Archive for May, 2010

Where do I vote on Prop 100?

May 17th, 2010 1:00pm

Lest anyone shirk their duty by using the excuse, “I didn’t know where to go!”, we’ve put together a list of websites that will help you find your voting location for the Tuesday, May 18th vote on Proposition 100. Please don’t miss out on voting for this very important legislation which will determine the future of our education and public services over the next few years.

If you live in Maricopa County, visit http://recorder.maricopa.gov/pollingplace/pollingplace.aspx to find the voting location closest to you. Simply enter your address in the fields provided and they will find the closest poll to you.

If you live in a county other than Maricopa, you can visit http://www.azsos.gov/election/county.htm#Maricopa where you can click on your individual county and be directed to their polling place locators.

For more information on this proposition, visit http://www.yeson100.com/

Remember, voting is not just a right, it’s a responsibility and a privilege!

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Posted in Events, General, newsworthy | 1 Comment »

Arizona prop 100…yes or no?

May 6th, 2010 11:53pm

Tuesday, May 18, 2010 should be a date marked on  your calendar if you live in Arizona. We will be weighing in on a very important proposition, Prop 100 (the temporary 1-cent sales tax), which will determine the fate of our public services and education over the next 3 years. Currently, our education, already staggering under serious budget cuts last year, is facing another blow which will truly  cripple it beyond reasonable repair. Arizona currently ranks last in per-child funding nationwide. If Prop 100 passes, two-thirds of this funding will go directly to K-12 eduction with the remaining one-third funding health and human services and public safety. The sales tax would automatically repeal on May 31, 2013.

As much as I wish our problems could be solved by cutting back on government alone, we currently have a $3.2 billion structural deficit, meaning Arizona is not bringing in enough revenue to fund basic services.

There are some scary actions that are on the drawing board if Prop 100 fails. One such idea proposed by the Sheriff’s department is to¬†begin retrofitting existing buildings like motels, hotels and even schools to house the overflow of prisoners. I wonder what this will do to property values in these areas…doesn’t leave much to the imagination. Tucson Unified School District is already looking to close nine of their neighborhood schools this fall as a direct result of the budget cuts already in place from last year. This one school district could face a $28.6 million deficit of Prop 100 fails. They have already announced layoffs of more than 60 administrators. What will happen if education gets another swipe of the budgetary ax?

Some of the cuts already in place from November of 2009 were $144 million mid-year cuts in the state’s K-12 soft capital budget which pays for books, technology and school busses. This is in addition to the $133 million cut from K-12 in January of 2009. Increased class sizes, fewer qualified and experienced teachers, non-existent teaching materials, and reduced or eliminated electives and special needs programs are just a few of the outcomes we will face if Prop 100 fails. According to the Arizona Education Network, we will face a funding crisis of a $428 million loss to K-12 alone. Traditional public schools can expect a total funding cut of $748,775,148 while public charter schools can expect a cut of $63,663,047 in total funding. Even if voters approve the 1-cent tax increase of Prop 100, the state will still face significant cuts to even come close to closing the budget gap. If you would like to see how this will directly affect your own school district, check out a report released by Governor Brewer’s Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting which provides district-by-district estimates of the impact of legislative budget cuts for 2011, showing effects both with and without the passage of Prop 100. If this doesn’t keep you up at night, I’m not sure what will.

Whether you choose to vote yes or no on this proposition, I would hope that you at least intend to vote. One of the saddest commentaries on our time is the low turnout when it comes to exercising our right to vote. Please take a stand and show up at the polls. As for myself, I intend to vote yes on Prop 100. As unfortunate as it is to advocate additional taxes in a recession, my passion lies with my kids education. I hate to face a future in which my children’s education will not just suffer but will seriously cripple them when it comes time to compete with other states graduates for a place in a good college or a decent job. This isn’t the best solution but as we are finding out with many things right now, it’s the only solution we have.

Please take a moment and weigh in at our forum discussion. This is one of those most difficult topics and one we will all have an opportunity to voice our opinions on come May 18th. Share your views with us so that we can view the topic from all perspectives and be educated going into the polls.

