Farrah Abraham argues with ‘Bethenny’ audience member on parenting choices, slams host Bethenny Frankel for ‘judgmental’ interview

Farrah Abraham is not happy with Bethenny Frankel after the former "Teen Mom 2" star was blasted on Frankel's show for her parenting tactics. The "no judgement" segment Monday featured Abraham, 22, taking questions from the audience on "Bethenny" and defending some of the choices she's made in raising daughter Sophia, 4. For one thing, the reality starlet and sex toy company owner recently caused a stir when she revealed that she plucks and waxes her daughter's eyebrows. "After that whole situation in the media, I actually got a lot of fan mail from girls who were younger, who did have unibrows, and they only wished that their moms would have helped them," Abraham said. One mom in the audience didn't agree. "My head is going to pop off, I swear," the woman said. "That is crazy. You're making a little girl believe that without you plucking her eyebrows, she won't have pretty pictures. She's 4, she's beautiful." Abraham attempted to clarify that her beautification tactics have nothing to do with taking pretty pictures. She also explained that she plucks them while Sophia is "sleeping," so that apparently makes it okay. As the woman responded with shock, host Frankel, 42, stepped in to remind everyone that she didn't bring Abraham on the show to be ridiculed and asked if the "Backdoor Teen Mom" star was okay. Speaking to Radar Online after the ordeal, Abraham slammed Frankel for being what she considered "degrading to women." "Before going on the show, I was told that it would be a positive and inspirational talk for mothers and business women," she told the gossip site. "But as soon as I met Bethenny, it turned into a judgmental zone. She did not like how I valued my daughter's opinion and care so much about her that I allow her to have her own voice." Abraham also chastised Frankel for bringing up the "very old misconstrued tabloid topic" of her grooming her daughter Continue Reading

Somerset County 4-H Fair benefits from members, alumni and volunteers

BRIDGEWATER – The Somerset County 4-H would not be the same without its dedicated members, leaders, alumni and volunteers. Each year, certain youth and adults are recognized for their efforts. Some members, typically the older teenagers, are named "Outstanding 4-H'ers" while others stand out for their own achievements.The Somerset County 4-H Association considers itself fortunate to have such active 4-H members, alumni and volunteers, that can always be counted on to be there, to offer to help and to do a job well, said Barbara Navatto, Somerset County 4-H program coordinator.One of many receiving 4-H recognition this year is Ben Fernandez, 15, of Bridgewater. According to Navatto, Fernandez is "one of our best success stories.""He is able to articulate what 4-H means to him and how it’s helped him," she said.A member of the Advanced Art of Film Making, 4-H Trainmasters and CloverWorks (Steampunk) clubs, Fernandez recently earned the "Outstanding Presenter Award" from the State Presentations event at Rutgers University and was selected to be the valedictorian of his eighth-grade graduating class."Thanks to the wonderful experience of doing public presentations through 4-H, I was able to successfully write a speech and present it at my school's graduation ceremony in front of 200-plus people — students, teachers, staff and parents," Fernandez said. "In addition, I was very honored to receive an award of special congressional recognition from Bonnie Watson-Coleman, a U.S. Representative from New Jersey's 12th district. This is primarily because of my community service, which includes many 4-H experiences. I also was given the Arthur Peter Commitment to Excellence Award on that same day because of my accumulative achievements this year."Fernandez said "the competitive aspect of 4-H was also rewarding" because it helped him win a full art scholarship so he can Continue Reading

