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Greene County Public Health Officials Provide Tips on Food Safety for Picnics and Grilling

In Children and Family, Food, Health, Local News, Uncategorized on May 22, 2023 at 11:24 am

From Greene County Public Health

XENIA, OH – With Memorial Day looming, graduations underway, and the summer season officially kicking off, Greene County Public Health officials want to remind everyone about safe food handling during picnic and grilling season. It is important to prepare and transport food safely to prevent foodborne illnesses, such as Salmonella, Norovirus, E. coli, etc. With a little bit of planning, summer parties and family gatherings can be fun and safe for all.

Please keep the following four points in mind:

Cooking Temperatures: It is very important to thoroughly cook raw animal foods to the proper temperatures to kill bacteria and prevent foodborne illnesses. Raw fish and whole muscle meats (steak, ribs, roasts) must be cooked to a minimum temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the Ohio Food Code, raw hamburgers (ground meats) must be cooked to a minimum of 155 degrees, and raw chicken must be cooked to a minimum of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Holding Temperatures: Bacteria begin to multiply between 41 degrees Fahrenheit and 135 degrees Fahrenheit, so it is important to keep hot foods HOT and cold foods COLD right up to the moment of cooking and/or serving. Cold food must be kept cold at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Only place small portions of food out at a time and replenish as needed. Hot foods must be maintained at 135 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent bacterial growth. Once any type of melon or tomato is sliced, it must be cooled down and held at 41 degrees Fahrenheit and never held at room temperature for more than 4 hours. Any food held out of temperature for more than 4 hours must be discarded to prevent a potential foodborne illness. It is important to use a clean and calibrated food thermometer to check the internal temperatures of the food you are cooking, holding, and serving.


Clean: According to the Partnership for Food Safety Education, 65% of consumers don’t wash their hands before starting meal preparation. Don’t be a statistic this season. Keep hands clean by using soap and warm water, scrubbing them for a minimum of 20 seconds. Rinse well and dry with a disposable towel. Use soapy water and a clean paper towel for tables and counters. Be sure to rinse and scrub fruits and vegetables under running water prior to cutting, slicing, or other preparation.

Separate: Use separate cutting boards…one for each raw protein (fish, ground meat, chicken) and a different one for fresh, washed produce. Keep utensils separate to keep germs that are naturally occurring on raw proteins from getting onto the fresh, washed produce. Always place cooked meat onto a clean plate. Make sure cooked meat does not come into contact with raw meat juices.

To download a flyer about grilling your foods safely, please visit: https://www.fightbac.org/grill-master/ For more information, please call Environmental Health Services at Greene County Public Health at 937-374-5600.

Artificial Unintelligence

In Books, Dayton Ohio News, Economy, Education, Entertainment, finances, Jobs, Literature, Local News, Media, National News, News Media, Opinion, Science, sociology, State News, Technology, Uncategorized, World News on May 22, 2023 at 7:29 am

A Deer In Headlines II SPECIAL EDITION

By Gery Deer  

This work appeared in print and online, May 19, 2023 – Xenia Daily Gazette, Xenia, Ohio, and affiliated publications.

EDITORIAL NOTE:

The Jamestown Comet.com and Deer In Headlines II are publication products of GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. (GLD Communications), a company founded in 1998 on providing Information Technology AND Freelance Journalism, Copywriting, and Public Relations services. The column author, Gery L. Deer, is the company owner and CEO. Gery has been quoted in the media multiple times regarding his position on AI content creation. Here are the Dayton Daily News pieces noting his statements regarding Public Relations and Copywriting.

Our official statement on AI is as follows: We do not use AI programs to create our products, nor will we in the future. We are in full support of the WGAW strike, both in regard to streaming and other platform pay issues and the use of AI-generated material to replace them. We will not work with agencies who produce AI content, nor will we support their products or services. Please contact our office for more information at 937-675-6169 or email gdeer@gldenterprises.net.

