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Flu vaccination supply plentiful this year

Nurses go back to basics with home health care

Communication key for coping with cancer

A GUIDE FOR LIVING IN SIOUXLAND

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JANUARY 2012

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CONTENTS

January 2012

8 BEAUTY OF NATURE

Virginia Connelly of Dakota Dunes attributes her love of rocks to growing up in Nebraska – a state that had very few of them.

22 ON THE COVER People load onto buses at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Transportation Center in Sioux City. Photograph by Jim Lee

FEATURES 4 Feature home: Capron house 7 Out & About 8 Collections: Rocks 12 Food: Comfort cuisine 16 Health: Yoga 20 Home: Plants 21 Driving: Tips from a tow truck driver 22 Bus: Bus stop place to be 23 Bus: MLK Transportation Center 24 Bus: Rider likes to people watch 25 Bus: Going home to Texas

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27 28 30 32 34 36 39 42 45 47

COMFORT FOOD Rick Beaulieu, executive chef at Bev’s on the River, makes room for comfort food classics during the winter months.

Bus: Traveling to father’s funeral Bus: Betty favors bus travel Bus: Heading to warmer climate Bus: Local businesses help travelers Q&A: Jefferson Lines bus driver Coping with cancer Flu shots Home health care Sinus relief Parting shot: The bread of life

PUBLISHER Steve Griffith EDITOR Bruce Miller EDITORIAL Dolly Butz, Joanne Fox, Tim Gallagher, Earl Horlyk, Nick Hytrek, Laura Johnson, Marcia Poole, John Quinlan PHOTOGRAPHY Tim Hynds, Jim Lee, Laura Wehde PRESENTATION EDITOR Amy Hynds ADVERTISING SALES Nancy Gevik

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©2012 The Sioux City Journal. Siouxland Life is published monthly by The Sioux City Journal. For advertising information, please call (712) 224-6275. For editorial information, please call (712) 293-4218.

PERFECT BALANCE Yoga helps participants achieve perfect alignment to create balance.

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HOME Feature

Home

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“I wouldn’t say I have a

specific style.” Far left Rhonda Capron mugs for the camera with a decorative bottle of chili peppers in the kitchen of her Sioux City home. Left Capron is shown with a collage of family photos. Inset Capron is the third owner of her modest northside home.

EVERY HOUR IS

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HAPPY HOUR AT CAPRON’S HOUSE

Text by Joanne Fox | Photographs by Tim Hynds

WHEN IS HAPPY HOUR at Rhonda Capron’s house? “Every hour is happy hour,” insisted the effervescent, newest addition to the City Council. Capron, owner of Rhonda’s Speak Easy, made her first run for public office and was elected by a wide margin in last November’s council election, making her only the fifth woman in the city’s history to serve on the council. “I think people were looking for a commonsense approach and a new voice,” she said of her victory. Capron’s joie de vivre can be found in her modest three-bedroom home on the city’s northside. “I always wanted a brick house,” she said. “When my former in-laws, Chuck and Sheryl Capron, decided to move to Florida, I bought it. I’m the third person to own it.”

Rhonda Capron’s kitchen features a small galleytype oven. Capron says she does most of her major cooking using roasters and not the oven.

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Those who have visited Rhonda’s Speak Easy will have seen subdued lighting, bar decor and, on busy nights, wallto-wall people. Capron abandoned those decorating techniques in her house – utilizing a less-is-better approach – resulting in an open, airy and bright presentation. Capron’s foyer looks straight onto her patio, deck and backyard. “In the summer, it’s really beautiful,” she said. “I have all my flowers out there.” Just inside the floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors with no window treatments is the living room. Light, neutral, cushy furniture is positioned for a perfect view of the outdoors or the flat-screen television. “Chief has made it real easy for me,” Capron said of her four-year-old pit bull mix. “I throw the ball onto the deck and he’ll bring it right back to me. I don’t even have to get out of the chair.” A monochromatic pattern on the rug is accented by some bouquets of artificial flowers. “I wouldn’t say I have a specific style,” Capron admitted. “Like these flowers. They were on sale at Belle Touche and I liked them and I knew they fit the colors in the room, so I bought them.” Other items have been around a bit longer. Certainly the focal point in the room is a large grandfather clock, with glass surrounding the pendulum mechanism. “I bought that 30 years ago,” Capron recalled. “As I did my dining room furniture. They both suit me well.” Growing up on a farm in Ocheydan, Iowa, as one of seven children, Capron is a cook by nature. But visitors do a double-take when they see Capron’s small Frigidaire oven with white doors that open like a refrigerator in her kitchen. “It works great and probably was built-in when the house was built about 50 years ago,” she said. “I can cook a lot in there, but if I’m cooking for a lot of people, I bring out the roasters.” In the perfect kitchen triangle of sink, stove and refrigerator, Capron also has a flat electric range and enough counter space to accommodate her signature dish. “I grow vegetables and those I can’t, I purchase,” she said. “So, I’ll take a lot of fresh vegetables and season them and put butter on them and wrap them in tin foil and grill them. It’s great. It’s also healthy.” Capron only hesitated a second: “Well, except for the butter. But we can’t eliminate everything that makes things good can we?” The master bedroom is on the upper 6

JANUARY 2012

Her magnetfestooned refrigerator is shown as Rhonda Capron talks about her Sioux City home. Capron plays catch with her dog, Chief, in the living room.

level and the bed takes up most of the room with decorative pillows in rich, swirled earth tones in different colors, textures and sizes. “I believe in lots of pillows,” Capron stressed. “I like the look and feel of them. And for the colors, I wanted something comfortable. Certainly not light and girlie.” Across from the bedroom is the only room that has a “dated” look to it – the bathroom with aqua toilets and sinks. “Yes, it does speak to a certain time,” Capron admitted. “But I bought some curtains at Wal-Mart and I have a friend who paints and she made the bathroom look really trendy.” On the descent to the lower level is a compelling collage of colored, tinted and black and white photos, which Capron created to celebrate her mother’s 75th birthday. “Mom said she had no place for something that large so I should just take it,”

SIOUXLAND LIFE

Capron explained of the tribute to Harold and LaVonne Engel. “I had the most fun putting it together. I found pictures of my mom’s parents and my mom as a young girl.” Capron, a huge fan of Kosama – a fitness, nutrition approach to health – has a treadmill in the lower level occupying one corner. Across from that is a comfy couch facing a flat screen television. Capron’s dogs, Chief and a Shi-tzu named Lucy, have their designated sleeping areas there. But what draws the eyes across the room is a cabinet with several Princess Diana dolls. “When Princess Di died, I decided to buy some of these from the Franklin Mint,” Capron said. “I love that some of the dolls have little diamond chips in their tiaras and delicate beading on the dresses,” she said, then laughed. “I always wanted to be a princess, I guess.”


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SNAP SHOTS Fundraisers

OUT & ABOUT Photographs by Joanne Fox and Submitted

QUOTA INTERNATIONAL HOLIDAY AUCTION Barb Kelly holds a coconut cream pie and Sharon Shook, a chocolate pie, just two of the many items available at this year’s Quota International holiday auction, Dec. 8 at the Holiday Inn, Sioux City. Kelly baked both pies. NO OLIVE LEFT BEHIND Linda Flom, Lisa Corbett and Holly Meis attend the No Olive Left Behind event benefitting the Sioux City Public Schools Foundation. The event was held in November at the Sioux City Country Club.

GO RED FOR WOMEN Marilyn Christiansen Wiltgen and Carol Birmingham Strait enjoy the Go Red Luncheon on Dec. 2.

YOUR PICTURE HERE Have a fundraiser or event that should be featured in this section? Call Joanne Fox at (712) 293-4247 or e-mail scjartwork@siouxcityjournal.com.

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COLLECTIONS Rocks

Rock collection reflects

BEAUTY of NATURE Text by Joanne Fox | Photographs by Tim Hynds

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VIRGINIA CONNELLY OF DAKOTA Dunes traces her fascination for rocks back to growing up in Nebraska. Where there were no rocks. “The glaciers were responsible, because they never reached Nebraska,” she explained. “They left all the rocks and stones elsewhere when they melted.” Connelly recalled visiting a great-uncle in Illinois where there were more rocks than one could imagine. “I remember, growing up, we had a hired girl and she married,” she reminisced. “She came back with a sandstone rock from her honeymoon in the Black Hills. I was 4 or 5. The memory is still strong over 80 years later.”

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Q. Was that the first in your rock collection? A. Yes. Q. Why rocks? A. They were easy to collect. You don’t have to pay for them. And they really illustrate the beauty of this world. Q. Have you paid for a rock? A. I told my husband once I wanted a particular rock and he bought it for me. I’ve bought others at flea markets. So, yes, many times I have paid for rocks. Q. What’s the most you’ve paid for a rock? A. $25 and it’s the largest rock I have. Q. There’s a rock worth that much? A. One interesting rock is a silica, which is formed in the desert as the sand blows around it. I found one in Mexico, in a place so remote the tour bus couldn’t continue into it. So, our group was transferred to a small Mexican bus to take me in. Q. Was someone selling rocks there? A. Yes. I decided I wanted the rock. I was told I should haggle with the seller and he wanted $35 and he didn’t speak English. Finally we agreed


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Virginia Connelly holds the first rock she acquired when starting her rock collection. She is shown at her home in Dakota Dunes, S.D.

