September 30, 2008. It is the birthday of Courtney Foust, Henrietta Erney and Lynn Musser. It is Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Atonement, which marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year and the beginning of ten days of penitence. Take your umbrellas this morning. You'll need them in the afternoon.
Barry E. Brown (Jan. 30, 1940-Sept. 20, 2008), recently passed away at his Ruskin, Florida, home where he has lived since June 2008, when he moved from the Benton area where he had lived for eight years. Mr. Brown graduated from York High School with the class of 1957. A celebration of his life will be held from 2-4 PM Sunday, October 12, at Mill Race Golf Course, Benton.
--A complete obituary appears in todays edition of the Press Enterprise
We might as well get the financial news out of the way up front: The House of Representatives voted Monday 228 to 205 to reject a $700 billion rescue of the financial industry. There were 133 Republicans joining 95 Democrats in opposition. The bill was backed by 140 Democrats and 65 Republicans. The DOW suffered the biggest point drop in history, falling nearly 778 points in reaction to the House vote rejecting the economic rescue.
At our level, Back Home in Benton, PA, the problem is difficult to fully comprehend. What we do understand is simplistic: the bailout of $700 billion is too little and too late to end the debt crisis as we understand it today and too soon to help with the U.S. bond-market crisis and probable credit-card crisis which looms dead ahead. The outcome is about the same if the bailout is passed or if it isn't. The crisis we are in will only get worse and take more financial institutions with it. What lies ahead, as I see it, could be a recession of historic proportions. We ain't seen nothing yet! Just wait until the elections are over...
The bailout, had it been enacted, would have increased the federal debt by billions of dollars, not penalized bad decisions made by failing banks, and created a precedent for further government bailouts.
Congress ended the Treasury knee-jerk responses to the economic weakness in the housing market, to financials associated with the housing market and in sectors like airlines and autos affected by energy. President Bush did warn that "very bad things could happen" if it was not passed, taking the unprecedented action for a president of warning of the failure of banks, of declines in the value of retirement accounts, etc. It appears as though credit could be withheld to some businesses as a sense of panic looms over the nation. Our nation's economy is being threatened by this spreading panic.
At this writing, productivity remains high, exports are still flowing out of the United States and tax rates remain low. Oil prices are below $100 per barrel. The problems of financial markets today could go away with a temporary suspension of mark-to-market accounting (the assignment of a value to a position in a financial instrument based on the current market value of illiquid assets). What today will actually bring is anyone's guess...
Mere wealth can't bring us happiness,
Mere wealth can't make us glad,
But we'll always take a chance, I think,
At being rich and sad!
A reader yesterday got his "mind off corporate greed as the cause for the American mortgage and financial crisis." He sounded off about the government pressuring Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae into lending practices that had to backfire if the economy turned sour." But don't worry, this rant is not sbout that. It is about the second part of his email in which he remembered my mother and the bonnets that she always wore when working in the sun.
Even the younger readers know that Irving Berlin knew a thing or two about Easter bonnets. Sun bonnets were worn to keep the lilly-white skin of women from burning--or because the wearer was part of a religious or social group. Before the Civil War, sun bonnets were not at all unusual, and the women of the Pennsylvania Dutch community continue to wear the gingham or heavy-muslin head coverings. Mother used what was left over from making a dress or an apron to make her bonnets.
In these days of poor economic times, it is hard to keep our mind off negative things. Questions continue to come up about increases in the availability of natural gas thanks to shale drilling. To determine current gas prices, turn to the Natural Gas Weekly Update. In early July, gas peaked above $13 per mmBtu (One million British thermal units). Since then, gas prices have slid about to just above $7. Further price erosion could force producers to rethink drilling plans and slow the pace of new development.
The walnut crop is extremely heavy this fall, which made me think of a recipe from my grandmother's cook book from around 1900 for a sandwich filling made of walnuts and cheese. She beat what she called a "tablespoonful" of butter to a cream, added three "tablespoonfuls" of cream cheese. The recipe says, "Blend and moisten with a little oil, very little, to make the mixture bland. Blanch and chop fine one-quarter pound of walnuts. Mix with the cheese paste, season with salt and lemon juice, and spread on thin slices of brown bread."
The next time that you go to the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center take a close look at the beautiful flowers on the outside of the building. The list of those responsible is very long, too long to be mentioned here. It is important to mention the local organization known as the Country Cultivators, the enthusiastic and energetic group of men and women who know how to make things beautiful. Others have contributed plants, organization and energy, including Kay Chapman, Jerry and Cathy Arcuri, Dorothy Winter and Katie Knorr. There was help from the students and faculty of the Job Corps Center. This has been an almost perfect year for wild flowers and it shows at The Center.
How is your memory? Can you remember phone numbers, account numbers, passwords, birthdays? A free program, called Memoriser, is available at http://www.skynergy.com/memoriser.html which could help. Define a question with an answer and let Memoriser quiz you until you remember this question’s answer without even thinking but just knowing the answer! Memoriser uses a scoring system to make sure that you focus more on questions answered incorrectly. Answering a question correctly increments the score. Correct answers will be asked less frequently than wrong answers.
As You Steer, Fear the Deer
Erie Insurance Group took a look at ten years of deer-vehicle collision data in our state and estimated that about one in every 100 drivers is likely to have a collision with a deer. The analysts at the company concluded that little is gained by relying on deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter deer. When you see deer, slow down and blow your horn to urge the deer to leave the road. Don't swerve your vehicle to avoid striking a deer. Stay under full control of your vehicle. If you tangle with a deer, even if you are not a policy holder, let Erie know about it by going here. Erie Insurance Group is represented locally by the Harvey Insurance Agency.
September 29, the 273rd day of 2008. It is the birthday of Chuck Chapman and Craig Merluzzi. Happy third anniversary to Uni-Mart, open under corporate management for the past three years. It is the anniversary of the name "United States," for it was on this day in 1776 that the Continental Congress officially named its new union of sovereign states the United States. Florence Kocher is a patient in the Berwick Hospital, the second time in a week.
This is the feast day of St. Michael, a Christian celebration known as Michaelmas. In the British Isles, crops were harvested and what was over and above the farmer's needs were sold by late September, so this became the time when farmers would pay their yearly rents to landowners. Goose was eaten at the "Feast of St. Michael and All Angels" to bring prosperity, and many farmers included "a goose fit for the lord's dinner" with their rent payments. Fairs occurred just before the feast day, and large crowds attracted to the fairs made it convenient to hold elections at this time of the year. Foods traditional to Michaelmas include the current year's wine, a goose, some carrots and cakes of oats, barley and rye. In Ireland, a ring found that was hidden in a Michaelmas pie meant that one would soon be married.
In these days before the election, what the two nominees are saying gets quoted and misquoted. To find out what they really say, head over to Google Quotes, http://labs.google.com/inquotes/, where you can read their exact words as taken directly from their speeches.
It is Muncy's time to turn off the outdoor-wood stoves in their borough by updating an existing burn-barrel ordinance to include outdoor furnaces. Muncy officials will advertise an ordinance to ban the furnaces.
The Board of Directors of CCFNB Bancorp, Inc., declared its 202nd dividend for shareholders of record September 9, 2008. Lance O. Diehl, President & Chief Executive Officer, announced the dividend amount increased to 24 cents per share, which reflects an increase of 3 cents, or or 14.29%, over the previous dividend. This is the first reporting period for CCFNB Bancorp, Inc. following the merger with Columbia Financial Corporation. In the coming days, we'll take a detailed look at the financial health of the local bank and its outlook for the future.
Father was right! When I was a youngster, he often said "make hay when the sun shines." I always thought of this advice as unneeded. Of course, you make hay when the sun shines. The finest hay is made during the ideal hay-making weather. A rainy day like yesterday was a day for mending the fences, or pruning the apple trees or for sneaking in a much-needed three- to five-minute afternoon nap.
Father used to quote something he called the "Ohio Farmer," saying that hay would be worthless as straw if it was dried too much. He would say something to the effect that he needed to "cure the hay, not overly dry it out." Mother, no authority on farming but a known authority on adding her two cents worth, would chime in and quote something about making her herb-tea which she gathered when the herbs were in blossom. She would cure the flowers in the shade.
I loved to hear Father tell of working in the field as a boy, racking and ricking (now there are two terms I betcha you haven't heard in a coon's age!) in the hay that had been mowed the day before.
Of course, Father was relying on his memory of working the plow, the binder and the thresher with his two horses whose names I have forgotten. He probably didn't really think that using the horses in the full heat of the summer to make hay was a trying experience for the team. It was before my time, but I suspect that he railed against the initial use of tractors to pull mowers, hay rakes and hay loaders. He probably didn't fully realize that his first tractor, a John Deere B bought after 1935 and before 1939, which was purchased to plow the fields, would be so useful for many other jobs around the farm. Tractors did more and better work for less money. It certainly wasn't many years before he realized that he could no more be a farmer without a tractor than we could get along today without an automobile.
In 1918, there were an estimated 25 million horses and mules in the United States, all eating their fool heads off. A newspaper article (the Salt Lake Telegram-Herald Republican, July 24, 1918) estimated the value of the horses and the harness needed for their productive use totaled three billion dollars and it cost another two billion to maintain them. Those statistics are startling! If you owned a 200-acre farm, (which most around here did not) it took fifty acres just to feed the critters. Talk about inefficient!
The technology of farming today has changed in its application from those long-ago days, but many people who live among the hills of the upper Fishing Creek valley still tend to make a living from the land. They raise crops such as corn to fill the corn burners and feed the cattle, they graze their horses and keep their cattle well fed, they mow acres of lawns and tend plots of picture-perfect flowers.
But things have changed. The crop of choice these days is what is under the ground, far below in shale known as the Marcellus. Natural gas is not a crop visible to the naked eye, as are the fields of corn, or the windrowed bales of hay or the golden piles of straw. It is a crop for an unnamed time in the future. Most hope for an early harvest, but we really don't know for sure of it will ever be brought to market. We only hope like the bailout that politicians worked on over the weekend what is finally able to be seen is good.
It is a little like the old concept of bringing in the sheaves. Out with the old. In with the new. From neighboring counties we learn that someday in the future we'll have large drilling pads, and fleets of massive trucks thundering up and down our fragile roads reallocating our precious water. We'll have a system of haves and have-nots. Some residents will never be able to profit from the coming prosperity. Some raked in $25 or $50 or a similar amount for signing up their land for what now seems like a very long time. Others are signing with groups to companies like Citrus Energy for $2,850 or so. But little of the wealth has actually happened.
In the meantime, we suspect that everyone will try to make hay while the sun shines. There are two gas-drilling meetings in Benton this week. We betcha they'll both be well attended.
September 28, 2008. It is the birthday of Taylor Iddings, Jeff Remley, Tara Grigas and Dan Hartman. It may be the birthday of Google, but then again it may not be. Google opened its doors in September 1998. The exact date has moved around over the years, depending on when people feel like having cake. For more on Google's history, go here. Watch out for the fog this morning. It is thick in places.
Al Capp, born Alfred Gerald Caplin, was born on this date in 1909 in New Haven, Connecticut. Capp created L'il Abner, the comic strip about the strapping dimwit who made his living as a mattress tester. Others in the strip besides Li'l Abner were Daisy Mae, Mammy Yokum, Pappy Yokum, Fearless Fosdick, Joe Btfsplk, Tiny Yokum, Honest Abe Yokum, Evil Eye Fleegle, Marryin' Sam, and General Bullmoose. The strip ran from 1934 to 1977. And come to think of it, we do miss Sadie Hawkins Day! If you haven't understood anything in this paragraph, turn to www.lil-abner.com/cappbio.html.
The Phillies are going to the playoffs again. Brad Lidge sealed Saturday's 4-3 Phillies win in Citizens Bank Park over the Nationals to capture a second straight National League East title. This is Philadelphia's first back-to-back division championships since taking three in a row in 1976-78.
When driving, slow down after sundown and before sunrise to reduce the risk of having a close encounter with white-tailed deer. Deer collisions will be a way of life until mid-December.
If you want to know more about the makeup of a ZIP Code area--in other words, if you want the "skinny" on that area--you might try out ZipSkinny. Take Benton's zip of 17814 as an example. Head over to www.zipskinny.com/index.php?zip=17814 to get the skinny on Benton.
We love to poke around with words, especially the words we rarely hear these days, words that seem to have passed on when the generation before us passed on. Getting these words and phrases out of our mind is like trying to unring a bell. Let's review a few of the words and phrases that come to mind that were used frequently in Father's generation, thoughts expressed by him which we accepted in day-to-day conversation, but which are now on the verge of becoming obscure.
• "Bought the farm" was frequently used by Father. The term was used for any sudden accidental death--not necessarily aviation oriented, the probable original intent of the words. Did it mean that some pilot was now at peace and had his "heavenly" farm that he had long dreamed about? Was it simply a wry comment about someone not realizing his dream? Did it mean that a flyer's insurance would have to pay a farmer for the damages done to a farm when a plane crashed? During World War II, members of the armed services received a $10,000 life insurance policy. Many were unmarried kids who named their parents back home on the farm as their beneficiaries. The parents paid off the mortgage in the event that their soldier son was killed. Today, natural-gas drilling buys "the farm."
• "In a coon's age" was probably an abbreviation of raccoon. A coon's age was a misnomer for longevity.
• "The straight skinny" should mean absolute truth, meaning it is never used in presidential campaigns. No hype here. As someone built like a turnip, I have trouble with the concept of only thin being associated with virtue, of being on the "straight and narrow."
• "Horse feathers" was slang, a euphemism for horse droppings or "road apples" or "trail markers." But there is a good chance my interpretation is--well, horse feathers. "Ridiculously untrue" was probably closer to the real meaning.
• "The proof is in the pudding" is somewhat akin to "seeing is believing" and "actions speak louder than words." "Proof of the pudding is in the eating," the original term, was a test concluded by tasting whether something came out as it was intended. The pudding may look good when it is put on the table, but the only way to know for certain is to taste it. The proof (test) of the pudding is in the eating--it isn't cooked right until Father tried it. Father stretched the term when he didn't believe what he was told and had to judge the matter by testing it.
• A "young whippersnapper" was barely dry behind the ears. One of the easiest skills learned by greenhorn cowboys was that of snapping a black snake whip, or bull whip. Long ago, lots of young fellows who could not bulldog a steer or rope a maverick prided themselves on being able to strut into town while calling attention to themselves by snapping their whips. Older townsfolk were quick to adopt the term "whippersnapper" for any unskilled beginner. Father referred to sixteen year old kids getting their driver's license for the first time as "whippersnappers."
• "Sidetracked" meant the nonarrival of expected goods. "Side-tracked somewhere," Father would say. "No telling when they'll get here." The old railroad term had a close parallel with human life, with moving in the path of least resistance, a lot like how this whole subject began.
• "The whole kit and caboodle" was used by Father in the sense of everything that one has, the possessions that people accumulate over the years. It would be impossible to go out and find a "caboodle," since the "k" sound was only added to the Dutch word "bœdel" for euphony.
• "Where the sun don't shine" was a term Father used, usually in anger. Two songs come to mind...
It's dark as a dungeon and damp as the dew,
Where danger is double and pleasures are few,
Where the rain never falls and the sun never shines
It's dark as a dungeon way down in the mine.
We praise the colorectal surgeon
Misunderstood and much maligned
Slaving away in the heart of darkness
Working where the sun don't shine
Begats! Begats! Begats! This is the title of the next talk at the North Mountain Historical Society, which will take place on the third Monday of October, which falls on the 20th. The speaker will be Melanie Norton, representing the Sullivan County Historical Society.
About six years ago, Melanie became involved with the Sullivan County Museum in Laporte. In the 1970s, she helped her mother do family research and from there a sense of historical curiosity evolved. Volunteering at the museum has become a dedicated effort on the part of many people and the results of the work are for you to see. Melanie will present a small portion of the Museum's wealth of history. Melanie last spoke to the History Buffs in November 2006 when her subject was "fiber" with a glimpse into a world that once consumed the average homemaker from past generations.
Join the History Buffs breakfast on October 20 at the Brass Pelican. As always, the buckwheat cakes will be ready by 8 AM and the speaker will walk behind the podium about 9 AM. The meeting is free and open to the public.
The Robinson Oil/Gas lease group is having a meeting Wednesday night, October 1, at 7 PM in the gymnasium of the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center. The people who attend are asked to park in adjacent parking areas to the Center in order that regular patrons can park. Donations are requested to help pay the rent for the facility. In addition to the regular business of the group with the current lease negotiations, the group organizers will discuss the next lease with Citrus Energy. Citrus plans on a closing on October 9, 2008, for any parcel in their "buy" area. This is an extension of the July 2008 deal. The area is just north of Benton into Sugarloaf Township, east Jackson Township, and west Fairmount Township. If a landowner has property in this mapped area, they have a guaranteed lease at $2,850 an acre, with 17% royalty on a five-year term. Landowners are invited to attend this meeting and get signed in to the group. If they elect to do so, they will receive their check from Citrus Energy at the October 9 closing. This is a "done deal," say organizers, who add, it would be a shame for anyone to miss this opportunity." Members of the Columbia Coalition with land in this "buy" area are welcome to attend this meeting.
One of the strangest people ever to visit Catawissa was an odd character known as "Louis the bum." For several years around the turn of the last century he appeared in Catawissa at the beginning of each winter, securing work on the Reading Railway Company's coal docks, and mysteriously disappearing again as warm weather approached. He eventually fell from the top to the bottom of a dock, a distance of sixty feet and was instantly killed.
Didja know that many early Quakers in the area now known as Catawissa paddled up the Susquehanna to the mouth of Catawissa Creek about 1774? William Hughes laid out what he called "Hughesburg" in 1786. The following September the log Catawissa Friends Meeting House and Burial Ground was built on a knoll near Catawissa Creek and the Susquehanna River. The burial ground, surrounded by a stone wall, was in the rear of the property. Between 1802 and 1804, a number of Quakers in the Catawissa area moved out of the area and by 1808 the Catawissa Meeting closed.
Didja know that some say that the first use of the word "Quakers" for those who are members of the Society of Friends came about because they trembled at the word of God? Some say they trembled or "quaked" at meetings.
September 27, 2008. It is the birthday of Lee Fritz and Ed Kocher.
It was not a good day for me yesterday. There are some corrections to Friday's Benton News. First, I said it was the birthday of Clair and Marlene Harvey when it was obviously their wedding anniversary. Some questioned why parachutes preceded airplanes? Heck, I don't know, but parachutes are said to go back in Chinese history nearly 1,500 years. Next, I gave an incorrect answer to a quiz question: "Martin Van Buren, eighth president of the United States, was the first to be born a citizen of the United States. He was born in 1782, six years after the signing of the Constitution. The United States Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787." Ruth Cavanaugh, Staten Island, New York, was the first to point out my mistake. Lets look at the way it really is...
The United States Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787.
The United States Declaration of Independence is a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.
Martin Van Buren (December 5, 1782–July 24, 1862) was the eighth President of the United States, from 1837 to 1841.
I should have formed my question and my answer along these lines...
"Van Buren was the first president born in the United States. All previous presidents were born before the United States became a country, although all were born in places that would later be a part of the United States." The error is regretted.
It was a great surprise two years ago when it was Picketts to Ricketts for Anthony Hoyson and Scott Crispell, new proprietors of the Ricketts Glen Hotel "conveniently located in the middle of nowhere" at 221 State Route 118, Benton. The former chefs at Picketts Charge Restaurant, Dallas, continue to have an excellent business in their second year of operation on Route 118.
If you had nothing better to do today, would you consider getting into a hazmat suit and heading into a radiation zone? Sean Riley, San Francisco, owner of the company, "Gravity Design,” will put on his hazmat suit for his next tough fix, replacing a steam turbine in the Susquehanna nuclear plant’s Unit 1 turbine to boost its energy-producing capacity. This will be the subject of the first episode of the new National Geographic Channel 10-part series “World’s Toughest Fixes.” The series premieres Sunday night at 9 PM EDT.
The Berwick turbine replacement project was carried out flawlessly in March by plant personnel, Generation Field Services, and Siemens, the prime contractor on the project. Health Physics, Safety Operations and Security personnel were also of great aid to the television crew without compromising health, safety or plant security.”
