South Coast Prime Times - January/February 2022

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J anuary/F ebruary 2022  ·  Volume 18  · Number 1

Calm beginnings Stay

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January/February 2022 n Vol. 18 n No. 1 Published by

Coastal Communications Corp. Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

Ljiljana Vasiljevic

Wellness Center is open The The Wellness Center is open and we have a new look!


and we have a new look! The tree that you see with all the colorful leaves rep-

Sebastian Clarkin Online editor

resents the personal growth that can stem from the varied programs andthe activities we offer.leaves treemany thatand you see with all colorful

The represents the personal growth that can &stem from the Topics include: healthy eating, dementia memory, meditation, quilting as well as classes we for genmany and varied painting, programs and activities offer. tle yoga, chair yoga, qigong, Tai Chi and Ex.Tension exercise and more...

Topics include: healthy eating, dementia & memory, East Main Road • Little Compton, RI 02837 meditation,115 painting, quilting as well as classes for gen(401) 592-0400 • tle yoga, chair yoga, qigong, Tai Chi and Ex.Tension exercise and more...

Paul Letendre S ales M anager

Mari Burns (508) 916-0374 Contributors

Michael J. DeCicco, Sean McCarthy, Elizabeth Morse Read, and Jim Schultz L ayout & Design

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CONTENTS JAN/FEB 2022 Prime living

10 Home sweet home in the

age of climate change By Elizabeth Morse Read


Leave it to Leaver By Sean McCarthy

Prime season


Be well this winter! By Sean McCarthy


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Loomings By Michael J. DeCicco Avoiding digital danger By Jim Schultz

J anuary/F ebruary 2022 · Volume 18 · number 1

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Loomings The New Bedford Whaling Museum’s annual Moby-Dick Marathon hasn’t been slowed down by the pandemic-inspired need to hold it virtually. In fact, participation has increased! Michael J. DeCicco

The museum’s reading marathon of Herman Melville’s famous tome, sparked by the author’s time on a city whaling ship, is now in its 26th year. The event normally attracts an average of 200-plus people applying to become readers, said Joclyne Nunes, the museum’s manager of public programs and Marathon coordinator. This year’s applicants total over 400, she said. Another good sign of its enduring success is that the tally of over 1,500 audience members per year continued even during last year’s first-ever virtual presentation. Museum spokesperson Evan England said the marathon hasn’t lost its success rate in the face of pandemic restrictions. “We are able to reach a broader and larger audience,” he explained. Adding to that broader appeal is that this year’s marathon will combine the previously separate Portuguese and children’s Moby-Dick marathons, England said. The latter category has included up to 25 young readers ages five to high-schoolage. England said Dutch, Greek, and Russian language readers have also been readers at the marathon. “People from all over the world have participated,” he said. This year’s virtual marathon will be held January 7 to 9. The kick-off event will be an opening night lecture on January 7


S ou th C oast P r ime T imes

from 7-8 p.m. ($10 for members, $15 for non-members) and dinner delivered by (priced separately). The Moby-Dick reading marathon itself will start on January 8 at noon and end on January 9 between 12:30 and 1 p.m. On January 8, a Moby-Dick Marathon Trivia Quiz will be available, created by the Melville Scholars, a group of

A very passionate community comes to this event

local professors, scholars, and all-round enthusiasts. On Sunday, a presentation of Moby-Dick extracts will be read by Melville Society Cultural Project members live on Zoom at 11:30 and there will be a virtual chat with Melville Scholars at 2:30 p.m. All weekend, the Moby-Dick Brewing Co. and the delivery service Gotchew will partner to deliver meals to marathoners through the museum’s “Cousin Hosea’s Chowder Hall” and the “Decanter Taproom” (nods to locations mentioned in the novel). The Marathon menu features special Moby-Dick-inspired brews and chowder and fish and chips. The delivery area that this feature will serve will be a