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on $25 and then I was ashamed of myself. This man was poor and trying to make a living and I should have just paid what he asked. Q. What’s your smallest rock? A piece of gravel? A pebble? A. They’re called Apache Tears and if you hold them up to the light, they’re transparent. The legend is that when the Apaches were made to walk to their reservations, the women cried the whole time and their tears are the rocks. Q. How many rocks do you have? A. (Laughs) Oh, I’ve never counted them. Q. Do you have a favorite? A. I love geodes. Their design makes me dream of little people who live in there. Q. You live in an assisted living apartment now. Did you have to leave some of the collection behind? A. Yes. In fact my son just visited and said, “Mom, there are still boxes of rocks in storage.” But when I moved here, they said, “This is your home. Decorate it however you want.” So, I did bring a number of the rocks along. Q. What does your family think of the collection? A. My family laughs at it. My husband wasn’t interested in helping me acquire

DO YOU COLLECT? What kinds of things do you have around the house, gathering dust or prominently on display for all to see? We’d love to feature your collection! Call Joanne Fox at 293-4247 or email jfox@siouxcityjournal.com.

Virginia Connelly holds a crystal, part of her rock collection.

rocks, but he was certainly willing to let me do it. Q. What about friends? A. Many of them give the expected comment that I have rocks in my head.

BROADWAY At The Orpheum In Sioux City

Q. Have you prospected for any of the rocks? A. In Hot Springs, Arkansas, for $10 all day, I could harvest crystal rocks. I was like a kid in a candy store. I gave the best ones to the kids and grandkids. Q. Did you have tools for this undertaking? A. I had a small metal rake, a rock hammer, a small pick ax and some water to wash off the rocks. Q. Do you collect anything else? A. I did collect toys that were in Cracker Jack boxes when the toys were made of tin. I quit that when they went to paper items. Q. Any thought to ever stopping the rock collection? A. Oh, no. I can’t quit it. I walk around the building (Stoney Creek Suites) and pick up rocks I find interesting.

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FOOD Comfort

Food

Bev’s on the River executive chef Rick Beaulieu is shown with a pork saltimbocca and a bread pudding at the Sioux City restaurant.

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IN THE JANUARY FREEZE,

COMFORT FOOD HITS THE SPOT Text by Marcia Poole | Photographs by Tim Hynds

IN THE JANUARY FREEZE, comfort food hits the spot. When it comes to winter in Siouxland, Rick Beaulieu makes plenty of room for comfort food classics. The executive chef at Bev’s on the River knows that bracing Midwest-inspired main dishes, sides and desserts sustain the diners who crave a taste of home. “We do a lot of fresh fish and seafood, pasta – fine dining,” says the Sioux City native. “But, yes, we always have some comfort food on our lunch and dinner menus.” For dinner, there’s Smoked Chicken Pot Pie, Roasted Chicken and Pork Ossobuco where the meat “just falls off” the shank. Pork shows up again in Stuffed Pork Chops and also “en croute” – a pork tenderloin spin on Beef Wellington. “Awesome,” says the executive chef who’s been with Bev’s since it opened in late 2004. Beef? It’s in ample supply, mainly in the steak selection that includes Rib Eye, New York Strip, Filet Mignon and Porter House. Prime Rib Sandwich? You bet.

Pork saltimbocca created by Bev’s on the River executive chef Rick Beaulieu is shown at the Sioux City restaurant.

Country Fried Steak is on both the lunch and dinner menus. Mashed potatoes, arguably the ultimate comfort food, are a must for many diners. Beaulieu favors Yukon Gold potatoes done up with roasted garlic, sour cream, salt and pepper for Bev’s version of the classic. “Yukon Golds take a little bit more moisture when you’re whipping them up but I like the flavor.” At lunch, diners find other stars of comfort food vocabulary, including Meatloaf, Fish and Chips, Bev’s BLT and the enduring Reuben sandwich. No discussion of wintertime comfort food would be complete without big bowls of steaming soup, Beaulieu says. Clam chowder is standard each day. French Onion is served in a crock with Provolone cheese melted over a beef and onion stock and topped with sliced scallions. Additionally, Bev’s offers a soup of the day. “We do a lot of chicken noodle, beef barley and chili – all made from scratch.” The chef appreciates soup’s link to varied Siouxland heritages. It seems every culture has soup. For early

Keeping up with trends is a continual challenge, but there’s always room for comfort food classics that take diners back home. SIOUXLAND LIFE

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German-American communities, soup symbolized religious fellowship. Soup suppers continue in Siouxland as a traditional way to serve a congregation and its guests at social functions and fundraisers. Tucked amidst the Bev’s menu salad section is retro-inspired Wedge of Iceberg, topped with blue cheese dressing, Maytag Blue cheese crumbles, shredded carrots, diced tomatoes, bacon bits, red onion rings and roasted walnuts. The name “Iceberg” is said to have come about because the heads looked like icebergs when they were packed on ice for shipping from California. Perhaps no place is more comfortfood driven than the dessert section of the menu. Familiar favorites rule with a Warm Apple Dumpling, New York Cheesecake, Pecan Pie served with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and Golden Carrot Cake with cream cheese frosting. Crème Brulee and Chocolate Fudge Sheba are popular. But the main attraction is Chef Rick’s Bread Pudding and Bourbon Sauce. “We’ve served this since we opened and never expected it to be so popular. But it’s become our signature dessert,” says the chef. The hot, bracing finale takes 20 to 25 minutes to prepare, so diners are encouraged to order the dessert just as their dinners arrive at the table. Whether diners are craving comfort food or sticking with their favorite fresh fish, seafood, pasta or salad entrées, many enjoy a view of the Missouri River as it flows past Bev’s windows. After a summer as one of the most photographed flood-imperiled sites on the Missouri Riverfront, Bev’s reopened just before the onset of autumn to diners and employees who were happy to be back. “The flood gave me time to think about just how lucky I am to be here,” says Beaulieu. Bev’s gives the chef daily opportunities to grow, but he never forgets his comfort food roots. They’re firmly planted in memories of the Plymouth County farm and ag businesses his grandparents ran. At the center of the memories are his grandmother’s hearty breakfasts prepared each day for everybody – especially those who worked on the farm. “At 6 o’clock Grandma would be up with plates of bacon, eggs, sausage, pancakes, waffles – just a huge, huge breakfast to get everybody’s day started. That’s the biggest thing I remember about farm food,” says Beaulieu.

A bread pudding with bourbon sauce created by Bev’s on the River executive chef Rick Beaulieu.

The chef began compiling his own food history, beginning with his parttime job as a “doughboy in a pizza place” during high school. Culinary school helped prepare him for the challenges of the restaurant industry in the Midwest and beyond. Keeping up with trends is a

continual challenge, but there’s always room for comfort food classics that take diners back home. Bev’s on the River, 1110 Larsen Park Road, opens at 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday; Sundays begin with brunch at 11 a.m.: 712224-2387.

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HEALTH Yoga

YOGA PUTS BODIES INTO PERFECT ALIGNMENT Text by Earl Horlyk | Photographs by Laura Wehde

THEY MAY HAVE QUIRKY names such as Crow Pose, Cobbler Pose or even Half Lord of the Fishes Pose but, according to Connie Reynolds, yoga is becoming more mainstream to a greater number of people. “I have students ranging in age from 15 to 80 interested in learning about yoga,” Reynolds, owner of the Yoga College in Sioux City and a personal practitioner of it for more than 25

Connie Reynolds, owner of the Yoga College in Sioux City, demonstrates basic yoga positions.

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YOGA MOVES YOU SHOULD KNOW

You don’t need to be as lithe or as limber as a yogi to master yoga. According to the Yoga College’s Connie Reynolds, a few moves can help adjust your body so you can be in better alignment.

POSE

HOW TO DO IT

HOW IT BENEFITS YOU

EXTENDED TRIANGLE POSE

1. Exhale and keep your feet apart. Raise your arm so it’s parallel to the floor and reach out to the side, keeping your shoulder blades wide and your palms down. 2. Turn your left foot in slightly to the right and turn your right turn to a 90 degree angle. Turn your right thigh outward, so the center of your right knee cap’s in line with the center of the right ankle. 3. Exhale and extend your torso to the right directly over the plane of your right leg. Bend from your hip joint, not your waist. Anchor by strengthening the left leg and pressing your outer heel to the floor. 4. Rest your right hand on your shin, ankle or floor without changing the shape of your torso. Stretch your left arm towards the ceiling, in line with the top of your shoulder. 5. Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to one minute.

– Stretches and strengthens your thighs, knees and ankles – Stretches your hips, groin and hamstrings as well as calves, shoulders, chest and spine – Helps relieves stress – Improve indigestion

1. Start on your right side with your left hand resting on your left hip. Inhale, bending your right knee and sliding your left foot about six inches forward along the floor. At the same time, thrust your right hand forward, beyond the little toe side of your right foot by about 12 inches. 2. Exhale while pressing your right hand and right heel into the floor and straighten your right leg while lifting your leg parallel to the floor. Extend through your left heel in order to keep the raised leg strong. 3. Rotate your upper torso to the left while keeping your left hip moving slightly forward. 4. Bear your body weight mostly on the standing leg. Press your lower hand lightly to the floor. Lift the inner ankle of the standing foot strongly upward, pressing against your back torso and lengthening towards the raised heel. 5. Stay in this position for 30 seconds to one minute.

