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Spring 2013

A quarterly magazine for southwest Iowa parents

Friends Forever

Picking the right pet for your family

also Inside:

Food Allergies:

Could your child have one?

Leaving the Nest:

How to prepare your child — and yourself — for college. Family Ties Cover Pages.indd 1

3/1/2013 2:21:27 PM

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Family Ties Cover Pages.indd 2

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Health Care

for the entire family New Patients Welcome!

Isam Marar, MD

Diana RabadiMarar, MD

K. Neil Sheppard, MD

Theresa Oltman, ARNP

Ryan Hyde, PA-C

Paige Trausch, PA-C

Scheduled Appointments:

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PLEASE CALL 712-256-5600 TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT 1701 W. Broadway • Council Bluffs, IA 51501 •

on the cover

College Talk

Macy Wheeler, 12, cuddles her 8-year-old pug named Ted.


Photo by Lauren Campbell

A quarterly magazine for southwest Iowa parents


DIRECTOR Courtney Brummer-Clark


Food Allergies

18 Fun Exercises for Families

{spring2013} EDUCATION

Talking with teens about college How parents can get involved at school Inspired e-learning for kids


Friends Forever: Picking the right pet for your family Emergency Preparedness Fire safety for your family

ENTERTAINMENT, TRAVEL & ARTS Underground Railroad ran through Tabor Story of bank robbery a part of Riverton history How-to pack a car safely


Is your child allergic to certain foods?

Fun exercises for families Help in available for abuse and domestic violence victims Are Expired Medications Still Safe


Pebbles Contest Elaine Fenner column Easter Recipes

FOR THE KIDS Kids’ Korner Coloring Page


PHOTOGRAPHERS Kyle Bruggeman Joe Shearer 7 8 9


12 13

14 15 16

STAFF WRITERS Mike Brownlee Ashlee Coffey Tim Johnson Chad Nation Tim Rohwer

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Elaine Fenner SaraAnn Lampert


17 18 19 20

22 23 24

25 26

ADVERTISING ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Cindy Bunten, Advertising Manager Becky Johnson Janelle Prichard Gay Snyder

{what’sgoingon?} Easter Events

The Council Bluffs Parks & Recreation Department is partnering with the Robert’s Park Neighborhood Association to host its annual Easter Egg Hunt on March 23. The hunt, which is free to children ages 1 to 10, will start promptly at 10 a.m. at Roberts Park, 1000 N. 25th St. The children will be divided into three age groups. The Council Bluffs Fire Department and Police Department will bring equipment to show the children, along with stickers and other treats. No registration is necessary. The hunt is held rain or shine. Parking is free. Bass Pro Shops, 2901 Bass Pro Drive, Council Bluffs will hold Easter events March 23-31. Activities include pictures with the Easter Bunny (free 4x6 photo), Easter crafts and an Easter egg hunt (beginning at 1 p.m. and ending at 2; registration will begin at 12:30). Easter activities on the weekends run from 1 to 4 p.m. Pictures with the Easter Bunny during the week run from 6 to 8 p.m. There will be a craft available Friday, March 22, from 6 to 8 p.m. Lauritzen Garden, First and Bancroft streets, Omaha, will hold its Easter Extravaganza on March 30 from 9 a.m. to noon. There will be crafts, egg hunts and photos with the Easter Bunny. For more details, visit Regular admission applies, with an additional $3 per child for the egg hunt and activities. Advance registration is required – call (402) 346-4002, Ext. 262, by 5 p.m. on March 27. Lauritzen’s Easter brunch is March 31 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Brunch is $25 per person. Reservations are required by March 27. To make reservations, contact Merri at (402) 346-4002, Ext. 201. Other events include: VILLISCA - Saturday, March 30: Villisca Annual Easter Egg Hunt, Villisca Town Square, Begins at 11 a.m. Sponsored by the Villisca Community Better Association. For more information, call (712) 826-2282 RED OAK - Saturday, March 30: Rotary Club of Red Oak Easter Egg Hunt, Fountain Square Park, 307 E. Reed St., For more information, call (712) 623-4821. MARCH 23: An Iowa Songbook – Donna Reed Theater, Denison “An Iowa Songbook” showcases the music of Iowa at the Donna Reed Theater. Show begins at 7 p.m. Call (712) 263-3334 for more information. 23: Missouri Valley Chamber Chili Cook-Off – Eagle’s Club, Missouri Valley Chili and other soup competition. From 4:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets are $6 and can be purchased at the door. Call (712) 642-2553 for more information. APRIL 13: Loess Hill Prairie Rescue Work Day – Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek Join the Natural Areas Management staff for a morning of prairie restoration at Hitchcock Nature Center. Project includes cutting brush that is invading into a remnant prairie on Badger Ridge. All ages welcome to attend. From 9 a.m. to noon. For more information, call (712) 545-3283 or go online to 14: KinderNature: Oaks & Acorns – Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek Become queen or king of the forest as we explore trees, seeds and what they need. Learn about plant parts, identify leaves and enjoy a hike along the woodland trails. Programs designed for children ages 3-5 accompanied by an adult. Hands-on learning and outdoor activities. Each program introduces a new theme with stories, crafts and outdoor exploration. $5 per child. For more information, call (712) 545-3283 or go online to www. 20: Hidden in the Hills: Spring Scavenger Hunt – Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek Use your sense and follow clues on an expedition through the Loess Hills this spring. Teams consisting of 2-10 members, will be assigned staggered start times. From 9 a.m. to noon. Pre-registration is required by Monday, April 15, as space is limited. Please call Kelly at (712) 328-5834 to register your team. All ages welcome to attend. Cost: $5 per person. For more information, call (712) 545-3283 or go online to 27: Manilla Madness Ride – Hy-Vee, Denison Manilla Madness Ride 2013. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. in the Denison Hy-Vee parking lot. The ride begins at 9 a.m. and includes a scenic 28-mile ride with thrills, chills and hills through beautiful Crawford County. Call (712) 263-5621 to register. MAY 5: Red Oak Flight Breakfast: Red Oak Regional Aviation, Red Oak Annual flight breakfast featuring a fresh pancake, sausage and scrambled egg breakfast. A variety of other events happening during the flight breakfast each year. For more information, call (712) 623-4821. 16-18: Celebrate CB Carnival – Bayliss Park, Council Bluffs Park of the annual Celebrate CB festival. Carnival includes rides and games. Go online to for more information. 18: Celebrate CB Parade and Children’s Fair – Downtown Council Bluffs/Bayliss Park Annual parade begins at 10:30 a.m. followed by entertainment and children’s fair in Bayliss Park. For more information, go online to 19: Plymouth Antique Car Club & Swap Meet: Missouri Valley City Park, Missouri Valley Car show and swap meet. For more information, call (712) 545-3014.

19: KinderNature: Kits, Chicks & Other Kids – Botna Bend Park, Hancock Find out about different animal babies that live in Iowa and how they grow and learn. Discover how animal moms protect, feed and raise their young as the group explores the outdoors in search of these new families. Programs designed for children ages 3-5 accompanied by an adult. Hands-on learning and outdoor activities. Each program introduces a new theme with stories, crafts and outdoor exploration. $5 per child. Weather-permitting. For more information, call (712) 545-3283 or go online to www. 21: Hitch Hike: Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek The first hike in of the series along a Loess Hills ridge top through scenic prairie to reach the McIntosh Pioneer Cemetery, founded in 1874. The trail is only accessible with a PCCB staff member and is not considered open to the public. Event begins at 7 p.m. Cost $2 per person. For more information, call (712) 545-3283 or go online to www.pottcoconservation. com. 31 & June 1: Annual Mighty Mo Rodeo: Fairgrounds (next to City Park), Missouri Valley There is something for all ages at the annual Mighty Mo Rodeo. In addition to two days of full rodeo competition, there are several children’s events planned including a boot scramble, concessions, a mechanical bull and more. Immediately after the competition on June 1, a dance will be held at the fairgrounds featuring live music from Lincoln, NE band Switchbak. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. each night. Admission is $10 for anyone older than 12, 12 and younger is $5. For more information, call (712) 592-1670. JUNE 1: Kids’ Fishing Derby: Arrowhead Park, Neola Bring the entire family to Arrowhead Park for an afternoon of outdoor fun. Since this event is held in conjunction with Iowa’s FREE fishing weekend, a license is not required for Iowa residents. All other IDNR fishing regulations apply. Free gifts for children entered in the derby. Must be younger than 16 years of age to participate. From 1 to 3 p.m. For more information, call (712) 495-2295 or go online to 2: Midwest Early Corvette Club Annual Spring Fling: City Park, Missouri Valley Swap meet and car/truck/motorcycle show. For more information, call (402) 630-2493. 6: Music in the Park: City Park, Missouri Valley First of four to six week event. Bring lawn chairs and a picnic basket to Missouri Valley’s City Park and enjoy an evening of music under beautiful trees. Event is free and begins at 7 p.m. 9: KinderNature: Spacious Skies: Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek Programs designed for children ages 3-5 accompanied by an adult. Hands-on learning and outdoor activities. Each program introduces a new theme with stories, crafts and outdoor exploration. $5 per child. Weather-permitting. For more information, call (712) 545-3283 or go online to 18: Hitch Hike: Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek The second hike in the series will saunter south, through the woodland areas to Badger Ridge, home of Hitchcock’s best prairie remnants. Discover purple coneflower and other early summer wildflowers. Event begins at 7 p.m. Cost is $2 per person. Weather-permitting. For more information, call (712) 545-3283 or go online to

