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Category: HOW IT AFFECTS US (35)

December 6, 2010

New Driver's License Rules and Standards

On May 11 2008, the REAL ID Act became
effective nationwide. Florida began issuing new driver's licenses to
adhere to the new rules as of January 1, 2010.

REAL ID was developed in response to the 9/11 Commissions' recommendation
that the U.S. improve its system for issuing ID documents. Your valid
Florida Driver's license and ID are currently compliant until 2014.

After 2014, Federal agencies will no longer accept a driver license or ID card,
unless it is REAL ID Compliant. At your next renewal, you will receive a new
license that will meet the new federal rules.

For more information go on line to: or

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August 8, 2009

Car tires - be an educated consumer

I found this ABC News article about tires very interesting. Here's an excerpt:

"The U.S. tire industry is refusing to give American motorists the same warning
given to car owners in Europe and Asia about the possible dangers of tires six
years old or older. More than 100 deaths in the U.S. have been attributed to aged
tires which dried out and lost their treads, even though they appeared to be
safe, according to Sean Kane, who heads a private auto safety firm and
consults with the federal government.

With no warning from the industry or the federal government, safety experts
say the only way for consumers to protect themselves is to learn how to read
the cryptic code embedded on a tire's sidewall which reveals the year and week
a tire was manufactured.

A full report on how to break the code appeared on the ABC News program
"20/20," a few months ago.

The code is at the end of a jumble of letters and numbers on the tire and,
until recently, was on the inward side of the tire requiring motorists to climb
under the car to read the number.

For example, the number 418 indicates the tire was manufactured in the 41st
week of 1998 and is 10 years old.

"U.S. consumers are left in the dark on this issue," said Kane.

A tire older than six years old, even if it's never been driven a mile, "is like a
ticking time bomb. You don't know what's going on inside. That's what makes
it so dangerous," said Kane in an interview for broadcast on "20/20."

Discuss this entry

March 15, 2009

Jury duty scam - don't be a victim

Don't be the victim of this phone scam! Pay attention. This has
been in the newspapers and on the T.V. news recently. This scam
first gained attention in 2006, however dozens of Palm Beach residents
have been called recently:

Receiving a Summons for Jury Duty is by U.S. Mail. Some people, however,
have been receiving bogus phone calls from scam artists who want personal
information. Most of us take those summonses for jury duty seriously, but
some folks who may have discarded or ignored their civic duty, or even citizens
who have recently served on a jury, have become victims of a new fraudulent scam.

Someone claiming to be a jury coordinator, calls you at home to
tell you that you have NOT shown up for jury duty. If you protest that you
never received a summons for jury duty, the scammer asks you for your Social
Security number and date of birth, so he or she can "verify the information
and cancel the arrest warrant." If you supply your personal information or
Social Security number, your identity has just been stolen.

This fraud is particularly insidious because they use intimidation
over the phone to try to bully people into giving information by pretending they
are with the court system. The FBI and the federal court system have issued
nationwide alerts on their web sites, warning consumers about the fraud.

For more information:

Discuss this entry

August 24, 2008

Chocolate - love to eat it

Chocolate is a complex food with over 300 compounds and chemicals in each
bite. Dark chocolate has far more antioxidants than milk or white chocolate,
since it has 65 percent or higher cocoa content. Recent medical research indicates
that cocoa rich in cholesterol-battling antioxidants helps ward off some of the
factors associated with heart attacks and stroke.

The antioxidants in chocolate are called flavonoids, (compounds also found
in tea, red wine and some fruits and vegetables). They slow the processing of
"bad" LDL cholesterol into material that clogs the arteries, and at the same
time make blood platelets less likely to clump and cause clots. Since standard
chocolate manufacturing destroys up to half of the flavoniods, chocolate
companies have formulated ways to make dark chocolate that keeps up to 95%
of its flavoniods.

While a little dark chocolate is good, a lot is not better. Chocolate still is
packed with calories. If you're going to eat more chocolate, you'll have to
watch your caloric intake. Exercise and a balanced diet is the best way to keep
a healthy heart.

Discuss this entry

August 10, 2008

supermarket label codes - what do they mean?

How do you select fruits and vegetables, when you are at the market? Do you
smell the melons? Do you squeeze the tomatoes and peaches? Do you tap on the
watermelon or pull the top of the pineapple? My mother taught me to smell the fruit,
and to ask the produce "man." Somehow, if fruit doesn't smell the way it should, it
probably doesn't taste right either! I see other shoppers "sizing up" their produce.
Almost everyone touches, turns and squeezes a little.

There really is a guide book to help you choose produce:
"Field Guide to Produce: How to Identify, Select, and Prepare Virtually Every
Fruit and Vegetable at the Market."
The little stickers on fruits and vegetables have digits that let you know whether
they are conventionally grown, organic, or if they are genetically modified (GM).
A four digit number means it is conventionally grown. A five digit number
beginning with "9" means it's organic. A five digit number beginning with
"8" means it's genetically modified.

Check out the website: Ideal Bite. There is a wealth of information to help
you find the best food grown in America. There are also tips on shopping,
storing and cooking your produce. Happy eating!

Discuss this entry

August 5, 2008

Incredible shrinking packages!

