Tuesday, March 25, 2014

California Bans Retail Sale of Super-toxic Rat Poisons

For Immediate Release, March 20, 2014


Jonathan Evans, Center for Biological Diversity, (415) 436-9682 x 318
Greg Loarie, Earthjustice, (415) 217-2000
Cynthia Palmer, American Bird Conservancy, (202) 888-7478

SACRAMENTO- California has approved a statewide ban on direct-to-consumer sale of some of the most dangerous rat poisons but loopholes still leave many wildlife species at risk. The ban approved Tuesday, which will go into effect July 1, prohibits the sale of certain products by d-CON, the only second-generation anticoagulant rodenticide sold directly to the general public. Harm to wildlife from rodenticides is widespread: Poisonings have been documented in at least 25 wild species in California, including mountain lions, hawks and endangered San Joaquin kit foxes and northern spotted owls.

San Joaquin kit fox photo courtesy USFWS. Photos are available for media use.

"California has taken an important step to reduce the senseless poisoning of wildlife," said Jonathan Evans, toxics and endangered species campaign director at the Center for Biological Diversity. "But there's no need to leave the 'worst of the worst' poisons on the market, because safe, cost-effective options are readily available that don't indiscriminately kill wildlife."

The order from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation targets products sold to the general public in retail outlets and limits Promotional Code-toxic rodenticide use beyond 50 feet of manmade structures. But it does not ban the worst poisons themselves. Super-toxic poisons - called second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides - will still be available for widespread use by licensed commercial and agricultural pest-control operators.

"We applaud California for taking the lead in getting these products off the market," said Greg Loarie, an attorney at Earthjustice. "Our goal is to make we sure that we get to finish line of zero use."

California's action follows steps at the national level. The Environmental Protection Agency is taking action to ban hazardous d-CON rat and mouse poisons nationwide after d-CON refused to remove super-toxic rodenticides from the residential market. The maker of d-CON rat poison - Reckitt Benckiser - has continually fought attempts by the EPA to limit accidental poisonings through increased regulation of these poisons.

"We commend the state of California for taking action to protect kids, pets, raptors and other wildlife," said Cynthia Palmer, pesticides program manager at American Bird Conservancy. "It is time for the d-CON company to put children's health and animal welfare above corporate profits and to follow the rules like every other rat-poison manufacturer."

Safe alternatives to rat poison can be used to address rodent outbreaks in homes and rural areas. Effective measures include rodent-proofing of homes and farms by sealing cracks and crevices and eliminating food sources; providing owl boxes to encourage natural predation; and utilizing traps that don't involve these highly toxic chemicals. For more information visit SafeRodentControl.org.

Anticoagulant rodenticides interfere with blood clotting, resulting in uncontrollable bleeding that leads to death. Second-generation anticoagulants - including the compounds brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difethialone and difenacoum - are especially hazardous and persist for a long time in body tissues. These slow-acting poisons are often eaten for several days by rats and mice, causing the toxins to accumulate at many times the lethal dose in their tissues and poisoning predators that eat the weakened rodents.

Studies have documented second-generation anticoagulants in more than 70 percent of wildlife tested, including eagles, hawks, owls, foxes, bobcats and mountain lions. Even in remote areas, research has revealed unacceptably high levels of poison in an endangered forest predator, the Pacific fisher, 75 percent of which, in the sampled population, tested positive for rodenticide contamination.

California's move to ban consumer use of super-toxic rat poisons comes after increasing pressure from the public and state wildlife officials. The Center for Biological Diversity threatened to sue the California Department of Pesticide Regulation because of the poisoning of endangered wildlife and a coalition of 70 conservation, environmental justice, public health, worker's rights and sustainable farming groups joined more than 11,000 Californians in submitting comments urging the state to ban super-toxic rat and mouse poisons. In 2011 the California Department of Fish and Wildlife urged its sister agency, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, to restrict use to licensed applicators.

Click here to learn more about the dangers of rodenticides.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 675,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.Earthjustice is a nonprofit environmental law firm dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth, and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment. We bring about far-reaching change by enforcing and strengthening environmental laws on behalf of hundreds of organizations and communities.

