Wednesday, October 31. 2007. Rick Wilson and Rod Vincent celebrate their birthdays today. Happy All Saints Day, or Happy All Hallows' (meaning hallowed or holy) Day, the day we normally call Halloween. The observance is based on a Celtic holiday called Samhain marking the death night of the old year 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.
Attending the annual Halloween parade in Benton is one of the traditions of the area, and the parade last evening was a winner! The weather was grand, the coffee from Kristie's Kafe met or exceeded its usual high standards and the women of the Waller Church sold out of most of the food they had. Regretfully, I can't say much about the parade since the two staff reporters and I were in the parade and only saw the back end of one float. We didn't even hear the fine music from the three bands or see all the wonderful floats. The Lions Club pulled off a good one this year!
There was some excitement behind the Fire Station after the parade ended. A call went out for all the firemen to assemble at the station to search for a missing person. An alert member of the fire police, Harry Wenner, immediately took off south of the fire hall along Fishingcreek adjacent to the horseshoe pits looking for the missing person while other firemen chose other directions to head. Cigar chompin' Harry soon found Klute Benjamin, a former stroke victim in his early 70s, who had fallen in the darkness and was unable to get up. In a very matter-of-fact tone, Harry told us that it just seemed logical to "look along the crick," and then not realizing that he had saved a whole town from spending a long night of searching, Harry wandered off "to put away the trailer."
The annual Borough Trick or Treat takes place tonight. Dressing up in costumes and scurrying from door to door for treats dates to the Middle Ages when the poor would beg door to door, receiving food in return for offering prayers for the dead on All Souls Day. Shakespeare wrote about the custom in Two Gentlemen of Verona in a reference to "a beggar at Hallowmas." Like the Halloween parade, this is a big night in the Borough.
On this Halloween date in...
. 1926, magician Harry Houdini, 52, died from acute appendicitis a few days after receiving punches in his stomach. Houdini gave a lecture on spiritualism in Montreal. A McGill University student asked Houdini if he could take a blow to the stomach. Before Houdini could prepare his stomach muscles, one of the students hit him several times and he died from peritonitis days later. Houdini's name when he was born in Budapest was Erich Weiss, but he took his stage name from a French magician by the name of Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, a man Houdini later denounced in the book The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin (1908). He was a master at escaping from locks, handcuffs, straitjackets and even underwater in sealed chests. A Houdini Museum in Scranton is an interesting local trip.
. 1984, Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi, daughter of India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and mother of another, Rajiv Gandhi, was assassinated by three Sikh members of her bodyguard in the garden of her New Delhi home. Gandhi was Prime Minister of India from 1966 to 1977, and again from 1980 until her assassination on October 31, 1984. In spite of her famous surname, she was not related to Mahatma Gandhi.
People ask me genealogy questions all the time and I never know the answer nor know how to deduce the answer. How would I ever sit still long enough to determine if William and Leam Hess were one and the same? Of if Ezekiel Cole was Siegal Kohl. Or how I could have the name "Clyn" and "Cline" in my family tree. In how many other occupations would otherwise sane people spend days to determine and then to verify that a third cousin twice removed had a birthday on March 16, 1889? We all experience some amused tolerance at others indulgences until some degree of exasperation creeps over us as we realize that we are watching a full-blown obsession. Genealogy, to me, is such an obsession. Goodness, I can't even keep Iklertown and Eichleretown straight in my head.
• November 2, 2007. A benefit for paramedic Carl "Doc" Poust from 7 PM to midnight at the Eagle Hose Company #2, 325 S. Mercer Street, Berwick. The price is $10 per person with tickets on sale at the fire hall in advance and at the door. There will be raffles and 50/50 drawings with half going to the Poust family. Entertainment will be by disc jockey Chris Romig, and music will be Rumor Hazit and by the recently reformed Plum Crazy. Food will be available.
• November 3, 2007. An all-you-can-eat chicken and waffle supper at the Millville fire hall from 4-7 PM.
• November 3, 2007. St. James U.C.C. on Zaner's Bridge Road, Bendertown, will serve its annual Roast Pork dinner on Saturday from 4 PM until sold out.
• November 4, 2007. A basket bingo to benefit the family of Carl "Doc" Poust at the Benton fire hall. Tickets must be purchased in advance. To buy tickets or donate an item for the auction, call Melissa Morris, 925-1006; Lori Sholley, 458-4499; Cindy Matthews, 925-2988; or Melissa Bartlow, 458-0402.
• November 7-8, 2007. The Columbia/Montour County Chorus Festival will provide a public concert at Millville High School at 7 PM. The festival will feature students chosen by audition from seven school districts.
• November 14, 2007. The local Red Hat meeting for November will take place on Wednesday afternoon at 2. Please note that this is a change of meeting date for November only. The meeting is at Becky's Hoboken Sub Shop. It is time for the coronation of the new Queen Mother and for their annual White Elephant Sale. Please plan to attend this fun event and bring a white elephant to auction The chapter is open to new members and guests are welcome. Proper attire of a Red Hat and purple outfit are required. No reservations are necessary.
For a beautiful of our 50 states, head here.
Father used to say that when boys started to sow their wild oats
it was time to start the threshing machine.
Let's get back to the story of Ivan Ash. He lived in a difficult time and endured many hardships. Lets take a look at the world around him when he graduated from the Benton Vocational School. The Benton Vocational School at the time was honoring Benton School students who died during World War I. Trees were designated as memorials to pneumonia victims Meryl Phillips, a Red Cross nurse, and Rufus Polk Hartman, who died while serving in the U.S. Navy; and Doyle Hess and George Remley, members of the U.S. Army who were killed in action during the Argonne Forest campaign. These four died during World War I.
The State Department of Public Safety condemned the school building several times and it was evident that a new building was needed soon.
The class of 1919 included the following (using married names and addresses, when known, as identified in the school yearbook "Kaleidoscope" from the year 1952): Ivan Ash, Wheaton, Illinois; Arden Hess, Montrose; Gladys Edwards Fritz, Benton; Geraldine Getz Conner, Espy; Francis Houseweart Hess; Edith McMichael Dodson, Philadelphia; Jessie Yocum, Lightstreet; Ida Harrison, Brooklyn, NY; Guy Everett; Sue Perry Laubach, Benton; Ruth Sheldon Hartman, Wilkes-Barre; Gordon Johnson, Benton; Bertha Getz Pike, Audubon, NJ; Helen Hess Davis, Benton; Grace Drescher Hill, Altoona; Pearl Mordan, Benton; Harriet Shearer Stevens, Niagara Falls, NY; Norton Thomas, Bloomsburg; Mary Gillespie Shaler, Freeport, NY; and Cleo Roberts Fritz.
Ivan's future wife, Helen Newman, graduated with the class of 1918. She was the daughter of the local Methodist minister who served the Benton parish from 1910 to 1918, the Rev. Harry Newman.
Sue Perry eventually married her mathematics teacher, Earl Laubach. When students did well at something, they often got real prizes, such as for the "Junior Contest," a public speaking contest. The first prize was a war savings stamp to Harriet Sheerer, the second prize a thrift card half filled to Firman Wood, and the third prize was a thrift card one quarter filled to George Appleman.
In athletics during Ivan's Junior year, the basketball team had a losing season. In fact, in their four games they only scored 81 points and they only scored 12 points when they played rival Millville! Earl Laubach coached the baseball team and no games were lost on the home field, although there was a heart-stopping defeat at Bloomsburg even though Norton Thomas fanned 18 out of 30 men.
Merchants in the area included the Benton Store Company Department Store, selling "Ford--the Universal Car" and John F. Wright selling the Overland "85-Four." Pennington & Seely and Keller & Conner in Benton and Rush Harrison in Forks were the larger stores, while H. W. Biddle represented the town drug store. The Benton Water Supply Company told its customers that "Pure water is the best health insurance." Fleitz & Sproul Fruit Farms, owners of 1,600 acres of orchards in Vosburg, Benton and Mechanicsburg, advertised from their Benton headquarters on the former Pioneer Farms. J.B. Laubach was the town dentist, Glen A. Tubbs ran the "Sanitary Barber Shop," Charles W. Hess ran the Benton Meat Market, the Kleen Kool Ice Kreem Parlor served food on Main Street on the first floor and in the basement ran the Benton Hatcheries, the Columbia Steam Laundry under the direction of George Ash "treated your clothier white," and H. W. Belles delivered the coal to keep you warm. When someone you loved died you called the Ira R. McHenry & Son Burial Association and then called Bell Phone 56-16 for the Benton Marble and Granite Works to get a monument.
This background of living in Benton made the couple return to the hills of our area as often as finances permitted. Helen told in her diary about being on top of the "Dug Hill" looking for a subject for Ivan to sketch only to find that a bottle of water spilled over his paintbox. Ivan simply took the paints that had not been ruined and sketched using the colors that were available. Helen described the beauty of the Fishingcreek valley that lay in panorama before her: "the blue of Knob Mountain, Benton below, and the far reach of North Mountain with its rolling foothills." Ivan took his memories of the Pennsylvania hills back with him to the city life of Chicago.
Helen wrote that before her 1935 vacation ended the couple purchased a house in the area, the place where Ivan and Helen lived for two years after his retirement, and where Helen lived after her husband passed away. The name they gave the property was Stony Lonesome, so named because "it fitted the place." Neighbors told them it had long been known as the "House on the Rock," so the house was from then on known by both names.
An original Ivan Ash painting of Stony Lonesome is on loan to the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center from the collection of Gladys Kile.
Stony Lonesome, by Ivan Ash
The Ivan Ash story will continue in tomorrow's Benton News, but will then break for a week and resume next weekend.
October 30, 2007. Tonight is the Halloween parade in the Borough. How many can remember back to the Halloween parade in 2003 when we had a moderately hard snow storm? Espy cancelled the parade there, but Benton held its Halloween parade and what a parade it was. Well, actually, since we were in it all we could see were snow flakes in front of us and the flashing lights of the Benton Volunteer Fire Department's fire trucks behind us. We don't know much about the rest of the parade.
We all learned to "fall back" and "spring" forward," but now we have to do it on different days. It traditionally happened on the last Sunday of October, but this year it happens next weekend on the first Sunday of November, thanks to the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The law also advanced "springing forward" from the first weekend of April to the second Sunday of March
Stillwater Christian Church will hold a "Trunk-or-Treat" in the Church parking lot on Wednesday, October 31, starting at 6 PM. There will be a bonfire and a small worship service. Then the neighborhood kids will be invited to participate in the "Trick-or-Treat."
You can play a game of Halloween Hangman by going here.
Didja ever think that you should be friendlier with the people
you know? It is weren't for them, you'd be a total stranger.
Planning Christmas presents for kids of all ages? I have had excellent results by going to www.quality-wood-toys.com/index.html for hand-made items. The company sells wonderful puzzles and excellent educational wooden toys for children.
It appears that future generations will be born free, equal, and in debt.
We'll pick up the story of artist Ivan Ash now, continuing from the 1920s after his graduation from Syracuse University.
Ivan graduated and spent a lazy summer becoming a "roadside observer" while painting highway billboards and signs before he joined the advertising firm of Ryan and Timberman, Wilkes-Barre, where according to his wife he "liked to work in assorted mediums, using pen and ink, pencil, dry brush, scratch board, tempera color," and lettering.
Helen and Ivan Ash were married in Berwick in 1925 and that raised the amount of salary he received by $5 a month. Additional responsibility came with the raise. He was put in charge of the serigraph, a printmaking technique that created a sharp-edged image using a stencil which resulted in a screen print. The use of color became an important part of Ivan's work at this point.
The coal strikes of 1925 by the United Mine Workers of America in the Wyoming Valley brought economic catastrophe to the area and to Ryan and Timberman. The firm closed and the Ash family left their home in Berwick with Helen's father and sister and moved to Picture Rocks. Ivan was forced to work in a furniture factory until May, 1927, when he heard from his old pal from Back Home in Benton, PA, Firman Wood, then the business secretary at the Hyde Park YMCA in Chicago.
Firman invited Ivan to come to Chicago and live in his apartment while becoming part of the art world of the mid-west. Helen and their one daughter would follow later in the year. Ivan loved visiting the galleries and meeting artists, but soon concluded that the world of advertising was changing with the arrival of color photography. The demand for hand-drawn and painted illustrations had all but vanished. The situation continued downhill with the arrival of the stock market crash on October 29, 1929, known as Black Tuesday. The Great Depression brought "the hungry travelers and the drifters, the homeless and the hopeless back door to back door." The Ash family was no exception. The bank where they had their meager savings closed, a victim of the times.
The times and the luck of the Ash family changed somewhat with the "Century of Progress International Exposition" held to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of the City of Chicago. The exposition utilized exhibits of works of art lovelier than Ivan had ever seen. The work of the French realist painter Jules Breton, which Ivan had studied while a student in the Benton schools, was a centerpiece of the exposition. The excited Ash couple packed bags of sandwiches for the long days and nights they spent at the exposition. Ivan was attending night classes and Saturday afternoon classes at the Art Institute. Helen remembered that their budget was so tight that a "doctor bill or an insurance premium could have been a disaster." There was still time to take in the Exposition, to sketch the roadside of America--which now turned out not to be a country road around Benton, but "throngs of people, dancers and domes of technology."
A note out of Helen's diary in 1931 on a return trip by train Back Home to Benton, PA, from Chicago shows the plight of the family. When the train arrived at the train station in Pittsburgh, Helen sold their return tickets for $3. The rest of the train trip was great fun! People on the train sang songs and drank coffee late into the night until the conductor turned down the lights. The family could hardly wait until the Benton folks met them at the train station in Muncy and even though the family was dead broke it was wonderful to be home. Helen remembered that she earned 50 cents while in Benton "overcasting" a seam. Ivan's father paid him $15 to paint a sign on the side of his International C-1 panel truck which Jim Laubach remembers was sold by the J.P. Laubach garage in the mid 30s.
It was soon time to return to Chicago.
Ivan hung out in the parks and on the boulevards. He even sketched on "L" platforms. He submitted a small oil to the All-Illinois Art Society which was accepted for inclusion. Helen remember walking to the Stevens Hotel to see the painting displayed. She described the painting as having "gnarled roots, beside water somewhere--I think somewhere near Benton." The painting did not sell.
Ivan picked up a job for the YMCA, a painting for a new building in Chicago for which he would be paid. Helen noted in her diary, "Art Institute classes this fall for sure." Ivan was a little more practical, thinking of the budget and of the chance to take more classes. At last he said, "We can remember this when we are gray-headed."
We'll continue our story of the artistic Benton boy from Third Street in tomorrow's edition.
--Information contained in the Ivan Ash story comes from recollections of members of the community as identified, from information contained on the backs of paintings and from the excerpts from Helen Newman Ash story of the roadside artist contained in a Columbia County Historical Society publication of April 10, 1975.
On Saturday, October 27, the Benton Girls’ Jr. High Basketball Teams coached by Allison Cross participated in the Bloomsburg Jr. High Girls’ Basketball Tournament with teams from Bloomsburg, Millville and Sullivan County.
The Benton 7th Grade Girls won the Championship after defeating Bloomsburg, 43-12 and winning the finale against Sullivan County, 24-6.
Mackenzie Yurko scored 14 points and Casey Gavine 6 points rounding out the top team scorers. Members of the team also included Nicole Harrison, Noami Weisbrod, Felicia Miller, Jessica Wolfe, Kassandra Griffin, Ashley Reabuck, Chelsea Derrick and Brittany Musselman.
The Benton 8th Grade Girls won Third Place in victory over Sullivan County, 21-15, after losing to Bloomsburg, 28-36.
Justine Seely was presented the Most Valuable player in the Tournament for her total 32 points. (She scored an additional 20 points in the 8th grade games to make her accumulative point score of 52 points).
Justine Seely was top scorer with her 20 points, followed by Katie Gorgone with 10 points and Rachel Bowman with 5 points. Members of the team also included Molly Hopkins, Dallas Tyree, Lauren Kogut, Hunter Charles, Tara Warning, Makayla Throne, Chelsea Derrick, Casey Gavin and Mackenzie Yurko.
Congratulations to Benton Jr. High Girls’ Basketball Teams for a great season, tournament and very bright future!
October 29, 2007. Happy birthday today to Amy Bierbach and to Randy Hack who turns 49 today. It is also the birthday of the grande dame of mural painting in the area, the woman responsible for the "hand" on the wall in the "Town Perk," Bloomsburg, several murals at Russells and other restaurants, and the wonderful mural in the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center, Dianne Derr.
On this date in 1682, William Penn landed in what is now Chester after finishing a two-month voyage from England in the ship Welcome. He was soon taken by boat to Philadelphia, landing in the area known today as Penn's Landing. This area became the center of Philadelphia's maritime and commercial district. Today the area is a riverside park and the place where Philadelphians gather in the summer to hear music and at the end of the year to usher in the New Year.
The anniversary of the birth date of William Penn (October 14, 1644-July 30, 1718), the son of a British Admiral, the founder of Pennsylvania, slipped by without comment. It is probably a sign of the times, since no one else seemed to notice, either. Pennsylvania, for example, doesn't even have a celebration for Founder's Day in honor of the man.
Penn was said to be religious as a young man and he received the education of an English gentleman during his early manhood years. While he was at Oxford when he was 23, he joined The Society of Friends, known as the "Quakers." From the time following his conversion to the "new, radical religious group," his agitation for religious freedom kept him in hot water and in jail. He did not worship in traditional ways and believed that slavery and violence were wrong. Because they were different, they were in conflict with the English government as well as with other religious groups. He wrote voluminously in defense of his views and in 1668 when tried for preaching a Quaker sermon in the streets, the jury refused to convict him in spite of court rulings.
His father died in 1670. Penn inherited fifteen hundred pounds a year and a large claim against the crown for money lent to Charles II by Penn's father. It was in payment of this money that Pennsylvania was granted to Penn. The name, by the way, was conferred by the king against Penn's protest.
With a hundred Quaker comrades, Penn sailed in the Welcome and landed at New Castle on the Delaware on this date in 1682, and received formal possession of his province. It was at Chester in December that the Assembly established Pennsylvania as a province where full religious toleration should exist.
Penn's life wasn't easy after Pennsylvania was established. He was accused of treason in England, he was removed from the governorship of his province and he had some crooked aides in whom he put too much trust. But before he died he was restored to the governorship and had his rights restored in the province. He died May 30, 1718. The Penn name was carried on by three sons by his second wife.
"O Stranger, Peace and Welcome"So says the inscription on the bronze statue, Penn's word of Brotherly Love, high over city hall, the Philadelphia welcome to the world.
Didja ever notice that a man who has a right to boast doesn't need to?
Do you know where Grandma is? You can find out by going here.
Congratulations to the FFA kids who had a wonderful trip to Indianapolis, Louisville, Chicago and other cities they had heard about but never before seen. Congratulations to Miles Cole who answered every question correctly in a RFD-TV quiz and as a result won 13 tickets for the kids to see the Beach Boys in concert.
According to State Farm Insurance, Pennsylvania motorists rank fourth in the nation for the likelihood of colliding with a deer. Only West Virginia, Michigan and Wisconsin beat out our state.
Didja ever notice that no matter what you do
there is always someone who said they knew you would do it?
• The Waller Memorial Hall Association will sell food in the parking lot by the Benton Sports Center Tuesday night from about 5 PM. The menu includes hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs and kraut, vegetable soup, chili, homemade pie, homemade apple dumplings, hot cocoa, coffee, soda and bottled water. Proceeds will go toward the purchase of a new furnace for the Hall.
• The sign at the Fritz TasteeCreme reads, "Witches parking only; all others will be toad."
Ivan Ash (1901-1968) was a member of the Class of 1919 of the Benton Vocational School. The school was in its 15th year as a three-year high school, and had come a long way from when it opened with 15 students and one teacher. The school had an enrollment of 115 students and six members of the faculty: E. R. Laubach, mathematics and science; L. R. Appleman, civics and history; H. C. Wiggins, agriculture; Miss Robins, English; Miss Shultz, Latin and German; Miss Nuss, home economics.
Ivan lived on the east side of Third Street cattycornered from the post office in the house now owned by Clara Spencer. The house was built by his grandfather, Hiram, and by his father, Thomas "Tommy" Hiram Ash, a graduate of the New Columbus and the Orangeville Academies, a county-school teacher by profession who worked in a local store and peddled "store-bought goods" from a panel truck emblazoned with letters Ivan penned on the side of the truck, "T. H. Ash, Dry Goods and Notions." Jim Laubach remembers the truck well, since Tommy backed up to his front door each delivery day to load goods from his "front" room sales area. Often Jim was sent by his mother across the street to buy a spool of thread. Tommy circled the area of about ten miles from the Borough with his larder of clothes and materials.
At the time of Ivan's graduation, Benton was busily engaged in commerce. See how many names of merchants in business in 1919 that you recognize: Pennington & Seely, Keller & Conner, Rush Harrison, H.W. Biddle, Fleitz & Sproul, Benton Water Supply Company, Ray B. Keeler, Benton Furniture Store, R. T. Smith & Son, Max Herr, J.B. Laubach, Benton Meat Market (Chas. W. Hess, Proprietor), Ira R. McHenry & Son Burial Association, Harry W. Hess Variety Store, B. A. Tubbs Sanitary Barber Shop, Benton Marble and Granite Works, Benton Hatcheries and Kleen Kool Ice Kreem Parlor (one on one floor and one on another floor), W. P. Kline, Columbia Steam Laundry, H. W. Belles, C. C. Hummel, M. E. Lyons, the Argus with Percey Brewington as Editor and Proprietor, Long Water Works, Northern Central Telephone Co. and Smith & Hirleman Insurance.
According to the Columbia County Historical Society which published a pamphlet on the life of Ivan Ash in 1975 written by his wife, Helen Newman Ash, Ivan developed into a young artist sketching comic caricatures of local people. The sketches were often found on the back page of church hymnals or doodled in school books.
A teacher, Miss Edna Mendenhall, who had seen honest-to-goodness art exhibitions when she was in college told him about them and interested him in the magazine Youth's Companion where there was lots of artwork. His sister, Ethel, a college student, brought him books from the library at Bloomsburg University.
The use of the Oracle courtesy of Gladys Kile and the Northern Columbia Communtiy & Cultural Center. The yearbook is on loan to the Center thanks to Gladys Kile, the book's owner.
His first published art was in the Oracle of 1919, the high-school yearbook of his class. The captions for the pictures were supplied by his principal, L. R. Appleman.
Inscription in the 1919 Oracle for Ivan Ash
Mrs. Ash later recalled that Ray Appleman steered Ivan away from the world of drawing. Ivan worked for a year to save money and with the assistance of his father who borrowed money from his life insurance policy and his mother who stayed home and worked as a seamstress. then enrolled in Mechanical Engineering at Syracuse University.
Ivan and three other local boys trudged off to Syracuse University that fall of 1920. Claude Moore, George Appleman and fellow Third-Street resident Firman Wood began their freshmen year of college together at Syracuse, but in the second year Ivan transferred to the School of Fine Arts. Ivan fried doughnuts early each morning to earn money. Fellow classmates always knew when Ivan arrived as their noses wiggled from the smell of fried dough.
Ivan sold several caricatures and cartoons to a Syracuse newspaper in 1922. With the money taken in from the sale, he contracted with Ray Keeler, a local jeweler who in later years operated from what is now the Taste Crème stand when it was physically located on the north and east side of the present Route 487 where it crosses Fishingcreek. Ray sold Ivan the engagement ring which was then presented to the girl who was to become Mrs. Ash, Helen Newman.
The story of the accomplishments of Ivan Ash is interesting and will be continued in tomorrow's Benton News. The only copy of a painting by Ivan Ash that I have ever knowingly seen is owned by Ann Sutliff Ganshaw and was found in Ruth Brewington Sutliff's attic about the time of her passing this summer. The purpose of presenting the story of Ivan Ash is to find someone who will permit me to photograph one of Mr. Ash's paintings or provide any human interest information about his life and times. His was a life that needs to be known by the upper Fishingcreek Valley residents. I'll continue tomorrow.
October 28, 2007. Happy birthday to Emma Lou (Funk) Savage. June and Alvin Lynn celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary today. It is also 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. 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.
