Saturday, December 29, 2007

If it’s blogged, is it news?

Recently I had the privilege of covering the Massachusetts Conference for Women as a reporter for Bay State Parent magazine. Over 5,000 women filled the new Boston Convention Center to hear from such luminaries as Washington Post journalist Anna Quindlen, former CBS News anchor RenĂ© Syler, and business gurus Jack and Suzy Welch, as well as a host of other speakers with useful insights on a range of issues affecting women. You’ll be reading some of the highlights in upcoming magazine issues, from managing your money to juggling work and family while remaining relatively sane.

As I checked in at the press room to receive credentials and program information, I casually glanced at the list of who else from the media was registered. Names from the Boston Globe, Herald, and other print media surprisingly didn’t jump out at me. What did was the number of bloggers.

Somehow over the past few years, everyone’s a blogger and bloggers have become journalists. I’m not sure that’s a great thing. Don’t get me wrong: I’m no Luddite decrying new technology. Blogging brings grassroots views and essays to wide – but segmented – audiences, and that’s all good for democracy and for creative outlets. Blogs can provide on-the-spot commentary and current resource information like recall lists and calendar events. And blogs provide a way for the public to interact directly with the media.

But are blogs reliable news sources, with the kind of broad-based reach that provides a common ground for understanding and discussion?

I feel reassured knowing that there’s an editor looking over an article to review for basic things like accuracy, not to mention spelling and grammar. I’ve read many well-written blogs (hopefully you think Bay State Parent’s fits that category), but there are countless others that are incomprehensible. And although the news media have been rightly accused of bias, news is still supposed to be “just the facts” while opinions go on the editorial page or in columns. Blogs have virtually erased the line between news and opinion: Who’s to say what’s real and what’s my personal perspective? Buyer beware.

Quibbles about truth in journalism aside, the sheer overabundance of blogs means most people won’t read a particular blog. I wasn’t familiar with any of the blogs listed for reporters at the conference, and when I later checked one out, I found it was targeted to the niche market of twentysomething women living in Boston. The blogger may have written beautiful, accurate, insightful prose about the event, and most women in Massachusetts wouldn’t have a clue.

Blogs-as-journalism are here to stay, and just as we can’t turn back the clock to the time before cable TV, when everyone watched one of five channels and Walter Kronkite, Tom Brokaw or Peter Jennings gave us the news, we can’t assume that everyone gets her information from established news-gathering organizations. But I hope that bloggers and blog sites strive to uphold the standards and responsibilities that have been the bedrock of a free press since the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That would be an information revolution.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Bonus Calendar: Science Magic Show Dec. 16th

New Jewish Academy's PALS program for Preschoolers and Little Siblings on Sunday, Dec. 16 at 10 a.m. will feature Steve Lechner & his Science Magic Show.
Families can expect audience participation, lots of smiles, and laughter galor! A snack will follow.
The New Jewish Academy is located at 15 Jamesbury Drive in Worcester. For more information visit www.newjewishacademy.org

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

RECALL:Flashing Pacifiers Due to Choking Hazard

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with wholesaler/importer Sailing International Corp of New Jersey, today announced a voluntary recall about 8,000 Flashing Pacifiers or 2-in-1 Flashing Pacifiers with Whistle Necklaces. The nipple can detach from the base, posing a choking hazard to young children. Incidents/Injuries: None reported.
The recalled pacifier necklace has a 28-inch multicolored cord with a 3- inch plastic pacifier that comes in assorted colors. A hole at the tip of the nipple is used as a blow hole for the whistle. The pacifier handle operates as the on-off button for the flashing light on both pacifiers. “Flashing Pacifier” or “2-in-1 Flashing Pacifier with Whistle Necklace” is printed on the packaging of the pacifiers. They were sold at various retail stores nationwide during the month of June 2007 for about $5 per dozen.
Manufactured in China, consumers should immediately stop using the pacifiers and return them to the store where purchased to receive a full refund or discard the pacifiers. For additional information, contact Sailing (U.S.) International Corp. at 800-643-6134 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, or visit http://www.sailingusintl.com/

RECALL: Bobby Slipcovers Due To Choking Hazard & lead Exposure

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with The Boppy Company of Colorado, today announced a voluntary recall of about 38,000 Boppy® Slipcovers. The zipper pull on the slipcovers can break, posing a choking hazard to young children. In addition, paint on the zippers contains excess levels of lead, which violates the federal lead paint standard. Incidents/Injuries: None reported.
This recall involves velvet and boa slipcovers intended for use with the Boppy® Bare Naked nursing and support pillow. Slipcovers recalled due to a choking hazard were sold in three color combinations. Slipcovers sold in clear vinyl packages are labeled Boppy® Luxe. Slipcovers recalled due excessive levels of lead paint were sold in four colors. Slipcovers sold in display boxes are labeled Boppy® Soothing.
Slipcovers recalled due to choking hazard were sold at discount department stores nationwide from July 2006 through September 2007 for about $16. Slipcovers recalled due to lead paint were sold at discount department stores nationwide from February 2007 through September 2007 for between $15 and $17.
Manufactured in China, consumers should stop using these products immediately and contact The Boppy Company for a free replacement product. For information on identifying and/or exchanging the recalled slipcovers, call The Boppy Company at 888-713-3916 anytime or visit http://www.boppy.com/

RECALL: Children's Pencil Pouches by Raymond Geddes & Co. Due to Lead Paint Violation

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Raymond Geddes & Co. of Baltimore, Maryland, today announced a voluntary recall of about 84,200 Children’s Pencil Pouches. The paint on the pencil pouches’ zipper pulls contains excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard. Incidents/Injuries: None reported.
The recall includes “Stuff Keepers” pencil pouches and “Bear Pencil Pouches.” The “Stuff Keepers” pencil pouches are clear vinyl, measure 9 inches by 6 inches, and have a green, orange, pink or blue-colored zipper. Style number 63525 is printed on the packaging. The “Bear Pencil Pouches” have soft fabric with a stuffed bear face, and measure 9 inches by 3 inches. Style number 67221 is printed on the packaging. Sold by school supply distributors in schools nationwide from September 1997 through October 2007 for between 50 cents and $2.
Manufactured in China, consumers should immediately take the recalled pencil pouches away from children and return them to the store where purchased for a full refund. If unable to return to the store where purchased, contact Raymond Geddes & Co. directly. For additional information, contact Raymond Geddes & Co. at 800-533-6273 x1124 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Monday through Friday, visit www.raymondgeddes.com/psa.html, or e-mail the firm at consumeraffairs@raymondgeddes.com

RECALL: Children's Metal Jewelry Recalled Due to Lead Exposure

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation Colossal Jewelry & Accessories Inc of New Jersey, today announced a voluntary recall about 10,400 Children’s Metal Necklaces and Bracelets. The recalled jewelry contains high levels of lead. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects. The recalled metal necklaces and bracelets have silver-colored charms. Some also have colored beads. “Awesome Boutique” or “Share the Love” is printed on some of the jewelry’s packaging. The jewelry includes a necklace with a metal flower-shaped charm that hangs from a pink cord, a metal heart charm bracelet, a metal heart angel charm bracelet with colored beads, a metal bracelet with four heart charms and ruby-colored beads, necklaces with painted hearts that hang from a cord, and necklaces with tiny purses in various colors.
Sold at various discount and dollar stores nationwide from January 2005 through June 2007 for about $1.
Manufactured in China, consumers should immediately take the recalled jewelry away from children and return it to the store where purchased for a full refund. For additional information, contact Colossal Jewelry & Accessories at 888- 808-5093 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or e-mail colosssaljewelry@comcast.net

RECALL: Discount School Supply Paint Brushes Due To Lead Paint Violation

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation Discount School Supply of California, today announced a voluntary recall about 20,000 Shaving Paint Brushes. Surface paint on the brush handles can contain excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard. Incidents/Injuries: None reported.
The recall involves a set of six “shaving-style” brushes, which are about 4-inches long. The brushes’ handles are painted blue, purple, orange, yellow, lime green, and pink. The item number #SHVBRSH is printed on the product’s packaging. Brush sets with handles in brown, dark blue, red, green, blue, and black are not included in this recall. The recalled brushes were also included with the “BioColor® Foam Paint Starter Kit” and “Colorations® Foam Paint Starter Kit.”
Sold by Discount School Supply’s catalog and Web site from May 2004 through August 2007 for about $5. The BioColor® kits were sold from May 2004 through June 2006 for about $60. The Colorations® kits were sold from July 2006 through August 2007 for about $60.
Manufactured in China, consumers should stop using the brushes immediately and contact Discount School Supply to receive a free replacement brush set. For more information, contact Discount School Supply at 800-293-9314 between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. Pacific time Monday through Friday; visit http://www.discountschoolsupply.com/ or e-mail brushrecall@discountschoolsupply.com

