Sunday, April 23, 2023

National Park Week - Food Safety

National Park Week is America's largest celebration of national heritage. It's about making great connections, exploring amazing places, discovering open spaces, enjoying affordable vacations, and enhancing America’s best idea—the national parks! It's all happening in your national parks. The National Park Service is once again partnering with the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks, to present National Park Week.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Florida's Home Owner Insurance is Broken:
People's Trust Insurance and Rapid Response Team

Friday, September 24, 2021

Around 7:00 pm, we heard the rain falling hard, lightning strikes, and the loud roar of thunder. This is common in South Florida, so I thought nothing of it. The lights flickered on and off, and there was a smell of something burning, but even the smell was common from the everglades. I checked the house - there was no smoke or fire. I went outside to see if everything was alright. I checked on everyone in the house.  Everything looked fine. I went to sleep.

At 8:00 pm, my son, Jake, called 911. Jake is a quadriplegic. He can use his voice to make phone calls. The 911 operator then called me and told me my son was on the other line. "There is a fire; get everyone out." The fire department burst through our doors, and I showed them where Jake was. I saw the grey smoke and fire coming from the roof. I retrieved the dogs and placed them in a safe place.

There were 4 fire trucks and police officers working on our home for 5 hours. We stood out in the rain, lightning & thunder. My sister and Jake's aide came to help. A neighbor opened his garage to provide us with shelter. I walked around in shock. I asked the Fire Chief what caused the fire, and he said, "Lightning, didn't you hear the crash." 

The last fire trucks left at 2:00am. The Coral Springs Police stayed with us until the Red Cross arrived around 3:00am.

We were allowed to go inside with an officer to retrieve medication, medical supplies, clothes, and important papers. There was very little left. I did place important papers in a fireproof file. I'm glad I did.

As I sat in the doorway of Jake's handicapped van waiting for the Red Cross - I made my first contact with my homeowner's insurance. She had a soothing and comforting voice. She tried to reassure me everything would be alright. She explained the offices are open Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm. It was Saturday at 2am. I couldn't wait for Monday. I had to do something now. 

Sadly, our dachshund Snoopy passed away from the smoke the next day.

The Red Cross gave us emergency supplies and money for a room to stay in for 2 days. It is 14 days later, and we still need help finding temporary housing. We have to leave the hotel by October 23rd (30-day limit).

October 8, 2021. The insurance company has yet to start any work. They want to ensure it was lightning, even though the Coral Springs Fire Chief and their insurance Fire Inspector confirmed 91 lightning strikes in our neighborhood and 5 strikes almost directly over our home.

The worse part of the fire was above my bedroom area; that’s where the lightning struck. Everything in the back part of our home has been destroyed. The remainder of the house suffered electrical and smoke damage. The city can’t turn the power on until an electrician inspects the property. No one has set an inspection date.

We are running out of time. Our 30 days are up on October 23rd.

October 22, 2021

We finally found a bottom-floor apartment that is not wheelchair accessible. We will make it work. I go back to our home almost daily. I sit in the garden with Holly (our beagle). Our garden survived. I get a lot of work done here.

January 2021 (4 months after the fire)

For over 30 years, I paid our homeowner's insurance. Never thought I would ever need it.

I assumed we would be back in our home by now, but they still need to submit the following permits: Plumbing, Building, Mechanical, and 
Notice of Commencement which I signed all of them in January, 

The project manager admitted they still needed to submit the architectural plans due to a lack of payment (I need clarification on that). I started to check weekly on the Coral Springs website, but no luck yet.

February 11, 2022, the electricity was restored to the front of the house, den, and kitchen. Many outlets were covered because they needed to be up to code.

February 22, 2022. They started to replace the roof.

Summary: October 2021 - March 2022

By the end of October 2021, the insurance company had only cleaned out the debris left by the lightning and fire.

Where there should be walls and ceilings, there was a tarp-like material providing cover. There were no closets, office, bedroom, or bathroom. Empty Space. Memories I could only remember through my imagination.