Have you noticed that you are spending more for food and receiving less for your money?
Manufacturers and suppliers of food have been reducing the number of ounces in
a container or the number of items in a box. Some examples:
Cheerios - previously 10 box, now 8.9 ounces
Tropicana Orange Juice - 96 oz container, now 89 ounces
Wrigley's Chewing Gum - 5 sticks in a package, now only 4
Hellman's Mayonnaise - always 32 ounces, now only 30 ounces
Publix 'Lite" yogurt = always 8 oz., now 5 oz. and no plastic cover
So the manufacturers are preserving loyalty by presenting the same "face"
of their package, only the contents have been reduced, rather than raising the price.
Well, in the case of Cheerios, that is one serving less; same for
the mayonnaise.

While it is not illegal to downsize, it is like a new "shell game." We are not
getting what we assume should be there!

What we can do: Buy store brands; shop at wholesale clubs; use coupons;
really look closely at the unit price (per ounce or per pound) of each product.
Be an educated consumer. Don't be an impulsive shopper.

Discuss this entry

June 29, 2008

Lack of sleep - how it affects us

Can the lack of sleep be making me gain weight?

Recent research indicates that people who don't get enough sleep tend to
weigh more -- and that sleep can affect levels of the appetite-regulating
hormones leptin and ghrelin.
At the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's (UPMC) Sleep Medicine
Center, tests show that there is a strong relationship between good sleep
and good health. Not sleeping affects hormonal balance, appetite and mood
swings. Two out of three Americans are overweight, and almost one in five
are obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers at the Sleep Disorders Center at Sentara Norfolk General
Hospital in Virginia conducted two studies, each included 1,000 men and
women, and they found that those who reported sleeping less tended to
weigh more.

"People who are overweight may have less restful sleep due to heartburn,
snoring or more serious sleep disorders like sleep apnea or night eating
syndrome," said Dr. Michelle May, author of Am I Hungry? What To Do
When Diets Don't Work.
Studies of healthy young men indicated
that the levels of the hormone that tells your brain to stop eating (leptin)
and the hormone that turns on hunger (ghrelin) were out of whack when
there was sleep deprivation. Also, sleep deprivation affects memory, disease
resistance, and leaves people unable to stay alert in school, at jobs and while
driving vehicles. Sleepy people are also hungrier!
Information from the National Sleep Foundation

Discuss this entry

June 23, 2008

Jury duty scam - don't be fooled!

Receiving a Summons for Jury Duty is by U.S. Mail. Some people, however,
have been receiving bogus phone calls from scam artists who want personal
information. Most of us take those summonses for jury duty seriously, but
some folks who may have discarded or ignored their civic duty, or even citizens
who have recently served on a jury, have become victims of a new fraudulent scam.

Someone claiming to be a jury coordinator, calls you at home to
tell you that you have NOT shown up for jury duty. If you protest that you
never received a summons for jury duty, the scammer asks you for your Social
Security number and date of birth, so he or she can "verify the information
and cancel the arrest warrant." If you supply your personal information or
Social Security number, your identity has just been stolen.

The fraud has been reported so far in 11 states, including Oklahoma , Illinois,
Florida, and Colorado . This fraud is particularly insidious because they use intimidation
over the phone to try to bully people into giving information by pretending they
are with the court system. The FBI and the federal court system have issued
nationwide alerts on their web sites, warning consumers about the fraud.

For more information:

Discuss this entry

June 16, 2008

Dangerous tires may be on your car!

I found this ABC News article about tires very interesting. Here's an excerpt:

"The U.S. tire industry is refusing to give American motorists the same warning
given to car owners in Europe and Asia about the possible dangers of tires six
years old or older. More than 100 deaths in the U.S. have been attributed to aged
tires which dried out and lost their treads, even though they appeared to be
safe, according to Sean Kane, who heads a private auto safety firm and
consults with the federal government.

With no warning from the industry or the federal government, safety experts
say the only way for consumers to protect themselves is to learn how to read
the cryptic code embedded on a tire's sidewall which reveals the year and week
a tire was manufactured.

A full report on how to break the code appeared on the ABC News program
"20/20," a few weeks ago.

The code is at the end of a jumble of letters and numbers on the tire and,
until recently, was on the inward side of the tire requiring motorists to climb
under the car to read the number.

For example, the number 418 indicates the tire was manufactured in the 41st
week of 1998 and is 10 years old.

"U.S. consumers are left in the dark on this issue," said Kane.

A tire older than six years old, even if it's never been driven a mile, "is like a
ticking time bomb. You don't know what's going on inside. That's what makes
it so dangerous," said Kane in an interview for broadcast on "20/20."

Discuss this entry

May 26, 2008

Why do I get so many unwanted e-mails?



E-mail petitions are NOT acceptable to Congress or any other municipality.
To be acceptable, petitions must have a signed signature and full address.
Same with 'prayer chains' -- be wary!

Almost all e-mails that ask you to add your name and forward on to others are
similar to that mass letter years ago that asked people to send business cards
to the little kid in Florida who wanted to break the Guinness Book of Records
for the most cards.
All it was, and all this type of e-mail is, is to get names and 'cookie' tracking
information for telemarketers and spammers to validate active e-mail accounts
for their own purposes.
(If you have been sending out the above kinds of email, now you know why
you get so much spam!)
1) Any time you see an e-mail that says forward this on to 'TEN' of your friends,
" sign this petition," or "you'll get good luck", or what ever, it has either an e-mail
tracker program attached that tracks the cookies and e-mails of those folks you
forward to, or the host sender is getting a copy. Each time it gets forwarded,
then it's able to get lists of 'active' e-mails to use in spam e-mails, or sell to
others that do.
2) Add this as the first entry of your address book:
AAAAalert AND for the e-mail address enter this:
IF anyone tries to capture your address book, they will hit a brick wall.
DO IT NOW!! None of your addresses will be available, since the first one stops everything.

