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Parents of autistic children say proposed FAU center would help

A handful of Boca Raton parents attended a meeting Tuesday night to learn about a program that could change their children’s lives.
They were parents of children with autism – a developmental disorder that often emerges between the ages of 1 and 3 and can inhibit communication skills and children’s ability to form emotional bonds.
It is one of several disorders that would be treated at a proposed Florida Atlantic University facility called the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD).
University professor Jack Scott led an information session Tuesday about the FAU facility. If approved by the state legislature, the CARD center would be headquartered at FAU’s Boca Raton campus, 777 Glades Road, and would offer educational workshops, physician referrals and other free support services to children and adults of all levels of intellectual functioning who have autism, pervasive developmental disorders, autistic-like disabilities, dual sensory impairments or sensory impairments with other disabling conditions, including Asperger’s Disorder.
Florida Atlantic University already serves as a satellite center for a CARD facility at the University of Miami, but Scott and some parents said local residents need the more intensive services of a full-fledged CARD program. About $750,000 would be needed to establish the center, which would serve all of Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.
The university currently receives about $157,000 as a satellite center – an amount Scott said was insufficient considering the high numbers of autism patients in South Florida.
“We have one-third of the children with autism statewide, but we only get one-fifth of the funding,” he said.
Boca Raton parent Dany Atkinson-Tinsley agreed.

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“If more funds were appropriated we would be given more money to get what we need,” said Atkinson-Tinsley, whose 8-year-old son Steele is autistic. “It’s like we’re being offered something to drink, but they don’t give you a glass.”
Scott, who’s in charge of the existing CARD office at FAU, encouraged those at Tuesday’s meeting to write letters to local legislators stating the need for a Boca Raton-based CARD center.
Six of the centers currently exist on university campuses statewide.
State Rep. Irv Slosberg, who represents parts of suburban Boca Raton and Delray Beach, attended Tuesday night’s meeting and offered support.
“We have a lot of autistic kids in our system who we have to take care of,” he said.
Republican State Rep. Gayle Harrell and State. Sen. Ron Klein, who represents parts of Boca Raton, have also come out in favor of expanding FAU’s CARD center.
Harrell promised to file a bill in the legislature addressing the matter during the 2003 session, and Klein helped secure funding for the existing facility.
Scott said there are at least 480 children with autism and related disorders in Palm Beach County, and there might be as many as a thousand.
Recent nationwide estimates have shown that one in 250 children are affected with autism and similar conditions, he said.