– Stretches and strengthens your abdomen, ankles, thighs, buttocks and spine. – Stretches your groin, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, chest and spine. – Helps relieve headaches and migraines – Helps relieve diarrhea and insomnia – Can lower blood pressure

HALF MOON

PLANK

1. Inhale, drawing your torso forward until your arms are perpendicular to the floor and your shoulders directly over your wrists. 2. Press your outer arms inward and firm the bases of your index fingers into the floor. Firm your shoulder blades against your back, then spread them away from your spine. 3. Press your front thigh upward toward the ceiling. Lift the base of your skull away from the back of your neck, looking straight down at the floor, keeping your throat soft. 4. Stay in this position for 30 seconds to one minute.

– Strengthens your arms, wrists and spine – Tones your abdomen

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years, explained. “People want to have their bodies in perfect alignment in order to create balance.” So, will contorting your body into a pretzel for poses with funny names like Downward Facing Dog really make you one with the universe? Well, if you believe such notables as David Duchovny, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine and 53-year-old Madonna, that would be a resounding yes for yoga. Now, as people are leaving the stresses of the holidays behind them and facing 2012 with a whole host of New Year’s resolutions, Reynolds said it’s the perfect time to try your hand – and other body parts – at the Monkey Pose, the Cow Face Pose and the One-Legged King Pigeon Pose. “People lead such hectic lives and, at work, energy is leaving their bodies at a rapid pace,” Reynolds said. “Through yoga, their energy is constantly being replenished. So, at the end of the session, they feel reinvigorated and not fatigued.” Also, as a person ages, strengthening one’s core becomes increasingly important. “It’s amazing how beneficial yoga can be,” Reynolds said. “It can positively improve how you move, how you walk, even how you breathe.” “Think of yoga as being preventive medicine,” she added while waiting for a class to begin. “Mastering a few easyto-do stretches and yoga moves may improve your overall mobility and keep you healthy for many years to come.”


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11:21 AM


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HOME Plants

BRINGING PLANTS INDOORS DURING THE WINTER

f

Text by Dolly Butz | Photograph by Chris Upton/Design Pics

FROM HIBISCUSES TO WEEPING figs, outdoor plants can successfully vacation inside your home during the winter if they receive good, consistent care, according to Richard Jauron, an Iowa State University Extension horticulturalist. Most plants that are not frost-tolerant should be brought inside before the first freeze sometime in September, otherwise, Jauron said, they could be damaged or destroyed. The move indoors, however, won’t be easy on the plant, which has become accustomed to certain temperatures, light and humidity conditions during the spring and summer. The change in environment will be drastic. So what can you do to make your plant’s move indoors as smooth and stress-free as possible? Avoid re-potting, which Jauron said puts additional stress on plants. Wait

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until next spring. “Just bring them inside, but realize that the environment indoors is very different than it is outdoors,” he cautioned. Being knowledgeable about the species of your plant and the amount of direct or indirect light it requires are key to a successful transition, according to Jauron. “It’s not one size fits all as far as the care, so you just try to give the plant the best light that you can,” he said. “It all depends on the plant.” He advises placing a plant that prefers direct sun in a south or west window. A plant the requires indirect light should set to the north. Keep plants away from a heat source, such as a furnace vent, or a door, where they may get a cold draft. Once you find a spot in your home that meets your plant’s needs, leave it

SIOUXLAND LIFE

there. Moving it from room to room, Jauron said, will further stress the plant. Reduce the frequency at which you water your plant, but don’t cut back on the amount, Jauron explained. “Most plants require less water indoors,” he said. “You’re still going to water the plant thoroughly when you water, but maybe not quite as often.” If your plant’s leaves turn yellow and start falling off, you shouldn’t panic. Jauron said some plants, like the weeping fig, are “very touchy,” and are just responding to the stress of their new environment. “They are going to experience some stress,” he said. “That’s unavoidable, but if you provide them with the best light possible and then give the plant good care, you can hopefully lessen the stress.”


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HEALTH Safe

driving

IF THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS FRIGHTFUL,

DRIVING ISN’T DELIGHTFUL Text and photograph by Tim Gallagher

a

Tow truck operator offers tips to stay safe AS THE MERCURY DIPS and the winds whip, activity often drops to a standstill across Siouxland. Then again, it doesn’t. Life goes on. Games are played. Concerts are held. Work deadlines must be met. So people travel. And they rely on pros like Mike Mareau to rescue them when the going gets too tough. Mareau has pulled people from roadways, ditches and medians since 1978. As temps dove to 16-below on a recent December evening, Mareau towed an idled car from Sioux City to his Mike’s Repair business at Sloan. He rumbled down Interstate 29. His phone rang. Another motorist needed his help. “A guy had slid off into a ditch and he has one leg,” said Mareau. “He could not get out of his car.” Mareau dispatched his son, Ryan Mareau, to the scene. The emergency – which ended with a rescue – reminded the tow truck operator of a call he took a few years ago. A car had flipped in a ditch and ended up on its top. Mareau arrived and surveyed the scene. The ditch was waterlogged. Mareau couldn’t see footprints emerging from the vehicle. “I told the officer that we’d better get the car flipped quickly,” he said. “There was a guy still inside the car.” They flipped the vehicle. Mareau, an EMT for 20-some years, wrapped his coat around the driver to warm him. An ambulance zipped the victim to a hospital. Thankfully, he survived. “You stay in this business very long, you have stories. A lot of stories,” Mareau said. His worst involves a 70-car pileup not many years ago. The mayhem occurred 1.5 miles south of Sloan on Interstate 29.

Mike Mareau of Mike’s Repair in Sloan, Iowa, has towed vehicles from snow- and ice-covered roadways since 1978.

Visibility dropped to near zero. Drivers had no idea they were approaching a multi-vehicle wreck. The interstate was still open. “Normally, the troopers wouldn’t let me out in those conditions, but there were so many cars out there,” he recalled. “It was a nightmare.” Buses from the Westwood Community School District ended up carting victims from the scene to the school in Sloan where many rested and recovered. Mareau kept working. Kept pulling. Back and forth from the scene to Sloan. While situations like that are good for the business’ bottom line, Mareau would just as soon people stay safe, warm and free of such catastrophe. “My advice is that when the roads are bad, please stay home,” he said. If you absolutely cannot stay at home, Mareau urges motorists to keep a winter survival kit in their car.

Experts say such kits should contain items like a candle, matches, water, blankets, ice scraper with brush, winter clothing, a coffee can to put a lighted candle inside to use for heat and light, jumper cables, tool kit, a shovel, flashlight, reflective triangles and nonperishable food items like granola bars, which won’t spoil. “And keep your car on the top side of the tank,” he said, noting a motorist should always fill ‘er up before heading out in winter-time driving conditions. “You don’t want to run out of gas when you get stranded.” Oh, and try to have a cell phone handy. While cell phones often distract drivers, they can also be a life-saver in a sticky roadside situation. “Cell phones are a double-edged sword,” Mareau said. “But they’re one thing that’s helped over the years as far as surviving.”

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TRANSPORTATION On

the Bus

BUS STOP IS THE PLACE TO BE Text by John Quinlan | Photograph by Jim Lee

“FORREST GUMP” IMPARTED WISDOM to a fellow traveler at a bus stop in 1994. And Marilyn Monroe brought a little glamour to the “Bus Stop” that she sashayed into in that 1956 movie. Even way back in 1934, in one of the greatest romantic comedies ever, “It Happened One Night,” Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert spent some memorable, Oscarwinning time on a Greyhound bus. The bus stop or bus depot is an enduring part of American history, both real and imagined, and that story continues every day at the Jefferson Lines bus depot in downtown Sioux City. Jefferson leases space in the Martin Luther King Jr. Transportation Center, which also serves the Sioux City Transit System. There’s simply no better way to travel, says Jefferson Lines station manager Bill Garster. “I’ve been doing this for 40 years now, and I think it’s great,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of places that the planes can’t go or it costs too much. For example, to go to Minneapolis (by plane), it costs a fortune. There’s other places that you can’t go to, like Fargo, without spending a fortune. It’s fairly economical, too. And I think we’re a little lower in price than trains, too, in most destinations.” The spacious, $11.6 million King facility that opened in 2003 replaced a much smaller building that served both Greyhound and Jefferson at 719 Jackson St., where travelers were forced to sit on benches outside the building, whatever the weather, to await the

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JANUARY 2012

Manager Bill Garster works at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Transportation Center in Sioux City.

next bus. The new depot, with a spacious indoor waiting area, was heaven-sent, said Garster, who has been in Sioux City since 1991. For a while, he worked for both Greyhound and Jefferson, but Greyhound pulled out in 2004. Jefferson Lines is an 80-year-old regional intercity bus company, based in Minneapolis. It has a north-south route that takes folks from Minneapolis through Sioux Falls to Sioux City and on to Omaha, Kansas City and points beyond, wherever the transfer can be

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made. The buses make four daily stops in Sioux City, two southbound, two northbound. The bus heading to Omaha and Kansas City leaves at 2:45 p.m. and 8:40 p.m. The bus to Sioux Falls and points north leaves Sioux City daily at 7:30 a.m. and 12:40 p.m. “Our popular destinations are Chicago, places in Texas, Denver, Des Moines and Omaha. They switch to Greyhound to go to Des Moines or Chicago,” Garster said. People take the bus for the same reasons they take the plane, the train or the


