It’s a heatwave. Be careful out there.

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

Be strategic in following this advice compliments of Ray Daiutolo Sr., president of the camden County chapter of the New Jersey Baseball Umpires Association.

The Mayo Clinic provides the following safety tips to help keep the body cool while in the summer sun.  I realize that working a game may prevent us from following all of these suggestions but some of these are still practical:

  • Wear loose fitting clothing that’s both lightweight and light in color. Choose clothing that draws perspiration away from the skin, such as cotton T-shirts or shorts. Newer perspiration-wicking fabrics also are effective.
  • Drink plenty of water, and don’t wait until you are thirsty to take a drink. A humans’ thirst mechanism kicks in only after it is significantly depleted of fluids. If exercising heavily in hot weather, aim for two to four glasses of water – or 16 to 32 ounces – every hour.
  • Stay away from liquids that contain alcohol, caffeine or lots of sugar – these actually cause you to lose more fluid. Also, know that a drink that’s too cold might cause stomach cramps.
  • Don’t overdo it. Start slowly and increase your pace gradually.
  • Wear sunscreen. It’s harder for the body to keep sunburned skin cool. Consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat to keep the sun off the face and head. Sunscreen helps protect the skin from sunburn and keeps a person cooler too.
  • Know the signs of heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps.

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

Student gave back to others – Stories worth telling – Rowan’s Colette Bleistine

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

June 10, 2012

Written by
CHRISTINA MITCHELL
Courier-Post Staff


Colette Bleistine

Following is an excerpt from Christina Mitchell’s online feature, Lives Well Lived.

After Colette Bleistine died May 21 — spent from a lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis — several people told me I simply had to write about her.

In her 22 years, Colette was undiminished by a devastating disease. Her enthusiasm and refusal to give in to illness were not to be believed, they said. So it’s fitting to focus not on what took the college senior but what made her such a bright light. And I can’t say it any better than those who knew her.

Larry Litwin, Colette’s former professor and academic adviser at Rowan University, recalled when he first met the Washington Township native and transfer student:

With a firm handshake, the new student told me she was Colette Bleistine. … My immediate thought: I was looking at a TastyKake. … All the good things wrapped up in one.”

Harriet Reaves of Newark was among those who wrote seven pages of tributes attached to Colette’s online obituary:

I thank God that I had the fortune to meet and spend time with Colette. She left a legacy of giving, caring and selflessness and is an example we can all follow.

David Hackney, also a Rowan professor:

She made such a difference in the world in her short life. She would have made an even greater difference had she been granted the gift of time.

Colette’s mother, Nancee, put it simply when she alluded to her only child’s community spirit:

She used all her challenges to make the world better.

Colette once said her greatest reward was giving back to the community. “Paying it forward,” she said in a Web interview, “is the greatest feeling in the world.”

As Lincoln might have said, it is often “the better angels of our nature” that impacts others.

To that army of spirits, add Colette Bleistine.

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

Seen a bear in your neck of the woods?

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

Bears have been spotted in Burlington (Medford) and Camden (Waterford) Counties in New Jersey. What’s a person to do. Here is a “green info box from the Courier-Post and the N.J Department of Environmental Protection.

DEP BEAR RECOMMENDATIONS

• If you encounter a bear, try to remain calm. Never run from it. Instead, try to avoid eye contact and back away slowly.
• To scare the bear away, make loud noises by yelling, clapping your hands, or banging pots and pans. If you are going to be in known bear country, it would be a good idea to carry an airhorn.
• If a bear stands on its hind legs or moves closer, it may be trying to get a better view or detect scents in the air. It is usually not a threatening behavior.
• If a bear starts snapping its jaws and swatting the ground, these are warning signs that you are too close. Again, do not run. Slowly back away.
• If a bear enters your home, provide it with an escape route by propping all doors open.
• Black bear attacks are extremely rare, but if one does attack, fight back.
• Report any damage done by a bear or nuisance beahvior to the DEP’s 24-hour, toll-free hotline at (877) 927-6337.