J a nuary /F ebruary 2022

five-mile birds eye view radius from the museum, Nunes said. (For free delivery, use code MOBY22 at The deadline for applying to become a reader has already passed, she said. The next step will be selecting the actual readers, which will be done by picking names out of a fish bowl. Only 200 reading spots are available. Those notified to become readers will then pre-record the sections of the book they’ll be presenting. The final portion of the book is always read by museum president and CEO Amanda McMullen. The marathon organizers will also carefully pick a noted local name to read the opening portion. Those who have read in the past have included Melville descendants such as his great-great-grandchildren, local politicians including the New Bedford mayor, local radio hosts, local poets and writers, and even Miss New Bedford. “Readers have come from all over the world,” England is proud to note. “Canada, the Netherlands, Portugal. And some eclectic characters have read – readers in costume. A very passionate community comes to this event.” This will be the second year the marathon will be virtual and hopefully the last one, Nunes said. “Hopefully, next year we’ll be back in person.” The link to the Moby-Dick Marathon readings will be found on social media by visiting M ichael J. D e C icco has worked as a writer for over 30 years. He is also the author of two award-winning young adult novels, Kaurlin’s Disciples and The Kid Mobster. He lives with his wife Cynthia in New Bedford.

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Be well

this winter! For many people the winter holidays are their favorite time of year. But for some, the days of December through March can be daunting. The good news is that the medical commuSean nity has been dealing McCarthy with these challenges for a long time and they have some suggestions for those who struggle before the days become longer and warmer once again. From the time you wake until you fall asleep, there are steps you can take to make the best of the winter season. “There are things we can do to embrace an approach that is healthy for us, starting with the understanding that we won’t be in winter forever – spring and summer are right around the corner,” says Katherine Schleich-Medeiros, a Licensed Mental Health Counsellor at Child & Family Services in New Bedford, with a private practice in North Dartmouth. “Winter may seem like a long amount of time but it’s no longer than any other season.” Schleich-Medeiros says that you can start each day beneficially. “When you wake up each morning, think about the things you’re grateful


S ou th C oast P r ime T imes

for. Start your day with reasons to be optimistic. Perhaps the sun is up, or you have a roof over your head, or you have a job, or you have your health.” Jon Leaver of Jon Leaver Wellness in Westport and Wareham says that we should end our days beneficially as well.

Move as much as

you can and stay hydrated “Before you go to bed at night make a list of three things you want to do the next day and circle the one that’s most important. So doing even one of those things will mean you’ve had a productive day.” But Leaver says that preparing to sleep is also important. “Shut off your TV 30 minutes to an hour before going to bed,” he says. “Don’t take

J a nuary /F ebruary 2022

your phone to bed with you so that you can begin to slow your mind down and get some quality sleep. Before sleeping you may enjoy a cup of natural tea or do some reading.” “Think about establishing a regular sleep cycle, trying to get to bed at the same time each night and getting enough sleep,” Schleich-Medeiros says.

Winter meals And during your waking hours you should be thinking about what you’re eating as well as getting some physical activity – approaches that are valuable year round. Leaver suggests a diet of whole grain and plant-based foods, but he recommends exploring and having fun with your food intake. “You can go online to websites and find recipes that interest you,” he says. “You may not like everything, but you’ll probably surprise yourself and discover something new.” “Enjoy seasonally-appropriate foods and stay away from things that are processed,” Schleich-Medeiros adds. “Movement is important, particularly in winter,” Leaver says. “With the shorter days we aren’t getting outside as much, but there are things you can do. If you

want to go for a walk, dress in layers to stay warm. If you want to be indoors you may want to go to a gym, particularly one with a pool. Move as much as you can and stay hydrated.” “Try to get outside a little bit every day, even if it’s only for a brief amount of time,” Schleich-Medeiros says. “Fresh air is healthy. You may want to open up your windows for a bit. While the days are shorter you should still try to get as much sunlight as possible, whether that means being outside for a brief time, sitting by a window or purchasing a ‘Happy Light’ if you can afford one.” And Schleich-Medeiros recommends that you avoid isolation as much as possible.

get outside a little bit every day

Sean McCarthy has been a freelance journalist for 27 years. He lives in New Bedford.

