E.R. By Appointment
Heart Disease Detection
“Molly,” Not A Friend
M O N T H LY
These days, CBS4’s Rhiannon Ally may appear to be the epitome of optimism, but life didn’t always seem so promising
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monthly / M a y 2 0 1 3 - K e y B i s c a y n e
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Contents Featured Editorial Breaking Big
These days, CBS4’s Rhiannon Ally may appear to be the epitome of optimism, but life didn’t always seem so promising. As the morning anchor of WFOR/CBS4, Rhiannon Ally has covered major news stories ranging from presidential politics to the selection of a new pope. She has a successful career, a great husband and a wonderful life. However, she’s the first to admit that she never takes any of it for granted.
20 26 34
ER By Appointment A New Approach To The ER When you think about going to the emergency room, odds are the thought of the waiting room could be as painful as the problem that brought you there. Some facilities are now trying a new approach to the ER by allowing people to make reservations.
Put It To The Test - Test Detects Heart Disease Using Only Your Fingers Could a simple, completely non-invasive test predict your risk for a heart attack just by measuring your finger? There’s a new device which can tell you the health of your blood vessels, and your heart.
Parents Beware: There Could Be Something Dangerous About “Molly” Parents may have reason for concern if they hear their children talking about “Molly.” It isn’t the name of a friend, but a common alias for a potentially dangerous drug.
[ 4 ] May 2013 CBS4 News Magazine Key Biscayne
12 15 18 30
New Hangover Cures Do They Work? Are You Happy? Genetics Plays Role In Our Hunt For Happiness Events Calendar Consumers Feeling Tapped Out with Excessive Bank Fees
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As the morning anchor of WFOR/ CBS4, Rhiannon Ally has covered major news stories ranging from presidential politics to the selection of a new pope. She has a successful career, a great husband and a wonderful life.
[ 6 ] May 2013 CBS4 News Magazine Key Biscayne
Seeing her today, it’s certainly not evident just how difficult her life once was. From an early age, Rhiannon had to deal with some harsh realities and challenging circumstances. She was raised by her determined single mother Carolyn, who was only 17 when Rhiannon was born. While she was named after one of Fleetwood Mac’s signature songs – she claims her mother was a big fan of the band and the song’s singer, Stevie Nicks -- her childhood was nothing like its free-spirited namesake. Then again, the particular name wasn’t her mother’s first choice.
“I was going to be named ‘January,’” Rhiannon explains. “But I was two months premature, and I was born in November, so my mom named me Rhiannon instead.”
owever, she’s the first to admit that she never takes any of it for granted. It was, after all, a long and tenuous journey that took her from humble beginnings to the top of her game.
[ 8 ] May 2013 CBS4 News Magazine Key Biscayne
In fact, from that point on, nothing really seemed destined to go according to plan. Yet even though she was forced to drop out of high school to care for her daughter, Carolyn was determined that Rhiannon would never want for whatever she needed. As soon as she could, Carolyn moved them out of Kansas City’s tough inner city – an area known to the locals simply as “Northeast” -- to settle in the suburbs where the schools were better and the environment was safer and more secure. Nevertheless, despite their difficulties, Rhiannon found strength and inspiration in her mother’s steadfast devotion. “She always pushed me to do better,” Rhiannon remembers. “She was very upfront with me. She didn’t sugarcoat things, even though she didn’t have her own support system or really anyone she could depend on. I can’t imagine what it was like for her as a 17 year old trying to care for me while also trying to survive financially without a high school diploma. Trying to make car payments, pay the rent and raise a kid. I’m still amazed how strong she was.” Despite those setbacks, the importance of strength and determination made an indelible impression. Her birth father didn’t become a part of her life, which made her mother her whole world. “She wanted to make a better life for the two for us,” Rhiannon insists. “For awhile, she worked in a book binding factory where her shift started at 4 am. She would take me to the babysitter before going to work, and then would be there when I got home from school. She was there for me in every way, and I always felt totally nurtured. She made it as easy for me as possible.”
