The Consumer Vision

    November/December, 2010

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

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Publisher: Bob Branco

Editor: Janet Marcley

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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. 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

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Humanitarian of the Year
Is There an Advantage?
Our Travels: China Trip
Guide Dogs and the ADA
Emailing Tips
Coastline Elderly Nutrition News: Nutrition and Eye Health
A Human Service Disaster
Learn to Play Chess
Ode to the English Language
Cleo, the Keyboard, Part 4
Coastline Elderly Nutrition News: Eating Well During the Holidays
Holiday Salads
Consumer Vision Trivia Contest


Humanitarian of the Year

The Consumer Vision is now accepting nominations for Humanitarian of the Year. If you know someone who goes that extra mile in helping people, please send me your candidate, along with a reason for your nomination. You can do this by emailing or by writing to us at The Consumer Vision, c/o Bob Branco, 359 Coggeshall St., New Bedford, MA 02746. Our board of directors will review all nominations in December, and the winner will be announced in the January 2011 edition of Consumer Vision.


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Is There an Advantage?
by John Justice

Blindness is a challenging problem for anyone to face. But is there an advantage to those who were blinded at birth? Conversely, is there a betterchance at life for someone who has lost his sight at a later time? This article will try to address that question more directly.

At one time, there was a theory applied by the education specialists. The premise was that a person without sight, who received specialized training from an early age, had a better chance of success in any undertaking. That same questionable position created schools for the blind and training facilities which taught people what were considered special skills that they would need through life. In a school like that, the student would learn Braille, touch-typing and other activities which were tailored for use bysomeone without sight.

But diseases like Diabetes and Macular Degeneration were causing adults to lose their sight at an alarming rate. How could people like this be taught? What skills could a fully grown adult learn that would make it possible for him to live from day to day? Training centers were created throughout the United States and Canada as well as in Europe and other well-developed countries. These facilities tried to address the unique problems faced by someone who could see most of his life and was suddenly faced by continuing to exist without sight, the primary sensory input for most people.

At one point, a study was generated with the expressed purpose of determining which group had a better chance of making it through life. The idea was to compare skill sets and, using that information, to improve on the way adventitiously blinded people were rehabilitated. The study involved approximately one hundred people from varying walks of life. The study chose half who were blind at birth. The remaining fifty people included those who lost their sight later. As the project moved along, information began to pour in and to be analyzed by the organization for what they thought would be clear and indisputable indications.  As it turned out, no conclusive evidence was found. There were no detectable trends showing that one particular group made more progress in dealing with blindness. There were members of each subset who showed remarkable development while others in the same group made very little progress, if any. No one was more surprised than the people who initiated the study.

Of the fifty who were blinded at birth or within the first three years after birth, less than ten percent were able to overcome the challenges presented by being blind. An additional twenty percent showed some progress but did not compare favorably with the small group who took advantage of every opportunity they were offered and achieved rewarding careers or family lives in spite of their blindness.

Of the fifty people who had been blinded at a later point in their lives, seventy percent became overwhelmed by their infliction and became completely dependent on those around them for their daily needs. This study did include certain controls or limitations which must be indicated here. The study group was between the ages of twenty and fifty. An attempt was made to select people from as many varying racial backgrounds as possible and an additional effort was made to include people from various economic and developmental levels.

What, if anything, was the study's final conclusion? Any reasonably intelligent and communicative blind person could have told this group the answer before the study even began. Yet, as usual, these sighted scientists weren't about to listen to the advice provided freely by any of their Guiney Pigs. Their conclusion ran to more than two hundred pages of closely printed text but it all boiled down to one indisputable fact:  Blindness is an affliction which impacts each person individually. How that problem is handled must, of necessity, be on an individual basis.

The testing did reveal some interesting observations. In the group composed of people blinded at birth, many did not achieve their full potential because they were held back by well meaning family members or by organizations or schools which never allowed them to face the real world and its problems. The tendency of their support systems was to isolate and protect the blinded person from possible hurt or disappointment by screening him or her from any exposure to real daily challenges. In a strange way, these people lived a life which could be compared to what happened to blind people more than one hundred years ago. In those days, blind people were either institutionalized or locked away from the world by families who didn't understand their problems. There were no schools back then or supporting agencies which provided the kind of training blind people would need. Specialized schools began to appear as early as eighteen ninety and are still operational today, to some extent. Although the schools for the blind did try to instruct their students in basic educational skills, it wasn't until the nineteen seventies that things like daily living skills were taught.

