Chronicle - Summer 2022

 kicks & Giggles: Editor’s Note

By Debra Whitt

       I would like to extend my appreciation to all those who took part in the MCB auction in March. We raised a total of $2,292.86 after expenses. I would also like to say a heartfelt thanks to all those who contributed their time and talents to making this a successful event. On another note, I am sure Eleanor’s departure from the MCB office will be greatly missed by all of us. I know we all wish her well in her new endeavors.

       With the advent of warmer weather, many of us will be enjoying the outdoors more and exploring the various activities available in our communities. I am sure our readers would love to hear about some of the projects and activities some of you are taking part in. Please feel free to send your stories in to the Chronicle. If you would rather tell me about your fun activities so that I can write about it, I would be happy to make myself available! This is your newsletter and only you can make it worth reading. Due to the great success of last year’s raffle, the Fundraising Committee has decided to host another 50/50 Raffle. This will begin on June 1, with the winner being announced during the convention. Chances are as follows:

1 chance= $5 per ticket, 5 chances=$20, 15 chances= $55, 25 chances=$75, 40 chances= $100.

Last year’s winner received $347.50 for their share. This time the raffle will be set up as follows. You will call the MCB office and purchase your chances. Your name and information will be entered into a spreadsheet. Numbers will begin at 010 and go up from there. If, for instance, you purchase $100 for 40 chances, your numbers will be blocked together, and the numbers given to you would be 10-50, depending on when you called.

Please help support the efforts of MCB and maybe walk away with a little something in your pocket! 

       Now get ready for our monthly riddle! This comes from a well-known and loved fiction classic. So if you know your classic literature, then this should be a cinch!

This thing all things devours;

Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;

Gnaws iron, bites steel;

Grinds hard stones to meal;

Slays king, ruins town,

And beats mountain down.

President’s Report

By Naomi Soule, President

I hope all of you are enjoying the spring weather.

Eleanor Coyle, left MCB suddenly in March, 2022.  Nance Thier is our new Clerk.  We are very happy to have her.  She has a lot of nonprofit experience, and Virginia is thrilled to work with her.  Please join me in welcoming Nance to MCB. MCB had a booth at Power Up which took place April 4 and 5.  Chip Hailey, Kay Malmquist and Terry Nord also helped out.  Thank you to everyone for your help. The American Council of the Blind will be holding its convention in Omaha, Nebraska the first week of July.  You will also be able to attend virtually.  Stay tuned for more information. We hope to have a booth at the Missouri State Fair in August.  Thanks to Chip Hailey and Linda Gerken for coordinating who will be working the booth at the fair. Have a great summer everyone.

Affiliates Reporting

River City Workers of the Blind

By River City Workers of the Blind Reporting Committee.

       Greetings from the beautiful city of Cape Girardeau! We are located on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River and home to the River City Workers of the Blind. It has been a while since we have had a report in the Chronicle. Life has been complicated the last two years, but we are survivors and are meeting in person once again.

       We have been very busy, having completed two service projects for the Women's Safe House. They have been in great need of disinfectant products as well as paper products. We recently had a pizza party to celebrate St. Patrick's Day and to welcome in spring.

       Alyesia and Wylinika Smith attended Disability Days in Jefferson City with SADI. Marleen Limbaugh, our MCB and Education and Advocacy representative, has kept us well informed of the happenings in MCB as well as the legislation in Jefferson City for the State of Missouri. Thank you, ladies, for a job well done.

       In April, we had an Easter banquet and a reading about Easter, and we sang Happy Birthday to our members who had birthdays. We had good food and fellowship, and the finale was that our birthday girl, Vicki Lohrstorfer, taught our members how to make cute little bunny rabbits out of wash cloths. We all had a great time!

       One of our members, Wylinika Smith, was in the hospital and unable to be present with us. We are praying for a speedy recovery for her.

       God's blessings be with you all!

Hello to Everyone from Delta Area!

By Wanda Matlock

We have been busy as usual.  At our March meeting, summer camp applications were passed out.  We have several members that will be going to the second week of camp, along with our children and/or Grandchildren.  In total, I think we will have seven adults and four children.  We are looking forward to spending time with our friends across the state that we do not get to see very often.  I am especially looking forward to beating Darrel in another game of tipple toss. 

Delta Area members are also working on sending out the Lola B. Garner Scholarship applications to the different high schools in the Southeast Mo. Area.  Each year, when funding allows, we award a scholarship to a student who is either blind/visually impaired, a student with a special need or going into the special needs field.

Our members are also looking forward to the MCB Convention in October.  It will be great to have the conference in person this year.  We are also in the process of planning for the 40th year anniversary of Delta Area.  We hope to have a date, venue, speakers, etc.  in place soon.  I will have more information about our event in the next issue of the chronicle.

Last but not least, we would like to congratulate Darrel Vickers for being chosen Member of the Month for March, 2022.  Way to go Darrel!

From all the members of Delta Area, we hope that everyone has a safe and happy Spring!

AGAPE Council of the Blind Report

By Wilma Chestnut-House

The Temptations described AGAPE Council in one of their songs when they sang “Like a snowball rolling down the side of a snow covered hill, it’s growing!”

That is what AGAPE is doing, growing!  We have Four new members, Owen Neil, Marie Mitchell, Troy Cleveland, and Courtney Tramble.

Our first male president is implementing quite a few new ideals and all of our members are participating.

We are so excited to be hosting the 66th State Convention.  It is an honor and we hope that you enjoy it as much as we are enjoying the preparations.  Here are some things that we want to share with you.

First, if at all possible, you should bring a sighted guide.  There is a shortage of staff.  If you want clean towels or bedding, you have to call to the front desk or go down to the desk.  If your trash needs to be removed, call the front desk.

The restaurant will be opened from 6 am until 11 am.  You can go to the bar and get food from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. Our new office assistant, Nance, is making packages with a list of restaurants and their menu that are in the area. The Market Place will be open on Thursday from 1:00 pm until 8:00 pm. and on Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 12 noon and 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 pm.  The Market Place will then close for the rest of the convention. If you plan to have a table, please let Virginia know as soon as possible. For the Friday night hospitality, we will have our meal at 7:00 p.m. and then start our night of trivia at 8:00 p.m.  This is also the night that you dress in your best western outfit.  This is not mandatory!  We will be giving out prizes for the best outfit.  There will be a cash bar.  This event will take place in the Matterhorn Room. On Saturday evening, the doors for the banquet will open at 6:45 and start at 7:00 pm.  This is also going to be held in the Matterhorn Room.  There will be a cash bar.  Remember the front table is for the President and her group.  Other tables are for Members of the Month and AGAPE.  The rest are first come, first serve. You can also dress in your best or you can still come in your Western gear.  This is not mandatory.  For now, we have not chosen a guest speaker, but as we get one, you will be notified.  There will be a band and the theme will be Country with a little bit of R&B and Blues. I will have more info in the next issue. Until then, be peaceful!

SEMO United Blind Club

By Beulah Ziegler

Hello everyone from Southeast Missouri United Blind. I hope this short note finds everyone enjoying better weather. We have been able to have our meetings back in the regular place for the last two months but with such poor turnout that is has been difficult to have a meeting. We hope that things improve soon and with the convention coming up maybe they will. We will have more next time but for now will say goodbye and God bless.

Library Users Of Missouri

By Darrel Vickers

       The goal of Library Users is to support the Wolfner Memorial Library for the blind and physically handicapped. Also, we aim to promote literacy and the use of public libraries by persons who are blind or visually-impaired in Missouri.

Our members are comprised of people who love to read and are committed to literacy for all. We normally meet once a year in person at the MCB convention. We have other conference calls as needed. We will be hosting the Library Users’ breakfast at the convention in October. It will be held on Saturday morning at 8:00 a.m. for a cost of $20.00. The menu consists of farm fresh scrambled eggs, Applewood smoked bacon, breakfast potatoes, fresh seasonal fruit, and coffee, tea, and juice. Please come and join us and see what we are all about! If you would like to become a member, contact the MCB office for an application. One of the ways we support Wolfner is by donating monies for prizes for Wolfner activities such as the winter and summer reading programs. Contact Wolfner for more information.

About Wolfner: Wolfner Library is a free library service for Missourians who are unable to use standard print materials due to a visual or physical disability. Materials are mailed to and from library patrons at their homes, with postage paid. There is no charge whatsoever to the patron. Currently, over 8,000 Missourians actively use Wolfner Library. The library's collection includes fiction and nonfiction audio, braille, and large print books for all ages. Over seventy magazine subscriptions are available, and the library loans playback machines to those using audiobooks. You can contact Wolfner at: (573) 751-8720 or| (800) 392-2614. You may also email wolfner@sos.mo.gov, or visit their webpage at www.sos.mo.gov/wolfer.

Want Something to Read?

The Maid: a Novel  DB106298

Prose, Nita; Ambrose, Lauren. Reading time: 9 hours, 40 minutes. Read by Lauren Ambrose.

Suspense Fiction; Mystery and Detective Stories; Bestsellers

Twenty-five-year-old Molly Gray doesn't interact well with the world and misses her gran who codified it for her. She has gotten a job as a hotel maid and revels in her orderly duties. When she discovers a dead body in a room, Molly must unravel the real killer's identity. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2022.

The Girl in the Mist  DB106590

Ashley, Kristen. Reading time: 12 hours, 25 minutes. Read by Hillary Huber.

Suspense Fiction; Romantic Suspense; Mystery and Detective Stories; Romance

       Renowned author Delphine Larue needs a haven when a crazed fan has gone over the deep end. Her security team has suggested a house by a lake in a beautiful area of the Northwest, close to the sleepy town of Misted Pines. It's perfect, until she sees the girl in the mist. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2022.

Homer: the Ninth Life of a Blind Wonder Cat  DB106486

Cooper, Gwen. Reading time: 3 hours, 29 minutes.

Read by Mare Trevathan.

Animals and Wildlife

       In this follow-up to Homer's Odyssey (DB 69557), the author shares further stories of living with her blind rescue cat, Homer. She writes of the sudden fame Homer garnered after her first book's publication, and the attention it drew for special-needs animals. 2015.