Hemp hoopla

You can’t smoke your clothes,” points out Ira Schneider, bringing to an end any stereotype placed on the garments sold in his Boca Raton store.
For Schneider, selling all hemp products is not a gimmick to draw pot-smoking teens into his shop or lure in middle-aged adults trying to relive the Hippie era.
Selling products made from hemp is about the environment and education, says the 31-year-old owner of the Hemp Factory at 503 N.E. 20th St.
“I’m for anything that can save the planet,” said the New Jersey native, who opened the small boutique in 1996 just blocks from his current location. Schneider, who claims his store is the oldest of its kind in Florida, is one of only a handful of exclusively hemp product shops in the state.
“I’m always trying to educate people,” said Schneider, whose curiosity in the hemp plant grew out of his interest in the environment. “I know just about everything there is to know about it.”
Among the items that can be purchased at the shop are hemp shoes, shorts, shirts, skirts, wallets, yoga wear, hats and American flags. There are even edibles such as hemp lollipops, truffles, pepper sauce and hemp seed snack bars. In addition, the shop sells suntan oil, soap and hair-care products made from hemp oil.
Schneider stresses that not a single product in his store can get a person high because hemp – unlike the more well known street marijuana – has extremely low levels of THC, the drug that produces the psychoactive high in pot.
“You can smoke an acre of hemp and not get high,” Schneider said. “Marijuana is the flower. Hemp is the plant. It grows like a stalk. Worldwide it is accepted everywhere. Only in the States is there a stigma attached to it.”
Schneider, as do other advocates of hemp, hails the plant for not only its environmental benefits but its versatility as well.
It has been estimated that hemp can be made into 25,000 different products and among the more historical items made from the plant was the first pair of Levis jeans and the paper for the first and second drafts of the U.S. Constitution.
“There are no chemicals needed to grow it, unlike cotton,” Schneider said. “This is a true natural fiber.”
Advocates also point out its use as a clean fuel source, its usefulness as a paper and its oil as a healthy alternative to other cooking oils.
Due to the prohibition of marijuana in the U.S. in the 1930’s, hemp fabric, oil and seeds must be imported into the country from countries such as China and Romania, which is where Schneider gets the material for his clothing.
“It’s a multi-billion dollar business,” Schneider said. “Every industrialized nation in the world produces it. We’re the only idiots that don’t. Our country is run by kings, it’s not a democracy. We don’t vote on laws in this country. The politicians are protecting their industries.”
For this reason and the fact that it’s a high-end fiber that does not mold, mildew or hold odors, says Schneider, that the clothes can be pricey. A shirt is his store can cost as much as much as $70.
“They [clothes] do not feel like burlap sacks,” he said. “This is not crap fiber.”
Schneider says the shop grosses about $30,000 a month, but more importantly for him, he says it has opened the door for other careers. A Jack of all trades, Schneider manufactures women’s clothing, is a hair salon consultant, a hairstylist and real estate agent.
“I spend about 16 hours a week at this store,” said Schneider, who helped co-found the Hemp Industries Association, a trade organization. “My plate is full. I have no time to be a burnout [pothead]. I’m too busy.”
And although Boca may not appear to be the perfect market for this type of alternative shop, Schneider says otherwise.
“Hemp is high-end so you have to be somewhere where people can afford it,” said Schneider, who also owned a hemp shop in Coral Springs, but later closed it. “Boca is the only town in Palm Beach County that is liberal. People here are educated. They have brains and smarts.
“If any unique business is going to make it anywhere in the world, it is Boca. There is enough money and people,” said Schneider, adding that his clientele ranges from ages 35-50. “This is an international hot spot. Boca loves me.”

Clinton talks of her ‘challenges’ to open conference for businesswomen

One thing you can say about Hillary Rodham Clinton. She’s flexible. And she proved it Sunday night when she opened the fourth annual Office Depot Success Strategies for Businesswomen conference at the Boca Raton Resort & Club. The keynote speaker at the opening of the three-day gathering, Clinton noted that the schedule gave her no time to take questions from the audience. So she decided to have Q&A; session, based on a request from a woman she ran into when she arrived at the resort. “This will show that I’m flexible,” the senator said. “When she asked me if there More>>

Safe and salubrious kids
Published Monday, February 23, 2004
What do a bicycle rodeo, a fire truck tour, boot camp drills, a fresh fruit stand, karate demonstrations, and a Red Cross puppet show all have in common? These goodies and more were all part of Del Prado Elementary’s first annual health and safety fair, organized and launched by parent Gina More>>
Shuttling sand to shore
Published Monday, February 23, 2004
That dark gray sand gushing up along the shoreline at Boca Raton’s South Beach Park isn’t anything to be concerned about. Nor are the large rust-colored pipes and bulldozers along the coastline. Boca Raton on Thursday began a 30-day “renourishment” of the central beach area, said Neil Evangelista, public information officer. “That’s 30 More>>
The many faces of Aquasol
Published Monday, February 23, 2004
It’s a restaurant with multiple personalities, according to owner Dana Jacober who says the vibe in Aquasol changes dramatically for each of their three seatings. At lunchtime, the industrial chic New York style restaurant is a perfect spot for business executives to meet clients in a fine dining setting. More>>

Limbaugh’s hypocritical stance on privacy

Rush Limbaugh took to the airwaves this week to rail against the Palm Beach County prosecutor’s office for “violating” his rights by seizing his medical records in its investigation of whether he violated state prescription laws. Yes, that’s the same radio host who has staunchly defended the Bush Administration’s Patriot Act, which allows for secretive surveillance of individuals and warrant-less searches of personal records—whether it be an investigation into terrorism or not.