Keep Rosie Fronheiser, Elk Grove, and Dan Hartman, Red Rock, in your prayers as they struggle with hip and back problems. Elsie Buyers in the Geisinger Hospital and Merton Laubach in Bonham's Rehabilitation Facility should also be remembered.
The eagerly awaited upset at Beaver Stadium didn't materialize last night for 24th-ranked Penn State as they lost to Ohio State 37-17. Todd Boeckman threw three touchdowns for Ohio State. Ohio State now leads the all-time series with Penn State 12-11. Derrick Williams became the 20th receiver in Penn State history to reach 1,000 career receiving yards.
• The Benton Halloween Parade is Tuesday night. The parade forms at 6 PM on McHenry Avenue behind D.R.'s gas station, and moves at 7. Call 864-2735 to register your float before the night of the parade. The kids will be back in the Borough Wednesday night for Trick-or-Treating from 6-8 PM. Please always drive responsibly but be especially alert these two nights.
• Kristie's Kafe on Main Street will be open in front of the Antique Bakery Company from 6 PM Tuesday until the parade is over. Kristie will serve her delicious coffee and baked goods that people usually can only enjoy earlier in the day.
• Daylight Saving Time reverts to standard time on the first Sunday in November.
The state Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty announced Friday in the Greenwood Township building that roughly 300,000 tires that remain at the Starr tire pile will be removed by next summer.
In a conversation Saturday, the term lickety-split was used, a term Father often used, but which is almost never heard today. The term is reminiscent of another of Father's favorite sayings, "We'll go down the road a lick." That term, as Father used it, didn't mean "a ways" as in "We'll go down the road a ways," but meant "We'll go down the road quickly" and was probably a carry-over from his horse and buggy days on the mail route when he wanted to finish the route and get home to start milking. So in this sense, the word "lick" meant to move fast. Another use of the word was in "licking," which was a word sometimes used in my presence as a threat but only applied once meaningfully. The word is also related to the speed with which I could devour an "all-day sucker" as I "licked" it as fast as I could. And so the term "lickety-split" to me means quick and gives me the sense of leaving a place.
Back about 1900 a woman was considered old at the age of forty.
Today a woman of that age is only twenty-nine.
It pains me. When I think of the long hours volunteers put into bringing the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center to the upper Fishingcreek valley so that the Center could open on a shoe-string budget, and then read that Ford’s Theater, where Abraham Lincoln was shot in 1865, will be the focus of a $40 million capital campaign to renovate and expand the museum-theater. The plan includes a renovation of the basement museum and a new Center for Education and Leadership which will be connected to the Petersen House where Lincoln died. The first phase of the renovation is scheduled for completion in time for the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth, Feb. 12, 2009.
Didja know that...
• The Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 required that new cell phones be able to communicate their location to emergency responders whenever callers dial 911. Project Lifesaver, Chesapeake, Virginia, fits Alzheimer’s patients and autistic children with radio frequency beacons disguised as bracelets to aid emergency responders find them if they are lost. General Motors' OnStar, the GPS-based navigation system, will start a stolen vehicle slowdown service next spring to help avoid dangerous high-speed chases. If an equipped vehicle is stolen, police can ask OnStar to send a wireless message to the onboard computer, cutting the engine’s power.
• When you need a local phone number for a business or organization, turn to the left panel of the Benton News web site and go to "Business." For example if you want the phone number or the hours of the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center, (570 925-0163; hours are Mondays-Friday 6 AM to 9 PM, Saturdays 8AM to 8 PM and Sundays noon to 6 PM) simply turn there. Or if you want the phone number and address for the shop and display area of Bob Antanitis Custom Golf (570 925-2690; 4365 Red Rock Road (1 mile south of Mill Race Golf Course), Benton) you'll find the answer in that section.
Have you noticed that many modern fathers worry more about their golf swing than they do about their offspring?
For those romantics who love the days gone by, the simpler life, this is for you. It is about our heritage, about covered wooden bridges, a way of crossing a body of water with protection from sudden rain and snow, a way to keep moisture off travelers. Today I'll tell you about a covered bridge which was not specifically designed for a tunnel of love for some romantic couple out for a ride in a their buggy or sled. It is a modern covered bridge. And a tiny one, to boot! It is certainly the smallest covered bridge in Columbia County.
The covered bridges of a bygone age were sometimes used by more than one local boy when he puffed his first cigarette, and evil doers sometimes lurked in the shadows of the bridge, but none of that is true with this bridge.
The old covered bridges were generally a triumph of local engineering. The first bridges in North America were corduroy or log. They were miserable and poorly constructed and exceedingly uneven and bone-shaking. They consisted for the most part of unhewn trunks of trees of unequal sizes laid loosely across pieces of timber placed lengthways. When the trees became rotten, they sometimes gave way and horses and carriages would slip through. These first bridges were essentially platforms crossing streams on multiple piles. This bridge is none of that.
Some readers may remember that on the western approach to the old covered bridge at Forks there was a sign hung with black Roman-style lettering that read...
NOTICE: For riding, driving or leading or causing to be ridden, driven or lead, any horse or beast of burden, faster than a walk, not less than five dollars nor more than thirty dollars. For driving cattle faster than a walk, not less than five dollars nor more than thirty dollars. For carrying fire across the bridge and except it be secured in a lantern or vessel, five dollars.
Covered bridge were found in countries where there was a lot of wood. The covering of wooden bridges is not new--there are two in Switzerland more than 600 years old. The first-known covered bridge in North America was built between 1797 and 1804 in Philadelphia--550 feet of a 1,300-foot bridge were covered. The idea of covered bridges spread like wildfire and country roads began connecting hamlets via a secure passage over water.
Grover Nevin Dressler built his covered bridge on the family farm in Divide in memory of his father, Nevin J. Dressler, who lived on the "other side of the creek" from Grover. The Dresslers had an open bridge on his property since 1976, fashioned in part with the help of his father to place the 8" I beams so that the bridge could support lawn tractors. Nevin passed away in 1995 and Grover built the covered bridge in the spring of 2000. Like the craftsmen who built the local covered bridges, Grover realized that to prevent the wooden planks from rotting the bridge should be covered.
The Dressler Covered Bridge as it looked this spring.
The bridge is about 8’ wide by 15’ long.
Grover's sister, Betty Lou Stoneham, made bridge signs marked "The Nevin J. Dressler Memorial Bridge." Grover and his wife, Debbie, are "amazed how many folks are interested in this little bridge." They have had "folks from Lancaster and Berks Counties stop for pictures."
The Dressler covered bridge with its newly painted roof.
Nevin and Deb's daughter, Rebecca, was married in the bridge when she and Joe Mood tied the knot before moving into the house where her grandfather once lived.
The Dressler bridge is a far cry from the longest covered bridge in the world. Canada's Hartland Bridge is 1,282 feet long and dates back to 1898 as a toll bridge of seven Howe truss spans. Grover Dressler is just as proud of his lilttle bridge as the residents of New Brunswick are with their bridge.
October 27, 2007. Happy birthday today to Charity Robbins. On this date in 1682, William Penn arrived at New Castle in northern Delaware after sailing from England on a ship called "Welcome." The next day he sailed farther up the river to Upland, the most populous town in what became Pennsylvania. He soon renamed the town Chester, for the English city of the same name. Elsie Buyers is expected to remain in the hospital until Monday of next week. All reports received to date show no signs of cancer.
This will be another full weekend in the upper Fishingcreek Valley. There is a continuation of Friday's Rummage Sale from 8 to 4 at Christ The King Church, Mendenhall Lane; the Fall Festival of Caring, from 8-2 at the Greenwood Friends School campus between Rohrsburg and Millville; and a Fall Craft Show from 9 to 3 at the Columbia Montour Vo-Tech School. On the food side, there is the family-style beef dinner from 4:30-6:30 at the Sweet Valley Fire Hall and a spaghetti dinner from 5-7 at St. Martha's Church Hall, Bonnieville Road, Fairmount Springs. The 100th annual Catawissa Halloween Parade begins at 7 PM. The day will end with a round and square dance, as it will all winter each Saturday night from 8 to 11 at the Jerseytown Community Center. For many, Saturday could end with the upset victory of Penn State over Ohio State. The local area will be well represented among the expected 108,000 fans hitting the State College highways about midnight following the game.
On Sunday afternoon at 2, George Turner will give a lecture, "A Visit to Bloomsburg in 1870," in the Harvey A. Andruss Library. The lecture will be in the room named for former Pennsylvania Governor and Bloomsburg University graduate Mark Schweiker. Many will remember that Schweiker was a Bloomsburg State College student in the early 1970s with no political aspirations. He was a defensive back for the college-football team. He headed from his graduation in 1975 to the role of a township supervisor, county commissioner and continued in politics until be became the Governor of the state. The former Governor is perhaps best remembered from his role in the 2002 Schwenksville mine disaster known as the Quecreek Mine rescue effort. Schweiker is now president and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. The event in the Mark S. Schweiker Room is free and open to the public.
Buckwheat cakes are on the griddle Sunday morning at the Benton Volunteer Fire Station. Christ the King Church on Mendenhall Lane will host a hymn sing beginning at 7 PM Sunday. Susan Root, 925-2264, can provide additional information.
The concrete floor in the gymnasium of the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center has cured to the required level of humidity. The gymnasium floor is being scheduled for installation in the near future. The installation will take an estimated two weeks for completion once the process begins. The aerobics room continues to improve, but has not reached the 5% level.
On Tuesday, November 6, Pennsylvanians will head to the polls to vote in the 2007 elections. Pennsylvania electoral officials are not publicizing the locations of polls because of terrorism. They were probably influenced by the terrorist bombings that struck just days before Spain’s national elections in 2004. Nearly as difficult to wade through is how to vote in Benton Borough for members of Town Council. There are five vacancies, with four-named individuals listed on the ballot.
The race for Borough Councilman isn't easy to figure out, so lets take it a line at a time...
• There are four vacancies for the four-year term of office and one vacancy for the two-year term. These positions become vacant as of January 1, 2008. Five members of council will be elected.
• John Herbert Laubach resigned in February, 2007, during the mid-term of his office for health reasons and Dan Jankowski was appointed to fill out the remainder of his term until January 1, 2008. Dan is now running, not to fill the unexpired term, but for a full four-year term. No one has yet stepped up to run for the completion of the two-yar term and that office will be filled by write-in vote.
• Dan Hartman's term is up, and he is not on the ballot for reelection.
• O. Grant Little, Mike Klem, Dan Jankowski and newcomer Josh Price are on the ballot for a four-year term.
The race for County Commissioner is more difficult to understand...
• In the November 6 election, county residents will vote for two county commissioners--not for three--and for two county auditors, not three.
• The commissioners represent the most over-voted office on the ballot. The ballot says vote for two, but when the dust settles and the ballots are counted the three highest vote getters win.
• Over the years, many vote for three commissioners--and the bad thing is that their ballot was always thrown out. The electronic vote machines will tell you when you attempt to vote for more than two. The paper ballot--the absentee ballot--will disqualify the vote for Commissioner if three names are checked.
• While voting for more than two candidates invalidates your complete vote, voting for only one candidate withholds a vote from a second candidate and tends to skew the election.
While at first glance it appears strange to vote for two candidates in order to end up with three, this procedure guarantees that there will always be one member of the opposing party as a County Commissioner.
• November 10, 2007. Double Barrel Bluegrass Band with David Hampton and special guest musicians. Show starts at 6 PM at the Raven Creek Community Hall, 999 Upper Raven Creek Road, Benton. $8 donation at the door. Food available. For information, call 570 925-5790.
• December 8, 2007. Chester Johnson and the Foggy Mountain Grass with David Hampton and special guest musicians. Show starts at 6 PM at the Raven Creek Community Hall, 999 Upper Raven Creek Road, Benton. $8 donation at the door. Food available. For information, call 570 925-5790.
A number of canine readers responded to Buster and Chloe's article in Friday's Benton News. A dog identified as "Sooner" said he got his name because he would sooner do it in the house than outside. A dog who said his name was "Carpenter" said he got his name because of the odd jobs that he did around the house. One wasn't "for sure" what his name was, but thought it was "Down, Boy!" One canine-initiated email said he was like a member of the family--but wasn't clear which one. And one human-type being wrote saying that his dog must have been bred by a waiter. "He never comes when he is called," the email said.
The longest email was from a dog by the name of Jamison City Lizzie who said she has four beds and shares "a big one with Mom and Dad, so I fully understand your sleeping problems. I really like the middle best, under the covers. She went on to advise the dogs on the subject of "rolling in interesting things that you come upon." Lizzie said that "folks just don't understand. We put up with hairspray, moisture cream, aftershave and perfume. Wouldn't you think they could put up with our eau de toilet. They are pretty firm on the issue and I must advise you to use restraint. The big benefit is that when you stay out of that 'stuff' the hugs, cuddles, and lap naps just keep coming. Also you avoid the ugly four-letter "B" word."
Lizzie also wrote that "I just have no advice on the tummy problem. I love grass--the yard kind--and it loves me. I have my favorite patches on my walk route. My suggestion is that when the stuff in the tummy really must go, you search out the correct spot. Never on the carpet! Vinyl flooring is best by far. Make sure you place it where it is easily found to assure prompt clean up by your staff. Never, never, never leave it in the path of bare feet!"
Articles now in preparation include one about the Savage Hill One-Room Schoolhouse and one about the history of the Central Park Hotel. Readers who have pictures or stories about these subjects should contact me.
October 26, 2007. Today is the 299th day of the year with 66 days remaining. There is a full moon tonight. (Didja know that February, 1865, is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon?) Keep Richard Kriebel in your prayers. Dick is a patient in the Bloomsburg Hospital, following recent surgery in Philadelphia. Happy birthday today to Chandlee Stowe and while we're at it we'll wish Chandlee and Grace Stowe a happy wedding anniversary. The Gunfight near the O.K. Corral took place at Tombstone, Arizona, on this date in 1881. It's the birthday of the gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, born on this date in 1911. She died in 1972.
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, so the story goes, 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.
On all Hallow's eve, the Irish hollowed out turnips, rutabagas, gourds, potatoes and beets and placed a light in them to ward off evil spirits like Stingy Jack. From these original jack-o'-lanterns, Irish immigrants in America quickly discovered that pumpkins were easier to carve than what they had in Ireland.
Here are some quick tips to make your jack-o'-lantern look its best and last the longest. Pick out a pumpkin with no mold, especially around the stem. Never pick the pumpkin up by the stem. Look for dents and scratches; knock it and see if it has a full sound. Use a nonpermanent marker to trace the jack-o'lantern face, then cut with a saw blade with a jagged edge. Cut the top hole large enough to fit your hand and cut at an angle toward the center of the pumpkin so the lid sets on top and doesn't fall through. Scoop out the pumpkin center, then coat the edges with petroleum jelly to slow the dehydration process. Use a votive candle in a glass jar inside the pumpkin.
Barnes & Noble Café, 421 Arena Hub Plaza, Wilkes-Barre, has honored Harold Ackerman Photographs through a forthcoming exhibit in its store November 1 through 30. Learn more by going to ackermanphotos.com/. One of our favorite photographs from Harry is the Fritz Hill School, but that is a subject for another day and a rant for a different time.
Photos of the Grand Opening of the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center are viewable on-line and can be downloaded by clicking here.
Lets take the time to look back. Isn't it strange that we can remember what happened years ago, but forget what we had for breakfast. Or if I had breakfast! I can remember so much about the past because I think I had a memory course once, although I frankly can't remember if I did or not. So far this month, I forgot my wife's birthday, our wedding anniversary and who is boss in our family.
Still, I can remember back when...
• television sets took five minutes for the vacuum tubes to warm up.
• it took five minutes for the attendant to check the oil, the air in the tires, wash the windows, pump the $.29 gas and dispense the S & H Green Stamps.
• medicine from Mrs. Rabb's drug store didn't have safety caps and didn't need them.
• glass bottles were dispensed from Coke machines. Laundry detergent had something free in the box, like drinking glasses or dishes.
• the '57 Chevy was the car of choice in which to watch the submarine races. Keys stayed in the ignition; that is, until Junior got his driver's license or Grandma backed over the mail box.
• coffee soup, milk pie, ham salad and bread and milk were essentials in a daily diet, along with high-butterfat content Golden Guernsey milk.
• Telephones were on a party line and phone numbers began with a word prefix.
• Mother had supper waiting for us when we got home from school.
• A Heinz 57 was the most popular breed of dog.
• Sunday dinner at the Pied Piper Inn or the Hotel Moses Van Campen was eagerly awaited, and going with your parents was an honor and an occasion in which Mother provided a freshly ironed and starched shirt.
• Being sent to the office of Mr. Appleman or Mr. Pollock was mild compared with the problems when you got home--unless the dispute was with Mr. Devore.
• Every summer day included a hour or more at the Benton dam.
• we made peashooters and slingshots, and we shot our BB guns into drain spouts to see if the pellet curved and came out the hole in the gutter at the top. War was just a card game that didn't involve Iraq and water balloons were filled for hours before the firemen's carnival parade.
• Coy Remley delivered the Raleigh products, the Fuller Brush man was often invited to dinner, and nothing beat an Electrolux for dependability.
• Fishing for catfish until 11 at night with your father was an honor. Having catfish for breakfast started the day off right!
• Catching "cooties" from a member of the opposite sex was a taunt we felt just might be real.
• It took almost a foot of snow to cancel school.
• Benton had a huge barn, then known as the Brewington Barn, across from what is now the Christian Church on Church Street. The barn was behind the second house from our current post office on the south side of Church Street.
Marian Brewington, usually called "Mackie," standing in front of the barn just off Church Street. Mackie was the son of Elizabeth and Percy Brewington and was a brother of Jennie Brewington Warren and Percy Brewington.
Photo courtesy of Ann Sutliff Ganshaw, niece of Mackie Brewington
Mother used to be fond of the expression "fit to be tied," as in "When she saw the mud I tracked in, she was fit to be tied." We understand the saying more now than we did early this month when it wasn't raining. Chloe and Buster have helped us develop this understanding. They have also been good about making me understand the value of time, something I have not much of anymore! Because of phone calls, it now takes me two hours just to watch "60 Minutes." I am at the point in my life where I never put off until tomorrow what I can put off until the day after. I only get halfway through my Minute Rice when I have to race to do something different.
With so little time and so much to do, I have turned over the Benton News today to Buster and Chloe, our staff reporters, our Bichon Frise dogs, ages 7 and 6, boyfriend and girlfriend. I'll let them finish up the Benton News for today.
"I was very ill last night. Leader took me to where they have the bluegrass festival. There are lots of what Leader calls "Trail Markers" and I decided to roll in them. I know that makes Leader very angry and knew that Leader would yell at me so I ate some grass to settle my stomach. I found out that grass makes me sick.
When Leader saw the color I turned after rolling in the trail markers, he said some things that always makes Mother shake her finger at him. He shut me in the yellow buggy and locked the door. I couldn't find any grass to chew on, so I nibbled on a rubber mat that Leader puts his feet on. Rubber mats make me sick, too. Leader says that I can stay home tomorrow when he goes to the bluegrass place.
Leader says I can tell you one of my poems.
There once was a feisty young terrier,
Who liked to bite girls on the derrière.
He'd yip and he'd yap,
Then he'd leap up and snap;
And the fairer the derrière, the merrier.
I have tried pointless barking and am getting nowhere, so I'll write down the frustrations that I have where I live.
Leader takes up too much room on the stair steps and he walks too slowly when he goes up and down. Stair steps are for racing and for barking and they are very hard work. A nap after the stairs helps. The bed in our house is what Leader calls a king-sized one, but we just can't get a decent night's sleep on it. We sleep stretched across the bed and we want our tails straight behind us. We aren't cats! We don't sleep in a ball. Leader and Mother are taking up too much room in the bed.
Ever since we heard the story about the birds and the flees, we have known that the dishes with the paw prints belong to us and should remain filled at all times.
When Leader is in the bathroom, it is to share and we insist on being in there, too. None of this closing the door so we can't get in. I almost ruined my paw when Mother opened the door with my paw under the door.
Leader said that I am a genuine American Legion dog. When he walks me, I go from post to post. I think he was just trying to be funny.
Dogs are better than kids because we eat less, don't ask for money, are easier to train, eventually come when called, never drive the car, don't hang out with drug-using friends, don't smoke or drink, don't worry about the latest fashions, don't wear fancy clothes, don't need college money, and if we get pregnant, our children can be sold for money. Our few demands, it seems to me, should be accommodated.
My goal in life is to be as good a person as my dog thinks I am.
Post Card Photo Courtesy of Mary Gilbert Whitman, Wachula, Florida, and Waller Divide Road, Benton
The beautiful stream has had its share of problems. In early August, 1921, according to a Wilkes-Barre Times Leader article entitled "What's What and Why," farmers living near Kitchen Creek heard dynamiting. By the time the sound was located, no one could be found, but many of the fish in Kitchen Creek had been killed. The people who had set off the dynamite had killed almost all the fish in the creek and had carried fish away in bushel baskets and hundreds more lay along the creek banks. The paper noted that "no trace could be found of the men who had done this trick, due to the reluctance of the people to give information to a warden."
October 25, 2007. Happy birthday today to the person many of his old friends know as "Slugger," a name his friends call him because of his avid love for the game of baseball. He once played baseball for the Toledo Mud Hens. He is a man who probably would rather be working on the Fort Myers Beach under a tiki hut dreaming of a tan Christmas and performing outdoor weddings on the sand than working 16-hour days in Benton. "Slugger" is an ordained minister, a man who was very close to his grandmother who died this past year. As a gift from the heart to her he studied for and became an ordained minister. Whenever he comes across a dime, he'll lean down and pick it up. Dimes, after all, have a special, personal meaning to him. He is a great cook and loves to BBQ. He has his dog, Suzy Q, and two children: Cassidy ("Cassie" to her friends) and Mitch. He has a deck of tarot cards that he pulls out for his special friends.
We're referring to the Director of the Community Center, Robert D. Hutchison, a man most in the upper Fishingcreek Valley call "Rob." He arrived in the upper Fishingcreek Valley only a few days before the walls of the Community Center began to rise out of the ground. Rob is an administrator with something like 21 years of experience in program development, funding and directing community-wide programs.
President of the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center, Charles Chapman, said "Rob's Mom is convinced that the Center director's job was sent to Rob as a blessing. I am convinced that Rob was sent to Benton as a blessing. He is not only a good friend, but his ability to relate to kids and adults of all ages allows the Community Center to provide a ministry that all of us dreamed about while working for nine years to build it."
Rob has befriended lots of kids in the community and it is a credit to Rob to see the numbers of high-school kids in the Center after school each day. Have a Happy, Rob!
Buddy Johnson remembered the "wonderful Flying Saucer" sandwiches at Vincent's Meat Market, but couldn't quite remember how they were made. Spencer Vincent came to the rescue via email, telling us "The Flying Saucer was on a hamburger bun with mayo, 2 slices of lunch meat, cheese, lettuce and tomato." Spencer remembers that it sold for 35 cents "back then" and that his mother made "dozens each day along with hamburgers 25 cents hot dogs 15 cents, hamburger B.B.Q 25 cents." Was the business profitable? Apparently. Spencer said, "I do remember my mother saved buffalo nickels and they bought a new car with them and silver dollars back in the mid fifties."
• October 30, 2007. The Benton Borough Halloween Parade is scheduled for Tuesday
• October 31, 2007. Trick-or-Treat Night in Benton Borough on Wednesday from 6-8 PM..
Quote of the Day:
"I had to drive all the way to Shickshinny to learn how a traffic light worked."
The FFA Convention in Indianapolis is in full swing and the following local kids are participating: from 9th grade are Chelsea DePoe and Jared Kline; from 10th grade are Madison Conner and Lacey Floyd; from 11th grade is Olin Covington; and from 12th grade are Samantha Clasen, Miles Cole, Megan DePoe, Danielle Samsenak and Alissa Stackhouse.
The FFA kids at the FFA Convention in Indianapolis could learn something from John Simplot, 98, a high-school dropout. His passion was hogs when he was a kid. He bought and sold hogs in his youth in Idaho and eventually plowed the profits into the potato business, where he grew his company to a $3 billion-a-year enterprise that became the biggest supplier for McDonald's French fries. Simplot's net worth is currently estimated at $3.2 billion
Didja know that...
