HomeColumnists ( April 14, 2021 )

100 Years Ago

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

Dimock – The little son of Mr. and Mrs. Jas. Greenwood, who severely injured his arm in a power washing machine and has been in the Packer Hospital at Sayre for some time, is improving so he can use the arm sufficiently to pick up a handkerchief from the floor. It is thought he may be able to return home by next week. ALSO The Harford and Dimock high school teams played basketball here Friday evening in the Community Building, each team winning a game. The girls played the first game, resulting in 26-6 score in favor of Dimock. The boys played the next game, Harford being victorious, 39-8.

Montrose – H. M. Cole, Montrose's veteran automobile owner, one of the very first in this part of the state to own and operate a gasoline car, and first, last and all the time a Ford booster, has made two automobile trips to Scranton recently, and tells us that the dirt road between Montrose and Nicholson is in splendid condition and that the Scranton ride is a pleasant one to make. It will be recalled that this road was again taken over by the State Highway Dept. last year, largely through efforts of the Lackawanna County Automobile Association. These dirt roads have already been worked this spring. Mr. Cole tells us that one may take the Trail at Nicholson to the crossing on Roberts' Hill, eliminating a long and steep grade on this veritable mountain, although the concrete on this stretch has not been laid. ALSO It is five years, on May 8th, since the first trolley car came to the station near Harrington's mills. We hope it will not be five more years before the rails are brought to the center of town.

Forest City – Private John Petroski, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Petroski, of Railroad Street, is in a base hospital at El Paso, Texas, suffering from wounds received while on duty at the Mexican border when US immigration officers and soldiers of the border patrol engaged in a long fight on March 17 with Mexican whiskey smugglers at a point on the Rio Grande near El Paso, Texas. Fifty-seven quarts of whiskey, abandoned by the smugglers, were discovered at daybreak. Two soldiers and an inspector were wounded. In a recent letter to his parents he informed them that he was operated on and stands a good chance for recovery. ALSO Stephen Shamro, the mighty south paw of the Independents, has received an offer from the Elmira Arctics, a crack team of the Southern Tier of New York, and ordered to report forthwith. His friends claim he has the big league goods and if given a trial, will make good. He is by far the best twirler in this section and the fans hope he may land with the major leagues.

Hickory Grove – The station at Hickory Grove, one of the most famous points along the Erie Railroad, has been closed in keeping with the retrenchment and economical policy of the company. This station, two miles west of Susquehanna, knew intimately Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon faith when he resided in this vicinity. Hickory Grove section is the visiting place for many Mormons who came here each year to visit the old haunts of the founder of their church. Hereafter, when they come, they will have to pay cash fare to the conductors or buy tickets at Susquehanna or Great Bend, for no longer is there a station agent at Hickory Grove. The books and accounts of the station have been transferred to Great Bend. It was at Hickory Grove that Joseph Smith had his famous dream of a great city. He located this great city within the range of his vision as he stood at the [site of] Hickory Grove station. Salt Lake City, the home city of the Mormons, is the realization of Joe's great dream, while Hickory Grove becomes a "flag station."

Rushville – Residents of the western section of the county are very hopeful that the road between Rushville and Little Meadows, via Middletown, may come in for early attention on the road improvement program of the county. The grade over this route, embracing around 16 miles, is exceptionally good, and could it be put in condition to withstand traffic requirements, should become very popular with autoists, as well as affording immense benefit to tax-payers in this section of the county.

Great Bend – Rev. Father O'Leary, of Great Bend, a chaplain in the American army during the World War, has been presented with a purse of $2000 by the congregation of St. Mary's Catholic Church, Wilkes-Barre. Father O'Leary was a curate at St. Mary's church before going into the army. He was one of the heroes of the war and was seriously wounded, besides being gassed, while attending and rescuing fallen soldiers on the bloody fields of France. He has been under medical and surgical care since leaving the army.

Hallstead – The band pagoda on the riverbank was destroyed by fire last Tuesday afternoon. Sparks from burning rubbish was the cause of the fire. ALSO Joseph DuBois, son of Atty. Addison G. DuBois, has been appointed 2nd lieutenant of Co. E, US Infantry, stationed at Coblenz, Germany. He has also been made clerk for the US counsel and acting counsel for the defense on the company court martial.

New Milford – New employees are being hired daily in the silk mill here. Anyone desiring employment in this new mill should apply to the superintendent, Mr. Clement Pressman.

South Auburn – On April 1st, being Miss Mamie McMickens' 17th birthday, about 25 of her young friends gathered at her home to help celebrate the event. It was managed so cleverly that it was a complete surprise to the young lady. The evening was delightfully spent in games, music, etc., and dainty refreshments were served.

Thompson – The Ararat and Thomson orchestra met Monday evening, at the home of B. F. Barnes.

