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Issue Home December 3, 2002 Site Home

Along The Way... With P. Jay
Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago
Straight From Starrucca
Barnes-Kasson Corner

Food For Thought

Along The Way... With P. Jay

The Dean of County Politics

Anyone who has even the slightest knowledge of Susquehanna County politics know that it is the Republicans who are responsible for keeping Calvin Dean in the courthouse. Without the generous block of GOP votes Mr. Dean manages to muster up in the Montrose/Bridgewater Twp. areas, his political career probably would have ended in defeat the first time he ran.

This political strategy is nothing new in the county. The last Democrat who endeared himself to the Republican Party was the late Hank Prince who served as a minority county commissioner for 16 years.

During his entire tenure in office, Mr. Prince never voted against a Republican motion. At least not one worthy of mention. Whatever the GOP wanted, Mr. Prince acquiesced. They tossed him an occasional bone to keep the donkey off their backs and all was calm inside the hallowed halls of the county courthouse.

Today, more than 15 years after Mr. Prince’s departure from the commissioner’s office, some Republicans are embracing Democrat Dean. Like Mr. Prince, Mr. Dean does not make waves. Waves? Hell, he hasn’t made a ripple in the seven years he has been in office. He just collects a nice paycheck and enjoys looking at the world through rose-colored glasses. And if he loses in the 2003 election, so what! He is already assured of a pension and lifetime health insurance.

Unlike Mr. Prince, Republicans who are up a few notches up on the political ladder do not revere Mr. Dean. It is the rank-and-file Republicans who rally around him, many of whom are lifetime friends. That makes taking his seat a harder nut for challengers to crack but there are some Democrats who believe it can be done.

Democrats who now control the party like Mr. Dean because he is a salable product. Most incumbent officeholders are. It’s easier and cheaper to reelect a politician than to find someone who can beat him. Moreover, if, as many political buffs suspect, the Republican Party in the county is divided, then you have got to believe that the Democrat Party is also suffering from multiple fractures. The difference is that everyone knows that the Republican Party has the innate ability to heal its wounds before a general election while the Democrats just keep on feuding.

Democrats who dislike Mr. Dean have a list of reasons as long as your arm. The most outstanding complaint I hear about him is that he just isn’t a team player. He was approached to run as a team with another Democrat in 1995 and again in 1999 because many believed the Republican candidates in those years were vulnerable. Each time, he rejected the idea.

With seven Republicans already being mentioned as candidates for county commissioner next year, a lot of Democrats feel that 2003 could provide their party with yet another opportunity to elect two Democratic commissioners. However, they suspect that Mr. Dean will opt to run alone in order to remain in good standing with his Republican friends. Then, too, dissident Democrats say if Mr. Dean did commit to a running mate, the person selected would need a bodyguard to watch his back. For this reason, the search is on for two new Democratic candidates to run for commissioner in 2003.

In the meantime, political buffs are having a field day looking at the potential running mates for commissioner in the Republican Party next fall. Among the combinations drawing the most "what ifs?" and "can you imagine?" are possible slates of Jim Jennings and Gary Marcho; Jeff Loomis and Gary Marcho; Jim Jennings and Jeff Loomis; Jim Jennings and Lee Smith; Lee Smith and Jeff Loomis; and Gary Marcho and Lee Smith.

Don’t let these combinations cast any aspersions on the other GOP candidates. With a wide open primary election, anything can happen. What appears above is just a zany combination of running mates that could emerge out of next May’s GOP Primary Election.

Looking at the distaff side, Republican Mayor Roberta Kelly of Susquehanna reportedly has her hat in hand and is ready to toss it into the county political arena as a candidate for county commissioner. Mayor Kelly will be a viable candidate and a force that other GOP candidates will have to contend with in the GOP Primary.

And, finally, for years I have been preaching about the failure of candidates for elective office to offer a platform so the voters will get an idea of what these candidates would like to accomplish if they are elected. Well, Tom Jurista, who is running for county commissioner has developed the first one I have ever seen by a county candidate. Not a bad effort either.

