News

Three Musketeers

February 9th, 2015 at 2:19 pm by under 10 On Your Side, Community, Health, News, Personalities, Politics, Uncategorized

 

former WAVY TV Public Affairs Director

former WAVY TV Public Affairs Director

     Connie Allen was the “senior” member of WAVY -TV’s famous THREE MUSKETEERS: Connie, reporter DEREK ROSE and me. What? You, uh, haven’t heard of us? Well, just about EVERYBODY outside our tight circle hadn’t either. Let me explain. We shared something special- our birthday: August 26th. Yeah, it’s the craziest thing. And, DEREK and I even attended the same college in Baltimore. But I digress.

   The second thing we shared is even more personal than that. Moisturizer. PLEASE let me explain: I was on the set, just seconds away from the start of recording the public affairs’ show BOTTOM LINE, when executive producer, CONNIE ALLEN, stopped everything. “Hey Director, graphics operator, audio technician, camera, and master control room operators – STOP THE SHOW.” The problem? CONNIE could see, through the 12″ monitor in the control room, that my hands were nearly WHITE- from ASH. Let me repeat: CONNIE ALLEN stopped the show – because my hands were “ashy.” Now, for an African American child from “back in the day” ashy skin was a NO-NO! I guess it implied that you did not bathe. My mother would not allow me to be caught DEAD in the street – with ashy- ANYTHING- face, hands, legs, any exposed skin. Where’s

Don Roberts and Derek Rose sharing a birthday.

Don Roberts and Derek Rose sharing a birthday.

 the VASELINE? SPLAT! I guess ashy skin reflected badly on a  mother’s parenting skills. For me? Cold air and blowing vents dry me out, big time. And, in the WAVY house, CONNIE was like my TV mom- just looking out for me. She was NOT going to allow me or DEREK, or AVA HURDLE, on the air with noticeably ashy skin. Thank you, Connie.

Speaking of the BOTTOM LINE, that public affairs sit-down-with-guest-in-studio-interview show- started back around 1980. It aired every week, then, once a month. I hosted it in 1980-81, then again in the early 90′s, until Connie retired. I must have recorded 300 shows under Connie’s direction. The point I want to make is that-as executive producer and community affairs director, Connie had to know what you, the viewer, wanted and needed to see. She hosted forums, attended community meetings, banquets, luncheons, religious services, you name it. After that input, she booked guests to talk about needs and concerns. She pulled in HUNDREDS of politicians, social and civic leaders, clergy, educators, and “just plainfolk” to address community concerns. It seemed, a frequent topic was depression, 3 or 4 times a year. Connie, for some reason, had a special sensitivity to the issue. Fact is, she knew people suffering from depressions need help -  and we may be the catalyst for it.

Connie also initiated a show aimed at children. We called it KID TALK. I, along with Kerri Furey, hosted.  What great fun it was. For each show, Connie and her staff arranged for a school to bring about 20 children for the studio audience. An adult guest also added some expertise. I encouraged the children talked about whatever was on their minds. But before each taping, CONNIE, the mother, would read them the riot act: “Don’t swing your feet and bang the boxes your sitting on! Don’t talk out of turn, Raise your hands!”  Over the several year run of KID TALK, we had HUNDREDS(if not THOUSANDS) of children- in our “house”- representing every school district in our viewing area. For one week (plus reruns) children and their schools- were SPECIAL! It was great to later hear from parents, teachers and children, who were excited about being on the show. They just wanted to say to Connie: Thank you!” 

Connie reached out to children in another key way with a program called YOUNG ACHIEVER. She encouraged you to nominate an outstanding child for a very public award. And the child usually was NOT a star athlete. Not only would the student get to tell their story, on air, some won scholarships through the Y-A program. Hundreds of children, families and communities were touched.

If I recall correctly, Connie was never a “guest” on any of these shows or segments. If you ever saw Connie ON TV, it was probably a “mistake” -or, in a crowd shot. She was content to shine the spotlight on others, stay in the background, and just get the job done. The job was to help that leader or just-plain-folk “get the word out,” fill a community need, offer a helping hand, or receive a pat on the back-thank you for your service.