The group composed of adventitiously blinded people didn't have much better success. Like those blinded at birth, many of these people were isolated and cushioned from their surroundings by well meaning family members or by organizations that were supposed to be helping them adjust. Only a small percentage of this group broke free from the expected behavior and tried to live independent lives in spite of their vision loss. The majority of that group became frightened by the thought of facing the world without sight. The terror such thoughts invoked, created deep depression and in some rare instances, there were documented cases of attempts to end their lives.

That study did generate monumental changes in the way training blind people was approached. Today, through the efforts of several organizations for the blind, training centers do try to give their students a well rounded set of skills they will need to survive. Although Braille and touch-typing are still taught, computer skills and things like cooking, sewing and house cleaning have been introduced into the curriculum. The entire focus of the training has drastically changed. Today, the educator concentrates on giving each student the knowledge and abilities he or she will need to live from day to day. The system is by no means perfect but it has come a long way from the days of blind students who were ejected into a world they had never known after being isolated and protected for as much as twelve years.

Technological developments have made it possible for a visually impaired adult to learn as much as he can from sources such as the Internet or the Library of Congress. Screen readers have come a long way in the past ten years and are still being improved.

In the final analysis, it's up to each of us as blind adults to break out of our cocoons and make our way in a world which is poorly prepared to accept us. If we are going to be the best that we can be, we must not allow the sighted world to say no! It has been said that the best support comes from someone who understands the problem. This is especially true of the sighted world. They will not learn or understand unless we take the time to explain things to them. Being exposed to an injustice or a denial of your rights is bad enough. To accept that denial is much worse!


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Our Travels: China Trip (continued from September/October issue) (c) Jean Marcley
Yangtze River Cruise

Waking up on the ship was wonderful. The gentle rocking of the ship and the sounds of the river are so soothing to me. We were tied up to a dock and another ship was tied up right next to us - and I do mean right next to us. We could have climbed right over the railing onto our neighbor's balcony. The only things between our ship and theirs were rubber bumpers about a foot thick.

The ship is approximately two-hundred and seventy feet long and fifty feet wide with three decks and a capacity for one-hundred eighty-eight passengers. It's big enough to feel comfortable and safe and small enough so we didn't get lost. The breakfast buffet was great. There was raisin bran - Yay! I was sure missing my bran flakes for reasons that I don't think I have to elaborate on, do I?

As we slept, our ship headed down river about a hundred miles for the next tour - Ghost City in Fengdu. Fengdu is on the northern bank of the Yangtze River on Mount Ming and has a history of nearly two-thousand years. They have formed a special culture of ghosts and the afterlife. There are natural scenes of everglades, virgin forests, mountains, and canyons, some of which can be seen from the cable ride to the Ghost City. The area combines the religions of Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism, which is an enigma all by itself.

A stupendous temple was erected on Ming Mountain depicting life in hell. It displays demonic images and torture devices and reflects the notion that good people will be treated well in the afterlife and that bad people will be punished by going to hell.

There are three tests that the ghost must pass before entering the afterlife. The third test is to stand on one foot for three minutes. This is no problem for someone who is virtuous, but evil-doers cannot perform this test. Want to try it? Well, don't worry, it may be different when you don't have your body anymore.

This was very interesting to me and I don't want to bore you with too many details. If you would like to know more, you can Google Fengdu, China, and read more about Ghost City and see photos.

Before dinner, there was a lovely Captain's welcome party where the champagne was flowing freely and hors d'oeuvres were enjoyed by all.  I finally got to dress up in my "spin-around" dress - Yay! After dinner, we were entertained with a performance of folk music and dancing. The costumes were spectacular and we enjoyed the show immensely. By the end of the performance, Dwaine and I were ready for bed. It was a long day with lots to see and absorb and many, many steps to climb up and down at Ghost City.

The next morning, the scenery was breathtaking as we traveled on the river to our next excursion - a ferry ride through the Qutang Gorge and then the Wu Gorge. There were small villages built right into the sides of the mountains with no visible means of getting to them. Of course, there were roads, but we couldn't see them from the river most of the time. We could see the Meng Liang staircase built into the sheer steep cliffs of the Qutang gorge during the Song Dynasty. There were forest-covered mountains as far as you could see. As I said, the scenery was spectacular and thanks to Donna, Doug, Dwaine, and members of our little group, it was described to me in some detail. I feel as though I saw it all with my own eyes.

Our ferry took us to Shenong Stream where we boarded a sampan.

The ferry ride was very informative and, again, the scenery was gorgeous. The guide on the ferry was a little Chinese girl who had a book with the history of the three gorges and photos of what it looked like before the dam was completed. There were over one and a half million people relocated as a result of deciding to build this dam.

