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Monday, 6 October 2014
When being proactive can save a life




 When being proactive can save a life



Why did they wait?


 By Tammy Duffy


From mid-August to October 6, 2014, CDC and state public health laboratories have confirmed a total of 538 people in 43 states and the District of Columbia with respiratory illness caused by EV-D68. 

" On August 19, 2014, CDC was notified by Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, of an increase (relative to the same period in previous years) in patients examined and hospitalized with severe respiratory illness, including some admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit. An increase also was noted in detections of  rhinovirus/enterovirus by a multiplex polymerase chain reaction assay in nasopharyngeal specimens obtained during August 5–19. On August 23, CDC was notified by the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital in Illinois of an increase in patients similar to those seen in Kansas City. To further characterize these two geographically distinct observations, nasopharyngeal specimens from most of the patients with recent onset of severe symptoms from both facilities were sequenced by the CDC Picornavirus Laboratory.


Enterovirus D68* (EV-D68) was identified in 19 of 22 specimens from Kansas City and in 11 of 14 specimens from Chicago. Since these initial reports, admissions for severe respiratory illness have continued at both facilities at rates higher than expected for this time of year. Investigations into suspected clusters in other jurisdictions are ongoing.


Of the 19 patients from Kansas City in whom EV-D68 was confirmed, 10 (53%) were male, and ages ranged from 6 weeks to 16 years (median = 4 years). Thirteen patients (68%) had a previous history of asthma or wheezing, and six patients (32%) had no underlying respiratory illness. All patients had difficulty breathing and hypoxemia, and four (21%) also had wheezing. Notably, only five patients (26%) were febrile. All patients were admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit, and four required bilevel positive airway pressure ventilation. Chest radiographs showed perihilar infiltrates, often with atelectasis. Neither chest radiographs nor blood cultures were consistent with bacterial coinfection.


Of the 11 patients from Chicago in whom EV-D68 was confirmed, nine patients were female, and ages ranged from 20 months to 15 years (median = 5 years). Eight patients (73%) had a previous history of asthma or wheezing. Notably, only two patients (18%) were febrile. Ten patients were admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit for respiratory distress; two required mechanical ventilation (one of whom also received extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), and two required bilevel positive airway pressure ventilation.


Enteroviruses are associated with various clinical symptoms, including mild respiratory illness, febrile rash illness, and neurologic illness, such as aseptic meningitis and encephalitis. EV-D68, however, primarily causes respiratory illness (1), although the full spectrum of disease remains unclear. EV-D68 is identified using molecular techniques at a limited number of laboratories in the United States. Enterovirus infections, including EV-D68, are not reportable, but laboratory detections of enterovirus and parechovirus types are reported voluntarily to the National Enterovirus Surveillance System, which is managed by CDC. Participating laboratories are encouraged to report monthly summaries of virus type, specimen type, and collection date." (Source:CDC)


The first case of EV-D68 in NJ was not reported until September 17,2014. A full month after the virus showed itself to the USA.  It should have been no surprise for the township of Hamilton that Enterovirus D68 could touch its residents. Unfortunately, it appears to be been a total surprise for them. It was not until the death of Eli did the school district and Health Department implement rigorous cleaning of the school.  At a press conference this weekend when the Township of Hamilton leadership was asked did they go into the community to see where Eli could have gotten the virus, they responded with, ”Its not part of our procedure to do that.”  There is no documented evidence that Eli got Ev-D68 at the school. He could have gotten it at a restaurant, a movie theater, a daycare, a public restroom anywhere.  The virus according to Mr. Plunket can live on surfaces for 24 hours.


There have only been robocalls sent to the parents of local schools, not all the schools and not to all the residents. This is quite disturbing due to the fact there should be information shared with the entire community. There needs to be a vigilance. How does the township robocaller know that I have not been babysitting a kid who goes to the school for a month. If I am not called as well as a resident of the community, I would not know what is going on unless I am watching the news. This is not the way this information should be shared with the community.

EV D68 is NOT just a childhood disease. Adults, teenagers and children can fall victim to this virus. It is absolutely imperative that EVERYONE is vigilant with cleaning, how we interact with others, how we observe each others and react to those observations and how we sneeze and cough. Adults CAN get it (however adults do build up an immunity once you get it as an adult) and give it to their own kids, teenagers, etc. It is NOT just a disease that kids get. If you or your kids are asthmatic or have compromised immune systems in some way, you much be extra vigilant. I spoke with Senator Greenstein last evening and she will be setting up a meeting with the health department to offer her assistance to remove obstacles for them. I hope the normal bipartisan agendas that exist by the leadership can be put aside and they allow her to help. At the press conference last evening they refused to even acknowledge and announce her presence at the meeting.  There is no doubt the family members there would have loved to know that the Honorable US Senator, Linda Greenstein was in the audience.  There to support them. The township leadership also did this at the inauguration of the mayor, they chose to only announce the loser of the senate race and not Honorable Greenstein when she was sitting just two rows behind him. .


