Friday, May 19, 2017

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf:
A Story of Life for All Ages,
by Leo Buscalgia

Spring had passed. So had Summer. Freddie, the leaf, had grown large. His mid section was wide and strong, and his five extensions were firm and pointed. He had first appeared in Spring as a small sprout on a rather large branch near the top of a tall tree.
Freddie was surrounded by hundreds of other leaves just like himself, or so it seemed. Soon he discovered that no two leaves were alike, even though they were on the same tree. Alfred was the leaf next to him. Ben was the leaf on his right side, and Clare was the lovely leaf overhead. They had all grown up together. They had learned to dance in the Spring breezes, bask lazily in the Summer sun and wash off in the cooling rains.
But it was Daniel who was Freddie's best friend. He was the largest leaf on the limb and seemed to have been there before anyone else. It appeared to Freddie that Daniel was also the wisest among them. It was Daniel who told them that they were part of a tree. It was Daniel who explained that they were growing in a public park. It was Daniel who told them that the tree had strong roots which were hidden in the ground below. He explained about the birds who came to sit on their branch and sing morning songs. He explained about the sun, the moon, the stars, and the seasons.
Freddie loved being a leaf. He loved his branch, his light leafy friends, his place high in the sky, the wind that jostled him about, the sun rays that warmed him, the moon that covered him with soft, white shadows. Summer had been especially nice. The long hot days felt good and the warm nights were peaceful and dreamy. There were many people in the park that Summer. They often came and sat under Freddie's tree. Daniel told him that giving shade was part of his purpose.
"What's a purpose?" Freddie had asked.
"A reason for being," Daniel had answered. "To make things more pleasant for others is a reason for being. To make shade for old people who come to escape the heat of their homes is a reason for being. To provide a cool place for children to come and play. To fan with our leaves the picnickers who come to eat on checkered tablecloths. These are all the reasons for being."
Freddie especially liked the old people. They sat so quietly on the cool grass and hardly ever moved. They talked in whispers of times past. The children were fun, too, even though they sometimes tore holes in the bark of the tree or carved their names into it. Still, it was fun to watch them move so fast and to laugh so much.
But Freddie's Summer soon passed. It vanished on an October night. He had never felt it so cold. All the leaves shivered with the cold. They were coated with a thin layer of white which quickly melted and left them dew drenched and sparkling in the morning sun. Again, it was Daniel who explained that they had experienced their first frost, the sign that it was Fall and that Winter would come soon.
Almost at once, the whole tree, in fact, the whole park was transformed into a blaze of color. There was hardly a green leaf left. Alfred had turned a deep yellow. Ben had become a bright orange. Clare had become a blazing red, Daniel a deep purple and Freddie was red and gold and blue. How beautiful they all looked. Freddie and his friends had made their tree a rainbow.
"Why did we turn different colors," Freddie asked, "when we are on the same tree?"
"Each of us is different. We have had different experiences. We have faced the sun differently. We have cast shade differently. Why should we not have different colors?" Daniel said matter-of-factly. Daniel told Freddie that this wonderful season was called Fall.
One day a very strange thing happened. The same breezes that, in the past, had made them dance began to push and pull at their stems, almost as if they were angry. This caused some of the leaves to be torn from their branches and swept up in the wind, tossed about and dropped softly to the ground. All the leaves became frightened.
"What's happening?" they asked each other in whispers.
"It's what happens in Fall," Daniel told them. "It's the time for leaves to change their home. Some people call it to die."
"Will we all die?" Freddie asked.
"Yes," Daniel answered. "Everything dies. No matter how big or small, how weak or strong. We first do our job. We experience the sun and the moon, the wind and the rain. We learn to dance and to laugh. Then we die."
"I won't die!" said Freddie with determination. "Will you, Daniel?"
"Yes," answered Daniel, "when it's my time."
"When is that?" asked Freddie.
"No one knows for sure," Daniel responded.
Freddie noticed that the other leaves continued to fall. He thought, "It must be their time." He saw that some of the leaves lashed back at the wind before they fell, others simply let go and dropped quietly. Soon the tree was almost bare.
"I'm afraid to die," Freddie told Daniel. "I don't know what's down there."
"We all fear what we don't know, Freddie. It's natural," Daniel reassured him. "Yet, you were not afraid when Summer became Fall. They were natural changes. Why should you be afraid of the season of death?"
"Does the tree die, too?" Freddie asked.
"Someday. But there is something stronger than the tree. It is Life. That lasts forever and we are all a part of Life."
"Where will we go when we die?"
"No one knows for sure. That's the great mystery!"
"Will we return in the Spring?"
"We may not, but Life will."
"Then what has been the reason for all of this?" Freddie continued to question. "Why were we here at all if we only have to fall and die?"
Daniel answered in his matter-of-fact way, "It's been about the sun and the moon. It's been about happy times together. It's been about the shade and the old people and the children. It's been about colors in Fall. It's been about seasons. Isn't that enough?"
"That afternoon, in the golden light of dusk, Daniel let go. He fell effortlessly. He seemed to smile peacefully as he fell. "Goodbye for now, Freddie," he said.
Then, Freddie was all alone, the only leaf on his branch. The first snow fell the following morning. It was soft, white, and gentle; but it was bitter cold. There was hardly any sun that day, and the day was very short. Freddie found himself losing his color, becoming brittle. It was constantly cold and the snow weighed heavily upon him.
At dawn the wind came that took Freddie from his branch. It didn't hurt at all. He felt himself float quietly, gently and softly downward. As he fell, he saw the whole tree for the first time. How strong and firm it was! He was sure that it would live for a long time and he knew that he had been part of its life and made him proud.
Freddie landed on a clump of snow. It somehow felt soft and even warm. In this new position he was more comfortable than he had ever been. He closed his eyes and fell asleep. He did not know that Spring would follow Winter and that the snow would melt into water. He did not know that what appeared to be his useless dried self would join with the water and serve to make the tree stronger. Most of all, he did not know that there, asleep in the tree and the ground, were already plans for new leaves in the Spring.