RECALL: Metal Jewelry Sold Ay Family Dollar Stores Due to Lead Exposure

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Family Dollar Stores of Charlotte, North Carolina, today announced a voluntary recall about 205,000 Rachel Rose and Distinctly Basics Assorted Metal Jewelry. The recalled jewelry contains high levels of lead. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects. Incidents/Injuries: None reported.
The recalled jewelry was sold under the Rachel Rose and Distinctly Basics brands and includes key rings and pins with religious themes (crosses and fish symbols), key rings with "Mom" and cheerleader charms; bracelets with charms like handbags, flip flops, hearts, dresses, and flowers; silver-colored rings with designs or stones in a variety of colors; clutchless hoop earrings with decorations such as butterflies; and filigree and long drop earrings with stones in a variety of colors.
Sold at Family Dollar stores nationwide from January 2003 through August 2007 for between $.50 and $2. A complete list of the recalled jewelry can be found at http://www.familydollar.com/
Manufactured in China, consumers should immediately take the recalled jewelry away from children and return it to a Family Dollar store for a full refund. For additional information, contact Family Dollar at 800-547-0359 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or visit http://www.familydollar.com/

Friday, November 16, 2007

RECALL: Jetmax International Recalls Children's Wooden Storage Rack Following A Child's Death

In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Jetmax International Ltd., of Irving, Texas is voluntarily recalling about 36,000 boy’s and girl’s storage racks with canvas totes. The storage rack can tip over, posing an entrapment and suffocation hazard to young children. The Commission has received one report of a death involving an 8-month-old boy who was asphyxiated after he pulled on the storage rack and it fell over on him. The top rail landed on the infant’s neck. No other incidents have been reported. The storage rack is wooden with three levels and nine removable canvas totes. There are wooden handles on each side of the rack. The boy’s storage rack has natural color wood with red, yellow, green, and navy canvas totes. The girl’s storage rack has white colored wood with pink, yellow, lime, and purple canvas totes.
Wal-Mart sold the storage rack under the brand “Home Trend Kids 9 Canvas Bin Boy’s and Girl’s Organizers.” The storage racks were manufactured in China. They were sold at Wal-Mart stores nationwide from August 2004 through July 2005 and Ollie’s stores nationwide from July 2006 through June 2007 for about $40.
Consumers should immediately stop children from using the recalled storage racks and contact Jetmax International to receive a free repair kit that adds stability to the base.
For additional information, contact Jetmax at 800-689-2168 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Central time, visit http://www.jlwoodenmfg.com/, or e-mail info@jlwoodenmfg.com

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

RECALL: Nike Football Hemet Chin Strap

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Nike Inc. of Beaverton, Oregon,, today announced a voluntary recall of about 235,000 Football Helmet Chin Straps. The chin strap’s plastic cup can break as a result of contact, exposing the player to facial or head injuries. Nike has received 18 reports of the chin strap breaking, including two reports of concussions, two reports of facial lacerations requiring stitches, and a report of a broken nose.
The recalled football helmet chin strap consists of a plastic cup with a foam liner, straps and four metal snaps. They were sold in both youth and adult sizes and come in black/gray and white/gray color combinations. The Nike Swoosh trademark is printed on the outside of the chin cup and DRI-FIT™ is printed on the foam liner. “Made in China” and one of the following four style numbers is printed on the inside of the strap: FA0016 046, FA0016 130, FA0021 046, or FA0021 130.
They were sold at sporting good stores nationwide and on the firm’s Web site www.Nike.com from April 2006 through October 2007 for about $20.
Manufactured in China, consumers should stop using the chin strap immediately and contact Nike for a product voucher redeemable at http://www.nikestore.com/ For additional information, contact Nike toll-free at 888-583-6453 between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Pacific time Monday through Friday, or visit http://www.nikebiz.com/

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

RECALL: Aqua Dots Can Turn Toxic If Ingested

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Spin Master of Canada, today announced a voluntary recall of more than 4 million Aqua Dots products. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. The coating on the beads that causes the beads to stick to each other when water is added contains a chemical that can turn toxic when many are ingested. Children who swallow the beads can become comatose, develop respiratory depression, or have seizures. The Commission has received two reports over the past several days of children swallowing Aqua Dots. A 20-month-old child swallowed several dozen beads. He became dizzy and vomited several times before slipping into a comatose state for a period of time, was hospitalized, and has since fully recovered. A second child also vomited and slipped into a comatose state and was hospitalized for five days.
Description: The recalled toy is a craft kit which allows children to create various multi-dimensional designs using small colored beads. The beads fuse together when sprayed with water. The recall applies to all models of Aqua Dots. The product is available in various different kits with accessories such as a drying fan, applicator pen, design templates for the beads, and spray bottle. The product is labeled for ages 4+. They were sold at major retailers and arts & crafts stores nationwide from April 2007 through November 2007 for between $17 and $30 and manufactured in China.
Consumers should immediately take the recalled toy away from children and contact Spin Master to return for free replacement beads or a toy of equal value. For additional information, contact Spin Master at 800-622-8339 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, or visit http://www.aquadotsrecall.com/

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

RECALL: Laugh & Learn Kitchen Toys by Fisher-Price Due to Choking Hazard

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Fisher-Price of New York, today announced a voluntary recall about 155,000 Laugh & Learn™ Learning Kitchen™ Toys.
Pieces of the faucet or the clock hands can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children.
There have been 48 reports of small parts separating from the toys, including two reports of children gagging on pieces, one report of a child who started choking on a piece and one report of a child who choked on a piece. The recall involves a play kitchen learning toy with a pretend refrigerator, range and sink. The product’s item number L5067 is stamped in several locations on the toy and printed on the product’s packaging above the UPC. They were sold at various retail and toy specialty stores nationwide from May 2007 through October 2007 for about $70 and manufactured in Mexico.
Consumers should immediately take the recalled toys away from children and contact Fisher-Price for a free repair kit. For additional information, contact Fisher-Price toll-free at 888- 812-7187 between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday, or visit http://www.service.mattel.com/

RECALL: Skippy Pool Toys Due To Laceration Hazard

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation Swimways Corp of Virginia, today announced a voluntary recall of about 31,000 Skippy” Pool Toys. The elastic tongue of the fish can break and forcefully come out and cut the users’ hands during launching of the toy. Swimways has received 24 reports of the pool toy breaking during use. There were five reports of injuries to children including one requiring stitches to a child’s hand. Another child’s thumb nail was ripped back from the nail bed. This recall involves a rubber pool toy shaped like a fish. The fish are blue, purple or green colored and measure 8 ½ inches long by 5 inches wide. A loop of elastic tubing shaped like a tongue comes out of the mouth of the fish and is used for launching the fish across the water like a slingshot. “WARNING. Do not aim at another person. Made in China” is printed on the bottom of the fish. They were sold at mass merchandisers and independent pool supply stores nationwide from February 2007 through September 2007 for about $10 and manufactured in China.
Consumers should take the toy away from children immediately and contact Swimways for a free replacement toy. For additional information, contact Swimways toll-free at 888-559-4653 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or visit http://www.swimways.com/

Monday, November 5, 2007

RECALL: Limited Too Stores Gift Sets Due To Lead Paint Violations

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, last week announced a voluntary recall about 4,000 Decorative Packaging Pearl-like Bead Attachments sold with Girl’s Gift Sets. The firm was Tween Brands Inc., of New Albany, Ohio
Surface coating on a plastic bead decorative packaging attachment contains excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard. The recalled item is a pearl-like pink bead attachment on the outside packaging of the gift sets and a zipper pull/wrist band on a cosmetic lip gloss set. The gift sets were sold under the “Sparkle by Too” line, as follows: 3-Pack Lip Gloss Wristlet (Style No. 2014), 4-Pack Body Spray (Style No. 2017), and 3-Piece Bath Set (Style No. 2018). They were sold at Limited Too retail stores nationwide, catalog and Web site from April 2007 through September 2007 for between $11 and $13 and manufactured in China.
Consumers should immediately remove this recalled decorative pearl-like bead attachment from the gift sets and return it to any Limited Too store for a $5 Limited Too coupon. In addition to the $5 coupon, consumers who choose to return the gift sets along with the packaging attachment will receive a full refund. For additional information, call Tween Brands at 800934-4497 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or visit http://www.limitedtoo.com/