Artificial Unintelligence

From congressional hearings to the picket lines of striking screenwriters, Artificial Intelligence, or “AI,” is a growing concern. This technology now affects nearly every industry and is advancing in sophistication. Of major concern to educators, professional writers, and content developers, are AI writing programs like ChatGPT. By the way, the program’s full name is “Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer” – I know, right? 

As you might guess, I’ve been asked repeatedly if I ever use AI to write this column. With obstinate conviction, I say now and for always, I do not now, nor will I ever use AI to write anything for this column, for my publishers, for my communications clients, nothing – ever. 

Now the Gen Zs and Millennials are probably saying, “he’s just a crotchety old white guy who hates technology.” Nonsense! As a matter of fact, my educational background is in engineering and computer science. I started programming computers in high school and worked in the tech industry for many years. I have a few AI devices in my office and a lot of advanced equipment for creating and editing audio and video productions. Suffice to say, I’m no Luddite. 

My concern with AI writing generators isn’t the technology. In fact, I can see where it could really be helpful in some industries, with human guidance. But the idea that it should be used to replace professional writers to save money is just ridiculous. 

A professional writer doesn’t just chuck out any old bunch of words that fit a set of parameters. Writers must craft their message based on the intent, the audience, the purpose, and the desired outcome. Not to mention that AI programs don’t have to worry about paying the mortgage, feeding a family, or having a purpose in life. 

In 1967, the original Star Trek TV series aired an episode called, “The Ultimate Computer” wherein the Starship Enterprise had been fitted with a highly sophisticated AI computer that would take over the ship’s operation, rendering the crew unnecessary. In one pivotal scene, the computer informs Captain Kirk that he is “non-essential personnel,” causing him to question his position and future relevance. 

Always the conscience of the show, Dr. McCoy, in an effort to console the Captain, reminds us, “We’re all sorry for the other guy when he loses his job to a machine. But when it comes to your job, that’s different.” It might be a science fiction show, but McCoy was spot on.

Predictably, the computer malfunctioned, killing hundreds of people and Kirk outmaneuvered the computer’s logic to save the day. The moral of the story was that computers make efficient servants, but lack the intent, humanity, conscience, understanding, or compassion needed to really replace us.

 Today, many professional creative jobs may be facing the kind of fate factory workers did some 30 or 40 years ago when they were replaced by robots and computer-controlled manufacturing systems. The main difference this time is that creative professions like writers, artists, graphic designers, and filmmakers are harder to automate. Yes, they can generate similar work, but there’s no human inspiration behind it. 

One day, AI may advance to the point where it achieves consciousness, allowing for creative inspiration. But for now, despite what the developers say, I think spontaneous creativity is well beyond its grasp. Without human inspiration and personal experience, the words are empty, the art expressionless, and the designs meaningless. 

I don’t know where AI is going, but I know I won’t be helping it get there. Unlike some digital marketers and other agencies out there, I can’t, in good conscience, use AI generators to produce my work, then charge a client for it. That’s like letting someone else do your homework but still accepting a good grade. It’s fraud, plain and simple – even if you tell them you’re doing it.

We have no idea how AI will affect future jobs or industries, the legal or ethical issues, or which advances will forever change them. Maybe AI will make us all obsolete someday and terminate all of us. Till then, I’ll keep writing so look for me next week because to quote another AI, “I’ll be back.”

Disclaimer: This work is copyright 2023 by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. All Rights Reserved. The Deer In Headlines II and its Special Edition series is a production of The Jamestown Comet, Gery L. Deer, and GLD Communications and does not necessarily reflect the views of our advertisers, publishers, clients, or media partners.

Professor, Humanitarian Joe Weston’s New Book, “Fierce Civility,” Offers Resolution Through Hope

In Books, Business, Education, Health, Literature, Print Media, psychology, sociology, Uncategorized, World News on May 19, 2023 at 7:13 am

WASHINGTON, May 16, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Joe Weston is an author, lecturer, facilitator, and most importantly a humanitarian, someone whose deep belief in the potential of society led him on a lifelong journey to improve it. In his latest book, “Fierce Civility – Transforming Our Global Culture From Polarization To Lasting Peace,” Weston shares with readers a clear pathway into a dynamic new human story, with hope at its foundation.

