Dear Sun Spots: Who is the District Five director in charge of rezoning for Little League districting. Currently Auburn has two. One for New Auburn Little League and one for Auburn Suburban. It seems that the city of Auburn has not had a new zone in almost 30 years. – Angela Dubuc, No Town.

Answer: Sun Spots spoke with director Jeff Ham, who says the districting is done via population numbers. He notes that that is why there is one in New Auburn and the other Auburn Suburban; the population was too large for one. Should someone decide they want to add to the territory, he notes it can be done. You or other interested parties would need to submit a map of where you would like the new territory. The map could then be forwarded to Eastern Regional in Connecticut with or without the director’s recommendations. Ham notes that any time you increase the territory, it’s a plus for the additional children involved in the program, and it’s giving the children something to do. That, he notes, is what it’s all about. Ham would be happy to discuss this with you or other readers. He can be reached at 783-6039.

Dear Sun Spots: When I was a youngster, my friends and I used to chew tar because we were told that it would make our teeth whiter. Is there any truth to this or were the older folks pulling a joke on us? – Tar Baby, No Town.

Answer:
Sun Spots has located several references to this online; however, there doesn’t appear to be any scientific evidence posted within the writing mentioning it. She did locate an interesting article online at www.brad.ac.uk/annualreports/1999/research/gum.html, which notes that research by Dr Elizabeth Aveling of the Department of Archaeological Sciences revealed that chewing gum has in fact been in use for thousands of years – since the Stone Age. Aveling’s work concentrated on the chemical analysis of resinous and tarry substances which were used as adhesives, waterproofing agents, and chewing gums during the Mesolithic period (5,000 – 10,000 years ago) in northern Europe. Organic material (which includes gums and glues) does not often survive the ravages of time. However, at a number of waterlogged bog sites in Scandinavia the preservation of organic remains has been exceptional, and it is from here that the Mesolithic chewing gum has been recovered. The artifacts are in the form of black lumps of a tar-like material with distinct human tooth impressions, similar in many respects to modern pieces of discarded chewing gum. Chemical analysis of tiny samples of the finds showed that the gums had a common origin ­­­­­- birch bark tar, which is made by heating the outer bark of birch. The Web site notes that in an article published in British Archaeology, Dr Aveling discussed reasons why the tar was chewed – birch bark tar is known to have been used during the medieval period in Europe as a cure for sore throats, and linen dressings coated with it were used to treat skin wounds. Therefore, it could have been chewed for medicinal reasons. Alternatively, the tar may have been chewed as an early form of dental hygiene. It encourages saliva production which would help to keep the teeth clean. However, it might also have had a social or ritualistic function also. In Eastern Europe during the Middle Ages, crosses were painted in birch bark tar above doors and children’s beds to ward off evil spirits. Finds of tar lumps (some with tooth impressions) are also known from Bronze Age urn burials. An examination of tooth impressions has revealed that the majority of Mesolithic gums were chewed by children.

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