HomeColumnists ( September 30, 2020 )

100 Years Ago

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

Forest City – The Forest city High school claims the high school basketball championship of the County. If Montrose and Auburn dispute this claim, kindly write to Harry Watkins, Manager, and arrange for a series of games. ALSO The springing of a trap laid by detective M. A. Rafter of Scranton, in an effort to catch Forest City officials in the act of holding up and compelling the payment of tribute from alleged bootleggers, on Friday last, has been featured in the vicinity press throwing Forest City into an undesirable limelight. It was a melodrama in real life in which a truck, a whiskey barrel, and a lavish display of revolvers were the properties, and three Scranton men posing as bootleggers, Chief of Police Paul Blacksmith, Special Officer Joseph Cost and a posse of private detectives headed by Sleuth Rafter were actors. Credit for the planning and working out of the plot is given to Mr. Rafter but there are various opinions as to the identity of the men behind the scenes who inspired it. A few credit it to officers of the Federal Enforcement Bureau. Others suspect that an organized bunch of men interested in the illicit transportation of liquor, who want a free and untrammeled pathway through Forest City for their bootlegging operations, were the instigators. Rumor has it that plenty of the stuff passes through this place en-route from the Lackawanna valley to the New York state line and that the operators of the underground railroad have been disturbed by the efforts of local offices to block their free and easy passage. Rafter intimates that he was engaged by Forest City Men. [To be continued.]

Susquehanna –Two New York State men, en-route from Scranton to Ithaca, with an automobile carrying 45 gallons of whiskey, were arrested Friday here by Chief Braves, of police, during the absence of Officer Donovan, who is acting chief. A telephone message was received here to arrest the two men and hold the car containing the whiskey. The car arrived here about 6:30 in the evening and the men were greatly surprised when told that they were under arrest. The car, a new Chevrolet roadster, was arranged ingeniously so that the cargo would not be detected unless a close examination was made. The whiskey, in copper tanks, was placed away in compartments in the car.

Jessup Twp. – George L. Shelp, an aged and respected citizen, died at his home on Fair Hill, Sept. 4, 1920. He was the youngest of eight children born to Henry and Betsy (Main) Shelp and a grandson of Christian Shelp, who came from Mohawk Valley, NY in 1812 and took up a claim of 400 acres. Thus passes away the last direct descendant of that sturdy pioneer who settled in the untrammeled wilds of the county more than a century ago.

Montrose –In a well-fought game of football between Montrose and Nicholson, Montrose scored a decisive victory. It was one of those contests to try the metal of the players and the fight that the Montrose boys put up won for them the plaudits of the large number gathered to witness the game. That Montrose is developing some great football timber was demonstrated conclusively. Star plays were made by Paul McAloon, who carried the ball over for both touch downs. M. Johnson kicking one goal. Paul Pross made a sensational end run, one of the features of the game.

Thompson – Sunday, at 12 o'clock, a D & H coal train, north, derailed four cars just south of Bryant [Brandt?] station greatly damaging the track for a quarter of a mile; both tracks were blocked for hours; passenger trains were delayed. Trackmen were called from Ararat, Thompson, Starrucca, Bryant and Lanesboro. ALSO If anyone is contemplating making rag carpets, or rugs and is at a loss to know where to get the work done satisfactorily, we think they could not do better than apply to Mr. Condon in Starrucca. He does splendid work and we understand needs your support. We have seen samples of his weaving and it is very nice.

Uniondale – Our baseball team has lost some of its best players. Wademan and Lowry have gone to college and others to other points. In its enfeebled state it tackled the Greenfield team Saturday afternoon on the grounds of the last named team. Greenfield won by a score of 9-1.

Herrick Center – It is to be hoped that the parties who could find nothing better to do than to girdle the beautiful row of willows, skirting the street on the Reynolds farm may be apprehended and justice meted out to them. They were an ornament to our little village as well as a loss to the owner.

Harford – Bert Loomis, of Washington, DC, who was born and brought up in this township, a son of Dr. Loomis, one of the old landmarks of this place, was visiting the scenes of his childhood days last week. In fact, a love for the county of his birth had become so strong that he lately purchased the Welcome Wilmarth farm in Harford township, which he will retain and occasionally visit. Mr. Loomis enlisted in the regular army nearly 40 years ago, and after 30 years of service was retired in 1914. But when the United States joined the allies in the World War, he was called back for service and was recruiting sergeant at Fayetteville, NC for more than a year. Mr. Loomis is a very pleasant gentleman to meet and we hope that he will, sometime, return to his native county to reside.