The Iowa League of Cities honored Avoca’s community improvement efforts with its 2012 All-Star Community award.


he renovations in downtown Avoca include new street-lamps and signs, new store-fronts, bricklined streets and many other streetscape improvements. “It’s great to have someone outside Avoca recognize us for what we’ve done,” said Avoca City Manager Clint Fichter. Over the years, Elm Street, the main thoroughfare in Avoca, deteriorated. The streets were old, uneven and cracked, some of the building facades dilapidated. The city’s water and sewage lines under the street were also in need of replacement. “Did it bring the community together? One of the things in Avoca was the size and scope of the project compared to the size and scope of the community,” Iowa League of Cities Executive Director Alan Kemp said. “This went beyond a mere project, it energized the community to go beyond. Those are the things the judges look for.”

“Moving forward, Word’s gotten out that we’re a we’ve done the basic great place to live, a great small town. We want to grow work of making our and be attractive to people community attractive. looking for a great small town Word’s gotten out that outside the metro. We think we’re a great place to with what we’ve done and what live, a great small we plan to do, that’ll happen. town,” Fichter Avoca City Manager Clint Fichter said. “We want to grow and This is about be attracinvesting in today tive to so there’s an people Avoca tomorrow. looking Richard Price, a member of the for a great Avoca Betterment Association small town This went beyond outside the a mere project, it metro. We think energized the with what we’ve done community to go and what we plan to do, that’ll beyond. happen.” Iowa League of Cities

” “

Executive Director Alan Kemp

New Housing Programs! New Townhomes

New Single Family Homes

• 4 new townhome units

• Single Family Homes

• Units will be single level

• Downpayment Grants up to 25% of purchase price

• 1100 to 1350 sq feet

• Grant can be used to purchase any 1 of 5 Single Family Homes slated for construction

• 2 Bedrooms

Construction of Townhomes and Single Family Homes will be on lots near AHST School district.

Contact Clint Fichtner or City Hall for more information: (712) 343-2424 or check us out online at: Avoca, Iowa is conveniently located just 30 minutes East of Omaha/Council Bluffs.

{education} 7

Talking with teens about college


story by Chad Nation



he weather is slowly starting to turn. Sunshine has began to replace those dull, gray days of winter. Graduating high school seniors can see the finish line within reach. Spring fever will soon find a foothold on afternoons that see the thermometer hit the upper 60s. While it would appear now is the time for seniors to push the cruise control button on their high school careers, Ashley DeVrieze, site coordinator for the College Bound Club at Thomas Jefferson High School, said that could not be further from the truth. While many seniors have already applied and been accepted to schools across the country, now is the time to work on the financing of their education. “We are in the throes of financial aid,” DeVrieze said. In fact, in the end of February, a Free Application for Federal Student Aid workshop was held at Thomas Jefferson. Heather Slater, College Access Program coordinator at T.J., coordinated the event, which brought volunteer financial aid representatives from area colleges to the school to help families fill out the federal applications. But there is more than just financial aid available this time of year. DeVrieze said a number of scholarship opportunities are just becoming available for incoming college freshmen. “A lot of local scholarships – known as the southwest Iowa packet – just opened up,” she said. And it is not just seniors that should be paying attention to scholarship opportunities. Juniors, sophomores, and even freshmen, should all be aware of the application process and gaining knowledge about what they need to do to compete for scholarships in their senior year. DeVrieze said College Bound Club works with students who are likely to be first generation collegians or from low-income homes, or both, to visualize life

after high school. Students in the program are aware of the work it will take to get into college or snag scholarships. Scholarship programs and smaller, private universities are looking for well-rounded students, DeVrieze said. “They want to know that you have been a leader in your school and volunteered in your community,” she said. “I think that as students they don’t always see the importance of community service, but they get more out of it than just something to put on a scholarship application.” For high school juniors and parents, this year is a “shopping” year. DeVrieze said a number of juniors start to visit schools and see the difference between private schools, the state institutions and community colleges. Juniors also must begin to focus on the ACT test and signing up for practice tests. “The ACT is a big thing,” DeVrieze said. “We are lucky that Council Bluffs has purchased an ACT prep program. A lot of juniors are doing the program, which is enabling them to practice and hopefully get better scores.” There is also job shadowing, career counseling and resume building. If it all seems more competitive, and maybe more difficult, than when you were graduating high school, it’s because it probably is. But that is why DeVrieze, Slater and programs like College Bound Club, the College Access Program and the College Click exist. “It used to be that you walked into the high school counseling center and the applications were there,” DeVrieze said. “Now so much of it is online; you have to go to the Internet to find it. We are trying to pull all that information together and help students find it easily so it’s not so intimidating.” •

Scholarship Application Tips By Family Features

The high cost of a college education means that a lot of students are looking for financial aid to help pay for it. But the competition can be stiff. According to the most recent National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, only 5.5 percent1 of undergraduate students received non-athletic scholarships. What can students do to give themselves the best chance of receiving some much-needed scholarship money? “Start your search and application process as early as possible,” said Tiffany Turner, Program Manager at International Scholarship and Tuition Services, Inc., who manages 30 scholarship programs including Foresters™ Competitive Scholarship Program2. “Give yourself plenty of time to find scholarships that fit your skills and needs. And most applications will require essays and letters of recommendation, so you want to make sure you have plenty of time to pull those together.” Turner also encourages students to apply for as many scholarships as they qualify for. “There aren’t a lot of big, full-ride scholarships available, but many smaller scholarships can add up to a surprising amount.” The Scholarship Application When applying for scholarships, attention to detail is an important step to success: Follow directions carefully. Make sure you have all the supporting materials required, but don’t include anything that is not requested. • Fill out the entire application. Don’t skip any questions. If one doesn’t apply to you, make a note of that on the application. If you’re not sure how to answer, you can contact the scholarship coordinator. • Proofread carefully. Typos and grammar errors can hurt your chances. Have a parent or teacher double-check your application. • Watch all deadlines. Set up a calendar for application deadlines and make sure you meet them. If you miss one, your application won’t be considered. • Many scholarship applications require some kind of written essay or letter. • Be specific. Focus on the topics the application requires. Use concrete examples rather than vague, general statements. • Be yourself. This is your chance to show scholarship providers what kind of person you are and why they should help pay for your education. Let your personality come through, and include details that reveal who you really are. • Be honest. Never exaggerate grades, skills or experience. If you find yourself feeling the need to do so, you’re probably not applying for the right scholarship. • Volunteering and community involvement plays a big role in awarding today’s scholarships. “More and more scholarship providers are looking for well-rounded students who not only take their studies seriously, but also have a long-term commitment to their local communities,” said Turner. For example, Foresters, an international life insurance provider committed to family well-being, offers the Foresters Competitive Scholarship worth up to $8,000 for eligible customer members and their spouses, children and grandchildren. In addition to academic requirements, applicants must have performed a minimum of 40 hours of community service in the 24 months leading up to the application deadline. “Do some research on the organization providing the scholarships,” Turner said. “You may find that successful applicants have volunteered more than the minimum, and that can make a difference in their award decisions.” You can find local volunteer opportunities by searching, and find or create your own teen-specific charitable projects at Foresters also provides volunteer opportunities for its customer members. Finding and applying for scholarships is a big process. But, when done right, it can help you achieve your goal of going to college. Learn more about Foresters scholarships at Foresters™ is the trade name and a trademark of The Independent Order of Foresters, 789 Don Mills Road, Toronto, Canada M3C 1T9; its subsidiaries are licensed to use this mark. 1National Postsecondary Student Aid Study: 2This program is administered by International Scholarship and Tuition Services, Inc. Only eligible Foresters members and their families can apply for these scholarships. Foresters member benefits are non-contractual, subject to eligibility requirements and limitations and may changed or cancelled without notice. For details, go online to