CSU students head north for new housing choices

As housing tightens throughout Fort Collins, more Colorado State University students are being lured farther from campus by new townhomes and cottages designed just for them.The newest projects, the 720-bed Aspen Heights that opened in the fall and the proposed 840-plus bedroom Capstone Cottages, are shifting the student housing focus to northeast Fort Collins, where there's still plenty of vacant land.The shift is a boon for north Fort Collins businesses that will have access to more than 1,550 new customers, but it is a curse for some residents who believe the increase in people and traffic will forever alter their historic neighborhoods."Anything that brings people and consumers to North College we're excited about," said Ron Lautzenheiser, owner of Big O Tires and Grease Monkey and a member of the North Fort Collins Business Association.Capstone Cottages, proposed by Capstone Collegiate Communities, an offshoot of the Alabama-based company that built The Summit on College student housing, has proposed 195 units at 1110 E. Lincoln Ave., northeast of the intersection of Lemay and Lincoln.City Council last week approved rezoning the site from industrial to mixed-use neighborhood that allows the development on 27 acres. The cottages are designed to look like a single-family home, each with its own front door. The development will also include a clubhouse, swimming pool and volleyball court, walking paths and a city sidewalk to provide access to area stores.Jeannie Ortega, director of off-campus life at CSU, said given the tight rental market "students are looking for availability wherever it is."With apartment vacancy rates under 3 percent, Ortega said: At this time, "it's 'if you build it they will come.' In time it could be that we have a glut of availability and things will swing back the other way."For now, however, Aspen Heights' distance from campus is not a concern for students, she said. Prices are comparable to other new student housing projects — Continue Reading

School choice is crucial for African-American students’ success

Once upon a time it may have been unheard of for the head of an urban league dedicated to the improvement of lives for African-American children to partner with a Republican to work on school reform. As part of one of his education reform efforts, Florida governor Jeb Bush convinced me to help him go around that state in an attempt to get school choice legislation passed. I leapt at the opportunity because I was desperately concerned about the lack of quality educational options for children in Liberty City, a neighborhood of the city of Miami where a branch of the urban league is headquartered. But that one achievement 30 plus years ago created a path that has changed lives for the children not only for Liberty City but children across the state. That is why I am compelled to speak up with deep concern and opposition to the statements of late by the NAACP, whose leadership has begun to ignore the reality of communities like mine, and indeed the conditions of African American students all over the country. More: School choice will lift up black community More: For ESPN and Jemele Hill, mixing politics and sports is bad business Here’s what I need to say to them, to the people of this nation, to people of color — I am involved in the school choice movement because the future of my life and your life depends upon it. Starting the state’s first charter school was one of the most significant accomplishments of my life. Because of our willingness to look beyond traditional divisions and leave beyond our tendency to only work with those with whom we are comfortable, our children of color are closing the achievement gap. African-American students in charter schools are scoring 4% higher on reading tests than those in traditional public schools and Florida charter school students are more likely to attend college. Hispanic students do 12% better than their peers at traditional public schools. These are but Continue Reading

Are we winning the war on drugs? Portugal’s choice to decriminalize brought on new problems

BILL: In the 1980s, drug abuse in Portugal hit catastrophic levels. According to a recent article in the New Yorker, "The Lisbon government responded in the usual way—increasing sentences for convictions and spending more money on investigations and prosecutions. Matters only grew worse. In 1999, nearly one per cent of the population—a hundred thousand people—were heroin addicts, and Portugal reported the highest rate of drug-related AIDS deaths in the European Union."DR DAVE: And so they took a desperate gamble: In July of 2001, Portugal became the first country to fully decriminalize personal drug use. Sounds right up your "Let's legalize drugs" alley, Bill.BILL: By taking the forbidden glamour out of drugs, Portuguese authorities report their abuse went down, especially among young people. Plus, their jail population number is falling, as are the country's drug-related deaths. What's wrong with that? Or am I being naive?DR. DAVE: What is naïve is to think that legalization's impact can be clearly identified by the elusive statistic of "reduction of drug abuse in youth."BILL: What statistic do you prefer?DR. DAVE: I prefer to look at actual social impact. One of the interwoven parts of drug abuse, is that many addicted women can only trade their bodies for the next fix—decriminalized or not. A study released this week shows that Portugal, ten years after that decriminalization law, is facing a crisis of women entering prostitution.BILL: Your case is that by removing fear of jail time, legalization discourages addicts from seeking treatment?  With a consequent erosion of community health standards often overlooked in the public policy debates?DR DAVE: Do you know that the abuse and over-use of legally sold prescription pills has become a bigger health problem in the USA than narcotics or cocaine?BILL: But what makes you think passing stricter laws will make it stop? It would only increase the black market price, and so the Continue Reading

