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Halloween: A Night for Treats, Not Tragedies

In Local News on October 26, 2011 at 11:17 am

XENIA – Did you know that on average, twice as many kids are killed while walking on Halloween as compared to any other day of the year? Kids will be out this weekend trick or treating while it is dark – making it harder for drivers to see them and because they’re excited about getting candy, they may not be watching out for cars.

Parents and drivers both need to do their part to help kids stay out of the emergency room on Halloween. Emphasize safe pedestrian behaviors to kids before they go out trick-or-treating.

Parents should also remember that costumes can be both creative and safe, so look for ways to use reflective materials. Drivers must slow down and watch out for trick-or-treaters, especially around crosswalks and driveways.

Top tips to keep your kids safe on Halloween

For parents and children:

  • Choose light-colored costumes that can be seen in the dark.
  • Decorate your children’s costumes with reflective materials. Give them flashlights and glow sticks to carry in order to see better, as well as be seen by drivers.
  • Cross the street safely at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross. Walk, don’t run, across the street.
  • Walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
  • Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
  • Slow down and stay alert – watch out for cars that are turning or backing up and never dart out into the street or cross in between parked cars.
  • Masks can obstruct a child’s vision, so choose non-toxic face paint, make-up, and wigs instead.

For drivers:

  • Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving. Please find a designated driver if you plan on drinking. Buckle up to be safe and be sure to report drunk drivers to your local law enforcement.
  • Slow down in residential neighborhoods and school zones.
  • Remember that popular trick-or-treating hours are between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m. so be sure to turn on your full headlights.
  • Be especially alert and take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
  • Slowly and carefully enter and exit driveways and alleys.
  • Eliminate distractions while driving, such as talking on the phone, texting or eating, so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.

Treats:

While pedestrian safety is a main concern on Halloween, parents and kids should also be careful when dealing with candy. Remind children to only eat treats in original and unopened wrappers.

Beggars Night date and times for Greene County are as follows:

  • Beavercreek 10/31, 6-8pm
  • Bellbrook 10/31, 6-8pm
  • Cedarville 10/31, 6-8pm
  • Fairborn 10/31, 6-8pm
  • Jamestown 10/31, 6-8pm
  • Xenia 10/31, 6-8pm
  • Yellow Springs 10/29, 6-8pm

These safety tips have been provided by SafeKids USA. Learn more at www.safekids.org. For more information on the Greene County Safe Communities Coalition, call Laurie Fox at 937-374-5669 or email her at lfox@gcchd.org.

Be Informed On Issue Before Election Day

In Local News on October 25, 2011 at 10:39 pm

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines

With Election Day fast approaching, it’s important that voters make informed decisions before going to their polling place. So much is going on in the world right now, from unemployment to immigration issues, people can become blind-sided by their emotions and fear of things getting worse.

Around the country, financially strapped school districts struggle to pass operating levies in areas where property values are the lowest in many years and income levels have plummeted. Asking local homeowners to hand over even more money through increased property and income taxes is going to be a hard sell, particularly when the quality of the schools has seen little improvement.

At the state level, Issue 2, the effort to repeal Ohio Senate Bill 5, seems to get more advertising airtime than the average car dealership. It’s incredible how much money is being spent to promote both sides of this issue. Unfortunately, all most people know about SB 5 is the rhetoric being spouted from either side. But that’s certainly no revelation.

For most voters, many of the decisions made on their final ballot are arrived at while they’re standing in the booth on Election Day. Rare is the informed voter and nothing could be more dangerous to a free society. Most people will make their choices based on emotional connection and religious connotations of each issue combined with what little they’ve learned from political advertising.

Campaign ads, whether for a candidate or an issue, are designed to sway you to one choice over another, generally by one of two methods – through direct attack or by provoking a particular emotional reaction, usually fear.

Political candidates often use attack ads, where one side attempts to directly discredit the other. The idea here is just to lay out a list of faults so that the advertising candidate looks better than the opposition.