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Martin Luther King Jr. Transportation Center serves public need Text by Dolly Butz

automobile, to get where they want to go. But Jefferson Lines has its regulars. “We get a few that take three or four trips a year,” Garster said. “There’s a lady who goes to Las Vegas three times a year. And then we have some local people who go to Omaha and Des Moines.” Surprisingly, he sees a lot of truck drivers. “We get a lot of truck drivers because they’re coming in for truck driving jobs and going out. Local companies here in town bring a lot of truck drivers in. And then they’ll have to quit and go out. Sometimes they go to Omaha to catch a plane,” he said. “We also get a lot of Hispanics – probably 30 percent – and they go to California and Texas,” he said. Keeping track of the buses and in touch with the drivers is much easier than it was when Garster started selling tickets 40 years ago in Grand Forks. N.D. “We’re able to track our buses. I have what’s called Zonar, and the buses are GPS-equipped,” he said, pointing to a computer screen on which red triangles on a map show the location of every Jefferson bus. The Zonar electronic management system for bus fleet operations helps Garster stay in touch with the six drivers who cover the Sioux City route, three each day. And he has their cellphone numbers for emergency use. So it is no longer necessary

to call the terminals to find out where the buses are. Those cell phones were busy during the summer months, when the Missouri River flooded highways and wreaked havoc with the bus schedules. “That was awful. We had one schedule that we couldn’t adjust. We just had to run it late because it had to make a connection, both of them actually north and south, because the ones coming from Kansas City had two big delays, the one by the border of Missouri and the one north of Omaha. Each one was a half hour,” he said, noting that this caused serious problems when it came to making connections. One forced adjustment moved the buses up two hours each way, and this worked out so well, the schedule change survived the flood. While Jefferson’s best buses serve Minnesota, where Jefferson gets state subsidies, today’s buses are all a big improvement over the buses of old. And one of these days, the buses stopping in Sioux City will also have the Wi-Fi service, satellite radio and movies found in the Minnesota buses, Garster said. And if you’re planning to take the bus, get to the bus station a half hour early, just to be safe. In major terminals, passengers are asked to show up an hour early, but that’s not yet the case in Sioux City.

EVERY DAY KURT MILLER sees people getting on and off of buses at the Martin Luther King Jr. Transportation Center in downtown Sioux City. “That’s their mode of transportation to be able to travel from city to city,” said Miller, airport/transit fleet director for the city. The city’s $11.6 million Martin Luther King Jr. Transportation Center – a multimodal or combined ground transportation center – opened in February 2003. Miller said the city’s goal was to coordinate transportation for members of the public who don’t have the ability or financial means to drive or fly. “If you don’t have a car or you can’t drive somewhere else in the country, even inside Sioux City, if you’re dependent on buses for your transportation, the key ingredient is that it’s not just a bus ride around Sioux City,” Miller said. “You can also connect and get anywhere else in the country.” Miller explained that you could travel to Omaha via Jefferson Lines, connect with the Omaha Metropolitan Transit and then go to Council Bluffs, Iowa. When the transportation center opened, Jefferson Lines and Greyhound both ran buses through Sioux City traveling daily to Omaha and Minneapolis. In August 2004, Greyhound pulled out of Sioux City. Today, Jefferson Lines is the city’s sole provider of bus transportation with routes to Omaha and Sioux Falls. Miller said Jefferson Lines has an agreement with the city and rents space at the transportation center. According to Miller, there are no plans for expansion to the building or services at this time. Miller said the transportation center provides sufficient space to handle all of the city and coach buses that come in and out of the transportation center. The four-level parking ramp, he said, is able to accommodate travelers, visitors, shoppers and employees of nearby businesses. The transportation center also offers a spacious lobby for travelers to wait indoors for their buses, retail space and skywalk accessibility to the Orpheum Theatre, Frances Building and access to all of the buildings in the skywalk system. SIOUXLAND LIFE

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TRANSPORTATION On

the Bus

EASY RIDER RUIZ USES BUS DOWN TIME TO

‘PEOPLE WATCH’ Text by Earl Horlyk | Photographs by Jim Lee

A PROFESSIONAL CHEF WHO has dished out grub in Oregon, Arizona as well as his current hometown of San Jose, Calif., Danny Ruiz said it takes a lot to rile him up. Well, what about the recent blizzard that left him stranded at a Denver bus station for three days? “Those things are out of our hands, man,” the mellow Ruiz said after a threeday trip, which stretched into five. “Why sweat stuff you can’t control?” Arriving on a Jefferson Line bus at the

Danny Ruiz, San Jose, Calif., waits for a ride after arriving by bus to the Martin Luther King Jr. Transportation Center.

Sioux City Bus Terminal a few days late, Ruiz was anxious to see sons Caleb, 19, and Sal, 21, both of whom live in Sioux City with their mom, Lori. “San Jose to Denver was as smooth as smooth can be,” Ruiz said, recounting his trip. “East of Denver, they said the interstates were being closed due to snow.” Stranded in a bus depot in Denver for more than 70 hours, Ruiz did what he could to pass the time. “I’d shoot the breeze with my fellow passengers because we were all stuck,”

he said. “And then, I did a whole lotta people-watching.” A veteran traveler who has gone by bus since he was a kid, Ruiz noted the variety of people who use the buses as transportation. “You see kids leaving home, parents coming home and folks without much, seeking life in another part of the country,” he said as he tugs on a piece of luggage. “Everyone has a story and some are anxious to share it.” As for himself, Ruiz’s story is pretty straight-forward. He will be celebrating a late Thanksgiving with his family. “After we divorced, my ex-wife Lori decided to come back to her hometown of Sioux City,” he explained. “San Jose was too hot and I actually liked the cold,” interjected Lori Ruiz as her former husband lugged suitcases into the trunk of her car. “California just wasn’t the right place for me.” For Danny Ruiz, he’s just happy to be around his sons for a few weeks. “Ordinarily, I don’t take this much time off,” he said, “but I wanted to spend time with my boys.” Is Ruiz worried about the possibility of blizzards for his trip back to San Jose? “It’s out of my hands, man,” he said with a wave. “Why sweat the stuff you can’t control?” Danny Ruiz, San Jose, Calif., loads his luggage into a friend’s car.

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TRANSPORTATION On

the Bus

Delbert Parker, Denton, Texas, waits for a bus at the Martin Luther King Jr. Transportation Center in Sioux City.

WHEELS ON THE BUS TAKE TEXAS MAN HOME Text by Tim Gallagher | Photograph by Jim Lee

FOR 22 YEARS, DELBERT Parker has viewed the country from behind the wheel of a semi. Occasionally, he’s seen miles roll from the seat of a commercial bus line. Last month, it’s how he rode from Sioux City back home to Denton, Texas. “It’s 750 miles,” said Parker, 55. “I’ll take the Jefferson Bus line to Kansas City maybe. And then I might take the Greyhound line home.” Does Parker prefer to travel this way? “The bus is not my first choice,” he admitted. “I’d prefer to fly, and have flown a lot in the past. But in these economic times, it might make more sense to ride.” Parker’s one-way ticket purchased at the Martin Luther King Jr. Transportation Center came to $154. He’d pull out late Thursday afternoon. He’d get home sometime Friday, maybe before noon.

“There are lots of different people on a bus,” said Parker, saying he’d sip a Diet Coke along the way. He’d also snooze and watch the miles go by. He won’t read while riding. “This will be 20 hours. It takes too long, and there will be noise with people chatting. That’s the way it is,” he said. Parker’s position in Sioux City as December dawned came about through a trucking gig. He returned a truck from Texas to Sioux City, covering 750 miles in no time. Another job opportunity, though, fell through. That forced Parker to punch his ticket home. With two bags at his feet, he looked out at cars zooming past in downtown Sioux City, a city that’s been his trucking destination in the past. “I’ve been here sporadically through the years,” he said. “I do like it here.”

He figured his last one-way bus ride like this occurred 11 years ago. Parker was sure bus travel had improved in the decade since. “It’s cheaper than flying, and buses nowadays are more comfortable than years ago,” he said. What’s on the horizon for this Texas native? Home sweet home, at least for a short spell. “My wife is home,” Parker said. “I’ve got a son and she’s got two sons. Together, we have three grandchildren. We all hope to be together for Christmas.” As most Dallas-area residents, Parker hopes to be cheering his Dallas Cowboys on during a deep post-holiday run in the playoffs. And then? Well, then it’s back to work. “Trucking companies,” Parker said, “are hiring like crazy.”

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TRANSPORTATION On

the Bus

SIOUX CITY MAN

TAKES THE BUS HOME FOR FATHER’S FUNERAL Text by Dolly Butz | Photograph by Jim Lee

ON A COLD, GRAY December afternoon, Raymond Harter sat in the Martin Luther King Jr. Transportation Center clutching a plastic water bottle in his hand. A black-and-gray wheeled duffel bag sat at his feet, as he waited to board the 2:45 p.m. Jefferson Lines bus that would take him to Omaha and then on to Kansas City, Mo., his final destination. Harter couldn’t catch the bus fast enough. He changed his ticket twice in hopes of reaching his ailing father Ray Harter’s bedside sooner. The 72-year-old retired truck driver and Army master sergeant suffered a diabetic seizure and was admitted to a Branson, Mo., hospital. His kidneys shut down and he passed away before Raymond, who is named after him, could get there. Now Harter, 51, would use the bus ticket to attend his father’s military funeral in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., complete with a 21-gun salute. “He was a very good man,” Harter said as he gazed out the window onto Fifth Street and remembered his father. “He was a great outdoors man. He was just a very quiet man.” Tired of the crime in Kansas City, Harter left his hometown five months ago and moved to Sioux City, where a friend lives. Harter, who went to culinary school, got a job as a retail clerk at the Sioux City Gospel Mission store. He also does some

cooking for the non-profit agency that provides food Raymond Harter, Sioux City, waits for and shelter to the needy. a bus at the Martin Luther King Jr. “I like it,” Harter said of Transportation Center in Sioux City. Sioux City. “Up here it’s very quiet.” The bus, Harter said, is his only mode of transportation to Kansas City. “I could fly, but I don’t like flying,” he said. “After 9/11, I prefer to be on the ground.” This isn’t Harter’s first bus trip. He said he once rode the bus all the way from Kansas City to Florida and back. “That’s one ride I wouldn’t want to take again,” Harter chuckled. “It took three days.” On this bus trip, Harter said he planned to read newspapers and sleep during the five-hour ride. The bus will make a brief 30-minute stop in Omaha before continuing on to Kansas City, where Harter will stay in a hotel for three days. Harter’s mother, Lola, who worked as a sheriff’s deputy in Branson for 10 years, will be at the funeral, as well as his brother and two sisters. Harter said he will meet an aunt, who lived in Germany, for the first time. His grandmother on his father’s side was from Berlin and his father was also stationed in West Germany while serving in the Army. “It’s going to be kind of strange,” Harter said of the encounter. “(My father) said (Germany) is one of the most beautiful countries he’s ever seen.”

