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Issue Home May 6, 2003 Site Home

Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago
Straight From Starrucca
Food For Thought

Slices of Life


I’ve said my final farewells to the Easter candy. Gone are the chocolate-covered peanut butter eggs, the peppermint patties wrapped in pastel foil, the Whitman’s chocolate sampler, the Hershey kisses and the white (actually orange) chocolate carrot. Thank heavens no one gave me jelly beans. But where jelly beans might have been was a can of coffee-glazed macadamia nuts straight from the Hawaiian Islands. Now there’s a treat that’s hard to resist!

It is utterly amazing how good we can be until holidays roll around and all those goodies begin to tempt us. If I don’t eat the first bite, I’m all right. But after five years of being so good with my diet, I have to admit I lost it this Easter. So now with the holiday behind me, I’m back on track. (Sort of.) I sat and watched tonight as my dinner partner enjoyed her dish of rice pudding with whipped cream. I drank more black coffee. I had a half portion of chicken and biscuits. Not exactly diet food, but one of my favorites, and half is better than whole.

To help eliminate the pounds, I took a long walk today, and that was delightful. The yellow/green of the new leaves on the trees is a shade that can’t be replicated by Crayola. Such a spring-like color. Then there are the purple violets that have pushed up here and there. My back yard is awash in them, and when I finished my walk, I stopped to pick a dainty bouquet. Most of them went into a tiny vase that now sits on my kitchen windowsill, but a few got pressed. I will try my hand at making something artistic with them when they are dry.

The perky daffodils that line my driveway and greet me as I leave or return have been a welcome sight after all the snow that was mounded up there only a short while ago. But from the sound of the pounding rain on my windows now this evening, I have a feeling those sentinels will have their faces in the mud by morning. So many times the rains and wind come as soon as the tall flowers bloom.

I used to have one spectacular iris plant near the front of the house. That purple and white wonder bloomed extravagantly about every third year. I would be so excited when I saw the buds appear. One year when I was working down the street, I walked home for lunch and there was my treasure in all its regal glory. I stopped to admire it at a closer range as I headed back to work. During the afternoon a tremendous wind and rain storm blew through. Not long. Just long enough to lay that beautiful stem of flowers in the mud. I knew what was going to greet me on my return trip home. While not surprised, I was very disappointed. For three years I had waited, and all I got was one quick look.

It’s usually the same scenario with the Oriental poppies. One section of my back lawn is covered with these perky orange poppies around the Fourth of July. What a flamboyant sight they are – for a day or two. And then the rains come. It doesn’t take much to lay them flat.

It was on the 4th of July that a couple walking along the railroad grade admired the poppies. "Take up a few plants," my good-hearted husband said. When we came back from the celebration on the Green, not only were the poppies gone, but these people had taken a shovel and cut our huge blooming four-o’clock plant right down the middle. It died soon after. And the sad part was, the aunt who had given it to us had died very suddenly not long before that, so we knew our remembrance of her could not be replaced. A sad tale indeed.

Like my morning stroll, this story has meandered here and there, but I guess that’s what happens when we are struck by the unbridled passions of spring.

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100 Years Ago – 1902-2002

AUBURN TWP.: The Jersey Hill Creamery Co., on Monday, April 27, shipped 2,200 pounds of fine gilt-edge butter.

HALLSTEAD: The Commencement exercises will be held in the Baptist church, Tuesday evening, May 19. Miss Julie Cruser, reader, of Montrose, will assist during the evening. Music will be furnished by Prof. Charles Cohen, of Montrose. The members of the graduating class are: Loda Sloat, Leta Simrell, Cecil Ross, Len Barnes, Florence Swartz, Parna Wolcott, Hylie O'Dell and Lizzie McCormack. The Baccalaureate sermon will be preached by Rev. H. M. Pease. AND: Plans are being discussed for the erection of an addition to the Hallstead Y.M.C.A. building and much attention is being given to the subject by the male citizens of that town. AND: The new bell has been placed in the belfry of the Methodist church.

MONTROSE: For some time those who have been at all interested in the work of securing a profitable industry for this place have known that the board of trade was negotiating with a Brooklyn, N.Y. firm who wished to locate a factory for the manufacture of cut glass in some suitable town. The transaction being now completed, with the exception of a few minor details, we are enabled to divulge the facts relative to the securing of this highly desirable industry. It is expected that the plant will employ from 30 to 40 persons. The wages paid the cutters and other workmen are much higher than those paid the average factory employee, and while only skilled labor is used there is always a chance for young men to secure apprenticeships and work their way up.