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

EXCLUSIVE Interview with Lt. Governor Tim Murray & His Family

“People always call adoption a ‘leap of faith’ and that’s certainly true,” says Massachusetts Lt. Governor Tim Murray in an exclusive interview, inside the November issue of Bay State Parent magazine. “There are more unknowns than knowns. But anyone who’s gone through a process of having a child - whether it’s by giving birth or by adoption - knows it’s something you can’t fully appreciate until the child is in your arms. At that moment, everything else falls away and you understand it was all worthwhile.”
The Lt. Governor and his wife Tammy, in a rare interview, talk about the adoption of their two daughters from Guatemala and the bicultural experience the family is creating inside and outside their Worcester home.
The exclusive interview, inside the November issue, is part of the magazine’s 5th Annual Adoption Guide. The magazine can be found at more than 850 locations in Eastern & Central Massachusetts beginning today.
The Murrays brought home Helen Roowina, now 2 ½, in December 2005 when she was just nine months old. In May 2007, they welcomed Katerine Mariela, called “Kati,” at age 15 months.
The two sisters, with olive skin and dark features, share their permanent home and heritage – and sometimes even their toys. Like most American toddlers, they live in a world of Disney Princesses, Dora the Explorer, and Elmo. They love animals, trips to the zoo, reading books, and rocking out to the Wiggles.
Award-winning freelance writer Kate M. Jackson spent a morning with the family at their home. During the rare interview, Tim & Tammy, who is an occupational therapist for the Worcester Public Schools, talked intimately about their family, blending two cultures, and their personal decision to create that family through adoption.
“Kate did a wonderful job weaving vivid descriptions and candid conversations into a terrific profile of the Murray family for the adoption guide,” said Bay State Parent magazine editor Susan Scully Petroni.
The Murrays are not alone in creating a family through adoption.
Over the last three decades more than a quarter million children have been adopted by America families. International adoptions in the United States have more than doubles in the last decade. And in Massachusetts, international adoptions, as well as foster parenting and domestic adoptions, are on the rise.
November is National Adoption Awareness Month and Bay State Parent magazine's previous adoption guides have been feted with New England and national journalism awards. For its monthly coverage of adoption issues, the magazine was honored with the prestigious Friend of Adoption Award from The Adoption Community of New England (ACONE).


RECALL: Toy Figures Due to Lead Paint

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Henry Gordy International Inc of New Jersey, today announced a voluntary recall about 380,000 “Galaxy Warriors” Toy Figures. Surface paints on the recalled toys contain excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard. There were no reported injuries or incidents. The posable spaceman figures are about 4½-inches tall and come with two accessories. They were sold in various colors including yellow, grey, silver, blue, green, gold, black, and red. They were sold at Family Dollar Stores nationwide from January 2006 through October 2007 for about $1 and manufactured in China.
Consumers should take the recalled toys away from children immediately and return the toy to the firm for a full refund plus postage. For additional information, contact Henry Gordy International toll-free at 888-790-2700 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Central Time Monday through Friday.

RECALL: Toys R Us Elite Operations Tosy Due To Lead Paint

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Toys R Us Inc of New Jersey, today announced a voluntary recall about 16,000 Elite Operations Toys. Various models are involved in the recall. The toys were manufactured by Toy World Group Ltd/Chun Tat Toys Factory Limited, of Guangdong, China. Surface coatings on the toys contain excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard. The recall involves four military-style Elite Operations toys, including Super Rigs (#1004), Command Patrol Center (#1020), Barracuda Helicopter (#1023), and 3 Pack 8-inch Figures (#1024). The product number is located on the toy’s packaging. They were sold exclusively at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide and toysrus.com from July 2007 through October 2007 for between $10 and $30. No other Elite Operations brand military play sets are included in this recall.
Consumers should immediately take the toy away from children, and return them to any Toys “R” Us for a full refund or store credit. For additional information, contact Toys “R” Us at 800- 869-7787 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Sunday, or visit http://www2.toysrus.com/guest/prodRecallsList.cfm

BONUS CALENDAR: Shopping Extravaganza

There will be a Family Fun “Shopping Extravaganza” at the Leicester Knights of Columbus on Sunday, Nov. 4, from 2 to 7 p.m.
The Clayground, Stampin Up, Creative Memories®, Mary Kay®, Pampered Chef®, Designs by Judy, Arbonne®, Southern Living at Home®, and more will display and sell products. There will also be a raffle table and bake sale. The event is organized by 5 Star Elite Cheer at Gigueres. Admission is Free. For more information, e-mail Angela at simplyangela6025@aol.com.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

RECALL: Target Patio Sets Due To A Fall Hazard

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Target of Minnesota, today announced a voluntary recall about 40,000 Home Patio Sets. The chair can collapse when weight is applied to the front end of the arm rests, posing a fall hazard to consumers. Target has received 35 reports of chairs collapsing, resulting in 18 injuries such as bruising to the back, hips, shoulders, arms and finger lacerations. This recall involves six-piece home patio sets sold exclusively at Target. The set consists of a table, an umbrella, and four chairs. The chairs and the umbrella have a black aluminum frame covered with a beige fabric. They were sold exclusively at Target stores nationwide and on its Web site from November 2006 through July 2007 for about $130 and manufactured in China.
Consumers should stop using the recalled patio sets immediately and return the entire six-piece set to any Target store for a full refund. For additional information, contact Target at 800-440-0680 between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Central Time Monday through Friday, or visit site at http://www.target.com/b/ref=br_bx_0/602-8530099-4575829?ie=UTF8&node=1041388

Monday, October 29, 2007

Stay in School or Skip School for Red Sox World Series Parade?

Last time the Red Sox won the World Series - 2004 - the celebration parade was on a Saturday.
This year, the "Rolling Rally" Parade will take place Tuesday (tomorrow) at noon.

So the biggest question for parents is should you allow your child to skip school?
Tell us what you think by posting below

Below is facts about the parade route from the Associated Press:
The city of Boston will host a rolling rally for the World Series champion Red Sox beginning at noon. The team will be carried on amphibious vehicles (Boston Duck Boat Tours) from Fenway Park, down Boylston Street and through Copley Square. They will follow Boylston along the lower part of Boston Common then turn left onto Tremont and continue past City Hall Plaza.
The parade will pause at three spots - Copley, across from the Parkman Bandstand at Boston Common and at City Hall - so closer Jonathan Papelbon can dance his now-famous Irish jig on a flatbed truck, accompanied by Celtic punk band Dropkick Murphys. There will be large TV screens set up at each location.
Unlike in the 2004 victory parade, the duck boats will not enter the Charles River.
The parade will end at New Chardon and Cambridge Streets.

Friday, October 26, 2007

RECALL: Go Diego Go Boat Toys Due To Lead Paint Violations

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Fisher-Price of New York, yesterday announced a voluntary recall about 38,000 Go Diego Go Animal Rescue Boats. Surface paints on the toys contain excessive levels of lead, which violates the federal standard prohibiting lead paint on children’s toys. There have been no reports of injuries. The toy is an orange and yellow boat that squirts water. Cartoon character Diego is in the driver’s seat. “Fisher Price,” product number K3413, and a date code between 137-7HF and 223-7HF are marked on the toys. They were sold at retail stores nationwide from June 2007 through October 2007 for about $15 and manufactured in China.
Consumers should immediately take the recalled toys away from children and contact Fisher-Price in order to receive a free replacement toy. Consumers need to return the recalled toys to Fisher-Price. For additional information, contact Fisher-Price at 888-299-0579 anytime, or visit http://service.mattel.com/us/recall.asp

RECALL: More Garden Tools from Jo-Ann Stores Due to Lead Paint

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Jo-Ann Stores of Ohio, yesterday announced a voluntary recall about 97,000 Children’s Toy Gardening Tools. (An additional 16,000 toy rakes were recalled on September 26, 2007 and 6,000 toy watering cans on August 28, 2007). Surface paint on the handle of the toy gardening tools can contain excessive levels of lead paint, violating the federal lead paint standard.There were no reported incidents or injuries. This recall involves the Robbie Ducky children’s leaf rake, hoe, broom and spade. “Robbie Ducky™ Garden Collection” is printed on a tag attached to the handle. The rake has a yellow handle with the head of a tortoise and green prongs. The hoe has an orange handle with a caterpillar and a blue blade. The broom has a purple handle with a duck and an orange brush. The spade has a yellow handle with the head of a frog and a red blade. The tools measure between 27 and 29 inches long. They were sold exclusively at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores nationwide from January 2007 through September 2007 for about $7 and manufactured in China.
Consumers should immediately take the recalled toys away from children and return them to any Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store for a full refund. For additional information, contact Jo-Ann Stores toll-free at 888-739-4120 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, e-mail the firm at guest.services@jo-annstores.com, or visit http://www.joann.com/joann/content/promotions/robbie_ducky_recall_notice.jsp