 [To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

 

Eulogy for our Dear Colette Bleistine

Below is my eulogy for Rowan University public relations major Colette Bleistine. I am honored and humble that Nancee and George Bleistine asked that I speak at Colette’s funeral. [To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

Where do I start? Like all of you, I am heart broken and devastated – and have been for weeks. I am an optimist and continue to be – because our Colette is in a better place.

So…where do I start? How about at the beginning? My memory of meeting Colette is as vivid as if it were yesterday. As is my routine, I started that particular day going to my mailbox near our Advisement Coordinator’s office. There – like so many other students before and after her – was this beautiful, blonde, young lady with a contagious smile. Esther Mummert quickly told me we had a Star in our midst – a New Jersey Stars Scholar … to be exact. I soon discovered, I was in the presence of a super star.

With a firm handshake, the new student told me she was Colette Bleistine and was excited to be transferring into Rowan’s outstanding Public Relations program. My immediate thought: I was looking at a “TastyKake” [PAUSE] All the good things wrapped up in one.

Naturally, I told her … I’m available for anything she might need. And … as is the norm, Esther asked if I would take Colette on … as her academic advisor. I told her I would be honored.

During our first discussion, we discovered we had something in common. Colette graduated from Washington Township High School and I, too, am an alumnusof sorts. I was once public information director and told her I took blame for that darn high school building being as BIG as it is. As I chuckled, Collette flashed that incredible smile … that so often lit up every room she entered.

As we were selecting courses – Colette told me about her challenges and gave me an education about Cystic Fibrosis. As I quickly learned, she expected NO special treatment. I assured her we were all here for her and … whenever she needed treatments or had a doctor’s appointment …not to worry.

Let me take a moment to tell you something you already know. When it came to responsibility, Colette set the benchmark.

In one of my classes – Impact of Public Relations on the News – an intense, rigorous course … reserved only for the best… Colette had – shall I say – a bad couple of weeks – not once, but twice. BUT…and this is key…every assignment was completed on time … and both of her oral presentations were as good as any … ever. These were her grades for the 14 assignments we had in that class: Five A- minuses, Six A’s and … a rarity in my classes …YES, three A+’s. Can you imagine? … a final average of 94-point-eight …second best in the class by only one point … Can you imagine?

Not long ago, actress Sigourney Weaver was interviewed on “CBS Sunday Morning.” She was asked if she had advice for aspiring young performers … and Sigourney Weaver offered advice to everyone looking for that first job. Paraphrasing, she said, not only is it important that the icing on the cake or the package on the product be appealing and sizzling, but once you get below the icing or open the package, it should remind you of a fine steak. Our Colette was both … the sizzle and the steak.

I once asked Rowan’s former president, Dr. Donald Farish if there were anything that kept him awake at night and without hesitation he said, “The passing of a student.” He reminded me, students are our surrogate children. How right he is.

Using the words of my long-time friend and now colleague Professor David Hackney, “Colette certainly touched a lot of people at Rowan through her classes and her extracurricular work.

“She made such a difference in the world in her short life. She would have made an even greater difference had she been granted the gift of time.”

Just two weeks ago, Colette’s inspiration and enthusiasm were evident as she planned the PRSSA Graduation Dinner from her hospital bed. I got e-mails from her almost every day … and sometimes several a day … as she dotted every I and crossed every T. The dinner was flawless.

Back in 2002, PRSSA included among its TonyS, the Outstanding Student Awards, a “Most Courageous Student.” I know we all agree, this year, that Award goes to Colette.

Last night at the viewing we heard two words over and over that best described this extraordinary young woman – inspirational and exceptional. And, let’s add – totally amazing.

As her mother Nancee says: “She used all of her challenges to make the world better. G-d sent her into this world to be a light for him.”

Might I go so far as to say, G-d gave us all Colette to be the light for us. Quite a legacy.

For my wife Nancy and me … Colette will forever be … a Blessed memory.