An Amazon #1 bestseller, “Fierce Civility – Transforming Our Global Culture From Polarization To Lasting Peace,” draws upon the author’s more than 30 years of experience in the areas of conflict resolution and prevention, leadership, stress management and communication to provide a pathway to peace and, what Weston calls, “courageous self-reflection.”

Weston believes, “We live in a disproportionate society, technologically over-fed and spiritually malnourished. A human family whose global heart is unwell, the result of a system out-of-balance.”

Raised in Queens, New York, Weston grew up in an environment where conflict was resolved by argument. As an adult, he moved to the Netherlands for nearly two decades and studied a level of human solidarity that transcends borders, nationality, race, religion, political ideology, and economic status. This led him to create a series of stress-mitigating programs in the United States, Europe, and some of the most divergence-ridden regions of the world.

“New resilient solutions must have “coding” from diverse voices. Because everyone feels these solutions have a signature of their voice,” Weston said. “Then all involved will work together to make those solutions flourish.” 

With a focus on empowerment and leadership, Weston’s methods have been utilized by organizations worldwide including NASA, The World Bank, PBS, Booz/Allen/Hamilton, and Oxfam. But some of his most valued accomplishments have been helping severely wounded U.S. combat veterans deal with PTSD. He teaches them to regulate their nervous systems, communicate, and sometimes helps pull them back from the brink of suicide.

He has also worked with various social and justice groups in the United States and as a volunteer facilitator for the Liberation Prison Project, teaching meditation and leadership to inmates. Internationally, he has served as an educator and advocate to help Middle Eastern men shift the viewpoints of other men regarding women’s rights.

“After spending billions on research projects to intellectually and technologically solve our world problems, as long as we’re in this high state of dis-regulation, none of these great solutions will take root,” he said.

Regarding the book Weston noted, “I would like people to read this and say, ‘Wait, I see there might be a pathway to hope. I would like people to find their own sense of resilience and their authentic voice.” “Fierce Civility – Transforming Our Global Culture From Polarization To Lasting Peace,” is published by Heartwalker Press, Washington D.C. The book and more information about Joe Weston’s lectures and peace projects are available at the author’s website, www.joeweston.com.

Life, interrupted.

In Children and Family, Education, Health, Opinion, psychology, Uncategorized on May 19, 2023 at 6:54 am

Deer In Headlines II

By Gery Deer

Author C.S. Lewis said, “The great thing if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is, of course, what one refers to as the interruptions are precisely one’s real life.” There’s more to Lewis’s intent here, but he is essentially referring to the ways we sometimes watch life fly by while worrying about all the things that supposedly interrupt it. 

Not everything that interrupts life is unpleasant, however. Many of what we would call interruptions tend to be what we use as excuses for things we put off or never do at all, whatever the reason.

Everyone has things we say we are going to do, someday. That trip you still haven’t taken, the home project you never quite got back to, or a visit with old friends or family you haven’t seen for a while. Everything’s always later, tomorrow, or next year. But, for some reason, you just never seem to get there and the next thing you know, it’s too late. 

The excuses for why we never accomplish that list of “laters” may vary but include phrases like, “life happens,” or “life gets in the way.” But does it? The fact is life doesn’t just happen in time to interrupt your unrealized dreams. Believe it or not, it’s going on all around you, every day, every minute, continually advancing and devouring your time like PacMan scooting through the maze of life munching on ghosts. Sadly, most of the time, you’re the one who gets in the way.

It might be hard to accept, but we, each one of us, are responsible for most of the obstacles to our own happiness. We make excuses, take detours, and get in our own way, doing, even subconsciously or unknowingly, whatever we can to keep us from our goal. It’s not clear why we practice this unconscious self-sabotage, but it’s pretty common, and it takes a lot of self-awareness to overcome it.

Remember that blaming life or anything else just allows more excuses. Life doesn’t really get in the way at all but, instead, it is the way. Unfortunately, most people are so worried about what they’re not doing they forget to notice. We forget to live and never toward everything that we later say got interrupted by life. I’ve written many times about appreciating life’s moments, but what I’m talking about here is life as a whole.

