The following questions were asked recently on the Wonderline:

Q: When the snow melts or when it rains really hard, the gravel/dirt streets in York just get so muddy. Is there any chance that they will ever be paved?

A: The paving of the dirt/gravel streets in the city has been on the one- and six-year long-term program for decades but the work is never done because it would require the approval of the majority of adjacent property owners (who would share in the cost of the paving). And so far, that hasn’t happened.

Q: Is the traffic light at Lincoln Avenue and the bypass traffic-activated or is it on a timer?

A: It is traffic-activated.

Q: If I want to nominate someone for induction into the York Area Ag Hall of Fame, how do I go about that?

A: We accept nominations for the York Area Ag Hall of Fame all year long. In a few months, we will publish nomination forms, but in the meantime, if someone wants to nominate someone for induction they can simply send an email to melanie.wilkinson@yorknewstimes.com, stating the name/names of the person or persons they want to nominate, with information about the person’s contributions to agriculture and community. Photographs are also encouraged. Be as detailed as you’d like – the more information the better.

We will hold on to all the nominations until a selection is made next summer. Also, nominations that may have not been selected for a particular year are saved and considered in the next year as well.

Q: Who owns the York County Fairgrounds?

A: The York County Fairgrounds are the property of the York County Ag Society

Q: Why are cranberries associated with Thanksgiving?

A: According to the University of Maine, American Indians used cranberries as a food source, to dye fabric and as medicine. The cranberry is one of only three commercially-produced fruits that are native to North America. Due to the importance of cranberries in the 1500s and their abundance, it is believed that the pilgrims and the American Indians would have eaten them at the first Thanksgiving.

Q: What happens to the turkeys that are “pardoned” by presidents? Are they really never butchered? And if they aren’t, do they go to some special place for turkeys? And where did the idea come from? I’ve always wondered.

A: According to CNN, “rumors of turkey pardons go back as far as the Lincoln administration, when the president’s young son supposedly begged his father to spare a pet turkey that was destined for the dinner table.

“But the turkey pardon as we know it today has its roots in the mid-20th century. The National Turkey Federation has been the official turkey supplier to the First Family since 1947, when President Harry Truman accepted the feathered sacrifice. He did not, however, show the bird mercy.

“The first documented turkey pardon was given by President John F. Kennedy in 1963. The pardoning didn’t catch on, however. President Gerald Ford saw fit to pardon President Richard Nixon, but neither one of them saw fit to officially spare their turkeys.

“According to the White House, it wasn’t until 1989 that pardoning resurfaced as part of the turkey presentation. That year, President George H. W. Bush started what became a tradition upheld by every president since.

“Pardoned birds have been sent to live out their lives at various locations, including petting zoos and Mount Vernon.”

So yes, the turkeys really, truly are pardoned.

Q: How many eggs does a chicken lay in a year?

A: According to the American Egg Board, the average hen lays one egg every 26 hours, so about 265 a year.

Q: With so many turkeys being sold this time of year, I was curious as to what states raise the most turkeys.

A: With 41 million turkeys raised in Minnesota, that state tops the chart for turkey production. Next up is North Carolina with 31 million turkeys raised. Then Arkansas comes in third with 27.5 million.

Q: Who came up with the idea for the green bean casserole on Thanksgiving and when did that happen?

A: Credit for the green bean casserole goes to Dorcas Reilly with the Campbell Soup Company. It was created in 1955 and has been a mainstay on Thanksgiving tables ever since.

Q: From where did sweet potatoes originate?

A: The center of origin and domestication of sweet potatoes is thought to be either Central America or South America. In Central America, sweet potatoes were domesticated at least 5,000 years ago.

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