The Consumer Vision

   January/February, 2011

Address: 359 Coggeshall St., New Bedford, MA 02746

Telephone: 508-994-4972

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Publisher: Bob Branco

Editor: Janet Marcley

Braille Production: Perkins Braille and Talking Book Library

CD Production: Bob Zeida

Cassette Production: Audible Local Ledger, Sherry Bergeron

Email Production: Bob Branco and Janet Marcley

Print Production: Alpha Graphics

Board of Directors: Clement Beaulieu, Darryl Breffe, Steve Brown, Lauren Casey, Dan Germano, Ken Sylvia and Gail Teixeira

I am pleased to inform all of you that the Consumer Vision is officially a
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If you would like to subscribe to the Consumer Vision six times a year, please email or call our office at 508-994-4972, and we will discuss which format you want to receive. The Consumer Vision is available in print, Braille, cassette, CD and email. We are also accepting monetary donations to help keep Consumer Vision running. If you would like to contribute, please make your check payable to Consumer Vision and send it to Bob Branco, c/o Consumer Vision, 359 Coggeshall St., New Bedford, MA 02746. We will accept money orders and checks, but we do not accept credit cards.

The Consumer Vision would also like to establish a readers forum, which will consist of responses by our readers to material published in past issues of Consumer Vision. If you have a question or a comment about a previous article, please email

Note: For searching purposes, three asterisks (***) have been inserted just before the beginning of each new article or section.



Humanitarian of the Year Honored
Something for Stevie
The Working Blind
How My Trip to Lourdes has Strengthened My Catholic Faith, Part 1
A Woman with Patience and Determination
Coastline Elderly Nutrition News
Fear and Loathing with SRTA
How Santa Came to Little Rock, Arkansas
The Rose
Coastline Elderly Nutrition News
Chopsticks on the Side
Consumer Vision Trivia Contest


Humanitarian of the Year Honored

The Consumer Vision is proud to pick its Humanitarian of the Year for 2010.
It is with great pleasure that we honor Mary Lou Washburn of Oklahoma City
for her constant caring and sensitivity toward others.  Mary Lou has shown
us why she is deserving of this award. The following is the official
nomination from one of our readers.

Hi Bob:

My nomination is Mary Lou Washburn of Oklahoma City, OK.  She drives people
around to doctor appointments, grocery shopping trips and other errands.
Sometimes she reads for blind people who need it. She grew up with blind
parents, and, she has a blind husband. So, she knows about the challenges
that blind people face. The people she helps usually pay her a nominal fee
to cover the gas.

Don Hansen


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Something for Stevie
Author Unknown

I tried not to be biased in hiring a handicapped person, but his placement
counselor assured me that he would be a good, reliable busboy. But I had
never had a mentally handicapped employee and wasn't sure I wanted one. I
wasn't sure how my customers would react to Stevie. He was short, a little
dumpy, with the smooth facial features and the thick-tongued speech of Downs

I wasn't worried about most of my trucker customers because truckers don't
generally care who buses tables as long as the meatloaf platter is good and
the pies are homemade.

The four-wheeler drivers were the ones who concerned me - the mouthy college
kids travelling to school; the yuppie snobs who secretly polish their
silverware with their napkins for fear of catching some dreaded "truck-stop
germ"; the pairs of white-shirted business men on expense accounts who think
every truck-stop waitress wants to be flirted with.

I knew those people would be uncomfortable around Stevie so I closely
watched him for the first few weeks. I shouldn't have worried. After the
first week, Stevie had my staff wrapped around his stubby little finger, and
within a month my truck regulars had adopted him as their official
truck-stop mascot.

After that, I really didn't care what the rest of the customers thought of
him. He was like a 21-year-old in blue jeans and Nikes, eager to laugh and
eager to please, but fierce in his attention to his duties. Every salt and
pepper shaker was exactly in its place, and not a bread crumb or coffee
spill was visible when Stevie got done with the table.

Our only problem was convincing him to wait to clean a table until after the
customers were finished. He would hover in the background, shifting his
weight from one foot to the other, scanning the dining room until a table
was empty. Then he would scurry to the empty table and carefully bus the
dishes and glasses onto the cart and meticulously wipe the table up with a
practiced flourish of his rag. If he thought a customer was watching, his
brow would pucker with added concentration.