Riley and the National Geographic Channel spent nearly three weeks at the Susquehanna plant filming the turbine replacement, which is part of the work being done to enable the plant to produce more electricity.
“World’s Toughest Fixes” is produced by National Geographic Television for the National Geographic Channel. The series will air regularly on Wednesday nights at 10 PM EDT beginning Oct. 1.
If you miss the show on Sunday, it will be repeated Sunday, Oct. 5, at 3 PM and Saturday, Oct. 11, at 10 PM
Future episodes will include Riley joining a team of engineers to move a 24-foot, 23-ton, 15-million-dollar mirror in northern Chile. At this location, three telescopes can be used together to form the largest combined telescope in the world in order to regularly scan the heavens for clues about the nature of matter and the origin of the universe.
We'll briefly return to the Catawissa Daily News and look at two editions in March 1904. On March 9, a Pottsville judge called on the State Board of Health to take charge of the county small-pox situation.
In the Daily News edition of March 17, 1904, it was evident that Catawissa was a thriving town. The town had two "physicians and surgeons" and "seven attorneys-at-law."
News from the upper end of Columbia County traveled through the county slowly. What happened "last week" was reported "this week." An example is the smallpox that broke out in the families of Frank Hess and Walter Hess, residents of Fritz Hill, Sugarloaf Township, and in the family of Stewart Rantz, Benton Township. The write-up in the Daily News reported it this way:
"The members of the Hess families had been sick for a couple of weeks, and at the request of the attending physician Dr. Smithgall, Jamison City, the representative of the state board of health, Dr. Arment, of Bloomsburg, was in consultation. In the family of Frank Hess there are three cases--Mrs. Hess, a son and a daughter, and in the case of Walter Hess, one case--Mrs. Hess. The case of the Rantz family is that of Cyrus Hess, a young man visiting at the house. The Benton Board of Health has established strict quarantine regulations, ordering compulsory vaccination of adults and children where they have not been successfully vaccinated in 12 years. The cases in the townships will be looked after by the school boards under the health laws of the state. The promptness with which the Benton authorities have acted is to be commended, and if there is any outbreak of the disease in their town it will not be the fault of the board of health or of the school board."
Didja ever notice that the weather bureau can predict the coming weather about as closely as the baseball fans can name the pennant winners? One talks as confidently as the other.
Margaretta Orenda “Maggie” (Evans) Hess (August 5, 1929-September 25, 2008) died Thursday at the Bloomsburg Hospital after being stricken ill at her home. She was 79. She was born in Wilkes-Barre. She was a daughter of the late Charles Irvin Evans and Anna Mary (Scott) Evans. She attended grade school at the Hoyt School in Wilkes-Barre and then the one-room schools at Zehners and Stillwater and graduated from Benton High School in 1948. She worked as a waitress for the former Pied Piper Inn, Maple Grove, in her younger years. She had later worked for the former Dockey Shirt Factory, Benton; Milco Industries; and the former Dent Nursing Home, Lightstreet. She was a member of the Waller United Methodist Church and the United Methodist Women. She was also a member of the 29th Division, Ladies Auxiliary, U. S. Army. She and her husband, Carlton B. Hess, with whom she celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary on September 20, ran the family farm. Surviving in addition to her husband, Carlton, are her sisters Sally Rachel Seibert, Benton, and Delilah Jane Kocher, Jamison City. There are several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and sisters Anna Betsy Sheridan and Winifred Cole and by a brother, John F. Evans. Funeral services will be held Tuesday at 2 PM with viewing preceding at the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc. with burial in the Waller Cemetery.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will be published in the Saturday edition of the Press Enterprise.
September 26, 2008. It is the wedding anniversary of Clair and Marlene Harvey. Clair and Marlene were married in 1952, the same month that television first arrived in Canada. You do the math. Get ready for a breezy and rainy day. This evening's performance by Sugarland has been cancelled at the Bloomsburg Fair.
Tubby and Ruth will offer their collection of International Harvester memorabilia, Farmall tractors, cub cadets and antique automobiles for sale on Saturday, October 18. The sale will be conducted on site from the original International Harvester family dealership on
South Chestnut Street, Millville. It starts at 9:30 AM sharp. Take a look at what is being offered by heading over to www.auctionzip.com/Listings/514337.html.
It is a poor day to be reading the Benton News. We have a pop quiz. It isn't an easy quiz, but do the best that you can. You need three or more correct answers to pass. The five questions are:
- Who was the first President of the United States to be born a citizen of the United States?
- Which will bounce higher--a ball of glass, of rubber, of steel?
- Which came first--the parachute or the airplane?
- Which president was the first to ride in an automobile--William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt or William Taft?
- If you assemble twelve or more cows at one time, do you have a flink, a skein or a kine?
Not all families agree on who should be the next President. A couple at my table argued about that at dinner ourside of Centre Hall last evening. When he left the table for a minute, the wife told me "he's a-settin' round tellin' what's goin' to happen next election." Later in the meal, the husband confided in me that "so far as this family is concerned, she's a dead loss!" I think that in the future I'll stick to eating with people I know. Or else not eat in Happier Valley...
This is a grouchy world. Ah me!Term of the Day:
A fellow seldom laughs.
Why don't we wear the smile that we
Use in our photographs?
A sound-on-disk process advanced by Warner Brothers from 1926 to 1930 to play during the commercial showing of a film. Early "talkies" used sound from this process, beginning with The Jazz Singer.
Let's continue with the look at the Catawissa area as viewed through the reporting of the Catawissa Daily News. The Benton Argus reported much of the local activities in a column it called "Around the Town." The Catawissa Daily News' companion column was "Buzzings From the Bee-Hive." Here are some excerpts...
November 28, 1929
- The most popular song was "May I Sleep in Your Barn Tonight, Mister?"
- Baldy's Store had a special on "kerchiefs," noting they had "thousands of dainty squares of linen" in their "Kerchief Booth."
- The newspaper gave great credit to the thousands of bushels of apples that were produced in the Roaring Creek Valley, noting that the area grew from a "few small apple orchards, which were planted for home consumption mainly, into acres of trees on our most prolific farms." The newspaper cited families like Derr, Petros, Abraczinki (sic) and others.
January 9, 1930
- An editorial in the newspaper looked on the bright side of things. It read, in part, The beginning of our New Year looks very much brighter than our old year. The mines have started working, giving employment to some of our men who have been idle for many weeks. Through the request of our President, all corporations are setting aside sums of money to make improvements. Already the railroad is planning to build a new bridge at Rupert and will spend a million dollars on it. The state is planning to construct two new roads in our locality which will give employment to many men. From this surely it looks as if the citizens of Catawissa will have a prosperous year."
- "I (name deleted) hereby solemnly resolve that on the first day of January, 1930, I will cease from my practice of pesting (name deleted). If after the given date, I shall be found guilty of such an act, I shall give to anyone the privilege of smiting me on the end of my finger nails."
March 13, 1930
- It is interesting to see what grocery stores sold (and thus what many ate) in 1930. The "Weis Pure Food Stores" sold fish and seafood including "Fancy Nor Mackerel, 2 for 25¢," "pink salmon, tall can, 19¢," "red salmon, tall can, 29¢." "Kipper snacks, 3 cans, 20¢; sardines, oil or mus., 3 cans, 20¢."
- "The Roaring Creek Upper School is closed this week on account of the illness of the teacher, Phillip Harris."
May 8, 1930
- Amos Fetterman, a C.H.S. graduate, will star in the new vitaphone thriller "the Wicked Wench" soon to open at the "Soft Seat Theatre."
- Bachman's Tea room served chicken dinner "with all the fixin's" for 75¢. Baldy's Store sold "good home-baked products." The store also had "Criss Cross, Tie-Backs and Flat Curtains at $1, $1.39 and $1.98 a pair."
Answers to today's quiz...
- Martin Van Buren, eighth president of the United States, was the first to be born a citizen of the United States. All previous presidents were born before the United States became a country, although all were born in places that would later be a part of the United States.
- A ball of glass will bounce higher than a ball made of rubber. A ball of solid steel will bounce higher than one made entirely of glass.
- The parachute was invented more than a hundred years before the airplane.
- Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to visit a foreign country while in office and the first president to ride in an automobile.
- Twelve or more cows are a flink.
September 25, 2008. It is the birthday of Wayne McMichael III. It is the ninth wedding anniversary of David and Connie Shaffer, Elk Grove. Michael Douglas and ABC News correspondent Barbara Walters also celebrate birthdays today. On this date in 1789, the first U.S. Congress adopted 12 amendments to the Constitution and sent them to the states for ratification. Ten of the amendments became the Bill of Rights.
"A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inferences."
--Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to James Madison, December, 1787
• Chrysler LLC has unveiled three prototype electric cars, including a Dodge sports car, a four-door Jeep Wrangler, and a Chrysler minivan,intended to be for domestic sale sometime in 2010 to compete with the Chevrolet Volt.
• About 40 attended the See You At the Pole services Wednesday morning at Benton High school. Kristin Reese was the student leader. The group was led in worship by Chris Barnes, Sammy Mika and Mandy Yaple. The students prayed for their fellow classmates, faculty, administration and country and world leaders. The nationwide event was launched in 1990 in Texas by evangelical teens asserting their right to pray at school.
• How 'bout the mystery of the 200-pound black bear from Pennsylvania found in eastern Illinois September 16? Wildlife investigators aren't sure how the bear got from Pennsylvania to about 30 miles south of Champaign. Illinois is a state where officially there are no black bears.
• Teresa Wojton of Whispering Pines Camping Estates opened the campground gift shop Wednesday morning to find a wildlife figure smashed on the floor. She soon discovered that the window had been pried open. Her immediate thought that someone had broken in was dispelled when outside the window she "found something that no self-respecting thief would leave behind. On the window sill there were paw prints and right below in the garden the inpolite creature left droppings." The size and shape of the paw prints and droppings indicates that it was a bear. The window was repaired and locked tight last night. The figureen which was broken was a $60 bear head, by the way.
Gas Drilling News...
• In a sign of the times, Dominion Resources is finding it difficult to obtain financing because of current market conditions and is scaling down the size of Marcellus shale gas leases in western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. For details on how the financial crisis is affecting local landowners, read a front-page article in today's Press Enterprise.
• In Monroe Township, Bedford County, five families found out the hard way that a natural-gas company will take possession of their land for the purpose of building a natural-gas storage field. A federal judge gave Spectra Energy the right to take control of their Monroe Township properties. The problem arose when the gas-drilling company, General Energy, said the wells dried up and sold the leases to Spectra Energy, which wants to store natural gas from around the county on the property. Not all the lease agreements included the storage clause, but Spectra went to federal court for eminent domain. So much for the old "what is mine is mine and what is yours is yours" concept.
Didja ever think that procrastination is a lot like a credit card? It is lots of fun until we get the bill.
Growing up on a farm meant eating a lot of red meat. My favorite cut was always a porterhouse, a cut not seen much in the stores these days. The porterhouse is carved out between the sirloin and the tenderloin. Before porterhouse referred to a cut of beef, it meant a tavern or a place to get porter, a malt beer popular with blue-collar workers during the 1700s and the 1800s. A stronger version was "stout porter," later shortened to "stout."
The Philadelphia Inquirer in its edition of November 11, 1817, included an article about a tavern in London known as the "The Blue Last," widely known for its "entire." Until about the year 1730, it was the general practice with tavern-frequenters to call for a pint of three threads (a third of ale, beer and twopenny). About the same time, an English brewer named Ralph Harwood conceived the idea of making a beverage that used the best parts of all three. He called it "entire." The entire at the Blue Last appealed particularly to the taste of the "porters" among the clientèle. Over the years, the designation "porter beer" or simply "porter" was applied to it and its popularity spread over Great Britain and Ireland.
As the English migrated to the United States, a new type of tavern opened in which porter was introduced and steaks and other dishes were served. The establishment was often called a "porter-house," the most common cut of beef sold and which some claimed was the "only part of the beef that justified its slaughter."
Porterhouse steak was strictly an American product, so you can imagine the indignation when an English writer expressed the opinion in the London Daily Telegraph of September 27, 1864, that "the porterhouse steaks of America are infinitely superior to our much-valued steak." New York claimed that the term was introduced through the fame of the steaks supplied by a porter-house on Manhattan Island.
The price of food was a concern in 1914 when the Wilkes-Barre Times (August 28, 1914) wrote that "if porterhouse steak at 45 cents a pound hurts your pocketbook, go out in the alley and eat a few weeds." The newspaper listed weeds, all edible, that could be used for food, including the "dock, nettle sorrel, purslane, milkweed, dandelion, pigweed, lamb's quarter, marsh marigold and brake fern."
Thanks to Gisela Demko, the owner of the Mountain View Barn on Route 118 who provided the newspapers, we'll spend a few days on the subject of Catawissa, as viewed through the pages of the Catawissa News Item.
The assumption is that readers know that Catawissa is 22 miles from Back Home in Benton, PA, via route 42.
The first-known mention of a word like "Catawissa" came from French trader James LeTort, who referred to "Catawasse" in a letter of May 1728.
The Catawissa News Item began its newspaper life in 1876 under the leadership of G. E. Myers. Charles E. Randall came to Catawissa in 1881 from The Luzerne Union. He was hired as foreman of the Catawissa News Item. In October 1884 he and John C. Yocum, Esq. purchased the newspaper from Mr. Myers. Mr. Randall handled the editorial department and office in general.
The paper was somewhat similar to the Benton Argus. Battle's History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania described the paper as a "newsy sheet, 24x36, seven columns," with a "circulation of 1,500." The paper was printed using a three-horse power-steam engine, one that we would today call a "hit and miss" engine. The newspaper did not devote a lot of space to politics.
The Catawissa News Item proudly noted on its masthead that it was "An Independent, Family Newspaper, Published in the Interest of Its Readers, at One Dollar per Year, Strictly in Advance."
What is now Catawissa extends back to the Indians for centuries and for white settlers to 1769 when a surveyor by the name of William Henry took out a warrant for 282¼ acres for the land. That action predates Northumberland County, which didn't come along until March 1772 when it was carved out of a part of what was then Berks County. Moses Roberts built the first house in the Catawissa area. The first grist mill was built in 1770.
William Hughes laid out the town into lots and the name "Hughesburg" was chosen. (In 1816, Jeptha Hughes laid out a town with the same name, which today is known as Hughesville.) A $26,000 bridge to Catawissa completed in January 1883. Ice destroyed the bridge twice. A replacement bridge opened in November 1875.
Christian Brobst planned to build a railroad from Catawissa to Tamaqua and in March 1831, an act was passed by the legislature authorizing subscriptions for the stock of the Little Schuylkill and Susquehanna Railroad Company. The company closed before construction completed. In March 1849, the corporation was reorganized as the Catawissa, Williamsport and Erie Railroad Company. During the next 5 years, the railroad was finally completed. The first passenger train entered the town in July 1854. William Cable was the conductor and John Johnson the engineer. The new company also ran into hard times and was eventually sold. The new purchasers named the company the Catawissa Railroad Company.
There is much to tell of the history of Catawissa, but that is not our intent in this posting. There are many references to Catawissa, but for starters head to http://www.garys-genealogy.com/id18.htm . If you would like to do further research on the Catawissa News Item, stop at the Columbia County Historical & Genealogical Society. The issues retained by the Society are indexed at http://www.colcohist-gensoc.org/mysql/sourcecontent.php?varsource=6. Here are a few examples of items found in the issues...
August 14, 1884.
• Ashland is now illuminated by aid of electric lights. Catawissa still clings to her lanterns and sich (sic).
• Solomon Slusser, Berwick, was digging a well for his uncle. He made a blast, with the usual precautions, and the following day he went down in the well to clean it out and was partially overcome with gas from the blast. He found it impossible to remain below. He climbed up the ladder and his head was seen above the well, when his strength gave way and he fell forty-three feet to the bottom. His cousin happened along. The cousin descended the well, intending to bring him up. He succeeded in getting the rope around the hand of the man when he too dropped senseless at the bottom of the well. A third man was let down the well, with a rope around his waist. When he became unresponsive, he was hauled to the surface and was unconscious for more than an hour. When he revived he said one of the men at the bottom of the well was breathing. A blacksmith fashioned a hook and pulled both men from the well. Solomon was a well digger by profession and had dug over a hundred wells at the time of his death. He left a wife, who was "frantic with grief." His cousin was 35 and "left a wife and five children in destitute circumstances."
• G. L. Kostenbauder was the local dealer in "clothing, hats, caps, boots, shoes, gents' furnishings, goods, watches, clocks, jewelry, etc."
We'll continue with events from the Catawissa Daily News in tomorrow's edition...
September 24, 2008. It is the birthday of Keith Bankes, Joe Helwig and Lauri Edson. Wayne and Lois McMichael celebrate their 53rd wedding anniversary and Keith and Rosemary Yorks celebrate their 31st anniversary.
The book is filled with interesting stories and it doesn't take long to become addicted to reading it. A story told early in the book tells about a boar finding the most beautiful female he had ever seen sometime between late May and early July, how they spent a few hours together as a new beginning unfolded. It was then time to be off to find the next most beautiful female in the world. Meanwhile the sow, who never again sees the boar, eats constantly, gaining over a hundred pounds during October, November and early December. She enters a den where she will not eat, drink, urinate or defecate until the following spring. Her cubs are born in the middle of January. Jack Harris, Jr. tells the story, his version of Beyond My Wildest Dreams, the title of a wonderful book for the sportsman interested in learning more about bears. It would make an excellent Christmas present. It is for sale locally at the Brass Pelican Restaurant. (A "sow" is a female bear; a "boar" is a male bear)
Gas and food is more expensive, but attendance figures for the Bloomsburg Fair are better this year than the last two years.
Stock market, stock market
I'm down on my knees;
You've got to recover
I'm begging you, please.
I'd gotten used to easy cash
My wife and I had quite a stash.
Stock market, stock market
please go higher
If you crash we can never retire.
The results of the September 18 blood drive in memory of Noreen McDormand were outstanding. Fifty-six came to donate blood, and 54 registered. Thirty-seven were donors of whole blood and 14 were double-red cells, for a total of 51. There were seven first-time donors. The Lions Club had a goal of 49 pints. The organization thanks all who participated in the blood drive.
Have you met Ginny, the talented dog? Go to www.familytiez.com/video/gin.htm.
Thanks to Gisela Demko, the owner of the Mountain View Barn on Route 118 who provided the newspapers, we'll spend a few days on the subject of Catawissa, as viewed through the pages of the Catawissa News Item, a newspaper started by G. E. Myers on May 16, 1878. We'll begin the series tomorrow. Some stories will be funny, some sad, but all representative of the southern end of Columbia County.
The Benton Rodeo Association will not hold a September meeting. The next meeting will take place on October 30.
The Northern Columbia Community and Cultural Center elected a new board of directors at its regularly scheduled board meeting and annual election of officers Tuesday night. Elected into office and serving the 2008-2009 term are:
• Paul Reichert—Chairman
• Craig Merluzzi—President
• Allison Hess—Vice President
• Judith Scavone—Treasurer
• Abigail Ritchie—Secretary
• John Kitchen—Financial Secretary
Newly elected board members serving the 2008-2011 term are:
• Ellen Hall
• Abigail Ritchie
• Bob Parks
Members whose terms have expired include:
• Jean MacDermott
• Carlton ‘Butch’ Young
• A special meeting of the Board of Directors of the Benton Area School was held on Tuesday, August 19, in which the board...
Approved salary adjustments for Matt Aten and Stacy Getz
Approved contracting with Bob Latorra for "Behind the Wheel" instruction for all or part of the 08-09 school year.
Hired Christine Ervin as chemistry/physics senior high teacher.
Hired James Hyde as Technology Education/Driver Education teacher, to begin upon his release from his current position.
Accepted cafeteria worker Janet English’s resignation.
Accepted English/Gifted teacher Jillian Bolesta’s resignation
Approved Matt Aten as a volunteer golf coach.
Approved Stevens & Lee as Bond Counsel for the Biomass Project.
Approved funding of the Biomass Project.
Approved PPLs Investment Grade Audit.
• A special meeting of the Board of Directors of the Benton Area School was held on Monday, September 8, in which the board...
Accepted the resignation of Ramona Heaps as school-board member with regret.
Hired Joanne LaRossa as an elementary aide for 7 hours per day.
