow, Deep Hollow, Unionville, Harrison, Lackawanna Iron Works and Scrantonia. The city was eventually named for George and Selden Scranton who came from New Jersey in 1840, bought most of what is now downtown Scranton for $8,000 and began to smelt iron. The first Scranton in America was John Scranton, a Puritan who landed in Boston in 1637 and originally came from Guilford, England. William Scranton III announced his bid for the Republican ticket Monday evening in Scranton. The current Scranton served as lieutenant governor from 1979 to 1987 under Richard Thornburgh. He made an earlier bid for the governor's office in 1986, but lost to Robert Casey, Sr. in a close race. Scranton's father, William Scranton II served as Pennsylvania governor from 1963 to 1967.
A 3: Blindstown was the name used until 1895 of what is now known as Larksville. Larksville is a borough of about 4,500 residents in Luzerne County.
A 4: "The Switzerland of America" is the name once used by the community of Mauch Chunk. Today the town is known as Jim Thorpe and is known for its rows of ornately trimmed Victorian homes and quaint shops lining the winding streets. The towns has two mansions straight out of a gothic novel, and one, some claim, is haunted. A train station is in the middle of the town. It is a must-see location in the state--but we don't recommend the weekends this time of the year if you hate crowds of people.
A 5: Erie is the northernmost city in the state and the design of the city is very much like that of Washington, D.C.
A 6: Growing Fat meant an Indian place name in what is now Catawissa. Take the time to visit or read about the 63-mile long Catawissa railroad which had three tunnels, eight bridges and trestles.
A 7: The name Ashley has been used since 1810. Prior to that, the community was called Scrabbletown, Skunktown, Coalville, Peestone, Hightown, Hendricksburg, Newton, Alberta and Nanticoke Junction. Ashley is a borough of about 2,780 people in Luzerne County.
A 8: Wilkes-Barre, the county seat of Luzerne County, is named for two members of the British Parliament, John Wilkes and Isaac Barre. The city was formally incorporated in 1871, and has a population of about 41,630 people.
A 9: William Penn first suggested "New Wales" as the name of his North America grant, the largest grant ever made in the United States. Although Penn had chosen the name New Wales for his province, the king of England called it Pennsylvania in memory of the deceased admiral who was William Penn's father.
A 10: Karl Probst, an engineer working for American Bantam Car Company in Butler was the father of the jeep. In response to a request for bids from the Army, Probst led the design and manufacture of the prototype jeep in Butler, completing it in just seven weeks. The first Jeep was delivered to Camp Holabird, MD, on September 21, 1940.
|October 17, 2005. It is the birthday of Pedro Coen, son of actress Frances McDormand and granddaughter of Vernon and Maureen McDormand.
The Red Hat Group in the Benton area has a very special meeting planned at Market Square Restaurant October 19 at 2 PM. The meeting and the food will take on the air of a Polish Festival. Hostess Janice will present a delicious sampler platter consisting of Kielbasa, potato pancakes, pigs in the blanket and periogies with onions and butter sauce, and will top it off with a pumpkin roll for dessert and will include a beverage--all for $10, including the tax and tip, polish music and bingo! Guests are welcome and the chapter is open to new members. Proper attire of a red hat and purple outfit are required.
We talked with Helen Gammon in Arizona last evening. Helen is an old friend and an outstanding historian, especially of the Peterman line. Helen went on oxygen last evening for the first and was in surprisingly good spirits, possibly because her daughter was visiting. We wish Helen our very best. Please keep her in your prayers.
Letter of May 8, 1856, received May 29, 1856.
Mayor Jan Swan may not have been too thrilled about turning a year older on October 13, but she was surprised when borough staff and friends signed her birthday card and all made a personal contribution to the "Fly Fisherman Statue Fund" in honor of her birthday. The mayor has worked non stop promoting revitalization and beautification of the Borough. The Columbia County Farmer's National Bank will continue to take contributions from individuals and businesses for the "Fly Fisherman Statue Fund" and the "Banner Fund."
The North Mountain Historical Society met at the Brass Pelican Restaurant, Elk Grove, Monday, and listened to a discussion of a "Celebration of Country Living." Speaker David Kline told about growing up on a farm and remembered the first time that his Mother and Father permitted a friend from "town" to spend the night at the farm. The town boy was awakened much earlier than usual by all the activity going on around him. Mother remembered his words, "It didn't take long to stay here all night."
We didn't have much,
If you are in business and lose money on every product that you sell, it almost seems a desperation move to try to sell more of that product. General Motors is talking about issuing a card worth $500 in gas for the tanks of its SUVs to revitalize sales. On Monday, the company posted a quarterly loss of $1.6 billion. When you lose money on every product you sell, selling more of it is rarely a good thing.
Christine's Karaoke will be at Kameeo's on route 487 Friday night from 9:30 to 1:30. Saturday she will be at the Millville American Legion from 8 PM to 11:00.
A reader told us about a train robbery on the Bloomsburg and Sullivan Railroad in a stretch North of Benton. We don't know the year, or even if the story is real. Can a reader help?
October 17, 2005
"My husband will never chase another woman. He's too fine, too decent, too old!"
"Giving birth is like taking your lower lip and forcing it over your head."
I am a great believer in luck, and the harder I work the more of it I have.
|October 17, 2005, the birthday of David Keller, who celebrates his birthday with author Arthur Miller and daredevil Evel Knievel. Tonight is the Full Hunter's Moon, and is the first time in memory that the old weather proverb might apply, the proverb that says that a "Full Moon in October without frost, no frost 'til full Moon in November." We are very sure we can't make it until November 15 without a frost, and we are only repeating the old proverb.
On this date in...
Arcadia Word of the Day: "Jauntsamore"
Quote of the Day:
The link to Ricketts Glen State Park has changed and we have not had time to update the entire web site where that link appears. For all references to the park please use www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/parks/rickettsglen.aspx . We apologize for the inconvenience, but we will make the corrections in the near future.
We were happy to hear about Dick Holcombe, Dushore, celebrating his 90th birthday recently. His many friends and relatives assembled at the Dushore American Legion to honor Dick and to say hello to his bride of 68 years, Ann Holcombe. Many Benton News readers fondly remember his brother, Si Holcombe.
We would like to thank recent contributors of material for the Benton News, including...
. Don and Betty Miller, Grove, Oklahoma: pictures of a July, 1941, reunion of teachers and pupils of the former Red Lion School; an August, 1950, picture of the Greenwood Methodist Church parishioners; numerous pictures and articles on local history.
Starting tomorrow, distribution of the web and email versions of the Benton News will be erratic as we join with the Northeast Icelandic Horse Club at the 2005 breeding evaluations at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, New York, in the upper Hudson Valley.
October 16, 2005. John Unbewust and Tina Burt celebrate their birthdays today. Elmer and Bernadyne Hunter celebrate wedding anniversary number 62. Jerry and Mary Ann Zeveney celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary Saturday.
We spent the last several days at Painter Den in the mountains of Sullivan County during the height of the leaf-turning season at the higher elevations than we have in the upper Fishing Creek valley. The Benton News was not published on Saturday when we discovered we liked relaxing more than we liked working. We enjoyed the peace and quiet of the mountains and besides we didn't know any news! We loved the pork and sauerkraut and mashed potatoes we had Saturday night, and offer this short poem as a reminder of the event:
Take the time to read the interesting article in Sunday's Press Enterprise by Tom Austin, outdoors writer for the paper. Tom writes about the existence or non-existence of the mountain lion in the state. When you finish that article, turn to the FEATURES section of the Benton News and read a related article entitled "The Carnivore From Which Painter Den Takes Its Name," which I wrote several years ago about the elusive mountain lion. My article has some age to it and should be updated, but the results are the same: knowledgeable people we know and trust claim to have seen one of the critters, yet the proof positive is always just one step away.
Monday morning at the Brass Pelican Restaurant, the North Mountain Historical Society will celebrate country living as guest lecturer David Kline discusses life in rural America. Breakfast is about 8 AM and activities begin about 9. The program is free and open to the public. We hope to see you there and will remind you that the hills around Elk Grove are beautiful right now. It is a beautiful time to drive into the hills of the area.
"If Eden be on earth at all,
Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance comes to F.M. Kirby Center November 28 at 8 PM. The passionate love story expressed through dance has precision dancing, dramatic music, colorful costumes, state-of-the-art staging and lighting. Tickets are $35 and $50 and go on sale Monday, October 17, at 10 AM through the Kirby Center Box Office at 570 826-1100. Tickets go on sale to the public on Friday, October 21, at 10 AM, through the Kirby Center Box Office, Ticketmaster, Gallery of Sound and Boscov's.
Have you made your reservations yet for "Getting Married" at BTE, 226 Center Street, Bloomsburg? You can by calling 800 282-0283.
We suspect that most people who know Ashley and Arithe Sorber met the twins as a result of their playing with the Masters' Band and Leon Johnson, possibly when they play at the Jerseytown Hoedown each month as they did Saturday night or at their occasional appearances at the Benton Volunteer Fire Station during the summer months. Most people of the area know the Sorber and Masters family and their extraordinary ability to play music.
We enjoyed a short conversation we overheard over coffee. As best as we understood the conversation at the next table--understanding, of course, that we were not trying to overhear the conversation--one man asked his male companion, "How's things to home?" We smiled at the response: "The ole lady ain't talking to me and I am in no mood to interrupt her."