It was Carolyn’s support which helped Rhiannon realize a dream that no one in her family had ever achieved before, namely, to go to college. “There was never any question about whether or not I would get that opportunity,” she says with certainty. “It was always a must in her mind. My mom helped pay for it and I took out student loads for the rest. She was determined that I should do everything I could to make a better life for myself.” The realization of a college education was a dream they shared between them. “It was one of my mother’s proudest moments,” Rhiannon says of the day she graduated from the University of Missouri in Kansas City. She remembers being onstage, accepting her diploma and then looking out into the audience and seeing her mother overcome with joy. “That was a very emotional moment for me,” Rhiannon recalls. “She worked hard her entire adult life to get to that moment. It was so special because we had achieved that goal together.” Rhiannon majored in pre-law and
minored in political science when she started at the university, but it was a journalism professor that encouraged her to change her major and pursue broadcasting. She landed a pair of internships at two local television stations, and was eventually named weekend evening anchor at WIBW in Topeka, even while she was still in college. While she admits that traveling back and forth between Kansas City and Topeka wasn’t easy (“It was difficult to be 21 and have no social life,” she laughs), she was determined to take advantage of the opportunity she was offered. That proved especially fortuitous when a short time later, another opportunity came along. While working at WIBW she met her future husband, Mike, and the two became co-anchors. Still, life had challenges of a different sort in store. In the nearly five years they’ve been married, Rhiannon and Mike have lived apart twice. In each instance, the couple was separated for nearly six months, reuniting only on weekends until they found employment in the same city.
“She wanted to make a better life for the two for us”
In 2009, Rhiannon was offered a job with a syndicated television program called "The Better Show" in New York City, only to be lured away to WCBS, the network’s flagship station in 2011. Mike joined her in Manhattan six months later when he was hired by ABC. “New York was a really amazing adventure,” she recalls. “We adjusted to life in the big city very quickly and we really had a great time while we were there.” Nevertheless, the couple would find themselves parted from one another a short time later. Mike landed a job at Miami Fox affiliate WSVN in July 2011, and Rhiannon came down to visit him on weekends. “We’d be with each other on weekends, but then when the weekend was over, I had to fly back to New York and come home to a lonely apartment,” she remembers. While being apart was difficult, the fact that both Mike and Rhiannon worked in the same profession helped make the transition a little easier. “Some marriage might suffer because of a prolonged separation,” she suggests. “But since we’re both in TV and we have the same job, we know that sometimes it takes sacrifice to be successful. We support each another completely and each want the other to succeed.” In February 2012 Rhiannon was hired at CBS4, allowing husband and wife to be reunited in South Florida. When both spouses share the same
profession, work and home often overlap. However Rhiannon and Mike do their best to create a divide. “We try not to talk about work, so we can make the most of our time together,” she says. “We don’t compare ratings or anything like that. We both love news, but we’ll discuss it only in a very general way. I might ask him if he’s heard about a certain story, but we don’t compare the way our stations cover a story. We do our best to keep our lives and our jobs separate.” Still, it’s clear the two appreciate their common bond. “It’s nice to be able to relate to the things we both do at our jobs,” she says. “Mike bleeds news. And he always gives me feedback, whether it’s good or bad.” He’s not alone when it comes to sharing comments or criticism. Caroline and Rhiannon maintain their close relationship even today. Aside from watching Rhiannon’s newscasts on a live stream from her home in Kansas City, she speaks to her on a daily basis. “I call her every day on my way home from work,” Rhiannon says. “She’ll ask me about story I reported, or tell me she didn’t like the dress I wore, or how my hair looked, or
whether I should have been wearing some accessory. Just like Mike, she’s my biggest fan… but she can also be my biggest critic.”
Consequently, the two women continue to share a close relationship, not only as mother and daughter, but also like sisters and best friends. A photo of the two, locked in a tight embrace, is proudly displayed on her desk in the newsroom. “Some people say they don’t want to be anything like their parents,” Rhiannon suggests. “I’m the opposite. I’d like to be half the woman my mother is.” Not surprisingly then, since arriving in South Florida, Rhiannon and Mike have brought Carolyn down to visit on several occasions for some well deserved R&R. This summer, they plan to give her a very special birthday gift, by taking her on an Alaskan cruise. Rhiannon says it’s something her mother’s always dreamed about. “It’s great to be able to do that,” Rhiannon says. “After all the things she did for me, I’m glad I can give something back to her.”