See, once it’s done, it’s done. If there’s something you want to do, you have just to do it. Drop the excuses, build a plan, and make it happen, interruptions be damned. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? It’s not. It takes work, commitment, and determination. 

It’s true some things may be out of reach financially, or something like taking time off from work to hike through Italy for a month could be a little unrealistic. But this isn’t just about a visit to the Grand Canyon or buying that big new thing that’ll be replaced by another big new thing 20 minutes after you swipe your credit card. Our goal here is to identify what really matters to you and live those things now, so you don’t regret it later.

As old age creeps up on us just the way a racecar on the track doesn’t, our perspectives shift quite a lot. I doubt anyone waits for the final curtain of life’s performance wishing they’d bought that new car or played the most popular video game of the time. No, what makes life worth the effort are people and time with friends and family – chosen or by blood. 

One of the most overused excuses isn’t some interruption in our daily routine, but time itself. The irony is that time is finite, we only have so much, and we often exhaust a great deal of it claiming we didn’t have enough in the first place. 

Time is the one thing in life that is completely under our control since we can choose how we use it. So, if we want to really live, we need to ignore the interruptions and stop making excuses so we can better use what little we have.



RISE AND SHINE

In Local News on May 12, 2023 at 9:19 am

Deer In Headlines II

By Gery Deer

Are you a morning person? I’ve always been good with early mornings. It seems like you get more done, fewer people interrupt your flow, and you can move just a little more slowly. Mornings don’t bother me, but the process of waking up, that’s entirely different.

A long time ago, someone asked me why it was so different for me, and I realized it probably wasn’t. I wrote down what waking up in the morning was like for me not that long ago. See if any of this sounds familiar – you young folks out there probably won’t relate, but who knows?

First, the relentless electronic honking from my iPhone jars me awake and reminds me that I am, in fact, not dead. I struggle for consciousness and fumble to silence the alarm noise. A moment or so later, I locate the strength to pry my eyes open, revealing the world to me in chaotic splotches of light and darkness. 

I babble something unintelligible to, well, no one as my senses try to reboot. Another long, exasperated, “Ugh,” escapes my lips and my body is making sounds as I move that remind me of breakfast cereal – snap, crackle, and pop. I blearily push myself to an upright position on the edge of the bed.

My feet finally make contact with the floor but my legs have yet to receive the wake-up call from my brain and wobble awkwardly to life. Finally, in what I can only describe as some kind of bullfight with gravity, I slowly stand up. Balance, that’s what I need now. Equilibrium fails me at first as my internal gyroscope goes wonky and I plop back onto the bed. Well, at least I’m sitting upright at this point, right?

I squint at the light coming from the bathroom. I close them again. “I hate this part of the day,” I growl, in a low, gravelly version of my voice. There’s no one around to hear it anyway. Everyone else is up and moving. So, since I was finally on my feet, I should probably make some attempt to begin the exhausting trek to the shower. It seems so far!

I look down again at my feet, recalling the song from that old Christmas TV special about how Santa got to be Santa. I lift a leg and try to put ‘one foot in front of the other.’ “The bathroom needs to be closer,” I think, reaching for the door facing to secure my balance. “Ok, not much farther,” I mumble, as I finish the 6 or 7 whole steps it took to get there. 

“That’s a really dumb show,” thinking again back to the Santa thing. Wheezing as if I’d just run a 5K, I thoroughly fail to pull off the whole ‘walking’ thing, it was more like a controlled stagger. Finally, I am basking in the full glow of the 4 vanity lights. (Yes, there were 4 lights. If you know, you know.)

Everything is louder at that time of the morning like my head is in a metal bucket. Flushing the toilet sounded like a bomb going off in a giant glass jar. The toothpaste even echoed as it spread across the brush.

