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Issue Home January 6, 2010 Site Home

100 Years Ago
From the Desk of the D.A.
The Healthy Geezer
Library Chitchat
Rock Doc Break The Glass, Douse The Flames
What’s Bugging You?
Dear Dolly
Earth Talk
Barnes-Kasson Corner

100 Years Ago

UNIONDALE: Newton J. Corey has a fine new cutter, springs on every side, and the thill like a sedan chair. Newton looks happy when out sleigh riding with his wife, son and daughter, and driving his famous pacer, Bills S. C. Newton says that he has no return ticket on this trip in life, so he is going to take all the comfort he can on the out going trip.

RUSH: Much excitement was created in our town New Year’s eve and many aroused from their beds about 10:30 when the cry of fire was heard and the T. S. Wheatcroft house, lately occupied by Benj. Anderson, was discovered to be in flames. The fire gained such headway that no entrance could be made to the burning building. The entire contents, with the dog, were destroyed. Mr. Anderson carried no insurance. It will be remembered by some of our readers that the Wheatcroft store and dwelling, on the same ground, were destroyed by fire New Year’s night, sixteen years ago, when Romeo Robinson’s goods and dog perished.

JACKSON: H. M. Roberts received a letter last week from Frank B. Lamb, of Westfield, N.Y., offering the Jackson Library Association a donation of fifty newly published books as soon as their membership reaches fifty. It will be remembered that Mr. Lamb gave the library a fine lot of books when it was first opened. The patrons of the library held a meeting last Tuesday evening and decided to give a year’s membership the month of January for 50 cents. We have enrolled the past week 40 members and hope to get as many more.

FRANKLIN FORKS: Miss Mary Bailey has returned to Great Bend after spending her vacation at her home in this place. ALSO Franklin Forks school is closed this week because George Peck, one of the pupils, has the diphtheria. It is reported he is much better.

FRIENDSVILLE: Bird Corson is the new stage driver on the Friendsville end of the route.

GLENWOOD: H. N. Wilson has harvested his ice for the winter. ALSO The severe cold weather stopped all the water in town.

SPRINGVILLE: Jeremiah Cokely died December 27, 1909, after a brief illness, aged 65 years. He enlisted in Co. H, 4th Pennsylvania Reserves, June 18, 1861 and was transferred to the 2nd Regiment Cavalry, being discharged at the close of the war.

MONTROSE: The Palace Roller Skating Rink will be open Tuesday evenings only, until further notice. Considerable enthusiasm is being aroused over basketball and several good games have been played at the rink already and more will follow as soon as teams can be gotten in shape.

NEW MILFORD: Engine 849 on the Lackawanna road turned turtle here, Tuesday, Engineer Humphrey sustaining a sprained wrist and Fireman Fisher receiving burns which it is feared may cause his death. Fisher was taken to Moses Taylor hospital. The engine was backing up on a siding at the time of the accident and ran past the block, when it careened over on its side and pinned the engineer and fireman in the cab. A special train was fitted out and Fisher was hurried to Scranton for treatment. His injuries are such that very little hope is entertained for his recovery.

FAIR HILL, JESSUP TOWNSHIP: The photograph entertainment given in the Taylor Hollow school house, by Prof. Samuel Bazzler, was well attended and all report a good time.

SHANNON HILL, AUBURN TWP.: The next time you go to see your best girl you’d better take a carriage instead of a cutter when it is all mud over in Auburn.

ARARAT: Our roads have been so bad that the mail man, Mr. Brown, has been compelled to stay at home two days of last week, Monday and Thursday. If you don’t think we have any snow banks in “Old Ararat,” just take a pleasure ride to this place and you will go back contented.

HOPBOTTOM: The annual New Year’s Ball was held in Masonic Hall New Year’s Day; Wm. Purvis, of Factoryville, presided at the piano and all who attended report an enjoyable time.

FOREST LAKE: H. B. Stone & Son are operating a portable sawmill and doing considerable custom sawing. While the sawmill is in operation in that locality, it makes it very convenient for the residents, nearby, who desire timber sawed for building purposes.