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TRANSPORTATION On

the Bus

Betty Hallowell, Walthill, Neb., buys a ticket from manager Bill Garster at the Martin Luther King Jr., Transportation Center in Sioux City.

NOBODY LIKES BUSES LIKE

BETTY DOES Text by John Quinlan | Photographs by Jim Lee

Betty Hallowell

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NOBODY LIKES TO RIDE a bus more than Betty Hallowell, a freewheeling octogenarian from Walthill, Neb. “I love to take the bus. Nobody bothers me. I can sit there and read. I’ve been doing it all my life,” Hallowell said. And that’s a lot of living for the 86-year-old Pennsylvania native who moved to Walthill 30-some years ago after her SIOUXLAND LIFE

husband Alfred died and her husband’s brother’s boy asked her to move to Nebraska to care for his son, who was born with a hole in his heart. She’d met Alfred years earlier in Maryland while he was in the Navy. And though the boy who had a transplant died at the age of 4, she loved life at Walthill and made a permanent home there. She still lives there, independent as ever

but sharing it with a couple of women. On Dec. 1, she had one of her friends drive her to the Jefferson Lines bus depot in Sioux City so she could buy a ticket to Minneapolis. That’s where her son is getting married on Dec. 19. “And I got the ticket early because it’s cheaper,” she said. Betty still drives around traffic-less Walthill, but that’s the


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“I’ve taken a train. I’ve taken a plane. But flying is too much trouble. It’s easier to come up and get a bus. I usually have no other way to go.”

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only place she’s comfortable driving. “I don’t drive that much. I learned too late in life and I’m too nervous,” she said. And she always takes the bus. “I’ve taken a train. I’ve taken a plane,” she said. “But flying is too much trouble. It’s easier to come up and get a bus. I usually have no other way to go.” She’s looking forward to the wedding and seeing some old friends in Minneapolis, including that gal pal flying in from Boston to marry her son – and another old girlfriend from Back East who lives in Oakes, N.D., which is so far off the bus route Betty can’t visit her as she often does her four surviving children. Three of her kids have died. The others live in Nebraska, Minnesota, Massachusetts and Missouri, meaning there are many bus trips on her agenda each year. She bought a one-way ticket to the wedding because her son from Walthill may be able to drive her home, weather permitting. If not, there’s always a ticket available at the Jefferson Lines station. Betty’s not sure when she took her first bus ride. “It was a lot of years ago. I used to go from Boston down to New Castle, Penn. That’s where I’m from,” she said. Betty has taken buses all over the United States, from the East Coast to Washington state, where she visited a sister, since deceased. She also used to visit a brother in Arizona. But he’s also gone, along with her desire for those big western trips. But when she can, she still hits the road. “I just like to go,” she said. “Some people when they get old, they just sit home. I can’t do that. And with the bus here, I don’t have to ask anybody. I just do it. It’s wonderful. I love it. I don’t even want to get off. I want to keep on going. I meet a lot of nice people on the bus.” And those people get to meet Betty. SIOUXLAND LIFE

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TRANSPORTATION On

the Bus

BUS RIDER HEADS TO

WARMER CLIMATE Text by Joanne Fox | Photograph by Jim Lee

TREVOR MELL HAD HAD enough of Iowa winters. “When I heard snow was forecast, I decided now was a good time to move to Florida,” he said, while waiting for the Jefferson Lines, the regional intercity bus line that serves Sioux City. When did he make that decision prior to departing on Dec. 1? “Two days ago,” he replied with a big grin. “It was kind of spontaneous.” “But I knew the snow was coming,” Mell insisted, then extended his arms and twitched his fingers. “I could feel it in my hands.” The former Pocahontas, Iowa, resident is no stranger to Midwest weather. Mell moved out to California when his parents divorced, then returned to Iowa. “I had to, although it was with a bit of unwillingness because I loved California,” he said. “But I had to be there for Mom when the divorce was finalized. There were no two ways about it. I felt obligated.” Mell’s final destination on his firstever, cross-country bus trip that will take several days is Pensacola, Fla. “It’s where my younger sister lives,” he said. “It’s as much a move as a reconciliation.” The death of their mother caused some issues between the siblings, Mell acknowledged. “But that doesn’t matter anymore,” he stressed. “It’s time to say I’m sorry. Life is too short. She was kind enough to pay for my bus ticket, as well.” It’s a move that Mell, who has resided in Sioux City for about six years, hopes also will benefit him from an economic standpoint. “I’ve mostly done temp work, including today,” he said. “I did some physical labor at Overhead Door. But the jobs aren’t here.” Mell was thinking about applying with a wind turbine business in Florida. “I earned a certificate at the (Minnesota West Community and Technical) community college in Pipestone, Minn., in wind energy technology,” he said. “I 30

JANUARY 2012

Trevor Mell, Sioux City, waits for a bus at the Martin Luther King Jr. Transportation Center in Sioux City.

was trained in that and before that, I took classes in electronics at Western Iowa Tech.” But the siren song of Florida for Mell has to be its proximity to the Gulf. “I’d be willing to hook up with the fishing industry,” he said. “I’d even scrape barnacles off boats if I had to.” At 44, Mell has been married and divorced twice with no reason to walk down the aisle again. “I just can’t take the collar around my neck,” he said pantomiming pulling a noose up with one hand. “’Where are you going?’ ‘What are you looking at?’ I just can’t do it.” With just temporary work, flying was

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out of the question and Mell has no driver’s license. “Two DUIs,” he admitted. “Poor choices, which cost me a lot of money.” Mell was not looking back at Sioux City with much regret. “Although I will say, I couldn’t believe how many people said they would miss me,” he said with a puzzled look on his face. “I didn’t think I had so many friends.” In addition to the snow, Mell confessed he would not miss another Midwestern staple. “Cows,” he said with a deadpan delivery. “Cows are kind of depressing.”


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TRANSPORTATION On

the Bus

NEARBY BUSINESSES HELP

BUS RIDERS IN NEED Text by Laura Johnson | Journal file photographs

ON A WEEK IN mid-December, the Rev. Matthew Miller said he felt like he “got to be a minister.” Not to say he isn’t one of those every day but on that particular day the First Presbyterian Church leader helped someone who had wandered into his office from the nearby Martin Luther King Jr. Transportation Center who needed transportation to Omaha. “Because of our proximity to the transit center, on occasion we have helped people with bus tickets to Omaha and Sioux Falls,” Miller explained. “But there is somewhat of a screening process.” His church offers bus tokens to those in need, but there is a policy of not giving them out more than once to a single person. “I always ask where they are headed,” Miller Matthew Miller said. “I had such a great experience with the gentleman last week because he was honest and what he said turned out to be true.” The man had had a job prospect in Sioux City but when it had fallen through he was stuck here with no friends or family. He talked to friends in Omaha, who were able to get him a place to live and work. “I asked for a contact person to talk to,” Miller said. “I was able to talk to a nice woman who confirmed the story so I bought him a ticket back to Omaha. It was just so great.” For local businesses surrounding the downtown bus depot, riders seeking help is nothing new. According to Subway manager Lee

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The Coney Island restaurant in downtown Sioux City is often visited by people waiting for their bus at the Martin Luther King Jr. Transportation Center across the street.

Hansen, riders often spend time at his sandwich shop, located at 500 Nebraska St., just across from the Martin Luther King Jr. Transportation Center. Hansen, who has worked for Subway since 1998, said bus passengers can be found throughout the day in his restaurant but more often in the morning. “They’re just trying to get in and out of the cold,” Hansen said, adding passengers are sometimes at the restaurant’s door as soon as it opens for business as the center’s lobby is not always open. The 90-year-old hot dog restaurant Coney Island Weiner House, a few doors down from Subway, is another location passengers frequent for a bit of a respite. “Occasionally we get people from there and a lot of them are very nice and open up about who they are,” said owner Virginia Margeas, who has offered free

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meals to some of those who have especially sad stories. “A lot of them are let go from a certain truck company. It’s a sad deal where they’re paid to come up here, but then not for the way back.” But not all of those who ask are so easy to help. “I had another guy come in a while ago who wanted a bus token who explained he had the money for it but didn’t want to spend it on bus fare,” Miller remembered. “It’s hard to say no to people.” Yet, he’s not in the habit of rejecting those in need. “What I do is say, I don’t think we have any help for you today,” Miller said. “But then I’ll ask if they have dialed 211 or the United Way. As a church we don’t need to duplicate what other non-profits have already set up.”