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Slices of Life

Finding The Silver Lining

It was a grumpy day. My hair was too long and the front kept falling down over my face, causing me to be constantly pushing it back up off my forehead. I finally took a great big bobby pin and anchored my salt and pepper tresses in a most unflattering style.

Mrs. Morris had picked this day to continually yowl at me; wanting more food, wanting summer to come so she wouldn’t get her dainty feet cold from the snow that fell last night.

I was also sputtering about a public meeting I’d attended the night before where hundreds of pages of reports had been passed out. Only one side of each sheet of the paper had been used, causing double paper expense to the county (us) and contributing to more timber loss. This came right on the heels of having just read an article about old growth forests and knowing how few there are remaining. With the paper product consumption there is today, we will probably not be able to look forward to today’s trees ever reaching old growth. This meeting, coupled with the number of catalogs I had just recycled, and the calls I had made to get my name off mailing lists, was making me very frustrated.

As Mrs. Morris kept up her bid for attention and food, I looked her straight in the eye and said in a controlled voice, "Mrs. Morris, you are just going to have to back off and give me a break today." Then I calmly went through the whole litany of reasons that I was mad, and that I wasn’t going to listen to her. And off I went to take a bath.

Later, after breakfast, I put on boots, jacket, stocking cap and gloves and headed outside to dig out my car and shovel the sidewalk. I met my young neighbor already working on the sidewalk. As I brushed snow off the car, I was pleasantly surprised at how warm it seemed. The sun was already out bright, making for a beautiful day.

Back inside and getting ready for Thanksgiving guests, my next job was to "find" my desk. It literally gets piled high and I spend way too much time hunting for bits of information. But the things I uncovered today were definitely mood-lifters. There were photos of people I love, greeting cards with heartfelt messages and hand-written sentiments. There were clippings I had cut from publications about things that interested me. There were notes I had jotted down about people who had volunteered to help with the Christmas Department Store. Leaving the desk, I threw away spent bouquets that had been gifts. All this reminders of just how lucky I am to have so many friends and interests.

Then came the mailman. Another beautiful Thanksgiving card with a long personal message from a young mother who has adopted me as her surrogate mother. Suddenly a brown manila envelope caught my eye. It was addressed to Mrs. Morris, c/o Shirley Rifle. Inside was a package of Pounce cat treats.

"Morris, you are famous," I said as I laughingly doled out a couple treats. "Who can stay in a bad mood while living in a fascinating and caring world like this?" I asked her. She didn’t answer the question. She was too busy eating her treats and demanding more!

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100 Years Ago – 1902-2002

SUSQUEHANNA: Susquehanna can in a short time boast of an up-to-date astronomical observatory, says a correspondent. Mr. Manning Pope, a local scientist of no mean repute, has erected on the roof of his home on Jackson street, a small tower, and he has ordered a large observing telescope, which he will install in the tower. The tower is built entirely of glass and when it is completely equipped will make an ideal place for astronomical observations.

SOUTH MONTROSE: The Ladies Mission Band will meet at the home of Mrs. Frank Millard for dinner, Wednesday, Dec. 10th. AND: J.M. Crisman has a 'phone put in his house.

LAKESIDE: Our school was closed part of last week on account of Prof. Bryant being ill with mumps.

SILVER LAKE: Miss Lula Hill, daughter of Hon. Geo. Hill, had a narrow escape from what might have been a serious accident. Mr. Leighton and Miss Hill were returning to Binghamton from Silver Lake, Thanksgiving night, which was very dark, and their horse left the road when crossing a bridge and all landed in a creek. No injury resulted except on the wagon. The driver claims that the road over the creek was unprotected.

WEST LENOX: On Friday night, Nov. 21st, Fred J. Bennett, aged nearly 20 years, son of Mr. And Mrs. C. D. Bennett, met a horrible death. He had been to Susquehanna, and secured a position with the Erie Railroad as Fireman, and was returning on a fast freight. At Foster [Hop Bottom] he jumped from the train and by some means was drawn under the cars and terribly mangled. AND: At Lenoxville, those who are at work on the new road which is to be a short cut between this place and Nicholson, say that when completed it will be a fine one, not only shortening the distance by one mile, but it will have the natural advantage of being level, and built of material that will wear.

