Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have so much to be thankful for this year. I am feeling much better than I was a few months ago thanks to some pain medicine. Many of you know that I have arthritis in my shoulder and that it limits my movement. Thanks to my good doctor, I can now run around the house and the yard.

I am still working on my weight problems and am following a strict diet. I have a long way to go, but I am feeling better with the small amount of weight that I have loss and I cannot wait until I can see my svelte body again. I am thankful that I finally on the right track.

I am thankful for all my friends, those I have met in person and those that I know through this blog. My buddies Tony and Fred are the best ever. I can always count on them to cheer me up when I am down. Mom's zoo buddies Sashi and Zina are so sweet. They send me cute emails that crack me up. All my aunts, uncles, and cousins shower me with kisses whenever they see me. What more could a pug ask for? I feel especially lucky to have so many little canine friends in my neighborhood. I often get together with these guys to play and I have a great time.

Lastly, I am, as always, grateful for my wonderful parents. I have the best parents of all time. They take such good care of me and love me unconditionally. Despite my strange habits, they keep me around and for that I am forever grateful.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Top 7 Worst Environmental Problems

Some days there is good news and other days there is bad news. In the face of bad news, please remember that all of us are in this together and that collectively we can change bad into good.

Earth First has a great article about 7 environmental problems that are worse than we thought. I know that we are always hearing about the problems of the world and that many of these problems get a lot of press, but they need to be taken seriously now more than ever. There are many things each and every one of us can do to stop the destruction of our natural resources. The 7 problems are:

7. Mammal extinction - One in four mammals are threatened with extinction. What? This hits very close to home because I am a mammal. Pugs are not threatened with extinction yet, but you just never know what the future holds. The passenger pigeon was once the most numerous bird in the United States with billions of birds flying through the skies every day. Almost one hundred years ago the last passenger pigeon died. It took less than a generation to kill all of the passenger pigeons, so please don't let history ever repeat itself with animal extinctions.

6. The ocean dead zones - There are ocean dead zones all over the globe. Some people use the oceans as their personal dumping zone and that is a huge problem, but the dead zones could literally mean the death of everything we know (and even things we don't know) in the oceans. Most people don't even realize what causes the dead zones. We are all responsible for the cause of them but we can stop continue loss.

5. Collapsing fish stock - Many people around the globe depend on fish for part of their diet. Fish caught sustainably is one thing, but most fish that is caught is caught in the most destructive of ways. Long lines, nets, senseless killing, bycatch, etc., the list just goes on and on. The only really solution to this problem is to stop eating fish. Period. As I've said before, please leave my little ocean buddies alone.

4. Destruction of the rain forest - We hear about this problem on a daily basis, but what effect does it have on us? There is not enough space on this post for me to list everything as there are so many things that the rain forest gives us, both directly and indirectly. Some people believe that life on Earth will end when all the rain forests are gone. This is serious business.

3. Polar sea ice loss - The ice is melting faster than predicted and it is not slowing down. We are not just talking about polar bears (who are mammals) and other animals that depend on the polar seas for their food, but this problem affects everyone on Earth. If sea levels rise just a little, entire populations will be displaced. There are actions we can take to stop this loss, but we must act fast.

2. CO2 levels in the atmosphere - This is something that really affects most of the problems listed above. Rising CO2 levels are responsible for most of the destruction that we see each day. Many people are taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint, so thank you and keep up the good work. The rest of the world needs to be educated about steps they can take to ensure that things don't get any worse than they currently are, so please spread the word.

1. Population explosion - Some say that this is the biggest environmental problem of all. The numbers simply do not lie. When you read about the 6.5 billion humans that walk this planet, you realize that Earth does not have enough resource for all these people. This population explosion must slow down so that we can change our practices to ensure that there will be an Earth for future generations. I know there are people who feel that this is not a problem in the U.S. but like I've said before, we are all in this together.

Please read the full article at and look for ways that you can be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Shop To Help - Fire Truck Restoration

Our village, Mundelein, is celebrating its 100th anniversary next year. Everyone is very excited about all the festivities that the village is currently planning, and my good buddy Carl is even on the planning committee. We love living here and the sense of community we feel is the best part of all.