When we got to the sampan, we all donned life jackets and sat on benches that were little more than eight-inch-wide boards. The sampan was motorized with a small outboard, but there was still a man who looked like the traditional sampan navigator with his long pole to push the sampan down or up the stream. I had my picture taken with a traditional hat and shawl made of reeds draped over me and my life jacket. Pretty cool. As we putted along the stream, it felt like we were back in time hundreds of years (except for the outboard, of course).

We did see where some of the hanging coffins were found.  Some coffins were built up on stilts in caves, others on rocks that jut out over the river. The mystery is how they got that high in the first place.  These hanging coffins can be traced back to over one thousand years before Christ. We were serenaded by a choral group dressed in traditional peasant garb singing with beautiful voices; another group sang traditional river songs. These people live more like their ancient ancestors than any people we have seen so far. The area is abundant with fruit trees, vegetable gardens, and fish.

That evening we attended the farewell dinner in the dining room. Another excuse to wear the other dress I brought with me.  Champagne was served throughout the entire meal and the food was just great. Don't ask me to be specific about what we had, there is no way I can remember those details. I do know that we all enjoyed it very much.

Some of us went back to our cabins to catch a nap before going through the locks. Dwaine got up around midnight to go on deck while I stayed in bed and caught up on my sleep.

Dwaine said that the lock was about two-hundred feet wide and about four-hundred feet long. Since we were traveling down the river, the locks had to empty the water after the massive double-end gates were closed, which took approximately fifteen minutes to drop about forty-five feet.  Even though it was dark, Dwaine was able to see the whole procedure because of the lighting from the ship and on the locks. As the ship proceeded to the next lock, Dwaine came back to bed.

After doing most of our packing, we headed to breakfast and yet another shore excursion. Today we went to see the Three Gorges Dam. The Three Gorges Dam project has been going on for twenty years and been the focus of many of us in the world. The dam is over five-hundred and fifty feet high and almost seven thousand feet wide and is claimed to be the biggest dam in the world.

The bus ride to the dam was quite interesting. We drove on unimproved roads (and that is an understatement) and passed tiny villages. Some of the dwellings had chickens in the yard and we saw women washing their clothes on the rocks in the river. The dam is spectacular. There are flowers everywhere. When Dwaine and I were at the Grand Couley Dam in Washington several years ago we learned about the Three Gorges Dam and that it would be the largest in the world, but never even thought that someday we would actually be here. What a great life we have.

Back at the ship, as we entered the dining room for lunch, the cruise director said, "Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, onions, on a sesame seed bun," and we all laughed thinking he was just being a wise guy. Well, that is what we had for lunch - hamburgers and cheese burgers and fries! Wow! Just in time. We all needed some good old American food.

We got our bags, paid the gratuities, and left the cruise ship to board a bus for the airport and the last leg of our tour, Shanghai. For those of you who are curious and have time to spare, Google Three Gorges Dam and see what they have to say about the controversy over the dam and the others that are being proposed in China. It's fascinating.

I was feeling sad to leave the ship and to realize that our fantastic journey was coming to a close. Well, we still had a few days in Shanghai and the World Expo. After that, Dwaine and I would be going to Hong Kong for nine days.


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Guide Dogs and the ADA
(c) 2008 by John Justice

How much has the ADA really helped those of us who use guide dogs? I read a note somewhere which compared the way things were years ago to how we are treated now when we use a guide dog. There's no doubt that things have changed to some extent since the time before the ADA was signed into law. But, unfortunately, it didn't help us as much as it should have.

When I got my first dog back in the mid-sixties, I can remember being refused entry into restaurants, being left on the side of the road by city bus drivers, being refused admittance into taxies. It was pretty rough out there at times. There was no consistency in the way people interpreted existing dog legislation.

Since the ADA became known, there are fewer confrontations and things have improved. There's no doubt about that but there are still incidents in which the management of a hotel will dare someone to sue them and just refuse the dog, whether it's legal or not. As all of you know, there are cab drivers in some major cities who pull out the religion card when it comes time to allowing a dog into their vehicles. But the most blatant disregard for this federal law comes from the government itself. Airlines are constantly hassling dog users but the FAA does nothing about it. Even today, there are bus drivers from Greyhound who will leave a guide dog handler standing on the street and pass him by because they don't want the dog in the bus. As recently as one year ago, I was told by an irate restaurant owner that this was his damned restaurant and he'd run it as he pleased. "If I say no dogs, then it's no dogs," he screamed in my face.

The policemen who arrived didn't know any more about the federal and state law than the owner did. The officer's solution was to suggest that we go some place else to eat. It took forty minutes, a lot of nasty argument and the intervention of the duty sergeant before the owner capitulated and showed us to a table. When we were seated, he said quietly, "I'll let you in this time because you're embarrassing me in front of my customers but don't come back. You won't get seated the next time. We'll just be full and that will be that."