• During the reign of King Tut, 15 lbs. of garlic could buy you a healthy male slave.
• You should being in your geraniums now before the first frost. You can winter the plants over by digging the plants, shake excess soil from their roots, then hang them from your basement rafters. Many modern basements are too warm and dry but it is the way that old timers kept their plants until spring. Take the plants down occasionally and place the roots in water for several hours. Then, hang them back up. Do this several times over the winter to prevent them from drying out completely. Pot your geraniums in early spring, and put them in a sunny window until frost danger has passed.
• It is going to take a conference committee made up of both members of the House and the Senate to work out a compromise on a statewide public-smoking ban. You may remember that the House passed a strict version of the ban back in July, but the Senate, forgetting the question "What part of 'No' don't you understand?', wanted the smoking ban relaxed. So now three idle months later, the House insisted that its version be passed by the Senate. That action prompted a conference committee to resolve the issue and produce a new bill. This is a little like pushing mercury!
• Friday on the NBC morning show Today, Al Roker broadcasts live from the University of Scranton for thousands of fans of the network's four-season hit, The Office.
• The Benton Rodeo Association meeting will be Thursday night at 7 PM at the Benton Township building.
• The bus trip for the veteran's trip November 12 to the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. is sold out. Enough donations have been received to pay for the bus. Donations are still being accepted to pay for meals if anyone would like to contribute. Since many of the WWII Vets will be speaking at local schools that day, another trip is planned for next spring.
October 24, 2007. We celebrate the birthday of Elwood Erney and the wedding anniversary of Robby and Jody Karschner today.
On this day in 1929, the U.S. Stock Market crashed on what became known as "Black Thursday" as about 13 million stocks were sold off in one day. Late in the day, six major banking institutions, led by the firm of J.P. Morgan and Company, put up $40 million each to steady the market. The action by the banks held off a stock market crash for another five days, but by the next Tuesday, the market had lost almost 26 billion dollars of value. Banks failed, individual investors lost their savings. The end of the "Roaring Twenties" and the beginning of the Great Depression had arrived. Yesterday, The Dow industrials rose 109.26 to 13676.23.
• Elsie Buyers' daughter, also named "Elsie," says "My mom came through her seven-hour surgery Monday with flying colors, and is recovering in a Special-Care Unit at Geisinger. They found no obvious cancer, but the pathology report is not due until next week. She will be in the hospital until the weekend at least. They took out part of her liver and ten nodes, so she now has a much better chance of beating the cancer, although gall bladder cancer is very aggressive if there is any remaining. Thank you for your prayers and concern."
• Merton Laubach is a "temporary" resident at Bonham's Nursing Home. Merton arrived at the center Friday afternoon and shortly after settling in John Herbert Laubach paid him a visit. Merton is expected to be there about two weeks.
Apple dumplings pre-ordered through the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural center are at the Center ready for delivery. They can be picked up from 3 to 5 PM today or 5-7 PM Thursday, or call 925-6972 for special pick-up.
• October 26, 2007. The Dallas Eastern Star Building Association will hold a chicken and biscuit supper at the Dallas Eastern Star Hall, Foster & Woodlawn Street, Dallas (behind the CVS Drug Store) Friday afternoon from 4:30 until 7 or until sold out. Takeouts available and can be picked up after 4. Their famous Welsh Cookies will be for sale. Tickets are available at the door. Adults are $7 and children are $3.50 and the pre-school children eat free. For information call Dianne Corby 675-4893.
• November 10, 2007. The 15th annual Craft Sale & Preorder Soup Sale from the Dallas Eastern Star Building Association. We'll have more information when available or call Irene Transue, 675-1367, to reserve a space
On the subject of the tolling of I-80 and the diatribe in Tuesday's rant, readers wrote...
• "Just read your monologue on making I-80 a toll road, and the fact that politicians are selling out America. I don't really blame the politicians because our citizens get just what they deserve. Because Americans are so wrapped up in themselves (The "Me Generation" lives) they keep voting in the same old corrupt politicians. They never demanded that term limits be imposed nor did they demand the politicians be made accountable for their actions. As long as people were thrown a crumb, using "our" money, they were satisfied. No wonder property taxes are sky rocketing with out of control spending in our schools which turn out "dumbed down" students who have to use pictures on point of sale devices to ring up sales at a McDonald's and then can't make change. We have judges who make their own laws and ignore the Constitution, both at federal and state laws. At least in Pennsylvania, a voter can vote not to retain a judge with 67 of them up for retention this November, and everyone of them having had received an illegal pay raise. We have U.S. Senators, who against the wishes of the majority of American people, will vote on Wednesday to grant "Amnesty" to millions of illegals." He continues that there are people "who are doing their best to destroy America with appeasement of terrorists who would love to blow up America, and everyone in it. Maybe people will finally wake up and realize it is up to them to change America back to the way our founding fathers envisioned 'a new nation under God'."
• "Living on Route 118 since 1974 when this was just a country road where my friend was able to ride her bike safely to my house from a mile up the road and traffic was mainly bad on Memorial Day and the 4th of July, the thought of tolls on I-80 makes me crazy thinking what it will do to traffic out here. I am afraid at almost 63 to cross the road to check my mail now, looking at the cracks in the road, hoping my shoes don't catch and fall. It is one of my biggest fears--to check my mail--in the country!! With no convenience of city life."
Judging from a radio broadcast from Williamsport radio station WRAK, State Sen. Madigan, R-Bradford, will retire in 2008. He represents the 23rd Senatorial District which includes Bradford, Lycoming and Sullivan counties and parts of Susquehanna and Union counties.
The Benton High School Class of '52 met in reunion at the Benton Volunteer Fire Company Tuesday and will reconvene today for a final session. The 55 years away from high school has been good on the class.
Things I learned in Tuesday's session included instructions to "laugh more and worry less," a motto one can really appreciate. As the former members of the class slowly made their rounds of the room telling about what has gone on in their lives for the past years, I learned a lot about guinea pigs, grandchildren, cow tails and flying. It was a most impressive class. After all, there are three members of the Benton Area Schools Hall of Fame from that class.
Carl Remley, a farmer for the past 55 years, told his classmates that "just as soon as I get it right, I'm going to quit." Mahlon Fritz told how he and Blair Whitenight joined the Navy to see the world together. In fact, their service record number is only one number apart. As soon as they were "officially Navy," one was shipped East and one shipped West and the two didn't see each other again until after their tour of duty was over.
Members told stories of meeting their future wives. One especially interesting story involved Grassmere skating rink. Alvin Lynn told of meeting his future wife, June, a girl he had been "eyeing," when she asked him to skate during a "Ladies Choice." He asked her to come to the rink the following Sunday night at 7 and she accepted. When the skate was finished, he realized he didn't know her name, didn't know where she lived, and since his parents didn't own a telephone he had little chance of getting in touch with her. Finally, he learned her name, address and phone number. On Friday before the big date to skate was scheduled, he was at a local tire shop to have a flat-tire repaired. The owner was in the shop fixing the flat, so Al called June and confirmed the date to make sure that he was not dreaming. She again accepted. Alvin now needed to break the news to his mother that he was about to have his first date. The mother reminded him that he had choir practice at 7 that Sunday night at his house. He was forbidden to go skating. A hush fell over the classmates who all had gone through a crisis like this when they were told for some reason they could not go skating on a Sunday night. A compromise was finally decided on by the mother. June was to be asked to come to the house for choir practice (and a good "looking over" by Al's mother), then they could both go skating. Al protested, saying that she would back out of the date if he had to do that. Momma persisted, saying that if she was the right one she would understand and if she didn't understand she was not the right one. Al made the third call to June, who agreed to the terms. Al practiced with the choir in what was probably an abbreviated session, and--as they say--the rest was history.
Another classmate told about his two marriages. His first was the most interesting. He said he lay in bed one night when she looked in the mirror after she came out of the shower and listened as she sighed that she was "getting old and fat." In an alarmingly quick response, the husband blurted out, "yes, but at least your eyesight is fine." He is currently looking for wife number three, although he was sketchy on the details of the demise of the second one.
October 23, 2007. Happy birthday to Shirley Ritter and happy anniversary to Richard and Jan Jost. Elsie Buyers made it through surgery Monday and at last report was stable and conscious. Dick Kriebel had hip surgery Monday in Philadelphia and the surgery was reported to have gone well. Dave Bronson "has no problem," according to his bride. Jimmy Laubach is in the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital with kidney dialysis scheduled to begin today.
The Benton Area School District is advertising for a drama coach for the musical to be held on February 14, 15, and 16, 2008. The position pays $1,100. Please send letter of interest to Gary R. Powlus, Superintendent, c/o Benton Area School District, 600 Green Acres Road, Benton, PA 17814. Deadline to apply is November 1, 2007.
Looking for the Bible on-line? Try going here.
The Columbia County Historical and Genealogical Society presents "The Magic of Granny's Old Trunk" tonight at 7 in the hall of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Main and Iron, a look inside an ancestor's old trunk, suitcase, or dresser drawer and the surprising things contained there. Listen and look as Suzanne S. Elder, Associate Professor of Costume Technology and Design, Pennsylvania State University, closely examines and uses her trained eye on historic and antique clothing to reveal occupations, social and economic status, morals, religious affiliation and personalities. Using local collections of photos and clothes, Suzanne Elder examines social and regional ramifications of what life was like historically in Pennsylvania communities.
Making I-80 a toll road doesn't make a whole lot of sense to most of us in the local area, and we continue to cross our fingers that either Congress or the FHA (Federal Highway Administration) will not play politics and will put a stop to it. There certainly has been a united outcry from residents of the area, but it didn't phase the Commonwealth who isn't going to stop it. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Turnpike Commission are lock-step in a 50-year lease agreement they sent to the FHA for approval and borrowing money to pay for the deal is underway. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported in its Monday edition that the commission is expected to finalize a loan of $532 million Thursday toward a possible record $9.6 billion to provide revenue for roads, bridges and 73 public-transit systems.
The plan is that within the next three years, ten toll booths will be installed to collect a toll of $25 per car traveling from New Jersey--through the state they will remember for the toll and not for the beauty of the ride--into Ohio.
Every one has heard of the old saying that goes something like there are "too many chiefs and too few Indians." Didja know that the Turnpike Commission now has about 500 "administrators?" If the Turnpike and I-80 are rolled into one bundle to manage, how many more "administrators" do you think it will take to run ten additional toll booths and patch potholes?
Whatever tolls come from I-80 will stay to maintain and administer that highway, and will free up an estimated $100 million from the PennDOT budget by turning the interstate over to the turnpike commission. Money saved would be used elsewhere in the state for highway maintenance. At the same time, the commission will earmark about $300 million annually from turnpike toll increases of about 25% across the southern part of our state-- increases to boost subsidies to mass transit. These increases are expected to be 25% in 2009. To further complicate the issue, some bond issues are thrown in so the state can borrow additional money. And then there are the consequences of negative economic development to the state and increased traffic concerns on the side roads such as Route 118 and Route 11.
But what about the argument that we want to avoid a bridge collapse like the one that happened in Minnesota, a bridge left to deteriorate so that simple stress brought it to its knees? PennDOT has issued quite a list of bridges in our state in similar condition. PennDOT is chartered to keep the bridges in good repair, but too often politicians have channeled the money for road maintenance for their own purposes and have handed out favors to those who could get them reelected. These are the same politicians who now tell us there is no money to repair or rebuilt bridges and they allowed the decay of the bridges in the first place. Didn't I read somewhere about a fox guarding a chicken coop? These are the people we elected who turn around and lease out our roads to non-profit groups and end up not paying taxes into the cities and towns they serve.
The problem begins near the top. The Supreme Court gave state and local governments the right to expropriate privately owned land and turn it over to a private entity which could then make money from it after it had been condemned.
So here we are. Our assets, paid for by our taxes, are sold out from under us and therefore there is a lack of tax base and soon a critical need to raise taxes to pay for the lost revenue. How do we get off this merry-go-round? Pennsylvania is doing its part in the selling of America. So much for "We the People."
Willard N. Swank, Sr. (August 18, 1936-October 21, 2007), Benton and formerly of Lairdsville, died Sunday at his home. He was 71. Born in North Mountain, Davidson Township, Sullivan County, he was a son of the late Lester Leroy Swank and Pauline Alma (Yeager) Swank. Mr. Swank worked as a truck driver, electrician, carpenter, and mechanic throughout his working career.
Surviving, in addition to his wife, Kathryn E. “Kay” ( Davis) Swank, are his five children: Willard N. Swank, Jr. (Beverly), Benton; Kenneth R. Swank Sr. (Charlene), Talmar; Michael W. Swank, Sr. (Sue), Hubbardsville, New York; Thomas A. Swank (Penny), Lairdsville; and Kathryn E. “ Kathy” Swank, Benton. There are 11 grandchildren and five great grandchildren. There are two sisters, Helen Day Kissinger, Eagles Mere, and Linda Farver, Lightstreet, and three brothers: Donald Swank, Unityville, Robert Swank, Lightstreet, and Warren Swank, Lairdsville. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by children Larry and Pollyann Swank as well as two brothers and four half brothers. Private services will be held at the convenience of the family with burial in the Sonestown Cemetery.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc. A complete obituary will be published in the Press Enterprise of October 23, 2007.
Patricia Ann “Pat” (Porch) Meigs Bell (March 28, 1940-October 21, 2007), a former Press Enterprise reporter residing in Picture Rocks and formerly on North Street, Benton, died Sunday at the Grandview Health Home, Danville. She was 67. Born in Johnstown, she was a daughter of the late Grafton and Opal (Miller) Porch. While a resident of Benton, Pat was a member of Benton Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) where she served as a communion minister, sang in the choir, served as an elder and as a member of the regional board of the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ.
Her first husband, Jesse M. “Jim” Meigs, died December 5, 1992. After her marriage to David E. Bell, Picture Rocks, Pat subsequently joined the Church of the Resurrection where she participated in church festivals and the Christmas Bazaar. Surviving, in addition to her husband David are her three children: William “Bill” Meigs (Wanda) Bowdon, Georgia; James “Jim” Meigs (Lori), Red Lion, PA; and Chris Meigs, Benton. There are three grandchildren: Julie Meigs, Chelsea and Gavin Meigs, and a sister, Elaine Porch, Picture Rocks.
Funeral Services will be held Wednesday at 11 AM at the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc. with burial in St. Gabriel’s Cemetery with a luncheon following at Benton Christian Church. A viewing will be held Tuesday evening from 6 to 8 PM at McMichael’s. A memorial service will be held at the Church of the Resurrection, Main Street, Muncy, on Saturday.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc. A complete obituary will be published in the Press Enterprise of October 23, 2007.
The booklet Walk Bloomsburg is now available on line. Walk Bloomsburg was produced by the Columbia County Historical Society and distributed through grants from the Bloomsburg Foundation and the Columbia County Tourism Fund sponsored by the Columbia County Commissioners and the Columbia-Montour Tourist Promotion Agency.
October 22, 2007. Happy anniversary today to Ed and Susan Cole. To celebrate the romantic occasion, Ed took his bride of 24 years to see the elk in Cameron and Elk counties of our state. Ed said the elk population was down this year in comparison with previous years: 16 elk Saturday night and six elk Sunday morning, and no "big ones.
Please put the following on your prayer list for Monday: Elsie Buyers, surgery in the Geisinger Hospital; Jimmy Laubach, hospital stay; Dave Bronson, kidney stones blasted this morning.
• October 25, 2007. An "All-You-Can-Eat-Spaghetti Dinner Thursday from 4:30-7 PM in the high school cafeteria. The price is $6 for adults, $4 for students; children 4 and under eat free. There will be a basket raffle featuring 16 different baskets. (You don't need to be present to win)! All proceeds will go to help the Benton Area High School Cheerleaders Uniform Fund.
No one it seems has a good answer to the question of how we finish the job in Iraq. For those experiencing war for the first time, it seems especially difficult. It is a stark contrast to the first war this country fought.
Few alive today have even a vague idea what it was like during the American Revolution. It would make good reading for all of us to pick up a book and read about that difficult time. Let me set the stage for further reading.
What many of us remember about the Revolutionary War was that revolutionaries seized control of each of the thirteen colonial governments, set up the Second Continental Congress and formed a Continental Army. The next year, they formally declared their independence as a new nation, the United States of America.
Our country had a very weak confederacy, frail at best. For those people to arch their backs and undertake war unassisted against a power which had just humbled the most powerful throne in Europe seems today to be on the verge of madness. At the beginning of her dispute with the American colonies, England was indeed formidable. Her armies had a record of being victorious in the old world and in our new world. Her fleets kept the oceans of the world free of antagonists. She had brought peace to much of the world. While this was going on in America and parts of Europe, a commercial company was itself conquering a vast empire in the Indies. Her flag flew over Quebec, Gibraltar and Calcutta and her name brought terror to both savage Indian tribes and peace-loving men. It appeared as though the British empire, like the sea she controlled, would soon circle the habitable globe.
It was at precisely this moment--1775–1783--that the American Revolution occurred. It involved three million people, divided by local and religious prejudices, by differences of religious opinion, and by jealousies between ethnic groups. The three million agreed on only one thing: they were determined to resist oppression. They didn’t have arms, money or credit, but took on an adversary in a contest from which France had just retired in despair.
The Americans were so quickly and completely overpowered that by today’s wussy standards any other people would have abandoned the fight in despair. The Battle of Trenton alone saved the colonies after Washington crossed the Delaware River. General George Washington led the main Continental Army across the river to surprise the Hessian garrison at Trenton, New Jersey. The resulting overwhelming victory helped to preserve the Continental Army and rally the troops for the Battle of Princeton the next week.
The genius and resolution of George Washington during those times of financial and military difficulty was incredible. It seemed like a triumph to have simply kept the army together let alone to have won any decisive victories. As battles were lost and cities continued to fall into the hands of the English, a few Americans committed domestic treason in conspiracy with the English. The colonies nevertheless collectively made a declaration to perish rather than submit. They swore to demolish every house rather than let the invader capture them.
Washington made the remark, when asked what he would do if the enemy drove him from Pennsylvania, “I will retire to Augusta county, among the mountains of Virginia, or if necessary beyond the Alleghenies, but never yield.” With resolution this strong, victory finally came and insignificant as she seemed America humbled the mistress of the world.
You can hear about one of the heroes of the Revolutionary War on October 30, 2007, when the Columbia County Historical and Genealogical Society sponsors a lecture in the hall of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Main and Iron Streets, at 7 o'clock by the society president, William Baillie. Mr. Baillie will speak about two American heroes and Columbia County's first poem. The earliest poem known to have been circulating in the county during the American Revolution connects two heroes, both named General Montgomery. The poem's subject is the death of General Richard Montgomery December 31, 1775 in the assault on Quebec. Bill Baillie will show how local and national history can be discovered in a discarded scrap of a surveyor's notepaper.
Willard N. Swank, 71, Benton, died Sunday morning, October 21, 2007, at his home. Arrangements will be announced by the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc., Benton
Patricia A. (Porch) Meigs Bell, 67, Picture Rocks and formerly of Benton, died Sunday morning, October 21, 2007, at the Grandview Health Home, Danville. Arrangements will be announced by the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc., Benton.
The vocational agriculture class of Benton Area Schools was for many years the dean of the departments in the area. When the local school began the program, the agriculture segment was very popular and has remained that way through the years. The consolidation of schools from Sugarloaf, Jackson and Fishingcreek Townships and the Borough of Stillwater aided in the popularity of the program, because many of these students pursued agricultural interests.
Using statistics provided by Superintendent Gary Powlus and subsequently quoted in the Lancaster Farmer, "Benton Area School District is located within an area where more than 50% of the population is involved in agriculture." The total enrollment of the school is about 500 students in grades kindergarten through 12 but the school has a very active FFA program, drawing more than 100 active members in grades 9 through 12. Many active FFA members are from the non-farming population.
The community should keep ten local Future Farmers of America members and three adults in prayers as they attend the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, October 24-27. The National FFA Organization is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.
Fred Depoe and Sandy Floyd, along with advisor Doug McCracken, were in Ohio when I chatted with them Sunday afternoon, heading for an afternoon visit to the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.
While at the convention, the kids will experience many new things and will get to hear speakers like Dr. Rick Rigsby, a motivational speaker, president of The Impact Group, and founder of Impact Family Ministries. Dr. Rigsby is excellent to encourage, challenge and inspire attendees. Chad Hymas, a quadriplegic from the age of 27 as a result of an accident, lives in Utah on a 200-acre wildlife preserve. Chad is a world-class wheelchair athlete enjoying basketball, wheelchair rugby, hang-gliding and snow skiing. Henry Winkler, the man who played The Fonz for ten seasons on Happy Days and author of a series of children’s novels, will be the keynote speaker at the end of the convention.
Mount Airy Resort Casino’s 2,500-machine slots parlor and four restaurants are tentatively scheduled to open to the public today at noon. The resort is a 77-mile drive from Benton Borough via I-80 east about 57 miles. Exit at Exit 3 and turn right onto Route 940 east. In half a mile, take the ramp to Pocono Manor, merging onto Route 314. After about 3 miles, turn left onto Route 611 North and after another half mile, turn right on Woodland Road. Or follow the traffic. Leave your debit and credit cards home.
October 21, 2007. Robert Rabb and Kathleen Harvey have birthdays today and David and Linda Bronson and Pat and Dennis Threlkeld celebrate their wedding anniversaries.
For those who might be a little stale on the term "baby boomer," I'll tell you that these are the roughly 76 million people born between 1946 and 1964 following World War II in the United States, with additional "boomers" born in Australia, United Kingdom and Canada. By the time we reach 2025, some smart people have estimated that 35% of all Americans will be over the age of 50.
So far everything is falling into place. There is nothing new in what I have said so far. Now think of Americans you have known, if any, who were born around 1900. I betcha you can't think of a many people born back then who needed knee or hip replacements. (I know, I know, they were not available even if they did need them!). Everyone I knew worked "with their hands" flexing every muscle in their body. There were few couch potatoes! I'll betcha there were far fewer psychiatric problems back then. So here we are living longer while cutting back on both drinking and smoking, but still we have aliments galore which run counter to our expectations of living a long and fruitful life.
The boomers are reporting high-blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol which will drive up the need for health care, pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements and wellness products. Assisted living facilities, funeral parlors and services to the aging and infirm will do well. Fu-fu juice which makes one act like Bob Dole, or colors or restores hair should also do well. The carefree camping crowd will eye a motor home or a vacation home, take a cruise, hang out more at the Mill Race Golf course or at their favorite casino. For the next thirty years, these people should have a positive effect on the world as we know it.
The road is going to be bumpy based on the complex world situation as it is today. The stock market ran into one of the obstacles in the road this week.
The Wall Street Journal reported that "The Dow industrials marked the 20th anniversary of the 1987 crash with a 2.6% plunge fueled by anxiety over earnings and credit markets." The market was down a bone-shattering 571 points for the week.
But what should we expect? In the last six years, crude oil has surged from $27 a barrel to abut $90 a barrel with some saying that $120 a barrel and $6 a gallon is probable. An ounce of gold went in the last six-year period from $275 to the $770 area and many say it will go over $1,000 and I have seen estimates 100% higher than that.
Sometimes I think it is good that I am old and decrepit. Being in that condition allows me to take a backward glance from time to time at some of the fine people who graduated from the Benton Area Schools, which brings me to my next topic.
The Benton High School Class of 1952 will meet in reunion Tuesday and Wednesday at the Benton Volunteer Fire Station. This was an outstanding class--with three members so far inducted into the Benton Area Schools Hall of Fame. We'll spend some time with the class and will tell you about many who return to Benton later in the week. I'll tell you right now about a period in the history of the Benton schools beginning in 1953.
A building program began for the school with the construction of what became the L.R. Appleman Elementary School in 1953 and continued for the next twenty years. In 1957, improvements were undertaken at the high school which included construction of the first school gymnasium. In 1966, ten rooms were added to the elementary building dedicated to L. Ray Appleman who was principal of Benton schools from 1912 until his retirement. In 1972, a building program expansion project took place at the southern part of the high school. Finding the money to do all this was always the hard part for the man responsible for all this growth.