Skinnytaste Air Fryer Dinners: 75 Healthy Recipes for Easy Weeknight Meals  DB106261

Homolka, Gina; Pick, Aubrie; Jones, Heather K. Reading time: 4 hours, 36 minutes. Read by Eva Wilhelm.  Cooking

       Collection of recipes designed to be cooked using an air fryer. Categories include vegetable mains; poultry; beef, pork, and lamb; seafood; and sides. Provides tips for creating the best air fryer cooking experience. Also includes a conversion chart for cooking in a conventional oven. 2021.

Committees Reporting

Adaptive Technology Grant Committee

By Darrel Vickers, Chair

Hi Everybody, I hope everyone is having a great spring.

I want to take a minute to give you an update on our adaptive technology grant program and share some of the details. At the Missouri Council, we understand how life changing, certain types of technology can be to a blind person. We are also aware the cost of this type of technology can be expensive and may be out of reach for some people.

The Missouri Council of the Blind (MCB) created this Adaptive Technology Grants Program to help fulfill its mission of enriching the lives of legally blind Missourians.

Each year MCB sets aside moneys for technology that blind persons of Missouri can apply for, to help offset the cost of adaptive technology.

How it works: For MCB members, MCB will match dollar for dollar for most types of adaptive technology with a $3000 limit over any five (5) year period. Any blind resident of Missouri who is not a member of MCB can also receive a grant, but we will match 25% of the total cost with the same $3000 limit.

2021-2022 Funding: We began November first with $40,000 for this fiscal year. As of this writing April 13, we have approved thirty-one (31) applications and have spent $33,870.00. We have approximately $6,100.00 remaining. As a reminder, without the Lighthouse donation we would only have $1100.00 remaining.

If you need a grant I would not wait any longer to apply.

The following are two important sections of the guidelines

Section IV:

  1. Grants shall be awarded to legally blind Missourians.
  2. Each grant shall be matched dollar for dollar by the grant applicant.
  3. Any purchase made prior to grant application shall not be eligible for a grant.
  4. No person shall be eligible for more than a total of three thousand dollars of matching funds grants within a five-year period.
  5. The minimum grant award shall be fifty dollars.
  6. Members of the Missouri Council of the Blind shall receive the full benefits of the Adaptive Technology Program set forth by the Adaptive Technology Committee.  Those who are not members of the MCB shall receive 50% of the benefits offered by the Adaptive Technology Program.

Section V (application):

  1. The applicant must submit the following documents to the MCB office: 
  1. A completed application.
  2. The exact specifications of the adaptive technology or computer to be purchased.
  3. A copy of an official price quote from two vendors or dealers (one quote will suffice if there is no other source for the item).

Written verification of legal blindness from an ophthalmologist or other reasonable authority (obtained within the past year), including a description of the applicant’s eye condition

Note: A complete copy of the guidelines will accompany the grant application.

I am very proud of Missouri Council for having this program. Not just because we can help with the cost of the technology, but because we can really make a difference. This is especially important for those who are just beginning to travel the path of vision loss.

A grant application and a full copy of the guidelines can be found on our web site at: http://moblind.org/programs/ or by contacting the MCB office at (314) 832-7172. You can also contact me anytime. This is a wonderful program and I encourage you to take advantage of it if you need to.

The Committee: The adaptive technology committee is made up of four members: Darrel Vickers (Chair), Kim Vaughn, Belinda Turner and Nancy Lynn. Have a great summer.

Education and Advocacy Committee

By Patti Schonlau, Committee Chair

Your Vote Matters

       Voting is a chance to share your opinion about elected officials and government policies. It gives you a voice in decisions that affect you, your family and friends, and others in your community. Local elections have a greater impact on your life than the national elections. Your local government is responsible for affordable housing, parks, public health services, policing, recycling, roads, and schools.

       It’s not hard to get information on candidates before the election. The League of Women Voters offers an online Voters Guide at VOTE411.org where you can learn about candidates for elected office, judges, ballot issues and even check your voter registration. The League of Women Voters is often invited to moderate candidate forums before elections.

       Disabled voters may request an absentee ballot for a single election or on a permanent basis. Those on the permanently disabled list are sent absentee ballot applications before each election and don’t need to have their ballots notarized. For more information, go to https://my.lwv.org/missouri/metro-st-louis/election-information.

       Remember, EVERY VOTE COUNTS! Some state and local elections have been decided by fewer than 10 votes. In the April 5 election, two candidates for Columbia City Council each received 1,102 votes and will face each other in a special election. In other cases, a tie has been decided by a coin flip.

*Note: The above information applies to each person eligible to vote throughout the state of Missouri.  Please share this information with your family and friends.

Summer Camp Report

By Beverly Kaskadden 

It is that time again. Are you ready for “fun in the sun”? By the time you read this, the deadline for submitting applications for the week long camps is over. You still have time to submit your applications for the extended weekend at Cobblestone. The deadline for submission is August 1. Time flies by so fast, so don’t hesitate.  We will knock ourselves out to assure everyone enjoys their time while at Cobblestone. I cannot express enough the importance of reading the Camp Guidelines and filling out the application completely. If you still have questions, please give me a call or e-mail me.  When the applications have been processed, I will give the MCB office the okay to send out the acceptance letters.  Again, please call me, not Cobblestone or the MCB office, with any questions. I am so proud of Missouri Council of the Blind to fund such a worthwhile program as this.    I hope to see many of you soon.  Now, get packed and be ready for an enjoyable summer!

The Wonderful World of bees

By Debra Whitt

       I thought it might be interesting to have a section where we could explore a variety of topics that would be educational as well as fun! Since a collection of honey was one of the items auctioned off last month, I thought an article with some bee and honey facts might be interesting for this first segment.

       Honeybees have been around for over three million years! I can only imagine how many reams of paper or gigs of Cloud storage would be needed to do that family tree! Honeybees are classified as insects since they have six legs. They also have two pairs of wings and fly at a speed of twenty-five miles an hour, beating their wings an average of two hundred times a second. That is one major workout! Additionally, they have five eyes. I can only imagine the cost of trying to keep just one of them in contacts!

       An average bee hive holds about fifty thousand bees. The principal form of communication between bees is through a chemical known as pheromones. Every bee has around one hundred and seventy odor receptors, and this is how they communicate within the hive as well as recognize different types of flowers when searching for food. They also are great dancers, putting the word “boogie” in the phrase "boogie down"! When a honeybee returns from foraging for food, it will launch into its waggle dance. This consists of the bee moving in a figure-eight pattern and waggling its body to indicate the direction of the food source. I guess this could be considered the earliest form of interpretive dance.

       Most of us know there are three main classes within a bee hive: the queen, workers, and drones. The queen spends her time laying eggs to ensure the next generation of honeybees. A queen will live for about five years and lay an average of 2,500 eggs a day. Next time you need to come up with something to occupy a child, ask them to calculate that bit of math. It should keep them busy for some time! The drones are the queen's play things and are only permitted to enjoy the protection of the hive for a short period of time. But they really don’t need much time to do their particular job, do they? When winter comes, they are booted out into the cold. The bees most people see flying around are the worker bees. Worker bees, being the busy females they are, do just about everything else. This includes building the hive, protecting it from danger, circulating air flow by beating their wings, cleaning, caring for the young, collecting pollen, and of course creating that most wonderful of foods, honey. I wonder if bees inspired the well-known phrase, “a woman’s work is never done.”

       A worker bee lives about five to six weeks and during her lifetime will produce only 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey. Incredibly, it takes nectar from about two million flowers to make about one pound of honey. There’s another math problem to give some kid who is complaining of being bored! A bee carries pollen on her hind legs in a honey basket, or corbicula back, to the hive. The main purpose of producing honey is to provide food to the hive during winter. However, since they are so good at what they do, they normally produce 2/3 more honey than the hive needs for survival. Thus, this over-production is to the benefit of humans worldwide, and we should be grateful to these wonderful little creatures.

       Honeybees pollinate approximately 130 agricultural crops such as fruit, vegetables, and nuts just within the United States. Bee pollination adds about fourteen billion dollars a year to crop yield. We would not have the variety of foods we enjoy without those busy little bees.

       Unfortunately, over the past twenty years’ bees have been fast tracking their way to the endangered species list. The massive loss of bees because of an unexplained phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder has been observed worldwide. In some regions of the world up to ninety percent of the bee population has already disappeared!

       Here’s a question to ponder. Is honeybee one or two words? Many dictionaries list honeybee as one word. However, scientists who study insects, called entomologists, will use the two-name convention “honey bee.” So, both ways are correct.

       Now for a little information about honey. There are actually some “honey do’s” and "honey don’ts” when it comes to storing honey. Honey is a staple in many households for a variety of things, but are you storing it properly? If not, you could end up with a crystalized sugary mess! While you can often revive honey that's no longer fluid, it may never have that luscious texture again. However, taking proper precautions can keep your honey sweet and tasty for a very long time.

       Honey can be stored at practically any temperature, room temperature being preferable. Honey is resistant to bacterial growth due to its unique composition. It's fairly acidic while having a low water level. This means that bacteria don’t have a good environment to thrive in. Since there aren’t any bacteria to worry about, there's also no spoilage to worry about. Despite this, you should avoid air and heat. Keeping air out of the container will help the honey stay syrupy longer. The best idea for avoiding air is keeping the honey in the container it came in. These bottles and jars are often designed for long-term honey storage, having few entry points for air. If you do need to change containers, make sure it's air-tight. Glass or plastic is preferred as metal can oxidize the honey, leading to off-flavors.

       Sunlight isn’t good for honey either. The sunlight can increase the temperature of the honey and dull its taste. Therefore, avoid windowsills, cabinets near ovens, or anywhere that's hit by sun. Also, don't stir your tea and then dip your spoon into honey. This can introduce water to the environment, making it more appealing for bacterial growth or fermentation.

       While the best place to store liquid honey is your cabinet, cream honey is a different story. When placed in the refrigerator, it creates a firm texture that doesn't crystalize. Cream honey can also easily be stored at room temperature, which leads to a soft and spreadable texture.

       Another amazing thing about honey is that it lasts indefinitely, depending on the type, how well it's stored, and how it's manufactured. The high level of sugar in honey makes it one of the most shelf-stable foods you can buy. Most storage errors only impact the flavor and texture of the honey, not the safety. Case in point: it has often been found in centuries-old tombs and burial chambers! The point is, your honey is safe no matter where you store it.

