The Consumer Vision

May/June, 2010

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

Telephone: 508-994-4972

Web Site:

E-Mail address:

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

E-Mail 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

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.

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



A Note From the Publisher
The Reality of Reform
Changing Perspectives on Aging
"The Music of Writing" seminars
Coastline Elderly Nutrition News
May Sun Shine
Cleo, the Keyboard
Letters to the Publisher
Recipes: Rhubarb Dessert and Minty Brownies
Consumer Vision Trivia Contest


A Note From the Publisher

The Consumer Vision is now officially a nonprofit organization. Once we become tax-exempt, we will be looking for grants to help expand the operation of the magazine and to serve new subscribers. I welcome any suggestions from readers about where to find the appropriate grants, because I feel we should all work together to achieve our goals.  A grant would go a long way to cover existing production costs, pay columnists and staff, and offer additional Braille and print copies, in case we have new subscribers. I wish to thank the Southern New England School of Law, especially their work-study students, for helping us with this process. We consider it a milestone in the growth of our magazine.

Bob Branco

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The Reality of Reform

By Tom and Rose Dalley

We hope everyone is ready for what we believe is the fallout that is coming from the healthcare reform law recently signed by the President.

Just about five days before the law was signed, my wife Rose received a letter from the person that makes and maintains her ocular prosthetics in New Hampshire, advising her that he is no longer going to accept insurance and is closing his office. He is, however, going to see patients at select locations, one in New Hampshire, one in Vermont and one in upstate New York.

The reasons for this are that 1) the regulatory requirements to maintain compliancy are increasing and are costing a significant amount of money; 2) Medicare and Medicaid have again reduced the amount of their payouts; and 3) new legislation has been passed that allows most governmental and private insurance companies to reduce their payouts as well, and some have done so drastically. These decisions by the government have forced this businessman to close his office and make other arrangements so that he can continue to see his patients. The patient will have to have a credit card, money order, cash or check at the time of service to make payment.

The greatest majority of his patients are Medicaid- or Medicare-eligible, so most of them are not going have cash or credit available for this payment. Patients who need prosthetic eyes or need those eyes cleaned and polished are going to have to put these services off until later, or go without completely. Neither one of these choices is a good choice. Prosthetic eyes help a person look and feel better about themselves. The polishing and cleaning of prosthetic eyes should be as routine as going to the doctor for a check-up. The reason for cleaning and polishing is that this helps prevent infection and disease from settling into the eye socket.

The making of prosthetic eyes is not a widely available service. This particular business serves all of Vermont and New Hampshire and part of upstate New York. Therefore we can't just go to another provider.

Our belief is that this eventually is going to be the same case with all Medicaid and Medicare service providers. If doctors, hospitals and other providers of durable medical equipment continue to get less for their services and/or products, they will have no choice but to stop serving those patients that have Medicaid, Medicare, or, eventually, insurance in general. The only good side of this is that by not taking insurance of any kind he has been able to reduce his fees by about 50%. Whether the fee is $2400 or $1200 it is still a lot of money for a prosthetic eye if you are low-income or on a fixed income. I hate to see the day when the decision to go to a doctor is weighed against food, heat, or any of the other necessities of life, but I am certain that day is coming faster than we think.

I will admit the insurance system is broken, not the healthcare system. The healthcare reform that was passed is just going to make matters worse. By lowering the payouts of Medicare and Medicaid and now allowing most governmental and private-sector insurance companies to lower their payouts as well, it is only going to put all medical providers in a similar situation - do they stop accepting all insurance and go strictly cash or credit or do they continue to lose money and eventually have to go out of business? The medical providers must receive fair compensation for goods and services provided.

I do not believe that the government would be satisfied if we as taxpayers decided to pay only a low percentage of our taxes; nor do I know many of us that work for a living that would be willing to accept a low percentage of our paychecks. That is exactly what the government and the insurance companies are asking the medical providers to do.

It is time for the government to start thinking with common sense and compassion and not just the bottom line and their political future.

Tom and Rose Dalley

Berlin, VT

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Changing Perspectives on Aging

By Karen Crowder

When I was seven, riding on a bus from Weymouth to Quincy with my dad, I met a woman who changed my life. In conversation she revealed that she was 21. She was outgoing, and we became friends. Because of this meeting, a year later she got a job as a deaf-blind attendant at the school I attended, Perkins, in Watertown.

She would take me shopping buying toys. During the summer of 1958 I would make my first batch of sugar cookies with her. We would spend time with her sisters at a private beach at her family's home. Her age made no difference to me. For years our families would spend memorable summer afternoons at their beach.