LANESBORO: The residents of Lanesboro have made a beginning towards a public library and each member in addition to the membership fee donates a good book.

MONTROSE: Eight inches of snow on the level, and still snowing, is Montrose's record for the fifth of December.

THOMSON: Miss Mabelle Whitney, who with her sister, Miss Lena, was struck by a locomotive at Thomson, as reported last week, was injured more seriously than was suspected. The D & H company sent a number of Scranton physicians to Thomson one day last week to make an examination of her injuries, which are internal.

CLIFFORD: Henry W. Coil died Nov. 23, '02, after a few weeks' sickness of Dropsey of the heart. Funeral at the house, Nov. 25, Elder Gillett officiating. Burial was in Dundaff Cemetery. He leaves a wife and three young children, all entitled to a pension. Mr. Coil was about 75 years old and old soldier and pensioner of the late rebellion [Civil War].

HEART LAKE: The ice has not been removed from the large icehouse at this place [from the year before], which means no work filling it the coming winter, which brings disappointment for a great many people.

GREAT BEND: The improvements recently made at the Central House reflect credit on the manager, Landlord Crofut. Electric lights have been added to all the rooms, and J.B. Rogers has recently been improving the plumbing, putting in new piping for heating purposes, etc. There are warm and cold bath facilities and everything that the traveling public needs.

GLENWOOD: The winter snows are upon us. Are we ready to greet old Jack Frost? Are our coal bins full? Wood a-plenty? Hay and grain for the cattle: Or have we played away the fine weather? Everything should be tight and snug so that nothing suffers these cold days and nights. A merciful man is merciful to his beasts. AND: H. McKerving and George Hunt have sent on their first consignment of furs; minks, coons, muskrats and skunks, of which they have a goodly number.

LATHROP/MONTROSE: A big fight has been started over the will of the late H.W. Lord who died mysteriously [as reported in previous 100 years columns]. There is much interest aroused over the contest of the will of the late Humphrey Lord, late of Lathrop, which was probated in favor of Mrs. Theresa Bronson and it is likely to be one of the biggest will fights ever known in Susquehanna County, with some sensational features thrown in. A hearing was to have been held before Register of Wills, Buffum, Friday, and a large number of witnesses were here from Lathrop, some 50 or more. T.J. Davies, representing LaVerne Lord, Harry Lord and Glenn Lord, children of H.W. Lord, filed an affidavit alleging the instrument probated was not in fact the last will of said Lord and asking that a re-hearing be had to revoke the will and the letters testamentary issued to McCollum & Smith, as executors of the will. Mrs. Bronson was represented by J.M. Kelly. Arguments were made by J.M. Kelly and T.J. Davies and the Register of Wills refused to hear any testimony on the part of the heirs, reserving his decision until Monday, Dec. 1, when he filed his opinion, sustaining the demurrer and dismissing the action, thus allowing the will to stand. [Other reports say that Geo. S. Mackey was arrested and charged with forging the will, upon complaint of LaVerne Lord, and brought to Montrose, where he entered bail for his appearance at the next court. The will of H.W. Lord referred to Theresa Bronson as "my affiancee."]

NEWS BRIEFS: Traveling free State libraries are now found in 30 of the 67 counties of Pennsylvania.

AND: The testimony given before the anthracite strike commission, which has been holding sessions in Scranton, is preserved in a novel way. The stenographers read their notes into a gramophone and the cylinders are put away, to be brought out and reproduced on occasion. AND: The village of Glen Eyre, Pike county, was sold at auction a few days ago. The village consists of seven dwellings, one store house, blacksmith shop, barns and other buildings. Included in the sale was the pretty little depot erected by the Erie railroad company one year ago. It was bid in for $5,050.

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FOOTBALL SABERS HONORED, Booster Officers "Retire": As has been the custom for many, many years, the high school football team, its coaches and cheerleaders, were honored by the Susquehanna Sabers Football Booster Club at an awards dinner held in the Moose Lodge on Saturday, November 16.