       Honey that has gone "off" will show you, as it will be darker or crystalized. Even then, the honey is likely still safe to eat. It just may have a grainy texture or weak flavors. If your honey does crystalize, don’t throw it out. Just place it in a pot of water on the stove, and let it slowly warm up. The burner should be on the lowest setting. Just keep checking it every ten minutes or so until it loses its grainy crystalized appearance and texture. Shake well and put back on the shelf. You can also place the honey bottle in very warm water, rather than hot or boiling. Keep an eye on it and change out the water with more warm water until it returns to its liquid state. This does take a lot longer, but either way you will still have your honey to consume in all the various ways you enjoy it.

       One important thing to remember is that honey, or foods which contain processed honey such as honey grahams, is not recommended for children under the age of one year. This is because Clostridium bacteria associated with infant botulism can contaminate honey. However, by the time a child reaches their first birthday their digestive systems have matured enough to be able to move the Clostridium spores through their bodies before causing harm. At this point, children can also enjoy the wonderful attributes of nature’s sweetener, honey.

       While researching for this article, I was able to learn more about a specific type of honey I have heard a lot about but have never known much about. This dark-colored, strong, slightly bitter-tasting honey is called "Manuka” honey and comes from New Zealand.

       Manuka honey has gained notoriety over the past several years for its healing properties, and ongoing scientific evidence is backing up these claims. Manuka honey is made by bees that pollinate the Manuka bush in New Zealand. This rare honey is produced for just a few weeks every year when the Manuka is in flower, making it an extremely limited resource. When bees pollinate from the Manuka bush, they produce honey that is more potent than the honey produced by our standard honeybees. This is due to the higher concentration of methylglyoxal (MGO). MGO is a substance found in the nectar of some Manuka plants, and it gives the nectar its antiviral and antibacterial properties. While most honey contains this compound, Manuka has been found to contain it in unusually high concentrations.

       Manuka Honey is effective against a wide variety of bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant strains. It is able to further attack germs because of its high concentration of MGO. The FDA has even approved wound dressing with Manuka honey due to its antibacterial properties. Manuka honey also has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties that may help treat numerous ailments, making it perfect for fighting off viruses and bacteria during cold and flu season.

       The benefits continue! Manuka honey contains vital trace nutrients and antioxidants to replenish the body and aid natural blood sugar balance. A spoonful of Manuka honey in water is a natural energy boost. While it's a great alternative to refined sugar, it's important to remember that honey is still a sugar and should be used in moderation.

       Finally, Manuka honey is graded based on the amount of MGO it contains. On the Manuka Health label, you'll see both MGO and UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) ratings. The higher the numbers the more potent the honey. For example, an MGO of 115 would be used for your morning tea, but a spoonful of MGO 573 would be preferable when fighting off a sore throat.

       I hope you enjoyed learning more about the intriguing world of honeybees and the special type of honey called Manuka honey. I BEE-lieve we should all BEE amazed by these wonderful creatures!

The mediterranean diet

By Debra Whitt

       In this issue I thought we would look into the pros and cons of the Mediterranean diet. This particular way of eating is based on the dietary habits of countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. This dietary pattern is backed by numerous documented scientific studies and has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. The Mediterranean diet does not eliminate any food groups and encourages a variety of nutrient dense food, making it easy to meet your nutritional needs while enjoying a wide range of foods and flavors.

       The heart health benefits of the Mediterranean diet are numerous. For example, a review study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that following a Mediterranean diet is associated with reduced risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack, and overall mortality. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends this eating style for preventing heart disease and stroke, and for reducing risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

       The Mediterranean diet has also been shown to help individuals with type 2 diabetes achieve better blood sugar control. Over fifty studies done between 1978 to 2016 showed that those following this way of eating experienced lower hemoglobin A1c levels by up to 0.32% on average. Additionally, a 2014 research review suggested that adopting a Mediterranean diet may even help “prevent” type 2 diabetes. It also appears that a Mediterranean-style diet can be good for HbA1c reduction in people with established diabetes.

       Mental health can also benefit from following this diet. A 2018 study in Molecular Psychiatry found that following a Mediterranean diet is associated with a reduced risk of depressive symptoms or clinical depression.

       While it seems counter intuitive that a diet which emphasizes calorically-dense foods such as olive oil and nuts could help with weight management, the satiating fats in combination with the many fiber-rich vegetables and fruits recommended can help you feel fuller longer, all the while lessening the need to nibble or seek out sugar-based comfort. Research has found that people do not gain weight when following a Mediterranean diet. Some studies have suggested the Mediterranean diet and low carbohydrate diets lead to similar rates of weight loss after one year.

       Researchers are studying the connections between certain inflammatory markers and chronic diseases. Higher levels of two inflammatory markers (interleukin 6 and C-reactive protein) are thought to be associated with an increased risk of diabetes. Research shows the Mediterranean diet is associated with lower levels of these inflammatory markers.

       Cancer has also come under the microscope of the Mediterranean diet. While cancer has been linked to several factors such as genetics and environmental conditions, one of these can be diet. Research found that those who adhered most closely to the Mediterranean diet had a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer, breast cancer, gastric cancer, liver cancer, head and neck cancer, and prostate cancer.

       When talking about the Mediterranean diet, we should not forget to consider the environmental benefits. Of course, a more plant-based diet is kinder to Mother Earth. The environmental costs associated with the production of cattle is vast when you consider the land mass required, the water consumption, and methane production.

       So far, I have listed the various pros for following this type of diet, but there may be some cons to consider as well. While there aren’t any required prepackaged foods or supplements you need to purchase on the Mediterranean diet, some consumers express concern about the cost of particular foods, including fish, seeds, nuts, and olive oil. One way you can cut the cost is purchasing frozen or canned seafood, or buying good quality olive oil or nuts in bulk.

       I am aware that cheap sodas, chips, cookies, candies, and prepackaged foods seem to be easier to prepare and more affordable. They also seem to fill up your shopping cart more easily! However, when compared to purchasing whole natural foods, the supposed affordability is deceiving. Sixteen years ago, when I took my four-year-old son to the eye doctor, I heard a truth that I never forgot. Dr. Fishman began asking me about our food habits, which were not as healthy as they are today. After listening, she told me that when you eat a whole food-based diet, your body gets the nutrients it needs and will not crave the sugars and carbs that make up so much of our modern American diet. She stated that if I paid attention after eating things like chips, cookies, prepackaged lunch meats, and other processed food, I would notice that my body still craved something more and that the cravings wouldn't end. That means the more you give in to those cravings, the more you need those foods and the more money you will spend. It reminded me of what I had learned about certain drugs! Additionally, she explained that while I might pay more money for the better food choices, I would end up saving more money in the end since my body would have all of its needs met. I did follow her advice and I believe it was good advice.

       Another consideration that should not be overlooked is that some people with diabetes may need additional guidance while on this diet. This is due to the fruits, grains, and starchy vegetables, which means meals may be high in carbohydrates. It’s important for people with diabetes to eat a consistent and controlled amount of carbohydrates throughout the day to avoid blood sugar spikes or dangerously low sugars (if you're using insulin or certain oral medications). Therefore, those with diabetes who plan to start this type of diet should discuss it with their doctor. They may also want to consult a dietitian who can help plan the right carbohydrate counts within the greater framework of the Mediterranean diet.

       Everyone faces issues when placing restrictions on themselves. This is especially true when it comes to changing the way we eat. This diet recommends reducing red meat and added sugar consumption, which may be difficult for some people. Those who are used to the standard American diet probably consume a lot of added sugars throughout the day contained in prepackaged foods. Those following the Mediterranean diet are advised to save added sugar for special occasions. Similarly, if you’re struggling with eating red meat less often, try following this diet while incorporating lean and unprocessed meats in smaller portions. Research suggests that you'll still reap heart-health benefits.

       Another concern while following a Mediterranean diet is the lack of dairy products which many people count on to provide their necessary calcium and Vitamin D needs. Fortunately, dairy is not the only source of calcium and vitamin D. There are many other sources including fortified milk alternatives, fortified orange juice, some whole-grain cereals, seafood, spinach, soybeans, or sesame seeds. Studies have shown that both adults and children who adhere to this healthy diet are likely to have a better nutrient profile, with a lower prevalence of individuals showing inadequate intakes of micronutrients. Studies have also indicated that women following a Mediterranean diet are likely to have better bone mass and a reduced risk for bone fractures.

       Another drawback for some individuals may be that the Mediterranean diet does not provide specific calorie counts, food portion sizes, or strict lists of foods to eat and foods to avoid. There is also no singular source for following this diet. For those who prefer a more structured eating style (especially for weight loss or weight maintenance), this diet may present a challenge. The USDA website does have a lot of information and guidance for those needing a more structured plan.

       The dual cons of time spent shopping and preparing food can also be a deterrent. However, preparing food in batches, or prepping one day and cooking the next, can make this diet much easier to follow.

Butter Vs. margarine: a fascinating history

By Debra Whitt

So what is better for you: butter or margarine? I heard a podcast about this topic a few years ago and still find the information interesting. I'm passing this information on in the hopes that it will benefit many of you. While most of us know that real butter comes from the separation of milk fats due to a process known as churning, have you ever wondered about the history behind margarine?

       Margarine has an interesting story behind its creation. A French scientist named Michel Eugene Chevreul discovered a new fatty acid in 1813 he named “acide margarique.” His discovery contained lustrous, pearly deposits, so he named it after the Greek word margarites, for “pearly.” Chevreul may have come up with the cornerstone, so to speak, but it was Emperor Napoleon III that helped to launch margarine onto the world stage. Napoleon III saw that both his poorer subjects and his armies in the Franco-Prussian war would benefit from having easy access to a cheap butter substitute. He offered a prize for anyone who could create an adequate replacement for butter.

       French chemist, Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès, took up the challenge. In 1869 he perfected and patented a process for churning beef tallow with milk to create margarine, thereby winning the emperor’s prize. Was that all there was to it? No, unfortunately, as it didn’t really go over that well with the peasants or the military. Often Napoleon's troops found a better use for this white-looking substance (called oleomargarine), which was to grease their guns and cannons with it! In 1871, Mège-Mouriès showed his process to a Dutch company that improved on his methods and helped build an international market for margarine. The Dutch entrepreneurs realized that if margarine were going to become a substitute for butter, it needed to look like butter, so they began dyeing it a buttery yellow as well as making it a little tastier.

