Getting noticed

In an ocean of writers, it’s hard being a small fish.  Over the last few years I’ve enjoyed some success, for which I am very thankful.  I’ve had many articles and a short story published, but I want more.  Much more.

I’m happy that I have a wide repertoire of things to write about.  Want a story about zombies? I’m on it.  Or want to know what people should do in an emergency medical situation? No problem. What about steering customers to your local shop?  Leave it to me.  Once I get an idea in my head, the words seem to flow.

However, there are a lot of people out there who can write well.  How do I get noticed?  Yes, I have a website; yes, I post to Facebook; yes, I’m on Linked In.  I guess I can expand to Twitter and Instagram, but I do have a day job.  I wish writing was my full-time job, but it isn’t yet.

So I guess I’ll just keep writing and submitting, and maybe one day the right person will read my book, or one of my articles, and think “this is the person I’ve been looking for.”  And instead of a herring swimming in the middle of the ocean, I’ll be a large fish in a small pond.

Article written for the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad – published in local news outlets in June 2017

Scotch Plains Rescue Squad Tip of the Month – Handling a seizure

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — Seizures can be very scary to witness.  The person may be violently shaking, unconscious and rigid, or just staring into space.  This may be happening because he or she has a seizure disorder, or because of an illness or injury.

Epilepsy, or seizure disorder, is a neurological condition that affects the nervous system.  People can be diagnosed at any age, and according to the Epilepsy Foundation, three million people in the U.S. have epilepsy and 1 in 26 people will develop it in their lifetime.  The good news is, with proper care, 6 out of 10 will be able to live seizure free.

Besides epilepsy, seizures can occur for other reasons.  Various illnesses, such as infections, tumors, and high fevers can also cause seizures, as can medications, drugs and alcohol use and withdrawal.  Of course, any head trauma such as those that may occur in car accidents, falls and sports activities can bring on full-blown seizures.  These types of seizures are much more dangerous since they are a clear sign of brain injury.

If you do see someone experiencing a seizure, there are things you should and should not do.  Some people have an aura, or a sign that they are about to have a seizure.  They often will sit or lie down to prevent falling and injuring themselves.  If someone tells you they are about to have a seizure, help them lie down in a safe area and move anything sharp or potentially dangerous out of the way.  Many times a person will wear a medic alert bracelet alerting bystanders to their condition.  If possible, try to time how long the seizure lasts.  It’s very important to stay with the person and keep calm.  Most seizures only last a few minutes; during this time, protect their head from hitting anything and turn it to the side to keep their airway clear.  Do not put anything into the person’s mouth, and do not try to hold them down.

Afterwards, they may be somewhat confused, so talk softly and let them know what just happened.  If the person is an epileptic, he or she may not want an ambulance called since they know how to handle the aftermath and understand that they are not in any danger.  However, if they do not suffer from epilepsy, and the seizure occurred for some other reason, they will need immediate medical attention.  Also, if the seizure lasts for more than five minutes, or stops and then continues, or if the person shows any sign of respiratory distress, call 911.

The Scotch Plains Rescue Squad is a volunteer organization of Neighbors Helping Neighbors.  With over 90 volunteers, we answer calls not only in Scotch Plains but in surrounding towns as well when needed.  Besides answering calls, you will see our ambulances at many special events held in town, such as Scotch Plains Day, the Memorial Day Parade, high school football games, and the summer concerts on the Village Green.  We are also available to provide demonstrations for Boys and Girls Scout troops, clubs, and any other group that may be interested in what we do.  In addition, we lend out wheelchairs, crutches, canes and other assorted medical equipment free of charge.  Please reach out to us if there is something we can do for you.  (908) 322-2103 for non-emergencies or


In 2017, The Scotch Plains Rescue Squad marks its 80th year of all volunteer emergency medical services to the community of Scotch Plains and surrounding communities, a distinction that very few rescue squads in the state have reached.


The Showcase Magazine – June 2017 edition

Shop Local and Shop Smart

By:  Susan Baldani

Sure, you can get some good deals in large department stores, but what about the customer service? Do you find yourself wandering the aisles trying to get some help with a product?

Well, that won’t happen in a locally owned business where customer service is their number one priority. Looking for something special for your mother’s birthday or a graduating senior? Just ask and the advice you will receive will be topnotch. The salesperson is often the owner, and he or she wants your business not only today, but in the future as well. They genuinely care about their customers and reputation, and know their products well since they put the time and effort into finding unique and quality items. Instead of buying something that’s mass-produced and can be found anywhere, the merchandise one finds in a small neighborhood store may even be one-of-akind pieces made by local artists.

When you patronize a local business, you’re not only supporting them, but the community as well. Money spent locally is much more likely to stay local. These store owners often live and shop in the same towns that their businesses are in; they are our neighbors and friends. Many also contribute towards local causes that help the community. In addition, when we support these merchants, it encourages even more businesses to open which ultimately leads to positive growth in towns and even more variety to choose from. It’s a win-win situation!

Whatever your needs are, you can almost always find a small local business that offers it. And when it comes to large expenses such as renovating your home and garden, good advice is invaluable.

Local businesses will focus on what you want, and not just what they want to sell. They will take the time to get to know you and ensure that you’re satisfied with the finished product. Same for getting your car repaired, or finding someone who can do your taxes. Small business owners rely on word of mouth and repeat business, so they want you to have a positive experience. It’s not just a job to them; it’s a passion and their way of life.

The same holds true for independent restaurants, delis, butchers and specialty food stores versus chains. Many of you know how good it feels when you walk into your local pizzeria, deli or restaurant and are greeted by name. Having someone know what you like and ask if you want ‘the usual” makes you feel appreciated and cared for. You’re not just another strange face in a line, where you are assisted by different people each time, depending on the chain’s turnover rate.

Small business owners know that to survive they must be better than the competition that often surrounds them. Since they carefully choose their merchandise and keep a smaller inventory, they often can’t offer the cut-rate prices that some bigger chain stores can.

However, they more than make up for this in customer service and quality of the items. Plus, let’s face it; some of these small stores have a charm and personality that cannot be matched.

So, next time you think of heading to one of those large impersonal box stores, head into town instead to check out what you can find. You will be pleasantly surprised and I’m sure go back again and again. After all, you can’t beat the convenience of shopping close to home, and strolling around downtown can be much more pleasant than fighting the crowds at the mall.

When you do patronize these businesses, and find yourself pleased with the service, make sure to tell others in person and on social media. These local shop owners rely not only on the advertising they do or community participation, but their reputation is always at the forefront of their success! So, spread the word, and make your downtown a bustling and successful part of your community.