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Stephen Kerr's Blog




Help Meals OnWheels and More This Summer

Summer can often seem busier than other times of the year, with vacation, entertaining the kids while school's out, etc. In the midst of all this activity, we sometimes forget that not everyone is able to do these things, particularly people who are homebound du to illness or other reasons. That's why Meals On Wheels and More is so vital to our community, providing meals for people who are otherwise unable to cook for themselves. The organization relies on dedicated volunteers to transport 90 percent of the one million meals it distributes each year throughout the Austin area. With summer approaching,MOWAM is facing a shortage of drivers to cover its routes, and more cancellations are expected due to summer commitments. 40 of these routes are currently open, which means they don't have regular drivers assigned to them, and are having to be covered by paid drivers. This raises administrative costs, including gas. Meals On Wheels and More is looking for both regular and substitute drivers, particularly in north Austin and areas east of I35. If you can help, visit their website at: http://www.mealsonwheelsandmore.org/volunteer.
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Counting Down To Zero

Reality TV shows are quite the rage these days. Even our City of Austin is getting into the game, and it's all for a good cause. The city has launched a program called Dare to Go Zero. Four local families have accepted a five-week challenge to reduce the amount of trash they generate, and will document their progress on camera. Each family is competing for a chance to win a sustainable home improvement package worth over $2000! Dare to Go Zero airs Friday nights, 7 Pm, on Austin's local Government Access Channel 6, as well as on YouTube. For more information about the Dare to Go Zero project, visit http://www.cityofaustin.org/sws/daretogozero.htm
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Another Reason To Drink Coffee

For many years, scientists have cited many reasons to not drink much coffee: it causes cancer, it's addicting, it's bad for your heart, etc. Not surprisingly, more recent studies have begun to reverse those myths, and are coming up with reasons why we SHOULD drink coffee. Alex and Terri mentioned some benefits this week on Majic In the Morning, including weight loss among women. I happened to come across an article in USA Today that touts another excuse to have a cup o' joe: it reduces the risk of stroke, particularly among women. Read the article here: http://yourlife.usatoday.com/health/medical/story/2011/03/Coffee-may-reduce-stroke-risk/44747710/1
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Stop the Cyberbullying!

Bullying has been a problem for centuries. I certainly was a victim of my share growing up, and, I'm ashamed to say, even occasionally dished out the insults myself. My son was also a victim during middle school. It's no secret that bullying can have major consequences, some of which can be tragic. Many teen suicides and highly-publicized school shootings over the years have been linked to youths being pushed over the edge as a result of either being bullied or feeling ostracized by their peers. Over the past few years, the advent of the Internet, texting, and other forms of technology have created another form of bullying that can be even more destructive: cyberbullying, where humiliating messages and images are sent and forwarded to many people. Unlike face-to-face bullying, victims of cyberbullying suffer widespread public humiliation and don't have the chance to defend themseelves before the damage is done. What can be done to stop it? The Texas Child Safety Organization, in collaboration with the Austin Independent School District and the National Day of Cyberbullying Awareness, will hold its first-ever Cyberbullying Prevention and Intervention Conference. The event will be held Sunday, March 6, 2:30 to 5:30 Pm, at the Anderson High School Performing Arts Auditorium. Parents, students, educators, and others are encouraged to come together in an informative, interactive session to address what is being and can be done to reduce, or even totally eliminate, this growing problem among teens and preteens. Studies show that as many as one in every three children will be cyberbullied in their teen or preteen years, so organizers of the conference believe this is a timely and potentially life-saving first step in putting a stop to it. State Represenative Mark Strama, an internet and child safety advocate, will moderate the conference. For more information, contact Natalie Kloss-Biagini at (512) 947-3385, or email her at: natalie@texaschildsafety.org To register for the event, go online to: http://www.texaschildsafety.org/
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Bowling For Blind Baseball