Band of Brothers

Brothers in Arms...Somewhere Overseas-1975 Posted by Picasa

Judge Not

I was shocked, confused, bewildered
As I entered Heaven's door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or its decor.

But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp--
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
The alcoholics and the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade
Who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
Who never said anything nice.

Bob, who I always thought
Was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
Looking incredibly well.

I nudged God, 'What's the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How'd all these sinners get up here?
You must've made a mistake.

And why's everyone so quiet,
So somber - give me a clue.'
'Hush, child,' He said, 'they're all in shock.
No one thought they'd be seeing you.'

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Speaking of Arnold Schwarzenegger...

Arnold gave me this sweatshirt for Christmas in 1986 when we worked together on the film Raw Deal-- I'm Lovin' it!

Beware--Lawyer tactics

When a lawyer begins to state facts outside his own personal knowledge ... facts he learned from his clients or third persons ... facts he lacks competence to testify about in court ... object at once! It isn't right or proper! In fact it very well may be slanderous and prejudicial, or both!

Yet, you'll find this sort of unfair manipulation of facts in nearly every case you come across. If a lawyer cannot find tangible items or witnesses to offer as evidence in support of his case, he will frequently attempt to get the evidence in anyway by stating facts about which he has no first-hand knowledge ... detailing the content of documents that aren't available, telling the court what was said by someone who isn't present for cross-examination, or describing a scene or the actions and behavior of people he never met.

To multiply this unlawful exploitation of due process, most lawyers are adept at using the English language forcefully, illustrating their points with word-power most lay persons lack. It doesn't matter that they are members of The Bar. It doesn't matter that they finished law school, passed the bar, and enjoy a certain degree of prestige as they strut about the courtroom in expensive clothing and highly-polished shoes. If they do not have first-hand knowledge of facts they offer to the court, they lack competence, and a timely objection is essential.

Otherwise (if you allow them to do so) they will present damaging evidence in a light that dishonestly influences the court against you. They will present facts about which they have only the knowledge they've learned from others (i.e., no first-hand knowledge of their own), and you will unnecessarily run the risk of losing as a direct result if you don't object and put a stop to it immediately!

You must silence the lawyers ... or run the risk of allowing the court to consider the lawyer's testimony as admissible evidence. It isn't admissible! No. Not by a long shot! The rules forbid it.

Lawyers lack competence to testify! It is a corrupt practice. You must stop it before it begins.