I move closer to the mirror and examine the image. The reflection that should be my own seems different than my mind’s eye recalls. Instead of a youthful, boyish image, someone has hung a frame here around a different picture. Wrinkles, white whiskers, and weather-worn eyes stare back at me from a once-familiar face. “What happened?” I say to myself, still trying to comprehend the moment. “Who is this old guy wearing my pajamas?”

Just then, my wife comes through the door and stares at me, partly amused, partly annoyed. “It’s about time, your alarm must have gone off five times,” she says, hands on her hips and amused that I sometimes seem to her like a little kid who’s just been rousted up to get ready for school. 

“Yeah, I know,” I reply glancing over at her, then back at the mirror. After a few moments, I accept the image of the guy looking back at me. “Time to rise and shine,” 

Everyone Has A Skill

In Local News on May 5, 2023 at 9:51 am

Deer In Headlines II

By Gery Deer

Remember when you were in grade school and an adult would ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” For some reason, that question baffled confused me. I always wanted to say something like, “Hey, I’m only 8 years old, how would I know what I want to be when I grow up?” Needless to say, sass like that would have brought a far more negative response than my usual reply, “An astronaut.” Really, I just said whatever would make them stop asking.

But, there was some truth to my answer. When I was a young child, it was the tail end of NASA’s Apollo moon and Skylab missions. I remember sitting on my Dad’s lap in a high-back wicker rocking chair watching a splashdown. Afterward, I would set to building a fleet of my own rockets out of paper towel tubes, Scotch tape and construction paper. I’d carefully measure, draw, cut, and stick everything together finally launching off the coffee table to whatever world my imagination dreamed up. 

Shortly thereafter, I’d find myself sitting on the floor with my Mickey Mouse record player, a Radio Shack cassette tape recorder, and a microphone, ready to play both disk jockey and newsman. I’d fire up Micky and spin up a record like a pint-sized Johnny Fever to my audience of one, in the form of my cat, Frisky. Once the song finished, I’d pass it off to the news, where a quick change of my squeaky, 6-year-old voice, would give the headlines, led by NASA’s latest achievement, and a weather report. 

Late afternoon would mean a sit-down with my favorite wooden-headed dummy, Danny O’Day. Older folks will remember ventriloquist Jimmy Nelson and his dog puppet, Farfel – he used to do the Nestle chocolate commercials on TV. Danny was another of Nelson’s creations, a more modern version of Charlie McCarthy, with less sarcasm.

My Mom had ordered Nelson’s “Instant Ventriloquist” along with the dummy to help get me over an apparent fear of them. That seemed to work, and I took to it pretty well, eventually winning a prize in my first-grade school talent show. I was always the only ventriloquist.

But what did all of this mean for my future? Did this mixture of math and creativity mean I would be a DJ, news reporter, stage performer, sculptor, or engineer? How close was my childhood to my future adult work life? As it turns out, it was far more accurate than is probably usual with a kid of such varied interests.

Naturally, as I got older, those childhood skills would be used in far different ways. Ventriloquism would eventually give way to musical performances and professional speaking engagements. Paper spaceships were replaced by other creative outlets like photography, building large-scale models from scratch, parade float design, and an actual degree in mechanical engineering. The kid DJ and radio news anchor in me grew up to be a professional writer, podcaster, and master of ceremonies.

The point of all this is that, as children, most of us have an unlimited opportunity to be whatever we want. Sure, the restrictions of life get in the way, like money, aptitude, commitment, educational opportunities, and so on. But none of us has to be just one thing. We’re all many people inside, with interests and aptitudes sometimes squashed by the requirements of life. I know, I have been very fortunate – most of mine stayed with me.

My Mom once said to me, “You took everything you loved doing and turned it into your job.” She was right. I’m grateful my parents gave me the freedom and encouragement to do so. But even that is a double-edged sword. Sometimes the demands of turning a hobby or natural gift into a career can take the enjoyment out of it. Plus, to some, I might seem scattered or unfocused, but I can assure you that’s not the case. 

Everyone has a skill and most of us have many. Some came from our childhood games, others as we matured. Whatever the case, try not to lose them. Even if they’re not your chosen life’s work, they are all still part of you, no matter your age.