The man who spent a quarter of a century as a Benton school district administrator was Ben Pollock. Today I'll mention a couple of outstanding people associated with the local school, starting with Mr. Pollock.
• Ben R. Pollock. Mr. Pollock served as principal, supervising principal and superintendent of Benton Schools, the first educator named to that position. He was unanimously elected, by the way.
Mr. Pollock was a native of Hunlock Creek, a son of Mr. and Mrs. M.L. Pollock. He graduated from Plymouth High School and attended Penn State University where he played varsity football for four years. He also studied at Bucknell University and at Bloomsburg and Stroudsburg State Colleges. He achieved a B.S. degree from Penn State and a M.S. degree in administration, supervision of public schools from Bucknell.
He became the football coach at Waynesboro High School. From 1943-52 he was a member of the faculty of the Bloomsburg schools where he led the football team through its first undefeated season. He served with the U.S. Navy during World War II and was assistant coach of the Little Creek Amphibs football team while there.
He was a Past Master of Bloomsburg's Washington Lodge #265 F.&A.M. and was a member of Caldwell Consistory and Irem Temple.
He married the former Doris James, Plymouth, who passed away earlier this year. The couple had two children, a girl, Margaret Ann Temple, and a son, Ben Pollock. They had five grandchildren.
Ben Pollock headed the Benton school system from August, 1952, and retired in 1976 as superintendent of schools, at the same time as Marjorie Faust, elementary teacher, and Robert Devore, a secondary teacher for 38 years.
• Robert Moore, son of Claude and Mary Moore, West Creek, was a research chemist for the Sun Petroleum Products Company. He was at the forefront of the development of the manufacture of synthetic blood. He was awarded several patents for selecting a perfluorocarbon compound from those having about 9 to 12 carbon atoms for preparing synthetic blood compositions.
• Percy Brewington, Jr., a former Benton resident, directed all construction and engineering activities for the Atomic Energy Commission's Oak Ridge Operation. He directed the government's Clinch River Breeder Reactor project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Percy was a native of Benton and earned his B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from the Drexel Institute of Technology in 1954. He is married to the former Pauline Raski and the couple have three children. Percy's brother, Woodie, was a former Columbia County Sheriff. A sister, Ruth, passed away earlier this year, and brothers John and Earl and sister Madge previously passed away. Percy has one remaining sibling, Jenny Warren.
• Bob Casey. Bob, a 1968 graduate of the Benton Area High School, holds a bachelor's degree in speech and theater from Bloomsburg State College. He currently lives in Camp Hill and teaches at Trinity High School. Over the years, Bob directed plays at the Genetti Dinner Playhouse, the Host Corral, Lancaster, and various high schools and community theaters in the Harrisburg area. He has his share of acting credits, too.
October 20, 2007. Happy birthday to Bill Johnson, to Monica Diltz who turns the big Five OH but still turns out wonderful buckwheat cakes and sausage, and to Edward Lee Cole, the younger of the two barbers in Ed Cole's barber shop north of the Borough, his 21st.
The upper Fishingcreek valley continues the tradition of oodles to do on the weekends. Today you have a choice of good eating of Chicken Bar-B-Que at the Zion United Church Of Christ on Route 487 just below Zaners from 4 in the afternoon, rain or shine; a used book sale today and Sunday at Columbia Mall during regular mall hours, sponsored by the Friends of the Columbia County Traveling Library, including about 300 from the immediate area that were deposited on my front porch (thanks John and Charlotte Sibly), including a number of first editions; a book signing of Around Hughesville at the Hughesville Public Library from 1 PM to 4 PM by author Joan Wheal Blank, sponsored by the Friends of the Library. The Bloomsburg University Homecoming is today, including a parade. There is a ham supper from 4 PM at the Fairmount Township Volunteer Fire and Ambulance Co., 671 State Route 118, Sweet Valley, and a roast beef dinner from 4 PM at the Lightstreet Volunteer Fire Company, Center Street. A barbershop quartet will perform Saturday night in concert at 7 PM at the Christ United Methodist Church, Central. If you have any energy left after all that, there is Round and Square dancing from 8 PM at the Jerseytown Community Center and after a short overnight break the country western and bluegrass crowd has a shindig starting at 10 Sunday morning at the Community Center in Jerseytown. Also on Sunday, there is a fall bazaar from 10 to 4 at the Orangeville Nursing & Rehabilitation Center with music by Covert Action. The popular Apple Festival is Sunday from 11 to 5 at Heller's Orchards, Route 239, Wapwallopen, to benefit St. Peter's and St. John's Churches, Wapwallopen.
The next bluegrass show at Raven Creek Community Hall, 999 Upper Raven Creek Road, Benton, will be November 10 at 6 PM. The featured band will be David Hampton and the Double Barrel Bluegrass Band. David Hampton will also be appearing with special guest musicians. There is an $8 donation at the door and there will be good food available. For more info contact Dave at 925-5790.
The Lancaster Farmer included an article about the Benton’s Biomass Boiler Project in its edition of October 19. The article indicated that the boiler for the school is being designed and built by Advanced Recycling Equipment (ARC), St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania, and will be designed to burn corn, wood chips, wood pellets and switchgrass pellets. Garage doors on each side of the building will allow tractor trailer loads of fuel to be dumped into a 10-foot deep pit. An auger at the bottom of the pit will automatically carry the fuel stock to the burner. The building will be designed so that anyone from the community can watch the system in action.
Ernst Conservation Seeds, LLC, in northwestern Pennsylvania has promised the district two years’ worth of heat utilizing switchgrass pellets, a savings to the district of $110,000. Ernst Seeds is working to perfect a process that will turn switchgrass into pellets, which can then be burned as fuel or potentially used for cellulosic ethanol production.
As we grow older, it becomes more difficult to remember what happened in a specific year, let alone on a specific day. Take the year 1953, for example. Quickly name five things of importance that happened in that year. (Hint: Eisenhower took the oath of office, Richard and Mac McDonald built oddly shaped "arches" to sell their hamburgers, the Rosenbergs got the hot seat, the war in Korea drew to a close, and Playboy, Scrabble and TV Guide burst on the scene.) Or take a more recent year, like the year 1994. Take the day May 28, 1994.
The big news that 28th day of May in 1994 was that the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman, Dan Rostenkowski, had just rejected a plea bargain and indictment proceeding began. That was all overshadowed when a man who made a profound influence on the local area passed away. Former Congressman Daniel J. Flood (1903-1994), 90, loved by his constituents for channeling Federal money to the local area, died from "age-related" illness following 25 days of pneumonia, then a stroke and finally a "multi-organ failure."
The actor turned politician served on Capitol Hill for 32 years during which time he gained so much power that if someone needed something they simply turned to the Great Abraham Dan Flood. Flood was a leading member of the House Appropriations Committee and knew how to wrestle the nation's purse strings. His influence in the federal government was considerable.
During much of the period he served, I lived in Arlington, Virginia. My next-door neighbor was a "Full Bull" Army "O-6" responsible for all fuels shipped to Army bases in Europe. As neighbors we got along great, but he always snarled when he would remember that I was a constituent of Rep. Flood. It seems that Dan Flood was instrumental in getting a law passed that the Army could only heat barracks and other Army facilities in Europe with anthracite coal--and anthracite coal only comes from the Wyoming Valley. As directed, the coal would be shipped to Europe to the Army facilities, but then ended up being sold on the black market. It seems that all the base facilities were designed to heat with natural gas and oil which the Army could purchase locally for half the cost of shipping coal to Europe. The Army reluctantly accepted the coal, but then made alternative arrangements to actually heat their buildings. Flood was a high-ranking member of the Subcommittee on Appropriations for the Department of Defense in that capacity, but he was also chairman of the powerful Subcommittee on Appropriations for the Departments of Labor and Health, Education and Welfare.
Stop at any barber shop when Dan Flood was in power, or belly up to a bar in Nanticoke, and start a conversation at the Kozy Korner and his name would be mentioned. "The Valley" has a Daniel J. Flood Elementary School, an industrial park, a rural health center and an elderly care center--all named for "Dapper Dan," the flamboyant Representative who strutted around Congress like a peacock, his hair slicked with stickum, a villainous-looking waxed mustache and eccentric clothes of velveteen suits, ruffled shirts, patent-leather shoes and satin-lined capes.
In warm weather, he sported a white suit, white shoes and a straw boater. When it got cold, he wore tailored dark suits and a black homburg hat. If he wanted to really doll up, he draped a customized cape over his shoulders to make himself look like Mandrake the Magician. The man positively glowed.
Tip O'Neill, who later became one of Flood's closest allies, was said to have thundered the first time he saw Flood, "Who the hell is that?"
He could direct as much as he chose to his constituents' benefit. Or maybe more. He provided them with millions of dollars' worth of public-works projects over the years, including an interstate highway, hospital and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton airport. He brought Government facilities such as the Veterans Hospital into the area and negotiated millions of dollars worth of government contracts for local businesses. He sponsored major legislation as the Flood-Douglas Bill of 1961, a $394 million aid package for depressed areas.
When the bridge went out beside what is now the Inn-Under Bar beside Route 487 north of the Borough during the Hurricane Agnes flood of 1992, farmers could not get their milk to market and one face-to-face meeting with Rep. Flood cleared a log-jam of a problem that seemed insurmountable earlier in the day. The very next day--and I'll repeat, the very next day--after being told that there was nothing that could be done in the immediate future, Rep. Flood when he heard the story, had the Army Corps of Engineers at the former bridge location the next day to proceed with the construction of a temporary "bailey bridge." a portable pre-fabricated truss bridge. Rep. Flood set up a command post at the airport in Avoca and because of his influence solved problems that otherwise could not be solved.
Saturdays when Flood was home from Washington were known as "Constituent Day" in Flood's office and a line of 30 or so to get in was not uncommon. They simply wanted to say "hello," or seek a favor or thank him for a favor granted. He marched in all parades, he attended all the picnics and the clambakes, he spoke at testimonials and pig roasts, and wakes and funerals were not off limit either. But his favorite celebration took place on St. Patrick's Day where he took a place of honor in the parade and later at the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick banquet.
Most didn't know it at the time, but if Flood forgot your name, he assigned you the name of "Murph" and he had monikers for everyone he knew. He made himself people-minded and the voters never forgot him. He would do anything for anybody. He did break the public trust during his career, but still most felt that he gave more than he took. Flood resigned from Congress in January, 1980, beset by legal and health problems The following month he pleaded guilty to federal charges he accepted money from people seeking government contracts. Flood considered himself innocent and said that he entered a guilty plea to spare himself the ordeal of a second trial. His first trial, in 1979, ended with a hung jury and no decision.
He lived in an extremely modest North Pennsylvania Avenue home at the time of his death.
Students at the L.R. Appleman Elementary School had a great deal to tell their parents when they got out of school Friday. The Pennsylvania WoodMobile, a traveling exhibit that provides information on the state’s forest resource and the state’s forest products industry, spent much of the day at the school. Mr. Dailey, the WoodMobile Coordinator, told the students how the forests of Pennsylvania have shaped the history of the state and nation. The students learned how today’s forest differs from 100 years ago, they touched some of the various hardwood species produced in Pennsylvania and learned how deer impact the forest. They learned about Pennsylvania’s forest-products industry, saw how products are made, learned how the forest is managed, and experienced how common and unusual forest products touch our lives every day.
The Pennsylvania WoodMobile and Mr. Spencer's Sixth Grade Class
Mr. Spencer's sixth-grade class looked forward to going home to try an experiment. They planned to take a page of their homework and put it in one pocket and a dollar bill in another pocket and have their mothers run the pants through the washing machine to see which survives better.
The exhibit was housed in a 34-foot trailer, pulled by a pick-up. The Pennsylvania WoodMobile is a project of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Hardwoods Development Council and with the support of the state’s hardwoods industry. The trailer and truck are provided by Deer Park Lumber, Inc., Tunkhannock.
Friday, October 19, 2007. Today is the birthday of birthday of Joey Sue Laubach.
Two years ago on this day, Dushore reached 71° (followed by six inches of snow just a few days later). Last night at Painter Den, high on North Mountain in Sullivan County, the temperature was a balmy 65° at 10:30 PM. With something like 40% of the nation in a draught situation, the rain promised for today will be welcome. Batten the hatches. The water in the Benton dam isn't even running over the top, a very strange situation for this time of the year. It appears that the warm weather will continue through the early part of next week.
The Friday Press Enterprise has numerous articles about a subject that has been batted around for a long time, the regionalization of police to serve as many as six municipalities in northern Columbia County.
Well-seasoned readers of the Benton News will remember spending their lunch money at Vincent's Meat Market, a favorite spot at lunchtime in the 1950s for students of the high school. For readers who don't understand the significance of eating in a meat market we should explain that the lines of kids were not there to have a baloney sandwich or a BLT, or even a corn beef and pastrami. They were there to fill a paper bag with their favorite candy: Good'n'Plenty, Jujubees, Candy Buttons, caramel crèmes, black or strawberry licorice twists, spice drops, horehound drops, Mary Janes, Boston Baked Beans, spearmint leaves, orange slices, root beer barrels, lemon drops, candy corn, butterscotch buttons, fireballs, Tootsie Roll Midgees, Bit-O-Honey, those wonderful mints with the wintergreen in them, and Canada Mints. Oh, yes, Vincent's Meat Market sold meat, too!
The concrete-block meat market stood near the school beside McHenry Alley, and usually was a quiet place with customers asking for souse or sausage, possibly picking up a can of something or other, before heading back to the farm. Vincent's was like an old-fashioned country store, with those smells that we associate with freshly butchered meat, with wooden floors that make special sounds when kids stepped in the wrong place, and narrow, cluttered aisles running between shelves crammed with just about everything a little kid might ever want.
The Vincents had lots of penny candy to sell. The entrance to the store was on the left of the building off McHenry Avenue and an aisle slowly threaded the "hungry for sweets" kids directly past all the candy to where Mrs. Vincent stood with outstretched hand. Behind the proprietor of the store was the meat counter, placed perpendicular to the candy line. The meat display was about six feet long and filled with freshly butchered items. The front of the meat counter was porcelain and glass. At noon, as we remember it, lights in the store were turned off, except over the candy counter.
Mrs. Vincent would flick her wrist to fluff open a small paper bag and wait for our order. There was no tarrying here! Too many waited in line, the noon lunch hour was too short. The boys wanted to get back on the street to suck on the genuine imitation candy cigarettes in the hopes that a cigarette would be a good lure to catch girls.
A few of the boys would get a box of Horehound Drops. Others wanted malted milk balls, and black licorice shoestrings were popular. Circus peanuts and root beer barrels were a hit with the boys and the girls seemed to like Mary Janes and Tootsie Rolls. The younger kids liked wax lips and if lunch-money held out a four-pack of wax bottles with the syrup sweet liquid inside.
We might pick up a Bonomo turkish taffy or a couple of Red Hot dollars, and Mrs. Vincent would tally the change. "How much is left," we'd ask her, knowing all the time exactly what that total was and more importantly we knew how many pennies we had left, a sort of test to make sure that she could make change, always the outside chance that she would err on our side. "There is three cents to go," she would say, as if to test us as to how well we were doing in Mary Hartman's English class. The three cents would buy some candy cigarettes, and off we would go--our sugar high for the afternoon ready to kick in!
Pennies don't buy much these days and schools don't let the kids off the school grounds and the Vincent family is at least a generation removed now, but we still remember those fun lunch hours. We do suspect that we are built like a turnip these days because of the penny candy of a bygone era.
From a sign in a butcher shop: "Honest scales. No two weighs about it."
For reasons I'll never understand, email continues to pass the filters and land in my inbox dealing with the words I chose to use when I write the Benton News. It isn't so much that I use "they" when I should have said "its" or "happy" when someone thinks I should have said "glad," or that I offend anyone or use words by themselves that folks find offensive. In fact, no one has ever quite explained to my understanding why my writing pains them. To these people, I have to suggest that a stranger style of writing and talking once existed locally.
What follows never happened as written and has no real relevance, but it is indicative of how people in the upper Fishingcreek valley wrote and talked a generation or two prior to mine. I have lifted language from letters that survived the years which I found in a cardboard box written by two women in 1896. I do not know who the women were. The signatures were simply hefty flourishes of names like "Maude," or "Gerry," and these names have also been changed from the original.
Still, these are actual words expressed in a series of letters written between two women on the subject of husbands. The letters are patched together and edited as if it all took place in a single real letter. The language seems to fairly represent the language of a previous generation. The fictional letter begins as if the subject was a continuing one. The letter lacks an opening "Hi'Ya!" or a "How have you been?" or "The weather is fine." It gets to the heart of the matter in the opening salvo. The letter follows...
Women most generally run the house and the table to suit the husbands. But, my land, you let the husbands go away for a day and they just fly around like a chicken with its head cut off ahurrying to do what they want while he is gone.
Well, I sewed for a woman last week whose husband had gone a hunting and I declare to gracious I didn't hardly know her to be so flighty and nervous over things. Well, it was right pitiful awatching her how eager she was to do all the things she wanted to before he come back.
Now that man is cranky as anything about his eatin" and he don't go nowhere at night and he won't let her change the furniture and he pulls the winder shades up to the top and she has to be home when he gets there and I don't know what all. It's so bad that a woman can't hardly wait till hunting time and vacation time comes. It is no wonder that a woman gets so tired of living like a machine that she is about to burst out or break. Ain't it funny that a man can't see that? And if she was to tell him, he would look abused and ask her if it wasn't a wife's duty to run the house as nice as possible for him, seeing he furnishes the money to do it on.
Well, I've took notice that word "duty" is mighty big to a man when he's using it on his wife. Well, its his wife's duty to love him and to make his home the way he wants it. And its her duty to be at home when he wants her to, asetting up on the pedestal of the cook stove awaiting him. Its her duty to clean his old clothes and to come when he calls her and to take care of "his" children and to pick up off'n the floor and all such.
I say that a man don't know how a woman takes her enjoyment when he's away, amaking up for lost time doing as she pleases, and he ain't going to never know, mebbe, that he could of stayed a little longer and she wouldn't of cried her eyes out.
Well, I don't think just because a man's teeth are pore and he can't chew his meat very well, that he ort to make his wife live on "hamburger" and ground meat all the time. And I don't think that he's got no right to make her read only just certain things and go in the same pew his mother sat in nor foller his political leaning's nor lay down the law about what she wears evenings. Because if he does he's laying up a hope in her for him to take longer vacations and mebbe a wish that he would vacate for good.
October 18, 2007. Happy birthday to Mike Minjack who turns 63 today. Richard and Jan Jost celebrate 25 years of marriage today--and next Tuesday, the 23rd. They have two celebrations because they had two weddings—a visit to Donna Coombes office before work on October 18, 1992, and a religious service on October 23. Jan says, "Gives us 6 days to party!"
Jeanne Walters is now a patient in Health South at Geisinger Hospital, following treatment for lupus and a stroke. Her daughter, Roxie Walters, is now back at work following recovery from three weeks of pneumonia.
Didja know that...
• Ray McCourt has taken over the duties of constructing a web site for the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center. The web site is www.n4cs.org/. Ray has spun his magic with web sites in the area many times, including web sites for the Benton Rodeo, the Lightstreet Hotel and www.usalandlords.us, a post/search property rentals/sales site.
• Tonight at 6:30 in the library of the Benton Middle-High School the parent's advisory group known as STAR will meet. The group plans fundraisers and activities for students. All parents are invited.
• George Turner will give a talk entitled A Visit to Bloomsburg in 1870 at Bloomsburg University’s Harvey A. Andruss Library on Sunday, October 28, at 2 PM in the Schweiker Room. Prof. Turner will discuss what Bloomsburg was like in 1870 in terms of people and businesses, primarily from research he did based on an 1870 map. The library has a copy of the map which was scanned and digitally restored thanks to the Friends of the Bloomsburg University Library Association, who are selling prints of it which will be available at the lecture. The digitally restored archival prints of a very rare copy of the 1870 map will also be on display. Copies of the print from the Lizza Studios in Tunkhannock are available in three standard sizes and prices, along with preframed options featuring a white matte and black frame. Prices range from $60 for a 15" x 15" sized copy up to $335 for the full 40" by 40" print. Funds from the sale will be used to support special University Library projects.
• The Benton Volunteer Firemen will resume their monthly breakfasts beginning Sunday, October 29, 2007.
Times have really changed on the farm. When I was a growing boy, it was important that the farm was self-sustaining. We bought less and produced more. From our farm we had our own granary, livestock, smoke-house and with the exception of a few items our own grocery. Our farm was in what I considered the Paradise of Pennsylvania where the soil returned its investment year after year, where the ground was pressed down, shaken together, run over, and then plowed for another harvest and another year.
It was important to diversify the crops. All the farmers knew what to raise, how to raise them and then set out to do it. The farm never failed to produce food in variety and abundance for our home consumption. Never once did I not feel "comfortable" in what we had.
Each morning about 5, we would begin our work with all of the brain, the brawn and the will that moved mountains. Our little farm blossomed with the gentle touch of people who knew what had to be done and then went ahead and did it. The work went on if there was a death in the family or if callers came to "visit," or if the snow was two feet deep and the milk could not be trucked from the milk house
Father knew how to count the costs. He knew about average yield, about the cost of production and market value of every acre of wheat or corn he planted. He put in long hours behind the plow while all the while contemplating what fields needed to be turned and what cows were not producing and what chores could be squeezed in before losing daylight. He knew how to calculate his profits, yet he didn't know anything about economics and never had an accounting course. He was still an amazing economist.
The potatoes he planted yielded exactly enough to last until spring without spoilage, and he threw in enough additional so that he could sell the nicest ones and make a few dollars. I remember Mother turning over the ground the second and third time in order to make sure all the potatoes were in the basket. Whether the yields were enormous or puny, we made it. The corn was planted in exactly the right amounts, as were the peas and the pumpkins and the oats.
The food we produced was converted into pork, beef, milk, butter and poultry. Our storeroom consisted of dried, jellied, preserved, pickled, canned and jammed fruits and vegetables, usually decorated with peppers, dried onions or garlic, cleaned by barrels of home-made soap made out of lye, surrounded by kegs of kraut and jars of honey and baskets of walnuts. We always showed that we had a firm grasp on some of the best things in life.
Our guiding principle was that we sold our agriculture products and purchased as little as we could.
The farmers of the area should be able to return to the days of selling what Father always called a "cash crop" for a profit if our nation continues on the course it is taking. According to the United State Department of Agriculture, this country's wheat stockpiles could drop to levels of 50 years ago. The wheat stockpiles could shrink to only a 50-day supply. Wheat is the staple food of millions of people. With the worldwide demand for agricultural products and the low stockpiles, soaring prices could result. Wheat production during World War II was in the nature of 17 bushels of wheat per acre. Today, wheat production can reach 50 bushels locally and 40 bushels an acre nationwide. In Egypt, 50% of its wheat and in Japan 99% of its wheat is imported. Our country produced about 39 bushels of corn per acre during World War II and today about 135 to 150 bushels locally and 155 bushels per harvested acre nationally..
So why aren't the corn cribs full? The answer involves ethanol, since about 20% goes to producing corn-based ethanol. Another factor is that the consumption of corn is up since it is a lower-cost alternative to feeding animals than other feeds.
On top of all that, wheat harvests in the Ukraine, Egypt, Australia and much of Russia are down. China will have to import corn this year and could soon become the world's largest importer of soybeans. China's pork prices are up a reported 49% for the year. For the past five years, China has lost approximately three million acres of farmland each year to development. And as the daily income rate in India improves, you can bet your bippie those folks will eat better than they are now as they live on the equivalent of $1 a day.
In this country, the price of milk is up something like 18% since the beginning of the year and eggs are up about 35% in the last 12 months. Have you noticed that cereal boxes tend to be a bit smaller while the cereal price remains the same? Have you compared Starbucks prices now with their prices six months ago? Have you read reports recently on how many times a week you can safely eat fish? Ask the person in your household who is responsible for the food purchases some of these and related questions.
If you want to learn more about production of corn, wheat and soybeans, head here. For more information about the dwindling overseas production of wheat, go here.
Conclude what you want from the above about industries where you might want to put your money in the stock or the futures market. One thing that may be safe to bet is that the American agriculture producer could have something to look forward to for a change. Housewives around the world may have to tighten their belts a notch or two.