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PROFILE Q&A

20 QUESTIONS with a Jefferson Lines bus driver

Lowell Christenson

“I like dealing with people. I also like being out and about. It’s better than working in a factory.”

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What’s it like driving a bus from city to city? Nick Hytrek talked with Lowell Christenson, bus driver, Jefferson Lines. Text by Nick Hytrek | Photographs by Jim Lee

1. How long have you driven a bus? I’m in my 44th year, but not always for Jefferson Lines. 2. How did you become interested in it? It all came from an ad in the paper. I was working at a job that was a deadend job when I was right out of the service. I saw an ad for Greyhound. I went to investigate it, I applied for it and I worked for them for 21 years. 3. What requirements do you need to be a bus driver? You need a clean driving record to get started. You have to pass a physical and get a commercial driver’s license. 4. Do you need to keep a perfect driving record? I don’t think a speeding ticket’s going to get you fired, but you have to keep fairly straight. 5. What happens if you get a ticket while driving the bus? You’ve got to pay it, and it goes on your record. I’ve only had one ticket in 44 years, and that was long ago. 6. Like truckers or pilots, are there limitations to how long you can drive or fly a day? We can have 10 hours of driving with a total of 15 hours on duty. Then we have to have eight hours off. 7. What’s the work schedule like? I leave Sioux Falls at 12:30 in the afternoon and I’m due in Kansas City at 8:50 (p.m.). The next day I’m out of there at 7:30 in the morning and arrive back in Sioux Falls at 2:30 (p.m.). 8. Do you drive a specific route? I do. I drive from Sioux Falls to Kansas City and back. There are other runs. Out of Sioux Falls we have one that goes to Rapid City and one to Grand Forks, N.D. 9. How many times a week do you drive that route? I work six days in a row then have three days off. It takes two days to make a round trip, so I’m home every other night. 10. Does that stretch of road ever get

Bus driver Lowell Christenson takes tickets from passengers as he prepares to depart from the Martin Luther King Jr. Transportation Center in Sioux City.

boring? Not too much. You get used to seeing things and landmarks. There’s something to see every time. I don’t really get bored with it. 11. How many miles do you drive a year? Geez, I don’t know. I haven’t taken the time to figure it out. I drive 419 miles in a day going down and 414 miles coming back, so it doesn’t take long to add up. 12. How bad does the weather have to be to keep buses off the road? It can be up to you. If you think it’s too rough to go, you can park it. 13. Have you ever gotten stranded? Yeah, I sure did. In 2009, I was coming out of Winnipeg. It was Christmas Eve and I would have been fine, but they shut the road at Brookings just in front of me. I spent two and a half days in Brookings. 14. What do you do if a passenger starts getting disruptive? You’ve just got to handle it. I like to get where there’s a law officer around that can help. If it gets too bad, you just put them off. 15. Do you have any problems with backseat drivers?

Not much. You’ve always got people giving advice, but not too much. 16. What’s the most annoying thing motorists do when driving around you? One of them that upsets me is when someone breaks their neck to pass you and then stomps on the brakes. 17. What kind of gas mileage does a bus get? Some of the newer ones are pretty good. They’re around 7-9 miles per gallon. 18. What’s your favorite part of the job? Dealing with the people. That’s the best part and the worst part at the same time. I like dealing with people. I also like being out and about. It’s better than working in a factory. 19. Is there any place you dread driving? I’ve got a run right now that has a stretch I don’t like driving in wintertime. That road is narrow and hilly and there’s lots of deer. 20. When you’re not working, do you let your wife drive? She drives a lot of the time. She enjoys driving, so I let her.

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HEALTH Cancer

Talk

COMMUNICATION

KEY IN HELPING LOVED ONES

m

JANUARY 2012

CANCER

Text by Dolly Butz

MONTHS OF CHEMOTHERAPY TREATMENTS had Sue Jerdee feeling worn out and nauseous. Her dark blond hair was thinning. The apple cinnamon muffins she once loved tasted disgusting. Drinking an ice cold Coke, her favorite soft drink, made her feel as if she was choking. The 47-year-old Sioux City woman couldn’t escape the reality that she had stage III colon cancer. The side effects of the chemotherapy combined with the hissing sound of a port delivering the drugs to her body served as constant reminders. Jerdee tried her best to stay positive

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COPE WITH

throughout her treatments, but with one month of chemotherapy left, she felt like she couldn’t handle any more treatments. She picked up the phone and dialed her friend Linda in Minnesota. Linda’s words made a difference. “When I’d call her she’d always tell me, ‘It’s good that you’re telling me this. It’s OK to feel sick because you’re going through hell,’” Jerdee said, her voice quaking. “She just always helped me out.” Recalling that difficult time in her life and how her family, friends and her church helped her through it, brings Jerdee to tears. She couldn’t have done it

SIOUXLAND LIFE

without them. Jerdee finished up her chemotherapy treatments in August, and she said she’s “doing fine.” Cancer affects the entire family, not just the person who has been diBrenda Winkler, June E. agnosed, according Nylen Cancer Center to Brenda Winkler, a patient navigator with the June E. Nylen Cancer Center. She said communication is key in


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helping all parties cope. “It’s hard for the patient to ask for help, but yet the family and loved ones and friends don’t know exactly what’s needed either until the communication lines are entirely opened,” she said. “There can be some needless suffering that goes on, on both sides.” EXPRESSING FEELINGS Jerdee was diagnosed with colon cancer on Nov. 18, 2010. The diagnosis came as a shock to her. She had no symptoms and no family history of the disease. A stool sample tested as part of routine physical revealed the presence of blood. A tumor was located during a subsequent colonoscopy. Jerdee went home, cried, and then fell asleep. When she woke up a couple of hours later, she had a new outlook. “I thought, ‘Nope, I’m not going to do this. I’m not going to wallow down into this pity party,’” she said. Jerdee never wondered, “Why me?” She just accepted it. “Sometimes you get sick, and that’s the way it is,” she said. After a cancer diagnosis, the patient may be experiencing feelings of fear and uncertainty. They might be angry or sad. Winkler said friends and family shouldn’t try to cheer them up, but accept how they’re feeling at that moment. “You honor what your loved one is going through, but make yourself available for whatever they need,” she said. “They may say, ‘I just need to have some time to myself, or I’m feeling really scared right now.’” Most cancer patients do well with support from their family or cancer treatment center, but some may need additional help from a health care provider or mental health counselor. Experiencing some depression and anxiety is not abnormal for cancer patients, but if those feelings persist for longer than a two-week period, Winkler said it’s time to seek professional support. COPING WITH CANCER During Thanksgiving break, Jerdee

CANCER CENTER SUPPORT GROUPS

Caregivers Support Group - Helps caregivers cope with change and losses, say what is important to family and friends, explore spiritual aspects of care giving, make important decisions, know what to expect and to hear from others who are also caregivers. Contact Sister Janet at 712-2529387 or Brenda Winkler at 712-252-9370 for meeting dates. Kids Coping with a Loved One’s Cancer - For kids age 5 - 15. Consists of 3 one-onone sessions to help kids deal with a loved one’s cancer. Class meets on as-needed basis. Please call 252-0088. Family Support Group - For patients and their families who are dealing with the diagnosis of leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Also included in the group are any and all types of cancer. Call Brenda Winkler at 712-252-9370 for meeting dates.

and her husband Gary broke the news to their two daughters, 22-year-old Jennifer, a student at Mount Mary College in Vermillion, S.D., and 19-year-old Jessica, a student at the University of Iowa. “That was the hardest thing I think I’ve done,” Jerdee said of telling her daughters that she had cancer. “Just the look on their faces ... It was pretty upsetting for them, too.” Seeing their loved one in failing health is hard on family members. Winkler said it’s essential that they take care of themselves, so they are able to provide their loved one with support. Expressing their fears, frustrations and challenges through a caregiver’s support group can be beneficial, according to Winkler. “It’s kind of like when you fly, you need to put on your own oxygen mask before you can put one on those who are flying with you,” she said. “To a caregiver as well, you do need to take care of yourself.”

PROVIDING SUPPORT On Dec. 3, Jerdee had a foot of her colon removed at the Mayo Clinic. Doctors discovered that the cancer had traveled outside of the colon wall and into some of her lymph nodes. She would need chemotherapy treatments. Winkler recommends that family members educate themselves about their loved one’s diagnosis by talking with the patient, doing research, or picking up informational pamphlets from the Cancer Center. “The (patient) can feel like their family is trying to understand what they’re going through – that they can understand what chemotherapy is and what the process is like,” she said. Winkler said understanding the side effects associated with chemotherapy will also help family members determine how they can help the patient – whether that’s driving them to the Cancer Center for treatment or doing chores for them. Within the first couple of weeks of Jerdee’s diagnosis, friends were regularly bringing food over to her home. When she started chemotherapy some friends drove her to the Cancer Center. Jerdee’s husband took over the housework. He got her whatever she felt like eating from the grocery store. Jerdee’s employer, Kohl’s department store, adjusted her work schedule, so she was off on the weeks she was receiving chemotherapy. “They just surrounded me with whatever I needed,” Jerdee said of her extended support system. “It was just great knowing they were there to listen if I wanted to vent or wasn’t feeling good.” Family members and friends shouldn’t be afraid to ask their loved one what he or she needs, according to Winkler. Whatever the patient’s response, she said they need to respect their wishes. “Nobody likes to be a burden and they like to have their independence as much as possible,” she said. “Honor what your loved one is going through and respect that, but make yourself available for whatever they need.”