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

 

Social media sites and applying for jobs — Beware

To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com

CareerBuilder’s Debra Auerbach gets into social media in Sunday’s (May 6, 2012) Courier-Post. She says, “Social media have changed the way we connect, learn and interact with one another.”

A new CareerBuilder study finds that 37 percent of companies surveyed use social networking sites to reserach job prospects. When asked which sites they visit most frequently to research employees, companies gave these sites:

  • Facebook = 65 percent
  • Linkedin = 63 percent
  • Twitter = 16 percent

Twelve percent of hiring managers – now called “talent acquisition strategist” say they are using social media to uncover reasons not to hire a candidate. Most say they’re “trying to dig deeper than the traditional interview to find out:

  • Whether the candidate presents him/herself profesionally = 65 percent
  • Whether the candidate is a good fit for the company culture = 51 percent
  • More about the candidate’s qualifications = 45 percent
  • Whether the candidate is well rounded = 35 percent

To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com

 



Litwin’s Hall of Fame Speech

To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com

I was inducted into the South Jersey Baseball Hall of Fame on Nov. 26, 2011. A number of readers have asked that I post my acceptance speech. While there were “on the fly” changes, here is the essence of my comments:

Congratulations to all of the inductees, the All-South Jersey team, scholarship recipients and others who have received recognition here today and will shortly.

A special expression of gratitude to my colleague and friend – and a true professional in every way, Dan Baker – for taking time away from his family on this holiday weekend to introduce today’s inductees.

PAUSE…

A few weeks ago, Hall of Famer and former Cherry Hill East coach Dave Martin pulled me aside and said, “Larry, getting into the Hall is special. It probably won’t hit you until you start to speak.”

Well Dave, it did hit me as I started to prepare these remarks, and thought about my high school coach Bob Minnick and the influence he had on my life.

Then I reminisced about one game in particular. It was on a Sunday afternoon…July 8, 1962. That day is indelible in my mind. It was played at Medford’s Bunting Field. In those days, there was NO fence.

That’s the day I got a pretty lucky hit – a first inning, two out, bases loaded triple – off of Moorestown’s Ron Goodwin in the Del Val All-Star game. I didn’t take many pitches and jumped on a first pitch, fast ball, low and away…and swung late…hitting it just inside the right field line into a backyard.

For me to get a triple, the ball had to go a long way. Saying I was slow is an understatement.

My dad worked 16 hours a day…seven days a week and rarely made it to my games. And even though this was a Sunday, he was working. On this day, however, he left his store early and as I got up from my slide into third, there he was getting out of his truck…and I could hear him and my grandmother both yelling…Larry boy.

– O –

When our daughter Julie – who flew in from Atlanta last night for today – told our 8-year-old granddaughter Alana about my going into this Hall of Fame, Alana said, “Mommy, Pops has the best life. If ever I have to interview someone, I want it to be him.”

It has been the best life, because I have been pretty lucky. And that is the theme of my remarks today.

While my parents are no longer with us, my sisters and I were lucky enough to have them into their mid to late 80s – and they were rather healthy until the end.

Like others in this room, my parents taught me a number of traits that have led to this recognition by the Hot Stovers.

 

Certainly…both taught my sisters and me that hard work pays off. And while my father was working those 16 hour days, Mom taught us the meaning…of the word…luck and being lucky. We call them Momisms. Among them, “if you dream it, you can achieve it.” And, many times, achieving one’s dream takes luck.

As I share with my students, luck is “preparation meeting opportunity.”

So, I share this – especially with the younger players in this room. How lucky was I??? – remembering – luck is PREPARATION meeting OPPORTUNITY.

I was born to great parents who supported my every move and decision…even when we didn’t agree  – such as when I decided to take up an offer to play baseball at a small college baseball powerhouse in…of all places…Iowa. I had never been away from South Jersey.

Parsons College played a 100 game schedule. Fortunately for me, I got hurt. And on May 23, 1966, when the local radio station that carried our games needed a color announcer on short notice, I was ready…and said yes when asked if had ever announced before. That was a stretch, though. The announcing I did was the football and basketball PA at Pennsauken High School, but I always wanted to be in radio…that is…if I couldn’t play professional baseball.

That tiny fib about announcing, transitioned me from my baseball to radio career. I was lucky – I was prepared when opportunity came calling.

The luck didn’t stop there. It carried over to a Drama Appreciation class at Parsons, where a blonde freshman said yes …when I invited her out for coffee after that first class of the semester. Remember Ballard Hall?

So, to that blonde – my wife Nancy (there she is) – thank you for putting up with my baseball, my radio reporting, my umpiring and my working with literally several thousand Rowan University students over the years.

So, why am I here? Why am I being recognized by this outstanding organization?  They tell me it’s for my contributions as a sports announcer and writer…covering many high school and college games…my career as an umpire and…as a player – a little bit.

Since it’s umpiring that is first and foremost…and I am thrilled to see so many of my colleagues today and am always honored to take the field with them…here are two recollections …or anecdotes from those 35 years.

One was a couple of years ago. I had just finished a Carpenter Cup game and was heading to the car. I had to make a quick stop at one of those PortaPotties in the parking lot. I did knock, but quickly opened the unlocked door and there was a woman inside.

When she came out, I assured her…I hadn’t seen a thing. Without hesitation, she shot back…Oh, I know you didn’t. I just saw you umpire THAT game.

PAUSE…

My other recollection goes back many years. My wife Nancy and I had been invited to a wedding in Glassboro and accepted the invite. In the meantime, I had gotten a call to umpire the plate in a Diamond Classic semi-final at Camden County College – Overbrook and Washington Township. How could I pass that up? And, anyway, I told my wife, it’s really not that far from the catering hall.

So, on an incredibly hot, humid day, I wore a blue blazer to the wedding with my umpire’s pants and finished dressing at the field. It was a great game. I don’t remember who won, but I do remember…the score was 1-0. The game took only one hour and five minutes. As we were walking back to the car, my partner… Richie Brasch…said, you know, Larry, you have time to go back to the wedding. They’ll think you just were in the bathroom. So, I did. As I walked back into hall, my wife looked “stunned,” and the bride’s father, my boss…looked at me and asked, “Are you sure you’re OK. You were gone for a while and you look a bit sweaty.” …Yes, preparation meeting opportunity. I have never told that story, publicly. I was lucky he never found out.

So, how did I get here???…Through the unending and infinite support of my family. You have already met my wife, Nancy, and now meet our daughter, Julie, a second grade teacher in Atlanta, wife of Billy Kramer…who are proud parents of 8-year-old Alana and 5-year-old Aidan; our son Dr. Adam Seth Litwin, a professor at Johns Hopkins University and his wife Claire, and my sister Janice and her husband…who is the brother I never had, Steve Barbell, who was among those who nominated me for this incredible honor.

Also at the table…E-J Campbell. E-J represents the thousands of Rowan students who drive and challenge me each day.  From the very first night I had E-J in class he has called me coach. And, like many of you in this room, I have been called a lot of things…good and bad…including Dad, Pops and BLUE. But nothing…nothing…resonates more than when a student calls me coach.

So, thank you to the Hot Stovers and all of my students, my family and to all of you coaches who inspire me to do what I do.

To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com

 

 

Tips to protect home, yourselves during storm

From the National Flood Insurance Program come these important tips as we move into fall and eventually winter. Flooding has been at its all-time worst.

To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com

Flooding safety tips:

Safeguard your possessions. Create a personal flood file holding information about all your possessions and keep it in a secure place, such as a safe deposit box or waterproof container. The file should have:

A copy of your insurance policies with your agent’s contact data.

Conduct a household inventory: For insurance purposes, be sure to keep a written and visual (i.e., videotaped or photographed) record of all major household items and valuables. Create files that include serial numbers and store receipts for major appliances and electronics. Have jewelry and artwork appraised. For more information visit www.knowyour stuff.org.