Discuss this entry

May 18, 2008

Honey bees and Africanized honey bees (Killer bees)

Killer Bees look like common Honey Bees, but their DNA and enzymes differ from honey bees. Honey bees are productive. Humans depend upon them to pollinate our fruits and vegetables. Killer bees are aggressive, do not survive in cold winters, and often abandon hives, so that when they mate with honey bees they can reduce the production of honey.

History: According to the Smithsonian Research archives, in 1956, African Honey Bees were imported into Brazil, with the idea of cross-breeding them with local populations of Honey Bees to increase honey production. In 1957, twenty-six African queens, along with swarms of European worker bees, escaped and have been found in South America, Central America, and eastern Mexico. In 1990, Killer Bees reached southern Texas, appeared in Arizona in 1993, and found their way to California in 1995.

Recently, a man in Palm Beach County was stung by thousands of killer bees, as he was clearing a field. What is being done to prevent the spread of these fearful insects?

There are solutions to this problem being experimented with in the United States. The first is termed "drone-flooding," which involves maintaining large numbers of common Honey Bees in areas where commercially-reared queen bees mate. This process would limit the mating possibilities between Africanized drones and European queens. The second strategy is "re-queening" frequently, where the beekeeper replaces the queen of the colony, thus assuring that the queens are European Honey Bees and that mating has also occurred with European drones.
BEE TRIVIA (courtesy of Wikopedia)
Yellowjackets and hornets, especially when encountered as flying pests, are often misidentified as bees, despite numerous differences between them.

Bees are often affected or even harmed by encounters with toxic chemicals in the environment, such as fertilizers and insecticides.

Despite the honey bee's painful sting and the stereotype of insects as pests, bees are generally held in high regard. This is most likely due to their usefulness as pollinators and as producers of honey, their social nature and their reputation for diligence. Bees are one of the few insects used on advertisements, being used to illustrate honey and foods made with honey.

Although a bee sting can be deadly to those with allergies, virtually all bee species are non-aggressive, if undisturbed, and many cannot sting at all.

Information for this BLOG also derived from Smithsonian Magazine

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May 15, 2008

"Twinkies," they are not what you think they are!

A new book, Twinkie, Deconstructed, My Journey to Discover
How the Ingredients Found in Processed Foods Are Grown,
Mined (Yes, Mined), and Manipulated Into What America Eats.

written by Steve Ettlinger (Hudson Street Press/Penguin), 2007,
is a fascinating read.
My husband, Abe, took a sandwich lunch to work every day for more
than 20 years. In every paper bag, a Twinkie, Devil Dog, Yodel, or
Drakes Cakes would always be included. In fact, his colleagues
would remark, "If you want to find Abe, he's hiding behind his
lunch bag."
Why are these snack products so popular with adults and children?
Well, they are sweet and they taste good! But, asks the author,
Steve Ettlinger, what about those ingredients? What exactly is:
mono and diglycerides or calcium sulfate or cellulose gum?
This book has been called a "delightful romp through the food processing
industry," by Publishers Weekly and "the latest in a recent boom of food
investigation books," by The Wall Street Journal.
This is a fun book; easy to read; well-written. So, if you want to know
what Twinkies are made of, here are some of the ingredients:
wheat flour, bleach, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, lecithin, eggs,
cellulose gum, sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate,
polysorbate 60, calcium sulfate, sorbid acid, FD&C Yellow No. 5 and
Red. No. 40. AND MORE.........too much more to list! All of these
ingredients, he insists, are included to increase the shelf-life of
the snacks.
What ever happened to including an apple, banana, or home-made
cookies into lunch boxes?

Discuss this entry

May 13, 2008

Another beef recall

The Department of Agriculture released information today about a recall
by Fairbank Reconstruction Corp., of Ashville, N.Y., of 22,481 pounds of
ground beef that may contain pieces of plastic. The problem was discovered
after the company received consumer complaints. So far, distribution has
been traced to retail establishments in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

One of the retail stores:

B.J's Fresh Ground Beef, 100% beef, "contains 15% fat."
Sell-by date of 05/15/08, and establishment number
"EST. 492" inside the USDA mark of inspection.

Fairbank Farms toll-free hotline number: 1-800-724-1136

Discuss this entry

May 4, 2008

Everything old is new again

Linoleum, the floors your grandmother loved to hate, is back! Why is there
a revival of this petroleum product?

Linoleum is a floor covering made from solidified linseed oil, cork, and rosin,
over a burlap or canvas backing. Pigments are added to the materials, for color
variety. The finest linoleum floors, known as 'inlaid', are extremely durable;
they are made by joining and inlaying solid pieces of linoleum. Good quality
linoleum is flexible and was used in buildings where tiled floors would crack.
Between the time of its invention in 1860 and the 1950s, it was considered to
be an excellent, inexpensive material for high-use areas. Housewives especially
like the fact that dropped dishes rarely broke.

Linoleum was invented and patented by Englishman Frederick Walton in 1860.
Today, Linoleum as a floor covering has been largely replaced with polyvinyl
chloride, which has similar properties of flexibility and durability, but which has
greater brightness and translucency and which is relatively less flammable.
The fire-retardant properties of PVC are due to chlorine-containing
combustion products, some of which are, unfortunately, highly toxic.

