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february 2013

Complimentary issue

Industry Icons Honored at Longview COC Banquet

Cardiovascular Health...

Heart taking it to

Tasty Tales from Local Food Guru

Mad for Mardi Gras in Shreveport Matrimony and Money Surviving Valentine’s Day and more

Samir Germanwala, D.O., an interventional cardiologist, discusses the importance of a healthy heart

Letter from the Publishers


ebster’s dictionary defines heart as the chambered muscular organ in vertebrates that pumps blood received from the veins into the arteries, thereby maintaining the flow of blood through the entire circulatory system. The heart distributes life supporting substances for sustainability of any living organism through rhythmic contractions and dilations. Arguably, the treatment of the heart through curative and preventive medical approach is quite essential for living. Therefore, we salute medical practitioners who devote time to educating and healing our hearts. This month, we are featuring Dr. Samir Germanwala of Diagnostic Clinic of Longview. He is board certified in internal medicine, cardiology and interventional cardiology, as well as licensed in nuclear medicine and trained in peripheral intervention. As we celebrate February, the Heart Month, get to know him and especially your heart health on pages 4-6. That is not all.

Death by Chocolate is coming up. We invite you to experience a luscious evening of chocolates, hors d’oeuvres, wine, artwork, and other delightful delicacies to Keep Longview Beautiful. Check out details on page 7. Thinking of tying the knot? Do not say “I do,” before you have had a financial heart-to-heart talk with yourself. See page 10 and 11 for expert advice. The Longview Chamber of Commerce showcased its industry icons at the annual banquet. See who attended and who nabbed the awards on pages 12-15. February brings the community “A Night at the Museum.” It will be a night to remember all year long. See why on page 19. Moreover, Adam Holland, Longview ISD community relations specialist and a local chef has delectable recipes for your Valentine, as well excellent advice for lovers. Read all about it on pages 26 and 27. Then there is social security information, brewing your own brew, Just for Chuckles and more. We encourage you to read all the articles and take it all in. In March, we look forward to bringing you some great women of our community and of course the men who support them. Thanks for reading infinitieplus magazine; Longview, Gregg County’s own local magazine.

The Publisher welcomes input from the public. You may write or email your comments to

Volume 2 | Number 2


The magazine for living life beyond...


Publishers/Editors Robert Fadojutimi Joycelyne Fadojutimi Creative Director/Design Therese Shearer Photo Editing Laura Christian

Cardiovascular Health: Taking it to Heart.................................. 4-6 Death by Chocolate...............................7 Have a Heartfelt Talk with Yourself......8,9 First Comes Love... But Before Marriage Have a Financial Heart-to-Heart...............10,11 Industry Icons Spied at Event.......... 12-15 Unlocking the Ten Most Common Misconceptions About Social Security........................18,19 Night at the Museum.............................19 It’s Mardi Gras Time in Shreveport, LA.............................. 22-24 Valentine’s Day Survival Guide............23 Don’t Shop at Gas Stations for your Wife’s Valentine’s Gift........26,27 True Brew Fans........................................28 It Really is the Thought that Counts........................................30,31 Just for Chuckles....................................31

26, 27

Contributing Writers Kelly Bell Adam Holland

february 2013


Distribution Teddy Larose Advertising Information Joycelyne Fadojutimi at 903.236.0406 or

517 Mobberly Avenue Longview, Texas 75602 903.236.0406 OUR MISSION

To enrich the localglobal community with the “just in time” knowledge to assure future life successes.


To become an information oracle of functional and constructive reports that serve the needs of all people. The Publisher welcomes input from the public.

You may write or email your comments to infinitieplus magazine is not responsible for any discrepancies or changes since the publishing of this issue. At the time of publication, to the best of our knowledge, all information was accurate though not guaranteed. The entire contents of infinitieplus magazine are copyrighted 2013. Any reproduction or use in whole or part without written permission is prohibited. infinitieplus reserves the right to edit and make appropriate modifications. The opinions published by contributing writers do not necessarily reflect the views of infinitieplus or its advertisers.

Submission Deadline: The first of the month prior to month of issue.


from the cover February is American Heart Month, and unfortunately, a lot of us know someone who has had heart disease or stroke, or have been affected by it ourselves. Learn determining factors, how to cut your risks, and more, along with what Samir Germanwala, D.O., is doing to provide East Texas some of the best cardiovascular care in the nation on pages 4-6. Industry leaders showed up full force to enjoy Mission Possible, the Longview Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Banquet. Attendees, including Texas State Representative David Simpson (cover) and Spring Hill ISD Superintendent Wes Jones and wife Carrie (above), broke the rule for a night and mixed business with pleasure. Check out the pictures and find out who won awards on pages 12-15. Adam Holland, a local with a flair for food and self-proclaimed “Aspiring Food Snob”, shares with us how he sometimes lacks romance... but he more than makes up for it with his grub! Moonlit walks and roses? That’s for amateurs... Awesome shrimp avocado poppers? Now that’s love! See pages 26 and 27 for the delicious recipes, served up with a side of laughter. Cover photo courtesy of Sam Smead.

w w w . i n f i n i t i ep l us .com

Body, Mind, and Soul

Cardiovascular Health...

Heart taking it to


By Joycelyne Fadojutimi rom the neck down, the human body’s major organ is the heart. Illnesses affecting it are the main killer of the human race, and cardiovascular disease is hence one of the major medical profession’s main concerns. Cardiovascular disorders take many forms - high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease, stroke and rheumatic fever/rheumatic heart disease are the most common afflictions. Moreover, the World Health Organization reports that cardiovascular disease kills more than 17 million people yearly in both developed and underdeveloped countries. Furthermore, 80 million plus Americans have bad hearts, and cardiovascular disease kills about 2200 daily in

this country. Cancer is in a distant second, claiming half as many victims. To boot, heavily populated Texas is seriously affected. Sadly, almost a quarter of all Texans die from cardiovascular illness. The Texas Department of State Health Services releases the chilling statistic that in East Texas there is a 13.5% rate of heart trouble affecting about 108,000 patients. Statewide the rate is 8.5% with a total of 1.4 million affected. The greatest single killer of Americans is coronary artery disease, but ongoing medical research has uncovered risk factors that may enable healthcare professionals to single out those most likely to develop heart problems and provide them with promisingly early treatment. Risk factors are separated into two categories: Major and Contributing. Major factors are those proven to increase someone’s chances of having heart disease. Doctors regard Contributing risk factors as those that

Nearly 1 out of 4 deaths in Texas are due to heart disease. 38,782 Texans died from heart disease in 2006 (24.7 percent of total deaths in Texas). 4