SUSQUEHANNA: The Erie has put a cheese train on the road - two trains of salt passed eastward on Monday night. A large quantity of livestock is going east. AND: Our milkmen have reduced the price of milk from 6 to 5 cents per quart.

ALFORD: O.W. Titus and son, Jess, have gone to Lestershire to work in the shoe factory. AND: Mrs. Jos. Oakley, owing to the death of her son, Lee, who had been conducting her farm, will sell all her personal property, on the Jos. Oakley farm, near Alford, on Saturday, May 16. The young man's death was a severe blow to Mrs. Oakley and she has the sympathy of many friends.

SPRINGVILLE: Lyman Meserole and Welton Sheldon have gone to take a course at Cayuga College.

HARFORD: There will be a bee next Wednesday at the Congregational church; the gentlemen are to look after the grounds and sheds and the ladies clean the church and serve dinner.

SOUTH GIBSON: A very sad accident occurred here Monday, April 27th, to little Josephine Clark, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Clark, aged 7 years. She told her mother she would commence the dinner while she finished the washing. While putting in chips to start the fire, her apron caught fire and she ran screaming out of doors, enveloped in flames. Before her mother could get to her, her clothes were nearly all burned off. She was terribly burned about the body. Dr. Cole, of Jackson, was called but in spite of medical aid and tender aid death came to her relief at 8 p.m. the same day. Her funeral was held the following Wednesday at the M.E. church, Pastor Gorisse officiating. A large number of relatives from Forest City and surrounding towns were present. The white casket was covered with beautiful flowers. Mr. and Mrs. Clark have the sympathy of all, in this their first great sorrow.

DIMOCK: Wm. Gray has taken Horace Greeley's advice and gone west.

NORTH BRANCH [Middletown Twp.]: The home of Martin Curley, of Flynn, was burned on Thursday last. The fire caught from the chimney. Mr. and Mrs. Curley have the sympathy of the community.

BIRCHARDVILLE: Fred S. Birchard is home from the Medical College at Philadelphia, where he has passed his examinations successfully. He will return to commencement in two weeks and will soon be a full-fledged M.D.

GLENWOOD: Mrs. Kate Hall has got settled in her new home in this place. Anyone coming this way hungry can find plenty to eat at Mrs. Hall's. Also good stabling for horses. This is as it should be.

NORTH JACKSON: Willie Cox, a son of Emory Cox, of North Jackson, in attending school at Bear Swamp, in Thompson township, has not missed a day in five years.

UNIONDALE: Miss Gertrude Tucker, daughter of Charles Tucker, the harness maker, is now a resident of Los Angeles, California, where she went recently. Mr. Tucker and his family expect to go to same place in August.

HOPBOTTOM: One of the pleasantest hostelries in the county is the house kept by E.H. Sweet, at Hopbottom. The arrangements are first-class and the table unexcelled. The place is becoming very popular with the traveling public.

NEW MILFORD: The Moses Shields Stone company, of New Milford, have a traction engine on trial hauling stone from the Everett quarry to the dock in New Milford. If it proves a success it will be purchased and continued in use in the future. Two stone wagons are coupled on to the engine and about fifteen tons are brought from the quarry each trip.

NEWS BRIEFS: The original Declaration of Independence is to be seen no more. An order has been issued that henceforth the historic manuscript shall be kept under lock and key in a fire-proof safe. AND: Illinois ranks first among the states in the manufacture of agriculture implements, bicycles, cars, glucose and distilled liquors and in slaughtering and meat packing. AND: The factory girls of Worcester, Mass., use four tons of snuff every week. It is shipped from Chicago. AND: The longer a boy is tied to his mother's apron-strings the nearer he is to success when he does cut loose.

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American Legion Ladies Aiding Homeless With "Bags"

d that is growing with many communities is the making of "ugly quilts" (better known as sleeping bags) for the homeless in the country. In addition to the Susquehanna group, it has come to our attention that ladies of Starrucca and Pleasant Mount are also making "ugly quilts" for the homeless.

The "Legion Ladies" are putting in many hours in the creation of the bags. Many, many bags are needed. According to national statistics, "The growing number of homeless people is not only a problem in the urban parts of the state, but in rural areas as well." The Center for Rural Pennsylvania reports 360 clients in Susquehanna County receiving Homeless Program Assistance in 1989-99, 226 in Wayne and 833 in Lackawanna Counties.

Shown holding one of their seven completed "ugly quilts" (l-r) are: Mary Ficarro, Linda Norris, Kristen Grausgruber, Mary Jane Grausgruber, Mary Gow. Not pictured but working on the quilts are: Carol Price, Marge Wood, Marie Osterhout, Viola Ficarro, Anna Mulculcok, Rose Hendrickson.