Hey Connie, here’s your pat on the back, your bouquet of flowers, your Academy Award.  Thank YOU, for the the great shows, the stimulating guests, the Young, Achieving, Child stars. And, let me not forget: the birthday phone calls and cards, and most important of all, the moisturizer.

Through all the stress and strife, the headaches and hard work, the happy times and sad, You made a difference.

And that’s the Bottom Line.


Good News!

November 7th, 2014 at 1:57 pm by under Community, Health, Military, News, Personalities, Uncategorized

      It just occurred to me that this could be a great space for some good news. And I think I’ve found one great source: the military. Every other day it seems I receive an email-news release from a military communications person trumpeting an accomplishment of a local member of the armed forces.  To be honest I had not given the emails much thought because, er, um, uh, because,  I-we, had more pressing matters – BREAKING NEWS!!!  TODAY’S BIG CRIME, or what I call- the “FREAK OF THE WEEK!”  Spotlighting a local kid doing his job just didn’t register in the fog of the daily news battle to find the BEST STORY I can.  

      But when I looked this picture, it just happened to occur to me- this IS  a great story. A kid, 2 years out of high school and, at times, thousands of miles away, is making his parents proud, by doing his job exceptionally well. BUT ALSO, this is a picture of two African American men in the “news,”  and they haven’t committed a crime!    Work with me now, on this Friday, as I look back on the news week. I’ve reported on the Virginia man accused of kidnapping a Philadephia woman- black; the Heather Graham suspect-black; and about a dozen other would-be criminals AND VICTIMS – all black males. Then, I check my email, pop open the attachment and VOILA! Two smiling faces-and they haven’t committed any crimes!!  Here are the details from the NAVY writer:  (Oct. 30, 2014) – “Airman Corey J. Jefferson (right), a native of Chesapeake, Virginia, and 2012 graduate of Kings Fork High School, received the award for Bluejacket of the Quarter aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) , Oct. 30. 141030-N-KL846-044

uss makin island

                “The Bluejacket of the Quarter (BJOQ) award recognizes the achievements of a Sailor between the ranks of E-1 to E-3. With approximately 1,200 Sailors aboard Makin Island, there were many within that range vying for the honor. ”It means a lot to me,” Jefferson said. “I am glad I get to represent the ship as the BJOQ. Jefferson is responsible for many of the ship’s pumps and equipment that provide clean, clear and bright JP-5 fuel to the aircraft, assault vehicles and support equipment. “I have a lot of fun doing my job. The people I work with make me want to come to work each day,” he said. Jefferson joined the Navy following in the footsteps of his father and his step-father, a machinist’s mate first class petty officer and damage controlman chief petty officer, respectively. ”Growing up seeing my Dad advance in the military gave me the drive to want to follow in what he did for his country,” said Jefferson. Jefferson is now looking to gain more experience and gain rank while taking advantage of the military’s educational opportunities. Makin Island, the flagship the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), and the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), are currently deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. For more news from USS Makin Island (LHD 8), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd8/.”  Corey Jefferson’s story follows a day after another great story that just so happened to involve the military-doing-good, and- African Americans.Don Roberts Unsung Hero Awards (22)Take a look at all these smiling faces. More about them all on my Facebook page. But, let me key you in on the guy to the left of the two beautiful ladies.  Back in November 1979, Bob Walters was a coast guard enlisted man stationed in Alaska. He and two others responded to a distress call. A ship with about 90 people on board had run aground and was in danger of sinking while being battered by high waves and wind. He and the crew went above and beyond to save dozens of lives. The tall gentleman to the right of the lady in blue, former USMC Master Sergeant Maurice Williams, was a SNIPER- during three tours of Viet Nam. His military colleagues say he had undocumented “kills” that put him in the league with the Marine Corps elite. And that, while he survived being shot, taken POW(tortured, shattered several vertebrae and a hip), Agent Orange exposure, prostate cancer, AND P-T-S-D!  Both Williams and Walters were among those honored in the SUNTRUST (BANK) “UNSUNG HEROES AWARDS” program at NAUTICUS.  Thank you, SUNTRUST, NAUTICUS, CBRE, and, the MILITARY, for the good news. 