8 {education}

How parents can get involved at school By Metro Creative Connection Research indicates that children whose parents get involved with their education are more likely to earn better grades and less likely to have behavior problems in the classroom. The concept of parents working in conjunction with schools is nothing new. A 1987 study by Paul G. Fehrmann and colleagues documented the importance of parental involvement on their child’s grades. Published in the Journal of Education Research, the study found that when parents stayed directly involved in their child’s studies throughout high school, the child’s grades improved. There are many different reasons for parents to get involved with their child’s school and the community. Helping their children succeed is just one of them. The choice is just how to go about connecting with the school. Here are a few ideas. Work with the teacher Teachers are increasingly facing obstacles with regards to time and funding. Many must preside over large classes and are responsible for outfitting their classrooms with certain supplies. This presents ideal opportunities for parents to step up and pitch in. Volunteering in your child’s classroom is a good way

for you to help his or her teacher and get a firsthand account of what your child is doing in class. You may be asked to prepare and package homework assignments or put together materials for craft projects. Some teachers welcome parents who come in to read books to the class or even give spelling tests. Think about chaperoning a field trip or helping with the set-up and clean-up of class parties. If you keep an open dialogue with the teacher through phone calls or e-mail, you may be presented with plenty of opportunities to get involved. Attend meetings Parent-teacher associations or organizations are often instrumental in helping a school to run smoothly. They are the people behind fundraisers and special activities outside of the classroom. The PTA is also privy to information on upcoming events before the rest of the school community. Attending monthly meetings can keep you up to speed on the goings-on at your child’s school. It will also ensure your voice is heard with regards to school policy. Showing your face at meetings will also give you the opportunity to meet other parents. Attend special events Not every parent can serve on the PTA or be present in the daily activities of the classroom. However, you

can show your support by attending special events hosted by the school - such as fundraisers or field-day activities. Volunteer your time with the setup of teacherappreciation lunches and bake sales, serve as a tour guide for the school when new parents are invited, build sets or make costumes for a school play, or take pictures of events and create a collage to be put on display in the school. Volunteer your skills Some schools can benefit from the specialized skills of parents. Ask if you can come in and talk about your job or hobby and demonstrate it to the class. Individuals who have technology skills can volunteer to install computer software or to run networking throughout the school. If you have a background in print layout, find out if you can help design and publish the school newsletter or yearbooks. Anytime a parent volunteers his or her time, that means less funding has to go to hiring an outside vendor for the job, saving the school money it sorely needs. Being involved in your child’s school sets a positive example for your kids and provides their school with some much-needed assistance. •

{education} 9

Inspired e-learning for kids By Family Features With so many e-books, apps and gadgets out on the market today, it’s easier than ever to integrate learning into your child’s play time. Relying on the right e-books and apps, you can help these early adopting, tech-savvy children experience reading and fun, interactive learning like never before. From storybooks to educational games and apps, there are a number of options to choose from, and the countless titles can seem daunting. A creative e-bookstore and mobile platform such as BelugaBloo, that offers an expansive selection of beautifully animated interactive children’s e-books, apps and games tailored to children up to age 12, can help you cut through the clutter and make smart selections. Before making your decision, here are some tips to find the right learning apps for your family: • Children learn best when they are engaged in the process. Focus on highly interactive apps that encourage kids to actively participate and to discover. Apps that incorporate features like coloring and sound recognition will help your child’s learning journey through active participation with the content. •Remember your purpose. Apps that inspire the imagination and spark kids’ interest in learning will pay

experience well-loved stories with a fun and modern twist.

off greater in the long run than flashy programs that simply pass the time. For example, “Flashcard Beebee” features a fun-loving monkey that helps teach the ABCs with cute and colorful animations for each letter of the alphabet. •Look for apps that allow you to customize modes to fit your child’s education level. Versatile options such as “read to me,” “read by myself,” “autoplay” and “games” allow you to create a more personalized experience. •Although your ultimate goal is education, don’t forget to make your selections fun. This helps children develop a positive association with learning. Updated versions of classic tales like the ”Groovy Story of the Tortoise and the Hare,” ”The Pig’s Day” and ”The Three Little Gators” will give your kids a chance to

at Beginning

ors t a g i l Al

•Like any other shopping experience, when shopping for apps, shop for value. Apps that do double duty make your investment go further by teaching simultaneous lessons. For example, “The Drip Drops,” a series of e-books and interactive games, centers on art, color, reading and creativity while promoting basic problem solving and positive self-esteem. You can also find BelugaBloo titles in a variety of other languages, such as Spanish and Chinese, which also allows children to have fun exploring other languages. •Seek content that matches your child’s personal interests. Use search functions to narrow down titles that focus on topics or activities that will capture his or her attention. “Lullaby Piano,” for example, lets music lovers sing and learn how to play some of their favorite nursery rhymes and songs on a digital keyboard. •Check out the user comments. One of the greatest features of electronic content is the immediate access to user feedback. High marks from other parents make the odds strong that a particular piece of content will appeal to you and your children, as well. For additional interactive apps, educational titles and more, go online to •

Memories Preschool

2102 Ave. E, Council Bluffs, IA For children ages 3-9





s cloud Elephants


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10 {family}

Picking out the perfect pet for your family } { story by Ashlee Coffey


icking out a new pet is an exciting task – though it’s not something that should be taken lightly. There are several things to consider when picking out that perfect pet, such as time, personality, the type of species and care. One of the first things to consider before picking out a specific species of pet is how much time a family has to devote to the new addition. “What type of pet is going to depend on what kind of a lifestyle a person has,” said Mary Jones, a volunteer at the Council Bluffs Animal Shelter and president and founder of SOLAS, Support Our Local Animal Shelter. “If they have a lot of travel in their schedule, such as short-term travel like over

a weekend, a cat would be perfect because a cat can be left at home. They’re just very self-sufficient.” Dogs, on the other hand, are much higher maintenance and should not be left alone for very long. “It’s not going to be fair to the people because they’re going to have messes to clean up when they get home and it’s not fair to the dog because it needs interaction with its people,” Jones said. Another thing to consider is a person’s personality, Jones said, keeping in mind the types of animals that might have a similar personality. “Personality-wise, there’s a big difference between (cats and dogs). As long as a cat has food and water, in most situations, they’re happy and content and don’t really need their human being until they want attention,” she said. “Dogs, on the other hand, they’re very people-oriented. They want your attention almost continually.” If a family has young children in the home, getting a puppy might not be the best idea – nor is getting a particularly hyper species of dog like a Rat Terrier or a Jack Russel Terrier, Jones said. Once a person has figured out how much time they can devote to a pet, they can start deciding what species of pet they want. Cats and dogs are some of the most popular pets, Jones said, with both giving unconditional love. “They don’t care if you’re having a bad day – they don’t care if you don’t feel good,” she said. But it’s important to remember there are a lot

of different species out there that make great pets, too. These include guinea pigs, gerbils, hamsters, rabbits, ferrets, rats, fish, lizards and birds – like a parakeet, canary, finch or cockatiel. “A lot of people turn their noses up at rats but they make great pets,” Jones said. “The only thing is they tend to grow tumors so they don’t have a real long life expectancy but they’re really, really good pets.” One thing Jones doesn’t recommend as good pets are snakes or tarantulas. Once a person has picked out the species they want, it’s time to start researching how to care for the animal. This can include the amount of space needed, diet, temperature and how often to clean the animal’s cage. Dogs and cats require some daily interaction. Dogs, specifically, need to get a lot of exercise by going on walks or running around in a yard. Having a big dog inside an apartment might not be the best idea, Jones said. She also said it’s important to pick up after a dog in the yard and while on a walk. Cats, as long as they have food and water, don’t require as much interaction as dogs, Jones said. But they should have a litter box, which should be cleaned daily. “We have a lot of cats brought into the shelter and people say they won’t use the litter box – well that’s sometimes because it’s too dirty,” she said.

{family} 11 “Cats are very clean creatures – they want things clean. You notice a cat all the time washing its face and cleaning its body.” And whether or not a cat has claws, a scratching post is a good idea because “they still have the scratching instinct,” she said. Cats also like toys and catnip. For a person looking to adopt a kitten, Jones recommends getting two because “they help keep each other out of trouble and they keep each other entertained.” Guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats and birds – who are especially messy – will need to have cages cleaned out regularly and will also need to get out for some exercise as well. Lizards, like the bearded dragon, require different types of heating lamps and heating rocks. Fish are good for people or parents with children who have allergies – but research should be done as to what type of tank is needed and what fish can be put together in the same tank. Finally, getting a pet and teaching children to care for it is a good way to teach children responsibility. According to an article on, it’s important for parents to “learn about pet care, and explain to your children that walking a dog several times a

SAVE $25

day or cleaning a cat’s litter box is part of the ongoing responsibility of caring


for an animal.” Jones said it’s tough to pick out that right animal – but once a person or family does, it’s a “wonderful experience.”


