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Resolving for a better new year.

In Education, Health, Holiday, Opinion, psychology, Uncategorized on December 22, 2016 at 11:55 pm

img_3313Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

 

 

 

DIH LOGOWell, the holidays are upon us once more and 2016 is nearing an end. It’s safe to say that the past year has certainly been filled with remarkable change. What did 2016 mean to you? Was it an end or a beginning? Did you experience triumph or tragedy?

If you’re like most, it was a mixture of both. Sometimes it’s hard to discern the difference. What some see as catastrophe, others view as a success. It really depends on your perspective. Of course, the New Year is always a good time to make a change for the better in your own life.

But be aware that most statistics show that only around 46 percent of resolutions continue past six months. At the same time, people who set a goal based on a resolution are 10 percent more likely to succeed than those who do not.

However you do it, in order to change your life for the better you have to get up and take the first step. And, sometimes attitude is everything where life changes are concerned.

You have to stay positive, dismiss the naysayers and keep motivated and moving forward. So, whether you start because of a resolution or just because you think now is a good time, your potential success or failure rests largely with your motivation.

Additionally, remember that you can’t force someone else to change either. If they want a different life, they have to take the steps toward that end.

For example, suppose Lisa is dating Mike and she’s having a tough time because he is addicted to role-playing games. Lisa wants to eventually marry Mike, but she cannot handle the gaming.

Lisa believes, however, that she can change him, help him to see the error of his ways. She believes that she can set a resolution to reform him with love – or a rolling pin (just kidding, she doesn’t bake – she actually uses a frying pan).

Mike is never going to change because someone else wants him to do so. If he wants to quit playing he will have to do it for his own reasons. I am certainly no psychologist, but I do know that for any New Year’s resolution to be successful, the desire to change has to come from within.

I may be wrong, but I think the motivation for change at the start of a new year comes from a deep desire in all of us for a fresh start. Most people want to strive for something better, no matter what our situation. Of course, there are still people out there who simply don’t care and are either complacent or resigned.

For some, the new year offers an opportunity to get “it” right – whatever your particular “it” happens to be at the time. In any case, it’s up to you to make those choices and follow through. If you don’t, you have no one to blame but yourself.

You can get things moving by creating a list of the things you want to accomplish in the coming year. For the record, I’d leave out a lottery jackpot and focus on more realistic expectations, like finishing your education or pursuing a career change.

Then figure out what it takes to reach those milestones and make a plan to get there (the “make a plan” part is pretty important). You will likely have a great deal of work to do and, for some at least, a long-term goal may require multiple short-term steps. Be patient, work hard and stay focused.

Incidentally, staying focused may indeed be the biggest challenge you face. The aforementioned plan is vital. Lay it out, be consistent, stick to it one step at a time, rather than trying to do everything all at once, and you can be successful.

A New Year’s resolution can be either a step towards improving your life or it can be a fruitless, frustrating endeavor that causes you stress and worry. It all depends on how committed you are to the kind of change you want in your life. However you do it, the choice rests with you.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Listen to the Deer In Headlines podcast free at MyGreeneRadio.com.

 

There is always another way

In Education, Health, Holiday, Media, Opinion, psychology, Religion, Uncategorized on December 12, 2016 at 8:55 am

By Gery L. Deer
Deer In Headlines

For some people, maybe even among those close to you, every day can be an emotional struggle. The problem might be not enough money or too little work. Still, others struggle with personal demons, addictions, mental illness, or family difficulties. The list is endless and, often, there is no way out for those fighting such overwhelming internal battles.

edouard_manet_-_le_suicideWhen life becomes too difficult to manage anymore and the odds seem totally stacked against them, some simply choose not to go on. According to the most recent statistics, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, averaging 117 per day. Those are staggering numbers.

Much of the time, a suicide attempt is a plea for help. The sufferer will talk about it, threaten it; even make the attempt. But when someone really wants out, there is rarely a warning or long, dramatic leader – they just do it.

