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DEP Employee Finds Message In A Bottle Along Susquehanna River

Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Compliance Specialist Jonathan Ulanoski spotted the glass gleaming in the sunlight on an island in the Susquehanna River near Wilkes-Barre, PA. It was sitting on the ground surrounded by fallen tree branches, dirt and other debris that had washed up from the high waters of Hurricane Irene.
            The 17-year DEP employee had already picked up dozens of glass bottles from the grounds of Monocanock (Ma-nok-can-ok) Island, so this one seemed no different than the others…or so he thought.
            “It was just sitting there. I just went to throw it away until I got up close to it and saw what was inside,” Ulanoski said.
            Ulanoski picked up the soda bottle with a white cap on the top and saw a rolled up piece of paper inside.  He had to finish collecting items from the September flooding as part of clean-up work, so he stored the bottle in his bag until he was finished.  After work, Ulanoski smashed open the bottle and spent the next few hours drying out the paper.
            Inside of the bottle was a note that read:  “This bottle was tossed into the Susquehanna River (in Mehoopany) on September 26, 1975 at 12:50 PM.  When found, write:  D. Hemmerly, PO Box 87, Mehoopany, PA 18625. Send name and town where found.”
            That is exactly what Ustanoski is doing right now. He has searched Google with the last name “Hemmerly” and is trying to track down who “D,” the presumed note-writer, is or even if that person is still around.  He is also trying to track down family members with the same last name.
            After 36 years, he is hoping D. Hemmerly can be located because Ustanoski has many questions for him. He would like to ask, “Did you put the bottle in the river? If yes, why, and if not, who did and why?”  Another question he has is, “Did you ever think it would take this long for the bottle to be discovered?”
            Ustanoski knows this will not be an easy task, but it is well worth the effort. 
            D. Hemmerly is waiting!


5/7/2012

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