The Pumpkin Festival is the big news of the area this weekend, up at the Ol' Country Barn off route 487. The event continues Sunday from 10 to 5, rain or shine. There are about 40 vendors selling crafts, antiques, collectibles, etc. The Christ U.M. Youth, The Royal Order of the Raccoons, and the Sugarloaf Ambulance all have food stands to raise funds for their causes. There are free hayrides, free parking, free entertainment, and door prizes. John and Sandy Kogut entertained on Saturday and Pat and Al Hess on Sunday. Need more information? Call 925-0301.
|October 14, 2005. Today is a teacher in-service day at the Benton Area Schools and tonight in the elementary school gym is the long-awaited basketball game where the faculty have every intention of whopping a visiting team who play professionally. There are several other fun things happening this weekend, too, and we'll get to those in a moment.
What we planned to tell you about today and Saturday is Back Home in Benton, PA, while we are in Sullivan County. It seems we cheated a bit and wrote an article about railroad signals on the old Bloomsburg and Sullivan railroad, but we neglected to send it on to Laptop Lillian. As a consequence, we'll have to tell that story Sunday.
Last week's fish dinner at the Sugarloaf School House attracted 679 people, which was a very good turn out considering the weather. In the spring, the first fish dinner had 807 in attendance, with 757 for the second dinner. The 2006 spring fish-dinner schedule is April 8, 2006, and April 29, 2006.
A favorite place to visit is the Allegheny National Forest of Western Pennsylvania. We were distressed to hear that a coalition of environmental groups claim that the Allegheny National Forest is one of the most endangered national forests in the country, partly because of management practices that favor black cherry because of its high sale price over other trees. The fact is that a black cherry takes something like 100 years to mature, so we wonder how this claim just came to light.
The 2006 Honoring God and Country Service will be held Sunday, November 6, beginning at 7 PM in the Benton Middle-Senior High School auditorium. This will be the third year for this event sponsored by the Council of Churches. Last year, the services outgrew the Sanctuary of the Benton United Methodist Church. This year, the Catawissa Military Band will share their talents and add to the richness of the service. Calvin Miller, Pastor of the Benton United Methodist Charge, will hold a recognition of Veterans in attendance. Pastor Miller plans to share information about the Service Flags and the folding of an American Flag during a reading of the significance of each fold of the Flag. The service is privileged to have COL Randy Marchi as the guest speaker. COL Marchi is the Artillery Brigade Commander for the Pennsylvania Army National Guard's 28th Infantry Division (Mechanized). Veterans available for the evening of November 6 are requested to attend this celebration and are encouraged to wear their uniform, medals, or any other insignia. Call Pastor Miller at 925-6858 for more information.
The FFA is also involved in a hurricane relief project. The Benton FFA has been matched with the Ponchatoula FFA, and is looking for donations of Notebooks, Paper, Pencils, Pens, Calculators, Folders, Binders, and Backpacks.
We enjoyed reading a true story from a reader who has an uncle and aunt who live in Ponchatoula. The couple fortunately were "above flood levels, but he did experience downed trees, interrupted telephone service, and power outages as a result of the hurricane." He once lived in New Orleans with his wife, a native of New Orleans. Fifteen years ago, they moved from New Orleans to Ponchatoula. The reader's mother recently mentioned he must be glad he moved out of New Orleans. He said, "You don't know the half of it. I didn't want to move, but my wife did. Can you imagine if we had stayed? I would have been stuck on the roof with a woman telling me we should have left 15 years ago!"
Keep in mind the State Game Land 57 tour coming up in Luzerne and Wyoming counties on Sunday, Oct. 16. Registration will be held from 7:30 AM until 12:30 PM at the headquarters building complex on State Game Land 57, Ricketts Station near Lopez, Forkston Township, Wyoming County. Game Commission personnel will be on hand to explain various points of interest, including wildlife habitat improvement projects. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are strongly recommended for this three-hour, 30-mile, self-guided driving tour. The Game Commission may refuse entry to vehicles that don't have sufficient clearance. All vehicles must exit the route by 3 PM. Each vehicle will receive a map and brief explanation of wildlife management programs being carried out on this parcel. More than 120 species of trees are found in Pennsylvania, many of which will make this State Game Land a colorful autumn showplace. From Red Rock corners and the intersection of Routes 487 and 118, take Route 487 north for 7.5 miles and turn onto a dirt road near the State Game Land sign on the right. Travel on a dirt road one-tenth of a mile to a "Y" intersection and go left for three-tenths of a mile to the headquarters complex.
October 13, 2005. Happy birthday today to Art Search, Jan Swan, Bill Danilowicz, Jill Byrem (known to folks outside the local area as Lacy J. Dalton), Mary Gayne Kline and Rose Zimmerman. The Country Cultivators meet this evening. We were distressed to see vandalism in the park Wednesday as someone ripped into the gazebo closest to the dam.
The North Mountain Historical Society will meet Monday, October 17, at the Brass Pelican Restaurant, Elk Grove. The guest speaker will be David R. Kline, who will speak on "A Celebration of Rural Life," a collection of happenings unique to those who get off the interstate and head onto the country roads of the upper Fishing Creek valley. Breakfast begins about 8 AM, the speaker will down his last buckwheat cake about 9 AM and will begin when Becky and Jackie have the last cups of coffee poured. The meeting is free and open to the public. Breakfast can be ordered from the menu. We hope to see you there.
We head into the mountains of Sullivan County today and so our daily ramblings will again be like the man who walks down a street and doesn't see what is there but sees what was there many years before. We found one spot where our cell phone will permit Laptop Lillian to put up the web page in the part of Sullivan County where we'll be Friday and Saturday.
Our leaves haven't reached their peak in changing colors and we haven't had our first frost, but organizations like AccuWeather are predicting our long-range winter forecast and it is for colder-than-normal temperatures in the Northeast. According to the weather service, winter precipitation may be below normal but more snow than usual is expected because of the colder temperatures. Have we mentioned oil prices...
We'll continue with yesterday's discussion of the establishment of post offices in our area and the efforts to get mail to the post offices. We consulted a GPO (Government Printing Office) book, Rural Free Delivery, printed in 1899, that explained the early concept of a special agent of the Congress going to a location where a post office was proposed, and that person selected and mapped out a route. This was a cumbersome procedure that was soon simplified so that "the people" could petition through their Representative in congress or through their Senator to get a post office. The requirement was that wherever practicable a rough map should be fashioned of the country to be covered, accompanied by a general statement as to the number and avocations of the people to be served.
There generally had to be 100 people or more to be served "within easy reach of each route." "Good roads" had to prevail and no rural route should be less than 25 miles long and no route should be started where the roads were not graveled or macadamized. The regulation did not permit two deliveries per day, "unless the circumstances were very extraordinary." No routes could be started without "explicit written instructions from the Department."
When the rural route was established, the postmaster was told the length and boundaries of the routes which the carriers had to follow. The carriers were under his control. The delivery people were paid $400 per annum, which "includes "horse hire," but not actual tolls. They were paid monthly by warrants issued directly from the Treasury Department by vouchers. If the carrier was sick or injured and did not work, the voucher was still made out in his name and he had to arrange his own terms of compensation for his substitute.
We'll give two examples of typical routes used to get mail to rural post offices as they existed in 1900...
. the second was designated route 10678, and went from Forks, Asbury, Fishing Creek, Bendertown and Vancamp, to New Columbus, nine miles and back, six times a week. The route left Forks daily, except Sunday, at 9:40 AM and arrived at New Columbus by 1:10 PM. It then left New Columbus daily, except Sunday, at 2:00 PM, arriving in Forks by 5 PM. The route paid $243 monthly, with a $700 bond required with the bid.
Mail was delivered to families on the carrier's route so long as a "suitable box" was mounted directly along the route, in a place "that can be conveniently reached by the carrier without alighting from his buggy." The Department advised that "patrons who appreciate the service" will see that "roads are in good condition."
We have been talking about the Farmers Picnic as practiced in Benton Park, and today we'll do the same for the earlier but similar versions held at Grassmere Park. We'll specifically confine our look at this event to Thursday, August 11, 1898, and then skip forward five years to Thursday, August 6, 1903.
. the 1898 Grassmere Park Picnic
|October 12, 2005. Corey Becker celebrates his birthday today. We didn't do well on birthdays over the past couple of days. First, we neglected to mention Loraine Hartman's birthday Monday and then we somehow slipped a digit and said that Mayor Jan Swan's birthday was Tuesday. In fact, her birthday is Thursday.
Carl A. Chiolan, (Jan. 22, 1920-Oct. 11, 2005), a former owner of the Red Poppy Bed and Breakfast, Benton, died Tuesday at the Geisinger Medical Center, Danville. He was 85. Carl was born in Philadelphia, a son of the late Lazarus and Lucretia (Arion) Chiolan and was a graduate of Olney High School, Philadelphia. He retired from the U.S. Postal Service as the manager of the Fort Washington Regional Service Center. Surviving are his wife, the former Madeleine A. Turgeon, 74 Distillery Hill Road, Benton. Also surviving are a son, Dennis C. Chiolan, Benton; a daughter, Deborah D. Hefferon, Washington, D.C.; a stepdaughter, Colleen A. Hartley, Shickshinny; three stepsons: Michael R. Whalen, Ventura, CA; Mark B. Whalen and Mitchell B. Whalen, Benton. Private services will be Thursday from the Kriner Funeral Home, Benton. Interment will be in Raven Creek Cemetery with military honors. There are no calling hours.