March 3, 2022

I checked the permits today, and the Plumbing, Building, Mechanical, and Notice of Commencement have NOT BEEN SUBMITTED. The roof is waiting for an inspection to put the tiles on.
March 4, 2022 (5.5 months since the fire)

I go back to our home almost every day.  There needs to be more progress on the reconstruction. However, my garden surprised me with strawberries, pineapple, and the start of mango flowers.

June 1, 2022 (8.5 months since the fire).
Jake and all of us are getting restless. We thought the house would be done by now. Susie, PTI adjuster. Robert, the project manager, Jake, my son, and I were on a conference call. Susie asked Robert if the house was condemned. Robert said, "No." Susie said we could move back in now. She allowed us to keep the apartment until July 23, 2022. I was concerned about safety.

June 21, 2022

I continued to go back and forth from the house to the apartment. I am Jake's caregiver at night, so I must return to the house.  I have been sleeping on a couch & storing some clothes in a filing cabinet. Jake lives in a room with one outlet and numerous medical equipment attached. The Project Manager stated he would have an electrician come by in a few days – that was 2 weeks ago. No one has come by. RR and PTI were notified on May 31, 2022, of the possible fire hazards presented by the electricity. We also notified PTI that Jake's Hoyer Lift had blown an engine; the replacement cost was $1800.00. PTI said it was not their responsibility.

July 2022

As instructed by PTI, we all moved out of the apartment and back into the house, even though I had no room, office, closet, or bathroom. No walls and No ceiling. I stayed on the couch until mid-October. 

These photos were taken on July 25, 2022.

This is where I lived and worked during the construction.

October 8, 2022 (13.5 months since the fire).

On October 8, 2022, Rapid Response walked off the job without securing the house's safety. A concrete pit for a bathtub was left with nails, broken tiles, raw concrete, and cement scattered everywhere. The dogs would bring them to us or chew on them. There was a bathtub in my office. My son's handicapped ramp was thrown out in the back of the house.

I finally moved back into my room in mid-October, even though the bathroom, office, and closets still needed to be completed. 

The disagreement was about the walk-in closet and the length of time this job was taking.  Matt (Robert's supervisor) said these closets "were more expensive and custom-made, and these are exactly what you asked for.” He was very angry and walked out. He scared me. That was October 8, 2022. They did not look custom-made for me. I am only 5'2". I could not reach the bottom shelf.

I realized after a few weeks, Rapid Response
was not going to show up.

When Rapid Response walked off, they jeopardized my son’s and my life. They did not make sure the house was safe and secure. This was a concern I brought up in June 2022 about electricity. There were nails, broken tiles, cracked cement, and a missing handicapped ramp.

October  25, 2022

I fell into the concrete pit left by the contractors. 911 was called, and they had to remove me from the filthy pit. I have never seen so much blood. It turned my grey hair red. I am being treated by a Neurologist for a concussion and unstable gait. The arm surgeon is seeing me for a fractured left wrist. I received a tetanus shot as a precaution.

November 10, 2022

I called People's Trust. To my surprise, they knew nothing about Rapid Response walking off the job.

I have a contract with People’s Trust that says I must use Rapid Response. If Rapid Response does not want to finish this job, who will?

My Home Owners Insurance was almost $10,000. Do they have any more contractors?

I have gotten along with most workers, except for the Project Manager. He appears likable and excited about his work. When we first met in September 2021, he was promising things that were not even on the sheet to fix and kept telling us our home should be ready by June 2022, and it would look brand new. He did not have to sell me; I have a contract with People’s Trust that says I must use Rapid Response. I was already sold.

I became frustrated with Rapid Response's lack of work which was overdue, and there was always an excuse, 

December 3, 2022 (15.5 months since the fire)

The house still needs to be finished. I have asked the Better Business Bureau for help. My attorney is ill, so I feel like I'm on my own (I won't do that again)

Rapid Response said I denied them access and did not like the items they purchased. They lied. They had access 24/7, and I chose all the items except the closet. People's Trust was offering me $8,000 to finish a job which I'm not sure what the actual cost would be. They sent it anyway and closed the case.