He took pride in doing his job exactly right, and you had to love how hard
he tried to please each and every person he met. Over time, we learned that
he lived with his mother, a widow who was disabled after repeated surgeries
for cancer. They lived on their Social Security benefits in public housing
two miles from the truck-stop.

Their social worker, who stopped to check on him every so often, admitted
they had fallen between the cracks. Money was tight, and what I paid him was
probably the difference between their being able to live together and Stevie's
being sent to a group home. That's why the restaurant was a gloomy place
that morning last August, the first morning in three years that Stevie
missed work. He was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester getting a new valve or
something put in his heart. His social worker said that people with Downs
Syndrome often had heart problems at an early age so this wasn't unexpected,
and there was a good chance he would come through the surgery in good shape
and be back at work in a few months.

A ripple of excitement ran through the staff later that morning when word
came that he was out of surgery, in recovery and doing fine. Frannie, my
head waitress, let out a war hoop and did a little dance in the aisle when
she heard the good news; Belle Ringer, one of our regular trucker customers,
stared at the sight of the 50-year-old grandmother of four doing a victory
shimmy beside his table. Frannie blushed, smoothed her apron and shot Belle
Ringer a withering look.

He grinned. "OK, Frannie, what was that all about?" he asked.

"We just got word that Stevie is out of surgery and going to be okay."

"I was wondering where he was. I had a new joke to tell him. What was the
surgery about?" Frannie quickly told Belle Ringer and the other two drivers
sitting at his booth about Stevie's surgery, and then sighed. "Yeah, I'm
glad he is going to be okay," she said, "but I don't know how he and his mom
are going to handle all the bills. From what I hear, they're barely getting
by as it is."

"Pony Pete asked me what that was all about," she said, "so I told him about
Stevie and his mom and everything, and Pete looked at Tony and Tony looked
at Pete, and they ended up giving me this." She handed me another paper
napkin that had "Something For Stevie" scrawled on its outside. Two $50
bills were tucked within its folds. Frannie looked at me with wet, shiny
eyes, shook her head and said simply, "Truckers."

That was three months ago. Today is Thanksgiving, the first day Stevie is
supposed to be back to work. His placement worker said he's been counting
the days until the doctor said he could work, and it didn't matter at all
that it was a holiday. He called ten times in the past week, making sure we
knew he was coming, fearful that we had forgotten him or that his job was in
jeopardy. I arranged to have his mother bring him to work, met them in the
parking lot and invited them both to celebrate his day back. Stevie was
thinner and paler, but couldn't stop grinning as he pushed through the doors
and headed for the back room where his apron and bussing cart were waiting.
"Hold up there, Stevie, not so fast," I said. I took him and his mother by
their arms. "Work can wait for a minute. To celebrate your coming back,
breakfast for you and your mother is on me."

I led them toward a large corner booth at the rear of the room. I could feel
and hear the rest of the staff following behind as we marched through the
dining room. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw booth after booth of grinning
truckers empty and join the procession. We stopped in front of the big
table. Its surface was covered with coffee cups, saucers and dinner plates,
all sitting slightly crooked on dozens of folded paper napkins. "First thing
you have to do, Stevie, is clean up this mess," I said. I tried to sound
stern. Stevie looked at me, and then at his mother, then pulled out one of
the napkins. It had "Something for Stevie" printed on the outside.

As he picked it up, two $10 bills fell onto the table. Stevie stared at the
money, then at all the napkins peeking from beneath the tableware, each with
his name printed or scrawled on it. I turned to his mother. "There's more
than $10,000 in cash and checks on that table, all from truckers and
trucking companies that heard about your problems. Happy Thanksgiving."
Well, it got real noisy about that time, with everybody hollering and
shouting, and there were a few tears as well. But you know what's funny?
While everybody else was busy shaking hands and hugging each other, Stevie,
with a big, big smile on his face, was busy clearing all the cups and dishes
from the table. Best worker I ever hired.


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The Working Blind

The following are success stories of blind people hard at work at their
jobs. We at Consumer Vision would like to show that the blind can be as
successful as their sighted co-workers, given the proper training.


I teach line dancing three days a week; two of those days I teach with
another woman and the 3rd day I teach by myself. I do not get paid for
this, although I could charge $2 or $3 a class. Sometimes there are 40
people in a class. I am retired and just enjoy line dancing, which is why I
do not charge anything for it. However, in January, I am taking a course to
be certified to be a Zumba instructor. Zumba is exercise with great music
that is mostly Latin beats like the Rhumba. I will be charging for that
class since I have to pay to be certified and pay for special music that has
a certain number of beats per minute. That is how the exercise is
regulated, by the number of beats per minute.