       The Dutch company that improved upon Mège-Mouriès recipe did pretty well for itself. This company, Jurgens,

 eventually became a world-renowned maker of margarines and soaps, while Mège-Mouriès, sadly, died a pauper in 1880. Strange how that seems to happen a lot. Of course, the dairy industry wasn’t happy about the growing popularity of margarine, and began taking steps to slow down its rise to favor. First, they convinced legislators to tax margarine sales at the rate of two cents a pound. That doesn’t seem like a lot to us today, but it was significant in the late 1800’s. Second, dairy farmers successfully lobbied for restrictions that banned the use of yellow dyes to make margarine look more like butter. By the early 1900’s artificially colored butter was considered contraband in 30 states. Additionally, some states even required that margarine had to be dyed an unappealing pink!

       The United States was not the only country having margarine pains. In Canada, from 1886 until 1948, Canadian law banned any and all margarine. The only exception to this rule came between 1917 and 1923, when World War I and its aftermath left butter in short supply, causing the government to temporarily give margarine the thumbs up. Margarine didn’t necessarily have an easier time after the ban was relaxed, either. Quebec’s strong dairy lobby ensured that rules against dyeing remained in place until 2008! Of course, with anything there is usually a creative way to get past rules! As the coloring restrictions became widespread around the turn of the 20th century, margarine producers accepted that, although they couldn’t dye their margarines yellow, there was no reason why they couldn’t simultaneously sell a packet of yellow food coloring with it for the consumers to knead into the product themselves! Many housewives did this and got away with passing this product off as the real deal.

       Margarine also got a big bump up in favor due to World War II. When butter shortages began, people naturally turned to the next best thing: margarine. In 1950, the U.S. government repealed the heavy margarine tax, and the market continued to grow as individual states reversed their bans on colored margarine. Wisconsin was the last state to do so in 1967.

       Margarine continued to grow in fame for several reasons. It was cheaper than butter, it didn’t burn as easily on the stovetop, and it stayed firm on the countertop even in warm climates. And when doctors discovered that too much butter could be bad for our health, many people took to margarine as a supposed healthier alternative. Let's not stop there, however. Unfortunately, we didn’t know then what we know now. For most of the 20th century, margarine was touted as a “health food” when in reality, it wasn't. At the time, margarine was made from oil that was hydrogenated with trans fats, which, in the 1990s, scientists discovered are bad for heart health. So, margarine and butter flipped places once again on the world stage. Margarine was now being demonized and butter was a better “natural” choice.  

       In 2015, the FDA officially banned trans fats in all processed food made in the United States. Margarine companies began reformulating their recipes to be healthier and free of trans fats. Thankfully, today’s margarine is not the same one we grew up with, and it’s finally making good on its promise to be a healthy alternative to butter. All margarines and butter substitutes on the market have their own special blend of ingredients, but for the most part, margarine is primarily a blend of natural vegetable oils, with palm, palm kernel, and soybean oils being the ones most commonly used. In addition to these oils, margarine almost always contains water and salt. After that, any number of additional ingredients can be added for consistency, color, and taste. And, by law, it must also be at least 80 percent fat, though manufacturers can get away with less by calling their product a “spread.”

       While some of the ingredients in margarine may leave us a little confused, it is a “greener" option when compared to butter. In fact, research has shown that the carbon footprint of butter is more than four times that of margarine. (I must confess, however, that I am not giving up my butter!)

       All margarine recipes are different. There are margarines that add milk products for creaminess, some which are 100 percent plant-based, and others that add special ingredients such as omega-rich oils and plant stenols for cardiovascular health. But at their core, modern margarines are made from plant-based oils that are rich in mono- and poly-unsaturated fatty acids. These, according to the Mayo Clinic, can help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, when substituted for saturated fat.

       While you can keep both butter and margarine on your countertop for a few days, the USDA states that you’ll eventually have a problem with both. Butter will spoil, and margarine will separate into its base components. While the margarine will likely still be safe to eat, it will not have the consistency or texture you might want. Of course, the climate you live in will have a lot to do with the outcome. When I lived in Ireland, we regularly kept butter out in the cooler part of the kitchens or in a cool room. We also kept eggs there without any problem. However, you would not do that with milk.

       Let's turn our attention back to butter, which we all know has a wonderful creamy texture and a lovely taste. What is butter? Butter is a dairy product made from milk or cream. It must be at least 80 percent fat to be sold commercially, and the remaining percentage consists of water and milk proteins. Butter gives baked goods a flakier crust and richer taste.

       However, the Pure Food Movement of the early 20th century helped undermine natural butter and elevate the status of margarine. In 1923, Congress passed a law making it illegal to add any other ingredients to butter, even additives that would help make the butter more spreadable, which was what the consumer wanted. It is so much easier to spread margarine on toast than butter. The ability to improve the consistency of butter would have made it more competitive with margarine, prior to the health issues concerning trans-fat margarine, that is. A lot has happened in the drama of butter versus margarine. Today, butter is no longer demonized and more people feel they can choose it without the guilt. The same can be said about modern margarine. As you walk down your butter and margarine section next time, take a moment to think about what has transpired in history in order for you, the consumer, to have the wide variety of choices that you have today. Read the ingredients, consider the information, and make the best choice for yourself. 

The inner me

How I Lost Fifty Pounds

By Christian Jif

       I am a twenty-three-year-old young man, and from the year 2019 to 2020 I managed to lose fifty pounds. I did this by kicking my addiction to sugar, as well as just getting my overall health in order. This is the story of how I did this and of the things I learned in the process. Hopefully this can provide others with some advice on the different steps that can be taken to lose weight or manage health.

       Before I begin the tale, I want to reiterate that this took place toward the end of 2019 when I was twenty years old. The reason I bring this up is because everyone is physically different, so the tips and tricks I used may not work in the exact same way for everyone. The way the body burns fat and processes nutrients differs between people depending on a lot of different attributes such as age, metabolism, and genetics.

       To start, I am a type 1 diabetic, and in 2019 my average blood sugar was at an all-time high. This was mainly because I was addicted to sugar! At the time I didn’t know how to control myself when eating sweets. Instead of eating just one chocolate or one doughnut, I'd eat the entire box. Eventually my family stopped buying sweets, yet I would still find a way to eat them.

       Finally, I realized that I was tired of looking and feeling sick as well as depressed, so from there I began my descent into healthy living. The reason I put it that way is because, to be honest, it wasn't all fun and games! First, I started by replacing bad habits with good ones, so if I had a craving for something sweet like a piece of cake or a pastry, I'd eat an apple or banana instead. It still "scratched the itch," so to speak, but in a healthy way. I also started taking a couple different supplements: apple cider vinegar and daily fiber, which did help me lose a pound or two. These supplements are readily available at most grocery stores.

       Once I started to notice a difference in both my cravings and appearance, I started doing some research on how the body processes different calories. I found out about the military diet which consists of eating three small meals a day. Breakfast is a piece of whole grain bread with a teaspoon of peanut butter, half a grapefruit, and a cup of black coffee with no cream or sugar. As a result of trying this, I started drinking black coffee regularly. Lunch is a can of chicken and a piece of bread with a cup of black coffee. Dinner is a piece of meat the size of your fist, two cups of vegetables, and a cup of vanilla ice cream for dessert. This diet is supposed to be followed for three days, however I followed it for about eight days. This helped me lose about fifteen pounds. At this point I also began doing cardio every day for an hour, which I still do because now I enjoy exercise. One of the most important things I learned was the simple fact that nutritional fat does not cause weight gain. It’s the carbohydrates in food and drink, or in my case the sugar, that can be the problem. With all of this combined, it took about six months for me to drop from 195 to 145 pounds (I am about five feet, seven inches tall).  In the end I'm very happy I pushed myself to make this change. As I have said, it's not an easy thing to do. If you want to make this change for yourself, then you will need good motivation. If looking good is your only motivation, then you're not going to get far. You have to want it in order to live a happier, healthier life. I guarantee you, though, that once you start seeing changes and hearing from others how well you're doing, you will feel good and be further motivated to succeed!

A drug once used to treat alcoholism may cure retinal degeneration

By Loukia Papadopoulos

       A drug once used to treat alcoholism may cure retinal degeneration The treatment made nearly-blind mice see much better. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have found that a drug once widely used to wean alcoholics off of drinking may help improve sight in those with vision disorders, according to a press statement released by the institution on Friday. The drug tested on mice was found to revive sight in humans with the inherited disease retinitis pigmentosa (RP), and perhaps in other disorders, including age-related macular degeneration.

Antabuse to the Rescue

       The researchers found that the drug disulfiram (also called Antabuse) disrupts not only enzymes involved in the body’s ability to degrade alcohol, but also enzymes that make retinoic acid. Mice treated with disulfiram saw a decrease in the production of retinoic acid, even if they were nearly blind, and became much better at detecting images displayed on a computer screen. “There may be a long window of opportunity in which suppressing retinoic acid with drugs like disulfiram could substantially improve low vision and make a real difference in people’s quality of life,” said Richard Kramer, the CH, and Annie Li, Chair in Molecular Biology of Diseases at UC Berkeley and a member of the campus’s Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. “Because the drug is already FDA-approved, the regulatory hurdles are low. It wouldn’t be a permanent cure, but right now there are no available treatments that even temporarily improve vision.”

       For the next steps, the researchers will partner with ophthalmologists to conduct a clinical trial of disulfiram on a small set of people with advanced, but not yet complete, retinal degeneration.

A Drawback

       The drug does, however, come with one major drawback: when combined with alcohol consumption it has severe side effects, including headache, nausea, muscle cramps, and flushing. Still, its results cannot be ignored. “Treated mice really see better than mice without the drugs. These particular mice could barely detect images at all at this late stage of degeneration. I think that that’s quite dramatic,” Kramer said.

       Now, the scientists hope this latest development can drive new drug development and a whole new strategy for helping to improve vision. Article from InterestingEngineering.com: https://interestingengineering.com/antabuse-drug-alcoholism-retinal-degeneration.

