HomeColumnists ( October 17, 2018 )

100 Years Ago

By Betty Smith, Susquehanna County Historical Society, Montrose, PA

With Our Boys in the Field .Corp. Orson L. Sloat, of Oakland, was severely wounded in France on Sept. 4, a member of the 110th Infantry; Lieut. Roswell Watrous, age 29, of Montrose, succumbed to Spanish influenza at the Walter Reed hospital in Washington; Pvt. Edwin S. Stephens, of Great Bend, died Sept. 2, of pneumonia, somewhere in France; Sgt. Wm. Quinlivan, writes that he will see a lot of France because his company will be building roads and all kinds of engineering work.

Uniondale – Nine members of the home John Burdick are ill with Spanish influenza. There are about 20 cases of the influenza in town and some cases of pneumonia. Mrs. E. L. Avery and Mrs. Eugene Deming are reported very low.

Brooklyn – Miss Hazel Bennett, a trained nurse, has enlisted in the service of the United States army. She is spending a few days with her parents, here, but expects to be called early next week to one of the camps.

Thompson – Help being so scarce at the Borden plant, owing to so many of the employees having influenza, that they have dispensed with bottling the milk for the present.

East Rush – The neighbors and friends of Myron Crisman gathered at his place and cut his corn and filled his silo, buzzed wood, dug but the most of his potatoes and raked up most of his buckwheat. About 35 men and women were there. Mr. Crisman is not improving very fast.

Hallstead – The number of men from this community in the service is ninety.

Harford – Several people here are on the sick list. Schools are closed, churches are closed and the doctors are kept busy.

Auburn – William Russell, one of the oldest residents of this place, passed peacefully away at the Auburn and Rush poor asylum, September 25. The remains were interred by the side of his parents in the Quick cemetery. He was born April 20, 1826, his age being 92 years, 5 months, 5 days. For a number of years he had been entirely deaf and blind, there was no possible way of communicating with him and he was probably wholly unaware of any of the events that were transpiring either at home or in the world at large and probably did not know where he was. He never married and had no living relatives since the death of his brother F. E. Russell, 13 years ago, who also died without issue. His entire life was spent here with the exception of a few years when he operated a fruit farm at Vineland, NJ.

Dimock – People were grieved to learn this week that Perry Mills, his wife and child, former residents of this place, but who had resided in New York the past year or so, had all been summoned by death—being victims of the influenza. He was a son of Mrs. Arthur Mills.

Forest City – Forest City is being visited by an epidemic of the influenza which is prevailing throughout the country. Many homes have members afflicted with the malady and there have been several deaths from pneumonia which seems in many cases to follow the ailment. The doctors have been working night and day. It is reported that there have been 650 cases of the disease.

Susquehanna – Prof. Dunlap, of Susquehanna, gave a fine exhibition of bicycle riding at Uniondale the other day, and the girls of that locality were so highly pleased with his performance that they request us to tender their thanks and congratulations to the artist. The professor claims that he would have done better had the ground been more even but the steep grade of the street combined with his anxiety to please the girls, made his bicycle so unmanageable that the performance was as trying to his nerve and muscle as it was gratifying to the interested spectators.

Elkdale – The school has been closed indefinitely on account of the epidemic.

Influenza comes suddenly. It is characterized by fever of varying degrees of 101 to 104 degrees, headache and pains in the back, bones, and joints, frequently chilliness, general indisposition, flushed face, some soreness of the throat and the eyes somewhat reddened. The headache, pains in the back and joints, prostration and fever constitute the chief and outstanding symptoms. Loss of appetite is also present, and there may be vomiting at the onset of the disease, and this vomiting may be frequently repeated. In robust and well-nourished individuals the attack is, as a rule, fairly mild and rapidly subsides after the second or third day, terminating in most all instances after a duration of three or four days. The tendency toward the development of bronchial pneumonia, as a complication, has been observed among cases as a rule, who had been up and about and tried to fight off the attack. The treatment must be confinement to the house—to bed, if possible—and resting there until the fever has been controlled. The diet must be light, chiefly milk; there must be warmth and plenty of fresh air. Laxatives are needed to eliminate the infection from the intestinal canal. The patient should be isolated in a room by themselves. Everything used by him—handkerchiefs, towels, dishes, etc.—disinfected before being handled by others in the household. See a doctor and be careful in convalescence.

News Brief: We cannot recall a time when there was even one-half so much death and sorrow as at present. While the war is awful, the influenza is proving a scourge. While the bullet or shell claim one the epidemic sweeps away dozens, perhaps hundreds. But this is a time for courage—those blessed with health must minister to those in trouble. "Human courage should rise to the heights of human calamity."

200 Years Ago from the Montrose Gazette, October 17, 1818

*Samuel Gregory is elected Sheriff by a majority of between 4 & 5 hundred and Philander Stephens, Commissioner, with little or no opposition.

*FULLING & CARDING. The subscriber informs the public that he has commenced the business of Cloth Dressing and Wool Carding at his old stand on Martin Creek where every attention will be paid to render satisfaction to all who may favor him with their custom. Cash or produce will be required when cloth is taken away. JOHN KINGSLEY. Those who are indebted to the subscriber will please to call and settle without delay Harford, Aug. 8th 1818.

N. B. Cloth will be received at the Store of Herrick & Fordham, in Montrose, with written directions for dressing, and returned there when dressed.

*CLOTH FULLING, DYING & DRESSING. The subscribers inform the public that they have commenced Cloth Dressing, at their stand in Rush, on the Wyalusing, formerly occupied by Amos Fairman; said work will be done by a well experienced workman from Connecticut. Cloth will be received with written directions at the store of Herrick & Fordham where it will be returned when dressed. N. B. a deduction of 12 ½ per cent will be made from the customary prices for ready pay. All kinds of produce will be taken in payment. I. H. ROSS, AUSTIN JONES. Rush, Oct. 8, 1818.