“Some people say they don’t want to be anything like their parents,” Rhiannon suggests. “I’m the opposite. I’d like to be half the woman my mother is.” May 2013 CBS4 News Magazine Key Biscayne [ 11 ]
4 Ways To Better Praise Your Children From the moment they’re born, parents want the best for their kids – helping guide, teach and encourage them as they grow. One way parents do that is with words, especially praise. But is all praise, good praise? There was a test conducted to find out. ine upper elementary schools volunteered to be part of the study, led by Kristin Schaffner, who’s getting her PhD in school psychology and works with children at a child development center. Schaffner gave each child a puzzle to solve, working with each of them individually. For half of the children, she praised them for their intelligence, saying things like, “I can just tell you are a really smart kid.” The other half, she praised for their effort, saying words like “I can tell you’re really trying your best and working hard.” After each child tried an easy and then a challenging puzzle, the child was given a choice — an easier or harder puzzle. Just like a previous Stanford University study, this study found that when kids were praised for being smart, they chose the easier route, but the kids who were praised for their hard work chose to challenge themselves. Of course, there are times when external influences outweigh a short test, like the youngest tester, 8-year-old Darcy Lund. Darcy chose the harder puzzle, even though Schaffner praised for her intelligence. Her mom said Darcy aspires to be like her big brother, Drew, and that her parents encourage her to try her best. This test was based on a larger study at Stanford University with Dr. Carol Dweck. She found that praising kids too often for everything they do can actually undermine their selfesteem because it makes them afraid to fail. Schaffner offers four specific ways we can praise our kids better.
1 Praise effort rather than ability. Example: “I know you spent a lot of time studying and I really loved how you kept working at it and thinking about how you want do better in that class.”
2 Be specific. Instead of vague praise like: “Good job” or “I like that” or “Nice work.”
Examples of specific praise are: “I like the way that you’re using your manners and saying please and thank you.” “I like how you’re sitting and working really hard at studying for your test tomorrow.” “I like how you’re sharing your toys with your brother or sister.”
3 Be intermittent with your praise. Schaffner says “even as adults, if we hear praise all the time and it seems over the top, then it doesn’t seem as good to us.”
4 Be sincere. Schaffner says if we’re sincere, it will be meaningful to the child.
“I can tell you’re really trying your best and working hard.”
Ever since there has been alcohol there have been hangovers. A lot of people even have their own “go to” cures for hangovers. Now, a new breed of cures promises to relieve and prevent hangovers.
do they work? “Mercy,” a lightly carbonated blend of amino acids, antioxidants and vitamins, is meant to be used at the end of a night of drinking. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow believes so strongly in the product that she invested in the company. Doctor Scott Drab of the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy said that the vitamins in Mercy could help the body process alcohol. “B-vitamins may speed up the metabolism to some degree,” he said. Alcohol is metabolized by the liver, which can generally handle an ounce of alcohol per hour. While there is no scientific evidence to support Mercy’s claims, Dr. Drab pointed out there isn’t any to refute them either. Another product called “Blow Fish” consists of effervescent tablets that are dropped into water and consumed the morning after a night of partying. Blow Fish, which contains aspirin and caffeine, is FDA approved. “I could certainly feel comfortable in
recommending this product,” Dr. Drab said. Bytox, a patch worn on the body after drinking, is said to work faster because ingredients absorb through the skin. However, experts remain skeptical. “I did not find any specific data that their active ingredients are more quickly absorbed because it’s in a patch,” Dr. Drab said. Some drinkers may be interested in trying THC after a long night of imbibing. The “Texas Hangover Cure” is a powder that you can mix with water and drink after a night out. It contains prickly pear cactus and milk thistle, ingredients that are believed to help the liver. Drab said that he could not recommend THC as a hangover cure. “Again, there’s no evidence that this product actually does do what it says it’s going to do,” he explained. So what can you do? Medical experts recommend Gatorade for hydration and aspirin to relieve headaches.
May 2013 CBS4 News Magazine Key Biscayne [ 15 ]
“It’s really easy to be dIstracted by the way we thInk we ought to be, or the way we wIsh we were, or the way other people thInk we ought to be, and to lose track of what’s really true for us”
But Rubin said your genetics are not all that indicate your disposition. In her research, she discovered your connection to others plays a major role too.
