The Consumer Vision

           September/October, 2010

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 e-mail

 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 e-mail.

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.

A Response from the Publisher
A Darker Side of Life
Blindness in the School Systems
Does Society Really Believe What It Asks?
Cleo, the Musical Keyboard, Part Two
Coastline Elderly Nutrition News: Organic Food - What Is It?
What Will Happen to Consumer Groups?
Our Travels: China Trip (continued from July/August issue)
Cleo, the Keyboard, Part Three
New Doctors Ask for Picture Identification at First Visit
Coastline Elderly Nutrition News: How Healthy Are Your Bones?
U.S. Capital Building Elevator Operator: 1963
Fall for All
Consumer Vision Trivia Contest

A Response from the Publisher

I would like to respond to comments made in an article written by Lucille Burkhardt in the July/August Consumer Vision. The article, entitled "Being Stood Up and Misunderstood," implied that the pharmacy would have treated Lucille better if she had sight. I have heard similar comments from blind people under other circumstances. For example, a restaurant manager wanted a party of 50 blind people to pick certain food items from the menu instead of ordering from a complete menu so that the kitchen help wouldn't be backed up with orders. A blind person told me that the manager only did that because the group was blind. Hearing these comments makes it sound as though businesses disrespect the blind as a rule. I want to put all this in perspective by telling you that sighted people, as well as the blind, are disrespected at times by businesses. Therefore, I see no cause to believe that this pharmacy and this restaurant behaved in the manner in which they did because the customer was blind. For one thing, we don't know what the working conditions were like at the pharmacy. There may have been a new employee that day, or maybe the employee had already had a bad day when Lucille called about her delivery, even if she called several times. Where is it said that things would have been different had Lucille been sighted? Yes, it is true that blind people put up with a lot of rejection, especially when it comes to finding a job, and it's true that many of us, blind or sighted, can not handle a constant amount of rejection. However, if we allow ourselves to assume that everything bad happens because we are blind, it only hurts us more. Lucille had a bad experience, and if I was treated that way by her pharmacy, I may have been mad, but only to a point, because I would look at all extenuating circumstances. It may be that the pharmacy treated Lucille badly because she was blind, but let's not assume it, because we don't know.

Bob Branco

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A Darker Side of Life

by Sharon Hooley

As I write this, I'm enjoying warm weather, outdoor activities, and the smell of mown green grass and flowers in bloom.

Yet, ironically, there are those who find it very difficult to enjoy this time of year. In fact, around the month of March when the weather changes into spring, many suicides can occur with those who suffer from severe depression due to certain seasons. It is commonly caused by lack of sunlight during the fall and winter months and, in some cases, it can come during the spring or early summer. This is known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

But there is a way to combat this type of illness. You can purchase a special device that puts out rays that mimic sunlight. Exposing your eyes and skin to this light source every day for approximately 30 minutes can help boost your mood. Even those of us who have no light perception might benefit. If the retinas are blocked or nonexistent, the light can still penetrate the skin. I do not have study results on hand, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to try. For myself, I bought a full-spectrum light bulb from Pay & Pack. It was around $5 at the time. My sister gave me an old lamp she didn't need anymore, and I simply replaced the regular light bulb with mine.

Unfortunately too, there are mental/emotional disorders that stay around throughout all seasons. But the good news is that many sufferers can get medical, psychological and spiritual help which can go a long way in coping with these disorders. In going back in history, people with mental illness were sometimes treated cruelly, and were tied up in institutional hospitals for long-term stay. Now, with much improved therapies, there is more hope than ever for enjoying a calmer and more productive life, living independently, or in sheltered or family-style homes. Some may even hold down a job, get married and have children. There are also outpatient treatment centers where clients can go to spend some hours of the day. I have been attending these types of programs for many years, both in Oregon and in Idaho. Right now, I'm going to a center called Daybreak Mental Wellness. Our work includes sharing current events, group discussions on living daily life, and education about health, aspects of mental illness, and activities that can help us cope with our symptoms.