Recall: Bumbo Baby Sitter Seats Due to Serious Head Injuries

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Bumbo International of South Africa, yesterday announced a voluntary recall about 1 million Bumbo “Baby Sitter” Seats in America. If the seat is placed on a table, countertop, chair, or other elevated surface, young children can arch their backs, flip out of the Bumbo seat, and fall onto the floor, posing a risk of serious head injuries. The Commission has received 28 reports of young children falling out of the Bumbo Baby Sitter seat, including three skull fractures, which occurred when children fell out of chairs that had been placed on tables. The bottom of the children’s seat is round and flat with a diameter of about 15 inches. It is constructed of a single piece of molded foam and comes in yellow, blue, purple, pink, aqua, and lime green. The seat has leg holes and seat back that wraps completely around the child. On the front of the seat in raised lettering is the word “Bumbo” with the image of an elephant on top. The bottom of the seat has the following words: “Manufactured by Bumbo South Africa Material: Polyurethane World Patent No. PCT: ZA/1999/00030.” The back of the seat contains the following “WARNING” – “Never use on a raised surface. Never use as a car seat or bath seat. Designed for floor level use only. Never leave your baby unattended as the seat is not designed to be totally restrictive and may not prevent release of your baby in the event of vigorous movement.” They were sold at Target, Wal-Mart, Sears, Toys R Us, Babies R Us, USA Babies and various other toy and children’s stores nationwide, and various online sellers, from August 2003 through October 2007 for about $40 and manufactured in South Africa.
Consumers should never use the infant seat on a table, countertop, chair, or other elevated surface. Consumers can contact Bumbo to obtain new warning label stickers and instructions, free of charge. The new warning label will state: “WARNING – Prevent Falls; Never use on any elevated surface.” Consumers should use the Bumbo seat at ground level, but should never leave a child unattended. Contact Bumbo International at 877-932-8626 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or visit at http://www.bumbosafety.com/

RECALL:Dollar Tree Jewelry Due to Lead Paint Levels

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Greenbrier International Inc of Virginia, yesterday announced a voluntary recall about 200,000 Beary Cute, Expressions, and Sassy & Chic Children’s Metal Jewelry. The recalled jewelry contains high levels of lead. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects. There were no reported injuries or incidents. This recall involves the Beary Cute, Expressions, and Sassy & Chic children’s jewelry with items number 855589, 873091, 873097, or 903950. The item number can be found on the reverse of the packaging. They were sold at Dollar Tree, Dollar Bill$, Dollar Express, Greenbacks and Only $1 stores nationwide from December 2005 through July 2007 for $1 and manufactured in China.
Consumers should immediately take this jewelry away from children. Consumers should return the recalled jewelry to the store where purchased for a refund. For additional information, contact Dollar Tree Stores Inc. at 800-876-8077 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or visit http://www.dollartree.com/downloads/Recall_August2006.pdf

RECALL:Children's Metal Jewelry Recalled Due to Lead Exposure

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with WeGlow International of Virginia, yesterday announced a voluntary recall about 110,000 WeGlow Children’s Metal Jewelry. The recalled jewelry contains high levels of lead. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects. There were no reported injuries or incidents. This recall involves WeGlow children’s flashing rings. The character-themed rings were sold in Shrek the Third® and Spiderman 3® designs. The rings have item number 920422 printed on back of the packaging. They were sold exclusively at: Dollar Tree, Dollar Bill$, Dollar Express, Greenbacks and Only $1 stores nationwide from December 2005 through August 2007 for $1.
Manufactured in China
Consumers should immediately take this jewelry away from children and return it to the store where purchased for a refund. For additional information, contact WeGlow toll-free at 866- 934-5692 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or visit http://www.weglow.com/

RECALL: Football Bobble Head Cake Decorations Due To Lead Paint

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with DecoPac Inc. of Minnesota, yesterday announced a voluntary recall about 80,000 Football Bobble Head Cake Decorations. Surface paint on the body of the bobble head contains lead in excess of the federal lead paint standard. There were no injuries or incidents reported. The recall includes plastic miniature football bobble heads with green bases only, which were sold for placement on a cake. The bobble heads represented the following teams:
Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers, Oakland Raiders, Chicago Bears,
Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, New York Giants, and St. Louis Rams
Football bobble heads with black bases are not included in this recall. They were sold at bakeries and ice cream stores nationwide from January 2006 through October 2007 with the purchase of a cake or ice cream and manufactured in China.
Consumers should stop using the football bobble heads immediately and contact DecoPac to receive a free product of equal value. For additional information, contact DecoPac Product Safety at 800-536-6558 between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Central Time Monday through Friday or visit http://www.decopacproductsafety.com/

Monday, October 22, 2007

RECALL: Dunkin Donuts Recalls Glow Sticks Due to Choking & Stangulation Risks

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Dunkin' Donuts of Canton, Mass., announced a voluntary recall about 1 million Pink and Orange Glow Sticks (free giveaway with donuts). The recalled glow sticks are not properly labeled to warn consumers that the cap and lanyard can detach, posing a choking hazard. Additionally, the lanyard poses a strangulation hazard to young children. There were no reported incidents or injuries. The pink and orange glow sticks were given away free with purchases of donuts. They were part of a free giveaway with donus at Dunkin’ Donuts stores nationwide from September 2007 through October 2007 and manufactured in China.
Consumers should immediately take the recalled glow sticks away from young children and return them to any Dunkin’ Donuts for a free donut. For additional information, contact Dunkin’ Donuts at 800-859-5339 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, or visit www.DunkinDonuts.com

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Hall of Justice Is Under Attack


When Wonder Women entered the Hall of Justice, she was expecting another typical day in Metropolis. What she didn’t know was that this was a day of reckoning. Today, she would face one of her greatest challengers. We call her, “Taevy.”

To celebrate the Halloween Season, we took our children to Six Flags New England to trick-or-treat and experience the family-friendly happenings of Fright Fest 2008. But neither ghouls nor goblins, witches nor zombies captured my daughter’s attention as much as the prospect of meeting “the real” Wonder Woman. (My apologies to Linda Carter!)

We waited patiently in the Hall of Justice, chatting casually with Batman, Flash, and the Green Lantern. The attendant, a college boy who took his job surprisingly seriously, introduced the children to the posters of villians on the wall, and educated them about arch-enemies.

“Where’s Wonder Woman?” Taevy asked the attendant.
“She’ll be here in about 10 minutes,” he answered. “Why don’t you go ride the Cat Woman coaster while you wait?”

My male companions, hubby and friend, were more than happy to wait by the Cat Woman statue while I rode the coaster -- three times. (Apparently, she not only has a great set of boobs, but a to-die-for butt, as well!)

When we returned to the Hall of Justice, Wonder Woman was just entering the room.

Having been to Six Flags many times, I expected my daughter and her friend to pose for a quick picture and immediately head for the gift shop, where they would beg me buy it for $20.

But this time, my six-year old had other plans.

“I really like you,” she told the young Wonder Woman. “But there’s a problem.”

The teenager smiled and did her best to get into character. “What’s that?”

“Well, I was you for Halloween last year because I really think you’re pretty. But Cheetah Girl is really pretty too, and she’s your arch-enemy. I don’t think you should have an arch-enemy. You need to get a peer mediator so you can work it out.”

Wonder Woman looked suddenly concerned. There is, apparently, no script for this conversation.

“Cheetah girl does some mean things,” Wonder Woman said.
“Well, it’s not so nice to tie people up with your lasso, either,” my daughter countered.
“So what do you think I should do?”
Wonder Woman looked desperately around for some assistance. Where are those other Super Heros when you need them?

(I looked too, but the red Bat Phone was nowhere to be seen.)

“I think you should start teaching Cheetah Girl to be a Super Hero,” my daughter said. “Invite her to the Hall of Justice. Have a playdate.”

It was all I could do to keep from laughing.

“Um... I suppose we could do that,” Wonder Woman said. Then, in a final attempt to master her situation: “Hey! Would you like to have your picture taken with me?”

My daughter shook her head. “Not really. Maybe next year. You and me and Cheetah Girl can all take a picture together.”