PeoPle who have long-term intimate relationshiPs where they can confide, and where they feel like they belong, also tend to be haPPier, rubin said.
happy? Genetics Plays Role in ouR Hunt FoR HaPPiness Genetics can determine more than just the way you look. Recent research indicates that they also play a part in how happy an individual is and how happy they could be. These days, it seems that everywhere you turn, there are self-help books and Web sites on how to find happiness. But it could be that unending quest for happiness that is sabotaging our success.
wake up happy,” said Lorraine Robertson. Robertson is lucky. Being happy is easier for some people than others. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 10 American adults reports being clinically depressed. Antidepressant use has skyrocketed 400 percent since 1994. There is also an explosion of books, Web sites and even apps helping people be happy. So why is it so hard? “About 50 percent of happiness is genetically determined, so some people are born Tiggers and some people are born Eeyores,” said Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and Happier at Home.
“It’s not life changes like a new house or a fancy car that make the most impact, but sometimes little things like the smell of an orange that give the biggest happiness boost,” said Rubin. “Over and over, people tell me something like cleaning out a medicine cabinet gives them a huge jolt of good cheer and energy.” Experts said simple pleasures can go a long way, while working too hard at being happy could make you miserable. “The more obsessed we are with trying to become happy, the more energy we put towards a sort of happiness as the end goal, the less happy we are and actually the greater risk we are for feeling unhappy and depressed,” said Dr. Jane Gruber. She pointed to studies that indicate the more you accept who, and how, you are, the happier you are likely to become. “By accepting our feelings, we’re actually less likely to judge ourselves and to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression,” Gruber said. Rubin said her findings confirm that conclusion. Self-knowledge is pivotal to a positive perspective. “It’s really easy to be distracted by the way we think we ought to be, or the way we wish we were, or the way other people think we ought to be, and to lose track of what’s really true for us,” Rubin said. Robertson said she is happiest spending time with her family, going for a run, or listening to music. “I think sometimes people are afraid to be happy or let go,” she said.
May 2013 CBS4 News Magazine Key Biscayne [ 17 ]
30th Anniversary Don Strock Diabetes Golf Classic 2013 May, 8th 2013 The 30th Anniversary Don Strock Diabetes Golf Classic is one of the longest running and most successful celebrity/amateur charity golf tournaments in the South Florida community. Hosted by former Miami Dolphin quarterback and recent inductee to the Miami Dolphins Walk of Fame, Don Strock! Participants begin their day with a lunch and a shotgun tee off at noon. After completing the course, golfers enjoy a cocktail party and awards dinner including an exciting live and silent auction. (954) 964-4040.
Miccosukee Golf & Country Club 6401 Kendale Lakes Drive Miami, Florida 33183 www.diabetesresearch.org
Redland International Orchid Show Â MAY 17 - MAY 19, 2013 One of the largest annual orchid shows in the U.S. featuring more than 50 booths of educational exhibits and orchid vendors. An American Orchid Society judged event showcasing various types of orchids, plants, and supplies for sale, as well as lectures by experts, raffles, and international food. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Fruit and Spice Park 305/247-5727 www.fruitandspicepark.org
Mother's Day Brunch MAY 12 - MAY 12, 2013 Guests can taste appetizing dishes and desserts, tour the grand Stone House and historic Richmond Cottage, and take in the lush natural beauty and grandeur of the Estate. 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Deering Estate at Cutler 305/235-1668 www.deeringestate.org
16th Annual May Pops Concert by the Greater Miami Symphonic Band MAY 7, 2013 8 p.m., Maurice Gusman Concert Hall, 1314 Miller Drive The Greater Miami Symphonic Band will hold a special concert with guest conductor Loras Schissel and "Henry Fillmore's Miami." For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.gmsb.org.
Cost: $15 adults, $5 students.
Miami Beach Food Truck and Music Fest
Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock.com
MAY 22 - MAY 22 2013
Historic Walking Tours
Pompano Beach Fishing Rodeo
May 4,11,18, 25
May 15, 2013 - May 18, 2013
11 a.m., Coral Gables Museum, 285 Aragon Avenue Take a stroll through downtown Coral Gables and learn more about the history of the area and the buildings. The walking tours take place every Saturday, except holidays. For more information, call 305-603-8067.
Cost: $10 and $5 for members.
