Saturday, August 23, 2014

Helpful Comparing U.S. College Allergy Chart

I ran into this chart and thought it might be helpful to those who are entering or returning to a college.

Its College Time- Know Your Food Allergy Rights

                        I myself is a college student. A few years ago, I had an issue with the school. I was paying for a meal plan, but they never would make me anything that I felt safe to eat. After my mom and I talked to my advisor and the college nurse they told me all they can do is cook me up plain meats and vegetables, but they are going to say they are 100% gluten-free because they can't use a different pan and cooking enviroment. I never know there was laws to help out and inforce. 

I ran into this article by Patrick Bennett. I thought I should pass this on to you.

The rights for people with food allergies and celiac disease in college have come a long way. There are two main legal documents which apply, and a recent Department of Justice complaint which resulted in a settlement all but confirms that severe food allergies constitute a disability under U.S. law.


Applies to: Any public entity that receives federal financial assistance.
Rights given: Nobody may discriminate against an individual with a disability.
Administered by: Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was the first federal legislation aimed at providing equal rights to individuals with disabilities. Section 504 of this act deals with ensuring equal rights for individuals with disabilities in public elementary and secondary schools. Individuals with disabilities must have an equal opportunity to benefit from services offered, such as education. This is where the 504 Plan comes from, which is a legally binding document that ensures the individual with a disability will be accommodated.


Applies to: All public and private schools, regardless of federal funding, plus other areas.
Rights given: Expanded coverage of Section 504 to different areas, including all public and private schools, regardless of federal funding. A disability in the ADA is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
Administered by: Department of Justice (DOJ)
After the original passage of the ADA, courts tended to strictly interpret the term “substantial”, requiring proof that the impairment substantially limited a major life activity. In some food allergy cases, accommodations weren’t granted because the person with a food allergy failed to demonstrate that they were limited in a “substantial” manner. For example, a girl with peanut allergy barred from a daycare wasn’t considered disabled because she could eat foods other than peanut, thus the major life activity of eating was not considered to be “substantially” limited.


Applies to: Same as ADA.
Rights given: Greatly expanded the scope of who was to be considered disabled under the ADA. Instead of strict interpretation of how a major life activity was substantially limited, the term disability was to be “construed in favor of broad coverage of individuals”. In addition, the amendments added that “the question of whether an individual’s impairment is a disability under the ADA should not demand extensive analysis.”
It was with the passing of the ADAAA that food allergies and celiac disease more clearly entered the realm of disability and the rights that are afforded.
Administered by: Department of Justice (DOJ)


In December 2012, a settlement agreement was reached between Lesley University and a group of students with celiac disease who filed a complaint under the ADA. Their complaint was based on the fact that the university required them to have a meal plan, but didn’t offer safe options for their medically required gluten-free diet.
The DOJ indicated that it would pursue the complaint, which shows that it took it seriously enough to pick it out of the thousands of complaints it receives. This resulted in a settlement agreement being reached: Lesley was to provide safe options, allow students to pre-order safe meals, display notices by foods containing allergens or gluten, and more. In addition, the university had to award the students $50,000 in damages.


• Unlike K-12 schools, colleges have no obligation to seek out disabled students, including those with food allergies or celiac disease. The student must contact the disabilities office and provide documentation of the medical condition in order to be accommodated.
• Individuals with disabilities are entitled to “reasonable accommodation”. This means they must have an opportunity to enjoy the same benefits that someone who is not disabled is able to enjoy. But it has to be “reasonable”, in that it cannot create an undue financial burden on the institution. No college has to undergo a major change in their programs to provide accommodations. For example, a student who is allergic to multiple foods probably wouldn’t be able to ask a college with a cooking school to refrain from using allergens in its classes, since that would require a major programming change and perhaps  create a financial burden.

• Any college run by a religious organization is exempt from the ADA, unless it receives federal funding. Then it falls under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Thus, the only colleges not required to provide accommodations are those run by religious organizations who also do not receive any federal funding whatsoever – a few do exist, like Hillsdale College and Christendom College.Received this from

Girl Scout Might Offer Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookie


I am looking forward to trying the new Gluten-Free Girl Scout Chocolate Chip Shortbread cookie. This cookie is made with real chocolate chips and real butter. The Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Shortbread is premiering in a number of test markets this year, so keep your figures cross they will actually make and sell them.  Please email the Girl Scouts expressing how important it is to offer a Gluten Free Cookie.  

National Foundation for Celiac Awareness- College Dorm GF Care Package


Start off the school year on the right foot!  Enter to win a care package full of dorm-room friendly goodies perfect for the gluten-free student.  We'll announce the winner at the end of August!

Tornado Hit My House

On July 6, 2014 at 10:30pm my house in Kentwood MI got hit hard.

Here is what happened.

9:45pm some thunder and lightening in the distance.

10:15pm still some thunder and lightening in the distance. Watching Wzzm13, our local news station, only to see a Flash Flood watch was on the screen.

10:28pm down pour of rain. Then a couple of branches hit the roof. We have a lot of trees in my neighborhood and do on the occasion have branches fall on our house.   The next second a down pour of rain. The rain was hitting the house really hard. Then "boom" "boom" "boom" and many more "booms". My house was shaking. Then we heard aloud "bang" hit the back of my house by our bathroom.
My mom and I was in our living room together when it hit. While everything was falling on our house we couldn't figure out what the hell was going on. We live near an airport. So did a airplane crash? Was it an earthquake? We kept looking at the TV and still no severe thunderstorm watch.
By the time we decided we should go the basement it was over. My dad, who was in the family room, looked out our slider door and saw all the trees flying in the air and coming towards our house. He screamed at us to "get in the basement", but my mom and I couldn't hear each other in the same room alone hear my dad at the other end of our home.

