HomeColumnists ( March 20, 2019 )

100 Years Ago

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

Clifford Twp. – Now would be a good time for some of our State Highway officials to inspect the State road from Carbondale to this place. We are tired of the mud. ALSO L. E. Taylor has sold his undertaking business to C. C. Shifler of Carbondale. ALSO John Spedding has returned from a meeting of International Harvester Agents in Elmira, NY. John will hold down the job of agent for this place.

Forest City – John Skubic is anxious to learn whether his brother, Martin, is alive or not and has taken the matter up with the war department. No word has been received from him since his arrival overseas. Brothers, Charles and Lewis, have written several letters to Martin's last known address but received no reply. ALSO G. H. Truesdall, of Susquehanna; J. Westcott, of Great Bend, and Joseph Clarey, of Forest City, have formed a company and purchased the Pitt and Fall Coal Mining company property at this place. The deal just closed embraces 129 acres of coal lands in the Forest city district. The purchasing company will mine and market the coal.

Thompson – The Masonic lodge, which has been at Jackson fifty years or more, has been transferred to Thompson, where the next meeting will be held in the Odd Fellows' rooms in the Tallman block. ALSO Oscar Davis, of Columbus, Ohio, surprised his sister, Mrs. Gilbert Witter last week by calling upon her after an absence of more than 30 years. She recognized him after all those years.

Herrick Center – Uncle Dan Gettle is of the old school and as a blacksmith at the Corners many years ago drove a thriving business in shoeing oxen and was considered an expert. The pen in which the ox was held, while being shod, is still in the old shop. Years ago there were about as many oxen to be shod as there are horses now and Uncle Dan's hammer was busy from early morn until late at night. He says things have changed since then, but those were happy days.

Uniondale – Mathew McPherson Post, G.A.R. intends to give the boys of the late war a grand reception when they come home. The veterans appreciate their efforts and know their feelings of modesty, but the boys of 1861 will make the reception a memorable one.

Hopbottom – Two friends, Mrs. Hollis Tiffany (nee Helen Jeffers) and Mrs. Roy Case [nee Lillian Rose] died the same day. Seldom if ever has the community suffered such a shock of grief, as in the sudden death of these two charming young women, whose lives had been so closely interwoven. Close friends from childhood, they had graduated in the same class in school, were born in the same year, each being nearly 26 years old; had married within the same year, and each contracted the dread disease of pneumonia, which resulted in their death.

Jackson – Mr. and Mrs. John Waters received official notice that the Commanding General, American Expeditionary Forces, has directed the War Department to award the Distinguished Service Cross, posthumously, to their son, Floyd Waters, late Corporal, Headquarters Company, 9th Infantry, for extraordinary heroism in action in Europe.

Montrose – At a special meeting of the borough council, M. W. Lannon, night watchman, was also made chief of police. It was arranged that he be called during the day at the Catlin boarding house and at night he may be called at the Tarbell House, when not on duty patrolling, both phones being convenient. Burgess Preston spoke regarding the necessity of a fire alarm system. It will be discussed at the next meeting. ALSO Manley Fowler, who has been serving in the heavy artillery in France, has returned home. Mr. Fowler was in a number of big artillery engagements. ALSO Landlord D. J. Donovan has a force of men excavating a basement under the Tarbell House barn [now C & F Motors], where he will locate his stables when completed. The present stables will be converted into a garage.

Brooklyn – Stanley Crissell, a Brooklyn young man, who was reported killed in France and later found to be in a German prison camp, has reached home. He made his escape from the prison camp and after a hard time for a number of days reached the Allied lines. He has thrilling tales to tell of his capture and escape. Thursday evening of last week the young people of the town tendered him a reception. ALSO Walter C. Forse, a Binghamton young man, who passed through this county in April, 1917, walking to Washington, where he induced government officials to accept him in the marine service, although minus a finger, is now in charge of the Syracuse Marine Corps station. He served during the war as gunnery sergeant in the instruction school at Paris Island, S. C. He is a son of Allie Forse, formerly of Brooklyn and a nephew of Register & Recorder E. C. Rogers.

Hallstead – An auto repair parts manufacturing company is to occupy the building formerly used by Demer Bros. as a cut glass factory. The new manufactory will employ 20 men on the start and hope soon to increase this number.

Susquehanna – A new chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star has been organized at this place, which is known as Sunshine Chapter, No. 258. ALSO Engineer James Sheridan and a staff of assistants, under direction of the town council, are hard at work surveying for the new pavements to be laid on the streets. West Main Street, Willow avenue, Grand street, Broad avenue and Washington street are to be surveyed at once.

Great Bend – About twenty-five from East Great Bend attended the opening of the Happy Hour theatre Saturday evening.