When I was 11, in September of 1960, my father had his annual physical. It was a rainy Friday evening and I sat in the waiting room, absorbed in my thoughts, until I heard the doctor ask my dad's age. When he said that he was 55, I inwardly gasped at how old he was, yet he was so vigorous and full of energy. When I was sixteen, my mom turned fifty and kept on saying, "I am half a century old." I thought, "I don't want to know this," not realizing that she was proud of her age.

As I grew into my twenties and thirties, I realized that our best years are ahead of us. In my thirties, I graduated from college, got a steady job, and then married at forty.

I knew that the best years were "just around the corner." We owned our home, and I became an accomplished cook. As fifty crept up, sobering health challenges came into our lives. During this decade, I realized that wisdom born of experience is our guide.

While in my fifties, I lost my husband to liver cancer and saw friends dying from cancer or heart disease, so I became health conscious.

As a widow I felt a new sense of purpose and identity. I began re-discovering what my dreams are, and set goals. At 54, I began taking Alpha classes on the MacKay campus at Fitchburg State College. I have a computer and have again re-discovered the joy of writing for its own sake.

I am sixty and can pass on my wisdom and experience to my step children and grandchildren. I can see aging as a gradual process going in gentle cycles - youth, middle age, and gracefully traveling into our later years. We have much to offer: gifts of patience, love, kindness and wisdom.

I hope our children can look at aging with hope instead of fear.

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Announcing a free seminar for writers, "The Music of Writing," in five sessions, 90 minutes each, via telephone conference call. Generally, the calendar for each five-session seminar is set according to the schedules of the participants. To sign up, call Rebecca Hein at 1-888-921-9595, or send an email to and put The Music of Writing in the subject line. If you email, please follow up with a phone call because emails can occasionally get lost. Testimonials from previous Seminar participants are available on request.

Class size is limited to five participants, and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Enrollment for the current section closes on July 31, 2010.

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Kimberly Ferreira, MS, RD, LDN

Coastline Elderly Services, Inc.


1.. Adults should consume less than 2300 mg of sodium each day. This is equal to how much table salt?

a. ½ teaspoon    b. 1 teaspoon    c. 1 tablespoon    d. None of the above

2.. There is a direct relationship between Sodium and Blood Pressure.

a. True    b. False

3.. How much sodium does your body need each day to function properly?

a. 1000 mg    b. 2300 mg    c. 200 mg    d. None of the above

4.. Most of the salt that one eats each day comes from added salt at the table.

a. True    b. False

5.. Kosher salt and sea salt are low-sodium alternatives to table salt.

a. True    b. False

6.. Which contains more sodium: 1 can of canned tomato juice or 1 ounce of potato chips?

a. Tomato Juice    b. Potato Chips

  7.. Some over-the-counter and prescription medications contain lots of sodium.

a. True    b. False

Answers: (1) b (2) True (3) c (4) False, about 75% comes from processed foods (5) False, they are equal (6) Tomato Juice (7) True


Where does most of our salt consumption come from? _________________________

Return your answer via e-mail to:

or mail it to:

Coastline Elderly Services, Inc.
1646 Purchase St.
New Bedford, MA 02740

Please include your name, phone number and/or e-mail address.

The winner will be announced in the next issue of The Consumer Vision

March's Winner: Alice Soares

(What is the Leading Cause of Kidney Disease? Uncontrolled Diabetes)


Did you know?

One teaspoon of table salt or sea salt has 2300 mg of sodium while one teaspoon of Diamond Crystal Kosher salt has 1120 mg of sodium. When using salt during cooking, save ½ the amount of sodium, 1180 mg, by choosing Diamond Crystal Kosher salt!

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

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May Sun Shine

By Karen Crowder

May days with their warmth arrive

Lilac bushes blossom perfuming the balmy air,

Sun dances on the flowers and grass,

We go outdoors in cotton dresses and shorts

May Day pageants and First Communion celebrations brighten the month

Memorial Day comes with its parades

Pools, dairy bars and amusement parks open, in

June with its heat entrances us with its promise of summer

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Cleo, the Keyboard

By Lucille Burkhardt

Hello, I'm Cleo, the musical keyboard. I was created through the loving genius of Yamaha, at least two years ago. I have quite a following, not only at Guitar Center where I was purchased on Wednesday, July 15, but also at Paris Towers.

I am located in a lovely apartment, in a small bedroom, considered to be a hobby room. I sit on a four-foot-long folding table. I am located beside a digital Clavanova CLP330 digital piano from Yamaha. I only have 61 keys, though I have lots of rhythms which make it possible to play almost every music genre. I have already made two appearances in the Community Room of this complex, and I was well received. The following engagement on December 2nd was just as successful.