BROOKLYN: B. A. Oakley, the breeder of fancy rose combed Brown Leghorns, was at the Madison Square Garden poultry show last week. He entered one hen and a cockerel. The exhibit of this particular breed was the largest and best ever made at the garden, yet he succeeded in securing second prize on the hen and first on the cockerel, also securing the specials for best shape and color, competing with twenty males.

HARFORD: Mr. and Mrs. S. J. Lott entertained their entire family of children and grand-children, at their home, Christmas day. The pleasure of the day was somewhat saddened by the thought that this would be the last Christmas dinner mother would cook in the old home, as Mr. Lott sold his farm to his son-in-law, Art Turrell, who will take possession March 1. Mr. and Mrs. Lott have lived forty years on this farm, but declining health has compelled them to sell.

NEWS BRIEF: The prevailing high prices of agricultural products are sure to send thousands of men back to the farm and increase the valuation of the land. This is as it should be. There is no more honorable and wholesome vocation than farming, but far too many men have held it in disdain and sought the marts of trade or speculation. “Back to the farm” is a safe and sensible slogan. ALSO The famous Big Six of the New York Nationals - Christy Mathewson, has just about completed the manuscript of a baseball story for boys of all ages, and it is the promise of his publishers, the R. J. Bodmer Co., of New York, that it will be ready for delivery in February. This will be the first of a series of boys’ stories on sports, top be known as the Matty Books.

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From the Desk of the D.A.
By District Attorney Jason J. Legg

Elmer Stoltzfoos Fisher, 22, is an Amish man living in the Lancaster area. He uses a horse and buggy as a means of transportation. Recently, his horse and buggy was observed traveling down the middle of a local roadway during the evening hours. Another driver, Jesse Blank, caught up to the buggy, and noticed that the horse was straddling the centerline and traveling at a slow pace, Blank pulled over his motor vehicle to see if there was something the matter. Blank was an off-duty police officer. Blank’s passenger, Nate Perry, got out and approached the buggy.

When he caught up to the buggy, Perry brought the horse to a stop and then observed Fisher passed out inside the buggy itself. Perry banged on the buggy door until he was able to wake Fisher up - and it was then discovered that Fisher was intoxicated. Fisher had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath and his eyes were bloodshot and watery. The police were called. Fisher failed field sobriety tests and a later breath test revealed a blood alcohol content level of .18%, well above the legal limit of .08%. Fisher was charged with DUI.

One of my staff brought this news report into me to ask whether you could be arrested for DUI for driving a buggy, as opposed to a car or truck. Back in December 2006, I wrote a column that addressed this issue to some degree. In that column, it was explained that the DUI statute applied to any “vehicle,” i.e., it need not be a motor vehicle. A “vehicle” includes “every device in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, except devices used exclusively upon rails or tracks.” In support of this position, the column noted that the Pennsylvania Superior Court had upheld a DUI conviction for a person riding a bicycle on a public roadway when the person’s blood alcohol content was .29%. A horse-drawn buggy is plainly a vehicle.

In January 2006, I wrote another column that explained how the DUI statute requires the Commonwealth to demonstrate that the defendant was in actual physical control of the motor vehicle while intoxicated. In that column, a case was described where a drunk driver was inside his parked, running car passed out and “sleeping it off” in the middle of a basketball court in a local park. In that case, the Superior Court indicated that there was sufficient evidence to support the requirement of “actual physical control” as the car had to have been moved to get to that location - and the defendant was the one behind the wheel.

Back to Fisher’s case, the interesting question will be whether he was in actual physical control of his buggy. By all accounts, he was passed out inside the buggy - he was exerting no physical control whatsoever at the time the vehicle was stopped. Of course, it is not uncommon for a drunk driver to pass out behind the wheel while driving a motor vehicle - and they were clearly in control of the vehicle prior to passing out. But what if Fisher had simply crawled into his buggy to “sleep it off” in the bar parking lot? And what if the horse got tired of waiting and decided to go home? Could Fisher be criminally responsible for his horse’s decision to go home? As I read about this case, I was thinking it would make a great question for a law school exam.

As I have stated in the past, a horse is not a vehicle. If Fisher had left the buggy home and simply ridden his horse to the bar, then he would not have found himself facing a DUI. Then again, he probably would have ended up passed out on the roadway somewhere when he fell off his horse. In the end, he was probably a lot safer in the buggy even if he now faces a DUI charge.