Although each person has unique challenges, there are some common disorders that medical science has identified that can help doctors in deciding what kind of treatment to try. These include bipolar 1 and 2, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and schizophrenia. On a personal note, I was finally, after years of mild to moderate suffering, diagnosed as having bipolar 2 and obsessive compulsive disorder. Basically, my symptoms include anxiety caused by unwanted inner urges and thought patterns, moderate depression, and at least one hypo manic episode that gave me some sleepless nights, energy to go go go and to contemplate big business ideas. One night, I briefly felt overloaded and agitated by what I wanted to do do do and/or what I needed to do to accomplish something. This subsided when I slowed down and deepened my breathing. I may have started feeling mildly depressed at an earlier age, but the negative thought patterns started when I was around 11 years old. In my teen years, the anxiety and depression increased, seemingly because of those worsening thoughts and frightening feelings about God and the devil. It led me to feel that I wanted nothing to do with God.

Over time, some of my siblings began to understand what was going on with me and other family members. Many of them have experienced episodes of depression and/or anxiety as well. My parents and other well-meaning Christians thought that it was a spiritual battle, and all I had to do was to repent, hand it over to God, and resist the devil. I remember my father saying, "That's just a temptation from the devil." Even some Christian counselors told me that I needed to take responsibility and realize that I was the problem, and to change my thoughts.

But God understood all along, and has told me, in various ways, that He accepted my words that I wanted Him, even though I never felt completely sincere, and that He would help me want to obey Him. After being hospitalized three times, trying various medications, and seeing counselors, I found something that I'd been wanting for some time. Since I knew that God understood me more than anyone else ever could, and was always available 24/7, I sought help from a blind pastor in Denver, Colorado, who had a special prayer ministry. He prayed with me to hear The Lord speak and show me His truth that sets me free. After working with him over the phone for awhile, I've learned that I can talk with my Heavenly Father, as the Chief Counselor, telling Him how I feel, asking Him what is going on, and what I need to know or do about it. Since He does the deep cleaning, I have become more free to learn from other sources how to cope and keep on top of my symptoms.

These days, I am on three medications that are fairly stable, continue to learn from God, and keep very active. I still attend day treatment three hours a day, four days a week, have staff who work with me individually, and live in the home of a Romanian couple, with three other women clients. Of all the homes I've lived in, I consider this one to be the most fertile soil for growth in a Christian environment.

The Lord has blessed me so much! He can do the same for you. You need not have a diagnosed mental illness. One way or another, each of us suffers from varying degrees of pain and has been emotionally hurt by such things as circumstances, unhealthy relationships, or even by well-meaning people who are trying to help but don't realize what they're doing. I want to share this life-changing freedom with you, and pass along info on resources that may also help you cope with life. Please don't live in denial or minimize your feelings. God made the microscopic details of the universe, as well as the biggest and numerous stars in the sky. He gave each of us the capacity to experience emotions, and, since He is love personified, why would He not care about our seemingly trivial hurts? If you happen to believe in the Bible as His Word, yes, cling to Him in faith even if your feelings don't match what He says, but also realize that Jesus said that if you take Him at His word, you will "know," not merely ascent to or believe, the Truth, and the Truth will set you free. (See John 8-32.) Best of all, you can talk to the Chief Counselor about anything. He knows all about you but loves you anyway, He's available 24/7, and never gets tired. He also wants to use us to support and help each other.

With this in mind, here are some resources you might find helpful:

You can read about all kinds of health issues, including mental disorders, at the Mayo Clinic website:

You might find personal and family support here:

Here is my prayer partner's website. Although he is not currently doing as much counseling as before, you can read a bunch of testimonies recounting how God works in people's lives through this type of ministry. He wrote a couple of stories about me too.

And, as always, you can email me for support at:

May you find true and lasting peace in your life.

