Local News Since 1890 Now Online!

Join my #facebookfast and unplug for Memorial Day

In Children and Family, Health, Holiday, News Media, Opinion, Technology, Uncategorized on May 23, 2015 at 5:58 am

DIH LOGOOver the years I’ve done several articles and television interviews on the subject of going “off the grid,” when you put down the smartphone and tablet computer to unplug for a while. But some people simply can’t imagine letting go of their connection to the information superhighway, even for a few minutes.

Who knows what disasters might befall them if they miss that one, all-important posting that could quite literally change their lives forever. Of course, in reality, none of that stuff really matters.

It could be argued that political, racial and other social tensions might be less volatile if there were no social media to spread negativity and anger at the speed of light. Although it offers a positive outlet to promote social change, it also invites hateful rhetoric that can be distributed instantly and constantly.

Social media can sometimes even exacerbate depression in people already prone to the problem. True, it can sometimes elicit encouragement, support and sympathy. In my opinion, however, that level of support is only effective in the long term if it comes from in-person contact with people who really know you and care.

For the record, my job and my lifelong ties in technology leave me as guilty as the next person when it comes to maintaining my cyber connection. That said I still try to treat it like a tool – one for communication, maintaining a surface contact with friends I rarely get to see or just keeping up with my interests. But it can still be overwhelming at times and then I have to shut it off.

As it turns out, there is something called “social media anxiety.” Although it’s not recognized as a mental disorder (yet), from what I have read the problem results, in part, from this unrealistic sense of urgency with which we have endowed our virtual engagements. So, I think we all need a break.

Can you unplug for the #facebookfast?

Can you unplug for the #facebookfast?

If you’re one of the millions suffering from social media anxiety or just need a respite from the constant “Likes,” texts, tweets, pins and pokes, I’d like to make the following proposal. I’m inviting all of my readers, followers, and everyone else, to join me in what I’ve chosen to call, “The Facebook Fast.”

For 24 hours, we turn off all social media, going cold turkey on everything; no tweets, Facebook messages, or Pinterest posts – nothing. I considered suggesting a 48-hour-moratorium, but I thought that might send some people to a rubber room. The big question is, when?

The Memorial Day holiday weekend is always best spent with family and friends in the real world, so it seems the perfect time for a cyber-fast. Therefore, “The Facebook Fast” will kick off on Monday, May 25, 2015, at 12:01 a.m. and remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. the same day, so you even get two free minutes.

I expect this will be a challenge for a lot of people, me included. Because of the holiday, we’re all going to want to post and check in all day but we must resist temptation. If you can get your family and friends to participate too, it’ll be easier to hang in there.

Oh, I can almost feel the panic setting in at the mere thought of cutting the social media cord. But relax, consider it a “cyber cleanse.” Don’t worry; these particular DTs will pass quickly. And, in the event you can’t possibly imagine how you will stay in touch with the world for a whole day without social media, I have a few suggestions.

You could: read a book or newspaper, go outside, pick up the phone and actually call someone, meet a friend for dinner, go to a ball game, visit a local attraction, or any number of other activities that involve actual, human contact.

In something of an irony, the best way to spread the word about the fast is by using the hash tag, #facebookfast. I feel safe in guaranteeing to you that nothing bad will happen from ignoring social media for one day. The world will continue to turn and, if we’re lucky, it might also slow down just a little bit and give us all a moment to catch our breath.

 

Special Editorial Note: For fans of the late author Douglas Adams and his series of books from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” May 25th is also “Towel Day.” If you want to participate in the #facebookfast, just save up photos from Towel Day events and activities and post them at 11:59PM! If everyone hits it at once, “Towel Day” will trend on Twitter! 

 

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

 

 

More money needed to combat child poverty

In Children and Family, Economy, National News, Opinion, Politics, sociology on May 19, 2015 at 11:51 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOFor many Americans, a day of suffering might include a flat tire on the way to work, the cable going out right before a favorite program, or a long line at the coffee shop. But for millions of children, suffering means doing without basic necessities like proper nutrition and even the most basic health care.

According to the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), more than 16 million children in the United States live in families with income below the poverty level of $23,550. That’s a staggering 22-percent of all the kids in the country.

Some people today believe that childhood poverty in America is something from the past. In fact, one in six children in the United States lives below the poverty line.

Some people today believe that childhood poverty in America is something from the past. In fact, one in six children in the United States lives below the poverty line.

Despite the political rhetoric, generally coming from conservatives who feel poverty is a problem of the lazy, the NCCP reports that most of the parents of these children do indeed work. But low wages and in unstable employment situations continue to restrict any sort of progress for them. Experts agree that poverty is the single greatest threat to the welfare of American children in modern society.