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The Patriot Act has been criticized as overreaching and a violation of personal privacy and members of Congress have demanded to know how it’s being used. But Limbaugh doesn’t care when the federal government peers into other people’s windows—he just wants them out of his medicine cabinet. Everyone else in the country can be poked and prodded with no warrant and without their knowledge, but some investigators obtain a warrant for an investigation in the public sphere and Limbaugh is suddenly a crusader for personal liberties—at least his own.
Limbaugh and his attorney called the investigation “a fishing expedition” and accused the state attorney of leaking information about the case to the media as part of some sort of liberal agenda.
“The Democrats in this country still cannot defeat me in the arena of political ideas, and so now they are trying to do so in the court of public opinion and the legal system. I guess it’s payback time,” Limbaugh said on his program.
Does Limbaugh really think liberals control the State Attorney’s Office? That’s as delusional as him saying that quarterback Donovan McNabb (now leading an 11-4 team) was overrated because he is black.
Hey Rush, were liberal’s responsible for that earthquake in California too? Why don’t you stop blaming others and take responsibility for your own actions for once?
And Rush, you might want to reconsider your support for the Florida law that strips voting rights from convicted felons.

No paper ballot receipts in 2004, says LePore

Palm Beach elections supervisor says

Published Saturday, January 24, 2004
by Dale M. King

No matter how much U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler stomps and screams about the need for paper election ballot receipts, it’s not going to happen this year, said Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore.

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“There’s nothing I can do to put the printers on the machines,” she said. “The state legislature prescribes that procedure.” Wexler, a vocal proponent of paper receipts to ensure vote count accuracy and personal accountability, is suing LePore and Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood, accusing them of “failing to ensure that Floridians will have their votes recorded accurately” by not providing receipts.
Deferring comments about the suit to her attorney, LePore said she opposes paper receipts for a variety of reasons. There’s the cost of purchasing printers – 6,000 of them for Palm Beach County alone. Poll workers would have to learn to change paper in the machines. And then there’s the question of what language the receipts would be printed in. Already, Palm Beach County ballots are printed in several languages.
The proposed use of paper receipts is also drawing heavy fire from the disabled community, she said. They feel a printed-out document compromises their right of privacy.
In his push for paper receipts, Wexler has pointed to problems with the recent recount in the District 91 House race as reason to provide voters with a paper trail.
In that district that is mainly in Broward County, but includes four precincts in Boca Raton, the eventual winner, Ellyn Bogdanoff, outpolled Oliver Parker by only 12 votes. That triggered an automatic recount.
When elections officials found 134 Broward County ballots that recorded no preference – known as “undervotes” – it triggered concerns.
Bogdanoff went on to win the election. But LePore said it is not unusual for a voter to go to the polls, yet not cast a ballot.
Wexler is moving ahead with his lawsuit. In fact, according to his aide, Lale Mamaux, a hearing is scheduled Monday at 8:45 a.m. in the Palm Beach County Courthouse in West Palm Beach on his request to expedite the case. The matter is to be heard by Judge Karen Miller.
The congressman hasn’t stopped there. In a jump across party lines, Democrat Wexler has written to Republican Gov. Jeb Bush asking him to “correct the inequities that exist in Florida before another national election debacle occurs.”
“Even though touch-screen machines allow voters to review their ballot choices electronically,” Wexler told Bush, “without a final tangible ballot verified by an individual voter, there is no way of knowing if all votes were properly recorded.”
LePore has said the new electronic voting apparatus has redundant memory that prevents inaccurate voting.
But Wexler told Bush that voters are more savvy because of the 2000 presidential election problems in Florida. “All Americans better recognize the importance of being able to conduct fair, accurate and timely recounts. Gov. Bush must insist that voting machines be outfitted with ballot printers.”
LePore said if the legislature changes the law and requires printers, she will comply. But she said she has no money to purchase the equipment.
Having been in Tallahassee this past week, she said she sees nothing in the legislative hopper aimed at requiring printers for voting machines.
And even if the legislature takes action, she said, printers have to be tested several times over before they can be connected.
In the meantime, the 2004 election season has already begun. District 91 and the city of Delray Beach have already held elections. Municipal voting and the Florida Presidential Primary are scheduled for March 9