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may increase the odds of developing heart trouble, but their specific role remains undefined. Persons with the most risk factors are in the greatest danger, but some can be changed, treated and/or modified. The use of medicines and lifestyle changes can decrease the threat of cardiovascular disorders. Some major risk factors are as follows: High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) The main causes of high blood pressure are obesity, smoking and high blood cholesterol. Age increases the incidence of hypertension, but a healthy adult at rest should maintain a blood pressure no higher than a systolic pressure of 120 and a diastolic pressure of 80 or lower. High Blood Cholesterol Cholesterol is a fat-like substance carried in the blood stream and found in all body cells. The human body needs some cholesterol, and the liver produces the amount required to form cell membranes and produce specific hormones. Excess cholesterol comes from over indulging in such foods as dairy products, eggs and meats. These foods contain saturated fats that lead to high cholesterol. Reading ingredient labels is an effective way to learn about saturated fats, which raise levels of lipoprotein (LDL or “bad” choles-

terol.) LDL leads to the formation of plaque on artery walls, causing atherosclerosis which impedes blood flow to the heart thereby increasing the risk of heart attack. Diabetes Diabetics are prime candidates for heart attacks, especially those with adult-onset or Type 2 diabetes. African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans are susceptible. The American Heart Association (AHA) reports that 65% of all diabetics eventually die from some form of heart disease. “When someone has diabetes, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol, they go to their family doctor, who prescribes drugs 1, 2, 3. Yes! The person may be feeling better, but that is a temporary solution,” said noted interventional cardiologist Dr. Samir Germanwala, D.O. “The answer lies in the person taking care of the risk factors. If they are overeating, they need to cut back. If they smoke, they need to quit. If they are not exercising, they need to make arrangements to begin an exercise regimen. Most important of all, the person with diabetes, high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure needs to consult a good cardiologist.” Obesity Excess weight is a cause of high overall cholesterol levels, high blood pres-

sure and an increased threat of coronary artery disease. Surplus weight places people at greater risk of heart disease-causing high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes. Smoking Smoking cigarettes is not only a major leading cause of lung cancer, but it is also a major component in contributing to cardiovascular disease, especially peripheral artery disease which inhibits blood flow to the arms and legs. According to the American Heart Association, smoking kills more than 400,000 Americans every year. “A smoker who suddenly gets chest pains, should immediately consult a qualified cardiologist,” said Germanwala. “And you need to stop smoking as soon as possible.” Smoking causes irregular heartbeat, contracts major arteries while placing an added burden on an overworked heart. Smoking can also raise blood pressure, thus increasing the risk of stroke. Cigarettes contain tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide, all three of which are hurtful to the heart.

samir germanwala, d.o.

a doctor with heart Samir Germanwala, D.O., is an interventional cardiologist. He is board certified in internal medicine, cardiology and interventional cardiology, as well as licensed in nuclear medicine and trained in peripheral intervention. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in biology, with honors, from the University of Pittsburgh, and his medical degree from the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine. He continued his residency and fellowship training at the Western Pennsylvania Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While completing training in internal medicine, cardiology, and interventional cardiology, he was twice named resident of the year and served as chief resident during his final year of internal medicine residency training.

He loves his work at the Diagnostic Clinic of Longview, Texas because his colleagues are also experts in their field. Some were trained in prestigious programs. “We are passionate and confident- our results speak for itself.” In addition, they do national and international speaking engagements and are active in continuous education. Longview and East Texas has the best cardiovascular treatment and care with the most innovative medical technology in the nation because his group is involved in cutting-edge trials. Germanwala is married to Gana Nadiga, MD. They are parents of two children; a daughter Arya who is 9 years old, and Alec, a 6 year-old son.

Samir Germanwala infinitie plus

february 2013


Body, Mind, and Soul Physical inactivity Regular physical exercise is a heart-healthy activity because it burns off unneeded calories, helping to control diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol. Exercise also increases arterial flexibility and strengthens muscle. One must bear in mind, the heart is a muscle as a result, exercise is good medicine for the heart. “Get out and exercise while making careful food choices,” says Germanwala. “People need to know what they are sticking into their bellies.” However, restaurant dining is not out of the question, either. Most menus include healthy choices. Germanwala says to order your food before you get to the restaurant. This way you are not tempted to order unhealthy menu. Gender In younger adults men are in greater danger of heart trouble, but post-menopausal women have a

risk as great as men aged 65 and older. According to Germanwala, at this age women actually have a higher heart-related death rate than men. Before age 65 women’s sex hormones give them greater resistance to heart disease. However, women are also more inclined to seek medical treatment than men. Bad Genetics/Heredity Cardiovascular disease tends to run in families. Those whose parents suffered heart disease before age 55 are at greater peril themselves of developing cardiovascular conditions. Age The inevitability of old age happens to human beings. As one ages, so does the heart. Consequently, older persons may develop thicker walls and stiffness that affects the heart’s function for the body. Stress Even though its overall influence on the heart is not fully understood, stress is suspected of being a major

cause of heart trouble. Some handle stress better than others, but emotional pressure, behavioral habits and socioeconomic status are likely contributing factors. Researchers point to the following considerations: Stressful situations tend to raise the heart rate and blood pressure, causing the heart to need more oxygen. This can bring on angina pectoris (chest pain) in those already having heart problems. During stressful situations the nervous system releases such chemicals as adrenaline, which raises blood pressure and may damage arterial linings. This makes it easier for plaque to accumulate in the arteries. Stress may cause blood clots that block arteries and cause heart attacks. Furthermore, stress may induce persons to overeat or smoke more than they would normally. Liquor There are statistics than indicate

➙ ➙ ➙

the risk of heart trouble is actually lower in moderate drinkers than in teetotalers. One or two 1.5 fluid ounces of bourbon, scotch, vodka, gin, etc. or four ounces of wine or 12 ounces of beer may help avoid heart trouble. Heavy drinkers, however, risk high blood pressure, stroke, irregular heartbeat and cardiomyopathy (disease of heart muscle.) Additionally liquor contains a great many calories, leading to excess weight. Still, non-drinking heart patients are not being advised to start drinking, nor are moderate drinkers with cardiovascular problems encouraged to drink in greater volume. Individuals can commence hearthealthy lifestyles at any age. Some (not all) heart risk factors are controllable. Concentrating on controllable factors is a promising route to heart health. Statistics from the National Vital Statistics Report, 2009 emphasize the value of being aware of the threat of cardiovascular disease.

Heart Disease and Stroke Risk Factors Among Adults Texas Compared with the United States 10.3 8.0


Texas Nationwide

19.3 19.8

Cigarette Smoking

(States and DC) 27.8 27.8

High Blood Pressure

38.5 37.6

High Total Blood Cholesterol

53.5 50.5

No Moderate or Vigorous Physical Activity

65.8 62.9

Overweight or Obese

74.8 75.6

Eat Fruits and Vegetables Less than 5 Times a Day 0



Source for Chart Stats: National Conference of State Legislatures. Source for Bulleted Stats: National Vital Statistics Report, 2009.


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40 30 50 Percentage of Adults




Infinitie Chronicles

by chocolate Experience a luscious evening of chocolates, hors d’oeuvres, wine, artwork and other delightful delicacies

By Kelly Bell ongview is smack in the middle of one of the most beautiful parts of the Great State. Hence, Keep Longview Beautiful initiative strives to make the city increasingly attractive both to its residents and visitors. This works to everybody’s benefit as a clean, lovely Longview attracts new commerce, sees rising property values, brings in money-toting guests, and keeps becoming a better place to live, work and retire. Longview’s points of interest get more savory all the time. Consequently, on February 9, Keep Longview Beautiful will hold its third annual Death by Chocolate fundraising extravaganza. From 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. pampered attendees will enjoy an indulgent evening at the Longview Museum of Fine Arts. Wine, chocolate, hors d’oeuvres, artwork and other delightful delicacies will assure the night will be a clinic in delectable dining and classical entertainment.

Furthermore, there will be a silent auction, and local artist Anup Bhandari will enthrall onlookers as he produces a spontaneous, unique painting. To boot, the area’s green artists will display their work in a Trash-to-Treasure contest. The audience will also have a chance to play “whodunit?” in the celebrity Death by Chocolate mystery premiere. There are several sponsorship levels, and individual tickets are $50 apiece. Keep Longview Beautiful is a 501 (c) non-profit organization. This event will help fund the city’s Municipal Tree Project, furthering Longview’s green appearance and image. Please consider supporting this cause by being a sponsor. Contact Keep Longview Beautiful with any questions as your investment in our community can start with your commitment today. Their phone number is 903.237.4000 or 903.212.4552.

infinitie plus

february 2013


Body, Mind, and Soul

It’s Valentine’s Day! Have a


talk with yourself


By Marilynn Preston ’ve been saving this sweet quote for this week’s Get Ready for Valentine’s Day column. It gets to the heart of what really matters in life, not just this February, but every month of every year you have left. “If I could ask someone only one question,” writes best-selling author John Robbins, “and I wanted to learn the most I could about their health and how long they are likely to live, my question would not be ‘Do you smoke?’ It would not be ‘Are you overweight?’ Nor would I ask ‘What’s your cholesterol level?’ or ‘How’s your blood pressure?’ “Instead I would ask, ‘How much love is there in your life?” How much love is there in your life? Ahh, let that reverberate in your heart for a moment. Then reflect: When was the last time your doctor asked you that? Never ever is my best guess. And that’s heartbreaking, because your emotional health is a huge factor when it comes to preventing cardiovascular disease, the nation’s No. 1 killer. A healthy heart is a loving heart, an open heart, a forgiving heart. (Cue the violins.) It’s sappy but true: Whom do you love, and who loves you? Answer this question with high numbers and deep gratitude, and you can probably eat a whole box of Valentine’s Day chocolates. Your heart isn’t just a mindless pump that pushes blood around your body. It’s the center of joy and spirit in your life. (Cue the organ.) There’s plenty of evidence that positive emotions are big contributors to a healthy heart. So give yourself the sweetest valentine of all this year by strengthening your social network of loving family and friends- and not online but in reality. How? By opening your heart to others. Be kind, be non-judgmental, be compassionate, be funny, be a good listener.


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February is National Heart Month, and I’d have to turn in my official Red Cross CPR certification card if I didn’t restate the obvious: Physical activity- at home, in the gym, in your office- is a must if you want to nurture a healthier heart. Get focused, get moving, have fun. Bonus points if you do it outdoors, in nature. Take a walk! Ride your bike! Vacuum to Lady Gaga! No list of workouts is complete without my personal favorite, yoga, a proven 5,000-year-old recipe for vibrant health that includes meditation and conscious breathing, two more proven paths to a calmer, stronger heart. Your ultimate hearthealthy goal is to push your pulse into your target heart zone for 20 to 30 minutes a session, at least three times a week. More is better, but remember: Just going from a sedentary lifestyle to an active one has tremendous health benefits. Start where you are.

3 strategies to boost your

heart health this Valentine’s Day


Who pushed your buttons today? Your boss? Your kids? The robot that tells you “don’t hang up, your call is important to us”? If you hold on to anger in your mind and body, it depresses your immune system, drains your energy and weakens your heart. So this Valentine’s Day, indulge in a ritual that identifies your anger and lets it go: Light a candle, write a poem, bury the hatchet. (Cue the Native American flute.) Practice forgiveness, and your heart will expand in ways that will help you feel unstuck, more connected and less stressed.


Extra pounds weigh heavily on your heart. To lighten your load, eat in a more enlightened way. Forget dieting. Diets are all about denial and deprivation, and as soon as you go off your diet, the weight piles back on. Instead, this Valentine’s Day, hold your hand over your heart and vow to consume moderate amounts of real food: more fruits and veggies, more whole grains, less red meat, you know the drill. Read labels. Out with processed foods that bloat your belly and clog your arteries. In with homemade meals using the freshest, most local ingredients you can find. Don’t depend on supplements or fasts to power up your heart. It thrives on good food, pure food, prepared with love and eaten slowly with awareness and gratitude.

Marilynn Preston- fitness expert, personal trainer and speaker on healthy lifestyle issues- is the creator of Energy Express, the longest-running syndicated fitness column in the country. She has a website, and welcomes reader questions, which can be sent to

Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. Lucille Ball

infinitie plus

february 2013


Money Talk

First comes


By Terry Savage

alentine’s Day is this month, and this column is meant to serve as a reminder. First, remember to buy a card for your valentine before they’re all sold out. And second, don’t get so caught up in the romantic season of hearts and flowers that you pop the question before you know you’re financially compatible! Sure, a marriage proposal is supposed to be romantic. But don’t close your eyes to reality- especially when it comes to money. Your valentine may say “be mine,” yet when you tie your lives together, you’ll also be joining a good part of your personal finances. Don’t you think you should know what you’re getting into? If you can’t share your finances, how can you share a life together? So sit down with your true love and go online to read each other’s credit report. It’s easy at, the one site that links you to each of the three major credit bureaus, where you can order your government-mandated free annual credit report. You can see your report securely within a minute after answering a series of questions for which only you can provide the answers. That includes things like previous addresses and car purchases. (So no, you can’t pull a sneak and get your fiance’s credit report secretly!) If you’re willing to take this challenge, you are well on the way to a marriage based on trust. And if one of you isn’t willing to share that information, it might mean you’re in for a surprise after you say “I do”! A credit report will reveal all of your beloved’s credit-card balances. And did you know about those huge student loan balances still outstanding? Or a default on a car loan, or a previous bankruptcy? The credit report won’t reveal your assets- but it will reveal your payment habits. Your lover’s bad credit might impact your ability to buy a home together. And it might make you think twice about how you’re going to handle money once you are married. Depending on state law, and whether you open joint accounts, you could become responsible for your spouse’s debts. Assuming you both have jobs, are you going to keep your money separate and each pay certain bills? Or put all your money in one account? Best idea: each contribute a certain amount, maybe 50/50 or an amount proportional to what you earn, to a joint household account. Use that account to pay shared bills, ranging from rent or mortgage to food and utilities. Then you’ll still have some spending money of your own in a separate account.


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And there are other marriage/money issues to talk about well in advance of the big day:

➙ How will you pay off existing bills? ➙ Will previous obligations ranging from car payments and credit card balances to child support be paid out of your joint account?

➙ Whose health insurance plan will you use, or will you maintain both? (Hint: Whose job is more secure and who has better benefits?)

➙ Will you have joint savings for goals such as trips or a down payment?

➙ Will you each save money in your company retirement plan or IRA?

Just imagine what a hassle it will be to decide these things after you’re legally tied together- especially if one of you has nothing “left over” to contribute to the joint account. You don’t need to be a Kardashian to benefit from a prenuptial agreement. And no, it won’t spoil the romance to talk about it! But with half of all marriages ending in divorce (and a higher rate for second marriages), you’d be foolish not to consider this possibility. To have a valid prenup, you must each have a separate attorney and fully disclose your assets. If you come into the marriage with existing assets, you may want to set up a simple trust to keep those assets separate. But there’s more to a prenup than what happens if you split up. It can all set the basis for how you will handle finances during the marriage and how you will handle your estate if one or the other of you dies. Those are all financial issues that are a lot easier and far less expensive to decide together now, while you’re most in harmony, than to pay warring divorce attorneys to decide later! And that’s The Savage Truth!

