Local News Since 1890 Now Online!

Archive for January, 2015|Monthly archive page

New laws won’t stop bullying.

In Children and Family, Crime, Education, Health, Local News, National News, Opinion, Politics, psychology, sociology, State News, Uncategorized on January 26, 2015 at 11:25 am

DIH LOGOOn January 1st of 2015, a new state law took effect in Illinois giving school district officials broader power to investigate accusations of bullying – including cyberbullying – even if the activity took place outside administrative jurisdiction. After word spread of the bill’s passing, some media outlets reported, somewhat mistakenly, that school officials now had the right to order students to surrender social media passwords.

According to a report by The Huffington Post, however, the wording actually says, “that if cyberbullying is reported to the school, school administrators can investigate the claim even if the cyberbullying occurred outside of school hours and buildings.”

The report goes on to explain that a bill which took effect in January of 2014 made it unlawful for school officials to force parents or students to hand over online passwords. Brian Schwartz, general counsel for the Illinois Principals Association, told The Huffington Post, “I think there’s some misinformation about [the new bill], because that’s been on the books for over a year.”

bullying2There is no question that schools need to do more to curtail bullying. But, while all the attention has focused these new laws and free speech infringement, the media, and pretty much everyone else, missed the more important issue. Where are the parents in all of this?

School administrators have always been charged with maintaining discipline within the confines of their educational responsibility. However, it was never intended for educators to police kids after school hours or away from district property. They have neither the manpower nor the training to do so.

Worse still, civil liberties organizations have managed to tie the hands of educators to the point that, eventually, even detention will be a violation of a student’s civil rights. Regardless, the big question remains, when did parents abdicate the responsibility of actually “parenting” to school administrators?

Without question, this is a complicated issue, but the long and short of it is this: maintaining discipline after hours should be up to parents. If people are going to have children, they should be prepared to educate them in ways of civilized behavior and establish consequences if those rules are violated.

If a child is threatening or causing harm to others outside of school, it should be dealt with by parents and local police or other authorities – not the district administration. To repeat, they have neither the manpower nor the training for this kind of work.

Expanded powers like those granted in Illinois might seem like a good idea, but granting investigative overreach to teachers and administrative bureaucrats just seems, on every level, like a lawsuit waiting to happen. Imagine if a dangerous bully skipped through some loophole in the legal system simply because the investigation was handled by amateurs?

Such legislation is a knee-jerk reaction during midterm election season which will result in skyrocketing education costs and, in all likelihood, increased legal expenses for school districts. There is no reason school administrators should have such broad-reaching power outside of their areas of responsibility. Once again, it begs the question, where are the parents?

Instead of focusing on it after the fact, it might be a good idea for more parents to take a look at the problem and take responsibility for the behavior of their children before such events occur. Many parents overlook bullying as normal, growing pains. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

According to the National Crime Prevention Council, bullying consists of any and all of the following: fighting, threatening, name-calling, teasing, or excluding someone repeatedly and over time, an imbalance of power (such as size or popularity), physical, social, and emotional harm, or hurting another person to get something.  Cyberbullying includes similar issues, but inflicted over social media.

Some parents might ignore some of this behavior as “just kids being kids,” but it’s not. Kids who bully won’t come out and say so and neither will their victims. Bullying is a form of assault and it’s already illegal. New laws and stricter schools are not the solution. It’s up to parents to be more involved and help prevent this terrible problem.

 

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

Advertisements

A short discussion of time.

In Entertainment, history, Literature, Opinion, psychology, Religion, Science, sociology, Technology, Uncategorized on January 12, 2015 at 12:51 pm

DIH LOGOTime is a concept, at least on Earth, unique to humans. No other creature has a sense of time nor do they seem to miss it. When deprived of its constant ticking, however, humans do indeed miss it – sometimes to the point of madness. People can go insane without the ability to follow the hands around the clock, chasing them as if to pursue food or shelter.

