Category: News Briefs Written by Huffingtonpost
Detroit Sugar Law Lead Attorney Tony Paris: Emergency Manager Law Suppresses Democracy
On Tuesday, Michigan voters will cast a "yay" or "nay" for Proposal 1, upholding or rejecting one of the state's most controversial laws. Public Act 4, the emergency manager law is up for debate after a coalition called Stand Up For Democracy amassed over 200,000 signatures to put a referendum for the existing law on the ballot.
Leading the charge to have the referendum certified for the ballots was Tony Paris, the lead attorney for Detroit's Maurice and Jane Sugar Law Center. Sugar Law is a national non-profit organization that specializes in providing legal support and advocacy for working people and their communities.
While Paris normally focuses on workers’ rights, especially plant closings, mass layoffs, unemployment insurance benefits and wage actions, he's represented Stand Up For Democracy and the PA 4 opposition, and helped shepherd the referendum from the first lawsuit on, even through an absurd challenge that sought to disqualify the petitions based on font size.
HuffPost Detroit asked Paris to explain his perspective on PA 4, the state's challenge to the democratic rights of Michigan residents and how growing up in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn helped inspire him to the work he's doing today.
What has Sugar Law's role been in challenging PA 4 and helping the referendum be certified on the ballot in November?
Our role in challenging PA 4 began with the filing of the lawsuit Brown, et al. v. Snyder, et al. on behalf of 28 Michigan citizens back in June 2011. This lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of PA 4 on its face and in how it’s been implemented.
Also, in the wake of a statewide coalition obtaining over 225,000 petition signatures supporting a referendum to repeal PA 4, we’ve also supported efforts to have the referendum certified and on the ballot. This has involved legal struggles with the state Board of Canvassers, the Michigan Court of Appeals, and the Michigan Supreme Court.
What's your main argument against Michigan using PA 4 to place emergency managers or consent agreements in schools and municipalities? Do you object to the entire law, or to specific parts of it?
There are numerous non-legal arguments against PA 4, some of which I speak to in my answers below. As far as our legal challenge goes, our main arguments are that:
PA 4 suspends local democratic government, by giving EMs the sole power to repeal local laws, ordinances, charters and contracts.
PA 4 suspends home rule by effectively eliminating citizens’ right to vote for, and petition, local government on matters of local concern.
PA 4 violates the separation of powers, by allowing the executive branch and its agencies to exercise legislative duties.
PA 4 allows the Legislature to enact unfunded mandates, by using local taxpayer dollars for such purposes as EM’s salaries and staff.
Proponents of Public Act 4 say that municipalities and school districts in fiscal crisis are handcuffed in their efforts to relieve themselves of debt without the powers the law grants emergency managers. If PA 4 is defeated, how do you think that cities and school districts should avoid insolvency?
Please remember that the state constitution isn’t a handcuff. Our government’s separation of powers isn’t a handcuff. The right to a democratic form of local government isn’t a handcuff. We shouldn’t suspend the things we allegedly believe when times are tough and the idea of a dictator, even a benevolent dictator, is pretty counter-intuitive to American values. We need to care about the means and process as much as the ends. We can appreciate the notion that during hard economic times we may all have to have shared sacrifice. But that has to be shared. By the bondholders, by the banks, and not just by government workers and local residents.
One quick example, Section 18 of the law provides that EMs must maintain local services “within the resources available.” The very next sentence requires “payment in full of the scheduled debt service requirements on all bonds, notes and municipal securities.” So while services have to depend on revenues, debt service waits for no man. Wall Street bankers lose nothing … and may even gain public assets. While workers and residents pay more every day.
But overall, your question is one we all should be asking -- what type of local government would we like to see and that we can fight to make happen. Because even Pontiac’s former EM Michael Stampfler has admitted that Public Act 4 does not work. He’s been quoted as saying, "I do not believe EMs can be successful. They abrogate the civic structure of the community for a period of years then return it virtually dismantled for the community to attempt to somehow make a go of it. The program provides no structure for long-term recovery, and that is why most communities slide back into trouble, if they experience any relief at all -- a vicious cycle."
Further, as many people are aware, the previous law PA 72 (passed in 1990) dealt with emergency financial managers. However, emergency managers under Public Act 4 wield powers that reach far beyond just finances. They can unilaterally tear up union contracts, take over pension funds, make and repeal laws, sell public assets, the list goes on. Now, I’d imagine that even if PA 72 is properly ruled as repealed if PA 4 is (it was repealed when PA 4 was passed), that the state legislature will still pass another law and hopefully this time they’ll stay within the limits of the constitution.