Please submit any questions, concerns, or comments to Susquehanna County District Attorney’s Office, P.O. Box 218, Montrose, Pennsylvania 18801 or at our website or discuss this and all articles at

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The Healthy Geezer
By Fred Cicetti

Q. My four-year-old grandson has begun to stutter. It upsets me and I don’t know how to handle it.

It should be reassuring to you to know that about five percent of children stutter for a period of about six months. Three-quarters of these children recover before they mature. About one percent of adults stutter.

Meanwhile, knowing how to talk to your grandson will help both of you.

People who stutter are aware of their problem and usually don’t want special treatment. Give them time to speak and don’t try to help them by filling in words or telling them to relax. If you interject, you can pressure them. And try not to avert your eyes or seem impatient when a person stutters.

Here are a few more tips for parents and grandparents:

* Keep your home a relaxed environment that allows many opportunities for the child to talk.

* Praise the child when he or she speaks fluently.

* Speak to the child in a slightly slowed and relaxed manner.

* If a child raises the subject of stuttering, talk openly and honestly about it.

Stuttering (also called stammering) is defined as a speech disorder in which sounds, syllables, or words are repeated or prolonged. These speech disruptions may be accompanied by blinking or quivering lips.

Some interesting facts about stuttering:

* More than three million Americans stutter.

* Stuttering affects three to four times as many males as females.

* There are no instant cures for stuttering. However, research into the possible causes of stuttering has led to progress in preventing the disorder.

* Studies show that people who stutter are as intelligent and well-adjusted as those who don't.

* Successful people who have had to overcome stuttering include: Vice President Joseph Biden, James Earl Jones, Winston Churchill, Marilyn Monroe, Carly Simon, John Updike, Tiger Woods, Bruce Willis, Jimmy Stewart, Julia Roberts, B.B. King, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Charles Darwin and England’s King George VI.

There are several types of stuttering.

The most common form of the disorder is developmental stuttering, which happens to children while they are learning to speak. Developmental stuttering runs in families. Some scientists believe this form of stuttering occurs when the ability to talk doesn’t keep up with verbal demands.

Another form is neurogenic stuttering, which may occur after a stroke, head trauma, or other type of brain injury.

A third type - psychogenic stuttering - can be caused by emotional trauma or reasoning problems. At one time, all stuttering was believed to be psychogenic, but today scientists say that psychogenic stuttering is rare.

There are a variety of treatments available. Most treatment programs for people who stutter are behavioral.

Many of the current therapies focus on learning ways to minimize stuttering such as speaking slowly, regulating breathing, or gradually progressing from single-syllable responses to longer words and more complex sentences. Most of these therapies also help relieve anxiety.

Many people find that they achieve their greatest success through a combination of self-study and therapy. Self-help groups provide a way for people who stutter to find resources and support as they face the challenges of stuttering.

If you have a question, please write to

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Library Chitchat
By Flo Whittaker

‘Tis the season for resolutions - lists of things that you promise you are definitely going to do in the coming year. May I suggest some New Year’s resolutions with a library theme for 2010?

Make visits to the Susquehanna County Library a regular part of your schedule. Remember we have four locations to serve you. Are you unable to get to any of the library locations? Books-by-Mail is available or you can borrow books at one of many “deposit stations.” Check the library’s web site at or call (570) 278-1881 for more details. Don’t buy when you can borrow.

Challenge yourself to learn something new in 2010. The Susquehanna County Library has thousands of books and audiovisual items available. If the items you are looking for are not at your nearest library location, items can be transferred between our four locations. We have a friendly and knowledgeable staff willing to help you. Don’t have a library card? Stop in at your nearest branch and sign up.

Check our web site regularly to find out what upcoming programs are available. There are baby lap sits, toddler times, and story hours for pre-school children, summer reading programs, a county-wide reading program called Susquehanna Reads.

Participate in our fund raising activities, such as the Spring Library Auction and the August Blueberry Festival. Remember that the Susquehanna County Library depends upon your continuing, generous, and regular support.

We hope to see many new faces in 2010!