But time simply doesn’t exist. With all due respect to clock makers and the people who force you wait incredulously for an hour after arriving on punctually for a doctor’s appointment, time has no basis in reality; none, whatsoever. Oh sure, early man followed the sun up and down and watched moon phases to generate a calendar with which he soon began measuring the march of days. But he (figurative “he,” not intended to slight the fairer sex) is the only creature on the planet that has done so.

Contrary to the beliefs of theoretical physicists and science fiction fans, the “space-time continuum” is, for lack of a better word, hooey. Time travel will never be possible, forward or backward, regardless of whether one climbs into a souped-up DeLorean or a Frigidaire. It’s just impossible to physically move through a “concept.”

GLD_DIH_JAN15_TIMEThe great physicist, Albert Einstein, couldn’t have said it better when he theorized that time was relative to the position of the spectator. Time exists only in a single instant and even then only in the mind of the observer. There is no yesterday; no tomorrow. Man has no future and no past.

“History,” as it is referred to, is merely the recorded experience of one onlooker in a particular moment, captured in human memories, cave paintings, crayon, photos, writings, and now selfies. One cannot pass to and fro through history and every moment is affected by whom or whatever is present at that instant, without exception; otherwise referred to as “causality.”

For creatures with such a self-confident understanding of the passage of time, human beings certainly spend a great deal of it wastefully, ignoring the precious moments that can never be revisited or repeated. Mankind can be so caught up in his own affairs that important lessons whiz right by his primate-anchored brain cells, forcing him to forget to learn from his recorded past.

In youth, human beings tend to feel, somewhat accurately, that time is endless. In fact, since it is nothing more than a concept, time is endless, but the lifetime of the person is what turns out to be far more limited.

Young people burn up their early years in the ridiculous pursuit of high school glory, good grades, the first of a string of hopeless romantic partnerships, and, eventually, trying to get into the latest night spot by claiming to be older. Sadly, none of these efforts generally result in a fortunate use of time, mostly ending in yet another suitcase on the ever overstuffed baggage cart of life.

As the cart grows, letting go of some of that baggage is something with which humans have an incredibly difficult time. Resolving the past often requires thousands of dollars and hours on the analysts couch, but to no end. Life is cumulative, but time isn’t.

Eventually, humans created machines to measure time’s conceptual passing. Clocks are designed to offer a graduated visual representation of the passage of conceptual time based originally on the movements of the sun. In reality, it was the movement of the earth that was being marked.

Clocks and calendars are man’s way of trying to wrangle time to behave the way he wants it to. The fact is, since he created the idea of time, he has had complete control of it all along but never realized it.

Whether it’s being measured or not life goes on. Human beings would be far happier if they spent less time wallowing in the past or worrying about the future.

As hair turns grey and bones go brittle, the clock continues to tick down the conceptual passage of time. But real or not, the most important thing anyone can do is try to appreciate that one, amazing, wondrous moment of time within which everyone exists.

 

The Jamestown Comet.com Publisher / Editor Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer based in Jamestown, Ohio. More at gerydeer.com.

 

 

 

 

Jamestown communications firm adds IT services

In Business, Dayton Ohio News, Local News, Media, Technology, Uncategorized on January 7, 2015 at 7:35 pm

JAMESTOWN, OH – Jamestown-based marketing and PR firm GLD Enterprises Commercial Writing has announced it has merged services with its sister company, Deer Computer Consulting, Ltd., as of January 1, 2015 under the new name, GLD Enterprises Communications. The move combines on-site IT and computer support with the firm’s current line of business communications services.

Deer Computer Consulting, Ltd. was founded in March of 1998 by Jamestown, Ohio entrepreneur and author, Gery L. Deer. The company provides a wide range of technology support for home and small business users including computer repair, mobile device service, anti-virus and Internet security, document management and digital integration.

Shortly after the IT support business proved to be successful, Deer created a second start-up focused on entertainment and marketing that eventually became, “GLD Enterprises.” Both companies have operated simultaneously, but separately, until some market research indicated how much clients would benefit by the unique blend of services.

