Scotch Plains Rescue Squad Presents – Medical Mystery – Foreign Accent Syndrome

squad 1

Most people realize how serious a brain injury can be. After all, people can have all sorts of detrimental side effects such as blurred vision, headaches, loss of memory, and seizures. However, did you know it could also change your accent?
Foreign Accent Syndrome (FAS) was first documented in 1907 by French neurologist Pierre Marie, and is one of those rare medical mysteries that doctors are still trying to understand. According to the Center for Communication Disorders at the University of Texas at Dallas, “FAS is most often caused by damage to the brain caused by a stroke or traumatic brain injury. Speech remains highly intelligible and does not necessarily sound disordered. FAS has been documented in cases around the world, including accent changes from Japanese to Korean, British English to French, American English to British English, and Spanish to Hungarian.”
According to Dr. Akshay Ganju, a resident in emergency medicine at Emory University in Atlanta, there are only about 100 documented cases around the world. Some doctors refuse to believe it is a real malady, and though it can also be caused by psychological disorders, it’s not something that can be controlled. People who suffer from FAS are often ridiculed by family and friends who think they’re just faking it.
One of the most famous cases was that of a Norwegian woman who was hit by shrapnel in World War II; she developed a German accent and was ostracized as a result. Other people have woken up from anesthesia and found themselves speaking with a different accent.
Although this change of speech may last for only a short time for some, other patients have it for years and some forever. There are various treatments for this disorder, but they are not always successful.
The Scotch Plains Rescue Squad is a volunteer organization of Neighbors Helping Neighbors. With over 90 volunteers, we answer emergency 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. Our Auxiliary Group holds fund raisers and provides other much needed support for our members. Please reach out to us if there is something we can do for you, or if you would like to become a part of our organization. (908) 322-2103 for non-emergencies or

Contributing Author: Susan Baldani, a life member of the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad.

Aunt Sue’s Recipe Collection

Stuffed peppers
Like many people who like to cook and bake, I am constantly tearing recipes out of magazines and newspapers or printing them out from the Internet. Because of this, I used to have recipes all over the house, and had a hard time finding them when needed.

After hunting around again and again, I decided something had to be done. So I put my organizational skills to work, and came up with a perfect solution, at least for me. I bought two big binders and a few packages of plastic sleeve inserts, along with subject tab dividers, all of which can be found at any office supply or department store. First, I collected the recipes from all over the house; then I separated the meals from the desserts to go into the binders. Once that was done, I then divided each pile into different sections. For example, for the meal binder, I labeled the tabs as Breakfasts, Soups, Breads, Pastas, Meats, and Vegetables dishes; for the dessert binder, I had Pies, Cookies, Cakes, Candies, and Bars. You can do it however you prefer and whatever way makes sense to you. There’s no one right way. The nice thing about having them all in the plastic sleeves is that the recipes stay clean. If something spills on one while you’re assembling the ingredients, all you have to do is wipe it off. But if you don’t want to buy these, you can always just punch holes in the pages and pop them right into the binder.

Even better than being able to find all the recipes is being able to one day pass these on to my family, who are frequent recipients of my cooking. So often I wish I had my grandmother’s apple turnover recipe or my aunt’s meatball recipe. Who knows what became of them? The really special parts of these binders are the pages with handwritten recipes from all different relatives. These are truly family keepsakes.

The next time you are searching all over for that special recipe, think about putting them in order. It does take a good amount of hours initially, but once it’s done it will make life so much easier. And each time you print or tear or cut out another recipe, be sure to put it in a binder right away, or else you’ll be on the hunt once again.

Below is a recipe I make over and over again, and maybe one that you can include in your new recipe binder. Bon appétit!

6 large green peppers, tops cut off and seeds rinsed out
1 pound ground turkey or beef
½ chopped onion
1 chopped garlic clove
6 cups tomato sauce
1 cup cooked white rice
1.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Put rice on to cook.
While rice is cooking, cut off tops of peppers and rinse out seeds inside. Then cover peppers with water in a big pot and boil for 5 minutes; drain. Place each pepper upright in a baking dish.
Sauté onions and garlic in skillet and add ground meat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Once lightly browned, add 1.5 cups of tomato sauce and rice and cook until heated. Then add in 1/2 cup of cheese and stir together.
Add a little sauce to the bottom of each pepper, and then spoon in meat, rice and cheese mixture. Once all the peppers are filled, add the rest of the sauce to the baking dish, spooning some over the peppers as well.
Bake covered at 350° for 45 minutes, then sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top of each pepper, and bake without lid for another 15 minutes.
(If prepared beforehand, and dish is cold, bake for 1.5 hours.)

Written for The Country Register of the US and Canada.