One ofÂ South Floridaâ€™s oldest and largest fishing tournaments. Wed Kick-off party, Fri & Sat fishing tournaments, Saturday night awards ceremony.
Enjoy live music and local food truck delights at the North Beach Bandshell. The food truck lineup includes: Ms. Cheezious, Sakaya Kitchen, Gastropod, Health Nut on Wheels, Dolci Pecati, Sugar Yummy Mama, Garcia Brothers Seafood, La Camaronera, Moty's Grill, Latin Burger, Mangia Mia and Bocaditos. Food truck specialties include burgers, seafood, healthy bites and ethnic dishes. 5-10 p.m.
North Beach BandShell www.mbculture.com
Miami International Piano Festival May 16, 2013 Thu 7:45 PM Colony Theater 1040 Lincoln Rd Miami, FL
By Appointment A New Approach To The ER When you think about going to the emergency room, odds are the thought of the waiting room could be as painful as the problem that brought you there. Some facilities are now trying a new approach to the ER by allowing people to make reservations. By Cynthia Demos
“You have folks
that have to come in who are really, really sick and you want them to be seen but you don’t necessarily want to sit amongst them and get sick yourself,” said Candi Sturgell who uses the ER appointment system. That’s why Sturgell is a ban fan of ER Express, one of a growing number of company hospitals that now let patients call in advance and make an ER appointment. So when Sturgell walks into the ER, there is no waiting. “They took us right back,” Sturgell said.
The appointments are the most recent change taking place in emergency rooms trying to deal with a constantly growing number of patients. Over the last decade, the number of ER visits has jumped 32 percent and is expected to double over the next ten years. “For those patients who are sick but don’t have a life-threatening illness, you’re just getting to hold your place in line,” said Sahil Patel of ER Express. It almost sounds too good to be true. But not everyone is on board with the new approach. Dr. Dino Rumoro, a fellow with the American College of Emergency Physicians, is concerned patients will be confused. “An emergent condition is an emergency condition and it’s not subject to booking an appointment. It means you need to be seen right away,” said Dr. Rumoro. Rumoro said the service is blurring the real intent of the ER by giving patients the impression they have to book ahead. “It seems more like we’re providing a specialty service at that point, and uh, or a privileged service, and the emergency departments are set up to be there for patients whenever they feel they have a true emergency,” Dr. Rumoro said. Companies like ER Express said there are disclaimers on the sites to be sure those with urgent issues get immediate help. “Our software reads the symptoms the patient puts in and if they type in something like chest pain or bleeding or numbness, it’ll actually stop them, block them and say based on what you told us you need to call 911,” Patel said. Doctors in the hospitals already using the appointment system say it allows them to improve the care they give patients. “We know ahead of time what they’re coming for, we have their charts ready,” said Dr. Carlos Garcia. Candi said when she used the service last time, she was thrilled. The only people who weren’t happy were those in the lobby watching as she walked right by them to be seen. “They did look like ‘What was going on? Why are they getting this VIP treatment?,” Sturgell asked.
“Doctors in the hospitals already using the appointment system say it allows them to improve the care they give patients.” May 2013 CBS4 News Magazine Key Biscayne [ 23 ]
PUT IT TO
TEST Test Detects Heart Disease Using Only Your Fingers By Cynthia Demos
Could a simple, completely non-invasive test predict your risk for a heart attack just by measuring your finger? There’s a new device which can tell you the health of your blood vessels, and your heart.
illions of people within the United States suffer a heart attack every year – often with little or no warning. High blood pressure and cholesterol are known risk factors for heart disease, but doctors are now realizing that those are essentially just symptoms and don’t really tell us much about how well our cardiovascular systems are working. Edward Murphy does not have any heart disease symptoms, but he said he wants to know whether he is headed down the wrong path. “I think I’m doing OK, but I think it’s, like, time to start checking and keeping an eye on things,” Murphy said, “because I think, you know, I heard after 50, everything goes downhill.” The test Murphy underwent is called the Endopat, and it measures the blood flow in his fingers. But what does that have to do with his heart? It turns out the lining of every blood vessel in the body, called the endothelium,
says a lot about the health of our hearts. “The endothelium in the brachial artery of the arm is the same endothelium that’s in the heart, and studies have shown that when that’s abnormal, the ones in the heart are abnormal,” said Dr. Steven Reisman of the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center. In the Endopat test, blood flow sensors are placed on one finger of each hand. Afterward, a blood pressure cuff inflates to stop blood flow to one hand. After five minutes, the cuff is deflated, and the finger sensors measure how the blood recovers. In the arm without the cuff, blood flow is steady. In a normal patient, blood flow will stop with the inflated cuff, followed by a rebound surge in blood flow.