From the press conferences it appears that the township did not implement rigorous cleaning until after Eli died. They should have implemented this when the epidemic started to amplify and present itself in the US. With that said, we all need to use the tools we have from the CDC to ensure we do not get our kids, nephews, nieces, grandkids sick.  This website is filled with information to help you stay safe this season.



The virus can live on surfaces for 24 hours. You MUST clean surfaces, businesses must clean their surfaces, daycare centers, everywhere in order to combat this disease.


There is no proof that Eli (the boy who died) got EV-D68 at school. It is not part of the township protocol to go into the community when there is an outbreak to address the community.  They stated this at a press conference this weekend. They only have focused on the school.  At last evenings meeting a bus driver in the township shared that they have not been given any cleaning procedures for the buses. She has been a bus driver for 8 years. Children of all ages ride the buses. So, kids that have the virus can get on the bus (the buses are used for ALL schools and grades and remember I said it lives for 24 hours) so the kids can get it from the bus.  Dr. Parla promised to send to the bus companies this morning a procedure to clean the buses. Why this was not done weeks ago is anyone’s guess.


Everyone must wash their hands with soap.  Hand sanitizer, DOES NOT WORK ON THIS VIRUS! We are only half way through this season for this virus so it's VERY important that we all become rather OCD with hand washing. That is the only thing that works and keep your surfaces clean. There are recommendations by the CDC on how to do that. Use the link I placed in this article.


.So, one can only think, if there were proactive measures in place when this virus started in August 2014, would little Eli still be alive? We will never know the answer to that.


Hug your kids and keep them healthy.


Posted by tammyduffy at 8:12 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 6 October 2014 11:15 AM EDT
Saturday, 4 October 2014


Mafalda’s to Host Legendary Entertainer Barbara Trent





By Tammy Duffy 


Mafalda’s restaurant located at 3681 Nottingham Way in Hamilton, NJ success story continues. They were recently awarded the catering contracts for the Elks in Hamilton as well as the Nottingham Ballroom. It’ no wonder. for their menu and unique platters are a culinary delight.  They  continue to work with the community and recognize the extreme talent that exists within our home town. They now will have a legend performing at the restaurant every Wednesday night starting Oct 8, 2014.


For decades central New Jersey jazz lovers flocked to hear legendary area pianist Barbara Trent play and sing standards. The performer connected with her fans — lovers of romance and memories in ways that inspired them to seek her out after years and years. The 75-year-old musician just ended a five-year stay at the Centre Bridge Inn (in New Hope, Pennsylvania).


In the month of October, starting Wednesday, Oct 8, 2014 the legendary Barbara Trent will be performing at Mafalda’s.  The legend will perform every Wednesday’s at Mafalda’s from 6-9pm. It is recommended that you make reservations to ensure you can get a seat. Reservations can be made by calling 609-587-5800. There will be a special dinner menu during the performances and the restaurant is BYOB.


Music is a family tradition for Trent. Her father, William Trent, studied at Juilliard before settling in Harlem and performing in churches. About the uncanny similarity with the name of the acknowledged 17th century founder of the City of Trenton, Barbara Trent says her father’s family was from Richmond, Virginia, where the historical William Trent (son of the founding Trent) had a military career during the French and Indian War.


Barbara Trent has been a major figure in the Trenton area music scene for over 5 decades.  Her singing never fails to touch the heart and soul of her listeners in very personal ways.  Her vast repertory of songs all center on her personal theme. Love is what it’s all about!


Wednesday, Oct 8, 2014 from 6 to 9pm  is the first concert, don’t miss it!

Posted by tammyduffy at 8:32 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 4 October 2014 8:41 PM EDT
The Evolution of Modern Sports through the Eyes of 19th-Century French Artists

The Evolution of Modern Sports through the Eyes of 19th-Century French Artists






Drink more protein! Get some fresh air! Visit the employee gym! This is not advice from your favorite morning show or fitness magazine, but social messages promoted by artists in the new exhibition Sports and Recreation in France, 1840-1900 at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers. As Rutgers enters its first season of competition in the Big Ten, the Zimmerli visits late 19th-century France for a glimpse at the origins of how we perceive sports today. On view through January 11, 2015, the exhibition of prints, drawings, photographs, and posters by some of the era’s most recognized artists – Jules Cherét, Honoré Daumier, Hermann-Paul, and Édouard Vuillard – reveals the 19th century’s burgeoning interest in competitive and recreational sports, an interest now ubiquitous in our lives and in today’s print and live media. 