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Blindness in the School Systems

by John Justice

fter I graduated from Saint Joseph's School for the Blind in Jersey City, New Jersey, I went on to high school at Wildwood Catholic. That was in 1960, fifty years ago. I could have gone to a school for the blind but I chose the course which did change my life forever.

In some ways, I envy the young blind person who is approaching this life-changing decision right now. Technology has advanced to such an extent that this young individual has a remarkable chance for success if he or she is capable of using the equipment which is now available. But all of the technology in the world is not going to prepare any young blind student for the challenges of attending high school. The problem isn't the subject matter, the tests or even the transportation. It is how this person without sight will deal with a world in which he or she is an exception. There are so many things that a sighted child relies on each and every day which are lacking for a blind child. Two children can communicate a great deal with a glance or a facial expression. They see and react almost instantly to the world around them. The blind child must depend on his or her senses but sight, which makes up such a large part of growing up in this world we live in, is absent. As a result, the blind student might be subjected to any number of different reactions from his or her sighted classmates. Now, I'm going to invent some people to make this easier. In fact, let me introduce you to two very nice blind children I just created in my head. Ladies and gentlemen! Please welcome Kelly and Andy. Kelly is thirteen and has just graduated from grade school. She is bright and very outgoing in her own way. But Kelly is blind. Andy is thirteen, has very little useable sight and has attended a school for the blind. What is in their future? Which avenue will these children take to achieve the next level of education?!

Kelly has decided to enter her local high school and is counting on the support she will receive from the local agency serving the blind. Andy has a choice. He can continue his high school training at one of the schools for the blind or finish his schooling in a place for which he is not prepared. .What happens to each of these children is the point I'm going to make.

Kelly has already been exposed to other children with sight. She was pulled out of class regularly during grade school to learn Braille and other skills which will serve her well in the future.

Andy has been educated in a fine school. He has had all of the advantages of specialized training designed specifically for the visually impaired. He has never worried about where his next text book will come from. He was taught Braille and learned how to use a computer as a regular part of schooling. Andy attended a school in which his largest class was eight students. His teachers were able to give him a great deal of one-on-one help with the various problems he encountered along the way. Andy did compete with other children in his class, some of whom were handicapped in other ways. He has learned from a very young age to accept people no matter what their talents or abilities. But his exposure to the real world is limited. As a graduate of a school for the blind, Andy will be well versed in every aspect of education. But he has never learned to relate to the sighted world around him. When he finally walks through that door, this young man is in for a tremendous shock. The world outside of those walls won't be willing or able to give him anything except odd responses to his blindness, something he has never experienced before.

Kelly will adjust well to her new high school surroundings. She may encounter some resistance from the other students but Kelly has learned how to interact with the world around her. Her blindness is a nuisance, not a handicap.

if we took Andy out of his carefully planned and organized environment and exposed him to the chaos of walking through a hall in a public or parochial school, he would be shocked and maybe even frightened. He wouldn't know how to adjust his schedules to allow for free periods devoted to taking tests or having material read to him which wasn't available in a more accessible form. He would have to learn all of these skills from the ground up. But Andy's biggest hurtles won't be the education. He will be a complete outcast. He wouldn't have been exposed to the ridicule and laughter of other children when he wore something that wasn't cool. He wouldn't have suffered the so-called humor which is an every-day part of high school life. For quite a while, Andy would wish that he had never chosen a public school and had stayed at the school for the blind for his remaining high school years.

My point is this, ladies and gentlemen. Blind children, just like the rest of us, will have to learn to live in a sighted world. Schools for the blind are good as beginnings. In an environment like that, the child can learn the skills he will need later. Learning Braille in a school like that is best. There is no guaranty that he would receive the same quality of Braille training in an outside location. A child can learn to use a computer best when the teacher knows the abilities and limitations of her blind student. Again, that might not be the case if the child tried to learn on the outside. Why not give blind children the basics they'll need in a closed environment like that? But each blind child should be introduced into the real world at every opportunity. I believe that there is a place for specialized schooling, but it cannot possibly be the final solution. Schools for the blind still exist today but their students are often people with multiple handicaps or who are mentally challenged as well as being blind.