A particular aspect of this abusive practice needs mentioning to help you control the inevitable. The rules of professional conduct that govern lawyers (every state has them) limit the ability of a lawyer to be both witness and counsel for his client. One may serve as lawyer for a client or a witness for the client ... not both. If a lawyer insists on offering testimony and the court allows it over your objection, you should move the court for an order finding that the lawyer is a witness for the opposition. Either the lawyer is a lawyer and plays the strictly limited part of a lawyer, or the lawyer is a witness and can no longer play the part of lawyer! If the court rules that a lawyer is a witness, then move the court to disqualify him to testify pursuant to the state bar's rules of professional conduct (which, of course, you will have already read and be prepared to cite by scripture and verse). If a lawyer insists on offering testimony and the court allows it over your objection and will not disqualify the lawyer, move the court to order the lawyer to take the oath and submit to your cross-examination. Anyone offered as a witness must submit to be cross-examined by the other side under oath! It is no different if the person testifying is the other side's lawyer!


My old Pal Arnold(Worked with him on the Film-Raw Deal) Leads the Healthy Way

Schwarzenegger Terminates Trans Fat in Calif.

California Becomes the First State to Ban Trans Fats


July 25, 2008 —

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has made it official: California will be the first trans-fat free state in the nation.
All-natural palm, rice and soybean oils will soon be king, and life in the Golden State will be forever altered.
The California legislature pushed the bill through last week, and Schwarzenegger signed it into law Friday, July 25.
The ban will require food providers to begin phasing out trans fat oils by July 1, 2009. Thereafter, noncompliance with the ban will result in fines of up to $1,000.
Trans unsaturated fatty acids are the partially hydrogenated oils that result from a chemical process producing solid fats with a longer shelf life.
These so-called "trans fats" were once thought to be healthier than butter, but research in the last decade has shown that they are much more harmful to health than had been believed. According to the American Heart Association, trans unsaturated fatty acids are medically proven to increase the risk of coronary heart disease by raising bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and reducing good cholesterol levels (HDL).
With more than half a million Americans dying each year from heart disease, the switch may be coming not a moment too soon.
This ban comes on the heels of the New York City's prohibition on trans fats in restaurants, which took full effect on July 1. But the wheels began turning in California before the Big Apple's eateries sought substitutes for their deep fryers.
Tiburon, a northern California town of about 8,700 people, has boasted trans fat-free restaurants since 2004. All 18 restaurants turned away, rather effortlessly and voluntarily, from partially hydrogenated oils at the urging of a lawyer, Steven Joseph, and his task force at
"The change has been very well received by our customers," said Carl Peschlow, owner of Sweden House Bakery in Tiburon. "Those so-called bad fats do, however, give our croissants a little oomph."
Peschlow said that while his bakery made the change relatively early, they still use a "tiny bit" of trans fat in their croissant recipe. Otherwise, Peschlow said, "the croissants just look like fat pancakes."
When New York City turned its attention to trans fats, they looked to Joseph's Project Tiburon for guidance. Joseph, a California transplant from Washington D.C., also led the fight against Kraft in 2003, asking the food giant to "cease and desist marketing and selling Oreo cookies to children in the State of California" until the popular chocolate sandwich cookie contained zero trans fats.
Kraft caved and has since become a leader in the industry, reducing or eliminating trans fats in 650 of its products. "Clearly that's what people wanted and that's what they care about," said Susan Davison, Kraft's director of corporate affairs.
Joseph and his team also prompted McDonalds to re-think its use of trans fats, and today Wendy's has gone completely trans fat-free. (California staple In-N-Out Burger has never used trans fats since opening in 1948.)
The California Restaurant Association along with other organizations has led the charge against the ban, claiming that many restaurants are making the shift without the government's help.
Chains including Taco Bell, Denny's, Burger King, Olive Garden, El Pollo Loco and Red Lobster have voluntarily pledged to fully or partially eliminate trans fats in their kitchens.

Beware: Silent, Unlisted, Deadly Fats

However, there are still fast food chains that haven't quite caught the sans-trans fever.
Carls Jr., for one, pledged to eliminate all trans fats by January 1, 2008, but as of July 16, 2008 hasn't followed through in all locations. A spokesperson for the company told that by November 2008, all restaurants should be using trans fat-free oils.
And some restaurants, like KFC and Popeye's, have gone partway, eliminating trans fats from all but the biggest and juiciest of options.
KFC's chicken and biscuit bowl tips the scale at 870 calories, and is one of the few menu items with trans fats. Popeye's, meanwhile, boasts a 660-calorie-count chicken and sausage jambalaya with trans fats.
Bojangles, famous for its southern chicken and biscuits, has not done anything companywide to stop use of trans fats. They hope to do so in the future, but neither their Web site nor a spokesperson for the company gave any additional nutritional information regarding trans fats.
Restaurants are not responsible for listing nutritional information on their menus, though several city and county ordinances have been proposed across the country.
Food packages on the other hand were required by the FDA as of January 1, 2006, to list trans fats on the nutrition facts label, an announcement that thrust trans fats into the spot light.

