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The Parents’ Legacy – In The Children’s Hands PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 18 May 2012 15:08
Son of Holocaust Survivors Cites Need to Preserve Older Generation’s Stories

As World War II ignited in Europe, the woman who would eventually bring Eli Nussbaum into the world was already a young mother with a husband and a little boy.

The family lived in Poland, part of the largest population of Jews in Europe before the war. As the Nazis invaded her country in 1939, Bella-Rachel Liebermench placed her toddler son in the protection of a monastery.

Eventually, she and her husband would be transported to a concentration camp, where he would die and she would survive torture and deprivation. She would never again find her first little boy.

That story is at the heart of a new novel, The Promise (, by Nussbaum, now one of the United States’ premiere pediatric pulmonologists.

“In writing a novel, I was able to truly immortalize my family’s stories because a novel is something that will be read by many more people than just my family,” Nussbaum says. “Having a record of a family, like a family tree or what a  genealogist might prepare, is important, but few strangers will want to curl up on a sofa with that and read.”

Nussbaum says adult children need to think creatively about how they preserve and pass along their parents’ stories. Documenting names, dates and milestones is fine, but the audience for that is limited. Recounting the events that shaped your parents’ lives, and their reactions to them, not only preserves their legacies, Nussbaum says, it can provide illustrative and cautionary tales for the world at large.

He suggests:

• Make a StoryCorps recording: StoryCorps is a non-profit organization that has collected and archived more than 40,000 interviews since 2003. Anyone can share their story; it will be archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and participants receive a CD of their recording. Go to, find the location nearest you and make a reservation. Bring a friend or loved one – someone who will either appreciate your story or whose story you want to share – and think about the story you want to tell. Staff at the recording sight will help you; the process takes about 40 minutes.

• Create a digital slide show with soundtrack: Photos set to music are an entertaining and often emotional way to share a story. Don’t try to tell a whole life’s story in one slideshow – that’s more like watching someone’s old home movies. Instead, choose an interesting time, event or story to share. As you compile photos, music and narration, remember, you don’t want to create a photo album, you want to tell a story. So you should have a beginning, middle and end. Your finished product should be no more than two to three minutes long. Caption the photos with names, dates and places. There are numerous public sites online to share your show.

Nussbaum notes that he wrote his novel after his parents’ deaths; he knew the stories, so he didn’t have to rely on his parents to re-tell them. Those whose parents are still living should involve them in the process, if possible. With StoryCorps, for example, parents can share their stories in their own words.

“The older generations are beginning to pass away,” he notes. “For example, in Israel, where I am also a citizen, a study of Holocaust survivors found that by 2015, 66 percent of the survivors in that country will be over 80 years old, and their numbers will have shrunk from 240,000 to 144,000.

“It’s important to preserve their legacy now. If your parents are already gone, you need to do it before you can’t remember their stories.”

About Eliezer Nussbaum, M.D.

Eliezer Nussbaum, M.D., was born in Katowice, Poland; his father lost his first wife and four children in the Holocaust and his mother lost her first husband and son. He is a professor of Clinical Pediatrics Step VII at the University of California and Chief of Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine and Medical Director of Pediatric Pulmonary and Cystic Fibrosis Center at Memorial Miller Children's Hospital of Long Beach. He has authored two novels, three non-fiction books and more than 150 scientific publications, and was named among the top U.S. doctors by US News and World Report in 2011-12.

Braley Launches Bipartisan Effort to Win Justice for Iran Hostages PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jeff Giertz   
Friday, 18 May 2012 14:20

For 31 years, Waverly resident held during Iran Hostage Crisis has been blocked from seeking damages from Iranian government

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) and Republican Rep. Ilena Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18) today launched a bipartisan legislative effort aimed at winning justice for 66 Americans held hostage at the US Embassy in Tehran, Iran, 31 years ago.  One of the hostages, Kathryn L. Koob, is a resident of Waverly, Iowa.

Since their release, the Americans have been barred by the US government from bringing suit against Iran and seeking justice for atrocities committed against them while in captivity for more than a year.

The “Justice for the American Diplomats Held Hostage in Tehran Act” would double fines and penalties levied against US companies that do business with Iran and redirect half of the amount to a newly established trust for the American hostages, the estates of deceased hostages, and their families.  Braley took up the cause after meeting several times with Koob.

