Recipe column

by Chrishonda Brown
The winter holiday season is abundant with the iconic flavor (and aroma) of gingerbread. And though scholars may disagree on the actual history of making “bread” from ginger, the real holiday secret is the numerous therapeutic properties hidden inside the lowly ginger root.

While we know it to be aromatic, pungent and spicy, the warmth of ginger also promotes healthy sweating as a germ-fighting detox against colds, flus and infections. Ginger contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds, adding to its reputation as highly effective in alleviating arthritis and joint pain. And ginger offers natural relief for nausea and other stomach discomfort.

Despite the odd shape, fresh ginger is easy to peel with a paring knife. Simply chop or grate it for use in foods and drinks. The unpeeled portion will keep up to three weeks refrigerated or six months frozen. So spice up your season with plenty of heartwarming ginger. Your family will love it!

Chrishonda Brown holds a master of science degree in kinesiology. She is a guest columnist for Kansas State Research and Extension, Wyandotte County. For more recipes visit Like the Facebook page at and follow on Twitter @WyCoSnapEd.

Gingerbread Hot Chocolate
Makes: Six 1-cup servings
6 cups skim milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Pour milk into saucepan. Do not turn on heat.
Add vanilla, sugar and spices. Stir until dissolved.
Turn on medium heat and slowly stir in chocolate chips.
Continue stirring slowly as the milk heats up and the chocolate chips melt. Keep the heat low enough to avoid boiling and stir constantly until the chips are completely melted and milk is heated through (about 5 minutes).
Carefully pour into mugs. Serve plain or with whipped cream or marshmallows.
Nutritional information for each serving: 173 calories, 4g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 8mg cholesterol, 22g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 21g sugars, 141mg sodium, 9g protein, 11% Vitamin A, 4% Vitamin C, 33% calcium, 2% iron.

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Window on the West
by Mary Rupert

There has been an upswing of killing and violent crimes this past week in Wyandotte County.

There was a fatal drive-by shooting overnight in the early morning hours Tuesday, and that followed a couple of home invasions on Monday. A deadly drive-by shooting was reported Friday night, along with one Saturday and one Sunday morning. There were four homicides within the past week.

After a crime rate that had been low for a long time, the numbers suddenly are up. Residents should be outraged at the violence. There’s no good reason for it. Many hearts have been broken and many lives have changed forever because of it. It’s not fair to a community that has been working hard to bridge the gap between its differences. It’s not fair to students in Wyandotte County to have to worry about violence as they take their exams.

We’ve heard a lot of theories and speculation about it this week.

Perhaps, one person said, some of the authorities ran off a lot of the criminals from a neighboring city and they decided to cross the state line and locate here.

Or, maybe it is a gang war going on, and it started with the shooting of a girl a few weeks ago. It is our guess that at least some of the crimes are related, but not necessarily all of them.

Maybe some people are desperate for money as the holidays are nearing, and are doing things they don’t usually do, like burglaries.

Officially, probably not much can be said about whether any or all of the crimes are related.

We think the likelihood of some of these being gang-related is high. If they are gang-related, we are now at a reactive stage where what can be done is to increase our awareness and notify the authorities of anything that looks suspicious. Parents need to try to stop the retaliation that some youths may be engaging in. Try to keep youth busy and interested in activities, and make sure you know where they are. Arming more kids for self-protection is not a good idea, in our opinion.

For the future years, however, parents and community leaders need to work harder right now to find places where youths feel like they belong, in order that they do not feel the need to join a gang. Parents of pre-teens need to get their kids into organized youth groups, team sports, organized musical groups, pre-career groups and other youth activity groups that have adult leadership in order to help the youths find their place.

To reach Mary Rupert, editor, email

by Lou Braswell
The Leavenworth Road Association office has moved one door down within the same building, the highrise at 60th and Leavenworth Road.

The new office is on the same floor and same hallway as the old one.

The move Friday morning went so well, the move was complete in 30 to 45 minutes.

However, phone and Internet service connections needed to be moved, and are still unconnected as of Tuesday, with plans to connect them on Wednesday.

Because of a phone company central office mixup, the service technician went to install the LRA phone line in an apartment on the 10th floor of the building instead of the first floor. Luckily, no one was there on the 10th floor apartment at the time. Because it was 4 p.m. on a Friday, the tech could not begin with a reconnection and said he would return Monday morning.

No one showed up during that scheduled Monday time, however, so the LRA is still without phone and Internet connections. That situation is stressful at home, but it shuts down a business. After many phone calls, a new appointment was made and the LRA will await another service technician on Wednesday morning.

If they aren’t there, I told them I would be capable of going with another phone company.

In the meantime, I am working from home where I am able to check my messages.

In addition to the office move, the meeting location will change in January. The LRA board has voted to have the LRA membership meetings at 6 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month at Eisenhower Recreation Center, 2901 N. 72nd St., Kansas City, Kan. The meeting starts with a potluck dinner and a social time, followed by a program at 7 p.m. The next meeting will be Jan. 13.

Lou Braswell is the executive director of the Leavenworth Road Association.