Terry Savage is a registered investment adviser and is on the board of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. She appears weekly on WMAQ-Channel 5’s 4:30 p.m. newscast, and can be reached at She is the author of the new book, “The New Savage Number: How Much Money Do You Really Need to Retire?”

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Community Connections

industry icons spied at event By Joycelyne Fadojutimi


he Longview Chamber of Commerce recent annual banquet at the Maude Cobb Activity Convention and Activity Center saw record numbers of business attendance. This year’s event kicked off at 5:30 p.m. with a PRIME TIME reception featuring Chamber businesses. Steve Hill with Linear Applications, an Asphalt company, joined the Chamber in 2012. “I want to make business contacts so, I decided to join the Chamber and attend the Prime Time reception.” His company does the following: Parking lot stripping and painted markings, asphalt seal coating, installation of signage, pavement surfacing/ hot melt, crack fillings and much more. He is enthusiastic and optimistic about the New Year. “I am looking forward to a robust

See pages 14 and 15 for more pictures from this event. 12

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2013,” he said. If you need his services, please contact him at 903.926.8715. Janet Lancaster with Drug and Alcohol Testing Compliance was another local business in Prime Time reception. Though their company has been a member of the Chamber for several years, she saw the need of showcasing the business at Prime Time reception. “We want to get back into networking with other businesses in the community so they will know what we do,” she said. Attendees enjoyed wine, beer, hors d’oeuvres while visiting with friends and associates. During the 6:30 p.m. dinner, the Chamber of Commerce recognized the following companies: • U.S. Steel Tubular Products- Texas Operations Division2012 Manufacturer of the Year • Citizens National Bank- 2012 Large Business of the Year • Gerard Case of Johnny Cace Seafood and SteakhouseRecipient of the 2012 Chairman’s Award. (Awarded posthumously). Brent Sansing, plant manager for U.S. Steel Tubular Products- Texas Operations Division was very excited about the award. “It feels very good to be recognized by the Chamber of Commerce.” Moreover, Brad Tidwell, president of Citizens National Bank was thrilled to attend the banquet. “It feels exciting to be receiving this award tonight. We are just delighted.” Citizens National Bank have finished and opened a drive thru in downtown Longview. In addition, they plan to move into the main tower in the near feature. “We now have 6 branches in Gregg County,” Tidwell affirmed. Furthermore, Cathy Cace and daughter Chelsea were on hand to accept her husband Gerard’s award. In the spirit of the evening she said, “I am a little overwhelmed but extremely grateful that the Chamber recognized Gerard.” Patrick Henry, a Nashville songwriter and musician known for drawing crowds keynoted the event. Photos by Joycelyne Fadojutimi

what is the longview chamber of commerce? The Longview Chamber of Commerce is a voluntary organization of business and professional men and women who have joined together for the betterment of business, development of tourism, development of downtown Longview potential, and the overall quality of life in Longview. The area’s economic well-being is directly related to the caliber of work that is done by the chamber of commerce. That is why the Longview Chamber of Commerce has a major impact on business, income and future growth of the area. objectives of the chamber: • To promote a better understanding of our private enterprise system • To coordinate the efforts of commerce, industry, tourism and the professions in maintaining and strengthening a sound and healthy business climate in Longview • To sponsor aggressive programs of work and stimulate activities which will provide for full development and employment of our human and economic resources • To provide creative business leadership and effective coordination of all interested parties in solving community problems and in initiating constructive community action • To create a broad understanding and appreciation of the great opportunities in Longview, and to promote the advantages and assets of our community, within the area, in the state and in the nation

State Rep. David and wife, Susan Simpson


Manufacturer of the Year Brent Sansing, US Tubular Plant Manager, and wife, Kathy

Dr. Tim Watson

Dan Droege, First Bank and Trust President, and wife, Kim

Keith Honey

Raoul Zapata infinitie plus

february 2013


Community Connections

Community Connections

City Councilman, Gary Smith

Glenda Burt and Wally Rhymes, Springhill State Bank

Aliceson and Corey Howell


Large Business of the Year

Wellness Pointe CEO, Carl I. Walters II and wife, Jennifer 14

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Rick Monsivais and Lisa Null i n finitie plus

Brad Tidwell, Citizens National Bank President, and wife, Susan


Jim and Ann Hugman with Tom Stamper

Luis and Linda Trevino

Perry D. Reed & Company c e r t i f i e d p u b l i c a c c o u n ta n t s • a p r o f e s s i o n a l c o r p o r a t i o n

“Professionalism in the accounting profession means integrity, objectivity, independence, adherence to professional standards, and a demonstrated will to maintain and improve the quality of professional services.”


Chairman’s Award

1223 Judson Road | Longview, Texas | 903.757.4071 w w w. re e d c p a . n e t

Cathy and Chelsea Cace

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From the Desk of Carl I. Walters, II. Chief Executive Officer Dear Community Friends,


s a Federally Qualified Health Center charged with improving the health and wellbeing of the communities we serve, Wellness Pointe feels that you, our community stakeholders, should be informed about the progress we are making to improve and expand the services we offer. 2012 was a powerful year for Wellness Pointe, and on behalf of our dedicated Board of Directors and Administrative team, we are pleased to offer you the following Wellness Pointe Community Report...

2012 Community Report Operational Accomplishments


uring 2012, Wellness Pointe made a variety of operational changes and improvements to benefit the needs of our patients and various community stakeholders, including: • We successfully implemented a new electronic health record system to serve the needs of our patients more efficiently • Increased our same day appointment access to better accommodate patients needing immediate medical care without scheduling an appointment • Developed an internal Call Center to free up phone lines and make scheduling appointments easier for our patients • Awarded several new grants, including: • $1.1 million Home Visiting grant • $55,000 HRSA Quality grant to enhance cervical cancer preventive services • $334,600 DSHS HIV Prevention grant to help reduce our state’s growing HIV infection rates • Began offering EKG and Spirometry Services in-house in order to better serve our patients and reduce the need for external referrals • Successfully strengthened and stabilized our system leadership team by recruiting and/or promoting new staff as detailed below:

New Team Members • • • • • • • • • • •

Carl I. Walters II., Chief Executive Officer Dr. Annette Okpeki, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Damon Spencer, Chief Dental Officer Michael Turner, Chief Operating Officer Richard England, Chief Information Officer Melissa Brittain, Practice Manager Robert Boullion, Accounting Supervisor Charles McGraw, Facilities Coordinator Terri Mogavero, Credentialing Coordinator Sheena Lemon, Decision Support Analyst Hollis Hill, Program Director, HIPPY Home Visiting Program • Timm Dolley, Program Manager, Ryan White Support Services

Internal Employee Promotions • • • • •


Zack Sharp, Corporate Compliance Officer Ken White, Quality Coordinator Susan Warford, Manager of Internal Audit Savanna Lewis, Lead, Eligibility Services Peggy Johnson, Lead, Reservation Center

Gilmer | 602 Titus St. | Suite 130 february 2013 i n finitie plus

• Began taking strides to achieve Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) recognition • Averaged over 400 new patient visits per month for the majority of the year • Received recognition via “Locals Love Us” for having one of the best Behavioral Health Counseling programs in Longview • Renovated our main waiting rooms to make them more comfortable and inviting • Successfully implemented Televox, an automated patient appointment reminder system to help our valued patients remember and maintain their future appointments • Significantly improved our Quality Program to ensure the services we provide remain progressive and patient-centered • Outlined and implemented a structured and successful marketing campaign • Invested in a new phone system that will be more customer friendly and easier to navigate once fully installed in early 2013 • Strengthened and further diversified our Board of Directors by adding two new members: • Mary Ann Miller, and; • Jonathan Foy


ur Board of Directors also voted in several new officers as detailed below:

New Board Officers • • • •

Deena Shelton, Board Chair Jonathan Foy, Board Vice Chair Randy Rose, Board Treasurer Amy Allen, Board Secretary

• Strengthened and expanded our various service lines by recruiting several new clinicians as detailed below:

New Clinicians • • • • • • • • •

Dr. Damon Spencer, Dental Services Dr. Charles Wyatt, Dental Services Dr. Udeme Ekpenyong, Pediatrics Dr. Annette Okpeki, Pediatrics Dr. Ramon Villafria, Family Medicine Dr. Debbie Spencer, OB/GYN Dr. Cheryl Clarke, OB/GYN Georgia Day, MSN, FNP-C Khoshunda Williams, MSN, FNP-C

Longview | 1107 East Marshall Ave.

Financial Accomplishments In addition to self-generated revenue, Wellness Pointe continued to receive funding from the Federal and State government to ensure all community families who need medical care are able to afford it. We are proud to share highlights of our financial successes during 2012, which include: • Successfully renegotiated and increased our FQHC encounter rate, which will help us serve even more families who are in need of our various services • Successfully implemented a Point-of-Service (POS) initiative to make it easier for our valued patients to keep their patient accounts current • Increased our annual system medical/dental encounters and produced more than 7,600 encounters during 2012, which represents a 15.15% productivity increase compared to 2011 • Increased our Privately/Commercially insured patients by over 1,700, which represents a 44.23% increase compared to 2011 • Increased our Medicaid insured patients served by more than 2,500, which represents a 13.03% increase compared to 2011 • Increased our Medicare insured patients served by over 200, which represents a 10.12% increase compared to 2011

Community Contributions


ellness Pointe is a proud supporter of local organizations and civic clubs that share our mission to improve the health and wellbeing of our community stakeholders. During 2012, Wellness Pointe proudly supported and/or sponsored the following:

Community Events

• The City of Longview Partners in Prevention’s Multicultural Festival • The City of Longview Police Officer’s Association • The City of Gilmer’s Yamboree • East Texas CASA’s Superhero Fun Walk/Run • The East Texas Recovery Initiative’s Life In Recovery • East Texas Workforce Solution’s Veteran Job Fair • The Kilgore Independent School District’s annual Christmas Card Contest • Longview Community Ministries’ Food Drive • Newgate Mission’s Gobble Wobble • The PRCA Longview Rodeo • Texas Home Health Hospice’s Operation Stand Down


ellness Pointe held several legislative site visits with elected officials from the East Texas community, including:

Legislative Visitors • • • •

Kasha Williams, Mayor Pro Tem Gary Smith, City Councilman David Simpson (R), State Representative The Honorable Bill Stoudt, Gregg County Judge


ellness Pointe also successfully planned and executed our largest fundraiser to date, the “Community Champions” Award Gala,

Kilgore | 1711 S. Henderson Blvd. | Suite 400

at which we honored one of our organization’s founders and former Medical Director, Dr. John Kirk and his wife, Eleanor, for their years of service to improving the life and health of our community families.

2013 Strategic Objectives


n 2013, Wellness Pointe plans to accomplish the following strategic objectives: • Continue to diversify and strengthen our Board of Directors • Strengthen partnerships with our various community stakeholders • Begin offering sonogram services on site • Begin offering Family Dental services at both our Gilmer and Kilgore medical campuses • Continue to expand our many service lines, including: • Family Medicine (including Pediatric, Adult, and Geriatric Care) • Obstetrics • Gynecology • Pediatrics • Urgent Care • Behavioral Health • WIC • Myriad Social Services programs • Increase the number of community families served by our health system • Continue to partner with our local hospitals to ensure our valued community families receive the right care at the right time and in the most cost-effective treatment platform and; • Work harder to ensure your family’s experience with us is the very best experience possible every time we have the opportunity to care for you.

Did You Know?

• As a Federally Qualified Health Center, Wellness Pointe is part of a national system of more than 8,500 health center sites charged with improving the health of all members of the communities we serve without regard to insurance status or ability to pay • Wellness Pointe is held to a higher standard than most private health systems by ensuring our clinicians are top-quality and prepared to meet the unique health needs of you and your family • Wellness Pointe clinicians are also responsible for recording and reporting on more than 15 clinical performance measures to ensure the services we deliver are high quality and lead to better health outcomes for our patients

Accepting new privately/ commercially insured patients.

Call to schedule an appointment today!

903.758.2610 infinitie plus february 2013


Social Security


By Tom Margenau If I had the space, I probably could write a column called “The One Thousand Most Common Misconceptions About Social Security.” I see examples of them almost every day in the emails I get from my readers. Alas, I’ll barely have room to cover the top ten. This week, I’ll stick to the program side of Social Security. Next week, I’ll go over some of the most common policy and political misunderstandings. Misconception 1: Social Security retirement benefits are based on your last 10 years of earnings. Other misunderstandings say benefits are based on a “high five” or a


“last three” base of earnings. None are true. All retirement benefits are based on a person’s highest 35 years of earnings — with each year being adjusted for inflation. Misconception 2: If you work after you start getting Social Security, the extra taxes you pay will automatically increase your Social Security check. You will only get such an automatic increase if your current income is higher than the lowest of the 35 inflation-adjusted years of earnings used in your original computation. Misconception 3: You can take reduced benefits at 62 and later switch to full benefits on your own

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the 10 Mo st Commo n Misconcep tions abou t Social Sec urity or a spouse’s record. With very few exceptions (the major one applying to widows), you simply can’t do that. If you apply for any kind of Social Security benefit before age 66, you must file for all other benefits you are due at the same time. But those rules change dramatically if you wait until age 66 to file. To understand these rules, send me an email and ask for a free digital copy of my fact sheet, “When to Take Your Social Security Benefits.” Misconception 4: Working women are cheated because they cannot get their own retirement benefit and a wife’s or widow’s benefit from their husband’s account. I get emails almost every day from women complaining about this issue. Interestingly, I’ve never once heard from a working man complaining that he can’t get a husband or widower’s benefit from his wife’s Social Security record. Simply put: As a general rule, if you are due two benefits (and any married person who works is potentially due benefits from his or her own record and from a spouse’s account), you only get the benefit that pays the higher rate. To clarify further, you should understand that spousal benefits are only due to financially dependent wives or husbands. Misconception 5: You must be married for at least 10 years to

qualify for spousal benefits from Social Security. That 10-year duration of marriage rule applies only to divorced spouses. Misconception 6: Any benefits paid to a divorced spouse offset payments due to a current spouse. That is simply wrong. Social Security checks paid to an ex-spouse have no impact on benefits payable to a current spouse. They each can receive whatever spousal benefits they are due. Misconception 7: Teachers are cheated out of Social Security benefits on a spouse’s record. This fallacy grows out of a misunderstanding of a law called the “government pension offset.” That law simply says that teacher’s pensions (received by teachers in jobs not covered by Social Security) will be treated like a Social Security retirement benefit. Social Security retirement benefits have always offset any spousal benefits a person might be due. The GPO law simply says that teacher’s retirement pensions will also offset any spousal benefits due. To understand this better, send me an email and ask for a free digital copy of my fact sheet, “Pension Offsets and Social Security.” Misconception 7: Social Security disability benefits are welfare.