A barbershop quartet will perform Saturday night in concert at 7 PM at the Christ United Methodist Church, Central. The Evening Mist Quartet is from the Lancaster area and are frequent visitors to this area. The concert is free and there will be a short audience hymn sing during the intermission. After the concert, light refreshments will be served in the social room of the church. A love offering will benefit the church missions program.
October 17, 2007. It is the birthday of Pedro Coen, son of actress Frances McDormand and granddaughter of Vernon and Maureen McDormand. David Keller also celebrates his birthday today with author Arthur Miller and daredevil Evel Knievel.
• October 27, 2007. The Royal Order of Raccoons with hold its annual Halloween party at the North Mountain Fire Company from 12:00-2 PM. There will be a haunted house, food and prizes for kids 1-12.
• November 3, 2007, is the last day to place orders for food from Angel Food Ministries through the Community Outreach Ministry in Benton administered by the Benton United Methodist Church. Pickup date is Saturday, November 17, 2007. Call Deb Ross, 925-2453.
Didja know that...
• The CCFNB Bancorp, Inc., parent company of the Columbia County Farmers National Bank, recently purchased the former Long John Silver's Restaurant, located at 1089 New Berwick Highway (Route 11), Bloomsburg. Specific, long-term plans for the site will be announced in the future.
• Benton Borough residents get leaf pickup on a schedule of odd-numbered houses, Mondays and Wednesdays, and even-numbered houses, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Alternative parking arrangements should be made during these times.
• There is a new Yorkshire Terrier in the Kline household in Geneseo, New York, not yet housebroken. "Devin" hadn't been a member of the family for an hour when son David found a puddle in the middle of the kitchen. "My pup," he said sadly, "runneth over."
The web version of the Benton News frustrates some readers because they are still using dial-up internet connections. Accessing music or watching a Flash presentation on the site is virtually impossible with a slow connection. The internet world has changed a lot from the days of a dial-up connection. The first laptop computer I bought with a wireless card was an absolute joy. I traveled more in those days and I loved to stop at a Starbucks for a cup of caffeine and to use their for-pay Wi-Fi. Now even that is changing, with the rumor going around that Starbucks will provide their Wi-Fi at no cost sometime within the year. Wi-Fi is here to stay--or at least until some Geek thinks of something better.
Wi-Fi is available almost anywhere one travels. I use www.jiwire.com/ to find hotspots where Wi-Fi is available. Add your country, state and city, and jiwire will return a list of all locations (including addresses and phone numbers) with Wi-Fi available.
Prof. George Turner was the featured speaker Monday at the North Mountain Historical Society. His talk dealt with the subject of the Molly Maguires, and the trials of members of that group held in Columba County following the murder of Alexander Rea, 44.
Prof. Turner noted that some degree of controversy exists with the subject of the Molly Maguires, and suggested that a good source of information was the book published in 1998, still in print, entitled Making Sense of the Molly Maguires by Kevin Kenny. The Kenny book, according to Prof. Turner, is not a "biased" book. The Molly Maguires was an organization that existed only among the Irish and only in the anthracite region of Pennsylvania. The faction was localized to the east of us in the mining regions and primarily in Schuylkill and Carbon counties. The time period was the 1860s and the 1870s, although it dated to some degree back to the American Civil War and continued through a series of arrests and trials during 1876-78.
The Molly Maguires was a secret society imbedded within in an organization known as the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH), an Irish-Catholic fraternal group founded in this country in 1836 to aid in dealing with discrimination of Irish-born or Irish-descent Catholics. It was a fraternal organization, much as the Sons of Norway or the Sons of Italy were. Within the AOH developed this organization--or perhaps "chapter" is a better term--which deviated somewhat from the principles of the AOH.
Members of the AOH, which dated back to 1836, were Catholic. Its original purpose was to assist Irish Catholic immigrants, especially those who faced discrimination or harsh coal-mining working conditions. Many members had a Molly Maguire background.
"MollyMaguireism," to use a phrase from Prof. Turner, dates in the history of Ireland to the time of tensions between England and the Irish. At that time, Protestant English landlords patrolling the land ended up displacing the Catholic Irish tenants which proved to be an economic catastrophe for the tenants. The tenants felt they were exploited because they were outside of the power structure and lacked the power to deal with English landlords. They felt they had been unjustly treated. Retribution--justifiable retribution--seemed to be the only answer and was achieved by working outside of the system. Many of these Irish people grew up a culture where pressure was put on those in power in order to achieve what they wanted. In turn, that behavior because part of the culture. Many Irish immigrants to this country brought that "cultural baggage" with them.
When these immigrants arrived in the anthracite region to our east, the available jobs were with the coal companies. And again these Irish immigrants felt a sense of exploitation. They felt there was prejudice against them since they were the last rung on the ladder. They accused the foreman of short-weighing the coal. They felt that the Welsh foreman would give the best vein to a fellow Welshman. They resorted to measures that were outside the law, measures like burning a house or roughing up a person to get the message across. Some measures were quite powerful, such as when an empty coffin would be placed on a front porch to get across a message to back off.
The center of this structure was in Hazleton and extended southeast to Mauch Chunk (as the town of Jim Thorpe was then called) and swung over to Shamokin. Schuylkill and Carbon counties, a small portion of Luzerne and a very small portion in Columbia County were also in the coal region. Columbia County has a small wedge around Centralia that has long been in the mining region. Prof. Turner contrasted the immigration into that area as completely different from the flow of immigrants into the upper Fishingcreek valley.
Alexander Rae was superintendent of the Bells Tunnel Colliery. One Saturday morning in October, 1868, he left his home to drive to the colliery. It turns out that a man by the name of Patrick Hester had plotted with three friends by the names of Dooley, McHugh and Kelly to rob Rae of the mine's payroll money, mistakenly thinking that Rae would carry it with him that weekend morning, when actually he had paid the colliery workers the previous day. The men had previously met at Hester's saloon in Locust Gap, 43 miles from Back Home in Benton, PA. Over a few glasses of the bubbly, the men decided to rid the superintendent of the payroll as he passed between Pottsville and Mt. Carmel.
When Rae was half way between the two towns and as his horse was drinking from a water trough, he was shot six times including one shot to the back of the neck. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported at the time that he only had a watch and $19 on him.
Prof. Turner stressed that the death of Alexander Rea (May, 1828-October, 1868) and the resultant trials over his death have largely been overlooked by historians who have concentrated instead on events taking place in Schuylkill and Carbon counties. Prof. Turner quoted newspapers like the Columbia Democrat in an edition of 1868 about the murder of Rae.
Rae, an 1849 graduate of Lafayette, had worked as a newspaperman in Danville for a time, then moved to Harrisburg and was later hired by the Locust Mountain Coal and Iron Company. At that time, he moved to what was then Centerville, later known as Centralia. He had the position of Superintendent and Chief Engineer and he was responsible for over 6,000 acres. He was the "man in charge," and one of his first acts was to build 141 houses in Centerville for his workmen. As the superintendent of the firm, he had a very prominent position with the company. He even ran (unsuccessfully) for the Treasurer of Columbia county.
On the morning he was killed, he left his house at 8 AM by horse and buggy. Rae never made his destination and when the horse and buggy showed up, a search was undertaken. His lifeless body was found only 47 yards from the present Route 61 between Mt. Carmel and Centralia. Early conclusions were that Rae was a victim of highway robbery.
Prof. Turner then shifted his focus to the trial in Columbia County. The discussion of the resulting trials and of the subject of the Molly Maguires was one generally unknown by most of the audience. Since the Molly Maguires themselves left little or no history, most information about the subject has been filtered through writers hostile to the movement. The investigation, the prosecution and the punishment of those involved were somewhat biased. George Turner provided a very unbiased version of the story.
There is no reason to tell you how the trials came out or the events of the trials. Prof. Turner tells the story so skillfully that you need to hear him relate the tale. It is possible that an organization you are a member of would sponsor him to discuss the subject with your group in the future.
The November meeting of the North Mountain Historical Society will deal with the subject of Robert Bruce Ricketts and the history of North Mountain. Peter's newest book, In Command of Time Elapsed--The Life and Times of Robert Bruce Ricketts, will soon be available for sale. The Ricketts name has been associated with North Mountain and its area for more than 150 years and so where better to have a book signing than at the North Mountain Historical Society's November meeting on the third Monday, November 19, in Elk Grove. Within the 400-plus pages is a comprehensive history of the life and times of Colonel Ricketts. It is illustrated with 300 period, modern black and white pictures, maps and illustrations. The book sells for $25 tax included. For the history group meeting, Pete will speak briefly on the book and then move to a slide program on Colonel Ricketts. If there is any time left, he will conduct a question and answer session. For those who would like to purchase a copy of the Ricketts book and have Pete autograph it, there will be a book signing at the end of the meeting.
October 16, 2007. Happy birthday to John Unbewust and Tina Burt. On this date in in 1962, the Cuban missile crisis began as President Kennedy was informed that reconnaissance photographs had revealed the presence of missile bases in Cuba. Jeannie Walters remains in the Geisinger Hospital.
Quote of the Day:
"The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it."
--Oscar Wilde, born on this date in 1854
Tuesday's Press Enterprise included an editorial which in part said, "A community is people, and a community center needs people to remain vital. It needs volunteers to keep the doors open; it needs memberships to pay the bills, but mostly it needs families to support it and encourage its use, especially by youngsters. In short, use it or lose it." An exact count isn't available to me, but at last count last evening there were between 400 and 500 individuals, mostly from the upper Fishing Creek Valley, who will be using the Community Center. The membership card system for the Center will not be fully implemented until Friday, so until then stop in and look around and look at the smiles on the faces of your friends and neighbors.
There are some very exciting things afoot at the Northern Columbia & Community Center and members will hear about them shortly thanks to an email distribution system now in testing. Center Director Rob Hutchinson will introduce the system to members shortly. For those who are not members but would like to know what is going on at the Center, we'll include abbreviated versions on the Benton News following publication by the Director. I would love to tell you about what is happening, but I'll leave it up to the Director to break the news.
The Homecoming Sunday service at St. Gabriel's Church was attended by a loyal following. Thanks have to go out to Betty and Bill Victory, Franklin, Sara and Tim Newhart, Cornelia MacDermott, Helen Snyder and Virginia Thomas for their extremely generous and loyal devotion to the church. St. Gabriel's is important to the entire upper Fishingcreek community because it is the "mother church" of the area. Brad Cole, attending from Annapolis, Maryland, noted that "the Lutherans, Presbyterians and Episcopalians all utilized St. Gabriel's until eventually building their own facilities in and around Benton." He added that "Under the current stewardship of those dedicated people mentioned above the building and grounds are in the best condition ever. The building was recently painted, the stained glass windows sealed and protective covers installed over them; the addition completed." On a sad note, Father Joe Hess did not attend this year. He, Helen and the rest of his branch of the Hess family were missed.
Autumn Joy was born Friday, October 12, at approximately 7:30 PM, at the home of her mother and a couple of siblings near Bendertown. Autumn Joy was 22 inches tall and weighed 22 pounds at birth. She is chocolate brown. Mom and baby are doing great. At less than one day old, she was already running around the stall and bucking. Julie Beishline feels that Mom "April" is going to have her hoofs full with this baby donkey!
The Saturday Press Enterprise included a posting in the popular (or unpopular, depending on your point of view) column 30 Seconds. from a Forks woman "unable to get a library card." This lady should go to the Columbia County Traveling Library. The CCTL provides free library cards to any county resident. The town libraries (Bloomsburg & Berwick) charge because they are not supported by the outlying townships and Columbia County does not have a county-federated system. If Columbia County did have a federated system, this would not be an issue. As for ID, all libraries require it. If she does not have an in-state driver's license, she should furnish her out-of-state license, plus a copy of her tax or utility bill with her name and a local address.
The lady from Forks can hail the Bookmobile today at Rainbow Hill from 1:20-1:45 PM; Little Tiger Teachery from 1:50-2:10 PM; Central Hotel from 2:30-3:30 PM; and Benton Riverside Market, 4-6:30 PM. If Wednesday would be better, the Bookmobile will stop at Two and a Half Street beside the CCFNB from 10:30 to 11:30 and the Benton Senior Center from 11:35 to 11:50 AM. Closer to Forks, the Bookmobile will be at the Stillwater Park from noon until 1 PM Wednesday.
Effective with the Benton run of the Bookmobile on November 21, the stop at Two and a Half Street and the stop at the Benton Senior Center in the Benton Township Building will be terminated. On the same date, these two stops will be consolidated at the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center. This stop will be from 10:30 AM until 11:50 AM. Other stops in the Benton area that occur on different dates will not be affected.
The Friends of the Columbia County Traveling Library will hold a used book sale October 20 and 21 at Columbia Mall. Donations of good used books for that event are now being accepted and can be left on the front porch of 237 Market Street, Benton.
The mustard from wieners
As quickly as slacks
Just back from the cleaners.
• November 4, 2007, 7 PM, at the Benton Middle-Senior High School, 400 Park Street, Honoring God & Country Service. The Benton Council of Churches will worship our Lord and Savior and honor those that served and are serving in the Armed Forces. Following the celebration there will be a time of refreshment and fellowship. Please come and participate in this community event. The Touch of Brass will perform, and the Fire Department and the Boy Scouts will participate. Diane Laubach will play the piano and there is a possibility that the Benton high school choir will sing a couple songs, and there will be a guest speaker.
• November 14 & 15, 2007. AARP Driver Safety program sponsored by the Benton Women's Club. The insurance cost of your automobile policy could go down if you qualify for and complete the course. The classes will be held at Christ the King Catholic Church, Benton, from 9:30-1:30 both days. The Benton Women's Club will provide refreshments! Both husbands and wives must attend the course in order to obtain the certificate. The cost is $10 per person, and both husband and wife must bring their driver licenses and a pen or pencil. To register call Barbara, 925-6242.
Businesses destroyed in the Benton Fire of July 4, 1910, included the People's Department Store, where the loss was estimated at $40,000; the Exchange Hotel, with a loss of approximately $25,000; the Charles Hess meat market; the post office building; the confectionery store of B. O. Sheldon; barber shop of Glen Tubbs; the Keystone Telephone Company offices; jewelry store of Ray Keeler; harness shop of John Chapin; music store of Arthur Harrison; furniture store of A.T. Chapin; millinery store of F.M. Golder; blacksmith shop of George Crossley, and the Rinker confectionery store.
--The Philadelphia Inquirer
I ran into Pastor Brad Spangenberg at the Riverside Market Monday and we started talking about Edgar Baker. Brad and Edgar were good friends and Edgar once authored a report entitled Harmony and Discipline in School, written for Pastor Spangenberg as part of a project involving former teachers who were parishioners and friends of Rev. Spangenberg at the Millville United Methodist Church.
Edgar taught in the one-room school at Upper Pine where each day the Scriptures and the Lord's Prayer were read in unison as the school day began. Songs were sometimes sung, and poems, sometimes religious in nature, were read. At Upper Pine, Edgar never had more than twenty pupils in any one year, and one year had only thirteen. Edgar's own one-room school days were very different, with about fifty students and prior to Edgar's school days about 90 students in that same school.
At Upper Pine, of the students Edgar had in school there were more than half of them that were first, second, or third cousins. Edgar and his wife, Helen, owned the Talmar country store in the same community, and all the parents were customers during the last three years that he taught. During the depression years, mandated by state law, Edgar was asked to go back to the eighty-five dollars from the one hundred dollar salary he had been receiving.
Edgar discussed how the selection of teachers was made when he started teaching. Edgar recalled that during his senior year of high school, in 1927, George Gordner, a school director in Pine Township, asked Edgar to teach the next year. Edgar was not interested, as he intended to go to State College. An uncle, Benton Young, also asked Edgar to come to Upper Pine to teach. Edgar's father thought it might be a good thing to teach a year or two and decide what he really wanted to take at college. Edgar finally acquiesced to teach at Upper Pine, beginning in the fall of 1927 and four or five others of his class at Millville High School began teaching in Greenwood and Madison Townships at the same time.
Edgar wrote that the appointment of teachers was nearly always made by school directors, although the County Superintendent of Schools also had a voice in these decisions.
When asked about discipline, Edgar responded by saying that restrictions on punishment were not regulated by state law in those days, except that teachers were encouraged not to use excessive punishment. Common sense was the rule. Edgar recalls that he never inflicted punishment with a whip or strap, but does recall other types of punishment: making students stay in their seats during recess or at lunch time, or making them write something a number of times.
The discussion of Edgar brings up another subject. I am currently preparing an article about Talmar and Wesley Chapel, thanks in part to some material provided by Wayne Johnson. Any contributions of information about Talmar would be appreciated.
October 15, 2007. On this day in 1967, 40 years ago today, the Dedication Ceremony was held at what is now Bloomsburg University for two new buildings on campus, the library and the auditorium.
Today is a staff in-service day. The Benton Area Schools are closed. George Turner is the featured speaker at the North Mountain Historical Society this morning at 9 at the Brass Pelican. Phoebe Jean Walters was an Emergency Room patient at the Geisinger from Friday afternoon until Sunday evening when she was transferred to a private room. Jeannie is in the hospital because of continuing problems with lupus. Sunday night the clear, crisp smell of autumn was interrupted by the pall created in the Borough by low-lying wood-stove smoke. I’ll be happy when spring gets here so I can breathe again.
Didja know that...
• W. A. "Todd" Butt built the brick house on the east side of Main Street across from the Methodist Church in 1916. The house was purchased by Frank Houseweart in 1951. Bill Yanchik, owner of the Benton Coins and Collectibles, is the current owner.
• What some call the "Edgar Baker" house on Main Street was built in 1949. Leon Sharek bought his house on Main Street, later destroyed by fire, in 1938. Joe Sutliff bought his North Main Street house in 1941. It was sold at auction earlier this year and is currently for sale after minor improvements.
• The antique store on Main Street is housed in a building where at one time the Neil S. Harrison Store was located and later the Edson Family had their plumbing business in the building. The building was built in 1904 for the Benton Store Company. Adjacent was what was known as the "Dayton Hess property, now owned by John Jankowski. A McHenry built the house in 1902.
• The first building next to the actual Christian Church on Church Street was built by William Robbins. This building is now part of the Christian Church building and contains Sunday School rooms. It is often referred to as the Brewington Building, since Betty Brewington lived there. Burr Appleman lived in that house at one time. The property adjacent to the Christian Church on Third Street was at one time owned by the Henry family and served as the church manse at one time. Today it is a parking lot.
• What was once known as the Universal Theatre and later the Ritz Theatre at the intersection of Market Street and Two and a Half Street was built in 1915 by Alonzo Houseweart. The theatre operated during the 1920s and 1930s under the management of Harry Chapin. Ruth Appleman Pealer was pianist for much of the silent picture days. It was generally open on the weekends and was also used by the school for plays and other activities until the construction of the new school building in 1928. As the Ritz Theatre, it became part of the Magazzu chain and was managed for a few years by a Mr. Zerby and then by Martin Appleman until it was closed in the 1950's. Popcorn was a dime, the seats were hard, and on Saturdays you usually could see a Lone Ranger or Superman serial in addition to the regular movie.
• The Benton Fair Grounds were once owned by Thomas McHenry. For those not familiar with the location of the fair grounds, they were at the location of the present Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center. The first fair was held October 29 through November 1, 1884. Bloomsburg newspapers noted that the grounds were "conveniently located and suitable buildings were erected for the protection of exhibits. The Bloomsburg papers, however, paid scant attention to the fair. The fair closed in 1891 when Mr. McHenry passed away.
• Benton Industries opened in September, 1941, with ten employees.
• What was known as the "Paul Stevens" house and which is still occupied by Madelyn Stevens, on the former Railroad Street (now Fifth Street) was purchased by Paul Stevens in 1940. The garage associated with the property was the former S.F. Appleman wagon maker's shop. On Fifth Street, the Robert Hess house was built by Ernest Ash.
• The former Baker and Baker Building on Main Street, now the location of D.R. Quick Mart, was a combination of several buildings, including the former Pennington & Seely Store, a private home, and the Stiles Hotel which came along in 1860. The Stiles Hotel stood where Pennington & Seely built their store.
• Charles W. Hess moved to Benton in 1909 and bought the meat market of Henry Unbewust which was housed in a block building "on the square." Prior to that the building housed the Benton Argus. The second floor of the building was used to house the office of the Hon. John G. McHenry. In 1920, as part of the July 4th fire, the building burned and as soon as possible Mr. Hess built a meat market on the former site of the Baker & Baker store. In 1946, Edgar Baker bought this building. In 1949, the Bakers remodeled and made apartments in the second floor, which included the two-story building of Mrs. Hess which was next door and attached to the butcher shop in 1959. The store became Baker & Bennett and later Baker & Baker. In 1960, the Bakers bought the Pennington store building which was across an alley. The building was remodeled. Five apartments over the Baker and Baker Store on Main Street were built in 1961.
• The first school in Benton came along in 1799 when two families who lived in what is now the Borough started holding private classes in the home of Isaac Young in a building owned by Eli Mendenhall. Later a school was built in the West Creek area and a second school "south of town" in a house then occupied by Stephen Lazarus.
--from notes made by Davie Yost in a "cashbook."
Books sold at the Brass Pelican on behalf of the Columbia County Historical Society brought in $390 for the organization during the past month. Books sold at the Bloomsburg Fair for the society brought in $300.
Take the sun and sky and clouds of June
And gather all the flowers of July together,
You still won't rival for even a minute
The joy of October's bright blue weather.
The Benton United Methodist Church will hold a free community Thanksgving dinner on November 22 at noon. RSVPs should be phoned to Janet English, 925-2417.
October 14, 2007. Happy birthday today to Kris Karl, Bellefonte. What a beautiful fall day we had locally Saturday and a much warmer day than it was a year ago when the temperature dipped to 24°.
On this date in 1890, Dwight David Eisenhower, 34th president of the United States, was born in Denison, Texas. He came from a poor but religious family. His pacifist mother cried when he chose to go to West Point, and he later served in World War I and World War II. He lead the invasion of French North Africa, he was named Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, and planned the invasion of Normandy. He ran for president against Adlai Stevenson in 1952 and 1956 promising to get the United States out of the Korean War, and he did. His vice-president in both terms was Richard M. Nixon, who became president in 1968.
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."
You picked a bad day to read the Benton News. We are giving an unannounced quiz. Here are the questions. Answers are given at the end of today's rant.
• 1. If you go to bed tonight at 9 PM and wound your alarm to go off tomorrow at 10 AM, what is the most sleep that you could get tonight?
• 2. If your doctor gave you three pills and told you to take one every half hour, how long would the pills last?
• 3. If you have two coins totaling $.55 and one is not a nickel, what are the two coins?
• 4. Which is heavier, light crème or heavy crème?
Many people with fast internet connections listen to radio through the speakers on their computer. You can go to www.mikesradioworld.com/us_pa.html to find the radio stations in Pennsylvania that broadcast over the internet.
It was a fine day for the grand opening of the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center. The ribbon-cutting ceremony went off exactly as planned in front of the lovely new building and beside the flag pole that was erected the day before thanks to the generosity of some very nice people.
Elsie Buyers is shown on the left and Rob Hutchison on the right. Rob is the Center Director.
The crowd streamed into the building, many of whom were seeing the structure for the first time. They were treated to two serving tables with double lines each serving some very fine food, they heard the blessing delivered by Elsie Buyers, the same woman for whom the building is named and to whom deep gratitude of the community is extended.. The guests heard some excellent patriotic music thanks to the Brush Arbor Choir and the veterans were indeed honored. Guests dined while listening to the music of John Russo, and after the speeches were over they continued listening to excellent music served up by the Brewgrass Grandes, the Greenwood Valley Boys and by Budd Glen who drove from Boone, North Carolina, to attend the grand opening. There were others with plenty of talent, too. Elizabeth Shaffer was on the stage, along with the Huntington Girls, Annabelle, Sara and Cecelia--singing as "The Benton Beauties." The Al Hess Family--Al, Pat, Glen and Daniel--were on the stage.
There were plenty of dignitaries, too. David Kovach, Bill Soberick and Chris Young, the incumbent County Commissioners, spoke. Rep. Karen Boback and Rep. David Millard were there and spoke. Dr. Boback has been very active in both Benton Township and the Borough and will open her office in the Community Center to the public during the last week of October. We'll tell you more about that opening and how to schedule an appointment at a later time. It is always nice to see David Millard show up in Benton. Although he does not represent Benton Borough or Township, you can always count on him to lend his full support for local events.
State Senator John Gordner, always an excellent speaker and long a friend of the Community Center, received a standing ovation for his off-the-cuff comments.
Several artists whose works are shown in the Center were in attendance. The artist who probably received the most attention was Al Senavitis whose skillfully crafted folk art has been a consistent hit of everyone who has seen his work.
Al Senavitis shown with two of the six of his folk art creations on display at the Center.
Spend some time looking at the hand-carved people in his one-room school.
The painting and photographs shown in the museum/library are truly wonderful and reflect favorably on the ability of the artists of the Northern Fishingcreek Valley, on Ken and Dorothy Wilson who spearheaded the exhibit and on the North Mountain Art League which now calls the Center "home."
There is a list easily "a mile long" of people and organizations to thank for making the Center happen. The officers of the Center probably feel guilty that they can't list every person to give them the recognition they truly deserve. The words "Community Center" roll off the tongue quickly, but it is truly a center of the community.
One young man was so excited about the Center he asked if it would be possible to organize a pinochle tournament in the building, and a man three times his senior quickly added that he would like to do the same with the game of bridge.
There was a continous rush to get more information about the Center from the Center Director, Rob Hutchison. This is what the main desk looked like much of the day as people stopped to buy memberships and get information. Grace Stowe and others helped at the desk. Grace, shown on the right, was Rob's able assistant for much of the day. Jackie Malhoyt, not shown, signed up volunteers to help with the operation of the Center.
Quote of the Day:
"It feels very good."
--Douglas Rodney Pennington, 13, in response to a Channel 16 reporter asking how it feels to have the Community Center open.
There are some kinks to work out with the curing of the concrete, but the Center is a fine addition to the northern part of the valley. Remember that today at 6 PM is the last time to enroll at the "Charter Member" cost.
The Sunday edition of the Press Enterprise includes a number of photos and a lengthy article on the history of the Center.
The audience listening to the Brush Arbor Choir
during the grand opening of the Community Center
Answers to the quiz at the beginning of this rant...
• 1. You would get one hour. Wind-up clocks do not show AM/PM.
• 2. One hour.
• 3. A nickel and a half dollar. (Only one of them is not a nickel).
• 4. "Heavy" and "light" refers to fat content--not weight--and since fat is lighter than water, the correct answer is that light crème is heavier.
In fairness, however, it should be pointed out that Dan McGarigle, El Segundo, California, emailed that I flunked my own quiz, noting that "If your doctor gave you three pills and told you to take one every half hour" the correct answer would be an hour and a half. His calculated reasoning...1. Pills dispensed by a doctor have a predictable life in the body; i.e., how long they "last."2. So, if the first pill is taken now, then it "lasts," per the doctor, for 30 minutes.3. Then the second pill taken now + 30 minutes will "last" for another 30 minutes = 1 hour elapsed.4. Then the third pill taken now + 60 minutes will "last" for another 30 minutes = 1 and 1/2 hours elapsed.
So, the answer is not that the pills will last 1 hour, but that the pills will last 1 and 1/2 hours. For the question given, the answer is 1 and 1/2 hours.
I have now officially discontinued the concept of pop quizzes!
Front row, L to R: Barbara Hess Shenk, Jim Kile, Bette Kile, Christopher Kile.
Back row, L to R: Franklin Newhart, Sara Newhart, Bonita Kile, Arlene Starusser, Polly Laubaugh Eckrote, Harlan Kile, Carol Foster
The Genealogy Gang at St. Gabriel's Homecoming
Picture courtesy of Richard Shoemaker
Mary Elizabeth (Pifer) Houseweart (February 24, 1913-October 12, 2007), formerly of the Raven Creek and Maple Grove areas of Benton Township, passed away Friday at the Orangeville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. She was 94. She was born in Shickshinny, a daughter of the late Charles and Victoria (Mazefski) Pifer. Her early years were spent in Reyburn, Luzerne County, and with her husband began farming in the Raven Creek area in 1945. In the late 1950’s she worked at Hanover Canning Plant, Bloomsburg, and later at Milco Industries, Benton, retiring in the 1970s. Preceding her in death was her husband, the late Doyle E. Houseweart, who died December 5, 1995, and a daughter, Janette L. (Houseweart) Davis; a brother, Carl Edward Pifer, and by two sisters, Dorothy Pifer and Anna Winterstein. She is survived by a daughter, Lily Mae Boudman (George), Millville, 8 grandchildren and numerous great grandchildren. Funeral services will be Tuesday morning at 11 with visitation in the hour preceding at the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc. Burial will be in the Raven Creek Cemetery.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will appear in the Monday Press Enterprise.
The Ol' Country Barn held its 21st Annual Pumpkin Festival Saturday and it continues today. The barn was crammed with "items," "stuff," and "treasures."
Something like 50 crafters, antique dealers, collectors, and food vendors showed up. A large crowd enjoyed the festivities and heard the excellent entertainment provided by Sandy and John Kogut.
October 13, 2007. It is the birthday of Bill Danilowicz, Art Search, Jan Swan, Mary Gaye Kline, Rose Zimmerman and Jill Byrum, known better as Lacy J. Dalton.
It will be hard to do everything there is to do this weekend, but most of us will try! Lets begin right here at home. Remember to pick up your Angel Food box at the United Methodist Church between the hours of 8 and 11. The ribbon cutting and grand opening of the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center takes place today. Details follow in a later paragraph. But there is much more going on Saturday. The Ol' Country Barn holds its 21st Annual Pumpkin Festival with nearly 50 crafters, antique and collectible dealers, food vendors and free entertainment by Sandy and John Kogut. There will even be free door prizes. The Fairmount Springs United Methodist Church will hold its ham supper family style from 4 to 6:30 PM
In the non-food categories, there is the Heritage and Freedom Festival Saturday and Sunday at the Endless Mountains War Memorial Museum, Sonestown starting at 11 AM. Saturday night you can dance the night away with round and square dancing beginning at 8 PM at the Jerseytown Community Center. Homecoming of St. Gabriel's Church will be the genealogy get-together in the Social Room beginning at 9:30 AM until 4 PM. Lunch is on your own.
Don't forget The Millville Community Fire Company is having a buffet style "All you can Eat Buckwheat cakes and Sausage Breakfast" from 7 AM to noon Sunday. Up at St. Gabriels Church on their homecoming weekend, the Sunday services are at 10 AM.
The day we have all been waiting for, the grand opening of the Northern Columbia Community and Cultural Center, will take center stage today starting with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 12:30 PM, followed by a potluck dinner from 12:45-2 PM; a concert of patriotic music by the Brush Arbor Choir at 1:30 to honor the individual veterans of the area. There will be speeches by dignitaries starting at 2 and the facility will be thrown open for tours from 3 to 5. During the period from 3 to 5, there will be music starting with the John Russo Trio from New York City at 3 and at 4 the Brewgrass Grandes headed by Joe and Lorraine Feola will play. At 2 PM, there will be a magic show for the children in an area outside of the main gym. From 3 to 5 PM, there will be bluegrass picking in one of the two outside tents for musicians of the area.
The gym and the aerobics room will have a concrete floor for another three weeks or so. The curing of the concrete is expected to be at the correct moisture levels sometime next week, but it will then take another two weeks for the contractor to install it once he begins the procedure.
The Center is looking for a donation of a play kitchen, work bench and wood shelves for toys for in the children's room.
The Honorable Dennis C. Wolff, Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture, a native of Millville, came by the Center with his staff to look at the facility Friday.
Pointing out his hometown brings a smile to Sec. Wolff's face.
Agriculture Secretary Wolff was reviewing state renewable energy facilities and stopped at the local school system which is developing plans for a biofuels heating system.
Sec. Wolff specifically discussed the Benton Area Schools conversion to heating by the use of alternative fuels of agricultural energy projects, such as switchgrass. The local school could end up being the first public school in the nation to be heated by products produced through agriculture, using oil only as a back-up heating source.
Gary Powlus told Sec. Wolfe about the Community meeting on the subject and discussed methods of getting local switchgrass from the farmer to the school. The local school received a Pennsylvania Energy Harvest grant of $350,000, and has again applied for a similar grant for this year to obtain funding for an additional $70,000 of electrical work. A heating plant located near Park and North Streets is midway between the elementary school and the high school. Piping would run between the two buildings.
The current plan is for the Benton Area Schools to be given permission by the school board to hire an architect next week, and then send out an RFP to get prices. There will be an effort to bring farmers on board to accept the whole notion of growing switchgrass. The initial two years of switchgrass pellets will be provided with the ultimate goal to locally provide the alternative fuels needs in years following. The grass that will be utilized will not be grown locally in the first two-year period. There are two feed mills within two miles which can supply the school following the initial two-year period. The grant money must be spent by June 30 and the school wants "to have it fired up by October 1." EI Associates has recommended the school system enclose the current structure at Park and North Streets and replace it with a pole barn.
Mr. Powlus discussed the Mountain View School System, in the Northeastern part of the state, which installed a wood-chip burner in its school and last year saved an estimated $100,000.
There was some discussion of the benefits to be obtained from local farmers organizing a "cooperative" to purchase equipment to spread the cost rather than having to have one farmer buying a $100,000 piece of equipment. Gary Powlus reported that many schools have inquired about this system and that Northwest school district has applied for a similar grant. The Benton system has an educational component to what they are planning A separate door and a separate window will be installed in order to see the process in action.
Statistics obtained outside of the meeting in the Superintendent's office indicated that a ton of switchgrass replaces two to three barrels of oil and produces about five tons per acre. In Europe, most homes are heated with pellets. Switchgrass grows well on marginal land making our state an excellent place to grow switchgrass with mountain land, mine land, erodible land, wet soil and dry soil
Under the Governor's Energy Independence Strategy unveiled in February, every gallon of gasoline sold in Pennsylvania will include 10% ethanol once in-state production reaches 200 million gallons per year, with incremental increases up to 20 percent once annual production reaches 300 million gallons.
Sec. Wolff noted that "Pennsylvania farmers and businesses are being proactive in the pursuit of alternative energy options to help cut the rising cost of energy. The United States imports 60% of its oil and the commonwealth spends $30 billion annually on liquid fuels produced beyond the state's borders. The strength of our agricultural industry can help reverse that trend and we can invest that money in our farmers, our communities and our companies."
The Guv's PennSecurity Fuels Initiative calls for the production and use of a billion gallons of biofuels within Pennsylvania by 2017--an amount equal to what the commonwealth likely will import from the Persian Gulf by that time.
We'll discuss more about the plans of the local school district in a few days.
The Columbia County Historical and Genealogical Society is attempting to catalog all barns in Columbia County as part of their "Barns of Columbia County" project. Barns with a greater interest will be featured. When the study is complete, a book will be assembled and published. Steve Varonka, writer, photographer and publisher, will head up the project and is looking for contributors. If you have a story for your barn contact Steve directly from the Society's web site.
• October 17, 2007. The October meeting of The Fishing Creek Femme Fatale Chapter of the Red Hat Society will meet at Kristie's Cafe on Main Street in Benton at 2 PM. Reservations to attend should be made with Queen Mother Jackie, 925-2722. Cost is $17.50. Come and enjoy high tea and an afternoon of shopping at the Bakery antique Shop. Guests are welcome but reservations are necessary. Proper attire of a Red Hat and purple outfit are required. The chapter is open to new members!
• November 3, 2007. St. James Church, Zaners Bridge Road, Stillwater, will hold its Annual Roast Pork Supper at a cost of $8 per person, $4 children 6 and under. Serving begins at 4 PM. Menu includes all-you-can-eat-roast pork, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, lima beans, pickled cabbage, homemade apple sauce, pie and beverage.
One of Peter Tomasak's favorite topics is Robert Bruce Ricketts and the history of North Mountain. Pete has been researching this project since 1985. Peter's newest book, In Command of Time Elapsed--The Life and Times of Robert Bruce Ricketts, will soon be available for sale. The Ricketts name has been associated with North Mountain and its area for more than 150 years and so where better to have a book signing than at the North Mountain Historical Society's November meeting on the third Monday, November 19, in Elk Grove.
Within the 400-plus pages is a comprehensive history of the life and times of Colonel Ricketts. It is illustrated with 300 period, modern black and white pictures, maps and illustrations. The book sells for $25 tax included.
For the history group meeting, Pete will speak briefly on the book and then move to a slide program on Colonel Ricketts. If there is any time left, he will conduct a question and answer session. For those who would like to purchase a copy of the Ricketts book and have Pete autograph it, there will be a book signing at the end of the meeting.
Mary E. (Pifer) Houseweart, formerly of Raven Creek (the house where Joe and Loraine Feola now live) and Maple Grove, died Friday, October 12, 2007, at Orangeville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. She was 94. She was the widow of Doyle E. Houseweart, who died December 5, 1995. Funeral arrangements will be announced by the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc., Benton.
Friday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that officials with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission will formally sign a lease no later than Monday to convert Interstate 80 into a toll road.
October 12, 2007. Corey Becker celebrates his birthday today.
Many of us have a huge storeroom of pictures on our computers and everything runs just fine. Others complain about their computers running slowly. The difference could be any number of things, but it might be that the slowly running computer displays all the views of Cousin Claude and Nephew Nevin as "thumbnails." The computer might be spending all its free time converting these pictures into thumbnail images. You can see if this makes a difference in the operation of your computer by making setting changes from "thumbnails" to "details." Open "My Pictures" by clicking on "Start" and then "My Pictures." In the menu bar of the "My Pictures" folder, click on "View" and then "Details." Click on "Tools" and then "Folder Options." In the "Folder Options" window, click on the "View" tab. On the View page, you will see a section entitled "Folder Views." In that section, click on the button that says "Apply to All Folders" and click the "OK" button at the bottom of the window to save your changes. Your picture folders should not slow your computer down. The thumbnail view on a folder can still be used. When you open the folder you want to view thumbnails in, just click on "View" and then "Thumbnails" on that folder. Change it back to "Details" when you are finished.
There are multiple answers to the question as to why the stock market is rising (although it did fall yesterday). My answer would be that since the dollar is plunging stocks are acting as an inflation hedge. Stock prices are rising to offset the declining purchasing power of the dollar. The same thing happened after World War II and in the 1970s.
The Center hours beginning Sunday will be Sunday noon to 6 PM, Monday through Fridays 6 AM to 9 PM, and Saturdays 8 AM to 8 PM.
The Bloomsburg business Ken's Cattails installed a water fountain over the past two days at the Center and yesterday when the bill came it totaled $730.50 for lines, pumps, valve and hose, labor and so forth.
What a wonderful surprise it was when it was noticed that at the bottom of the bill was the annotation, "Donated in Full. Balance due --0--." The enthusiasm for the Center is overwhelming. When you are shopping at Ken's Cattails, please mention the act of generosity of owner Ken Narber.
It is always a hoot to talk with local colorful characters and none come higher on our list than Third Street resident Jim Dildine, 86. A recent conversation with Jim was greeted with mixed emotion. His colorful language and animated gestures make for an exciting conversation, but he had recently tripped and fallen while playing golf and as a result he gave up riding his bicycle until he regains complete control of his equilibrium.
Lee Remley and I stopped to chat with Jim as he walked home from the post office. His response to our "Hi'Ya, How Are You Doing?" was a quick, "I'm still doing but I'm not bragging either." He told Lee and I about tripping as he was "walking along 13" at the Mill Race Golf Course. He and Jerry Zeveney had "played 7 and were going to play three more." Jim tripped and landed on his shoulder and his head. Jim said he has been to the Geisinger three times since he fell, but that he didn't break anything. He just "didn't have a chance to brace" himself when he fell hard and fast. The doctor told him that was the reason that he had his head down. His golfing partner, Jerry Zeveney, told him that his "head bounced off the pavement."
Jim suffered through a coughing attack as he told his story, and painfully held his sides as it happened, adding "Thank goodness I didn't have a cold." He said "I would have given a thousand dollars not to have gone through this and I don't give a thousand dollars away very easily."
Jim and his sister, Eleanor Klementik, Third Street, celebrated their 70th anniversary on September 1. The anniversary was their moving to Benton Borough from Sunbury. Actually, Jim was born in Greenwood and attended the first grade in the one-room Greenwood School House. The Dildine Farm was about where the present Greenwood School House is today. Jim's father, Howard, was a school teacher at that time. The family moved from Greenwood to Sunbury, then back to Benton in time for Jim to attend his junior and senior years in the Benton School System. Jim smiled as he said "even after 70 years, some people don't accept us as being from the area."
Jim recalled that his father had no job when he arrived in Benton. Percy Brewington had arranged a job for Howard, but Percy passed away while the Dildine family was moving to Benton and the job went away. Howard was a milk inspector for a time and for awhile worked "on the road for $.80 a hour." During a visit to the Pennsylvania Farm Show, Howard met Charlie Steel, a GLF (Grange League Federation) Dairyman, who was looking for someone to distribute GLF products in Benton. Howard almost didn't get the job since a requirement of the job was to have GLF stock and none was available for purchase. Howard suddenly remembered that at some point in his past he had purchased one share of stock for $5, and that was enough to qualify him to get the GLF job.
Howard began his agency in what was until recently the Lodge Hall of Benton Lodge #667, F & A.M., taking over following the use of the building as a bakery by Mahlon Strauch. Jim later purchased the Long Wagon Works building on Market Street and Fred Wood moved his leather shop into the former bakery. Jim Wood lived on Third Street, just behind the former bakery.
Jim went though another coughing attack, and with a wave of the hand signaled that the conversation was over. He straightened himself up, looked up the street, waved his arm and tipped his hat as a gentleman like Jim would do as an Amish lady rode by on her carriage, and in his stage-qualified voice boomed, "Don't get old. You won't like it."
• October 22, 2007. Northeast Pennsylvania Alliance Against Homelessness will hold an initial meeting at 6 PM in the Andruss Library, Bloomsburg University.
• October 27, 2007. Greenwood Fall Festival & Yard Sale at the Greenwood Friends School from 8 AM until 2 in the afternoon. This will be a day of food and activities, rain or shine! Music, folk dancing, speakers, displays, games, food, and one of Greenwood’s fabulous yard sales. Participants will include Watershed Specialist Stephanie Singer, Action Now, Susquehanna International Folk Dancers, and other local organizations. Contact Rejena at 570 458-4677 for table reservations, a slot on the speaker schedule, and to donate items for the yard sale.
• October 28, 2007. Christ the King Church on Mendenhall Lane will host a hymn sing beginning at 7 PM Sunday. Susan Root, 925-2264, can provide additional information.
Have you ever really looked at the eclectic Victorian modified colonial mansion designed by Trumen P. Reitmyer or the building with the decorative Art Nouveau elements or the Second Empire Style mansion with mansard roof and twin pedimented dormers built for grocer Sharpless? Well, if these don't come to mind immediately, what about the clock erected for the A.B. Hess Jewelry Store or a similar clock that stood at the former Roy's Jewelers on Main Street? Getting warm? Well, certainly, you know about the Georgian Revival Style building known as Institute Hall with the domed bell tower, the first building built in the cluster of buildings now surrounding it. Or what about the building that originally contained a lock-up, the municipal government and the Friendship Fire Company? What about the Fifth Street house with the giant owls on the gables? What about the neo-classical style mansion with nine fireplaces and a Georgian Revival staircase that came from the 1904 St. Louis Exposition and served as the home of the Bloomsburg Elks for almost eighty years?
If you are a bit hazy on some of these buildings, you need to get the booklet Walk Bloomsburg, produced by the Columbia County Historical Society and distributed through grants from the Bloomsburg Foundation and the Columbia County Tourism Fund sponsored by the Columbia County Commissioners and the Columbia-Montour Tourist Promotion Agency. Stop at the Historical Society or the Tourist Bureau and pick up a copy, thank them for a job well done, and then put on your walking shoes and pound the pavements of the "only town in Pennsylvania." You'll have a heck of a good time!
The Columbia Montour Visitors Bureau purchased an additional 2,000 copies for distribution. A pdf version will soon be available on both the Valleys of the Susquehanna web site, and the Columbia Montour Tourist Bureau website.
The Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center awaiting the grand opening of the Center Saturday. The stage is shown under the bunting at center rear. There is seating in this room for 500.
October 11, 2007. Today is the birthday of retired teacher Beatrice Marie Roberts and the wedding anniversary of Philip and Susan Shultz. Merton Laubach is still a patient in Geisinger Medical Center. He showed improvement Thursday. Prayers for him are greatly appreciated.
The Columbia County Traveling Library visited its regular schedule of stops during September. The Bookmobile did not go out during Fair Week, but the library headquarters was open. The Bookmobile has added several stops to its schedule and there will be changes made to the Benton route in November. Additions to the Bookmobile stops include the Bloomsburg Senior Center, Columbia County Prison and a new child-care facility at St. Luke's Preschool. The Bookmobile gave up its stop in Jerseytown because of the lack of patronage.
Effective with the Benton run of the Bookmobile on November 21, the stop at Two and a Half Street and the stop at the Benton Senior Center in the Benton Township Building will be terminated. On the same date, these two stops will be consolidated at the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center. This stop will be from 10:30 AM until 11:50 AM. Other stops in the Benton area that occur on different dates will not be affected.
The Friends of the Columbia County Traveling Library will hold a used book sale October 20 and 21 at Columbia Mall. Donations of good used books for that event are now being accepted and can be left on the front porch of 237 Market Street, Benton.
The Benton Lions will host the Benton Halloween Parade October 30. The parade will start lining up at 6 PM and move at 7. The line-up will be at the entrance of McHenry Avenue, behind DR's QuickMart. All floats should be registered before the night of the parade. Call 864-2735 to register. Prizes will be awarded from $70. Twenty-five walkers will be given $5 prizes. The Lions will also judge houses on Monday, October 29. If you decorate your house, remember to have it lit up so the judges can see it. Judging is only done at night.
Benton Lions will hold their second annual Take out Chicken Dinner. November 15. The cost is $7.50 per dinner. You can purchase your ticket from a Lions member or you can purchase them at the Lions table the night of the parade. you must purchase a ticket in order to get a dinner.
It will be mentioned this weekend, but with the extraordinary number of events taking place Saturday and Sunday it is best to mention the Homecoming at St. Gabriel's October 13-14. Saturday morning will begin the genealogy get-together in the church social room beginning at 9:30 until 4 that afternoon. Saturday is come and go as you have time and lunch is on your own that day. Sunday morning, there will be a short service in church at 10 followed by a reception in the church social room.
The section that was published at this location on the small settlement south of Stillwater in Fishing Creek Township known as Zaners has been moved to Town Names on the side panel. At that location, there is also an article about Charles Zaner, for whom the settlement was named.
The following is provided as extracted from the minutes of the Benton Borough Council of October 1, 2007. Mike McCormick served in the capacity of acting president for the meeting. Attending were Allen Hess, Dan Jankowski, Dan Hartman, Michael McCormick, Mayor Swan, Kay Yankovich. During the meeting...
• Council voted to make a $100 contribution to the Carl Poust Memorial Fund. Mr. Poust served as Chief of the Benton Ambulance Association until he passed away on September 28.
• Council voted to sell the old police cruiser, now parked at the airport.
• Council agreed to hire a part-time employee to assist Kay Yankovich with the sewer and water-billing procedures (approximately 4-8 hours per month).
• Council was advised that the paving/construction work on Cemetery Hill Road and Hill Street is progressing and should be completed in the near future.
• Council was advised that a new light bar has been purchased for the police cruiser.
The meeting adjourned at 7:35 PM.
--Minutes complied from the official Secretary's Report.
Quote of the Day:
"There is nothing new except what's been forgotten."
• If your Miller beer and your Coors beer start tasting a lot alike in the future it could be because Miller Brewing Co. will be combined with Coors Brewing Co. to form a new company called MillerCoors. Look for Molson Coors Brewing Company TAP to climb above $70.
• Firefox gobbles up 512 MB of memory, but still is my browser of choice. Mozilla has released a testing version of Firefox 3 which at the moment is called "Gran Paradiso." Grand Paradiso is said to have fixed some memory leak problems and runs at something like 37 MB. The full version is planned for release before the end of 2007. Several readers have told me they downloaded Maxthon, a China-based donateware web browser for Windows. With more than 100 million downloads worldwide it must be good.