As we exited the exhibit hall, I leaned over and whispered to the befuddled Wonder Woman: “Justice has a new name...”

Thursday, October 18, 2007

RECALL:Guidecraft Recalls Children's Puppet Theatres Due to Lead paint Violation

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Guidecraft Inc. of New Jersey, yesterday announced a voluntary recall of about 5,400 Tabletop Puppet Theaters. Surface paints on the puppet theater’s wooden panels contain excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard. There were no reported incidents or injuries. The recalled puppet theater has red panels on the front and sides and a chalkboard signboard on top. The puppet theater measures about 24-inches in length, 6-inches in width and about 28-inches in height.
They were sold at specialty toy stores, gift shops, catalogs and Web sites nationwide from June 2006 through August 2007 for about $35 and manufactured in China.
Consumers should immediately take the recalled puppet theaters away from children and contact Guidecraft to receive a replacement theater or another product of equal value. For additional information, contact Guidecraft toll-free at 888-824-1308 between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Central Time Monday through Friday, or visit http://www.guidecraft.com/

RECALL: Bookmarks Due To Lead Paint Violation

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Antioch Publishing of Ohio, announced a voluntary recall of about 200,000 Cool Clip™ and Mini Cool Clip™ Bookmarks of various styles. (An additional 150,000 bookmarks and journals were recalled on October 4, 2007). Paint on the clip of the bookmarks contains excessive levels of lead, which violates the federal lead paint standard. This recall involves various designs of the Cool Clip and Mini Cool Clip bookmarks. They were sold at book, card and gift stores nationwide from April 2003 through October 2007 for about $4 and manufactured in China.
Consumers should immediately take the bookmarks away from children and contact Antioch Publishing for a refund. For additional information, contact Antioch Publishing at 800-543-1515 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or visit http://www.antioch.com/

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

RECALL: Halloween Skull Pails Due To Lead Paint Standards

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation R.L. Albert & Son of Connecticut today announced a voluntary recall of 55,000 Skull Pails Filled With Halloween Candy Mix. The surface paint on the eyes, nose, and teeth of the skull contains excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard. There were no reported injuries or incidents. This recall involves the Albert’s Halloween skull pails filled with candy mix. The skull-shaped pail is white with green eyes, nose and teeth. The pail has a clear lid with a label in which “Albert’s” and “Skull Pails Filled with Halloween Candy Mix” is printed. The pail measures about 5 ½ inches high. They were sold at retail stores nationwide from September 2007 through October 2007 for $2. and manufactured in China.
Consumers should immediately take the recalled product away from children and take it to the retailer where it was purchased to receive a full refund. For additional information, contact Albert’s toll-free at 866-796-6110 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

RECALL: Huffy Bicycles Due to Riders Losing Controll Due to Cranks Falling Off


The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Huffy Corp of Ohio, today announced a voluntary recall of 22,000 2007 Huffy “Howler” and “Highland” Bicycles. The bicycle crank can unexpectedly come off, causing the rider to lose control, fall and suffer serious injuries. Huffy has received two reports of the crank coming off, resulting in one injury.
The recall involves 2007 model year, multi-speed bicycles with 26-inch, 24-inch or 20-inch wheels. The “Howler” was sold in black (model K3587, boy’s model), blue (model K4587, men’s model), and red (model K6587, men’s model). The “Highland” was sold in white (model K4597, women’s model) and blue (model K6597, women’s model). The name "Howler" or "Highland" is printed on the frame of the bicycle, and the name "Huffy" is on the front of the frame. Model numbers are located on a label on the bottom of the frame where the crank is attached to the bicycle. They were sold at Kmart stores nationwide from May 2007 through July 2007 for between $80 and $100 and manufacturered in China
Consumers should stop using the recalled bicycles immediately and contact Huffy Corp. to receive instructions on tightening the crank. For more information, contact Huffy Corp. toll-free at 888-366-3828 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, or visit www.huffybikes.com

25th Anniversary Celebration at Discovery Museums in Acton

The Discovery Museums in Acton is celebrating its 25th year with a week-long celebration of fun, family events See the schedule below:
Saturday, October 20 – Celebrate and Song!
11 a.m. & 2 p.m. Gene Stamell Performs Outside Performance*
Come sing and dance with teacher/songwriter Gene Stamell. Enjoy clever songs, puppets and magic that are sure to brighten your day.
Fun throughout the Day!
* Make a celebration hat at the Mad Hatter’s Workshop (Science Discovery Museum)
* Enjoy cupcakes (Noon to 4 p.m.)
*Face painting and visits from Bessie

Sunday, October 21 – Think Green
1 p.m. Davis Bates and Roger Ticknell Perform Earth Rhythms: A Celebration in Story and Song Outside Performance*
These Parents’ Choice Award winning performers will celebrate the diversity of the natural world and the ways that we all can care for it. This participatory concert will include songs about animals, nature and environmental awareness, “just so stories” and creation myths.
Think Green Fun throughout the Day!
*Construct a collage made of paper (9 to noon Children’s Discovery Museum)
* Bring out your artistic side with newspaper art (2 to 4 p.m. Science Discovery Museum)
*Enjoy cupcakes (Noon to 4 p.m.)
*Join our effort to recycle by bringing your discarded paper for our Abitibi Paper Retriever®! For more info visit http://www.paperretriever.com/.

Tuesday, October 23 ―A Day of Face Painting
9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at both museums: With your face as a palette, explore what you can become with the artistic talent of the Museums’ explorers.

Wednesday, October 24 ― Hats and Hounds
10 a.m. Party Hats Children’s Discovery Museum
Round hats, small hats, spotted hats, tall hats! Create your very own party hat to celebrate.
4 - 5:30 p.m. Bloodhounds: A Nose for Chemistry Science Discovery Museum
Meet a bloodhound and Middlesex County Sheriff and discover how they search and rescue. Learn about the dog’s keen sense of smell and test your own olfactory abilities with fun chemistry experiments. Sponsored by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation

Thursday, October 25 ―Dots and Take Apart
1 p.m. Dot to Dot Children’s Discovery Museum
Lots and lots of dots and dots! Use dot stickers as your medium to create an artistic masterpiece.
2 - 4:30 p.m. Take Aparts: The More Things Change… Science Discovery Museum
Using ancient 25 year old electronic equipment, explore the progress of technology with a time-traveling Take-Aparts! Sponsored by Analog Devices

Friday, October 26 ― Hats On and Blow a Bubble
10 a.m. Make Your Own Party Hat Children’s Discovery Museum
Round hats, small hats, spotted hats, tall hats! Create your very own party hat to celebrate.
3:30 p.m. Bubbles, Bubbles and More Bubbles Children’s Discovery Museum
Big ones, small ones, way up high in the air ones. What type of bubbles with you make?
3:30 p.m. Bubbles Have Smarts! Science Discovery Museum
Pop a few misconceptions with us and explore the remarkable properties of these deceptively fragile shapes.

Saturday, October 27 ― Science Saturday
10 a.m. & 2 p.m. Mike Francis Performs as Galileo in The Starry Messenger Outside Performance*
In a dramatic fun-filled performance, Galileo will describe his recent discoveries, science and his newly devised spyglass. Young scientists in the audience will lend a hand in experiments and demonstrations
11 a.m. Science on a Shoe String Children’s Discovery Museum
Learn how to use simple kitchen ingredients to conduct science experiments at home.
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.Destination Imagination Day Science Discovery Museum
DI teams and visitors are invited to explore hands-on exhibits, team concepts, and proactive teamwork. From gears to light effects, physics of flight to wild sound effects, develop new ideas to prepare for the 2008 DI Challenges or to just have fun.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Global Finals medal winners will lead special structure challenge workshops. Find out more at http://www.madikids.org/.
Throughout the Day
*Enjoy cupcakes (noon to 4 p.m.)
*Visits from Galileo and Bessie

Sunday, October 28 ― Discover Magic and Search for Fun
1 p.m. & 3 p.m. Steve Lechner of The Science Works Performs Magic Outside Performance*
Abracadabra! Join us as Steve Lechner introduces us to his puppet friend Bananas, juggles and performs magic often with the help of the audience.
Throughout the Day
* Lots of little Bessie’s are hidden — go on a scavenger hunt to find them (Children’s Discovery Museum)
*A trivia hunt will be just right to help you figure out your science facts (Science Discovery Museum)
*Enjoy cupcakes (noon to 4 p.m.)
* Face painting and visits from Bessie

***For Outside Performances:

Bring a blanket! Weekend performances will be held outside under the tent weather permitting. In case of cold or rain all performances will be held in the Children’s Discovery Museum classroom except for Steve Lecher whose performance would be in the Science Museum. These performances are appropriate and wonderful for all ages.

