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How Does A Federal Shutdown Affect You?

In Business, Economy, Local News, National News, Opinion, Uncategorized on July 26, 2011 at 8:01 am

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines

 

In a live address July 25th, President Obama urged Americans to pressure congressional leaders to move toward a compromise. (AP Photo)

On Monday, July 25, in his seventh prime time televised address to the nation, President Obama pleaded with Americans to pressure their congressional representatives to make a deal on the debt ceiling. While Mr. Obama argues against the GOP plans or any sort of a short term solution, Speaker of the House John Boehner is resolute against handing the president, what he called, “Another blank check.”

Both parties are using fear to motivate the public to demand action. But Americans who rely on federal funds to survive watch helplessly as Washington continues to bicker with itself and worry about how they will eat and pay the bills if there is a government shutdown amidst an already sluggish economy.

According to a CBS poll taken earlier this week, 79 percent of Americans are angry about the way the debt problem is being handled. There is also a great deal of speculation and misinformation about exactly what will happen should an agreement fail to be reached by the August 2nd deadline.

During the Clinton administration, three different government shut downs occurred, the longest lasting 21 days. Each resulted in the forced furlough of more than 800,000 federal employees. For information about how a federal closure would affect specific programs, contact the individual department directly. In the meantime, here are some examples of how a shutdown might affect the average citizen.

Many agencies like the CDC and National Institute of Health will scale back operations during the shutdown, with only essential personnel staying on the job. Law enforcement, public safety and national security employees would remain working, including the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the national military. Some other agencies, not thoroughly funded by the government, like the postal service, would continue to operate as well.

Many employees of those departments may not be paid during that time, however. No factual information was available on which agencies will continue to issue paychecks, but one congressional aid told The Washington Post that military personnel would likely receive a paycheck during the first week of any shutdown, but possibly nothing after that.

For employees of government contractors the situation is even more ambiguous. Whether contractors work or get paid will depend on the employer, the specific area of the government being serviced and the projects involved. Workers in these situations should contact their company’s human resourced department for information.

Planning a summer vacation to a national park over the next few weeks? It might be a good idea to look into alternatives. If federal dollars are cut off, any national park that requires a Forest Service employee to be on site would be closed. Locally, that would include the Wright Brothers sites throughout theMiamiValleywhich are part of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park.

Officials are being tight-lipped about the full impact of the shutdown. Those who are talking agree that many civilian employees will be forced to take an unpaid vacation and it is unlikely that pay will be made retroactively once things start up again.

In 2010, an unprecedented number of people voted for a divided government – and sometimes it has merit. But usually such a total split of ideology just brings out the worst in politicians and leaves important issues mired in partisan rhetoric.

Possibly more maddening is the idea that the Washington egos in charge of this mess are mostly people of wealth who do not have to worry about where their next paycheck will come from. Given their childlike behavior and inability to compromise for the good of the people, come November of 2012, the most sensible actions that Americans can take is to show them the door.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist based in Jamestown, Ohio. Read more at http://www.deerinheadlines.com.

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Loneliness, Grief Leave Seniors Vulnerable To Opportunists

In Local News on July 22, 2011 at 7:55 am

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines

Sometimes life takes unpredictable turns. Adjusting to those changes can be daunting. As friends and family pass away, many people are left alone, a single voice of a generation with no one to talk to. Experts suggest that isolated seniors can become inappropriately, even romantically, attached to caregivers, neighbors or friends who offer a shoulder to cry on or those needing the kind of care and support once given to a spouse or children.

Grief, loneliness and stress can interfere with normally sound judgment. Vulnerable and often depressed, senior citizens can easily fall victim to opportunistic individuals who seek only to take advantage of their kindness.

Unscrupulous people will abuse the misplaced affections of a senior citizen manipulating them with big sad eyes and a long sad story. The individual accepts the senior’s offer of gifts, money and other tokens of adoration; small gestures at first that grow more elaborate. Some reports conclude that seniors have been convinced to sign over financial powers of attorney, real estate and other holdings.

When concerned family members confront the senior about the situation, it can be a conversation that rapidly deteriorates into an argument. Pushed too hard, he or she may be driven deeper into depression and anxiety, generally becoming even more susceptible to outside influence, possibly even cutting ties to family in an effort to maintain the outside relationship, albeit unrealistic.

Inconsiderate and uncaring of the damage that can befall a family in these circumstances, the self-serving outsider may provide a comforting ear; enforcing the idea that the children are jealous, controlling or wanting to keep the parent from going ahead with life.

It will be virtually impossible to convince the senior that the outside individual has ulterior motives for the relationship. He or she may have to come to the realization on their own, but that may happen too late – after the bank account has been bled dry or vital resources have been depleted. So how does a family cope with this kind of problem?

Every situation is unique, but family members should be mindful of some telltale signs that their parent is involved in a dangerous relationship. Here are some questions to consider.

Are the bills falling behind? If access to the information is available, are account balances suddenly shrinking at the bank or increasing on the credit cards? Does the senior frequently do chores or run errands for the outsider?

Does the senior avoid answering questions about money or does he or she get angry or defensive when queried about expenditures or unpaid debts? Does the senior place an irrational level of importance on the outsider ahead of themselves or family?