A reader asked us to explain some of what went into the establishment of a rural post office. As long winded as we are, we first need to look at the history of the post office system starting in 1683 when William Penn authorized the first post office in Philadelphia. At that time, mail didn't actually move until enough accumulated to pay the cost of taking the mail someplace. When the mail did move, post riders on horseback could make a maximum of about 25 miles a day.
Ten years later, Andrew Hamilton organized a general postal system in Philadelphia. Postage on a letter from Philadelphia to New York cost four pence half penny. By 1753, mail to New York, Boston and Baltimore only went once a week, and mail to interior parts of the state much less frequently.
"Then along came the first Electrical Pioneer, Benjamin Franklin, who flew a kite in a lighting storm and received a serious electrical shock. This proved that lighting was powered by the same force as carpets, but it also damaged Franklin’s brain so severely that he started speaking only in incomprehensible maxims, such as ‘A penny saved is a penny earned.’ Eventually he had to be given a job running the post office."
--Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"
Post offices started out in homes and inns and stores. Letters were often delivered to an inn and simply thrown on a table. The letters laid there until someone spread the word that a letter had arrived for a specific person and the addressee picked it up. The postman not only delivered the mail, but he bought and sold for patrons directly along his route.
Benjamin Franklin changed it all around in 1754 when he became Postmaster General, but it was not until 1772 that a postal stagecoach regularly ran between Philadelphia and New York. Weekly mail delivery between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh began in 1794, and by 1804 delivery was only up to twice a week.
Slowly the postal system was making inroads into the country, replacing the "town-sign posts" that were nailed to a conspicuous tree, a way by which people communicated for many years. The tree was also the place where much of the important business of the community was conducted. Luzerne county got its first mail system in 1786 by a route from Easton to Wilkes-Barre. Lackawanna Valley got its first post office in 1811 and mail then went by horseback to Wilkes-Barre. Often farm families would go for a year or more between delivery of a letter. Illiteracy was high and in 1840 it has been estimated that half of Pennsylvanians could neither read nor write.
Postal rates were determined by the distance that a letter had to travel. A single sheet of paper sent as a letter in 1815 (envelopes didn't come along until about 1840) for a distance under 300 miles cost 17 cents and over 500 miles cost twenty-five cents. Two sheets doubled the price and the price quadrupled if the letter weighed an ounce. Post masters who were merchants often were paid in produce. But prices were different then: the equivalent cost of sending a letter over 400 miles, not an unheard of distance considering the number of family members who went seeking their fortunes in the American West, was two bushels of potatoes or five dozen eggs.
A single sheet of paper sent as a letter was sealed in sealing wax or red wafers, and sent either prepaid or collect using stamps that the local postmaster made. It was not until 1845 that the United States printed the first postage stamps, in five- and ten-cent denominations.
Helen Gammon told us about three letters written in Sugarloaf Township and received in Marshall, Michigan:
We could continue this discussion by talking about things like the pony express, but that only lasted in the state for a few years, replaced by stage coaches and canals and railroads. The fact remains that letters, like the Pennsylvania people who wrote the letters, did not stray far from home. In fact, the law before 1700 required that inn keepers notify the authorities when a stranger attempted to stay in an inn overnight.
In order to be of more interest to readers, we'll jump ahead to the development of local post offices that began when the "Rural Free Delivery" system began. We'll begin there Thursday.
|Quote of the Day:
"Let us endeavor to live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry."
Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
--Emily Brontë (1818-1848)
|There was always a little magic in the Farmers Picnic and even today readers seem to like to hear about what used to be an annual event. We'll tell you a little about the picnic that took place in late July, 1969, the 51st time the event was held in the Benton Park. In 1969, the event was held over three days, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and like many events held outdoors Back Home in Benton, PA, it rained.
The rain began a little after nine Friday night during a set of the Sweet Valley combo "The Dales," but when the rain became too heavy to stay at the park many headed down to Market Street and crowded into Fink's Café for steamed clams and shrimp cocktail.
The dinner stand served over 600 people Saturday with "Bar-B-Qued" chicken the big drawing card cooked by Bill Romanoskie, Joe DeMuro, Rich Fabian and Jacob Knouse. Another big draw was the nearly 200 gallons of home-made ice cream. In baseball, the Greenwood Phillies won a tight battle with the Benton Midget League All-Stars on Friday evening. Benton A.A outscored North Berwick in a Tri-county League contest Saturday afternoon in an 8 to 7 win.
Five firms from the county were on hand. The biggest was Neil S. Harrison, Inc. of Forks and Benton. The International Harvester sales and service firm had an unbroken record of being at the picnic since its inception. Housenick Ford, Bloomsburg, had a large display of Ford trucks and cars. Ginger's TV and Appliances, Benton, had several televisions in operation including one color set that drew large audiences. Ken Kelsey, Maple Grove, representing Lincoln Homes, had a booth. The Starr-Liners, Berwick, entertained Saturday, as did the Catawissa Military Band.
In tomorrow's edition, we'll head back in time even further than the Farmers Picnic we just told you about. We'll tell you about the sixth annual picnic of the farmers of Columbia and adjoining counties--a picnic held 107 years ago.
|October 11, 2005. Long-time Benton teacher Beatrice Marie (Hess) Roberts celebrates her birthday today.|
This is Bea when she graduated from high school in 1957.
|Fishing Creek Sportsmen's Association meets tonight at 7 at the Benton VFW. The Columbia County Model Railroad Club meets tonight from 7-9 PM at their playground at 255 Main Street.|
The Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble production of George Bernard Shaw's Getting Married is well acted and timeless (even though it dates from 1908), although much of the credit for the success of the production goes to set designer Ellen Lenbergs, the artist in residence at BTE. Ellen, grand-daughter of John and Zane Unbewust, Main Street, is a busy person, working on short films, set design, scenic painting and recently as a production assistant for WVIA's Voices from Vietnam. We recommend that you see the play and experience the acting and the set.
The Northside Beat is back with Kate York (387-1234, extension 1323) doing the writing. The column has been missed by the folks in the upper Fishing Creek valley and we welcome the return of the column and look forward to reading what she assembles. Chris Krepich, Pete Kendren and at times Susan Swartz have contributed to this column in the past. The column has been missing from the newspaper since June 29, 2005.
The year 1942 opened on New Year's Day with a ban on the sale of new cars and trucks, issued by the Office of Production Management. At the same time, United States joined with 25 other nations in signing the Declaration of United Nations. The Japanese were still winning the war in the South Pacific in battles at Java Sea. At Bataan, Philippines, 76,000 exhausted men surrendered to the Japanese. In Santa Barbara, California, a Japanese submarine opened fire on an Richfield Oil Company refinery. On "the Gibraltar of the East," Corregidor fell to the Japanese. In May, the War Ration Book No. 1 was issued, limiting Americans to one pound of sugar every two weeks. In June, four Germans put ashore from a submarine off the coast of Florida were caught and executed as spies. Colonel James H. Doolittle did a lot for the morale of the country when his squadron of B-25s bombed Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Kobe. The Battle of Coral Sea ended inclusively, but the American forces started to turn the tide at Midway.
By early October, school officials and local Defense Councils throughout Pennsylvania joined to provide air-raid protection measures. Schools prepared to conduct daylight air-raid tests. Air-raid wardens were named for each school room. Orders were given not to evacuate children from school buildings, but to escort children to designated-shelter areas.
Kline's Store, Shickshinny, was named for key collection by the "National Committee." Unneeded keys were taken there for collection for the defense effort. "Bonds or bondage" was the cry to protect our fighting forces. The District Manager of the American Car & Foundry, Guy C. Beishline, Benton, continued to make public declarations of thanks for the high productions rates achieved by the Berwick plant. The area had a 9 PM curfew, when lights visible from the outside of the house, had to be turned off.
We enjoyed reading (a fictionalized newspaper article) written in 1942 about a boy with very bad eyesight who was called up for military duty. During his physical, he was told to read an eye chart. He explained to the doctor that he couldn't read the chart and was then instructed to take a step forward. He still couldn't read the chart, and after stepping forward several times, the doctor cleared him for active duty. The boy couldn't believe his ears. When questioned, the doctor told him that he was approved for "hand-to-hand" fighting.
Blanche H. Pavalonis, died Sunday, October 9, at the Millville Health Center following a lengthy illness. She was 86. She was born in Sugar Notch, Luzerne County, a daughter of the late Simon and Agnes (Kreiradit) Pavalonis. Brothers George, Anthony "Tony," Andrew and Albert, all of Benton, survive, as does brother John, Belle Vernon. Blanche's sister, Lillian Falvey, and brothers Simon and Frank Pavalonis preceded her in death. Graveside services will be Thursday at 11:30 AM in Raven Creek Cemetery. Friends may call Thursday 10 to 11 AM at the Kriner Funeral Home, Benton.
Due to rainy weather, Mill Race Golf Course is rescheduling the Eric Hess Memorial to Saturday, October 15. It is a two-person scramble format with a 10 AM shotgun start. Players are still welcome to sign up. Call Diane Brown at 925-2040 for more information.