Jean Marcley, Brenda, Arizona


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How My Trip to Lourdes has Strengthened My Catholic Faith
 Part 1

By Karen Crowder

On June 3, I attended a funeral and met a former classmate from Perkins. We
exchanged emails and phone numbers and the next day, Friday, he called
informing me about a trip to Lourdes in late June. I was curious and phoned
their office that afternoon. Our Lady of Lourdes' North American volunteers
are in Syracuse, New York. I spoke to Kathleen, a lovely woman, who said
that yes, there was a trip, and that they even sponsor people who cannot
afford the steep plane fare to France. I asked to be put on a waiting list.
"Then pray for your intention and if someone cancels their trip, you may be
chosen." I asked what the price was if you were able to pay for your trip.
Kathleen quoted me a price of $2,000.

Her comforting words stayed with me, "We do pray for the people on the

The next eleven days, I put this conversation in the back of my mind, I was
facing difficult challenges.  I had to deal with moving from a comfortable
two-bedroom apartment to a studio in less than two months. Going to France
was for others, like my friend, not for me. I prayed to God daily for help
to face this change. It was mid afternoon on June 15 when I got a call
which would change my life.

"This is Kathleen, and there is a seat on the plane to Lourdes." I thought
"This just can't be," sitting there unbelieving, saying "Let's do it," She
admired my spontaneity. "If you can stay with someone on the 23 and the 30,
that would be good." I said "I think I can," stunned at this good luck. This
quick turn of events was God's will. For the next hour and a half we filled
out forms via her computer, Kathleen entering medical mental-health and
other personal data. After hanging up I called my friend Donna with the
good news.

She was delighted to have me stay at her house the nights of the 23 and 30
of June. That evening Kathleen booked the round-trip flight from Logan
airport on delta the morning of June 24 to JFK in New York and from JFK to
Logan June 30. On Thursday June 17, Sylvia, the head nurse, called me,
taking down medical information and reassuring me that this trip would be
something I would never forget. She said "bring a sweater, the nights can
be cool - Lourdes is near the Pyrenees Mountains. Bring a pair of slacks,
and a rain jacket, as it might be cool in the day time - it was last year
when I was there." She eased any doubts that this trip sounded to good to
be true, as others had said.

By Monday, June 21, this journey was taking on a life of its own. I was
packing my large suitcase and receiving calls from Marlene, our group
leader. Everyone with special needs is assigned roommates; they take us
everywhere - what a good opportunity to make new friends. They would
accompany us to meals and other activities.

I was happy to speak with Marlene, our sweet, dynamic group leader. She
would meet us at JFK airport at the delta gate on Thursday morning. She was
thrilled I was joining this religious pilgrimage.

I told everyone about my trip, feeling drawn to Lourdes like a magnet. When
I departed Leominster, I knew God was gently guiding me to Lourdes. I slept
little Wednesday night, excited about the trip. Thursday morning was warm
and humid as I left Donna's house at 5:15 in a cab to Logan airport to catch
my seven o'clock a.m. flight.  "Have a great time," Donna said. Even at a
quarter to six in the morning, the airport was bustling. I was escorted
into a noisy, bustling airport, the blaring speakers announcing flight
numbers, arrivals and destinations. I was escorted to the check-in counter
and checked my large suitcase to Peau, France.

I met my friendly seat-mate, Denise, from New Hampshire.

As we flew she fascinated me with stories about her trips to Europe. She
was religious, having visited Marian sites, "where the blessed Mother has
appeared." I admired her staunch faith, thinking "am I out of my depth?"
The only things I know about Marian sites are from old movies or lectures
about Lourdes and Fatima. My uncle, now deceased, was an oblate priest and
would often entertain us with amazing stories of miracles at Lourdes.

Marlene was at our gate, smiling, saying, "Even if Joe could not come, he
brought you." giving me a welcoming hug. We were led in wheelchairs across
this vast airport to the Air France Terminal. We spent seven hours meeting
fellow pilgrims. The time raced by as we became acquainted.