The program was opened by Booster President Doug Phillips, welcoming the large crowd and remarking, "Although our boys didn’t do so well this year, they certainly gave their best and no doubt, will be much better next year."

Jan DeWitt, a senior cheerleader, offered a "prayer before meals."

All of the Saber gridders, coaches and cheerleaders were recipients of several awards, such as shirts, plaques and photos.

Coach Zabielski remarked, "It was a long season (without a win) but we will get better. Win or lose, we (the coaches) stand behind them. One thing about this team, win or lose, they never gave up, they never quit and we must keep supporting them."

Handing out the shirts and awards were the Booster Club officers, the cheerleaders coach, Mary Hubal and assistant coach Shirley Decker. The football players and cheerleaders also presented their coaches with gifts.

Seated at the head table were: coach Bob Goodrich, coach Joe Yannone, coach Jim Walsh and wife, Diane; head coach Joe Zabielski and wife, Anastacia; coach Dave Conroy and wife, Lisa; and coach John Salinkas.

Graduating seniors (football) were Jordon Downton, son of Jack and Kathy Downton, plans on attending a four-year college and majoring in criminal justice. He was a three-year team member.

Chris Harcar, son of Al and Jackie Harcar, plans on attending a technical school, majoring in electrical engineering. He was a two-year team member.

Senior cheerleaders: Jan DeWitt, two years varsity cheerleading, plans on attending either the University of Pittsburgh or Boston College, majoring in political science and attending law school. She is the daughter of Myron and Karen DeWitt.

Melissa Phillips, three years a cheerleader, plans on attending a four-year college, majoring in elementary education. She is the daughter of Doug and Sharon Phillips.

Outgoing Booster Club officers: President, Doug Phillips; Vice President, Debbie Stone; Secretary, Sharon Phillips; Treasurer, Tina Halley.

New officers: President, Lisa Winner; Vice President, Mary Hubal; Secretary, Kathy Whitney; Treasurer, Carol Dubas.

It has been a nice gesture by the Booster Club for many years to host an awards dinner for the Saber football team, for the cheerleaders, and personnel of the teams, but now it’s "about time" that the Booster officers and their "helpers" get the recognition they deserve. Without them, football would be just another game, another season, win or lose, without the awards and dinner provided by the Booster Club.

The following was contributed by Booster personnel:

"The Booster Club works very hard to give your children things they need during the football season. We also enjoy giving them breakfast, along with food during and after the games.

"Also, we send hoagies and drinks with the teams for all evening away games. We work very hard to give the team a banquet at the end of the season. We present seniors that have been involved with the program for at least three years with plaques and watches. All children receive T-shirts.

"We would like all parents to attend our monthly meetings during the winter months, which will be held on the first Tuesday of each month, starting on Tuesday, February 4 in the hall of the Susquehanna Moose Lodge.

"In order to keep doing what we are doing, we will need plenty of help. We plan to start a fundraising project as soon as possible."

(My note: let’s not take it for granted, that it’s an easy task for the Boosters to keep the Sabers "moving" from one year to another. They need help. They need your help. So, it’s Hats Off to the outgoing officers for a terrific job and may the new officers have a great year.)

"SESQUICENTENNIAL" Bowling Results: With several more "benefits" in the making to help the "Centennial" committee "earn" enough money to help pay for the Centennial events, memorabilia books, etc., one was held at the Riverside Bowling Lanes on Saturday, November 16. The winners of the Scotch Doubles teams were:

First place, Riverside Lanes team: Steve and Teresa Felter 573; Chuck and Cathy Beamer 511; Jeff and Terri McDonald 487; Mike Beamer and Erica Terpstra 461; Jack Beamer and Christen Brady 376. Team total was 2408, with the Felters having high single game of the tourney, 209.

Second place: Steve and Pat Frederick, Cheri and John Dinniny, Millie and Chris Herbert, Jeanine and Jeff Collins, John and Tracy Ball. Team total was 2197. Representing the Fire Department.

Third place: Bill and Nancy Culnane, Alec Mazikewich and Kristen Culnane, Kara Culnane and Dave Glidden, Rhonda and Mike Ryder, Kay and Tom Culnane. Representing the Fire Department.