“I cannot imagine not having animals. They add so much to life,” she said. “I just wish everyone realized how wonderful it is to have a pet to share your life with – especially if you’re a single person. They’re always here for you and they’ll always listen to you.” •


Learn about animal behaviors and nutrition. Interact with live animals each day. Explore a day in the life of a veterinarian. Perform a simulated exploratory surgery. Students completing 2nd - 5th grade • $150/Session Mon.-Thurs. 8:00 am - 4:00 pm • June & July Students completing 6th - 8th grade • $225/Session Mon.-Fri. 8:00 am - 4:00 pm • June & July

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12 {family}

Is your family prepared for an emergency? By Mike Brownlee

• Explain to your child what 911 is. Talk about members of their community who they might be familiar with – policeman, firemen, doctors, nurses and others – and how their jobs are all about helping others. • Define what an emergency is not. Clearly, an emergency is not a lost pet or a cut that requires a band aid, but a child may have trouble differentiating. When in doubt, tell your child to ask a grown up, but if there isn’t one around it’s probably likely your child does have an emergency on his hands. •

With spring in the air, severe storms could follow. Parents are encouraged to go over emergency preparedness plans – be it tornados, storms, fires or anything else – with their children, said Larry Hurst, director of Mills County Emergency Management. “Families need to review their planning in their home. Where will they seek shelter if there are warnings and sirens? If parents aren’t home, what will the children do?” he said. “Sit down and review where you’ll go in your house, how you’ll receive information (TV, radio, etc.), what procedures to take.” A basic emergency supply kit, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, should include the following items: • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation. Make sure your family has a plan in case of an emergency. Before an emergency happens, sit down together and decide how you will • Food, at least a three-day supply of nonget in contact with each other, where you will go and what you will do in an emergency. Keep a copy of this plan in your emergency perishable food. supply kit or another safe place where you can access it in the event of a disaster. • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and Telephone Number: Out-of-Town Contact Name: a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both. Email: • Flashlight and extra batteries. Neighborhood Meeting Place: Telephone Number: • First-aid kit. Regional Meeting Place: Telephone Number: • Whistle to signal for help. Evacuation Location: Telephone Number: • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air Fill out the following information for each family member and keep it up to date. and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelterName: Social Security Number: in-place. Date of Birth: Important Medical Information: • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and Name: Social Security Number: plastic ties for personal sanitation. Date of Birth: Important Medical Information: • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities. Name: Social Security Number: • Manual can opener for food. Date of Birth: Important Medical Information: • Local maps. Name: Social Security Number: • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or Date of Birth: Important Medical Information: solar charger. Name: Social Security Number: For fires, the National Fire Protection Date of Birth: Important Medical Information: Association offers these safety tips for kids to Name: Social Security Number: help prevent fire in the home: Date of Birth: Important Medical Information: • Keep things that can burn (potholders, Write down where your family spends the most time: work, school and other places you frequent. Schools, daycare providers, workplaces and towels, and paper) away from the stove. apartment buildings should all have site-specific emergency plans that you and your family need to know about. • Stay three feet away from the stove when Work Location One School Location One a grown-up is cooking. Address: Address: • Remind grown-ups never to use an oven Phone Number: Phone Number: Evacuation Location: Evacuation Location: to heat your home. • Tell a grown-up if you find matches or School Location Two Work Location Two Address: Address: lighters Phone Number: Phone Number: • Stay 3 feet away from burning candles. Evacuation Location: Evacuation Location: • Make a home fire escape plan with your School Location Three Work Location Three family. Address: Address: • Find two ways out of every room and an Phone Number: Phone Number: outside meeting place. Evacuation Location: Evacuation Location: • When the smoke alarm sounds, get out Other place you frequent Other place you frequent and stay out. Address: Address: Lastly, when teaching children when to call Phone Number: Phone Number: Evacuation Location: 911, offers these tips: Evacuation Location: • Define an emergency. Even some adults Important Information Name Telephone Number Policy Number have trouble figuring out if calling 911 is Doctor(s): appropriate, it’s more than likely that a young Other: child will too. Talk about what an emergency Pharmacist: Medical Insurance: is – a fire, a person who is passed out (won’t Homeowners/Rental Insurance: wake up when you shake or yell at them), an Veterinarian/Kennel (for pets): unwanted stranger in the house – without scaring your child. Dial 911 for Emergencies

Family Emergency Plan

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Fire safety for your family By Family Features No one likes to think about bad things happening to their home or family. But things like home fires do happen - more often than you might think. Home fires kill an average of seven people every day, and they cause billions of dollars in property damage. “We know fire safety is important to families,” said Michelle Atkinson, Vice President of Marketing for Energizer North America. “Energizer is proud to partner with the International Association of Fire Chiefs and 6,400 fire departments around the country in their long-standing commitment to spreading the lifesaving message of fire safety and preparedness with tips like these.” Here are some easy steps you and your family can take to protect your home and each other, and to understand the basics of fire safety.

Your Best Defense

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), working smoke alarms are your best chance for escaping a home fire. They can alert you to a fire 24 hours a day, seven days a week, whether you’re awake or asleep. ­• 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. are the peak alarm times for home fire deaths — when people tend to be asleep and the house is likely to be dark. • On average, families have less than three minutes from the time the first smoke alarm sounds to escape a fire. The NFPA says that in the U.S., almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with inoperable smoke alarms or no smoke alarms. In reported home fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate: • Half of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries. Nuisance alarms were the leading reason for disconnected smoke alarms. • Almost one-quarter (23 percent) of the smoke alarm failures were due to dead batteries. • Only seven percent of the failures were due to hardwired power source problems, including disconnected smoke alarms, power outages and power shut-offs.

Fire Facts The United States Fire Administration believes that fire deaths can be reduced by teaching people the basic facts about fire. Here are some simple facts that explain the particular characteristics of fire.

Fire is fast.

Fire Safety Checklist 1) Install smoke alarms on every level of the home and outside each sleeping area. • Best location: On the ceiling in the center of the room, at least 12 inches from any wall. * Second best location - On a wall 12 inches below the ceiling. 2) Test alarms once a month. • To reach it, stand on a chair or use a broom handle, and push the unit’s test button. If you don’t hear anything, the battery is probably dead. If the unit still doesn’t sound after you’ve changed the battery, replace it with a new smoke alarm. 3) Change batteries at least once a year. • The clock change for daylight saving time is an easy way to remember to change your batteries, as well. 4) Install a fire extinguisher in or near the kitchen. • Use a multi-purpose fire extinguisher suitable for use on multiple flammable materials. • Check the pressure regularly to make sure it’s at the recommended level. 5) Keep flashlights with fresh batteries at your bedside for help in finding the way out and signaling for help in the event of a fire. 6) Develop and practice an emergency escape plan. • You can download a free Escape Plan Grid at to help. •

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In less than 30 seconds a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house. In minutes, a house can be engulfed in flames. If you wake up to a fire, you won’t have time to grab valuables because fire spreads too quickly and the smoke is too thick. There is only time to escape.

Fire is hot.

A fire’s heat alone can kill. Room temperatures in a fire can be 100 degrees at floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level. Inhaling this super-hot air will scorch your lungs. This heat can melt clothes to your skin. In five minutes a room can get so hot that everything in it ignites at once: this is called flashover.

Fire is dark.

Fire starts bright, but quickly produces black smoke and complete darkness. If you wake up to a fire you may be blinded, disoriented and unable to find your way around the home you’ve lived in for years.

Fire is deadly.

Fire uses up the oxygen you need and produces smoke and poisonous gases that kill. Breathing even small amounts of smoke and toxic gases can make you drowsy, disoriented and short of breath. The odorless, colorless fumes can lull you into a deep sleep before the flames reach your door. You may not wake up in time to escape. - Family Features