Issue ads tend to use fear or guilt to persuade voters to their side. Advertisers show how an issue might affect children, the elderly or the voter’s security and pocketbook. A fear of loss or insecurity or the guilt that might be felt by the “haves” over the “have nots”

Ads currently running in favor of Ohio Issue 2, for example, have made wide use of a teary-eyed grandmother. Deliberately made up to look disheveled and worn down, the woman sadly describes how her granddaughter would have certainly perished in a house fire if collective bargaining had not been an option to firefighters.

The connection is a stretch, to say the least, but that’s the idea. Use big, sad eyes and a long, sad story – fear and guilt, all in one message, regardless of the facts involved.

On the other hand, there are also people who will just vote for the opposite of whatever happens to be the current standard. If they don’t like how things are going in the economy or politics in general, they might just vote for anyone who is not currently serving in congress. The mentality here is, “Well, they’re not doing anything about it, maybe this new guy will.”

Amidst all the debate over high-profile issues and candidates, some items on the Ohio ballot are getting virtually no attention. Issue 3, for example, is an effort to pass a state constitutional amendment to essentially circumvent the effects of President Obama’s healthcare law. In short, Issue 3 states that, if passed, Ohio’s constitution would protect citizens from being forced into a healthcare program they don’t want.

It would seem like a government-mandated health insurance issue would be of more interest and affect a greater number of people than would the collective bargaining issues of SB 5. But, most people don’t even know this issue is on the ballot.

Detailed information on all state issues is available on the website of the Ohio Secretary of State, Jon Husted – http://www.sos.state.oh.us. Just click on “Statewide Issue Information,” and a page will appear containing detailed language for each issue as well as full explanations and arguments both for and against. Those without a computer or internet access can get the information from the local public library. Read up, then get out and vote!

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer based in Jamestown, Ohio. For more visit http://www.deerinheadlines.com.

Young adult scifi-fantasy author Liz Coley to speak in Fairborn November 3rd

In Entertainment, Local News, Media, Uncategorized on October 25, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Out of Xibalba author, Liz Coley

FAIRBORN, OH – The Western Ohio Writers Association (WOWA) will host a special book signing and lecture presented by noted young adult fantasy author Liz Coley, beginning at 7PM, Thursday November 3, at the Fairborn Community Center, 1076 Kauffman Avenue. The event is open to the public, but seating is limited. Admission to the session is $2.00 per person for members ($5.00 for non-members) and will be immediately followed by a question and answer session, a book signing and an open critique session for participating local writers.

Liz Coley is a prolific author of young adult science fiction and fantasy. Her published works include six short stories and two novels, including her newest works, Out of Xibalba, now available at Amazon.com, and Pretty Girl 13, a new thriller set for a 2013 release by Harper Collins, Katherine Tegen Books. Her work is also featured in two recently published anthologies, The Last Man Anthology: Tales of Catastrophe, Disaster, and Woe, and More Scary Kisses.

Now living in Ohio, Coley will be speaking as an author who has had a wide range of experiences in her short career. From her point of view, she’ll offer the audience a look at the business and process of publishing fiction, from idea to dealing with agents and publishers. After her presentation, Coley will take questions from the audience and autograph copies of her latest book. Limited copies of Out of Xibalba will be available at a special price at the signing.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to serve with Ms. Coley on several literary conference panels and she is an excellent presenter and a truly gifted writer,” says Gery L. Deer, co-founder and director of the WOWA. “We’re very happy and honored that she agreed to join us and talk about the process of publication from the writer’s perspective. Anyone who is curious about the mysterious world of publishing should take part in this session.”

The Western Ohio Writers Association is based in Greene County and provides networking and educational opportunities to writers of all genres, living and working in southwest-central Ohio. Writers attend monthly critique sessions where they work to develop and hone their writing skill through peer feedback and educational presentations. Meetings are held from 7PM until 10PM on the first Thursday of each month at the Fairborn Community Center.

The WOWA is a creative division of GLD Enterprises Commercial Writing with additional sponsorship by Deer Computer Consulting, Ltd. and the Fairborn Community Center. For more information or to RSVP for this event, visit http://www.westernohiowriters.org or call (937) 902-4857.

 

Local Company Laser-Engraves 1,400 Apples for U.C.