Thermage is nothing new to South Florida cosmetic surgeons

Just one mention from talk show icon Oprah Winfrey and a trend is launched or a product is catapulted into six-figure sales revenues.
She has boosted the careers of little known authors in her book club, to fat busting diets and breakthrough beauty revelations. But it seems even the queen of daytime talk isn’t always the first to let the cat out of the bag.
Winfrey dedicated a show last week touting an alternative to the facelift, but it’s a beauty secret South County doctors say they’ve been using the past six weeks.
“Never Too Late to Look Great” was theme of the show, which featured the future of facelifts in a new treatment called Thermage Therm-a-lift- the new and only “no-surgery”, wrinkle-fighting method that is FDA approved to tighten loose skin.
South Florida cosmetic surgeons are touting it as the newest, trendiest clock-stopper. And after Oprah’s show thrust it even further into the limelight, doctors believe patients will be knocking down their doors waiting to get the new treatment.
And since there’s no recovery time, swelling, discoloration or bruises, the hour-long outpatient procedure makes it even more alluring.
“Patients are ecstatic,” said Dr. Bruce Myers, Chief Eye and Cosmetic Surgeon at Focus Surgical in Boca Raton. “Men and women who were apprehensive about major surgery can’t believe that we’re now able to tighten saggy skin and take years off of their appearance with a hand-held machine and paper grid.”
However, the treatment isn’t for the impatient patient, says Myers, since results appear gradually between one to four months.
As we age, the collagen fibers and fat tissue in our face begin to loosen, creating a saggy appearance. The traditional way to tighten saggy skin is to pull it back with a face-lift. ThermaLift bypasses the knife by using radio frequency to stimulate and shrink collagen, tricking the skin to tighten up. When this electrical current hits the skin, it creates heat. To avoid burning, the machine also has a cooling mechanism that protects the surface while allowing the heat to travel deep into the skin.

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Before the treatment begins, a topical numbing cream is applied. A paper grid with tiny 1 cm by 1 cm squares is then dampened and placed over the face. Next, the surgeon guides the hand held device across the “face map,” zapping a six-second pulse to each section.
“I literally had ThermaLift on my lunch break,” said Nina Solomon, a 31-year-old Delray Beach job recruiter who wanted to nip the beginning stages of wrinkles in the bud. “I felt I was too young for a traditional face lift- but wanted to do something. It’s been six weeks- and I can see my forehead and crows feet have started smoothing away.”
Stacey, who asked that we not print her real name, is a 48-year-old Boca Raton veterinarian who also wanted to turn back time without major surgery. Like Stacey- 50% of baby boomers are unhappy that they’re aging, and one in five admits to actively resisting it, according to an AARP survey.
“I’d been wanting to do something, and Thermage costs so much less than a traditional facelift and there are no side effects, so I figured what did I have to lose,” said Stacey. “I saw my face was starting to get tighter after only three weeks.”
And it’s not just women who are lifting their spirits with ThermaLift.
“Cosmetic surgery in general has becoming less taboo and more common for men, and this is so simple,” said Dr. Myers. “We’re getting lots of male patients now because they can go right back to work- there is absolutely no downtime, no swelling, and the results are gradual, slow and natural.”
And ThermaLift’s magic might not stop at facelifts. It is in trials and awaiting FDA approval for the treatment of chronic acne, cellulite and to help firm and smooth aging hands.

FAU students design solar panels

Four Florida Atlantic University students were assigned the daunting task of building solar energy panels for their senior project. The A.D. Henderson School of the university’s Boca Raton campus needed sidewalk covers to keep students dry.
The unveiling of the joint solution Thursday – a solar electric sidewalk – sure killed two birds with one stone.
The engineering students designed the four solar panels over the sidewalk that would shield A.D. Henderson students while at the same time siphoning solar energy into a little white building along side the sidewalk to be converted into usable electricity for the school. The photovoltaic system will generate about 6,000 kilowatt-hours per year – enough to power a small apartment – and save the school about $500 a year.
“It was something that hadn’t been done before. There was no cookie-cutter system. Hopefully our design will be a model for other students who undertake the project,” said Kevin Dixon, who designed the solar panels with fellow FAU students Ursula Chavaz, John Langford and Amie Vaughn.
This is the first of four similar projects around the state to be completed. The project took about a year to complete and was very difficult, especially getting permission from all the parties involved, said Dr. Roger Messenger, the FAU professor of electrical engineering who oversaw the project.
Although the students couldn’t build the panels because of liability issues, they designed it and chose a contractor to build it. Meeting the budget was a problem, but they managed to make due with $25,000, most of it gifts from Florida Power & Light, the Florida Solar Energy Center and FAU.