I met a family from Maryland, their daughter urging them to go to
Lourdes. She is wheelchair-bound much of the time. Her father is
talkative, showing his devotion to Catholicism when talking about the
benefits of the Sacrament of reconciliation, "confession." I met Jamey, a
quadriplegic who'd been to Lourdes before; Linda was bravely battling cancer
and Tonya was from Vermont. During this eight-hour wait for our Air France
flight We shared pizza, ice-cream and cold drinks, it being a hot day in New
York. I discovered, to my chagrin, I had left half my spending money at
home. I accepted this calmly as I was on a religious pilgrimage. As the
hours went on I noticed that these people did not question their faith, as I
did. There was a nagging suspicion I did not belong here. I questioned if
clergy should marry, why was I in a church I was losing faith in.

At four thirty we all went through enhanced security, this being an
international flight. After receiving a detailed pat-down I said to the
woman, "This has to be a difficult job for you." I felt sorry for her
having to do this. "Oh it is not so bad," she said sounding tired. We
waited on the crowded plane for an hour. The flight, leaving at five-thirty
Eastern standard time, would reach Charles De Gaul airport six-thirty
France time, midnight our time. We would not reset our watches until 7
p.m., two hours into our flight.

Linda was my seat-mate, we had a delightful flight. We appreciated the thin
pillows and blankets, as our cabin was freezing because of the
air-conditioning. As we flew toward our destination, Linda told me she too
is a widow still finding these changed circumstances difficult. She
introduced me to Pavarotti and told me about her gluten-free diet, which
helps keep her cancer at bay. Our dinner arrived - I had delicious beef
gravy mashed potatoes, with onions, and she had a vegetarian dish.  She got
up to walk around and Marlene sat next to me and talked about her
experiences at Lourdes. She related how it influenced her life, saying you
are not the same person when you leave as when you arrive there. She has
been touched by her experience she is instrumental in making trips for
special-needs persons possible. Tiredness overwhelmed me and I fell
asleep - I missed the light breakfast, sleep being a priority.

We landed at the quiet Charles De Gaul Airport and booming speakers
announcing flights at 25 to seven.

We made our connecting flight to Peau and it was at this airport I
discovered my large suitcase was lost. Marleen and I filed a report, we
prayed to God and Saint Anthony to find it. As our bus entered Lourdes, I
thought I faintly heard singing - was it my imagination?

As we entered our hotel in Lourdes I heard singing and clapping. Our
volunteers welcoming us? I thought "This pilgrimage is joyful, not somber
or serious." Everyone accepted us and joyfully welcomed us, giving us warm
hand shakes. The weather in Lourdes was warm summer-like, the sun shining on
lavender bushes near our hotel. I was almost moved to tears of happiness
with the sincere acceptance and joy the volunteers showed as they shook our
hands. Not at any time during the days we spent among these wonderful
people were we thought of as "different." We were one friendly community.
Father mike said "I like your smile."

Our first meal was good fish, mashed potato soup and a light desert.

Half asleep I met my roommate and friend, Mary. She is from West Germany.
Her daughter, who is college-bound, also volunteered with her mom. Her
husband is stationed in Afghanistan but they hope to move back to Virginia
when his tour of duty is up. Our hotel has several floors, each one
dedicated to a different country. The third floor is dedicated to North
America. Each floor has a dining room and small kitchen, and our bedrooms
are large with two connecting bathrooms and "shower rooms." My roommate and
companion Mary showed me where things were and I took a refreshing rest for
three hours before going to our first Mass at five thirty. In between naps
I met Alma from California who suffers from diabetes and fibromyalgia. I
would meet Diane, her companion from Illinois. On Friday evening Mary and I
walked the short distance to Sacred Heart Chapel, enjoying the warm summer
breezes and sunshine. The Sacred Heart Chapel is across from our residence.
You can feel the rustic wooden cross on the door as we entered  "See Karen,
the cross right on the door," Mary said, letting me touch it.

Father Mike gave an uplifting homily about the Sacrament of Reconciliation
and how Jesus erases all our sins, welcoming us back.  Supper was good with
delicious buttery pound cake for desert. After the meal I went to
confession to Father Tuka. He was attentive and thoughtful, advising me to
be more prayerful. As I left that room I felt as if a heavy weight had
been lifted. Mary and I went to part of the Rosary procession held each
night near the Rosary Basilica. On this warm Friday evening we smelled the
lavender bushes near the Basilica. The sun does not set in late June in
Southern France until after nine o'clock. We enjoyed the balmy night air as
the prayers were recited. The Rosary ceremony is held each night with
lighted candles and the clean scent of lavender bushes and other nearby
herbs. This first night in France I was content yet too sleepy to fully
appreciate this beautiful ceremony.