If a blind child is exposed to regular schooling with supplementary special education for his special needs, that level of training might vary from state to state based on budgetary considerations, available staff or something as simple as state legislation. There is no guaranty that a child will get the help he or she needs consistently. Blind children raised in a sighted environment are often exposed to extreme levels of cruelty from other students. Children like this will have to have the support they need to survive that kind of treatment.

The answer is certainly not locking a blind child away for most of his or her life and then ejecting him into a world which is poorly prepared to deal with that kind of problem. The only way that any child with a visual impairment can exist and grow is with a set of skills and abilities that have to be reliably taught at a very young age. So many people who are now living on their own were unable to face that tremendous crash. After their schooling was completed, they withdrew and never were able to achieve anything significant. Why is this true? The world would prefer that we go away and not bother them. This is an indisputable truth. When someone is rejected time after time, he or she might just back away and reach the conclusion that the pain and frustration just isn't worth it. If that same unforgiving society then provides the blind person with a way to survive without working, then many will make that choice. I have heard it time and time again. "Why should I go where I'm not wanted?" Why indeed? It all begins with the children. If they learn independence early then they will be independent through their entire lives. Conversely, if the child is never taught to exist in the sighted world, then he or she might find it so much easier to live a quiet existence where there is no challenge, no confrontation, no pain.

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Does Society Really Believe What It Asks?

by Bob Branco

As a blind person, and as someone who has a lot of blind friends, I often hear the questions asked by many people about us, our disability, and the kind of life we lead. Many of the questions are asked with sincerity by those who really don't know how a blind person lives, while other questions are down-right stupid. In all fairness to the people who ask us stupid questions, I honestly don't feel the person asking the question really believes what he's saying.

I have a close blind friend who is a single father. He has a 12-year-old son living at home, and like any other parent, he tries to live life and take responsibility for himself and his child. Being that my friend is out and about, people notice him, and they also realize he has a vision loss. My friend and I converse all the time about his experiences while he's shopping, taking a bus, or doing whatever else he needs to do outside the home. One day, someone wanted to know if there were blind stores. What is a blind store?, you may ask. Well, if you want to put yourself in this person's mind, a blind store is a store exclusively for blind shoppers. It provides Braille on all the food packages, Braille on the walls, Braille on the canned goods and Braille money to make change with. By now you are laughing because you know there is no such store in this entire world. Yet, for whatever reason, my blind friend is asked this question by reasonably intelligent people, and I don't think these people ask him about blind stores because they're trying to be funny. Yet, I have to wonder about these individuals who ask. If they stopped to think, and assuming they are sane, rational adults, wouldn't they have come across a blind store by now if one existed? Or maybe these people think that blind stores are located in a part of the world only inhabited by the blind where no sighted human being has ever been.

I would like to think I am as intelligent as the guy who asked my friend about a blind store, so I suppose I should channel my intelligence to believe that when my blind friend brings his groceries home, there is Braille on the meat, on the bread, and on the bars of soap. Oh, he should be careful when he washes himself because the Braille might come off the soap.

I don't want to believe that certain people are that oblivious to the world, even if they never encountered someone who is blind, but when they start asking questions about blind stores, I wonder about that.

I am 53 years old and have lived in the same apartment all my life, yet someone implied recently that I probably still need assistance walking from room to room because I can't see. The individual never saw me in the home. He assumed my situation because I'm blind.

If any of you happen to be at a blind store today, can you pick me up some Braille chicken?