I applied for a job in a local restaurant. I've been performing in this area for a very long time. The owner and his staff were polite and very helpful but they gave the job to someone else. Why? Because the man didn't want the dog in his dining room two nights a week.

If a guide dog handler decides to take an airplane somewhere, he or she is rolling the dice. On one flight, you might find a staff who welcomes the dog, does everything to make you comfortable and in short, makes the trip a pleasure. The next time you fly, you might get someone who doesn't like dogs and insists that you force your 80 pound Lab under the seat and then puts someone in the chair right next to you. Add that to the security staff who break the law constantly. FAA regulations clearly state that at no time should the owner be separated from his guide dog or service animal. Yet time and time again, my dog has been taken away from me, led through a separate entrance and then been subjected to a full pat down search to check for hidden weapons.

My dog and I are members of the Blind Liberation Army, a radical group of blind travelers who plan to rule every airport in the United States. We are planning to blow up the next Islamic driver who refuses to carry us in his cab. But how does the security staff know this? Who tipped them?

We are fortunate in having organizations like Guide Dog Users International who can recommend courses of action or even support someone with an ongoing problem. Years ago this kind of help was unheard of.

The problem with the ADA is that it is far too vague in areas where specific and enforceable laws should be available. Worse yet, people are taking advantage of loopholes in the law and bringing untrained, poorly controlled animals into public facilities and risking every other dog handler's rights. More than once I have entered a restaurant in Philadelphia, only to be attacked by someone's so-called "emotional support" Poodle who thinks he owns the place. A few years ago, someone took a case all the way to a state supreme court. In that battle, a woman claimed that her dog was a medical necessity. The court found in her favor based on an interpretation of ADA law. The decision spread like wild fire. Part of that ruling included a requirement stating clearly that a certification was required, confirming that the dog was a trained companion. The interpretation of what should or should not be accepted as genuine certification is where the trouble lies.

I don't believe that a letter from a doctor is sufficient verification of the necessity for a "support animal" but unfortunately, that letter is often all the dog owner needs to bring his or her completely untrained animal into a facility serving the public. Based on that decision, made in a lower court, these people have the right, under the ADA, to bring their animals with them.

I suggest that a higher level of certification should be demanded. Although I admire and respect the medical profession, I do not think that they have the knowledge to identify a properly trained service animal.

A case involving a specially trained dog used by a hearing impaired student achieved national notoriety when the school refused to allow the boy to bring his dog into the classroom. The ADA, as interpreted by the courts, seems to give that student the right to bring his dog with him and he and his family were able to provide a very high level of verification that the dog was a necessary part of the boy's life. Yet the school refused time and time again until the matter reached higher into the legal system. As of this writing, the matter is not yet completely resolved. The student is not able to rely on his dog for the service he needs while in class. How would you vote on such a proposition? Any person who can think clearly and concisely would admit that bringing a dog into a building filled with young children is a recipe for disaster. Yet, at the same time, the ADA gives this boy the right to bring his dog along. The animal was obviously well trained and selected for that purpose. If dog and boy are a good team, the student could deal with any possible difficulty arising out of having a dog in the classroom. As an outside observer and a father, I can clearly see good arguments on both sides of that dispute.

In another incident, a college level girl experienced difficulty when one of her potential instructors tried to deny her admittance into that class because she was "allergic to dogs" and therefore believed that the student, by attending the professor's classes, would create an untenable situation. Fortunately, that dispute only went as high as the administration of the college, who told the professor to take her allergy medication or leave. The student had no further trouble.

An old retired judge once told me that the law is like a pendulum. It swings too far in one direction, then moves to the exact opposite position. If left alone, the law, like the pendulum, will eventually achieve an equilibrium. The old gentleman went on to say that in many cases, neither side of a legal argument is completely satisfied with the final result. That sounds like a reasonable assumption to me. Now, let's look at the positive side of what we have gained through ADA. Guide dogs are accepted in most locations without question. More recently, the laws have been extended to include other service animals such as those who assist physically challenged individuals. If you attend a concert, special seating is often provided which allows for additional space for guide dogs or wheel chairs. Public busses often have an area which has been designed to provide more space for those who ride with their dogs or in some kind of mechanical equipment. Most modern city busses are equipped with a suspension system which allows the bus to "kneel," or lower the entrance, thereby permitting easier access for those of us whom are physically challenged. The ADA is not perfect but what would the world be like for us if it were not there at all? Will the pendulum swing the other way and will these ridiculous distortions of the law be corrected in time? We can hope so. The law moves slowly. But it does change eventually. There are many more battles to be fought and legal confrontations to be won and lost. What will this world be like 20 years from now?

