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Issue Home August 25, 2007 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy


In the August 22 edition Letters to the Editors, an incorrect date was given for the WVIA telethon during which callers can show support for ballroom dancing programming. It will be on Saturday, September 8. We apologize for any inconvenience.

A Big Success!

Thanks once again, to everyone at the County Transcript from all of us at the Susquehanna County Historical Society & Free Library Association, for your wonderful coverage of the Blueberry Festival! The special section looked great, especially with the blue ink. Thanks so very much for approaching advertisers on our behalf.

Your coverage helps attract folks from all over. Once again, an enormous crowd was drawn to Montrose! We were very lucky with the weather, missing the storms on Friday and selling plenty of lemonade and ice cream. We broke our previous income record again (all the results aren’t in yet, of course, but it looks like we’re definitely up from last year). Blueberry Festival proceeds directly support the library in Susquehanna, as well as the libraries in Forest City, Hallstead-Great Bend and Montrose, Books-by-Mail and Books-on-Wheels, and the Historical Society, Museum and genealogy research center. The festival is crucial to our operating budget for county services.

You and your advertisers help make it all possible. Thank you for your support and your community spirit!

Next year’s festival will be the 29th annual, held Friday, August 1 and Saturday, August 2, 2008.


Hilary Caws-Elwitt, Publicity

And the 2007 Festival Committee:

Cookie Capotosto, Jean Dunn, Amy Johnson, Susan Stone, Flo Whittaker

Tired of the Broken Record

OK Mr. Scroggins, you are against war, so who isn’t? No one detests war more than the soldier. No one trains more and understands its necessity like a soldier. Your incessant babblings are a constant indictment of war, but your ulterior motive seems to be more against the Bush administration. I’ve read your anti-Semitic letters and ask, “Is it the Jews that are beheading civilians and captured military?” I’ve read your degrading, females in the military letters and ask, “Have you any real knowledge of the sacrifices and courage witnessed by those who serve beside them and praise their outstanding performances?” You claim the military is an honorable profession, yet you can’t wait to level another indictment upon them. Then there is the general who, by your account, single handedly fooled a nation, the American Dental Association and even the Center for Disease Control into the use of fluoride to prevent cavities, so the nuclear program of WW II wouldn’t be sued. “Widespread use of fluoride has been a major factor in the decline in the prevalence and severity of dental caries (i.e., tooth decay) in the United States and other economically developed countries. When used appropriately, fluoride is both safe and effective in preventing and controlling dental caries.– CDC. I would remind you that most of the greatest advancements in medicine (aspirin for example), can be deadly if used improperly.

You set yourself up as an expert in so many areas and use off-the-wall sources as the definitive answer to the perceived war related ills of our nation. Your latest letter on PTSD has almost enough truth to be believed. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome is the brain’s attempt to make sense of an extreme stressor. A severe auto accident, robbery, rape, survivor guilt and the horrors of war are but some examples of these stressors. For many years our medical profession treated the symptoms and not the cause. Many times those treatments were as damaging and sometimes more damaging than the illness. It is only during the last few years that therapy has emerged as the best treatment. Therapy, however, brings along its own problems due to the stigma attached. The high incidences of PTSD were directly related to the amount of stress endured. For example, during WW II in four years in the Pacific, the average combat soldier saw 40 days of actual combat. Thanks to the mobility of the helicopter, the average combat soldier in Vietnam saw 240 days of actual combat in just one year. Yet even with these high rates, the suicide, homelessness, divorce, family violence or inability to sustain employment as you claim is a myth fabricated by Hollywood and the demonization of the Vietnam veteran by the media and antiwar critics of that time. In fact, “Vietnam veterans’ personal income exceeds that of our non-veteran age group by more than 18%.” (McCaffrey Papers) As for your claim of suicide, “The CDC Vietnam Experience Study Mortality Assessment showed that during the first 5 years after discharge, deaths from suicide were 1.7 times more likely among Vietnam veterans than non-Vietnam veterans. After that initial post-service period, Vietnam veterans were no more likely to die from suicide than non-Vietnam veterans. In fact, after the 5-year post-service period, the rate of suicide is less in the Vietnam veterans’ group.” (Houk).

Your statement, “Further refinements in training, stressing desensitizing and brutalization raised this (percentage willing to fire upon the enemy) to 95% in Vietnam.” The truth is that the training in the military in the Vietnam era was less stringent than WW II or Korea. Isolated atrocities (yes they do occur), committed by American soldiers produced torrents of outrage from antiwar critics and the news media while the North Vietnam atrocities were so common that they received hardly any attention at all. The U.S sought to minimize and prevent attacks on civilians while North Vietnam made attacks on civilians a centerpiece of its strategy (sound familiar?). Americans who deliberately killed civilians received prison sentences while the North Vietnamese and VC received commendations. From 1957 to 1973, the National Liberation Front murdered 36,725 South Vietnamese and abducted another 58,499. The death squads focused on leaders at the village level and anyone who improved the lives of the peasants such as medical personnel, social workers and schoolteachers. I can assure you from first hand experience that the most difficult task facing our troops is to restrain themselves when faced with such brutality.