According to AARP Magazine, Spring 2008, Linoleum is "greener" for the
environment. It is naturally anti-static (repels dust) and it is made of organic
materials and is purportedly non-allergenic in nature. So, hospitals are looking
at linoleum for use in halls and waiting areas.

Linoleum has a life span of 30 to 40 years.

Discuss this entry

April 9, 2008

Earth Day event, April 19, 2008

Saturday, April 19, 2008, Sandoway House Nature Center, 142 S. Ocean Blvd, Delray Beach, is hosting
SAVE OUR OCEANS- 8:00 A.M to 10:00 A.M. Beach Cleanup, FREE
This event is a great way to spend a morning at the beach to collect harmful
debris that seriously damages the fragile coastal ecosystems.
For more information, call 561 274-7263
Come join the City of Delray Beach and Sandoway House to protect our greatest
resource the Atlantic Coast. All clean-up materials, water and free commemorative
ball caps will be provided while supplies last.

Following the cleanup, the Sandoway House Nature Center will host activities
10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. that include live entertainment; animal encounters,
nature crafts and games with local environmental groups.

The Sandoway House Nature Center is listed on The National Register of
Historic Places (home built in 1936) and provides a living history lesson with
its exhibits, facilities and activities. It offers a window into the workings of marine
and freshwater ecosystems in the area. Programs and activities educate the
visiting public about the natural ecosystems and the requirements to sustain
those natural ecosystems.
Information provided by Nicole Householder, Executive Director, Sandoway
House Nature Center website:

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March 28, 2008

White trash - banning plastic supermarket bags

China is in the forefront of banning white plastic grocery bags, favoring cloth
bags, instead. Their goal is to cut waste and to conserve resources. Rising
environmental concerns and rising gasoline prices couple to encourage
consumers to make the choice to bring cloth bags along when they shop.

Beginning June 1, 2008, in time for the Summer Olympic Games, Beijing businesses
will no longer provide the free bags. Thicker plastic bags will be available for sale
and use, but businesses will be prohibited from manufacturing, selling or using bags that
are less than .025 millimeters thick.

Other countries that have already passed legislation to ban the bags are Ireland,
Taiwan and parts of South Africa. Last year, San Francisco became the first U.S.
city to ban petroleum-based plastic bags.
Plastic bags clog landfills and pollute our oceans. The approximately
100 billion plastic bags that are used each year are the equivalent of 17 million
barrels of oil down the drain.

Discuss this entry

March 25, 2008

Cell phone ALERT!!

Be careful how you list names on your cell phone! Here is a scenario:

"This lady has changed her habit of how she lists her names on her mobile phone after her handbag was stolen. Her handbag which contained her cell phone, Credit card, wallet...etc.... was stolen. 20 minutes later when she called Her Hubby, from a pay phone telling him what had happened, hubby says 'I've Just received your text asking about our Pin number and I've replied a little while ago.'

When they rushed down to the bank, the bank staff told them all the money was already withdrawn. The pickpocket had actually used the stolen cell phone to text 'hubby' in the contact list and got hold of the pin number. Within 20 minutes he had withdrawn all the money from the bank account.

Lesson: Do not disclose the relationship between you and the people in your contact list. Avoid using names like Home, Honey, Hubby, sweetheart, Dad, Mom etc....... And very importantly, when sensitive info is being asked thru texts, CONFIRM by calling back. Also, when you're being texted by friends or family to meet them somewhere, be sure to call back to confirm that the message came from them. If you don't reach them, be very careful about going places to meet 'family and friends' who text you."

According to the inbox in April 2006, given the lack of information provided in the narrative with which to prove or disprove it and the dearth of accounts of similar nature in the news, this story is perhaps best regarded as a cautionary tale rather than as an account of an actual incident — something meant to inspire greater prudence on the part of cell phone users whose casual laxity regarding security matters might otherwise lead them to grief.

Handbags do get stolen, and a great many women as a matter of habit carry their phones in their pocketbooks, which means a purse snatcher may net himself both the victim's ATM card and her cell phone. If those so robbed have identified their spouses in their phones' address books as "hubby," "my sweetie," or the like, thieves might know exactly whom to attempt to extract cash card PINs from (although most ATMs have daily withdrawal limits that would prevent an account from being "emptied in 20 minutes"). Those concerned about such theft might therefore do better to list all contacts within their cell phone address books by first names only.

(This story idea from: Ken Irwin and Elaine Atlow)

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March 13, 2008

The future of cable

The Future of Cable

(Courtesy of W. Boca BLOGGER, Alan Kellock)
Imagine every home in your HOA community connected by a fiber optic network that offers a choice of many hundreds, if not thousands, of “channels” from all over the world, with a picture quality superior to anything available now. It would provide access to the Internet with blazing speed compared to Comcast cable or AT&T’s DSL. This same infrastructure could also support provide land phone services.

Your TVs, computers and land phones wouldn’t need all that cable and wire that snakes through your attic and perhaps even along your baseboards. All you have to do is plug in your device to an electrical outlet to get connected anywhere in your home.

A fantasy? Not really. This is where the future of home media is heading. It’s commonly called bundling. The technology to support this vision already exists, and more is on the way.