Doctors: Simply Swapping Out One Fat For Another

For many doctors, the dishes that weigh in at many hundreds of calories really shouldn't be consumed in the first place.
"Perhaps the biggest issue," said Keith-Thomas Ayoob, associate professor in the Pediatrics Department at Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, "is how much of the foods do we even need to be eating? Is this going to change obesity? No, because you're swapping out one fat for another, the calories are the same. Would it be more beneficial for our hearts? Maybe."
Ayoob described the ban as a positive, albeit small, step.
Madelyn Fernstrom, associate professor and director of the University of Pittsburgh Weight Management Center, reiterated that the focus needs to be on the actual food.
"A better message is eat less fat of any type, and more fruits and vegetables," Fernstrom said.
Fernstrom, like Ayoob, does not see a huge advantage to banning trans fat.
"Doing something is better than nothing," she admitted. But she said she does not think the California ban will have any impact on residents' health.
Still, Dr. David Katz, ABC News medical contributor and associate director of the Nutrition Science, Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University, thinks the ban is right on track. Katz said that limiting trans fats is one of the best ways to lead a population to a healthier lifestyle.
"We don't ask people to screen their food for lead, or arsenic, or mercury. These are known toxins; we should be able to assume that known poisons are not put into our food," said Dr. Katz.
Dr. Katz maintained that as an artificial and harmful product linked to heart disease and diabetes, trans fats effectively mean slow death. "In this case, government regulation is pretty easy to justify," Dr. Katz added.

California Reaching Too Far?

The CRA, however, along with the California Grocers Association, among others, feels the government is overstepping its boundaries, just a bit.
"This is problematic," said Jot Condie, president of the CRA. "We fear that this is a potentially slippery slope where the list could go on and on & and basically restaurants would be criminalized for having an ingredient in one of their recipes."
The CRA recently sued the City and County of San Francisco and the city's public health department over a law requiring menus to list nutritional information.
"Consumers are smart and restaurants are very smart and know what consumers want," said Condie, who deems the law entirely unnecessary.

L.A. Follows Healthy Lead of Northern Neighbors

Down south from the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles' south side is filled with unhealthy restaurant choices.
According to a study by the L.A. Times, 45 percent of the 900 restaurants in south L.A. are fast food joints, while only 16 percent of the Westside's 2,200 restaurants meet that description.
L.A. City Councilwoman Jan Perry has introduced a bill that would ban all future development of fast food chains in a 32 square-mile area of southern Los Angeles.
The bill aims to limit the fast food chains popping up on every L.A.street corner, and offers incentive packages to grocery stores to move into those neighborhoods.
Harold Goldstein of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy cited a study by the CCPHA which found that people living in neighborhoods with fast food and convenience stores have a 20 percent higher prevalence of obesity and 23 percent more diabetes than their counterparts living in more health-conscious neighborhoods.

The Skinny on the Substitutes

While healthier restaurants are still sparse in southern L.A., healthier oils have become widespread.
Companies including Carolina Soy Product (CSP) of North Carolina, California Rice Oil of California and Loders Croklaan of Illinois offer up soy-based oil, rice oil and palm oil as healthful alternatives.
The demand for these substitutes has grown steadily in recent years, and CSP saw its profits double when New York City did away with trans fats.
Bob Dawson, chief operating officer for Carolina Soy Product, currently manages one satellite warehouse in California, but both eastern companies aim to expand westward in anticipation of future demand.
"I really felt like California would be ahead of the curve in terms of healthy eating," Dawson said of his interest to jump into the California market.
While most recognize that the California ban won't solve the problem overnight, at least it is getting the ball rolling.
"This is certainly not the mother of all nutrition issues," wrote Dr. Katz of Yale University, "there will be many other fish to fry (in healthful oil). But this is important and yes, all by itself it should help move the needle visibly."
ABC News Internet Ventures


Illegal Immigrants

Illegal Immigrants--Author Unknown

I cross ocean,
poor and broke,

Take bus,
see employment folk.

Nice man
treat me good in there,
Say I need
go see Welfare.