At one time, an engineer was trying to develop a robotic guide for the blind. Actual tests were performed in England but it's been quite a while since any new developments have been noted. Can you imagine being led from place to place by R2 D2? No one could complain about fur or fleas. It wouldn't be necessary to walk your robot guide in the middle of a snow storm. But, knowing humanity as we do, someone somewhere would probably find a way to protest against the use of this electronic device. "I am afraid that the robot might go crazy and kill my other customers." "We don't allow robots in our restaurant." "You can't bring that thing on an airplane. It might contain a bomb!" "You won't be permitted to use your robot guide on the aircraft. It could send out signals which would interfere with the pilot's ability to fly the plane." Don't laugh, dear readers. It could happen.

John and Linda Justice
with Guide Dogs Jake and Zachary Personal e-mail:


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Emailing Tips
By Bob Branco

I know that many of you already do this, but I thought I would mention an important tip when emailing to groups. How many times do you open up an email, and have to scroll down because you have to go through all the other email addresses that this person is also sending their letter to? This morning I received an email in which I had to use my down arrow key over a hundred times before reaching the body of the email, because the sender listed about 20 other addresses, the person who forwarded the email to the sender also listed about 20 addresses, and the person who forwarded the email to the other person who forwarded the email to the sender also listed about 20 other addresses. All you need to do, when sending an email to a group of people, is to put your email address on the "TO" line, skip the "CC" line, and list all of your recipients on the "BCC" (blind carbon copy) line. When I do this, the rest of my group doesn't know exactly how many people are receiving the email, and frankly, none of your email addresses are exposed to everyone else. I've had people ask me not to include them in my group emails for fear that their email address would be exposed. If you use this method, no one needs to worry, and no one has to scroll down half a page of addresses from several previous forwards. They can get right to the body of the letter right away.

At one time, one of you asked me not to include you in groups because you thought your email address would be exposed, but guess what! With this method, you don't even see your own address any more.

I hope this was a helpful emailing hint, because I'm sure that you agree how tedious it is to have to scroll, and scroll, and scroll through several forwards, several lists, and several captions before you finally read the email. It's not necessary.

The other important thing that this method does is prevent unknown companies from obtaining your address in order to put you on their own mailing lists, either as part of a promotion or a scam. You may want to forward this helpful advice to your lists, and perhaps in the near future, no one will be scrolling down forever until actually reading what the sender wanted them to read.


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Coastline Elderly Nutrition News

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


Vision can be such a crucial part of one's well-being but unfortunately, getting older is the most important risk factor in developing Cataracts and Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).

AMD is a disease associated with aging that gradually destroys one's central vision and is the largest cause of vision loss in the U.S.

Cataracts occur when there is damage on the lens of the eye which creates a clump that keeps light from reaching the retina. This will blur the image we see.

Risk Factors include: age (older than 60), smoking, obesity, race (especially Caucasians), family history and gender (especially women).

New research suggests that key foods and nutrients may provide a simple and inexpensive way to help protect your vision.

Carotenoids (like lutein and zeaxanthin, found in leafy greens) and omega-3 fatty acids (found in fatty fish like tuna and salmon) have been shown to provide beneficial effects for the eyes and help reduce the risk of developing cataracts and AMD.

Source: Environmental Nutrition, Nutrition Action Newsletter, and Today's Dietitian Sept 09)

Best Tips to Lower Risk of AMD & Cataracts

– Increase consumption of leafy greens (kale, spinach, collard greens, beet greens) *Caution, if taking medication like Coumadin*

– Eat fatty fish at least 2 times weekly

– Lose excess weight

– Limit carbs that raise blood sugar quickly (white breads, sugars, etc.)

– Take a daily multivitamin


Did you know?

1 cup of cooked KALE contains:
11.9 mg Lutein and Zeaxanthin

1 cup of raw romaine lettuce contains:
1.1 mg Lutein and Zeaxanthin

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

Thanksgiving Dinners to the Elderly Community

On Thanksgiving Day, congregate meals will be served at Dartmouth Senior Center (628 Dartmouth St., South Dartmouth), Tripp Towers (12 Ruth St., New Bedford) and Brooklawn Senior Center (1997 Acushnet Ave, New Bedford).

Home-delivered Holiday Meals are available to homebound elders. Anyone in need of a meal should call Coastline's Nutrition Department at 508-999-6400 Ext. 191 (Carol), 188 (Evelyn) or 192 (Jackie) before November 5th, 2010 for Home Delivered Meal

Thank you again for your support!