If the answer to one or more of these questions is yes, there may be cause for concern and family members should first try talking. As stated before, arguments solve nothing, so don’t push, try to help the parent see that you understand their feelings and are merely showing concern for their security. Begin by talking with the family doctor or clergy.

Depression is often a prime factor leading to these types of attachments. In cases where the senior has had to deal with the death or lengthy illness of a spouse, geriatric psychologists suggest individual or family grief counseling. It’s also helpful to get the senior involved with activities, groups or organizations in which he or she has a common interest with others of similar age and background.

For those adult children facing this situation, be diligent but understanding. A helpful ear and sympathetic heart will go a lot further than a loud, accusatory voice. Remind your parent that, though you are not in their shoes, you both walk the same path.

For the parents, perhaps you should at least try to listen to concerns expressed by your adult kids. It might be a good idea to remove the rose-colored glasses for just a moment and see the situation from their point of view. If their concerns are unfounded, what do you have to lose by taking a closer look at it?

Greene County Combined Health District Announces Summer Well Child Tot ‘N Teen Clinic Schedule

In Health, Local News on July 18, 2011 at 4:31 pm

(From Left) Medical Assistant April Lucas, Well Child patient Josephyne Powers, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Elaine Hughes.

XENIA – The Greene County Combined Health District (GCCHD) has announced that it will hold Well Child Tot ‘N Teen Clinics every Monday during the months of July, August and September. Clinics are held from 8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and are designed to help children and teens get ready for school and sports.

Well Child Clinics provide comprehensive wellness care for children ages birth – 18 years old from a dedicated team of health care professionals. Routine well baby/child check-ups include vision, hearing and speech screenings, immunizations, screenings and tests for lead and a visit with the dietitian if needed. Physicals for school, sports, work, camp, Head Start and Kindergarten are also offered.

Appointments are necessary and can be made by calling the Greene County Combined Health District at (937) 374-5655 of toll-free at 1-866-858-3588.

Payment options include Medicaid, CareSource, Amerigroup, Molina, private insurance, private pay, and by sliding fee scale. For more information, please call April Lucas at (937) 374-5600, ext. 5676.

Gilligan’s Island Creator, Sherwood Schwartz, Dies At 94

In Entertainment, Media, National News on July 12, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Schwartz receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (2008)

By The Associated Press

July 12, 2011

Sherwood Schwartz, writer-creator of two of the best-remembered TV series of the 1960s and 1970s, Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch, has died at age 94.

Great niece Robin Randall said Schwartz died early Tuesday.

Schwartz was hospitalized at Cedars Sinai Medical Center about a week ago with an intestinal infection and underwent several surgeries. His wife, Mildred, and children have been at his side, said his nephew, Douglas Schwartz.

Sherwood Schwartz and his brother, Al, started as a writing team in TV’s famed 1950s “golden age,” said Douglas Schwartz, the late Al Schwartz’s son.

“They helped shape television in its early days,” Douglas Schwartz said. “Sherwood is an American classic, creating Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island, iconic shows that are still popular today. He continued to produce all the way up into his 90s.”

Sherwood Schwartz was working on a big-screen version of Gilligan’s Island, his nephew said. Douglas Schwartz, who created the hit series Baywatch, called his uncle a longtime mentor and caring “second father” who helped guide him successfully through show business.

Success was the hallmark of Sherwood Schwartz’s own career. Neither Gilligan nor Brady pleased the critics, but both managed to reverberate in viewers’ heads through the years as few such series did, lingering in the language and inspiring parodies, spinoffs and countless standup comedy jokes.

Schwartz had given up a career in medical science to write jokes for Bob Hope’s radio show. He went on to write for other radio and TV shows, including The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.

He dreamed up Gilligan’s Island in 1964. It was a Robinson Crusoe story about seven disparate travelers who are marooned on a deserted Pacific Island after their small boat wrecks in a storm. The cast: Alan Hale Jr., as Skipper Jonas Grumby; Bob Denver, as his klutzy assistant Gilligan; Jim Backus and Natalie Schafer, the rich snobs Thurston and Lovey Howell; Tina Louise, the bosomy movie star Ginger Grant; Russell Johnson, egghead science professor Roy Hinkley Jr.; and Dawn Wells, sweet-natured farm girl Mary Ann Summers.

TV critics hooted at Gilligan’s Island as gag-ridden corn. Audiences adored its far-out comedy. Schwartz insisted that the show had social meaning along with the laughs: “I knew that by assembling seven different people and forcing them to live together, the show would have great philosophical implications.”

He argued that his sitcoms didn’t rely on cheap laughs. “I think writers have become hypnotized by the number of jokes on the page at the expense of character,” Schwartz said in a 2000 Associated Press interview.

“When you say the name Gilligan, you know who that is. If a show is good, if it’s written well, you should be able to erase the names of the characters saying the lines and still be able to know who said it. If you can’t do that, the show will fail.”

