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Fitting in at Hamvention.

In Education, Local News, Opinion, sociology, Technology, Uncategorized on May 24, 2016 at 8:30 am

Deer In Headlines

By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOWe all have it; that one single thing about ourselves that makes us either feel different or seem weird to other people. Different and weird are relative terms, of course, depending on the perception of those around us.

For example, someone walking around a cattle ranch in Birkenstocks and shorts might seem incredibly out of place. Is it weird to be wearing this kind of apparel or just so because of the location? It really depends on the observer.

Case in point. This past weekend I attended my very first “Hamvention;” the massive amateur radio convention held in Dayton, Ohio each spring. Hamvention, which is a registered trademark by the way, has for many years been the world’s largest amateur radio event dating back to 1952.

It’s organized and sponsored by the Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA) and draws thousands each year to attend workshops, learn about new technologies and shop the hundreds of vendors selling everything from antennas to software. I was raised around the CB radio, but never really exposed to the culture surrounding “ham” users. Incidentally, the term “ham” is a derivative of the colloquial name for an amateur radio operator.

Unlike citizen band (CB) radio, amateur radio requires an FCC license and operates on a different set of frequencies and power guidelines. Each operator is assigned an alphanumeric call sign that become a kind of personal nickname in the ham circle.

13244704_10153908418374342_9000172653944694244_nI admit some trepidation about attending, even though the adventure was my idea. My hesitation was mostly due to the shadowy reputation ham operators have for being made up mostly of the off-your-rocker survivalist, who walks around with a bag full of canned beans, a shotgun, and a ham radio and 15 foot antenna sticking out of his backpack. With no first-hand experience, it all seemed a bit bizarre.

Now, before I go much further, I need to point out here that I am no stranger to the bizarre. I’ve spent a good portion of my free time at science fiction conventions. You know, full on “Star Trek” events complete with green people and otherwise normal folks walking around speaking Klingon to each other.

Instead of me thinking the convention goers were odd, I’m the one who actually felt weird and strangely out of place. What I experienced, standing there amidst thousands of people from very different walks of life, was a fascinating collection of people, all of whom had one thing in common – their interest in amateur radio.

13263851_10153908418309342_1241895779973128889_n

Geiger counters and radiation detection of all kinds … at Hamvention 2016 – Photo GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd.

Yes there were some, what I would normally describe as, oddballs, as well as stereotypical survivalist types. In fact, one vendor sold nothing but Geiger counters. I couldn’t have imagined where a table full of Geiger counters would look at home, carefully packed together like someone had spray painted yellow all the pieces of a life-sized Tetris game.

Still, I’m the one who didn’t look like he belonged there. But it was fascinating how people were sharing their knowledge and experiencing the trade and technology of ham radio as if it was a big group of friends who’d never met and only got together on this one occasion.

People tend to congregate with those of common interest. Conventions like this are representative of virtually all aspect of our sociological makeup as human beings. From churchgoers and athletes to writers and amateur radio enthusiasts, an interest or devotion to a culture or activity brings people together in a consistently predictable way that nothing else can.

We should all have that one thing that makes us feel odd or weird, so long as we remember we’re not alone. When we come together with others of similar interests, great things can happen. We learn, grow, and build friendships that might otherwise never have come about.

In the end, I was indoctrinated into this eclectic family. On his birthday, Jim bought himself a couple of hand-held radios but got one for me as well. I guess it’s time for me to go take the test and get my license. I’m just relieved you’re no longer required to learn Morse code. Oh, Happy Birthday, Jim and thanks.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headline is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. More at gerydeer.com

Detach and de-stress from politics

In Health, National News, Opinion, Politics, psychology on May 17, 2016 at 7:57 am

Deer In Headlines

By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOA July 2014 article in The Washington Post included a headline that read, “Politicians are the No. 1 cause of stress in our lives.” The article focused on a stress survey in which, “Americans cited, ‘Hearing about what the government or politicians are doing,’ as the most frequent daily stressor on their lives, and at a substantially higher rate than the usual annoyances like commuting, chores and general schedule-juggling.”

That was nearly two years ago and reactions to day-to-day politics were driving the survey. At that time the dizzying level of ridiculousness surrounding the 2016 presidential bid had yet to shift into high gear. Now, with just a few weeks until the first convention, the stakes have never been higher, and neither has our collective blood pressure.

In the time between now and the conventions, it’s unlikely anything of consequence will occur. There will be blustering and feather ruffling from candidates, but, in the end, the convention is the next decisive event. It’s time to back away for a while.

If the presidential race has driven a wedge between you and those close to you, it may be time let it go. It’s not important. The truth is, very little that takes place on the presidential campaign level will affect those of us down here in the real world.

And it certainly is not worth the loss of close friendships. So how do you disconnect? Well, here are a few short tips.

First, step away from social media – immediately! As if the cable news blather wasn’t enough, Facebook, Twitter and all the rest of social media is inundated with opinion, and certainly not necessarily what you would call, “informed” opinion.

maxresdefaultMost people, for whatever reason, have a difficult time recognizing fact from rhetoric. How many times have you been taken in on Facebook or Twitter by some fake news story? Generally those kinds of things are harmless. But when conflict and gossip are presented as factually based information, things get murky and you have to know the difference.

Along with the computer, switch off the TV as well. Face it you’re never going to get an “objective” view of any candidate, party or issue from corporate news agencies. Every organization introduces the spin they want you to hear. Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, and all the rest, have their own political agendas and when they want you to think, they’ll tell you how.

