Entries in Families (5)


US Families Waste 20 Pounds of Food Each Month, Study Claims

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- On average, families in the United States throw away 20 pounds of food each month, an amount worth approximately $2,000 annually for a family of four.

John Floros, the dean of the College of Agriculture at Kansas State University, found in a new study that in the United States, nearly four out of every 10 pounds of food produced annually is tossed in the trash. That figure includes food thrown away by members of households, restaurants, supermarkets, and other food-service providers.

Floros, who presented his study at the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans, included uneaten and spoiled food, as well as food thrown away after being prepared.

According to scientists, food decomposition releases methane gas into the air. Methane gas is a significantly more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and fosters global warming.

Floros' study comes to the conclusion that a reduction in food waste could solve global challenges by "providing more food to a growing population, reducing greenhouse gases, and reducing the amount of freshwater needed to grow crops."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Aurora Shooting Victims’ Families Outraged by Invitation to Re-Opening

Thomas Cooper/Getty Images(AURORA, Colo.) -- Families of many of the victims killed in the Aurora, Colo., movie theater massacre are calling an invitation to attend “a special evening of remembrance” when the multiplex re-opens later this month “disgusting” and “offensive.”

In a letter to the theater owner, Cinemark USA Inc., family members of nine of the murdered victims say the invitation to attend the event was ill-timed, at best. They are calling for a boycott of the theater.

“During the holiday we didn’t think anyone or anything could make our grief worse but you, Cinemark, have managed to do just that by sending us an invitation two days after Christmas inviting us to attend the re-opening of your theater in Aurora where our loved ones were massacred,” the letter says.

On July 20, James Holmes allegedly opened fire inside a crowded midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. Twelve people were killed and 58 were wounded. Holmes has not yet entered a plea.

An official with Plano, Texas-based Cinemark USA Inc. told ABC News Wednesday that the company has no comment on the letter from the families.

“I was appalled at their lack of sensitivity. It’s very upsetting,” Mary Ellen Hansen told ABC News. Hansen is the great-aunt of six-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan, who was killed in the attack. Hansen’s niece, Ashley Moser — Veronica’s mother — was paralyzed in the shooting and suffered a miscarriage.

“It’s been a horrible holiday season, and this letter came on my birthday, Dec. 27, which made it even worse,” said Tom Teves, who lost his son Alex in the July 20 shooting.

Family members of the victims say they received the invitation through the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance to attend the Jan. 17 re-opening, followed by the screening of a movie.  The film was not specified.

“Our family members will never be on this earth with us again and a movie ticket and some token words from people who didn’t care enough to reach out to us, nor respond when we reached out to them to talk, is appalling,” the families wrote. They said they “will be using every social media tool at our disposal to ask the other victims to ask their friends and family to honor us by boycotting the killing field of our children.”

Several lawsuits have already been filed against Cinemark by families of the victims killed as well as some theatergoers wounded that night, citing inadequate security at the theater.

A preliminary hearing in Holmes’ case is scheduled for Monday.


To the Management of Cinemark USA, Inc.:

During the holiday we didn’t think anyone or anything could make our grief worse but you, Cinemark, have managed to do just that by sending us an invitation two days after Christmas inviting us to attend the re-opening of your theater in Aurora where our loved ones were massacred. Thanks for making what is a very difficult holiday season that much more difficult. Timing is everything and yours is awful.

You (Cinemark) has shown, and continues to show, ZERO compassion to the families of the victims whose loved ones were killed in their theater. You, Cinemark, have never once reached out to the families to offer condolences.

This disgusting offer that you’d “like to invite you and a guest to a special evening of remembrance on Thursday, January 17 at 5 PM" followed by the showing of a movie and then telling us to be sure “to reserve our tickets" is wholly offensive to the memory of our loved ones.

Our family members will never be on this earth with us again and a movie ticket and some token words from people who didn’t care enough to reach out to us, nor respond when we reached out to them to talk, is appalling.

You (Cinemark) refused our repeated invitations to speak parent to parent with no lawyers involved. Instead, we get invited to attend a “special evening of remembrance” at the very theater where our loved ones lay dead on the floor for over 15 hours. We would give anything to wipe the carnage of that night out of our minds’ eye. Thank you for reminding us how your quest for profits has blinded your leadership and made you so callous as to be oblivious to our mental anguish.

We, the families, recognize your thinly veiled publicity ploy for what it is: A great opportunity for you to distance yourselves and divert public scrutiny from your culpability in this massacre.

After reading our response to your ridiculously offensive invitation, you now know why we will not be attending your re-opening celebration and will be using every social media tool at our disposal to ask the other victims to ask their friends and family to honor us by boycotting the killing field of our children.

