Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

March 24, 2013

Vasicek: A wealth of good news on several fronts

World poverty shrinking, coffee reduces stroke risk

Spring is here. St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone. Because that minor holiday fell on a Sunday, we had a record number of pinches in church last Sunday. Must be the revenge of the Irish. I tried to feign being Pastor Ed O’Vasicek, but wasn’t convincing.

Today, however, is Palm Sunday, a special day for me. This is the season for Christians everywhere to contemplate anew the meaning of events that occurred nearly 2,000 years ago, a message we call the “Good News.”

People of all faiths, however, enjoy hearing about good news in the secular realm. Let me share some with you.

The first is about world poverty. Although poverty cannot be eliminated speedily enough, change is occurring briskly. Read what the UK digital newspaper, Mail Online, has to say:

“World poverty is shrinking and developing countries are becoming less poor, according to a new study by Oxford University.

“Nepal, Rwanda and Bangladesh were the ‘star performers’ of the 22-country study carried out by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), followed by Ghana, Tanzania, Cambodia and Bolivia. The report predicts that some of the poorest countries in the world could see acute poverty eradicated within 20 years.

“The department measured poverty by using a new term called the Multidimensional Poverty Index, or MPI. It measures the intensity of different deprivations that poor people face including nutrition, education and sanitation and not just income.” Great news!

We have a wealth of good news locally. Consider the major strides in the Kokomo school system, with its creative direction (vocational school, international school, arts school, international student exchanges), a thriving branch of Indiana University — and don’t forget Ivy Tech. We boast a revitalized downtown, a relevant bus system, expanded walking trails, flowers and art and beautiful signage — too much to document. Despite past losses, Chrysler is revving up our economy. Optimism about Kokomo’s future and realism about Kokomo’s future seem to be the same thing.

We have some good news about better eating habits. We human beings resist change of routine, and food is not just about feeling good or enjoying a meal — most of us are very emotional about what we eat. Some folks literally panic about trying something new; eating the same foods over and over again give many a sense of stability. Thus, change toward better nutrition succeeds best in small increments. America’s love for the hamburger and for fast food is a case in point. Burger King is beginning to wake up and smell the coffee, according to AP:

“Burger King is offering a turkey burger for the first time. The Miami-based company is rolling out the new sandwich this week as part of its limited-time offers for spring, marking the latest fast-food effort to cater to health-conscious diners. Last week, McDonald’s said it plans to offer a lower-calorie version of its Egg McMuffin made with egg whites.”

It’s a start. If small improvements in our diets become established over time, we may accumulate them. Eventually we can better watch out for our own long-term best interests.

Many of my columns feature my fictitious friends, Elmer and Emil. With Elmer, I can always repel him by offering him a cup of coffee because he despises the brew so much. Elmer, though, is increasing the likelihood of stroke, according to a UPI article:

“The study, published in ‘Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association’, found people who drank at least one cup of coffee daily had about a 20 percent lower risk of stroke compared with those who rarely drank the beverage. People who drank two to three cups of green tea daily had a 14 percent lower risk of stroke and those who had at least four cups had a 20 percent lower risk, compared with those who rarely drank green tea.”

Let’s say Elmer drinks green tea; I think he’ll live as long as I do. That’s what’s nice about a fictitious friend. Have a great day!

Ed Vasicek is pastor of Highland Park Church and a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at edvasicek@att.net.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • MAUREEN HAYDEN: Expiring term heightens urgency of legislator's mission State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January.The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrants from paying i

    July 23, 2014

  • CECIL BOHANON: Spend down surplus? Been there, done that Back in 1998, the state of Indiana had more than $1.3 billion in surplus funds in its general account. This was about 57 days of state spending. The state had total surplus funds of more than $2 billion that was over 24 percent of its annual operatin

    July 23, 2014

  • MAUREEN HAYDEN: Expiring term heightens urgency of legislator's mission State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January.The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrants from paying i

    July 22, 2014

  • TOM LoBIANCO: Indiana Democrats deal with divide on education On the face of it, the battles between Democratic Schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz and supporters and staff of Republican Gov. Mike Pence have been a unifying force for Indiana Democrats. But the scrapping has exposed a deep rift within the party o

    July 22, 2014

  • BRIAN HOWEY: Is Evan Bayh contemplating another gubernatorial run? This could be the saga of “LeBron Bayh.”Like a thunderhead brewing in the distance, you could see this one coming. This was the progression: former state Democratic Chairman Dan Parker announces he will not become a candidate for mayor of Indianapoli

    July 21, 2014

  • DICK WOLFSIE: Please go away already My wife is planning our summer vacation, which we will take in the fall. We took our spring vacation this summer. We got behind in 1984 and still haven't caught up. I don't have much input into the planning of these trips, but Mary Ellen did assign m

    July 21, 2014

  • ED VASICEK: Internet, and future of communication One morning, I was chatting with some retired folks and the subject of paying bills on the Internet came up. One woman said she disposed of her computer years ago and pays her bills by mail. I commented she could get by just fine doing that. The othe

    July 20, 2014

  • FAITH BRAUTIGAM: Learning from others' mistakes through literature If you’ve ever been locked out of somewhere — your home, your car, your workplace — I expect you could tell me all the details of the incident, even if it was years or decades ago. Why? Our brains remember major events, and it’s a big deal to be stra

    July 20, 2014

  • RAY DAY: We need to get tough Last year I said I was going to quit trying to do anything about the shooting off of fireworks in the neighborhoods. But as anyone who knows me can say, I don't give up on things that are of utmost danger. Here it was, a week before the Fourth of Jul

    July 19, 2014

  • LEE HAMILTON: Is this country doomed to ceaseless polarization? We Americans are trapped in a political dilemma. We all like representative democracy, but we don't much like the way it's performing. The reason for this dissatisfaction is clear. Polls in recent years detail a polarized nation, divided both ideolog

    July 18, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller