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October 23, 2018

Bronx man sentenced in rat poison death of 5-year-old son

NEW YORK (AP) – A New York City man will spend 20 years to life in prison for killing his 5-year-old son and sickening his 7-year-old daughter with poison-laced pizza.

After learning that his ex-wife was seeing another man, Leonardo Espinal took it out on their children in November 2012 by tainting their pizza with rat poison, Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson said Thursday after the sentencing.

The little girl, Mia, threw up after eating the pizza. When her brother, Steward, soiled himself, their father took him into the bathroom.

Espinal’s stepmother called 911. Police broke down the bathroom door. Steward was in the bathtub, dead from a combination of the poison and being submerged in water.

“My beloved angel,” the children’s mother, Rosaura Abreu, said in a victim impact statement that was written in Spanish, translated into English and read by a prosecutor in court.

“I will never forget the last time I saw my little son. … He was radiant, happy, content and followed me all around the house.”

“When it was time for me to leave, he followed me to the door and I knelt down to talk with him. It’s as if my heart knew that it would be the last time I would see him alive.”

Steward told his mother that he loved her. They hugged and she said “that I loved him from the bottom of my heart, more than own life.”

After the crime, Mia suffered anxiety attacks at the mere mention of returning to the apartment. “She never wanted to sleep in the same bed where she slept with her Steward, protecting him from monsters,” their mother said.

Therapy has helped them, but is by no means a cure-all.

“Mia suffers a great deal when she goes to parties, when she goes to bed, when she plays with other children, when she sees photos of him, when she sees another boy the same age as him, when she sees me sad because she knows I am thinking of him,” Abreu said.

Espinal pleaded guilty last month to murder and attempted murder.

“All we can do,” said Abreu, “is take it day by day.”

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Taken from – 

Bronx man sentenced in rat poison death of 5-year-old son

Stu Hawbaker: The woes of invasive ivy

Neighbors who live in my subdivision tell me that my house was one of the last houses built in the neighborhood. I suspect it was, because the lot is not the most attractive. It slopes down to bottom land and a creek a few hundred feet away. It is full of trees, some 30 of them, that are way too close together. That means they are very tall and skinny. All parts of the lot behind the house are mostly shaded by the trees and one section behind the garage is very steep. So it is almost impossible to grow anything in this area, especially the steep part.

Years ago, I decided to plant a ground cover in that area to control erosion and provide some type of cover that I did not have to mow or maintain. I selected English Ivy and it gradually covered the steep area behind the garage. What I did not know was that not only does it cover the ground but it also climbs trees. Now, it has not only completely covered the trunks of three or four of my trees, but also a couple of the neighbors’ trees. It attaches itself to the tree trunks and grows up 50 feet or so. It crowds out most other plants under the trees, except poison ivy, which I continually keep on the lookout for. Maggie likes to romp through this area and hunt for voles and other critters and occasionally gets some poison ivy oil on her whiskers that she then shares with me. You can see why I try to keep the poison ivy under control.

Many people have asked me what kind of a ground cover they can plant in areas similar to my spot behind the garage. I used to recommend English Ivy, until I found out it is a climber. Now many landscapers do not suggest it because it is so invasive. I wish I knew about that 30 years ago. Now, more people want to know how to get rid of it, rather than planting it.

I did some searching for ground covers on the Internet and found some excellent ideas at www.hgtvgardens.com where they list some 300 different ground covers that do well in shady areas. Some you might want to consider are: common periwinkle, lily of the valley, pachysandra, Algerian Ivy (variegated) or bugleweed. Check out this site where you can select based on your specific location in sun or shade and other variables. Also, I suggest you look at the U of I page at http://urbanext.illinois.edu/hort where you will find all kinds of horticultural information. You can also check with your local U of I Extension office or master gardener for help with your horticultural questions. In addition, you might even be interested in becoming a master gardener. You can find details about that program on the same web page above.

Now is the time to:

  • Read a good book
  • Start your annual diet 
  • But finish your Christmas candy first

Call of the Week:

Q: When are you supposed to mulch perennial flower beds?

A: Normally you do not need to do that until the ground freezes. You can also mulch around rose bushes at the same time.

Stuart Hawbaker can be reached at jmatherly@herald-review.com.

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Stu Hawbaker: The woes of invasive ivy

Time to be on the lookout for Poison Ivy

The saying “leaves of three let it be” is a good start to protect yourself from poison ivy but officials say there’s more you need to look for.

When trying to find poison ivy, it can come in all shapes and sizes. Max Glover with the University of Missouri Extension said they can appear in almost any area but you’re most likely to find them in places you don’t keep maintained.

“The conditions in terms of habitat and something for the vein to grow on. It tends to like a shady area and the areas that don’t get mowed frequently are the areas where it shows up the most,” Glover said.

Glover said if you do find poison ivy in your garden or around your house, treating it with chemicals is the best way to kill it, however it may take more than one attempt.

Excerpt from: 

Time to be on the lookout for Poison Ivy

Home Health House Calls: Poison Ivy and Oak

Poison Ivy and Oak-

Welcome to Home Health House Calls.

Poison Ivy and poison Oak are types of plants that cause Skin rashes.
These plants contain a type of sap oil.
If you’re allergic to this oil, touching one of these plants may cause your skin to react. Within minutes or days, you may have a red, swollen, itchy rash.
You can help prevent a poison oak or poison ivy rash.
Know what these plants look like And then avoid them.
They grow in the form of vines, small plants, and large bushes.
In most cases, poison oak and poison ivy have three leaves per stem.
Watch out for these plants when you go to any outdoor area.
Avoid touching either of these plants.
When heading outdoors Wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt If you are going to a heavily wooded or brushy area.
You should also wear gloves when working outside.
If you are exposed to one of these plants and are allergic Y

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Home Health House Calls: Poison Ivy and Oak

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