The magic of Air Fryers

By Debra Whitt

       Since I recently purchased my first air fryer, I thought I would do a little research into what an air fryer really is and what it does. I discovered that air fryers are essentially amped-up countertop convection ovens. This great invention was developed and patented by Philips Electronics Company in 2010. It’s a time and calorie saving kitchen tool that doesn’t actually “fry” food. Instead, its “mimics” the results people expect from deep-frying foods by using fast moving hot air and little or no oil. This makes it a healthier option for preparing many foods previously enjoyed by deep-frying.

       According to the marketing research firm, NPD group, as of July 2020 almost 40% of homes in the US claimed to have an air fryer. Due to the claim that air-frying gives the same results as deep-frying foods, but with a lot less fat and calories, it is no wonder they surged in popularity.  The case that air-frying is a lot healthier than deep-frying can be made simply by looking at the research. For example, frozen French fries prepared in the air fryer contain between 4 and 6 grams of fat versus their deep-fried counterparts, which have a whopping 17 grams per serving!

       Once you examine how an air fryer works, you might wonder why it took so long to develop this wonderful gadget. The top section of an air fryer holds a heating mechanism and fan. You simply place the food in a fryer-style basket and when you turn it on, hot air rushes down and around the food. This rapid circulation makes the food crispy, much like deep-frying, but without the oil and high fat content.

       While many of the foods people enjoy cooking in their air fryers are foods that are typically deep-fried, you can also use this appliance to roast vegetables, cook meat, and even bake cookies. However, frozen finger type foods that are normally fried, such as fries, chicken tenders, or fish seem to be the most common foods made in an air fryer. Amazingly, it does just as good a job when using homemade foods. There are a few exceptions, or rather considerations, you must remember with some frozen goodies, however. One of these concerns mozzarella sticks. While the frozen version comes out great in the air fryer, homemade ones are not suggested. Fresh cheese melts into a gooey mess (so homemade cheese curds are also out). Also, when you’re using this gadget to cook veggies, skip the leafy greens. They contain way too much moisture and will often come out as a lumpy pile of mush.

       Another positive about the air fryer is it can make some wonderful desserts, especially in small portions like cookies and apple fritters. However, remember that you can’t make anything that uses a liquid batter, unless you freeze the coated item first.

       One drawback to air fryers is cooking for a large crowd. Even the largest air fryers have a limited capacity, so you’ll likely have to cook in batches. Another negative consideration is the space they take up on a counter top. Fortunately, due to the wide variety of options available, finding an air fryer that meets your cooking needs and space restrictions, as well as your budget, is possible.

       It should be pointed out that there are some commonly made mistakes where air fryers are concerned. These include: 

       1. Space: Air fryers need their space in order to function properly and safely. Since air fryers rely on a constant flow of air to move the high-temp heat around the food, it is a necessary precaution to make sure it has at least five inches of space on all sides. Additionally, keeping it on a stable surface will keep the air fryer from tumbling off the countertop due to its vibration during cooking.

       2. Oil Amount: While air fryers use a great deal less oil than a deep fryer does, it still needs a little to do its job. Most recipes will tell you the amount to use, however, if they don’t then you must remember this tip: when in doubt, give everything a quick spritz with oil. Oil is a great medium to transfer heat, and using even a little on your food via non-stick spray will make your food infinitely crisper and browner. It just takes a little spritz!

       3. Size: Food that is too small could slip right through the slots in the air fryer basket and fall onto a heating element. The pieces would burn quickly, which in turn could fill your food and your kitchen with fumes and smoke. Keep all of your ingredients about the size of a Brussels sprout. When in doubt, drop the food in the basket and give it a shake over a sink or garbage can. If anything slips through the slots, don’t put it in your air fryer.

       4. Grease: Where there’s grease there’s smoke! While an air fryer can complement a lower-fat eating plan, you can still use the quick-cooking appliance to fry up favorite high-fat options like burgers, sausages, and even bacon. Before you hit the start button, however, make sure you put water in the bottom of the cavity under the frying basket. This way, when the fat from these foods drips onto the hot surface, it will hit water rather than hot metal where it will burn, smoke, and smell. This will also make clean up easier.

       5. Cleanliness: Cleanliness is next to good health! A dirty air fryer can be dangerous for your stomach and your nose. You are at risk of food contamination if you do not clean your air fryer between uses. Three minutes of your time will keep your air fryer fresh, your tummy safe, and your kitchen smelling normal, which will make your nose happy. 

       6. Preheating: Air fryers must be in the right mood! As with any other cooking device, an air fryer should be preheated. Your fryer needs to be hot so it can properly cook whatever you put in it from the moment the door shuts. If it’s too cold, the final food may suffer. Check your recipe’s suggested temperature when you begin preparing your food. Air fryers normally reach the required temperature in under five minutes.

       7. Temperature: Proper temperature means safety. It is important to make sure you are practicing the same food safety guidelines as you would with any other method of cooking. Make sure you check the internal temperature before consuming the food.

       8. Crowding: More is not always better, and in the case of air-frying foods it is important to remember that food needs its space. Overcrowding can lead to uneven cooking or food that is not done. Make sure you take the time needed to cook in batches.

       Additionally, it is important to remember that wet foods are not recommended. While deep-frying expels moisture from foods, like batters, air fryers cannot do this. Instead, for best results you should use your air fryer to quickly crisp up already breaded or crunchy foods such as breaded chicken tenders or Brussels sprouts.

       It is amazing the many foods you can cook in an air fryer. I have been having fun trying out various options and have included some of these below. Bon Appetit!

Air Fryer Conversion Tips

       1. Reduce suggested temperature by 25 degrees (if the regular oven cook temperature is 400 degrees, then the air fryer should be set for 375 degrees).

       2. Reduce cooking time by 20%. If the suggested cooking time in the oven is 30 minutes, then the air fryer time should be 6 minutes.

       3. Flip foods halfway through cooking time for more even cooking and to judge their doneness. Check internal temperature once the unit has turned off.

       Note: As with any appliance, you may need to do some experimentation since different unit sizes, brands, and foods will work a little differently. However, once you get the hang of how your particular appliance works, you will be able to do the conversions quickly without much thought.

Air Fryer Boiled Eggs

Preheat air-fryer to 275 degrees. Place eggs in a single layer on tray in air fryer. Cook 15 minutes. Remove eggs. rinse in cold water and place in ice water until completely cooled. Drain and refrigerate or eat.

Air Fryer Bacon

Preheat air-fryer to 390 degrees. Place ½ pound of bacon in a single layer in fryer. A little overlap is fine. Cook for 8 minutes. Turn and continue cooking until it is at the level of crispness you like, about 7 minutes more.

Air Fryer Donuts

1 tube/16.3 oz. refrigerator buttermilk biscuits (8 count size)

¾ cup sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

 ¼ cup melted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat to 375 degrees. Separate biscuits and cut centers out with a 1-inch cutter, saving the dough to make donut holes with.

2. Spray the basket with your choice of cooking spray. Layer the donuts in a single layer and cook for 5 minutes, turning halfway through, until puffed up and golden brown.

3. Repeat process.

4. Cook donut holes 3-4 minutes, turning halfway through.

5. Mix melted butter and vanilla in a small bowl.

6. Mix sugar and cinnamon together in another small bowl.

7. Dip hot donuts into melted butter mixture and roll in sugar mixture. Or, if you prefer, make a glaze.

Glaze: Mix together 1 cup confectioner's sugar, 1/8 teaspoon vanilla, and 2-3 teaspoons milk, or just enough liquid to create a glaze. Roll donuts in glaze and then in your favorite toppings, such as sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, or coconut flakes!

Note: If you don't have a 1-inch donut cutter then you can carefully cut out a center with a butter knife or some other object.

Air Fryer Brownies

1/3 cup butter, cut into cubes

1 ½ cup 60% cacao baking chips, divided

¾ cup sugar

2 tablespoons water

2 large eggs at room temperature

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking powder

1. Preheat air fryer to 325 degrees. Line a pan with parchment paper, allowing the paper to be a little above the pan.

2. In a small microwave-safe bowl melt 1 cup of chocolate and butter until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

3. Beat eggs and sugar together in a small bowl. Add water, vanilla, and chocolate, mixing well. Combine flour, baking powder and salt, and then gradually stir into chocolate mixture. 4. Stir in remaining chips.

5. Pour into parchment lined pan and bake for 40-45 minutes. Check part way through to see If you need to tent the brownies with a piece of foil to keep them from burning on the edges.

6. Let cool. Lift out of pan by using the raised edges of the parchment paper. Cut into squares.

Note: You might want to lightly spray the parchment paper with cooking oil before pouring the batter into the pan.

For a coffee flavor, you can add 1-2 teaspoons of instant coffee to the butter and chocolate mixture when you remove it from the microwave.

Homemade Mozzarella Sticks

2 large eggs

1 TB water

1 cup breadcrumbs

2 ½ tsp Italian seasoning

½ tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp black pepper

12 sticks string cheese

Cooking spray

1. In a shallow bowl, beat eggs and water.

2. In another shallow bowl, place the flour.

3. In a third shallow bowl, mix together the spices and breadcrumbs.

4. Take a string cheese stick and roll in the flour, then dip into the egg mixture, and finally roll in the breadcrumb mixture, making sure it is coated well. Repeat the last two steps, dipping in egg mixture and then breadcrumbs. Place on a tray lined with wax paper.

5. Freeze for at least two hours or overnight.

6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease the bottom of the basket with cooking spray. Layer cheese sticks single file and spritz with cooking spray. Cook 6-8 minutes, turning halfway through and spraying again with cooking spray so both sides will be evenly browned.

7. Let stand 3 minutes before serving. Serve with your favorite marinara sauce.

Note: You can change the spices if you desire. Try using chili powder, red pepper flakes, or onion powder. You can also use a different type of seasoned breadcrumb or make your own.

These will keep for up to three days in the refrigerator. Just toss them back into the air fryer and cook for about 3 minutes. Additionally, you can make a large batch of these and freeze them for up to four months. Once you have coated them and placed them in the freezer, you can remove them when they are frozen solid and place them into a container or baggie, sealing tight.