My attorney returned part-time after undergoing chemo and radiation. He returned the check and reopened the case.

March 16, 2023. (1.5 years since the fire).
I feel this tremendous loss. Here I am in my home, and I still have not unpacked. I have no books or shelves, no bathroom, no office, no clothes, no shoes, and no closets.

All of this has made me mentally ill. Four weeks ago, I was thinking of ending my life. I built this house for my son to live with others after I am gone. Now it is worthless if I can't finish it. 

March 27, 2023
We met at my house: my attorney, People's Trust (PT), and Rapid Response representatives.

As a dietitian, I know nothing about contractors. People's Trust will only allow Rapid Response to do the work. If Rapid Response does not want to do the work, PTI should provide another contractor.

I made a list and photographs of the work that needs to be done.

April 12, 2023
(1 year, 6.5 months since the fire)

After 2 weeks of silence since the meeting, I don’t think they care about fairness. I can not fight these big companies anymore. I’ve researched People’s Trust (PTI) and Rapid Response (RR). They have been doing this for years to consumers. RR walks off a job, and the consumer hires a contractor and tries to reclaim the money from PTI. The consumer loses because they can only use RR. They usually target consumers who hire attorneys or adjusters.

I wanted the meeting with the attornies to get a fair value for the amount of work left to do. $8,000 seemed low, and it turned out to be. I received quotes on just the bathroom at $10,000.00.

They are playing a very dangerous game with our health and well-being. RR can fix our home, but we will not leave. I will move my family to the other side of the house where there is no work to do and no reason for anyone to be in that part of our home. We can not leave again. 

I want my life back. They have nothing to lose by waiting. It has been over 1.5 years. They have already been paid for repairing my home. However, we have a lot to lose. I am getting sicker. I am unable to hold down food, and it is breaking my heart to have Jake see me crying every morning. I need to be able to unpack and start a new life. 
Please help end this nightmare.

Friday, April 7, 2023

National Walk to Work Day

National Walk to Work Day – get involved! Taking simple steps to improve your health could pay dividends years down the line. Getting involved in National Walk to Work Day could help put you on the right track to a healthier you.

American Heart Association

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever you can, for at least a floor or two. Once that gets easier, add another floor.
  • Instead of using the breakroom or restroom nearest your workstation, use one farther away, maybe even on another floor – and take the stairs each time you go.
  • Walk to a coworker’s desk or office to talk instead of using email, IM or the phone. The personal interaction is an added bonus!
  • Join or start a recreational sports league at your workplace.
  • Form a walking club or team to walk together at work.
  • Schedule walking meetings for informal discussions and brainstorming. 
  • Get off the bus or train a few blocks early and walk the rest of the way to work or home. If you drive to work, park as far away from the entrance as you can.
  • Walk to a nearby restaurant for lunch instead of driving or ordering in.

Thursday, April 6, 2023

International Day of Sport for Development and Peace

Sport has the power to change the world; it is a fundamental right, a powerful tool to strengthen social ties and promote sustainable development and peace and well as solidarity, and respect. Through our unique individual skills and collective power, we can come together and share creative ways to improve our health and well-being through sport and physical activity - even from the confines of our own homes.

The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace on 6 April presents an opportunity to recognize the role that sport and physical activity plays in communities and in people’s lives across the world.

The World Health Organization recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, or a combination of both. WHO also has some tips on how to achieve this with no equipment and with limited space. There is an abundance of free and accessible online and digital tools targeted at encouraging people of all ages and abilities to stay active and mobile while remaining at home.

Sport as a universal language can be a powerful tool to promote peace, tolerance, and understanding by bringing people together across boundaries, cultures, and religions.