Welfare say,
'You come no more,

We send cash
right to your door.'

Welfare checks,
they make you wealthy,

it keep you healthy!

By and by,
Got plenty money,

Thanks to you, TAXPAYER dummy.

Write to friends
in motherland,

Tell them
'come, fast as you can'

They come in turbans
and Ford trucks,

I buy big house
with welfare bucks.

They come here,
we live together,

More welfare checks,
it gets better!

Fourteen families,
they moving in,

But neighbor's patience
wearing thin.

Finally, white guy
moves away,
I buy his house,
and then I say,

'Find more aliens
for house to rent.'

In my yard
I put a tent.

Send for family
they just trash,
... But they, too,
draw welfare cash!

Everything is
very good,
Soon we own
whole neighborhood.

We have hobby
it called breeding,

Welfare pay
for baby feeding.

Kids need dentist?
Wife need pills?

We get free!
We got no bills!

He pay all year,
To keep welfare
running here.

We think America
darn good place!
Too darn good
for white man race.

If they no like us,
they can scram,
Got lots of room
in Pakistan.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

My Friend Powers Boothe RIP

I did a film-Wildcard-with Powers Boothe in Hollywood in 1992. We were both Southern boys so we hit it right off. I had done the Play-Lonestar, that Powers had originated  on Broadway. He was very down to earth and very unpretentious. He shared the stage graciously, we shared a lot of laughs about our days on Stage. It was an honor to work with him. God speed Preacher!

Illegal Aliens?

Illegal Aliens have always been a problem in America, just ask any Native American Indian!

Some People Understand Life Better...

Some people understand life better.

And they call some of these people "retarded"...

At the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or
mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash.

At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish
to run the race to the finish and win.

All, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled
over a couple of times, and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy cry.

They slowed down and looked back. Then they all turned around and went
back every one of them. One girl with Down's Syndrome bent down and kissed
him and said,"This will make it better."

Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line.

Everyone in the stadium stood, the cheering went on for several minutes.

People who were there are still telling the story... Why? Because deep
down we know this one thing: What matters in this life is more than winning
for ourselves.

What matters in this life is helping others win, even if it means
slowing down and changing our course.

(Author Unknown)

Menwhile in my backyard...

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Economics of Hollywierd

"Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss, and fifty cents for your soul."--Marilyn Monroe


Making Healthy Choices...Just Do It!

Giving healthy choices

Childhood obesity being attacked on many fronts
By Mike Bowen
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — The battle against childhood obesity in West Virginia is no secret.

So much so that the acting surgeon general of the United States — Dr. Steven Galson — made the state his first stop back in March to announce a national initiative to combat the growing problem of overweight children.

The state is tied with Kentucky for the highest percentage of overweight children in the country.

Nationally, childhood obesity rates have more than tripled from 1980 to 2004 — from 5 percent to 17 percent.

West Virginia and Kentucky sport a 24 percent rate of obese children.

In the past two years, Marion County schools have been doing their part to make the next generation of West Virginians a little bit healthier.

“It has to be attacked several different ways,” Mary Weikle, physical education teacher at East Dale Elementary, said. “One is to work with the children so they learn to understand how important activity is. You also have to make sure that the information doesn’t go just to the children, but to the families as well.”

Weikle has seen her position as a physical education instructor change in the past five or six years to focus more on wellness than on “just rolling out the balls,” as she said.

“It has definitely swung in recent years,” Weikle said. “With the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) giving all the reports on obesity, more emphasis has been put on it.”

Weikle employs several approaches in her classes at East Dale to keep her students on the right path.

One of the newest additions is the video game “Dance Dance Revolution.” East Dale also sports a climbing wall, according to principal Diane Burnside.

The video game, where players perform choreographed dance moves on a mat on the floor, has been hailed as the newest weapon in the fight against childhood obesity.

East Dale is one of hundreds of schools across the country that has incorporated the blood-pumping video game into the physical education curriculum.

“I’ve been teaching a long time, and I can look back and see how things have changed,” Weikle said. “What was good five or 10 years ago can be made better today. We use a lot of different things than just basketballs now.”

Weikle said the state has committed funding for instructors to continue to learn new programs and techniques.

“I’m actually a director at the Health and Physical Education Resource Academy,” she said. “The state provides many opportunities to continue to learn and foster new teaching techniques.”

Weikle credited the Marion County Board of Education and East Dale’s principal for allowing her to attend various workshops to help better her class.

