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September 5 , 2012

Skewered sensations

Food on a stick goes beyond the corn dog

D By SYLVIA ANDERSON St. Joseph News-Press

rew Clark used to think food on a stick meant fair food, like corn dogs and Popsicles. But after living in Manhattan, N.Y., the St. Joseph native discovered that food on a stick has evolved. “There is everything here from Korean barbecue to casual fi ne dining presented on a stick,” he says. Mr. Clark moved to Manhattan three years go to attend the French Culinary Institute. He surmises one reason for this surge in stick creativity may be New Yorkers’ love of food from carts. “I would say at least 50 percent eat their meals during the workday from a cart,” he says. “Served on a stick makes it easy and cost effective for the food cart and easy for the public to eat.” As with any trend on the coasts, this one has spread everywhere, but it’s particularly noticeable at state and county fairs, where impaled meats and treats are becoming as competitive as they are fun. “If you can put it on a stick, it sells,” says Johnna Perry, an award-winning balloon artist and owner of Up, Up and Away! in Liberty, Mo. “At the Iowa State Fair we saw a caricature artist making ‘kid on a stick.’ He was drawing caricature and putting them on sticks.” Ms. Perry and her husband, John, have been regulars at fairs all over the country for 17 years because of their balloon business. And her passion for food and cooking inspired Johnna to write a blog called 52 foods on a stick, which has become the No. 1 ranked website on the topic. “It seems like in the last five years the trend has really exploded,” Ms. Perry says. “If it can be put on a stick, the food purveyors are doing it.” What’s popular really depends on the region

Jessica Stewar t | The St. Joseph News-Press

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Face time FastAccess software

brings facial recognition to the mainstream By SHEA CONNER St. Joseph News-Press

The idea of security systems examining facial features isn’t a new one. After all, we’ve been seeing those futuristic iris laser scans in movies like “Demolition Man” and “Minority Report” for years. On Sept. 15, however, facial recognition security finally will become an affordable and reliable mainstream reality. Sensible Vision’s new FastAccess software recognizes and tracks your face continuously to automatically enter website passwords and provide full-time security for your data when you step away from the computer. In a world where we increasingly use our computers and smart phones to access bank accounts, sensitive work information and tons of other personal data, this software will come in very handy. Those who use FastAccess will no longer have to remember dozens of passwords, and they won’t have to worry about not-so-trustworthy coworkers viewing their personal business. Of course, many folks heard the same thing two months ago when Google’s Android 4.1 was released. This new operating system boasted a highly hyped Face Unlock feature, but Android 4.1 had barely emerged from Google’s labs when many people figured out that Face Unlock could be

fooled by a simple photograph of the user’s face. Google quickly tweaked Face Unlock so that users had to blink to prove they were human, but that didn’t provide much of an obstacle either. While Google has become the cream of the crop in many consumer technology fields, the company still has a long way to go before reaching Sensible Vision’s expertise in security. SensibleVision’s facial recognition systems have been used in many banks and hospitals over the last few years, and now FastAccess will provide that same experience for homeowners and small business owners. FastAccess is the only facial recognition program that offers two-factor authentication. Choose this option, and in addition to enrolling your face, you’ll also pick either a connect-the-dots gesture or a symbol (such as a snowf lake, puzzle piece, butterf ly, etc.). Both elements will be required to log in, so even if hackers successfully trick the facial-recognition algorithm using a photo or video — a feat no one has accomplished yet — they also would need to know your secret gesture or symbol before they could pose as you. And according to Sensible Vision senior project manager Darin Beery, FastAccess doesn’t simply enroll your face the first time you use it, but the software actually learns new elements of your

Todd Weddle/St. Joseph News-Press

features with each use. The software tracks approximately 400 to 1,000 points and contours of a person’s face, including the eyes, nose and mouth. Hairstyle, eye color, skin color and hair color are not taken into account, since these features constantly change, he says. FastAccess also can track those using a device and quickly switch between autho-