Hired Karen Brown as a 3 hour per day cafeteria worker.
Approved issuing the General Obligation Note 2008 for the Biomass Project.
• The regular monthly meeting was held Monday, September 15, at which time the Board of Directors covered the following items:
Appointed Lance Wolfe to fill the unexpired term of Ramona Heaps
Approved contacting an attorney concerning oil- and gas-lease contract offers to the district.
Approved purchasing from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt School Publishers science materials for grades K, 1, & 2.
Approved Casey Hackett as a volunteer field hockey coach
Approved Wodrig’s Nursery quote for repairs to the baseball field.
Hired Colleen Dougherty as English/Gifted teacher in the middle/senior high school.
Approved Tom Burgess as mentor, pro-rated from her start date, for Colleen Dougherty.
Approved the following Class/Club advisers for the MS/HS: 9th Grade--Jessy Delany and Donna Rentschler, HS Odyssey of the Mind--Beth and Emeric Schultz, pending receipt of his clearances, Prom advisers--Cathy Hartman and Tina Walters, Matt Aten--Changed from MS Student Council and HS Student Council to HS only, Middle School Student Council--Jodi Kline, Silks--Jennifer Welliver.
September 23, 2008. It is the birthday of Dennis Janney. Alvin Lynn and Kitty Maynes. Florence Kocher is expected to be released from the hospital today. On this date in...
. 1800, William Holmes McGuffey was born near Claysville, Pennsylvania. He wrote a series of Peerless Pioneer Readers from 1826 to 1836 and they were first published in 1836. The instructional aids were called McGuffey's Readers, and were used for isolated pioneer families and the children of immigrants who couldn't speak English. They became standard texts in almost every state for fifty years, and sold over 125 million copies. He only received $1,000 for his efforts. It was said that McGuffey had no real interest in money, but was simply dedicated to the cause of education. In his lifetime, he was a professor at Miami University (OH), and President of Cincinnati College, Ohio University and Woodward College. He ended his career as a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Virginia.
. 1975, the remains of Hurricane Eloise merged with a stationary front over New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland to produce major flooding. The high-water marks from this flood are clearly visible on the Bloomsburg fair grounds. Look for them at the south end of the grandstand.
The Jubilate Choir will begin holding rehearsals on Sunday, September 28, from 2-3:30 PM at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, 123 N. Market Street, Bloomsburg. Rehearsals will continue to be held on Sunday afternoons until the performances on Saturday, December 6, and Sunday, December 7. The choir is welcoming new members of any voice part at this time. Feel free to contact director Alan Hack at 854-0733 for further details. Also, several current members from the Benton area will be meeting at the Benton Methodist Church to carpool to rehearsals. Contact Paddy Langenbach at 925-2006 for more information.
The designation of Interstate 99 might not be familiar to you. I-99 is east of I-79 and west of I-81. The designation of this highway as I-99 makes us wonder who fell asleep when interstate highways were numbered, and who forgot about the sequential-numbering system for interstate highways. Thank Congressman Bud Shuster for getting in the act. Shuster was responsible for writing I-99's designation into the 1995 National Highway Designation Act, even though the number "99" violates the standard numbering convention associated with Interstate highways. According to numbering guidelines, I-99 should be near the Atlantic coast since the system calls for the lowest numbers on the West Coast and the highest numbers on the East Coast. North-south interstates 81, 83, 87, 89, 91, 93, 95, and 97 are all east of I-99.
The original section of I-99 between the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 70/76) at Bedford and Bald Eagle along U.S. 220 has been opened for a number of years. Portions of I-99 opened in November 2002 between State College and I-80, although some sections are still known as U.S. 220. I-99 will be extended along U.S. 220 to Lock Haven and Williamsport, then northbound along U.S. 15 toward the new I-86 near Corning. I-99 may eventually extend north to Rochester via the present I-390.
On October 1, an important section will open in Pennsylvania and extend for one mile into the state of New York. Going north on the present Route 15, it is now necessary to exit the four-lane highway at Route 287, outside of Tioga. Starting October 1, the future I-99 will open on the west side of the Tioga River past Lawrenceville, the last borough in Pennsylvania. This section of highway will be known as Route 15 for several years until the state of New York finishes construction to meet I-86. The existing Route 15 in that location will become PA Route 287.
• Announced closings yesterday included 39 Pfaltzgraff and Farberware factory stores, following the closing of 30 outlet stores closed earlier this year. All bricks-and-mortar Pfaltzgraff stores will close, but the brand will still be available online. Inventory clearance sales begin today and will conclude by the end of the year.
• Do you like fishing? What about fishing for huge salmon? Go to www.peninsulaclarion.com/kenairiverrun/kenairiverrun.html and see how you do.
• Didja know that punctuation did not come into use until the fifteenth century when printing started to be used? Before that, words written by scribes rantogethersomethinglikethis.
• At this writing, the "boil-water" advisory is still in effect in the borough of Millville following a break in a water main.
Quote of the Day:
"There's only one way to have a happy marriage and as soon as I learn what it is I'll get married again."
We miss the language we used as kids. "Impa tickler" is one of the terms we loved. It was a common response to the question, "Whatcha doin tonite?" The answer was usually a simple "Nuttin impa tickler." If you are doing "nuttin impa tickler" on Tuesday, October 28, at 7 PM, consider coming to Bloomsburg to St. Paul's Episcopal Church where the Whitmore Saga will be presented by William M. Baillie, President of the Columbia County Historical and Genealogical Society, under the direction of Board Member Malinda Price, with the help of a few friends.
Members of the North Mountain Historical Society were lucky enough to hear the unforgettable story of the Whitmore family as told by Mr. Baillie. The dramatic production, as presented at St. Paul's church, will explore the adventures of the Whitmore children as remembered decades later. Seized from their frontier cabin at Jerseytown during the Revolutionary War by invading Indians, the five siblings suffered for up to seven years as captives and then lived exciting lives as pioneers in widely separated places in New York state and Ontario. The program focuses on the remarkable reunion of a sister and brother after a separation of seventy years.
Participating in the performance are...
• Nina (Diltz) Feldser, President of the Women's Civic club of Bloomsburg, First Vice President of Business and Professional Women's Club of Bloomsburg and Treasurer of Columbia Chapter of Hadassah. Nina currently serves on the Photo and Publishing committee of the Historical Society.
• Terena Yohe lives in Bloomsburg with her husband, two children, one newly arrived exchange student and two dogs. When she is not taking care of her family, she is exploring the art of Pysanky passed down by her Ukrainian father, listening to music and learning digital photography.
• David R. Kline is a member of the board of directors of the Columbia County Historical & Genealogical Society and the Columbia County Traveling Library and President of the Fishing Creek Investment Club. He is a charter member of the Curmudgeons. He alternates living in Benton and Camp Hill with his wife, Kay, and their two dogs, Buster and Chloe. The couple have a total of five children, eleven grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
• Malinda Price is the "person behind the scenes" for the production. She has been involved with the CCHGS for 25 years, first as a newsletter editor for the then separate Genealogical Society, then served as secretary of the Historical Society for twelve years. She presently serves on the Board of Directors and as Chairman of the Photograph Committee. Malinda was a guidance counselor at Central Columbia High School for nineteen years. She and her husband, Burt, have three grown children and three grandchildren.
• Bill Baillie is a retired Bloomsburg University professor and current President of the Columbia County Historical and Genealogical Society. His writings and lectures for the Society are extensive and include William Montgomery, Revolutionary War hero and Central Pennsylvania pioneer, The Whitmore Saga, A History of Madison Township, Discovering Bloomsburg: a bicentennial History, The Wyoming Massacre and Columbia County, and much more.
September 22, 2008. It is the birthday of Allen Turner and Monica Mika-Machamer. Tara and Teo Grigas celebrate their wedding anniversary. The fall banners line Main Street of the Borough and extend into the township. Take a slow ride on Main Street and identify all the fine merchants and individuals who support this program.
"The melancholy days are come,
The saddest of the year.
Of wailing winds and naked woods,
And meadows brown and sere."
--William C. Bryant
Fall officially begins today and thus begins our transition from summer to winter. Our days will now rapidly get shorter and cooler, our deciduous trees will lose their leaves, it is the time of the year when we start promoting Halloween.
Didja ever think of autumn as a second spring? Every leaf is a brilliant flower.
By my way of thinking, spring seems to be dressed in light cotton, while autumn seems to be warm flannels. Spring gets me outdoors to see the first yellows of the year, along with the daisies and violets and the Jack-in-the Pulpits; autumn makes me search for my warm socks. Spring draws me into the beautiful sunshine; autumn draws me nearer the fire. Spring is more of a promissory note while autumn is the pay day. Spring doesn't deliver a lot of fruit, while autumn brings the best fruit of the year, including a thanksgiving turkey and a pumpkin pie to go with it.
When the sound of dropping nuts is heard
Though all the trees are still;
And twinkle in the smoky light
Nature has delivered its latest thrill.
It is the start of a new season, a new week and a new start. I look forward to the first. The other two I am not so sure about. When I hear politicians use terms like "restore confidence" and "end the crisis," I instinctively reach for my back pocket to guard my wallet. This is the week where the Government is going to take underlying pieces of paper of "garbage" value, throw them into a hopper with other pieces of paper of "garbage" value and produce a whole bunch of garbage in one heap and pronounce it "better." The Sunday Patriot-News called it "the best bad option."
This will be an interesting week as many factors have time to digest the extreme actions taken last week to shore up certain companies. It tends, I think, to send the message that the problem is more severe than we're being told. Instead of quelling our fears, it tends to develop them. Last week's knee-jerk reaction which produced a market bounce could very well cause more panic selling this week. Nothing changed the basics: houses continue to fall in value, people aren't able to make their mortgage payments, the basic risk factor is still strong. The guys on Wall Street are being taken care of; the guys on Main Street are still left out to dry...
Who is paying for this trillion dollar bailout? Money isn't just printed. The funds to back it either come from taxpayers or from investors. The federal budget deficit is in excess of $400 billion and the total debt outstanding is $4,172,172,383,864.24 (figure as of September 18, from www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/BPDLogin?application=np). To find investors to fund the trillion dollars, interest rates will have to increase and corporations could be hurt in their need for borrowing. I don't expect a short-term improvement in the debt crisis from this action!
For additional reading on this subject, go to the article The Real Reason Behind the Global Financial Crisis, by Money Morning, as posted September 19, 2008.
It seems as though there are crows everywhere this year. Didja know that Pennsylvania hunters are allowed to shoot crows on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until April 5, 2009? Foxes and coyotes can also be hunted on Sunday.
Father always had a saying that went something to the effect that crows were lazy as a man, wise as an owl, and the bearer of a charmed life. As a kid, I remember large flocks of crows in search of food. A favorite spot was the small watermelon patch by the creek. Father illustrated his story about the laziness of the bird by showing where the crows flew to the melons and pecked random holes in them to get to the water inside. It was only a few more feet to the creek! Father knew about the laziness of the birds, and covered up the good melons with vines. Sure enough, the crows didn't bother to pick through the vines to find the melons.
Father once told me about a man who hit on a plan to get rid of crows. He shot a rabbit and placed it near his melon patch. The following morning, the rabbit was picked clean to the bones. For two more days, the crows feasted on rabbits and each morning the bones were clean as a whistle. The next night, the farmer poisoned the meat and in the morning a small group of field mice and one skunk lay dead on the ground--but not a single crow. The crows were living up to their reputation of being as wise as an owl.
Crows have been seen dividing the murder (A flock of crows is technically a "murder") into halves. One half of the flock went to the top branches of trees with nuts and essentially raised a fuss, which in turn forced many of the nuts to fall to the ground. The other half of the flock stayed on the ground and gathered up the nuts. Like certain other birds, the crow will take a nut high into the air and drop it on a busy street, then watch while a car tire crushes the nut. The bird will swoop and pick up the opened nut. Stories like this are often told as illustrations of the intelligence of the crow.
The diminished pheasant flock in Pennsylvania is because, in small part, of the eating of pheasant eggs by crows. Nothing is hunted and eaten more readily by crows than frogs and toads. A large percentage of the crow's food is insects: grasshoppers, beetles, cut-worms, ants and various types of flies. Mice seem to be a delicacy. The crow's habit of searching the ground for food enables it to find many mice as it walks along and pokes its nose into bunches of leaves and under grasses and weeds in the pastures. Crows are most active in their search during the spring and summer when the hay is cut, and when they are likely to find nests of mice that contain young.
George Welliver is at it again. This year, the former "man in a can" at the Bloomsburg Fair is wearing glasses with green eyeballs painted on the lenses. He has a black hat and white flower on his head and a red bandanna around his neck. People who have been to Painter Den remember George as the man who sounds like a train whistle.
Google Co-founder Sergey Brin is at greater risk for developing Parkinson's Disease than most people, but having found this out, he is happy that he can take measures to try to prevent it before it potentially affects him. "I feel fortunate to be in this position," he says. "Until the fountain of youth is discovered, all of us will have some conditions in our old age only we don't know what they will be. I have a better guess than almost anyone else for what ills may be mine--and I have decades to prepare for it." You can read more in Sergey's own writing by visiting http://too.blogspot.com/.
September 21, 2008. It is the 39th wedding anniversary of Larry and Susan (Fritz) Fausey. Hurricane Eloise was one of the deadliest Category 3 hurricanes on record. Eloise turned to the north through the Gulf of Mexico on September 21 after crossing just north of Costume, Mexico. On this date in 2004, Lee Remley and Joe Savage both had rain gauges that held five inches of rain, and water ran over the top of both gauges. Some parts of the state received up to nine inches of rain. Near Danville, the Susquehanna River reached 26.2 feet, well over flood stage level of 20 feet. The river at Danville in 1972 crested at 32.3 feet. All that took place during the Bloomsburg Fair. The weather forecast for this year is much more favorable.
Planning a trip through Sullivan County to see the fall foliage? The weekend of October 11 and 12 should be about the best color-wise. While you are touring about, visit the Eagles Mere Columbus Day Celebration October 11 and 12 from 11 AM to 4 PM. There is no admission. There will be artists, goldsmiths, antiques, bookstores, museums, gift and home decor shops, a farmers market--and much more.
What a nice couple of days! Good friends, good food, good weather. Marcia Kay and I have been roaming the wilds of Ives Run, near the Tioga-Hammond dam in Tioga County. Bill and Joyce Johnson, Edd and Terri Sidinger, Rosie and Forest Fronheiser and John and Charlotte Sibley were gracious enough to invite Buster, Chloe, Kay and I to join them. Ives Run is a popular spot this time of the year. We ran into the former Harriot Davis (now Watts) and her hubby camping with Ron and Ann (Bennett) Zeisloft. Ann is the daughter of the former co-owner of the former Baker and Bennett store on Main Street, about where D.R.'s Market is now located. James L. and Helen Paterson, Bloomsburg, were there. Jim is active in the Bloomsburg Public Library and the Columbia County Traveling Library.
It is hard to head into the wilds of the Endless Mountains without making a stop at the lovely, well-preserved Borough of Wellsburo with its town green, wide gas-lit boulevards and pedestrian-friendly environment. We all know that the Wellsboro is is perhaps one of the first most pleasant places to visit in our state. The borough has been a shipping point and trade center, it has had flour and woolen mills, a milk-condensing plant, marble works, saw mills, foundry and machine shops, and manufacturers of cut glass, chemicals, rugs, bolts, cigars, carriages and furniture. It calls itself home to the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania.
Wellsboro was where one of the first factories was located where light bulbs were mass-produced, using machines which today are virtually unchanged from the early 20th century.
Benjamin Wister Morris, the founder of Wellsboro and the first settler in Tioga County came from Philadelphia in 1799. Wellsboro was incorporated in 1830 and was named in honor of Mary Wells, wife of one of Mr. Morris. It is hard to go to Wellsburg and not eat at the Penn-Wells Hotel where the original hotel on that spot was built in 1816.
The present hotel has a varied history which began in 1869 when A. P. Cone built a four-story hotel. In 1885, a man by the name of Coles bought the hotel and renamed it--surprise, surprise, the Coles House. A fire in late March, 1906, due to a defective chimney, completely gutted the fourth floor. The fire caused about $25,000 in damages on a night when the temperature was at the zero mark. Firemen found fireplugs frozen and a lack of water pressure. It wasn't until 1925 that some local residents banded together and bought the ancient structure. They closed it for an extensive remodeling, added a fourth floor again, and reopened the hotel in 1926 as the Penn Wells Hotel. In 1931, the new section of the hotel was opened, with 18 more rooms and an enlarged dining room.
The spunk of the townspeople was always impressive. Back in 1901, Burgess Frank A. Deans cracked down on tramps who took a liking to the town. The borough council passed an ordinance whereby tramps in the borough lock-up were fed bread and water only, and citizens were requested not to feed them. An ordinance was introduced to compel tramps to work on the street.
When one heads to a wonderful place like Wellsboro, why does a vacation have to be so short? Actually, I came home with two weeks of dirty clothes and we were only gone four days! The weather was great, but there were a few bugs. One skinny young thing came home wearing a 42D bra from all the bug bites. Ah, well, I just checked the calendar. It is off tomorrow for a week at Centre Hall, another wonderful jumping off point to see more of our wonderful state.
I take a lot of flack for writing a daily posting of things that are of interest Back Home in Benton, PA. Most days are pretty darn dull! There isn't much to talk about, and what there is to talk about isn't of interest. I sometimes steer to the corner of the road and write about things like greed that ends up affecting millions of Americans. I am sorry, but I am not one bit happy that I--as well as every other tax-paying American--just loaned $283 to AIG. What bugs me is that I don't remember anyone asking if I wanted to do that! Let's see if I understand what happened. A group who calls themselves the United States Government came up with an $85 billion loan to a corporation that was able to mismanage even more money than that so fast that I didn't know they were in trouble until they were in deep do-do. (Actually, I should have guessed it. CEO Willumstad has been in charge since June. His predecessor was chief for three years until being ousted after two record quarterly-net losses. His predecessor was forced to retire in 2005 amid regulatory probes.) Some sources are claiming that it will take a cool trillion--there are 12 zeros in that number--to keep from having a meltdown. Why would anyone want to be president in the next administration? How will any of us afford the next administration?
Of all the darn luck. The only entertainment that I wanted to see at the Bloomsburg Fair has been cancelled. Quiz show contestant and country singer Kellie Dawn Pickler--best known for her sixth-place finish on the fifth season of American Idol, was scheduled to appear on the main stage at the Bloomsburg Fair tonight, but canceled her appearance locally following a performance at the Frederick, Maryland, fair in which she appeared on the stage 25 minutes late as a result of a sinus infection. In a true Pickler Performance, she told the people in the first row that "if I hack up anything ugly, you've been warned."
A Bloomsburg Fair press release indicates that Kellie was taken to Nashville instead of continuing to Bloomsburg. This is the fourth concert Kellie has cancelled since June. The 7:30 show tonight has been recast as a free show provided by a country-music trio opening act known as Lady Antebellum. Ticket purchases will be refunded through the Grandstand Ticket Office. Kellie is resting up for her Tuesday appearance on the Today Show, which she hopes will be more successful than her last appearance when, as she put it, a "Chihuahua peed on me." Watch for Kellie Pickler on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest on ABC on New Year's Eve starting at 10 PM ET.
September 20, 2008. It is the birthday of Andrew Hartzell, Ken Sutton, actress Sophia Loren and poet Stevie Smith, born in Yorkshire, England in 1902. Smith had a way with words, so much so that I can still remember these words from the first time I read them: "This Englishwoman is so refined, She has no bosom and no behind." It is the wedding anniversary of Kay and David Kline and the sixth anniversary of D.R.'s Mini Mart, Main Street.
It is a daunting task to try to read newspapers that were published in the local area. We all know about the Benton Argus. If you head to www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~pacolumb/newspap.htm you can find other newspapers published over the years in Berwick, Bloomsburg, Millville and Danville.
As a kid growing up in the Benton School System, the first day of the new school year was a special treat. I eagerly awaited the first class to see what "new kids" joined our classes. We knew that a newcomer would be treated like family. It seemed to be instilled in us that no one was permitted to be a stranger in our local school and community. The same holds true today when a new face arrives "officially." The new kid on the block today is Black Bear Pottery and Fine Art which has its grand-opening celebration from 10 AM to 5 PM Saturday, October 4, with the official dedication at 2 PM. Black Bear is owned by Sandra and Frank Tranor III.