Lackawanna Trail – The State engineers say that the use of the Factoryville tunnel on the line of the Lackawanna Trail is impracticable, as the clearance is not up to the standard required and also the tunnel would have to be artificially lighted night and day to prevent accidents. Hence the trail will be diverted from the old Lackawanna roadbed just before it reaches the tunnel, going around the hill instead of through it. Another difficulty is the fact that the railroad company has never abandoned the old road between Nicholson and Foster [Hopbottom], but uses it for local freight service, so that after leaving the line near the tunnel the trail will probably not get back to it until Foster is reached. This would suit Nicholson people, who are protesting against the abandonment of the old railroad tracks there and the transfer of the freight station to the new line, which would compel them to haul all freight for shipment up a very steep hill.

We regret that there is no news to report 200 years ago.

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Letter of the Law

By Jason J. Legg

On November 9, 2013, Adam Logan was detained at the California Borough Police Department in Washington County, Pennsylvania.  Logan had been placed in a holding cell to await arrangement on new criminal charges.  Borough Police Officer Justin Shultz entered the holding cell area, grabbed Logan by the throat and slammed Logan into the metal bench inside the holding cell.  The Police Department had a security camera in the holding cell area that recorded the entirety of the physical altercation.

Several other officers observed the incident and reported it to their Police Chief.  After reviewing the video, the Chief downloaded it, turned it over to the District Attorney's Office, and fired Officer Shultz.  After the tape had been reviewed by the District Attorney, Shultz was charged with simple assault and official oppression.  On May 5, 2015, Schultz pled guilty to one count of simple assault.

In response to this incident, a private citizen, Andrew Rothey, made a written request to California Borough seeking a copy of the videotape of the incident under the Right-to-Know Law.  The Borough refused to provide a copy of the tape contending that it involved a criminal and noncriminal investigation which was exempt from the Right-to-Know Law.  Alternately, the Borough also refused the request because the release of the video would jeopardize public safety and/or personal security.

Rothey appealed the denial of his request to the Office of Open Records (OOR), which directed that the video be produced and provided to Rothey.  The Borough then appealed the ORR determination to the Washington County Court of Common Pleas, which affirmed the OOR decision and directed the Borough to produce the video.  The Borough then appealed the Washington County Court of Common Pleas decision to the Commonwealth Court.

The trial court had agreed with ORR's determination that the video was not created for purposes of a criminal investigation, i.e., it was produced by a surveillance camera used for security and public safety purposes not for investigative purpose.  The vast majority of its use never involved any criminal conduct – and the mere fact that it captured a criminal act did not transform the video into a criminal investigation.  As such, the trial court and ORR had determined that it was not exempt from disclosure under the Right-to-Know Law.

The Commonwealth Court disagreed.  The video captured the entirety of a criminal act.  The video was the evidence that was used to charge and prosecute Schultz.  As such, the Commonwealth Court determined that the "video therefore relates to the subsequent criminal investigation and noncriminal investigations against Schultz, even though it was not created as part of an investigation."  Because the video had become part of a criminal investigation (the prosecution of Schultz) and part of a noncriminal investigation (the termination of Schultz's employment), the Commonwealth Court determined that it was exempt from disclosure under the Right-to-Know Law.

As to the Borough argument that disclosure of the video would have jeopardized public safety, the Commonwealth Court rejected this claim.  The Borough claimed that the video would have provided knowledge of the specific nature of the holding cell area.  In particular, the video would provide the public with knowledge as to the areas of the holding cell that contained blind spots, i.e., outside the range of the security camera.  While the Commonwealth Court admitted that the video would have identified blind spots in the holding cell that were not captured by the security camera, the Commonwealth Court determined that the Borough was merely speculating as to any public safety arising from such public knowledge.  In particular, prisoners were cuffed and shackled to a bench in the holding cell and it was "unclear how a prisoner secured in the holding cell could access the blind spots in the cell and commit an act that could endanger safety or security."

While the public safety argument was rejected, the Commonwealth Court's determination that the video was part of a criminal investigation meant that it was exempt from disclosure.  In the end, the Borough was not required to provide a copy of the video to Rothey.

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Library Chitchat

By Nancy Narma

"March is a month of considerable frustration- it is so near spring and yet, across a great deal of the country the weather is still so violent and changeable that outdoor activity in our yards seems light years away." - Thalassa Cruso

As we anxiously wait for the first day of Spring, there is exciting news from the Susquehanna Library location. Do you watch the popular trivia/quiz program "Jeopardy"? How would you like to participate in Susquehanna's version? This program will begin on Thursday, March 21st, starting at 2:00pm. Alex Trebek will not moderate, but someone will with a full set-up on a screen to project the questions and buzzers to ring in. You will play on a team, but you don't have to form one to participate; just come and test your knowledge. There will be light refreshments, a lot of laughs, excitement and who knows what else? I know I have to practice giving my answers in the form of a question, unlike when I just holler out at the television.