Arts and Culture Where does this idea come from? (Actually, I think I know, and it’s explained in the next paragraph.) Let’s look at two people. Joe has worked and paid Social Security taxes all his life. He retires at age 62 and gets Social Security retirement benefits. Jack has also worked and paid Social Security taxes all his life. Unfortunately, he comes down with prostate cancer at age 58 and starts getting Social Security disability benefits. Why do so many people think Joe is getting a benefit he earned while Jack is getting some form of welfare? They are both getting Social Security benefits for which they have worked and paid taxes. Misconception 8: SSI is some kind of Social Security benefit. Supplemental Security Income is a federal welfare program that has nothing at all to do with Social Security other than the fact that it is managed by the Social Security Administration. SSI benefits are funded by general tax revenues, not by Social Security taxes. SSI pays a very small monthly stipend to poor people who are over age 65 or who are under 65 but disabled. Unfortunately, many people confuse SSI disability payments with Social Security disability benefits. They are two distinct programs. The former is a welfare payment. The latter is an earned benefit. Misconception 10: Medicaid is part of the Medicare program. Just like SSI and Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare are two separate government programs. Simply put, Medicaid is welfare and Medicare is not. To qualify for Part A, or hospital coverage, under Medicare, you generally must work and pay Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. And anyone over 65 or getting Social Security disability benefits can buy Part B Medicare coverage. Part B pays for doctor’s visits, lab tests, outpatient hospital services and other medical costs. You qualify for Medicaid, which is as comprehensive as both parts of Medicare, not because you’ve worked and paid taxes, but only because you are poor. Have a Social Security question? Tom Margenau has the answer. Contact him at

m u e s u M e h Night At T Don’t miss this big event... mark your calendars now! Night At The Museum Combines the best of the annual wine tasting, casino night and holiday gale into one big 2013 fundraiser with something for everyone! Saturday, February 16, 7pm to midnight, with Dagnabbit band playing all night long for your dancing pleasure! Glorious food buffet with Mongolian barbecue, soup shooters, sweet potato bruschetta and much more, including: • Chef David Lichty serving sake and rolling sushi • Photography booth in the land of Egypt • Craft beer tasting • Cigar rolling • Gaming • Henna tattoos • Body painting • Silent and live auctions • Raffles • Chocolate gifts for order • Magic • Mystic fortune teller • Séance master Tickets are $100 per person with all proceeds going to the museum. Call 903.753.8103 for reservations or go online at

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215 E. Tyler Str eet Downtown Lo ngview

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Travel and Adventure


Mardi Gras Time

in Shreveport, LA x

By Jim Farber “I think we’ll be OK,” said Dave (on-board chief of libations) as our twostory float, “The Duke,” with its massive figurehead of John Wayne, took its place in line for the annual Krewe of Gemini Mardi Gras parade in Shreveport, La. “That is,” he added, skeptically looking up at the darkening sky, “unless it rains.” This was my first experience with Mardi Gras, having always been reluctant to throw myself into the festival madness that annually grips New Orleans between Epiphany and Fat Tuesday. “Don’t you worry, Shreveport is different,” I was assured by my jovial float hosts, Charles Seyfield and Marilyn Creswell, who were both masked and decked out in shimmering red satin cowboy regalia. “Our Mardi Gras is much more for families.” The city of Shreveport is located on the Red River in the northwestern corner of Louisiana and is the third largest city in the state behind New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Established in 1836 and named for its founder, Henry Miller Shreve, the port boomed as a cattle town in the years leading up to and following the Civil War. 22

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As a music center, Shreveport was home to Huddie William Ledbetter (Leadbelly), the famous folk and blues singer, and in 1953 a young rock ‘n’ roller named Elvis Presley got his start as a regular guest on the city’s popular radio show, “The Louisiana Hayride.” In the 1990s the introduction of riverboat gambling helped lift Shreveport out of an economic decline, and more recently the city has experienced the arrival of a new community of residents driven north by the ravages of Hurricane Katrina. Unlike New Orleans, which can trace the roots of its Mardi Gras celebration back to the formative days of the city, Mardi Gras in the ShreveportBossier region is a relatively new phenomenon. The idea was first floated (so to speak) in 1989 and led to the formation of the city’s two largest “krewes”: the Krewe of Centaurs and the Krewe of Gemini. The first “official” Gemini Mardi Gras Ball was held on Feb. 17, 1990, and was followed on Feb. 24 by the krewe’s first parade, which featured 12 floats. Today the ShreveportBossier Mardi Gras celebration is one of the most popular in the region and attracts thousands of visitors. When our float finally took its place in line, we found ourselves sandwiched between the Pirates of the Caribbean, with its giant figurehead of

Jack Sparrow (played in the movie by Johnny Depp), and a grim visage of Gen. George Patton. The sky, however, was growing ever more threatening. I thought back 24 hours to the festive gathering that had taken place at Krewe of Gemini’s storage facility, where hundreds of people had gathered to celebrate the traditional “loading of the floats.” When it was completed, every float was filled to overflowing with strands of multicolored beads and an array of small toys that would be dispensed to the thousands of revelers who were expected to line the parade route. Now, here we were jolting along, being greeted by kids and teenagers, parents and grandparents who were clamoring, waving their arms, shouting, screaming and cajoling and begging, all in hopes of snagging yet another strand of glittery beads. And here I was, keeper of the bootie, my arms loaded down with beads, able to make so many people happy simply by slinging them a couple of strands or a little stuffed animal. It was wonderful. I will never forget the look in the eyes of the youngest ones, when I could single them out and throw them something they instantly treasured — at least until the next float came by with another load. Then the rain came. infinitie plus

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Travel and Adventure At first it was just a few drops. But it didn’t take long before it was coming down in sheets. The wind began to blow, and the temperature, which had been none too warm to begin with, began to drop. Everyone on the floats and by the side of the road was soon soaked. And beautiful though they are, Mardi Gras floats are not designed with rain in mind. The amazing thing was that hardly anybody left or seemed to concede to the weather. Whole families remained even though they were drenched. Others huddled beneath small makeshift tents they had erected along the parade route. So into the night we rolled, tossing beads and taking turns retreating to the float’s only enclosed area, a small cabin in the rear, where we could attempt to warm up. By the time we reached the end of the six-mile-long parade route and were hauled back to the staging area, the rain was coming down in buckets, and the festive mood had that had managed somehow to prevail had been thoroughly drenched. Charles and Marilyn apologized for the fact that the after party (a parade tradition) was cancelled and wished I could have seen the parade under different circumstances. I felt sorry for them. They and the krewe had worked all year long in preparation for this night, and at no little expense. In their eyes the parade had been a failure — or at least a major disappointment. I, on the other hand, had loved every minute, and I had come to understand in such a unique way how much more wonderful it can be to give than it is to receive. Jim Farber is a freelance writer. Photos are of the Mardi Gras in Shreveport-Bossier City, which is the second-largest Mardi Gras celebration in Louisiana, second only to New Orleans, and are courtesy of the Shreveport-Bossier City CVB.