Sports Encourages:

1. Individual development
2. Health promotion and disease prevention
3. The promotion of gender equality
4. Social integration and the development of social capital
5. Peace-building and conflict prevention/resolution
6. Post-disaster/trauma relief and normalization of life
7. Economic development
8. Communication and social mobilization

Monday, April 3, 2023

National Find A Rainbow Day

"Eat Right with Colors"  explores the health benefits associated with eating foods of many colors. "Eating a rainbow" includes color diversity in your meals and food choices, so as to enhance your intake of a wide range of nutrients. 


by #alphafoodie!
I love hummus and rainbows 
– a perfect appetizer to wow your guests

Rainbow Buddha Bowl

Red and Pink Foods

Apples, Beets, Cayenne, Cherries, Cranberries, Guava, Kidney Beans, Papaya, Pink Beans, Pink/Red Grapefruit, Pomegranates, Radicchio, Radishes, Raspberries, Red Bell Peppers, Red Cabbages, Red Chili Peppers, Red Corn, Red Currants, Red Grapes, Red Onions, Red Pears, Red Peppers, Red Plums, Red Potatoes, Red Tomatoes, Rhubarb, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Watermelons

Green Foods

Alfalfa, Artichokes, Arugula, Asparagus, Avocado, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Broccoli rabe, Brussels Sprouts, Celery, Chives, Collard Greens, Cucumbers, Dandelion Greens, Edamame, Endive, Fennel, Green apples, Green Beans, Green Cabbage, Green Grapes, Green Olives, Green Onion, Green Pears, Green Peas, Green Pepper, Green Tomatoes, Honeydew, Kale, Kiwi, Leeks, Lettuce, Limes, Mint, Okra, Oregano, Parsley, Pistachios, Snow Peas, Spinach, Sugar snap peas, Swiss Chard, Tarragon, Tomatillo, Wasabi, Watercress, Zucchini

Blue and Purple Foods

Blue Grapes, Blue and Purple Potatoes, Blueberries, Dried Plums, Plums, Eggplant, Pomegranates, Elderberries, Juniper Berries, Kelp (Seaweed), Purple Belgian Endive, Purple Cabbage, Purple Figs

Yellow and Orange Foods

Apricots, Bananas, Butternut Squash, Cantaloupe, Carrots, Cheddar Cheese, Citrus Fruits, Clementines, Corn, Creamsicle, Garbanzo Beans, Golden Apples, Golden Flax Seed, Golden Raisins, Grapefruit, Honey, Lemon, Lemongrass, Mandarin Oranges, Mangoes, Nectarines, Orange Jello, Orange Peppers, Orange Tomatoes, Oranges, Papaya, Parsnips, Peaches, Pears, Persimmons, Pineapple, Pumpkin, Rutabagas, Saffron, Salmon, Spaghetti Squash, Squash Blossoms, Sweet Corn, Sweet Potatoes, Tangerines, Whole Grains, Yams, Yellow Apples, Yellow Beans, Yellow Peppers, Yellow Summer Squash, Yellow Wax Beans

White and Black Foods

White: Cauliflower, Coconut, Garlic, Ginger, Green Onions, Scallions, Horseradish, Jicama, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Millet, Mushrooms, Onions, Parsnips, Quinoa, Shallots, Soy Products, Sunflower Seeds, Tofu, Turnips, White Beans, White Corn, White Sesame Seeds

Black: Black Beans, Black Cherries, Black Currants, Black Mushrooms, Black Olives, Black Quinoa, Black Raspberry, Black Rice, Black Sesame Seeds, Black Soybeans, Blackberries, Boysenberries, Prunes, Raisins, Seaweeds, Tamari (Soy Sauce)

Wellness News employs young adults with "Special Needs" (Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Down Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy). My staff started the project in September 2010. Over the next five months, we would take over 600 photographs of colorful foods in order to create the March presentation for NNM. Many of the photographs are available for purchase, with the proceeds going to special needs young adults. Contact Dr. Sandra Frank for additional information (

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