Kimberly Ferreira, MS, RD, LDN Registered Dietitian

Coastline Elderly Services, Inc.
1646 Purchase Street
New Bedford, MA 02740
(508) 999-6400 x194


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A Human Service Disaster
By Bob Branco

I have information about a case involving a mentally challenged client in the human services circle that suggests she's being abused, used, and taken advantage of. Needless to say, I am not going to mention names or agencies in this letter. For that, you would need to contact me privately. However, what I am about to tell you can be documented, and what bothers me is that nothing is being done about it.

A 37-year-old mentally challenged woman is living in an adult foster care home. Her care giver is 23 years of age. The caregiver lives with her 24-year-old boyfriend and their 2-year-old son. The client exhibits hyperactive behavior, has a low attention span, and is probably on behavior medication. She attends a day program five days a week.

On numerous occasions each night, the client is home without the caregivers. She is either taking care of their 2-year-old son, cleaning the entire house, washing the caregivers' clothing (including the boyfriend's underwear) and on at least one occasion she was locked out of her home for several hours in the cold rain. It was documented that on several occasions, when the client wanted to go on an outing, the caregiver requested the money from the agency and pocketed most of it for herself instead of giving it to the client for the outing. The presumption was that the client's boyfriend would pay for the outing, and no one bothered to ask for receipts of expenses incurred from the outing to take back to the agency which would establish a paper trail, which would prove that the caretaker pocketed a percentage of what she requested. At times, the caretakers' friends will stop by, whether the caretakers are home or not, and offer the client liquor, which she takes. On another occasion the caretaker's boyfriend was cooking over a barbecue pit outside the home, and needed to leave. Upon leaving, he asked the client to watch the fire. No one else was home at the time, and the client had alcohol in her.

I don't think I need to comment about any of these incidents, except I will ask one thing: If the client needs care herself, why are the caregivers allowing her to be this responsible? I know the client very well, and I can safely say that she is not able to make spontaneous decisions, particularly if there is an emergency in the house or with the baby. Again, it goes back to why she's in Adult Foster Care in the first place. The state pays generously for this program, yet the roles in this case appear to be reversed. The caregiver is allowed to go out partying and drinking a lot while the client is home doing the things I just mentioned.

There are mornings when the client gets up and has to watch the toddler while the caregiver is asleep. This, of course, was unplanned. The caregiver was probably out all night partying and was too tired to get up with her client. The boyfriend has a full-time job and is out of the house most of the time.

The agency was made aware of these problems almost a year ago, and an alleged investigation took place. The agency was obviously satisfied with their findings. How else should I feel, since the client is still living in this neglectful situation? It is irresponsible and neglectful for the agency to allow this to continue. Someone should be held accountable before it's too late.

Whoever is reading this, please think of this client as being one of your loved ones. How would you feel if your loved one (if she had a handicap similar to this client) was being taken advantage of in this fashion?

I take serious offense to what is going on, and I believe it to be criminal. I am advocating for someone who cannot advocate for herself. As part of the client's overall behavior, she has fits of rage where at times she throws things. Yet despite that, which the caregiver knows about, the client still is her "Cinderella."

Two years ago, I warned the agency that this particular home was no good for the client because I knew how irresponsible this caregiver is. It's a shame that I was not listened to at the time, but plans were already in the works and, for whatever reason, they couldn't have been undone.

I am not trying to cause trouble, but what's right is right. We're talking about the life of a mentally challenged individual, and I feel that disaster is waiting to happen. It is time for the agency to step up, admit they were wrong, and do the right thing by this client. The client deserves that, if nothing else.

I must also tell you that the caregiver's boyfriend was here last year painting my dining room, and he expressed his concern for his baby because the client has fits of rage in the house. Yet despite what he says, the client still baby sits all hours of the day as if there weren't any concerns at all. At the time the guy was painting for me, I had no clue of what was going on in their house. Thank God I know, and you know how I know? The client had the wisdom to complain to several people, and word trickled back to me. There have been several conversations with the caregiver and the client's friends about some of what was told, and the caregiver did not deny any of it. There are those who feel the client has a big mouth. Well, it was her big mouth that became her friend, because whether she knows it or not, that was her way of advocating for herself.

As an advocate for persons with disabilities, it pains me to hear that these things are going on, but it pains me more when I hear that no progress is being made in solving these issues. I hope the agency does what's best, and soon. You may respond to this letter and, if you need to know specifics, just give me a call at 508-994-4972.


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Learn to Play Chess

Blind or Visually Impaired? - Now you can learn to play Chess absolutely free of cost and receive a completely free-of-cost full-size highest quality Chess Set!

"The Gymnastics of the Brain" or "The Martial Arts of the Mind"

Feel the "Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat" or just have lots of fun, a fantastic hobby, wonderful inexpensive recreation, playing blind or sighted people alike. A great way to meet others, take this game of Kings to whatever level you like!