Nicholson – Ned C. Tiffany was awakened by the ringing of the cash register in the lobby of Hotel Almont, shortly after midnight Friday. Turning on the light he stepped in the hall, where he was confronted by a burglar and was commanded to hold up his hands, in which tiffany replied "Not by a d--- sight." And stepped back in the room. At this the thief made a hasty retreat from the house. On the same night the Lackawanna station was broken into and the safe carried across the tracks. The thieves secured about forty cents for their night's work.

Gelatt – A few days ago, while B. J. Avery and family were away, someone entered their home and took their vinegar out of the barrel in the woodshed garret; also removed the stove pipe from the chimney. Last Saturday night, about eight o'clock, someone came and shook their pear tree and gathered the pears; also took all their squash.

News Brief: Brooklyn won the National flag. New York was defeated by Boston and dropped out of the race. The Robins can lose all the games scheduled without losing grip on the flag. The World's series will start on October 5 in the American city winning the pennant. If the American league race results in a tie between Chicago and Cleveland, a three game series will be necessary.

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Letter of the Law

By Jason J. Legg

On September 18, 2020, Officer Kevin Hagan was responding to a 911 call in Montgomery County. After arriving at the scene, Officer Hagan encountered Roberto Juarez – who was not a suspect in the disturbance but was observing from a distance. Juarez decided it would be fun to loudly heckle and harass Officer Hagan. Officer Hagan believed that Juarez was intoxicated because he was swaying and unsteady on his feet, his eyes were bloodshot and there was a strong odor of alcohol coming from his person. Officer Hagan instructed Juarez to leave the area or he would be arrested for disorderly conduct.

Juarez ignored Officer Hagan – and when Officer Hagan indicated that he was under arrest, Juarez took up a fighting stance with his hands up. During the physical tussle that ensued, Juarez bit Officer Hagan's finger. Juarez was charged with aggravated assault upon a police officer, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

The matter proceeded to a judge trial – and at the trial itself, the judge decided to unilaterally amend the aggravated assault count to simple assault and then convicted Juarez of simple assault (along with the other counts of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct). The aggravated assault count was a felony of the second degree punishable by up to 10 years of incarceration. After the judge's amendment, the simple assault count was a misdemeanor of the second degree punishable by up to only 2 years. In other words, the potential punishment for the amended simple assault count was 80% less than the potential punishment for the original aggravated assault count.

As you might expect, the defense attorney did not object to the judge's charitable act – and the prosecutor, while likely not thrilled with this benevolent judicial act, also accepted the judge's reduction without objection. The parties then all agreed to the sentence of a minimum of time-served to 23 months followed by 2 years of probation. The trial judge then immediately paroled the defendant.

Rather than count his lucky stars and skip out of jail a happy man, Juarez decided that he was going to kick the proverbial gift horse in the mouth – he appealed his simple assault conviction. In the appellate equivalent of a toddler's temper tantrum, Juarez whined that his due process rights were violated because he was convicted of an offense for which he was never charged. Apparently, no one really explained to Juarez that he was playing with fire (or perhaps the defense attorney was simply tired of listening to the whining as well). If the trial court was wrong, the Superior Court would have simply remanded the case and instructed the trial court to reach a verdict on the improperly amended aggravated assault count. Given that the only different element between the aggravated assault count and the amended simple assault count was that the victim was a police officer – and there was no dispute that Juarez bit a police officer – any remand from the Superior Court would not have ended well for Juarez, i.e., a felony conviction and more time in the big house.

The Superior Court, however, saved Juarez from his folly. At trial, defense counsel never objected to the trial court's unilateral amendment – which anyone can understand (with the sole exception being Juarez himself) given the benefit conferred upon Juarez was significant. If defense counsel had objected, Juarez would have been convicted of a serious felony rather than a misdemeanor and receiving a much longer period of incarceration. Because no objection was made, the Superior Court concluded that Juarez's appellate argument was waived. In other words, Juarez's misdemeanor conviction was sustained – and his ill-advised attempt to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory was procedurally thwarted.

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Library Chitchat

By Nancy Narma

The autumn leaves are showing their colors and it is time for all voracious readers to make a trip to their local library locations and begin to create a long list of books to be enjoyed in the upcoming winter months. I know we don't want to hear about the "white stuff", but you know it is inevitable. What's cozier than snuggling up in your favorite quilt or afghan – add a hot mug of your favorite beverage and a terrific book and you can transport yourself to sunny and warm destinations.

It is with sadness that we announce that the author of "Forrest Gump" has passed away at the age of 77. Winston Groom, as well as being remembered for creating the memorable character of Forrest Gump, was a talented journalist and a noted author of American history. Remember folks, "Life is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you're gonna get".