Uniondale – Samuel Stark, of Church Street, has a relic of the days when Pennsylvania was a wilderness. It is a compass that was used by William Penn in surveying Pennsylvania and is far from resembling the compass of today, the needle turns but two ways. It is in remarkably good condition and has been in the Stark family for several generations, coming into the family from a party in Philadelphia, and is accompanied by a verified statement as to the accuracy of its ownership.

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Letter of the Law

By Jason J. Legg

Carley was a 16-year-old girl who had a difficult childhood. Her father abused both drugs and alcohol. At some point, Carley's parents separated and she was living with her father. After her father enter into a drug treatment program, Children and Youth Services got involved and obtained a court order that placed Carley at Bethany's Children Home, which was a residential non-secure facility for dependent children.

While at the facility on May 6, 2015, Carley was provided her medication around 8:00pm and, about fifteen minutes later, returned to request an aspirin before returning to her room. The staff maintained their presence on the first floor but Carley's dorm room was located on the second floor. The staff were still able to hear and respond to commotions occurring on the second floor but heard nothing to prompt a response that evening. At some point after receiving her aspirin, Carley snuck down a flight of stairs and used an emergency exit in the basement to get out of the facility. Carley then proceeded to a local railroad track where she was tragically killed when she was struck by a passing locomotive. Carley's death was ruled an apparent suicide.

Carley's father was appointed as the representative of her estate and he filed a civil action against Bethany Children's Home for Carley's death based upon the theory that the facility had failed to properly supervise her. The matter proceeded to a trial where a jury determined that Bethany Children's Home had been negligent in its supervision of Carley and awarded her estate the sum of $2.9 million. After post-trial motions were filed, the trial court concluded that Carley's Estate had failed to demonstrate that Bethany Children's Home had violated any duty of care that it owed to Carley. As a result, the verdict was vacated and judgment was entered in favor of Bethany Children's Home. Carley's Estate filed an appeal.

On the appeal, Carley's Estate argued that the regulatory provisions applicable to licensed placement facilities for children required supervision of the children. In particular, one regulation specifically requires that the staff of a facility to conduct an "observational check" on every child "at least every hour." Carley's Estate contended that this regulation was violated, i.e., the staff was not checking up on her on an hourly basis. In order to prove the regulatory violation, a state inspector testified that the Department of Human Services had cited Bethany Children's Home for violating this supervision regulation.

During cross-examination, however, the state inspector conceded that the employees of Bethany Children's Home had seen Carley at 8:15pm to provide her an aspirin and that she actually died less than one hour later. Further, the evidence also demonstrated that the facility employees on the first floor were able to hear any commotions that occurred on the second floor, i.e., auditory supervision. When confronted with this unrefuted information, the state regulator conceded that the supervision regulation had not been violated – despite the state agency's findings that a violation had occurred.

When reviewing this evidence, the Superior Court concluded that Carley's Estate had failed to prove that the supervision regulation was violated; rather, the record demonstrated that Carley was seen by staff within an hour of her death, which satisfied the regulatory supervision requirement.

Carley's Estate attempted to argue that even if the regulation had not been violated, Bethany Children's Home still violated a duty of care by not properly supervising Carley, especially where Carley's past history and problems were well-known to the facility. The Superior Court concluded that Carley's Estate had failed to present any evidence to support this theory, i.e., the entire case had been premised upon a violation of the regulatory provision – not the violation of some other broader duty of supervision. Carley's Estate provided no testimony concerning industry standard in these kinds of facilities as to the precautions taken to supervise potentially at-risk children. In the absence of such testimony, the Superior Court could not find any special duty that applied aside from the regulatory mandates – which the evidence demonstrated had been followed.

In this case, the potential difference between a $2.9 million verdict award and no money whatsoever was simply how the attorneys decided to present the case. By putting all the proverbial eggs in the regulatory violation basket, Carley's Estate was left with no case after the evidence revealed regulatory compliance by Bethany Children's Home.

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How To Take Pills©

By Dr. Ron Gasbarro

What if you knew you had one year to live?

Andy was hanging around the pharmacy for no particular reason. "This past year has been brutal," he said to the pharmacist through his face mask. "The pandemic changed our lives forever. And a lot of it is depressing. No church services, no funerals, no restaurants, no traveling, isolation, quarantining, no handshaking, no hugging, no kissing." Mixed messages from the previous occupant of the White House, insisting that the virus will disappear one day "like a miracle," were in direct contradiction with health authorities who stated that the virus would not be tamed until a vaccine was developed.

On March 12, President Joe Biden, during his first prime time address to Americans, confronted the sadness and loss on the first anniversary of the COVID-19 shutdowns. He noted that the total death toll in the US is greater "than World War One, World War Two, and the Vietnam War combined." Only these casualties were not healthy soldiers being sent into combat. They were the innocent bystanders who got in the way of a virus that was oblivious to political party affiliations or state boundaries.