In Business, Economy, Local News, State News, Uncategorized on October 12, 2011 at 10:37 pm

Laser Wolf Engraving cut 1,400 apples for the University of Cincinnati College of Education.

West Carrollton, OH – With Halloween approaching, people are preparing to decorate Jack O’ Lanterns and bob for apples. For Will Stansfield, owner of Laser Wolf Engraving in West Carrollton, pumpkin carving is something done at the speed of light.

Since opening his doors in March of 2008, Stansfield has engraved hundreds of different types of products from champagne flutes and memorial stones to photo frames and etched glass. “Everything’s engravable,” Stansfield jokes. “We’ve done wood, plastic, ceramic even blue jeans and a toilet seat.” In September, the University of Cincinnati consigned Laser Wolf to engrave 1,400 laser-engraved apples boasting the college of education logo.

As part of a promotion for the college, the apples were included in gift baskets that were delivered to about 70 different local schools. Nothing touches the apples but light so they are clean and still edible after the cutting process.

Stansfield creates the graphics for each engraving on the computer and a carbon dioxide laser precision-cuts the design into whatever object he chooses. “Each apple takes about 30 seconds to engrave, and you can put just about anything you want on it.” he says.

In addition to apples, pumpkin engraving is another popular choice for the fall season. Laser Wolf can create pumpkins with logos, text or even photo portraits carved right into the skin. The engraved pumpkins can last for several months and the graphics become clearer and brighter after a couple of days.

Stansfield says engraved pumpkins are the ideal way to raise money for non-profit organizations and schools. On October 11th, the City of West Carrollton unveiled a laser-engraved Wright Brothers mural created by Laser Wolf.

Pumpkin engravings can cost as little as $12 for a graphic with an additional charge for a photo carving. Laser Wolf Engraving is located at 424 E. Dixie Drive in West Carrollton. For more information call (937) 609-3812 or visit http://www.laserwolfengraving.com.

Occupy Wall Street Protests Lack Purpose

In Business, Economy, Jobs, National News, Opinion, Politics, State News, Uncategorized on October 12, 2011 at 11:40 am

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines

 

For the last couple of weeks I have been deflecting questions as to why I haven’t weighed in on the recent Wall Street protests. The main reason is pretty simple. While they might have a legitimate gripe with the government’s corporate bail out policies, I really didn’t want to give further publicity to their unbelievably socialistic agenda. But since this pointless movement seems to be spreading and shows no signs of weakening, here’s my take on it.

Taking a page from the Tea Party’s playbook, hoards of disgruntled citizens have gathered in protest of … what, exactly? The so-called “Occupy Wall Street, Boston, insert your favorite city here” groups have collected in more than 60 cities across the country. But for all their apparent numbers, they lack a common purpose and desired outcome.

In fact, protestors are insisting that a unifying cause or message is not required. Every movement must have a message. Surprisingly, this particular cause has dozens of different messages and that will likely be their downfall.

If anything, these self-aggrandizing rejects from the Tea Party movement see themselves as future folk heroes standing up for the “common man.” Sorry folks but we common men have to spend our time finding work and paying bills. We can’t spend weeks on end camping out with our hippy brethren in a public park.

Don’t be fooled. This is not a protest for civil rights or freedom from tyranny. Instead it’s a protest against success and achievement and nothing short of a demand for the adoption of socialism. Yep, you read that right – socialism.

According to the dictionary definition, socialists advocate the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution of land, capital, etc., into the community as a whole. In plain English, they want to take what you have worked hard to earn and divide it up amongst the rest of the population so that others don’t have to work or pull their weight. I think there’s something strangely ironic about a group that is pushing a socialist mentality which has no real community goals.

If the utter lack of a unifying purpose isn’t enough to label this movement ridiculous, the list of pseudo-celebrities who are lending their voices to the cause certainly does. On the off chance that participants of these occupations are reading this, I’ll let you in on a little secret.

Giving Al Sharpton or Sarah Palin a soap box and free publicity will do nothing for your absent cause. You’re allowing millionaires to use you like so much left over bacon grease and they’re just getting richer at your expense.