By then, it’s too late to help. Sometimes it’s up to the rest of us to try to recognize and help the individual before it gets that far. Sadly, that doesn’t always work. You can’t help someone who is unwilling, or if there is mental illness or other medical issues in play, the sufferer may not even realize it.

Life can be daunting for someone dealing with these kinds of struggles especially when trying to meet the expectations of others, exhibit self-expression without judgment, or just deal with outside criticism. All of that can really knock joy out of even the happiest of everyday activity. Usually, there is a clinical reason for all of this, whether it’s ever treated or not.

Let me be clear, I’m no psychologist or counselor so I’m speaking generally and colloquially about all of this. But suicide has touched my life on more than one occasion.

I know that for those struggling with severe depression or suicidal thoughts, the world must seem a really dark and unforgiving place. It doesn’t help to lob useless platitudes at someone like that either; it’s neither helpful nor productive.

And the reality of someone considering suicide is not obvious or cliché like it is on some Lifetime TV movie. Someone struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts may not look “sad” or anxious in any way to an observer. People who have to deal with this kind of roller coaster of emotion can learn to hide it pretty well.

Also, expecting or nagging someone to just “snap out of it” is not only impossible it can actually make matters worse. When you do that you may be reinforcing the idea that there’s something wrong with the person, that they’re not “normal.” A caring, nonjudgmental ear can go a long way easing some of the emotional pain.

The truth is, depression and other similar issues are, in fact, perfectly normal. It’s the level and cause of the issue that changes the effectiveness of treatment. But every treatment is dependent on the individual seeking out help – and that can be tough. But suicide is not inevitable. Opening the conversation is a start.

If you’re reading this and know someone who might be dealing with these kinds of issues, there is help available. If that person is you, I have a personal plea – please don’t give up. Think of the people you love and who love you and what you mean to them and what losing you will mean. We all have a much bigger effect on those around us than we realize.

Confide in someone close to you. If there is no one then call a local hotline or visit a nearby support group. You can usually stay anonymous and people can help direct you to where you can get long-term assistance.

If you’re in need of support right now, please don’t give up! If you have no one else or can’t talk to those close to you, then call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. It’s free and confidential.

It might not seem like it, but there is plenty to live for, just take the first step, ask for help, and give it a chance. You have no idea what it will mean to those around you. There is always another way.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communication, Ltd. More at deerinheadlines.com.

Yellow Springs creative agency hosts December writers event

In Books, crafts, Education, Entertainment, Literature, Local News, Uncategorized on November 27, 2016 at 2:17 pm

Yellow Springs, OH – The Yellow Springs creative strategy firm, The Bricks Agency, will host the next session of the Western Ohio Writers Association (WOWA) at 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 8 at the company’s headquarters complex at 888 Dayton Street. This writing workshop and critique session is open to all area writers for a $6 door fee that includes a one-month membership to the organization.

12523171_10153637326689342_7047777894206660975_n The WOWA was founded in October of 2008 to provide resources for writers in Southwest Ohio, North Eastern Kentucky and South West Indiana. From monthly critique sessions and guest speaker presentations to special networking and educational events, WOWA offers support to writers of all genres, from hobbyist to professional.

Dayton area entrepreneur and business writer, Gery L. Deer, is the Executive Director of the Western Ohio Writers Association. “Our organization offers honest critique, peer support and networking opportunities as well as real-life experience to help guide our writers toward whatever goal they’ve got in mind,” he said. Annual events include guest speakers, author workshops, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) support and more.

“We have a diverse group of writers including novelists, poets, journalists, screenwriters, and copywriters,” Deer continued. “We’ve launched a few up-and-coming professionally published novelists over the years and all of them credit our group as a major factor in that success.”

According to Deer, the goal of WOWA is to offer, “consistent educational and networking

The monthly critique session of WOWA will be held in Yellow Springs at 7PM, Thursday, December 8.

The monthly critique session of WOWA will be held in Yellow Springs at 7PM, Thursday, December 8.

opportunities” for all members. They enjoy a regular schedule and professional, supportive meeting environment along with other membership perks such as sponsor discounts and access to special events such as the Beatnik Café, a quarterly live public reading.