The nation's longest-running radio show--the Grand Ole Opry--will hold a Birthday Bash Weekend October 14 and 15 in Nashville with Willard Scott as guest announcer. The Grand Ole Opry will be staged again November 14 at Carnegie Hall. Listen to the Opry on the internet at www.wsmonline.com/ .
Didja know that...
. The local FFA will hold an "all-you-can-eat spaghetti supper October 14 in the cafeteria of the high school from 4:30 to 7 PM.
|During the year 1897, the Benton Argus regularly carried a column with the weekly news of an area then known as "Hardpan." This is one of those cases when the post office dictated the name of the community. When the residents of the area area known as Dodson Chapel asked for a post office, most thought that the name Dodson Chapel, the name by which the locality had been known for some time, would be selected. As required, several choices were suggested by the local residents and the name "Hardpan" was added as the last name on the list, probably as a joke and probably a reference to the compacted soil of the area. When the papers for the new office came the least desirable of all--Hardpan--was the name of the new office. Edward Phillips, a farmer and merchant, was the first postmaster of Hardpan, in 1890. Many readers will recognize "Hardpan" as the location of the Dodson Cemetery, near the Southdale area of Luzerne County, in Huntington Township.
In answer to the email from a reader asking about how the Government established post offices in rural locations, we don't have room to answer that question today, but we will tomorrow.
|Today is the second Monday in October of 2005. What a list of birthdays for today: Don King, Dottie Rabb, Frank Edson, Jerri Ann Jones and Loraine Hartman. On the anniversary side, Merton and Geraldine Laubach celebrate their wedding day. It is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. On October 12, 1492, Christopher Columbus landed on a small island in the Bahamas, believing that he had reached the East Indies. The anniversary of this landing was first celebrated by the Columbian Order (Society of St. Tammany) in New York City in 1792. A century later, at the opening of the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, the date was made a legal holiday by presidential proclamation. Now, by federal law, it is celebrated on the second Monday in October, which this year happens today, October 10, 2005.
In Tuesday's edition, we'll explain the term "hardpan" as applied to a defined spot in the Benton area. Craig Peterman, a reader from West Virginia, supplied the best definition of "hardpan." He said "The term hardpan was used on our farm as a description of the ground that gets hard after years of plowing the same depth. In other words if you plow the same depth each year, the ground immediately under that depth gets very hard--like a clay base--in other words, hardpan." But we were looking for a physical location known as "Hardpan," and Sheila Brandon provided it within ten minutes of posting our email asking for help. We'll get into that Tuesday.
On Tuesday, we will also show a long-overdue picture lent to us by John Kogut of a 1905 party at the home of Congressman John G. McHenry. Then while we are on the subject, we'll talk a little about the McHenry home in Stillwater and devote an issue to the McHenry family. We'll also take a look back in Benton's history, specifically the years during World War II. Right now, we'll take a brief look at the year 1939...
An article from the Morning Press in July, 1939, about a Bloomsburg youngster, Reg Hemingway, West Main Street, and Israel Krauss, East Third Street, told about the boys heading out for their great adventure at the New York Worlds' fair in a 1924 model Ford. Their car had been purchased for $8, but there "was additional outlay before the boys had the machine ready for the trek." Their slogan, prominently displayed on the side of the car, was "World's Fair or Boil Over." Signs hung on the outside of the car proclaimed "We're from Bloomsburg, the Only Incorporated Town in Penna. The gateway to scenic places."
R.S. Hemingway (Reg) later was a prominent attorney in Bloomsburg and became a charter member of the Painter Den Club. A number of Bloomsburg men--Fred Hippensteel, John and Max Pennington, Milt Yorks, Emory Miller--were solicited for membership in the club in order for members to come up with enough money to buy the land for the club. Reg wrote the by-laws for Painter Den, a set of guidelines that survive today with only minor modification. These by-laws became the standard for many hunting clubs in the state.
During late June, 1939, Millville was all excited as the town and the Los Amigos Club prepared to celebrate the opening of the hard-surface highway between Millville and Jerseytown. Many of us would be lost today if we couldn't use the "shortcut" between Benton and Danville as we trek South. At the same time in 1939, work was almost completed on the concrete and steel bridge across Fishingcreek joining Bloomsburg and Fernville.
Meanwhile, Back Home in Benton, PA, the Benton Fire Company Carnival was in full swing at Benton Park from June 26 to July 1, 1939. The carnival, then a community activity, kept everyone busy. The carnival had "big rides for the kiddies," as well as "eats and refreshments, fun and frolic for all, big midway--free music, free trips to world's fair, free lawn dance."
During June of 1939, Glen G. Albert Steward, Pennsylvania's Secretary of Forests and Waters, admitted that the state "never anticipated" immediate acquisition of land that became Rickets Glen. The offer by the state in the form of a purchase agreement was not executed until 1942 since neither the department of Forests and Waters nor the State Game Commission could take over the Ricketts estate for at least two years. As bureaucrats seem to be able to do, the state got through the crisis and Ricketts Glen Park was born. Although the area now known as Ricketts Glen was approved as a national park site in the 1930s, World War II ended those thoughts. In 1942, the heirs finally transferred 1,261 acres, the Falls and Glens area, to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for a state park.
Head's Up for EPIX users. Sunday we received an email from "firstname.lastname@example.org" and one from "email@example.com," and neither looked quite right. Both emails said the same thing: "You have successfully updated the password of your Epix account. If you did not authorize this change or if you need assistance with your account, please contact Epix customer service at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for using Epix! The Epix Support Team." Both emails contained an attachment, a ".zip" file. Without opening the attachment, I fired both emails off to email@example.com and received this response: "Hello, Please do not open the attachment...most likely it is a virus. This e-mail was not sent by epix. Thank you. Marie, epix Customer Service." We'll repeat. Head's up!
The possibility of a global flu pandemic has moved from "it won't happen here" to "it's very possible" as scientists announced an ominous discovery that the virus could evolve and mutate on its own into a strain as lethal as the one that killed more than 40 million people worldwide in 1918. That doesn't mean that bird flu, which actually has been around since 1997, will mutate to be a human scourge, but the "I told you so" people were out in droves on talk radio Sunday, all preaching preparedness. There haven't been any cases of humans infected with avian flu in the United States, but in 11 Asian countries avian flu has devastated poultry flocks, been found in migrating wild birds and has sickened more than 100 humans, 60 of whom have died. In almost every case, the virus was passed to humans who lived or worked closely with infected birds. We'll hear a lot more about this before it is brought under control.
A reader asked a question about Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion and referred to NPR (National Public Radio) distributing it. Actually, NPR distributes "Car Talk," but most of the programming is news. "A Prairie Home Companion" comes from Public Radio International and many other programs come from American Public Media.
I know for example, when Leader is on his way home and his car is a few blocks away from the house and I know it. I don't hear it, see it, smell it, but I know it. I whine and growl in times of impending disaster, like when I sense that the grey cat is outside and wants to be chased. Once I slept with Leader and Mother in the mountains and in the night a black beast tried to steal our garbage--something that Mother won't even let me do. Leader says I "carry on" and he would probably tell you about the time I chased the black and white cat that smelled worse than the perfume the red-headed lady wears. Leader can really yell loud at times.
Leader says that I have the ability to wag my tail and not my tongue. I share tail wagging with everyone. I do it when I am happy, like when I get a bowl of fresh water or fresh Kibble 'n Bits. Leader has figured out my tail. He watches how fast I wag and whether my rear end is wiggling. I wag when I like what Leader is saying and when I don't understand but won't let him know that. I wag when I am in a rotten mood so go away--or when I'm excited, I want to play, or when I am happy that Mother is looking at me.
Leader says I get "pet-rified" when he stares directly at my eyes, because in our world the dominant dog stares down the wimp--and I pride myself on being the dominant dog, except when Leader is around. I watch for partially closed eyes. In Leader's case it means he is preparing for a nap, but in the case of a dog it means they are cowards. Wide-open eyes means a dog is tough and confident and it is either time to play or to fight. Watch out if the mouth is raised high or if the lips are curled. Those guys mean business.
October 9, 2005. Today is the wedding anniversary of John and Sandy Kogut.
So many people need to be thanked for their contributions to the Operation Katrina drive held over the weekend. We can't list everyone and we know we are missing some people, but here is a partial list: The Stillwater Christian Church raised $4,700 from the congregation, the elementary kids from the Benton Area Schools raised $3,300, contributions left at the collection point on Saturday were $373, and when we wrote this on Saturday afternoon, $950 had been collected as a contribution for fuel costs for the trip South. D.R.'s QuickMart donated proceeds from sales at their tent set up in the Columbia Country Farmers National Bank.
During the year 1897, the Benton Argus regularly carried a column on the area of Benton then known as "Hardpan." We don't understand this term and don't know where Hardpan was. Can a reader help? Here is a clue. One column wrote about Ivan Chapin's potato planter and referred to the fact that he had planted 40 acres the years before. We usually consult Walter Brasch's Columbia County Place Names when we have a question like that, but even this fine reference book is silent on the subject.
Quote of the Day:
Dan McGarigle, El Segundo, California, send along an article about a duel that he found in the Northumberland County Historical Society's records. It seems that an argument developed between a newspaper publisher by the name of Kennedy and a reader by the name of Binns who felt that he had been wronged by something written in the paper. Binns wrote, "After threatening me like a bravo you have attacked me like a ruffian. Some satisfaction ought to be rendered for such conduct. If you have the spirit of courage to meet me as a gentleman, and will appoint the time and place, and meet me with pistols, accompanied by a friend, what has passed will be overlooked by John Binns."