Consider also, how you feel when you encounter political news. Take close note of your emotions when you’re reading, watching or listening to political material. Does your heart rate jump? Do you feel angry or enraged? Well, believe it or not, that’s exactly what they want; “they” being the media manipulators.

But, you don’t have to fall for it. You can choose what information to which you are exposed and how it affects you. If you just let them get to you, that’s your own fault.

Probably the best way to keep from being overwhelmed by the election hype is to be informed. Do your own research on the candidates and issues and get the information as first-hand as possible. The more facts you know, the less likely you are to get sucked into the garbage.

Politics can sometimes be a fun diversion, though for whom I haven’t a clue. But when things are as charged up as they are this time around, most of what results is stress, angry feelings and regretful behavior.

Remember that politicians at that level – including Hillary, Bernie, and Donald – have no stake in your life. They could care less about anything save their own quest for power, ego and personal benefit. And they’ll say anything to get the votes they want. Anyone who sincerely believes otherwise is a bit naive.

So as the election creeps up on us, be prepared to go vote your conscience when the time comes. Until then, shut it all down, tune it all out, and relax!

For further study and resource …

6 Ways To Cope With Political Stress by Dr. David Lowenstein

http://drlowenstein.com/2016/03/10/6-ways-to-cope-with-political-stress/

5 Ways To Avoid Stress and Stay Healthy In Political Campaigns by PoliticalCampaigningTips.com

http://www.politicalcampaigningtips.com/5-ways-to-avoid-stress-stay-healthy-in-political-campaigns/

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. More at gerydeer.com

 

 

McAfee scholarship award recipients announced

In Business, Charities, Dayton Ohio News, Economy, Education, Local News, Media, Uncategorized on May 11, 2016 at 11:20 am

Dayton, OH – Greg McAfee, owner of McAfee Heating and Air Conditioning, has announced the winners of the inaugural “You Can Count On Me” scholarship program for the 2016 school year. Focusing on more than just academic performance, McAfee, along with other area sponsors, funded the scholarship to also reward students for their overall contributions and commitment to family and community.

The “You Can Count On Me” scholarship program awarded $2,500 to ten high-school seniors set to graduate in the 2016 academic year. Funds can be used for any accredited post-secondary course of study including: two or four-year colleges, trade or technical schools, or programs resulting in the award of a professional licensure issued by the state.

According to McAfee, the program is designed to support students who have demonstrated a “can do” attitude through a combination of school-related activities, work experiences, and community involvement. Each applicant’s personal narrative weighed heavily in the selection process, as did recommendations from teachers, employers, clergy, and other community leaders influential in the student’s life.

Qualified students were residents of Montgomery, Warren or Greene counties in Ohio, or attend Miami Valley Career Technology Center or the Greene County Career Center. Applicants also submitted three letters of recommendation and attained a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or greater, both at the time of application and upon graduation.

According to McAfee, the program is designed to support students who have demonstrated a “can do” attitude through a combination of school-related activities, work experiences, and community involvement. Therefore, each applicant’s personal narrative weighs heavily in the selection process, as will recommendations from teachers, employers, clergy, and other community leaders.

“Some students may not necessarily have the grades to qualify for many of the scholarships out there today,” McAfee says. “But, in my opinion, hard work, dependability, and commitment to family and community is equally important, if not more so.” Additional consideration will be given to applicants with a significant financial need that would otherwise limit post-secondary opportunities. McAfee noted that he was not part of the judging committee.

The 2016 recipients of the “You Can Count On Me” scholarships, and their respective schools, are as follows: Jayden Lee, Carlisle High School; Hanna Midtlien, Bellbrook High School; Kaitlin Dunn, Fairborn City Schools; Karina Brady, Dayton Christian High School; Adam Gallatin, Oakwood High School; Brian Petachi, Wayne High School; Timothy (Devon) Cook, Brookville Local Schools; and from Beavercreek High School, Andrew Rice, Madison Fecher and Kayleigh Brown.

Influential teachers are also being honored. “We realize that there are people within our lives who are instrumental in helping us to achieve our true potential,” McAfee says. “We asked students to identify a teacher at their school they would like to recognize as being a positive role model and contributor to their scholastic and extracurricular achievement.”

In recognition, a $250 donation will be made in honor of each of the following teachers to their respective schools: Sam Lee, Carlisle High School; Paulette Hensley, Bellbrook High School; Mrs. Halloway, Fairborn High School; Mr. Gail Gnagey, Dayton Christian High School; Kim Hobby, Oakwood City Schools; Mrs. Knepp, Huber Heights High School; Ann Stammen, Brookville High School; and Jami Russ, Kevin Tritschler, and Mrs. Mindy Burcham, all from Beavercreek High School.

According to McAfee, “This being the first year of the program, we are very pleased with the results. Our partners, sponsors and educators did a tremendous job getting the word out…we had over 450 applications submitted, and look forward to many more next school year,” says McAfee. “The character and passion demonstrated by these students not only is refreshing, but also solidified the decision to offer the program and should provide us all with the sense that our future is in good hands.”

Sponsors of this year’s scholarship include McAfee Heating and Air Conditioning, Omnispear, Soin Medical Center, Media Explosion, Guardian Financial, Net-X Computers, and Cedarville University. An official awards banquet will be held at Cedarville University at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17th. More information on the scholarship is available on the official website, YouCanCountOnMe.org.

Gallery of recipients …

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