American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit membership organization whose mission is to conserve native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. ABC acts by safeguarding the rarest species, conserving and restoring habitats, and reducing threats, while building capacity in the bird conservation movement.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Restaurant Owner Warns Customers Not to Buy 'Fake' Coupon

Garnett's Cafe owner Kendra Feather is warning her customers not to buy, or try to use, an unauthorized Amazon Deal/offer/garnetts-cafe-enjoy-one-free-menu-item-when-a-second-menu-item-of-equal-or-greater-value-is-purchased/OFO0000001JDLRL745453RV7?offerDistance=1.85#.UzCQH85QH6U">Entertainment book coupon for her restaurant.

You remember Entertainment Books, Richmond. It's that massive book of Buy One Get Ones Free (and other deals) coupon book that your mother invariably picked up somewhere and spent the rest of the year trying to force-feed you discount yogurt to justify the purchase.

It's the Groupon of yesteryear - and apparently at least one of the coupons in the 2014 edition is invalid.

Feather became aware of the issue a few weeks ago, when a customer brought in a Buy One Get One Free coupon from the website.

Feather contacted the company, alerted them to the mistake and told them she would not honor the coupon.

A representative from Entertainment said they had a signed contract on file and if Feather did not honor the coupon, they would "contact their legal department," Feather said.

They sent Feather a copy of the contract and there was one tiny mistake... it was signed by and made with "Candra Sether" - not Kendra Feather.

Adam Basinger, regional vice president for Entertainment, said the company is currently investigating the issue and is "mortified" by the mistake.

Basinger said the 2014 books won't print for another three months and that the Garnett's coupon was only on the website. He said it's being removed while they look into it.

Basinger also said that should the mistake turn out to be a fraudulent contract, the sales rep who did it will be terminated and he will fly to Richmond to personally apologize to Feather.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Why I love "The Good Wife"


Watching The Good Wife legal thriller on CBS is one of my guilty pleasures. I got sucked into the drama and fashion five years ago. This week's new episode is one of my favorite, yet.

Actress Julianna Marguiles portrays the star character Alicia Florrick. The media (in the show) refer to her as Saint Alicia since she stands by her man after a public sex scandal episode guide. In a flashback on Sunday, she describes herself to heart throb Will as a "Wife, mother, and disgraced spouse."

Alicia moved her family out of their North Shore home when her husband served time in jail for prostitution. Chris Noth or "Mr. Big" from Sex in the City is cast as her husband. She rents an amazing space in Lincoln Park/Old Town. I wish my wardrobe looked like hers!

Although I'm very grateful to not have my own legal or romantic drama, I ride the roller coaster with The Guide Wife every episode. Even though I continued my career after our sons were born, I empathize with the challenges she faces after opting-out of the work force.

Alicia did not practice law for over ten years when she took care of her children full-time. When she returned to law, she had to toughen up to help support her family after her husband ascended the local political latter. She tries the impossible act of balancing it all.

She's reunited with an old law school romance, Will Gardner, played by Josh Charles. She breaks through her law firm's glass ceiling to partner in four years as a working mom. It's exciting to now see Alicia start her own firm, which parallels what many are doing in today's tough market.

Alicia spoke in Sunday's episode about "Opting Out" to a large audience. She shared how she unintentionally tried to talk her potential employer out of hiring her. That's naturally not something that interests those in a different place, which prompted many to leave during her speech. That magnified how women's issues are not supported.

The speech advises other women not to feel entitled. She cautions that they will be he held to a higher standard. Women must be prepared to work harder to prove themselves.

Alicia still impressed potential clients. She honestly answers a million dollar question after a few drinks.

Q: "What do you want?"

Alicia: "To be happy and control my fate."

Sigh, if only it were that easy, but cheers to that honest and philosophical answer.

The Good Wife scores more points for staging last week's episode around the American Bar Association (my employer) and their Annual Meeting. It realistically depicts a bar association event down to the name tags and fact that the audience wants to hear personal stories. I also loved the digital evidence issue.

What do you think makes a good wife? My only wish for this show is to see more Chicago footage...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

How to Dress for Less This Spring

You can find this season's trends for less.

You can stock up your spring wardrobe even on a budget.

With spring just around the corner, it's time to shed coats and bulky sweaters in favor of warm weather styles. However, there's no need to take a hit to your bank account to update your wardrobe with new spring fashion pieces. Stay frugally fashionable with these five budget-friendly tips:

Stay focused. Get ready to see a myriad of new trends in colors, patterns and styles with the upcoming spring fashion season. It can all be overwhelming and you might feel the pressure to buy something to satisfy each trend. You don't. Hone in on one that you love (or two if the budget allows) to compile your shopping list. This will help keep your spending focused and you won't rack up extra expenses with impulsive purchases. Can't decide which trends you like best? I use Pinterest to seek out inspiration and to organize my favorite fashion images in one place. When I'm done pinning, I can go back and easily see what I'm gravitating to the most.