Big East non-football members exploring options after Syracuse, Pitt bolt from conference to ACC

As the fissures continue to grow in the Big East, the league's seven non-football members have decided to explore their options. The athletic directors of St. John's, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Villanova, Providence, DePaul, Marquette and Notre Dame have scheduled a teleconference Monday to discuss the league's ever-changing status. The move follows the defections of Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC, with the prospect of more losses if the SEC targets West Virginia, the ACC absorbs Connecticut and perhaps Rutgers, and TCU reconsiders its decision to join this BCS conference in 2012. The instability has created the growing possibility that the basketball-only schools could seek a split from the football-playing schools in this massive 17-team league and put the wheels in motion to form their own Catholic league, hoping they have enough clout to negotiate a decent TV deal with ESPN. Big East football is unstable and gasping for breath as the SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and ACC continue their quests to form four, 16-team superconferences. "This is the business we've chosen," ACC commissioner John Swofford, sounding like Hyman Roth in "The Godfather: Part II", said Sunday during a teleconference to announce his league's newest members. Big East football is down to seven members and has yet to negotiate a new TV contract after passing on an ESPN offer of $11 million per team last May, thinking it could get a better deal by opening up negotiations to other networks. The conference still had a full complement of teams then. If it loses any more teams, the league could collapse under its own weight. Most Big East teams are already scrambling for a safe haven. "We continue to be in conversations with a lot of people," Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti said Sunday night. "This is a critical time. Expansion seems to be moving quicker than it did last year. I think the next 30 days will be critical." In the case of the Big East non-football schools, a Continue Reading

Weight Watchers new Points Plus weight loss system has dieters losing their minds

Weight Watchers has overhauled its points system. And not everyone is happy about it. many devoted members who have sworn by the old points method for weight loss since it was introduced 13 year ago. Weight Watchers, the new program will require some adjustment in how they choose their foods.  Stephanie Rost, Weight Watchers' corporate program development director told the News. "You are automatically guided toward foods that have a higher satiety value, that will help you keep fuller longer."Weight Watchers' Idol: Actress and singer Jennifer Hudson reportedly used the new PointsPlus system to transform her body. Vegetables and fruits are now zero "Points Plus" but processed foods as well as alcohol and sugar are higher.  That two-point glass of wine is now four points.While many are praising the new plan, many are wishing Weight Watchers would bury it."I love my carbs and have lost 121 lbs on the old system," one member wrote on the company's Facebook page. "I don't wanna change what I am doing and I feel that Weight Watchers should have given us a choice whether or not we wanted to try the new Points Plus.""All the Points values in my cookbook are wrong now," one member moaned.  "I guess I'll just have to get new ones for my computer."Members were also irritated that the new ontime tools and products to measure the Points Plus were not given to them for free since the old ones that they paid for are now worthless.Under the new system, the 40,000 foods in the Weight Watchers database (it includes both branded foods and generic foods) have been recalculated, taking into account not just how many calories they contain, but what else they contain.  All the packaged foods will be recalculated and relabeled, and should be available in the new version within a month, Rost says.Roberta Anding, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. "As you increase points, you increase total calories, maybe by 100 or 200 calories a day," she Continue Reading