"Boy, if I only had last year to live over again," Andy lamented. "But you can't relive the past," replied the pharmacist. "Make the best out of this new year. Vaccines are now in supply, people are used to wearing masks, and many places are opening while respecting social distancing. Tell me, Andy, why not live this year like it's your last year on Earth. How would you spend it?"

"No disrespect, doc," said Andy. "But one of the first things I would do would be to get rid of all my blasted medications." The pharmacist explained to Andy that given his high blood pressure and propensity to eat everything in sight, such a decision may cut his final year down to a few months. Indeed, a survey conducted by the DrFirst health technology group revealed that 84% of Americans cut back on filling or refilling prescriptions, such as drugs for sleep, anxiety, depression, as well as antibiotics, contraceptives, and opioid-containing pain medications. Many people are avoiding both emergency rooms and doctors' offices for fear of catching the virus. Some are resorting to self-medicating themselves with folk remedies or OTC products, which may or may not work.

"And I wouldn't bother getting the second dose of my COVID vaccine," Andy declared. "Another bad move," the pharmacist shot back. "The pandemic is not over yet. There might be a fourth spike in cases." Indeed, a survey found that many Americans did not receive the second dose of their COVID vaccine – 60% said it was due to forgetfulness. By not completing the vaccine regimen, all people are less protected, and the pandemic will take longer to curtail. That means more face masks and fewer kisses. "Why not do something more positive?" asked the pharmacist. "My daughter is getting married this summer," said Andy. "I would love to have a big reception. And I would like to go to church again. Oh, to be able to shake hands once more and see people smile without a mask covering their mouths!"

The pharmacist felt that every day should be lived as though it was your last day. He fondly remembers that last juicy cheeseburger and Mexican beer at his favorite bistro. That was over a year ago. If we knew in 2019 what we now know in 2021, we might have enjoyed our lives to their fullest. Many psychologists promote positive thinking to get more out of life. However, a 2015 study published in The Behavioral and Brain Sciences journal showed that resilience – that is, the capacity or toughness to recover quickly from life's difficulties – is more about being flexible than being positive. Life will continue to throw us curve balls. Yet, we will endure. The pandemic will end, but, oh, the lessons we have learned so far.

Ron Gasbarro, PharmD, is a recovering pharmacist and writer-in-residence at Rx-Press.

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Marketing Hometown America

By Valerie Senese

On April 21st, Penn State Extension, Susquehanna Borough, and a group of volunteers known as facilitators, will be presenting marketing plans to the community. These plans will be voted on by community members who show up to the aforementioned virtual zoom meeting that is being held on the 21st.

In 2020, the Borough of Susquehanna was awarded a grant to pay for the curriculum and facilitation training for Marketing Hometown America, also known as MHA. This initiative, which was originally created in Nebraska, has been replicated and performed throughout the mid-west with success. MHA is a curriculum based program that invests in training facilitators from a specific community to work with other community members to implement the program. This program exhibited great success in the Midwest and rightfully so, garnered the attention of Penn State Extension.

Thankfully, Penn State Extension chose Susquehanna Depot Borough as the very first community in Pennsylvania to pilot the new project. Before the COVID pandemic, Susquehanna had a steady 20 year track record of blighted housing, vacant homes and a decreasing population. The good news is that the Borough Council, SCDA and other entities have worked hard to not only combat these issues, but also prime the community for potential opportunities such as MHA. Currently, Susquehanna is benefiting from the COVID exodus, and is in a unique situation of not having a multitude of housing available. While the homes are being purchased, we also want to market our natural resources, events and businesses to visitors. This is where facilitators: Kathy Matis, Cynthia McNamee, Christina Rex, Erika Mills and Melissa Dubas come in. These volunteers formed two study circles that incorporate other volunteers from the community to work through the MHA program.  Each group was tasked with working through the program and developing a marketing plan to present to the greater community. The "Susquevegas" group was led by Erika Mills and Melissa Dubas and the "Zoomerboomers" were led by Kathy Matis, Cynthia McNamee and Christina Rex. Both Susquevegas and Zoomerboomers spent 4-5 weeks meeting weekly for 2 hours each to develop their proposed marketing plan for the community. Moreover, each group worked diligently not only within the meetings, but also performing tasks throughout the week to prepare what they each thought was the best marketing plan. Their next meeting is to present their plans to the community and for the community to vote on them. The plan with the highest vote will be adopted and an execution plan will be created.

Therefore, we are inviting anyone who has a stake in the community to register for the zoom meeting on April 21st by going to: The meeting will be held from 6-8 pm.

If you would like more information on the MHA program, the study circles, or the community vote please feel free to ask questions by reaching out to the community development coordinator at 607-483-1571, or on Facebook at Susquehanna PA Happenings.

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