“Artists played a significant role in chronicling fin-de-siècle Paris. And they embraced the growing culture of sports, exploring new approaches to portraying the human body, as well as documenting contemporary life,” explains Christine Giviskos, Associate Curator of European Art, who organized the exhibition, which is drawn from the Zimmerli’s extensive permanent collection of works on paper. “Trends that started 150 years ago continue today with ‘meetup’ sports and recreation clubs, as well as attempts to garner women as participants and spectators.”


Athletic endeavors historically had been the purview of the aristocracy in France. But over the course of the 1800s, the growing middle class sought more opportunities to participate, given their increased leisure time. In addition, following France’s loss of the Franco-Prussian War (attributed, in part, to its troops’ inferior physical abilities during this 1870-71 conflict), the country instituted a national agenda that encouraged all citizens to become more physically fit. Mandatory physical education in schools and employer-sponsored fencing halls were among the initiatives that stressed the social and physical benefit of sports.



Alexandre Lunois documented trends of the era in his 1898 lithograph La Partie de Volant (Lawn Tennis). An alternative to croquet (which had developed a questionable reputation because of illicit activities that accompanied some matches), lawn tennis became popular on private estates, as well as at public parks, increasing appeal across economic and social classes. This work also underscores the appeal of the game to women, who began to venture out more by themselves and deemed certain sporting activities as “safe.”


As fencing began to gain more attention, artists portrayed amateurs and competitors. During the 1880s, several Parisian department stores and newspapers maintained fencing halls for their employees, a benefit similar to onsite fitness centers at large companies today. In 1908, Francisque Poulbot created a series of illustrations for an 1893 collection of vignettes that satirized office bureaucracy, Messieurs les Ronds de Cuir (The Pencil-Pushers) by Georges Courteline. Here, Poulbot shows two government functionaries, Douzéphir and Gripothe, practicing in an empty storage room. Well-known illustrator Hermann-Paul also documented this growing popularity with Tournoi Franco-Italien (French-Italian Tournament), a poster that publicized the event held in December 1895. According the extensive commentary in the Parisian press, it drew large crowds and inspired much debate about the relative superiority between the two national fencing styles.    


Circus culture also flourished in Paris during the late 19th century – and with it, celebrity culture. By the 1890s, these spectacles were recognized as innovative performance art and respected on the same level as traditional theater. The performers were also lauded for their athletic abilities. One of the famous personalities of the era was Miss Lala, an acrobat at the Cirque Fernando, a permanent circus located on the edge of Montmartre. A staged studio photograph, from the 1880s or 1890s by an unknown photographer, emphasizes her gymnast-like physique. This portrait showing her standing firmly on the ground is also an interesting contrast to her signature feat: the Iron Jaw. In this traditional aerial circus act, the performer gracefully swings from the trapeze supported by only a bit clamped between the teeth, seeming to dance in midair.


Artists also celebrated cycling, a subject that lent itself to their talents spanning fine art, graphic design, and advertising. The increasing popularity of the sport was evident in the development of velodromes (arenas with tracks for racing) across England and France during the 1880s and 1890s, as well as the first Tour de France in 1903. It also appealed to women, giving them a sense of freedom. Hermann-Paul’s 1896 lithograph Artistic Cycle Club, which included many members from the theater community, shows a rider fully dressed in the fashions of the time, leisurely walking her bike. The painter and printmaker Édouard Vuillard – who was well-known as a designer in the Parisian theater realm – chose an angle that is familiar today: sports merchandise. His poster La Bécane (1894) depicts a bicycle race in progress and declares that “Cyclists take Bécane, a restorative meat-based elixir.” Gladiator Bicycle Poster, by an unknown artist from around 1895, also serves as an advertisement, with a collage of professional racers from the era promoting the Gladiator Bicycle Company, which also manufactured motorcycles and early models of motorcars during the first two decades of the new century.


Organized by Christine Giviskos, Associate Curator of European Art, with the assistance of Sara Green, Summer 2014 International Fine Prints Dealers Association (IFPDA) Foundation Intern.  The Zimmerli Art Museum’s Morse Research Center for Graphic Arts is grateful to the IFPDA Foundation for the award of one of its inaugural grants funding a museum internship focused on prints.



Posted by tammyduffy at 7:54 AM EDT
Friday, 3 October 2014


MCCC Gallery Hosts Visual Arts Faculty Exhibit Oct. 7-30
Community Invited to Opening Reception Oct. 8, 5 to 7 p.m.




The Gallery at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) puts its own talented faculty in the spotlight for the “2014 Visual Arts Faculty Exhibit.”  The show runs from Tuesday, Oct. 7 through Thursday, Oct. 30, with a reception to be held Wednesday, Oct. 8, 5 to 7 p.m.  The Gallery is located on second floor of the Communications Building on the college’s West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road.