14 {entertainmenttravelarts}

Underground Railroad ran through Tabor By Tess Gruber Nelson TABOR - Today the town of Tabor might best be known as the home of the Fremont-Mills Knights and Lady Knights, but more than 150 years ago, it was the home of George Gaston and John Todd, two integral abolitionists, as well as a valuable stop along the Underground Railroad. “It’s overwhelming how much history is there,” said author James Morgans of Council Bluffs, and formerly of Shenandoah, who has written three books on Tabor’s abolitionists’ movement and its Underground Railroad. “Tabor was a major, important stop on the Underground Railroad.” Morgans explained it was the people that settled in Tabor, and its location, that made it such a vital place for abolitionists and slaves escaping to freedom along the Underground Railroad. The town of Tabor was founded by a missionary named George Gaston, who wanted to set up a college in the Missouri Valley similar to Oberlin College in Ohio; one which back in the 1800s allowed blacks and women to attend and earn degrees. “Most of the people that first settled in Tabor attended Oberlin College,” said Morgans. “Initially, they first settled along the Missouri River at Civil Bend, which is near Percival, but they kept getting flooded out; plus mosquitoes were a huge issue. Therefore, they moved to higher ground along the Loess Hills – present day Tabor.” In addition to founder Gaston, born in 1814, and who came to Civil Bend in 1848, was the Reverend John Todd, who was born in 1818 in Pennsylvania and attended Oberlin College, as Gaston did. “John Todd and George Gaston were good guys,” said Morgans. “You could do business with them on just a handshake.” The problem, said Morgans, was that they didn’t have the money to build a college, but soon their immediate goal switched from building a college to helping stop the slave movement and help slaves become free. Morgans said it began in 1854, when the Nebraska-Kansas Act was passed. The Act, explained Morgans, said settlers in Kansas and Nebraska could decide whether they wanted slavery or not. “When that came out, slaves started escaping from Missouri into Kansas,” Morgans said. “Kansas, in the 1850s, was where the slave interests and abolitionists met, and Tabor, because of its close proximity, acted as a warehouse for people going into Kansas. In fact, the Kansas National Committee had agents in Tabor collecting guns, cannons, and ammunition for settlers going to Kansas.” Not only did slaves escape from Missouri into Iowa, but also Morgans said slaves were allowed in the Nebraska Territory up to three months before the Civil War. “The richest men in Nebraska City owned slaves, which would run away to Tabor. Hundreds of slaves came through Tabor on their way to freedom.” In Tabor, slaves would receive provisions, food, a place to stay and a place to hide, but not for very long. Because of its close proximity to slave states, Morgans said there were bounty hunters in and out of Tabor all the time looking for escapees. “People in Tabor knew they had to get slaves out of town as soon as possible, only a day or so, because slave catchers would come looking for them there. And because of the Fugitive Slave Law, the county sheriff was also looking for escaped slaves.” In the mid 1850s, slaves would escape through Tabor maybe two or three at a time, but by the late 1850’s, larger groups of 12 started escaping along the Underground Railroad. There was a whole Underground Railroad network, Morgans explained. From Tabor, slaves would go to Lewis, Frankfurt, today known as Red Oak, Quincy, Stuart, West Des Moines, Mitchellville, Newton, Grinnell, and then over to Chicago or onto Canada. “Sometimes people in Tabor would escort the slaves to the next station on the Underground Railroad.” Interestingly enough, Morgans said College Springs was also a stopping point along the Underground Railroad. “People lived along the rivers and most slaves in Missouri were from Columbia or Kansas City. When they would escape, they’d naturally follow the big rivers because that’s where they’d find food and water.” “It was a great spot because it was three miles inside the Iowa border,” Morgans

said. “A group of people from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois wanted to come west and provide educational opportunities and put an end to slavery while building a college, similar to what the people of Tabor wanted.” Morgans said it’s hard to find tangible evidence when it comes to who did what, when and why when it comes to the Underground Railroad because it was illegal, so people didn’t leave any writings. If caught helping a slave escape, a person was jailed or even fined for the cost of the slave. One good male slave would cost $1,500, which is double the price of a 100-acre farm in Missouri, at the time, complete with farm ground, a house, barn, and orchard. In 1855, Morgans said an abolitionist extremist, John Brown, started coming to Tabor and using the town as his base of operations where his men learned the drills of a soldier, a place where he could hide out, where his son-in-law recuperated from a gunshot wound, and his son from an accident. On top of that, he used Tabor as a hospital for his fighting men. In fact, Morgans said Brown and his men would often camp in the city park and plotted Harpers Ferry in Tabor. “Tabor was a great area; it was close to Bloody Kansas, and to Missouri, which was a slave state. Brown knew he was safe in Tabor.” However, Brown was more radical than the people of Tabor. “John Brown murdered people and had warrants out for him. He would just as soon kill a slave-owner than talk to them.” “Right before Harpers Ferry, Brown had a falling out with the townspeople of Tabor because Brown had gone into Missouri and killed a plantation owner and stole a bunch of his property. When the people of Tabor heard this, they condemned him.” “They believed in helping the slaves, but not killing to do so.” At Harpers Ferry, Va. in 1859, Brown attempted to start an armed slave revolt by seizing the US arsenal. Brown’s revolt failed, he was captured and later hanged. •


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{entertainmenttravelarts} 15

Story of bank robbery a part of Riverton history By Tess Gruber Nelson For the most part, nothing real exciting happens in the small Fremont County town of Riverton. However, at 3 p.m. on July 11, 1881, two armed robbers strolled into the Riverton Bank and held up the bank’s teller, Mr. Saxton. The gun-slinging duo then ran out the back door with the stolen $4,000, jumped on their awaiting horses, of which one was stolen from a farm north of Sidney, and headed east out of town. Saxton quickly regained his composure and shouted that the bank had been robbed. He then fired a Winchester rifle at the thieves, as did the bank’s former owner, and local hardware store owner, Tommy Thompson, who had heard Saxton’s cries. The men on horseback, leaving a trail of dust, turned south and galloped their horses approximately eight miles to a heavily timbered area that also had a small stream running through it. For two days and two nights, the men hid by the stream and cared for Wells’ knee, which had been shot by Thompson or Saxton. But who were these two men who terrified (and thrilled) local residents 129 years ago? Not long after the crime was committed, rumors circulated it was none other than Frank and Jesse James, but soon the area would become familiar with another pair of gunslingers – Charles Knox Polk Wells

and his much lesser known accomplice, a man simply known as Wilson. Referred to as a muscular, well-spoken, intelligent man, Polk Wells grew up in Buchanan County, Mo., and was friends with Frank and Jesse James and Cole, Jim, John and Bob Younger, as well as Kit Carson and Wild Bill Hickok. For 10 years, he was a well-known Indian fighter all over the country. He often used the alias C.H. Warner, and was twice captured by Indians, but escaped. Additionally, Wells fought in the Civil War and was apparently hanged twice by Kansas Jayhawkers – unsuccessfully of course. In 1872, Wells returned to his native Missouri and married Nora Wilson. He tried his hand in the grocery and liquor business, but lost the property and left Nora and his baby with Nora’s sister – promising to come back when he had made some money in order to support them. Two years later, he did come back for his family, but found Nora living with another man, Al Warnica, and his child dead. Instead of being angry with Warnica, Wells gave him $300 to buy a team with. Wells then kissed Nora goodbye, got on his horse, and rode away. In fact, Wells and Warnica remained very good friends and it was Warnica that made sure Wells’ autobiography was published after his death. It wasn’t until 1879 when Wells committed his first

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robbery – highway robbery – followed by one train robbery and three bank robberies. Then, in the summer of 1881, he robbed Riverton’s bank and his life would forever be changed. After hiding out by the stream for a couple days with Wilson, Wells escaped and ended up in Randolph, Wis., located about an hour north of Madison, Wis. There he became a respectable businessman. Back in southwest Iowa, Fremont County Sheriff Samuel Chandler had learned of Wells’ whereabouts and with the assistance of Mills County Sheriff, Dan Ferrell, the two lawmen traveled to Randolph and arrested Wells on Sept. 24, 1882. During the capture, Wells was shot three times and Ferrell four times, but the sheriffs returned to Sidney, with Wells in tow, in order to stand trial. During the trial, Wells was kept in a spare room at the sheriff’s house so his four bullet wounds could be taken care of by Doctor Stevens and Dr. Ambler. On March 25, 1883, Wells pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years at the Fort Madison prison. Once sentenced, Wells gave Dr. Ambler his gold watch; Sheriff Chandler one of his two white-handled revolvers and the other revolver to Sheriff Ferrell. Wells also gave an overcoat to his guard, Thomas Hatten. While serving his sentence in Fort Madison, Wells and two other convicts planned an escape, but killed a prison guard in the process and were soon captured. •

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16 {entertainmenttravelarts}

How-to pack a car safely

By Metro Creative Connection This is the prime season for road trips, which many people feel are the most affordable vacation option available. They also provide unsurpassed views of the countryside and the ability to slow down and customize the trip as desired. Packing the car for a road trip can be complicated. Although the goal may be to cram as much as possible into the car and get on the road quickly, part of the safety plan for this year’s adventure should include packing properly to avoid injury. Americans and Canadians combined drive trillions of miles in any given year. Although it is difficult to make a direct comparison between how many people choose driving as opposed to flying, when comparing data from the Federal Highway Administration and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, for every mile Americans flew they drove about six more in 2011. With so many miles clocked on the road, it is essential to make the experience as safe as possible -- and that means properly securing belongings in a vehicle before getting on the road. In 2009, a laptop computer became a projectile that killed its owner. Heather Storey of Surrey, British Columbia, was driving to work when her vehicle was hit by a tow truck. Her laptop was propelled at such a force that it caused a deadly injury to her head.