Newer companies with fresh strategies are mixing it up with aging media conglomerates like Comcast, AT&T and Time Warner. The challengers lean toward the Internet model, enabling consumers to select their own content from unlimited choices a la Google or You Tube. The other side is steeped in a tradition of pre-selecting the content we can access in our homes and is struggling to redefine its mission in response to the challenge posed by these upstart enablers.

The cost? I don’t know. But if you add up what you would pay on your own for cable or satellite TV, broadband Internet and land phone service come 2009, the available evidence indicates that a community-wide bundling alternative will cost less per month and the quality will be superior. Communities with a viable home media program that appeals to a growing number of prospective buyers who value such services will also enhance the property values within such communities.

It may prove necessary to invest in the startup of the new infrastructure. This is the pioneering path that Boca Isles South took a couple of years ago when their then-Adelphia contract expired. They installed their own fiber optic network. In effect, they cut out the middleman and became their own Cable TV and broadband Internet company, buying content directly from content providers or the growing number of resellers who represent them.

A number of other communities in are looking into similar alternatives to Comcast as their contracts also near expiration.
What direction do you think home media should take in your community?

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March 2, 2008

South Florida Veterans Admin. National Cemetery Opening

On Sunday, March 9th, at 2:00 P.M., the South Florida Veterans Administration
National Cemetery's new 313-acre site will be opened to the public.

South Florida VA National Cemetery will serve veterans' needs for the next 50 years.
The cemetery is located in Palm Beach County in Lake Worth on U.S. 441,
just south of Lantana Road and north of Boynton Beach Blvd.,
6501 South State Road 7, Lake Worth, FL. 33467.

All veterans and their families are invited.
There will be parking on the west side of U.S. 441 (state road 7) at the
Pro-Source Company or on the east side of U.S. 441 at the Whitworth
Farms, just north of Eternal Light Cemetery.

Shuttle buses will be provided from these parking areas to the VA Cemetery.
For more information call Barry Tutin at 865-0271 or Cemetery Staff at
(561) 649-6489

This article courtesy of Mort Mazor, Del Ray Beach Sun-Sentinel Blog.

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February 24, 2008

Interesting Web site - try symptomchecker

WebMD magazine can be found in the waiting rooms of most physicians.
I like to read it because it contains useful articles about the newest breakthroughs
in medicine. Some recent articles addressed: children's cold medicines, overeating,
hemorrhoids, strep throat, and why garlic is good for you. Other articles
gave detailed information about nicotine patches, PMS, and rheumatoid
arthritis. Ask your doctor for one of his/her free copies. Patients are supposed to
read them. Become an informed patient!

One feature I found interesting and useful is their web site called "symptomchecker."
This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, nor treatment. But,
when you are trying to determine which doctor to call, because you are not certain
about how to describe or to detail your symptoms, this site can be quite helpful.
By answering a series of questions, you will receive information on the names of
conditions, diseases, and medications. This is an interactive tool to help you
identify your problem.

For more information: or

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February 15, 2008

COWBRA Meeting - Feb. 20th

Coalition of Boynton West Residential Associations (COBWRA) meeting
at 9:30 A.M., on Wednesday, February 20, 2008, at
the Palm Chase clubhouse, 10755 Palm Lake Ave.

The entrance is located on the west side of Military Trail between
Boynton Beach Blvd. and Woolbright Road.
Terry Verner, Palm Beach County Director of Code Enforcement..
Nominating Committee's slate for COBWRA Officers will be announced.
Nominations from the floor will be accepted.
Elections will be at the March meeting..

Open to the public. No tickets or reservations needed.

Contact COBWRA at 789-8140 or for more information.

(This information provided by Jack Leicher, COBWRA Program Chairman)

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February 8, 2008

Shingles - what you need to know

A vaccine for shingles was licensed in 2006. A single dose of vaccine is available for adults
over aged 60 and older. Patients should always consult their physician before getting
this vaccine,

Shingles is a painful nerve inflammation accompanied by skin rash and/or blisters.
It is sometimes called Herpes Zoster. Only people who have had chickenpox in
the past can get shingles.There are about 300,000 cases of shingles that occur
each year in adults over 50. Early signs of a shingles outbreak are often vague,
and can easily be mistaken for other illnesses. The first sign of an attack can be
an isolated pain or numbness in a major nerve in or under the skin or a "shooting"
pain around the trunk or down the arm or leg. Mild flu-like symptoms, such as
headache, fever and upset stomach, may also occur. Sometimes symptoms can
be confused with other illnesses, such as an ulcer, ruptured disc, pneumonia,
appendicitis, or even a heart attack. However as the outbreak progresses,
the symptoms become clear and the diagnosis is made more definite.

A shingles rash usually appears on one side of the face or body and can last from
two to four weeks. Pain is its main symptom, which is sometimes severe.
Other symptoms may include fever, headache, chills and upset stomach.

One of five patients suffer severe pain after the rash disappears. This is called
post-herpetic neuralgia. Unfortunately, this virus stays in your body and may
appear again many years later.

You cannot catch shingles from another person with shingles. However, a person
who has never had chickenpox could get chickenpox from someone with shingles.

For more information:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention www.cdc
or call 1-800-232-4636.

Want to read more on this topic: Try or

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January 17, 2008

Telemarketing fraud - Don't be a victim!

Does your name appear on a "sucker list?" These lists contain information about people who have
provided valuable personal information to previous telemarketing solicitations. The lists are bought, sold and traded by scam artists who want your information and your money!