Think small. So you've become mesmerized with the "it" color of the season. Take things slow and incorporate it into your wardrobe by opting for more affordable small accessories. They can help spruce up basic items already in your closet like jeans and T-shirts and keep you on-trend. A scarf, earrings or even nail polish will let you try things out with requiring a huge financial investment. And if you decide it doesn't work for you, it'll be easy to move on without the guilt of having spent too much money.

Be social. Follow the social media accounts of your favorite brands. Many are now using Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram to offer early access to sales or exclusive discounts to their fans. Be sure to sign up for their email as well to be alerted of upcoming sales and events. You may even be incentivized to sign up with a discount offer or free shipping on your next purchase.

Shop local. Don't forget to check out your local thrift stores, consignment shops and boutiques. Not only do you get to support a local business (or even a charity) in your community, but they can also be a great option for fashion savings. It never hurts to strike up a conversation with the owner or sales associate. Tell them what you're looking for and don't be shy to tell them your budget or ask for a discount. Like any other retailer, they're looking to clear inventory and gain your loyalty. I've been told of upcoming sales, offered unadvertised discounts and even had items held aside to give me first dibs.

Look for online discounts. Online shopping has grown tremendously popular over the past few years, resulting in great opportunities to find fashion deals. Visiting flash sales sites can help you score major savings. These sites offer merchandise at deeply discounted prices. But as the name implies, sales last for a short period of time and items offered are limited in quantity, so you'll need to act fast. This is where having a focused shopping list comes in handy! Coupon codes, entered in the Online Deals box upon checkout, can also provide extra savings for online purchases.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Freebie Alert: Charming and Challenging Platformer 'Mutant Mudds' Currently Free

<Promotional Codesp>One of my very favorite platformers, Renegade Kid's Mutant Mudds [ Free], is currently free on the App Store. Originally released on the Nintendo 3DS in January of 2012, Mutant Mudds made its debut on the App Store in December of that same year, and proved to be quite a hit. It's more of a slow-paced action platformer, as you'll need to take your time and make precise jumps in order to get past the many enemies in the game. It's very challenging, but also very satisfying. There's a hint of Metroidvania in it too, as you'll slowly unlock and upgrade new weapons and abilities that allow you to revisit previous levels and gain access to new areas. Finally, one of its key elements is the ability to jump in-between three levels of depth in the environment. There's a normal middle plane, a farther away plane in the background, and even an extreme close-up foreground plane. It's a neat effect, but it also ties into much of the puzzling and exploring in Mutant Mudds.

Being a game built for a platform like the 3DS, Mutant Mudds often demands precision, but thankfully everything holds up quite well on the touchscreen. As I mentioned, it's the kind of game where you'll really want to take your time and think about your actions, though levels are timed so you can speed run them if you feel so inclined. It's just an all-around great platformer filled with tons of levels to complete and plenty of little secrets to discover. Being that it's currently free, it shouldn't take much convincing to get you to download and try it, but you could always consult our full review of Mutant Mudds if you want more insight.

Boston fire department promotes its first black deputy chief in history - The Boston Globe

Amid fanfare at a ceremony at Boston Fire Department headquarters in Roxbury, officials named an African-American Monday as deputy chief for the first time in the department's 300-year history.

Andre Stallworth, 44, of Bellingham, a popular department veteran who spent spare time poring over books on firefighting, was promoted from district chief to one of the department's highest ranks.

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Stallworth aced the competitive civil service promotion exam, beating out other candidates, officials said. He celebrated with his wife, parents, and two of his three children and said the promotion is an important step.

"I'm grateful to stand on the shoulders of those who came before me,'' Stallworth said in a phone interview after the ceremony. "I know a lot of people made it possible for me to be here, who paved the way for me."

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Acting Fire Commissioner John Hasson hailed the promotion as a great day for the department. Hasson praised Stallworth for his hard work, dedication, and years of study.

"It shows that the department offers an opportunity for everybody,'' Hasson said. "It shows that with hard work and dedication you can get to any grade you want."

In his new role, Stallworth will serve as fire marshal and head the department's fire prevention division. Based at 1010 Massachusetts Ave., he will oversee code enforcement, permitting, education, and inspection.

