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Archive for the 'Other' Category

SCHARFFEN Berger Factory Closing

Sharffen Berger chocolateOK, factory closings are always sad, sad affairs. But this? Hershey’s is closing the Scharffen Berger factory, easily Berkeley’s most beloved and deliciously fragrant production facility. Sigh. Yeah, the cocoa nibs were fab and chocolate awesome, but it was the factory tour that rocked on the sweetness scale. Hershey’s claims it’s making most of Scharffen Berger’s stock elsewhere anyway – which, I’m sorry, but that’s sacrilegious right there… But the Berkeley factory was a great, offbeat destination for a family outing, a little gourmet Willy Wonka in our own backyard. Yes, the Bay Area has plenty of other wonderful, family-friendly destinations – including that cool Dragonboat Festival on Treasure Island that one of our readers, rkt88edmo, mentioned earlier this week! But let’s take a moment of sad silence for Scharffen Berger…

Posted on Thursday, January 29th, 2009
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BEWARE work-from-home scams

Multitask ILLUS.jpgOK, who among us wouldn’t jump at the chance to stay in our jammies and work from home all day? In my former days as a sports writer, I spent many a day writing from the desk in my home office. I saved a lot on lunches, gas for the car and after-school babysitters, not so much on my heating and electric bills. Yes, those were the days, but even as I sit typing from the real-work-world office, nothing about those days — or the current economic crisis — could tempt me into answering one of those “work-from-home” ads.

We’ve all seen them. The ads promise big money doing jobs ranging from data entry to stuffing envelopes. Best of all, you don’t have to schlep to an office. But as Staffcentric, a company specializing in home-based careers, notes, the scam ratio is 54-to-1 among the 5,000 home job leads the company researches every week. CNN has a must-read article about the subject that should make anyone wary of hitching their financial future to a prospect that is likely a fraud.

Posted on Wednesday, January 7th, 2009
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HAPPY New Year!

New Year's Balloon Drop at Chabot (Jane Tyska/Oakland Tribune)
Happy New Year from the aParently Speaking bloggers, who hope you have as much fun in 2009 as these kids at Chabot Space and Science Center‘s New Year’s Eve Day celebration did today!
New Year's Balloon Drop at Chabot (Jane Tyska/Oakland Tribune)

Posted on Wednesday, December 31st, 2008
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HOLIDAY Shoppers are Way, Way Behind

Black Friday shoppers (Ian McVea/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT)Whew! So it’s not just me. Christmas is a scant week away and Hanukkah’s even sooner, but according to a National Retail Foundation survey released this morning, the nation’s shoppers have finished less than half their holiday shopping. Blame it on this year’s shortened holiday shopping season, the tanking economy and a slew of stores facing bankruptcy – people are disinclined to buy gift cards at KB Toys, for example, when the cards will soon be worthless. Only 8 percent of the shoppers surveyed said they’d finished their holiday gift buying. And, says the NRF, millions of people haven’t even begun. How about you?

Posted on Tuesday, December 16th, 2008
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WILDFIRE Sweeps Westmont College

Firefighters at Westmont College (Steve Chawkins, Los Angeles Times)
This weekend’s SoCal wildfires have impacted several universities, including Santa Barbara’s Westmont College where the Tea Fire burned eight structures, including the physics building (pictured) and a dormitory, as well as homes in Las Barrancas, where many professors and faculty members live. Fifteen faculty families lost their homes and 50 students lost their dorm rooms when the wildfire raced through campus Thursday night, but everyone is safe. An evacuation order is still in effect, and Westmont’s president is holding a conference call with parents this evening. (Click here for more photos.)
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Posted on Monday, November 17th, 2008
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8-YEAR-OLD charged with killing two

FREAuthorities have charged an 8-year-old boy in Arizona with the murders of his father and a man renting a room in the family’s home. The boy will be tried as an adult for shooting his father, Vincent Romero, and the renter. Police say the “who” of the crime is answered but not the “why.”