Gilligan’s Island lasted on CBS from 1964 to 1967, and it was revived in later seasons with three high-rated TV movies. A children’s cartoon, The New Adventures of Gilligan, appeared on ABC from 1974 to 1977, and in 2004, Schwartz had a hand in producing a TBS reality show called The Real Gilligan’s Island.

The name of the boat on Gilligan’s Island — the S.S. Minnow — was a bit of TV inside humor: It was named for Newton Minow, who as Federal Communications Commission chief in the early 1960s had become famous for proclaiming television “a vast wasteland.”

Minow took the gibe in good humor, saying later that he had a friendly correspondence with Schwartz.

TV writers usually looked upon The Brady Bunch as a sugarcoated view of American family life.

The premise: a widow (Florence Henderson) with three daughters marries a widower (Robert Reed) with three sons. (Widowhood was a common plot point in TV series back then, since networks were leery of divorce.) During the 1970s when the nation was rocked by social turmoil, audiences seemed comforted by watching an attractive, well-scrubbed family engaged in trivial pursuits.

Schwartz claimed in 1995 that his creation had social significance because “it dealt with real emotional problems: the difficulty of being the middle girl; a boy being too short when he wants to be taller; going to the prom with zits on your face.”

The series lasted from 1969 to 1974, but it had an amazing afterlife. It was followed by three one-season spinoffs: The Brady Bunch Hour (1977), The Brady Brides (1981) and The Bradys (1990).The Brady Bunch Movie, with Shelley Long and Gary Cole as the parents, was a surprise box-office hit in 1995.

It was followed the next year by a less successful A Very Brady Sequel.

Sherwood Schwartz was born in 1916 in Passaic, N.J., and grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y. His brother, already working for Hope, got him a job when Sherwood was still in college.

“Bob liked my jokes, used them on his show and got big laughs. Then he asked me to join his writing staff,” Schwartz said during an appearance in March 2008, when he got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. “I was faced with a major decision writing comedy or starving to death while I cured those diseases. I made a quick career change.”

Besides his wife, Schwartz’s survivors include sons Donald, Lloyd and Ross Schwartz, and daughter Hope Juber.

 

Story Courtesy The Associated Press / Photo Courtesy Wikipedia

Annie Oakley Days Hosts Wild West Arts Showcase Performances

In Entertainment, Local News, National News on July 11, 2011 at 11:12 am

Whip handling, knife throwing and trick roping headline seven shows at the fairground coliseum during Annie Oakley Days.

Whip Artist / Showcase Producer Gery L. Deer - http://www.thewhipstudio.com

GREENVILLE, OH – Wild West performers headlining the 9th Annual Annie Oakley Western Arts Showcase are gearing up for five live performances during Annie Oakley Days in the upper level of the Darke County Fairground Coliseum. Entertainers will be appearing from shows like America’s Got Talent and The Bonnie Hunt Show. Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday July 29, 2 and 7 p.m. on Saturday the 30th and 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on July 31st. Each show is free with regular admission.

Writer, entertainer Gery L. Deer is an award-winning whip artist and serves as the producer and director of the performances. “We’re happy to be back at Annie Oakley Days for our ninth year of precision whip artistry, knife throwing and fancy trick roping,” said Deer, who is also the managing director of The Whip Artistry Studio training center in Jamestown, Ohio. “I’m grateful that we have the opportunity to show the public that Wild West arts are real and require talent and skill, not to mention years of practice.”

Each showcase will also feature champion knife thrower Kirk Bass, of Xenia, who teams up with wife Melodee in the suspenseful “Bass Blades” impalement show. Bass is a certified thrown weapons instructor with the International Knife Throwers Hall of Fame and the assistant director for the Western Arts Showcase events.

According to Deer, the best shows to see will be on Saturday. “We pull out all the stops on Saturday, with Wild West arts exhibitions during the afternoon performance and a longer, variety show in the evening.” Saturday night’s extended program will be hosted by The Brothers & Co. Entertainers music and variety group from Jamestown, Ohio. Often compared to The Statler Brothers or Oak Ridge Boys, “The Boys In Black” do a combination of four-part vocals and Vaudeville-style comedy and variety routines.

All performances are family friendly. For more information go online to http://www.thewhipstudio.com/annieoakley.html or call (937) 902-4857.

Casey Anthony Acquitted On First Degree Murder Charge

In Media, National News, Uncategorized on July 5, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Outrage swept social media as Casey Anthony's acquittal was read.

FLORIDA – Casey Anthony has been acquitted on charges of first degree murder and manslaughter. She has been found guilty of four counts of providing false information to law enforcement. Anthony was arrested in connection with the 2008 murder of her 2-year old daughter, Caylee. Jurors deliberated through the Fourth of July weekend, reaching a verdict at about 2pm.

The acquittal has generated anger and frustration online and by television commentators. Reading the verdict live on CBS’s daytime show, The Talk, co-host Julie Chen broke into tears as her co-hosts and the live audience reacted in stunned amazement. Facebook and Twitter immediately came alive with similar responses as word spread of the trial’s outcome.

Anthony was sentenced to one year and $1,000 for each of four misdemeanor counts. With credit for time served and good behavior, Anthony is scheduled to be released on July 17, 2011.

(Photos courtesy Red Huber/AP and International Business Times)