The Families of the Aurora Cinemark Theatre Massacre

Thomas Teves (father of Alex Teves)

Caren Teves (mother of Alex Teves)

Sandy Phillips (mother of Jessica Ghawi)

Lonnie Phillips (stepfather of Jessica Ghawi)

Jerri Jackson (mother of Matt McQuinn)

Greg Medek (father of Micayla Medek)

Rena Medek (mother of Micayla Medek)

Anita Busch (cousin of Greg and Micayla Medek)

Robert Wingo, (father of Rebecca Ann Wingo’s two children)

Scott Larimer (father of John Larimer)

Kathleen Larimer (mother of John Larimer)

Jessica Watts (cousin of Jonathan Blunk)

Robert Sullivan (grandfather of Veronica Moser-Sullivan)

Sue Sullivan (grandmother of Veronica Moser-Sullivan)

Cassandra Sullivan (widow of Alex Sullivan)

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


All 9/11 Families, Except One, Have Received Compensation

David Handschuh-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Ten years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, deceased victims' families and the injured have been compensated over $7 billion.

Of 2,977 people who lost their lives as a result of the attacks, only one victim's family has refrained from settling its claims with the airline and a security company they say was negligent.

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001, created by Congress, has distributed the money to survivors and victims' families.  They have received an average of just over $2 million tax-free per claim, according to Kenneth Feinberg, a former pro bono administrator of the fund.

In addition, 2,300 physically injured 9/11 victims or those who suffered from respiratory problems cleaning up the World Trade Center were each awarded $400,000 tax-free, on average, Feinberg said.

Feinberg started distributing compensation 11 days after the program was established and began cutting checks in April 2002, until the fund expired by statute in June 2004.

He said 94 families who lost a loved one on Sept. 11 opted not to participate in the fund and decided voluntarily to litigate in Manhattan.  And 93 of those 94 settled over the past five years.  Only the Bavis family is going to trial.

The Bavis family of Massachusetts will resume their lawsuit in New York City against United Airlines and security company Huntleigh on Sept. 19.  The family first filed the suit in September 2002.  Mary Bavis, the named plaintiff, is the mother of Mark Bavis who was aboard United Airlines flight 175 from Boston when it struck the south tower of the World Trade Center.

Other companies and cities that the Bavis' initially sued have been dropped from the suit over time.  The New York district court dismissed Massport, for example, which oversees Boston Logan airport, Don Migliori, an attorney representing the family, said.

The families that opted out of the fund and eventually settled may have received an average of under $5 million, using figures from the report of Sheila Birnbaum, the 9/11 mediator.  The information, however, is confidential.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Census 2010: One-Quarter of Gay Couples Raising Children

Creatas/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- An estimated one-quarter of all same-sex households are raising children, according to U.S. Census data, providing one of the first portraits of gay American families.

For the first time ever, the census counts same-sex couples and their children, and as data trickles out state by state, more gay families are being tallied in the South.

Just last week, reports from Hawaii and Alabama -- two very different states geographically and socially -- revealed that 27 and 23 percent of same-sex couples were raising children, respectively, according to an analysis by the Williams Institute, a UCLA School of Law think tank that focuses on lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender issues.

Data released Thursday on five more states showed that 28 percent of families in Wyoming are raising children.  In California, the percentage is 21 percent, Delaware, 19 percent, Kansas, 26 percent, and Pennsylvania, 20 percent.

The emerging profile of same-sex families comes just as New York legislators are poised to vote on a bill that could legalize gay marriage. The controversial bill is one vote away from being passed and could make New York the sixth and largest state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Five other states -- Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and New Hampshire, as well as the District of Columbia -- allow gay marriage.  Advocates say census counts matter in these political debates.  They argue that the data is important for understanding their needs and forming policies in the best interest of their children.

"This is the first time it accurately reflects families that have always been there," said Stuart Gaffney, a spokesman for the gay rights group Marriage Equality USA.

"It's something we find out when they are lobbying in legislatures like Albany right now and reps say they don't have someone in their district who it matters to," he said.  "That's why it's so critical to show we are in every state, every city and every county in the United States.  There are constituents and they need to know we are here."

Statistics on the children of gay couples have previously been released at the state level, but never in a way that allowed demographers, legislators, and gay rights advocates to glean a national picture.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Pledges More Support for Military Families

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama on Monday announced new initiatives to help support military families across the country that he said is not just a moral obligation, but a matter of national security.

The initiatives focus on putting a new emphasis on the quality of life for military families, the education and development of military children, redoubling efforts to help military spouses pursue their educations and careers, and increasing child care for military moms and dads with young children.

“These are lasting commitments by the government to address your needs and concerns for years to come,” said first lady Michelle Obama. “My hope is that these recommendations will live on no matter the president, no matter the party.”

On Thursday, Mrs. Obama will travel to Columbia, S.C. to meet with service members and speak about this initiative at Fort Jackson.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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