Speaking of expense, no one has considered the financial harm these gatherings are doing. At a time when city governments are struggling to balance budgets they now have to spend millions of dollars for extra security and maintenance that would not have otherwise been required.

In short, if these people don’t get a handle on exactly what they want they’ll never get it.  All I can say to this is that they have far too much time on their hands. Maybe they would do better to redirect some energy from whining and complaining to taking a shower and finding a job.

In any case, some of the anger demonstrated by the protesters should be directed away from corporateAmericaand pointed at President Obama. After all, he’s the guy you want to blame for the bail outs, and, by the way, he’s a multi-millionaire too and a self-admitted socialist. Interesting how he has done nothing to unburden himself from his top-heavy bank account.

People take up causes when they’re convenient or only after something bad has happened to them or someone they know. Without a meaningful goal, however, the Occupy movement will start fizzling out fairly soon, especially in the east, once the cold weather arrives. It will die out because there is no unifying message. In the meantime, the rest of us will keep working and trying to provide for our families so those people can continue to play in the park – on the tax payer’s dollar.

 

Gery L. Deer is a freelance business writer based in Jamestown, Ohio. Read more at http://www.deerinheadlines.com.

Tech Providers Still Cashing In Despite Slow Economy

In Local News on October 4, 2011 at 1:33 pm

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines

This week Amazon.com announced the release of its new tablet computer, the Kindle Fire. Apple also unveiled the fifth incarnation of its iPhone line. As technology continues to change, most people find they cannot keep up with the dizzying pace.

Realistically, there’s no need to try to stay ahead of it – and it would be impossible without virtually unlimited resources. If you have a device that works for you, continue to use it until it no longer functions or serves its purpose.

The marketing departments of tech companies like Apple and Microsoft have a difficult job. With each new release of a product, they have to make the same gadget you already have seem like the latest and greatest device you simply cannot live without, just by adding a few more bells and whistles. Take cell phones for example.

I recently went to a Verizon store to update my three-year-old cell phone because it’s literally starting to fall apart. I’m not a typical male lemming and lack the gene requiring me to buy the top of the line, biggest, baddest gadget. What I wanted was a phone that had a calendar and alarm clock, could send texts, take photos and occasionally make a call. I don’t care who makes it or what color it is. It just needs to do those specific things.

Of course, the sales people were happy to help me, quite literally pouncing on me as soon as I cleared the door threshold – isn’t commission sales grand? But the only devices available to me that met my criteria, without being made of wood, required an extra fee each month for a “data plan.”

A data plan is a feature added to your cell phone account that allows smart phones and the like to talk to the Internet. Given the number of wireless hot spots available to the general public, these plans are unbelievably underpowered and significantly overpriced. Plus, I don’t need a data plan.

As technologically adept as I may be, I still don’t surf the Internet with my cell phone or try to type out elaborate emails on its tiny keypad. I have a very nice laptop in my office for that purpose. So, unless I wanted a phone that looked and felt quite literally disposable, I was out of luck. And Verizon lost a sale because they are trying to force these extra costs on their customers just so they can sell a fancier phone. No thanks.

Don’t blame Verizon alone, however. Every wireless and Internet provider is doing the same thing and tech hardware manufacturers are almost forcing the practice.

Every change in technology requires an adjustment in how information is delivered to the user. Once upon a time, a cell phone was the size of a small box of breakfast cereal and could barely make a call, much less do anything else. Today you can watch television on your iPhone or draft legal documents on your tablet computer.

Well if you hate all of this, you can blame it on two things – greed and Star Trek. The nerds who dreamed of going where no one had gone before eventually went to MIT and Stanford and discovered that there was money in realizing the technology of science fiction – thus, the greed. After all, they needed eventually to move out of their parents’ basements.

Captain Kirk had the first “cell phone” in his flip-open communicator and did you ever wonder about that black clipboard that Lt. Uhura was always carrying around? It was a type of tablet computer. You could write on it and the data was instantly transferred to digital form. The crew of the later Enterprise under Captain Picard used “pads” that looked a lot like the modern ereader.

How ever these devices came about, industry found a way to capitalize on them and the people responded. What fascinates me is that at a time when unemployment is critically high, jobs are scarce, and our political leaders are chosen by a process of elimination, people are still spending money on these gizmos.