Does the referendum for Public Act 4 represent, to you, a fight for democracy? Or something else?
We at Sugar Law are very concerned that this “manager” model will spread to other states. This model where the so-called solution to budget problems at the expense of workers and residents. Unfortunately, we’ve already seen this begin and in a way, what happens with Michigan’s law will serve as a potential model for other states to try. Imposition of the EM must be understood in the context of the many other methods conservatives are using today to suppress democracy –- especially among people of color and people in poverty.
The reality is that the crisis results from decades of financial deregulation, policies transferring wealth from the poor and middle class to the wealthy. Regardless of varying levels of failures on behalf of local officials ... the burdens of inadequate investment, employment, education, health care, law enforcement, housing, tax policy, insurance red-lining and transportation are far more the cause. And, we can’t be naïve enough to think that if and when things get better in Michigan, then our public unions, our public assets, and our public spaces are just going to be given back to us. They may be lost forever.
The Stand Up For Democracy coalition amassed over 200,000 signatures in order to have the referendum placed on the ballot. Did you think that was possible? Why do you think so many voters are in favor of it?
This is an issue with the potential to affect every local government in the state and we are approaching upwards of one million Michigan citizens that are under an PA 4 emergency manager or PA 4 consent decree (over half of the state’s African-American population) without local democratic rights and without a way to hold the people making decisions over their lives accountable. All of the community input, involvement, and checks and balances ... from things as simple as block clubs to our participation at the city council and school board level, can all become and remain futile with Public Act 4. The things that we’re taught in school about a government of, for, and by the people and that we should have a say in how we are governed, all go out the door.
We think so many people supported the referendum drive, because people from across the spectrum of race, class, and political parties share at least one value in common –- that we have a right to a democratically-elected government and that is not something that should be taken away, even in difficult times.
The petition was challenged in State Supreme Court on the basis of font size. As an attorney, did you ever think you'd see typeface debated in a court of law? Why do you think opponents to the referendum chose that approach?
I never thought that I would see font size debated in court of law over the absurd assertion that the title of the petitions was less than the width of a dime smaller than what opponents said they should be. Even more absurd, opponents acknowledged that the petitions were in the correct font size, but that only fonts existing at the time of printer’s used old printer blocks before computers could be used on petitions. It’s a bit surreal and would have had stifling results for the petition process in future elections. Think about all the resources and time that went into that challenge ... it very much reflects the hypocrisy of some “small government” and “limited judiciary” conservatives within our state. At least the process helped to expose that hypocrisy.
Tell me about your background as an attorney in Detroit, and how your personal experiences have led you to the kind of work that you do.
I guess a lot of it stems from the fact that I’ve grown-up and lived around so many hard-working people who were actually the ones that didn’t just up and leave their city when things got hard. They were actually the ones who chose to stay and fight to try and make things better and to try and deal with the problems. These people did not cause the problems these cities are facing and after it all, they are rewarded with their vote being taken away? They are rewarded with their tax dollars used to fund an EM that they did not elect and that they cannot hold accountable? Taxation without representation … I read about that somewhere. Meanwhile, the forces that actually caused this mess get to now come back and take over and pick clean the rest of what they left behind … all while blaming the victims and having their foxes get to guard the hen house.
Last Updated on Friday, 02 November 2012 15:56
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
Royal Oak (WWJ) - In the past, treating early stage partial breast cancer with radiation took 6 weeks, recently it’s been reduced to five days and now an area doctor believes the regimen can be given in just two days.
Dr. Peter Chen, Beaumont radiation oncologist, is presenting his research this week in Boston. He says the two-day radiation treatment for breast cancer produces similar results to the five-day treatment and is much better for the patient.
“They would have the convenience of actually going back earlier to their professional and family life and daily activities, but still accrue the same amount of cure rate with minimal side effects,” said Dr. Chen of the patients undergoing the treatment.
Dr. Chen says the trial places a concentrated seed of radiation the size of a grain of rice into a balloon inside the breast. The treatment ensures healthy breast tissue isn’t affected during the procedure.
Last Updated on Friday, 02 November 2012 15:22
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - The three people charged in the so-called Detroit Princess Riverboat shootings over the summer will be in court Friday.
Husband and wife, LaToya Mitchell-Thomas and Michael Thomas are facing nearly 30 charges in the incident that left five people wounded.
Attorney James Galen represents the third person charged, LaDon Richards, who is accused of firing back at the Thomas’ in defense of her family.