In addition to making the bags available to the homeless, they are stuffed with such items as soap, shampoo, razors, mittens, scarves, socks and/or any wearable clothes.

Why are they (the bags) called "ugly?", I asked. According to the ladies, the bags should be made of scrap material, bed spreads, drapes, or rummage items. Why make them so "ugly?" The uglier the better, so the benefactor will not (or attempt to) sell it.

SLOT MACHINES Coming – Before the next fiscal year, the Legislature is expected to vote on a bill to legalize slot (gambling) machines at the state’s horse racing tracks. Governor Rendell wants to place at least 3,000 machines at as many as eight racetracks. The governor is expected to propose a fee of 35% to each racetrack owner, on their income.

BENEFITS FOR VETS – The United States offers a wide range of benefits to military veterans, that served in any branch of the military, during war or peace time. For more information contact the Governor’s Outreach and Assistance Center for Northeastern PA in the Pittston City CareerLink.

"MEDICAL" Students at Windsor High – An Emergency Medical Services Team was formed at the Windsor, NY High School. School officials said they (the students) can give first aid and are trained to use defibrillators. They are also certified as Emergency Medical Technicians, which allows them to do more on the scene, such as administer medication. Seven students are involved in the medical services.

"FOR THE BIRDS" – All the birds return in spring, which is great, unless you happen to be a worm.

GOOD "OLD FEDS" – Congress got a 3.15% pay hike this year and is set to get another raise in 2004, but retirees on Social Security only got 1.4%. Why the difference? Congressional members can forego their automatic raises and vote as much as they like. (How nice!)

BINGHAMTON "THE WINNER" – Greater Binghamton, NY will play host to the 2004 Empire State Games. The event will bring at least 6,000 athletes and their families to the city, with a possible take of $10 million.

SANTORUM "IN TROUBLE" – Senator Rick Santorum, Republican of Pennsylvania, is in deep trouble with both the Republicans and Democrats. He is being asked (told) to resign his party’s chairmanship, after bashing gays and their ways, claiming they are partaking in incest and adultery.

A MAN BUYS a pet parrot and brings him home. But the parrot starts insulting him, so the man picks up the parrot and throws him into the freezer to teach him a lesson. He hears the bird squawking for a few minutes, and all of a sudden the parrot is quiet. The man opens the freezer door, and the parrot walks out, looks up at him and says, "I apologize for offending you, and I humbly ask your forgiveness."

The man says, "Well, thank you. I forgive you."

The parrot then says, "If you don’t mind my asking, what did the chicken do?"

A COLLEGE STUDENT walked into his ornithology class and found five birds with bags over their heads so only their feet were visible. "What’s this?" he asked.

"It’s an exam," the professor explained. "Your job is to identify each bird by looking at its feet."

"What a stupid test," the student retorted.

"What’s your name?" the professor demanded.

The student pulled up his pant legs and answered, "You tell me."

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Straight From Starrucca

Several weeks ago, under the column "100 Years Ago" there was an item that a farmer had purchased a team of "cream horses." In my news, I asked, "What were cream horses?" A reader was kind enough to send me the following interesting information, which should be of interest to horse owners.

American Cream: origin - United States (Iowa); classification - standardized breed; distribution - United States; status - critical. The American Cream Draft is the only draft hose breed developed in the United States. American Creams are medium in size, averaging 16 hands (64") at the withers. They are cream in color with pink skin, amber eyes, white manes and tails, and occasional white markings.

The American Cream originated in Iowa early this century, and has always been rare. The story of the breed begins with a horse named Old Granny, auctioned at a farm sale in Story County, Iowa, in 1911. Old Granny was a cream colored draft mare of unknown ancestry, born sometime between 1890 and 1905. She consistently produced cream offspring. A few Iowa breeders became interested in the cream bloodline, especially after the birth of the stallion Silver Lace, a great-great-grandson of Old Granny, in 1932. Silver Lace was an impressive figure, standing 16 hands high and weighing 2,200 pounds.

During the 1930’s cream draft horses became popular in the counties surrounding Melbourne, Iowa. Clarence T. Rierson, one of the new owners, became interested in the strain and bought all of the mares sired by Silver Lace he could find. He researched the ancestry of each cream horse and recorded their pedigrees. Rierson was one of the founders of the American Cream Draft Horse Association, which was chartered in 1944 with twenty members and 75 foundation horses in the registry. By the time of Rierson’s death in 1957, 41 association members had registered almost 200 horses.