Copies of all other critical documents, including finance records or receipts of major purchases.

Prepare your house.

Make sure your sump pump is working and install a battery-operated backup, in case of a power failure. Installing a water alarm will also let you know if water is accumulating in your basement.

Clear debris from gutters and downspouts.

Anchor any fuel tanks.

Raise your electrical components (switches, sockets, circuit breakers, and wiring) at least 12 inches above your home’s projected flood elevation.

Place the furnace, water heater, washer, and dryer on cement blocks at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation.

Move furniture, valuables, and important documents to a safe place.

Develop a family emergency plan.

Create a safety kit with drinking water, canned food, first aid, blankets, a radio and a flashlight.

Post emergency telephone numbers by the phone and teach your children how to dial 911.

Plan and practice a flood evacuation route with your family. Know safe routes from home, work, and school that are on higher ground.

Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to be your emergency family contact.

Have a plan to protect your pets.

To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com

 

9/11 Remembered

(Portions appear in “Courier-Post” – Sept. 11, 2011) [To comment: larry@larrylitwn.com]

While the timeline may be a bit off, the accounts of that Tuesday morning are as vivid as if it were yesterday:

I was recently asked to recall where I was and what I was doing on Sept. 11, 2001. I did a brain dump, refined it and here it is:

While the timeline may be a bit off, the accounts of that Tuesday morning are as vivid as if it were yesterday:

I left my Cherry Hill home just before 8:30 to arrive at Rowan University about 9 a.m. As usual, I took Evesham Avenue toward Delsea Drive. As was my norm back then, I was listening to (Don) Imus in the Morning on WFAN. In those days, the program was seldom serious.

While the time on the clock may be hazy, I know exactly where I was – the intersection of Delsea Drive and Lambs Road (Trim Rite Meats) in the Hurffville section of Washington Township – when Imus interrupted his own program to put vacationing sportscaster Warner Wolf on the air live. Wolf lived on an upper floor of a high rise in Lower Manhattan a short distance from the World Trade Center (WTC).

Wolf told Imus listeners his wife had heard a plane flying low over their building. He said she then saw what she thought was a small plane hit one of the towers. He was describing that first tragic event when his voice rose: “Another plane is heading toward the towers.” It hit precisely at 9:03 a.m. As I was parking my car, I called home and excitedly told my wife to turn the TV on. Seconds later, I walked into the building housing the college of communication. About a dozen students were watching the in-house TV in the lounge area.

It was tuned and locked into a closed circuit station. I instructed students to find the person with the pass code to change the station and informed anyone and everyone who would listen about the awful, unbelievable events of the previous 20 minutes. Within minutes we had one of the networks on the TV.  As the crowd grew, students and staff stood in stunned — almost silent — disbelief .

Later that day, several colleagues informed me that their first impression of me as I walked into the building and took control of the situation was that the story I was telling was so incredulous and unbelievable they thought I was suffering a nervous breakdown. They said that while I was composed (my former radio reporter [KYW Newsradio] instincts had taken over), no one could fathom what I was saying especially when I insisted – in a loud tone – that the TV channel be changed.

Some side notes as I reflect on that day:

  •  I remained in what was then Bozorth 31 with the TV on. I “held” my classes and invited any students to join us to watch and discuss and counsel each other. It was cathartic in a way. I felt it better to be in a group than have students back in their dorm rooms alone.

One student, I knew well, was nearly hysterical. She said her cousin, who was like a brother to her, worked at the WTC and was unaccounted for. We did our best to console her and soon a number of her classmates, from our student group the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), took over as best they could. In the end, the young man perished and to make matters worse, her grandmother died upon learning of her grandson’s death. I send the former student Jillian Tota Watson, now of Cherry Hill, a note every September 11. (To this day, I wear an American flag on my umpire shirt with Jillian’s cousin’s name Jack D’Ambrosi Jr. and that of Jeremy Glick. As a high school umpire, it is my way of showing that I will never forget.)