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rized users. Michael Brown, office and security technology reporter for PC World, and his wife gave FastAccess a trial run and were very impressed with the results. “I established one profile for myself, and a second for my wife on the same iPad. When I handed the iPad over to her, FastAccess immediately recognized her face and prompted her to choose her

security symbol,” Mr. Brown says. While one might not need that level of security at home, Mr. Brown says, the feature could fetch businesses with high security needs or medical practices that must comply with strict governmental privacy regulations. Mr. Brown found FastAcPlease see FACE Time/Page 4

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Food on a stick no longer simple fare

CONTINUED FROM page 1 you are in, she says, but the traditional corn dogs are still number one. That’s because some of the more unique ideas don’t hold together as well as the corn dog and can be tricky to eat. “Like the chocolatedipped bacon on a stick,� she says. “You have to eat it pretty fast or you are going to have messy, chocolatey hands the rest of the day.� On Ms. Perry’s blog you’ll find a wide range of foods she and others discovered, from gourmet bacon-wrapped scallops on a stick to a popcornsicle, which is a popcorn ball on a stick dipped in liquid nitrogen to make it freeze quickly. There are regional favorites, too, like alligator on a stick and key lime pie dipped in chocolate on a stick. Then there are creative combinations such as Zucchini Weenie found at the Big Fresno Fair. It’s a hollowed out zucchini stuffed with a hot dog then dipped in corn dog batter and fried. An unexpected find for Ms. Perry was at Marczyk Fine Foods, a gourmet food store in Denver. They sell Choc-o-Lait and Choco-o-Lait Cointreau, which are large chocolate squares on a stick that you dip into hot milk or coffee. “It was the last place I expected to find food on a stick,� she says. “But I found two or three different things. Food on a stick is definitely not just fair food anymore.� That’s why when Mr. Clark opens his new deli in St. Joseph next month (at the former Downtown

Salsa Dog location), he plans to have a few New York favorites on the menu, including macaroni and cheese on a stick. It’s hard to conceive, so he made up a batch to show us. Making macaroni and cheese from scratch is the key. “I wouldn’t use the Kraft out of the box,� he explains. “It’s too moist and would just drop. This you can manipulate easy. The real cheese helps it bind together.� Once the mac and cheese is rolled into balls, he dredges them in beaten egg and breadcrumbs. Then he dips the balls into hot oil for about 30 seconds or until “golden brown and delicious.� You could eat them plain off the stick, or, what he prefers, is to dip them in a roasted onion aioli sauce (homemade, of course) with a little arugula for presentation. Mr. Clark and Ms. Perry agree that the only thing you have to watch out for when eating most food on a stick is how much you eat. Moderation is the key and that’s because the food is usually fried. “Another fair performer said to me the healthiest part of food on a stick is the stick,� Ms. Perry laughs. Healthier alternatives are possible, however, if you plan to make them yourself. Consider fresh fruit kabobs or marinated grilled meat and vegetables on skewers. And with all trends, more ideas are being created every day. Sylvia Anderson can be reached at Follow her on Twitter: @SJNPAnderson.


Chocolate Bacon 12 thick-sliced bacon strips (about 1 pound) 12 wooden skewers (12 inches) 6 ounces white candy coating, chopped 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips 1 tablespoon shortening Optional toppings: chopped dried apple chips, apricots and crystallized ginger, finely chopped pecans and pistachios, toasted coconut, kosher salt, brown sugar, cayenne pepper and coarsely ground black pepper

Thread each bacon strip onto a wooden skewer. Place on a rack in a large baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until crisp. Cool completely. In a microwave, melt candy coating; stir until smooth. Combine chocolate chips and shortening; melt in a microwave and stir until smooth. With pastry brushes, coat bacon on both sides with melted coatings. Top each strip as desired. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm. Store in the refrigerator. Makes one dozen. — Taste of Home

Caprese on a stick 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved 1 (.6-ounce) package fresh basil leaves 1 (16-ounce) package small fresh mozzarella balls Toothpicks 3 tablespoons olive oil Salt and pepper to taste