Black Bear Pottery & Fine Art features some of the most exciting and talented Pennsylvania artists in the area. Visit the thought-provoking installation by Stefania Luciani Binnick, one of the major exhibitors in the shop. Although her art is new to Benton her talent has been well nurtured, starting from her childhood visits to her family's roots in Italy, through United States and international art and language studies and on to numerous commissioned artistic projects spanning an active and productive lifetime. Learn more by visiting www.binnick.com/paintings.html and www.binnick.com/exhibits.html.
In my opinion, Black Bear is good enough to warrant having tour buses visit to see the quality of the place and take in the small-town beauty of Back Home in Benton, PA. The shop is located on Main Street, Benton, adjacent to two of the finest antique shops in the Commonwealth and a short walk from the enchanting shop known as Henny-Penny where something new is always brewing.
Those who spend time at the beach will recognize the term "Whac-A-Mole," an amusement-park game where for an exorbitant amount of money, patrons can wildly whack at a randomly appearing wascally mole, only to find another mole pop up just feet away. The more moles you actually hit in a ridiculously short period of time, the higher your score. No prizes are awarded. Some might say there is a lot of similarity between this game and the way the Government is whacking away at the mole hole of losses in the economic sector. The Government didn't take a swing at Lehman Brothers and the fourth largest broker in the United States filed for bankruptcy. The American International Group then popped up and the Government gave them a two-year loan at an interest rate of 11.5%. The Government also took over a 79.9% stake in the firm. We shake at the thought of how deep this mole hole of losses will go before it is over.
The financial sector is somewhat akin to a cat in a roomful of rocking chairs. The poor critter is afraid to let its tail drop to the floor for fear that it will feel the pinch from a different chair.
Quote of the Day...
"That's the most unheard of thing that I have ever heard of."
--Sen. Joe McCarthy
Let's see if this can be said quickly...
Treasury Department, Federal Reserve and Securities and Exchange Commission calmed a panic-stricken market Friday, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average up, and asking that politicians work through the weekend to come up with a plan to let the government buy bad debts from banks and to remove illiquid assets from banks' books. It won't do anything to help Cousin Claudia and Nephew Nick pay their mortgages, it won't do anything to reverse the sinking of values of homes, it won't do anything to help homeowners unload real-estate burdens from around their necks, it won't help the nation's $47 trillion debt or the countless companies and individuals who depend on a sound economy.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has banned short selling of almost 800 financial stocks, which will divert short selling into other sectors where they think the next credit crisis is possible, and thus create an actual credit crisis in that section. It is somewhat akin to telling your tongue to stay away from a new cavity. Rots of ruck!
On Friday, Washington moved to guarantee money-market funds that invest in high-risk instruments. The U.S. Treasury needs something like one trillion dollars in new money from investors to fund the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG and new banking bailouts. Now lets see if I understand this! The Government will guarantee investors to get a high yield on a high-risk investment, so why would anyone invest in lower yield U.S. Treasuries? It is going to make it difficult for the U.S. Treasury to raise the money needed to finance all the bailout programs on the table at the moment. These actions are going to hurt a new borrower: the U.S. Government.
Doors are opening in the upper Fishing Creek valley which could result in potential battles between gas companies, landowners and residents. The price of natural gas has nearly tripled in the past decade and, except for the state of the economy, no subject is more discussed locally than natural-gas drilling--and the first permit to drill in Columbia County has not yet been issued.
Readers continue to fill my inbox with their concerns about environmental risks and their desire for economic rewards. It is necessary to look to the experience of other states in order to answer reader's concerns. We often turn to the state of Texas to see the impact there, but that state has been involved in the oil and gas industry for years. Today we'll head west to the natural gas operations in Colorado where there has been more than a 40% increase in state-issued drilling permits between 1999 and 2003. In the state of Colorado, companies don't need permission from most landowners to drill for gas because either the state or the federal government owns the mineral rights.
A long-time reader of the Benton News is visiting family in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and filed a grim report from that state. He writes, "The wells I am seeing are being drilled closely together and there are thousands of them." He told about the tank trucks used to transport the chemicals for the fracking process. He told of the "hundreds of tankers moving on the highways and the temporary roads." These transports are "prepared from trainloads of powder that are prepared at a central-rail siding site and trucked to the holes."
He told of driving on a dirt road when five tankers came up behind him to make deliveries to sites a number of miles off the main road. He saw miles of 3" plastic piping running from wells. The sites were clean but many of the wells were not connected to the pipelines since they have not yet been built, they go to condensers for compression and trucking. If and when well drilling starts in the Benton area, there will be a large influx of outside-specialist workers drilling wells requiring temporary roads and lots of trucks on all roads to fill the wells with the expansion chemicals.
Donna (Hayman) Fritz (May 5, 1939-September 19, 2008), an artist whose paintings were known as "Focal Points by Donna" and were sold from her home each holiday season, died Friday at her home at
42 Bottom Road, Orangeville, following a lengthy illness. She was 69.
Donna was born in
. She was a daughter of Arthur L. and Dorothy (Lunger) Hayman. Fishing Creek Township
She was a 1957 graduate of
. Donna had worked as a teacher’s aide at the Benton High School Madison Elementary Schooland later became the Assistant Activities Director for the Millville Health Centerand then for Grandview Nursing Home, . She and Janet Beishline were partners in Farm Family Day Care. Donna was a very active member of Faith Bible Church, Route 487, Orangeville, where she was secretary of the Church board, and taught Sunday School and Danville . She was an avid reader and enjoyed raising flowers. Daily Vacation Bible School
Surviving, in addition to her husband, Mahlon, with whom she celebrated 50 years of married life on July 5, 2008, are her step mother, Agnes B. Hayman, a guest at Bonham Nursing Center; her sons Mahlon L. Fritz, Jr., (Betty Jo), Chicago, IL; Carl A. Fritz, Sr. (Becky), Benton; Robin S. Fritz (Martha), Orangeville. There are seven grandchildren; one great granddaughter; two brothers: Rev. Arthur Lee Hayman (Joan), Benton and Rev. Franklin F. Hayman (Karen), Olean, NY; and three step siblings.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a step mother, Rae Hayman.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday at 11 AM at the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc. with her brothers, Rev. Arthur Lee Hayman and Rev. Franklin F. Hayman, officiating. Burial will be in
. A viewing will be held Monday evening from 5 to 8 PM at the funeral home. St. James Cemetery
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will be in the Press Enterprise in its Saturday edition.
September 19, 2008. It is the birthday of Jeffrey Lynn. Elery Hess is 84 today.
• The Benton Lions Club meets the first and third Thursday of the month at the Benton Christian Church, If you would like to see what it is all about come visit and consider becoming a member. More information is available at 864-2735. Speaking of the Lions Club, visit the Upcoming Events page of the Benton News to find out when the Halloween Parade will be held.
• The Associated Press reported last evening that "at least 49 offshore oil platforms, all with production of less than 1,000 barrels a day, were destroyed by Hurricane Ike."
• The Department of Environmental Protection issued 73 Marcellus Shale drilling permits this week for 12 Pennsylvania counties, making a total of 257 permits approved for drilling in the Marcellus Shale this year and 518 permits approved since 2005. The permits given out are shown on www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: Oil and Gas, then click on "Marcellus Page." (This web side can be very user unfriendly). Seven permits were issued for Lycoming County this week. No permits have been issued for Columbia County at this writing.
• Congratulations to the Bloomsburg University field hockey team-- ranked first in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association poll for Tuesday. Bloomsburg has won six straight games this season.
• The Pennsylvania House of Representatives approved sweeping changes to the state's dog and animal cruelty laws as part of House Bill 2525, which defines commercial kennels in state law and sets standards to follow. The bill now heads to the Senate where, like the "No Smoking" bill, some rough-locking is expected.
The Chris Robinson Oil/Gas Lease group will be meeting on Wednesday night, September 24, at the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center, Benton. The meeting will start at 7 PM in the gymnasium. Representatives of the group will be there at 6 PM to accept and distribute agent-engagement contracts and to answer general questions prior to the start of the meeting. Because of limited seating, those attending should bring their own chairs. Donations are requested to help pay for the rental fee of the gym. Please park in parking lots adjacent to the building, but not in front of the building so as not to interfere with members of The Center.
Nothing makes me want to stick my finger in my mouth and gag more than hearing all the politicians on both sides of the aisle tell us that they knew all about the problems of our economy two years ago and that they warned us then. Yeah, right!
That being said, here is something that I wrote two years ago on this date. It was published in the Benton News on September 19, 2006.
"The "buggers in Washington," as Father used to say, are at it again. We are reminded how "robust" the economy is, while we look around us and see pockets of poverty with scant chance of improvement. At the corporate level, we look at the balance sheets of companies like Kmart and Enron and WorldCom and other business failures and we didn't have a clue whether the company was solvent or not, whether the company was a hoax or not. In politics, we chose a candidate we think is God's Gift to Government and we find out he is hiring his family for the fat-cat jobs or he is on the take or that he has no intention of listening to his constituents. We suspect that the national debt is so massive that no one could figure out exactly what it is or how to make the measure of the amount meaningful. Old-line, trusted companies like Arthur Anderson give their opinion and everything is glowing, but we suspect the actual glow is coming from accountants burning the true financial picture of the company. The 'buggers in Washington," it seems, are not just inside the beltway.
September 18, 2008. It is the birthday of Cheri Reinaker, Orangeville, and Fred DePoe and Dr. Ken Cross, Benton. It is the 94th birthday of Florence Kocher, Market Street, Benton.
Greta Lovisa Gustafsson was born in Stockholm, Sweden, on this date in 1905. She dropped out of school when she was 13 to care for her ailing father. After he died, she became a lather girl in a barbershop and later became a Hollywood star. She counted her pennies carefully. She didn't grant interviews, or sign autographs, or attend premieres, or answer fan mail. Her films include Flesh and the Devil (1927), Anna Christie (1930), Grand Hotel (1932), Anna Karenina (1935), and Ninotchka (1939). The actress, using the stage name Greta Garbo (1905-1990), became a recluse at 36. She lived to be 84. Her first talking scene in a movie was in a waterfront saloon as she said to the bartender, "Gimme a visky with chincher ale on the side and don't be stingy, baby."
Dr. Samuel Johnson was born on this date in 1709. He completed the Dictionary of the English Language in 1755. The 40,000-word dictionary became the standard English dictionary for the next 150 years. Johnson felt about words that "their accents should be settled, their sounds ascertained, and their etymologies deduced."
The New York Daily Times (now the New York Times) went on sale for the first time on this date in 1850. The New York Daily Times newspaper is still available in a fully searchable text version for years 1851-57. The newspapers can be browsed or searched using a computer-generated index found here.
The official start of autumn is in four days. This week would be a good time to check chimneys and have them cleaned before starting your first fire. Here in Tioga County where a number of Bentonians are camping along the Tioga River, tonight could see the first frost of the year. No, I didn't say that would happen in Benton. Weather should be simply wonderful until the start of the Fair.
The sun's away
And the bird estranged;
The wind has dropped,
And the sky's deranged;
Summer has stopped.
--Robert Browning (1812-1889)
Didja ever think that the best way to knock some sense in a youngster's head used to be to start at the bottom?
Orchids, aroids, and rare and unusual house plants are second nature at Jungle Paradise. When you enter the Horticulture Hall at the Bloomsburg Fair this year, you'll soon come to Jungle Paradise. Stop and say hello to Richard and Jan Jost, owners. The greenhouse is located at 68 Kings Road, Benton, 925-6680.
A reader didn't like that when hyperlinks are clicked on the pages of the web version of the Benton News, the new URL opened within the main window. Never to worry! Simply click on the hyperlink while holding down the shift key and the URL will open in a new window.
Quote of the Day:
"I was not lying. I said things that later on seemed to be untrue."
--President Nixon in 1978
Age is mostly a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.
September 17, 2008. It is the birthday of Carole Stevenson, Mt. Lebanon, Joselle Confair, Nescopeck, and Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter. Jeff and Lenora Lynn celebrate their wedding anniversary today. Hurricane Eloise caused over $200M in damage and left 76 dead in the U.S. and the Caribbean between September 17 and 27, 1975. It remains one of the deadliest Category 3 hurricanes on record. We tell you about it in the FEATURES Section. Keep Joselle Confair in your prayers today as she faces knee surgery on her birthday. A titanium knee will be in place by tonight.
Do you need information about about specific medicines? Here are a couple of places where you can turn to learn more about the benefits and risks of medicine or medical treatments.
• To learn more about medicines prescribed in the United States, visit the U.S. Federal Drug Administration web site at
• The Physicians' Desk Reference web site is at www.pdrhealth.com/home/home.aspx .
• To learn more about a specific Pfizer medicine, visit www.pfizer.com/products/ .
Now that the heat and humidly of summer are behind us, take a fresh look at an old friend. Try hiking the falls at Ricketts Glen. Refresh your memory about this wonderful place in our own backyard by visiting www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/parks/rickettsglen.aspx.
John Hittle is working on his Woodbadge project, a training course within the Boy Scout organization for Scouters which eventually results in receiving a certificate, a small neckerchief, a leather slide, and two small wooden beads on a leather thong. John would like to find or build an existing display case to show scouting achievements for the local area for Cub Scouts, BoyScouts and Girl Scouts. John is hoping that the high school ag class could build one for him as a class project or if one is available the Scout troop would made a bulletin board with Troop 51 carved or affixed to it. In conjunction with the Scouting centennial, John would like to hold a dedication event for the new troop at which time he would invite local dignitaries and those involved in Scouting. John would like to include regular posting on the Benton News and in the Northside Beat relating to Scouting. He would like many of the prior awards for Scouting in the community to be gathered in one location. He would like to promote local Scouting in local media. If you have thoughts on this subject, please contact John Hittle, 20 West Creek Road, Benton, or email John at jesse1701 AT epix.net.
Jerry and Julie Beishline will be at the Bloomsburg Fair with four of their donkeys. They will be at the pole building near the indoor arena. Their youngest donkey, Jade, a 5-month-old jennet, will be making her final local appearance at the fair. She will be moving to Maryland the day after the fair. Autumn Joy, eleven months, and two of their two-year olds, Daisy and Lola, will also be at the fair.
Julie and Autumn Joy. Photo by Karen Musitano
From the "That is Probably Not a Good Idea" Department, comes this...
Scott Matthew Mitros, 25, Towanda, is accused of shooting a gun on September 6 in the direction of his wife while the two were in police custody in the Towanda Borough police station. Mitros and his wife were awaiting charges for public drunkenness, resisting arrest and other charges.
Didja ever think that everything has begun to wear out, fall out or spread out by the time life begins at 50?
• Superior Appalachian Pipeline, a subsidiary of Superior Pipeline, Tulsa, Oklahoma, has signed a long-term agreement with Appalachian Producer Services of McMurray, PA, for developing midstream pipeline projects in the Appalachian Basin. The company has opened an office in Canonsburg to use for land acquisition throughout the state.
• John Orlandini has a new book available for purchase at the Brass Pelican.
The title is "The Ancient Native Americans of the Wyoming Valley, 10,000 Years of Prehistory."
• The Brass Pelican will be closed from Friday, September 16, until Saturday, September 27, for the annual holiday during Fair week.
• The Old Filling Station will be closed Monday through Friday of fair week. Chris and Denny will be selling their Thai and American food in a sit-down restaurant near the public stage at the fairground.
• It was sad Tuesday seeing all the plants from Jungle Paradise getting packed up at the Old Filling Station for transport to the Horticulture Building at the Bloomsburg Fair. Stop and say hello to owners Richard and Jan Jost while at the fair.
• There is an article, http://tricityrecord.com/extranet/files/file_289_2.jpg, in the Tri-City Record that you might find interesting. It is about bluegrass and humor and history in the state of North Carolina. The article even mentions a local Presbyterian minister.
• The Federal Reserve plans to take over crumbling insurance giant AIG in an $85 billion rescue plan.
• About 75 students were arrested along Lightstreet Road in Bloomsburg Tuesday night and charged with underage drinking.
The minutes of the Benton Borough September 8, 2008, Council meeting, as recorded by Borough Secretary, Kay Yankovich, modified for brevity, follow...
• The meeting was held at the Benton Volunteer Fire Hall with Dan Hartman, Dan Jankowski, Mike Klem, Joshua Price, Mayor Swan, Bryan Getz, Ed Kocher and Kay Yankovich attending. Vice-President Mike Klem called the meeting to order at 7 PM. Others attending included Frank Edson, Roger and Janet English, Monty Hittle, Jan Jankowski, Rod Pennington, Karen Reed, Ron Roberts, Fred Westover and Maralee Yost. A letter of interest to become a council member was received from Jan Jankowski, 61. He was appointed to council to fill the term of his son, John Jankowski, and was subsequently sworn in by Mayor Swan.
• Mayor Swan requested Council approval to purchase four crosswalk signs. The cost will be $225 each; however, she is checking with PennDOT, which may be able to provide them at no cost. PennDOT regulations allow the signs to be in place between 6 AM and 9 PM. Bryan Getz would put them out in the morning; someone else would have to be responsible for taking them in each night. Council voted to purchase four crosswalks signs at a $1,000 limit, if they are not provided by PennDOT at no cost. Mayor Swan requested Council approval to hire Safety Line Company to paint the center line and 34 parking spaces on Park Street at a cost of $652. The cost for the 34 parking spaces alone would be $305. Motion carried.
• Council decided to refer the gas lease issue to the Finance Committee. It will contact Solicitor Leipold for direction.
• The bid to pave the road in the Park will be advertised on September 10 and September 13. Bids will be opened at a special council meeting, Tuesday, September 23, 7 PM. The cost for the work is being paid with FEMA funds.
• Ron Roberts requested Council consider hiring a full-time police officer.
• Frank Edson was told that the Park Committee has discussed the comments/requests received by Park Street residents, and noted that a Park Plan will be completed next year.
• Roger English, Janet English, Karen Reed and Rod Pennington made comments regarding variance language, flue requirements and liability issues with the outdoor furnace ordinance prepared by Solicitor Leipold. Dan stated that a great amount of research was done to create the ordinance. In preparing the ordinance, council’s concern was to provide better air quality in the Borough and to be fair to current outdoor-furnace owners. Council moved to adopt the revised outdoor-furnace ordinance, with one negative vote by Dan Hartman. Attorney Leipold will be contacted to move on enacting the ordinance.
• Monty Hittle questioned if the Airport Committee has considered his application for Airport Manager. Mike Klem responded that the Committee has taken this into consideration; no plans regarding the future of the airport have yet been determined.
• Guardrails now in use by the town park will be removed when the park road is paved and will then be used on Hill Street.
• The Borough tractor will be advertised for sale by sealed bid.
• Zoning Officer Ed Kocher stated that if a mobile home is being moved into the Borough, the requirements of the Tri-COG must be met. Mobile homes currently in place are not inspected before new renters move into them.
• George Morin will be hired as a part-time police officer for the borough.
In the "Hearings, complaints, and interviews" portion...
• Marilee Yost expressed concern regarding the high rate of speed by vehicles on Park Street. She would like a stop sign on Park Street to slow down the traffic. The issue is being reviewed by the Public Safety Committee.
When it comes to the most popular year-round activity, square dancing often steals the show over fishing, golf and horseback riding as a traditional shindig. Our nation has gone through the Charleston, and many did their share of jitter bugging. There has been the shuffle, the fox trot, the samba, tango and others which have fallen to the bottom of the heap by my way of thinking. Square dancing is as folky as Mother's old sunbonnet and as addictive as "Guiding Light" or "As the World Squirms" or "Days of our Lives."
It may be that square dancing is a dance in name only, and is more nearly akin to a sport where only the robust can hang in. Yes, yes, grace is needed, but stamina at my age in the main thing. Grab your extra dose of vitamins and get your head screwed on straight if you are going to follow the tricky calls. Unless you have been do-si-do-ing for quite a spell, you'll need all the concentration that you can muster up.
Dancers go hog wild when the guitars and fiddles start tuning up at the dances. Take a look around the room at the gals and the guys strutting around in jeans, boots and plaid shirts. Their partners are cute as buttons in printed calicoes and ginghams, weighted down with ruffles, lace and velvet ribbon. Some of the more modest women wear pantaloons and seem to have about as much fun as they did many years ago when they were engaged in a game of post office.