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HEALTH Flu

Vaccination

FLU SHOT IN NO SHORT SUPPLY THIS YEAR

Supplies for this year’s flu shot are strong and readily available.

t

Text by Tim Gallagher Photographs by The Associated Press and Tim Hynds

THERE’S BEEN A SWARM of attention paid to various flu bugs the past few years. Nancy Dykstra is certain more can be done. “Some people still don’t take the flu seriously,” says Dykstra, executive director of the Greater Sioux Community Health Center, which is based in Sioux Center, Iowa. Dykstra’s staff administers thousands of flu shots each year. There are thousands of others who simply won’t get the shot. “There are lots of reasons,” Dykstra says, repeating her often-heard refrain that people don’t take it seriously. “Others believed the vaccine is harmful. And

some think they’ll get sick from the shot.” Dykstra believes there is room for even more education. She and her staff of 21 are on the front lines of that educational effort. As they administer the vaccine, they educate their captive audience. “I think in many public health settings where if you preach about preventive care, you must walk the talk,” she says, turning a phrase. “Even peer pressure works. I had an interpreter who hadn’t had one (flu shot) before this year.” The interpreter is now part of an office that’s 100 percent behind flu shots. “We all get flu shots,” says Dykstra of her staff. “We strongly urge it and we

provide it as we want a healthy workplace. We want our front line and all other staff to get a shot.” Unlike in past years, it appears the 2011-12 supplies are more than ample. There aren’t long lines and categories of patients deemed “high priority” and such. “Flu season is early yet,” warns Linda Drey, nursing director at the Siouxland District Health Department. “Iowa just saw its first case (in the last week of November). It usually peaks sometime in January through March. It’s never too late to get it, as March can be a particularly hard month.” As of early December, Drey said it

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JANUARY 2012

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JANUARY 2012

SIOUXLAND LIFE

A vial of flu vaccine.

was too early to tell how severe the year would be for the flu virus. Two years ago was an extremely severe flu season. While the H1N1 virus shook the world landscape, ultimately it may have prevented death. The outbreak trained the world’s eyes to the flu vaccine and placed a spotlight on getting a shot. Longterm, it may have paid off. “Longterm, it did raise awareness,” Drey says. That awareness level spread down – or up, depending on how you look at it – to go from the federal government, to state health agencies to county and local health care providers. Flu shots can now be administered at places like Hy-Vee Food Stores and a number of local pharmacies. “Years ago, public health was the main provider of the flu vaccine,” Drey says. “As more providers offer it, we’re glad to see that and we encourage it.” There are health care providers, in fact, who may see a patient for something like a knee injury. Many of those providers, while treating the knee, will ask if the patient has had a flu shot. The front line of defense, in effect, is widening. That’s why the Centers for Disease Control recommends that everyone over 6 months of age get a flu shot, if possible. “The more who get a flu shot help protect everyone else who can’t,” Drey says. The best news: Both the mist and vaccine are readily available this season.


41

Make It Your Way

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42

HEALTH Home

Health Carew

HOME HEALTH CARE TAKES NURSES

BACK TO THE BASICS Text by John Quinlan | Photograph by Jim Lee

DURING THE WINTER MONTHS, families often look for signs that their older relatives may need assistance to stay safe and independent in their homes. 42

JANUARY 2012

Sometimes, they notice changes in their elders, but because things happen slowly over time, the full spectrum of difficulties may not be clearly defined.

SIOUXLAND LIFE

Declining personal hygiene, changes in housekeeping, sleeping or eating habits, unopened mail or unpaid bills, memory loss, signs of depression – all are things


43

Medical Manager Deb Santee, left, and Quality Nurse Rorie Reynolds are pictured at St. Luke’s Home Health Care.

“We’re just kind of a one-stop shop. We’re not their primary caregiver, but we help to kind of support them and teach them so they can keep their loved ones at home.” DEB SANTEE St. Luke’s Home Health Care

that make it tougher for these family members to stay safe and independent in their homes. So who is a concerned family member going to call? At the top of many lists is the home health nurse, a trained professional who always works with other members of a home health team to keep Grandma in her home, all members of the home health team working as patient advocates. But in reality, home health nurses aren’t limited to elder care. “We provide a wide array of services

to both the infant and the geriatric populations,” said Deb Santee, a home health nurse at St. Luke’s Home Health Care in Sioux City. In fact, ask a home health nurse like medical manager Santee or St. Luke’s colleague Rorie Reynolds, a quality nurse, about their job, then stand back so as not to be drowned by the flow of medical information about what they do for their patients, from infants to the most senior of citizens. Using their skilled nursing services, they may teach patients and their families about IV antibiotics at home, IV medications or provide disease process teaching to help keep patients out of the hospital, wound management and care, or pain control for cancer patients. St. Luke’s Home Health Care also has specialists on board, providing speech, occupational, physical and respiratory therapy, Santee said. Homemaker services are provided through Siouxland Aging where needed, offering some light housekeeping, meal preparation and laundry assistance. Home health aides also assist with bathing and personal care. “We’re just kind of a one-stop shop, We’re not their primary caregiver, but we help to kind of support them and teach them so they can keep their loved ones at home,” Santee said, stressing that it isn’t the nurse’s job to shovel sidewalks, change light bulbs or mow lawns, though such things have been known to happen over the years because of the close bonds that develop between nurse and patient. Unfortunately, the nurse’s insurance doesn’t cover these tasks. Most home visits last about an hour or so. But some can take up to two hours, even with all the latest high-tech equipment at their disposal, Santee said. The person-to-person contact clearly trumps everything else.

“There’s a lot of time with the patients and sometimes you’re the only person that they may see at all,” she said. “So it’s also that socialization. It’s a fine line between building trust and earning their respect, but yet not making them dependent upon you ... because we’re not doing our job if we haven’t talked about how to be independent.” Sometimes, it’s impossible to not get involved with a patient, Santee noted. “I think we’ve both done that a lot,” she said. She spoke of one patient whom she cared for about 15 years ago. “At her funeral,” she said, “ I was adopted as the seventh daughter. They put me in the eulogy and it was like ... they had eight kids, six girls and a boy ... and I was their eighth child. You just get attached to them. It’s hard sometimes.” Reynolds said she got involved with a patient for a year once and after she stopped seeing the patient, the patient’s daughter or husband called regularly with updates about her hospitalization and eventual death. “You have to maintain your professionalism and know the line,” Santee said, “of how close you can get and still remain professional and objective.” But the rewards make it worthwhile. “The best thing? That’s the reward of seeing a patient that does well, that understands what they’re supposed to do, that’s knowledgeable and whose outcome allows them to be safe in their home,” Robertson said. As home health nurses, they also have more independence and are able to call on more skills than may be required in a hospital setting. “We have to be motivated,” she said. “We have to look at not only the patient and what their disease process is, but also at the social aspect while they’re in the home. So it’s the patient and the

SIOUXLAND LIFE

JANUARY 2012

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caregiver as well that we’re focusing on.” Santee said she recommends hospice care when appropriate, but she has been told on more than one occasion by caregivers that they want her to continue to help because they trust her. “I truly felt blessed that that happened. But it’s tough sometimes because we go into homes that may have hoarders or insect infestations. We may have people who are verbally or physically abusive,” she said. “So my staff could be fearful in some of the homes. And we’re on call 24/7, 365 days of the year. So they may go out and in not a good neighborhood at 2 in the morning. So there’s a lot of dangers to this job as well.” The weather can be bad and the paperwork overwhelming. So it takes a special dedication to do home health work, Santee said. “Many people don’t want to go to a nursing home, and so that this is a step that ... well, sometimes they still go there. But at least we show the family that we tried to keep them in their home and did the best that we could. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. But we give it a try,” she said.

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HomeownersHip Can Bring Big savings at tax time Now that the new year is upon us, millions of Americans will be sitting down and sorting through dozens of forms to determine how much money they owe Uncle Sam – or, how much of a refund they will get this year. One of those forms, the Mortgage Interest Statement Form 1098, can mean big savings for home owners at tax time. Form 1098, which home owners receive from their lenders, shows the total amount of home mortgage interest paid during the year. Home owners who itemize their federal income tax deductions can deduct 100 percent of their mortgage interest payments on a first or second home for up to $1 million of mortgage debt. They can also deduct the interest paid on up to $100,000 of home equity loans. For most home owners, this means they can deduct ALL of the mortgage interest they’ve paid on their home each year. The ability to deduct home mortgage and home equity loan interest isn’t the only tax benefit for home owners. The three most important sources of tax savings for home owners are: • Deductions for mortgage interest • Deductions for real estate taxes • The capital gains exclusion for the sale 44

JANUARY 2012

of a principal residence Home owners are also able to deduct the state and local real estate taxes they pay each year on an owner-occupied home. When it is time to sell a home, in many cases home owners don’t have to pay capital gains tax on the profit from the sale. Under present law, married couples who have owned and occupied their principal residence for at least two of the past five years do not have to pay any taxes on the first $500,000 in profits from the sale of their home. Single filers earn up to $250,000 tax free. Another deduction home owners may be able to take is for mortgage insurance premiums. Generally, people who purchase a home without putting 20 percent down have to buy mortgage insurance, and those premiums can also be deducted from taxable income. Even home owners who don’t use the home as their principal residence and rent it out may be able enjoy some tax benefits, including interest and depreciation deductions. Buying a home offers tax savings that can add up to tens of thousands of dollars over several years. Home owners rely on the mortgage interest deduction each year to

SIOUXLAND LIFE

help offset the costs of homeownership and prospective buyers take the deduction into consideration when choosing homeownership over renting. But the mortgage interest deduction, which has been included in the tax code for about 100 years, is in danger. A national deficit commission has proposed reducing or eliminating the deduction as part of a restructuring of the tax code. Find out more about the threat to the mortgage interest deduction, and read “The Tax Benefits of Homeownership,” a study from economists at the National Association of Home Builders that provides specific examples of savings for a variety of income levels and ownership situations, at www.SaveMyMortgageInterestDeduction.com.