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Rock Doc
By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters

Playing With Jello And Deducing Climate Change

By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters

I hope you played with your food when you were young. Perhaps you experimented at some point with pushing a drinking straw through Jello. If you twisted the straw as you removed it from your food, you could sometimes trap a column of gelatin in the straw. You then had the choice of either blowing the Jello at a sibling or, if your parents were at the table, gently squeezing the gelatin out of the straw onto your plate with your fingers.

Geologists take samples of ancient muck and mire in a way similar to kids playing with Jello. We bang pipes down into the soft Earth of lakebeds or peat bogs, pull them up, and push out narrow columns of mud inside. The muck is composed of many, many layers that go back in time. We geologists call this activity “coring,” and although it’s physically tough work, it’s no more complex than jamming straws into Jello.

The reason geologists make cores of mud is that low spots on the Earth can record the climate of Earth’s past. Evidence geologists get from coring lakebeds and peatbogs has taught us just how frequently both regional and global climate changes.

A Scandinavian geologist got the coring and climate story started. His name was Lennart von Post, he lived and worked around 1900, and he was the first geologist to carefully investigate what cores of muck could reveal about past climates.

Of all the places where geologists can core the Earth, our favorite spot is peat bogs. That’s because peat is the first step in the long geologic process of producing coal, and geologists are inordinately fond of all fossil fuels. So it was quite natural that von Post started coring the ancient remains of plants and mud layers that make up the peat of southern Sweden.

Little fragments of twigs and leaves can be preserved in peat, and if you can identify the species of plant that produced such material you have your first clue about past climate in a region. Von Post went to work identifying such bits of old plants, but he also had the wit to look at the ancient mire through a microscope. What he discovered was that he could identify ancient pollen in the layers of peat he was cataloging.

Pollen is surprisingly sturdy stuff. It will remain intact for literally thousands of years, lying in a layer of muck, waiting for a geologist to come along, core it, and identify the plant that produced it.

If you have allergies, you know pollen is blown around on the slightest breeze. That’s the basic fact that makes pollen much better than twigs or leaves for telling us past climate. Pollen reflects all the plants in a whole region.

If you know the identity of the whole range of plants in a region, you know pretty well what the climate must have been like, both in terms of temperature and precipitation. (Think of gardening “zones.”) And once you’ve described the pollen from a core, you can make a carbon-14 date of a twig and assign a specific age to the climate you’ve been able to deduce.

Ancient pollen makes it crystal clear that climate varies again and again over whole regions on Earth. Just for example, in northern Europe where von Post first worked, there have been ten major climate intervals in the last 15,000 thousand years. Each of these shifts was substantial.

The warmest era - when oak forests covered the lowland of Sweden - was what we geologists call “the Optimum,” the balmy times of about 6,000 to 8,000 years ago. That era was much warmer than today.

Some of the great shifts in climate were global in scope, some were only regional. And just to give us all nightmares, some of the biggest shifts in temperature occurred in just 20 years or so - well within a single human lifetime.

Studying past climates demands strength in the field, patience in the lab, strong eyes for microscope work - and plenty of courage, too. The simple but brutal fact is that major and minor climate change is woven into the fabric of the Earth itself.

Dr. E. Kirsten Peters is a native of the rural Northwest, but was trained as a geologist at Princeton and Harvard. Questions about science or energy for future Rock Docs can be sent to This column is a service of the College of Sciences at Washington State University.

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What’s Bugging You?
By Stuart W. Slocum

No What's Bugging You This Week

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Dear Dolly,

Dear Dolly,

What is a safe way to throw away out of date or un used medication? Can I flush it down the toilet? -Judy

Dear Judy,

Medication should never, ever be flushed. It sounds like a safe, easy way to dispose of pills and liquid medications and for years it was a recommended solution. Unfortunately it removes one hazard and causes an even bigger problem. Small amounts of medication are getting into our streams and lakes and eventually are working their way back into the food chain. I know it doesn't sound possible that two left over antibiotic pills would cause a problem but the contamination has been documented.

Take a black permanent marker and black out your personal information on the pill bottles. Use a product like duct tape and securely wrap the tape around any pill bottles to assure the lids will not fall off. If you have liquid medication, put some kitty litter or corn meal in the bottle to absorb the liquid. Again, take duct tape and wrap it around the bottle, covering the lid to keep it in place.