The duel was on, and set for December 13 (The year could not be verified, but it is just prior to 1807) at 7 AM "opposite Darrstown" (now Lewisburg), where the "parties agreed to sleep that night." In the "gray of the morning," Stewart and Binns arrived, aided by two men by the name of Stewart and Kennedy. The men talked, then stepped eight paces apart. Kennedy's aide, a man by the name of Maclay, said, "Gentlemen, it is agreed between Kennedy and myself, that if either of the parties shall leave this ground when this affair is finally settled such party shall be regarded as disgraced."
The pistols discharged so simultaneously that "but one report was heard. Neither of the balls took effect." Maclay said to Kennedy, "You had better consult your primer and I will do the same." Maclay replied to no one in particular, "Kennedy is a scoundrel," making the situation look very grim for a peaceful settlement of the dispute. Kennedy, with resignation, replied, "Very well, you know the terms agreed upon and we will carry them out."
Maclay suddenly relented, saying "Gentlemen, I think this business has gone far enough and may be amicably and honorable adjusted. I propose Mr. Stewart shall apologize for the attack upon Mr. Binns and that Mr. Binns declare his publication had no wish to wound the feeling of Mr. Stewart or injuriously affect his character, but was made because Mr. Binns believed it to be true and a matter proper for public publication." After a pause, both Stewart and Binns apologized. A newspaper recorded that "The matter thus being happily at end, the parties shook hands and breakfasted together at a neighboring tavern. Stewart and Binns continued friends, and in later years, Stewart, elected by the Assembly by the Federal party, voted every year for Binns, then editor of the Democratic Press, of Philadelphia, as director of the Pennsylvania Bank."
As a footnote, we'll add that Binns left Northumberland in 1807, moved to Philadelphia, and started the Democratic Press. It is interesting to note that the Pennsylvania Inquirer was founded June 1, 1829. In November of that year, The Pennsylvania Inquirer was sold and merged with The Democratic Press. The name of the newspaper today? The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Have you ever wondered what old ladies will look like when they run around with tattoos all over their bodies that they picked up at the Fair and other places?
Tired of your Internet Explorer opening in a reduced-size window? Try this. Make the window full-size by clicking the rectangle between the - and the x in the top right-hand corner. Then close this window by clicking the red "X" in the top-right corner while holding down the shift key. Close all open Internet Explorer windows. Reopen Internet Explorer and links will henceforth open in a new full-size window.
We thought that we would take a second today to revisit the old story of Little Red Riding Hood and bring it up to today's standards. The story begins, "Once Upon a Time..." dwelt a minor child known as Little Red Riding Hood. Her liberated mother asked Little Red to take a food-stamp allotment and a housing-assistance check to her sick grandmother who lived in a elderly public-housing project. A wolf, who happened to be smoking pot on the front steps, overheard the conversation, and headed lickety-split to Grandmother's house via a shortcut in order to hijack the food stamps. He killed the grandmother, hopped into her night gown, picked up a book showing some pictures of Paris Hilton, and waited for Little Red.
When Little Red arrived at her grandmother's house, the wolf tried to attack her, but a logger cutting down trees in preparation for construction of low-cost housing heard the cries for help and killed the wolf with his ax. Little Red's life and virginity were saved. The logger was initially proclaimed a hero, but several facts in the case came to light...
The judge in the case decided that there was no valid basis for charges since Little Red had not fought off her attacker with vigor. The logger was indicted for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon since he had an unregistered ax. A shrine for the wolf was constructed with the theme of police brutality. Little Red spoke at the dedication of the shrine, explaining that at first she was terrorized at the wolf's actions and was mistakenly grateful for the logger's intervention, but in retrospect, she was wrong and had over reacted. There was not a dry eye in the house as she placed a wreath in honor of the wolf.
October 8, 2005.
In 1975 on this date, the world’s first digital photograph was taken at a Kodak lab in Rochester, an event that preceded the compact disc, the personal computer and the internet.
Didja know that...
The company that is now the Millville Mutual Insurance Company dates back to 1875 when a group of Millville Quakers obtained a charter to provide insurance to area families and their homes, barns, factories and shops. Millville at the time was a bustling lumber and farm town of 400 people.
The company was organized as a mutual insurance company under the name Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Millville, wherein the policy holders, not stock holders, own the company and vote for members of the company's board of directors. The policyholders may also receive special dividends or reductions of policy premiums. The first president, Joseph W. Eves, served for 37 years. Secretary Ellis Eves served for 36 years, and treasurer William Masters served for 42 years. In 1951, the company's charter was amended to change the name to Millville Mutual Insurance Company. In 1970, the company acquired the Lycoming Mutual Insurance Company and in 1972 acquired Wyoming County Granger's Mutual Fire Insurance Company. In 1985 annual premiums were under $3 million. By 1989, they were $6 million and by 1999 they had doubled to more than $12 million.
Happy anniversary greetings to the Millville Mutual Insurance Company.
On the mend...
Homer D. Hayman, a disabled American War Veteran who was awarded the Purple Heart following his service in the Pacific Theatre during the Second World War, died Friday at his home in Jonestown. Homer was 87. He was born near New Columbus in Fishing Creek Township, a son of the late Harold H. and Edith A. (Doty) Hayman. He graduated from Benton High School in 1935. Over the years, he was employed by the former Berwick American Car & Foundry Co. and by the former J. Paul Laubach Co. His Press Enterprise obituary notes that he helped in the construction of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
The Benton Elementary School Parent Teacher Council will hold a fall fundraiser on Friday, October 14, at 7 PM in the elementary school gym. The Harlem Rockets will play against the "Benton Dream Team," a group of warm-body teachers from the Benton School District in sufficient shape to play against "Showboat" Jackson and "Swoop" Simpson. The Rockets put on a great comedy basketball show, similar to the Harlem Globetrotters, but the Dream Team have a couple of underhand and overhand tricks of their own. There will be food for sale, a 50-50 drawing, and a drawing where the winner will be allowed to come down and actually play with the Rockets! Tickets are $8 in advance, and $10 at the door. People can buy tickets at the Benton school, or can call Chris Myers (PTC president) at 925-5505.
The weather is supposed to turn cold this weekend, which means that the people we see outside will tend to retreat to the shelter of their homes, the warmth of their flannel shirts, the Fall favorite of pork and sauerkraut and the blare of the TeeVee. Since some of these people won't be seen again until we go searching for the first sign of a robin next spring, we'll tell you about the good people of the area as we see them.
We care about each other Back Home in Benton, PA. We exchange jars of elderberry jelly simply because we lend a book, we share photos and stories and experiences with people we don't even know, we lean on backyard fences or rely on the telephone or email or instant messaging to keep abreast of what is going on. We tell stories and laugh or we listen as the older folks share experiences of their various ailments. We pass around our tomatoes and our zucchini, and throw up our right hand and exchange "Thank'Ye! for the good deeds we experience. We talk about the weather, and often start conversations with strangers by commenting on the lack of rain. We collect, organize and package all sorts of food and household items for people twelve hundred miles away who have experienced major misfortunes in their lives, and a kind-hearted person who doesn't know a soul where the items will end up pays for a tractor trailer truck and jumps behind the wheel to make sure the items arrive safely.
We gather enough time during a warm evening to sit on our porches and listen to crickets, and we watch as kids catch fireflies. We lend our tools, a teaspoon of baking soda or a cup of sugar. We like our coffee seriously strong. We leave "hurrying" to the younger folks. We have relatives just down the street and we always see the family resemblance when a Fritz looks like a Baker. If someone needs a socket wrench, it means something is askew on their car and we lean over the hood to look for the problem--we don't just lend the tool. We share recipes, we share bulbs to plant in the flower garden, and we share our last cup of coffee. We baby-sit kids and house-sit dogs and lend our cars if someone has theirs in the shop. We always ask if anything is needed when we go to Riverside or Giant. We celebrate each others accomplishments, and we cry over each others disappointments.
Such is the case today Back Home in Benton, PA, as volunteers are busily packing boxes of essentials for a devastated community in Mississippi.
Volunteers begin unloading the first boxes arriving for loading in the truck. Terri Muhlenberg is in blue.
This load arrived from the Benton Area Schools
Dorothy Kocher and Sandy Marinos load the first two boxes in the truck.
The huge truck will hold a great deal and community support of this project is vital.
|October 7, 2005. The Covered Bridge Festival begins today at Knoebels' Grove Amusement Park.
The tent on the lawn of the Columbia County Farmers National Bank went up Thursday in preparation for the Operation Katrina "Help Fill the Truck" effort. This community effort to assist the victims of Hurricane Katrina will take place today and Saturday at Main and Market Streets, Benton, from 8 AM to 7 PM. Everything will be loaded onto a tractor-trailer and driven South to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. For more information, call 925-5292.
The Columbia County Historical & Genealogical Society Newsletter for September, 2005, includes an article from the Morning Press of March 1, 1927, in which the author provides an interesting history of the town of Millville and industries like the silk and the grist mills, the creamery and the milk-receiving stations, the Society of Friends and much more. If you did not get your copy, let us remind you that you would get a free copy if you mailed in your membership check or money order to the "Columbia County Historical and Genealogical Society," Market Street, Bloomsburg. Memberships are $18 for an individual, $25 for a couple, $30 for a family and $200 for a life membership. It is an excellent organization.