“Any human being, I believe, in the same circumstances that my client found herself in, watching three of her family members get shot, trying to do the right thing; she call the police three times, she should have never been charged,” Galen told reporters Thursday. “We’re going to do everything we can to exonerate my client and to walk her home with all charges gone.”
“Law enforcement never sought a warrant for my client,” Galen added. “(Wayne County Prosecutor) Kym L. Worthy’s office took it upon themselves to do investigative subpoenas and Detroit Police Department personnel never asked that my client be arrested.
This afternoon, Worthy released statement to WWJ Newsradio 950 saying her office, “asked Detroit Police to do a follow-up investigation into the incident — re-interviewing all relevant witnesses,” and that “the proper people have been charged.”
The shooting took place following an altercation between two families during a party aboard the Detroit Princess Riverboat in August. The actual gunfire occurred after the boat had docked.
Last Updated on Friday, 02 November 2012 09:00
Category: News Briefs Written by CNN, Dr. Melina Jampolis
(CNN) -- Q: Why do we crave comfort foods when the weather turns cold? And are there healthy substitutes?
This is an interesting question and one to which there is no simple answer.There is considerable research showing seasonal affective disorder (SAD) -- which affects 1% to 3% of the population -- is linked to increased appetite and carbohydrate cravings, which are probably consumed in the form of "comfort foods." This is likely due to changes in brain chemistry brought about by the change in seasons and alterations in circadian rhythm, the body's biological clock.
Those who may not be clinically diagnosed with SAD may experience mild depression or worsening mood during colder, less sun-filled days due to more moderate changes in brain chemistry. Some studies suggest an association between vitamin D deficiency (common in winter months when sun exposure is limited in most of the country) and mood, so this may play a role.
People may also be less active and less social in the winter, which could increase anxiety and depression and lead to stress eating and overconsumption.
Comfort foods are generally sweet, fatty and calorie-dense, which may help temporarily improve mood and alleviate anxiety or stress. In other words, many people may be self-medicating with these dishes.
There are several other likely behavioral and biological components. Lighter, cooler foods like fresh fruits and vegetables were historically less available during the winter, so there may be an inherent preference for foods that are in season like starchier vegetables.
In addition, we have may have a genetic tendency to seek out more calorie-dense food in the winter months because food historically was scarcer.
Finally, a cool refreshing salad simply does not taste nearly as comforting as a hot bowl of soup on a cold winter day. The good news is there are lots of healthy substitutes that can still taste fantastic. Soups and stews are a terrific idea in the winter, as long as they are not cream-based or loaded with high-fat meat.
Both generally have a lower calorie density because they are higher in water than many foods. And you can sneak vegetables into a savory winter soup or stew if plain or raw vegetables don't appeal to you during the colder months.
If you crave potatoes, opt for sweet potatoes when you can to boost nutrition and satisfy your craving for starchy carbohydrates.
You can even top them with a little butter and brown sugar. Baked apples with cinnamon are a delicious fall dessert that you can top with a bit of yogurt or ice cream if you want to indulge.
Simple modifications like baking breaded chicken instead of frying, or replacing part of the sour cream or cream in recipes with Greek or low-fat yogurt can help you satisfy cravings without piling on the pounds when the weather gets cold.
Experiment with baked goods if you crave them during the winter -- try substituting a portion of the flour with whole-grain flour and a portion of the butter or oil with applesauce or canned pumpkin (a great way to boost nutrients, too).
And don't forget -- exercising at home with videos or at the gym, or engaging in active outdoor activities when you can during the colder winter months can both burn calories and boost your mood.
Last Updated on Thursday, 01 November 2012 16:10
Category: News Briefs Written by Huffingtonpost
You may have noticed that we have a bit of an obsession with regional foods around here. First, we were going on and on about New Mexico's green chile dependency. Today, we're looking at you Michigan -- and we want to talk about your intense love for Vernors Ginger Ale.
Invented by James Vernor (a Detroit pharmacist), Vernors is America's oldest surviving ginger ale, first being sold sometime around 1880. It also might be Michigan's favorite soda. According to company legend:
Without the Civil War, There Would Be No Vernors. Before the conflict began, James Vernor, a Detroit pharmacist, had concocted a new drink. When Vernor was called off to war in 1862, he stored the secret mixture in an oak cask in his pharmacy. After returning from battle four years later, he opened his secret keg and found the drink inside had been transformed.