We quickly went into the bathroom where loudest "bang" hit. The lights went out but only for a couple of seconds. When the lights came back on we saw a hole in our bathroom wall. You couldn't see outside, but you could see behind the drywall. There was also a crack on the ceiling.

We got our flashlights and went outside. Saw tree branches on our cars and panicked thinking our cars were damaged. Luckily they were only small size branches.  But then we turn around to find two of our huge 500+ year old oak trees on our house.  As we were looking around our house to see the damage a neighbor from across the street yells "are you alright?" and I replied to him, "We've been hit."

My dad headed to the backyard to see the damage, but to his surprised all the neighbors trees and debris was crammed pack in our backyard. He went to the other side of the house to get into the backyard, but that side was also crammed packed with trees.

When you look out the windows facing the backyard it looks like we are underground with tree roots eating us alive.

This is what we see out our windows that are looking out towards the backyard. 

Our next door neighbor also had a tree hit their garage. Because it was so dark we couldn't really see how much damage everyone in our neighborhood had. So many trees are down. About 30minutes later we heard many fire trucks and chain saws starting up. 
I was terrified about staying in our house because I scared our house wasn't  structurally safe.  My mom and dad believed we were fine, but lets just say I didn't sleep very good.  

July 7, 2014- 8:00am- Seeing the Destruction
Went outside and was shocked. There was more then two trees on our house. If it wasn't for our chimney one of the trees would have sliced out house in half. The only way to get into the backyard was to climb up a latter onto the roof and then had to climb down a trees on our house, but because it was so crammed with trees in our backyard all you could do was climb. You couldn't find the ground. So many things were jammed in our siding. 

Later that Night 6:00pm July 7, 2014
The news said that Kentwood and Wyoming was hit by an F1 & F2 tornado. We had to get 3 estimates for tree removal for our home insurance. We got our tree quotes. We ended up going with Tree West Tree Service. Instead of just starting the next day in the morning they started that afternoon. They wanted to get all of the parts of the trees that were on our roof off. They said it is important to get them off the roof as quickly as possible to prevent more damage to the roof. They worked pretty late.

July 8, 2014- Tree Removal Day. 
Tree West Tree Service came out and kicked butt getting all the trees and branches cut down. They told us we had a total of 8 trees and 6 of them were on our house. They were amazed we still had a house. They told us God was really with us because those trees should have make our house collapse. 

July 9, 2014- Tree Removal Second Day
Tree West Tree Service was able to finish today. We were very happy with them and would recommend them. If you live in West Michigan I would highly recommend them. Their contact information: 
Owner: Kevin Mahlum. 269-206-6333. Email:

Thank God for Our Chimney to Stop the tree from slicing our house in half. 

Our trash container was on the edge of the street and now it was thrown in our backyard



Our Neighbors House Got Hit Too












Cutting down the trees on our roof and backyard.






They still have a lot to get done. As you can see they have the other half of the yard to do.


 Trees are gone but now are grass is a mud path.




July 10, 2014- Our State Farm inspector came out to determine the damage. She kept telling us if it comes out to more then she is quoting to let them know.




We were very lucky that I had a friend who knew someone that works for a home repair company because all of the contractors and home repair business couldn't get out to fix our house till October. Some contractors/business weren't even accepting any new clients. 
Captain Remodeling was able to move us up due the extent of the damage. 

About a week later, Captain Remodeling came out to do the  Roof first. They had to pull off two layers of shingles and replace the boards. It took them 3 1/2 days. 
They first did the roof. Then a few days later they had their siding workers come out. Then about two weeks they had a husband and wife team that came out to fix our bathroom. 






Finished Roof 

Captain Remodeling roofing crew was very nice.  They were sloppy on things. They created a little damage to fascia this was because of miscommunication. They thought we were going to our whole house with new siding.  They were not able to find the same siding so the insurance company should pay for it, but we didn't want to count on it. We told them at this time no. Well, there was miscommunication and the roofers thought we were going to do the whole house so they weren't really careful with the fascia.  Would I hire them again for roofing? The next time we would do the roof isn't because of storm damage, so we would have time to really check out other roofing companies. We went with Captain Remodeling because my friend suggested them and  because we had to get this done and couldn't find other roofing companies that could do it sooner.  


 Captain Remodeling did our siding. Now we were really happy with our siding. They did a very nice job! Would we have them do our siding again? Yes.




Siding Is Finished: 

Time to Repair Our Chimney
Our insurance company only quoted on reparing the top of the chimney which is really stupid because you can't match that brink.  We ended up getting three estimates. The first one was Hancock Chimney.  They seem to be very expensive. To do only the top part of the chimney they were charging about $8000. We had another company come out, but I can't remember their name and they also was charging $7800 just for the top part.  Then our neighbor from behind us told us about Joesph Spica owner of D&W Masonry which is located in Wyoming MI. He has done this now for 40 years. It is just him who builds and repairs chimney. He doesn't have any employees. He did an amazing job. It was very nice.  Would I hire him again? Hell Yes! 

His contact information:   D & W Masonry located in Wyoming MI, Cell: 616-498-9496. Owner: Joesph Spica. 



This is What I See Looking at Our Fireplace From In the House:


Chimney Tear Down



Chimney Is Finished:
Doesn't his work look amazing! 


My dad painted the tree in hopes it will keep out the bugs. 

My dad picking up all the dead branches. 

Neighbor rented a log cutter because he has to cut up all of...


The metal fence looks pretty cool the way it got bent.

Our next thing we have to do is fight our insurance company who didn't give us enought to fix all of our repairs. The rest of the siding costed $8900 and they were only going to pay $4000. 

Halloween Fun and History

1910s Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images Halloween is fast approaching. When did our traditions of Halloween happen?  Over 2,000 ye...