So make up your mind, podner, to sashay through the "Red River Valley" or other favorite on the dance floor as Helen Masters calls out the traditional "Come one, come all!" for the starting of the round and square dances at Jerseytown Community Center every Saturday night through October, November, January, February, March and April from 8 PM to 11 PM. The Masters band will play and Leon Johnson will do the calling. For more information, call 864-3618.
September 16, 2008. It is the birthday of Ronald Thompson. Gail and Jackie Hess celebrate their wedding anniversary today. The Mayflower set out from England on this date in 1620, arriving on December 21. The weather through Friday will be absolutely our kind of weather. Judging from email received, lots of readers enjoyed the Full Harvest Moon last night.
"Along the hills wild asters bend in greet
The roadside's wealth of goldenrod."
As summer comes to an end and the winds of autumn begin to blow, residents of the local area suddenly start to sniffle and as father used to say, feel "laggy." The goldenrod is in full bloom. From now until early frost, and even after, it is the time of the goldenrod. And because of this weed, today's edition will be a short one. I'll explain when I feel better.
There are a few things that should be mentioned...
• The Verizon cell tower requested and approved for Benton Township may not be dead in the water, but it isn't making much headway, either. The company has yet to apply for a building permit. A fall activation date does not look favorable at this writing. If you are in a Verizon retail store, mention it. It won't do much good, but you'll feel better for getting it off your chest and something good might happen to come out of it.
• A committee formed to place a historical marker a honoring an event which occurred in the upper Fishing Creek valley is headed up by Joselle A. Confair, Cinda L. Hartman, and George A. Turner. Here is some background on the subject, as written by the committee. ..
"At the time of the Civil War, Columbia County had a reputation as an unwavering democratic county. It and ten other counties voted for John Breckinridge rather than for Lincoln in 1860. Columbia became one of the focal points in the state, where Peace Democrats opposed President Lincoln’s wartime policies concerning the enlargement of presidential power, suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, slavery issue, and instituting conscription. After three years of war, with no end in sight, casualties and the cost of the war steadily increased.
"In July, Lincoln called for another draft of 500,000 more men. Opposition in the county reached a feverish point by mid-August 1864. The Federal government sent several hundred troops into the Benton area to suppress anti-war sentiments in opposing the draft. Military, not civil, authorities arrested forty-two men in Columbia and two others from Huntington Township in Luzerne County early in the morning on August 31, 1864. The average group age was forty. Many were farmers, but some were merchants and artisans. The government incarcerated them at Fort Mifflin, near Philadelphia. This single event became the largest mass arrest of civilians for their political opposition to President Lincoln’s wartime policies in Pennsylvania. Military officials prosecuted several of the prisoners before military commissions. One person would die in prison. As a group, the average time held in custody was 101 days.
"People often refer to this episode as The Fishing Creek Confederacy. Unfortunately, this title creates a false impression that these individuals were traitors; advocates who embraced the confederate cause. Attorney John G. Freeze, who wrote the first history of Columbia County in 1883, rejected this viewpoint. He called it The Military Occupation of Columbia County. They were Peace Democrats who believed in the union and opposed southern secession. They advocated a conservative political ideology, embraced states rights, and feared Lincoln’s expansion of executive power. Their imprisonment raised a fundamental issue. Since Columbia County was not a battlefield environment, was it appropriate for the federal government to ignore and violate the people’s civil liberties?
You can find more about this subject by heading to the FEATURES section of the Benton News or the book, Civil War Letters from Soldiers and Citizens of Columbia County, Pennsylvania by George A. Turner.
The Northern Columbia County and Community Cultural Center is sponsoring, on the weekend of July 25-26, 2009, the first of what is expected to be an annual event, “Fishing Creek Heritage Days” with a re-enactment of “The Fishing Creek Confederacy.”
A committee is applying to the Pennsylvania State Historical and Museum Commission to have a "historical marker erected in the Benton area to memorialize the arrest of forty-four citizens during the Civil War for their political views. The estimated cost will be at least $1,800. Your generous support is tax deductible. Please contact a member of the committee and learn more. Consider doing your part for this project.
What a day on the stock market! In the financial sector, Merrill Lynch--an organization of 17,000 retail brokers and assets of almost $1 trillion-- has been a bull on Wall Street since its founding in 1914, but lost its status as an independent company during the continuation of the mortgage meltdown Monday. Merril Lynch agreed to be purchased by Bank of America so that it didn't end up like Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers. (Lehman Brothers, a 158-year old firm, filed for bankruptcy, and more brokers are rumored to be following). The buy-out of Merrill Lynch simply signifies problems in the brokerage industry. Bank of America, as sturdy as Gibraltar over the years, has taken on two shaky partners: Countryside and Merrill Lynch. AIG is restructuring following $18.5 billion in losses and is knocking on the door of the Federal Reserve for $40 billion in bridge loans. Washington Mutual and Wachovia seem to be suspect and Citi and HSBC are rumored to be in trouble. Could Bank of America get clogged up with useless assets and large mortgage exposure and make the "troubled" list? In this market, anything is possible.
As much as we hate to admit it, the time is overdue to dump the dogs and put your money into something with maximum safety and liquidity.
September 15, 2008, seven days from the official start of Autumn. It is the birthday of Marcia Kay Kline. It is also the birthday of actor Tommy Lee Jones. Agatha Christie was born on this date in 1890. During World War I, Christie worked in a Red Cross Dispensary in England, and her surroundings prompted her to write her first mystery novel about a Red Cross hospital, a poisoning, and a pompous detective by the name of Hercule Poirot. The detective appeared in more than thirty books, including The Murder on the Orient Express where in 1930 Miss Jane Marple was introduced. The elderly Miss Marple often had eccentric insights into private crimes and tragedies.
Don't forget the North Mountain Historical Society meets this morning at the Brass Pelican restaurant. Details on the upcoming events page. We'll get a morning shower and afternoon heat out of the way and we should have nice weather for a couple of days.
Please keep Fairy Mae Walter of the Sullivan County Historical Society and the North Mountain History Buffs in your thoughts and prayers. She is suffering from a severe kidney infection and is currently a patient in the Williamsport Hospital (Room 588), Williamsport, PA 17701 where she is undergoing antibiotic treatment and kidney dialysis.
Tonight is the Harvest Moon, the full moon which comes the closest to the time of the autumnal equinox. This moon has an historic significance that isn't evident at any of the other full moons which occur twelve or thirteen times during the year. The autumnal equinox occurs on September 22 or 23 since either 365 or 366 days don't make an exact year. This year the equinox takes place on September 22. But, wait, you say! What is it that is being harvested? Well it isn't us that is harvesting anything. It was named not by us but by ancient farmers in England. Heck, much of what local farmers grow is harvested much earlier in the summer. The "harvest moon" is a term that came about in England when, as the days grew shorter, farmers needed more light to reap their grain. The fact that the air seems to be more clear in the autumn than at any other season made the moon appear more brilliant. The superstition quickly came about that the moon shines more brightly at the September equinox than at any other time of the year.
Didja ever think that while most people would like to be delivered from temptation they still would like to stay close enough to keep in touch?
Didja ever notice that the judgment of a rich man and a poor man isn't as far apart as their wealth? Often the smarter of the two is the poorer business man. The world of commerce depends on the ability to "keep the books." Bookkeeping is simply a record of business transactions kept so that they can be readily grouped and understood as a concrete whole. Bookkeeping is as simple as a record of money transactions. For many years, after I concluded that my feeble mind couldn't retain everything that it once did, I have kept a little book for ideas and for information that I pick up at odd moments. This little book slips easily into my pants pockets, since in my senior years I often don't wear a shirt with a pocket. The book is what our ancestors knew as a "day book." In it I record everything I want to remember.
Everything goes into the day book: names and addresses, phone numbers, web sites, places I intend to visit before I die, the name of a colleague I haven't seen or thought of in twenty years, but who now comes into focus. The book is simply a ledger of ideas, a listing of matters needed at a future time ready for recall at a moment's notice. A simple line drawn through the item means that it has been taken care of forever and the memorandum stays with the day book as a reminder of the day and time the matter was concluded.
A faded, old day book from 1905 turned up in the attic of Kareen Horn Karns, Mill Street, a hand-me-down from relative T. Millard Golder who once owned a grist mill and a lumber planing mill in the village of Iklertown (or Eichleretown, as it was once called) in the borough of Stillwater. The day book, labeled Chop and Grain came from the Iklertown grist mill about three quarters of a mile south of Stillwater. A lumber-planing mill was attached to the back of the mill. Rock lime was shipped in by fright on the Bloomsburg and Sullivan Railroad and ground at this mill.
Iklertown grist mill. The mill includes pictures of Millard "Mill" Golder and his son Bertie Golder. The picture was taken around 1910 according to the markings on the rear of the picture.
The Iklertown Mill disappeared from the landscape a number of years ago when Jim Hess purchsed the property. He did not use the mill, but instead used the lumber and over the next two years built a restaurant in Maple Grove with the lumber. That restaurant was known as the Pied Piper Restaurant.
Remnants of concrete from the sprawling mill are scattered around a stream that flows behind the present location of the home of Keith and Mary Ann Bankes and their business location of Stillwater Ramps and Mobility, Ltd. At the time of the operation of the mill, the road from Benton to Bloomsburg curled along the base of the hill and was west of the present buildings on the property. The mill was located south of the present storage buildings used today. From the size of foundations remaining on the property, it appears that the Iklertown's Mill was physically the size of the Benton Roller Mills.
The day book has entries that begin in March 1905 and contain the names of many prominent local farmers. It carefully lists the quantity of all grain processed at the mill. At times, it appeared that scales didn't work as intended at the mill, since one entry notes the grinding of 181 corn ears. The day book began by listing what had been sold, in order by date, followed by the person's name and the service that was provided; i.e., "80 lbs. of corn," "100 chop," "May 2, 1907, 60 bu oats, $1.20." A large "X" indicated that the bill had been paid. Other notations in the day book included purchases, including "39 lbs. of ducks to be exchanged, from Hangenbuch." Large quantities of oats were purchased from Roy Hess. The day book notes that "Mother staid (sic) at my place five months," following by four individual entries: "washing 100 or so a week, $20," "care and other expenses, $20," and "treatment, $20."
On January 13, 1913, the day book includes the entries that the mill was purchased "five hundred dollars down" and was paid in two equal payments of $250 by J. M. Golder and B. O. Golder. Over the following months the partnership bought a scale for $12, a bucket of axle grease for $1.60, 200 feet of "lace leather" for $3.20. Each payment on the loan against the mill was recorded, including the one where they had to get $100 from "Aunt Killy" to make the payment.
Didja ever think how much strength it takes to endure the pain of others?
Michael S. Milnarik and the innovative "all-brass" Innovata Brass will be in Bloomsburg Wednesday night at 7:30 at the First Presbyterian Church, 345 Market Street, Bloomsburg. Admission is free, but a free-will offering will be accepted at the door.
Innovata is under the direction of Michael Milnarik, a 1987 graduate of Benton High School. Rick Martin was Michael's mentor and only music teacher through his school experience in Benton. Rick urged him to audition at Mansfield University in music rather than go to Penn State University to major in computer science. He holds performance degrees from Mansfield University and Boston University. Michael is the son of Gloria and Bob Milnarik, Benton. Bob is an employee of the Benton Area School System and a very proud father.
Innovata plays an exciting mix of classical, renaissance, baroque, contemporary, jazz, blues and Dixieland. The musicians come from a pool of hand-selected performers who have appeared with the Boston Symphony, Boston Ballet, Portland Symphony, San Paulo (Brazil) Symphony and with other leading orchestras and chamber groups around the world. Each member of the group plays as a team member and also excels on his own during solo numbers.
Michael Milnarik has performed on CNN, New Hampshire and Maine Public Radio, Boston Catholic Television, at Boston's Symphony Hall, at the House of Blues (Cambridge, MA), at the Newport Chamber Music Festival, the Tanglewood Music Festival and the New York Shakespeare Festival. He has performed with many orchestras and chamber ensembles including the Boston Ballet, the Portland Symphony, the Granite State Symphony and contemporary music ensembles. Perhaps his proudest concert was done in honor of his former high school music teacher--Rick Martin--about this time of the year in 2002. Michael's solo engagements include a performance with the Jim Cullum Jazz Band and the Portland Symphony Orchestra, a guest appearance with the Bloomsburg Orchestra, the Harvard Summer Orchestra, multiple appearances with the New England Philharmonic, jazz soloist at the University of Scranton, at the 1991 Regional T.U.B.A. Symposium and in numerous solo recitals.
Quote of the Day:
"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
--John Fitzgerald Kennedy
September 14, 2008. It is the birthday of Ken Boonie and Adele Confair.
Natural Gas Drilling...
• The Press & Sun-Bulletin, Binghamton, New York, reports that companies "bid between $1,151 and $5,837 per acre for the right to take gas from under state land in northern Pennsylvania." According to published accounts, the winning bidders on Pennsylvania forest lands in Tioga and Lycoming counties include ExxonMobil (high bids for leases on six tracts), Anadarko Exploration & Production Company LP, (five leases), Seneca Energy Production Company (four leases), Fortuna Energy Inc. (two), and Hunt Oil USA Inc. (one.) The ten-year leases include annual per-acre rental fees starting in the second year. The sale price counts as the first year's payment. There was a 16% state royalty on natural-gas production.
• The Susquehanna River Basin Commission has approved permits for five companies to drill for natural gas in Bradford County. Water permits were issued to Chesapeake Appalachia LLC to use up to 2.1 million gallons of water per day to drill gas wells. Chief Oil & Gas LLC received a permit to use up to 5 million gallons of water per day to drill gas wells in Bradford County and up to 5 million gallons per day to drill gas wells in Lycoming County. Other permits include East Resources Inc., up to 4 million gallons of water per day in Pennsylvania and New York; Fortuna Energy Inc., up to 3 million gallons of water per day to drill gas wells in New York and Pennsylvania. Range Resources Appalachia LLC, up to 5 million gallons of water per day in Pennsylvania.
Are you wondering whether you should see the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble production of The Miracle Worker? The answer is an enthusiastic "yes." You know the story. It comes from the autobiography of Helen Keller and deals with her childhood relationship with Anne Sullivan, her almost-blind teacher and friend. Keller was unable to hear, speak or see. In the preview performance, Olivia McGaw performed her role flawlessly, as did all members of the cast. Learn more by going to www.bte.org/index.php?page=the-miracle-worker..
The series of articles originally included on this date on the rebirth of West Paden and thoughts on the original building of covered bridges has been added as a page on the Benton News. Content has been deleted from the daily pages. The article can be found here.
September 13, the 257th day of 2008. There are nine days remaining until Autumn officially arrives. It is the birthday of Joyce Johnson and Columbia County Commissioner Chris Young. Kristina Hagan celebrates her 34th birthday and Betty Kile celebrates her 88th. Eddie and Kristina Hagan celebrate their wedding anniversary. Please keep Donna Hayman Fritz and all residents of the Gulf Coast of Texas in your prayers today.
It was too overcast last night to see the start of the "Full Harvest" moon which arrives on September 15, but as Eliza Doolittle said, "just you wait." "Old Timers" knew that in the month of September the moon rises on six or eight successive nights about the same time. This annual peculiarity in the moon's rising was observed for centuries before astronomers were able to explain the cause of it. Some felt that a Higher Power was extending the natural light for harvest in September and for hunters in October (The Hunter's Moon).
• Jack Ruckle is having a farm pond constructed on his Klinger Hill road property by K. Dale Sellers. The pipes scattered around his property are not for gas-well drilling.
• Benton class of 1962 is having a dinner at Strevig's Restaurant on Friday, Oct 10, at 6:30 PM. Class members who can attend should RSVP Joyce Gordon at 925-2470 by Oct. 5.
• Luzerne County has three dams on the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's list of 'dams of special concern' mandated by the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act, as amended, and the Pennsylvania Code. The dams are at Meadow Run, Bear Creek Township; Shickshinny Lake, Union Township; Croops Dam, Hunlock Township. No dams in Columbia or Lycoming County made the list. The dam on Shickshinny Lake is a grass-covered, earthfill dam, 365 feet long and 33 feet high. The crest width of the dam is 17 feet. The spillway is a reinforced concrete riser with a 30-inch reinforced-concrete pipe under the dam. The Army Corps of Engineers termed the spillway "inadequate" during a previous inspection and had noted some seepage at the left abutment and some erosion at the outlet structure for the spillway and drain line.
• One of the featured performers at the Bloomsburg Fair this year is mime Vladimir Tsarkov who will be presenting his free show, The Adventures of Red Harlequin and Friends, where he will stroll through the crowds of fairgoers. He will also appear on stage in white face. Tsarkov got his training at the Circus School of Moscow. He has performed with the Big Apple Circus and at the Circus Circus Hotel and Resort in Las Vegas. Get an advance preview of his act by going here.
• Johnny Cash will be alive and well at the Bloomsburg Fair when Terry Lee Goffee does his musical impersonation of The Man in Black. Goffee has come a long way from the days when his uncle played the guitar and sang while the young Terry Lee grabbed a broom handle for a guitar and a tin can for a microphone and pretended that he was Johnny Cash. Want an advance look at the singer? Go here to listen as he "walks the line."
• The Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau will have a booth located in the State Building at the Bloomsburg Fair, next to the dog show and cattle barns. The Visitors Bureaus display will feature local pictures of attractions and events from our area. Booth visitors will be able to pick up information on area attractions and events, as well as lodging information for both Columbia and Montour counties. The Visitors Bureau will also have on display visitors guides for all other counties in Pennsylvania.
Didja know that in 1937 Columbia County had 37 covered bridges?
The series of articles originally included on this date on the rebirth of West Paden and thoughts on the original building of covered bridges has been added as a page on the Benton News. Content has been deleted from the daily pages. The article can be found here.
September 12, 2008. It is the 21st wedding anniversary of Allen and Kathleen Harvey.
Gas Drilling News
• The Delaware River Basin Commission will require disclosure of chemicals used by natural-gas drillers in order to get approval for gas drilling in Marcellus shale. A million or so gallons of water is needed for the fracturing of each gas well. To date, only one well has been drilled in the jurisdiction of the Delaware River Basin.
• Various news sources are saying that Chesapeake Energy Corp. is scaling back new Pennsylvania gas-leasing efforts, citing "regulatory issues and current economic factors." The company has a reported 1.8 million acres in the Marcellus region under lease.
• Fans of the Philadelphia Eagles can listen to the Eagles Fight Song here.
• The Federal Highway Administration has rejected the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission's application to convert I-80 to a toll road. The administration said the application did not meet legal requirements for the correct use of toll revenue.
• We see Millville is getting a new restaurant on North State street, between the CLT car lot and Fran's Dairy bar, just above the Dollar Store. The Swinging Bridge is the new name.
• Joel and Ethan Coen's anticipated film "Burn After Reading" opens tomorrow in selected theaters.
• Frontier Communications Company is a major supplier of internet services in the local area through its EPIX links. Be aware that this email provider does not secure the names and addresses of its customers when its webmail service is accessed. EPIX does not safeguard names and passwords through a secure login page for its webmail. A secure web site begins with https: and will have a lock icon in the bottom right corner of the browser. You could spare yourself a lot of future misery by not using the webmail service from Frontier.
• Kathleen Arcuri publishes a garden guide each month in the Danville Daily News. Her last article was published September 7, 2008. From her latest column, here is a suggestion: Buy your bulbs for fall planting using good quality stock, best found through catalogs or on-line. Try Brent and Becky’s Bulbs, 877 661-2852 for some unusual varieties. And check out Old House Gardens, 734 995-1486 for a wonderful selection of heirloom bulbs.
The 12th year of the Wyoming Valley Civil War Round Table began last night with historian and lawyer Dr. Brian Carso talking on the subject of Treason, Amnesty and the Language of Betrayal During the Civil War. The Round Table meets monthly in the Daddow-Isaacs American Legion, Route 415, Dallas.
Dr. Carso is assistant professor of history and director of the pre-law program at Misericordia University, where he teaches classes in the American Founding, the Civil War, Constitutional law and Great American Trials. A practicing attorney since 1992, he worked in law and government before receiving his Ph.D. in American Studies from Boston University. He is the author of Whom Can We Trust Now? The Meaning of Treason in the United States, from the Revolution through the Civil War. (Lexington Books, March 28, 2006, hardcover).
The main purpose of the Round Table is to promote interest in the Civil War. Many people with ancestors are interested in learning more about what they did and how they lived through the war years and afterwards. Along with monthly speakers, the group shares information among members. In the past they have taken group tours and trips to battlefields, and are planning more in the future. They also sponsor workdays at Gettysburg battlefield sites through the National Park Service and the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Society. Next weekend, they will be helping the U.S. Park Service paint the former home of President Eisenhower at Gettysburg.
With a variety of interests and speakers on many topics, the Round Table welcomes everyone with an interest in United States history to come and join. The monthly meetings are always held on the second Thursday of the month, September through June.
The series of articles originally included on this date on the rebirth of West Paden and thoughts on the original building of covered bridges has been added as a page on the Benton News. Content has been deleted from the daily pages. The article can be found here.
September 11, 2008. It is the birthday of Anna May Brandon and the wedding anniversary of Shawn Miller and Melissa "Missi" Wood.
The series of articles originally included on this date on the rebirth of West Paden and thoughts on the original building of covered bridges has been added as a page on the Benton News. Content has been deleted from the daily pages. The article can be found here.
Didja ever think that what a child doesn't receive he can rarely later give?
On October 18, Sir Elton John and his band will be at Wachovia Arena, Wilkes-Barre Township, as part of his 2008 tour, Rocket Man: Number Ones. The concert will kick off the arena’s 10th anniversary season. Tickets go on sale Monday at 10 AM and are available at the Wachovia box office, all TicketMaster locations, by phone at 693-4100 or at www.ticketmaster.com.
Does any of this sound familiar? When Theodore Roosevelt was picked as the Republican vice presidential candidate in 1900 at the age of 41, he was governor of New York (1899-1900). He was an energetic activist and reformer who insisted on fair and honest government practices. He was a renowned outdoorsman who loved to tell about his six children. When he declared "I feel fit as a Bull Moose," the party was instantly dubbed the Bull Moose Party. Does a young reform governor with a large family and a love of the outdoors sound like someone in national politics today?
Robert H. “Bob” Wessner, Jr. (September 18, 1921-September 10, 2008) , 233 Jamison City Road, Benton, died Wednesday at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville. He was 86
He was bornin Allentown. He was a son of the late Robert H. and Clara V. (Bear) Wessner. He graduated from Allentown High School in 1939, received his Bachelor of Arts degree at Muhlenberg College with the Class of 1943 and later graduated from the U. S. Navy Midshipmen’s School at Northwestern University. He served as a Lieutenant and a flotilla commander in the Atlantic Theater during World War II. Mr. Wessner was a member of the Rotary Club, a member of the Allentown-Lehigh County Chamber of Commerce and served on its retail division’s board of directors. He was a past president of the Lehigh County Fish and Game Protective Association and a former actor and board member in the Civic Little Theater. He had been a fund drive division chairman of the Heart Association and active in Scouting. He was also a member of the Lehigh Valley Beverage Distributors Association, Malt Beverages Distributors Association of PA; the Greenleaf Lodge, F. & A.M., Alpha Tau Omega national fraternity, the Lehigh Valley Club; the Lehigh Valley Country Club and Shepherd Hills Country Club.
Hewas owner of "Bob Wessner Beverages" and the Nut Hut Stores in the Allentown area.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Bettie Jane (Kitchen) Wessner on October 12, 2000. Surviving are a daughter, Hope; step-children: Carol A. Wieder (Richard), Emmaus; Nancy E. Braun, Jamison City, Michael J. Kapec, Allentown; seven step-grandchildren and numerous step-great grandchildren and a sister, Shirley. Funeral services will be held Monday at 10:30 AM with visitation preceding at the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc. Burial will be in the Benton Cemetery with military honors accorded by a combined veteran’s group.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will be published in the Allentown Morning Call and the Bloomsburg Press Enterprise in editions of September 11, 2008
September 10, 2008. It is the birthday of Eddie Hagan and Barbara Edson. Anniversaries include Bill and Dorothea Mather and Mr. and Mrs. Ron Janney, Bethlehem. Watch the morning fog for the next couple of days.
An interesting walking tour comes up Sunday at 2 PM in Bloomsburg. It is a guided tour which begins at St. Paul's Episcopal Church with Prof. Tom Walters explaining the windows of the fine old church. Two other churches are on the tour: Wesley United Methodist Church with George Turner and glass artist Bill Wise, and the First Presbyterian with Bill Baillie. The total walk is four blocks and it is handicapped accessible. The tour concludes with a short keyboard concert and with light refreshments. Free, but call 784-1600 by September 12 to register. The tour begins at St. Paul's Episcopal Church.
A question often asked in these turbulent days concerns investment in the stock market. There are huge numbers of factors to consider, but here are some things to look at--American companies are finding it hard to maintain their profits. The average S&P 500 stock is selling at something like 25 times 2008 earnings, the most expensive that U.S. stocks have been since 2000. Our economy continues to worsen. The unemployment rate rose from 5.7 to 6.1 percent in August (www.bls.gov/). The financial sector took a beating Tuesday as Lehman Brothers (LEH) dropped 45% and Washington Mutual (WM) and American International (AIG), dropped 20% each. The whole thing sounds like what happened to Bear Stearns.
Auto loans are a new problem. New car loans to consumers are tanking. CapitalOne lost $150 million on auto-loan defaults in the last quarter alone. Sovereign Bancorp and HSBC have now closed their auto-lending operations. The number of new auto loans granted to consumers was down 17% in the second quarter. The auto industry wants up to $50 billion in government loans to pay to modernize plants and help struggling car makers build more fuel-efficient vehicles--and this is 33 times more than the Chrysler bailout in the 1970s. "Freddie" and "Fannie" just got bailed out. And some terrible thing known as "Ike" is bearing down on the Texas/Mexico border where it should make landfall sometime Friday. That could cost the taxpayers more money.
Think of the plight that the airline industry finds itself in, as well as the cruise ship industry--well, heck, the entire travel industry. It almost seems like everything on Wall Street is up against the same problems and the same kind of losses that until recently affected only the financial stocks.
Well, from a sour note to a sweet one! Michael S. Milnarik and his tuba that talks will be in Bloomsburg on September 17--next week--and in Gettysburg on September 19. With him will be Brian L. Diehl, trombone; John C. Boden, horn; Christopher Scanlon, trumpet; and Andrew Sorg, trumpet. Michael told us that "it has been a long time since I've seen many of you! It would be so great if you could make it." It all takes place at 7:30 PM at the First Presbyterian Church, 345 Market Street, Bloomsburg. Admission is free, but a free-will offering will be accepted at the door.
Didja ever think that one way to handle juvenile delinquency is to take adults off the streets at night?
Buster, our male Bichon staff reporter, has come down with his yearly skin infection that we call "hot spots." The condition is referred to by veterinarians as pyotraumatic dermatitis. Hot spots are surface skin infections caused when skin bacteria grow and overwhelm normal resistance. Buster loses a little hair, scratches a lot, and licks to the point of self-mutilation. Buster has a history of late-summer allergies.
We recently had coffee with a local dog breeder who said the solution was simple: we should smear a little Bag Balm on the infected areas. For those who don't have a farm background, the salve known as Bag Balm was created to soften cow udders, and traces all the way back to 1899 in Wells River, Vermont. The salve has others uses, too. We remember that Admiral Byrd's provisions for the trip to the North Pole included Bag Balm. CBS reporter Charles Kuralt didn't hurt sales of the product when he reported the Bag Balm story as one of his feature segments for his On the Road series. Small-town doctors have reported for years that patients are patched up using "duct tape and Bag Balm." We decided to give the Bag Balm remedy a try.
After finding that an application of Bag Balm to his hurting skin gave Buster some relief, he became much more agreeable to future applications and we applied the salve twice a day for three days.
Guess what! Either the Bag Balm or something else worked! Buster's dermatitis problems seemed to disappear. We gratefully reported this back to the breeder, and asked if he had any other home remedies. He gave us a detailed description of another remedy, although for a problem we do not currently have. The problem is hemorrhoids, and the solution is gasoline.
He told the "true" story of a hemorrhoid problem he once experienced. A friend, who talked a little like he had mush in his mouth, probably due to the absence of teeth, told him about a home remedy involving the liberal application of gasoline to the affected area. After much deliberation and a lot of resistance from his wife, the breeder agreed to the cure. The gas can was moved into position, the spine was curved in order to make things reach, the deed was done.
As the dog breeder recalled the story, it is obvious that some home cures are not for the faint of heart. Anyway, there was a whole lot of yelling involved and it was hinted that hemorrhoids might not be as bad as the cure for them.
The dog breeder's friend asked a few days after the incident how it had worked out. It was only after the friend repeated the word "Vaseline" three times did the breeder understand the cure that had really been intended.
Arlene L. (Sterner) McHenry (February 28, 1924-September 8, 2008) passed away Monday at her home at 281 Savage Hill Road home outside of Orangeville. She was 84.
She was bornin Bloomsburg. She was a daughter of William and Florence (Hutton) Sterner.
She was a graduate of the former Orangeville High School and also attended business college in Harrisburg for a year. Mrs. McHenry had worked for the former Char Mund Nursing Home in Orangeville and later for Berwick Industries for 15 years. Mrs. McHenry was a member of the Benton Christian Church. She was preceded in death by her husband, Zender R. McHenry (December 7, 1976). Surviving are her children Michael L. McHenry (Diane), Orlando, Florida; Charlotte L. Wolford (John), Orangeville; Shirley K. McHenry, Bloomsburg; Colleen A. DiPietro (Gino), Orangeville; Timothy R. McHenry, Nanticoke; step sons Teddy C. McHenry (Shirley), Benton and Ronnie D. McHenry (Shirley), Orangeville. There are 15 grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren and a brother, Donald Sterner, New Jersey.
In addition to her husband, Zender R. McHenry (December 7, 1976), she was preceded in death by a step son, Billy A. McHenry and by brothers Paul, Nelson, Melvin and William Sterner and a sister, Lavere Shoup.
Funeral services will be Friday at 1 PM at the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc. At the request of the deceased there will be no public viewing. Burial will be in St. James Cemetery.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home. A complete obituary will be included in the Press Enterprise for September 10, 2008.
September 9, 2008. It is the birthday of James G. Hartkorn and State Secretary of Agriculture, Dennis Wolff, Millville and Harrisburg. It is the wedding anniversary of Ron and Cheryl Kelsey and Christopher and Erin Ackerman. On this date in 1776, the name "United States of America" was adopted in Philadelphia by the Continental Congress for the united colonies.
Members of the state Supreme Court will don their black robes today in Pittsburgh in order to hear arguments about gas exploration in Bucks County, which could affect all of the Commonwealth. Oakmont, a borough in Allegheny County, and Salem Township, in Westmoreland County, are doing fisticuffs with gas-exploration companies over where drilling can take place. The question at hand is whether local municipalities have the right and the authority to make zoning decisions about where natural gas and oil rigs can go in their communities. The question boils down to whether the state Department of Environmental Protection has sole responsibility for regulating where and how drilling takes place. The case came up when Nockamixon was sued by Arbor Resources when supervisors placed restrictions on gas exploration.
• Pennsylvania's smoking ban takes effect Thursday. The Commonwealth will prohibit smoking in most bars, restaurants, workplaces, schools and government buildings, making Pennsylvania the 24th state to restrict smoking in public places. Businesses or people who break the law will face fines of up to $250 for a first offense and up to $1,000 for repeat offenders. Want to smoke after Thursday in a public place? You may have to go to a nursing home (hey--we don't make the rules!), a casino, a private club or a bar where food accounts for no more than 20% of annual sales. People who see smoking ban violations can call an automated help line, 877 835-9535, to leave a message describing the violation and where and when it occurred.
• Want a jolt of patriotism? Take a look at the US Navy Presidential Ceremonial Honor Guard Drill Team perform at www.whc.net/rjones/USN/USN_team.html.
• Plan to join the women of the Benton Women’s Club Thursday evening, September 11, at 7 at the L.R. Appleman School library. Lorraine Feola will be the guest speaker. Her subject will be Quilts as signals for the underground railroad – Civil War.
• In two presidential elections, Abraham Lincoln never carried Columbia County.
• Do you know your cholesterol level? If you don't, this is a good time to find out: September is National Cholesterol Education Month. High-blood cholesterol affects more than 65 million Americans. If you have excessively high-blood cholesterol, you could be at increased risk for heart disease.
• Keep Pfc. Eric Noss, 19, Shickshinny, and Pfc. Joshua Kramer, 19, Huntington Mills, in your prayers as they and 83 other soldiers depart for Iraq September 19 with the Pennsylvania National Guard’s 109th Field Artillery.
Reminders (Additional information available in Upcoming Events)...
• The AARP Driver Safety Program sponsored by the Benton Women’s Club September 10-11 still has available spaces. 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, Mendenhall Lane, from 10 until 2 both days. The Benton Women’s Club will provide refreshments and lunch! To register or for more information, call Barbara, 925-6242.
• Rev. Jim Ellsmore will be at the Bible Baptist Church September 14-17 for chalk-evangelism meetings. Service hours are Sunday, September 14, at 9:15 and 10:30 AM and 7 PM; and at 7 on the following nights. For more information, call Pastor Paul Moseley Sr., 925-2592.
Didja ever notice that quiet people aren't the only ones who don't say much?
Car manufacturers around the world are promising a practical electric vehicle. Subaru says it will start fleet sales of a four-seat electric car next year and Toyota Motor Corp. says it will have one in the early 2010s. General Motors announced that funding is available for a car it calls the "Volt," to be manufactured in GM’s Detroit Hamtramck plant beginning late in 2010. More details could be released September 15 and 16 during the Centennial celebration for GM, according to the magazine Automotive News. It appears that the Volt will be an electric-powered vehicle which you plug in to charge and supposedly will run for about 40 miles per charge. A small gas engine will supplement the electric if you intend to go over the hills to Grandmother's house. There is a sneak peek at the Volt here.
General Motors sells eight brands in North America and 12 brands outside North America. General Motors GM reported a massive loss for its second quarter. The loss for the quarter was $15.5 billion, or $27.33 per share, while the adjusted loss was $6.3 billion, or $11.21 per share. GM's future looks bright in emerging markets. It was the first automaker to sell 1 million units in China and has an impressive 20% market share in Brazil. Of any automaker, GM has the largest number of highway vehicles that can achieve at least 30 miles per gallon. So the question is this: if mileage is figured on the Volt and other electric cars, we won't compute mileage on the basis of "miles per gallon." How will fuel economy be expressed?
You can pay tribute to those who were killed in the terrorist attacks of 9/11 at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Flight 93. Share your thoughts about the day by going here.
Ronald I. Knouse (July 8, 1937-September 7, 2008), a former vice president for Pennsylvania Millers Mutual Insurance Company of Wilkes-Barre and the current Vice President of Public Relations for Children’s Service Center of Wyoming Valley, passed away Sunday morning at his home at 1513 S. R. 239, Stillwater. He was 71. He was born in Berwick. Following graduation from Nescopeck High School in 1956, he served for four years in the U. S. Coast Guard.
He was a son of the late Roland and Minnie (Spiece) Knouse. He was a member of the Executive Board of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Council, Boy Scouts of America; the Wilkes-Barre United Way; Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce in 1997; Penn State, Lehman Campus Advisory Board; the Luzerne Foundation; the Westmoreland Club; Irem Temple Country Club; Sylvania Lodge, No. 354, F.&A.M, Shickshinny. He served in various other advisory roles, including the Executive Board of the Pennsylvania Economy League.
Surviving is his widow Kathleen (Ross) Knouse, with whom he had a marital union of 50 years. Also surving are children Jeffrey R. Knouse, Nescopeck; Jacqueline K. Brown, Shickshinny; granddaughters Paulette M. and Jessica M. Brown, Shickshinny; a sister, Sherye Newman (Barry), Berwick; a sister-in-law: Carolyn Rakich (John), Benton; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Funeral services will be held Thursday at 10:30 AM at the McMichael Funeral Home, Inc.. A visitation will be held Wednesday evening from 6 to 8 PM at the Benton funeral home. Burial will be in the Rose Lawn Cemetery, Berwick.
--Obituary courtesy of the McMichael Funeral Home, Benton. A complete obituary will be published Sept. 9 in the Press Enterprise
September 8, 2008. It is the birthday of Sam Follmer and Scott Maguire. It should be a sunny and pleasant day today.
A group of friends who graduated from the local high school with the Class of '57 reunited after 50 years a year ago today, proving that the greatest "ship" of all is "friendship." They boarded a bus from Back Home in Benton, PA, and traveled together to New York City where they boarded a cruise ship and sailed to the ports of Boston, Portland, Saint John, New Brunswick, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, and then back home via New York City.
Didja know that today there are 128 separate fun things to do on the Upcoming Events portion of the Benton News? Take a look at all the classes upcoming at the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center, many beginning today.
Didja hear the one about the old man who reached the age of a hundred? A reporter asked him how he attained his longevity. The centenarian only thought for a second, then began ticking off things with his fingers. "I never smoked," he said, "nor drank liquor. I never overate and I always rise at 6 AM." The reporter noted that he had an uncle who did the same things, but he died at the age of sixty. He asked the old man how he would account for that. "Well," said the old man, " he just didn't keep it up long enough."
I promised to say something about Google's new web browser, now in a Beta configuration and known as Google Chrome. In case you want to download it, go to www.google.com/chrome. Downloading Google Chrome from other links could result in limited functionality, including the inability to create application shortcuts and to receive updates,
Once you have downloaded Google Chrome and see how simple it is you may want to consider switching from the web browser you are now using. This is still an early version of the browser, but is based on solid technology. Google has a good balance in the program between power and casual users. Here are some tips. (Google calls the address bar the "omni bar.") Go to the omni bar and type in:
• about:memory A browser tab will come up that shows a summary of all the processes running in the browse as well as a comparison with any other browsers you may be running at the same time so that you can tell you how well it works on your computer. While you are at it, try the following:
If you want to get to the task manager, right-click somewhere in the title bar of the window, and go to task manager. (or click Shift+ESC while the browser is open) You’ll see the open tabs you have at the time, as well as if you have any plugins that are running. If you have a rogue application, you can select it and end its process.
The browser has an “Incognito” window which keeps everything you do at a URL private. It would be great for those times when you plan to buy your spouse a present over the internet and you don't want her to know about it.
You can find some fine shortcuts and you can even watch the program demonstrated on YouTube by going here. Firefox users will find it very similar to that program, and Internet Explorer users will breath a sigh of relief at its simplicity and speed. A nice feature is the ability to load the web pages that you read on a recurring basis. You can load the Benton News, the Press Enterprise and the Wall Street Journal, as an example, and when you start the browser the three sites are there waiting for you.
Didja ever think that public opinion is simply private opinion that has made enough noise to be heard?
It is going to be an interesting election. An elderly woman told me Sunday that she has never voted anything but straight Republican, but has problems this year with Sen. McCain's choice for vice-president, Sarah Palin. Understand this woman's perspective. She raised a number of children and is well aware of the strains of family life. She simply does not feel that Gov. Palin has time to raise her children properly and handle the duties attendant to the vice president of the United States. We are not taking sides on this argument, but the "family value" aspect of this lady is worth noting.
The press has been catching it lately, some readers saying that the press is too hard on the Republican Vice Presidential candidate, others with a different opinion. I always liked how Jimmy Carter handled the press. At one of his news conferences, President Carter began by saying, "I'm not going to say anything terribly important tonight, so you can all put away your crayons."
A long-time reader of the Benton News writes that he lived in Alaska, courtesy of the USAF, from 1976 through 1980 when the pipeline from Prudoe Bay to Valdez was under construction. He spent the last year as a civilian working his "butt off "making gravel for runways. His joys of living in Alaska were hunting, hiking and fishing. He caught the biggest fish of his life on the Kenai river, a 46-inch, 50-pound king salmon that his family "ate for weeks and weeks."