This romantic story is definitely of dubious origin, with some suggesting that James Vernor's son himself disputed the tale. The Vernor family sold the company in 1966, which is now owned by the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. But hometown loyalty and heroism remain -- the soda continues to be one of the most popular choices throughout the Michigan area.
So what does it taste like? Vernors is a very sweet, pale golden ginger ale, but what makes it special to us are the bubbles. This stuff is highly, highly carbonated. The effervescence of this soda is frequently underestimated until you take a sip and it makes you sneeze. Many devotees maintain that it is a foolproof cure for both stomach aches and hangovers.
When I asked a few of my favorite Michigan expatriates what the world needed to know about Vernors, the answer was nearly unanimous: I had to mention both Halo Burger and the Boston Cooler. The Boston Cooler is an ice cream soda variation -- think root beer float, but with ginger ale instead. We, um, happen to be partial to these with a shot of bourbon (so predictable, we know.) Halo Burger (please be advised that their website will sing you a song when you click that), a Flint, Michigan burger chain not only serves Vernors on tap, but they also make an extra special Boston Cooler that our ex-pats describe as "more like a milkshake than a float." Their menu also lists a burger with sliced green olives on top, so you can be sure I'll be grilling my Flint ex-pats on that topic very soon.
Though largely available in Michigan and surrounding areas, if you need a taste of the bubbly ginger ale, you can order Vernors online. In New York, Vernors has been known to pop into the case at Brooklyn's Court Street Grocers.
Last Updated on Thursday, 01 November 2012 13:48
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
HIGHLAND, Mich. (WWJ) - Utility customers are dealing with a major power outage Wednesday in Oakland County.
The outage affects 10,000 to 12,000 homes and businesses, stretching from just south of Holly to M-59. This includes the Indian Springs Metropark as well as the Highland State Recreation area.
This time, the blackout doesn’t have anything to do with Superstorm Sandy.
A DTE Energy spokesman said there is an issue with a main electric line that connects several others, and they are working on the problem. He said some of these customers won’t be back online until Saturday.
As a result of the outages, two schools announced an early dismissal on Wednesday. Spring Mills Elementary and Highland Elementary closed at 12:45 p.m. and there will be no afternoon activities at those buildings.
Meantime, all but 35,000 of the 154,000 Michigan homes and businesses that lost power in Sandy have their electrical service back.
DTE Energy said about 35,000 of its customers remained without power at 11 a.m. Wednesday. The company says at least 120,000 of its customers were off line at one time or another Monday and Tuesday.
DTE said the remaining outages are widely scattered, and it will take several days before all customers get service restored.
CMS Energy said all of its affected customers now have their power back. About 34,000 of the Jackson-based utility’s customers had lost power at some point Monday or Tuesday.
Last Updated on Thursday, 01 November 2012 09:00
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - Firefighters in Detroit quickly sprung into action after a large fire erupted at a dollar store on the city’s west side.
The fire broke out early Thursday morning at the Hanaa Magic Dollar Superstore at the corner of Dexter Avenue and Tuxedo Street.
Flames were shooting up into the sky and smoke billowed into the air as several fire trucks poured water on the building from above. The fire reached a three-alarm status at one point. More than a dozen emergency vehicles and a Hazmat crew were on the scene.
Store manager Tina Lay was stunned that the fire destroyed the decade-old business.
“I’m in tears. This is, that’s my life right there,” Lay said. “Most definitely, we’ll rebuild and make it a bigger and better store. But this is, I just, I’m in shock. I’m so hurt. I don’t know what to feel right now, to be honest. Just, my whole life gone, right there, up in smoke.”
The fire apparently started in the vacant Dexter Bar before spreading to the neighboring dollar store.
Detroit Fire Chief Richard Wright said at a scene like this, equipment can be an issue.
“There’s not a lot they can do when they come out to a multiple. It’s all equipment, you know, it’s not really the manpower you have at a dwelling fire. But the mood is we sure wish we had a lot more guys out here, a lot more equipment. We have equipment that we have to put out right now because it’s just getting worn out, you know, it’s just too much fire for the equipment to handle,” said Wright.
Wright said there were no reports of injuries. It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the fire.
Last Updated on Thursday, 01 November 2012 08:25
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (Talk Radio 1270) Where are Michigan’s most haunted spots?
Bev Rydel and Kat Tedsen, authors of “Haunted Travels of Michigan,” stopped by the Charlie Langton morning show on Talk Radio 1270 to answer that question.
The sisters travel the state looking for ghosts, going out 235 times in the last year to check out spots where paranormals were allegedly hanging around.