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The students were able to coordinate it so that the solar panels serve as a backup for the Henderson school in case the main grid fails. An extra power generated from the solar panels would go back into FPL’s system, but that would be rare because the panels will supply only a small portion of the school’s energy needs.
“The biggest benefit is it’s an emerging technology and we can study its application and use,” said Oscar Ganes, manager of new product development at FPL. “It’s an opportunity for the students to learn about this technology hands on.”
Apparently, it’s already sunk in. The Henderson students turned out for the sidewalk unveiling, singing songs about solar energy, showing their solar energy posters and reading an essay on solar power.

Cosmic Controller?

Hans-Jurgen Hirschganger says he has telekinetic abilities that enable him to move stars.
He simply folds his hands behind his head, focuses on the stars, and enters a trance of deep concentration. He then asks that the stars move a little to the left, and then to the right, and according to a select group of people, the stars comply.

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The karate instructor from Frankfurt, Germany, said he selects dim stars because brighter stars are more difficult to manipulate.
“I tell him go left, and go right,” said Hirschganger, 49, who also says he can also move stars by request over the telephone.
According to Hirschganger’s translator Dirk Friedrich, the powerful man wills the stars “out of orbit” and moves them between 5 and 10 diameter lengths of the star, which is plainly visible from Earth.
“As the stars are in the orbit, they move like the earth and the sun in special positions,” said Friedrich. “He is able to move them outside of those positions.”
The alleged repositioning of the stars does not affect earth or the rest of the galaxy, according to Hirschganger, who merely performs the cosmic adjustments as a novelty.
“He wouldn’t do it if it had consequences,” said Friedrich. “When he says stop, they will go back to the old positions.”
Last Friday Hirschganger was given an opportunity to prove himself.
He traveled overseas to the James Randi Educational Foundation in South Florida to put his star-shifting abilities to the test.
The foundation, dedicated to providing reliable information about paranormal claims, offers one million dollars to anyone who can show evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power under observable conditions.
Founder James Randi, who travels the world giving lectures on paranormal claims, said he has tested hundreds of cases in the eight years the foundation has be open, but this was the first attempted star-moving.
Randi, 75, helps design the protocol for testing the supernatural powers, which must be acceptable to the applicant. Hirschganger’s test involved video taping a cluster of stars from the Buehler Planetarium at Broward Community College as he moved one prearranged star. Several independent observers then viewed the tapes on a giant screen and were asked to identify which, if any, of the stars moved.
After the completion of the test, Hirschganger was confident that the stars had moved, but the viewers thought differently.
“It failed completely, as expected,” said Randi, who called Hirschganger “exceedingly naïve, with no notion of how the world really works.”
But the man isn’t taking that as a final answer. Through the translator, he explained that 20 years ago he discovered his extraordinary abilities while training to be the world champion in karate.
He was running every day to get in shape, sometimes in the rain, and he noticed that he always came down with a cold on the days after he ran in the rain, said Friedrich.
Frustrated by this setback in his training, Hirschganger said he started concentrating on the clouds releasing the rain, and asked that they vacate the sky above his head. To his satisfaction, the rain stopped.
This made Hirschganger wonder what else he could relocate, and soon enough, he had harnessed his power to move celestial bodies, he said.
Insisting that the lens used to capture the movements of the star was too small, Hirschganger traveled back to the United States last week for another chance, but he’s not going to get it.
“This is one of the sillier claims that we’ve had,” said Randi. “I won’t entertain any further testing of him. We’ve got too many important things to do.”
The million-dollar prize has yet to be claimed.