Seniors are especially targeted by unscrupulous sales marketers for products and services.
They want your valuable information, especially your credit card, birth date,
social security number, and address. Older women living alone are especially
targeted by scam artists. They play upon an older person's trust and politeness.
Often, callers inform the listener that he/she has won
a foreign lottery or that Social Security needs bank account information for their files.
Social Security employees NEVER call individuals for information.

You can protect yourself:
1) Do NOT give your credit card, checking account or Social Security number
to anyone who calls you. Call 1-800-772-1213 if you need direct Social Security information.
2) Don't pay for something to receive a "free" gift or sweepstakes.
3) Do not pay anyone to recover money for you for a "fee."
4) Call the Better Business Bureau, local consumer protection agency, or the State Attorney General's Office, before you agree to send money. Another source of information is the
OIG (Office of Inspector General). Their Hotline number is 1-800-269-0271. A Public
Fraud Reporting form is available online at OIG's Web site: www.socialsecurity.lgov/oig.

or 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you wish you register.
Do it for your cell phone, too!

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January 13, 2008

The Primary Election & property tax referendum - Tina G. Korn

Do you want to have a say in who the candidates are in the next Presidential Election?
The January 29th Primary election is your opportunity to make your vote count, if you
are a Republican or Democrat.

The homestead exemption referendum is also on the ballot. You do NOT
have to be a registered Democrat or Republican to vote on this referendum. The homestead
exemption is now $25,000. Passage of this referendum would double the
exemption to $50,000 on everything except school taxes. An important issue in
this referendum is the Property Tax Referendum, also known as
"portability." This would allow new homeowners
to transfer Save Our Homes tax savings when they move.
60% majority vote is needed to have this become law.

Palm Beach has about 781,000 registered voters. Early voting begins January 14th
and absentee voters have until January 23rd to request mail ballots.

Need more information? Here are some sources: - Download a voter registration form.
Elections Office - 561 656-6200

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January 12, 2008

Emergency phone contact information -FHP

The Florida Highway Patrol is encouraging all drivers to use their computers to log in their
emergency contact information. More than 700,000 Floridians have done this, so far.
However, there are over 18 million licensed drivers and ID card holders in our state who have not done this, yet.

So, if you hold a valid Florida driver's license or if you have a valid Florida ID card, PLEASE
go to your computer or go to a library and use a computer to enter your emergency contact

If you are ever involved in an automobile accident, or any other altercation, your information
will be on file. Please understand that the information that you supply will be kept secure and is only used by law enforcement officials in case of emergency.

The site is:

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January 4, 2008

My garden is thirsty. Can science help? - Tina G. Korn


More water restrictions will soon be enacted and enforced for our county. Several acquaintances, who had proudly showed-off their colorful gardens, have sought drought-resistant plants for their front yards. Drought-friendly grass and smaller lawns, with more rocks and/or mulch are becoming more prevalent in large communities. Native bushes, succulents and cactus are replacing annuals
and flowers that require large and frequent waterings. These things were on my mind when I
found a magazine in the doctor's office.

I was intrigued by the article I read in SCIENCE NEWS, December 1, 2007, page 340,
entitled "So Sproutish, Anti-aging gene for plants gives drought protection."

Scientists at the University of California, Davis, have been experimenting with the gene IPT,
which can delay the affects of drought on tobacco plants (by staying green after 15 days without water) .IPT gene added to a plant stimulates a surge of enzymes that fool the plant into thinking it's
still young. Aging plants drop their leaves and die. Young plants are strong and can withstand
drought conditions. So, this is like an "anti-aging" gene for plants!

Other plant varieties were treated with IPT, which achieved at least 85% of their usual yield.
Eduardo Blumwald of UC says he hopes that IPT will be tested on crops such as wheat and

At the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, water-thrifty rice,
corn, and cotton are being engineered to survive drought conditions.

While this research is highly commendable and might provide future solutions to our drought,
we are the solution at the moment. So, neighbors, start looking for more cactus or succulents for your garden, rather than showy annuals, and put away your hoses. Mother Nature is in control, but we have to help by conserving what we receive.

Want to read more about IPT? Go to
See Sun-Sentinel, December 22, 2007, Local, "Builders May See Landscaping Rules."

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January 3, 2008

Are pesticides the answer to Florida's harmful insects? by Tina G. Korn

It is winter time and few people think about mosquitoes at this time of year, but planning
for their spring and summer invasions requires forethought. Being retired affords me
the luxury of reading books and magazines and Google searches that pique my interest.
Here's what I have been learning about mosquitoes:

DDT was a popular chemical widely used in the U.S., until three decades ago,
when it was banned. DDT was sprayed on lawns and shrubs in home gardens
and on farms and orchards, to eradicate harmful insects. Rachel Carson,
(Silent Spring, 1962), documented the evils of DDT and other insecticides
that were commonly used at that time, and helped influence the
U.S. government to ban its widespread use.

Recently, scientists have been revisiting the use of DDT to combat malaria in
South Africa. In Mexico, they are successfully dealing with mosquito-breeding
by spraying safer pesticides called "permethrins."

The wettest summer on record in Dallas, Texas produced a huge community
of long-jawed orb weaver spiders. The population of these spiders, together with
other varieties, produced a gigantic web that trapped millions of mosquitoes.
Perhaps introducing spiders and other helpful insects
into our environment might help balance nature in our favor.

Want to learn more? is the web site for Museum of Discovery & Science
"Better Planet," Discover Magazine, November, 2007, page 34-36.