Unsecured or improperly packed items in a car or truck have the potential to cause serious injury when on the road or, at the very least, may obscure visibility when driving, says Consumer Reports. The organization and others offer drivers a series of tips that can help make travel safer: • Adjust tire pressure prior to travel. Consult the owners manual to determine the proper tire pressure when the vehicle is carrying a full load. This will not only help alleviate unnecessary wear and tear on the tires, but also can help to prevent a tire blow-out. • Know the car’s limits. It also is important to stay below the maximum permitted weight or maximum load capacity for the car or truck. Consumer Reports says that the capacity for small SUVs can span from 825 pounds to 1,155 pounds. Midsize SUVs may carry anywhere from 900 pounds to 1,405 pounds. Minivan capacities can vary significantly as well. The load capacity is specified in the owner’s manual. • Store the heaviest items at the lowest, most central part of the vehicle. This helps reduce effects on handling that can lead to problems with steering or braking. Drivers should keep the overall center of gravity lower to help reduce the risk of rollover. • Make sure everything is secured in the car or truck. Use crates or boxes to house smaller items. Use straps or rope to tie down anything loaded in the back of a truck or SUV to the vehicle’s cargo anchors. Load

as much as you can into a car’s trunk to avoid having loose items rolling around inside the passenger area. • Keep a clear view of mirrors and the rear of the vehicle. Do not pack any items higher than the level of the rear seats. Not only can these items fly forward in the event of sharp braking or a crash, but they also may obscure the driver’s view of the road. • Invest in a roof rack or cargo box. Only place light items on the roof of the car so you can free up interior space. Secure roof items tightly, as they will be caught by the updraft while driving and you do not want to send them airborne and onto the roadway. Also, if you do use the roof for storage, be aware of how much taller the items will make your vehicle so you know if you can safely drive beneath underpasses. • Make sure passengers can be seated safely. Packing a car doesn’t always mean being able to fit suitcases and belongings. It also means ensuring passengers can ride safely. Do not seat more passengers than can be restrained by the seat belts in the car. If there is not enough room, it is safer in the long run to take two cars. • Pack a vehicle safely and make sure it is maintained before heading out on your first road trip of the season. •

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Is your child allergic to certain foods? by Mike Brownlee


n the cult-favorite TV show “Freaks and Geeks” incredulous bully Alan White slips some peanuts into Bill Haverchuck’s lunch as a prank, not believing the geek could be deathly allergic to the nut. The mean joke results in Bill’s hospitalization and brush with his demise, leaving Alan with the guilt of almost killing a fellow student. The short-lived series taught something everyone should know: Food allergies are serious. A list of common foods that infants and children are allergic to includes eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts (such as walnuts and almonds), soy (primarily in infants) and wheat, according to National Institutes of Health. Families with young children must always be on the lookout for allergic reactions, according to pediatrician Shawn Jones of the Methodist Physicians Clinic at Jennie Edmundson Hospital. “What most parents should look for is a rash that develops, usually all over body,” he said. “Or any swelling or difficulty breathing or swallowing. Those are what we worry about the most.” Other symptoms, according to the National Institutes of Health, include hives, sneezing, stuffy nose, runny nose, swelling of lips or tongue, hoarseness, coughing, wheezing, a weak pulse in the heart and dizziness or fainting. Jones explained that along with symptoms doctors use one of two tests to help determine an allergy. There’s a blood test that pediatricians are able to use, or a skin test that allergists are trained to perform. The pediatrician noted that even if blood or skin tests come back positive, that doesn’t necessarily mean the

child has an allergy. Basically, it’s the eyeball test plus the medical test. “You have to correlate symptoms with the tests,” Jones said. Jones noted that when children vomit after eating a particular food that may not be an allergy but rather an intolerance. The difference, he said, is an allergy can be life-threatening while an intolerance only causes discomfort or sickness. Once an allergy is determined, doctors like Jones work with families, teaching them the ins and outs of reading product labels. “What to look for,” Jones said. Strict avoidance of problem ingredients is the best way to avoid allergic reactions and is something Jones stresses to all families with allergy issues. Doctors issue all families an epinephrine pen, or epi pen, which when injected reverses the symptoms of an allergic reaction. “It’s basically pure adrenaline,” Jones said. Jones recommended having an epinephrine pen at any location the child might visit, “daycare, home, school, Grandma’s house, etc.” “You don’t want to be without one,” he said. School districts in the area have plans in place to accommodate students with allergies, including training nurses to use the epi pen and preparing special menus. Terry Marlow, food service director for Glenwood Community Schools, said the district works with families to develop a plan for students with allergy needs. Several years ago, Marlow and company decided to remove any items with peanuts and tree nuts – or made in plants where the nuts are used – out of the schools’ main menu.

“We analyze every box that comes in,” Marlow said. The district also puts all food nutrition information online to allow parents to plan ahead, while in At Glenwood schools there’s a “peanut-safe” table for students with allergies. New this year, Marlow has also made sure snacks sold at the schools are allergy-safe, while the food service department now bakes treats in lieu of parents. If parents want their child to have a cake, cupcakes or other dessert in the classroom for a celebration – a birthday, for example – Marlow and staff take the order and make the product themselves. “We make it so we know what’s going into the baked goods,” he said. “As a school district, we’ve taken a lot of steps. In this day and age it’s easy to get sick from ingredients you might not think people could get sick from.” Jones noted he’s seen an increase in allergy cases in his 10 years at Jennie Edmundson Hospital, in part because of advances in physician knowledge of allergies as well as diagnostic tools, meaning cases that might have gone undiagnosed in the past are being caught. While detection tools have advanced, the overall number of people with allergies has increased. Some estimates put the number of Americans with allergies at one-in-five, according to the UCLA Food and Drug Allergy Care Center. Why there’s been an increase is still being debated by scientists, with a number of theories under examination. “There’s definitely an increase in percentage overall,” Jones said. Parents, teachers and other care providers are encouraged to always be vigilant in looking for allergies. •

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Exercise time can be family time, too By Tim Rohwer

How ‘bout doing the zumba at the prom? These are just two fun activities for the whole family available in Council Bluffs. For example, there’s plenty of family action at the Council Bluffs YMCA, 7 S. Fourth St. Just ask staff member Kat Cheesman. “We do Family Zumba on Monday nights and a kids boot camp on Wednesday nights.” She also mentioned a program called Junior Trainers that allows children to work out with their parents in the Y’s cardio room. “There are also youth sports and swimming lessons,” Cheesman said. “There are a lot of things to do.” Family Zumba is designed exclusively for families with children ages 4 to 12. Parents and their children move to high-energy, child-friendly routines and all the music children enjoy. “We work on balance, eye/hand/foot coordination and doing things with a partner,” said Linda Robicheau, health and wellness director. “I usually have between 12 and 20 participants.” Junior Trainer is designed to teach youth and early teens about the muscles of the body, proper lifting techniques for safe weight training. Kids Boot Camp helps children stay in shape for sports as they are guided through strength, speed and agility drills. Kids & Company, a nonprofit organization working with the Council Bluffs Public Schools, gets families together each summer with a Family Prom, complete with the crowning of a king and queen. It’s one of many activities, said Cassie Wetzel, program director. “All children are eligible to enroll,” she said.


As many as 500 children ages 4 to 12 at nine different schools already have enrolled in activities before and after class, Wetzel said. Activities include reading programs through the Council Bluffs Public Library, along with nutritional and physical education classes, she said. “During the summer, we go on field trips, go swimming and do things at the Omaha Children’s Museum.” •

Staff photo/Tim Rohwer Families can take part in Zumba exercises weekly at the Council Bluffs YMCA.

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Help is available for abuse and domestic violence victims By SaraAnn Lampert The events of Feb. 13 were heart wrenching to say the least. A jury deliberating a father’s charges of child endangerment causing death and newly filed murder charges against a caretaker, who happens to be the mother’s boyfriend, a mother who has now buried her 13-month-old baby girl. These are stories we never expect to read in our local paper, let alone two stories in one day on the same page. Raising children, maintaining order and routine in a family is a challenge every single day. So what can we learn from Feb. 13’s news? People who see trauma and violence unfolding before them will often tell you they were ill equipped to do anything to stop it. Most of us have suffered one time or another with indecision when we see something happening that we know is wrong. “Who do I tell?” we ask ourselves. “What if I’m wrong and I ruin someone’s reputation or career? What if they retaliate against me? Is it really any of my business? If I speak up, what would I say?” So many of us pretend we don’t see the situation. It isn’t usually callousness or complicity. Often we feel like we have something

to protect. In all likelihood, the father and caretaker did not intend to harm the children they were caring for. Maybe they did not know where to reach out for help. Whatever their specific situations, it is irrelevant. There are numerous resources, neighbors, friends, family, coworkers, church groups, community groups, even strangers, that would have been willing to give either of those men a helping hand which could have drastically changed the outcome of what we read on the front page of the paper on Feb. 13. We all have the power to make the change. One way you can personally help change outcomes of situations like these is to make sure you know who provides help and services in your community. Knowing hotline numbers for emergency help could be a lifesaver in a situation. Bring in speakers to civic groups, church meetings and book clubs. Start serious discussions about raising children and let parents and families know it is okay to vent, it is okay to struggle, it is okay to need a break. Get the information and get involved. Contact programs like Catholic Charities Phoenix House to discuss the free anti-violence education and training opportunities that are available in your community. •

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20 {health}

Are expired medications still safe?