Please see the Web site of the United States Braille Chess Association:

or subscribe to our List Group:

A very friendly group of blind or visually impaired Chess enthusiasts who enjoy playing tournaments or just friendly games with those of their own strength and knowledge of this wonderful sport using email messages or computer voice communication programs!

To join, or for more information about how to enroll in a completely free-of-cost Beginning Chess Course through the Hadley School for the Blind in either Braille or Audio Cassette format, and receive your absolutely free full-size high-quality accessible chess set, contact:

Alan Dicey, President

United States Braille Chess Association - USBCA Email:


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Ode to the English language.

I'll bet French, German, Greek or Spanish make a lot more sense to the new learner.

An ode of English Plural

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes, But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.

One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese, Yet the plural of moose should never be meese. You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice, Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,

Why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen? If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,

And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet? If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,

Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and there would be those,

Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,

And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.

We speak of a brother and also of brethren,

But though we say mother, we never say methren. Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him, But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!

Let's face it - English is a crazy language.

There is no egg in eggplant or ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.

English muffins weren't invented in England.

We take English for granted, but if we explore its paradoxes,

we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square, and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing,

grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?

Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend?

If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?

If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English

should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? We ship by truck but send cargo by ship...

We have noses that run and feet that smell.

We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.

And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,

while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down,

in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and

in which an alarm goes off by going on.

And in closing, if Father is Pop, how come Mother's not Mop?


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Cleo, the Keyboard, Part 4
By Lucille Burkhardt

Well, Guys, it's the Japanese Invasion once again. I, Cleo, have another lovely companion to take the place of the Clavanova CLP330 as of Labor Day. This lovely Chinese couple named Mike and Yu, originally from Beijing, purchased the Clavanova after hearing it. They were quite impressed. However, a friend of theirs brought his truck for the transport. The payment for the instrument was a little short for the price of the YPG535 88-note keyboard. Lucille had to sell both guitars in order to make the purchase. A slight mix-up occurred when Paul grabbed the autoharp, not realizing this until we arrived at Guitar Center. We, in turn, received $140 for both guitars combined, which wasn't bad. On Tuesday, September 7, Lucille examined the YPG635, and voiced her discontent to the store manager who owns one himself. As the saying goes, To Each His Own. It is really nice to have Clarissa, the new keyboard beside me. She is very sweet and loving, and I just love that. Lucille still gives me lots of love just the same. Her delight in Clarissa is just as immeasurable as with me. There is a bit more space because Clarissa doesn't have any cabinetry, as a digital piano does. Clarissa has some of the sounds that I have. Clarissa also has lots more volume than the Clavanova, which she thinks is over-priced. In Clarissa's opinion, it's just a glorified piano. I tell you, Yamaha never stops. I think they eat, sleep, and dream technology. By the way, in reference to a previous installment of this story, I found out what Sukiyaki is. It's a type of soup with different meats and vegetables. In fact, it's referred to as the "friendship food" because it's so well-liked. Unfortunately, a local Japanese restaurant here in Little Rock doesn't serve it. Oh well, those are the breaks.


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Coastline Elderly Nutrition News

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


One of the most enjoyable aspects of the holiday season is THE FOOD! There are many traditions related to food that you only get to experience during the holidays. Although there will be an array of dishes that may seem tempting, you can still indulge during the holiday season without sacrificing flavorful foods. Take a look at these simple substitutions to keep you healthy during the holiday season.

Instead of THIS.. EAT THIS...

and SAVE:

4 ounces Spiral Ham 4 ounces Pork Tenderloin 1218 mg Sodium

4 ounces Egg Nog 4 ounce glass Red Wine

9 grams Fat

1 cup Sweet Potato Casserole 1 cup mashed Sweet Potatoes 155 Calories

1/3 cup Rice Pudding 1 Frosted Sugar Cookie

40 grams Carbs

Nutrients analyzed from and

Extra Holiday Tips for Diabetics

– Maintain consistent meal time

– Increase glucose monitoring during the holidays

– Be aware of sugary food additions, such as maple syrup, honey, dried fruit, marshmallows, etc.

– Put all of your food on one plate to better assess your balance of carbohydrates and protein

Cranberry-Cinnamon Poached Pears

1/2 cup cranberry juice

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

2 ripe pears, peeled, cored, halved

1 tablespoon sugar

- Mix cranberry juice & cinnamon in a small microwave-safe baking dish.

- Arrange pears in a single layer & sprinkle with sugar.

- Cover & microwave for about 6 min

- Toss in liquid & let cool about 20 min

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


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Holiday Salads
Marilyn Brandt Smith

Use these salads to amplify, modify, and satisfy your need for a change when that special day's leftovers are getting boring.