“For more than three decades, justice has been denied to this group of American heroes,” Braley said.  “It’s time for the United States to stand behind the men and women who put their lives on the line for us, enduring torture and unimaginable terror during their long ordeal.  Our bill would finally bring compassion and closure to the hostages and their families, and close a dark chapter in our nation’s history.”

On November 4th, 1979, Iranian students stormed the US Embassy in Tehran and took a group of 66 American diplomats hostage.  52 Americans ended up being held captive for a total of 444 days.  The Algiers Accords, signed on January 19th, 1981, resolved the hostage crisis, but stipulated that the hostages could not bring claims against Iran for their captivity.

In April, the New York Times profiled the hostages and their ongoing effort to win damages from Iran.

The text of the “Justice for the American Diplomats Held Hostage in Tehran Act” can be downloaded at the following link:

# # #

Veterinarian Proposes Law Recognizing Pets’ True Value PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 18 May 2012 14:14

A veterinarian is asking anyone who will listen – legislators, judges, fellow pet owners – if the loss of a pet is akin to the loss of furniture, a computer or a car.

Kenneth Newman, a 33-year veterinarian and author of Meet Me at the Rainbow Bridge (, has proposed a law that answers his question. Gracie’s Law recognizes the emotional bond between pet and owner by entitling the owner of a pet killed through an act of malice or negligence to $25,000 in damages.

“It’s time we change the laws to more accurately reflect what pets mean to the average American,” says Newman.

Gracie’s Law would not supersede current laws, he says, which entitle owners to the property value of their pet. And it would not replace criminal prosecution for acts of malice. And owners who decline a recommended veterinarian procedure to save a pet would not be held accountable under the law, he says.

Newman’s dog Gracie was killed in April 2008 when a negligent driver backed up 25 yards without looking, crushing Newman and Gracie between two vehicles. The vet escaped with a broken leg; Gracie saved his life, he says.

“An attorney looked me in the eye and said that my dog was a piece of property, that I wasn’t entitled to anything for the dog, and that this was a simple broken-leg case,” he says.

In every state, he says, laws view pets as property. Owners are entitled to no more than replacement value; no law takes into consideration the loss of companionship, grief, or pain and suffering.

Newman says that doesn’t jibe with Americans’ attitude toward their pets. According to an American Animal Hospital Association survey, 90 percent of owners consider their animals part of the family. Other findings:

• 52 percent of Americans would rather be stranded on a deserted island with their pet than with another person.

• 83 percent call themselves “Mommy” or “Daddy” in reference to their pet.

• 59 percent celebrate their pet’s birthday.

Cases involving pet owners’ bonds are increasingly showing up in the courts, Newman points out:

• Matrimonial law: Attorneys have experienced a 23 percent increase in pet cases, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. This includes custody battles over pets, veterinarian bills and visitation rights. Harvard now has a course dedicated to pet law.

• The North Carolina Court of Appeals: While the plaintiff’s wrongful death lawsuit was denied, animal activists applaud a judge’s willingness to at least hear a case involving a Jack Russell terrier that died while undergoing tube feeding at a state facility.

• Texas justice: On Nov. 3, 2011, Fort Worth's 2nd Court of Appeals ruled that value can be attached to the love of a dog. That overruled a 120-year-old Texas Supreme Court case, which held that plaintiffs can only recoup the market value of their pets.

• Largest award: In April, a Denver judge awarded Robin Lohre $65,000 for the death of her dog, Ruthie. Lohre had accused Posh Maids cleaning service of negligence for allowing the dog to get outside, where it was hit by a car. Newman notes this sets a new precedent for pet value, but that such uncapped awards may threaten affordable veterinary care.

To read Gracie’s Law and copy it to share, visit, click “image gallery” and scroll down.

About Kenneth Newman DVM

Kenneth Newman graduated from Purdue University with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1979, and has since been a practicing vet. He experienced a badly broken leg and the death of his Labrador retriever Gracie due to the negligence of a driver in April 2008. Since then, he has proposed and advocated Gracie’s Law, which recognizes that pets are more than common property. Newman lives with his wife and their son, as well as several pets.

Grassley Seeks Information on SEC Inspector General Office Turmoil PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 18 May 2012 14:04

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa is asking the Securities and Exchange Commission for information that would shed light on decisions affecting the agency inspector general’s office.