 


Information About The Antares Rocket

October 29th, 2014 at 5:36 pm by under News, Weather

As you may have heard, Orbital is the private company responsible for transporting the supplies to the International Space Station.  The mission was the Commercial Resupply Mission ORB-3.  The launch pad used for this launch (0A) is the only launch pad they have for the Antares rocket.

Pad 0A Diagram

Pad 0A Diagram

Antares Rocket Quick Facts:

  • 139 Feet Tall. (As high as a 14 story building)
  • Weight: 652,000lbs (As heavy as 265 compact cars)
  • 40,300 Gallons of Liquid Oxygen Fuel
  • 21,500 Gallons of Kerosene

Cygnus Spacecraft (Cargo) Quick Facts:

  • 17 Ft Tall
  • Weight: 3,527 lbs  (Similar to a pickup truck)

More information from our newscasts from Tuesday night:

 

In the coming days we will hopefully hear more about what happened to this rocket.

Meteorologist Jeff Edmondson


How To Safely Enjoy The Solar Eclipse

October 22nd, 2014 at 5:53 pm by under News, Weather

A partial solar eclipse happens tomorrow (Thursday). Remember, a solar eclipse is when the moon is between the sun and the earth. The moon then casts a shadow on Earth. Since it will be a partial, we will not be in total darkness.

Information

Information

Now, how do you watch a solar eclipse? Well first of all, DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY INTO THE SUN!

  • Pinhole Projection:
    • Make a three-millimeter wide pinhole into a square piece of cardboard or card stock paper. The, with the sun at your back, project the image of the sun onto a piece of white paper. Remember never to look through the pinhole directly at the sun.

  • Use Approved Eclipse Lenses/Filters

  • These lenses have a optical density 5 or greater and are “CE” certified. (You can find these online, or possibly at a nearby science store)

  • Welder’s Glasses work as long as the lens is #14.

    Eclipse Glasses

    Eclipse Glasses

     

  • Sunglasses are not a safe way to view a solar eclipse.
  • Watch the Eclipse Live Here

    More on the eclipse from NASA:

    We should see partly cloudy skies tomorrow afternoon which should give us a chance to see it. Remember, the next solar eclipse doesn’t happen until 2017. Happy Viewing!

    Meteorologist Jeff Edmondson

     


    Nicole’s Notes: Great food, great event, great cause!

    October 15th, 2014 at 9:42 pm by under News, Personalities, The Hampton Roads Show, Uncategorized

    Another great year of food, fun, and an auction to benefit the March of Dimes. The Signature Chefs event was held Sunday, October 12 at the Founders Inn and Spa in Virginia Beach.

    March Of Dimes Signature Chefs' dishes

    March Of Dimes Signature Chefs’ dishes

    Local chefs whipped up a variety of dishes and donated culinary and travel packages to the live auction.

    Chris Reckling emceeing

    Chris Reckling emceeing

    Nicole and Chris Reckling Photo from Wayne Pellenberg

    Nicole and Chris Reckling
    Photo from Wayne Pellenberg

    Chris Reckling, co-host of the Hampton Roads Show was the emcee. I’ve emceed this event for the past several years, but attended as a guest with my dad and sister. The March of Dimes did ask me to fulfill a favor and participate by introducing a special honoree.

    Nicole introducing Brian Winfield. Photo from Wayne Pellenberg

    Nicole introducing Brian Winfield.
    Photo from Wayne Pellenberg

    I was honored to tell the guests about Brian Winfield. With the blessing of his lovely wife of 41 years, Carol, he has worked hard to volunteer and raise money for the organization.