The show is dedicated to Lyn Ports-Lopez, a long-time Fine Arts ceramics instructor and beloved colleague who passed away in August.  Eight of Ports-Lopez’s ceramics pieces, including two collaborative works, will be included in the exhibit.  Other featured artists are Allegra Cecci of Ewing; Michael Dalton of Rutherford; Yevgeny Fiks of New York City; Leilani Hickerson of Cherry Hill; Lucas Kelly of Bordentown; Tina LaPlaca of Princeton; Terri McNichol of Cranbury; Paul Mordetsky of Hightstown; Colin O’Con of Brooklyn, NY; Mircea Popescu of Lawrenceville; Courtney Puckett of Brooklyn, NY; David Rivera of Newtown, Pa.; Dennis Santanella of Brooklyn, NY; Kyle Stevenson of Hamilton; Michael Welliver of Ewing; and Nancy Zamboni of Mercerville.

The show includes works by both full-time and adjunct faculty members who teach visual arts, photography, advertising design, digital media arts and fashion design.  Artwork is in a range of mediums, including photography, acrylic, watercolor, ink, silverpoint, installation, pastel, ceramic, and more.

Gallery Director Dylan Wolfe is excited to invite community members, as well as students, to experience the range and depth of the works collected for the exhibit. “These pieces truly demonstrate the strength of the college's instructors as professional artists and reflect contemporary art and culture contributed by a dynamic and varied group," Wolfe observed.

Wolfe said that dedicating the show to Ms. Ports-Lopez was unanimous. “Everyone loved Lyn. She was giving and kind and funny and cared about everyone she knew,” he said, adding that in his first year as director during 2013-14, Ports-Lopez came to his aid regularly as he acclimated to his new position.

Ports-Lopez’s colleague Michael Welliver, coordinator of the Fine Arts Program, worked closely with her for 13 years. “We were office mates and teammates. We supported each other, worried about each other, and irritated each other.  She laughed with me. She laughed at me. But she always had my back.  She was the caretaker. We had it pretty good for a long time,” he said.

Gallery hours for this show are Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Posted by tammyduffy at 4:51 PM EDT
Maurer Productions’ “Count Dracula” to Deliver Some Creepy Halloween Fun at Kelsey Theatre Oct. 24-Nov. 2

Maurer Productions’ “Count Dracula” to Deliver Some Creepy Halloween Fun at Kelsey Theatre Oct. 24-Nov. 2



Maurer Productions OnStage is set to haunt your Halloween dreams.  “Count Dracula” comes to Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC) Kelsey Theatre Fridays, Oct. 24 and 31 at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Oct. 25 and Nov. 1 at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, Oct. 26 and Nov. 2 at 2 p.m. Kelsey Theatre is conveniently located on the college's West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road.  A reception with the cast and crew follows the opening night performance on Oct. 24.

Inspired by Bram Stoker’s ground-breaking novel, “Count Dracula” is a fresh retelling of the epic tale of good versus evil and science versus superstition.  Audiences will get caught up in the battle as honorable men like Johnathan Harker, Dr. Seward and Professor Van Helsing take on the Prince of Darkness himself – Count Dracula. Written by Ted Tiller in 1971, the play has been performed on Broadway, by regional theater companies throughout the country and on television.

According to director John Maurer, the production is a faithful retelling of the original story.  "There are no sparkly vampires, no drenching piles of blood. The show offers some lighter moments to break the tension, but the story is rooted in Bram Stoker’s original text."

The cast includes Joe Grosso, of Hamilton Square, as Count Dracula; Michael Lovett, of Ewing, as Jonathan Harker; Stephanie Moon, of Yardville, as Mina Murray; Sean McGrath, of Churchville, Pa., as Heinrich Van Helsing; Scott Fishman of Newtown, Pa., as Dr. Arthur Seward; Laurie Hardy, of Hamilton, as Sybil Seward; Paul Phalen, of West Windsor, as Renfield; Susan Galli, of Hopewell, as Miss Hennessey; and Jeffrey E. Milstein, of East Windsor, as Welsey.

The show is directed by John M. Maurer, and produced by John M. Maurer and Diana Gilman Maurer.  Costumes are by Anthony Reamer and original underscore music is by Brandon Franks.  M. Kitty Getlik is the lighting designer and Jeff Cantor constructed the set.  Cast photos are John Maurer and Robert Gougher.

Tickets for “Count Dracula” are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors and $14 for students and children.  Free parking is available next to the theater.  Tickets may be purchased online at www.kelseytheatre.net or by calling the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333.  For a complete listing of adult and children's events, visit the Kelsey webpage or call the box office for a brochure.