Did you know that it is "Tolkien Week"? Late September is the in-world birthday of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. So many love them, whether they're pilfering ancient artifacts, accepting quests or just sticking with their friends through thick and thin. You know Hobbits are just a bunch of irrepressible lads and lassies who are always up for some nail-biting adventures. Perhaps, if you haven't read the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, now would be a good time to check it out.

When you write a memo or scribble down a shopping list, have you ever wondered about why we use black or blue ink? They have been such a routine part of my life since school days that I just take it for granted. When I checked into the history of ink, I was surprised at how people concocted and used ink (not to mention the writing instruments as well) to express themselves so many centuries ago.

The Chinese knew about ink in the 23rd century BC. They made plant, animal and mineral inks and used it for painting on silk and paper. The best ink they used was made from pine sap made from trees that were between 50 and 100 years old. The Greeks and Romans made ink from soot, glue and water (so called "Carbon inks"). This is just a smidgen of the history of ink – so when you pick up your "Bic" and jot a line or two, stop and think how far the technology has come for us to have such an ingenious tool.

If you are wondering if you want to vote by mail-in ballot or by a voting machine, which will be at every municipality's polling place, you have the opportunity to check one out at your local library location. Applications for mail-in & absentee ballots plus voter registration forms are available at the library as well.

Whichever method you prefer, the main thing is to go to your polling place, let your voice be heard, and VOTE!

As I ready our little garden for the fall and winter, I leave you with this thought:

"Both the optimist and the pessimist are right, but as different as light is from darkness."

Zinnias – Acorns – Migrating Birds


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How To Take Pills©

By Dr. Ron Gasbarro

Watch your tongue! You may learn something.

Andy came into the pharmacy, walked up to the pharmacist, and stuck out his tongue. "Hey, doc," he garbled. "Does my tongue look funny?" The pharmacist thought that everyone's tongue looked peculiar. Different shapes, sizes, and a fantastic array of colors. Andy's tongue had a white coating on it. So what?

The tongue is consists of a muscle group that is hugely diverse in function, from very satisfying to extremely caustic. The tongue allows us to taste food. What would a chocolate ice cream cone be without the pleasure of licking it? It enables us to get food ready to pass down our throat into our stomach. The tongue allows us to speak and communicate our thoughts to others. The tongue also gets us into trouble. It is a portal for the wonders of food, if taken to an extreme, would make us enemies with our bathroom scale. Sticking one's tongue out at someone is a childish, rude gesture. Except in Tibet, where its citizens consider it a courteous form of greeting.

But color? What does the shade of one's tongue have to do with the rest of one's body? Andy's tongue has a pale white film on it. What does this say? A white tongue is the product of an overgrowth and swelling of the finger-like projections (papillae) on the tongue's surface. Debris, bacteria, and dead cells crowd around the inflamed and swollen papillae to create this coating. While this film is common, it indicates some bad habits, such as smoking, a soft "mashed potato" diet, dehydration, and poor oral hygiene. The result can also be atomic halitosis and rotted teeth. Mouthwash will not break through this coating. Instead, brush or scrape the tongue during tooth brushing to clean the surface and stimulate the papillae back to health. White patches that cannot be scraped off are more concerning. They can be caused by the prolonged use of antibiotics, which may bring on an oral yeast infection. An antifungal drug, such as nystatin, is the usual treatment. Such patches are also generated by tobacco use and could be the first sign of oral cancer. Ask your doctor or dentist for advice if they occur.

If your tongue flips from pink to bright red – and you have not been sucking on a cherry Popsicle® - then you may have vitamin B12 deficiency. B12 is necessary for red blood cells to shuttle nourishing oxygen around your body. Its deficit often culminates in neurological problems, such as dementia. Boost your B12 intake by eating red meats (in moderation), salmon, tuna, and dairy products.

Traditional Chinese medicine relies on the tongue for the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. In essence, diabetics have a high prevalence of having a tongue with thick fur, usually yellow, and possibly a bluish tint. These signs can serve as a preliminary non-invasive screening procedure in the early detection of diabetes. If the signs point to the disease, specific blood work will follow.

A purple tongue can signal poor circulation and high blood cholesterol, manifesting as depression and a loss of energy. Increased exercise and subscribing to a diet that focuses on fruits and vegetables can resolve this problem. If the tongue is beige and pale, then iron deficiency could be the culprit. Other symptoms that go along with a pallid tongue include tiredness, dizziness, and abnormal heart rhythms.

The pharmacist suggested that Andy change his toothbrush every month and explained how to scrape the crud off his tongue. The pharmacist also advised Andy to get simple blood work done to assess for any abnormalities. Andy was glad for his pointers, and *fwap!* snapped his tongue back into his mouth.

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

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