The Discovery Museums inspire enduring curiosity and love of learning through interactive discovery, hands-on inquiry and scientific investigations. Younger children learn while they play at The Children’s Discovery Museum. Older children explore scientific concepts and hands-on creativity at the Science Discovery Museum. Save 25% off admission Oct. 20-28. Admission to one museum will be $6.75 per person and to both museums is $9.75. For more information visit www.discoverymuseums.org or call 978-264-4200.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

40,000 People Walk to Raise $3.25 Million for Breast Cancer

An estimated 40,000 people gathered Sunday to raise awareness and dollars to fight breast cancer at the 15th Annual American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. Walkers followed the 5-mile route along the Charles River Esplanade to proudly honor breast cancer survivors and remember those who have lost their lives to the disease. Making Strides in Boston is the nation’s oldest and largest one-day breast cancer fundraiser, and is the American Cancer Society’s signature event during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. It was another record-breaking year – a total amount raised of $3.25 million was announced from the stage of the DCR Hatch Memorial Shell.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino attended the event to present a proclamation to American Cancer Society New England Division CEO, Donald J. Gudaitis, in recognition of the event’s 15th anniversary. In addition, Mayor Menino joined a group of 15-year participants for a ceremonial ribbon cutting. A spell-binding performance by Victoria Matlock (Elphaba) and ChristinaDeCicco, (Glinda) from the smash hit musical WICKED, kicked off the entertainment program later in the day as walkers returned from the route.
"Making Strides in Boston is a very important fundraiser, raising more than $33 million since its inception,” said Debbie Cornwall, of the Society’s New England Division Board of Directors. “But it's also an opportunity to learn more about breast cancer and to understand why the Society believes that 'Hope Starts Here.’ We thank all of the walkers who helped make it a great success by raising over $3million to help save lives and support cancer patients and their caregivers."
According to American Cancer Society statistics, every three minutes a woman in the United States learns she has breast cancer.
In addition:
* Breast cancer accounts for more than one in four cancer diagnoses among women in the U.S.
* An estimated 178,480 U.S. women will develop breast cancer this year and sadly more than 40,000 will die
* In Massachusetts, 4,260 women will develop breast cancer this year and nearly 900 Massachusetts women will die from breast cancer this year.
Dollars raised through Making Strides Against Breast Cancer directly support the American Cancer Society’s breast cancer research, education, advocacy and patient support programs.
Flagship sponsors for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event are AstraZeneca, Aurora Imaging Technology, Inc., BlueCross BlueShield of Massachusetts, H.P. Hood, and WeGotSoccer.
For more information on Making Strides Against Breast Cancer call 1-800-ACS-2345 orvisit http://www.cancer.org/.

Friday, October 12, 2007

RECALL: Disney Winnie-the-Pooh Play Sets Due To Lead Paint

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with J.C. Penney of Texas yesterday announced a voluntary recall of about 49,000 Disney™ Deluxe Winnie-the-Pooh 23-Piece Play Sets. Surface paints on the play sets contain excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard. There were no reported injuries or incidents. The recalled play set consists of 23 pieces including: either a white or black baby doll and assorted Winnie-the-Pooh themed items such as a diaper bag, blanket, playpen, highchair, swing, stroller, and carrying bags. They were sold at the J.C. Penney catalog, Web site, and outlet stores nationwide from August 2005 through August 2007 for about $40 and manufactured in China.
Consumers should take the recalled play set away from young children immediately and return it to any J.C. Penney store for a full refund. For further information, contact J.C. Penney toll-free at 888-333-6063 anytime, or visit http://www.jcp.com/

RECALL: J.C. Penney Deluxe Art Set Due to Lead Paint

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation J.C. Penney in Texas announced a voluntary recall about 19,000 Deluxe Wood Art Sets. Surface paint on the outside of the wooden box contains excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard. There were no reported injuries or incidents. The recalled art set consists of a wooden box with several pull-out trays containing 177 different art items, including paints and brushes. They were sold at the J.C. Penney catalog and Web site from September 2005 through August 2007 for about $40 and manufactured in Taiwan and Vietnam.
Consumers should take the recalled products away from young children immediately and return it to any J.C. Penney store for a full refund. For further information, contact J.C. Penney toll-free at 888-333-6063 anytime, or visit http://www.jcp.com/

WEEKEND PICK: Fall Family Festival in Framingham on Sunday

Rain or shine consider spending a day at Garden in the Woods in Framingham at its annual Fall Family Festival from noon to 4 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 14.
The event features crafts, shows, and scavenger hunts for all ages. Meet surprise creatures, and see the "Art Goes Wild" exhibition.
Animal Adventures show at 1 p.m. and Curious Creatures show at 2:30 p.m. Animal shows are first-come/first-served.
Admission is $7 adults, $3 children ages 6-18.
For more information, visit http://www.newfs.org/

RECALL: Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Travel Art Sets Due to Lead Paint

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Distribution in Tennessee yesterday announced a voluntary recall about 7,800 Princess Magnetic Travel Art Set Lap Desks. The surface paint on the zipper pull of the lap desk contains lead in excess of the federal lead paint standard. There were no reported injuries or incidents. The recalled Travel Art Set Lap Desk is a zippered case that opens into a lap desk with markers, crayons, and magnetic pieces. The lap desk is 10 3/4-inches wide and is pink colored. “Made in China” and item number 266822 are printed on a sticker located on the product’s packaging. They were sold at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® locations nationwide from April 2007 through August 2007 for about $20 and manufactured in China.
Consumers should stop using these art sets immediately, and contact the firm or return the product to any Cracker Barrel location for a full refund. For additional information, contact Cracker Barrel toll-free at 888-296-2721 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or visit http://www.crackerbarrel.com%20(pdf)/

WEEKEND PICK: Watch Olympic & World-Class Skates and Help the Jimmy Fund

Tonight and tommorrow Olympic and world skaters, including Harvard University student Emily Hughes, will do triple axels and toe loops to benefit the Jimmy Fund at An Evening with Champions.
In its 38th year, this premier figure skating exhibition is tonight at 8 and tomorow (Saturday, Oct. 13) night at 7 at Harvard University's Bright Hockey Center.
A silent auction will take place half an hour before each show. Paul Wylie, a 1992 Olympic silver medalist and class of 1990 Harvard graduate, will host the performance.
An Evening with Champions has been run entirely by Harvard University students, raising more than $2.3 million for the Jimmy Fund, which supports research and care for adult and pediatric cancers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Tickets cost $32 for adults, $12 for children and senior citizens. Group rates are also available for groups of 10 or more. Harvard's Bright Hockey Center is located on 79 North Harvard Street in Allston.
For more information, updates on performers and to purchase tickets, visit
www.jimmyfund. org/skating. Tickets can also be purchased at the Harvard Box Office at 617-496-2222.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Drug Manufacturers Voluntarily Recall Infant Cough Medicines

Johnson & Johnson and other makers of infants' non-prescription cough and cold products are voluntarily recalling certain medicines in the United States because of the danger of overdose, according to the the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.
A spokeswoman for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, a trade group representing makers of over-the-counter medicines, said overdoses have led to death and serious injury in rare instances, but stressed the medications are safe when used as directed, according to a Reuters report.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration reviewers have said that from 1969 through 2006 the agency received 54 reports of deaths with decongestants and 69 with antihistamines.
Most were in children younger than 2.
And the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reported earlier thsi year that more than 1,500 toddlers and babies wound up in emergency rooms over a two-year period and three died because of bad reactions to cold or cough medicine. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned parents not to give common over-the-counter cold remedies to children under 2 years old without consulting a doctor.
FDA reviewers have recommended that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines that contain decongestants and antihistamines should come with new instructions saying they are not recommended for very young children.
The FDA has not made a final decision on whether to change the warnings or instructions on the widely used drugs until it gets input from outside advisers who are to meet Oct. 18-19.
Questions have been raised about the safety of nonprescription cough and cold products in children and whether the benefits justify any potential risks, especially in children under 2 years of age.
FDA reviewers have said the product labels "should include prominent language to describe the risk of overdose in children." They also recommended dropping the statement on many over-the-counter remedies urging parents to "consult a physician" about use of decongestants in children under 2 years old and antihistamines in children under 6 years old.
To read the full Reuters report visit: http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN1133248720071011

Medicines that are being voluntarily recalled include:
Concentrated Infants' TYLENOL Drops Plus Cold
Concentrated Infants' TYLENOL Drops Plus Cold & Cough
PEDIACARE Infant Drops Decongestant (PSE)
PEDIACARE Infant Drops Decongestant & Cough (PSE)
PEDIACARE Infant Dropper Decongestant (PE)
PEDIACARE Infant Dropper Long-Acting Cough
PEDIACARE Infant Dropper Decongestant & Cough (PE) products
Dimetapp Decongestant Plus Cough Infant Drops
Demetapp Decongestant Infant Drops
Little Colds Decongestant Plus Cough
Little Colds Multi-Symptom Cold Formula
Robitussin Infant Cough DM Drops
Triaminic Infant & Toddler Thin Strips Decongestant
Triaminic Infant & Toddler Thin Strips Decongestant Plus Cough.

