HomeColumnists ( January 23, 2019 )

100 Years Ago

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

Lawsville – The strike is over! The farmers and the milk dealers have at last come to a satisfactory settlement and the farmers began drawing milk to Conklin on Sunday morning. ALSO Mrs. Edna Travis Wilbur died at the home of her father, Samuel Travis, early Sunday morning, Jan. 12. Death was caused by pneumonia following an attack of influenza. She leaves four small children, the youngest but a few weeks old. Other members of the family who have been ill are recovering.

Montrose – The Borden milk station recommenced operations, local dairymen taking their milk after a strike of nearly three weeks. ALSO The Subway Lunch room was the scene of a happy function when [Civil War] veteran Theodore F. Mack was given a party in honor of his 73rd birthday. The dining room was specially decorated for the occasion and patriotic selections were played on the Victrola. After a sumptuous supper the old veterans enjoyed the evening together and talked over their younger days in camp and on battle fronts. A bunch of high school students could not have had a more enjoyable time and before the evening was over two of the veterans staged an impromptu sparring match, to the delight of all, themselves included. Some were unable to attend because of infirm health. Those present were: George Dayton, Capt. C. N. Warner, J. Irving ("Vin") Chapman, George Frink, R. M. Bostwick, Sylvester Wood, G. A. Free, Joshua Corwin, F. I. Lott, T. F. Mack, Wm. Warner.

Jackson – A special memorial service, in honor of the late Corp. Floyd E. Waters, of this place, who was killed in action, in France, Nov. 10, 1918, will take place in the M. E. Church, Feb. 2nd. Money has been raised for a splendid picture of Corp. Waters, which will be given to the Jackson Graded School in honor and in memory of him, by his school and classmates. All friends and relatives of the deceased are urged to attend. Special music is being arranged. ALSO The old adage, "a friend in need is a friend indeed," was emphasized Saturday evening, Jan 18, at Jackson, when the neighbors and friends of N. A. Benson presented him with a sum of $87.00 to assist him in building a new barn, which he will start the construction soon. Mr. Benson had the misfortune of having his barn burn some time ago, with its entire contents of wagons, farm implements, tools and hay and straw. He did not discover until after his loss that no insurance covered it, the policy having expired only a short time previous.

Hop Bottom – Dr. and Mrs. Van de Sand left this week for Neodesha, Kansas, where they will spend some time. Dr. Van de Sand will probably locate in Kansas or Oklahoma.

Bridgewater Twp. – George Decker has assumed charge of the poor farm and Mr. Decker and family have moved to the farm.

Brooklyn – Asa M. Kinner, a former resident of this place, died at his home in Merker, Bradford County, last week, aged 100 years and 8 months. W. W. Kinner, of Lynn, a son, attended his funeral Friday.

Lake View – Court Lewis expects to cut a hundred cords of wood for Fred Benson soon.

Harford – If anyone has found a book, entitled "The Redemption of Kenneth Galt," they will be doing a favor if they will leave it at Gail Peck's. The book was lost about two weeks ago on the creek road.

Forest City – We are pleased to note the success attending the compositions from the pen of one of our townswomen, Mr. P. J. McKernon, whose latest song production, "The Brave Yankee Sammy," just published by the North American Music House of Chicago, has been received with popular favor in musical circles. The song is a pen picture of an incident of Verdun during the Great War just ended, and combines an illustration of the undying patriotism of the American soldier with his sentiment for the home folks. We trust Mrs. McKernon will find time to devote to more such compositions.

Uniondale – A butcher shop is a long felt want and now that Eugene Demming has become a dispenser of choice meats we hope he will be patronized as he ought. He is erecting an ice house, Will Wells in charge. ALSO Lester Todd has gone to South Dakota where he will be employed by Charles Corey, a former resident of this vicinity, on a large ranch.

