August 8, 2006
We’ve recently returned to Truckee after a week and a half traveling throughout Northern California and Southern Oregon. While catching up on our stack of Sierra Suns, we decided to put in our two cents regarding our local road construction favorite, Sweets.
We thought about Sweets while we were stopped in night time traffic outside of Marysville where the flagmen were not only boring, they were dangerous. Their positions were directly under the severe glare of night time flood lamps. They were not moving and were only marginally visible, unlike Sweets, who has always made himself very visible.
We thought of Sweets in Lake County where the flagging personnel looked hot, tired and disinterested, not like our favorite Sweets who even on the warmest days manages to take the heat away with his large smiles and his energy.
Long lines of cars elsewhere left us wishing more flagging personnel could take entertainment lessons from Sweets to relieve some driver frustrations and make other motorists easier to drive with.
Then we came home. It was incredibly disappointing to read in the Sierra Sun that Sweets has been directed not to dance and entertain.
Town of Truckee, please reconsider your position and bring back the smiles to our road construction waits. More importantly, you are depriving us of safety in our construction zones. Considering the still, slumping, tired-looking and sometimes hard-to-see flaggers we’ve seen elsewhere, you need to understand that Sweets’ motion makes him visible so drivers are more alert, and his energy lightens the mood making drivers more patient and considerate.
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We need Sweets to be allowed to be himself for the betterment of all of us. Please return the smiles to the road work zones.
Laurie and Scott Scheibner
Sweets’ performance as a flagger is undeniably enjoyable and lightens the dismal experience of traffic controls. My wife and three grandkids look forward to driving through the project at the entrance to Sierra Meadows where he is employed.
Public sentiment, in the form of recent letters to the editor, supports Sweets dancing in the street. However, as a retired paving contractor and having been responsible for traffic controls for many years, I find his hand gestures confusing and am not sure which side of the slow/stop is actually facing me. I personally have witnessed several near accidents, so my confusion is apparently also experienced by others.
Yes, he is entertaining, but no, it is not acceptable. His performance is not in compliance with traffic control rules in place in California, and puts my life and yours in jeopardy. The Town of Truckee, who is administering the project at the entrance to Sierra Meadows, has a responsibility to keep our safety as their first responsibility, not our entertainment.
I normally enjoy Henry Kliebenstein’s columns and find them to be educational. In fact, I have clipped a couple to send to my mom in Elmira, New York. I am catching up on the Sierra Suns I missed while I was out of town last week and I read “Wake up: There’s nasty stuff in your food.” (“For the Health of it” Sierra Sun July 25)
I must take issue with some statements made in this column. First, he implies that “people a 150 years ago” didn’t have to deal with cancer. I might like to point out that people in the mid-1800s lived about 40 or 50 years, so, in most cases, didn’t live long enough to develop the cancers that are so prevalent today. Additionally, medical care wasn’t as advanced so people were often diagnosed with diseases that we have since re-named. For example, people died of “consumption”, which we now diagnose as tuberculosis. In all likelihood, some people did die of cancer only it wasn’t recognized as such at that time.
Additionally, I bake bread. Most bread recipes call for sweetener to provide “food” for the yeast (Betty Crocker.) High fructose corn syrup is a sweetener ” a prime component of Karo Syrup, which is not that good for you but needed in some recipes. Ascorbic acid is Vitamin C; triticale is a crop dating back to 1875 that was a cross breeding of wheat (tritium) and rye (secole); and monogylcerides are single chain fats added to make the dough smooth. That leaves us with one questionable ingredient in his bread ” azodicarbonamide. This assists with the rising of the bread (whole wheat flour does not raise easily compared to white flour as it does not contain as much gluten.) In the studies done, 8.25 ppm were added to bread dough and after 45 minutes of rising, only .1 ppm could still be detected. No adverse results were found in any studies I read on animals or man, long-term or short-term.
So, while his goal was to goad readers into baking bread, perhaps this space could have been better spent teaching people how to read the nutrition labels on bread so they can choose healthful bread instead of “air” bread.
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