Greek Lemon Air Fryer Chicken

2 boneless chicken breasts, about 2 oz. each

2 TBS lemon juice (fresh is best)

2 TBS crumbled feta cheese 

½ tsp dried oregano

¼ tsp. black pepper

1. Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees. Spray a solid bottom pan that will fit inside the air fryer with cooking spray. Place chicken in pan and drizzle lemon juice over breasts. Sprinkle with feta cheese and spices.

2. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.  

Kitchen Hints and Secrets

How to Properly Freeze Strawberries

       Summer is on its way, and with it comes a variety of fresh, in-season berries!  As a matter of fact, one of my favorite fruits, strawberries, are becoming plentiful in the grocery store. That's why I thought a quick review on how to properly freeze strawberries would be a good topic.

       Fresh whole strawberries will last for one to two days at room temperature, so you can keep them on your counter if you plan to use them within a day or so. In the fridge, they'll stay good for about one week. Strawberries are in season in most areas during the months of May and June. Leave them in their container until ready to use.

       You'll want to go through them to check if there are some bad ones hiding out, and then get rid of them before they damage to the rest of the fruit. I have found that if I want to have fresh strawberries on hand during the day, I get the best results by washing, then drying thoroughly by layering them in a bowl with paper towels. I change the paper towels after about four hours. This keeps my berries fresh for about four days.

       Freezing: To freeze strawberries, wash them in a colander under cool, running water on all sides. Let stand until dry. Hull berries by using a paring knife angled toward the center of the strawberry. Cut a circle around the leafy stem to remove the hull. Repeat until all berries are hulled. You can purchase a berry huller online if you like. Layer them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Freeze for 4 hours or overnight. Remove from cookie sheet and store in freezer safe bags or containers. For best results, use them within six months.

       Here's another handy tip for you: Some bakers like to freeze their strawberries in sugar, as it keeps the berries from becoming runny as they thaw. You can totally sprinkle sugar over the strawberries before the first freeze (use about ½ cup of sugar for every four cups of strawberries). Just make sure to adjust the sugar in your recipe accordingly.

       Easily thaw frozen strawberries by moving them from the freezer to the fridge about six hours before you plan to use them. If you're in a rush, you can run cold water over the bagged berries for about half an hour.

It's Jam Time!

       Since we've just discussed strawberries (and the fact that it's the perfect season for getting a variety of fresh fruits), it's the perfect time to make freezer jam! I learned about this simple process just a few months ago, and was amazed at how easy it is to make a delicious jam that does not need a long canning process. Not only is freezer jam tasty for your own enjoyment, but it also makes a great gift!

       Directions for all recipes that follow (please note that all recipes use Certo brand pectin): Use dry measuring cup to measure exact amount of prepared fruit, or use liquid measuring cup to measure exact amount of prepared juice. Pour juice into large bowl, or cut up fresh fruit into small pieces and mash with a potato masher.

  1. Measure exact amount of sugar into separate bowl with dry measuring cup. (DO NOT reduce the sugar or use sugar substitutes since this will result in set failures. For no-sugar or lower-sugar jams, use SURE-JELL for Less Sugar or No Sugar Needed Recipes Premium Fruit Pectin.)
  2. Add sugar to prepared fruit or juice; mix well. Let stand 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, for 1 minute. Combine pectin, lemon juice (if listed in recipe) and water in small bowl. Add to fruit or juice mixture; stir 3 minutes or until sugar is completely dissolved.
  3. Let sit for 20 minutes’ total, but every 5 minutes make sure to stir vigorously for 1 minute.
  4. After 20 minutes is up, stir 1 last time and pour into prepared containers, leaving ½ inch space at top of each for expansion during freezing; cover with lids.
  5. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours or until set. Refrigerate up to 3 weeks. Or, freeze up to 1 year. If frozen, thaw in refrigerator before using.

 

Strawberry-Blueberry Jam: (Makes about 5 cups)

1 cup crushed strawberries

1 cup crushed blueberries

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

4 cups sugar

1 pouch Certo

Remove and discard strawberry stems. Crush strawberries and blueberries together. Follow above instructions.

 

Apricot Jam (Makes about 7 cups)

3 cups very finely chopped apricots (2 lbs.)

¼ cup water

6 cups sugar

2 pouches Certo

Pit and finely chop apricots. Follow above instructions.

 

Blackberry Jam (Makes about 5 cups)

4 cups fresh blackberries (2 cups crushed)

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

4 cups sugar

1 pouch Certo

Crush blackberries. If desired, press half the crushed fruit through sieve to remove seeds. Follow above instructions.

 

Blueberry Jam (Makes about 5 cups)

4 cups blueberries (2 cups crushed)

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

4 cups sugar

1 pouch Certo

Remove and discard blueberry stems. Finely chop or mash blueberries. Follow above instructions.

 

Sour Cherry Jam (Makes about 4 cups)

1 ½ pounds sour cherries (1 ¾ cups finely chopped)

¼ cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)

4 cups sugar

1 pouch Certo

Discard cherry stamps. Pit and finely chop cherries. Follow above instructions.

 

Peach Jam (Makes about 7 cups)

2 ¼ pounds peaches (2 ¾ cups finely chopped peaches)

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (3 lemons)

6 ½ cups sugar

2 pouches Certo

Peel, pit, and finely chop peaches. Follow above instructions.

 

Peach-Vanilla Bean Jam (Makes about 7 cups)

2 ¼ pounds peaches (2 ¾ cups finely chopped peaches)

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (3 lemons)

6 ½ cups sugar

1 Tbsp. vanilla bean paste

2 pouches Certo

Peel, pit, and finely chop peaches. Follow above instructions.

 

Mango Jam (Makes about 8 cups)

4 mangos (3 cups mashed mangoes)

¼ cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)

6 cups sugar

2 pouches Certo

Mash peeled mangoes. Follow above instructions.

 

Red Raspberry Jam (Makes about 5 cups)

4 cups red raspberries (2 cups crushed raspberries)

2 TBS. fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)

4 cups sugar

1 pouch Certo

Crush raspberries. If desired, press half the crushed fruit through sieve to remove seeds. Follow above instructions.

 

Raspberry-Peach Jam (Makes about 6 cups)

3 cups raspberries (1 ½ cup crushed raspberries)

1-pound peaches (1 cup finely chopped peaches)

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)

4 ½ cups sugar

1 pouch Certo

Crush raspberries. If desired, press half the crushed fruit through sieve to remove seeds. Finely chop peeled peaches. Follow above instructions.

 

Strawberry Jam (Makes about 4 cups)

4 cups strawberries (2 cups crushed strawberries)

2 TBS. fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)

4 cups sugar

1 pouch Certo

Remove and discard strawberry stems. Crush strawberries. Follow above instructions.

The Chronicle comicals

A Wedding

       During a wedding rehearsal, the groom approached the minister with an unusual offer. "Look, I'll give you $100 if you'll change the wedding vows. When you get to the part where I'm supposed to promise to 'love, honor and obey' and 'forsaking all others, be faithful forever,' I'd appreciate if you just left that part out."

He passed the minister the cash and walked away satisfied.

The wedding day arrived, and the bride and groom arrived to that part of the ceremony where the vows are exchanged. When it came time for the groom's vows, the minister looked the young man in the eye and said, "Will you promise to prostrate yourself before her, obey her every command and wish, serve her breakfast in bed every morning of your life, and swear eternally before God and your lovely wife that you will not ever look at another woman, as long as you both shall live?"

The groom gulped and looked around, saying in a tiny voice, "Yes." He then leaned toward the minister and hissed, "I thought we had a deal!"

The minister put the $100 into his hand and whispered back, "She made me a much better offer."

A Shoe Store

       A guy walked into a shoe store and asked for a pair of shoes in a size eight.

       The obviously well-trained salesman said, "But sir, you take an eleven or eleven-and-a-half."

       "Just bring me a size eight."

       The salesman brought them. The man stuffed his feet into them and stood up, obviously in pain. He then turned to the salesman and said, "I've lost my house to the I.R.S., I live with my mother-in-law, my daughter ran off with my best friend, and my business has filed for Chapter 7. The only pleasure I have left is to come home at night and take my shoes off."

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

A strong young man at the construction site was bragging that he could outdo anyone in a feat of strength. He made a special case of making fun of Morris, one of the older workmen. After several minutes, Morris had enough.

Why don't you put your money where your mouth is?" he said. "I will bet a week's wages that I can haul something in a wheelbarrow over to that outbuilding that you won't be able to wheel back."

You're on, old man!" the braggart replied. "It's a bet! Let's see what you got."

Morris reached out and grabbed the wheelbarrow by the handles. Then, nodding to the young man, he said, "All right. Get in."

Kid’s Say the Darndest Things!

       One day I was out walking with my four-year-old daughter. She picked up something off the ground and started to put it in her mouth. I asked her not to do that.

       "Why?"

       "Because it's been laying outside. It's dirty and probably has germs."

       At this point she looked at me with total admiration. "Wow! How do you know all this stuff?"

       "Uhhh. " I was thinking quickly. "Um, it's on the mommy test. You have to know it, or they don't let you be a mommy."

       "Oh." My daughter became quiet.

       We walked along in silence for a few minutes, as she was evidently pondering this new information.

       "I get it!" she suddenly beamed. "Then if you flunk, you have to be the daddy."

An Oldie But Goody

       The Pope met with his cardinals to discuss a proposal from Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of Israel.

       "Your Holiness," said one of his cardinals, “Mr. Netanyahu wants to challenge you to a game of golf to show the friendship and ecumenical spirit shared by the Jewish and Catholic faiths.”

       The Pope thought this was a good idea, but he had never held a golf club in his hand.

       “Don’t we have a cardinal to represent me?" he asked.

       "None that plays very well," a cardinal replied. "But there is a man named Jack Nicklaus, an American golfer who is a devout Catholic. We can offer to make him a cardinal. Then ask him to play Mr. Netanyahu as your personal representative. In addition to showing our spirit of cooperation, we’ll also win the match.”

       Everyone agreed it was a good idea.

       The call was made. Of course, Nicklaus was honored and agreed to play.

       The day after the match, Nicklaus reported to the Vatican to inform the Pope of the result. “I have some good news and some bad news, your Holiness," said Nicklaus.