So where is metro Detroit’s most haunted spot? It’s deadly delicious.
“The Whitney,” Kat Tedsen said, adding, “For years they’ve been saying they’re active, the apparition of David Whitney Jr., they think they see him, there have been voices.”
Fort Wayne also has a “weak” paranormal presence, as does Jackson prison, they said.
“We prefer not to call them ghosts, but paranormal events,” Rydel said, adding that they travel with equipment to detect ghostly apparitions.
Tedsen said they’ve heard unexplained noises, felt inexplicable things, and seen a baby carriage move across a basement floor two feet on its own. The sisters believe souls are energy, and remain beyond a body’s death.
They’re not psychic and they’ve never “seen” anyone who had crossed over from the great beyond, the sisters said, they just investigate and record unusual activity. They played a white noise tape from a prison investigation site where footsteps and the words “you killed me” can be clearly heard in the background.
More audio could be heard where a voice says, “she’s the one,” in a creaky voice over a white noise background in a moment when one of the sisters said they clearly felt someone grab their hand in the dark during an investigation.
“I got totally creeped out,” Rydel said, adding that she’s a ghost hunting wimp.
But they’re not alone in their strong paranormal beliefs.
Caller Mike recalled being on a house hunt in Clinton Township on a spring day when he entered a downstairs bedroom and it left him feeling cold. Turned out, someone had died in a fire in the room, he said.
“Are ghosts real? Absolutely,” said caller Ann in Livonia.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 October 2012 14:29
Category: News Briefs Written by Huffington Post
HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finnish phone maker Nokia said its new Lumia smartphones, key to the company's hopes for recovery, will begin to appear in some European markets this week.
Nokia late on Monday said its high-end Lumia 820 and 920 phones, which will run on Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 software, will this week reach first operators and retail outlets in France and Britain and later in Russia and Germany as well as other select markets.
In the United States, AT&T will start selling the devices in early November. Verizon Wireless will begin selling Lumia 822 and T-Mobile will offer Lumia 810, Nokia said.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 October 2012 09:00
Category: News Briefs Written by CNN
Safety and sufficient rations should be your primary concern in a hurricane, flood or tornado but that doesn't mean you can't also eat well.
First off, here's what FEMA - the Federal Emergency Management Management Agency - says people should have on hand, in addition to a manual can opener and one gallon of water per adult and per pet each day, with a three-day minimum supply:
Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water. If you must heat food, pack a can of sterno. Select food items that are compact and lightweight. Avoid foods that will make you thirsty. Choose salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals, and canned foods with high liquid content.
- Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables
- Canned juices, milk, soup (if powdered, store extra water)
- Staples–sugar, salt, pepper
- High energy foods–peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, trail mix
- Foods for infants, elderly persons or persons with special dietary needs
- Comfort/stress foods–cookies, hard candy, sweetened cereals, lollipops, instant coffee, tea bags
Read Hurricanes and Floods and Key Tips for Consumers About Food and Water Safety
Should your home happen to lose power for any length of time, as often happens in a hurricane, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) offers the following recommendations to determine if your food is safe and how to keep it as such:
Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.
The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) and the door remains closed.
Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers and deli items after 4 hours without power.
Food may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40°F or below when checked with a food thermometer.
Obtain dry or block ice to keep your refrigerator and freezer as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time. Fifty pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic-foot full freezer for 2 days.
If the power has been out for several days, check the temperature of the freezer with an appliance thermometer. If the appliance thermometer reads 40°F or below, the food is safe to refreeze.
If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, check each package of food to determine its safety. If the food still contains ice crystals, the food is safe.
Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water. Discard wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples and pacifiers.
Thoroughly wash all metal pans, ceramic dishes and utensils that came in contact with flood water with hot soapy water and sanitize by boiling them in clean water or by immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water.
Undamaged, commercially prepared foods in all-metal cans and retort pouches (for example, flexible, shelf-stable juice or seafood pouches) can be saved.
Use bottled water that has not been exposed to flood waters. If bottled water is not available, tap water can be boiled for safety.
The FSIS also emphasizes "When in doubt, throw it out." A taste-test is counterintuitive.
Keep your medicine safe
Got that? Now let's zest it up.
If you're at home and the power goes out, it's an excellent opportunity to race to the fridge and gobble up whatever pre-cooked meats and cheeses are at the ready. Transfer whatever you can't eat to the freezer to buy yourself a little more time, and make sure to have a cooler or two stocked with cold packs - whether you're at home or on the road.