Posted by tammyduffy at 3:46 PM EDT
Wednesday, 1 October 2014
Communion One: Artist Clifford Ward Exhibits


Communion One: Artist Clifford Ward Exhibits


By Tammy Duffy 



The Gallery at Chapin this evening opened a new art exhibition. This exhibition demonstrated sculpture and wall mountings by artist Clifford Ward.  This exhibition is entitled “Communion 1”. The exhibition runs from October  1 through October  31, 2014. 


Ward’s work has been displayed in numerous regional exhibitions in the Philadelphia, New Jersey and in New York.  Clifford Ward resides in Philadelphia and has a studio in Hamilton, NJ as well.


“It is important,” states Ward, “that I bring my work to ‘ordinary, everyday” people, for it is from these people (past and present) that my work is inspired.”  Clifford Ward embraces the mythologies, cultures and ethos of the African Diaspora, Australian Aborigines, Native Americans and Maori People of New Zealand.  His work has evolved into a “potpourri” of many of these indigenous people’s culture. 


Ward states that his work is truly from his soul and “I feel more and more like a conduit for my ancestor’s messages which hopefully will continue to nourish the honesty and integrity of my work and will also whelp me to better understand my African roots.”


The general approach to Ward’s work is the concept of relationships; communion. “My work usually involves pairs of sculptures and paintings that are more similar to one-another than they are different. These relationships are both visual and structural. Developing complementary pieces that maintain particular attributes that are similar to one-another, but also that maintain many individual structures and designs unique to the individual piece, is a major goal of mine. And although the groups of complimentary pieces are paired, all of the work shows a common denominator that ties all of the work together.”



Using plaster bandages as his main external material, he  interlocks and creates various types of weaving patterns and grids.  Various materials are used: wood, metal,

Styrofoam and lots of cardboard.  The negative space he creates in his spaces are very purposeful. This negative space adds a wonderful optical experience.`    


One of the pieces in the exhibition entitled, “George Inspired Mask”, has a wonderful story behind it. One of Ward’s best friend who worked in a zoo had many animals she took care of. One in particular she was in love with, George. When George died she was devastated so Clifford created this piece as an homage to George.  Ward brings the migration of animals and humans together in this exhibition.


The Gallery at Chapin, which is in its 11th year, has already hosted a wide variety of artists from painters, to weavers, to woodworkers, to photographers, to digital artists.  The have exhibitions in the months of January, February, April,

September, October, and November. Gallery openings always take place the first Wednesday of the month that exhibitions are held.


Chapin School and its Art Gallery are located at 4101 Princeton Pike, Princeton, N.J. The exhibit can also be viewed during school hours by appointment by calling 609-924-7206.




Posted by tammyduffy at 7:39 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 2 October 2014 7:41 PM EDT
Monday, 29 September 2014
When Healthcare becomes Healthscare

When Healthcare becomes HealthSCARE


by Tammy Duffy 





Sunday marked the Annual Oktoberfest in Hamilton Township New Jersey. The event went from 12 noon to 7pm.  I enjoy the bratwurst and traditional German dancing that it brings.  It was an event that was well attended.


I arrived at approximately 3:45pm. Upon arriving I saw the blood mobile there. I thought to myself, hmmm, bloodmobile at an event where 90% of the people are drinking beer. One should never donate blood prior to drinking for the side effects could be rather severe. I also questioned how would the vampires in the van make sure that the blood did not have a blood alcohol level that would normally get someone incarcerated.  The inappropriateness of this was mind boggling.


I paid my five dollar admission to the event and began walking around the venue. The first table I came to was a table that the drug store, Rite Aid had. They were giving flu shots. Perfect, I was due for my shot and have been procrastinating getting it so I decided to get the shot. This turned out to be a very bad decision on my part.


I filled out the appropriate paperwork and gave them my insurance information as well. The pharmacist took my information and asked me to sit down. I looked around the set up for this flu shot clinic and could not help notice there was no refrigerator or dry ice of some sort available for the vaccines. There was just a cardboard box sitting on the ground in the 80 degree temperature.  I got my shot. But I walked away saying to myself….this is odd. Something is not right here. I realize each season each manufacturer comes up with new vaccines and they are an evolving entity. The fact there was no temperature control for the vaccines bothered me.


When I returned home I went on to the CDC web site to see that the recommendations for flu shots were as it pertained to temperature control.  I found the “pink book”.




The pink book is a document that clearly demonstrates the recommendations give by the CDC for vaccines. This is what is recommended by the CDC. (excerpt from the pink book)


TIV Inactivated influenza vaccine is generally shipped in an insulated container with coolant packs. CDC recommends that the vaccine be stored at refrigerator temperature (35°–46°F [2°–8°C]). Inactivated influenza vaccine must not be frozen. Opened multidose vials may be used until the expiration date printed on the package if no visible contamination is present.