The Bricks Agency is a creative subsidiary of DMS ink. Western Ohio Writers Association is an educational outreach program DBA of GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. designed to encourage the success of local writers in the art and business of writing. For more information or to register for the December Yellow Springs meeting, go online to westernohiowriters.org or email wowainprint@gmail.com.

 

No One Is Qualified To Be President

In Education, history, Media, Opinion, Politics, Uncategorized on October 3, 2016 at 6:08 am

By Gery L. Deer
Deer In Headlines

DIH LOGOThere is a great deal of debate going on as to whether the current presidential candidates are “qualified” to hold the office. Good question, but the answer is a bit more ambiguous than we might want to know.

The American system of representation is not based on educational or experience qualifications. It is, instead, dependent on general popularity of the vote. There is no list of professional requirements to run for either president or congress, arguably two of the three most powerful branches of government.

To be president, there are age and citizenship requirements. We’ve heard enough from Donald Trump over the years challenging President Obama’s citizenship that the actual law warrants a look. The U.S. Constitution, in Article II, Section 1, reads as follows.

“No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.” Other than that, the office has fewer qualifications than someone applying for a job as a Walmart stock boy (woman, person, whatever).

Jefferson and Lincoln were prime examples of the varied backgrounds and qualifications of those who would be president.

Jefferson and Lincoln were prime examples of the varied backgrounds and qualifications of those who would be president.

The point is that no one is really qualified to do the job until they’ve already done it. The only people who have the practical experience to be President of the United States have already sat in the big chair. If you don’t believe it, let’s review the backgrounds of some of the most prominent presidents in history beginning with the man who most Americans would agree was our greatest president – Abraham Lincoln.

Now we’ve all heard this tale a million times. A Kentucky-born backwoods boy grows up in hardship, teaches himself to read and goes on to become president during the bloodiest time in American history. He had spent most of his young life in manual labor having also spent time as a lumberman, shopkeeper and postmaster.

It was only after having been elected to the Illinois state legislature – again with no formal education whatsoever – that he became a self-taught lawyer. The rest, as they say, is history. Lincoln is forever seen as one of the greatest Republicans who ever lived. But when he was elected president, he had served on a state legislature, so he was more qualified than many others.

Our next case study into presidential qualification is, in an effort to be fair and balanced, the Democrat favorite – Thomas Jefferson. In many ways Lincoln’s socioeconomic opposite, Jefferson was born into one of the most prominent families in Virginia.

He was provided the best education, studied Latin and Greek and spent leisure time (something Lincoln would never have had) practicing his violin. He grew up learning from some of the elder statesmen and scholars of the time, formally studying law as an apprentice before being examined by the bar as a fully qualified attorney; again, a sharp difference from his presidential counterpart here.

Of course Jefferson went on to draft the Declaration of Independence and played a pivotal role in the separation of the colonies from England. But the point of all this is that here are two completely different men upon whom fate and providence moved to sweep them into the history books.

But for all their differences, they had two things in common; characteristics that should be the most important qualifications of anyone seeking the highest office in the land. Both were very smart men and both were compassionate and cared about the fate of their country and its citizens.

There was no glory seeking or publicity hounding in these men. They believed they had an honorable duty to carry out and the people agreed. Today we choose candidates because of race or gender or the gibberish they spew from the debate podium. The only way to make America great is for our citizens to wise up and demand more from our leaders.

There are still Lincolns and Jeffersons out there but their voices will forever be squelched by the unqualified noise of the media-obsessed political machine. Integrity, intelligence, humility, humanity are the best qualifications for president.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Listen to Deer In Headlines on air at MyGreeneRadio.com, October 2016. More at deerinheadlines.com

 

Media doesn’t control anyone

In Economy, Education, finances, Media, News Media, Opinion, Politics, psychology, Religion, sociology, Technology, Uncategorized on August 4, 2016 at 10:01 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOIf you do a Google search for, “how the media controls what we think,”you’ll find dozens of articles, videos and feature stories on the subject. Each claims that news programs, TV commercials and even movies are so powerful they can actually control your mind.