Saturday my roommate Mary awakened me. "Saint Anthony found your luggage!"
It was sitting right near my bed. Before breakfast I showered and unpacked
outfits and toiletries I needed for these five days. Had I packed to many
outfits? Our breakfast would consist of delicious mellow French coffee and
crusty French bread with unsalted butter and water. Throughout the rest of
that morning we all met in the large conference room. We spent this time
getting acquainted and explaining why we were in Lourdes.

After lunch we went to learn about the life of Saint Bernadette It was hot,
the summer sun beating on the roof of our one-person carriage. Temperatures were in the eighties and on our way to the Grotto we passed small shops, one with a
cement model of a large strawberry ice-cream cone. One of the cordial young
volunteers let me touch it.

Marleen would give us a short lecture; we would learn Bernadette had
eighteen apparitions where our blessed Lady appeared to her. They began in
1854 when she was fourteen and gathering firewood for their humble home.
After Marleen's lecture we visited the Rosary Basilica. They think about
accessibility in France - near the chapel there are beautiful raised
pictures of incidents during the life of Christ. The captions describing
each picture are written in Braille in five languages, English, French,
Spanish, Italian and German. Since the pictures can be felt, it brings to
life the birth or crucifixion of Christ. I could not believe the detail
and love which had been put into the creation of these pictures and the
Braille captions. (To be continued.)

If you want to know more about this organization call Our Lady of Lourdes
North American Volunteers at (315) 476-0026 and speak to Kathleen. She may
lead you to Lourdes. It is worth going - the spiritual gifts you receive
are priceless.


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A Woman with Patience and Determination

by John Justice

Linda Heskell Justice graduated from Overbrook School for the Blind in 1972.
In an effort to pursue her dream of being a broadcaster, she attended
Keystone Junior College and then Williamsport Area Community College. She
graduated with an Associate Degree in Broadcasting. Although Linda did hold
several jobs at small community radio stations, she was never able to secure
a position which could provide a reasonable level of income.

Although she was disappointed, Linda decided to turn her attention to other
pursuits. Using her communication skills, she worked for the Bradford
County Planning Commission and for a local contractor, handling phones and
delivering messages. She eventually secured a position with DuPont in her
home town of Towanda. Unfortunately, the job she was given was based on the
company's efforts to meet Title 20 affirmative action goals. The position
had no future and eventually Linda resigned. Once again, in spite of her
best intentions, society's refusal to accept her as a blind woman led them
to limit her duties and place her in a job which had no potential for growth
or promotion.

In spite of her setbacks, Linda believed in her ability and personal value
as an employee. She was determined to find meaningful work, no matter what
lengths she had to go to. Many of her classmates suffered the shock of
being exposed to the sighted world which was unwilling or unable to accept
visually impaired men and women, regardless of their intelligence or
abilities. Linda would not allow herself to take the easy road of a limited
existence, supported by Supplemental Security income or by some other form
of government-sponsored benefit. Many times she would tell her parents and
friends that she refused to let that happen.

In 1979, at the direction of her state rehabilitation counselor, Linda
traveled to Littlerock, Arkansas, and took classes in a personnel
interviewing course offered by Arkansas Enterprises for the Blind.  Although
she completed her work satisfactorily, the training provided no guaranty of
placement and, in fact, locating work of that kind, was difficult. She
finally secured a position with a major personnel agency and was just
settling in, when all of her equipment was stolen. The state had provided
the typewriter, Optacon and other devices but when they were lost, her
counselor refused to replace them. Her employer told her that without the
equipment, no position was available. Once again, Linda was back to Square
One. Did she give up? No, not at all.

Linda moved to Hatboro, Pennsylvania, and soon became Mrs. Linda Justice.
She became an integral part of Panama Productions, our small entertainment
business. She contacted nightclub owners, restaurateurs and agents,
scheduled performance dates and encouraged her new husband to expand on his
musical abilities until he became a well-rounded entertainer.

At the same time, Linda resumed working with the Bureau for Blindness and
Visual Services, trying to find that illusive position which would make the
best use of her considerable ability and skill. She worked briefly for
Prudential in the early eighties but once again, the state had secured a
position but the employer made no serious effort to support Linda or allow
for her special needs as a visually impaired person.

