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Issue Home March 10, 2010 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

The Play To End All Plays!

Easter is near! We are performing a play that is all about Jesus Christ's earthly ministry, and we need you to be a part of it! Yes, YOU! Even if you can not sing, perform in front of people, or if you are just down right crazy we need you! Please call us as soon as possible if you want to help out with costumes, acting, food, stage crew, or if you just want to hang out. Our number is (607) 331-5301. When you call us ask for Timothy or Patrick. Thank you, and we hope to speak with you soon!


Elder Helferstay

Susquehanna, PA

I Am In Agreement

For the past two months I have been reading about a pending ordinance prohibiting the use of “Engine Retardant Brakes” within the Boro.

After retiring in 2005 with 52 years evenly divided on trucks and buses and over 4 1/2 million miles I feel that I can offer some input on the subject.

Having spent my last 20 years, before retiring, leased to a heavy haul trucking company, my truck was equipped with an engine retardant brake most commonly called, and will be referred to as, a “Jake Brake.”

My dedicated run was hauling communication shelters from Minden, Louisiana to all points in the US, many of them destined to PA. For the most part theses buildings were 12 feet and wider weighing from 45,000 to 70,000 pounds requiring overwidth/overweight permits. The permit states that a truck permitted for an overweight load shall have “operating engine brakes” which shall supersede any local ordinance. However, I am in agreement with the pending ordinance for the simple reason that the misuse of jake brakes has certainly interrupted the peace and quiet of our small communities, especially at night.

I am sorry to say that we have little boys driving big trucks with their “big boys toys” and the more noise they can make the better. (i.e. Straight pipes reverberating while passing though a small town, in a valley, like Susquehanna, and while empty just to make their presence known.)

A truck with the proper exhaust using a jake brake under the right conditions will barely be noticeable. Bear in mind if that loaded truck, not able to stop, sailing right across Main Street before crashing, had brakes adjusted properly and a properly tuned (yes, jake brakes need maintenance also) jake brake in operation, this accident would have not happened.

Since permitted loads travel only in daylight hours, unless under extremely extraordinary conditions, the peace and quiet at night would never be violated.

I hope this information is helpful and will be happy to offer any more information if necessary.


Bob Coe

Harford/Susquehanna, PA

What Are We Feeding Our Pets?

The pet food package is unerringly appealing: appetizing chunks of beef, fish, greens, and whole grains are pictured. If it's a can, it will be decorated with a restaurant entrée. But if the package or can showed what it really contained, no one would buy it. It would be more appalling than appealing. It is the little can of horrors.

First, a primer on what is usually the first ingredient in pet food, “meat by-products.” That doesn't sound too alarming until you look at the source of the by-products. Slaughterhouses are the main providers. Whether it's cattle, pigs, sheep, horses, or poultry, nothing - absolutely nothing - goes to waste.

Every part of the animal that is not used for human consumption is sold to a rendering plant. (More about that later.) This includes copious amounts of heads, horns, hoofs, stomachs and intestines (with contents), blood, feathers, even diseased and cancerous tissues. However, in “meat” by-products, there is precious little meat.

All animal parts that are to be sent to a rendering plant are sprayed with carbolic acid or fuel oil - that's right, fuel oil - to identify them and prevent contamination of the human food supply.

Now we're ready to gather the ingredients for a traditional down-home pet food recipe. Begin with the fuel-oil coated slaughterhouse waste from the 2.5 million animals that are butchered every day. Next, roadkill. We'll use the million animals that are shoveled-up daily from roadways. Mix in 20,000 euthanized animals. Toss in giant 20-pound nutria rats to taste. Stir in the offscourings from restaurant grease-traps and rancid oils from frying bins.

Sprinkle with shrink-wrappings and Styrofoam from restaurants and supermarkets, plastic bags, animal insecticide patches, flea collars, cattle and pet ID tags, and sundry other artifacts. Use your imagination.

Spices need not be added. The mixture is pre-seasoned with insecticides, antibiotics, the lethal chemicals used to “put animals to sleep,” plus a generous assortment of other toxins.

