Saturday, August 13, 2011

News: Cancer Cure. Smart Skin. New Tree App. Maltese Home. Hot Dogs. Baldwin for Mayor? New Store. Bear Sanctuary. History of Willis, TX.


"A new leukemia treatment is wowing even the researchers behind its creation, providing results beyond their wildest expectations.   It's virtually eradicated cancerous leukemia cells in the first three patients it's been tested on.

In two of the first three patients the process was tested on the treatment completely destroyed the most common type of leukemia, according to MSNBC. In the third patient, the treatment seems to have reduced the cancerous cells to 70 percent of what they once were.

"Within three weeks, the tumors had been blown away, in a way that was much more violent than we ever expected," said senior author Carl June, MD told Penn Medicine.

Amazingly, the breakthrough actually uses patients' own T cells to fight the cancer, according to the University of Pennsylvania's news release. Researchers took the T cells of the patients, ran them through Penn's vaccine production facility, and then reintroduced them to the patients' bodies following chemotherapy.

Amazingly, MSNBC reports that this radical treatment almost never happened. Funding for the experiment was apparently hard to find, and is one reason the treatment has only been tried on three patients.


"Both the National Cancer Institute and several pharmaceutical companies declined to pay for the research. Neither applicants nor funders discuss the reasons an application is turned down. But good guesses are the general shortage of funds and the concept tried in this experiment was too novel and, thus, too risky for consideration."

With promising results like this, it's hard to imagine how it could be so hard to get funding."



Science News.  Smart Skin: Electronics That Stick and Stretch Like a Temporary Tattoo


An ultrathin, electronic patch with the mechanics of skin, applied to the wrist for EMG and other measurements. (Credit: Courtesy John Rogers)

ScienceDaily (Aug. 11, 2011) — "Engineers have developed a device platform that combines electronic components for sensing, medical diagnostics, communications and human-machine interfaces, all on an ultrathin skin-like patch that mounts directly onto the skin with the ease, flexibility and comfort of a temporary tattoo.

Led by researcher John A. Rogers, the Lee J. Flory-Founder professor of engineering at the University of Illinois, the researchers described their novel skin-mounted electronics in the Aug. 12 issue of the journal Science.

Skin-mounted electronics have many biomedical applications, including EEG and EMG sensors to monitor nerve and muscle activity.

One major advantage of skin-like circuits is that they don't require conductive gel, tape, skin-penetrating pins or bulky wires, which can be uncomfortable for the user and limit coupling efficiency. They are much more comfortable and less cumbersome than traditional electrodes and give the wearers complete freedom of movement.

More at:



New App Puts Tree Smarts in Your Phone, Leafsnap. 

Leafsnap App"Ever wonder about the trees you pass on your hikes? Thanks to a new smartphone app by the Smithsonian, nature lovers can learn more about their local trees without having to lug field guides into the woods with them.

With Leafsnap, users will be able to simply take a picture of a leaf and get a response in seconds that matches the image against a growing database of trees, identifies the likely species, and provides high-resolution photos and additional information. Developers released Leafsnap in May with information on a variety of East Coast trees. The company plans to expand their database to include all tree species in the Northeast and, eventually, all the trees of North America."
Learn More > >



Missing Maltese Dog Returns To Michigan Home After Fatal Crash Missing Maltese

TUCUMCARI, N.M (AP) -- "A Maltese dog named Caesar who disappeared more than a year ago after a car crash that killed two members of it's owning family in eastern New Mexico is on his way home to Michigan.

The Quay County Sun reports Wednesday that Caesar was found by a volunteer looking for adoptable dogs at a shelter in Tucumcari. She was able to track down his owner, Monica Benson, after Caesar was scanned for a microchip.

Benson, who lost her husband and a daughter in the accident, said her four surviving children are very excited and have made "welcome home" posters for Caesar.


A photo of Benjamin Benson feeding Caesar the family's Maltese dog. This picture was hung in the ICU room where Benjamin was recovering from injuries from a rollover in 2010. Caesar was lost during that rollover and was recently found in Tucumcari and is being returned to the family in Clio, Mich.

"This has been the best news we have received in a year," she said.  Caesar left Tucumcari this week for Clio, Mich.

The Benson family was traveling westbound on Interstate 40 near Tucumcari on June 15, 2010, when their 2001 Chevrolet mini-van overturned.

Gary and Emily Benson died from injuries in the accident. One of the other children, then-18-month-old Benjamin, was placed in an intensive care unit.  "While Benjamin was in the ICU, we placed picture of him and Caesar on the walls," Monica Benson told the newspaper.  Benson said the family returned to the accident and tried to find Caesar.  "It has been so hard," Monica Benson said. "There are pictures all over the house, and Benjamin would point at them and ask, `Where's Caesar?'"