As part of the anniversary celebration, the village is restoring their original fire truck. It is a 1925 Stoughton that was about to be turned into scrap metal before it was saved and sold back to the village. The cost to restore the truck will be around $60,000 of which $2,300 has already been raised. The village plans to unveil the truck at a public celebration in October 2009.
In addition to being a part of village history, the truck will also be used at events, parades, and will serve as a great educational tool for fire safety.

Everyone in our community always comes together to help one another and this is where you come in. There is a nearly effortless way that you can help, but you have to act fast.

For nine days in December, Jewel-Osco customers can present special Shop & Share coupons when they're checking out to have 5% of the value of their total purchases donated to the village's fire truck restoration project. Simply get the coupons at the village hall or at the village website

The shopping days are December 1-3, 8-10, and 15-17. This is the easiest fundraiser ever. You have to shop, so why not help out the village in the process? I look forward to see the restored fire truck and maybe even pretending that I am the village fire dog. I know that I am not a dalmatian, but I am sure that pugs make excellent fire dogs. Anyone that knows me knows that I love fire hydrants. Maybe I will start a new trend.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Local Harvest

Now that the weather has gotten cold, Mom is starting to make plans for spring. Spring? It's still fall. Mom is such a planner, but this time I think she is really on to something.

Local Harvest is America's #1 organic and local food website. Their website is portal for small farms and farmers makets. You can search their site to find products from small farms and farmers markets which are local sources of sustainably grown food. By purchasing food this way, you establish direct contact with small farms in your area and eat as a "localvore". You help the environment as well as your body because most of the food grown is organic. There is also an online store where you can help small farms develop markets for some of their products beyond their local area. This site really gives you the best of both worlds.

Okay, so now back to Mom. What exactly is she planning for spring? Many farms offer produce subscriptions, where buyers receive a weekly or monthly basket of produce, flowers, fruits, eggs, milk, meats, etc. This Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is another great way to eat as a "localvore". This is how it works: Mom (really Dad) will make a financial commitment to a farm, thus they will become "members" of the CSA. They will probably be asked to pay for the growing season up front and maybe even work a small number of hours on the farm. Doesn't this sound great? I will also benefit from this great food, because you know how much I love eggs and meat. I would even be willing to help out on the farm if they need me, maybe as a taste tester.

Check out and start making your own plans for spring. Their online store has lots of great items for gift giving, so shop early for the holiday season. See you on the farm!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Toronto Zoo + Poop = Energy

Mom is a little under the weather today. What exactly does that mean anyway? I always hear mom say it so now I am saying it but I don't even know what it means! Anyway, with mom in bed, I have the computer all to myself and I couldn't be happier.

I could not believe what I heard mom telling me yesterday. She said that the Toronto Zoo (never been there) wants to turn animal poop into energy. What? I wish mom hadn't read about this because now she'll want to look into doing this at home.

The Toronto Zoo has a collection of more than 5,000 animals and with that many animals you have a lot of poop. They are proposing to build a plant that would convert animal and food waste into biogas using bacteria. The poop just goes to waste these days, but due to the current need to find alternative energy sources, poop may just fit the bill. The biogas would be used to power the zoo and surrounding community. Mom thinks this is a great idea, but I wonder if it smells..

The more I think about this, the more I think that it is a good idea. Mom should suggest building a plant like this at her zoo. They are always looking for ways to be more green and what is more green than poop? The only problem would be the cost: the plant at the Toronto Zoo would cost an estimated $13 million. This is probably in Canadian dollars, so it would be less expensive here in the U.S.

Hey, I've got an even better idea. Mom should suggest this to her friends at the Caretta Research Project. They could build a small plant on Wassaw Island (never been there either) so that their cabins could have electricity. Mom and Carole could hike all over the island looking for poop instead of hanging out at the beach all day! I'm sure that mom and Carole wouldn't mind doing this because it is for the turtles of course. I am going to mention this to mom when she is on top of the weather!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday Wag Out!

Chalkboard Tees

These are so cool! Mom loves chalkboards so much that we have a half wall size one in the kitchen. Mom puts her grocery list on it, appointments, and even my medicine schedule. When she found these t-shirts she knew she had to have one.
These awesome chalkboard t-shirts are a must have for you creative types. Simply pick from one of seven designs and scribble away. Your t-shirt will be your own walking advertisement! What a great way to express yourself and show the world what you believe in. Each shirt comes with chalk, so out of the box it is ready to go. you want. And the t-shirts are even machine washable - what a plus! Get yours today at

Funny Little Dog

Mom is always calling me a funny little dog and sometimes I wonder if it is a compliment. So what is a dog to do when he is called a name he does not like? Talk to the paw baby! Mom hates when I tell her this, but hey, someone has to shut her up. You can imagine the look on her face when I told her that I was going to feature these cool t-shirts from the Funny Little Dog Company. What could she say? Nothing of course, because like the back of the t-shirt says "'cause the ears ain't listening". Hilarious! What a crack up! Get one of these for all your human friends who have dogs with selective hearing today at

Retro President

Mom is happy that the presidential election is over, but some of my friends would like it to go on forever. If you are a political junkie, but you are unhappy about the results of this years election, check out the neat t-shirts at Retro President. They have reproduction logos from past presidential campaigns like this funny one from Bob Dole. There are so many to choose from that you may find yourself cheering for a different campaign every day. Show your support for a past winner or loser at

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Giving Thanks

Everyone has something to be thankful for, so why not share your story with others? The Daily Herald is giving everyone the chance to tell the world what they are thankful for by simply sending an e-mail to Put the words "Giving Thanks" in the subject line and send your e-mail by 5 pm Friday, November 21. You can even attach a photo if you'd like. All the stories will be printed in a special Thanksgiving edition of the Neighbor section on Thursday, November 27.

I have so much to be thankful for that I am busy working on my e-mail right now. Look for my story and I will read all of yours. Mom has so much to be thankful for that she may need an entire page.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Adopt Stubby!

No, not me silly. I don't need to be adopted. Mom would never put me up for adoption - who would she cuddle with at night?

I always thought that I was the only Stubby in the world, but leave it to mom to find another Stubby. This new Stubby is not a replacement for me, but think of him as a long, lost brother.

Stubby is a Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas). That's right. My namesake is a sea turtle. Big surprise, huh? Stubby lives at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida. He lost both front flippers due to entanglement in monofilament fishing line. What is mom always telling you about littering? See what happens when you don't dispose of fishing line properly? Poor little Stubby!

The people at the aquarium do not know how old Stubby is because he was found stranded on a beach in Florida on May 9, 2001. Stubby is unable to submerge and swim properly, so he cannot feed himself. Lucky for him the nice staff and volunteers hand feed him. Stubby eats vegetables, but the rest of his food, squid and capelin, sound yucky to me. I will stick with my Bill Jack, Popeyes, McRibs, bacon, and scrambled eggs. Just kidding. Due to my new dietary restrictions (thanks mom!), I am only fed Bill Jack. If I really ate all that food I would weigh as much as Stubby - 90 pounds.

Due to his inability to feed himself, Stubby is a permanent resident at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. He lives in the Upper Mangrove exhibit, a 10,000 gallon shallow pool that he shares with Molly, a Kemp’s Ridley who lost her left front flipper to a shark attack. Yikes! What a tough chick she is. She was also missing her left rear flipper upon arriving there, so she is permanent resident.

Stubby would not have a home if it weren't for the great people at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. According to their website, their mission is to restore and preserve our marine environment. They accomplish their mission through leadership in education, research, and the rescue, rehabilitation, & release of marine life. This is just what mom is always talking about. Educating people about marine life is critical to conservation efforts. Research is moms first love and she would literally pay to participate in rescue efforts. She would probably even work there if we lived down in Clearwater. You know how much she loves sea turtles and dad would love for her to get a full time job.

If you are in the Clearwater area, stop by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to visit Stubby. If you cannot get to Clearwater, you can always visit him virtually at And of course, he is available for adoption. His adoption fee is $40.00 which is a small price to pay to ensure that this little guy lives a nice long life, educating visits about the plight of sea turtles. He is a really good looking guy (but not as cute as me) and I hope that I can visit him in person someday.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wesley the Owl

You guys all know what a crazy bird person mom is. She is always looking for birds, whether she is driving down the street (she saw 3 swans in the pond on her way to work last week) or taking me for a walk (there was a small flock of sandhill cranes calling today), she always has her eyes peeled to the sky and trees, and her ears expertly tuned to the sound of birds.

When she saw this book last week, she knew that she had to read it. Wesley the Owl, is the heartwarming story of an barn owl and the woman whom he would come to know as mom. Stacey O'Brien is a biologist who adopts Wesley when he is four days old. Four days old? I was 10 weeks old when mom and dad adopted me. I was still with my biological mom, brothers, and sisters when I was four days old. I couldn't imagine being orphaned at that age

Stacey raises Wesley and they remained companions until Wesley's death at 19. Stacey teaches Wesley everything and as she says "He was my teacher, my companion, my child, my playmate, my reminder of God." This great story of a woman's love for an owl will touch everyones heart, and even though it is a memoir, it has great information about owl biology.

Mom is loving this book and recommends it to everyone, even non birders. Wesley will make you scan the sky for owls every time you take your pug for a walk.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Massive Prairie Planting

Something very exciting is happening next weekend and if you have the time, it would be worth your time to participate.

A massive planting will take place next Saturday (November 22) from 9am to noon and 1pm to 4pm at the Headwaters Forest Preserve, just south of Barrington Hills in Cook County. No experience is needed - just show up and they will put you to work!

So what will you be doing? First of all, you will be working in a group. Your group will be given buckets mixed with soil and seeds. After you walk about a half mile along the preserve, you will take handfuls of seeds and soils and disperse them in the wind. I bet some of you didn't even know that wind dispersal was a method of planting. Not all plants that start from seed are planting in the group by people. Many seeds are dispersed by birds, mammals, or reptiles. Some seeds even travel through water (rivers, streams, and even oceans), eventually finding their way to land where they are planted.

This massive planting effort is part of an almost 4,000 acre restoration project at the forest preserve. Volunteers will disperse more than 120 plant species across 160 acres of former corn and soybean fields.

This project is possible due to the efforts of the Spring Creek Stewards. According to their website, their mission is to restore the ecological health of the Spring Creek Forest Preserves and to increase public awareness, participation and appreciation of the preserves. The work that they have done has not gone unnoticed: Two vanished species of rare grassland birds have already returned. They have also cleaned up an area that had been neglected for years due to illegal dumping. These guys are really making a difference.

If you already have plans for next Saturday and cannot join in the massive planting, check out the Spring Creek Stewards website at for future projects. If you are free next Saturday and want to help, then put on your long johns, grab your gloves, don a hat and mom will see you out there!

Monday, November 10, 2008

11 Year Old's Last Wish

Mom and I were eating lunch today when a story came on the news about a little boy in Lynnwood, Washington that has leukemia. This story touched mom so much that she asked me to share with it everyone.

Doctors gave 11-year-old Brenden Foster two weeks to live because he cannot have anymore chemo or transfusions. Those two weeks were up last Wednesday, but last Friday, he shared his last wish - to feed the homeless. This little boy, whose life should just be beginning, who knows that he is going to die any day now, is so selfless. He feels the need to do something for someone else, despite the fact that nothing can be done for him.

As Brenden was coming back from an appointment, his mother drove past a homeless camp. He thought that there must be something he could do for them, but he cannot feed them himself since he has been bedridden since last December. To fulfill his wish, a group planned to feed the homeless in his honor.

Brenden has one more wish for the afterlife: become an angel who accomplishes even more in heaven than he did on Earth.

You must watch the video of Brenden. He is truly a special little boy. I know that God has other plans for him, bigger things for him to accomplish in Heaven. Brenden is already an angel and an inspiration to everyone who meets him or watches the video of him. Everything happens for a reason, even if we don't know what the reason is. Please learn from Brenden to live each day with joy, for each day is a gift that you are not guaranteed.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Let's Say Thanks

My good buddy Fred emailed mom about this great idea. Fred was in the Army during the Vietnam War, so he keeps us in check when it comes to supporting our troops.

Let's Say Thanks is a program sponsored by Xerox. Log on to the website at and you can send a free printed postcard to U.S. military personnel who are stationed overseas. What a great way to say thanks for all the sacrifices these men and women make each and everyday. Even if you are not in favor of the war, we all must support our troops.

The process is really easy to do. Click one of over 40 postcard designs that were created by school kids. You then either select a message or create your own message. Your postcard is then printed by Xerox and mailed in care packages by military support organization Give2TheTroops. Though you cannot send your postcard to a specific person, Give2TheTroops assures us that your postcard will be delivered to a member of the military. Since the program started, more than 12,000 postcards have been mailed to soldiers.

Please take a moment to send a message of thanks to our troops. I only wish I could send them a picture of me in my 4th of July garb to show them how truly patriotic I am. I cannot join the military (because of my age), but I can support those you have chosen to fight for our freedom.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Zoo Babies

Who doesn't love baby animals? Mom found this great website called ZooBorns and it has photos of the newest and cutest animal babies from zoos and aquariums around the world.

The entry for today features a polar bear cub from a zoo in Germany. This little guy is very cute and he looks very cuddly, but everyone knows that polar bears are one of the most dangerous mammals in the world. In fact, polar bears are the only animals at the zoo that mom is afraid of. Yep, you read that right.

You can search the ZooBorns site by animal or by zoo & aquarium. There is even an entry for the new orangutan baby that is now on exhibit at Brookfield Zoo. Mom loves her sea turtle hatchlings but even she has to admit that there is nothing cuter than an orangutan baby (except for a pug puppy). I was the cutest little thing ever, all small and sweet, with my little baby boy button ears, soft fur, and cute curly tail. But I digress. This post is not about me. It is about zoo babies, of which I am not one.

The only problem mom has with this website is that there are no entries for her zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo. What? No entries? They have plenty of babies over there. Why aren't their babies in the spotlight? Mom is going to email the website owner and get to the bottom of this.

Get your zoo baby fix at

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wednesday Wag Out!

President Obama!

How great does that sound? Mom bought this Obama bobblehead for dad yesterday. Was she so sure that Obama was going to win or did she just like the message Obama has to say? When this 6-inch plastic bobblehead nods it says "Yes, we can!" Not only is this the message of our new president, but it is also the message of hope. After this historic election, let no one say that they cannot do something. Obama has shown that anything is possible. Mom is going to nod Obama's head and make dad listen to the message every time dad does not think that something can be done. Dad will say "We can't go on vacation." and Obama will nod his head and say "Yes, we can!" Dad cannot argue with Obama so mom is sure to win her way from now on. Get your bobblehead and get your way at

Flipper Toothbrush Holder

Mom loves these things. I don't know why a grown-up needs a toothbrush holder but mom tells me that just because she isn't a child doesn't mean that she can't have things meant for children.
The Flipper comes in 28 different styles. As you can see, mom likes the dog Flippers, but do you see a problem with them? There's no pug! How could they? Pugs are very popular dogs.
Okay, I am over it now. The Flipper has a suction cup on the back of it that sticks to your bathroom mirror or tile. Open the Flipper down the middle, stick your toothbrush in, and watch the Flipper automatically close on its own. The best thing about the Flipper is that it protects your toothbrush from bacteria. Get your non-pug Flipper at

Bubble Scrubber

Mom doesn't wash as many dishes as she used to because we have a dishwasher, but some items must be hand washed. Instead of using a boring old sponge to wash dishes, why not using something fun? The Bubble Scrubber is a dishwashing brush with a bubble wand cleverly hidden right inside the bristles. You can blow bubbles while you wash your dishes! I used to love bubbles when I was young. Mom would take me in the backyard, blow bubbles in my face and I would bite them. I would also chase the bubbles around the yard. Once mom gets her Bubble Scrubber I am sure she will blow bubbles all around the kitchen. Get your Bubble Scrubber so you can have your own bubble party at

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Today is Election Day

You know what to do! Get out and make sure your voice is heard!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Lake County Forest Preserves

Tomorrow is election day and besides voting for a new president, Lake County voters will be voting on the Forest Preserve Referendum. Voters will decide about future funding for Forest Preserve lands, habitats, trails and improvements. The referendum will provide $185 million to create new trails, restore lost wildlife habitats and improve public access to new and existing preserves.

Ask most people that you know and they will tell you that they are in favor of preserving open space, but some do want to pay for it. Because some older Forest Preserve bonds are being paid off in the coming year, approval of the Forest Preserve Referendum would not increase the property taxes that people pay to support their Forest Preserves. You read that right - no tax increase.

With approval, $185 million of bonds will be issued to replace the retiring bonds and the tax rate would decrease slightly (about $0.75 per $200,000 of a home’s market value).
Without approval, Forest Preserve property taxes would decrease by up to $24 per $200,000 of a home’s market value beginning in 2009 when some older bonds retire, but land purchases would stop and public access improvements would significantly slow down. I know that the economy is bad but $24 is such a small price to pay for new and improved Forest Preserve facilities.

But how will the money be used? About $148 million of the funds would be used to expand existing preserves and create new preserves, and about $37 million would be used to complete additional regional and preserve trails, restore more habitats for endangered wildlife and plants, improve educational, historical and cultural facilities, and renovate exisiting preserves and facilities.

More than 10,000 acres of priority lands are being evaluated for potential purchase and protection. Referendum funds would preserve up to 3,000 acres of these open spaces and natural areas.
Lake County residents who completed a survey earlier this year, stated that they wanted all the things the $37 million would fund.

Since voters overwhelmingly approved Forest preserve bonds in 1999 and 2000, the Forest Preserve has made good use of those funds: Nearly 6,000 acres, including 16 new preserves, have been protected; more than 50 miles of trail have been added; 10 more existing preserves were opened to public access; thousands of acres of wildlife habitat have been restored.

Following is the question that will appear on your ballot tomorrow:

Shall the Lake County Forest Preserve District, Lake County, Illinois borrow money and issue bonds to acquire and improve forest preserve lands in order to preserve and restore wildlife habitats, trail and greenway corridors, wetlands, prairies and forests; to provide flood control; and to create and improve public use areas for recreation, education and historic facilities in an amount not to exceed $185,000,000?

Lake County has some of the best forest preserves in the country. Get out and enjoy nature in any of the 26,800 acres available to you. Mom worked for the Forest Preserve over the summer and prior to that she regularly visited many of them. She has seen first hand the beauty in the forest preserves and the hard work that is being done to preserve species in danger. Through education and hard work, our forest preserves teach young and old alike to love and preserve nature.

Please vote YES for yourself, your neighbors, and for the future.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Too Toxic For The Trash?

There was a mobil collection event to drop off household chemical waste at our local train station yesterday. This event was held by SWALCO (the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County) and dad took a box full of stuff there. Dad said it was very cool how he just pulled in, opened the hatch of his car, and the guys in hazmet suits took the box out. This is so easy that there is no excuse not to dispose of toxic waste this way instead of throwing them in the regular garbage.

Household Chemical Waste (HCW) and household hazardous waste are terms used to describe the fairly common chemical products accumulated in a household from a variety of cleaning, painting, pest control and yard work activities. These types of products are a small but potentially problematic portion of the municipal solid waste stream. National studies estimate that HCW comprises less than 1% of the municipal solid waste stream. In Lake County, this equates to an estimated 2,500 tons disposed of in our landfills annually. That's a lot of toxic waste! Toxic waste that is disposed of improperly, i.e. "thrown in the garbage", ends up in landfills where it leaches into the air, soil, and water. This is bad for everyone, not just humans. This is also bad for you even if you don't live near a landfill because the food you eat may have come from somewhere near a landfill.