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Posted in Events, General, newsworthy | 1 Comment »

Product Recall

As of April 30, 2010, McNeil Consumer Healthcare (maker of children's medications such as Tylenol, Motrin and Zyrtec) has issued a voluntary product recall of all lots that have not yet expired of over-the-counter children's and infants' liquid products

As of April 30, 2010, McNeil Consumer Healthcare (maker of children’s medications such as Tylenol, Motrin ¬†and Zyrtec) has issued a voluntary product recall of all lots that have not yet expired of over-the-counter children’s and infants’ liquid products manufactured in the United States and distributed in the US< Canada, Dominican Republic, Dubai, Fiji, Guam, Guatemala, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago, and Kuwait.

Thankfully, this product recall has not come as a result of any adverse medical events, but the specified products may not meet required quality standards. For instance, too much of the active ingredient, inactive ingredients that may not meet internal testing requirements, and even tiny particles. The company does not seem overly concerned about serious medical problems resulting from the use of these drugs, but they are encouraging consumers to immediately discontinue use of these drugs. For a complete list of recalled medications, please follow the appropriate links below…

Infants’ Tylenol and Children’s Tylenol Products

Infants’ Motrin and Children’s Motrin Products

Children’s Zyrtec Products

Children’s Benadryl Products

All recalled products from April 30, 2010

The McNeil Consumer Healthcare, Division of McNeil-PPC, Inc. has also supplied a link through which you can request a refund or high value coupon as compensation for the discontinued products. Word to the wise, if you want a refund, DO NOT THROW THEM AWAY until you copy off the required information for the refund: Product Name, NDC#, LOT#, and Expiration Date. If you are a mother like me living in Arizona during the worst allergy season in history, this will definitely be a valuable link since I currently have a medicine cabinet full of these products that will shortly be visiting the trash can…but not before I request a sizable refund!

For more information: Visit McNeil’s frequently asked questions page.

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Posted in Family and Home, General, Safety/Health Awareness | No Comments »

Yes, the words have been spoken and it is now out there. Imagine: a world where happy meals no longer are served with toys. Can they even be called “happy” meals anymore? The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to prohibit fast-food restaurants from promoting unhealthy meals with attractive kids toys. Toys are only allowed to be sold with meals that pass certain nutritional standards which include:

  • No single food item can contain more than 200 calories, the drink cannot have more than 120 calories, and the entire meal cannot exceed 485 calories.
  • No single item can contain more than 480 milligrams of salt, and the entire meal is limited to 600mg of salt.
  • No more than 35% of the caolories can come from fat.
  • No more than 10% of total caolries can come from added sugar.

Even meals that offer apple slices as an alternative to fries or tater tots do not currently meet these standards. If the measures receive final approval in May, restaurants will have 90 days to present alternative meals for trimming the  fat, salt, sugar and calories in their kids meals. Violators could face fines of up to $1,000.

According to the Los Angeles Times, “In Santa Clara County, one out of every four kids is either overweight or obese. Among 2- to 5-year-olds from low-income families, the rate is one in three. The county health system spends millions of dollars a year treating kids for health problems related to obesity, and the tab is growing.”

Results from the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) show that childhood obesity is becoming a national epidemic among our little ones. According to the survey, among pre-school age children 2-5 years of age, obesity increased from 5 to 10.4% between 1976-1980 and 2007-2008 and from 6.5 to 19.6% among 6-11 year olds.  Among adolescents aged 12-19, obesity increased from 5 to 18.1% during the same period. Very scary statistics.

There are many out there that are loudly opposing this new fast food policy. Trying to decide how much and what we should allow our government to regulate does seem to be a very hot topic these days. How much is too much? Frankly, I would welcome a few less cheap, easily breakable toys in my house and since my kids are often relegated to a fast food dinner certain nights of the week because of time constraints on our evenings (sports activities for instance), I would definitely appreciate healthier “fast food” options. I think most parents recognize that these toys are not just benign additions to our kids meals. They are advertisers targeted efforts to attract the interest and demand of our children. As a parent, I welcome anything that will help encourage my children (and myself!) to make more nutritional food choices. I also welcome the encouragement it provides businesses to create more nutritionally sound meal options. By only allowing toys to be sold with nutritionally sound meals, we are rewarding kids and parents for wiser food choices and hopefully encouraging food establishments to offer these nutritional meals with more variety and frequency.

I wonder if more counties will fall in line with this philosophy. I am sure there will be many keeping a close eye on the Santa Clara County to measure the results of this new policy. We would love to hear your thoughts on this one as it very well could turn into a national movement. Are you in favor or against restrictions on fast food offerings? Join us in a forum discussion on the topic.

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Posted in Family and Home, General, newsworthy, Parenting Tips, Safety/Health Awareness | No Comments »