Clifford – The grand jury last week revoked the charter of Dundaff borough. Henceforth it will be known as Clifford township. ALSO W. C. Baldwin, who has been butter maker for the Clifford Creamery Co. for the past 14 years, has resigned, to devote his entire time to his farm. At a meeting of the directors on Saturday evening, C. B. Wells was hired for the ensuing year.

Fairdale – Ray Greene has bought the blacksmith shop of W. J. Rhinevault and taken possession.

Elk Lake – John Rogan has secured a position as conductor on the electric cars in Binghamton.

Susquehanna – The Transcript is urging the people to get busy and build more houses, that the many people now compelled to live elsewhere can find homes here and contribute to the prosperity of Susquehanna. As it correctly states, thousands of dollars are being spent elsewhere because of lack of housing facilities each month, and the Transcript is trying its utmost to awaken civic pride and interest in the matter of building.

200 Years Ago from the Montrose Gazette, January 23, 1819

*Married – In New Milford on the 14th inst. by the Rev. G. N. Judd, Mr. Esbond Gregory to Miss Amanda Trowbridge.

*Married – In Middletown by David Post, Esq. Mr. Jesse C. Sherman to Miss Anna Foster, daughter of widow Foster.

*Died – In this township [Bridgewater] on the morning of the 15th inst. Mrs. Lydia Burrows, wife of Urial Burrows.

*A Valuable Farm for Sale. The subscriber offers his farm for sale lying in the township of Lawsville. It contains 287 acres, one hundred under good improvement. Said farm is well adapted to the raising of grain and hay and its situation is such that cannot fail to please. It lies but six miles from the flourishing village of Mont-Rose, and directly in the neighborhood of an old settled and wealthy country. The society in the neighborhood is good. Foreigners who may wish to take up a large tract of land for settlement will do well to call and examine the premises; as contiguous thereto is a large tract of excellent land which the proprietors will dispose of, and the agency is vested in the subscriber; the terms of sale will be reasonable. STEPHAN BARNUM. Lawsville, Jan. 22, 1819. N. B. Persons wishing to purchase, who may wish for further particulars, may call on Mr. Clark, Editor of this paper.

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Letter of the Law

By Jason J. Legg

In March 2017, Joseph Bramer received a correspondence from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) notifying him that his driver's license was being recalled. PennDOT had revoked Bramer's license based upon information received from Bramer's physician that Bramer was suffering from a medical condition that prevented him from safely operating a motor vehicle, i.e., a neurological disorder. PennDOT informed Bramer that he would not be permitted to drive until he could demonstrate that he could meet the minimum medical standards for motor vehicle operators.

Bramer filed an appeal of the revocation of his operating privileged to the court of common pleas. At the hearing, PennDOT submitted the reporting form that Bramer's physician had provided to PennDOT that identified Bramer's neurological disorder. In response, Bramer testified that he had been driving for 55 years and that he had not had a traffic ticket or accident in the past 25 years. Bramer testified that he could safely operate a motor vehicle despite his neurological condition.

Because Bramer had failed to present any new medical evidence as to his ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, the trial court upheld the revocation of his driver's license. The trial court, however, also directed that PennDOT provide Bramer with a driver's examination to determine if he could safely operate a motor vehicle. Both PennDOT and Bramer appealed the trial court's decision.

The Commonwealth Court affirmed the suspension of Bramer's driver's license. While PennDOT bears the burden of demonstrating that Bramer was medically incompetent to operate a motor vehicle, the Commonwealth Court concluded that PennDOT had met its burden of proof through submission of Bramer's physician's medical report disclosing his neurological disorder. Upon submission of the physician's report, the burden then shifted to Bramer to demonstrate his ability to safely operate a motor vehicle through medical evidence, i.e., Bramer's testimony as to his own driving abilities was insufficient to demonstrate that he was medically competent to drive.

The Commonwealth Court reversed the trial court's directive that PennDOT provide Bramer with a driver's examination. The regulatory provision related to PennDOT providing driver's examinations governed situations where PennDOT had "reason to believe" that a person's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle was impaired by a physical condition. In this case, there was more than a "reason to believe" that Bramer's physical condition impaired his driving abilities; rather, there was medical evidence that Bramer was suffering from a neurological disorder that prevented him from safe operation of a motor vehicle.