Gery L. Deer is an independent business writer based in Jamestown. Meet him at Books & Co. at The Greene, 7PM, Friday Oct. 7.

Tips to avoid hitting deer on the road – Stay safe during deer season

In Local News on October 4, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Deer breeding season runs from October through January.

Xenia, OH – During the day or at night, encountering a deer while you’re on the road can be dangerous and scary. Deer season is upon us and the Greene County Safe Communities Coalition would like to remind you that your safety on Greene County roadways is a top priority. In 2010, there were 23,201 deer-vehicle crashes statewide with 1,063 people injured and four people killed. November saw the most crashes with 5,012, or 167 per day. Because many deer-vehicle collisions go unreported to police and local authorities, the actual number of crashes throughout Ohio may be as high as 60,000 each year. Last year, the areas with the highest number of deer-vehicle crashes were urban areas.

What can you do to stay safe during deer season?

Knowing what to do when you encounter a large animal on or near the roadway can be a life-saver. Here are some tips:

  • Deer are most often along the road side near dawn, around 7 a.m., and again at dusk, approximately 7:30 p.m.
  • Deer breeding season runs from October through early January, and during this time they are highly active and on the move.
  • Though deer may wander into suburban neighborhoods, they are most frequently found on the outskirts of town and in heavily wooded areas.
  • As pack animals, deer almost never travel alone. If you see one deer, you can bet that there are others nearby.

Preventive Techniques

  • To avoid a deer-vehicle collision, slow down. If you are driving through an area known for high deer populations, slow down and observe the speed limit. The more conservative you are with your speed, the more time you will have to brake if an animal darts into your path.
  • Always wear a seatbelt. The most severe injuries in deer-vehicle collisions usually result from failure to use a seatbelt.
  • Watch for the shine of eyes along the roadside and immediately begin to slow.
  • Use your high beams whenever the road is free of oncoming traffic. This will increase your visibility and give you more time to react.
  • Deer can become mesmerized by steady, bright lights so if you see one frozen on the road, slow down and flash your lights. Some experts recommend one long blast of the horn to scare them out of the road, as well.
  • Pay close attention to caution signs indicating deer or other large animals. These signs are specifically placed in high-traffic areas where road crossings are frequent.
  • If you’re on a multi-lane road, drive in the center lane to give as much space to grazing deer as possible.

Encountering a Deer

  • Never swerve to avoid a deer in the road. Swerving can confuse the deer on where to run. Swerving can also cause a head-on collision with oncoming vehicles, take you off the roadway into a tree or a ditch, and greatly increase the chances of serious injuries.
  • Deer are unpredictable creatures, and one that is calmly standing by the side of the road may suddenly leap into the roadway without warning. Slowing down when you spot a deer is the best way to avoid a collision. However, if one does move into your path, maintain control and do your best to brake and give the deer time to get out of your way.
  • Don’t rely on hood whistles or other devices designed to scare off deer. These have not been proven to work.
  • If you do collide with a deer (or large animal), call emergency services if injuries are involved, or the local police if no one is injured, but damage has been caused to your property or someone else’s. Never touch an animal that is in the roadway. Report the incident to your insurance company as soon as possible.

Keeping calm and driving smart improve your chances of avoiding a collision and staying safe on the road. These tips have been provided by Dawn McCaslin, www.geico.com. For more information on the Greene County Safe Communities Coalition, call Laurie Fox at 937-374-5669 or email her at lfox@gcchd.org.

Amanda Knox Conviction Overturned

In National News, Politics, State News, Uncategorized on October 3, 2011 at 3:02 pm

American Amanda Knox to be freed immediately.

Perugia, Italy – 3:54PM ET – After four years the murder conviction of American exchange student Amanda Knox has been overturned by a Perugia, Italy court. Found guilty only of accusing an innocent party in the case, Knox has been credited for time served and will quickly leave the country with her family as soon as possible. Knox was arrested and convicted in 2007 for the killing of her roommate Meredith Kercher. During the course of the appeal, much of the evidence presented by the original prosecution was thrown out.