ICE CREAM, Less ice cream, bigger container: according to TV CNN, ice cream lovers are also being "short-changed." A two-quart box does not have two quarts; its label states 1.75. But, it sells for the same price. A few weeks ago, we did an "exposé" on dry cereal. A foot high box holds – more or less – 3/4 box of cereal. Are the manufactures being held liable? Forget it.

"SCAMS" On The Rise: A warning has been issued – especially to the elderly. Callers are telling residents they have free programs and services to offer which can reduce their taxes. Not true, says the Area Agency on Aging. If residents receive such calls they are urged to do the following: do not divulge any financial information or Social Security information. Report the call to the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Protection (1-800-441-2555) and to the Area Agency on Aging at 1-800-982-4346. If an appointment is made to come to your home, you may call the Area Agency on Aging to confirm that the individual is employed by the agency. For information call the Area Agency on Aging.

DID YOU KNOW of these "Pennsylvania Firsts"? First capital of the United States (York). First United States mint; first zoo; first institution of art; first newspaper; first TV broadcast; first pro football game; first American stock exchange; first American university; first American high school; first women’s medical college.

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Straight From Starrucca

The annual Christmas party of postal workers, called "Quality Work Life Employee Involvement" was held Wednesday night, November 20, with Art Kopp, Starrucca rural carrier, in charge.

Andrea Knox and sons, Ethan and Connor were visitors at the home of her mother, Barbara Glover and Roger recently.

On Sunday, November 24, there was a pulpit exchange between Pastor John Grove of the Starrucca and Herrick Center Baptist Churches and Pastor Brian Lucas of the Thompson Charge of Methodist Churches.

Thanksgiving eve there will be a combined service of Baptists and Methodists, held in the Baptist Church at 7 p.m. Refreshments follow.

Last Saturday I attended a bridal shower for my niece in Scranton. The procedure was a bit different from the usual shower, as we were told not to wrap our gifts. It turned out very well, as all the gifts were displayed with your card attached, and you leisurely walked around and looked at them. Saved time and all that trouble of wrapping paper and ribbon.

This has been a most unusual week in Starrucca. On Monday the 18th, after a funeral service in West Pittston, Ralph Gunderson, husband of Doris, was laid to rest in the Starrucca Cemetery, with a hot luncheon in the Baptist Church social rooms. The Gundersons lived on the old Stearns homestead on King Hill and recently moved when Doris was given a Pastorate in West Pittston.

Tuesday, November 19, the funeral service for Robert Williams was held in the Baptist Church, with standing room only for friends and relatives. Officiating clergy was Pastor John Grove. Interment was in Starrucca Cemetery, with dinner following. My condolences to the whole family.

Wednesday, November 20, after spending five years in a Vestal, NY nursing home, Minnie Brooker’s life came to a merciful end. Services for her were held in the Methodist Church, with Pastor Brian Lucas in charge. I also had a few words to say, garnered from an interview I had with her years ago. She was interred beside her husband, Allen. Dinner was served in the Baptist Church social rooms. Minnie was our oldest Methodist Church member, and was secretary of the Women’s Society for 30 years. She was a woman who survived many trials and tribulations because of her deep faith in a living God, in whose arms she now rests. Again, my sympathy to the entire family.


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Well, it started to snow, the Thanksgiving turkey is history and now we have a lot to look forward to through Christmas and New Years. It occurred to me that this is a season of joy and of challenge. Some of us may even spend the holidays alone and be reflective on holidays past. I have tried to put together enough Cyber information to satisfy everyone. Let me take this opportunity then to wish you all a safe and merry Christmas season.

Of course, we all know that Christmas is for children, so let's start by indulging our little ones and the little one that grows in each and every one of us! If you go to you can enjoy learning about things you can put together for winter, Christmas and Hannukah. you will find tips for tons of great projects for Bigs and Littles!

Well, yes, we all complain about the mess of a real tree but some of these sites will help with your tree-attitude: www.aginfor/ will help you with getting a fresh tree. Then check over to; here you will learn how to help with a tree friendly environment and keep your tree lasting much longer.