“Forgotten students” find success at Sequoia Choice Precision School

When high school students are faced with the prospect of not finishing school, they often seek a “credit recovery” solution where they can attend classes and graduate as quickly as possible. And for many years, one of Phoenix’s oldest charter schools was thought to be an example of credit recovery. But no more.Sequoia Choice Precision School, a high school located at 40th Street and Broadway Road, has rapidly changed not just its focus, but also its students’.“We’re in the process of making a transformation,” said principal Jaime Tejada. “We’ve been here since 1998 and we’ve served hundreds of students. Now we’re academically more rigorous while at the same time facilitating the opportunities for our students who haven’t been successful at other schools. This isn’t just about recovering credits. It’s learning in a different way.”Sequoia Choice Precision recently joined the Edkey® Inc. portfolio of charter schools. Edkey® Inc. operates 18, K-12 charter schools across Arizona. After acquiring Precision Learning Center, leadership had the freedom to modify the mission, along with the name, and ultimately, the student results.“This school had a great reputation for credit recovery,” Tejada said. “Now we’re taking that and making it an advantage. We work with students to find out why they haven’t been successful, and help them become successful. That’s not putting them in a system or filling in the gaps. It’s really teaching them in a different way.”A central part of Sequoia Choice Precision’s focus is in technology-related study. Students can learn about graphic design, programming, photography and other areas that not only integrate with science and math, but also real-world careers.“I’ve seen the culture change,” said Naureen Hasan, a math teacher at Sequoia Choice Precision. “It’s very Continue Reading

Put up or shut up: City Council must back Mike Bloomberg on tough budget choices

The terrible impacts of the Wall Street meltdown are starting to hit New Yorkers in their wallets - and matters will only go from very bad to very worse. A multibillion-dollar plunge in tax collections has presented City Hall with the pressing need to cut costs and raise revenues immediately. That's why Mayor Bloomberg has called for revoking a $400 property tax rebate, eliminating a 7.5% property tax reduction, thinning the NYPD and trimming the municipal workforce by 3,000, including a few hundred layoffs. Then, maybe, raising sales and income taxes. Then, maybe, reimposing the clothing sales tax. All this, plus squeezing city agencies to cut spending by 7.5%, would leave the budget $1.3 billion in the red for the fiscal year that starts in July. And that is a wildly optimistic projection because it does not factor in the certainty that Albany will slash state aid to the city as the governor and Legislature struggle to close their own $12.5 billion budget gap. There's no room for debate: This is a fiscal crisis of such magnitude that it threatens to put New Yorkers into the terrible position of paying more for less - at exactly the time when few can afford to pay more. Where there is room for discussion is on the question of how best to apportion the pain between the taxpayers and the municipal workforce while - and this is critical - maintaining public safety, clean streets and the quality of education. To his credit, Bloomberg put billions aside to prepare for a downturn. That money is spoken for. The mayor also ordered agencies to make successive rounds of expense reductions without harming service delivery. But now there are no easy options. It's a question of which choices are the least destructive. Bloomberg's plan is a prudent start toward tough, unpleasant and unavoidable actions. But his City Council budget-making partners are not responding with similar responsibility. Numerous members, including Finance Committee Chairman Continue Reading

Trump nominates some club members to plum government jobs

WASHINGTON — When President Trump this week tapped Florida insurance executive Robin Bernstein to serve as the nation’s next ambassador to the Dominican Republic, he wasn’t just giving a business associate and longtime supporter a plum Caribbean assignment.Bernstein also is a founding member of his private Florida club, Mar-a-Lago.A USA TODAY review finds that Trump has installed at least five people who have been members of his clubs to senior roles in his administration, ranging from Bernstein and Callista Gingrich, the nation’s new ambassador to the Vatican, to Adolfo Marzol, a member of the Trump National Golf Club in suburban Washington, who serves as a senior adviser at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.Presidents often name campaign donors and close allies to administration posts, particularly prized diplomatic postings in cosmopolitan European capitals, such as Paris and London, and the tourist playgrounds of the West Indies.But never in modern history has a president awarded government posts to people who pay money to his own companies.Most of the appointees are longtime members of Trump's clubs, and there's no indication that they joined to secure an administration job.“You can appoint your personal valet (to an ambassadorship) if you like,” said Jan Baran, a former State Department official who is a top GOP ethics lawyer at Wiley Rein. He said it’s up to the Senate confirmation process to determine whether nominees for top diplomatic posts are qualified.Adolfo Marzol, appointed in May to be a senior adviser to Housing Secretary Ben Carson, is a member of Trump's golf club in northern Virginia. Marzol declined an interview request, but a spokesman for the department, Jerry Brown, said Marzol joined the club before Trump bought it 2009, and that it had no bearing on his job."The department is not concerned about health clubs or golfing clubs people have belonged to for 20 Continue Reading