When You Go The two largest evening parades in Shreveport-Bossier are the Krewe of Centaur (, which will be held 4:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 2, and the Krewe of Gemini (, 5 p.m., 24

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Saturday, Feb. 9. Both parades will begin at the corner of Clyde Fant Parkway and Lake Street in downtown Shreveport, proceed down Clyde Fant Parkway and turn onto Shreveport-Barksdale Highway, ending at the intersection of Preston Avenue and East Kings Highway near Duck Pond Park. For travel information on Louisiana’s “other side”:

Fashion and Beauty

Valentine’s Day e d i u G ❤❤ l ❤ a ❤ v i ❤❤ v ❤ r ❤ u ❤ S ❤❤ By Sharon Mosley Make this Valentine’s Day a time to celebrate, even if you’re single. Take a new look around and make a fresh start — with or without the chocolates. Yes, you could check yourself into a spa for the day, but here are a few other ways to put some romance into your life and survive the day of love in style! ❤Address the issue. How about brightening up the occasion with a new dress? And don’t make it just any ol’ dress. Red dresses are always a Valentine tradition, but check out the new graphic floral prints popping up in the stores right now. Purchase one of these beauties and give yourself your own bunch of flowers that will definitely cheer you up on Valentine’s Day and any other day of the year. ❤Lick those lips. This one is easy and cheap. Buy a new lipstick in a red-hot color. Think Angelina Jolie at the Golden Globe awards ceremony. Transform your look with one full swoosh. Check out CoverGirl’s LipPerfection Lipcolor in Tempt, Hot or Flame ($6.50 each). Or pick up Revlon’s Colorburst Lip Butter in Berry Smoothie for only $7.49. Delicious. And just in case you’re in a bad mood on Valentine’s Day, try being transformed with UOs Mood Lipstick at Urban Outfitters. Smack! ❤Give yourself some chocolate. No, not that kind, but these are just as sweet with none of the calories! Just rub the Chocomania Body Butter from The Body Shop all over you and you’ll feel much better! Philip B.’s chocolate milk body wash and creme is another winner. Chocolate diamonds, anyone? Yummy. View the Le Vian Chocolatier collection at Macy’s. ( ❤Buy yourself some new sleepwear. Whether you’re the cozy, fuzzy PJs type or more of a sexy Lolita, new sleepwear can be a real mood lifter. Ditto for the undies department. Sashay through the nearest Victoria’s Secret, and see if you can uncover something really special, whether it’s a red-hot lace and satin negligee or a slinky, cotton T-shirt. ❤Change your hair color. Yes, you read it right! Take a cue from Hollywood starlets who are going all out for rainbow dyes. No, you don’t have to do Katy Perry’s bubblegum pink or Kelly Osbourne’s lilac gray, but experiment with a new shade and see what happens! ❤Go wild with your nails. A black and white checkerboard pattern? Hot pink zebra

stripes? Psychedelic tie-dye? It’s the hottest craze in nail art and all are possible in an hour at your favorite nail salon. Or you can do it yourself with real nail polish strips. Check out Sally Hansen’s Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips in 40 different styles. ( ❤Put some smoke in your eyes. The smudged eye look is still a hot beauty trend this spring. Instead of using smoky charcoals, switch to blue eye candy this season. Check out Stila’s Jewel Eye Shadow in “Blue Sapphire” for $20. ( ❤Twinkle on your toes. Put some sparkle in your life with metallic accessories this spring. From glamorous silver sandals to mirrored clutches to architectural rings, Valentine’s Day is the best time to shine! ❤Think of a friend. What’s one of the best ways to brighten up your life on this romantic holiday? Give a gift to a friend. There are lots of fun ways to make someone else smile. Check out these websites: or You’ll make their day, and you’ll feel good, too!



Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association.



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1. Stila’s Jewel Eye Shadow in “Blue Sapphire” for $20. 2. Victoria’s Secret Signature Cotton Three-piece Cardigan Pajamas for $49.50. 3. Aerie Luxe Fleece Hoodie for $24.99. 4. Le Vian Chocolatier collection: 14k Rose Gold Diamond and Garnet Stackable Rings for $3,100.004,600.00


february 2013


Grubs Up

Note to self: Don’t shop at gas stations for your wife’s


Valentine's Gift

By Adam J. Holland

ragmatism doesn’t go over well on wedding anniversaries and Valentine’s Day. It’s also a bad idea to attempt practicality when your significant other decides she wants to build a swimming pool, or is set to drive 4,000 miles with a 4-year-old in tow. As I have so many times during (what were supposed to be) romantic moments, I digress... I’m terrible at romance, but it’s not for a lack of trying. One year, I bought ballroom dancing lessons for the two of us. After a few sessions and bruised 26

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toes (hers), I realized that counting to three with footsteps was beyond my ability. I’ve also written my share of love letters. They tend to go over well- until she pulls out the memory box and reads them all at once. Though my love for her has grown tremendously over the years, my ability to be mushy on paper has not. All the letters read the same. And dinners... I’ve cooked plenty of them for just the two of us- even occasionally setting up a small table with candles in our bedroom, setting my iTunes to classical romance, and dressing up just like we were on a real date. On those nights, I’ve bribed the kids with Sonic, Taco Bueno or McDonald’s, then threatened them with their own

Shrimp Avocado Poppers I developed this recipe following a vacation to Mexico, during which my wife ordered a cream cheese-stuffed shrimp concoction that we really enjoyed. My version adds cilantro and little chunks of avocado. This is a flexible dish, in that you could exchange the cream cheese for a mixture of mozzarella and ricotta, and mix it with fresh chopped basil and sun-dried tomatoes. You could also use ham and Swiss and call it ‘Shrimp Cordon Bleu Poppers’. No matter how you stuff’em, they’re sure to be eaten fairly quickly. Enjoy. • 2 lbs. shrimp (26-30 ct.), shelled and deveined with tails removed • 2-3 large eggs, beaten • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, room temperature • vegetable oil for frying • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped fine • 1 cup plain panko bread crumbs • 2 small avocados, diced with 1 tbsp lime juice • all-purpose flour, for dredging Combine cream cheese and cilantro. Place mixture in pastry bag or plastic bag with small hole cut in the corner. Deeply butterfly the shrimp, so they lay flat. Pipe about 1 teaspoon of cream cheese in the centers of half the shrimp. Place diced avocados (about 2-3 chunks, depending on the size of your dice) on cream cheese filling. Top filled shrimp with remaining butterflied shrimp to make a ‘sandwich’. Place filled shrimp in freezer for 1-2 hours. Dredge frozen shrimp in flour, shaking off excess. Dip each one in egg mixture, then roll in Panko crumbs. Deep fry in 375º F oil until golden, about 3-4 minutes. (You can also fry in pan, turning poppers about halfway through cooking, for even cooking.) Serve immediately with my Thai Sweet & Hot Dipping Sauce or your favorite dipping salsa. This recipe makes 26-30 poppers.

mortality should they decide to interrupt us with an argument over whose turn it is to play Modern Warfare or Little Big Planet. Neither the buyoffs nor the foreboding work consistently though, and we regularly find ourselves pulling up an extra chair so that we can keep a closer eye on someone. I’ve had years during which I took her at her word and neglected to ‘celebrate’ Valentine’s Day. “It’s a greeting card company brainchild,” she would say. (I doubt she meant it.) I’ve been among the group of afternoon Valentine’s Day shoppers, picking through the leftover selection of cards and the corniest of candy hearts. I’m guilty of sending the wrong kind of message by accidentally buying sugar-free candy. I sent an equally awful message the

Shrimp poppers are popular at gatherings. By using 26-30 count shrimp, you only need 1-2 per guest when served as a dinner appetizer or if served alongside other snacks and finger foods.