  •   When I heard about the plane flying into the pentagon, I called my son who was working at the Federal Reserve in DC. There was no answer at his office and all cells were busy. I started fielding calls from family and friends asking if I had heard from Adam. It wasn’t until mid afternoon that he called to say he was safe and had walked home across a bridge from DC to his Virginia neighborhood and someone was kind enough to pick him up and give him a “lift.”
  •   As my class day drew to a close, several colleagues walked into that same lobby, now relatively empty. They had with them four large boxes containing huge TVs. They had decided that never again would we experience a major story and not have immediate access to the four TV networks. Naturally, it was my hope that never again would we experience a story of such magnitude.

(Final side note:) As a co-chair of the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association annual dinner, we chose to honor all of the 9/11 responders as our “Team of the Year” and with our prestigious “Most Courageous” award. It marked only the second time in the Association’s 100-year history that a nonathlete was named “Most Courageous,” the other time being the World War II servicemen and women.

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

Heat can harm medications

Excessive Heat Can Harm Medications, Expert Says

Don’t travel with meds in your car trunk or leave them in a parked car, she advises

Much has been in the news during the past couple of weeks. This syndicated piece comes from HealthDay and Butler University. To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com

SATURDAY, Aug. 20 (HealthDay News) — Medications can be harmed by high temperatures, say pharmacists.

Although just a handful of drugs have been tested at temperatures above 86F, all medications could be altered by extreme heat, they warn.

According to Dr. Amy Peak, clinical pharmacist and director of Drug Information Services at Butler University, several medications have been tested at high temperatures. She outlined some of the changes the researchers found:

  • Albuterol inhalers: The container could burst at temperatures above 120F. Moreover, when stored at high temperatures, there may be a decrease in the amount of medication inhaled.
  • Concentrated epinephrine: Cyclical heating could reduce 64 percent of the medication’s potency.
  • Diazepam: Concentration of this drug dropped 25 percent when stored at 98.6F.
  • Formoterol (capsules that are placed in inhalers): Following four hours of exposure to 158F heat, the amount released from the capsules was less than half the normal amount.
  • Lorazepam: When stored at 98F, concentration decreased 75 percent.
  • Mometasone (formoterol inhalers): Temperatures above 120F may cause the container to burst.

Peak says several more medications may be susceptible to excessive heat, including:

  • Insulin: Excessive heat could make the insulin less effective. It could also cause the insulin vials to explode.
  • Thyroid hormones: Thyroid hormones could be altered by excessively high temperatures, resulting in inconsistent doses.
  • Any medications in aerosolized canisters could burst when exposed to temperatures above 120F.

Although the United States Pharmacopeia Convention Inc. recommends that medications be protected from excessive heat, only a few drugs are actually tested at temperatures above 86F, Peak pointed out.

Nevertheless, she noted there are a number of steps people can take to ensure the quality of their medications during heat waves, including:

  • Be aware that temperatures inside cars can top 160 F. When driving, be sure to keep medications out of the trunk and in the climate-controlled passenger compartment.
  • Never leave medications in a parked car.
  • During heat waves, have medications shipped overnight in special cooled containers.
  • Request a one-time replacement from your insurance company or drug manufacturer for any medication that may have been affected by excessive heat.

More information

The National Institutes of Health provides more information on storing medicine safely.

— Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: Butler University, news release, August 2011

Near Record-Low Confidence in U.S. Public Schools

To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com

 

As reported last week, according to the most recent Gallup Poll on the topic, Americans continue to express near record-low confidence in U.S.
public schools — holding in the range seen throughout the past few years of tumult for the U.S. economy and state budgets. The 34 percent who say they have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in public schools is unchanged from last year and statistically similar to what Gallup
has found since 2005.

For the full  report, http://www.gallup.com/poll/148724/Near-Record-Low-Confidence-Public-Schools.aspx?utm_source=alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=syndication&utm_content=morelink&utm_term=Americas

Check out the protocol. It makes use of cell phone technology in its audience selection. Let me know your thoughts…  larry@larrylitwin.com.