But in an abnormal test, blood flow only recovers to what it was before the stoppage -– a warning sign of potential trouble. “The abnormal inner lining function will predispose you to a buildup of plaque in the blood vessels,” Dr. Reisman said. “It may also predispose you to a rupture of a plaque in the heart arteries, which is what gives a heart attack.” Murphy’s test came back normal, but had it come back abnormal, having that concrete evidence that something is wrong encourages patients to make lifestyle changes in weight, diet, exercise and perhaps medication – hopefully to restore normal function and prevent a future heart attack or stroke. The Endopat test is FDA approved, and is generally covered by insurance.
The Endopat test is FDA approved, and is generally covered by insurance.
AlexYanes yanesart.com Alex Yanes, born in Miami, is the product of both the ever-evolving, fast-paced city and the burgeoning art scene. Yet, he is as real and approachable as they come. In a city filled with wild characters and oversaturated personalities, Yanes is refreshingly humble, preferring instead to let his vibrant and colorful artwork take center stage. And it does. “Whimsical and yet relatable, Yanes’ art embodies innovative use of color and imaginative subject matter and speaks to collectors and new art lovers alike.”
ince he decided to pursue art full-time in 2006, his work has become his autobiography, speaking volumes about who he is and what he has seen. A son of the city, his story is influenced by Cuban roots and an evergrowing curiosity about all the things Miami had to offer him during the 80’s and 90’s. Yanes’ work is the result of years spent immersed in skateboard, tattoo, hip-hop and punk-rock culture during his teenage years, but says he felt the stirrings of creativity at a young age. He won his first art contest at age 6 and claims that one of his greatest accomplishments was building his own treehouse at the age of 10; a feat he accomplished with the knowledge and tools imparted on him by his father and grandfather. Now a father himself, Yanes spends his time making art and raising his family in the city that raised him. Where he once worked on canvas, his art has taken on a life of it’s own, coming alive via wood, acrylic, resin and enamel into threedimensional installations. Each is a unique
view into Yanes’ history and love of all things art, and have caught the eye of art aficionados and corporate collectors alike. He has worked with Adidas, Red Bull, Sony, The Learning Channel, Vans, Kidrobot, Neiman Marcus and Urban Outfitters. And because he supports the city that cultivated him as an artist, he has made it a priority to work with local foundations where he can help children and ultimately bolster their love of art. He has worked with St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, The Dan Marino Foundation, Miami Children’s Museum, NBA Cares and The Children’s Trust. Whimsical and yet relatable, Yanes’ art embodies innovative use of color and imaginative subject matter and speaks to collectors and new art lovers alike. His work is now a staple in Wynwood’s art district and he looks forward to taking his art across the U.S. and internationally, with upcoming stops in New York, Chicago, California, Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia and Brazil. “I was born to Cuban parents in July of
1977. I spent my time as a kid in 1980’s Miami, attending public school, watching cartoons, skateboarding and drawing everything that captured my attention. “My
proudest childhood moment was when I built my own treehouse at the age of 10.” Hanging out with my crew of friends and getting into endless adventures around town. I have always been attracted to subculture and underground movements. My heros and influences growing up were and still are my Dad, Indiana Jones, The Bones Brigade, Style Wars and The Beastie Boys. 25 years later, I’ve never stopped creating. These days my artistic inspiration is derived from the vibrant mixture of my environment, fatherhood, life’s circumstances, subculture and the ability to create something out of nothing.” For more information on Miami’s emerging artists visit www.yo-miami.com.
May 2013 CBS4 News Magazine Key Biscayne [ 31 ]
by Josh benson
Consumers Feeling Tapped Out With Excessive Bank Fees When it comes to banking, what’s your number one gripe? If it’s bank fees, you’re not alone. Banks are trying to make up billions lost when Congress capped the amount they could charge in debit card swipe fees. Some of the new fees they’re introducing may have you shaking your head!