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“You should spend time with your support network – friends, family, and neighbors. Greet people with a hello, and maintain eye-contact whenever possible. You can also be in touch with people on your phone or computer.” And your phone and computer can benefit you in other ways. The Internet is full of apps that you can use to combat stress or anxiety, whether at home or while waiting in line, an approach that can help keep your mind active. The opposite is true as well – meditating for five to 10 minutes a day can be helpful to quiet your mind and bring relaxation. And Schleich-Medeiros has another suggestion for staying mentally active – planning a garden. “Even if it’s only a little herb garden in a window or plants inside your home, it’s easy to become a horticulturist. Do some research on plants that will do well in your apartment or in your yard. You may even be able to grow some of your own food.” “Our tendency in winter may be to sit around and eat a lot of comfort food,” Leaver says. “But remember that your body knows how to heal itself – just give it good food and hydration, some movement and some rest.”



sweet ho e m me o H in the age of

climate change “Location, location, location,” the mantra of homebuyers everywhere, is even more important now. Because of accelerating climate change, the number, frequency, and intensity of severe environmental disasters will most likely increase over the next few decades. As a result, anyone looking to retire or relocate to another part of the country needs to take climate change into Eliz abeth Morse Read consideration. Do your homework before you buy your dream home, or else it could turn into an unsustainable and unsellable nightmare in your golden years. You might discover that the grass isn’t necessarily greener somewhere else. High and dry Many soon-to-be-retirees want to escape the snow and cold of Northeast winters (as well as our relatively high tax rates) but they need to take the long view and consider what a new location’s climate will be like in 20 or 30 years, the lifetime of a typical mortgage. Ironically, US counties facing the highest risk of high heat, drought, fire, flood, and storms saw a rise in population growth between 2016 and 2020. Retirees flocked to the very parts of the US that will most likely face the worst impacts of climate change – Arizona, the Gulf Coast states, and the Atlantic seaboard from


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the Carolinas down to Florida. And the fastest-growing states in the country are among those that have the highest risk of wildfires – California, Utah, Idaho, and Washington. Why? These high-risk areas have historically been relatively affordable, have lower property taxes, more housing options, and access to nature, all of which seemed to outweigh vague warnings of future climate change. But as natural disasters become more frequent, property owners in these areas may not only lose property value but also be unable to properly insure their homes.

J a nuary /F ebruary 2022

A hotter future In the next three decades, recordshattering heat waves could become up to seven times more frequent than in the past 30 years. The recent triple-digit heat waves in the Pacific Northwest, where most people don’t even own an air conditioner, are just a taste of the climate chaos to come. Ironically, a 2016 study included Seattle and Portland in a listing of “safe havens” to move to in the coming climate-change years – yet those two cities were trapped in record-shattering heat domes. In reality, there is no true safe haven, as all regions of the US will be

hotter in the coming decades, including New England. A New York Times report projected that much of the US could be barely habitable within our lifetimes. Between 2020 and 2060, extreme temperatures will be the new normal in the south and southwest, with some counties in Arizona experiencing daily temperatures over 95 degrees for half the year. Wildfires will become even more severe, and water shortages will become widespread across the country, especially in the western states. The southeastern and Gulf Coast states are at high risk of hurricanes and flooding; the southwestern and Pacific Coast states are at high risk of drought, wildfires, and earthquakes. Midwestern and land-locked states like Tennessee will experience more tornadoes and flash flooding.

From one extreme to another Meanwhile, as the western states bake and burn, it’s estimated that by 2050, more than 300,000 coastal homes will be at risk of flooding regularly. Already, Miami’s streets flood at high tide, even on sunny days. Yet a shockingly high percentage of people who live in low-lying coastal areas do not carry federal flood insurance, which could lead to financial ruin when the waters come. But it’s not just rising sea levels that will cause flooding. Increasingly, severe rain events have triggered inland flooding in areas that rarely saw flooding before – and this inland flooding is expected to impact 33 of the lower 48 states. Federal flood zone maps are used primarily to determine the cost of flood insurance but do not take into account the future effects of climate change, like the catastrophic flooding after Hurricane Ida in September, which dumped 35 billion gallons of rain on New York City overnight, triggering the city’s first-ever flash flood emergency. The lack of reliable federal information about future flood risks means that developers, banks, and insurers have had to invest in their own studies so that they have more detailed info about flood risks in the next 30 years. The CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, wrote that “investors are recognizing that climate change risk is investment risk. What will happen to the 30-year mortgage – a key building block of finance – if lenders can’t estimate the