Put these secured containers into a zip lock bag and place it into your trash, to be taken to a land fill.

Some of the larger pharmacy chains have a medication disposal program. Check with your pharmacist.

All Transcript readers are welcome to submit their questions to Dear Dolly at

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From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine


From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Years ago I read that children should be kept at least two feet from the television because of harmful electronic emissions. Is this still relevant? Is there a difference regarding this between older and new flat-screen models? -Horst E. Mehring, Oconomowoc, WI

Luckily for many of us and our kids, sitting “too” close to the TV isn’t known to cause any human health issues. This myth prevails because back in the 1960s General Electric sold some new-fangled color TV sets that emitted excessive amounts of radiation - as much as 100,000 times more than federal health officials considered safe. GE quickly recalled and repaired the faulty TVs, but the stigma lingers to this day.

But even though electronic emissions aren’t an issue with TVs made any time after 1968 (including today’s LCD and plasma flat screens), what about causing harm to one’s vision? Dr. Lee Duffner of the American Academy of Ophthalmology isn’t concerned, maintaining that watching television screens - close-up or otherwise - “won’t cause any physical damage to your eyes.” He adds, however, that a lot of TV watching can surely cause eye strain and fatigue, particularly for those sitting very close and/or watching from odd angles. But there is an easy cure for eye strain and fatigue: turning off the TV and getting some rest. With a good night’s sleep, tired eyes should quickly return to normal.

Debra Ronca, a contributor to the How Stuff Works website, argues that some parents might be putting the cart before the horse in blaming close-up TV watching for their child’s vision issues. “Sitting close to the television may not make a child nearsighted, but a child may sit close to the television because he or she is nearsighted and undiagnosed,” she reports. “If your child habitually sits too close to the television for comfort, get his or her eyes tested.”

Of course, excessive TV viewing by kids can cause health problems indirectly. According to the Nemours Foundation’s KidsHealth website, children who consistently watch TV more than four hours a day are more likely to be overweight, which in and of itself can bring about health problems later. Also, kids who watch a lot of TV are more likely to copy bad behavior they see on-screen and tend to “fear that the world is scary and that something bad will happen to them.” Nemours also finds that TV characters often depict risky behaviors (like smoking and drinking) and also tend to reinforce gender-role and racial stereotypes.

There has also been much debate in recent years on the effects of TV viewing on infants. A 2007 Seattle Children’s Research Institute study found that for every hour per day infants spent watching baby DVDs and videos they learned six to eight fewer new vocabulary words than babies who never watched the videos. But a 2009 study by the Center on Media & Child Health at Children's Hospital Boston found no negative cognitive or other impacts whatsoever on those infants exposed to more television than less.

While it may be inevitable that your kids will watch TV, the key, experts say, is moderation. Limit kids’ exposure to screens of any kind, and monitor what they are allowed to watch. As KidsHealth points out, parents should teach their kids that the TV is “for occasional entertainment, not for constant escapism.”

CONTACTS: American Academy of Ophthalmology,; How Stuff Works,; KidsHealth,; Seattle Children's Research Institute,; Center on Media & Child Health,

Dear EarthTalk: What’s better for the local ecology, sewers or septic tanks? -T.H., Darien, CT

You probably won’t have much choice as to whether that home you’re thinking of buying is on sewer or septic. Most likely it’s a done deal, unless the neighborhood is presently all on septic but is considering a petition to the town to switch to sewers (in which case you can usually agree to hook up or stay put).

There are pros and cons to each in regard to the environment. Both types of systems are designed to handle and treat so-called “blackwater” (wastewater from toilets) and “graywater” coming from our sinks, showers, dishwashers and laundry machines. On-site septic and community-wide sewer systems work in similar ways, utilizing micro-organisms to filter out bacteria, viruses and other disease-causing pathogens before releasing the cleansed water back into the environment.

In general, most people prefer to be on a shared sewer system if they have a choice, as the burden of keeping the system running smoothly falls on the local government, which presumably has the money and expertise to ensure that wastewater is properly treated across the region. Also, in a shared sewer system, wastewater is whisked away to a centralized treatment facility; anyone who has ever experienced a septic system backup on their property can appreciate what a benefit off-site wastewater treatment can be.