By Metro Creative Connection It is 2 a.m. and that cough and stuffy nose you have been battling is still keeping you up. You reach for the nighttime cold relief medicine only to find it expired a few months ago. If you take a dose to ease your symptoms, will you be putting yourself at risk? This situation is a relatively common occurrence. Many medicine cabinets are stocked with over-the-counter drugs as well as prescription medications that may be past their expiration dates. It is a good idea to routinely discard expired medicines, but if you happen to take a drug that has passed its expiration date, you will most likely suffer no ill effects. According to the Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide, the expiration date on a medicine is not the dates when a drug becomes hazardous. Rather, it marks the period of time after which a drug company can no longer guarantee the efficacy of the medication. Since 1979, drug manufacturers selling medications in the United States have been required by the Food and Drug Administration to stamp an expiration date on their products. This is the date until which the manufacturer can still guarantee full potency of the drug. Expiration dates also may be a marketing ploy. Francis Flaherty, a retired FDA pharmacist, has said drug manufacturers put expiration dates on products for marketing purposes rather than scientific reasons. It doesn’t make financial sense to a company to have products on the shelves for years. Therefore, most drug manufacturers will not do long-term testing on products to confirm if they will be effective 10 to 15 years after manufacture. The U.S. military has conducted their own studies with the help of the FDA. FDA researchers tested more than 100 over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Around 90 percent were proven to still be effective long past the expiration date some for more than 10 years. Drugs that are stored in cool, dark places have a better chance of lasting because the fillers used in the product will not separate or start to break down as they might in a warm, humid environment. Storing medicines in the refrigerator can prolong their shelf life. Although a pharmacist cannot legally advise consumers to use medication past an expiration date, most over-the-counter pain relievers and drugs in pill form should still be fine. Certain liquid antibiotics and drugs made up of organic materials can expire faster than others. For those who still want to err on the safe side, routinely clean out medications from cabinets once they expire. However, if an expired medication is taken by mistake, there’s little need to worry about potentially adverse effects. •

Radon poses a significant health risk By Metro Creative Connection After smoking, nothing causes more cases of lung cancer than exposure to radon, which the Environmental Protection Agency notes is linked to roughly 20,000 lung cancers death a year in the United States alone. An invisible, odorless and tasteless gas that’s a byproduct of naturally occurring uranium in soil and water, radon is a proven carcinogen, putting both children and adults at risk of lung cancer. Numerous organizations, including the World Health Organization and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, have classified radon as a known human carcinogen based on a wealth of evidence illustrating a link between exposure to radon and lung cancer. Though exposure to radon can prove deadly, preventing that exposure is entirely possible, and the better a person understands radon the more equipped he or she is to avoid exposure. How is a person exposed to radon? Radon is naturally occurring, and as a result, it can be found just about anywhere, be it at home, at school, at the office or any other building, new or old. If a home or building is built on radon-contaminated soil, the radon can seep in through the structure’s foundation. Radon can also find its way into a home or building if the structure’s water supply contains radon. In such instances, the radon will enter the home through appliances that use water, drains, faucets, or pipes. Though often found in basements, radon can be present in a home even if the home does not have a basement. Once radon has entered a home or building, the gas is trapped inside, where it can gradually build up and pose a health risk to anyone who spends time inside the structure. Does radon exposure produce any symptoms? One of the more dangerous things about radon exposure is that it typically produces no symptoms, and people who have been exposed to radon may not be aware of that until they are diagnosed with lung cancer. Smokers are at a higher risk of lung cancer from radon exposure than those who don’t smoke, but radon exposure can cause lung cancer in smokers and nonsmokers alike. •



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Hand & Microvascular Surgeon

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(712) 366-9112

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22 {food}

Sweet Treats Made with a Surpise By Family Features It’s unlikely you’ll find a surprise toy in your cereal box these days, but you can still win prizes from your breakfast favorites. Your box of Fruity or Cocoa Pebbles™ Cereal can help you win a free trip to WrestleMania 30 and the chance to meet WWE Superstar John Cena. Through May 31, 2013, log on to to play games and enter a unique code found inside specially marked Pebbles cereal products for the chance to win prizes. The Grand Prize winner will receive a trip to WrestleMania 30, and get to meet WWE Superstar John Cena. For full details and official rules, visit You can cheer on John Cena while enjoying some great snacks, too. Breakfast cereals can add color and crunch to quick breads, sweetness to snack mixes, and can be used to make recipes like these: Champion Chocolate Pretzels couldn’t be much easier. Just three ingredients – chocolate, pretzels and new Fruity Pebbles Xtreme Cereal – give you a sweet, salty and crunchy treat in no time, with bright neon colors. You can customize these confetti bites with different combinations of chocolate and toppings. Cocoa Crunch Bars are the perfect WrestleMania snack. Mix coconut, Cocoa Pebbles, marshmallows and caramel sauce for a chocolate treat with a tropical twist. You can find more recipes that let you enjoy cereal any time of day at

Champion Chocolate Pretzels

Cocoa Crunch Bars

6 squares semisweet chocolate 26 pretzels 2 cups Fruity Pebbles Xtreme Cereal (or Fruity Pebbles Cereal)

5 cups Cocoa Pebbles 2/3 cups snowflake coconut 1/2 cup nonfat milk powder 1 cup mini marshmallows 2 sticks butter, melted 3/4 cup dulce de leche or other caramel sauce

Makes: 26 servings

Place chocolate in 1 cup glass measuring cup. Microwave as directed on package. Cool 5 minutes. Dip pretzels halfway into chocolate, tilting cup to evenly coat each pretzel. Scrape off excess chocolate. Holding pretzels over plate, immediately sprinkle with cereal. Place in shallow waxed paper-lined pan. Refrigerate 15 minutes or until chocolate coating is firm. Tips and Suggestions * Peanutty Chocolate Pretzels: Coat pretzels with melted chocolate as directed. Sprinkle with 2 1/2 cups finely chopped dry roasted peanuts instead of cereal. * White Chocolate Pretzels: Substitute 6 ounces white chocolate for the semisweet chocolate. Sprinkle coated pretzels with 8 finely crushed chocolate sandwich cookies instead of the cereal. * Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pretzels: Stir 3 tablespoons peanut butter into the melted chocolate before using to coat pretzels. Sprinkle with 8 finely crushed chocolate sandwich cookies instead of cereal.

Makes: 24 bars

Preheat oven to 325°F. Mix cereal, coconut, marshmallows and butter. Press firmly into a greased 6-inch square baking pan. Bake 25 minutes. Hot out of the oven, drizzle caramel sauce over bars. Cool completely. Cut into 24 bars to serve. Tips and Suggestions * Use small molds – muffin pans or other shape – metal or silicone – to make individual bars. Use Fruity Pebbles and sweetened condensed milk in place of Cocoa Pebbles and caramel sauce. Stud with your favorite nuts.

t c

b m t t o e o s

What you may not have known about asparagus

Eating with Elaine by Elaine Fenner When I am cooking, my main goal is to try to find vibrant taste without a lot of chemicals or processed ingredients. So I was looking through my cookbooks today, and realized I had collected more than 300 of them (or they had multiplied in my library). I can’t stop buying them despite the fact that there may be only four to five really good recipes in each book. Meaning, I would really try only four or five of the recipes. I am so obsessed with recipes that I take cookbooks

to bed with me. My husband says I am pathetic. Well, here’s how he says it, “I wonder what the non-pathetic people are doing tonight?” I once heard about a woman who loved books so much that she had them on bookshelves over her bed. One night the shelf came loose and the books fell on her in the middle of the night. She went to that great library in the sky. Recently, I found a recipe I really liked for asparagus soup. As children, all seven of my siblings and I hated asparagus. One of my brothers called it “disgustagus.” I have since grown to like asparagus, taste and texture are so important to me. I have learned about its health benefits and versatility and how to use it and prepare it properly. Asparagus is loaded with nutrients packed with antioxidants and a good source of fiber too. Asparagus is available in most grocery stores almost all year, but it is a spring perennial plant and is native to most of Europe, northern Africa and western Asia. According to Wikipedia, China has the biggest commercial production of asparagus followed by Peru and then Germany. Asparagus became available in the United