Bob Wilcke President Bob Wilcke Construction

712-255-3852 www.hbags.com


45

HEALTH Sinus

Relief

THERE IS RELIEF FOR

SINUS SUFFERERS Text by Dolly Butz | Photograph by Tim Hynds

EVER SINCE HE WAS a kid, Kolby drainage and sore throat are all DeWitt has suffered from sinus symptoms that cold and sinus inproblems. fections share. The 21-year-old Sioux City man How do you know if you have a could find no explanation or resinus infection? lief for the facial pain, headaches, “The duration would be one congestion and nasal drainage asway,” Wagner said. “You could have sociated with his persistent sinus recurrent acute sinusitis which infections. comes and causes inflammation, For a year, DeWitt even suffered is treated, and goes away. You can from regular nosebleeds. have chronic where it stays from six “I eat healthy. I exercise,” said to eight weeks. If you go on antibiotDeWitt, who once thought someics it might get slightly better, but it thing in his office at Brokers Allinever resolves.” ance might be contributing to his problems. REDUCE ALLERGENS DeWitt made a trip to his famTo prevent sinus problems, ily doctor, who referred him to an Wagner said patients need to conear, nose and throat specialist, who trol their environment by avoiding found a simple over-the-counter somold, dust mites or other matter lution to treat his sinus infections: a that aggravates the lining of the Kolby DeWitt suffers from chronic sinus infections. neti pot. nose. A neti pot is a container designed “If they are exposed to those, one to rinse the nasal cavity with warm salt water. Ceramic and of the simplest things a person can do that can help clean the plastic models are available at big-box stores or local pharmalining and prevent some of the reaction is to irrigate with salt cies. They retail for under $20. water,” he said. “I would totally recommend a neti pot to other people,” DeUsing a neti pot, Wagner said is a “very successful” way to Witt said. moisten the nose and clean its lining. To end his nosebleeds, DeWitt recently had his nose cauterA patient suffering from cold-like symptoms, Wagner said, ized. He said the procedure has worked well for him. might get some short-term relief from a decongestant, like Sudafed. BLOCKAGE LEADS TO INFECTION For long-range nasal and sinus inflammation, Wagner recSinuses are hollow cavities in the boney facial skeleton ommends a non-sedating antihistamine agent, such as Claritin that are lined with a thin layer of respiratory epithelium. They or Zyrtec. secrete fluid, which is moved by cilia through a narrow route He said a nasal topical steroid spray can be placed in the nafrom the sinuses into the nasal cavity. sal tissues daily to decrease swelling, redness and congestion. In healthy sinuses, air circulates freely through the cham“Even though it’s a very mild medication, on a regular basis bers and a thin layer of mucus drains into the nose. When it could diminish some of the swelling in the tissues and keep sinuses are blocked, the mucus can’t drain and the sinuses bethe person from going on and having some of the trouble that come infected. would follow,” he said. David Wagner, a Sioux City ear, nose and throat specialist, If symptoms persist for more than four to six weeks, Wagner said dust, pollution, smoke and aeroallergens can aggravate the said it’s probably time to see an ear, nose and throat specialist, nose, causing the tissue to swell and narrow the small passages who can examine the structure and lining of the nose and orin the nose and sinuses. der a CT scan to view the inside of the sinus cavities. Everyone is unique in the way their lining responds to any Patients who suffer from sinus inflammation, infections given stimulant, according to Wagner. In some patients, he said, that don’t go away with medical therapy, or nasal polyps, Waga pungent odor or a bite of a certain food will create a sudden ner said, might benefit from the opening and enlargement of and profound amount of nasal swelling and clear drip. the sinus cavities through surgery. In addition to allergens and particles, Wagner said a cold or “Unfortunately there’s 10 or 15 percent of patients who deal viral infection can also cause the lining to swell. with chronic sinus trouble that may not get satisfactory relief,” Headache, pressure in the face, nasal congestion, nasal he said. SIOUXLAND LIFE

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ask a professional By way of overwhelming requests, I’ve been asked by you to reveal some more Medical Myths. So here we go…starting off with one we already addressed in a previous issue. Q: Does cracking your knuckles cause arthritis in later life?

A: The cracking sound in the knuckles is caused by

the bones moving apart and forming a gas bubble – the sound is the bubble bursting. It is quite common to hear someone warning a knuckle-cracker that they will get arthritis, but the worst that can happen to a compulsive-cracker is that their finger joints may weaken over time. Arthritis is caused by a variety of Dr. Sneller things (such as crystal formations in the case of gout) – but knuckle cracking isn’t one of them.

Q: Do we use only 10% of our brains? A: Most of the brain isn't loafing. Detailed brain studies haven't found the "non-functioning" 90% of the brain.

Q: Does hair and fingernails continue to grow after death? A: Hair and fingernails don't keep growing after death. But it may seem that way because dehydration can make the skin shrink back from hair and nails, making them look longer.

Q: Does reading in dim light ruin your eyesight? A: A medical team at Indiana University found that dim light isn't great

for focusing, but it's "unlikely to cause a permanent change in the function or structure of the eyes.

To be continued Most of these myths can also be found in the December 2007 issue BMJ (formerly called the British Medical Journal). The debunkers include Rachel Vreeman, MD, a fellow in children's health services research at Indiana University's medical school in Indianapolis. E-Mail your questions to Dr. Sneller at: info@multicareclinic.com

Call 276-4325 today for an appointment

3930 Stadium Drive. (Between Wal-Mart & Explorer Stadium)

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SIOUXLAND LIFE


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PARTING SHOT By

Bruce Miller

Thursday, I said goodbye to bread. Friday, I cut cookies. Saturday, I passed on pasta. And now? Now, I’m supposed to be gluten-free. Thanks to a blood test, my physician determined that a gluten allergy was causing stomach pains that I’d had for more than three years. I just chalked it up to a missing gall bladder. The situation intensified when I had a piece of toast with peanut butter one night and thought I was going to die. Now, if you’re like me, toast is a real go-to. But I was convinced it was the peanut butter, so he suggested the test. The good news? Peanut butter’s safe (oh, joy! I can just scoop it out of the jar!). But bread is a no-no – at least bread made with gluten which, in case you’re keeping score, is every kind of bread that tastes good. Gluten-free bread is like cardboard. It’s also as expensive as a first-edition book. So, you learn to adapt. Meat, most dairy products and vegetables are safe. (Or, in my life, foreign.) Soft drinks and M&M’s (thank you, Jesus) are, too. But all that other stuff? Forgeddaboutit. Cookies are made with flour, which comes from wheat, which is bad. Spaghetti (unless it’s some weird rice pasta) is, too. Gravy, stuffing – just about everything you’d find on a holiday menu – is the asphalt on a road to a really bad stomach ache. So, while the family enjoyed a lovely Christmas dinner, I was embracing my version – meat with a side of meat. Yeah, that’s become my new lunch favorite. A bag of meat. How sad is that? I used to bring sandwiches to work. Now, I settle for a baggie with shards of turkey (DiLusso is preferred!) inside. I was told to go to the grocery store where there’s “a nice section” designed for those with gluten allergies. Frankly, it’s small. It’s overpriced. And it’s filled with brands you never heard of. Most of the stuff, in fact, looks like it’s made by two women in Vermont

who have too many cats. Gluten-free dining should not be a choice. It deserves a sentence. Oh, there are a few things that don’t taste so bad. I’ve had faux cookies that are pretty good and a gluten-free friend made me pasta that tasted relatively close to the real thing. But this is a struggle. While you’re filling the grocery cart with bags of Ruffles, Club Crackers and Teddy Grahams, I’m pawing through the three or four bags of “vegetable” chips to see which might taste as close as possible to something I covet. Dining out is no fun, either. I got an App for my phone that supposedly listed every gluten-free option at most chain restaurants. One boasted “condiments and soft drinks.” Another touted salad (without the croutons!) and grilled chicken – but don’t have any of their dressings. Huh? Some places, thankfully, don’t gum things up with a lot of breading, so french fries MIGHT be safe. And burgers are OK as long as you don’t put them on a bun. “You could try a lettuce leaf,” a friend said. Yeah, Jupiterimages right. “Eating out is going to be a problem for you,” another suggested. Stop the insanity. Eating out is what I do best. Cooking? No. I realize there’s a little karma at work here because I used to make fun of gluten-free diets. I thought it was just a fad, cooked up by people who had already tried all of the other diets. But, in less than a week, I’ve seen its virtue. I don’t have stomach aches anymore. I’m thinner (obviously...with a bag of meat) and I have more energy. Could it all be due to a gluten-free diet? Maybe. But if I’m ever on Death Row and I’m given one last meal, I’ve decided it’s going to be heavy on the gluten. Let the guards deal with the fallout after I’m gone. It’s going to be bread followed by pasta topped off with cookies. Now that’s a diet to embrace.

THE BREAD OF LIFE

SIOUXLAND LIFE

JANUARY 2012

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