Did you know that, while famous Author Harper Lee became known for her novel, "To Kill A Mockingbird", she also loved to draw, and was (no surprise) quite good. Presently, 15 of her works, mostly ink drawings, will be going to auction by Bonhams.

Recent surveys surprisingly show that cookbook sales have risen to 21%, even though the internet and social media sites offer tons of free recipes. Perhaps the recent popularity of food shows and the enticement of ingredients shipped to your home have coaxed people to explore their culinary talents. There's definitely a rise in baking! It may not be what mama used to make, but with healthier alternatives available, the tastes may be similar and caloric intake will be cut in half or more. Your local library location has a wonderful assortment of cookbooks to suit everyone's tastes and aptitude. Check them out, you may be surprised at the world of deliciousness just waiting for your talents.

The Harry Potter franchise is working to be more accessible. Rowling's much-loved stories such as "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" and "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" are currently available in the United Kingdom, featuring dyslexia-friendly fonts and printed on paper that offers maximum contrast with a reduced glare feature. The novels have been approved by the Royal National Institute of Blind People and, currently, there are plans for similar treatment for all of the books in the Harry Potter series. Here's hoping that these tomes will be available in the United States soon as well.

As I once again pour over the seed catalogs, planning which vegetable varieties to plant, I leave you with this thought:

"The last fling of winter is over... the earth, the soil itself, has a dreaming quality about it. It is warm now to the touch; it has come alive; it hides secrets that in a moment, in a little while, it will tell."

- Donald Culross Peattie

The First Robins—Awaiting Crocus Blossoms—Rebirth


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How To Take Pills©

By Dr. Ron Gasbarro

"I'll be careful!"

Harry, 53, came into the pharmacy with a prescription for an antihistamine. Knowing that Harry likes to stop at the corner tavern for a beer or two, the pharmacist warned him about taking his medication with alcohol. "Oh, I'll be okay. I've been having a couple of beers every afternoon for 30 years." "Yes, but, the combined effects of the drug and the alcohol could make you drowsy and interfere with your driving," replied the pharmacist. "I'll be careful," Harry reassured the pharmacist. Two days later, Harry's SUV ran off the road and narrowly missed a phone pole. Luckily, he was not hurt badly.

According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), driving while drowsy is widespread and dangerous. Each year, Americans are involved in approximately 72,000 collisions; 44,000 of these accidents result in an injury. Furthermore, over 8,000 people die in drowsy-related wrecks annually. The CDC report cites the use of medications as one of the top 5 reasons for drowsy or fatigued driving that result in these accidents.

Drowsiness, or feeling abnormally sleepy, is a common side effect of many medications, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Drowsiness can affect one's ability to drive, operate machinery, or accomplish other tasks that require alertness. It affects some people more than others. The following types of medications can cause drowsiness: Narcotics, used to relieve pain (e.g., codeine, morphine); antianxiety medications (e.g., diazepam [Valium®], lorazepam [Ativan®], alprazolam [Xanax®]); antidepressants (e.g., duloxetine [Cymbalta®], fluoxetine [Prozac®], venlafaxine [Effexor®]; antihistamines, often found in cold and allergy products (e.g., diphenhydramine [Benadryl®], hydrocodone-chlorpheniramine [TussiCaps ®, Tussionex®]. The newer antihistamines (e.g., desloratadine [Clarinex®], fexofenadine [Allegra®] are much less likely to cause drowsiness.

Frank, 38, works in a machine shop. He recently started taking a narcotic for his chronic back pain. The doctor put him on a high dose since nothing else seemed to ease his discomfort. The pharmacist warned him about the drug. "I'll be careful," Frank said. Yet, the medication made him sleepy enough to have a serious accident at work. Now they call him "Three-finger Frankie."

Common over-the-counter medicines can cause drowsiness including antihistamines – used to treat symptoms like runny nose and sneezing – as well as anti-diarrheals (Imodium®) and anti-emetics – medicines that treat nausea, vomiting, and dizziness related to motion sickness (Dramamine®, Bonine®),  according to the FDA. Cough medicines can cause drowsiness as well, especially those that contain dextromethorphan (Robitussin® DM, Mucinex® DM, or any with DM after the name). Even medications one would never expect to cause fatigue and/or sleepiness can result in side effects. For example, antibiotics such as amoxicillin (Augmentin®), ciprofloxacin (Cipro®), and azithromycin (Zithromax®) do cause tiredness. Because one takes an antibiotic from 5 to 14 days or more, drowsiness can be cumulative and the prescriber should be called immediately to change the medication, if possible.

Amy, 25, started taking an antibiotic for a urinary tract infection (UTI). The pharmacist advised her to watch for sleepiness. "I'll be careful," she said. Three days later at dinner and after two glasses of white wine, her husband found her face down in her Baked Pears Alicia. Don't be like Harry, Frank, and Amy. If you are not sure a medication causes drowsiness, always ask the pharmacist.

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

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