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January 2, 2008

Water Restrictions going from Phase II to Phase III 1/15/08

Modified Phase 2 Water Restrictions from South Florida Water Management District now in place are limited to landscape irrigation to two days per week. Beginning January 15, 2008, Modified Phase III Water-Use Restrictions will go into effect.

The South Florida Water Management District Governing Board declared an extreme District-wide water shortage and adopted a Modified Phase III water shortage order, instituting a one-day-a-week watering schedule for residential landscape irrigation.
Additional restrictions regarding multi-family complexes and new landscaping can be
found by visiting:, or call SFWMD at (561) 686-8800 or (800) 432-2045.
City of Boynton Beach Utilities, (561) 742-6400, 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.
For additional information:
(Watch how the levels of Lake Okeechobee change in an interactive graphic.

Information furnished by the South Water Florida Water Management District.

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December 17, 2007

How to Be a Know-sy Neighbor, by Tina G. Korn

Do You Know How to Be a Know-sy Neighbor?

1) Turn your lights ON and keep them on in the front and the rear of your home.
2) If you have an alarm system, USE IT!!! Turn it on when you are home at night and when
you are away - even if it is to go to the clubhouse or the tennis court.
3) Call your police department to notify them if you see suspicious vehicles or persons
trespassing. 561 688-3400.
4) If your alarm is set off by accident, call to report a false alarm - 561 688-3695
5) Call your alarm service to check and update your system to see if it is functioning.
6) Be a know-sy neighbor and keep an eye on your neighbor's front and
7) Lock your car and take your garage opener out of your car, if you park it in your driveway.
8) Don't let other cars or vans "piggy-back" through your security gates.

How Do You Know When You Are Old?

First, you tell your friend that you are having an affair.

Then your friend asks you.... "Are you having it catered?"

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December 3, 2007

ID Theft by Tina G. Korn

According to a national telephone poll by Consumer Reports, 89% of Americans believe that congress should pass laws restricting businesses and government agencies from using our Social Security numbers as ID. Many insurance companies and national associations have already given their clients/members a new ID number to use instead of their S.S. #.
What do you think?
Your # provides a wealth of information for thieves to unlock your financial identity. Have you provided your number for purposes other than credit, employment or tax auditing? I have.
Every time I go to a new doctor, dentist or other health care provider, I have to furnish my
S.S. #. I am NOT happy about this.
Is my information sitting in a file cabinet drawer in an office that is cleaned nightly? Is it possible that someone can reach into that drawer and use my information and then replace it?
Are my records secure from other prying eyes? Is my information being shared by the doctor's staff, when my records are forwarded to another doctor? This makes me very uncomfortable.
I asked WHY my S.S.# was needed when I became a new patient. The answer I received was, "What if we have to find you to pay your bill?" Well, I don't have a good retort for that. Any solutions out there?
Want to learn more?
Check out and StaySafeOnline.Org for ID Theft on line.

Also s ee Sun-Sentinel, Sunday, October 7, Business & Money, page 3E.

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November 27, 2007

How To E-Mail

How to Forward E-Mail APPROPRIATELY.

How can you forward e-mails without seeing everyone else's e-mail address?
Why do you get viruses or junk mail? Why are people angry at you for forwarding their mail on to their friends?

Every time you forward an e-mail there is information left over from recipients who received it before you, namely their e-mail addresses & names. As the messages get forwarded along, the list of addresses accumulates, and when and if someone gets a virus, his or her computer can send that virus to every e-mail address on that list. Or, someone can take all of those addresses and sell them or send junk mail to them in the hopes that you will go to the site and it will earn five cents for each hit. Imagine, just a nickel!

Here are some guidelines to help you FORWARD e-mail appropriately:

(1) When you forward an e-mail, DELETE all of the other addresses that appear in the body of the message (at the top). That's right, DELETE them. Highlight them and delete them, backspace them, cut them, whatever it is you know how to do. It only takes a second. You MUST click the "Forward" button first and then you will have full editing capabilities against the body and headers of the message. If you don't click on "Forward" first, you won't be able to edit the message at all.

(2) Whenever you send an e-mail to more than one person, do NOT use the To: or Cc: fields for adding e-mail addresses.
Always use the BCC: (blind carbon copy) field for listing the e-mail addresses. This is the way the people you send to will only see their own e-mail address. If you don't see your BCC: option click on where it says To: and your address list will appear. Highlight the address and choose BCC: and that's it, it's that easy. When you send to BCC: your message will automatically say "Undisclosed Recipients" in the "TO:" field of the people who receive it.

(3) Remove any "FW :" in the subject line. You can re-name the subject if you wish or even fix spelling.

(4) ALWAYS hit your Forward button from the actual e-mail you are reading. Ever get those e-mails that you have to open 10 pages to read the one page with the information on it? By Forwarding from the actual page you wish someone to view, you stop them from having to open many e-mails just to see what you sent.

(5) Have you ever gotten an email that is a petition? It states a position and asks you to add your name and address and to forward it to 10 or 15 people or your entire address book. The email can be forwarded on and on and can collect thousands of names and email addresses.

A FACT: The completed petition is actually worth a couple of bucks to a professional spammer because of the wealth of valid names and email addresses contained therein. If you want to support the petition, send it as your own personal letter to the intended recipient. Your position may carry more weight as a personal letter than a laundry list of names and email address on a petition. (Actually, if you think about it, who's supposed to send the petition in to whatever cause it supports? And don 't believe the ones that say that the email is being traced, it just aint so!)