Greg Fritz wrote that he was looking at the website, specifically at a picture of the Hotel Moses Van Campen Hotel when it burned. Greg could not identify any of the people in the picture, but it did spark a memory. He recalled that in 1975 the high school "soccer season began and ended with drama. The season started in dramatic fashion as the team gathered for an informal beginning-of-the-season practice the day of the fire. Of course, practice was impossible due to the rain. So, we walked downtown to fight the fire instead. I remember helping to hold one of the hoses as we pumped water onto the fire from the river that normally is Main Street. When we learned that someone might still be in the building, our goalie, Melva Rawls, climbed a ladder and cut his hand as he broke a window to look for someone inside."
|Fortunately, no one was in the hotel and the cut "was not debilitating as we went on to have an undefeated season culminating in a dramatic playoff game" in Selinsgrove "that lasted 72 minutes in regulation and then ten overtime periods." Doug Letteer finally broke away in the fifth overtime, former coach Huber Kline recalls, and in a dramatic one-on-one play the West Snyder goalie fielded Doug's kick by the narrowest margin. The school opponent, West Snyder, finally scored in the tenth overtime period and Benton lost the game. Greg recalls that "It was a season filled with triumph, book-ended with tragedy!"
Mel Rawls, Jr. today lives in South Carolina with his wife and four children. Mel installs stores in malls--like Gap and Bed, Bath & Beyond--so that all stores of that type are identical throughout the United States.
Greg Fritz is president of the Caleb Project, which he helped found in 1980. Greg and his wife, Nancy, founded and led the Marengo House, an intentional missions-focused community house located in Pasadena, California, from 1983 to 1991. He served with various other agencies in the early 1980's.
Greg is the son of Sandra and Jesse Fritz, Benton. He graduated from Benton High School in 1976, earned a Masters of Theology degree from Fuller Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Science degree from Penn State University. He went on to receive a Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller in 2004. Greg and Nancy live in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, and serve at Caleb Project's headquarters in Littleton. They have four children.
If you would like more information about Caleb Project and its ministry, please write to Caleb Project, 10 West Dry Creek Circle, Littleton, CO 80120, or call 303 459-5400.
October 6, 2005. Robert Zeitler and Marisa Whitenight celebrate their birthdays with George Westinghouse, America's most productive inventor. Westinghouse was born in 1846 in Central Bridge, New York. His most famous invention was the air brake for trains, in 1869. One of Westinghouse's 361 patents was a citywide telephone switching system, created long before widespread use by the telephone companies. The first radio station in the world was Westinghouse KDKA in Pittsburgh. Westinghouse was responsible for the first practical induction motor, the first contract to harness the water power of Niagara Falls and the first power station turbine generator. Westinghouse led the world in using atomic power to propel ships in the Navy. And there were Westinghouse appliances including the sewing machine, washers, dryers, toasters, irons, grills, percolators, am-fm radios and record players.
Prayers are needed today for James Dildine, Third Street, J. Robert Sands, Center Street, and for Dr. Ken Cross. Jim is being treated at home; Bob Sands fell at home Wednesday, landing headfirst into a chair and spent the day at Geisinger Hospital, but we suspect his problems are not over; Ken Cross will have a hip replacement today.
The Guv provides a weekly newsletter to citizens of the Commonwealth, which describes what he has done to keep busy during the week. To sign up for this Friday newsletter, go to www.state.pa.us and look in the right hand column.
Jack Blanchard, writing in his newsletter "Country Music Classics," lists some unusual country music song titles, including some of these...
Many of us forget about the wonderful shortcut that combines the Ctrl key and the letter "Z." If you delete something and discover as soon as you do it that you shouldn't have, hit the control key and the "z" key at the same time and back it comes!
The upcoming Eric Hess Memorial Golf Tournament on October 8 is not fully subscribed, so Mill Race will be taking any and all who would like to play and have a day of remembrance for the tragic loss of Eric's life.
Didja know that locally we call the sycamore tree a "buttonwood" tree, supposedly because the wood was used to make buttons? The name comes from the Greek word for broad. The sycamore is also known as a buttonball, an English plane tree, water beech and Virginia maple. The bark flakes off in irregular patches because of the fast growth of the tree and has three colors: the outer is light gray, the inner is pale tan, and there is a greenish or chalky white color. The leaf of the sycamore is as much as ten inches long, with three to five teeth, and can grow to be 500 years old although from about 200 years on it is hollow in the center. A few years ago, we timbered some land below Benton and an extremely large buttonwood tree was cut. The center of the tree was hollow, and about 20 feet of the tree was taken to Iola where a play house was constructed on top of the tree truck, with access to the tree house via a ladder inside the trunk. The interlocking grain of the tree makes it difficult to split. The wood is used for rolling pins, butcher blocks, saddletrees, shipping crates and violin backs. When burned, the wood does not create a great deal of heat, which is ideal under certain warm-weather conditions.
We heard lots of grumbling that word didn't get out on the Dick Johns' auction held a couple of weeks back, so we have taken care of problems like that for the future. We have added a complete listing of all upcoming auctions on the side panel under UPCOMING EVENTS. Here is a sampling: on Saturday, the effects of the late Franklin Steinruck will be auctioned, Max Winn will be auctioning off over 160 Longaburger baskets, and there are ten more we will let you look at yourself...
Northeastern Pennsylvania will long remember Hurricane Agnes. She began as a tropical disturbance off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula on June 14, 1972. The storm moved northward and strengthened into a tropical storm on June 16. Three days later, Agnes became a hurricane and smacked the Florida pan handle on 19 June, then moved up through Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina before she moved back over the Atlantic off the North Carolina coast on June 21. She regained strength over the Atlantic, looping over landfall for the second time, this time over southeastern New York on June 22 and moved westward in an arc over southern New York into north-central Pennsylvania. She became nearly stationary over Pennsylvania by the morning of June 23, but was soon absorbed by a low-pressure system that slowly drifted northeastward from Pennsylvania into New York.
Members of the Benton High School Class of 1937
October 5, 2005. Carol Lehet and Dr. Bob Seguenza celebrate their birthdays today.
A while back, we extolled the virtues of the Toyota Prius, which immediately prompted a response from several readers about "Buying American." We then dropped the subject and went on to making a fool out of ourselves in other areas. We started rethinking the subject when we stumbled on an AutoBlog article about the Detroit Bureau Chief for The Wall Street Journal who did a cost test and concluded that hybrids really aren't a bargain. He figured that at roughly $3 per gallon for gas he would never recover his up-front costs. At the annual mileage he figured he would accrue yearly, he'd save about $746 a year in fuel costs, but it would take too long to recover the premium he'd pay for the hybrid. In the case of a Honda Civic, the fuel savings were roughly $506 per year, taking nearly 16 years just to break even. We recognize that others will compute it differently.
Quote of the Day:
Which then leads into the poem of the day, from an unknown author...
Great flees have little fleas
A reader asked about what would happen to the local events that we collect and write about on the pages of the Benton News. The question presupposes that we won't be around much longer, but ignoring that point, we'll answer the question. We will donate it to the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center (NCCCC).
We hold close to our heart the efforts of many people who have been kind enough to provide documented facts regarding the history of the upper Fishing Creek valley. Our small corner of the universe would be in the memories and hearts of many, but those memories would have been whispered quietly to themselves. When we attempt to get the story of the kind and gentle people of the area out into the world so that future generations can know and understand, we are telling more than a simple history of a small Pennsylvania rural area, for the News of Benton--past or present--is the story of Pennsylvania itself. That story is, in our opinion, best told when viewed as an area of the country to which we can all relate.
The systematic collection of the sources of local history began in the United Stats with the organization in 1791 of the Massachusetts Historical Society. By the time of the outbreak of the Civil War, there were about 60 similar societies in place, including one in Pennsylvania in the 1820s. By 1860, every state east of Texas, except for Delaware, had such a society. The chief reason for the existence of the material is that an important part of our heritage is then collected, preserved, made available to scholars and published as a source of American history. The NCCCC will do this without fanfare using private funds that are astonishingly small for the quality of the results achieved. The historical collection of the NCCCC will be locally oriented, specializing in basic printed materials and goods and services relating to the local area and in a broader sense to the state of Pennsylvania.
Didja know that according to the census of 2000, there are 955 people, 394 households, and 265 families residing in Benton Borough?
Few of us remember the events of the spring of 1936, but one of the events of that year was the talk of the town. The very heart of the Borough of Benton was being shaped at the time as the dam and the dike were under construction by the U.S. Works Progress (later Work Projects) Administration (WPA). Heavy spring rains raised the level of the creek and the unimaginable happened: about forty feet of the center of the dam washed out as construction neared completion.
It is hard to imagine that the dikes that have served us so well and the dam that has provided so many hours of joy to the community would be wiped out in a single stoke. At the upper end of the dike system, across from the present high-school and middle-school building, heavy rains washed around the dike where construction was not as far along as near the dam.