    Honoree and longtime volunteer Brian Winfield with family Photo from Wayne Pellenberg

    Honoree and longtime volunteer Brian Winfield with family
    Photo from Wayne Pellenberg

    Honoree Brian Winfield speaking about his years of volunteering for the March of Dimes Photo from Wayne Pellenberg

    Honoree Brian Winfield speaking about his years of volunteering for the March of Dimes
    Photo from Wayne Pellenberg

    Over the past three decades, Brian convinced people to participate in walks in Virginia Beach and Norfolk, volunteer and help raise funds for the organization so the research can continue to help premature babies and their mothers.

    Honoree Brian Winfield speaking to guests Photo from Wayne Pellenberg

    Honoree Brian Winfield speaking to guests
    Photo from Wayne Pellenberg

    He told the guests his healthy children and grandchildren inspired him to do his part to make sure other children stood a chance. Mr. Winfield’s family was there to cheer him on for this honor.

    Guests at the March Of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction

    Guests at the March Of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction

    Susan Smith from the March of Dimes told me they raised $100,000!  Special recognition to Chef John Maclure from Tradewinds Restaurant in Virginia Beach for “Most Outstanding Presentation” and Chef Melinda Wilkins from Culinary Institute of Virginia won “Best Dessert”.

    The food was great, the music was good and there was such a wonderful spirit in the air. It’s an event I always look forward to!

    Nicole with Stephanie Cooke, Executive Producer of The Hampton Roads Show

    Nicole with Stephanie Cooke, Executive Producer of The Hampton Roads Show

    Chris Reckling and Nicole Livas

    Chris Reckling and Nicole Livas

    If you want to help the March of Dimes, check out their webpage for volunteer opportunities and to donate money.

    (Special thanks to  Wayne Pellenberg, Neptune Video Creations LLC for the professional pictures from the night of the event.)

     

     


    A Few Reasons To Look Up This Month

    October 5th, 2014 at 8:50 am by under News, Weather

    We have a chance to see a lunar and a solar eclipse this month.

    Lunar Eclipse Wednesday

    Lunar Eclipse Wednesday

    The full eclipse begins at 6:27am, just before the sunrise after 7am. We won’t be able to see the entire eclipse because the moon will disappear across the horizon. A Solar Eclipse will occur on Oct. 23rd.

    For more watch this from NASA’s JPL:

     

    Happy Viewing!

    Meteorologist Jeff Edmondson


    Doubting Thomas

    September 29th, 2014 at 2:35 pm by under 10 On Your Side, Community, Health, Military, News, Personalities, Uncategorized

    Doubting Thomas

    What would you do? I was driving through a neighborhood and saw a man, lying on the street. In those few seconds- as best I could determine from a moving vehicle- he didn’t move. First thought- “keep on going. He’s sleeping ‘it’ off.” Second thought: “Uh oh. What if he just collapsed from some other health problem and was dying; or maybe he was a victim of a hit-and-run, or, he just got ‘jacked’?” I ran through a bunch of other “What If’s” by the time I’d gotten two blocks away. My answer to one of those questions was – DO SOMETHING.

    This happened Saturday evening along busy Warwick Boulevard in the “trendy” Hilton area of Newport News. Who knows how long he’d been there? I’m guessing – dozens of other drivers passed him by, too, as I had to wait a traffic light cycle or two to make my U. As I doubled back, I realized I was just a couple of blocks away from the GOODWILL and CHKD second hand stores. U-turn complete and… he was still there. Still not moving. I pulled over, parked and headed for him.

    If he’s unresponsive, or obviously hurt, of course I’m going to dial 9-1-1. But what if he’s just “sleeping it off” or mentally ill, and he’s “clingy” or violent, what do I do then? (Don’t know KARATE- I watched for 3 years as my son trained for his black belt. It’s been ’bout 50 years since my last STREET FIGHT. Hey, I can still run!) Those thoughts- and the standard one from my wife: “CALL 9-1-1.”

    No. I had to personally get involved.