He noted that people haven't really lived--or at least come to appreciate how small your life is--until you share "a berry patch with a 1000+ pound Chugach Range grizzly bear some 75 feet away," and know that he could "cover that distance faster than you can unsnap, draw, cock, aim, and fire the 44-caliber magnum pistol holstered to your side." "Good Bear!" he thought aloud, "Be a very good bear." The hunter and the grizzly parted as mutual friends of the wilderness.
He noted that politicians in Alaska started talking about and Congress approved the gas pipeline that Gov. Palin is taking credit for in 1976, during then Governor Murkowski's administration, when Mrs. Palin was still doing cheers at Wasilla Middle School. (The legislation shown is from a state of Alaska web site.) The former Alaska resident notes, "They didn't build it then, and like as not, they probably won't build it anytime soon." He also notes that the Governor didn't turn the money down for the 'Bridge to Nowhere' until after Congress had already abandoned it but given Alaska a blank check for $223 million in taxpayers' money. Whoever heard of a politician giving back the people's money?
September 7, 2008. David Robert Kline, Piffard, New York, and Kelly Ann Little, Owasso, Oklahoma, celebrate their birthdays today. It is the tenth anniversary of Google's incorporation.
Fall classes begin on Monday, September 8, at the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center. This season the offerings have expanded dramatically, both in terms of types of classes taught, and in terms of target-age groups. Classes range from fitness (including yoga, pilates, kick boxing, ballet, oil painting, stained glass, flower arranging, personal development and sports and recreation). Ages accommodated range from pre-school through 99. Program inserts will appear in the local newspapers; program details are also available at the front desk of The Center. For more information about the classes, check the upcoming events page of the Benton News over the next several days as hundreds of classes are added. Call 925-0163 for additional information.
For reasons unknown, it seems everyone wants to forward the email that claims presidential pensions end at the age of 80--probably as an inducement to vote for or against candidate McCain or Obama. Go here to learn about former president's benefits and retirement. The pension of the president is a lifetime benefit and does not expire at any age.
Quote of the Day:
"Some critics complain that Gary Hart doesn't have any experience in foreign policy. But that's not true. Why just yesterday he had breakfast at the International House of Pancakes."
--George Bush, said at a 1987 gridiron dinner
Didja ever think about how politics is different today from the way it was for our parents and grandparents? Well, we all know how Abraham Lincoln stumped the circuit to get votes. He and others of his day delivered speech after speech, they attended rallies and they eventually unleashed the listener from his money. The term, I suspect, comes from simply standing on a raised platform--often nothing more than a stump--while the politician spoke head and shoulders above the crowd. Stumping has always been considered important to the process. Those who were lucky enough to hear the candidate up close and personal would tell others. It was an effective and inexpensive way of getting the word out. Harry Truman used a train and kept specific questions to a minimum by simply signaling to the engineer that the "whistle-stop" was over and the train should head on down the tracks. Often the speech was reworked for the next stop, usually noting the prominent politician in each town. Each stop was important for two reasons: it resulted in donations going into the coffer and the politicians provided highly entertaining political discourse.
In the old days, as Father used to say, politicians were entertainers. The politician didn't have a chance at winning unless he could climb on a raised platform and entertain the crowd with a political speech. It might be at a farmers picnic, or any picnic for that matter, or a holiday parade. The pompous, long-winded speeches were less likely to produce the desired results than would the lighter speeches filled with an occasional bit of humor. Good politics and good humor traveled hand in hand.
William Jennings Bryan, the Democratic party nominee for President in 1896, 1900 and 1908, was a skillful orator. His voice was deep and when he spoke, people listened. At one rally, he was told that about 500 could not get into the hall to hear him. He asked that they all hold on for a spell. He said that he would talk to them outside as soon as he finished his speech inside. All the organizers could find for Mr. Bryan to stand on outside was an old manure spreader. Still he captured the farmer's vote that day, when he proudly stood up, cleared his throat and said to the audience, "my friends, this is the first time I have ever spoken from a Republican platform."
Louisiana Governor "Uncle Earl" Long had a great number of poor constituents and liked to tell them stories about the rich. He told this story about a rich miser who passed away and stood in judgment before St. Peter at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter told the man that he had not done enough good in his life to warrant admittance to heaven. The sinner pointed out that he once had given a blind man a nickel for a pencil and had let the man keep the pencil. St. Peter wasn't impressed, so the miser told about giving a woman a dime to help with cab fare during a blizzard and then he rapidly told of giving a quarter to a young boy who had no shoes during a snow storm. St. Peter agreed to appeal the case to a "higher authority," who, according to the story, directed St. Peter to give the man back his forty cents and tell him to go to hell.
Governor Long asked to be buried in a parish cemetery in southern Louisiana so that after death he could still be active in politics. Also in Louisiana, a former governor, David Treen, was not reelected when an opponent campaigned on the basis that if voters didn't get Treen out of office there wouldn't be anything left to steal.
In the old days, it took more than humor to be a good politician, although it wasn't always apparent what it was that was "something special." Take James Michael Curley, a former member of the United States House of Representatives, mayor of Boston and Governor of Massachusetts, who happened to be in jail at the time he was elected to the Board of Aldermen in 1904.
Richard Sutliff would not be happy if we didn't tell about former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley who was said to have collected 1,200 votes for junior-class president from a class consisting of 370 members.
Which brings us to what Congressman William Hungate, who sponsored one of the articles of impeachment against President Nixon, said when he left office. His words were, "May the future bring all the best to you, your family and friends, and may your mother never find out where you work."
At this writing, the polls open for the November 4, 2008, election Back Home in Benton, PA, in 58 days, 1404 hours, 84,268 minutes or 5,056,050 seconds. Election day takes place four days after Halloween, but as Will Rogers said, "Halloween provides us the most fun." Will Rogers also said, "They have an unwritten law in the Senate that a new member is not allowed to say anything when he first gets in, and another unwritten law that whatever he says afterward is not to amount to anything." He didn't end there. Will Rogers also wrote that "once a man holds a public office, he is absolutely no good for honest work."
September 6, 2008. It is the birthday of Dayne Sharek, Mike Delp, Teddy McHenry, Winton Laubach, John Andrysick, and Roger Worley. Today is the wedding anniversary of Scott and Pat Wary, and the more seasoned anniversaries of Harold and Marqueen Bankes, Orangeville, and Gerald and Barbara McHenry, Benton. It was a year ago today that
Elsie Buyersfaced surgery in the for gall blatter removal, the beginning of a downhill slide. Geisinger Hospital
The Saturday edition of the Benton News was distributed later than usual during a short break from the duties of hunkering for Hanna. Here in
, local radio calls for 4-8 inches of horizontal rain. While we were away... Washington, D.C.
• The Friday Press Enterprise reported that the location of the former Berwick Hotel will become a downtown branch of First Columbia Bank and Trust following the purchase of the five-story 1934-era hotel. The bank bought the derelict building and the property for $120,000 on Thursday.
• The Bloomsburg Fair website, www.bloomsburgfair.com, is where you need to go to get information about entertainment, a map of the grounds and of vendors. Make sure you stop at the veterans memorial under construction near the tank at the fair. Pavers are being sold for $100 with names and the branch of service engraved on them. Applications for pavers are available on the website or by calling the fair office.
How times change. I remember when conservationists were the only endangered species in
. Forty years ago the native Alaskans--the Aleuts, Indians and Eskimos--who called Alaska home for 15,000 years or so found their land divided between the federal government, the state and the natives. And in case you are forgetting the enormous size of the state of Alaska--heck it is twice the size of the state of Texas--the natives received 44 million acres--give or take a couple of square feet--and "we the people" received about 80 million acres. This is a heck of a lot of frozen tundra, forest, remote islands and some of the loveliest mountains west of the Allegheny range. Now take all that land and fill it with mosquitoes the size of baby robins, drop the temperature to -50° in the winter and nearly 100° in the heat of the summer, take a look in the back window of all the pickum-ups where you will see a rifle at the ready. Here is a society where city slickers and starchy politicians are uniformly disliked. This is the part of the Alaska where citizens have a life membership in the NRA, get up at three in the morning to hunt moose and then eat a mooseburger for lunch, and spend the afternoon frolicking on a snowmobile. United States
Contrast life in rural Alaska to that of Scranton, an area slowly growing smaller and looking more each day like other major cities of Youngstown, Buffalo, Utica and parts of Pittsburgh that were once composed of young and hard-working folks. Today
is almost 20% over the age of 65. There are lots of Mom and Pop stores, a high percentage of Democrats and regardless of politics the area runs a reported 97% white. John Kerry bettered George Bush in 2004. Senator Clinton scored big earlier this year. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) was first elected to the United States House of Representatives from Scranton ’s 11th Congressional District in 1984 and for years has been the center of repeated allegations of highly improper goings-on. Pennsylvania
In this county, when one looks under the surface of things, there is a disconnect between race, gender and religion, as well as a similar issue between the "haves" and the "have-nots." It hurts to see what happens to some residents as the rich grow richer and the poor grow poorer as earned income takes a back seat to capital gains in states like ours, and in Ohio, Michigan, parts of Minnesota, Indiana, West Virginia, to name a few. We would love to hear more about hope in the coming election, the kind of hope that comes from growth and prosperity. But we suspect that politics played for the local audience will concentrate on issues that frankly aren't that relevant to the local area. Immigration is one of them
The Benton Lions Club, the Benton Womens Club and the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center are sponsoring a blood drive on Thursday, September 18, from 2 PM until 7 PM at The Center at 42 Community Drive, Benton. This drive is in memory of Noreen McDormand.
Bob and Katherin Black, Zachary, LA (Bob is a son of Bob Black, Sr. and F. Elaine Black is a daughter of the late Nevin and Betty Dressler, Benton) came through the turmoil of Gustav. Bob sent pictures, but we are unable to post pictures from our cell phone location in Washington, D.C. Bob was out of country (in Trinidad) during the hurricane. Katherine is doing well for not having electric and limited supplies. They had no damage to their main living room, but their car porch roof is gone, limbs down from a tree in back yard, damage to roof areas of shed, dog pen, fence damage, television antenna destroyed. Log on www.wafb.com and www.2theadvocate.com for local Baton rouge coverage of the storm.
The responses to the names of the soldiers who served in World War I is appreciated. We'll briefly continue the last two years of the war and its impact in the local area.
Events taking place in 1918 and 1919
Robert Bruce Ricketts passed away. A disastrous fire destroyed the Mather's Grist and Flour Mill on January 21 about 11 PM. John Mather rebuilt the mill and installed all new equipment and resumed operations in October, 1918. The Coles Grist Mill, once owned and operated by Ezekiel Cole, Jr., (1820 to 1848), later by Albert Cole, eldest son of Ezekiel's son Alinas Cole, was sold at public sale in 1918 to Byron Keller. Alfred, Roy and Stanley Harrington took over the operation of Harrington's Foundry around 1918. Charles Paxton Zaner died in December 1918. He founded the Zanerian College of Penmanship in 1888 and is the man for whom Zaners is named.
Disgusted with the condition of the highway between Shickshinny and Benton, farmers began a vigorous campaign in 1918 in the hope of having the state authorities build a road that would be passable all twelve months of the year. Farmers used the argument that the road should be a "thoroughfare," a main connecting link between the rich faming district and the markets in the city. According to a Wilkes-Barre Times article of January 13, 1919, several "novel schemes" were brought into play to get the attention of the state legislature and other state authorities. The "Cambra Good Roads Association along with the "Good Roads Associations" in Benton, Huntington Mills and Shickshinny, put out a brochure which read "The state road from Shickshinny to Benton is the principal route of travel and transportation for nearly 3,000 farmers, lumbermen and merchants in the large farming and lumbering area of Huntington Valley, Fishing Creek valley and extensive adjacent territory to the railroads of Shickshinny and Philadelphia and New York. The circular also noted that the "route passed through to Eagles Mere and upper West Branch points for tourists from Wilkes-Barre and numerous other eastern cities and towns."
Writing to politicians who apparently were never in the upper Fishing Creek valley, the brochure continued noting that the route "passes thought the center of a valley twelve to twenty miles wide and is both a business and and pleasure highway that does not parallel any trolley lines, railroads or other transportation facilities." The clincher came with the ending plea that "every citizen of Wilkes-Barre and Wyoming Valley and hundreds of tourists and business men in Eastern Pennsylvania are interested in this highway, directly or indirectly, and everyone is earnestly requested to help the Good Roads Associations of Cambra, Benton, Huntington Mills and Shickshinny to secure a good permanent highway that can be used every day for business and pleasure.
"Call the attention of your representatives and the state highway department to the fact that the 250,000 residents of Wyoming valley need the food from two or three hundred square miles of farms between Shickshinny and Millville, and the farmers of this section, where the best fruit and potatoes in the country are grown, are compelled to limit production and permit large quantities of food to waste because the main route of transportation--the road from Shickshinny to Benton is in a deplorable condition at the time it is needed most, when the farmers have time to use it."
The Farmers National Bank of Orangeville was established in 1917. During a memorial service April 25, 1919, trees at the high school 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 killed in action during the Argonne Forest campaign. These four died during World War I. On June 25, 1919 in a "hard-fought game," Benton won over Millville 4-3. Three days later, on June 28, 1919, Germany and the Allies signed the Treaty of Versailles, formally ending the war and providing for the creation of the League of Nations.
Didja know that Bloomsburg University has 1,390 fall freshmen, up from 1,335 first-year students last year at this time?
If you need to consult a certified technician to determine whether radiation or radon is emanating from some part of your house, contact the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists, http://aarst.org/. Information on certified technicians and do-it-yourself radon-testing kits is available from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Web site at http://epa.gov/radon/, as well as from state or regional indoor air environment offices. Kits test for radon, not radiation, and cost $20 to $30. They are sold at hardware stores and online.
A test for people who aren't sure where they stand politically, or who need affirmation that they are who they think they are, is available at www.politicalcompass.org/test.
The end of the largest waste tire pile in the state came Thursday. A truck drove away from the Greenwood Township site which had been the home for 21 years of the Starr tire pile of up to 6 million used tires. Now that all the tires have been removed, the Starrs must sell the parcels and give the proceeds to DEP.
Water in the Commonwealth is critical to the economy and to the health of our natural systems. It has been years since the state assessed how much water we have, how it’s being used and what the demand for water will be in the future. Where in the state are the critical water needs? What impact will the huge demands of drilling in the Marcellus have on the state?
Pennsylvania, through the state Department of Environmental Protection and members of six regional water resources committees, is gathering public input on the state water plan. The plan presents water-use data, water resources conservation and protection recommendations and facts and data portraying various water-resource perspectives. For more information, head over to www.depweb.state.pa.us.
A public meeting and hearing is scheduled for the upper- and middle-Susquehanna on September 17 at the Holiday Inn, Williamsport. A similar hearing and meeting will take place for the lower Susquehanna at the Radisson Inn, Camp Hill September 15.
The state Water Resources Planning Act (download more information on the act here. Microsoft program PowerPoint is required. The act requires an inventory of water availability, an assessment of current and future water demands, an evaluation of resource management alternatives, and methods of implementing recommended actions. Each public meeting will be preceded by an open house from 5PM to 6 PM to give people a chance to review displays and maps of the respective regions. From 6 PM to 7:30 PM, DEP staff and members of the respective regional committees will give presentations on the draft plan and conduct an informal-discussion period. The department will begin accepting formal comments on the draft plan beginning at 7:30 PM.
September 4, 2008. It is the 26th wedding anniversary of Ann and Brian Bower. It was mid-morning on this day in 1969 when John Unbewust, 46, had his famous "out-of-control" ride down Red Rock mountain. On this date in 1919, the Philadelphia Inquirer noted that "Millville and Benton, bitter baseball rivals, fought out the issue of baseball supremacy on neutral grounds" (in Bloomsburg). Let the record show that Benton won 9-8.
Term from the past:
A person who talks nonsense. The word probably comes from the Scottish word "Blether." The term was one of Mother's favorites about the time of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.
Ginny Mazzei will offer a 4-week yoga series at The Center beginning Monday, September 8, from 6–7 PM. The course will run through September 29. The title of the series is From the Ground Up and the focus will be on the feet. The practice of yoga is about awareness and recognizing interconnectedness. The best place to start in the physical sense is with our foundation--our feet. How our feet contact the ground will influence our ankles, knees, hips, pelvis and everything on up to the head! Good balance and comfortable movement require supple feet. There will be special exercises for the feet (and legs and hips), and practice how to feel more stable in the yoga postures. The series will incorporate classic yoga poses, breathing and relaxation techniques. Cost for the series is $15 for members and $25 for non-member. The phone number for the Community Center is 925-0163. Advance registration is strongly suggested.
We started discussing the "war years" in yesterday's Benton News. Between squeezing in a lot of traveling Wednesday, the movie Vicky Christina Barcelona (a mistake), and a lot of convention coverage (time consuming), I didn't publish much of a Benton News today.
Events in 1914
Archduke Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sofia were assassinated in Sarajevo by a Bosnian Serb on June 28, 1914, setting off a chain of events that would culminate in a world war by August. Following the assassinations, a network of treaties among the nations of Europe led to a rapid escalation in the "Great War" between the Central Powers, including Germany, the Austro-Hungarian and the Ottoman Empires, and the Allied nations of Britain, France, Italy, and Russia. The United States entered the war April 6, 1917. The year 1914 was the year when the rebuilding of the Presbyterian Church began following a terrible fire on May 16, 1913. It was the year in which the big wing was added to the Ricketts Mansion at Ganoga Lake. A post office established at Elk Grove September 3,1890, was closed April 30, 1914. In 1914, Benton was supplied with electricity generated at the site of the old Swartwout mill. The powerhouse contained a 75-kilowatt generator, operated by a 100-horsepower turbine. In October 1914, large crowds of voters in the Democratic stronghold of Columbia County greeted Senator Bones Penrose, causing the Philadelphia Inquirer to conclude that "Democrats are in revolt against the Palmer-McCormick leadership." A rally filled the court house to listen to speeches on the tariff war taxes and other issues. Horticulturist Murray, Catawissa, declared that the peach crop in Columbia County would be a failure because the intense cold froze the buds on the trees. A warm spell came in December, followed by a cold snap afterwards. In October 1914, the United Brethern church in Roaring Brook township exploded when the janitor tried to light the structure using gasoline. The lighting system exploded and the janitor was knocked unconscious. He recovered in time to leap from a window of the church and speed away in his car to find help. The Wilkes-Barre Times noted that he didn't get far before his car "plunged over a bank and in addition to the burns resulting from the fire he was badly bruised by the fall from the machine. People on their way to church services rescued him from under the car. The church was a loss. The largest trout caught in Fishing Creek in 1914 was caught by Dr. William Hoffa, Benton. In a half hour, he pulled in a trout measuring slightly less than 24", weighing 4 pounds, 10 ounces. The second one was 20 inches long and weighed 3 pounds, 2 ounces.
Events in 1915
A standard for local historians, The History and Biographical Annals of Columbia and Montour Counties, was published in 1915. Following a rebuild of the church, services resumed in the Presbyterian Church March 16, 1915. Frank C. Laubach earned a Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia University in 1915. In 1915, the Benton school became the center of high-school education in the northern end of Columbia County. Some townships had established two-year high schools, but some still only went to eighth grade. Pupils enrolled in Benton's High School to complete the four-year course from throughout northern Columbia County and some students came from adjacent townships in Lycoming, Sullivan and Luzerne counties. On September 10, 1915, Shickshinny defeated Benton in a double bill by the score of 7-2 and 8-6. The Wilkes-Barre Times noted that "Shickshinny hit when hits meant runs!" The Glen Lyon Elks was a popular team to play in Benton.
Events in 1916.
Jim Thorpe headed the the Canton Bulldogs football team to an unofficial world championships in 1916. Effie Edwards Potter was a popular teacher in the Benton Grammar School. Flag Day, the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777, was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30, 1916. The Bloomsburg state normal school was purchased by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1916 and it officially became the Bloomsburg State Normal School. (It became the Bloomsburg State Teachers College in 1927.) Gasoline Back Home in Benton, PA, sold for twenty-five cents a gallon. Politics has been at the forefront lately with the Democrats and Republicans holding their national conventions. Benton Democrats took time out from the war effort on November 14, 1916, to attend an ox roast to celebrate the election of President Wilson. The Benton and Jamison City bands marched.