WEEKEND PICK: 15th Annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk on Sunday, Oct. 14 in Boston

How You Can Help
1. Donate to the American Cancer Society.
Mailing address is: Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, 9 Riverside Road, Weston, 02493-2281
2. Support a walker or team of walkers.
3. Walk yourself on Sunday, Oct 14.
Rolling registration starts at 8 a.m. and continues until 10 at the Hatch memorial Shell at the Charles River Esplanade in Boston.
There are two routes a 5.7 mile of a 3 mile
For more information, visit http://makingstrides.acsevents.org/site/TR?pg=entry&frid=3496

Online Emotional Support Community for Cancer Patients & Survivors

First Dedicated Comprehensive Online Emotional Support Community for Cancer Patients, Survivors and Caregivers Unveiled by Experience Project

In tandem with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Experience Project, the leading online life experience-sharing community, announced the public launch of the Cancer Support Project (http://cancersupportproject.com), the first online cancer support platform dedicated to providing 24/7 emotional support around a cancer diagnosis. More traditionally, the community also offers a place for sharing fact-based knowledge and offers resources to help those facing this frightening and pervasive condition.
Harnessing the power of “user-generated healthcare” and the Health 2.0 revolution, which combines static, authoritative content with user-generated stories and interactive, personalized support, cancer patients, caregivers, and loved ones can now freely use Cancer Support Project to share genuine experiences related to cancer with others who understand their exact situation. In so doing, members often benefit from reduced stress and anxiety, and increased hope knowing they are not alone in their challenges.
Differing from most online venues, Cancer Support Project encourages users to share their stories anonymously and enables people to easily find each other through shared experiences around cancer that can be expressed under group titles like “I lost my mother to cancer” or “I survived cancer."
In doing so, the emphasis shifts from traditional therapeutic and symptomatic information to enabling users to connect with others that truly understand what they are going through psychologically -- be it diagnosis, treatment, caregiving, survival and/or loss -- and can provide highly personalized support.
Anonymity is required in public spaces of the Cancer Support Project to encourage free expression without fear, though users are free to share personal contact information amongst each other if they eventually feel safe in doing so.
Launched by Experience Project (www.experienceproject.com), the Cancer Support Project leverages the powerful support community platform of the Experience Project, a place where hundreds of thousands of members connect anonymously through their shared life experiences. Experience Project also provides a place to get positive emotional support around all of life’s experiences, and reminds us that no matter what direction our life goes, we are not alone. This is particularly appreciated by members going through tougher life experiences, such as a cancer diagnosis or witnessing a loved one who must face the disease.

About Cancer Support Project: Cancer Support Project is an online cancer community enabling cancer patients, survivors, and loved ones to connect with others who share their specific experiences, combining truly personalized emotional support with traditional aspects of online health resources. Organizational launch partners including Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation, FamiliesCAN, Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, and the Susan Cohan Kasdas Colon Cancer Foundation.

CSP is a part of the Experience Project, the leading online life experience-sharing community. Experience Project allows people to meaningfully connect with others through multiple anonymously-shared experiences, instead of their existing social networks. Experience Project provides a platform for members to connect with others who understand by sharing experiences, enabling truly personalized support and the formation of meaningful new friendships. The Cancer Support Project can be found at http://www.cancersupportproject.com. Experience Project can be found at http://www.experienceproject.com.

Taxol Drug Does Not Treat Common Breast Cancer

According to an Associated Press report based on a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine today, the widely used chemotherapy drug Taxol does not work for the most common form of breast cancer and helps far fewer patients than has been believed.
If further study bears this out, more than 20,000 women each year in the United States alone might be spared the side effects of this drug or similar ones without significantly raising the risk their cancer will return. That would be roughly half of all breast cancer patients who get chemo now.
In the study, Taxol did the most good for women who had overactive HER-2 genes — the target of the newer breast cancer drug Herceptin. These women were about 40 percent less likely to have a recurrence if they received Taxol.
Conversely, Taxol did not significantly help women whose tumors were HER-2 negative and were being helped to grow by estrogen. This is the most common form of the disease.
The differences were revealed by a new analysis of a study done in the 1990s, using modern genetic tools that were not available at that time.
"The days of 'one size fits all' therapy for patients with breast cancer are coming to an end," Dr. Anne Moore of Weill Cornell Medical College wrote in an editorial accompanying the study in today's New England Journal of Medicine. "Oncologists have a responsibility to their patients to be aware of this report."
The original study involved more than 3,000 women whose cancer had spread to nearby lymph nodes but not widely throughout the body. This is the situation of about one-fourth of the 175,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. each year.
Researchers tested adding paclitaxel, sold as Taxol by New York-based Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and now also in generic form. They gave it after surgery to remove the cancer and treatment with the chemo drugs Adriamycin and Cytoxan.
Taxol improved survival and became a new standard of care. But the drug frequently causes neurological side effects including numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. In the original study, 18 percent of women had this problem months and even years after taking Taxol.
The study was paid for by grants from the federal government and a breast cancer foundation.
To read the complete Associated Press report on the study, visit: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gnqBJfw6XlNjK4sBpZTAP8PBIJ0QD8S6K0HG0


October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Bay State Parent magazine produced Think Pink: A Guide Devoted to Breast Cancer Awareness in the October issue. To read the article in the guide visit:http://baystateparent.com/

Bay State Parent magazine is also a sponsor of the American Cancer Society's 15th Annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk THIS Sunday, Oct 14. For more information, visit http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?JServSessionIdr005=wunev07mg2.app26b&pg=entry&fr_id=3496&JServSessionIdr005=wunev07mg2.app26b

Oct. 29: Spooktacular Halloween Event at Children's Museum at Holyoke

The Children’s Museum at Holyoke is hosting at Spooktacular Event on Monday, Oct. 29 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. for children ages 2-8. Join the Holyoke High School band for a costume parade at 1 p.m. at the Merry-go-round, tour a haunted house at the Visitor's Center at Heritage State Park and listen to nationally known storyteller, Tom McCabe. Admission is $6 per person adults & children, ages 1 and up.

The Children’s Museum at Holyoke is dedicated to its mission to enhance the educational and cultural awareness of all children through the arts, the sciences, and the world around them by means of a museum environment which features participatory exhibits that invite interaction and programs which promote enjoyable learning and self-discovery. The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. & Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. plus special event times.

Oct. 25: It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown in Holyoke

The Children's Museum in Holyoke will host a Think and Play Thursdays, featuring a It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown-theme on Thursday, Oct. 25 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. This weekly Think and Play Thursday program is designed especially for curious museum visitors who are preschool age and offers valuable guided learning experiences that will introduce our young guests to our exhibits as well as talented members of our museum staff. Each week, emphasizing children’s literature as a vehicle for exploration and fun, a new story will be introduced as the day’s theme for arts and crafts, dramatic play, fun with food, and more!
On Oct. 25th it is an exploration of the story It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown by Charles Schulz. Halloween is coming, and this classic story will help put us all in the right mood! Music, games, crafts, and snacks will make the perfect party to celebrate this fall-time holiday!
Admission to the museum is $6 per person, adult and children, age 1+.

The Children’s Museum at Holyoke is dedicated to its mission to enhance the educational and cultural awareness of all children through the arts, the sciences, and the world around them by means of a museum environment which features participatory exhibits that invite interaction and programs which promote enjoyable learning and self-discovery.

Sunday, Oct. 14 Cinderella in Shrewsbury

Kids First and Westboro Sped Pac will present Kaleidoscope Children’s Theatre Production of Cinderella on Sunday, Oct. 14, at 2 p.m. at Westboro High at 90 West Main Street.
Tickets are $8.
To purchase call 508-756-6519 or e-mail jsamalis@townisp.com Tickets will be sold at the door, too.
At the event there will be raffles, snacks and the opportunity to meet the cast of Cinderella.