    I reach the guy. He looked like a younger Tommie Lee Jones, but with white hair. “Hey, brother, you alright?” He actually looked kind of comfortable on the manicured edge of a bank’s property. He jerked in reaction to my voice, then said: “Who the f— wants to know?” Back and forth for about a minute- I’m asking him obligatory questions- he’s cussing me out for disturbing him. And, as we go at it, I notice both his lower legs are metallic. And his 3rd leg, a cane, is on the ground, just out of reach. His eyes are glazed, but not quite bloodshot. He’s angry at the world, still cussin’. And then he loudly proclaims: “I’M GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL! I KNOW IT!” And then he gives me an exaggerated, wide-eyed look as if he’s trying to scare the h— out of me! I am scared, but I’m not running. He said his name was THOMAS. He quickly corrected that and then called himself “Doubting Thomas.”

    I’m now “Paralyzed Don.” What do I do now? I’ve engaged him, he’s in need of some kind of help; he’s angry, possible drunk; I’ve got no answers, and, I’m not going to just walk away. I make the cliched offer: “Can I get you something to eat?” And then I step across my wife’s line – “Want a ride to the shelter?” He answers “No! I’ve had a ‘couple’- and the Mission won’t take you if you’ve been drinking.”

    So now what? Thomas says someone ripped off his bag with all his stuff. Coat’s gone, too, and it’s going to be cold again tonight. Aha! There is something I CAN DO. But, what’s my exit strategy? THOMAS needs help. He doesn’t want me to do anything but to get out of his way so he can got to H—. Now, standing on his tennis-shoe-wrapped metalic feet, I guess he saw how hopeless I looked. I wasn’t preaching, or offering him any money. And he wasn’t going to stick around for the 9-1-1 guys.

    I let him go, got in my car and u-turned toward the GOOD WILL. They had a nice peacoat onsale for  ONLY 8.99. Now, to find him. THOMAS perched himself between two dumpsters behind a 7-11. He seemed surprised I found him. Thomas reminded me he was on his way to H—. But he doesn’t have to be cold along the way. Thomas saw what was in my hand and rejected it. I told him I’d leave the coat on the side of the dumpster incase he changed his mind. As I walked away, he said… Thanks.  He’s probably still out there. What should I have done? How about you?  And, one more thing: On the day I’m writing this, I just happened to find this post on my facebook page- a homeless guy named RONALD, telling his story. Tell me what you think, here, or on my facebook page.  Thanks.

    https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=707368385974326&set=vb.100001035124435&type=2&theater

    Homeless-2


    Kayak Event Supports Wounder Warriors

    September 18th, 2014 at 5:48 pm by under News

    This past weekend I was able to participate in the Ku’ono Paddle Series happening in Hampton, VA. This event had a 2, 6, and 12 mile Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) and Kayak race all to support the Wounded Warrior Project.

    Message from their website:

    The Ku’ono Paddle Series is proud to be a Supporter of the Wounded Warrior Project.  Founded in 2003, Wounded Warrior Project’s purpose is to raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured service members aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. What started as a program to provide comfort items to wounded service members has grown into a complete rehabilitative effort to assist warriors as they recover and transition back to civilian life. Thousands of injured warriors and caregivers receive support each year through WWP programs designed to nurture the mind and body and encourage economic empowerment and engagement.

    kuono

    I finished the 2 Mile Race!

    Let me tell you, I haven’t kayaked in over 3 years, so the 2 mile course was all I needed to do. The first mile I felt like a million bucks! Then we had to turn around. As you know there are currents that meander through large bodies of water like the Chesapeake Bay. Well, where we were near Fort Monroe had its own current. I realized that the wind and the current were against me on the second half of the race. I quickly saw myself falling out of it, but I did make it to the finish line and got my celebratory trail mix! This was a very fun event, I hope to see some of you out there next year!