       “Tell me the good news first, Cardinal Nicklaus," said the Pope.

       “Well your Holiness, I don’t like to brag, but even though I’ve played some pretty terrific rounds of golf in my life, this was the best I have ever played, by far. I must have been inspired from above. My drives were long and true, my irons were accurate and purposeful, and my putting was perfect. With all due respect, my play was truly miraculous.”

       “There’s bad news?" asked the Pope.

       “Yes, I lost by three strokes to Rabbi Tiger Woods."

Food for Thought

“It is rather easy to be selfish when you have no one else to whom you must answer.” -Lord Bridgerton 

Riddle Answer

       Here is the riddle one more time, in case you forgot it:

This thing all things devours;

Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;

Gnaws iron, bites steel;

Grinds hard stones to meal;

Slays king, ruins town,

And beats mountain down.

       Did you recognize it from the fantasy classic The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien? This was the part where Bilbo is lost in Gollum's cave and is playing a game of riddles with him in order to learn the way out. Well, if you guessed that the answer was TIME, then you were right!

June bits and bobs

Support Service Providers

       There is a new program in Missouri for those who experience both sight loss and hearing loss known as SSP. This stands for Support Service Provider. SSP's assist individuals by working as their eyes and ears. This enables these individuals to be as independent as possible so they don't need to rely on family and friends all the time. If you or someone you know has this dual loss and wants to learn more about this FREE program, you can contact Taylor at

802-275-4704 (VP) or 984-664-0703 (voice/text) or email taylor.ofori@vancro.com.

Accessible Pharmacy

       For anyone who may not have heard about the medical prescription program for the disabled, it might be worth looking into. This program provides your prescription information in an accessible format, taking the guesswork out of knowing exactly which medications you have on hand. The various formats available to choose from include:

  • Large Font Labels
  • Grade 1 Braille Labels
  • Contracted Braille Labels
  • ScripTalk Audio Labels
  • Coming this Spring: Hybrid, Tactile Audio Labels for Deaf-Blind Patients

You can contact Accessible Pharmacy Services, LLC by calling 215-799-9900. 

Is There an Amazon Doctor in The House?

       Teladoc has joined with Amazon to launch a "virtual care" service that will offer Amazon customers a telehealth feature. This feature will be available on amazon Echo, Echo Dot, or Echo Show, by saying “Alexa, I want to talk to a doctor.” You will then be connected with the Teladoc call center, and a Teladoc health provider will call back through your device.

       This service will be available 24/7 for non-emergency needs, such as allergies or colds, and will initially be audio-only. A video chat feature is set to be offered soon. However, it isn’t for free. For people with insurance, the out-of-pocket cost will vary depending on coverage. The cost per visit is $75 without insurance. The Teladoc call center will collect the patient's medical history and insurance information during the initial call. This service is currently available in a limited area but is growing fast.

Upcoming Entertainment for the Disabled!

       An Amusement Park that will be accessible for all is coming to Missouri in 2025. It will be located in Wentzville, Missouri, about 40 minutes west of St. Louis. Developers are naming this park, The Spirit of Discovery Park. The park will be targeted to those with Down syndrome, autism, PTSD, or anyone battling a life-threatening illness, as well as the hearing, visually, mentally, and physically-impaired. Once open, they don’t plan on charging anyone with a disability to enter the park, and only a nominal fee will be charged for those accompanying them.

       Developers plan to raise funds through grants, fundraisers, and community outreach. They will appeal to corporations and philanthropists by delivering the message that everyone deserves a special place. We can only wish them good luck in this enormous endeavor!

New Program for Seniors to Obtain Computers

       The Mission of Technology Association for Visually Impaired Missourians (TAVIM) is to provide computer equipment, training materials, and other adaptive technology to qualifying Missourians who are visually-impaired, with the intent to empower individuals in current-day communication.

       What began as a tiny little seed in the minds of Chip Hailey and Paul Mimms began to slowly develop and grow over many years of conversations between the two. They talked about what shame it is that blind and visually- impaired Missourians can acquire computers, but then due to a lack of training to use them, they are forced to box them up or abandon them altogether.

       Chip and Paul continued their conversations over the years regarding the issue. Finally, they decided to take action to see what could be done to bring many of today’s blind and visually-impaired senior Missourians into the age of computers. Though it took many, many years for that small seed to take root and flourish, it finally became a reality in 2020. In October, they brought a third person into the conversation, Denny Huff, who brought many years of computer knowledge to the group. The three of them agreed that it would be a great idea to train and assist blind individuals on the use of computers, starting with the very basics. From that small seed many years ago, it didn’t take long for others to catch on and also become excited about helping others in this way. Before they knew it, other founding members joined the group. The solution was formed and quickly began to take shape. Those other members were Bev Kaskadden from Lake St. Louis, Brenda Whitlock from Kansas City, Shelia Wright from Kansas City, and Debbie Sanders from Carthage MO. The reality for many blind Missouri citizens is that without work-related rehabilitation goals, there were not opportunities to obtain computer training. Now that our society has advanced to be so proliferated with digital information, TAVIM is a working solution! It will serve as a means by which the blind citizens of Missouri can acquire the training and assistance they need to find empowerment using their computers. From the beginning of the planning and development, the intended service has involved provision of a computer for participants. These computers will then be used to train the participant, and will become their property at the completion of training. To apply for services with TAVIM go to:

https://www.tavi-mo.org/services/services-application/

You may also contact us at 844-55-TAVIM (844-558-2846) or email 2020tavim@gmail.com.

Life with an Ostomy

By Stephie B.

       An ostomy is surgery to create an opening (stoma) from an area inside the body to the outside. It treats certain diseases of the digestive or urinary systems. It can be permanent, when an organ must be removed. It can be temporary, when the organ needs time to heal. The organ could be the small intestine, colon, rectum, or bladder.

       Five years ago, I was forced to have a colostomy so I could lead an independent life. The reason for my colostomy was because I lost the ability to control the bowel. A picture was painted how the ostomy would fix everything, so I agreed to have it done. For a sighted person it's a challenge, so you can imagine how difficult it is for a blind person to maintain on a daily basis. Every month is a big deal when ordering supplies, especially with all the chain shortages and possible lack of workers. On a positive note, I am for the most part able to get out and about without too many issues, and I do everything I can to live life the way I wish to. I am interested to know if anyone experiences having an ostomy, and would love to hear from you. If anybody knows of a group set up for ostomates who are blind, that would be valuable information to me. If there is no such group, I'm interested in setting up an email list to discuss issues and be a support. If anybody is interested, please write to me at: stephiecat4@gmail.com

The Lower LEft-Hand Drawer

       I was recently asked by some readers to bring back a section of the Chronicle known as the Lower Left-Hand Drawer. After reading some of the back issues to fully understand what this section was all about, I have decided to give it my best shot. It was a very informative and well-written section. Unfortunately, due to Covid I have been out of commission for a few weeks and have not been able to put ample time into this section. Given that this attempt is somewhat last minute, I can only hope I have been able to write something informative for my readers. I leave you with the promise of working to improve this section, and hopefully being able to meet the high standard previously set by John Weidlich.

 i-Phones

       Have you ever wondered about everything your iPhone knows about you, such as your location? Here’s how you can see your iPhone's entire location history using significant locations, and also how to turn it off for good.

       While we might make a conscious effort to limit which apps have access to our information, and to change our privacy settings on social platforms like Facebook, what about our phones? Our phones have become indispensable in our daily lives. Not only do we carry them with us when we leave home to run errands, we are on them several times throughout the day, texting, emailing, Zooming, calling, etc. Often we do not realize just how much information about ourselves is being collected.

       As it turns out, every place you’ve ever visited is currently being tracked and stored in your iPhone. From the local grocery store, to your workplace, to your very own home, your phone is collecting the addresses and the number of times you’ve been to every single location. It’s all thanks to a feature buried deep in your privacy settings called “Significant Locations.” Not only does the system know where you work and live, but it also remembers your arrival and departure times from each location. Apple can use that log of detailed information to predict your day-to-day routine. While Apple assures customers that this feature simply helps the company improve on its Maps app and none of that data is intended to leave the phone, it is easy to see how this info could end up in the wrong hands.

       Significant locations on your iPhone are collected when you have your location services on. You have probably noticed that when you download a new app it sometimes asks if it can use your current location. According to Apple’s website, “Location Services uses GPS and Bluetooth (where those are available) along with crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower locations to determine your device’s approximate location.” Over time, your phone will pick up on places you frequent such as your office, the gym, or the grocery store, and add those locations to your Significant Locations. The data this feature collects is end-to-end encrypted and cannot be read by Apple. It is meant to provide you with personalized services such as traffic predictions and calendar notifications, and to build memories in the photos application. If you want to see all of the “significant locations” your iPhone has tracked, follow the steps below.

1. Go to Settings

2. Click on Privacy

3. Select Location Services at the top of the screen

4. Scroll down to System Services

5. Finally, click on Significant Locations. You will need to use your password or Face ID to access your significant locations.

       If, you decide that you want to turn off location tracking on your iPhone you can do the following:

1. Go to Settings

2. Open the Privacy folder

3. Select Location Services

4. Scroll all the way to the bottom until you reach System Services

5. Select Significant Locations

6. Click Clear History and then toggle the Significant Locations feature to off

       The locations your iPhone takes note of are very accurate, but if your routine changes, it might pick up on patterns you don’t want it to. For example, if you’re staying at a hotel for a few days your phone will think that the hotel’s address is a regular pick-up point. If that’s the case, you can go into your Significant Locations and delete the hotel’s address without deleting all of the other data. All of your other data will remain under Significant Locations until you clear your iPhone location history.

       A clean cell phone is something I believe we'd all like to have, but keeping it clean can be a little tricky. Wiping it down with disinfecting wipes, as I have learned many people tend to do, is not a good idea. You will ruin it. This will happen even with wipes that claim to be safe for electronics. If you want to keep a germ-free phone, invest in phone soap. This is a handy device that uses UV rays to zap all of the germs off your phone and charge it at the same time.

Headlights on Cars

       You may wonder why I have put information about cars anywhere in this Chronicle. If that is the case, I would like to remind you that although the majority of readers are unable to drive, that does not mean all of them are. Some of them do indeed own vehicles and are interested in little tips on how to better maintain their investment. I hope the following information is helpful for them!