Hot Chicken or Turkey Salad

1 cup cooked rice

1 cup diced chicken or turkey

1 can cream of chicken soup

1/4 cup diced onion

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds 1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 cup diced celery

3 chopped hard boiled eggs

Salt and pepper to taste.

Mix all ingredients together. This recipe can be warmed in the oven for thirty minutes at 375 degrees if ingredients were prepared ahead of time.


German Potato Salad

8 to 10 potatoes, peeled and cut in small pieces. You can use leftover baked potatoes or mashed potatoes if you have them.

3/4 cup chopped onion

3 to 4 stalks celery, finely chopped

1/4 cup chopped parsley or parsley flakes 1/2 cup mild vinegar

1/4 cup salad oil

2 tablespoons sugar

Salt and pepper to taste.

Add onions, celery, and spices to the potatoes, and heat to room temperature. Heat oil, vinegar, and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Pour sauce over potatoes and mix well. Sprinkle with parsley or paprika. Serve at room temperature. Serves eight to ten.


Calico Bean Salad

1 can cut green beans 1 can wax beans

1 can kidney beans

1/2 cup minced green pepper 1/2 cup minced onion

3/4 cup sugar

2/3 cup vinegar

1/3 cup salad oil

Salt and pepper to taste.

Drain beans, and mix with green pepper and onion. Mix sugar, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper, and pour over bean mixture. Make several hours ahead of time, and refrigerate. Drain excess liquid before serving. Keeps well for several days.


Holiday Fruit Salad

1 small package Philadelphia cream cheese 2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 pint whipping cream

1 small can crushed pineapple, drained 1/2 cup chopped nuts

1/2 cup chopped Maraschino cherries.

Soften cheese, whip cream until almost ready; add juice, cheese, salt, and mayonnaise. Continue whipping until stiff. Mix in fruit and nuts. Freeze for at least three hours. Keeps well for a long time. You can probably substitute Dream Whip for the whipping cream, but the salad will be sweeter.


Pineapple chicken stir-fry


For the marinade:

1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into 1-inch cubes

For the rice: 1-1/3 cups water 2/3 cup brown rice

For the sauce:

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

3 tablespoons unsweetened pineapple juice 1 teaspoon rice vinegar

1-1/2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce 1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon peanut oil, divided

1 small carrot, thinly sliced into diagonal strips

1 cup chopped red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch diamonds 1 cup chopped bok choy

1 cup unsweetened canned pineapple chunks

1 cup sliced green onion

1 cup snow peas


In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar and ginger. Pour the marinade into a sealable bag and add the cubed chicken. Seal and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Add the water to a saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Cover and bring to a boil. Add the rice, reduce heat to low and simmer about 5 minutes, or according to package directions. Remove from heat, stir and cover. Let stand until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender.

In a separate bowl, mix together the ingredients for the sauce. Set aside.

Assemble and measure out all of the remaining ingredients.

In a large wok, heat 1/2 tablespoon of the peanut oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots and red pepper and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the bok choy and pineapple and stir-fry 1 minute.

Add onions and snow peas and stir-fry for another minute.

Remove vegetables from the wok into a large bowl and set aside.

Return the wok to the burner. Add 1/2 tablespoon of the peanut oil and the marinated chicken. Stir-fry about 3 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through (internal temperature should be 165 F for 15 seconds). Add cooked vegetables. Stir-fry for 1 minute more.

Stir the sauce mixture to make sure the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Add the sauce to the wok and bring to a boil. Cook until the sauce thickens and appears clear and shiny, about 1 minute.

To serve, add 1/3 cup of the brown rice to each of 4 warmed plates. Divide the chicken stir-fry evenly among the plates. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Nutritional Analysis (per serving)

Serving size: 1/3 cup brown rice and about 1 cup stir-fry Calories 257 Cholesterol 33 mg

Protein 17 g Sodium 311 mg

Carbohydrate 35 g Fiber 4 g

Total fat 5 g Potassium 456 mg

Saturated fat 1 g Calcium 60 mg

Monounsaturated fat 2 g

Dietitian's tip: Brown rice has a high-fiber bran coating and a nut-like flavor. Rice bran is high in soluble fiber and like oat bran, it helps lower cholesterol.

By Mayo Clinic staff

It is better to give than to receive, the best things come in small packages.

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Consumer Vision Trivia Contest

Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the September/October Consumer Vision. The last major hurricane to hit New England was Hurricane Bob in 1991. Congratulations to the following winners:

Jan Colby of Brockton, Massachusetts

Nancy Sullivan of Dartmouth, Massachusetts

And now, here is your trivia question for the November/December Consumer Vision. What musical group was Ray Parker Jr. in before he went on his own?

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


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