Another advantage to a shared sewer is that such systems are usually built to withstand heavy loads and can better accommodate periods of heavy precipitation or storm surges that might overwhelm smaller, poorly conceived or maintained home-based septic tanks, which are by virtue of their size and the laws of physics more prone to overflow and send contaminants into nearby surface and ground waters.

Septic systems have their proponents, though, who say that a professionally designed, installed and maintained system should hold up in even the biggest of storms. The University of Minnesota Extension (UMNE), which publishes the useful online “Septic System Owner’s Guide,” says vigilance is key: “The only way to guarantee effective treatment is to have a trained professional ensure adequate unsaturated and suitable soil exists below the soil treatment area to allow for complete wastewater treatment.”

When homeowners don’t take care of their septic systems properly, though, they can become a nuisance for the surrounding ecosystem. Wastewater that is not properly treated can contaminate surface and groundwater and threaten public health. According to UMNE, improperly treated sewage can be the culprit behind the spread of hepatitis, dysentery and other diseases resulting from pathogens in drinking water, while also compromising the purity of lakes and streams. Additionally, flies and mosquitoes that are attracted to and breed in wet areas where sewage reaches the surface can also spread disease.

Improperly treated sewage can also lead to increased nitrates in local water supplies, which is dangerous for infants, pregnant women and those with already compromised immune systems. In and around lakes and streams, this influx in nitrates can lead to plant growth out of whack with the local ecosystem’s ability to handle it, resulting in oxygen-free “dead zones” devoid of marine and riparian life altogether.

CONTACT: Septic System Owner’s Guide,

SEND YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTIONS TO: EarthTalk®, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; Read past columns at:

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Barnes-Kasson Corner
By Cara Sepcoskiw

National Fruits & Veggies Week November 29 - December 5

Barnes-Kasson Hospital is observing National Fruits and Veggies Week November 29 - December 5. We all know that fruits and vegetables are good for you, but did you know that they are critical for promoting a healthy body? Fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins, fiber, and minerals, that may help protect the human body from chronic diseases.

Not only can eating fruits and vegetables help limit your risk of disease, it also can help lead to weight loss. Vegetables and fruit are low in calories, and if they are replaced with fatty foods, you will naturally loose weight. But eating fruits and vegetables on top of what you already eat will make you gain weight. While they may be low in calories, fruits and vegetables still contain calories. So if someone was to still eat fatty foods, not exercise and add fruits and vegetables, they would gain weight due to the increase in their food intake. The key is to substitute high calorie fatty foods for lower calorie vegetables and fruits.

Years ago, it was recommended that everyone received five servings of veggies, but new research has proven that is not the case. Because everybody is different, everybody needs a different amount of servings per day. For example, an average height, healthy weight female would need only 2.5 servings, whereas an average healthy weight male would need 3.5.

It is encouraged that adults get their recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, but adolescents and children need to as well. It is essential for a healthy diet to eat fruits and veggies during the growing years. Keeping your children on a healthy diet can sometimes be confusing and challenging, especially since most children are not too fond of eating vegetables or fruit. To keep your entire family healthy, try slowly adding fruits and veggies in your family’s diet. Try replacing candy with veggies in your children’s lunch boxes or when you snack at work. To make fruit seem more appealing, try adding it to basic things, like breakfast cereal.

Many schools are now participating in P.A.C.K., a program designed to encourage parents to pack healthier food options in their children’s lunch boxes. This program also helps fuel kids want for fruits and veggies by making them be more appealing and fun. P.A.C.K works by making a game and competition out of eating the necessary servings each child needs. One way is by calling certain weeks, “purple week” or “red week.” During these weeks children have to bring a fruit or veggie of that color to school for lunch. Children who have participated in this program claim that it evolved into a competition between classmates to see who could bring in the biggest or most unusual fruit or veggie.

Many children, especially teenagers, are now taking the jump toward vegetarianism. This choice has been causing a sense of fear among parents. Many are concerned that their children will become malnourished, or not intake the necessary vitamins needed for growth. The truth is however, that a vegetarian diet is a very healthy choice, but one should always consult with their doctor before changing their diet drastically.

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