To say that I find fault in these kinds of reports would be an understatement, but what exactly are they talking about? Let’s briefly examine these as separate concepts. First, there’s the advertiser. How is it that advertisers create commercials that convince people to buy things they didn’t even want in the first place?

Well there are countless components to creating an effective advertisement, but the primary way to get customers to buy is through media saturation. This is where you see and hear an ad for a product or service over and over again, on every medium – radio, TV, online, everywhere. Eventually, the message is so engrained into your mind you can’t help but remember it.

If you’re a commercial radio and television consumer, the best example of this kind of advertising is from auto dealers. Car dealerships flood the media with the same, nauseating advertisements, chock full of shouting announcers or gimmicky slogans.

Actually, when advertisers saturate the airwaves like this, the ads don’t event have to be particularly good, just slightly memorable with the name and product repeated over and over again. It’s the frequency that causes you to remember them.

There is no question that the media gets in our heads. Today we are so connected by the Internet and on every manner of device that some people struggle to be away from the constant flow of information even for a brief period of time. All of this has led to the idea of what is sometimes called “media mind control.”

You're probably far more likely to be "brainwashed" by a company like Apple that convinces you how "cool" something is and play on your own vanity. You're still making the choice.

You’re probably far more likely to be “brainwashed” by a company like Apple that convinces you how “cool” something is and plays on your own vanity. You’re still making the choice.

But, in my opinion, as a working part of the media in question, all of this is nonsense… sort of. If you really believe an ad can “make” you buy something or that the news can force you to vote for a particular candidate for office, then that’s pretty sad. Where is your own free will? Why follow the lemmings?

Media can “influence” the decision making process by presenting information tooled towards a certain message or ideology. But the decision to buy into any of that is all on you. The people writing the mind control articles I mentioned earlier have forgotten one, basic idea – we all have a freedom of choice and will.

Even though it might not seem like it sometimes, people choose what they’re going to believe. Advertisers and politicians are hoping you don’t exercise that free thought component of your brain and just follow blindly where their media leads.

Yes, they will play your heartstrings like a cheap fiddle and go at your sense of need and desire until you feel like you can’t live without … whatever they’re selling. But if you are so brain dead that you actually fall for their nonsense, then that’s your fault, not theirs.

We must stop blaming the media for everything and take some personal responsibility for our own bad judgment. News outlets reporting on a shooting did not cause the next mass murder, the guy on the trigger chose his actions. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton didn’t “manipulate” anyone into following them, the choice was made by each individual. Period. Any other conclusion is a bit delusional and conspiracy-minded.

Again, influence is the key word here. You can be influenced easily enough, but full on “manipulation” by the media, or anything else, is based on a level of control that we, as individuals, have to give up in order to be affected by it. If you choose to hand over your independent thought and free will then the problem rests with you, not the media you consume.

This, no doubt, will be an unpopular statement considering the “my bad behavior is someone else’s fault” society we live in today. But it’s true, nonetheless. Without threat of harm or other level of duress from an outside source, the only person who can make you do anything – is you.

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

Hogan’s hero: author celebrates life of slain actor

In Books, Charities, Education, Entertainment, Local News, National News, Opinion, television, Uncategorized on June 13, 2016 at 8:20 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOIn 1978 “Hogan’s Heroes” star, Bob Crane, was murdered in his Arizona hotel room. The scandalous details of his death have been the subject of speculation and salacious headlines ever since. Crane’s murder was never solved.

I won’t give more press time to the dark circumstances surrounding this man’s death, except to say that Americans can’t seem to ever get enough of sensationalism when it comes to celebrity. Over the years a great deal of negative material has been written about the actor’s life, troubled marriage, divorce and personal addictions, and that was all anyone ever seemed to say about him.

13442349_10153959108224342_9123420470911191836_n

Gery L. Deer, with author Carl M. Ford at the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, OH

Always left out of those stories were the facts about Crane’s long career in entertainment and the character he couldn’t leave behind. Barely spoken of were his level of commitment to his colleagues, to his children and to the armed forces to whom he felt a deep responsibility and connection through his “Hogan’s” character and his older brother, Al, who was severely injured while serving in World War II.