"It's tremendous,'' said Lieutenant Rayshawn Johnson, president of the Boston Society of Vulcans, which advocates for the recruitment, retention, and promotion of black firefighters. "This lets some of these younger firefighters know that they can aspire to be a deputy on the job."

Stallworth, a 23-year veteran of the force, grew up in Roxbury and went to the James P. Timilty Middle School, which has a storied reputation of honing young black boys. He was raised in Roxbury near Columbus Avenue. "You learned to keep your head down and your nose to the grind,'' he said.

He knew early that he wanted a way up to something better, he said. After graduating from high school in Charlestown, he joined the Army Reserve and then the Fire Department in 1991, getting his start in firefighting at Grove Hall's Ladder 23, one of the busiest fire houses in the city.

During his two decades in the department, Stallworth built a reputation as a team builder, a hard worker, and a person who never gives up.

"He always had his head in the books,'' said Richard F. Paris, president of Boston Firefighters Local 718, who has known Stallworth since 1991.

Stallworth said he took nine civil service Coupon exams to climb through the ranks and was successful in four. He moved up from lieutenant to captain to district chief and now deputy chief.

He would go to a local McDonald's or Dunkin' Donuts to read books on hydraulics, fire science, building construction, and state general laws.

"People said it's so noisy; how can you study there?'' said Stallworth. "But it was the interruption that helped me."

He got joy from walking into an exam room knowing he could compete and eventually beat the other test-takers, he said. "Where other people study for such things like power, I studied for the joy of the competition,'' he said. "I studied because I liked it."

Paris, the union chief, said the strain of studying can be a deterrent, and many people quit because it is tough. But Stallworth stuck with it.

"He earned it,'' Parish said of the promotion. "He studied hard. It wasn't given to him."

Stallworth's promotion comes six days after Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced his administration is launching a national search for a new fire commissioner and as the Society of Vulcans begins its push to help increase the pool of new minority candidates.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Gear - Price and Specs Comparison

Released in September 2013, the Note 3 and Gear remains the newest member of the popular Galaxy Note series.

The Note 3 brought in several new features to the Note lineup of smartphones such as S Pen, and pop up Apps. Due to popularity of the Note3, its successor Note 4 has garnered attention of all Smartphone enthusiasts and has become one of the much talked about device in the market. Samsung has not revealed any specifications for Note 4 but many leading technology magazines have published possible specifications of the device based on insiders leak. Let's compare the specifications of Note 3 and Gear and the upcoming Note 4.


The Note 3 has display of 5.7 inches with high pixel density at 386 pixels per inch. The Super AMOLED display is capable of delivering a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels and can produce more than 16 million colors. The display in Note 3 is protected by Gorilla Glass from Corning. The Note 4 will more likely have a bigger display. If insider's leaks are to be believed, the Note 4 display will be 2 inches bigger than its predecessor.

Processor and Memory

The Note 3 is powered by a quad core microprocessor with clock frequency of 1.9 GHz and a discrete GPU, Adreno 330 running at a clock speed of 578 MHz. The device is equipped with 3GB RAM and minimum 16GB internal storage. Note 3 have three variants having different internal storage capacities such as 16GB, 32 GB and 64GB. Samsung is working on development of microprocessors based on 64-bit architecture and Note 4 might be the first device to have that technology. The Note 4 is more likely to have 4GB or more RAM.

Operating System

Note 3 runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean OS. With new KitKat Android readily available and Note 4 likely release date before September 2014, the device will have the latest KitKat Android OS.


The Note 3 has a rear 13MP camera with LED flash and front 2MP camera. The Note 4 might get a camera boost and the device might have a 20MP rear camera with several photo enhancement technologies.


Stylus is one of the impressive features of Note 3 and its successor might have a better Stylus and improved handwriting recognition capabilities. The Note 4 will be able to recognize scrawls drawn on the screen by user. This is an improvement as until now, the handwriting recognition feature was only able to read common words drawn on the screen.


The Note 3 and Gear features a 3200 mAh battery which gives a talk time of 21 hours on 3G networks. The Note 4 will have much battery power as it will be fitted with 3600-3800 mAh battery that will give longer talk time and extended audio and video playback time in comparison to Note 3.

Best Offer

The Galaxy Note 3 + Gear are available at $299 in 2-year contract with leading cellular companies. The price of Note 3 at Amazon is in the range of $630- $650. The price of Note 4 will be slightly higher than Note 3.