Thread a tomato half, a small piece of basil leaf and a mozzarella ball onto toothpicks until all ingredients are used. Drizzle the olive oil over the tomato, cheese and basil, leaving the end of the toothpick clean. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Note: Readers suggest adding a little balsamic vinegar with the oil for extra flavor. — Fruit skewers with honey mint dip 1 6-ounce container of your favorite yogurt 1 tablespoon local honey 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh mint Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate for one hour before serving, allowing flavors to integrate. Cut your favorite fruits into bite-size pieces. Alternate the pieces on a skewer for a healthy, colorful treat. — Johnna Perry

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CAPRICORN - Dec 22/Jan 20 Capricorn, when you love someone, it can be difficult to step aside and let this person make his or her own choices. But this is what you have to do for lessons to be learned. AQUARIUS - Jan 21/Feb 18 Your eyes are bigger than your stomach at work this week, Aquarius. Delegate some tasks so everything goes smoothly and your project is completed on time. PISCES - Feb 19/Mar 20 Learning from your weaknesses can help you to grow stronger, Pisces. Accept a challenge that is presented this week, even if it scares you. FAMOUS BIRTHDAYS SEPTEMBER 2 Salma Hayek, Actress (46) SEPTEMBER 3 Shaun White, Actress (26) SEPTEMBER 4 Beyonce Knowles, Singer (31) SEPTEMBER 5 Michael Keaton, Actor (61) SEPTEMBER 6 Jeff Foxworthy, Comic (54) SEPTEMBER 7 Corbin Bernsen, Actor (58) SEPTEMBER 8 Pink, Singer (33)


Out of the dark Single father turns divorce into a tool to help others

By ERIN WISDOM St. Joseph News-Press

Chris Chamberlain knows darkness well enough to want to share light. The Rock Port, Mo., man went through a divorce and custody battle more than a decade ago that was spurred by his ex-wife’s bipolar disorder and, as a result of all this, also experienced emotional trauma of his own. “I’ve stood in front of 1,100 people and cried. I’ve admitted I’ve had posttraumatic stress disorder,” says Mr. Chamberlain, who teaches sociology at Central High School in St. Joseph. “Now, I have post-traumatic growth.” He’s turned this growth into a platform that, last month, made him one of the speakers at an event in Chicago put on by Split Partners LLC. This conference series, called The Divorce Expo, provides information and resources to people who are at some point of the divorce process. Mr. Chamberlain found out about the company and these expos through an article that ran in the NewsPress last spring, and after contacting Split Partners to offer his speaking services, he found himself on the list of speakers not only for last month’s event but also for coming ones in other parts of the country. His presentation in Chicago even caught the attention of a producer with the Oprah Winfrey Network, who approached him about possibly being featured in “Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal,” a documentary series on OWN. (For more information on The Divorce Expo, including future dates and locations, go online to splitpartners. com.) Mr. Chamberlain’s message, which he’s also presented to various groups in this area, is titled “Out of the Dark.” It addresses depression, especially as it relates to divorce, and also offers insight into parenting in the wake of divorce. A snapshot

of his experience shows why he has the expertise to speak on these subjects: After 11 years of marriage and a long struggle to understand and help his ex-wife with her condition, Mr. Chamberlain came to the conclusion in 2001 that too much damage had been done to the relationship and that the home atmosphere created by it was unhealthy for his children. “She’s a good person; she’s just ill,” Mr. Chamberlain says of his ex-wife, with whom he now has a cordial relationship. “And the illness got away from her and did things that break up marriages.” In the aftermath, he won custody of his son, Chase, who was 9 at the time of the divorce, and his daughter, Catyn, who was 2. He moved to Rock Port, where he’d grown up, to be near his family. And with their support, both practically and emotionally, he started his climb out of the pit where life had put him. Mr. Chamberlain also credits his students at Central with playing a large part in his recovery, as well as with motivating him to share his story. “My story is not my story; it’s our story. When I was in court, I was fighting for my kids, but I was also kind of fighting for kids at school whose dads didn’t fight for them,” he says. “I think those kids need to see somebody who loves their kids ... need to know there’s someone in their corner.” Deli Murphy, formerly a special education teacher at Central who spent nine years in Mr. Chamberlain’s room as part of a class-within-a-class program, notes that the level of transparency he had with his students about his struggles encouraged them to use him as a sounding board, as well. “It wasn’t uncommon for kids to come to him when they had problems, because they knew he’d listen,” Ms. Murphy says. “He was very real with these kids, and they appreciated it. As an educator, when your stu-