Showcase Salutes Best Value Rugs and Carpet, Inc.

Why shop at a big box store when you can get excellent customer service, better prices, and high-quality goods right in the neighborhood? All these qualities and more can be found at Best Value Rugs and Carpet Inc. in the Arthur’s Plaza Shopping Center right in Green Brook, NJ.

The owner, Daljit Chadha, has been in the flooring business for over 35 years. He can provide you with any type of flooring for your home and business, plus also guide you in picking the right products. Whether it be carpet, tile, or hard wood, Daljit is an expert in all and will carefully listen to your needs and answer whatever questions you may have. He will even personally come to your location to offer his advice about what would work best for the space, so it looks great and functions well.

Once an order is placed, installation can take place within a matter of days. He once had someone come in and ask to have carpet installed that day for a party he was having, and Daljit and his crew were able to get it done. His goal is to satisfy his customers. Before installation takes place, extra services can include the removal of old flooring and clearing the rooms of furniture. Every need is taken care of, so the buyer has the smoothest experience possible.

The flooring products are high-quality and there is something for every budget. The owner has accounts with major suppliers such as Shaw, Mohawk, Cortek and many others, just like the big stores. Plus, he personally hires all his installers to ensure that the installation is done right, and the product looks exactly as promised. By the way, if you do happen to go to one of the big stores first, bring in the estimate and Daljit will not just match it but give you the same or comparable product for 5% less.

The nice thing about dealing directly with the owner is if there is ever a problem, it can be remedied right away. You are dealing with one person, not a corporate entity. Daljit ensures that every patron is satisfied before he considers the deal done. He’s had many repeat customers and does not have any complaints lodged against his company with the Better Business Bureau. He recently had a client come back after 10 years to get some additional work done, and many people from Hillsborough, where his store was located many years ago, track him down when they need something new.

Best Value Rugs and Carpet Inc. also sells beautiful specialty hand-made area rugs from places such as India, China, Belgium, Pakistan and many other parts of the world. Right now, these rugs and other items are on sale for up to 75% off to make room for new merchandise.

Besides all the above, they also offer total kitchen and bathroom renovations, including tearing down dry wall, painting, and installation of new countertops and cabinets. Whichever job you need them to do, the installers are professionals in the specific materials with which they are working. They understand the product and know how to make it look its best.

The Green Brook store installs anywhere in New Jersey, and even goes out of state for big jobs. They not only handle residential and small business accounts, but also contract with government and state agencies to provide flooring for schools and other large buildings.

Personalized, friendly service, the best prices, a knowledgeable owner and professional installers make Best Value Rugs and Carpet Inc. the go-to place for all your flooring and many of your other home improvement needs. Pay them a visit and I’m sure you’ll become one of those repeat customers.

For more information, please call 732-752-3528 or go to their website at

Written for The Showcase Magazine

Book Review of Grief Cottage

Grief Cottage
Do you believe in ghosts? This is what you have to ask yourself while reading Grief Cottage by Gail Godwin.
Eleven-year old Marcus, having just lost his mother (and never having known his father), is drawn to the tragedy surrounding the abandoned cottage. The last family who had stayed there disappeared during Hurricane Hazel over 50 years ago and not a trace of them was ever found. Everyone assumed they were washed out to sea, and no one seems to be able to recall their names. His eccentric great Aunt Charlotte, who he has come to live with on a small island in South Carolina, doesn’t know much about them either. She spends most of her time in her studio painting and drinking wine, so she is not a great resource for local legend, even though her depictions of the cottage are her best sellers.
However, that summer, Marcus sets out to connect with people who may be able to shed some light on the family. But, the more Marcus finds out, the more he wants to know, especially about the boy. The reason the mother and father were out during the storm was because they were searching for their son, who they assumed had left the house. If only the three had stayed indoors, they most likely would have survived. After all, the cottage was still standing, although barely, all these years later.
Marcus makes it a point to solve the mystery and decides to visit the cottage every morning. One day, while he is sitting on the broken-down porch, he realizes someone from inside the house is watching him. Is it the boy? The first time he felt the presence, fear overrode his curiosity and before he could bring himself to turn around and look, he took off running. However, the next time it happened, he was determined to see for himself who was watching him, and when he did, he couldn’t run away fast enough.
So, do you believe in ghosts? And if so, are they friendly or sinister beings? This is something Marcus tries to figure out while unraveling the mystery of Grief Cottage.
Gail Godwin is the bestselling author of over a dozen books, and lives in Woodstock, New York, in the USA. Grief Cottage is her latest fictional novel and was released in 2017. To find out more about her and her other works, please visit

Written for Felixstowe & Woodbridge magazine (UK) -April 2018