What we have is an unrefrigerated, festering, culinary potpourri. All of this now goes to a rendering plant for final preparation and cooking.

At the rendering plant this mixture is loaded into a ten-foot-wide funnel that feeds a giant auger. The biomass is crushed and ground into a soupy consistence. It is then cooked at 250 degrees for an hour. Next it's off to a hydraulic press where excess moisture is squeezed out.

The gruesome gumbo is then sent to one of 300 pet food plants. Here the meat mixture is blended with rice flour, soybean meal, starches, thickeners, corn syrup, sugar, MSG, artificial colors and flavors, a host of preservatives and stabilizers, and packaged.

But better fare is available for your pet, but it all depends on you. Here are five “don't” and one “do” for a healthy pet.

Don't buy pet treats. The moist pellets are heavily laced with fungicides to prevent molding, plus other preservatives, and artificial coloring and flavoring. Don't buy those low-cost bulk bags sold at discount stores; you pay less because you get less. Don't buy foods that contain hydrolyzed protein. Hydrolyzation is a process that boils horns, hoofs, and feathers in a strong acid bath. This breaks them down into their component amino acids. The end product is 100 percent protein. Unfortunately, this protein lacks essential amino acids making it 100 percent unusable as protein.

And don't be fooled by labels saying “natural” or “USDA inspected.” “Natural” has no legal definition; it can mean almost anything. And though the product may have been inspected by the USDA, the label almost certainly does not state that it passed. Tricky.

But do patronize a pet store that has a selection of high-quality foods. Look for the following: one that uses only vitamins C and E as preservatives, whole grains that are freshly ground not the floor sweepings from grain mills, and check for a list of healthful vegetables and an assortment of vitamins and minerals.

But beware, quality doesn't come cheap. Choosing the best food for your pet will probably be somewhat of a balancing act between your wallet and your pet food choice.


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

While We Slept

Our Founding Fathers really knew what they were doing. They also knew that there was nothing that they could write that would survive the test of time unless the citizens were vigilant. Thomas Jefferson said it best: “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” He also said: “The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.” We have been lulled into complacency by the words of our politicians and their spending of our children’s wealth. Politicians say what they think the electorate wants to hear. For many years, Democrats and Republicans alike, spent without restraint, promising to fix all ills with “Federal” dollars. They behave as if there was to be no end to it. At the same time, there was a concurrent school of thought. Known as Progressives (or at times Liberals), they believed that the Founding Documents were flawed and they set out to change them.

In the most simplistic terms, they would substitute Government for Freedom. The term used to garner public support was Social Justice. If only we would give up our Freedom, Government would provide for all our needs. There would no longer be rich and poor, there would only be Justice. Everyone would share in the wealth. Inch by inch, bit by bit, they would transform our country into a Socialist country. We would all be equal. However, there was a little problem. It doesn’t work. Right out of the starting gate, the proponents of the Social Justice believe that they are the ones who would determine how this Justice would be dispensed - not the people. They would determine how you would live your lives. They would accrue unto themselves the power and control over everyone’s life. And, since they were the ones who called the shots, there were none who could hold them accountable.

These forces have been working to transform our form of government for over one hundred years now. Incrementally, they have been chipping away at our Constitution and Bill of Rights. At this very moment, if you just open your eyes at least little bit, you will see our Government working diligently to increase its size and power and diminish yours. Currently, politicians are working to pass laws which are opposed by the majority of the people. They claim they are doing it for you and it is the right thing. (Really?) If you don’t wake up soon, you’ll never know what hit you. You don’t get two chances in this game. One strike and you are out. In Germany, Italy and Venezuela, it took less than six years to transform those countries from democracies to totalitarianism, one day, one decree, at a time. Don’t take my word for it - look it up.


Joe McCann

Elk Lake, PA


Letters To The Editor MUST BE SIGNED. They MUST INCLUDE a phone number for "daytime" contact. Letters MUST BE CONFIRMED VERBALLY with the author, before printing. Letters should be as concise as possible, to keep both Readers' and Editors' interest alike. Your opinions are important to us, but you must follow these guidelines to help assure their publishing.

Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript

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