Because of his neurological condition, Bramer lost his driver's license. In order to get it back, Bramer will need to demonstrate to PennDOT that he can satisfy the minimum medical standards for all drivers – and he can only do this through medical evidence not through his personal opinion as to his driving abilities. If Bramer wishes to drive again, he will need to work with a medical provider to address his neurological disorder until the medical provider determines that Bramer's condition no longer impairs his ability to safely drive. Thereafter, Bramer will have to submit his updated medical information to PennDOT and try to convince PennDOT that his neurological disorder no longer interferes with his ability to drive a motor vehicle. If PennDOT does not agree, then he can come back to court to challenge PennDOT's refusal to reinstate his license.

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How To Take Pills©

By Dr. Ron Gasbarro

Want to know how long you will live?

If you could find out how long you would live, would you want to know? That's the question the pharmacist asked himself when the new machine was delivered. "It can go between the blood pressure booth and the photo center," he told the delivery guys. The  machine works like this: You put a buck into the slot and step inside. The machine then scans you from head to toe and calculates one's blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar, brain waves, and other physical parameters. Then, through the magic of nanotechnology – the branch of technology that deals with the manipulation of individual atoms and molecules – it can determine enzyme levels and other biochemicals that keep the old ticker ticking. In other words, the machine can calculate how long a person would live. The results go directly to the pharmacist whose honor it is to tell the person how much time he or she has on this earth, as well as what finally did that person in.

First, Lester, 67, came into the pharmacy. Willing to drive to the store despite having a "liquid breakfast," Lester was curious about the machine and asked how long it would take. "About 2 minutes," replied the pharmacist. Lester stepped into the machine and the door closed. One could hear whirring inside the contraption and then suddenly it was quiet. A piece of paper spewed out from the pharmacist's receiver. The paper said "68, DUI car crash." "I can't tell Lester that," the pharmacist thought. "So, Doc, what's the scoop?" "95, natural causes," the pharmacist lied. "Terrific!" laughed woozy ole Lester as he staggered to his car and zig-zagged his way home.

Second, Lynette, 32, was always depressed. She hardly ever had her antidepressant prescription refilled, even though the pharmacist counseled her about taking her pills so she will feel better. She asked the pharmacist about the machine. Lynette put 4 quarters into the slot and stepped inside. More whirring, buzzing, humming. Then silence. "Let me guess," she said to the pharmacist. "A week from Thursday. Jumped into Niagara Falls." That comment rattled the pharmacist. "It says 78, helping children escape from a burning building." "Really?" Lynette said. "At least I will go doing something good. I feel better already." What the note really said was "32, jumped into Niagara Falls. A week from Thursday."

Finally, there is Larry, 40. Extremely obese. He eats to feel better about his life. He could barely fit into the machine but he managed to shut the door once he got in. Whir, whir, whiz, whiz. Squeezing his way out of the booth, he was totally out of breath as he approached the pharmacist. "What's the verdict?" Larry asked, gasping for air. "72, hit by a bus after leaving the gym." "Wow, I never thought I would make it to 50! I guess going to the gym would be a good idea." According to the piece of paper that the machine generated, Larry would live to be 42, heart attack. But the pharmacist could not tell him that.

Should the pharmacist withhold the information given to him regarding his patients? Would knowing when you are going to die enhance your quality of life? Can fate be changed? Would Lester sober up knowing he would live into his 90s? Would Lynette pull her life together knowing she would have a meaningful future? Would Larry lose weight and enjoy the rest of his years as a healthier human?

What if you could find out how long you will live? The pharmacist was tempted to try the machine. But he decided he could not. In fact, the next day, the machine was gone. It had a power that was oddly terrifying and extremely intrusive. What would you do?

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

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