“Banks are really struggling to find ways to make money off their checking deposits so they’re experimenting with new things”
“I just said, ‘is it April fool’s, or what’s going on?’
ould you pay a flat $25 monthly fee so your bank won’t charge you each time you use an out-of-network ATM? Some banks are trying it out. What about a five-dollar fee to replace a missing debit card? – twenty if you want it rushed. How about a fee to
use a teller? That one stunned Dave Alexander. “I just said, ‘is it April fool’s, or what’s going on?’ they said, ‘no, that’s, you know, recent bank policy,’ said Alexander. And it doesn’t stop there. For a dollar a month, some banks allow you to go straight to the front of the phone line, skipping other callers on hold. Others are charging a buck if you want a printed ATM mini statement. Banks have to disclose their fees in the documents you get when you open an account, and in those disclosures that show up in the mail. “Banks are really struggling to find ways to make money off their checking deposits so they’re experimenting with new things,” said Claes Bell with Bankrate.com. The American Bankers Association says they still need to cover costs for things like checking accounts. “Some consultants estimate it’s between 250 and 300 dollars a year, and those costs have to be recovered. And the costs aren’t just for providing statements and processing transactions. It’s also for preventing fraud, protecting privacy,” said Nessa Feddis with the American Bankers Association. With many of the new fees targeting customers who don’t mind paying for convenience. “Baby boomers apparently like an all in one fee, whereas gen y, gen x, like to build their own. They want the basics and then they’ll pay extra for what they want,” said Feddis. Dave didn’t pay the teller fee, and has a message for banks. “Enough is enough. I just won’t be nickeled and dimed to death,” said Alexander. Some banks will even hit you with a $25 fee if you close an account within six months of opening it.
There Could Be Something Dangerous About “Molly” Parents may have reason for concern if they hear their children talking about “Molly.” It isn’t the name of a friend, but a common alias for a potentially dangerous drug.
olly or MDMA is the chemical most commonly used in the drug ecstasy. It has been glorified by a number of musicians and Madonna has even given it a shout out. Molly users claim that the drug gives them intense feelings of pleasure, but that the high is followed by a serious crash that includes levels of depression that
some have called “paralyzing.” “It’s really bad. You don’t want to get up; you don’t want to eat
It’s all the rage at raves and
anything. You just sit there. You don’t want to talk to anyone,” said
electronic dance festivals, like
the Ultra Music Fest which
In some instances Molly has been known to kill, according to medical experts.
was recently held in downtown
“It can kill you, because your body temperature goes up. It can
Miami and teens are using it in
kill you because it causes a seizure. It can kill you because it causes
increasing numbers, according
cardiac arrest,” said Dr. Stephen Dewey of the Feinstein Institute.
One teen said she didn’t have a clue about the dangers. “I feel really shocked. I had no idea, no idea,” she said. The low cost of the drug and its availability have caused Molly use to rise, experts say. “It’s all over; it’s everywhere. It’s as easy as going into a store and buying a bottle of Coca Cola; it’s that easy,” said John Corbett of Maryhaven Steps To Life.
By Cynthia Demos
Adding cause for alarm is the number of dealers who are now adding highly addictive drugs like methamphetamine to their Molly product, a move that experts say is an attempt to stir up repeat business. “They’re absolutely trying to get more kids hooked on it, so more kids go out and get it, which increases the demand, which raises the price, which generates more revenue,” Dr. Dewey explained. Programs like the one at Maryhaven are helping teenagers break free of Molly’s grip and move on with their lives. Molly runs about $20 a pill. There is no shortage of discussion on the popular drug on chat boards across the internet.
“It can kill you, because your body temperature goes up. It can kill you because it causes a seizure. It can kill you because it causes cardiac arrest”
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Automotive M O N T H LY
What Will That Electric Car Cost? A rt i c l e b y w w w. e d m u n d s . c o m
Adding up the Costs of Operating an EV Most people know that buyers pay a premium for electric cars. But what are the additional expenses, such as the charging station installation and the cost of the electricity to recharge the battery? And are there savings on such things as vehicle maintenance? Itâ€™s somewhat difficult to give a single answer to these questions since there are many choices for charging stations and many, many different rate schedules for purchasing electricity. However, we will try to provide some general guidelines for estimating these costs.