As the dam gave way, the level of the creek dropped upstream, but the damage had been done. The basement of the high school was flooded and school had to be cancelled for a week. Don Rabb remembers that the family dog woke the family up in the middle of the night when flood waters suddenly lapped at their back door. The torrent of water spilling over the area where seconds before the dam stood created havoc with the stream bank below the dam and with homes on Market Street near the present Park Street. In that area were homes of Lee and Sara Kline and Sara Kline's father, John S. Baker, who lived in the brick house that later was owned by Lee Yost and now occupied by Maralee Yost. Across the street was the manse for the Presbyterian church, now owned by Eric and Kelly Kocher, and the church. The retaining wall along the creek crumbled in a flash.
Those who can remember the flood recall that prior to the construction of the dike and the dam each spring would bring its share of high water and flooding. Dayne Kline remembers being evacuated by boat from the family home in the 1920s in what later was known as the Raymond Baker farm. The stream would overflow its banks north of the town park, cascading through the athletic facilities and the park, flooding the Paul Shannon home on Park Street now owned by Frank and Barbara Edson, flooding the East side of the lower end of Main Street and houses in that area and on Market Street East of Main Street. Much of the creek water would eventually reenter Fishing Creek via a large drain near the Presbyterian Church.
The dike and the dam stood perhaps its greatest test on Wednesday, June 21, and Thursday, June 22, 1972, but it now faces another test as deteriorating conditions on the dike require the Borough to take almost immediate action. Larson Design estimated labor and material costs of the project at $20,025, plus engineering costs that could reach another $9,000.
As proposed by Larson Design and adopted by the Benton Borough Council at their Monday night meeting, the western abutment would be repaired where it is cracked and deteriorated. This is in the twelve-foot wide x seven foot-high portion of the concrete structure.
This does not include cobblestones with concrete cover on the sloped wall. On the step-down head wall, the project would repair cracked and deteriorated areas of the 21' long by 6 foot-high south elevation of the concrete structure. The project would also stabilize the undermined retaining wall in a section about 45 foot long in the seven-foot high structure.
|October 4, 2005. Happy birthday today to Stephen Becker, Camp Hill.
On this date in 1939, a Pennsylvania barber named Pierino from Canonsburg recorded That Old Gang of Mine with the Ted Weems Orchestra, Eventually the singing barber went solo on radio, television and stage as Perry Como, and recorded for RCA Victor for over four decades.
Some may remember...
In need of prayers...
The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act kicks in Friday. One of the changes brought about by this law is in how drivers' records are treated. After Friday, all moving violations a commercial driver receives, whether he is driving his rig or his car, count toward the driver's ability to retain a commercial license, a "two strikes and you're out" approach.
Quote of the Day:
The "bankers-turned-bakers" of First Columbia Bank & Trust Co., will host a Customer Appreciation Day celebration on Friday, October 7, at the Benton branch office and in other First Columbia locations. Customers, friends and neighbors are invited to stop by to try the home-baked cookies baked by the employees, and have a drink of apple cider or coffee. The free refreshments will be available all day at all First Columbia community branch offices. So we ask you, what could be better than a bunch of bankers baking a batch of brownies?
Extra-Added Quote of the Day:
What follows comes to us from Bob Thomas. We tried to get some authentication of the story, but we were unable to, so the truth might be stretched a bit. The story, Bob tells us, comes from the August 20, 1886, edition of the Bloomsburg Democratic Sentinel. As Bob says the story is written in the newspaper, "The body of Wm. Thomas' horse was buried on Monday morning at 8 o'clock, in the flats along the creek just below the red rock bridge, in Hemlock township. The grave diggers were Wm. Thomas and Isaac Roadarmel. A post mortem was held by Dr. Shultz, of this town, and the cause of death was fully explained to a rather large and attentive crowd. Mr. Levi Cox was then called upon to deliver the funeral sermon but he respectfully declined. The surroundings were in keeping with the solemn occasion and at the same time beautiful. The bridge which spans the creek from
Bob maintains that an estimated 1,500 individuals attended the funeral of this horse and that the story is typical of stories then appearing in Columbia County newspapers regarding the death of well known animals, particularly dogs, cats and work horses.
|Today is the first Monday in October, the third of October to be exact. It is the day that the U.S. Supreme Court begins a new term with a new chief justice, the youngest person on the bench. Judge Roberts heads the bench on which seven of the current nine members are over 65. Grant Gault and Eleanor Sands celebrate their birthdays today with Roy Uwe Ludwig Horn, usually just known as "Roy," of Siegfried & Roy fame.
On this date in...
Larry Hayman remains in critical condition in the intensive care trauma unit of the Geisinger Hospital. Your prayers are needed.
According to the Farmers Almanac, raw vegetables and cooked potatoes, soft cheeses, cream fillings and puddings, gelatin dishes, hard-cooked eggs, and bananas should not be frozen.
We spent much too much time Sunday trying to unravel the mess created by one of the mailing lists we use, the one known as Topica. If your Topica distribution is getting your daily email to you, do nothing. If you get a form email from us asking you to reply if you want to resume your daily mailings, please respond if that is what you would like to do.
There just wasn't any time to write much of anything for today, so we'll recycle a favorite story of ours, set in a board-n-batten house here in Fishing Creek valley about a hundred years ago. A traveling salesman asked for a night's lodging at a farm house. He fed and put up his horse for the night, finished his supper and shared the news of the outside world with the farm family. The traveling man was put off to bed early as was the usual custom in the house. Now don't get ahead of me here, there were no bosomy daughters or anything like that involved, but the salesman had to sleep with little Jacob, already in bed. Before he extinguished the flame in the old-fashioned coal-oil light, "Jakey" jumped out of bed, got down on his knees near the foot end, bowed his head, one hand on the side of the bed.
The boy was very quiet and it stirred the heart of the traveling salesman, and he quickly thought back to the days of his youth when he would recite "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" at this time of the night.
The salesman quickly got out of bed, knelt down opposite little Jakey, head bowed, hands on bed, about to begin silent prayer. Jacob studied the stranger for a moment, then blurted out, "Gee mister, Mom'll give you hell in the morning when she finds out--the pot is under this side of the bed!"
Now I lay me down to sleep,
The annual Covered Bridge and Arts Festival at Knoebels Amusement Resort begins Friday, October 7 and runs through October 9. The festival celebrates covered bridges in the area, and features Knoebels amusements, plus bridge tours, entertainment and lots of good food. Guided bus tours leave Knobels at 11 AM and 12:30 PM on Oct. 8 and at 1 PM on Sunday. The cost will be $10 per person with half a dozen buses running over the weekend.
The Covered Bridge and Arts Festival began in 1981, with an estimated 40,000 people expected this year. The Columbia and Montour County area has the third largest concentration of covered bridges in Pennsylvania, including the country's only twin covered bridges in neighboring Forks. On-going construction at the Twin Bridges precludes a festival this year at the northern end of the county.
An estimated 250 crafters will be on hand over the weekend offering a variety of handmade items. Over 20 food vendors, including Vance's Homemade Apple Dumplings, will be on hand.
Entertainment at the festival includes Jay Smar and his "Old Time Country, Folk and Coal Mining Songs," Friday at 1 and 3 PM. "The Banjo Man" is up on Friday at 2 and 4 PM. On Saturday at 1 PM, the Covered Bridge Cloggers and Susque Country Squares will do the Dixie Sashay for you. Sunday at 10 AM and 11:30 AM, there will be a non-denominational Christian music program. At 1 and 3 PM, "Outskirts" will provide bluegrass music and more of the same will happen at 2 and 4 PM with "Stained Glass Window." Antique and classic cars will be on display Sunday in the Knoebels parking lot.
Didja know that fifty students from eight school districts in three counties graduated from the Benton Vocational High school of the joint Benton-Benton Township in the year 1939? 'Tis true! Unlike today, when students all come from Columbia County, in 1939 in the joint school district four came from Fairmount Township up in Luzerne County and one came from Jordan Township in Lycoming county. Twelve of the graduates came from Fishingcreek Township, two from Greenwood township, six from Sugarloaf Township, three from Stillwater and five from Jackson Township. Mary Hartman prepared what the Morning Press called "an unusual pageant," depicting the growth of democracy from the signing of the Magna Charta. Various seniors participated, including James Dildine and June Mausteller, who later became Mrs. Bruce Sutliff.
A few days after the graduation in Benton, a class of ten graduated from the Fishingcreek Township High School. The graduation exercises were held in St. James Church. Clair Patterson, acting principal of the Bloomsburg High School, provided the graduation address to the class.
Quote of the Day:
|October 2, 2005. Today is the birthday of Jackie Becker, Camp Hill, and comedian Groucho Marx (1890). 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.
We'll continue now with our discussion of the Northern Columbia County Farmers' Picnic held in late July, 1939.
The entire Benton community--and as we always mean when we talk about Benton, the residents of the Borough and the Townships surrounding the Borough--became involved in the work necessary to have a Farmers' Picnic. Many people worked to get the park in good condition and residents cleaned all the food preparation areas, the rest rooms, tree limbs that had fallen, and even painted the buildings that needed painting as a matter of community pride. The fire company sprayed water on the park grounds and the adjoining ball field the night before the picnic to settle the dust. The community operated the main eating stand which fed many hundreds on picnic day.