LAIVLAIV should be stored at refrigerator temperature (35°– 46° F [2°–8°C]). LAIV inadvertently exposed to freezing temperature should be placed at refrigerator temperature and used as soon as possible.

LAIV is intended for intranasal administration only and should never be administered by injection. LAIV is supplied in a prefilled single-use sprayer containing 0.2 mL of vaccine. Approximately 0.1 mL (i.e., half of the total sprayer contents) is sprayed into the first nostril while the recipient is in the upright position. An attached dose-divider clip is removed from the sprayer to administer the second half of the dose into the other nostril. If the vaccine recipient sneezes after administration, the dose should not be repeated.


In the morning I called the CDC to talk to them about this as well. I learned from them that I should refer to the “pink book” and clearly you can see what that says. The vaccines need to be refrigerated at very specific temperatures.


The next step I took was to call Novartis who manufactured the vaccine. I thought that it could be possible a new vaccine was made that did not need to be refrigerated. One never knows. It was possible that there was not an update on the CDC website with a new vaccine. Upon calling Novartis Medical Safety division for vaccines I learned that the vaccines need to be refrigerated., no exceptions. They stated they would be contacting the CDC and others  (including my family doctor)to let them know this happened.  I have already gotten a phone call my from my family doctor this evening.  The medical safety team at Novartis told me I need to get the shot again because the manufacture cannot guarantee the effectiveness of the vaccine when given beyond the manufactures recommendations as it pertains to temperature.


I then called customer service at Rite Aid to speak to them about what happened. They were very apologetic and committed to me that I would get a phone call from senior leadership in the morning. I got a call in one hour from their local district manager. He told me he was a pharmacist.


Here is what he said to me,” I want to assure you that the vaccines were on ice. There was a blue cooler that the vaccines were in with ice.” I said to him,” There was no blue cooler in sight. The  pharmacist that was there reached into a cardboard box (the box the vials were shipped in that was on the ground, on the dirt) to get my dose.” he said to me,” The cooler must have been in the cardboard box ” I said to him,” If indeed this is true and honestly I find it hard to believe, I would suggest you do not do this at future clinics. That you clearly show people where the doses are coming from and that they are properly cared for.”  he said,”Great idea.”


Am I supposed to trust this stranger on the phone? He continued to tell me that the package insert for the vaccine says that the dose only need to be at 77 degrees (notice this is a 30 degree difference from what the CDC recommends) and can last three days without refrigeration.  Having worked in healthcare for over 30 years I know exactly where to go to get the package inserts on the FDA website. Here is the link to the package insert.




No where  in the package insert does it say what he said. There is no information that says the doses can be above 77 degrees (which they were, it was 80 degrees the day of the event) does it say the vaccine can last three days without temperature control  No where. He continued to say, “ Novarits sent us additional information that says it can be used after three days no matter what the temperature.  Am I supposed to trust this person on the phone? I shared all of this with my doctor and they had the same response as me," This is nonsense."


The district manager then went on to say that at the end of the clinic or any off site clinic, the unused doses are “recycled”. They are put into the “first to use” doses that are administered at the stores.


So, as a consumer how comfortable are you with all of this? I spoke to my personal doctor and they will be giving me another flu shot at the end of October.  I also got Rite Aid to reverse the claim on the shot they gave me so they will not be paid for it by my insurance company. 


I then asked him, “Where is the Hamilton Township Health Department in all of this? Do they inspect the sites prior to the clinics commencing? What steps does Rite Aid take to interact with the local health departments?   You do not even want to know how he answered these questions.


My advise to all of you as you get your flu shots, is….do it…it’s important. To have them done Please make sure where you go is doing the correct thing as it pertains to the care of the vaccines. It is vital to your health. Be very aware of the surroundings and where they are grabbing the doses from. This temperature requirement is a requirement for ALL flu vaccines, not just those made by Novartis.


I want to thank the CDC, Novarits and Rite Aide for being so prompt and  attentive to this issue. I have a call in  to the Hamilton Township Health department and was told no one was available to comment on this issue today. Your body is your temple. You must take care of it and take control of your healthcare. Do not take anyones "word" for it. Question authority, but do it nicely. We live in a very different world now with healthcare...be safe and God bless!



Posted by tammyduffy at 7:33 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 29 September 2014 7:45 PM EDT
Sunday, 28 September 2014
Largest Research Center in NJ to open in 2015: Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health


Largest Research Center in NJ to open in 2015: Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health




The Institute is a new, interdisciplinary initiative that co-locates and aligns Rutgers' key centers and academic excellence strategically to address critical issues related to food, nutrition, and health. It is their goal that the Institute's transformative work will focus on how the country's major health issues are affected by developmental nutrition so that, in a generation's time, the Institute's work will help residents of New Jersey counter the debilitating effects of obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, and reverse the trend of the rising number of individuals suffering from these diseases. It is slated to open in the summer of 2015. 