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Cleo, the Musical Keyboard, Part Two

by Lucille Burkhardt

Well, gang, I'm back again. I just thought I would update you on life. Since our community room is still incomplete, I, Cleo, have restricted my performances to the hobby room. You know, that can be pretty frustrating at times, especially when Lucille doesn't always visit me. But it's never intentional because she always gives me love. Sometimes, though, I take my frustration out on her. This, in turn, angers her to the point where she shows me some tough love. This never lasts, though. I'm always guaranteed a big smooch every night. Just last Friday, she decided to phone Yamaha Corporation in California, and shared my successes. The representative was very delighted to hear of the joys I am experiencing. Boy! Does that Sukiyaki taste good! (That last comment is in reference to the song.) Boy! It sure feels great to be appreciated and wanted. In fact, Precious Jewel is the latest.

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Kimberly Ferreira, MS, RD, LDN

Coastline Elderly Services, Inc


In addition to Food Safety Month, September is the month to celebrate organic food and agriculture!

Organic essentially means that a food has not been genetically modified or irradiated · Produce is free of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers Dairy, poultry, meat and eggs are free of growth hormones and antibiotics.

Foods labeled "organic" must first go through a certification process by the USDA to ensure the food meets the national organic standards. Always look for the USDA seal which proves that >95% of its ingredients are organically produced.

Organic foods have not been proven to be superior in nutrients; however, if the dangers and health concerns of pesticides, hormones and antibiotics have you concerned, then organic may be your choice.

Just remember, Organic Doesn't Always Mean Healthy!

The Dirty Dozen


Bell Peppers



Imported Grapes






Red Raspberries


Organic Resources

For More Information on Organic Foods, check out these websites:

Organic Trade Association:

The Organic Center:

National Organic Standards Program:

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

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What Will Happen to Consumer Groups?

by Bob Branco

Nearly thirty years ago, right before I graduated from junior college, I joined a consumer group of blind individuals, known nationally and internationally. One of the reasons I joined was because I needed to find my identity as a blind person in the community, given the fact that jobs would be hard to find because of my blindness, and that I needed some advocacy to back me up. There have been several large consumer groups of blind people, and even if all of them have differences with one another, I think it would be safe to say that they share a common goal, and that is to help the blind be as independent as the sighted. With all that said, I believe that recruiting younger people into these organizations has become extremely difficult in recent years. As many of the older members quit or pass away, the sizes of these groups are growing smaller because there aren't as many younger people taking the place of the elders who left. Again, this is my own personal opinion, but I base it on some very hard evidence.

In 1981, our local chapter of the National Federation of the Blind had over 50 members, including sighted volunteers. Now it has two members, at the most. In the '80s, it was easy to form a club for persons with disabilities. Now, it's not. Many people with disabilities are integrating more with the non-handicapped, and do not feel the need to join such a group for support. As the days go by, more and more people with disabilities recognize that they are part of a complete society, so why not integrate with it? Our local chapter of the Catholic Guild for the Blind used to meet regularly for several months out of the year, complete with members of all ages and a staff of volunteer drivers. Now, the group is a shell of itself, with no younger members and hardly a single driver.

I would like to think that younger blind consumers are not joining organizations because they are too busy. If they are too busy, it means that they are leading productive lives, something that consumer organizations want the blind to do. It is also possible that some young blind people are facing rejection every day, and are slipping into some sort of depression, making them unmotivated so they won't join groups. Whatever the reason is, it is quite evident that this is happening, and I know it frustrates the group leaders because they want to keep their groups going.

What will happen to these groups in the future if not enough young people join them? Will these groups show less strength and power as a direct result?

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Our Travels: China Trip (continued from July/August issue)

(c) Jean Marcley

Day Four

We are still in Beijing and it is Tuesday. After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, we got on a bus and headed to the Great Wall of China. This is the longest man-made structure on earth spanning over five thousand miles of China's northern frontier. The wall was mostly built during the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644).

As we walked along the promenades on the wall, we noticed there were some ominous-looking clouds in the distance that were moving swiftly in our direction. We stepped up our pace to get to the top of the wall, but turned around quickly when we heard thunder and saw lightening. The brochures are correct when they say there are unrivaled scenic views of beautiful mountain passes, plateaus, and grasslands from this seventh-century defensive fortification. We didn't have much time to enjoy the scenery.