Events in 1917
In 1917, the local school purchased the home at the intersection of Church Street and Park Street and used it for the home-economics department. The United States entered the war April 6, 1917. Ben McHenry was in charge of the first fire company carnival in Benton in 1917 on the school grounds of the old school. The State Farm Show became an annual event beginning in 1917.
We'll continue with the war years when we gather Friday.
September 3, 2008. It is the birthday of Owen Hess, Jr., Scott Kriebel, Nathan Becker and Eleanor Sands. It is the 36th wedding anniversary of Kay and Chuck Chapman. Didja know that a post office was established 118 years ago on this day in Elk Grove?
Enjoy the late summer weather this week, because (much-needed) rain looms Saturday. There are three extreme weather blips on the radar screen. Rain from Hanna could be heavy with strong-wind gusts.
I tried Tuesday to download the new Google browser designed to compete with Firefox and Internet Explorer, but didn't have any luck. A beta version of Google's browser for Windows, called Google Chrome <http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/09/fresh-take-on-browser.html>, advertises that it has features that make it easier and faster to browse the web. As soon as bandwidth permits and I can download it, I'll give you my thoughts on the browser. Google cooperates with Firefox. I have long contended that Firefox is superior to Internet Explorer for my purposes. Google and Mozilla recently extended their Firefox partnership through 2011.
While I am at it, here is a plug for both Mozilla's Firefox (web browser) and Thunderbird (email program). I have dumped both Internet Explorer and Microsoft Outlook in favor of these two programs and am extremely happy with both. If you want to try them out, you can easily download Firefox from http://www.firefoxdownload.com/ and Thunderbird from http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/thunderbird/. Both are completely free.
Didja know that if you want to learn more about the Marcellus shale in our area, you can head over to http://geology.com/.
All electricity customers in Pennsylvania have the right to choose the company that provides their generation supply. State law requires PPL Electric Utilities to provide electricity supply for customers who do not choose a generation supplier.
PPL Electric Utilities filed a plan August 28 with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to purchase the provider-of-last-resort electricity supply that it will need for 2011 through mid-2014.
I took a look at the plan that the PPL Electric Utilities proposes to use to acquire power after regulated price caps are removed at the end of December 2009. It appears that PPL would buy a portion of the power it needs at low bid at auction from energy-marketing groups. The fly in the ointment is that much of the power PPL plans to purchase is coming in above the current market price. A great deal more that current market prices, in fact. Take a guess who that will affect!
Customers could pay something like 70% more than current rates in 2010, raising the average electricity bill by 35%. PPL will go out on bid four times a year starting in 2009 for 12- and 24-month increments.
A state deregulation law was implemented in 1996 which does not permit PPL Electric Utilities to own power plants or produce electricity. The power must be acquired on the open market. The customer will pay what PPL pays. The new pricing will affect 1.2 million residential customers in the state. State laws require the company buy power in the competitive electricity market for customers who don’t choose another supplier and pass these costs directly to customers without profit. These charges appear on customers’ bills as the Generation Charge and currently account for more than half of the total electric bill.
PPL Electric Utilities Corporation is a subsidiary of PPL Corporation (PPL) which provides electricity delivery services to about 1.4 million customers in Pennsylvania. More information is available at www.pplelectric.com.
Anyone interested in a wonderful three bedroom, bath and a half, farm house with a barn, garage and utility building smack on the #4 hole at Mill Race Golf Course, a short distance from #5 tee? Bob Conner is selling his lovely home at 4656 Red Rock Road, including all the frontage he has on Fishing Creek. There are three and a half acres. In the house is a sewing room and a "fireplace" room, with features of a large farm house: living room, dining room, central air conditioning, oil hot-water furnace. Call Bob at 570 925-2692 and he'll walk you through the property.
While I remain a doubting Thomas about qualifications relating to the Republican vice-presidential nominee Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, I fully admit that I am intrigued by her being the first woman to run as a vice-presidential candidate in the party. She just doesn't fit the mold that I have come to expect for a Republican. She is ever so common, fitting the picture of a blue collar, working-class mother, a woman who grew up in middle America and is working at succeeding at everything that she does. Regardless of race, color or creed, my faith has been restored that anyone can run for the highest offices in the land. A year ago I would have said that someone educated in the field of journalism at the University of Idaho, competed in beauty pageants, who married a member of the Steel Workers Union, would ever have been able to stand up to the likes of the good-old boys in Washington, let alone the pillywiggers of the world who have evil as their intent.
When all the rhetoric dies down, it will be interesting to see whether the American voters are impressed or scared out of their wits about the possibilities. We may know a little more tonight after we listen to Gov. Palin speak.
Most of us only have dim memories of World War 1. An ambitious project is underway by M. K. Fritz, Bloomsburg, a member of the Columbia County Historical & Genealogical Society's Board of Directors, relating to what your parents or grandparents called the First World War, the Great War, or the War to End All Wars. The war took place from 1914 to 1918 with somewhat over 40 million--here is that figure again--40 million casualties. I am not going into the history of the war, since you can turn to http://www.firstworldwar.com/ or a similar reference to refresh your memory.
Mark Fritz has taken letters published in the Benton Argus and the Bloomsburg Morning Press from soldiers scattered throughout Europe and is compiling a local history of those turbulent times. We have asked before and we ask again that anyone who has any information on the following soldiers contact Mark Fritz via the Benton News. All the letters were written by men, except for one (Elizabeth Savage Cole). Anthony McDonald wrote the best letters but it looks like he may not have been a Benton resident during the war. He may have moved to New York state just before the war. George Remley, an uncle of Lee Remley, was killed in the war, the first casualty from Columbia County. His story was written up pretty well in the newspapers, but the date of his funeral in 1920 or 1921 is not known. Here is the list of men and women that Mark needs to know more about:
George Brundage, Harry Chapin, Frank Conner, Willie T. Farver, Arden Fritz, Elmer Fritz, Harry Fritz, Karl Fritz, Claude Giberson, Edward Golder, Earl Hess, Karl Hess, Larue (Sonny) Hess, William Houck, Frease O. Kile, Phillip Knouse, Anthony McDonald, E. J. McHenry, Brady Phillips, Ray Reed, George Remley, Ray Rider, Shirley Robbins, Elizabeth Savage, Joshua Comely Savage, Myron Savage (Savidge?), Charles Scott, Harley Smith, Clarence VanSickle. Maynard Yocum and Frank Yost. Can you help?
Over the next several days, we'll tell you a great deal about the conditions Back Home in Benton, PA, while the "boys were off at war." We'll tell you, for example about the "vigorous campaign" that began with people disgusted with the condition of the highway between Shickshinny and Benton. We'll tell you about the "Cambra Good Roads Association, which was then joined by "Good Roads Associations" in Benton, Huntington Mills and Shickshinny.
We'll tell you about the "bitter baseball rivals of Millville and Benton in their quest for "baseball supremacy." We'll tell you about baseball games with Shickshinny, a team that "hit when hits meant runs!" The Glen Lion Elks was another fierce competitor during a time when there was a scarcity of men to play the game. Oh, yes, there was also West Berwick and Edwardsville and Bloomsburg. Well, we'll get to baseball and other sports later.
We'll tell you about the ox roasts that the Democrats held to celebrate the election of President Wilson. We'll tell you about the terrible fire which destroyed the Mather Grist and Flour Mill in February 1918. Well--heck--just tune in tomorrow and we'll go from there.
September 2, 2008. It is the birthday in Virginia of Diane Raski, in South Carolina of Cindy Raski Fuller, in Camp Hill of Brett Becker, and in Benton of Miles Cole. It is the wedding anniversary of Ed and Mary Ann Baker. It was on this day that Dr. Frank C. Laubach (September 2, 1884-June 11, 1970) was born.
Take a look at who made the cover of the Central Susquehanna Valley Women's Journal. You can find it here.
The Benton Farmer's Market, Route 487 and Green Acres Road, Benton, has a spiffy new web site, <http://www.bentonfarmersmarket.com/>. Do you produce a high-quality item others would like to buy? Would you like to sell your goods within our community? Vendors include Dancing Hen Farm <http://dancinghenfarm.com> with their fresh produce, herbs and pastured eggs raised with organic methods; Dot's Fancy Lilies, beautiful lilies and other perennials; Elam Beiler, baked goods, cakes, pies; Everview Farm <http://everviewfarm.com>, fresh produce, goat milk soaps, goat milk cheese, goat meat; The Farm Basket, fresh produce, fruits and berries, preserves, jellies, salad dressings, vinaigette, pickled vegetables, relishes, BBQ sauce, salsa; Forks Farm <http://forksfarmmarket.com>, grass-fed beef, pastured chicken, eggs and cheese; Geraldine Laubach, hand-made earrings, bracelets; Geri Sones, hand-made doilies, washcloths, dish cloths, scrubbies, double towels and footies; Lost Acres Greenhouse & Woodworking, bread, pies, cookies, whoopie pies, plus potted herbs and perennials, house plants, hanging baskets, bark planters, bird feeders, lawn furniture; Michelle Crouthamel, freshly cut herbs; Nicholas Tinney, Woodturning Artist, wooden vases and bowls, wine-bottle stoppers, other unique gifts; Patty Brewington, colorful hand-made purses, beach and cosmetic bags; Worthington Acres Alpacas , socks, sweaters, scarves, gloves, hats, blankets, teddy bears, filled sheets for batting for quilts and pillows all made from hypo-allergenic, soft, warm-as-wool alpaca fiber, plus yarn and unprocessed fiber for hand spinning and weaving; Youngest vendors, visit our young, philanthropic business ladies with the lemonade stand. They donate a portion of their proceeds to charity. The Benton Farmer's Market will remain open for the balance of the season on September 6 and 20, October 4 and 18 and November 1, 2008. You'll soon be able to pick up your homemade cider there, too.
Didja notice that a lot of men are frantically trying to earn enough to buy things they are too busy to enjoy?
Term of the Day:
Calling cadence, military cadence or cadence call is a call-and-response work song sung by military personnel while running or marching. These cadences are sometimes known as "jodies" which are generally shouted or sung in a call-and-response fashion. A unit leader calling out "left right left right" so that the unit stays in step when in formation is an example of a "jodie." No instruments are used. Some jodies have a call and response structure of which one soldier initiates a line, and the remaining soldiers complete it in order to build teamwork and camaraderie. The cadence calls keeps soldiers moving in step as a unit and in formation. Turn to http://www.drillpad.net/DPjodies.htm for some examples of a Jodie. Here is an example...
The Air Force Colors
The color is red
To show the world
The blood we shed
The Air Force Colors
The color is white
To show the world
That we can fight
The Air Force Colors
The color is blue
To show the world
That we are true
The Air Force Colors
Red, White, and Blue
To show the world
That we'd die for you
Cathy and Dan Hartman traveled to Texas on Wednesday, August 20, with their daughter Amanda, Dan Bartkiewicz, and Chad's girlfriend, Morgan Clocker. There was an airman's run on Thursday, August 21, where all the graduating airmen run down the street past all of their waiting family and friends, singing jodies with their training instructors. This was followed later in the day by a coin ceremony, in which all the graduates were presented with a coin by their instructors for successfully completing basic training.
Chad Daniel Hartman
Chad Hartman shown in his dress uniform.
The graduation ceremony was held on Friday, August 22, and described by Cathy as both "impressive" and "touching." Chad graduated with a PT status of Thunderbolt (one step away from the top honor of Warhawk--which he only missed by a few push ups) and with a Marksman award (for which he got an extra ribbon to wear on his uniform), one of eight out of a hundred to receive this.
Chad is now entering tech school where he will be for the next 65 days. He would love to hear from anyone who could drop him a card or letter from back home. His new address is: A.B. Hartman, Chad D. PSC#3, 1320 Truemper St. Unit 367235, Lackland AFB, TX 78236-6365
Didja ever notice that inflation is getting so bad that even people who weren't going to buy anything anyway are complaining about prices?
Many long-time readers will remember the article about "The Hegs: Biddle, Charlotte and Philip," which we published years ago at http://www.bentonnews.net/hegs.htm. Phil lives in Gautier, twenty miles east of Biloxi and has provided the following information as of 6:30 AM Monday, September 1, when Gustav was a hundred miles from the shore of Louisiana. Phil, writing from ninety miles to the east of New Orleans, said that "the wind gusts are powerful. I do not have a metering device but my guess is that here we have had gusts over sixty miles per hour."
Phil lives in a mobile home which is fourteen by seventy feet. "There are fourteen steel tape tie-downs that anchor the trailer to earth. The trailer has a flat steel sheet-metal roof and the sides are molded sheet metal. The roof is anchored only at the edges and just off the crown of the roof for the full length of the trailer. This allows the panels of the roof to "float" for the full length of the trailer on each side. When the gusts of wind come, the noise that the sheet-metal sides and the roof make give the impression that the inhabitants are in a very large, empty, steel barrel rolling down a bumpy hill. The trailer quivers and shakes to some degree. There are interesting groans and creaking noises. A person can feel the vibrations created by the wind by placing a hand on the inside of a wall.
"During the hurricane 'Katrina,' I stayed with friends in their stone house twenty miles north of my trailer, Phil writes. "The winds around this trailer then were past one hundred miles an hour. I have no way to describe what that must have sounded like inside the trailer.
"There are those who may consider that my decision to stay in this trailer is a foolish decision. When I returned from the friend's house after the major thrust of 'Katrina,' I passed a trailer park on highway ninety. I saw one trailer with no roof. I later learned that over four feet of water had flooded that trailer park and virtually every trailer had received water damage. I passed two outboard-powered boats perched on the neutral ground between the lanes of highway ninety. In order for this to have happened over two feet of water would have been required to float them there.
"After seeing this, I wondered what I was going to see when I got to my home. As I approached I saw that the roof was intact. The water that had risen up and out of the marina in front of my trailer was still on the road. I parked the car, got out and walked around the trailer. There were no broken windows. I went inside and went from one end of the trailer to the other looking for leaks. There were none. I went to the floor on my face before the Lord and thanked Him in prayer for His hand of protection over my home. The buildings across the street from me are lower in elevation than I am. They sustained nine feet of flood water. They are ruined to this day. . . . .
"As 'Gustav' progresses to the shore of Louisiana we are in the "northeast quadrant" of the storm. This area of the storm is the 'trickiest.' Weather people can tell people of the strange things that can happen in this quadrant of the storm. Among them are tornadoes spawned by the main hurricane. During the hurricane 'Camille,' the radar at Keesler Air Force Base recorded eighty five tornadoes at one time. We were in the northeast quadrant during that storm. That storm was dubbed a 'tornicane' by some.
"As this is being written, the tide is rising rapidly. The water in the marina across the street lacks about one foot before it will be coming out on the road in front of the trailer. It is normally five feet below the edge of the marina. Given the "storm surge" figures forecast, I expect the road in front of the house will have as much as three feet of water over it. My trailer is on a rise of ground above the road. Three feet of water on the road will not bother the trailer. There is approximately five hours before "landfall" of "Gustav." The greatest rise in the tide is yet to come." At 1:30 ET Monday, Phil sent the following email: "Not long ago the storm crossed over into Louisiana. The storm surge is receding. It fell short of coming up to the three feet over the road by two and a half feet. There are still quite strong wind gusts. As time moves on these should quiet down too." We're happy that things worked out well for Phil and wish the same for all residents of the Gulf Coast.
.September 1, 2008. Today is the first Monday in September. It is Labor Day. It is the birthday of Lynn Watson and of Paul Bowles. Wedding anniversaries include Dennis and Chris Dawson; two couples--Rose and Terry Hack and Paul and Melody Bowles--were married on this date thirty years ago.
.Eleanor Clarke once wrote "How smartly September comes in, like a racing gig, all style, no confusion."
American Solar & Environmental Technologies, LLC (ASET Solar) is a woman-owned business founded in 2007 by Judith Karr and Kelly O’Brien Gavin. ASET Solar is the first women-owned renewable-energy company in the Commonwealth. ASET specializes in the design and installation of solar thermal and photovoltaic (solar electric) systems for residential, commercial and agricultural markets. The company is located in the Bloomsburg Regional Technology Center, 240 Market Street, Bloomsburg. ASET Solar has presented a proposal to the Town of Bloomsburg that will provide 100% of the electricity needs for their recycling center. To contact ASET Solar, call 244-2951.
Didja ever think that people who fight fire with fire
usually end up with ashes?
Take a last look at the flowers of summer. The prettiest thing blooming at the moment is a weed most of us hate--the Japanese knotweed, the invasive, perennial bamboo-like plant which thrives along Fishing Creek. The flowers of the Japanese knotweed are small, creamy white and quite pretty. The dictionary lists its many names around the world: fleeceflower, monkeyweed, Hancock's curse, pea shooters, Japanese bamboo, American bamboo, and Mexican bamboo (it is not a bamboo).
I am not much for a beautiful garden. I head for the painless garden, and am a graduate of the "if it is green, it is good" school of gardening. I love the pachysandras, the boxwoods, the "green year-round" plantings, the gardens that take no money, no worry, no work and no drain on time. I like to gather all the wild plants and put them into beds. Many of the wild flowers I love are not wild at all. They are just tame flowers camping in the wild. We'll miss them until next year.
Be on the lookout for the almost frantic activity of birds and animals preparing for the oncoming winter. Squirrels are taking leaves to their nests--and so are bobcats, raccoons, and other critters. Beavers are busily building dams for an adequate winter supply of food. The critters must know something! The Farmer's Almanac’s 2008 edition predicts plenty of snow across the Northeast, temperatures averaging as much as 3° below normal along most of the Atlantic Coast, and four major frosts as far south as Florida.
Order your apple dumplings, the same ones you get at the Bloomsburg Fair from Jim and Ruth Vance, by stopping at the front desk of the Northern Columbia Community & Cultural Center or calling 925-0163. You must order by September 19 for mid-October delivery. The price is $13 a box. Pay when you pick them up.
Didja know that one of the first states to take a serious look at using natural gas as a replacement fuel for gasoline is Utah? But--there are problems: there aren't many gas stations that can provide the natural gas and car companies are reluctant to manufacture gas-burning vehicles because of the lack of gas stations. Natural gas is especially cheap in Utah. Drivers spend about 87 cents for a quantity of gas sufficient to propel a car approximately the same distance as a $3.95 gallon of gasoline.
Customers of First Columbia Bank can access their money seven days a week, 24 hours a day, by calling 570 387-4602 or 800 454-6504. You can find out your balance, get your account history, transfer money, pay bills and perform other services. The system is extremely easy to use. First-time users will need to pick a four-digit security code (PIN number).
Didja ever think that doing nothing is hard work?
You never can figure out when you are finished.
Quote of the Day:
"The vice president has two duties. One is to inquire daily as to the health of the president, and the other is to attend the funerals of Third-World dictators."
--John McCain, as shown on video on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday
The following is a true story, but names and locations have been deleted. A reader and former Benton resident is joining a church in the community in which he is now living. He enthusiastically heads for church each Sunday morning, but ran into problems yesterday. I'll let him tell the story as he told me in an email Sunday afternoon.
"I had a great time in church this morning and so did the people sitting directly behind me (and others if they glanced my way). The background:
"As many people know, I've been dieting and losing a lot of weight (132 pounds so far with 18 to go) so my clothing doesn't always fit very well. I had been waiting 'til I got closer to my goal weight of 180 before investing in new duds.
"Last week I checked my trouser collection to see whether I had a fit for Sunday church and it turned out I did. But when I put them on this morning, I realized they were those slippery Sansabelt pants without belt loops. Couldn't find my suspenders or a safety pin to take them up a bit so I decided, what the hell, I'll just be careful and hold them up with one hand.
"The sermon was on Moses and the Burning Bush where God implores Moses to take off his sandals in the holy place. After the sermon, we rose to sing Hymn No. 457 (I'll never forget) entitled "Colorful Creator." On the first line, with no warning, my pants dropped all the way to my ankles! I quickly sat down and managed to work them back to normal. The Biblical story doesn't say anything about dropping trou, just sandals.
"I was quite embarrassed but I thought I'll make the best of it so I apologized to the people directly behind me and told the minister on the way out. He doubled over in laughter and said he plans to use the story the next time he does that sermon.
"By the time I got out to the parking lot, the story was the big topic of conversation. I held fast to my pants, scurried to my car and drove home to safety."