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Letter of the Law

By Jason J. Legg

On February 23, 2015, police were dispatched to the Velez home for a domestic disturbance. When the police arrived, Ms. Velez informed them that a man named "Reek" threatened to kill her, that he told her that he had a gun and that he was still parked outside. Ms. Velez pointed to a pickup truck parked near her home. As the officers approached the pickup truck, it began to drive directly toward them and did not initially stop upon being directed to do so. After stopping, the driver, Al-Tariq Sharif Ali Byrd opened the driver side window approximately 3 inches to speak with the investigating officer. At that time, the officers were able to detect the smell of marijuana coming from inside the motor vehicle.

At that point, the officers directed Byrd to exit the pickup truck but he refused to get out. A scuffle ensued. After apprehending Byrd, the pickup truck was searched and the police found a .40 caliber handgun, a clip, and a bulletproof vest. Byrd was then arrested and, after failing to make bail, he was incarcerated. Based upon prior convictions as well as not having a conceal carry permit, Byrd was charged with a variety of firearm offenses.

While he was incarcerated, Byrd had a friend who visited him at the jail. In order to communicate with the visitor, an inmate was required to use a telephone system provided by the jail. In order to access the system, the inmate had to type in his inmate number and then a warning was played advising the inmate and the visitor that the call could be recorded. During the course of his conversations with his friend, Byrd admitted that the firearm was his gun.

After realizing that the Commonwealth intended on using his recorded jail statements, Byrd sought to suppress those statements contending that he had never consented to being recorded by the jail. Byrd argued that he was never provided a written warning nor was there any notification in the inmate handbook that communications with visitors were recorded by the jail's communication system. The trial court concluded that the Commonwealth had failed to demonstrate that Byrd had heard the verbal warning prior to his communications with his friend, i.e., he could have been holding the phone away from his ear. As such, the trial court suppressed the evidence. The Commonwealth appealed that decision.

In reviewing the evidence, the Superior Court noted that Byrd's visitor admitted that on each of her visits she had heard the initial recorded message advising that communications "may be recorded or monitored." As to Byrd's knowledge of this warning and the jail recording his conversations, the Superior Court observed that Byrd's recorded conversations made it clear that Byrd understood he was being recorded. Byrd told his visitor that he could not communicate the way he wanted to because of where the conversation was occurring, i.e., the jail setting. Byrd also varied the tone of his voice from a normal conversational tone to a whisper in certain conversations. Finally, Byrd also evidenced a clear understanding that he was being recorded by making the following statement: "I swear to God, and – and – I'm going to say it on the phone. I don't give a ****."

The Superior Court opined that the mutual consent exception to the Wiretap Act permits recording of communications where the defendant "knew, or should have known, that the conversation was recorded." Given all of the circumstances presented in the case, the evidence was sufficient to demonstrate the Byrd should have known he was being recorded – even if Byrd contended that he did not actually know. The Superior Court remanded the case back to the trial court and directed that the Commonwealth could use the jail recordings at trial.

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How To Take Pills©

By Dr. Ron Gasbarro

Are expired pregnancy tests accurate? Really?

Cindy came into the pharmacy and showed the pharmacist a pregnancy test that she has had for several years. "Look, the expiration date was only last month. Is it still OK to use? It's made of plastic, so I thought it would be still good." Even though a pregnancy test costs a few bucks, many people do not have that money to pay.

The pharmacist explained to Cindy how a pregnancy test functions. Home pregnancy test strips work by detecting the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in the woman's urine. The further along you are in the pregnancy, the higher the level of HCG. Most commercially available pregnancy tests are advertising as being 99% accurate. But what if the pregnancy test is expired? Should you rely on the result of the expired pregnancy test? You may as well flip a coin.

The test strip contains a chemical that reacts with HCG. After the test has expired, this chemical is likely ineffective at detecting this pregnancy hormone in the urine. Manufacturers assign each test an expiration date based on the effectiveness of that chemical. Most commercially available pregnancy tests have a shelf life of between 2 and 3 years after manufacture. This is clearly marked on the box. A test that expired for months or even years ago will undoubtedly give a false reading, called a false negative. This is because the chemical needed to react with the HCG is not potent enough to detect the hormone. No one wants to find out 10 or 15 weeks down the road that one is actually pregnant, interfering with plans, employment, and finances.

Despite the manufacturers' claims that pregnancy tests are 99% effective, this is only true if they are used properly. For instance, the woman may be taking the test too early. There may not be enough HCG in her urine for the test strip to detect it. About 3% of pregnant women may still show a false negative after the first missed period because their levels of HCG are not high enough. Due to the rapidly increasing levels of HCG in a pregnant woman, a negative result about one week after a missed period is typical. These women should repeat the test after a few days to allow the HCG levels to increase.

Also, the test may not be done according to the instructions. Read the package insert carefully to ensure that the test is used correctly. If you are the user, test with the first passing of urine in the morning after awakening when the HCG concentration will be the highest. Take note of whether the test is a midstream test or whether the stick is dipped into urine. Most tests require 3 minutes to produce a result. Reading the results on some tests should be done within 10 minutes otherwise, the result is invalid.

What about, as in Cindy's case, if the test expired just a few weeks before? If for example, the test expired in early September, then it should be accurate in late October. However, if the test came up negative and you suspect you are pregnant, then yes, crack open your piggy bank and buy a new one.

Cindy really needed to find out if she is pregnant because of her job and her family. So, she decided to purchase a new test and go from there based on the actual results.

Ron Gasbarro, PharmD, is a registered pharmacist, medical writer, and principal at Read more at

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