       All plastic headlight assemblies on automobiles have a tendency to become cloudy and dim over time. This cloudiness makes driving a lot more dangerous at night. It is so dangerous that most states won’t allow your car to pass their annual safety inspection if the headlights are clouded over. This, of course, is because cloudy headlights prevent much of the light that’s emitted from the bulbs from passing through to the outside, making it more difficult for the driver to see where they are going at night. It is also very difficult for other drivers on the road to see your car.

       This cloudiness is primarily the result of UV radiation from the sun interacting with the plastic headlight cover. As a general rule, any car that’s driven or left outside for extended periods of time will eventually end up with cloudy headlights. In addition to UV damage, headlights can also cloud up due to road grime, dust, sand, and salt coming into contact with them.

       While there are several products on the market to deal with this problem, you may not need to look further than your medicine cabinet or camping equipment. Vigorously scrubbing the headlights with Deep Woods Off, a DEET bug spray, may be all you need to do to clean them up and get them working more efficiently. However, even the bug spray will not restore your headlights to new condition. Cosmetically, they will probably still have that old ugly look to them. However, there exists a fairly inexpensive product on the market that can help them to look new, called Meguiar’s Clear Headlight Coating. This product works by blocking the sun’s UV radiation from reaching the plastic headlights. Think of it as “sunscreen” for your headlights! In addition to the UV protection, it also helps prevent grime, salt, and other dangerous particles from coming into contact with the plastic. It is also simple to use. Just spray it onto your clean headlights and they will be protected for up to one year! (As always, make sure to read all directions thoroughly before using a new product.) Of course, you can always replace your car’s headlight assemblies with new ones, but the parts and labor costs can reach into the hundreds of dollars.

Six Tips for Saving Gas While Taking a Long Road Trip

       Now that the weather is getting warmer and school is almost out, Americans are getting back out and doing the things they enjoyed most pre-Covid. Many people really enjoy their summer vacations or long road trips of exploration. During a planned road trip, it goes without saying that one of your biggest travel expenses is the cost of gas. Never fear, however, because there are several ways to save money while on a long road trip!

       Here are a few tips for getting the best gas mileage possible on your next long road trip:

       1. Change the oil in your car before you leave.

       Is your car getting fairly close to needing an oil change? If you have 700 miles to go before your next oil change comes due you might think you can easily wait till you get back home from a 500 mile (round trip) road trip to have it changed. And guess what? You’re right. But changing your oil before you leave will increase your car’s gas mileage and reduce wear and tear on its engine at the same time. This is because as oil is pumped through your car’s running engine it gets thinner and loses viscosity over time. That means your engine has to work harder due to increased friction, and that causes the engine to consume more gasoline.

       What’s more, since the engine will be running non-stop for hours at a time, the increased friction and heat caused by the thinner oil could well shorten the life of the engine by a small amount. Of course if you still have quite a ways to go before your next oil change is due, you really don’t need to change it before heading off on your trip. Just use your best judgement based upon the miles you have left before your next oil change.

       2. Wash and wax your car before you leave.

       Believe it or not, a clean and freshly-waxed car gets better gas mileage than a dirty one. As you might expect, the grit and grime adhering to a car’s body increases the friction between the car and the air. That increased friction forces the engine to work harder as it propels your car down the highway.

       3. Don’t feel like you have to drive the speed limit.

       The desire to get to your destination as quickly as possible can be quite strong, to say the least. But giving in to that desire can be costly! According to US Government research, once your car reaches 50 MPH, every 5 miles per hour you drive over that speed will cost you an extra 19 cents per gallon of gas, on average. That means if the current speed limit is 70 MPH, you’ll spend an extra 76 cents per gallon for the gas you use while you’re driving the speed limit instead of 50 MPH. Of course, 50 MPH is a little slow for driving on the interstate, but somewhere in the middle would probably be a good trade-off. As always, the choice is yours. One final warning about speed: Try your very best not to exceed the speed limit. Most speeding tickets are quite expensive, especially if you get one while driving through a work zone. On top of that, a speeding ticket can also cause your insurance rates to go up. And even worse, in some jurisdictions getting caught speeding can even land you in jail if you’re caught exceeding the speed limit by a certain amount!

       4. Remove any unnecessary items from your vehicle before heading off on your trip.

       According to the same government research I cited above, every 100 pounds of extra weight can reduce your car’s mileage by 1%. That doesn’t sound like much, and it really isn’t. But why pay extra for gas just for the luxury of hauling something you know you’ll never need while you’re gone?

       5. Use an app to ensure that you plan (and follow) the most efficient route. If you’re driving from one major city to another, you can usually get there by simply glancing at a map and travelling the relevant interstate highways that make up the bulk of the route. But truth be told, the interstate routes aren’t always the shortest, fastest, or most economical routes. In addition to giving you the shortest and fastest route to your destination, tools like Google Maps and Apple Maps will also route you around traffic tie-ups (which waste gas by idling) and give you turn-by-turn directions!

       6. Use the “Gas Buddy” app to find the cheapest gas as you travel.

       The prices charged for gasoline can vary quite a bit from town to town, and even from street to street. A fantastic mobile app called Gas Buddy will literally tell you where to find the cheapest gas in virtually any city or town in the United States.

       Bottom line: Your gasoline purchases will add up quickly once you hit the road for a long road trip. The tips mentioned above can help you reduce that expense.

MCB Board MINUTES

January 27, 2022

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by President Naomi Soule.

Recording Secretary Joe Morgan called the roll.

All Officers and Directors were present. Affiliate Joplin Service Club of the Blind was not represented. 15 Participants were on the call.

This meeting was closed session to discuss personnel matters.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Joe Morgan Recording Secretary

February 10, 2022

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by President Naomi Soule.

Joe Morgan said a prayer.

Recording secretary Joe Morgan called the roll. All Officers and Directors were present. All affiliates were represented.

The agenda was approved.

The Minutes for January 11, 2022 were approved with one correction. MCB can only use the interest on the account which has an approximate balance of $243,000.

Lee Young moved that the board go in to closed session to discuss personnel matters.

A motion was made and seconded that our office clerk work six hours a day five days a week.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:49 P.M.

Respectfully submitted, Joe Morgan Recording Secretary.

February 24, 2022

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by President Naomi Soule

Joe Morgan said a prayer.

Recording Secretary Joe Morgan called the roll. All officers and directors present. Joplin Service Club for the Blind was not represented.

Naomi welcomed online listeners.

The agenda was approved.

The Minutes were approved with one correction, the account that we can only use the interest and we will eventually be losing is $243,000 not $14,000.

President's Report

Naomi talked about the convention in October. She said that prices have risen considerably. The price for one entre is $52 a plate per person.  Another entre costs $50 a plate. She, Chip and Kay had a meeting with Family Support Division (FSD). FSD requested a $15 increase in the blind pension bringing the amount to $765 per month but it was rejected by the governor. They also talked about having blind pension materials in alternative formats. FSD said that thy could provide links to forms, but it was pointed out that some recipients were not able to use a computer. She will also be on a panel talking about employment on ACB Radio this Saturday.

Treasurer's Report

Checking account balance is $72,808

Raymond James Investment accounts:

MCB Interest account balance $241,914

MCB Freedom balance is $1,769,824

MCB MODGI balance is $1,786,345

MCB Growth balance is $252,429

Total Raymond James accounts $4,050,112

MCB Auction

Kay Malmquist reported that the MCB auction will be held on March 12th at 2:00 p.m. MCB’s Zoom will be used for the Auction. A list has been sent out and there are a lot of nice items for bidding.

Donation Request

Jack Lenk asked the board for a donation of $500 for the St. Louis Blind Bowlers Association Tournament. By the time things were finalized it was too late to raise funds. This money would be used for goody bags for the tournament. The tournament will be held on March 18, 19, and 20. A roll call vote was taken and it passed by a 9-7 vote. Chip Hailey moved that any grant request made in writing be accompanied by an itemized receipt. The motion was adopted.

MCB Website Report

Denny Huff reported that not much progress has been made on updating our website or working on it at all. We have gone through three webmasters in the last year and for one reason or another they have dropped out of trying to create, upkeep, and maintain our website. This past week they interviewed a gentleman from California. He was referred to the committee by the Lions Club International for doing work on their website. They looked at other people but many of them used a Cookie Cutter web presentation. If an organization's website is going to stand out it should be professional looking, pleasing to the eye and be accessible. They interviewed Art Aikellian he is with Advantage Studios out of California. The interview went very well and he assured them that he can do the accessible part, the forms registrations everything that we need. He couldn't give an accurate price at this time. He gave them a ball park figure to just get it set up and to create it would be $3000 or $3500 for the setup and about $100 a month for the maintenance. They went ahead and hired him. He also provided samples of websites that he has worked on so hopefully in a month or so we will see a lot of changes to the website. If any affiliates need to post information, please contact Chip Hailey. Links to affiliates webpages will be on MCB’s website for meeting times, and special announcements.

Personnel Committee Report

Kay Malmquist reported that the personnel committee whose members are Kay Malmquist, Chair, Naomi Soule, Chip Hailey, Paul Mimms, and Johanna Jeremiah, and Chris Dickey parliamentarian. They spent three hours going over the employee handbook. The objective was to change it and put in the proper wording and fix things. It looked like patchwork. Over the years, things have been added and taken away. They thought they could log in and fix things but after looking at it they felt they were not qualified to change and do this handbook with the appropriate verbiage and everything else that is common today that wasn't common when this handbook was put together. They decided to look in to hiring an H/R consultant to correct and update the handbook. Beverly Kaskadden moved that the personnel committee does their research and comes back to the next board meeting with their findings. The motion was adopted.

Eugene Taylor Report

Eugene Taylor was on the call. He found that after the interviews he has done and all the reading including the handbook, he defines five areas as primary interests. The five areas are inclusive, social, business practices, membership, growing and retaining, and legislative interest. He explained each of the five areas and said that the next step is for the Board to decide how to address these issues and provide direction. Chip Hailey emailed the chart to the board list. Naomi asked the Board to email her three skills we have that would help move the organization forward. Eugene took questions from the board.

The meeting adjourned at 8:58 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Joe Morgan Recording Secretary.