For several years, Linda was a seasonal employee of the Internal Revenue
Service, working in the Criminal Investigations Division. Her work ended
there when the entire department was phased out.

Finally, in 1994, Linda went for a walk and found that a huge ditch had been
excavated right through the sidewalk. Pictures of her and her guide dog
standing at the brink of a ditch measuring four feet in depth were carried
by every major newspaper in the neighborhood. The Home Depot was building a
new store in the area and Linda decided to turn a near disaster into an
employment opportunity. She went to the trailer where potential employees
were being interviewed, presented herself, and offered her services as a
switchboard operator. Linda had been trained on the switchboard by Lucy
Boyle, one of the best people in the business. She loved working the school
switchboard at Overbrook and spent many an hour on weekends handling calls
and school visitors.  Her determination made it possible for Linda to
finally secure a position with The Home Depot. She is still working for
that retail store now and has been there for more than sixteen years.

The duties of the switchboard operators changed not long after she had
joined The Home Depot and the telephone personnel were expected to be able
assist callers by looking up product availability in the store.  Linda made
management aware of the need for a computer system adapted for use by the
visually impaired. The company was reluctant, to say the least, because of
the cost involved in creating such a program. But her persistence finally
bore fruit. She was taken to Atlanta and trained on the specially developed
system which made it possible for her to perform all of the new duties
expected of her.

Linda learned that few people at The Home Depot had any knowledge or
experience in knowing how to deal with physically handicapped employees and
customers. She wrote a manual called Disability Awareness and portions of
that manual became a permanent part of The Home Depot's employee handbook.
In addition, Linda taught classes on the same subject to newly hired
employees until the store relocated in 2006.

The Home Depot's computer system changed so much that her adapted equipment
no longer functioned but in 2011, Linda will begin training on a newly
upgraded computer package. Once again, her determination  encouraged the
company to begin designing a new system for her use.

This author has met many visually impaired people but none has shown more
perseverance or strength of personality than his wife, Linda Heskell
Justice. She has overcome double knee replacements, job failures,
disappointments and disasters and does not know the meaning of the word

John and Linda Justice

with Guide Dogs Jake and Zachary

Personal e-mail:


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Coastline Elderly Nutrition News

Kimberly Ferreira, MS, RD, LD
Coastline Elderly Services, Inc.N


Heart Health is largely promoted and emphasized in the month of February.
There are many risk factors that can contribute to heart disease including
genetics, diet, activity level and stress. It can be a bit overwhelming so
it's important to tackle one goal at a time.

Eat more Fiber including more of the following in your diet:.

Decrease your Total Fat intake by:

Decrease your Saturated and Trans Fat intake by:

Limit Sodium by:

Lower your Cholesterol intake by:

Achieve & maintain a desirable Body Weight by:

Please contact me with any questions at (508) 999-6400 x194 or email


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Fear and Loathing with SRTA
by Steve Brown

The Italian dictator Mussolini gets a "bad rap" from today's historians.
After all, it was he who led Italy into Hitler's axis embrace in World War
II, and from there, on to defeat and devastation. But he did two really
good things - he nearly destroyed the Mafia in Italy, and succeeded in
getting the trains and busses to run on time. Concerning transportation, we
need some of his forceful examples in Greater New Bedford's Southeast
Transit Authority (SRTA).

Our transit problem began with a seemingly wonderful offer: Free bus fare
for the months of June, July and August. For myself, that meant $120 in
summer savings. In my mind, I had spent the money already. But, the road
to "you know where" was paved with good intentions - no good deed goes

Everything began just fine, but soon changed. One-third filled busses
became two-thirds filled, and then filled to capacity. Soon it became
standing room only! With the increased number came, shall we say, a
different type of clientele. Large groups of teenagers taking long-distance
rides, mainly to get free sundaes at Friendly's, mixed with the
psychologically challenged and just plane drunk. Human body order became
more and more obvious. With little space to sit or stand, I frankly became
uncomfortable. Crowd trouble began to develop boarding the busses, and the
police suddenly appeared at the station. Finally, busses could no longer
keep up with the demand, and suddenly did not make stops at appointed
locations and times. For me, this meant standing around for an extra 40
minutes several times. Even this was not consistent - you just did not
know. Finally, this generous-program-turned-near-catastrophe ended on the
last day of June.