In addition, for those who believe that poverty is a problem mainly suffered by minorities, here are some statistics. The NCCP reports that among America’s poorest children, 4.2 million are white, 4 million are Latino, 3.6 million are African American, 400,000 are Asian, and 200,000 are American Indian. That’s right; the majority of American kids living in poverty are white. But, clearly, the numbers are fairly close, so it’s certainly clear that poverty doesn’t seem to discriminate.

Red Nose DayMost of what’s needed to help this problem involves, as always, more money. There just isn’t enough funding through government social service programs to provide the needed services to support poverty-stricken children and younger adults. The National Broadcasting Company (NBC), along with charity partners such as Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Feeding America, is sponsoring a national day of awareness and fund-raising called, “Red Nose Day,” on Thursday, May 21st.

The United Way of Orange County, California explained the event on their website, “The campaign encourages everyone from children to corporations to do something fun in the name of raising awareness around a serious global issue, while also raising funds to help identify and deliver solutions. Red Nose Day USA activities culminate in a 3-hour telethon airing on NBC Saturday May 21 at 8pm.”

In addition to events like Red Nose Day, people are encouraged to help out in whatever capacity available to them, and it’s not just about writing a check. Those interested in volunteering can check with their local chapter of The United Way or other social service organizations to find out more.

Living in the richest, most powerful country in the world should inherently provide some kind of security for a child, at the very least with regard to food and shelter. Without proper living conditions, a child will simply not be able to learn well and that makes school less of a priority than eventually helping the family to support itself.

Children who can’t learn or leave school will only continue the cycle of poverty in many instances, forever locking themselves into the lowest paying work, when employment is even available.

So the question begs to be asked, “Can’t the government do more?” Yes, it can. But it hasn’t, and it probably won’t. Annually, only a pittance of tax dollars is allocated towards this problem and local social service programs are continually scaled back because of lack of funding.

Even the great Affordable Healthcare Act (a.k.a. Obamacare), which was supposed to provide health insurance for America’s poorest citizens, has made no significant difference. Because of its incredibly complicated application procedures, among other reasons, the program has thoroughly failed to meet healthcare needs of these children and their families.

Even if someone only has a little more, there is always a way to help those with far less. Red Nose Day is a fun start, but there needs to be more done to help those living in poverty. Congress (liberal and conservative alike) and the president share the blame for this tragic disfigurement of American culture. It’d be interesting to see how they would handle living without the six-figure salaries and free insurance.

 

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

Culligan invites public to celebrate new water refill station

In Business, Dayton Ohio News, Food, Health, Local News, Technology on May 19, 2015 at 11:40 am
Culligan of Dayton's new drive-up, 24-hour water refill station takes 1-5 gallon bottles.

Culligan of Dayton’s new drive-up, 24-hour water refill station takes 1-5 gallon bottles.

Dayton, OH – Culligan of Dayton, located at 3900 Wilmington Pike in Kettering, invites the public to attend a ribbon cutting and open house to celebrate their new 24-hour, self-serve purified water station. The event runs from noon until 3 p.m., on Saturday May 30, with free hot dogs and drinks, hourly door prizes, and complimentary water.

Culligan of Dayton opened its doors in 1970. Under the familiar tag, “Hey, Culligan Man!” the company has continually provided residential and commercial water conditioning and filtration systems, home and office bottled water and salt delivery, and 24-hour maintenance service.

The self-serve refill station became operational in January and dispenses purified water for refillable bottles at just $0.25 per gallon. Dan Thomas, manager of Culligan of Dayton, wants customers to know the value of having this kind of service, when they need it, day or night.

“A customer can pull right up to the machine and they won’t have to carry their water through a big store where you could pay as much as $0.40 per gallon,” Thomas said. “The unit is easy to operate and fits 1-gallon to 5-gallon refillable bottles.” He also suggested that the benefits are as much about quality as convenience.

“In my opinion, our ability to maintain and control the quality of our product is much better to a big-box, in-store refill station which is usually handled by an outside source,” Thomas said. “We do weekly testing and the unit is sanitized daily.”

According to Thomas, the superior water quality is a direct result of the highly controlled purification process the water receives before it is dispensed. “The water is softened to remove calcium, dechlorinated through a carbon filter, and then sent through reverse osmosis for purification,” he said. “Then it goes through ultraviolet light to remove any residual bacteria.”

The grand door prize winner, announced near the close of the event, will receive a Culligan reverse osmosis purification system valued at $899.00. Customers needn’t wait until the open house to take advantage of the water refill station. It is already installed and available for use. For more information, call (937) 294-0375, or go online to culliganohiovalley.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,457 other followers