Located on the George H. Cook campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, the Institute will be rooted in New Jersey where demographics allow for national replication. New Jersey's diverse population, varied landscape, geographic location, and pharmaceutical and service industries make it a natural location for scientists interested in developing local, regional, national, and global solutions for lowering the incidence of chronic illnesses. The nutrition, wellness, and fitness programs created there will serve as models for other areas in the United States. We envision the facility to be a physical nexus that brings together.


Diverse, but like-minded stakeholders (i.e., faculty, researchers, community leaders, health educators) who advance and accelerate research, educate the next generation of scholar-leaders and community health advocates, and support the community


Flexible space that fosters and encourages research, teaching, and outreach to address the national health care crisis, and community connections for wellness programs and after-school activities, as well as nutrition and fitness demonstrations where Rutgers has a solid track record.


The construction of this  three-story building (approximately 75,000 gross square feet),  will include wet and dry laboratories, student health clinic, human performance laboratory, clinical nutritional research center, shared core instrumentation facilities, healthy eating courtyard, nutritional preschool, computing facilities, faculty and administrative offices, 'smart' lecture halls, nutritional resource center, community common space, and flexible spaces to accommodate the changing needs of the program. It will be, at minimum, a certified LEED-gold (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) facility.


Their community partners and relevant Rutgers Cooperative Extension personnel (Rutgers faculty and staff who are actively engaged in the delivery of science-based educational and outreach programs with a nutrition and wellness focus throughout all 21 counties in New Jersey) will utilize the facility as well. The community space will encompass a breath of initiatives and program concepts including a conference center to hold national and international symposia; an innovative restaurant facility that will be used as a community learning center and teaching laboratory; a flexible clinical service unit to support the mission of science-based education and outreach as it relates to food, nutrition and health including a diet and exercise core curriculum involving parents and their children; an exercise and human performance teaching and research center to study the interdependence of diet and exercise in order to optimize personal health and wellness; and an interactive student learning center that will provide elementary age students and above with nutrition/health learning experiences with computer interfaces.


Smart board technology will be coupled with a communications studio to facilitate national and global communications and long distance learning systems. Public spaces will have an inviting atmosphere with sufficient areas for community interaction while providing space for individuals to relax before appointments or between classes


The building will bring together faculty members from complementary programs throughout the University, including Rutgers' renowned departments of food science, nutrition, public policy, pharmacy, exercise science and sport studies, genetics, agriculture, and health sciences research. By co-locating these world-class scholars, Rutgers will create a synergistic environment that fosters the rapid delivery of new, empirically-anchored basic and applied research programs; the creation and dissemination of new policy; and the development of multidisciplinary curricula and continuing education programs that focus on wellness studies, food access, policy, security, and the reduction of chronic illnesses due to obesity. It is anticipated that the construction of this facility will significantly increase student enrollment in the aforementioned programs.


According to Peter Gillies, the institute’s founding director, the idea behind the institute is to create and physical space where research, teaching and outreach to the community can take place. Peter presented details on the research center at a recent Health Care Forum held in NJ.


 “We want to bring together scholars who will pursue interdisciplinary research; policymakers who will apply that research to real-world problems associated with food and health; and parents, their children, as well as Rutgers students whose lives can benefit from wellness programs, health education and activities,” said Robert M. Goodman, executive dean of the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, of which the institute is a part.


The Board of Governors awarded the contract to the Joseph A. Natoli Construction Co. of Pine Brook, N.J. The company has worked on several Rutgers projects in the past.


The new building is also located the Cook Campus in New Brunswick, just off Dudley Road, between the Food Science and Foran Hall. It will be three stories high and include 37,198 square feet of research space, 28,263 square feet of community space and 825 square feet of administrative space. The remaining 13,425 square feet will be taken up with mechanical and circulation space. 


The new interdisciplinary laboratory space includes a healthy eating courtyard to study human eating behavior and nutrition education, facilities to study food digestion and nutrient metabolism and a human performance lab that focuses on nutrition and exercise. There are also molecular nutrition laboratories, a student health clinic and a learning center for preschool age children as part of the research center for childhood education and nutrition research


 “Everyone associated with the institute is looking forward to being in this new space, which is innovative in its design and perfectly suited to the kind of leading-edge research, teaching and service we expect to produce there,” Gillies said.