Once a year, I get the privilege of emceeing an annual Bowl-a-thon that benefits an Austin area beep baseball team, to raise money for them to travel to the sport's annual World Series. What is beep baseball? It's a modified version of baseball played by blind individuals. The ball has an electronic mechanism that beeps, and the cone-shaped foam bases emit a buzzing sound, allowing the runner to hear where the base is. The Bowl-a-thon is more than just a fundraiser, though. It's a chance for blind and sighted people to come together, bowl a couple of games, and just have fun. All proceeds go to the Austin Blackhawks, a team that has been in existence since 1986, and is the proud winner of several World Series championships. I happen to be a former player, although I haven't swung a bat in a game in over 20 years. The World Series of Beep Baseball is held each August in a different city, and the Blackhawks have been every year for as long as I can remember. This year's Bowl-a-thon will be held this Saturday, Feb. 12, at Highland Lanes, 8909 Burnet Rd. from 1 to 3. It's $15 per person, and you get to bowl two games. There are also door prizes given generously by numerous local businesses, and many merchants also sponsor a lane. The 2011 Beep Baseball World Series is coming up July 31-August 7 in Indianapolis. Watch this video to find out more about how the game is played: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNXqN_QVmpk
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Meals On Wheels Needs Your Help!

Things have certainly been interesting here in Central texas due to the extremely cold temperatures: frozen pipes, rolling blackouts, and such. My apartment complex is being affected by the rolling blackouts, but I barely managed to still have my morning coffee and fixed a quick hot breakfast before the power shut off again. However, especially in times like this, I realize not everyone is able to cook their own meal, particularly those who are ill and/or homebound. That's why I want to take a moment and pay tribute to the wonderful people at Meals On Wheels and More, thank them for their dedication during this cold snap, and to ask for your help on their behalf. The good news is that meal delivery for today will take place as usual. The agency will continue to make deliveries unless inclement weather or other emergency makes it dangerous or impossible to do so. However, many of their high-risk clients are in need of heaters and blankets, and the agency currently has none available. If you have extras of these items and you'd like to donate, Meals On Wheels and More would greatly appreciate it. You can drop them by their Central Kitchen Headquarters at 3227 East 5th Street in Austin. For business hours and other information, call 476-6325, or visit their website at: http://www.mealsonwheelsandmore.org/blog/article/mowam-open-today-seeking-blankets-and-heaters-for-clients/ Be safe, and stay warm!
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A New Theory On Obesity

I'm filling in for Alex on Majic In the Morning for the next couple weeks, and Friday morning, I talked about an article that has another take on why there is increased problems with obesity in the U.S. A White House Task Force recently released a report citing a class of chemicals in our food called endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or EDC's, that are making us fat. See the entire article here: http://www.newsweek.com/2009/09/10/born-to-be-big.html
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Little Horses, Big Hearts

I recently became familiar with a wonderful local nonprofit organization called Minis and Friends whose mission is to share the love and spirit of miniature horses to people who are suffering mentally, physically, or emotionally. This group of horse lovers shares their mobile herd of trained miniature horses free of charge with children's shelters, schools, hospice centers, group homes, and many other places to interact with people of all ages. They may be children with disabilities, at-risk youth, or elder adults. In a world filled with stress and suffering of all kinds, these caring people and their calm, gentle minis provide a welcome comfort. I am always happy to recognize individuals and groups that do their part to give something back to the community in which they live and work. Minis and Friends has various activities and fundraisers in many parts of the Austin area, so I hope you'll join me in attending some of them. If you'd like to know more about Minis and Friends, you can watch this segment from YouTube, or visit http://www.minisandfriends.org/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8YHPUE7Fhc
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Rachael Ray Teaches Healthy Eating To Children

With increasing concern over obesity among children in the U.S., it's nice to know celebrity chefs like Rachael Ray are getting on board to promote healthy eating among kids. Find out what Ray did Thursday at a Brooklyn School by clicking here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100514/ap_en_tv/us_people_rachael_ray
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