By the way fellas, go to They have hunting tips and a video on that subject. In addition, as you examine the site you will find a large animal encyclopedia and even a box to check out forecasts!

Let's go over to our homes for a few things, such as if you go to www.store5.yimg/I/bevfabriccrafts_1716_75390276, you get a bunch of outdoor and indoor decorating tips.

Dad might like to start some woodworking so I found for him (or any other like-minded individual) See the sidebar for very interesting things.

Then, there is Mom busy with cookies. Ah yes, for you I found And, for the fruitcake that will be passed around for the next millenium see

For some reason our youngsters become more than a handful (or a carful) at the holidays so I found the following sites that might be helpful: for ages infant and up and then when they are REALLY grown up as adolescents see

Remember when I said back at the beginning of this article these are not always joyful and easy times for some. Therefore, I found,, and finally which carries daily healing thoughts that sometimes we all need, not just at the holidays.

Okay, my willing companion "Pon", it's time to don our orange gear and go out into the woods, or at least be careful out there! Enjoy the holidays, peace to all, not just in Cyberland here in Susquehanna County, but all over the world.

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Barnes-Kasson Corner

Here are a few helpful hints from the American Academy of Pediatrics to help keep you and your children safe this holiday season.

Tree Safety

Position your tree a good distance away from any heat sources like fireplaces, radiators or portable heaters.

Cut a few inches off the trunk of your tree to expose the fresh wood. This allows for better water absorption and will help to keep your tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.

Check all tree lights–even if you've just purchased them–before hanging them on your tree. Make sure all the bulbs work and that there are no frayed wires, broken sockets or loose connections.

If you purchase an artificial tree, make sure it's labeled fire-resistant. If your artificial tree is metallic, don't put lights on it; they'll create a fire hazard.

Toy Safety

Follow recommended age ranges on toy packages. Toys that are too advanced could be a safety hazard for younger children.

Before buying a toy or allowing your child to play with a toy that he/she has received as a gift, read the instructions carefully. If the toy is appropriate for your child, show him how to use it properly.

Be careful of holiday gift wrapping, like bags, paper, ribbons and bows. These items can pose suffocation and choking hazards to a small child.

Children under age 4 can choke on small parts contained in toys or games and balls with a diameter of one and three-quarters of an inch or less.

Children under age 8 can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons.

Remove strings and ribbons from toys before giving them to young children. Watch for pull toys with strings that are more than 12 inches in length. They could be a strangulation hazard for babies.

Outdoor Fun

Make sure your child's gloves and shoes stay dry. If either becomes wet, change your child into a dry pair.

Sledding on or into the roadway should be prohibited. Look for shallow slopes that are free of obstacles such as trees and fences.

Cutting down your own tree for the holiday may start a wonderful family tradition. Young children can pick out the tree while an adult does the chopping.

Food Safety

Bacteria are often present in raw foods. Fully cook meats and poultry, and thoroughly wash raw vegetables and fruits.

Be sure to keep hot liquids and foods away from the edges of counters and tables, where they can be easily knocked over by a young child's exploring hands.

Wash your hands frequently, and make sure your children do the same.

Never put a spoon used to taste food back into food without washing it.

Always keep raw foods and cooked foods separate, and use separate utensils when preparing them.

Always thaw meat in the refrigerator, never on the countertop.

Foods that require refrigeration should never be left at room temperature for more than two hours.

Warm, Bright and Safe

Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially outside each bedroom.

Use a sturdy fireplace screen to prevent sparks from igniting newspapers, carpeting, curtains and upholstery.

Only use the fireplace when you're home and awake. Extinguish the fire when you go out or at bedtime.

Plugging lights directly into sockets and limiting the use of extension cords will cut down on the chances of a fire.

If an electrical cord feels warm to the touch, it's probably working too hard and is a fire hazard.

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Food For Thought

Many of us are battling weight problems. We seem to be most conscious of this at holiday time, and of course during the summer. Holiday time is once again upon us, with its overload of emotions, fatigue, guilt and sugar\fat laden goodies.