“A man cannot feel honorable if society considers him dishonorable.” (John Nichols, Vietnam veteran) Yes, we are losing many young men and women in our present conflict. And yes, the loss is deplorable. But we are depleting the terrorists’ resources. In spite of reported media statements, the Iraqi and Afghani people are better off and very appreciative of our efforts and we have not suffered another attack at home. Finally, I would remind you that on December 7, 1941, the U.S. went to war and demanded nothing less than unconditional surrender from the Axis powers after Japan’s sneak attack killed 2,200 service men and civilians. On September 11, 2001, we were again subjected to a sneak attack that targeted and killed 3,173 civilians (softsynth.com/faces). Are you asking for our unconditional surrender?


Fred Baker

Meshoppen, PA

Check Your Status

I have just found out that I have been paying the yearly School District Personal Tax due to confusion within the collection system. Changes in the collection system have resulted in collection errors for retired, non-working residents age 65 and older.

One set of tax records indicates that I am "unemployed" and the other tax record (whatever that might be) states that I am still working. For the record, I am 71 and have been retired over four years.

Curious about just what this tax was, I called my Tax Collector and was informed that this Personal Tax did not apply to me for reasons stated above. As taxes go, it is not a big number, $39.20. What is a big issue is how long this situation is going to exist before it is corrected.

For now, better check your tax status.


Bob Wagner

Harford, PA

Surviving In Toxic Town, USA

Surviving in Toxic Town, USA can be a bit chancy. We are immersed in a septic swirl of some 7 million chemicals, 80,000 of which are commonly used. They are in the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe; even our clothes, homes, and cars are permeated with chemicals.

The effect of 99+ percent of these artificial substances on the human body is a mystery. And the interplay of these substances within the body is an enigma within a mystery. But there is one growing class of chemicals that is making itself known, but in the most unwelcome way; estrogen mimics.

Estrogen is a naturally-made hormone that is responsible for the development of females. Its counterpart, testosterone, performs the same function in the development of the male sex. Estrogen mimics (EM) are synthetic substances that imitate the effects of estrogen.

Though EMs have been in use for 70 years, it has only been within the last 15 years that their effects have became apparent. It was first noticed in fish living near sewage outlets. They were developing in a bizarre way; the male fish had male and female genitalia. The phenomenon spread quickly. Soon, as EMs worked their way around geographically and up the food chain, oddities were noticed in frogs, turtles, alligators, birds, mammals, and recently even in polar bear cubs. The question arises: have EMs affected us, too? It would be almost impossible for them not to affect us. They are ubiquitous.

EMs are found in fertilizers and runoff water, pesticides, herbicides, pollution from factories, detergents, cosmetics, perfumes, nonstick cookware, and pharmaceuticals (notably birth control pills and Prozac). Estrogenic lacquers line beverage and food cans. They leach out from the plastic in water bottles to contaminate the water. About 360,000 tons of EMs are used annually to clean sewage water. The concentrated sludge from this sewage is used as a fertilizer. Runoff then carries the EMs into waterways used for human consumption and recreation. Ironically, the EMs used to clean water now pollute water.

Of particular concern are natural EMs found in "health foods" such as wheat germ and especially unfermented soy products. Two glasses of soy milk for a month contain enough EMs to change the timing of a menstrual cycle. Based on body weight, an infant fed soy milk will receive the equivalent of approximately 3 to 5 birth control pills per day. This is compounded by the fact that the plastic baby bottle, per se, is also a source of EMs. Years after exposure, these masquerading molecules will predispose the infant to the development of obesity and insulin resistance, a pre-diabetic condition.

Animal experiments give some insight as to how EMs affect man. Tadpoles exposed to a common EM at 1/30th the level allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency developed into hermaphroditic frogs incapable of reproducing. Rats given just one part per trillion of an EM were dramatically changed. The males acted more like females and the females became pseudo males.

There is also direct evidence that EMs are having an adverse effect on humans. EMs are associated with breast and prostate cancers. Female infants exposed to EMs during critical periods of brain development were unable to ovulate as adults and exhibited male sexual behavior. Girls are menstruating earlier, some as young as 9. And there are boys who develop breasts – some even secreting milk.

It's a topsy-turvy world. But surrounded with EMs, as we are, it is confused in ways that no one could have imagined but a few years ago.


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

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