We ran down the steps - well, perhaps walked very quickly would be more accurate. We sought shelter in the gateway tower and had to cling to the wall as busses were driving through, which left only inches between us and them. It was quite an adventure and we never felt as though our lives were in danger as long as we used our heads. Even though we were somewhat sheltered, the forty-mile-per-hour gusts of wind drove the rain right into the gateway, soaking most of us. I did have my trusty thin plastic poncho, which came in real handy once we got it open in the wind and figured out which way was up.

After several minutes the rain let up and we spent some time in the gift shop. I did find a hand-painted shirt that I bought for only $100 - that is Yuan which is 15 $US. Then it was off to lunch at another local Chinese restaurant.

Most of the restaurants we went to had similar seating. A five-foot-diameter round table with a glass lazy Susan in the middle of the table, leaving enough room between the lazy Susan and the edge of the table for a place setting, which usually consisted of a seven-inch round plate, a bowl, and chopsticks. Dwaine and I always asked for a fork.

As the wait staff brought out the food, one dish at a time, they placed it on the lazy Susan and said what it was. Most of the time, Jenny had to interpret what they said, then she would explain what was in the serving dish. At this point, everything was new and different and exciting. We enjoyed the food, mostly, and the atmosphere and kept reminding ourselves that we were really in China.

Using the toilets in China was a very different experience from the US. Especially for the ladies. First of all, there was seldom any "bathroom tissue" or paper towels. We all carried little packs of tissues with us and hand sanitizer. We always looked for the Western toilet, which is just what you would use in the US. The other stalls had "squatting pans" which are just what you are visualizing right now. A large bed pan with a hole in it anchored in concrete in the floor. You literally have to squat to use it. In many bathrooms, the sink area was shared by men and women, which certainly saves space and plumbing.

After lunch and using the facilities that were referred to by our guides as the "Happy House," we headed to the Ming Tombs and the jade factory.

The Ming Tombs are just what you are thinking - burial places for emperors and empresses. Each of the thirteen Mausoleums was built by the emperor before his death. The workmanship is breathtaking. Every detail is perfect, whether it is ornamental designs carved in wood or colorfully painted ceilings.

We rode a cart on the Sacred Way which is believed to be the road the emperor traveled from heaven and will take back to heaven upon his death. The road is lined with stone statues of men and animals which are important decorations of the mausoleum, each having a distinct purpose in Chinese beliefs. we stopped to see the elephant statue close up and it was done in amazingly fine detail, right down to the elephant toes and nostrils on the trunk.

The jade factory had some exquisite jade carvings that went from finger rings to statues over eight feet high. We learned that jade is not only green, but is also white, lavender, brown, light blue, and many other colors including black. Jade is cool to the touch and there are pillow tops to keep your head cool while you sleep. There were items for sale ranging from $10 US to about $100,000. Dwaine and I bought matching wedding-band style rings to remember our visit to the jade factory.

We headed back to the hotel and were on our own for dinner that night. We took advantage of the time to rest a little and Doug, Donna, Dwaine and I headed out to Pizza Hut for dinner. No, I'm not kidding. There was a Pizza Hut right off the hotel lobby and we wanted something familiar and simple. It's not as good as US Pizza Hut pizza, but it tasted great just the same.

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Cleo, the Keyboard, Part Three

By Lucille Burkhardt

Well, Guys, would you believe I have more to tell you? Well, it's true. Sometimes I am teased by Chloe, the Clavanova digital piano I eluded to in the last installment. Sometimes, Lucille has to yell at Chloe for teasing me. She tells her to stop because Chloe gets a little too big for her britches. She doesn't realize that I'm just a baby and can't fight back. All I can do is cry. So Lucille will comfort me, and I love that. Just then, Paul came and talked to me, and it felt really good, as it has done before when he has visited with me. I just love these two people. They know how to treat me. In fact, Lucille's newest composition, her seventh, is called, "The Happy Jap." She sometimes calls me that.