But problems were not to end for me and others. Now we have the Market
Basket fandango. Two bus lines I take to do volunteer work changed their
routes - all to serve the clients of this store. SRTA did not properly
alert the public to the change - no new printed schedule was made available.
I began to understand the new routes when that bus no longer stopped at a
location I was used to, and I had to take a cab after waiting for 40
minutes. To cope with these changes, the gentleman I do volunteer work for
and I decided to split my cab fare to the bus station. The first time we
tried it, it rained and I was threatened with an hour's wait for a cab. (I
finally walked six blocks for a bus and had to flag a cab.) Also, this
change triggered a new period of transit unreliability - busses did not show
up at designated times, or arrived very late. Unfortunately, I may have to
give up volunteering or sharply curtail it. SRTA has demonstrated gross
insensitivity to me and others. A more thoughtful approach to unheralded
and ill-considered "innovation" would be appreciated.


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How Santa Came to Little Rock, Arkansas
By Lucille Burkhardt

Many years ago, a plan was devised as to how Santa would get to Little Rock.
Since it receives no snow on Christmas Eve, Santa had many helpers: dogs,
mules, horses and the like. Finally it was decided that, since Santa couldn't
use reindeer and a sleigh, he used a covered wagon to carry his heavy load.
The children were still as surprised and grateful. All kinds of vittles
were left for Santa: fried chicken, black-eyed peas, greens, okra, and
everyone's favorite, sweet potato pie. After all, pulling this wagon was
hard work. Boy, was Santa grateful! Occasionally, he enjoyed a little
Mountain Dew, but not during working hours. His other most favorite drink
was hot apple cider. Not knowing when the rain would come, he and his crew
always came prepared for it. So, if your gifts arrive late, do not fret
because Santa will never forget you.

Since Santa didn't have sleigh bells, he was always equipped with either a
banjo or a guitar. The children still enjoyed sitting on Santa's lap and
giving him their Christmas list. Some of them would still sneak downstairs
to have a peak, but Santa never noticed. I must say, the children received
some pretty nice gifts.

Christmas day was still filled with lots of joy, love and prayer.  The
Christmases following didn't change too much, except for the mode of
transportation, the automobile.


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The Rose
By Lucille Burkhardt

What is a Rose? A rose is someone whose love, time, and strength cannot be
measured. A rose is someone who does not prejudge.  Her pedals are as soft
and gentle as a warm summer rain. She is there to protect through any
storm, no matter how great. Her heart is bigger than the Earth. Her song
is sweet and pure. She will forever be an eternal flame and a guiding light
to all who know and love her. She'll also be our guardian angel protecting
us from life's harm. Rose, we love and miss you very much, but we know your
job on Earth is done. May you have a peaceful, safe flight into God's hands
and eternal house. May He eternally provide happiness to a person who
richly deserves it. Even though we have not known you for very long, we've
always felt that you've been a part of us. You were like a part of our


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Coastline Elderly Nutrition News

Kimberly Ferreira, MS, RD, LDN
Coastline Elderly Services, Inc.


With the new year upon us, it's important to remind ourselves of basic
nutritional concepts that help us maintain an appropriate weight, a balanced
diet and a healthy well-being.

1. Never Skip Breakfast. Try to eat within an hour of waking to keep your
metabolism at its optimal level.

2. Stay Hydrated. Drink ~8 glasses of fluids daily to maintain regularity,
beat fatigue and limit false hunger signals. Fluids include coffee, milk,
juice, water, flavored waters, etc.

3. Limit Processed Foods. These foods tend to be higher in sugar, fat and
sodium and contain less vitamins & minerals. This includes prepackaged
foods, frozen dinners, cured meats and cheese.

4. Be Mindful of Portions. Each year, the portions we are served and eat
continue to escalate. Examples of proper portion sizes are below.

5. Listen to Your Hunger Signals. It's a basic concept that most people do
not follow: "Eat when you feel hunger, Stop when you feel full."

6. Love Your Kitchen. Research has shown time and time again that cooking
from home is usually more nutritious than eating out.

Portion Control Reminders


Did you know?
1 plain English muffin = 2 grams fiber


Whole Wheat English muffin = 3.8 grams fiber

¾ cup Cornflakes cereal = 0.5 grams fiber


¾ cup wheat bran cereal = 5.1 grams fiber

½ cup apple juice = 0.1 grams fiber


1 medium whole apple = 3.7 grams fiber

Please contact me with any questions at (508) 999-6400 x194 or email:


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by Karen Crowder

Chocolate is enticing, bars sit in store windows.