“All federal agencies need a high-performing, independent inspector general’s office to hold the agency accountable and protect employees from unwarranted criticism,” Grassley said.  “The recent turmoil at the SEC inspector general’s office raises questions about how well that office is functioning.  Information from all sides is necessary to try to establish where things went wrong and what the agency can do to refocus its watchdog capacity.”

Grassley’s review so far has found that the commission suspended the chief investigator in the inspector general’s office over allegations that he caused security concerns among some fellow employees, but the investigator’s counsel contends the investigator was retaliated against for reporting allegations about the recently departed inspector general to an outside group for review.  Allegations have also been made that the outside security firm that looked into the investigator was being investigated by the inspector general’s office over contracting concerns.

In order to investigate those allegations, Grassley wrote to SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro, Acting Inspector General Noelle Maloney and Chuck Tobin, the president of At-Risk International LLC, the company that performed the security review.

The text of Grassley’s letters are available here, here, and here.


A Beautiful Garden Starts Now - Memorial Day Means Gardening for Many PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Melinda Myers   
Friday, 18 May 2012 13:57

Get out the shovel and trowels – it's almost Memorial Day weekend and that means gardening for many.  Spend a bit more time getting your garden off to a good start and reap the benefits all season long.  Proper planting and post planting care means less maintenance, fewer pests and more produce and beautiful flowers in your landscape.

Start by selecting healthy plants free of insect and disease problems.  There’s no need to spend money on problems.  And keep in mind that bigger is not always better.  Instead look for compact plants with sturdy stems.  The leaves should be deep green or the proper color for that variety.  Avoid plants that show signs of stress such as spots, brown leaf edges, and holes.  And when all things are equal, purchase the perennials with multiple stems.

Keep your purchase properly watered before and after planting.  Check transplants daily and twice a day when temperatures rise, watering as needed.  Increase success and reduce the stress transplants often face.  Apply a plant strengthener such as JAZ Spray to protect potted plants from drying out until you are able to plant. Or apply to transplants to get your plants off to a vigorous start.  These organic products are not fertilizers but rather naturally occurring molecules that work like an immunization to help new and established plants better tolerate heat, drought, insects, disease, and other challenges plants face.

Prepare the soil before planting.  Though not glamorous building a good foundation for your garden will pay off this season and beyond.  Dig one or two inches of compost, peat moss or other organic matter and a low nitrogen slow release fertilizer into the top 12 inches of the soil.

Now slide, don’t pull, the plants out of their containers to avoid damaging their roots and stems.  If they resist, gently squeeze small flexible pots or roll larger pots on their sides over the ground.  This loosens the roots, releasing the pot from the container.

Gently tease any roots that encircle (girdle) the root ball.  Or use a knife to slice through girdling roots or the tangled mass that often develops at the bottom of the pot.  This encourages the roots to explore the soil beyond the planting hole.  And a bigger root system means healthier plants that are more productive and beautiful.

Set your plants at the same depth they were growing in their container.  Tall leggy tomatoes are the exception.  These can be planted deeper or in shallow trenches to encourage roots to form along the buried stem.  Cover the roots with soil and gently tamp to insure good root to soil contact.  Water new plantings thoroughly; moistening the rootball, planting hole, and beyond.  Spread a thin layer of shredded leaves, evergreen needles or other mulch over the soil to conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and keep the roots cooler when hot weather moves in for the summer.

Check new plantings every other day and water thoroughly and often enough to keep the soil slightly moist.  Gradually reduce the frequency until your plants only need to be watered once a week in heavy clay soils and twice a week in sandy soils. Of course you’ll need to water more often in hot weather.

And don’t forget about the rest of your landscape.  Plant strengtheners can be applied to established plants to prepare them for the often stressful season ahead.  Treated plants will be better able to tolerate heat and drought as well as attacks from insects and diseases.

So get out and start planting to make this the best gardening season yet.

Nationally known gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening. She hosts the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments which air on over 100 TV and radio stations throughout the U.S. and Canada. She is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and writes the twice monthly “Gardeners’ Questions” newspaper column. Melinda also has a column in Gardening How-to magazine.  Melinda hosted “The Plant Doctor” radio program for over 20 years as well as seven seasons of Great Lakes Gardener on PBS. She has written articles for Better Homes and Gardens and Fine Gardening and was a columnist and contributing editor for Backyard Living magazine.  Melinda has a master’s degree in horticulture, is a certified arborist and was a horticulture instructor with tenure.  Her web site is



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