(6) One of the main ones I hate is the ones that say that something like, "Send this email to 10 people and you'll see something great run across your screen." Or, sometimes they'll just tease you by saying something really cute will happen. It never does!

(7) Before you forward an Amber Alert, or a Virus Alert, or some of the other ones floating around nowadays, check them out before you forward them. Most of them are junk mail that's been circling the net for YEARS! Just about everything you receive in an email that is in question can be checked out at Snopes. Just go to Its really easy to find out if it's real or not. If it's not, please don't pass it on. So please, in the future, let's stop the junk mail and the viruses.

This information comes from Netiquette (Network Etiquette).

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November 22, 2007

Loud Music by Tina G. Korn

I have often walked into shops featuring clothing or other items in store windows, only to be "attacked" by loud rap music. I quickly exit that store without making any purchases.

Restaurants with quiet background music are delightful to dine at, since conversations with fellow diners can be appreciated. The slower and more pleasant the music, the greater the chance my husband and I will linger over an additional cup of coffee and dessert with our friends. Now isn't that the "vibe" the restaurant owner wishes to convey?

Music as "backgound" noise in medical service and doctors' offices is an important issue, too. Recently, my visit to a mammography center was quite distressing, because the "rap" music blaring from directly overhead was only pleasing to the young staff. The three other patients and I had to ask to have the volume lowered. Our anxiety was magnified by the annoying music.

So, if you're reading this and you are a doctor or medical service provider, sit in your waiting room and listen to the music that your receptionists are providing your patients. See if it relaxes you, or does it convey, "Find another place to patronize?"

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November 2, 2007

Turning Tobacco Into Food by Tina G. Korn

In 1976, while doing research for a Master's Degree, I learned that scientists working at the University of Maryland were exploring possibilities for uses of tobacco, other than smoking. They called it Fraction-1 Protein.

Their scientists were intrigued by the high-grade protein that they were able to extract from
tobacco leaves. The nutritional value of the extracted proteins were comparable to milk, they surpassed soybean, and had no taste nor odor.

It amazed me that there was little or no publicity about this endeavor. Only a handful of news media picked up on the story, in 1996, which seemed odd to me, at first. Then, I realized how powerful the tobacco industry is in the south.

Well, it is more than 30 years since those scientists made their discovery. Has anyone ever read about it or seen it on the news or in medical journals? With all of the world-wide starvation, wouldn't the use of tobacco as a food source be a fantastic solution?

Wonder why? It seems to me that our government has only supported the no-smoking campaigns,
because of the proven relationship between tobacco use and life-threatening diseases.
Due to fear of the powerful tobacco growers in the U.S., I think they do not want to explore tobacco for uses that are not revenue producing.

We might just have a non-hazardous, non-cancerous product from a plant that has been around for thousands of years and is able to grow in numerous countries. What do you think?

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October 24, 2007

Flu Shots by Tina G. Korn

Have you made an appointment for your flu shot, yet? I've just gotten mine and I hope that it protects me from getting sick this winter. As a substitute teacher, I am exposed to many students whose parents send them to school even when they are really ill.
Playing cards in the Clubhouse card rooms or sitting in a packed theater during a movie or show, it is hard to escape the coughing and sneezing that exists in a closed environment. Imagine the germs deposited on a deck of cards or Mah Jongg tiles, when someone sneezes into their hand and continues playing!
It amazes me how many seniors do not get the flu shot. I understand that some people have allergies or bad reactions to the injection, but my doctor insists that is not the norm. According to Health Smart Magazine, fewer than 25% of immunized patients have some redness and/or slight swelling at the site. Curtis Allen, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, says that shots are recommended for adults 50 and older. In addition, if you have any chronic illness or if you are a caregiver, it is important that you get the flu vaccine.
This year, there is an abundant supply of flu vaccine. I hope that if you're reading this, you remember to get yours tomorrow.

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October 23, 2007

Sputnik - Happy Birthday, by Tina G. Korn

On October 4, 1957, the world's first artificial satellite was launched by a Soviet intercontinental ballistic missile. This 183 pound sphere was named "Sputnik," which means "traveling companion," in Russian. This both startled and terrified Americans, who had long believed that our country far exceeded the scientific knowledge and capabilities of any other nation.
In 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower established a new agency to look into this technological surprise, and to prevent anything of this sort to ever occur again. The agency was given the title "Advanced Research Projects Agency" (ARPA). Suddenly, federal money was allocated to fund space exploration. Colleges and universities searched for scientists to do research and to establish courses of instruction to educate a crop of computer technologists to put us into space. In 2000, the name of the agency was changed to Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and it began to focus on military objectives. Who ever imagined that space reconnaissance would involve warfare? Weren't we just exploring the stars and the heavens?
September 11, 2001 was another startling discovery for the United States. How had we been so blind to what was being advanced in other nations aimed at harming us? We can't just wish on a star that our country employs satellites in space that are watching the "bad guys." Hopefully, it won't take something like a "Sputnik" to awaken us to reality.
If you are interested in a more scientific look at Sputnik and technology, read "Happy Birthday, Sputnik," Computerworld, October 1, 2007 .

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About This Blog

The Get Local community blogs are written by residents of the community. The Sun-Sentinel does not edit the blogs, nor take responsibility for the contents.

Boynton Beach has been Tina G. Korn's home for 14 years. She and husband, Abe, have been married 45 years and...


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