So what is a household chemical waste? First, look for the words "corrosive," "flammable," "explosive or reactive," and/or "toxic" somewhere on the product's packaging. These are the four major classifications of hazardous materials and they are detailed below:

Corrosive materials can dissolve or wear away materials and most can harm the skin and eyes. Flammable materials pose a serious threat of fire if stored improperly. Many of these items indicate, “Do not store near heat” or “Keep in cool, dry place.”
Explosive or reactive materials can explode when combined with other substances. They may also react violently in other ways, such as producing toxic gases. For example, when bleach and many dish detergents that contain chlorine bleach mix with ammonia, lye, or acids, the combination can produce toxic gases.
Toxic materials are those that, in sufficient quantities, pose a hazard to human health. They are sometimes identified with the symbol of a skull and crossbones. Most cupboards and closets are full of potentially toxic materials, from air fresheners and carpet deodorizers to mothballs and oven cleaners.

So what can you drop off at the collection site? Not everything that is toxic can be dropped off, since there are some items that require even more specialized collection.

Materials accepted at HCW collections:

Oil-based Paint
Unwanted Prescriptions, Medicines & Supplements
Motor Oil
Household Cleaners
Household Batteries (alkaline and rechargeable)
Garden / Lawn Chemicals
Pool Chemicals
Fluorescent Light Bulbs/CFLs
Old Gasoline
Metal Polishes
Paint Remover
Driveway Sealer
Drain Cleaner
Aerosol Products
Hobby Chemicals
Mercury (including thermometers and thermostats)

Materials not accepted at HCW collections:

Business / Institutional Wastes
Explosives / Ammunition
Fire Extinguishers
Lead-acid Batteries
Latex Paint
Agricultural Chemicals
Propane Tanks
Smoke Detectors
Medical Wastes
Household Electronics

Now that you know what you have to do to dispose of toxic chemicals, do it! If you live in Lake County, there are year-round collection events at SWALCO's permanent facility in Gurnee. There are also mobil events held at various locations throughout the county from April through November, like the one my dad went to. Either way, do the right thing - dispose of toxic waste responsibly. Mother Earth thanks you in advance for your cooperation.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

National Marrow Donor Program

Mom received a phone call a couple of months ago from a woman at Life Source. The woman called to inform mom that she might be a match for someone needing a bone marrow transplant.

There are 7 million potential bone marrow donors in the U.S. and mom has been one for four years. It all started with a blood drive for a co-worker's wife. The blood drive was held at the school their children attended. Mom initially was just going to donate blood but the registration person asked mom if she wanted to participate in the National Marrow Donor Program and mom said yes. Like I said that was four years ago and mom had never heard anything from them.

So why would someone need to donate bone marrow? Every year, thousands of adults and children need bone marrow transplants; a procedure which may be their only chance for survival. Although some patients with aplastic anemia, leukemia or other cancers have a genetically matched family member who can donate, about 70 percent do not. These patients’ lives depend on finding an unrelated individual with a compatible tissue type, often within their own ethnic group, who is willing to donate marrow.

On any given day, more than 6,000 men, women and children are searching the National Marrow Donor Program registry for a life-saving donor like mom. Once she was contacted as a potential match for a patient, she was asked if she was still interested in participating in the program. Mom said yes and was then asked some questions about her health history. At this point the patient's doctor needed additional blood from mom so that more testing could be done to determine if she was the best match. She was likely one of several people being tested and her chance of being selected at this point was about 1 in 12. Mom drove over to the Life Source branch in our area where she answered a 5 page questionnaire about her health history and then 5 bottles of blood were drawn. She was told that in 4-6 weeks she would either receive a phone call that she is a good match or she would receive a letter in a mail that a better match was found.

Last Saturday mom received a letter from Life Source saying that a better match was found. Mom is greatful that the person needing bone marrow had found someone that matched and was willing to donate. Not all people needing bone marrow transplants are this lucky. There is an ever growing needed for bone marrow donors even though there are already millions. If you are between the ages of 18-60 please consider joining the National Marrow Donor Program. Your heritage can make all the difference, so African American, American Indian, Asian, and Latino donors are urgently needed.

Even though mom was not a good match this time, she remains on the registry. She knows how important good health is and she never takes hers for granted. So get involved. For additional information on the program or to join the registry, go to You may one day save a life.