Just as the American Cream breed was becoming established, however, the market for draft horses collapsed. Mechanization of agriculture meant that the majority of work horses went to slaughter. The breeding of draft animals nearly ceased. For fourteen years the American Cream Horse Association was inactive, except for the transfer of a single horse. Fortunately, a few people held onto their Creams and thus maintained a slender genetic base which was the foundation for the breed’s survival.

In 1982, the Association was reorganized. Breeders worked with the University of Kentucky Equine Blood Typing Lab to determine the breed’s genetic parameters. Research results suggested that American Creams were a distinct population within the group of draft horse breeds. This gave great encouragement to the breeders and has played an important part in the breed’s revival.

The American Cream Draft Horse Association celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1994. The breed is still critically rare, with fewer than 100 horses alive today, but its numbers are increasing. Promotional efforts are beginning to address the primary obstacle to conservation, the fact that the American Cream breed is largely unknown.

Thank you, J. E. G.


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Food For Thought

What kind of government declares war on another country because of the suspicion of biological weapons, toxic weapons and weapons of mass destruction, and then knowingly allows its own people to be poisoned by toxic waste polluting the water supplies?

In 1997, the first government studies were done on aviation fuel contaminating the Colorado River, and certain wells out west. The studies were performed because contamination was suspected. So this was not a new thing, out of the blue. No one has "fessed up" to how long it has been going on.

The studies confirmed that aviation fuel was in fact contaminating the Colorado River, from Las Vegas to it’s end near the border of Mexico. It was also found in certain water sources near some Lockheed Aviation plants. This is significant because the Colorado River is the only source of irrigation for much of California, Nevada and Arizona’s growing belt. The area where the majority of the winter vegetables for most of the other states are grown.

The next studies were to see what effect this toxic chemical would have on our food. What was discovered is that lettuce, all varieties of lettuce, accumulate one of the compounds in this aviation fuel, known as perchlorate. Of course, this perchlorate is no harmless, incidental chemical residue. It is a known toxin, mutagenic and carcinogen. In particular it targets Thyroid tissue.

This study has been repeated several times, always with the same results, that lettuce accumulates and concentrates this chemical, between 65 times and 100 times the amount in its water source. This range is wide because the different water sources had different levels of the contaminant present. Lettuce is able to take up and store 95% of the perchlorate in the water.

The latest study was performed in 2002, and published in the Wall Street Journal.

This information is being dismissed. The EPA has concluded that foods do not contribute to perchlorate levels in people. Water standards for perchlorate levels are not planned for adoption until 2006.

Lettuce was not the only plant that accumulates the toxin. However, it was the only food plant studied so far. And perchlorate is not the only toxin that lettuce can accumulate. Lettuce stores water, and anything that is in that water. What kind of harm is done to the body by some of these combinations? The old adage "You are what you eat," certainly didn’t mean this.

The aviation industry, and the military are trying to establish safe levels of this chemical in our water at higher levels than are presently allowed. In fact the Air Force has performed two studies of its own on perchlorate, and has refused to reveal their findings, even when challenged by the Freedom of Information Act.

No, that does not mean they are cleaning up the toxins in our water. It means that they are attempting to reset the standards, so that more of this is allowed to be in our drinking water. In our food.

California is aiming at a standard of 2 to 6 ppb (parts per billion) pechlorate in drinking water. The water from 5 contaminated wells in one area ranged from 10 to 130 ppb, and averaged 40.1 ppb. The lettuce irrigated by these wells will increase these levels 65 to 100 times.

In the past several years, the rate of thyroid disfunction has been escalating. (Thyroid medication is now the third most frequently prescribed prescription in the USA.)

Maybe now we know why.

What can we do? To start, stop buying lettuce from California or Arizona. (Sorry guys!)

Even the organic produce from these areas will be contaminated, because it is in the river, and the ground water.

Next, start contacting your Congressman and Senator. Let them know you know what is going on. Let them know what you think about it. Let them know that it is past time that industry profits are placed ahead of human life and health. Let them know it is time to stop using us and our children as guinea pigs. And ask about all of the water sources not tested yet, like the wells on military bases, and the surrounding communities, and what about the water around airports?

Then, start buying from your local farm producer. Or grow your own.

Maybe we should get our water tested too. Who knows what is in the water around here, that no one is telling us. Isn’t there an old Lockheed plant in Binghamton?

I do not understand how a known toxin can be allowed in our drinking water, in any amount. Especially when it is only there to benefit some corporate bank account.

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