I have a very lovely owner who spends lots of time with me and we have a wonderful bond as a team. As computers will do, I sometimes play a few tricks on her, my owner, but we still get along tremendously. In fact, several compositions were created on me by her, one of which is titled "Cleo." I'm always looking forward to our visits as we are totally devoted to each other. Sometimes I will get just a little love from her even if we do not visit. I know I'm being cared for, and I couldn't ask for anything more. I was an exchange for a rather complicated drum machine.

I will be forever grateful for coming into such a warm and loving environment. I have never had such love and affection shown towards me as I am having now. I know that this bond will continue to strengthen.  I am looking forward to more wonderful gatherings.

The janitor, named Santiago, wanted to pay my owner, as he thought I was being sold. Not to be the case. I would be devastated to ever leave here because I love these residents as they love me. I have never had such dedication given to just one person as I have received in the short time I have been here. Sometimes I am thought of by my owner as Baby Cleo, and that makes me feel so at home. I'm also known as Little Cleo, among other things. I ask you, who wouldn't be proud of that? I certainly hope that all the PSRE413's have as good a life as I am having and will continue to have.

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Letters to the Publisher

Hello to you Bob

Here are my feelings about The Consumer Vision.

I am Karen Crowder and have been receiving Consumer vision since around 2007. I have always enjoyed the magazine and how it made us all become aware of blindness and other issues.

I enjoy the probing questions our publisher asks of us, such as how we make it today on a fixed income. There is another thing I love about this magazine - he gives budding writers like my self an opportunity to write for the magazine. I have contributed poems and small articles to it since 2008. I hope in time the magazine and all its gems can become more widely available.

I also enjoy people's personal stories such as Sharon's story about her struggles with anxiety and how she has over come it. I loved the travel articles written by a couple and their travels around the country. Thank you Bob for such a good magazine and may it prosper in the future.

Friendship always,


Hi. Recently I bought a male talking scale from ILA.  The print directions were on a little tiny sheet of paper which was mutilated in the package. I had no idea what size batteries it took. When you stand on this scale it says Hello; after that you get off until it says it's ready; then you get back on, it gives your weight, and after you get off it says Goodbye, after awhile. We have a smart electrician in this complex and somehow he figured out how to make it work. When I called ILA to complain about their not providing accessible directions I was told someone would call me back, and naturally no one did. I've had the same experience with MaxiAids, L.S.& S. and Science Products, which only give you a print catalog, and they are nasty when they are reminded that we don't have a 24-hour babysitter or virtual neighbor in our pockets. I'll be glad to get some kind of a movement going.

Linda Brown

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By Tom and Rose Dalley

How many of you are looking for something different for dessert? Here are a couple of ideas for you.

Many of us remember rhubarb from our childhood and generally it was put into a pie. Here is a recipe using rhubarb that we think you would enjoy.

Rhubarb Dessert

4 cups sliced rhubarb

1 cup sugar (optional)

1 box (4-serving size) strawberry Jello

1 yellow or white cake mix

1 cup of water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9" x 13" baking pan with non-stick spray.

Spread the rhubarb evenly in bottom of pan. Sprinkle with 1 cup of sugar. (This amount of sugar may be adjusted according to taste. We leave it out because the Jello and cake have enough sugar for our taste.)

Next sprinkle on the Jello (we use the sugar-free variety).  On top of that sprinkle the dry cake mix evenly. Now pour the water evenly over the cake mix.

Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Delicious served with whipped cream or ice cream.

All of us like brownies but sometimes we want something a little different. We think these fit the bill.

Minty Brownies

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1 cup chocolate chips, Melted

1 stick butter, Melted

2 eggs

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/3 cup Andes mint baking chips

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray an 8"x10" pan with non-stick spray.

In a mixing bowl combine eggs, sugar, baking soda, salt and vanilla. Mix until well combined.

Melt butter and cool slightly.

Place chocolate chips in microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute and stir. If it is not smooth, Microwave for another 20 seconds and stir until smooth.

Add butter and melted chocolate chips to egg-and-sugar mixture and mix well.

Add flour and the mint chips and mix until combined.

Spread into prepared pan and bake 20 - 25 minutes or until edges pull away from pan.

Hope you enjoy these familiar but different treats.

Tom and Rose Dalley

Send comments or suggestions to

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Consumer Vision Trivia Contest

Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the March/April

Consumer Vision:

The character on Captain Kangaroo who dropped ping pong balls was Mr. Moose.

Congratulations to the following winners:

Jan Colby of Brockton, Massachusetts

Ken Souza of New Bedford, Massachusetts

And now, here is your trivia question for the May/June Consumer Vision:

Who is the only member of the cast of the television series "Laugh In" to have a song on the top 40, and what was the name of the song?

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

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