Posted by tammyduffy at 1:52 PM EDT
Saturday, 27 September 2014
No Admission Required: Thank you Smithsonian Magazine

No Admission Required: Thank you Smithsonian Magazine


By Tammy Duffy 




In the spirit of the Smithsonian Museums, which offer free admission every day at its museums, Museum Day Live was held today throughout the United States. . This is an annual event hosted by Smithsonian magazine in which participating museums across the country open their doors to anyone presenting a Museum Day Live! Ticket.  The ticket allows 2 people to enter for free.. There were over 382 museums in the North East that participated in this event. 


I spoke with Susan Greitz, Marketing Coordinator at the NJ State Museum and she said,  “It costs nothing for museums to participate in this event. They sign up and the Smithsonian then places you on the list, its free advertising for the museum and a wonderful collaboration.  What museum would not want to participate?”


There were some NJ museums that did not participate. One would question their ability to run a museum to ignore such a prestigious opportunity.


The NJ State Museum had glorious events today all of them were FREE! There was a digging Dinosaurs Workshop that was help that allowed visitors to explore Hadrosaurus foulkii and other NJ dinosaurs.  The NJ State Museums Curator of Natural History, David Parris, was on hand as well to answer and all questions dinosaur related.  He shared with me the wonderful programs that the museum is involved with.


One can learn the field of paleontology by experiencing it. David Parris and his staff teach courses in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Montana and Wyoming. One gets to experience the natural history of one of the most beautiful regions in the world while searching for fossil-rich rocks and artifacts. They collect Cretaceous aquatic and terrestrial animals (including dinosaurs!), Devonian fishes, and rare Paleogene mammals in the Bighorn Basin. Teachers can take this class yearly to fulfill their  yearly continuing education credits by participating. Students, can receive undergraduate or graduate credit from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology by participating. The great thing about this program is anyone can participate, the general public is encouraged to partic[ate and become dinosaur hunters. The expedition is a serious museum project and is more than just a field trip. The field course is led by David Parris, Curator of Natural History, and Jason Schein, Assistant Curator of Natural History, at the NJ State Museum.


While I was there David Parris showed me  the first recorded jawless fish, known  as an ostracoderms – i.e. shell-skinned, lived between 500 – 360 million years ago. Ostracoderms had a bony armour, an internal cartilaginous skeleton and a heterocercal tail. Most lacked paired fins. The first recognizable lamprey was recorded in the Carboniferous period ( 325-380 mya).

Did you know that the very first  mammal fossil ever found in the world was found right here in NJ? It was a 70 million year old tooth. Geologic Time is divided and subdivided into various categories Eons are divided into Eras; Eras are divided Periods. There are 11 periods and 9 of them have been found in NJ. The town of Gloucester, NJ is just riddled with fossils and fossil finds.


My day at the museum ended with a dance performance entitled, “Traditions of India.” It was performed by students from the Nrithyanjali Institute of Dance .  This traditional dance was born in Hindu Temples more than 2,000 years ago, Indian dance is movement, mime, and music in equal measure. Adorned with beautiful costumes, jewelry, and makeup replicating a temple sculpture, Ramya Ramnarayan and her students evoked profound emotions and complex rhythmic patterns that bring their mystic view of the universe to life. This was not just a dance performance but an interactive, education on traditional Indian dance. They performed the ancient dance, Bharata Natyam  (Bha: meaning emotion and expression, RA: meaning tune or melody, THA:meaning beat and rhythm, and Natyam: meaning dance and music.  This  classical Indian dance form that originated in the temples of Tami Nadu. is a pure dance. A dance with two aspects. The dancer uses movements of their body and eyes choreographed with beautiful gestures of the torso and extremities.  It’s a poetic story turned into dance Each gesture having a different meaning. Their eyes are the doorway to the communication of their performance.

The NJ State Museum is a museum that everyone needs to take time and visit. There are wonderful exhibitions and educators who are just waiting inside to educate you on what is inside.




Posted by tammyduffy at 7:31 PM EDT
Saturday, 20 September 2014



Cultural Festival  Coming To Mercer County Park 






Mercer County is one of America's most culturally diverse regions whose 12 municipalities are home to citizens of a host of ethnicities and countries of origin. In celebration of this rich heritage, Mercer County is hosting its fourth annual Cultural Festival on October 11 in Mercer County Park in West Windsor, from 11 am to 6 pm. The one-day festival will celebrate many diverse cultures through traditional art demonstrations, live cultural music and dance performances. New for 2014 is the special International Food Truck Food Court featuring amazing dishes from some of the best ethnic Food Trucks in the region!

A full stage schedule and list of participating artists will be available in a few months, so please check back soon.  You can  follow the Festival on FaceBook by ‘liking' "Mercer County Cultural Festival."

Admission and parking are free. In case of rain, the event will be rescheduled to the following day: Oct. 12. For more information, or if you are interested in being a vendor, please call (609) 278-2712 or email culturalfestival@mercercounty.org.

Posted by tammyduffy at 3:49 PM EDT

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