You could say that my keys are like little fingers, and I try to grab her hand to say I love her very much. She is the mother I never had, and in turn, I'm the child she never had. I'm her angel.

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New Doctors Ask for Picture Identification at First Visit

by Brian Coppola

I had an experience I would like to share with you. Today I went to see a new doctor who was a sleep specialist. The person at the front desk of his office, besides asking to see my insurance card, also asked to see a picture ID of me. I asked why they do this. The receptionist says that it was to make sure that I am who I am because someone else could come around and fraudulently steal my identity and would be able to put claims into Masshealth and Medicare.

What next? Will your doctor next be asking for a reference or two? I bring this to your attention because, 1. While there are lots of people out there who could commit insurance fraud, what if you did have a very serious health problem that could threaten your life. If medical professionals start doing reference checks, which by the way did not happen to me, by the time the check is done, your problem that you went there for could get even more serious while waiting to be seen.

Guys, let me warn you in this crazy world of crime and anything is possible, let's let our legislators know that we do not want seeing a doctor to go as far as a reference check. Instead, we want them to toughen up the laws so that only those convicted of insurance fraud within the past five years are required to have reference checks to see a doctor. Folks, do not let this one slip by you and ignore it. It could really happen, if they can see picture ID's.

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Kimberly Ferreira, MS, RD, LDN

Coastline Elderly Services, Inc.


October 20th is World Osteoporosis Day! In efforts to spread the word on this bone disease, it's important to know what osteoporosis is, who's at risk, and how to prevent it.

Osteoporosis makes your bones weak and more likely to break. Anyone can develop osteoporosis, but it is common in older women. Osteoporosis is labeled a "silent disease" as many people may have it and do not know until they break a bone.

How do you know if you are at risk? Take a look at the most common risk factors:

  • Getting older
  • Being small and thin
  • Having a family history of osteoporosis
  • Taking certain medicines
  • Being a white or Asian woman
  • Having osteopenia, which is low bone mass

How do you care for yourself to prevent or slow its progression?

  • A diet rich in calcium (dairy, green leafy vegetables, sardines) and vitamin D (fortified milk & OJ, salmon, mackerel, canned fish)
  • Calcium supplementation
  • Weight-bearing exercise, like walking
  • Limit caffeine, smoking, and alcohol

If you have never been checked out, check with your doctor about a Bone Density Test to assess where your bone health... it's never too late!

Did you Know?

  • Osteoporosis affects an estimated 75 million people in Europe, USA and Japan
  • 1 in 3 women over 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures, as will 1 in 5 men
  • By 2050, the worldwide incidence of hip fracture in men is projected to increase by 310% and 240% in women
  • 20% of seniors with a hip fracture end up in a nursing home within 1 year

Sources: National Osteoporosis Foundation, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, International Osteoporosis Foundation


Did you know? One cup of whole milk contains:

8 grams fat (5 saturated fat)

276 mg Calcium

One cup of skim/fat free milk contains:

0 grams fat

299 mg calcium

For more calcium and less fat, toss out your whole milk and stick with skim!

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

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U.S. Capital Building Elevator Operator: 1963

by Steve Brown

I was very lucky to get the job in the first place-after all, I had no patronage from an elected Maine senator. First, I went to the office of Margaret Chase Smith and wondered if they could swing their influence to a loyal Maine resident who had "summered" there all his life; went to high school there; and was born there as well. I remember a rather snobbish middle-aged woman staring under her glasses and saying, "There is really nothing we can do for you." Considering I came from a Republican family on both sides of my genetic fence, I found this most irksome. So off I went to the office of Senator Edmond Muskie, the junior Democratic senator. Much to my surprise, his office couldn't have treated me more kindly. Unfortunately, they said there was no patronage left, but that it might be a good idea to call and visit the Sergeant-at-Arms office, a Mr. Joe Duke. I went there, and they said that they had heard from Senator Muskie's office. "You'll be put on a list," they said. "If something comes up, we will call you." In two weeks, they did, and for the next five months I worked the elevator in the Senate side of the U.S. Capital Building.