Learn more about John Russo, the singer/song writer who will lead the grand opening of the Northern Columbia Community Center, by going to www.myspace.com/johnrussomusic.
Diane Derr adding finishing touches to a painting of a covered bridge for the mural in the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center. The groundbreaking ceremony takes place Saturday, October 13.
Ken Narber, owner of Ken's Cattails, Bloomsburg, laying rocks for a waterfall in front of the mural at the Center.
October 10, 2007. Birthdays today include Loraine Hartman, Don King, Dottie Rabb, Frank Edson, and Jerri Ann Danilowicz. Jerri Ann Jones Danilowicz and her cousin, Frank Edson, were born on the same day, weighed the same and sisters Lillian Edson and Geraldine had beds next to each other at the Geisinger Hospital. Today could be the last day in 2007 to hit 70°. Dig out your woolies for Thursday and Friday.
• October 27, 2007. The 100th annual Catawissa Halloween Parade begins at 7 PM. A hundred years ago the people of our nation were worried about the influx of unskilled labor, excited about a washing machine that ran using electricity, admitting our 46th state into the union, and sucking it up with their new Hoover vacuum cleaner and lighting it up with their new General Electric tungsten filament.
• November 3, 2007. The Millville Community Fire Company buffet-style Chicken And Waffle Supper takes place from 4 to 7 PM. The price is $7 for adults, children 6-12 eat for $4 and children under 6 eat free. The menu includes chicken and gravy with waffles, mashed potatoes, string beans, applesauce, desserts, ice tea and water.
• November 4, 2007. The Benton Volunteer Fire Company will sponsor a Basket Bingo to benefit the Poust family. Tickets are $20 for 20 games. Additional cards will be available for purchase, There will be a Chinese auction, basket raffle, 50/50 and refreshments. If anybody would like to purchase tickets, sponsor a basket, donate an item to the Chinese auction, or donate items like bake goods or any other kind of refreshments it would be greatly appreciated. You can do any of the above by contacting Lori Sholley, 458-4499, Melissa Morris, 925-1006, Cindy Matthews, 925-2988, or Melissa Bartlow, 458-0402. All tickets should be purchased in advance. The Espy firefighters are having a roast beef and ham supper Friday night from 4 to 7 to benefit the Poust family.
• November 11, 2007. The Millville Community Fire Company is having a buffet style "All you can Eat Buckwheat cakes and Sausage Breakfast" from 7 AM to noon. Cost is $7 for adults, children 6-12 $4.00, and children under 6 eat free. There will be "Old Fashion" and regular cakes, home fries, sausage gravy, sausage, bacon, eggs, toast, orange juice, coffee and water.
• October 20, 2007. A new book entitled Around Hughesville has been released by Arcadia Publishing and will be available at the Hughesville Public Library from 1 PM to 4 PM during a book signing by author Joan Wheal Blank sponsored by the Friends of the Library. The book not only covers Hughesville but has pictures from all the townships in the East Lycoming school district as far east as Unityville. Joan Wheal Blank is an editor and amateur family historian. The former English teacher grew up near Hughesville in a rural farmhouse built by her great-grandfather in the early 1880s. She works in the Lycoming County Office of Human Resources and Veterans Affairs.
Hughesville dates from 1816, 130 years after the founding of the Commonwealth, when Jeptha Hughes purchased land along Muncy Creek and named it after himself by calling it Hughesburg. A log-cabin school came along in 1818 and within two years the first tavern opened for business. The town was renamed Hughesville in 1852. Commerce slowly developed and schools and churches were established. The Williamsport and North Branch Railroad passed through the village. The Hughesville Fair (now known as the Lycoming County Fair) began as an agricultural exhibition in 1870. The book Around Hughesville tells the story, set during the period between the 1880s and the 1930s, of the people and places of this rural community .
Hughesville holds a special place in the history of the Civil War. The youngest soldier of the Civil War, according to a Philadelphia Inquirer article of December 24, 1902, was Rev. I.B. Crist, former pastor of the Hughesville Lutheran Church, who as a drummer boy entered the service before he reached the age of eleven. Crist enlisted in Company G, 138th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, recruited at Gettysburg. He served two and a half years, and was honorably discharged for disability following injuries to his arm at Cold Harbor. Crist was in the tactically inconclusive "Battle of the Wilderness" fought from May 5 to May 7, 1864, during which he was wounded and carried off the field. The "Battle of the Wilderness" was the first battle of Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's 1864 Virginia Overland Campaign against General Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. Both armies suffered heavy casualties.
Didja know that...
• Hughesville now has the donation of a building for a museum? Pauline and George Montgomery donated the old pharmacy building to the East Lycoming Historical Society.
• The Columbia County Historical and Genealogical Society currently has 656 members, with 294 living in Columbia County.
• Volunteers are needed Wednesday at the local Community Center to assist in setting up the library and the museum, paint and assist in installing picture holders for the North Mountain Art League and mop and wax floors. Friday the Center is in need of a couple of strong men and a couple of pickup trucks.
In the Wednesday edition of the Benton News, we'll include the condensed minutes of the Benton Borough Council Meeting of October 1. We will also discuss the Cottage Inn Hotel adjacent to St. James Church that existed in that location in 1789, the distillery near the intersection of Honeytown Road and Zaner's Bridge Road and we'll chat a bit about the local hamlet named for the Columbus, Ohio, man who in 1916 had the most outstanding penmanship in the country. Reader's input, as always, is most welcome.
More of the Jamison City Tannery tools donated to the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center by Dave Cole. The quarter will give an indication of the tool's size. The use of the tool is unknown.
October 9, 2007. John and Sandy Kogut celebrate 25 years of marriage today. Today is the day selected at random to honor Leif Erikson, who led the first Europeans known to have set foot on North American soil over a thousand years ago. This is a big day of celebration in Wisconsin and Minnesota. John Winston Lennon, English composer, musician and member of the "Beetles" was born on this date in Liverpool, England. He died in December, 1980.
Merton Laubach suffered complications in the Bloomsburg Hospital and has been transferred to Geisinger Medical. He had his first knee replacement on Wednesday and did not do well. He remains in ACIU and is in need of prayer.
Didja know that...
• The Benton Food Bank helped 79 households with 87 orders for the month of August. The local food bank now is in its permanent home in the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center.
• If you divide the circumference of a pumpkin pie by its diameter you'll end up with pumpkin pi.
• Theresa Hartman, 88, Market Street, has attended the Bloomsburg Fair for 82 consecutive years and so informed a Channel 16 television audience last Wednesday night.
"Always and never are two words you should always remember never to use."
The 27th annual Sullivan County Fall Festival, featuring Lumberjack and Mid-Atlantic Chainsaw Carving, takes place Saturday and Sunday from 9 AM to 5 PM at the Forksville Fairgrounds. There will be juried handmade arts and crafts, craft demonstrations, a quilt show and sale, art, photo, sculpture show and sale; free entertainment on the outside stage; children’s activities; antique saw exhibit and demonstration; live llamas, blacksmith, apple butter demonstration; lumberjack and chain-saw competition. Will there be food? Oh, don't worry about that. There will be about 20 food vendors and about 60 craft vendors. Admission is $5 for ages 12 and up. Children age 11 and under are admitted free. Parking is free.
Sunday's edition of the Benton News mentioned that I got yelled at by a Florida reader who longed to attend one of the church suppers of the area. At the risk of being yelled at further, here is a description of a local Presbyterian Church supper in 1900.
The newspaper article about the supper noted that the "neatly clad young waitresses" delivered food from an "appetizing menu in spite of its old-fashioned features." Remember that this article is now 107 years old and refers to "old-fashioned" serving ideas! The menu was roast turkey with the "usual side trimmings and wound up with a generous slice of pumpkin pie 'like mother used to make'."
Decorations in the room were interesting. The platform in the Sunday school room was decorated with corn in the shock and on the ear and these were reinforced by an artistically arranged general line of farm and garden products. The article noted that "Here and there quaint doll heads peeped from corn stalks. The scene was lighted by grinning and in some instances hideous pumpkin moonshines."
The tables at which cake and confections and fancy work were sold were also trimmed with corn stalks and lighted pumpkins. On the walls were hand-decorated programs. The figures were hobgoblins and bats and other emblems suitable for the upcoming Halloween season. In the dining room, the decorations were pumpkin yellow. The menu cards were slices of pumpkin rind. Baskets of fruit were cut out of pumpkins. The cold slaw on each table was contained in a hallowed-out cabbage.
G. Nevin Dressler writes that his father "landed on the shores of Utah Beach during the second wave of the Normandy Invasion. Even when mentioned, Dad would get a tear in his eye. Dad passed away in 1995 and never had the opportunity to see the monument erected to honor those who fought so courageously for our country."
Nevin talked with some WWII veterans, many of whom expressed interest in visiting the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. Due to age and health reasons, many felt they would never be able to make the trip. Nevin disagrees, believing that "we owe these men and women the opportunity to see their memorial."
In conjunction with the Columbia County Commissioners, veterans will be able to take a bus to Washington, D.C. on Monday, November 12. If you are a WWII Veteran and have never seen the memorial and would like to make the trip, please contact the Columbia County Commissioners at 389-5600.
The cost of the trip will be solely covered by donations. If you would like to help defer the cost of the trip, please send a contribution (which I am told is tax deductible) to the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation, 309 Vine Street, Berwick, PA 18603. Please annotate "WWII Bus Trip" on the check.
The era of the tannery in the history of Jamison City is well known at an elevated level, but when one pokes below the top level of knowledge about the operation, very little seems to be known. If you don't know anything about a tannery or the Jamison City tannery specifically, it might be best at this point to jog your memory by turning to the FEATURES section where we have an article on the subject.
I poked around Monday with some tools that were donated to the museum of the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center by Dave Cole, Arnold, Maryland. All the tools came from the Jamison City Tannery. I soon concluded that I didn't know very much about the tools or the use of the tools. Miles Little, a former mill owner in Benton, then looked over the tools. Together, we still didn't know much about them. Today on the web version of the Benton News and again tomorrow we'll look at one of these tools.
One of the items in the container of tools was a whetstone.
A whetstone and its handmade case from the Jamison City Tannery. Note the uneven nature of the whetstone, not something good for sharpening a razor!
The quarter is shown as an indication of its size.
A whetstone is simply a piece of stone used to grind and hone the edges of steel tools and implements. Over the years items like scissors, knives, chisels and plane blades have been sharpened using natural-quarried material and more recently from man-made material.
There are a couple of "said-to-be true" stories about whetstones that I would like to share with you. The first is about a lad in Madisonville, Texas, in 1943. This industrious 12-year-old boy was a high-powered salesman. He made a pocketful of silver in his hometown one afternoon selling whetstones at fancy prices.
What the boy did was buy the entire stock of whetstones from the local hardware store for 35¢ each, and successfully hawked them outside for 85¢ by the simple device of shouting "This stone'll cost $1.25 in any hardware store--just go in there and see." It appears that the boy didn't need a whetstone himself. He was plenty sharp!
In the Western part of the United States, there was a discovery of whetstone rock in San Benito County, California, in 1880. The company announced that they had enough whetstone material accessible to supply the whole west coast. The company puffed out its feathers and crowed "The stone has been thoroughly tested, and proves to be of a superior quality."
One of my favorite stories about whetstones was about a soldier at whose house Abraham Lincoln had stopped when the soldier was a boy. The boy had given Lincoln his whetstone to sharpen his jackknife. The boy, now a soldier, again met the President during the war when he was assigned in Washington, D.C. Lincoln remembered the incident and spoke of the use of the whetstone.
"Ya-a-s," the soldier said slowly, "whatever did you do with the whetstone? I never could find it. We 'lowed mebbe you took it along with you." "No, I put it on top of the gatepost--that high one." "Mebbe you did; nobody else could have reached it, and none of us ever thought to look there for it." There it was found where it was placed fifteen years before. The soldier then reported that fact to the President.
A tool from the Jamison City Tannery. The tool can be pivoted
to 45°. The quarter is shown as an indication of the tool's size.
The two pictures today from the tannery will be followed in tomorrow's edition with a gizzie I can't describe and whose function I can't even begin to predict.
October 8, 2007. Today is the 73rd birthday of Donald Baker. The majestic ruby, amber, and gold leaves that blend to create the vibrant colors of fall are arriving. The mountains of Sullivan County were beautiful Sunday with their browns, reds and yellows. To know more about the trees that produce the colors of our fall, visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/commontr/. Start your Monday with a huge smile by listening to Mom's William Tell Overture.
On this date in 1871, The Great Fire of Chicago broke out at the barn of Catherine and Patrick O'Leary, when Mrs. O'Leary's cow kicked over a kerosene lamp. Or was Daniel "Peg Leg" Sullivan responsible? The fire traveled quickly on the West Side, jumped the Chicago River traveling at speeds estimated up to 30 mph at times, while sending fire and superheated air into the air. By October 10, more than three square miles in the heart of the city were completely destroyed, property damages were $200 million, about 100,000 people were homeless, and nearly 300 were dead.
One dark night, when people were in bed,
Mrs. O' Leary lit a lantern in her shed,
The cow kicked it over, winked its eye, and said,
There'll be a hot time in the old town tonight.
Millville Mutual Insurance Company celebrates its 132nd year of operation this year. 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.
Since its incorporation, Millville Mutual only conducts business within the state. Dean Girton is Chairman of the board and M. Paige Raski, a Benton High School graduate, is President. Paige is the son of Matt Raski.
Millville Mutual focuses on providing property and casualty insurance throughout rural Pennsylvania, and provides residential fire/liability, homeowners, business owners, small commercial and flood coverage. From its office located in Millville, the company services policies through 175 independent insurance agencies located throughout Pennsylvania. Because the company maintains an efficient operation with only 21 employees, 2006 was one of the most profitable years in recent history. The company web page can be used to find an independent agent, view company products, or pay a bill online.
We are excited to learn that ten local Future Farmers of America (FFA) and three adults will attend the National FFA Convention October 24-27 in Indianapolis. The focus will be on educating FFA members and their advisors on community needs, how skills of FFA members can be utilized to effect change and how FFA members can take the information learned at the convention and provide a similar service in their own community.
The national Future Farmers of America was created in 1928. Speculation on "how to keep the boys on the farm" has come down through the ages on the editorial pages of many newspapers. I have an article from the Philadelphia Inquirer of March, 1928, that attempted to figure out the solution to that problem. The article talked about forming clubs, holding "corn-growing" contests, ways to "keep the boy on the farm" and did a lot to boost agricultural colleges. The interesting thing is that the piece from the newspaper was not advocating the formation of what became the national FFA, but rather it was a simple advertisement for a tractor known as an Avery.
The advertisement advocated equipping the farm with the "best and latest machinery--like an Avery tractor--and let boy nature take its course." It admitted that agencies to help the farm boy have helped, but while these specialists have planned and worked and spent money--along comes the Avery tractor and shows how to get right to the farm boy's heart." You can learn more about Avery Tractors by going here. If the name "Avery" isn't at the tip of your tongue, you might better know the name "Caterpillar."
The advertisement was quite convincing. "No charm of the farm was ever more fascinating that the big 25-50 horsepower Avery tractor and six-bottom Avery self-lift plow." In this advertisement was the first use of the term "future farmers of America" that I found. The exact reference follows: "Right here is a fair illustration of the future farmers of America getting their knowledge of scientific agriculture at first hand--a knowledge at 12 to 14 years now that would have entitled a full-grown man to an engineer's license not many years ago."
The advertisement correctly predicated that there would be a "back to the land" movement once the war effort was over.
Everyone admires the beautiful colors of autumn leaves. Have you ever wondered why it is that in two trees of maples or of oaks or of cherry the coloring in autumn of the same species will often be much brighter in one than the other?
There have to be certain chemical combinations before any color can be produced. If you cut off a branch of any tree in the summer and throw it aside the leaves turn black or brown and without any brilliant color. If the branch is only half broken off or in some way injured, the leaves will color, as if the autumn had arrived.
Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
--Emily Bronte (1818-1848)
This is what the Philadelphia Inquirer showed the Autumn Woman
wore on this date in 1906
October 7, 2007. Today is the birthday of Brian Laubach. Deanna Ruckle is "on a course of recovery" following her surgery in Texas, husband Dale tells us, adding "Those prayers from north Columbia County really helped. It was a tough operation." Congratulations to the prominent Borough couple who agreed to purchase the Peterman property at auction Sunday.
On this date in...
• 1940, Portia Faces Life debuted on the NBC Red network. The radio soap opera focused on the life of Portia Blake Manning, a widowed attorney with a young son.
• 1985, the Italian cruise ship, Achille Lauro, was hijacked. Demands were made that prisoners held in Israel be released. Leon Klinghoffer, a resident of New York City and confined to his wheel chair, was fatally shot.
Having trouble remembering things? You are not alone, as Tom Rush explains when you head over to www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yN-6PbqAPM .
The 55th high school reunion of the Benton High School Class of '52 will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 23 and 24, at the Benton Fire Hall. This was a class with "stars in our eyes and unlimited optimism" and organizers plan the same for the reunion. The class will gather for a catered lunch and break late in the afternoon each day. Several members of the class can not be located. Can a reader help with Bill Karns or with Norma Kishbaugh Eroh or Gilbert Kocher or Carl Phillips or Charles Puterbaugh or Bessie Wilson Vietz?
A Florida reader reprimanded me, saying that I "have GOT to stop this talk about church ice cream socials, and firehouse spaghetti dinners, and buckwheat cake and sausage gatherings. It isn't fair!" OK, OK! Just one more, the Sugarloaf Fish Supper.
Saturday at the Sugarloaf Fish Supper there were 643 meals served and an additional 97 chose to take their meals home. The next fish supper will be November 3, 2007. Marlin Bollinger handled the potato detail. When this picture was taken, there were 22 people working in the kitchen.
October 6, 2007. 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. One of Westinghouse's 361 patents was a citywide telephone switching system, created long before widespread use by the telephone companies. The first commercial 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.
There are 29 days remaining until election day and candidates' signs are everywhere. I always know when it is getting close to election time because the candidates start remembering my name. One thing all the candidates seem to have in common is sincerity, whether they mean it or not! Didja hear about the candidate by the name of Jose who ran for a minor office and won? He then found a local political boss who mentored him and he ran for a higher office and won, this time by a landslide. He ran for congress and won and then for the senate and won. When his mentor saw he wasn't as happy as he should have been he asked what he could do for the politician. The politician asked if his mentor could do one more favor and he received a positive response. The politician quietly asked, "Could you help me become a citizen?"
There are a ton of things to do this weekend, starting from non-eating events like a two-hour round trip from Steamtown National Historic Site to Moscow along a mountain stream, past historic buildings, two reservoirs and Pocono Mountain woodlands for $21, $19 seniors, $15 children. Learn more at 888 693-9391 or http://nps.gov/stea. The Berwick Hospital Center will hold a Fall Festival beginning at 9 this morning and here in the Borough the Benton Volunteer Firemen will hold their Fall Festival this afternoon from 4:30-9 and the music will be live from 6-9. Of course, there will be food, games, hay rides, kid's activities and a Chinese auction. The 40th Annual Flaming Foliage Festival is today and Sunday from 10 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon. This Arts and Crafts Show and Sale at the Forksville Fairgrounds, just off Route 87, Sullivan County, features Alpacas, hayrides, pony rides, a book sale, chicken barbecue, demonstrations, pumpkins, food and the beautiful foliage of Sullivan County. Free admission and parking! Starting tonight and happening every Saturday night until spring you'll find round and square dancing at the Jerseytown Community Center from 8 to 11 with music by the talented Masters Band with Leon Johnson doing the calling. And last but not least is the 26th annual Covered Bridge and Arts Festival today and Sunday at Knoebels Grove Amusement Park.
Auctioneer Steve Letteer will sell to the highest bidder the 12-acre property (at 2 PM) at 133 Ridge Road plus the personal items of Russell and Debbie Peterman Sunday at 1 PM. Take Market Street west from the square in Benton. That becomes Distillery Hill Road, then turn left on Ridge Road to the sale on the right.
For the rest of us who have to work, there is a huge push today to get the bulk of everything moved into the Community Center. Starting at 9 AM, volunteers will move the contents of the Main Street temporary location of the Center. There are items to move from the Benton Township Building, the Mill Street Thrift Store and from the Christian Church. Some items, like the two pool tables, are extremely heavy and difficult to move. Other items could be moved by a 95-pound person. Everything needs to be dusted, there are windows to wash and more books to catalog. For those who can paint, there is a second coat of Marine epoxy that needs to be applied in the game room before the items can be moved onto that floor. There are exhibits to construct and fill. The list could continue, but you get the idea... Join us if you can. We could really use the help.
The membership costs of the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center follow, in the following format: Type of membership, monthly cost, quarterly cost, semi-annual cost and annual cost:
• Youth (12 and under) $12 $24 $47 $69.
• Teen (13 to 19) $16 $28 $57 $89.
• Young Adult (20 to 25) $22 $42 $82 $139.
• Adult (26-61) $32 $62 $122 $219.
• Senior Adult (62 and older) $26 $54 $107 $189
• Family: $52 $106 $212 $399.
• Single Parent Family: $46 $92 $182 $339.
• Senior Adult Family: $42 $86 $172 $319
Guest Day Pass: $5 age 13 and over, $3 ages 4- 12, free age 3 and under.
Payments may be made by cash, check, or money order. Make checks payable to Northern Columbia Community and Cultural Center or NCCCC.
NCCCC membership gives you access to the Fitness Center, Gymnasium, Library/Museum, Game Room, and discounts on specialty classes and programs. In addition members have priority to rent the center's meeting room(s) for birthdays, organization meetings, receptions, and/or workshops.
Corporate Discounts 10% discount with up to 10 annuals paid by employer. 20% discount with 11 to 30 annuals paid by employer. 30% discount with over 30 annuals paid by employer
The International Bluegrass Music Association award winners for this year included a wonderful entertainer who appeared at the July O.A.T.S. Bluegrass Festival: Michael Cleveland & the Flamekeepers, featuring Audie Blaylock, were named as Instrumental Group of the year. In the category of Instrumental Performers of the Year, fiddle player Michael Cleveland ran away with everything.
Fifty years ago this week, America was shaken out of technological complacency by a beeping 180-pound aluminum ball known as Sputnik. Russia had developed massive rockets capable of hurling a satellite into Earth orbit. What a break for America! The country awoke from its sleep and began pouring money into science and math education and space exploration. Scientists who then gave our country not just a launch from Apollo, not just a voyage to the moon and beyond, but within months created the ARPANET, the forerunner of what we know today as the internet. President Eisenhower asserted our country's right to free and open use of orbital space and the spy satellite programs began. American dominance has not been questioned since.
Times change, but over the years not everyone feels that change is good. I found an old letter from a woman who wrote, "Folks used to do their business in a one or two holer outside the home, and make their sauer-kraut inside the house; now they make their sauerkraut outside and do their business inside the house!"
"Dress-down Fridays" are popular with bank people and now some people are proposing an "email-free Friday" and some even go so far as to delete all their email in their in-boxes each Friday. Some engineers at Intel have implemented "Zero E-mail Fridays." Email isn't forbidden, but phone or face-to-face meetings are encouraged. Better communication and exchange of ideas is the goal. Someone who has the time to count these things estimates that each day about 39.7 billion person-to-person emails, 17.1 billion automated alerts, and 40.5 billion pieces of spam are sent worldwide. Sorta makes you want to make the whole darn week email free, doesn't it!
October 5, 2007. Happy Birthday to Dr. Bob Sequenza, Camp Hill, and to Carol Lehet, Jacksonville, Florida, daughter of Richard H. Lehet and Colleen Bender. We should also wish a belated birthday wish to Tara Grigas, Benton, whose birthday was September 28, but somehow missed on the Benton News. Their grandmother is Nancy Fox and great-grandmother is Mary Janney. It is Homecoming Weekend at the Benton High School. Three games are scheduled for Saturday, and the weather looks wonderful!
On the mend...