Writer, Entrepreneur Gery L. Deer, owner of GLD Enterprises Communications.

Writer, Entrepreneur Gery L. Deer, owner of GLD Enterprises Communications.

“Without our technology to provide us with a means of exchanging information, the rest of our communications material is pretty useless,” said Deer about the pairing of seemingly very different businesses. “We already provide both levels of service to many of our clients. Now it will be more convenient for customers to take advantage of everything we offer.”

Deer noted that his company was one of the first in the area to offer on-site computer service and has never been a marketing arm for a retail company like many of its competitors.  “My goal has always been to make the technology suit the user, not the other way around,” Deer explained. “Most tech support people have stuff to sell and do their best to shoe-horn hardware and software into a user’s life without much regard for how it is used or the needs of the customer.”

Until now, GLD Enterprises has primarily serviced the commercial communications market. But Deer explained that, “By adding the Deer Computer Consulting line of services, we are able to expand into the residential base as well. This adds another revenue stream to our business and allows us to better support our customers, all under one roof.”

According to Julie Hicks, GLD Enterprises business development manager, “Current customers of Deer Computer Consulting, Ltd. will remain so with no changes in service or rates. And, as always, we will still come to you.”

GLD Enterprises Communications updated logo. The red circle signifies the addition of "technology support" to the company's offerings.

GLD Enterprises Communications updated logo. The red circle signifies the addition of “technology support” to the company’s offerings.

GLD Enterprises Communications has no store front but operates only as an on-site support service and there are no plans for a change. “Excessive, unnecessary overhead kills small business and the consumer shouldn’t have to pay for the business owner’s extravagance,” said Deer, who is also a prolific business writer and the resident consumer expert for the WDTN-TV2 daytime television program, “Living Dayton.”

A full list of the company’s services is available online at http://www.gldenterprises.net or by calling (937) 902-4857.

 

 

 

 

WOWA’s Beatnik Cafe, “Here Be Dragons,” Jan 16 at Books & Co.

In Books, Children and Family, crafts, Dayton Ohio News, Entertainment, Literature, Local News, Media, State News, Theatre, Uncategorized on January 5, 2015 at 9:50 am
Graphic design by Michael Martin.

Graphic design by Michael Martin.

Beavercreek, OH – Once upon a time, sailors threatened to hang their captains from the yard arm if they ventured beyond a certain point in the sea. Venturing out into the unknown is something about which writers are far too familiar. At 7PM on Friday January 16, authors from the Western Ohio Writers Association will perform their own original tales of uncharted territory at their Winter 2015 Beatnik Cafe event at Books & Co. at The Greene. This quarter’s theme is, “Here be dragons, stories of adventure, exploration and uncharted territory.”

The WOWA Beatnik Cafe reading is a quarterly presentation that pays homage to the hole-in-the-wall poetry clubs of the 1960’s, but with a more modern style. Performing original work, each writer will take the mic to dazzle audiences with short stories, poetry or who knows what. The event is free and open to the public.

Jamestown writer, Barbara Deer, is the co-founder of the organization. “WOWA was intended to provide a regular resource for peer critique, educational programs and networking opportunities to local writers of all genres, both amateur and professional,” she says. “The Beatnik Café offers the public a chance for a glimpse at some of the most talented writers in the region as they showcase their work, in person, to entertain and enlighten.”

“Our group consists of professional and hobbyist writers, all of whom check their egos at the door,” Deer continues. “All are willing to offer help, a fresh eye and, sometimes more importantly, an honest opinion about the quality of the work – good or bad.”

600_376854182Writers come from all around the region – southwest central Ohio, eastern Indiana and northern Kentucky – to attend monthly workshops, critique sessions, educational lectures and write-in events. Meetings are held on the first Thursday of the month at the Event Connections, 4140 Linden Ave. in Dayton, near the intersection of US 35 and Woodman Drive.