While there, I had many interesting experiences. Here are a few. One night, Hubert Humphrey came on board visibly agitated. I said, "Looks like you had a hard night, sir." "Oh, it's been simply awful-a totally needless filibuster. Shameful!" Then off he ran. But the wildest moment came when an elderly senator from the Southwest (name deliberately withheld) had to do "his business" and could not make it to the "little boy's room." Two page boys sheltered him while he watered a giant ashtray pot. His final comment was, "Pretty good for an old man." Last, one night, four "suits" (obviously Secret Service) briskly entered my elevator. As we ascended, I turned and hazarded a glance. There was Vice-President Linden Baines Johnson beaming down on me. In a few weeks, he would be President of the United States of America.

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Fall for All

Marilyn Brandt Smith

Remember when Fall meant going back to school? I've included a couple of favorite recipes from the Texas and Kentucky schools for the blind. If you have some from your school, send them to me at for a future column.

Fall fruits and vegetables give us a good excuse to be creative. Try these on for size.

Texas Lemon Soufflé

Serves six.

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • Juice from three lemons
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup milk.

Mix butter and sugar together, and add flour, lemon juice, milk, and beaten egg yokes. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Set pan in water, and bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes. When done, top is soft like cake dough, and bottom is lemon sauce.

Kentucky Cinnamon Toast

Temperature 450 degrees. Time 4 minutes, then 2 minutes.

Prepare a brown sugar-and-cinnamon mixture, four to one. For five slices of toast, you will need one tablespoon cinnamon and four tablespoons brown sugar.

Use one teaspoon of real butter at room temperature to spread on each piece of bread.

Prepare toast in the oven for four minutes. Remove from oven, and sprinkle one tablespoon of cinnamon-and-brown sugar mixture over each slice. Place in oven for two minutes longer. Serve immediately. It needs to be real butter and brown sugar to taste wonderful.

Squash Pie

  • 1 package acorn squash or 1 large squash, cooked and mashed
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1-1/3 cups milk.

Combine ingredients in the order given, and pour into a pie shell of your choice. Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes. Lower the temperature to 375, and continue baking until a knife comes out of the filling clean.

Apple or Pear Wedges

Temperature 450. Time 25 to 30 minutes.

  • 2 to 3 apples or pears, cut into eight wedges each
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Extra dots of butter.

Mix together the flour and salt. Add butter. Sprinkle with enough cold water to hold the mixture together. Form into a bowl, and roll to ½-inch thickness. Form into a rectangle, and cut into sixteen strips approximately ten inches long and one inch wide. Wrap one strip around each fruit wedge. Place in an oven dish so they don't touch the sides. Mix together the extra butter, sugar, and cinnamon, and sprinkle over the top of the fruit. Pour the 1/2 cup water over the fruit, and bake until done.

Festive Sweet Potatoes

1 to 2 handfuls chopped nuts

marshmallow bits

Spoon mashed sweet potatoes into a greased casserole dish, 9 by 9 or 9 by 13, depending on the crowd you're serving.

Sprinkle and bury chopped nuts over top.

Cover with thin layer of marshmallow bits.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until marshmallows are a little crusty.

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Consumer Vision Trivia Contest

Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the July/August Consumer Vision. On General Hospital, Luke Spencer's three biological children are Lucky, Leslie Lu, and Ethan. Congratulations to the following winner:

Jan Colby of Brockton, Massachusetts

And now, here is your trivia question for the September/October Consumer Vision. Name the last major hurricane to hit New England.

If you know the answer, please email

 or call 508-994-4972.

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