Now is not the time to take chances, so make sure you've got a food thermometer on hand - as well as a way to disinfect it between uses. Visualize what you want from the fridge or freezer before you open the door. Things can get warmer, but you can't get that cold back.
Once the storm has safely passed and winds and rain have died down, now might be an excellent time to grill that meat that's just thawed out from your freezer. Visualize your usual process, from marinating and rubbing, to basting, flipping, carrying and prepping back in the kitchen - as well as all your hand and equipment washing - and make sure you've got enough soap and water for each of those instances, in addition to any you'd usually have on hand to quench flare-ups and fires.
Just batten down the hatches for the arrival of all the neighbors who may catch a whiff and come over with rumbling stomachs. If they ask what they can bring, tell them, "Your own plate, silverware, glass and napkin - and a promise you'll take them when you go."
Mayonnaise may adorn your sandwiches and tuna or chicken salads at the outset, and pre-sealed packets aren't a bad way to go, but after a few hours, mustard is a better safety bet. Avoid flavor fatigue by assembling a sampler pack of yellow, Dijon, deli, whole grain, flavored and honey mustards. Per the good folks at French's Mustard, "There are no ingredients in mustard that spoil. "Refrigerate After Opening" is not required for food safety–we only recommended you do so to maintain optimal product flavor."
Peanut butter is another excellent bet, but it too can get monotonous. Put a portion into a small bowl or plastic container and play around with spice mix-ins like cumin, cinnamon, hot sauce, paprika, Chinese five-spice or curry spices. It's dandy on bread, crackers (you did remember to stock up on crackers, right?) or raw vegetables; just don't make your blend too hot or salty if water and other beverages are still in short supply. If peanuts aren't your bag, pop a can of chickpeas, mash them up and gussy 'em up.
About those raw vegetables - you're not locked in to the ho-hum trinity of carrots, celery and cauliflower. Corn that's been cut off the cob is sweet, crisp and delicious raw. So is okra, zucchini and plenty other vegetables you might never think to chomp into without cooking. Plan ahead and wash them off now, so they're at the ready when you want to get your disaster snack on.
And booze. You probably shouldn't be drinking right now, but that might not stop you (or, uh, us).
Red wine is an obvious choice, but if only white will do, stash your bottles in the fridge now before the power goes out. Should you anticipate things getting dire or dull, slip the inner plastic bag from your favorite boxed wine (Shhhh! It's okay! Food & Wine's Ray Isle says so and has some excellent suggested brands.) and pop it in the freezer. Under normal circumstances, we would not suggest treating your wine in such a fashion, but this ain't the Loire Valley in stomping season. You haven't had running water in two days and a nice, cool glass of something that isn't bottled tap water might go down nicely.
Prepare lidded pitchers of cocktails now and put them in the fridge. Freeze small plastic, freezer-friendly lidded storage containers of water or ice cubes made of your favorite juice, mixed with fruit like strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. When it's time to serve, drop the container into the pitcher for dilution-free cooling, or let the juice cubes and fruit melt into the drink.
Last, but not at all least - make coffee NOW and chill or freeze it. Make coffee ice cubes if need be, and consider using melting ice cream or canned, condensed milk to sweeten or lighten your drink. Alternately, you can bone up on your cold brew technique. There's no reason you should have to face a storm's aftermath with a caffeine headache.
From our readers who have weathered similar weather:
As a Girl Scout leader for many years, the "buddy-burner" is an easily made, inexpensive cooking method. All you need is a #10 can with some air holes punched in the sides as well as a good candle. You can heat soup, boil water, grill sandwiches and even fry eggs. Search "buddy-burner" on a search engine and make one for future needs. - dl1976
Living in Florida and making it through 4 hurricanes in one year as well as others, one thing everyone seems to forget is that you have a hot water tank that is now filled with warm water (40gallons) maybe. This water is clean and available. - Norman Drew
Every time there is a serious power outage in the Pacific Northwest, one or more persons die of carbon monoxide poisoning. Please: DO NOT light up any kind of hibachi, grill or gas-powered stove INSIDE an apartment, home or partially enclosed garage/basement/etc. Even with a window open. Please. Tepid meals will NOT kill you. Carbon monoxide will.
A big block of ice has the smallest surface area to volume ratio – less air can invade a large, well-insulated block of ice than say, a big bag of ice cubes. Freezing 3/4 full bottles of water is a nice idea, too, but a block (e.g. a plastic bag lined cardboard box) will keep things cold the longest during a power outage.
– Jean V
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 October 2012 09:00
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