• Merton Laubach, Jamison City Road, Benton, in the Bloomsburg Hospital from knee-replacement surgery Wednesday morning. He should return home Friday. A second knee replacement is scheduled for January and that should make him "good as new." JoAnn Walk and Harry McClure had the same surgery done last week.
• Deana Ruckle, Plano, Texas, from four-hour surgery Thursday, her eleventh in five years. The operations are typically four to six hours in length and in two previous operations her surgeon saved her life with the procedure. Deanna has Crohns, which she calls "devil disease." Husband Dale Ruckle, formerly of Millville, is asking for prayers as Deana recovers in ICU.
• October 17, 2007. The local Red Hatters will be gather at Kristie’s Coffee shop at 2 PM for high tea, which will consist of samples of most or all of her menu items. The cost will be $17.50 each, including tax and tip. The gathering is limited to 22, so reservations must be in to Jackie Malhoyt by Wednesday, October 10.
The art work on the five-dollar bill will be changed beginning in 2008. Honest Abraham Lincoln has long been housed in a dark oval, but will be made larger and will be shown down to the top of his shoulders. Hues on the bill will be more colorful, in yellow and purple. A larger area around Lincoln forms a border with small stars, called ’symbols of freedom’ by the mint. Along with all this, on the left of the bill are small symbols, also in yellow. The back side of the $5 bill has been described as looking like play money with a large purple 5 in the lower right corner. The new five also gets a security strip, just like its big brothers.
The last cell phone I purchased for use in our fringe-reception area was a loser. Now there is a way of checking the signal strength in your area as documented by the carrier, although I'll admit they'll probably be more optimistic than they should be. All carriers and phones can have different signal strengths, so it only makes sense that you would want to research this information to see if you can even expect decent results around the area. Thankfully, SignalMap should be able to tell you most of what you need to know. The community mapping service will enable you to find and contribute signal information for most of the major carriers. All you have to do to get started is just enter in your address or postal code, choose the network, and then you’ll be on your way.
The efforts of readers who have been kind enough to provide documented facts regarding the history of the upper Fishingcreek valley will always be greatly appreciated. Our small corner of the universe won't be in the memories and hearts of many on this earth, but we'll always have those memories for ourselves. When I 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, I am 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 Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center 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.
There remains much to accomplish before the grand opening next weekend. A dedicated bunch of volunteers worked Thursday night until about 9 PM sweeping the concrete in the gymnasium, sorting and arranging books, making signs, arranging museum pieces, sealing the floor in the game room. Everything to be done in the next week can't possibly be done unless there are more volunteers. Today and Saturday will be busy days and volunteers would be appreciated. Saturday will be moving day. Strong backs and a couple of pick-up trucks or trailers would help.
You'll notice a change in the Benton News during the upcoming period, too. I need to focus attention on things that I can help with at the Center, rather than rattling on about the virtues of the upper Fishingcreek Valley. From now through the opening of the Center, the Benton News will be a bit thin. The Benton News will resume its normal schedule after the grand opening.
There are currently three easy ways to sign up for a membership in the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center:
• Visit the Center's Temporary Headquarters today on Main Street and sign up there. This office will close permanently Saturday and Rob Hutchison will physically move to the Center.
• Fill out a registration form and mail it back to the Center at P.O. Box 305, Benton, PA 17814. You can download a registration form here.
• Call the Center at 570 925-0163.
October 4, 2007. Happy birthday today to Stephen Becker, Camp Hill, and happy anniversary to John and Paula Deeter. 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. Florence Kocher, Market Street, remains a patient in the Berwick Hospital.
Today and Saturday are volunteer days at the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center. There are many books to inventory and position on shelves in the library and a great deal of sign making and other work to do in that room. Anyone who can devote an hour or a day to this effort please come to the Center today and/or Saturday. Saturday is moving day, the day when we officially begin to move the bulk of the items for the Center into the building. There is a huge need for volunteer help that day. Please free up some time and join us at the Center.
It isn't pleasant to say, but the drying of the concrete in the Center's gymnasium has not progressed as quickly as everyone said it would. As a result, the concrete is not "cured" enough to lay the flooring in the gymnasium and in one other room. None of the other rooms in the Center are affected by the concrete. Please read the Benton News on Friday for an announcement of changes that will take place on opening day as a result.
Roy M. Davis writes a column in the Tri-City Record, Watervliet, MI, called the "Paw Paw River Journal." and in the September 27 edition, he wrote about a recent trip he made Back Home to Benton, PA, a place Roy remembered as the "land of green hills, valleys and out-of-the-way places." He was of course talking about Jamison City, a place he said was a true judge of a good map; i.e., a map is good if one can find Jamison City on it. Roy did a good job of explaining to his readers that the village has "about 50 people in residence."
When Roy and his wife and another couple visited the local area, they were in awe of the two new antique shops in the Borough since the last time they visited. They visited the Sullivan Review offices and got written up in the "Social Notes" of that paper. Even the Benton News was mentioned in his article. But for now it is back home for Roy Davis, back to his "life along the Paw Paw River."
A new Web site filled with dairy information and educational tools made its debut yesterday. The site was developed by a collaboration of dairy specialists at land-grant universities across the country. To check out this new resource go to www.extension.org/dairy_cattle.
Five members of the Benton High School Class of 1937 gathered with their friends and relatives at Painter Den Club Wednesday afternoon.
Herman Pennington, Pierce Ashelman, Helen Kent Karns, Theresa Hartman. Lois Allegar
Pierce Ashelman told of attending the Asbury One-Room School, then he went to Union "High," which he explained was really Fishingcreek High," then on to Benton. The Union School was between Bendertown and Jonestown and is now a private residence. Herman Pennington attended the one-room school at Pine Grove for three years, just south of the William Hess Farm on Lower Raven Creek Road, before he transferred to the Benton schools where his first teacher was "just like an old chicken to a bunch of peeps." Bob Allegar also went to "Fishingcreek High," between Bendertown and Jonestown, then transferred to Benton for the last two years. During those years, he actively played baseball, four years for Fishingcreek and two for Benton.
It wasn't your usual funeral, the Wednesday funeral for a much-loved local firefighter and paramedic, 32-year-old Carl "Doc" Poust. Carl grew up in Unityville, attended the Hughesville schools, called Benton "home" because of his residence on Main Street and his position as Chief of Ambulance Services for the local volunteer fire company. Carl was a Paramedic Supervisor in Berwick, but he was remembered by every Columbia County Fire Company and many from neighboring counties. He had volunteered for the Benton, Millville, Unityville and Orangeville Fire and Ambulance Companies.
His admirers and fellow first responders came by the droves to honor their departed brother, arriving in ambulances, police cars and fire trucks. Both Sugarloaf Townships (in Columbia and Luzerne Counties) had representatives at the funeral. Montour County was well represented by firemen, police, EMTs and paramedics, as was Northumberland, Luzerne and Lycoming Counties.
A crowd estimated at 500 attended the funeral in the Benton Volunteer Fire Station, and many more saw the funeral on Channel 16, Scranton.
His brother, Mike, told us that "Nobody will ever fill his shoes." His younger brother is in the process of becoming a paramedic, a decision made before the passing of his brother. Mike attended in uniform, his gloves slung over his shoulder, tears streaming from his eyes, obviously determined to make a good try at living up to the reputation of his brother.
Fellow responders stand tall,
Silent tears slowly fall
And all of heaven cries
When a firefighter dies.
Carl could make the most of "small talk with the best of them" and Doc, his alter image, could make "big talk with the best of them," one fireman told me.
Doc could go from being Carl to being Doc and right back to being Carl again in a matter of seconds. A story was told about a resident doctor on life flight for Geisinger Hospital being thrown out of the ambulance Carl was bringing in because Carl didn't feel the doctor was treating the patient as he should have been treated.
Another story was told about the time in Benton when Carl arrived with the ambulance. The elderly patient looked at Carl and in in a half-joking manner made the comment that Carl was a big fellow. Carl kept working on the patient. Soon the patient again said to Carl, "You are indeed a big fellow." Carl didn't even blink but kept on taking vitals from the patient. After the patient was loaded into the ambulance and the rescue team pulled away with the patient in the back of the vehicle "Doc" relaxed and said to no one in particular, "I didn't have time to have small talk with him. I was there to save his life."
Seating inside the Fire Hall
Some of the uniformed firemen in the truck bay
listening to the services by loud speakers.
Carl was escorted to the cemetery beside the century-old Waller Methodist Church by a lengthy caravan of vehicles and then passed beneath the extended booms of ladder trucks provided by the volunteer firemen in Espy and the Reliance Hose Company, Berwick. A huge American flag blew strongly in the top-of-the-hill breeze from its perch on the Espy truck.
We did not feel it appropriate to show any pictures of the actual funeral.
The Fireman's Last Call was sounded at 4:05 PM.
Contributions may be made in his memory to the Carl Poust Memorial Fund, c/o Berwick Ambulance, 2018 N. Vine St., Berwick, PA 18603.
Grief and pride fill every face
no one will ever take your place.
And all of heaven cries
When a firefighter dies.
--Handwritten note by "P" found on a seat at the funeral.
Elizabeth M. "Betty" (Creveling) Ribble (October 22, 1929-October 2, 2007), Stillwater, passed away Tuesday at the Bonham Nursing Center. She was 77. Born in Fishing Creek Township, she was a daughter of the late Samuel Stucker Creveling and Beatrice Arila (Force) Creveling. A lifelong resident of the area, she had attended Zehner’s Grade School, the Stillwater School for four years and graduated from Millville High School in 1947. Mrs. Ribble was a homemaker except for a few years when she was employed by the Magee Carpet Company, the former Dol-Ang Manufacturing and Dockey’s Shirt Factory, both of Benton.
She and her husband, Paul Eugene Ribble, were married 59 years. Surviving are her husband and their sons Dennis Eugene Ribble, (Sharon) Benton; Dean Edward Ribble (Beverly), rural Orangeville; and Donald Elmer Ribble (Edye), Stillwater. There are six grandchildren, two great grandsons and a sister, Mary Margaret Beagle, rural Millville. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a sister, Grace Hock and by a brother, Samuel Walter Creveling.
Funeral Services will be held Friday at 11 AM at the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc. Burial will be in the Stillwater Cemetery. Viewing will be Thursday evening from 6 to 8 PM and also Friday from 10 AM until the time of the service at the Funeral Home.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will be published in the Thursday edition of the Press Enterprise.
October 3, 2007. Grant Gault and Eleanor Sands celebrate their birthdays today with Roy Uwe Ludwig Horn, usually just known as "Roy," of Siegfried & Roy fame. The reunification of East and West Germany took place on this date in 1990. Richard Sutliff is recovering at home after an overnight stay in an Illinois hospital with a bout of labyrnthitis.
Rev. Dr. Donna Laubach Moros is now honorably retired as a PCUSA (Presbyterian Church [U.S.A.]) minister, completing 20 years of service as a mission coworker to Venezuela, Colombia and Spain. Donna and her husband Edgar are currently in Spain waiting for the "Euro dollar mess to clear over." Donna has something like 2,000 books which she would like to send to the United States, but because of the valuation of the Euro she can't afford to send all her books home and there is "not too much of a market for protestant theological libraries in Spain." Her choices seem to be to donate them to the seminary in Spain or try to get them home.
Donna grew up on Benton R.D. #2, the granddaughter of Harry and Clara Laubach and the daughter of Harold Laubach. Judging from an email yesterday from Donna, it would appear to me that she would like to come Back Home to Benton, PA, where she could "write a book about that time." She wrote, "We do so need to remember a simpler world, and a place sort of Lake Wobegone. It is a place our children and grandchildren yearn for. It gives us a memory place, and holds on to our culture of origin."
Those of us who were born and raised in the upper Fishingcreek valley know that it is a wonderful area for hunting the white-tailed deer. Hunting for deer is even honored in the local public schools by cancelling the entire school for the opening day of buck season and I have noticed there are a lot of sickness excuses the following day among those who didn't get their buck the opening day. There are many, however, who don't share the enthusiasm of hunting. One such lady last December vainly tried to explain a hunter's enthusiasm for the sport by telling no one in particular, "You probably hunt because you love the taste of venison and it is cheap meat."
Her remarks bothered me, but I didn't take the time to think much about them until yesterday when I heard stories about the opening last Saturday of archery season. I don't hunt much in my declining years, but the words "cheap meat" bothered me. Some may disagree with the figures I use, but here is what that "cheap meat" costs a hunter.
Lets define the hunt. Assume that the hunter goes for the week, one day in advance for eating, drinking and playing poker and then six days of hunting. Here is a rough estimate of costs for that period...
. License: There are 27 license fees in our state from $20 (In Pennsylvania, the license is $20 to $101 depending on whether the hunter is a resident or not.) If a Holstein accidentally gets shot by a hunter with a deer license, the cost in this category could greatly increase. It would be something like the hunter who told his wife he shot an elk. She asked how he knew it was an elk. "I checked his membership card," was the reply.
. Rifle: $600. A hunter should be experienced. If the hunter doesn't have help picking out a rifle, especially if it is a used one, he may end up with one that shoots a bullet end over end. Try shooting a black bear up close and personal with such a gun and you'll wish you had heeded my advice. A wounded bear sensing the presence of a hunter would make writing the final chapter of a book easy. One hunting story I heard was about a man who bought an expensive rifle. He bragged it up saying it would be impossible to miss with it. On the first day of buck season he shot at a deer with a huge rack. He missed, looked sheepish, then raised his finger at the running deer, yelling at the top of his lungs, "And don't ever come back again."
. Knife: $70. Needed in the unlikely event that the hunter "bags a buck." Don't use the knife to open a can of Yuengling; a knife without a tip is like a wood stove without wood.
. Tolls and gas: $100. If you are driving to the local area to hunt, remember that the Guv is pushing for tolls on I-80. Hitchhiking might appear to be a cheaper alternative, but remember to be very suspicious of anyone who stops to pick up strangers carrying rifles.
. Guides: $100. If you were heading to Colorado to find a guide of the caliber of Allen Roberts, you would expect to pay big bucks. Locally, the guide could turn out to be the guy you met the night before at the end of the bar. He'll tell you he knows where the deer are, but it'll cost you about a hundred bucks in beer, shots and dinner to determine that he hasn't a clue. A less-experienced guide will simply get drunk earlier in the evening. I once heard about a guide who was so inept that when he went duck hunting, even the decoy got away.
. Cabin or motel: $250. The cheaper the motel the more hunters will end up paying to stay out of their room. A good alternative is to consider acquiring one of the fine cabins for sale in the area and becoming a taxpayer in the area.
. Food and drink: $200. If you drink, add another $40. If you are Irish, add an additional $40.
. Clothing: $100. Most men don't have an extensive wardrobe in fluorescent orange, a color that somehow costs a little more in the fall of the year than other colors. Although costs are down at the moment for clothes in passion plum, you won't see much of that color in the woods. Pay the extra money for the yellow and get at least 250 squares of it. Yellow will keep you alive longer than heading into our woods in passion plum and you'll be law abiding, too. If you wait until spring to hunt turkeys, you may not even need any yellow.
. Butchering: $40. You can save some money by doing your own butchering, but be careful so that you don't become part of the meat. Check your body parts if you do your own butchering. If you have more than you had in previous years from the same size animal, you may have a problem.
.Ammunition: $30. Pick up two boxes, one box to use to miss your target and one box to use to miss your prey. Don't come with more than two boxes of ammunition or we're likely to think that you came to invade rather than to hunt. One kid I know was shooting wildly on a drive, so I asked him when it was all over what he was shooting at. "Don't know, ain't seen it yet" was his response.
These are the basic costs, but some prices are hidden so the hunt could end up costing more. Mother, for example, looked forward to the opening day of deer season--the day she went to Wilkes-Barre to do her Christmas shopping.
The total comes to $1,510 and if you are lucky enough to be one of the 7% of Pennsylvania hunters who get their average 135-pound deer (or 2% who get their bear) that butchers out to about 40 pounds of usable meat, your one-pound steak will total close to $30. This isn't exactly cheap meat!
Still, I hunt with guys who do this every year, with some even staying in camp for two weeks at a time. One elderly guy has hunted all his life, but he hasn't shot one for the past 20 or so years. Last year he had bad luck. He shot a buck. Others in the party figure it was an accident! The venison cost him something like $500 a pound, but judging from the expression on his face it was worth every penny.
October 2, 2007. Today is the birthday of Jackie Becker, Camp Hill, and comedian Groucho Marx. The Marx Brothers--Groucho and his brothers Harpo and Chico--were an American institution. Groucho coined it differently: "Marriage is a wonderful institution. That is, if you like living in an institution."
For Your Calendar...
. November 14 & 15, 2007. AARP Driver Safety program sponsored by the Benton Women's Club. The insurance cost of your automobile policy could go down if you qualify for and complete the course. The classes will be held at Christ the King Catholic Church, Benton, from 9:30-1:30 both days. The Benton Women's Club will provide refreshments! Both husbands and wives must attend the course in order to obtain the certificate. The cost is $10 per person, and both husband and wife must bring their driver licenses and a pen or pencil. To register call Barbara, 925-6242.
. While some will disagree, it is time to get your flu-shot. In prior years, supply was limited, but this year the vaccine seems to be plentiful. Flu season usually begins in October and runs until May, with most cases of the respiratory illness taking place from December through March. October or November is the best time to get vaccinated, but vaccinations in December and later could also be effective. The antibodies that protect against infection by influenza viruses develops two weeks after vaccination. Protection doesn't last from year to year and the shot is changed each year to combat the strains of flu expected to be circulating. Flu shots typically are covered by Medicare and most managed-care insurance plans. If not, your doctor will generally charge about $30.
It is interesting to listen to the arguments about decreasing the dependence on the use of fossil fuels for energy production. The fact remains that whatever energy source is chosen the more the fuel costs the more the utility makes. Conservation appears to be our best answer.
I continue to receive emails from people who ask why I don't concentrate on the News from Back Home in Benton, PA, why I continue to resurrect events that happened years ago, why I am more interested in a very tiny slice of Americana than reporting the larger news of the country.
I'll answer by repeating that I only write about what interests me. I don't write about what interests other people. If someone likes what I say, that is okay, but accidents do happen! Lets look at my choices. I regretfully note that the Euro has hit another record high and the Canadian dollar has risen to a 31-year high from $.6179 U.S. five years ago to over $1 today. The rupee in India is close to a nine-year peak. The Philippine peso is now stronger than the U.S. dollar. Gold hits new highs every day--now at its highest level since January 22, 1980. Crude oil spiked at $83.90 a barrel. Partly because of a drought in Australia, wheat reached $9.51 per bushel, triple what it was two years ago. Nationally, the country's housing and mortgage markets are in the pits for what some feel will be another year and the Feds' solution was to slash interest rates and pump money we don't have into the U.S. economy. Americans have stopped stashing money into savings accounts, instead pulling funds out to pay for their Firebelch 500s and to keep from losing their lovely second home by the lake. We know what is happening to the U.S. Dollar Index. Closer to home, we hear that our state might be the first in the nation to institute a 9% sales tax and just around the corner it may be within another year that we have to pay a toll to drive between exits on I-80.
Don't you think that I would much rather write about things from the past? Don't you think I would rather have the days when I walked to the Ritz Theatre to see a Roy Rogers movie where the bad guy was clearly seen behind the rock by the camera and we would all yell out at the top of our lungs so Roy would hear us and defend himself from the evil doers we called the bad guys.
Call me sentimental, but I would rather think about the family of baby skunks I saved after their momma was killed by a mower in a field of hay. They were charming, friendly little critters. To some, they were to be feared; to me, they were as wonderful a companion as a puppy or a kitten. A pet, Elmer the goat, walked everywhere I walked. He was my constant outside companion until he boldly butted Mother in the behind when she was picking weeds in the garden. Feeling a little snorty, he later in the afternoon noticed a reflected image of himself in the glass storm door on the front porch and apparently tried to make what he saw go away. Instead, later in the day Elmer himself went away and to this day I have no idea where Father took him. I raised baby turtles, kept little yellow ducks that pecked my ankles until I fed them, incubated chicks in a warm spot in our kitchen, watched over some feeder pigs and fed them raw Golden Guernsey milk, nurtured every mixed breed of dog known to man, groomed cows and rode horses. John Denver may have visited our area when he wrote his famous lines, ""Life on the farm's just kinda laid back..."
I read a copy of a Pennsylvania newspaper from May 6, 1876, although I am not absolutely which one since when I made a copy of it I stupidly did not write down the name of the paper. The article is about pigeons. The writer, also unknown, said that for two hours "the poles and the guns made sad havoc among the roosting birds. The roar of thousands of wings, the cracking of branches, flashing torches, smashing poles and reports of guns formed a scene wild and terrible." He was writing about the slaughter of thousands of pigeons with each hunter taking home "as many as he could carry, which was a small portion compared with the number left on the ground to feed the foxes and wolves." The writer estimated the flock was "fully twelve miles long and four or five in width." Even the hunter seemed relieved when the flock took off in the direction "of the Susquehanna" where they apparently felt they would find safety.
On Sunday mornings I would head for Emerson Stoneham's garage to get the Sunday newspaper, always the Philadelphia Inquirer. I don't remember the bad news of the day blasted on the pages back then. What I read was about the Phillies, a force to be reckoned with! But, hey, I just glanced at the impressive wins of the Phillies--13 wins out of their last 17 games! Now that's just wonderful! I suddenly realize there is good news in the world after all...
October 1, 2007. It is the birthday of Carla Lee, Donald Baker, Tara Lane Kline and Gerald Kocher. Former president Jimmy Carter turns 82 today. It is the wedding anniversary of Ted and Helen Fritz. On this date in 1958 NASA began operations, replacing the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA).
The big news of Sunday in the local area was the barn fire at Millertown and Bottom roads, near Camp Victory. The farm is owned by state Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff. The Press Enterprise has the whole story.
How 'bout those Phillies? The Phillies are champions of the National League East!
Here it is the beginning of October and it is still hot and dry--one of hottest and driest on record. Farmers are hurting on their yields, the water tables and the stream levels are low and all prospects are that the leaves this fall won't be as spectacular as in many prior years. Much of the Keystone State is under a drought watch, with no rainfall in sight.
Mark your calendars now for the Early Bird Sports Expo, January 24-27, 2008, at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds.
"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. We'll tell you about that picnic in an upcoming. 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 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."
Carl “Doc” Poust (May 13, 1975-September 28, 2007), 32, Main Street, Benton, died Friday as the result of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident on Rohrsburg Road in Orange Township. Born at the Bloomsburg Hospital, he was a son of Kenneth W. Poust, Sr., rural Benton, and the late Carlene (Minier) Poust. Carl was a 1994 graduate of East Lycoming High School and a graduate of the Lackawanna Paramedic Program. Carl was well known throughout the entire area. He was employed as a Paramedic Supervisor for the Berwick Ambulance Company. He had also worked part time with the Greater Columbia Medical Transport Service and previously had been a 9-1-1 dispatcher for Columbia County. He had volunteered for the Benton, Millville, Unityville and Orangeville Fire and Ambulance Companies, and at the time of his death was the Ambulance Chief for the Benton Fire Company. He was well known for his musical abilities as a singer and drummer for the rock band Plum Crazy.
Surviving is his wife, Ronda L. (Deihl) Poust, with whom he would have celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary on October 18 and his daughters Chelsea D. Deihl and Cassandra L. Poust. His father, Kenneth W. Poust, Sr. and step mother, Nancy (Shoemaker) Poust, also survive, as does a brother, Michael Poust, Benton, and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. In addition to his mother, he was preceded in death by his brother, Kenneth W. Poust, Jr., on October 27, 1978; by his maternal grandparents Carl L. and Ethel (Cardennis) Minier; his paternal grandparents Alvin W. and Christine M. (Baylor) Poust and by his step grandparents William T. and Anna M. (Ryder) Shoemaker.
Funeral services will be held Wednesday afternoon at 2 at the Benton Volunteer Fire Company, 150 Colley Street, Benton with a visitation beginning at 11 o'clock at the Fire Company. Burial will be in the Waller Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been set up. Contributions may be made in his memory to the Carl Poust Memorial Fund, c/o Berwick Ambulance, 2018 N. Vine St., Berwick, PA 18603. Arrangements are under the direction of the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc., Benton.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home, Benton. A complete obituary will be published in the Monday edition of the Press Enterprise