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dents understand who you are as a human being ... they will rush to rescue you.” Speaking now about his experiences, Mr. Chamberlain points to this kind of support — as well as to faith, forgiveness and his focus on doing what was best for his son and daughter — as the remedy to the darkness created in his life by depression, divorce and debt. And while he’s still fighting the last demon on that list due to the hefty expense of his custody battle, he hopes the money he earns in his speaking career will help him beat it, too. (For more information or to request Mr. Chamberlain for a speaking engagement, contact him at (660) 744-3183 or christopher.chamberlain@ or go online to outofthedark2012.webs. com.) For those who know him best, Mr. Chamberlain’s

efforts to turn his tragedies into a tool to help others seems fitting. “It’s not surprising; it’s just a blessing,” says Marcy McMahon, Mr. Chamberlain’s sister, who has acted as a mother figure to his children. “He will do well in giving back to the community. I went to one of his seminars, and I could tell it touched people.” As much as he hopes his speaking will improve his financial situation, having this kind of impact on individuals is the true payoff for Mr. Chamberlain. “My family — my sister, my brother, my parents — I can never repay them. But this is a way I can pay it forward,” he says. “If I don’t ever make a dime, I will still continue to do this.”

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CONTINUED FROM page 2 cess especially useful when it came to logging in to secure websites for online banking, online shopping and webmail. The first-time users visit such a site after installing the software, FastAccess will ask them if they’d like the software to remember their login credentials. If so, the next time they visit the site, FastAccess will pop up, examine their faces using the device’s camera, and prompt them to enter their preset gesture or symbol. If both factors are recognized, FastAccess will log them into the site without the need to type in their credentials. “In my experience, this routinely happened more quickly than I could have typed them (the passwords) in,” Mr. Brown says. “More importantly, it allowed me to create extremely complex passwords that I never needed to memorize.” In order for all this to work, users need to buy the software and set up an account on Sensible Vision’s servers, where all of their login credentials and passwords will be stored. Unlike LinkedIn, Sony and Yahoo, which have all experienced security lapses in recent years, Sensible Vision uses 256-bit AES keys to secure each user’s credentials. And rather than encrypting an entire database of user accounts on a single master key, Sensible Vision encrypts each individual account using a unique and independent key. In



Layman’s terms: If hackers somehow did manage to break into one user’s account, only that user would be affected. The rest of the database would remain secure. “This effectively removes an incentive hackers have to attack the database in the first place,” Mr. Beery says. “The effort required is quite high while the payoff is quite low.” FastAccess can be used on Windows desktops or laptop computers that are equipped with webcams. Sensible Vision plans to add an unlock feature to FastAccess for Android, but the company doesn’t recommend locking mobile devices. “A computer is accessed less frequently and is used for longer periods of time than a phone or tablet,” Mr. Beery explains. “Locking a computer is entirely appropriate. A phone is accessed much more often, typically for very brief periods of time — often measured in mere seconds — and often for tasks which require no security. Forcing the user to authenticate to play a game, check the weather, or navigate their car is unnecessary and creates frustration.” FastAccess will be compatible with the Windows versions of Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. The Windows version will cost $19.99. The Android app will be available for $2.99. Shea Conner can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @stjoelivedotcom.

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Jessica Stewar t | St. Joseph News-Press/

Chris Chamberlin, a teacher at Central High School, went through a divorce and custody battle more than a decade ago. He now speaks about his experience.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


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