Marvin Conner, Guild Conner's father, drove his truck all over town collecting pies from the many pie bakers that provided the home-cooked pastries for the food stand. Various kids from the community would pick up the pies and load them in the back of his truck. A "pick-up" would hardly meet today's sanitation requirements, but there were no recorded deaths from transporting the uncovered pies. Actually six years before the 1939 picnic, a Dow Chemical lab worker accidentally discovered polyvinylidene chloride or Saran, but the product had not
As the excitement of the event built, the Columbia County Court House announced it would close at noon and excused all workers in the building. Extra police were recruited to handle the crowds. Sensing an opportunity to sell newspapers, Robert R. Eyerly, collector for the Morning Press, set up a stand at the picnic. Professor George Keller's Jungle Farm gathered at the picnic.
On the day of the picnic, virtually every resident of the Borough was involved in some way, playing host to the thousands who descended on the town.
As the day progressed, the sun beat down on the parched park grounds, as the best male and female sawyers of the area anxiously awaited the chance to begin the log-sawing contests. Many of us have recently experienced cutting up logs following the violent weather that the area went through this summer. But Charles Steinruck and his son Larue didn't have a gasoline-powered chain saw. They used their own coordination and muscles and stamina to rip through a 30-inch hemlock log in the amazing time of one minute and 51 seconds. Women entered the contest, too.
The women cut through smaller logs--ones fourteen inches in diameter--and did as well as the men! Mrs. Andrew Robbins, Benton, and Mrs. Clara Herriman, Unityville, made the men cast sideways glances at each other as they ripped the log apart in a mere 21 seconds. Two Bloomsburg women came in second with 23 seconds and Benton women Iva and Nola Spencer came in third with 34 seconds. The prizes were nothing to write home about: three, two and one dollar, respectively.
Some of the exhibitors at the picnic included Housenick Motor Company, Bloomsburg, with a crowd pleaser in the four-door Mercury V-8, a Ford "fordor" deluxe in a striking grey color and several Fords in a color called "Jefferson blue." Buckalew Chevrolet Company showed a Chevrolet chassis and an Oldsmobile chassis, one No. 60 in black and one No. 70 in grey. Columbia Motors, Bloomsburg, brought a Desoto four-door sedan and two Plymouths, one a two-door deluxe in gun metal and the other in black. Also from Bloomsburg was a Pontiac four-door sedan in black, a Diamond-T truck and a Diamond-T wrecker. Triangle Motors and the Berwick Store Company came up with five Hudsons and five Terraplanes, including a five passenger Hudson 112 coupe in shadow green with a radio, plus a Terraplane utility coupe in black.
Every Farmers' Picnic was considered a success, but the 25th annual version was a little less successful than most. The area was going through a severe drought in 1939, and the Morning Press called it "the worst in the state in 67 years." Streams were hitting records for being low and farmers were speaking out with alarm about the condition of the crops for the year. Especially hard hit was the area around Hazleton where firefighters seemed to be fighting an never-ending series of fires brought on by the dry weather. On the day of the picnic, with temperatures reaching a scorching 92°, the hot, rainless summer was broken with a drenching rain that "cut a path up the creek."
The heavy rainfall, the drought breaker for the summer, sent thousands who were enjoying the picnic--a record number of visitors--for shelter when the rains hit at 4:40 PM. It was the first time in many years that rain had fallen on Farmers' Picnic day. Residents called it the most prolonged drought since 1931. The rain fell in torrents, as families tried to find all the members of their families among the thousands in the park oblivious to the fact that Albert Einstein was at the time lobbying President Franklin Roosevelt about developing something called an Atomic Bomb that used Uranium. The successful lobbying eventually led to the creation of the Manhattan Project.
|October 1, 2005. Carla Lee, Tara Lane Kline, Gerald Kocher and former President Jimmy Carter celebrate birthdays today. Helen and Ted Fritz celebrate their wedding anniversary. The local Bloomsburg group EVERMORE will be playing on the Band shell Free Stage at Bloomsburg Fair today at 12:45 PM and 4:30 PM. When the fair is over, we'll move to the Chet Atkins Diet. We can eat anything we want, but we're only allowed to pick at it.
On this date in 1958 NASA began operations, replacing the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA).
Bloomsburg Hospital and the Coordinator of the Sterile Processing Department of the hospital, Robert Edward Kline, Benton, announce that four newly certified registered technicians are now on the staff of the hospital. Kristina Cavallini, Peggy Smith, Mary Fairbrother and Paul Remley are now Certified Registered Central Service Technicians in the Sterile Processing Department of Bloomsburg Hospital.
The Greenwood Friends School will hold a Fall Festival today from 11 AM to 4 PM. There will be games, crafts, a yard sale, pony rides, and farm animals.
Memorial services for Gertrude E. Stowe, 87, formerly of Fritz Hill, will be held Sunday, October 2, 2005, at 2 PM at Christ United Methodist Church, Central. Mrs. Stowe died September 21 at Maria Hall, Danville.
Gates to the public lands that are treated as private property open today as deer archery season begins. Elsewhere, many Pennsylvania hunters are suited up and heading off to hunt deer and elk in other states and Canadian provinces. Because of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in wildlife populations in 14 states and two Canadian provinces, the state Department of Agriculture issued an order to ban the importation of specific carcass parts from states and Canadian provinces that have a history of CWD in free-ranging deer populations. The states are Colorado, Illinois, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming; as well as the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Bud Savage, Leola, PA, continues to improve each day following his stay in the hospital. His left leg still bothers him; it is quite black and blue.
Some mail filter programs are blocking the distribution of the Benton News. If you are forced to read this on the Benton News web site because you are not receiving email via our mailing lists, it may be because your mail program is not permitting the Benton News to be delivered. It is common practice for some spam filters to look for variations in the sender's address, because "spoofing" addresses is a frequent method of distributing spam. We are receiving notice of hundreds of bounced messages which we attribute to spam filters.
It is usually possible to "white-list" an address so there is an exception to the rules for that address. If you believe that your mail system is blocking the distribution of the Benton News, consider emailing your service provider and ask them to white-list the name of the mailing list by which you receive the News. If they are willing and able to do this it should unblock the distribution of the News for you. If you are unsuccessful in having the News unblocked, either read the website or contact us directly and we'll work something out even if we have to stop by about the time your coffee is ready in the morning and drop off the News in person.
The Garrison Keillor joke of the day is...
"Bentonians are proud of their town--and have a right to be. Bentonians are proud of their Community Park--and have a right to be. Bentonians are proud of their schools--and have a right to be. Bentonians are proud of the spirit that has carried the town steadily forward through these years."
Those words were used to describe the 25th Annual Northern Columbia County Farmers' Picnic held in the summer of 1939. A lot had happened since 1914 when the first Farmers' Picnic was held, and in the near future we'll head back to that year and tell you about the first picnic. It is interesting that the Benton area felt then as we feel now--that Benton is a great place to live and to go to school.
The advertising for the 1939 Farmers' Picnic went on "If you have never attended one of these picnics you will be amazed at its magnitude, at the wealth of exhibits and the variety of entertainment." Regretfully, the 1939 version of the Farmer's Picnic is not real clear in our memory--for obvious reasons.
The unknown author continued, "More than anything else, you will be amazed at the marvelous community spirit that is reflected in the spirit of cooperation on that day, for almost everybody in Benton will be working to make the day a success. And it will be a success, if history repeats itself--a whale of a success." These words sound exactly like it was lifted directly from a newspaper advertisement for the picnic, but actually they came from a Morning Press (the name of the newspaper before the Press Enterprise name came along) article that we unearthed.
The newspaper article continued, "And every last cent of profit will go back into improving the magnificent Community Park, which each year gives pleasure to thousands upon thousands of visitors from other communities. There you see the Benton Spirit at its best; seeing it you will understand why Benton is the kind of community it is--a community of home lovers."
So what was all the fuss about? We'll get into details tomorrow, but these words were used to build excitement for the "finest program in the history of the Benton Picnic" at the annual "revival of Columbia County's summer fair" staged in beautiful Benton Park" on July 26, 1939.
There was music, from the 109th Artillery Band of Wilkes-Barre, among others. To give readers a feel for the amount of music provided, it began at ten in the morning and continued until ten at night. There was a log-sawing contest which drew a large crowd, staged at 1:30 in the afternoon under the watchful eye of Doyle Pennington and Joseph Sutliff. In 1939, the "world's champion ax man" appeared on the program, although we haven't a clue who he was or just what he did with his ax.
There was baseball. The two "rivals of the diamond," Benton and Shickshinny, went head to head in double headers, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Pharmacist Robert Rabb was one of the promoters of the Benton-Shickshinny and Benton-Bloomsburg rivalries on Farmer's Picnic day. He was also the coach of the vaunted Benton baseball teams of that era, during the "golden years of baseball in Benton." Guild Conner and Donald Rabb were the "suited-up" bat boys on picnic day. They also mowed the outfield with Guild's dad's model T truck pulling an old-fashioned bar cutter. As the boys got older, they helped put up the rolls of burlap around the entire outfield fence. It was used to shield the non-paying people from watching the game through the fence. They also helped set-up the boxing ring in front of the grand stand.
At night, the sports attraction was "an all-star amateur boxing show of at least ten bouts that brought together the "best of the Simon Pures," meaning that the show was of untainted purity or integrity; i.e., it was on the up and up!
Revenue from ticket sales for various sports activities at the Farmers'Picnie were what financed the construction of the grandstand in the Benton Park.
When we continue Sunday, we'll tell you how the community came together to make the picnic a success.