Artificial sweeteners have been controversial for years. Every time one is proven unsafe, a new one is put on the market to take its place. We are the guinea pigs for the chemical companies. When enough people get sick or die from the new chemical sweetener, they take it off the market. And none of these products carry labels on them saying that they may be hazardous to your health.

The newest artificial sweetener on the market is sucralose. It was approved by the FDA in 1998 and immediately began to appear in diet cola drinks. European nations have yet to give approval for its use in human food.

Sucralose is made by chlorinating sugar. The chemical compound of regular sugar (which is harmful enough on it’s own) is altered by adding chlorine molecules to it. This new molecule is similar to some of the chlorinated compounds that are the basis of the pesticide DDT. Chlorinated compounds accumulate in body fat, and are re-released as the body fat is shed, either by natural turnover, or more dramatically by weight loss.

The new compound, sucralose looks a lot like regular sugar, and can be up to 1000 times sweeter. It can tolerate high temperatures, so it can be used in baked goods.

Before it was released for use in human food, very few human studies were performed. Only 19 studies were performed, and all of those were short term, less than 2 years.

Saccharine, the controversial sweetener of the 60’s had over 2000 studies, and it was eventually proven harmful and removed from the market.

The studies on sucralose did not really have a positive outcome. Yet it is now allowed to be placed in our food and drink.

The animal studies showed negative effects on the immune system, liver, kidneys, spleen, large intestine, ability to reproduce red blood cells, and growth rate. These areas are already compromised in diabetic people, primary users of artificial sweeteners. It also negatively effected pregnancy, fetal growth and development, and caused diarrhea.

And in diabetics, it can lead to uncontrolled blood sugar levels.

No studies have ever been performed on the products which result from the digestion, absorption and metabolization of sucralose. The manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson claims that it passes through the body, and is not absorbed or metabolized. Studies in Japan show that up to 40% is absorbed and up to 30% of that is metabolized.

Not only that, as you well know, no commercially manufactured product is totally pure. There are contaminants. Some of the contaminants of sucralose are heavy metals (i.e. lead, mercury), arsenic, methanol, and other chlorinated compounds.

While studies show that up to 40% of sucralose is absorbed, that means up to 60% is excreted and ends up, through one way or another, in our environment. No studies have been performed to see how it breaks down in sewage treatment plants, or in land fills. No studies have been performed to see what compounds are produced when it comes in contact with other chemicals. No studies have been done to see what effect it has directly on fish, water vegetation, other animals. No studies have been done to see how it interacts with other drugs.

Drug interaction is a large issue. Many of our prescription and over the counter drugs are now appearing in our water supply as a result of excretion and disposal. We therefore constantly being exposed to drugs and to their breakdown products.

So who benefits from all of this? The manufacturer would argue that it is the consumer who benefits. The consumer can consume more unhealthy, over processed foods with no nutritional value, and not gain weight. Some studies have shown the opposite effect, that consuming artificial sweeteners actually stimulates appetite, and the dieter ends up eating more. As a society, we continue to increase in obesity, and diabetes. Not to mention all of the other chronic illnesses which now plague our culture.

The industry claims that artificial sweeteners reduce sugar consumption. Research has shown the opposite to be true, that as artificial sweetener use has increased, sugar consumption has increased an equal amount.

So what have we actually accomplished by producing and consuming artificial sweeteners? We have again played ostrich, or pulled the wool over our own eyes. What artificial sweeteners do is put a pretty face on eating more foods that are bad for us. We can fool ourselves into thinking that it won’t be bad to eat a very sweet, non-nutritious food, because it has no sugar. It might even be made with artificial fat too. (Do you think J & J tested sucralose with fat substitutes to see what it did to your body?) And our weight continues to rise, and our health continues to deteriorate.

Once again, we need to look at what we are putting into our mouths, into the mouths of our children. Sugar is meant to be used sparingly, not to be a primary staple food. More than that, we need to look at what we are "buying" from big business. And from the government agencies that are supposed to regulate big business’ activities for us the voter and the consumer. November was an election month, but remember you vote every time you open your wallet. Use your buying power wisely, for your own benefit.

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