About Kaleidoscope Theatre: http://www.kaleidoscopechildrenstheatre.com/

This event is supported in part by a grant from the Shrewsbury Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Seminar: Children Cope With Divorce

Jewish Family Service will present the seminar, “Children Cope with Divorce,” Monday, Oct. 15 and Tuesday, Oct. 16 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Jewish Family Service, 646 Salisbury Street, Worcester. Admission fee is $65.
It is recommended, evening seminar attendees arrive at 5:15 p.m. due to limited parking.

The program, which has been approved by the Probate and Family Courts of Massachusetts, is designed to help parents help their children deal with the trauma, pain, and turmoil of divorce. It shows parents what their children are feeling, what is happening to them, and gives parents ideas about things they can do to help. The workshops will be led by members of the Family Therapy Team: Amy Colangelo, LICSW, Kathy Kaiser, LICSW, Beth Greenberg, Ph.D., Stephen Slaten, Ph.D. and David Hollis, LICSW.
Participants receive a Certificate of Completion at the end of the second date attended.

Registration is limited to 30 and preregistration is required. To pre-register, call Jewish Family Service at 508-755-3101

Oct. 14: Fall Fun Day in Weston

Weston Nurseries in Hopkinton is hosting a Fall Fun Day on Sunday, Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event features face-painting, roasted corn, scavenger hunt, and more!
Bring your camera to take a photo in our picturesque Fall in New England setting. Local craftspeople and artists will sell their handcrafted wares–baubles and beads, pottery, photos, handmade soap, etc.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sesame Street to Cultivate Generation of Globally-Responsible Children

Sesame Workshop and Merrill Lynch Partner to Create Multi-lingual Worldwide Interactive Initiative Targeting Children Ages 4-7
Elmo, Big Bird and Oscar are world-renowned, but it’s their new counterparts, “Azibo,” “Athena,” and “Baabra” who are the focus of a new worldwide initiative. Children today live in an increasingly interconnected world full of opportunities and challenges that require them to develop new skills and perspectives. To meet this need, Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street, and the Merrill Lynch Foundation have created Panwapa, a Worldwide Kids initiative launching today. NYC Mayor Bloomberg officially proclaimed October 10 as “Panwapa Day."
Panwapa, which means “here on this earth” in the Tshiluba language, aims to foster the foundation for global citizenship and community participation in young children, ages 4 to 7. Featuring an entirely new group of Muppet characters, Panwapa consists of an interactive website, http://www.panwapa.com/, a DVD, and print materials that are available in five languages to children around the world—Arabic, English, Japanese, Mandarin and Spanish.
Beginning today, Panwapa will be available at no charge on iTunes (http://www.itunes.com/) and starting January 2008 Panwapa will be available on free video-on-demand (VOD), via PBS KIDS Sprout, the first and only 24-hour preschool network for kids ages 2-5 and their parents and caregivers. Additionally, Panwapa games and information will be available at http://www.sproutonline.com/. Both media platforms support Sesame Workshop’s and Merrill Lynch’s outreach efforts in reaching as many children as possible.
The Web site, file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/pschmier/Local%20Settings/pschmier/Local%20Settings/Temp/XPgrpwise/panwapa/www.panwapa.com, is the center of the initiative. The experience begins on “Panwapa Island,” a floating island that travels the oceans of the world, where children and their caregivers will enter the virtual Panwapa community and meet newly created Muppet characters such as “Athena the Owl” and “Azibo the Monster.” Children will be able to safely travel around the world and visit with Panwapa kids from other countries, watch interactive movies, learn words in other languages, and collect Panwapa Cards by going on international treasure hunts.
In addition, 200,000 Panwapa educational kits will be distributed to caregivers in the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Jordan and Mexico to encourage long-term exploration of the issues of global citizenship. The kit includes a DVD, a caregiver magazine with an activity section for children, a board game that reinforces the lessons, and a map of the world to support and complement the Panwapa experience. Local launches in the participating countries will follow the United States launch.
A team of international cultural experts, early childhood researchers, educators and media specialists from nine countries and organizations such as Oxfam, UNICEF, and the World Bank first developed the idea for Panwapa in 2005. Multi-national teams from Merrill Lynch and Sesame Workshop worked with the advisors to create content for the program, focusing on messages of global citizenship for young children.
The international advisory board, led by Dr. Charlotte Frances Cole, Vice President for Education and Research at Sesame Workshop,, developed five broad educational goals for the project:
Awareness of the Wider World: An understanding of the linkages between local neighborhoods and communities and national and global issues.
Appreciating Similarities and Differences: An understanding of and respect for similarities and differences among the people of the world and the interconnectedness of the world’s systems.
Taking Responsibility for One’s Behaviors: An awareness of one’s actions and one’s impact on others, the willingness and desire to take responsibility for one’s actions, and an effort to seek ways to make the world a better place.
Community Participation and Willingness to Take Action: A desire to participate in and contribute to one’s community locally and globally, as well as a willingness to take action around persistent issues and work through them to effect meaningful civic improvement.
Understanding of and Responsiveness to Economic Disparity: An understanding that all people share certain basic needs and disparities in resources affect individuals’ abilities to fulfill these needs -- and a desire to address these disparities.
“21st century children live in the global village from the moment they are born. The sooner they learn to think of this as a wonderful, fun adventure, the better global citizens they will grow into,” stated David Woollcombe, Founder and President, Peace Child International and Panwapa Advisor.
“I am delighted that Sesame Workshop has taken upon itself the task of introducing its young audiences to their global neighborhood: their experience and creativity equips them better than any other organization to ensure that young people all over the world come to view the global neighborhood as a cornucopia of opportunities.”

About Sesame Workshop: Sesame Workshop is the non-profit educational organization that changed television forever with the legendary Sesame Street. As the single largest informal educator of young children, local Sesame Street programs produced in countries as diverse as South Africa, Bangladesh and India are making a difference in over 120 nations. Using proprietary research to create engaging and enriching content, Sesame Workshop produces programs such as Dragon Tales and Pinky Dinky Doo. In addition, multimedia needs-driven initiatives provide families tools for addressing such issues as children’s health, military deployment and emergency preparedness. As a nonprofit, product proceeds and philanthropic donations support Sesame Workshop’s educational research and creative content for children around the world. Learn more at www.sesameworkshop.org.

Women Who've Had A Sister With Breast Cancer Wanted for a Study

Women who've had a sister with breast cancer can make a difference in the fight against the disease by joining The Sister Study (http://www.thesisterstudy.org/), an important new nationwide effort to find the causes of breast cancer. Study directors are looking for 50,000 women, ages 35-74, who have not had breast cancer themselves, and who come from all walks of life.
Upon being accepted in the trial, the women will complete a questionnaire and then submit a health update each year over 10 years.
Researchers will compare study members who go on to develop breast cancer with those who do not develop the disease to learn about possible environmental and genetic causes for the disease, as well as ways to prevent breast cancer.
A major challenge in studying breast cancer and the environment has been the lack of useful data gathered before diagnosis about exposures and lifestyle factors. The National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences will provide the funding needed to collect this important information. Two NIEHS scientists, Dale Sander, PhD, and Clarice Weinberg, PhD, are the principal investigators for the Sister Study.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women except for non-melanoma skin cancer, and while there's been great improvement in breast cancer treatments and survival rates, about 40,000 US women are still expected to die from the disease this year.
What causes one woman to develop the disease instead of someone else?

Researchers know that alcohol use, early onset of menstruation, and a few other factors may slightly increase the risk of breast cancer, but for more than half of the 215,000 new cases each year occur in women with no known risk factors.



Women who want to support The Sister Study of possible causes of breast cancer have three choices:
Enroll. Learn whether you are eligible at www.sisterstudy.org or call 1-877-4SISTER (877-474-7837).
Spread the word to encourage others to enroll.
Become a Sister Study volunteer in your community.
It's especially important that women from all races and ethnic groups, and those over age 60 participate, so the results of the study will help all women in the battle against breast cancer.



October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Bay State Parent magazine produced Think Pink: A Guide Devoted to Breast Cancer Awareness in the October issue. To read the article in the guide visit:http://baystateparent.com/



Bay State Parent magazine is also a sponsor of the American Cancer Society's 15th Annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk on Sunday, Oct 14. For more information, visit http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?JServSessionIdr005=wunev07mg2.app26b&pg=entry&fr_id=3496&JServSessionIdr005=wunev07mg2.app26b