Electric Car Charging Options For home charging, there are two options: 120 and 240 volts. Most electric cars come with a charging cord that will plug into a standard 120-volt outlet, which is widely available. However, this is extremely slow charging, taking up to 20 hours. Consequently, most EV owners will want to recharge at 240 volts, which will cut the time to about 6 hours. A number of home recharging stations are available, and EV makers are offering more options all the time. To save money, some EV owners will simply have an electrician install a 240-volt outlet and modify the standard cord to allow the higher voltage. Whatever route an EV owner selects, an electrician will have to make modifications or install the vehicle charging station. The charging station and the labor to install it typically costs about $2,000 combined. Federal income tax credits of about 30 percent offset this cost. State and local agencies often offer additional incentives and rebates.
Besides saving time, the 240-volt electric car charging system will eventually save money. Some energy is lost during charging due to the resistance of the wires. Our testing shows that 30-35 percent is lost when charging at 120 volts. At 240 volts, however, these losses are only 20-25 percent. So the 240-volt charging station will cut electricity costs in the long run.
The Cost of Electricity Electric rates vary widely across the United States. Many local utilities are encouraging the purchase of electric vehicles by offering lowered charging rates at night. If an EV has a recharge time of about 6 hours, the owner can schedule recharging for when the rates are lowest. Here is an article that describes in detail the true cost of powering an electric car.
Electric Vehicle Maintenance One area of savings for EVs is maintenance. They donâ€™t need oil changes or many of the routine maintenance items common with conventional cars. Because of regenerative braking, brake jobs are less frequent, too.
Summary Remember that electricity rates, tax credits, deductions and incentives and rebates do change. Check with your local utility company and governmental agencies for details. And use the topic headings to estimate EV costs to see if they will fit into your budget.
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Home Improvement M O N T H LY
Declutter Your Bedroom Are you a consummate collector? Are the stray items in your bedroom overrunning the surfaces of dressers? If your closet is exploding and you trip over your shoes on the way to the bathroom in the middle of the night, it’s probably time for a seasonal bedroom declutter session. After all, your bedroom is your sanctuary, and a tidy space will help you enjoy this sweet oasis. Here are our best tips for airing out your closet, coordinating your clothes and getting dirty laundry off the floor.
Top Tips for Decluttering Your Bedroom •
Set a small goal, and be faithful to fulfill it. Decide that you will take 10 items of clothing out of your closet this weekend,and determine if they are good enough to keep, if you’re ready to give them away or if it’s time to throw them away. Consider investing in a closet organizer once you’ve pared your clothing down. From inexpensive plastic shelving to high-end, custom wooden closet systems, there are a variety of options available to help you tame your closet. Get an extra hamper for your closet, and use it to keep clothes that you’d like to donate. Also consider instituting a policy that no new item of clothing goes into the closet without an old item coming out. Take a look around your bedroom, and determine if you can get rid of a few pieces. If there are dressers that you don’t use, donate or consign them.
A rt i c l e b y w w w. l o w e s . c o m
Make a little money from your unwanted items. Host a neighborhood yard sale, and turn unwanted furniture, clothing and other items into extra spending money. Remove all items from tables, dressers and other surfaces in the bedroom and sort them. Throw away anything that you don’t use, and designate specific spaces for toiletries, jewelry and other miscellany that tends to collect in these areas. You should be able to dust these surfaces easily without having to move piles of clothing or maneuver around tchotchkes. Clear the bedroom floor. If shoes, clothes, books and papers tend to clutter up your walking spaces, use hooks, shelves and other storage solutions to clear the area. You should be able to vacuum or clean the floor easily without maneuvering around unnecessary items. Simplify your room’s design scheme by limiting the number of decorative items. Cut back on decorative pillows, which collect dust and often end up on the floor. Choose solid colors so everything matches, and get rid of old blankets, pillows or other bedding that doesn’t fit well with your current design scheme. Remove everything from the bedroom that doesn’t belong there.. Find what isn’t necessary in your sleeping space, and determine where it goes. Consider purchasing containers that fit under the bed to store family memorabilia or other items that might clutter dressers or the floor.
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Marketplace M O N T H LY
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May 2013 - Key Biscayne Edition