You pick up a thin long one feeling all the small squares,

Unwrapping it outside - should you eat it all now?

You feel the smooth sweet taste as it melts in your mouth.

There is the delicious temptation of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies

With small semi sweet morsels so tantalizing as they bake,

You can't wait to eat that first crunchy cookie - one is not  enough;

If you do not stop half the cookie sheet may be gone.

Brownies with there delicious chocolate smell so good baking;

Dark chocolate cake is tempting on a birthday -

Your mom lovingly bakes it and you can't wait for that first piece,

Blowing out candles, one piece with creamy fudge frosting is all Mom lets
you have.

There is the creamy- or gritty-tasting chocolate fudge cooked at Christmas -

It is so hard to eat just one or two squares; Mom says "that is enough."

Store-bought chocolate fudge is okay;

Home made fudge is easy using a microwave.

Now even doctors say chocolate is good for you.

It puts a smile on your face as you savor it.

They say you can have a little dark chocolate every day.

Chocolate is good year-round: hot chocolate or doughnuts in winter;

Cold milk shakes ice-cream in summer


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Chopsticks on the Side
Marilyn Brandt Smith

In 2011 the Chinese New Year falls on February 3, about a month after our
new year. It's the year of the rabbit, and they will start celebrating two
weeks ahead of time with lanterns, presents, red envelopes containing cash
for the kids, and games and feasting everywhere on the globe where Chinese
traditions abound. We can celebrate with some Americanized Chinese recipes.

Velly Fast, Velly Good

1 and 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

2 cups chopped onion

2 cups diced celery

1 teaspoon salt

1 can bean sprouts

1 can water chestnuts, chopped

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

1/2 cup slivered almonds

4 cups cooked rice, egg noodles, or ramen noodles

Brown meat and onion until meat is crumbly. Stir with all other ingredients
into large oven pan. Heat uncovered 30 to 40 minutes in a 325 degree oven.

Serves eight. Refrigerates well, and tastes even better the next time it's


Cantonese Spareribs

2 to 3 pounds spareribs, cut into manageable pieces

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon powdered ginger

1/2 teaspoon powdered garlic

1/3 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

2 ounces white wine or whiskey if desired

1/2 cup apricot jam

Parboil ribs and drain well.

Rub with salt.

Marinade for 1 hour in remaining ingredients.

Line baking dish with heavy foil.

Place ribs and marinade in dish, and bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 60
minutes, reserving part of the marinade for basting from time to time. If
the top begins to brown, cover with foil.

Serves about four.


Chinese Salad

2 cups bean sprouts

1 and 1/2 cups celery, thinly sliced

1 cup radishes, thinly sliced

1 cup unpeeled cucumbers, thinly sliced

1 green pepper in thin rings

2 raw carrots, sliced thin

3 green onions, sliced thin

French dressing

Soy sauce

Combine the vegetables in a salad bowl, moisten with French dressing, then
season with soy sauce to taste.

Toss and serve.

Serves six.


Fruit and Chicken Chinese Delight

2 cups cooked diced chicken

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 cup diced fresh apple

1 cup orange sections

1/2 cup pineapple spears

2 cups chopped celery

lettuce leaves


6 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt

5 tablespoons mayonnaise

4 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon sugar to taste

1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Toss chicken and soy sauce. Let stand fifteen minutes.

Mix fruit with celery, then add chicken. Mix well, and chill.

Blend dressing.

Arrange fruited chicken salad on lettuce leaves, and drizzle with dressing.

Serves six.


Ming Almond Cookies

2 and 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1 egg

2 tablespoons water

1and 1/2 teaspoons almond extract

Sift dry ingredients. Blend in margarine or butter. Add egg, water, and extract.

Chill dough for two hours, then form into one-inch balls.

Place on a cookie sheet and make an indention with your thumb in each cookie.

Place a whole almond in each indentation.

Brush lightly with beaten egg white.

If you like, when you brush with egg white, you can also add some rum or almond extract.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

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Consumer Vision Trivia Contest

Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the November/December
Consumer Vision.

Ray Parker Jr. was a member of the group "Radio." Congratulations to the following winner:

Jan Colby of Brockton, Massachusetts

And now, here is your trivia question for the November/December Consumer Vision. Name the maid on the television series, The Jeffersons.

If you know the answer, please email or call 508-994-4972.


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