Mike Martinez, animal control supervisor for Tucumcari, said a family dropped off Caesar on Thursday, saying they were moving and could no longer care for him.  Christina Flemming, a member of the Tucumcari Animal Rescue Group, found Caesar at the Tucumcari animal shelter on Friday.

After his chip was scanned, she said she called the number attached to the chip to find it had been disconnected. But she told the newspaper something didn't seem right, so she went online to try and find the family and found an article about the accident.

"I found the obituary and contacted the funeral home in Michigan," Flemming said. "A woman named Rhonda helped me to get in contact with Caesar's owners."

From:   First Posted: 8/10/11 



Could Processed Meat Give You Cancer? Are hot dogs a political issue? Surprisingly so.


Warning: Hot Dogs Can Strike You Out - For Good: "On Monday July 25, non-profit organization, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, erected a billboard outside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The picture was stark -- a cigarette pack emblazoned with a skull and crossbones. But sticking out of the pack were not cigarettes -- instead there were hot dogs. The message said "WARNING: Hot dogs can wreck your health."

The issue is cancer. Every year, about 143,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer and more than 50,000 die of the disease. About half of all cases are already incurable when found. The U.S. Government and other entities have poured millions of dollars into the search for the cause. But one of the causes they found turned out to be too hot for the government to handle.

It's the ordinary hot dog. At least 58 scientific studies have looked at the issue, and the jury has rendered its verdict, which is now beyond reasonable doubt.

The more hot dogs people eat, the higher their risk of colorectal cancer. And it's not just hot dogs. Any sort of processed meat -- bacon, sausage, ham, deli slices -- is in this group.

And here are the numbers: Every 50 grams of processed meat you eat on a daily basis (that's about one hot dog) increases your risk of colorectal cancer by 21 percent. And just as there is no safe level of smoking, no amount of hot dogs, bacon, sausage, ham or other processed meats comes out clean in scientific studies.


The problem goes beyond colorectal cancer. An NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study found a 10 percent increased risk of prostate cancer for every 10 grams of increased intake of processed meats. Other studies have linked these same products to leukemia and ovarian cancer. Exactly how processed meats do their dirty work is not clear; it could be their nitrites, saturated fat or other ingredients.

But here's where politics come in: Even though much of this research was paid for by the U.S. government, the government also subsidizes meat. It supports feed grains to fatten cows and pigs, buys up meats for the school lunch program and helps the meat industry in countless other ways. So I think that the last thing the government wants to do is to publicize the cancer risk of one of its favorite products. I believe that this is why there are no government billboards, radio ads or television spots to warn anyone about this easily preventable cause.

At a ballgame, if you're thinking about buying your daughter a hot dog, there are no notices, no warning labels on the food product, no nothing. Meat industry lobbyists have made sure that your government won't breathe a word.

The fact is, hot dogs are not fun, cute or "All-American." If you are not convinced, just ask to see how one is made." From:  Posted: 8/10/11 



What you don't know about hot dogs could kill you.


"What you don't know about hot dogs could kill you. This Cancer Project commercial is based on a 2007 report from the American Institute for Cancer Research. The report concluded that hot dogs and other processed meats are a convincing cause of colorectal cancer.

The risk increases by 21 percent for every 50 grams of processed meat consumed daily. A 50-gram serving is approximately the size of a typical hot dog. Learn more at"



No Plans for 2013, but an Actor Seems Focused on the Mayor’s Office

The actor Alec Baldwin has political goals in New York.

Alec Baldwin is not running for mayor of New York — yet.

"First, Mr. Baldwin, a 53-year-old actor and Long Island native, wants to finish his work on his television show, “30 Rock,” then go back to school and learn what the job is all about.

In an interview on Monday, Mr. Baldwin spoke extensively about his long-term political ambitions, his views on political figures, his anger about Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s overturning of the city’s term-limits law and how he stays in touch with regular people despite his wealth and fame.

He said it had helped him to live on the Upper West Side, rather than in a wealthier neighborhood. “It is more real,” he said. “There’s old people, it’s ethnic and it’s economically mixed. It’s not a little kind of jewel-box, privileged pocket of the city like some neighborhoods are.”

He added, “I am more comfortable living where it seems more middle class, and I have lived there deliberately.”

More:  By SARAH MASLIN NIR   Published: August 9, 2011

( Maybe to get a pension and healthcare?)





This is where Jay and I went:

First Kroger Marketplace in Montgomery County opens in Willis  Posted: Friday, August 12, 2011 

"Willis-area residents flocked to the new store, located at 12605 Interstate 45 North in Willis, for their first glimpse of the new store. The Willis location is the first such store in Montgomery County and the third in the Houston area.

“We’re just happy to serve the people,” Store Manager Mike Medved said. “ … Everything you can imagine we have.”