Professor wants expanded FAU autism center, Community meeting tonight to focus on Boca facility

Residents of Palm Beach County who need treatment for autism may be getting short shrift compared to other residents of the state.
The Center for Autism and Related Disabilities operates six regional, non-residential resource centers in Florida. One is a satellite facility at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.
Since the FAU site is a satellite office, it has a full-time staff of only two people to deal with 450 clients with autism.
The director of that office, Dr. Jack Scott, would like to see it upgraded to a full-fledged facility, with adequate funding from the legislature to handle the workload.
A community meeting to consider the proposal to establish the more expansive site at FAU will be held 7-9 p.m. today in Room 123 of the College of Education.
The intent of the effort, he said, is to establish a full-fledged center that will serve Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast, using FAU as its framework. Among its campuses, the university has locations in Boca Raton and in Port St. Lucie.
FAU’s Boca and St. Lucie campuses could both act as centers for autism, because they are part of the same institution.
As part of that enlargement effort, Republican State Rep. Gayle Harrell will file a bill in the legislature during the 2003 session to have the center at FAU upgraded so it can deal with the expanding population of Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.
Scott said Democratic State Sen. Ron Klein of South County has also been instrumental in helping the center get $157,000 in seed money for its expansion.
“It has been difficult to get a CARD center for families in this area,” Klein said Monday.
He said he will meet with Harrell to hammer out the needed legislation. If it is required, he or another senator will file a companion bill in that chamber.
“We don’t want children to have to ride for an hour to get treatment,” Klein said. He said the FAU site “is small. It needs to be expanded.”
The number of people in Florida with autism is growing, emphasized Scott. So the need for services is also on the rise.
It was in response to these needs that six regional centers were established – at the University of Florida/ Gainesville, the University of Florida Health Science Center/ Jacksonville, the University of South Florida, the University of Miami, the University of Central Florida and at FAU.
The Boca campus site is a satellite of the UM center.
The treatment locations treat both children and adults of all levels of intellectual functioning who have autism, pervasive developmental disorders, autistic-like disabilities, dual sensory impairments or sensory impairments with other disabling conditions.
The primary focus, he said, is to provide individualized, direct assistance to these individuals and their families. Services include technical assistance and consultation, professional training programs and public education activities.
CARD services are designed to build on the capacities of state and local resources, not to duplicate or replace them. The centers are funded by the Florida Legislature through the Florida Department of Education, and all services are provided free.

If you go:
A community meeting to consider a proposal to expand the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at Florida Atlantic University will be held 7-9 p.m. today in Room 123 of the College of Education on the Boca Raton campus, 777 Glades Road. The public is invited. Call Dr. Jack Scott, 775-0625.

Wayne Dyer will speak Nov. 21 at JCC

Dr. Wayne Dyer, a leader of the human potential movement and author of 20 books, including the best-selling “Your Erroneous Zones,” will discuss his new book, “10 Secrets For Success and Inner Peace,” when he comes to Zinman Hall at the Adolph and Rose Levis Jewish Community Center, 9801 Donna Klein Blvd., in suburban Boca Raton on Nov. 21.
The 90-minute lecture, designed to help audiences learn how to get more out of life, begins at 7:30 p.m.
Dyer, who has appeared on more than 5,000 television and radio programs, including “The Today Show” and “Oprah,” is considered one of the most widely read authors in the field of self-development.
“Wayne is one of the leading people in the country in the area of human potential,” said Carol Lerner, director of the Phyllis & Harvey Sandler Sageing Institute at the Levis JCC. “He deals with ongoing personal growth and development.”
In addition to lecturing, Dyer has taught many levels of education, from high school through graduate study at St. John’s University in New York. He received his doctorate in counseling and psychology at Wayne State University and the University of Michigan.
Along with “Your Erroneous Zones,” Dyer has written “Pulling Your Own Strings,” “Manifest Your Destiny – Nine Spiritual Principles of Getting Everything You Want” and “101 Ways to Transform Your Life.”
If you go
Ticket prices for Dr. Wayne Dyer’s Nov. 21 presentation at the Adolph and Rose Levis Jewish Community Center, 9801 Donna Klein Blvd., range from $18 to $30. A $75 patron ticket includes a private dessert reception and a copy of Dyer’s new book. Call 558-2520.