    Find out more here: http://www.kuonopaddle.com/home.html

    Meteorologist Jeff Edmondson


    Nicole’s Notes: Friday Night Flights 2014 Kickoff

    September 6th, 2014 at 12:32 am by under News, Personalities, Sports, Uncategorized

    School’s back in session, high school football games have started and students, teachers and staff are ready to show their pride. And it’s a tradition to have me kick off the season for Friday Night Flights. After writing some stories for the newscasts and wavy.com, and anchoring the 5 and 6pm news on WAVY, I changed clothes and got buckled up in Chopper 10 with photographer Chris Omahen (seen below) and pilot Steve Decker.

    fnf10626559_742421212459828_6411251484927958201_n

     It’s always a beautiful flight over Hampton Roads and tonight was no different. We landed at Lake Taylor High School first for their game against Phoebus.

    In Chopper 10 above Lake Taylor game

    In Chopper 10 above Lake Taylor game

    You could see the sea of red from up above and we received warm greetings from the second we landed.

    fnf10671442_742423582459591_7506632307863735423_n

    Hanging with the Lake Taylor cheerleaders

    WAVY photographer Chris Omahen is a Lake Taylor grad! He's shooting highlights of his alma mater's football game.

    WAVY photographer Chris Omahen is a Lake Taylor grad! He’s shooting highlights of his alma mater’s football game.

    The cheerleaders helped me toss out the WAVY footballs to the crowd. They certainly have a better arm than I do! They are excited about what the new school year holds. The Titans have a lot to be proud of as they start the new school year. They have a new field house for the visiting team which just opened up tonight.

    fnf10341653_742423525792930_2162320483419044772_n

    Lake Taylor High School’s new field hous

    But principal Dr. Reba Jacobs-Miller is most proud of the students’ academic achievements and honors heading into this new year. She told me, “We had the highest graduation completion index of all of the schools in Norfolk so we are very excited about that. We were recognized at our convocation. It actually has the students who are seniors now excited about graduating because they know we will provide the assistance that’s needed to be successful.”

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    From Lake Taylor we headed to Chesapeake and Western Branch High School. They won their game with Bethel. They have some of best fans in Hampton Roads. It was a theme of school spirit and family support at the  game. When we flew in range, we realized it was halftime and the band was taking the field. Once we landed, they entertained us and we saw a sea of neon green in the stands. It’s actually a show of support for a former P.E. teacher and J.V. coach Stuart Baiza who was recently diagnosed with cancer.

    fnf1495457_742421005793182_4199297476336279898_nfnf10645307_742420902459859_2959341966440454740_nfnf10392471_742420885793194_3740698429469522703_n

    Student Alex Abbey told me, “We were actually already doing neon night but we wanted to come out here and his cancer color is green and we wanted to support him and his family by wearing green.”

    fnf10616630_742447309123885_7642071479098309467_n

    Teacher Stuart Baiza and family. Students wore neon green to the game in support of Mr. Baiza’s cancer fight.

    It was a spirit-lifting for Mr. Baiza who told me, “It just lets me know I don’t have to go through it alone these kids have been great. Being a teacher of theirs and to have them come through in my time of need. It’s a big honor.” He was at the game with his wife and little girl.  What a great show of support!

    UPDATE: Stuart’s mom Colleen Rees emailed me a heartwarming email full of gratitude after seeing our report. She gave me permission to share some of it which read, “Stuart was concerned that the focus be on the kids accomplishments and I think you tied the two issues together beautifully.  Stuart was diagnosed on the 19th of August – nearly 3 months after his son Leighton was born – we have been in a spiral since then.  The whole night was very special – not only was it wonderful to see the kids come up to Stuart and wish him well but also from a nostalgia perspective.  Stuart is an Alumni of WBHS.  He was inspired to become  a PE teacher from his coaches. Coach Lew Johnson was one, he helped Stuart move on to college where he made the CNU Team in their maiden season. “

    She also emailed me a picture of the ribbons her sister designed for his cause. Several people were wearing them at the game.

    Support ribbon for Mr. Baiza

    Support ribbon for Mr. Baiza

    She said the family is hopeful doctors will tackle the tumor, get him in remission and find a cure. She says the community support really helps the family cope.

    I love doing Friday Night Flights for all of the fun- but also for getting important messages out about the schools, the students and staff and the community. This is an awesome example of that. We wish Mr. Stuart Baiza well with his treatment and recovery.

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    Heading back to WAVY on Chopper 10

    We hope you’ll interact with us this high school football season. Follow Friday Night Flights on Twitter. Share your pictures at reportit@wavy.com and follow us on Facebook.

    Selfie with Chopper 10 pilot, Steve Decker

    Selfie with Chopper 10 pilot, Steve Decker

    Check out Friday Night Flights with Bruce Rader and his rotating co-hosts and all of our high school football coverage on our special WAVY page.

     

     


    FOOD ALLERGIES Leave Parents Boiling Mad.

    September 4th, 2014 at 10:51 am by under Community, Health, News, Personalities, Uncategorized

    “CINDY”- was SO excited about her first day of school, she got up early, dressed quickly and was practically ready to JUMP on the bus before it stopped rolling.  Little did CINDY know she would be riding into a nightmare. When  it was time for lunch, a teacher placed CINDY at a small table, alone, and facing a wall. Her back was to her new classmates and all the other children in the cafeteria. And that’s how CINDY’S mother and grandmother told me they found her when they arrived to join CINDY for lunch.  CINDY was near tears and, needless to say, the two adults were practically breathing fire.
    food allergies index
    CINDY has food allergies. For most of her five years, she’s reacted badly when exposed to dairy, nuts, and wheat. She’ll break out in hives, swell severely and experience potentially life threatening conditions- if not treated quickly. Usually, a shot from an E p i  P e n will do the trick.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies among children jumped 50 percent between 1997 and 2011. A Richmond TV Station, W T V R, aired a report on child allergies- quoting a fascinating blog called “Butter Nutrition.” It’s writer raised the question, “Why your grandparents didn’t have food allergies, but you do.” The blog spelled out several theories on what could be the trigger behind the spike in children’s allergies.

    Dr. Bob Call with Richmond Allergy & Asthma Specialists, called the theories non-scientific, but hard to ignore. He said his practice has seen allergy cases double over the last 10 years. Sixty percent of (his) practice are children, the youngest patient is just three weeks old.

    “There are many more additives,thickeners, all of these different proteins that are added to food- even chemicals can become an allergen,” Dr. Call said about the theory that the food we eat these days contains more preservatives, thus causes more allergies.”

    A spokeswoman for Newport News public schools say the elementary school staff wanted to err on the side of caution.  Michelle Price told me the first day of school is always a bit awkward and there’s some confusion. But, the staff also didn’t know the severity of CINDY’S allergy. Price said the staff had not yet determined what the other children  had brought to school,(PB&J, nuts, yogurt) in addition to how they would act.  Still, sitting a child at a table- facing a wall- seems drastic and insensitive, to say the least. I questioned why the school wasn’t better prepared to deal with a student/allergy case- after having met with the parent and child several times prior to the first day. Certainly, one has to consider the larger picture. Here’s Price’s whole statement for the record:

    “Newport News Public Schools’ child nutrition and nursing staff works directly with families to meet the special dietary needs of our students. Families are asked to complete a special dietary needs form (see attached) with their child’s physician and return it with any other medical forms to the school office. If a student has severe food allergies, the school nurse and the cafeteria manager will meet with the family to develop a plan to address the students’ health and safety needs in conjunction with peer interaction.

    “The school principal, the nurse and the cafeteria manager met with the student’s parents yesterday and developed accommodations that met with everyone’s approval. The student in question has a severe food allergy that her mother has stated could lead to anaphylactic shock. To ensure the student’s well being, her teacher temporarily sat her at another table during lunch while the teacher sought to make seating adjustments to make sure that the student could be seated with classmates whose lunches did not contain the allergen.”

    Day -2 for CINDY was much better. CINDY’s mom told me an assistant principal called her to apologize and to inform her of seating adjustments, and other arrangements made for CINDY’s safety, in addition to helping her feel welcomed. CINDY told me, herself, that  she had a great (second) day,  she’s made new friends. And- she’s sitting at a table with other children!