The Kroger Marketplace is the centerpiece of the new Sam Houston Town Center at the northwest corner of I-45 and FM 1097. Other businesses setting up shop include First National Bank, Walgreens, Little Caesar’s, Whataburger, Chase Bank, Schlotzsky’s, Burger King, Sport Clips, America Hair Works, Willis Cleaners and Tender Touch II Nails and Spa.

test4Up and Running

“It’s a great thing for the city of Willis,” Mayor Leonard Reed said. “It took a lot of work and some maneuvering, but we got it done.”

The 123,000-square-foot new Kroger Marketplace is much more than a neighborhood grocery store.

The store includes a 2,500-square-foot home furnishings section featuring Ashley Furniture brand items, the Kitchen Place department with Kitchen Aide and Cuisinart items, a 2,048-square-foot Baby World section, a full-service pharmacy with a dual lane drive-thru window, a floral department, a deli and bakery, a bistro featuring hot, chef-prepared ready-to-eat meals and sides, a Cheese Shoppe with 200 imported and specialty cheese and a selection of olives and antipasti, a wine department with more than 1,700 varieties from around the world, a produce department including organic fruits and vegetables and a full-service meat and seafood departments featuring Nolan Ryan Choice All Natural Beef and Private Selection Choice Angus Beef.

Kroger Marketplace will feature a fuel center. The fuel center at the closed location across the interstate will remain open as well.

The store will also donate fruit and vegetables it is unable to sell to the Southeast Texas Bear Refuge in Willis. “That will aide us tremendously in taking care of the bears,” Director Jason Mayfield said. “It’s going to be a huge resource for us.”


Kroger Marketplace alone is bringing more than 300 new jobs to the area.  “It’s just been a few years I remember taking over the building across (the interstate) and making it a Kroger store,” said Bill Breetz, president of the Kroger Southwest Division. “I think we’re just improving everything in the Willis area.”  The store is reaching those far outside the Willis area as well."    From:


When we arrived, the parking lot was full and the store had plenty of customers, but with the wide aisles, it didn't feel crowded.  We didn't stay there long, we just bought a few things that were on our lists, as the old Kroger has already closed down across the freeway.  They had even taken all the Kroger signs down during the night, you would never have known it was there, except that they are keeping the old Kroger gas station open, as well as the big new one.



Southeast Texas Bear Refuge

Southeast Texas Bear Refuge
is a non-profit corporation in Willis, Texas, and was founded in response to a growing need for qualified black bear rescue and rehabilitation facilities.

Thank you for visiting the STBR website. Enjoy our pictures, videos and bear information, but please continue to visit for updates and exciting news.
We appreciate your support, and look forward to sharing these special bears with you.





History of Willis, TX

"Willis became a community when the Great Northern Railroad decided to run a track from Houston to Chicago, and the Willis brothers donated their land in 1870 to the railroad. Willis grew in population after the trains began to travel through the town. There were hotels, dry good stores, and many other successful businesses in the 1870's and 1880's.

The tobacco industry played a vital role in Willis' growth and development during that time. Other cash crops of cotton, watermelons, and tomatoes were an important part of the economy through the years. The timber industry, which still plays a role in Willis' economic growth, has been its most stable economic engine for over one hundred years.

Since the 1980's, Willis has seen its economic base change from agriculture to services, retail, and manufacturing. It is the gateway to Lake Conroe. Interstate 45 bisects the community. One mile east, U.S. Highway 75 and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe rail services run parallel to Interstate 45. The George Bush Intercontinental Airport is 35 miles south of Willis. The Montgomery County Airport is 10 miles east of Willis.

Willis is also a central location for many places of recreational interest in Southeast Texas. Lake Conroe, the Sam Houston National Forest, Huntsville State Park, and golf courses are only some of the attractions."



"By 1884, in addition to its various schools and churches, Willis boasted several steam-powered saw and grist mills, two cotton gins, a brickyard, a saloon and gambling house, a Grange hall, numerous grocery and dry-goods stores, and a population of 600." More at:


Views: Lake Conroe, Willis, TX










That is a big shopping center for a little city with a population of 4525. 

There are many more thousands living outside the city limits in the surrounding areas.

We were put on the map yesterday!


Gypsy said...

Is Baldwin the same guy that was shown in a video clip castigating his young daughter, telling her how worthless she was? If he gets elected to anything then people have a short memory.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Hi Gypsy, Thank you for your comment.

It seems that Baldwin and his ex, Kim Basinger, have had a lot of trouble over the raising of their daughter:

Some famous people think they can get away with anything, and all will be forgiven!

I enjoy reading your journal, whether you are traveling or stationary.

Happy Tails for Lady, and Happy Trails for you. Penny.