“We’ve really put an emphasis on it,” she said. “Our principal does a lot to promote wellness in the school. Mrs. Burnside has done a lot to foster wellness at East Dale and has helped me a lot.”

One of the dangers of childhood obesity is the development of Type II diabetes.

Type II diabetes accounts for more than 90 percent of diabetic cases in the United States, according to the CDC. Type II is also preventable. Children who are overweight or don’t get much exercise are more at risk for developing the disease than those who exercise, eat healthy and maintain a normal weight.

While the focus is more on Type-I diabetes, Jayenne Elementary will be holding a walk to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation as part of the school’s “wellness week” on May 21.

“While we focus on Type-I, we make sure to inform the kids on Type-II as well,” said Tina Moroose, organizer of the walk and parent of a daughter with Type-I diabetes. “We make sure they know about exercise and eating right. It’s (Type-II) is just a really horrible thing. We really hit on that as well.”

Other schools are doing their part to foster wellness among the student body.

West Fairmont Middle School will be holding a bike ride for wellness on May 29. Rivesville has a jump-rope program, and Fairview Middle now holds walk-a-thons twice a year.

And the future holds an even more focus on wellness, according to Weikle.

“Starting next year, when you are looking at phys ed from pre-K through fourth grade, the core concept is wellness,” she said.

While the school systems are emphasizing wellness, parents are also a major source of influence when it comes to the battle against childhood obesity.

Brian Floyd, culinary-arts instructor at Fairmont State University and parent of 7-year-old twins, stresses exercise and good decisions to his children.

“We’ve been diligent about not being complacent and letting them sit in front of the TV,” he said about his children Hannah and Michael. “They play soccer. They ride their bikes, play outside with the dog. Anything to get them up and moving around.”

He also tries to emphasize to his students at FSU about the importance of a varied plate and eating in moderation.

“You have to give kids healthy choices,” he said. “We’re not the healthiest eaters in the world, but if all you have to snack on is a bag of potato chips, then that’s what the kids are going to eat.”

Floyd said he thinks the school system is doing a good job with the way it is handling wellness, but knows that it is also the parents’ job to keep up at home.

“They do a good job, but as parents, we have the rest of the time they are not in school,” he said. “It’s the parents’ jobs to keep up the work and offer healthy alternatives and make good decisions about snacks.”

The culinary-arts program at Fairmont State has offered classes on healthy eating and cooking, according to Floyd.

He said that he stresses to his students about offering a complete, healthy plate.

“I think it’s part of their responsibilities as future chefs to offer that to customers,” he said. “We try to focus on making a balanced plate ... make sure there are proper vegetable portions, proper protein portions ... .”

As coach of his children’s U8 Marion County Youth Soccer Association team, Floyd helps reinforce the need for exercise in his family as well as their teammates.

“That’s the key,” he said, “getting out and staying active. We have to take responsibility to keep our kids healthy. That’s our jobs as parents.”

And while the battle rages on across the country, does Weikle think the war on childhood obesity is winnable?

“It has to be,” she said. “If we don’t do something about this, it makes it harder and harder to change. These kids will eventually become adults and parents. If we can get them on the right path now, it helps the next generation and the next.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, children are considered obese if their age- and gender-specific body mass index is equal or greater to the 95th percentile of the CDC’s body mass index (BMI) charts.

Interactive BMI calculators are located at the CDC’s Web site,

Galson’s new Childhood Overweight and Obesity Prevention Initiative consists of six programs that give people the right knowledge, the right tools and the right encouragement to stop childhood overweight and obesity problems:

• The National Institutes of Health’s We Can! program — which assists communities in their efforts to encourage their children to maintain a healthy weight.

• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s School Health Programs to Prevent Obesity and Overweight — which helps schools reshape social and physical environments to promote healthy lifestyles.

• The Food and Drug Administration’s Using Nutrition Facts Labels to Make Healthy Food Choices — which uses entertaining, targeted advertising to help children and adults understand food labels.

• The Indian Health Service’s Together Raising Awareness for Indian Life — which helps tribal children and youth make healthy lifestyle choices.

• The President’s Council for Physical Fitness and Sports’ National President’s Challenge — which calls all Americans to commit to physical activity at least five days a week.

• The Administration for Children and Families is implementing its new Head Start Playground Initiative — a grant program to help Head Start programs develop community playgrounds. This new program is enabling Head Start to establish community playgrounds where children need them the most.