States around 1850, with U.S. production in California, Michigan and Washington. There is actually a recipe for cooking asparagus in the oldest surviving book of recipes from the third century A.D. entitled “De re coquinaria. Book III.” (I don’t own this cookbook.) For pesticide levels, asparagus ranks No. 42 for residues. I don’t have an asparagus plant, but I did read in one of my cookbooks that asparagus is good for companion planting. When planted with tomatoes, the tomato plant repels the asparagus beetle. Meanwhile the asparagus may repel harmful root nematodes that affect tomato plants. Being a New Yorker, I have no idea what a root nematode is but I assume it isn’t good for growing tomatoes. When buying asparagus in the grocery store, I look for small firm straight stalks with closed and compact tips. Most asparagus is sold in bunches with a band around it stating the place of origin. Place of origin helps you to decide what the travel time for this vegetable is and how much “life” is remaining. Asparagus and broccoli are two vegetables that continue to “grow” or “bloom” in the grocery

{food} 23

store. This doesn’t hurt them but for the freshest asparagus, pick it up and smell the tips. You should not smell anything. If you do, examine the bunch and look for the one stalk that is decaying or damaged. Either get another bunch or remove the offending stalk before you buy it. I know a lot of readings say “don’t wash before storing your asparagus” I don’t agree. Remember when I told you to hold the asparagus up to your nose before buying it. I’m not the only one who does that! When I get home, I open the bunch of asparagus, cut off the thick lower stems and spray with 1 part vinegar and 3 parts water then rinse in cold water and set it out on the counter in my kitchen on a clean dish cloth to “dry.” I use another clean cloth to pat the asparagus dry and then wrap a clean wet (but wrung very dry) paper towel around the stems and place a piece of foil or plastic wrap over the asparagus and place it in my refrigerator crisper. I believe that both bacteria and moisture will cause my precious (sometimes $3.98 per pound asparagus) to decay faster. Washing with vinegar and water will also lower the outside pesticide residue by about 75 percent.

Okay, now let’s make some


You need to follow this recipe precisely. It can be made in about 5 minutes and it’s ready to serve, luscious and protein-rich.

2 TBS extra –virgin olive oil 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced (I use a yellow onion) 4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth (I use Pacific or Imagine brand in aseptic cartons, found in your local grocery stores) ½ -1 lb. asparagus cut into diagonal 1 to 2 inch lengths (I use the whole bunch of asparagus and add more broth at the end, if I need it) 2 eggs Salt and pepper ½ cup shaved Pecorino Romano cheese (Buy this in the specialty cheese area of your grocery store). Buy in a hunk and shave it using your potato peeler.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 8 minutes. Pour in the broth and bring to a simmer. Add the asparagus and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Slowly pour the eggs into the simmering broth, stirring gently and constantly until cooked, about 30 seconds. Season the soup with salt and pepper as needed and top with shaved Pecorino/Romano cheese. Makes 4-6 nice-sized servings. Hey, if you like asparagus try this recipe and let me know what you think. Don’t forget you can also place lightly oiled asparagus on a George Foreman or other indoor grill and serve it with steak or as a snack. Sometimes we wrap it in prosciutto and grill it, it’s an awesome appetizer! You just never know what you’ll find in those cookbooks, but if you don’t

want to start you own cookbook library, the internet can be a great resource. You can Google for some great cooking sites; my favorites are Cooks Illustrated, Web MD or F&W (Food and Wine). In no time, you will find yourself with your own recipe book; filled with recipes that you know you will try, and enjoy sharing with your friends.

24 {food}

Easy Easter Brunch with a Pantry Punch by Family Features The ingredients for an easy weekend breakfast or a special Easter brunch may be in your pantry right now. Holidays are the perfect time to sprinkle additional creativity or fresh new thinking into meals for family and friends and — by using staples like pancake mix, syrup and instant mashed potatoes in unexpected ways — you can craft new and delicious dishes sure to make everyone smile. Try these recipes using simple pantry staples, and turn them into what will become new brunch favorites:

Pancake Breakfast Sandwich Yield: 4 servings Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes

Pancakes: Crisco Original No-Stick Cooking Spray 3/4 cup Hungry Jack Complete Buttermilk Pancake & Waffle Mix 1/3 cup water 1/4 cup Hungry Jack Original Syrup 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese 1 cup frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed, chopped into bite-sized pieces 1/4 teaspoon salt 4 3-inch round sausage patties* Eggs: 1 tablespoon butter 1/3 cup diced red pepper 4 large eggs 1/8 teaspoon salt For pancakes: 1. COAT griddle or skillet with no-stick cooking spray. Heat griddle or skillet on medium heat (350°F). 2. WHISK pancake mix, water and syrup in medium bowl. Stir in cheese, potatoes and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook sausage patties as directed on package. 3. POUR 2 tablespoons batter on griddle, spreading batter to make a 3-inch circle or by using 3-inch pancake molds, coated with no-stick cooking spray. Repeat to make 7 more pancakes. Cook 2 minutes or until golden brown. Turn. Cook second side 2 minutes. For eggs: 1. MELT butter in large skillet. Add red pepper. Cook and stir about 1 minute. Whisk eggs and salt in small bowl. Pour into skillet with peppers. Cook slightly, then shape into four 3-inch circles about the same size as the pancakes and sausage. 2. PLACE one pancake on plate. Top with cooked sausage patty, egg and another pancake to make breakfast sandwich. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 3 more sandwiches. *TIP: If using pre-made sausage patties, flatten slightly into 3-inch rounds, if necessary.

Spicy Candied Bacon

Yield: 6 slices Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes ½ pound extra-thick cut bacon, about 6 slices 1/4 cup Hungry Jack Original Syrup 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper 1. HEAT oven to 375°F. Line 15 x 10-inch baking pan with foil. Lay bacon slices on foil. 2. BAKE 18 to 20 minutes or until bacon edges begin to curl. Remove from oven. Tilt pan to drain. Pat bacon with paper towel. Combine syrup, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and pepper in small bowl. Drizzle evenly over bacon slices. 3. BAKE 5 minutes or until evenly browned. Remove to wire rack. Cool 5 minutes. Serving suggestion: Candied Bacon Breakfast Sandwich: Layer fried egg on English muffin. Top with shredded cheese, Spicy Candied Bacon and a dash of hot sauce or ketchup. Top with other half of English muffin.

{justforkids} 25

Fact or Fiction?

Earth Day Challenge Each year on April 22, people come together all over the world to celebrate Earth Day and do what they can to help protect and preserve the earth. Some clean up areas, while others look for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle at home and work. Here are some questions about conservation. How many can you answer correctly?

In the early 1960s, the environment was not much of an issue in politics. Few lawmakers gave it much thought until Senator Gaylord Nelson brought it to their attention. At the time, the damage that had been done to the environment was just starting to be discovered. Lake Erie was in bad shape, along with several other areas throughout the country. To make politicians more aware of the need to protect the environment, Senator Nelson asked President John F. Kennedy to go on a conservation tour in 1963. President Kennedy agreed, but the tour did not bring the results that Senator Nelson hoped for so he came up with a new idea in 1969. Senator Nelson invited people throughout the country to participate in a demonstration on April 22, 1970, to raise awareness of the need to protect the

1) Taking a bath instead of a shower saves water. Fact or Fiction? 2) Turning off the lights when leaving the room saves energy. Fact or Fiction? 3) Plastic grocery bags cannot be recycled. Fact or Fiction? 4) Plasma TVs use less energy than most other TVs. Fact or Fiction? 5) The less packaging a product has, the better it is for the environment. Fact or Fiction? 6) Turning off the water while brushing your teeth does not save much water. Fact or Fiction? 7) Recycling paper saves trees. Fact or Fiction? 8) Compact fluorescent lightbulbs use more energy than incandescent lightbulbs. Fact or Fiction? 9) Computers cannot be reused. Fact or Fiction? 10) The more times a product can be refilled, the better it is for the environment. Fact or Fiction?

environment. The day was called Earth Day and was a huge success! Today, Answers: 1) Fiction, showers use less water than baths, 2) Fact, 3) Fiction, 4) Fiction, plasma TVs use more energy than most other TVs, 5) Fact, the less packaging there is to throw into the trash, the better, 6) Fiction, turning off the water while brushing your teeth saves about three gallons of water a day, 7) Fact, paper is made from the pulp of trees, 8) Fiction, compact fluorescent lightbulbs use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs, 9) Fiction, many organizations take old computers to repair or refurbish and donate to others, 10) Fact, the fewer containers there are to throw into the trash, the better

communities across America continue to celebrate Earth Day in many ways.

Name That Product 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7)

A __ U M __ N __ M P __ __ E R __ __ A S T __ C G __ A __ S T __ N C __ R __ __ O A R __ __ E W __ __ A P __ R S

Jo k e s a n d R idd le s Q: What did the beach say to the tide coming in? Q: What has five eyes but cannot see?

A: The Mississippi River.


A: Long time no sea.

Each of the following is a product that people often recycle. Fill in the blanks to name that product.

Answers: 1) Aluminum, 2) Paper, 3) Plastic, 4) Glass, 5) Tin, 6) Cardboard, 7) Newspapers

26 {justforkids}



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