Here’s the part I found troubling. Romero’s Catholic priest told the Associated Press that Romero had taught the boy how to use a rifle to kill prairie dogs.

Romero was from a family of avid hunters and wanted to make sure the boy wasn’t afraid of guns and knew how to handle them, the Very Rev. John Paul Sauter said. The boy’s stepmother had suggested he have a BB gun, the priest said.

So, clearly that wasn’t a smart move. What do you think? Would you teach your child how to handle a gun?

Posted on Monday, November 10th, 2008
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EX-KNICKS PRESIDENT blames overdose on daughter

STFHow does Isiah Thomas atone for what’s being called an “accidental overdose” of sleeping pills? He denies that it happened and then shifts attention to his allegedly troubled 17-year-old daughter, Lauren. Deplorable? You bet.

Thomas is a once legendary NBA player and former New York Knicks president who continues drawing from an $18 million, three-year contract with the team. Last Friday, a police report indicated that a 47-year-old man at Thomas’ residence had overdosed on sleeping pills. (Yes, Thomas is 47.) When contacted later by the New York Post, Thomas denied he had overdosed and deflected the incident by saying his 17-year-old daughter, Lauren, was the one with a medical condition.

It “wasn’t an overdose,” he told the newspaper. “My daughter is very down right now. None of us are OK.” Clearly! That Thomas’ first instinct was to throw his daughter under the bus is deplorable. But now we find out that he outright lied (there was an overdose) and he painted his child as a scapegoat, perhaps, because of greed.

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Posted on Tuesday, October 28th, 2008
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56-YEAR-OLD woman is surrogate for daughter’s triplets

It’s easy for us men to say we’d do this for our children if only we could. But what about you women? Would you do what Jaci Dalenberg did for her daughter?

Ohio woman gives birth to triplet granddaughters
Not only has a 56-year-old Ohio woman given birth to triplets, but they’re her own granddaughters. Jaci Dalenberg, of Wooster, carried the babies as a surrogate for her daughter, Kim Coseno.
Full story

Posted on Friday, October 24th, 2008
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MORE Teen Abandonments in Nebraska

You remember the story about Nebraska’s “safe haven” law, which allows families to abandon their children and teens – not just babies – without repercussion? Now it’s spreading. Yesterday, an Iowa woman crossed state borders to abandon her 14-year-old daughter at a Nebraska hospital. Lawmakers are now scrambling to come up with some solutions, including possible mandatory counseling for parents and child support payments. Take a look at today’s CNN report, then click “comments” and share your thoughts:

Posted on Wednesday, October 8th, 2008
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WORKING MOM Epiphanies and Breakdowns

Working moms (Illus. by Val Mina/MCT)There’s something immensely reassuring about being in a room with 500 other people who totally get it – the insane hours, sleep deprivation and endless work-family juggling. So last night, I swung by San Francisco’s Hotel InterContinental, where hundreds of women – toting chic cupcakes, box suppers and cool gift bags – had converged on the latest Mommy Track’d event, “Working Motherhood: New Formulas for Success.” We watched an hour of the Joe Biden-Sarah Palin debate, then listened as New York Times columnist Lisa Belkin and a panel of high powered Bay Area working moms talked about the reality of blending work and personal lives. Leading an effortlessly balanced life may not be possible, the panel said, but there are some things you can do to retain your sanity. Here’s a round up of their tips:

1. “Have the courage to realize when enough is enough,” says GAP VP and deputy general counsel Wilma Wallace, who left a private law firm when she saw what the hours did to family life.

2. Take the school calendar and plot out the year. You don’t have to be there for everything, but be there for the important stuff. “Field trips? Take the day off. That’s how I engage,” says Wallace. “Sometimes making the cookies is important to me.”

3. “Cookies? Buy them at Safeway,” says NBC-11 weekend anchor Diane Dwyer. “Really. It’s OK.”
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Posted on Friday, October 3rd, 2008
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