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Without insight into a new property’s risk for flooding, wildfires, or sea rise damage, millions of homebuyers could end up overpaying for homes that could experience severe natural disasters between now and 2050. and now incorporate climate change risk information in their listings. Go to or Type in an address or zip code to see a property’s climate risk snapshot – storms, drought, temperature, fire, and flood – over the course of a 30-year mortgage.

impact of climate risk over such a long timeline?” [see sidebar]

Weigh the pros and cons So look before you leap. Investigate the current homeowner insurance costs in the region you’re interested in. Most insurance policies do not cover flood damage, so you may need to take out an expensive flood insurance policy through the government. Remember that any location at elevated risk of natural disasters will see policy premiums skyrocket over time, or even see policies cancelled. And if you can’t afford the proper insurance coverage for your chosen location, start looking for a less vulnerable location. Buying a home is an investment, and the value of your property could fall, which would lead to an increase in property taxes if too many homeowners in the area leave, shrinking the tax base. If you’re still determined to relocate, consider renting for a year so that you can experience all four seasons and learn about the living expenses – and hidden costs – typical of the area.


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J a nuary /F ebruary 2022

There’s no place like home When you start your search, look for the most climate-resilient areas with the lowest risk of floods, droughts, storms, wildfires, and rising sea levels in the coming decades – places like Minnesota, inland New England, Colorado, and the midwestern/northeastern states bordering Canada. And don’t forget that those cold and snowy winters of New England will be warmer in years to come. Despite being partially coastal and subject to hurricanes, the Northeast is identified in many surveys as less likely to be severely impacted by climate change risks when compared to other regions. It may well be that there’s no better region, relatively speaking, than where you live right now.

Elizabeth Morse Read is an awardwinning writer, editor and artist who grew up on the South Coast. After 20 years of working in New York City and traveling the world, she came back home with her children and lives in Fairhaven.

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Leave it to


Before you go under the knife you may want to go over the options. The Integrative Therapy being offered at Jon Leaver Wellness could save you time, effort, and pain. Sean McCarthy

With the growing emergence of alternative medicine, holistic practitioners are experiencing a swell of success stories and sworn clientele by treating “the whole person.” So when it comes to healing, Jon Leaver is treating his clients in ways that traditional western medicine is only beginning to realize and understand, including the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual dimensions of a person. Thanks to a blend of therapeutic specialties, Leaver is treating an increasing number of clients at his offices in Westport and Wareham. The New Bedford native’s passion for health and wellness includes certifications in therapeutic massage, yoga therapy, and therapeutic hypnosis – areas of focus that enable him to have insights more thorough than most traditional medical practices. “What separates Jon from others is that he goes deeper than conventional specialists,” says Rachel Jones, 64, of Wareham. “He’s treated me on-and-off for several issues, such as a slipped disc, vertigo, neck


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pain, and seizures, and every time he’s been phenomenal. He knows his stuff, and he’s incredibly well-informed in what he does. I didn’t want to do surgery or medication, and I’m glad I put my trust in him. He goes beyond the problems that most doctors treat, such as nutrition and stress management. I’m a full believer that there are multiple contributing factors to a person’s wellness and Jon has confirmed that. There are often other

With hypnosis and yoga you may discover that you have something else going on other than the pain

you’re feeling

options open to people before surgery.” “I have confidence in Jon,” says Diane Paquette, 72, of New Bedford. “He’s worked wonders for me, relieving pain

J a nuary /F ebruary 2022

Jon Leaver is a wellness therapist based in Westport, MA

in my neck, back, and shoulder. He’s always evolving with his approaches, he’s constantly taking classes and learning more. He’s always been accommodating, I’ll give him a try before anyone else.”