About to embark on its seventh year, WOWA members definitely have plenty to celebrate. In addition to the many individual members who have been published on their own, in May of this year eleven of them were featured in an anthology titled, “Flights of Fiction,” produced by GLD Enterprises Commercial Writing and published by Loconeal Publishing (ISBN: 978-0-9885289-4-9). The book features stories set in and around the southwest Ohio region and is available in print and electronic formats from the WOWA website as well as Amazon and BN.com.

The Beatnik Café is a family-friendly presentation of WOWA and GLD Enterprises Communications. Books & Co. is located at 4453 Walnut St. at The Greene in Beavercreek. For more information, go online to http://www.westernohiowriters.org or call (937) 902-4857.

Watch the Video Interview from October’s Beatnik with co-founder Barbara Deer on WDTN-TV2’s Living Dayton

WOWA-LD_MASKS_SCREENSHOT

 

Let go of the past, focus on tomorrow

In Education, Holiday, Opinion, psychology, Uncategorized on January 1, 2015 at 1:48 am

DIH LOGOAs we come to the close of a tumultuous 2014, I am reminded that, as a society, we seem to be obsessed with looking over our shoulders with barely a single glance toward the road ahead. Using contemporary terms, our most common mistakes as a people might actually be labeled, “distracted living.” We are so focused on yesterday that we forget to prepare for tomorrow.

Someone much smarter than I once said that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. The statement generally refers to preventing the recurrence of negative events. But if something good happened, it’s only logical that you would want to repeat that success. To truly progress, however, we must learn from the past while at the same time keeping our attention focused on the future.

Unfortunately, we are often more affected by the negative in life than the positive; a death in the family, lost job, financial struggle, and so on. People and events from the past have us constantly looking over our shoulders, dwelling on our sadness, sense of loss and nostalgia. But while they may provide momentary comfort, these feelings also tend to hold us in place and keep us from advancing to a better future.

clock-2As 2014 comes to an end, I implore my readers to look to the horizon and make an effort to work towards better things in the coming year. Life is all about making the best choices possible based on personal experience, the current situation, consequences of your actions and your own needs going forward.

Writers are generally encouraged to omit anything – settings, objects, characters – that do not serve to keep the plot of a story moving forward. To keep life moving ahead we must do the same thing by eliminating anything that keeps us stagnant.

First, you need to focus on yourself more. It may sound selfish, but it’s necessary. As someone who has had to help care for aging parents, I have learned that in order to help them, I have to keep myself going. Maintaining your mental and physical health is vital if you are to be of any use to anyone else.

Dismiss negative people from your life and don’t get mixed up in the drama of others. Some people exist solely in their own world, completely unaware of how their behavior affects others. If someone is literally exhausting you from drama or they’re incredibly high-maintenance, it’s time to cut them loose. You can’t move ahead if someone like this is always dragging you down.

Stop repeating pointless behavior while expecting a different outcome. Very often, we can get stuck in a pattern of useless behavior, always doing the same thing and hoping that “this time,” it will come out differently. But it never does and it never will.

Stop procrastinating. Yes, this is probably the hardest piece of the puzzle. How to do today what you can very easily put off until tomorrow. But if you’re someone who constantly complains about your situation yet does little to change it, procrastination could be a big chunk of the problem.

Most people find excuses to cover procrastination; “they’ll never hire me for that new job,” “that’s too hard,” or, “she’ll never say yes.” Get over yourself – and your fear – and take that first step forward. And yes, most procrastination is the result of being afraid, not of failure but success.

Finally, I’ve never been a big believer that writing down a list of goals does anything more than make you feel inadequate. “Self-help” nonsense puts so much pressure on goals that if you don’t meet the ones you wrote down, then you must be a failure and that can result in its own devastating effect.

Forget goals, but at least have an idea of what a better, more successful tomorrow looks like to you. In the end, the future belongs to you, no one else. Get off your tail and do something about it and stop looking backward. Happy New Year! Now get out there and make this one your best ever!

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer based in Jamestown, ohio. More at gerydeer.com.