Thai Sweet & Hot Dipping Sauce My version of Thai Sweet & Hot Dipping Sauce seems to work well with just about anything needing some zest. Serve with anything fried- chicken, pork or seafood. This is also a great dipping sauce for eggrolls or springrolls. Take that, Wendy’s! • 1 cup sugar • ½ cup white vinegar • ½ cup water • 2 tablespoons minced garlic • 1 tablespoon kosher salt • 1 tablespoon soy sauce • 1 tablespoon chili paste or chili garlic paste • 1 kaffir lime leaf, minced • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Combine first six ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to rolling boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat to a simmer. Add half the minced Kaffir Lime leaf. Continue simmering until reduction is the consistency of a light syrup, about 15-20 minutes. Once sauce has reduced, remove from heat. Add remaining Kaffir Lime leaf, chili paste and sesame oil, and stir. Bring sauce to room temperature. Want to tame or fire up the spice? Adjust chili paste. Can be stored in refrigerator for 3-4 days. Makes about a cup of dipping sauce. year that I did last-minute shopping at a gas station. Who knew that those ‘vases’ holding the fake roses are really crack pipes? In my younger days, I came up with a couple of real mood busters. Once, I offered up a booklet of homemade coupons, none of which included any offer beyond the bedroom. I even had the nerve to offer up myself as a Valentine’s Day gift. Now before you ladies judge me, just know that 99%of guys out there have attempted to pull at least one of these stunts at some point in life. The other 1 percent are lying when they deny it. In all our years, my girl has never complained or uttered a single stinging word. To the contrary, she’s always told me how lucky she feels. Truth is, I’m the lucky one. You can follow Adam Holland’s blog, The Unorthodox Epicure: Confessions of an Aspiring Food Snob, online at www. or email him at

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Well Read

True brew fans will be foaming for more Beer Is Proof God Loves Us: Reaching for the Soul of Beer and Brewing By Charles W. Bamforth c.2011, Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as FT Press | $25.99 There are, as far as you’re concerned, five seasons in a year. Of course, you’ve got spring and summertime. Fall comes next, then you get winter. And right after that, comes Bowl Season. You can’t bear to miss a Bowl, and that includes the Super one. Plus, you’ve got a bowl of chips, a bowl of pretzels, and a bowl of dip to go along. Most importantly, there’s beer to wash it all down. But if you think that all you need to know about beer is in a full glass, go back to the recliner and think again. As you’ll see in “Beer is Proof God Loves Us” by Charles W. Bamforth, there’s more to beer than meets the lips. Although the history of beer in the U.K. and America runs deep, beer was first brewed by the Sumerians around 6,000 years ago. If you quaffed a cup of that brew, you’d be pleasantly surprised: it was probably stronger than beers of today. Commercial beer makers have to stick with a certain percentage of alcohol by law, but that’s not their only concern when brewing. In pursuit of the best beer, hops and yeast must meet exact specifications, the water used will be altered to perfection, even its container is taken into consideration. On top of all that, if a brewing mistake happens to appeal to beer drinkers, brewmasters will learn to add defects into their batches. It’s all about taste. But you know taste, and you know your beers. Heck, you could be a brewmaster, no problem, right? Maybe – if you went to college for it. You have to be willing to start small, too, and your reputation had better be squeaky-clean: no DUIs and no suspicious weekend recreation. Pass those requirements, though, and you’ll be a part of something big. Beer drinking was, at least at some points in history, a privilege only for royals. It’s an internationally-growing phenomena (China’s beer industry has exploded in the past few years and the Saudi Arabian market is huge). And beer has changed the way we socialize, not just in modern times, but throughout history. Looking for something lite to drink in before the big game? You might find it here – and then again, you might not. “Beer is Proof God Loves Us” starts out slow as sludge. Author Charles W. Bamforth has been involved in various aspects of the beer industry for over three decades, and the first part


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of this book is more scholarly than perhaps the casual reader will want. That kind of high-brow information foams up often throughout the book but, thankfully, it’s also accompanied by lively, funny information about your favorite drink: beer is actually nutritious, has health-improving benefits, and it’s great for games other than the Bowl sort. Overall, my recommendation for this book is divided: if you want something less filling, pass on “Beer is Proof God Loves Us”. If you’re a beer maker or if you’re fascinated by the nittygritty of the industry, then you’ll drink this book up.

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it Reallyis the thought that counts

By Cheryl Lavin nybody can give chocolates and roses for Valentine’s Day, but let’s hear it for the guys with the nerve to give pliers, an oven mitt or a bottle of bubbles.


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SALLY: For our first Valentine’s Day, my

husband gave me a “corn cob” toilet paper holder and an oven mitt that said, “Kiss the Cook.” For the last 31 Valentine’s Days, we’ve discussed that very “special” one in 1981. KEITH: Four weeks ago, my wife fell and sustained a head injury. She’s been in the hospital ever since. So on Valentine’s Day, I visited her there. I brought her a card with a homemade coupon for rose bushes, which I’ll plant in the spring. No point in flowers. There’s no space in her room. I can’t bring candy or take her out to dinner because she hasn’t re-learned how to swallow.

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We sat together and cuddled and carried on as much of a conversation as she’s capable of. Then we went to a party in the hospital. When we came back to the room, I held her hand as she drifted off to sleep. This isn’t the Valentine’s Day I was planning, but under the circumstances, it’s the best we could manage. I’m grateful my wife recognizes me and can converse somewhat. I’m also thankful that she is mobile and is healing reasonably quickly. Don’t take your significant other for granted; things can change in a second. SHELLEY: I got a heart-shaped box of chocolates. On top were some beautiful snap-ring pliers, exactly what I wanted. CYNTHIA: In 1953, I spent Valentine’s Day at the USO, dancing. At 10 p.m., I took a cab to the train station, dressed in a formal gown and a black velvet cape. The station was crowded with homeless drunks. As I sat down, in the only empty chair, next to a man who seemed to be sleeping, my handbag popped open. He jumped up to pick up my things. When he handed them to me, I looked into the sexiest blue eyes I’d ever seen. He was on his way home from work, waiting for the same train. We married in August 1954 and raised five children. Every year on Valentine’s Day, he brought me a single red rose, a box of chocolate-covered cherry cordials and a lovely card addressed “To my darling wife” and signed “Your loving husband.” We celebrated our 50th anniversary in August 2004. In January 2005, he died of a massive stroke. Now on Valentine’s Day, I set our wedding and 50th anniversary portraits on the coffee table with a bottle of wine and a box of cherry cordials. Then, I watch an old love story on DVD and read some of those beautiful Valentines. JANICE: When I was 18, I got a dozen roses from a guy I didn’t really like. The guy I liked

Just for Chuckles

Don’t take your

significant other for granted;

things can change in a


showed up at my apartment with a bottle of soap bubbles. We sat outside and blew bubbles. I liked them better than the roses. Fast forward a few years. My husband bought me a bunch of my favorite candy bars. We were so broke that a box of chocolates was out of the question. The fact that he thought about what I liked and made a trip to the store meant everything. Guess that’s why we’re going on 37 years. Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to

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