A ll for one-ness “I deal with people as a whole,” Leaver says. “In yoga there is the idea of ‘wholeness.’ When I have my first session with someone I go head-to-toe, front-to-back. I want to have a real conversation with someone about what I can help them with, I want to educate my clients. Your body knows how to heal itself and I can help it get there. The medical industry gives you pharmaceuticals and surgery, skipping over the idea that alternative therapies are often very effective.” Leaver says that oftentimes the pain someone is experiencing is caused by a problem somewhere else, something that can be discovered by examining the client thoroughly. “I don’t want to chase symptoms,” he says. “With hypnosis and yoga you may discover that you have something else going on other than the pain you’re feeling.” Leaver says that many health problems are manifested by our society. He recommends that we try to live more by intention than habit. “I try to get people to recognize how


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stress-ridden we all are,” Leaver says. that were educated out of you.’ I help “Heart disease, cancer, and depression ordinary people with ordinary problems have a direct correlation to stress and diet. by teaching things that have been around Imagine if we de-stressed earlier! When for hundreds or thousands of years.” we feel bad we try to distract ourselves Leaver says that mainstream medicine with something rather than dealing with can still have a role to play in healing. the issues causing it – we’ll smoke a ciga“Western medicine is awesome for rette, eat something, trauma and putting Come in & enjoy our go shopping, or us back together,” Middle Eastern Cuisine find a new partner. he says. “If you have people are dynamic These symptoms are a medical injury Great Atmosphere & Portions and ever-changing... you go to a doctor, problems but not Famous for Kebabs & Falafel the root problem, but if you’re still We’re in a constant and they can be not sure or you helped. didn’t get the results state of physical, “Humanity is you wanted you mental, and emotional probably want to plagued by the idea of not being good examine soft tissue change enough, but people repair before going are dynamic and in for surgery. Your ever-changing. The person you are today soft tissues are like a sponge – you have INDOOR & OUTDOOR DINING is not the person you are tomorrow. We’re to squeeze it to get fluids in and out of PRINCE-ALIS-KEBAB.COM in a constant state of physical, mental, it, to get the nutrients back in there and and emotional change.” the debris out. You’ve got what it needs to grow and stay loose to get greater motion. A better betterment In the words of Gary Reinl, ‘Get the 305 Sowams Rd, Barrington Leaver says that many of his clients are groceries in and the garbage out.’” Tues-Thurs 4pm - 9pm dealing with pain or limited range of AFederally self-described NMLS# 410816 insured “anatomy by NCUA geek,” Leaver Fri & Sat 1pm - 9:30 pm motion. says that he works with the patient as to “As you age, your body solidifies and I what would be a successful outcome and use the approach of structural integration objective for their treatment. as a way to unwind it. Often by moving “Every moment is pure potential. We the soft tissues in the body I can increase have the power to choose, but we live our the range of motion, eliminating pain and lives out of habit. discomfort, without Both Jones and having the person Paquette saw Yoga and hypnosis go directly into potential while surgery. You hold help you live with taking yoga classes shapes and patterns We buy used vehicles with Leaver and over time and you’ll intention, to be very all makes and models decided to have him get diminished assist with their present and aware 643 Brayton Ave., Fall River, MA range of motion health issues. or pain. Pain is 508-675-1303 of your potential to “Jon’s been usually caused by invaluable,” Jones change and improve something that is says. “He’s kept stuck from overuse me from having to or underuse, 2 November 2020 | The South resort to things I Coast Insider whether you’re a marathoner or a cello didn’t want to resort to. Anyone looking player. I want to address the accumulated for an alternative solution for their health tensions or patterns in the body that can concerns should seek him out. He’s begin to shift a person’s relationship with scientifically-based, valid, and safe. There their body. are alternative treatments available that “People need to use their bodies. My the health insurance companies should intention is to get people to move and really be covering.” live their life, whether it’s yoga, the gym, walking, running, or dancing – move! Jon Leaver Wellness is located at Westport The reason you have a body is to live your Chiropractic on 637 State Road, and at the life. I tell people ‘I’m not going to teach Gleason YMCA on 33 Charge Pond Road you anything new, I’m going to remind in Wareham. For more information and for you of what you already know: the things classes schedule visit

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Cold weather comfort foods

Baking cranberry-orange bread with kids on a snowy day

Hooboy, it’s cold outside – it’s also wet, blustery, slushy, and slippery. And you desperately need a cup of coffee, tea, or Eliz abeth cocoa to warm you up. And Morse Read nothing would be better than to have a little something to go with that cup – something that reminds you of winters past and of snuggling up on the couch with someone you love (including your dog). You don’t have to be a master baker to recreate those “little somethings” that will bring a smile to your lips and a warm feeling inside. Here are a few classic winter comfort sweets to have on hand – and to share!

Baked apples with crumble filling What could possibly smell better on a cold day than warm apples and cinnamon? This easy-to-make winter dessert will be a favorite with young and old alike! Choose baking apples like Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Gala, or Golden Delicious that are symmetrical and well-balanced – you don’t want it tipping over when it’s in the oven! Preheat the oven to 350 and core your apples by digging a deep well from the top (use a grapefruit spoon, if you have one), to remove the seeds, going down to just above the bottom without breaking through.


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It’s an icy-cold, wet, and windy day and the kids are stuck indoors. What better way to pass the time than giving them a kitchen chemistry lesson that they can eat when it’s done? You fondly remember watching your own mother or grandmother baking, so here’s your chance to pass on that skill. Show them how to whisk together dry ingredients, how to make a “well” to incorporate wet ingredients, how to crack an egg, and how to test for “doneness” with a toothpick or knife. Assign age-appropriate tasks, and let them all take a turn at using the spatula or whisk. Line up all ingredients and kitchen tools. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x5 loaf pan. Grate the “zest” from a medium-size orange (watch your knuckles!) and gather up the zest in a small bowl, then cut the orange in half and squeeze out ¾ cup of juice into a juicer jar. In another small bowl, soak 1 cup dried sweetened cranberries (craisins) in the orange juice until they’re plumped up. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 cups of allpurpose flour, ¾ cup sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda and ½ teaspoon salt. In another large mixing bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup vegetable oil and one egg, then blend in the soaked cranberries, orange juice and orange zest. Pour this into the dry ingredients and blend with a spatula until just combined (don’t overbeat!), then pour into the greased loaf pan. Bake for 55-60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean – avoid overbaking. Let cool for 15 minutes before removing the loaf from the pan, then another 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with hot cocoa!

To make four baked apples, blend together 1 cup of rolled oats, ¼ cup brown sugar, ½ tsp. cinnamon, ¼ tsp. nutmeg, and ¼ cup (1/2 stick) softened butter. (One-third cup minced nuts and/or raisins are optional.) Spoon and pack down ¼ of the mixture into each apple. Arrange them in a deep baking dish, add another pat of butter atop each stuffed apple, and pour in 1 1/2 cups water or more, reaching up to about 1/3 of each apple. Bake for 40-45 minutes in the preheated oven until the apples are tender when pierced with a knife and the filling is bubbling.


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rice pudding You can make rice pudding the old-fashioned way, stirring the rice forever, or you can try this quick version that’s ready in just minutes! In a two-quart saucepan, thoroughly mix together 1 cup uncooked instant rice, 1 cup milk, ½ cup raisins, 3 tablespoons sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract, and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon or nutmeg. Over medium heat, slowly bring everything to a full boil, stirring non-stop, making sure that the rice has softened, then remove from heat. Cover and let it sit for ten minutes until most of the milk has been absorbed and the raisins are plump.

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Chocoholic pick-me-up You can cure everyone’s mid-morning (or mid-afternoon) energy slump with this caffeine-packed cupcake! Choose your favorite dark chocolate cake mix and thoroughly whisk in 1 ½ tablespoon of espresso powder/granules and 1/4 cup chocolate sprinkles before you add the wet ingredients. (You can find espresso powder in the baking aisle.) Makes 24 cupcakes. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar (or more sprinkles) when they come out of the oven. Warning: don’t let the kids eat these before bedtime!

T wo-ingredient ice cream bread


It doesn’t get much easier than this! In less than an hour, you can have a delightful dessert to complement any meal – or the perfect snack to go with that cup of coffee! Melt one pint (2 cups) of your favorite ice cream and fold it into 1 ½ cups of self-rising flour. Pour it into a greased loaf pan and bake it in a preheated 350-degree oven for 35-45 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and a knife comes out clean. Choose an out-of-the-ordinary flavor of ice cream like peppermint, black raspberry, chocolate mint, or pistachio.

Peanut butter bread This Depression-era favorite has withstood the test of time to become an American classic. Whisk together 2 cups all-purpose flour, 4 teaspoons baking powder, ¼ cup sugar, and ½ teaspoon salt. Blend in 1 1/3 cups milk and ½ cup natural peanut butter. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for about an hour until a knife comes out clean. Fill your kitchen with the warmth and aroma of these winter desserts!

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Avoiding digital DANGER Having been a data protection specialist for more than twenty years I have witnessed firsthand the ever-increasing importance of keeping data Jim Schultz safe from unexpected disaster. In the information technology world, we define a disaster as being a severe impact to business continuity due to data loss at the corporate level or loss of personal computer information at the consumer level as a result of intentional acts or unintentional events. Over the past several years, and especially during 2020 when remote working became mandatory for many, the intentional has far surpassed the unintentional. Intentional destruction or threat of destruction of important data is happening to companies and personal computers across the globe at an alarming rate. These criminal activities are carried out by, what we call in the industry, “bad actors” – persons who misbehave or cause trouble, in this case

computer hackers. They use malicious software that can be easily downloaded to your computer by clicking on links either contained in an email or while visiting websites that are unsecure. The goal here is to not let that happen. The following are some recommendations to minimize and hopefully avoid this digital danger or just prevent data loss in general. When not accessing personal documents and files, keep them disconnected from your

computer by storing them on a removable device, a perfect “air gap.” The “air gap” method is the safest way to store personal documents that you frequently access on your computer. A removable USB hard drive or memory stick is an excellent place to keep files or documents that contain personal information such as account numbers, addresses, social security numbers, financial information, even that photo library, basically anything that a digital thief could use to steal your identity. Just

probably contain snapshots of your life events like vacations, weddings, family gatherings, and whatever else could never be replaced should they be lost.

Check before you click One of the most common ways for computers to get infected by malicious software is through email. When you think about it, email is a transport vehicle from the cyber world to your home computer and smartphone. Every now and then a suspicious email might show up from a seemingly familiar

If an email looks suspicious try to contact that person or organization directly to confirm they sent it. remember to eject and remove the device from your computer when you are done. Use the 3-2-1 rule for reliable data protection. Always have 3 copies of your data using 2 different locations with 1 copy secured in a safe location. The first copy is your data on the computer itself. The second copy can be a cloud location or an offsite backup location enabled and hosted by backup software. This is useful in the event your computer becomes unusable due to a malfunction. If you end up replacing your computer, then the cloudbased copy will sync back down to your computer or you can restore from the backup copies that were created by the backup software. Regardless of the option you will be back up and running and resting easy. The third and most important copy should be “air gapped” in a safe place and secured such as in a locked fireproof safe. These protection methods apply to not only important files and documents but to saved music, pictures and videos, many of which


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email address sometimes with no content but usually with a website link. If you click on that link and it is malicious, lo and behold you just helped the bad actor deliver the virus to your computer. Other suspicious emails tend to come from what appear to be legitimate companies. Pay close attention to the grammar. If it seems off it could be digital danger waiting to happen. Many virus protection programs will detect these types of email messages, but it is never guaranteed. If the email looks suspicious try to contact that person or organization directly to confirm they sent it. These are just a few of the safeguards and recommendations to keep your information safe. There are many other areas I could go on and on about, but for now remember to always protect those critical digital assets. The result: safe and happy computing!

J im S chultz is a Data Protection Specialist and Independent Consultant.


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