Enter author Carol M. Ford, who has written a new biography about Bob Crane in a dedicated effort to celebrate the life and career of this beloved actor. Her care and commitment to restoring this man’s honor and humanity is nothing less than incredible.

I had the good fortune, recently, to meet Ms. Ford and talk with her about her experience in writing this book. She was holding a signing at the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie. Next to her table was a display featuring a very important artifact – Col. Hogan’s leather flight jacket from the “Hogan’s Heroes” series.

“We all have those parts of our lives that we’re not proud of,” she told me. “Divorce, family strain, addictions, whatever it is, everyone has something. The sad part about Bob’s death is less about how he died but that how he lived had always been so completely overlooked. This is a celebration of his life.”

Ford’s new book, “Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography,” is a fitting tribute to a man whose life is, to most fans, a blur between fact and fiction, where the focus has been for more nearly 40 years on his death. This book chronicles, in great detail, Crane’s life as told by family, friends, colleagues and fans who had the good fortune to share a moment with him.

Ford’s research is impressive, having collected interviews from nearly 200 people who actually knew Crane. Going as far back as elementary school, the interviews, photos and stories provide us with a real picture of the man we loved as Colonel Hogan but who was obviously so much more.

Bob Crane's costume jacket from Hogan's Heroes is on display at the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, OH

Bob Crane’s costume jacket from Hogan’s Heroes is on display at the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, OH

Crane’s character of Hogan was a hero to me, and to countless others of my generation. But, like so many celebrities, most of us never knew who he was outside of Stalag 13 or away from the microphone.

As a fan, I am grateful to Ford and her colleagues for writing this book to focus on the life of a man I had admired since childhood. Much of my stage persona comes from watching him – and Colonel Hogan. I’m glad I get to understand the man over the mystery.

This wasn’t intended to sound like a book review, but I have a great respect for the effort, time and commitment that went into this book. As a fellow writer, I can’t imagine the work, personal expense and thoughtful insight that went into the attempt to capture the life of someone whose life was so full and still resonates today with all those who knew him.

You can find the book Barnes & Noble, on Amazon and at the website for the official campaign to have Bob Crane entered into the National Radio Hall of Fame www.vote4bobcrane.org. I highly recommend the hardback version, filled with historical documents, more than 200 pictures and more. So, all my thanks to Bob for his talent, and to Carol Ford for hers.

*******

Author’s Note: I strongly related to the idea of writing the positive of a celebrity’s life after they’d died in scandalous circumstances. A colleague and friend of mine, well known in the media, passed away suddenly after a long struggle with addiction and depression. The only things the media would write about seemed to be the negatives in her life and the circumstances surrounding her tragic death. I couldn’t let that stand. I wrote a piece, from her own word as she had told me, of the good in her life, the promise and the hope. It is my hope that her legacy carries more of that than of her ending, as I hope with Carol’s book and Bob Crane’s story. 

 

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

Fitting in at Hamvention.

In Education, Local News, Opinion, sociology, Technology, Uncategorized on May 24, 2016 at 8:30 am

Deer In Headlines

By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOWe all have it; that one single thing about ourselves that makes us either feel different or seem weird to other people. Different and weird are relative terms, of course, depending on the perception of those around us.

For example, someone walking around a cattle ranch in Birkenstocks and shorts might seem incredibly out of place. Is it weird to be wearing this kind of apparel or just so because of the location? It really depends on the observer.

Case in point. This past weekend I attended my very first “Hamvention;” the massive amateur radio convention held in Dayton, Ohio each spring. Hamvention, which is a registered trademark by the way, has for many years been the world’s largest amateur radio event dating back to 1952.

It’s organized and sponsored by the Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA) and draws thousands each year to attend workshops, learn about new technologies and shop the hundreds of vendors selling everything from antennas to software. I was raised around the CB radio, but never really exposed to the culture surrounding “ham” users. Incidentally, the term “ham” is a derivative of the colloquial name for an amateur radio operator.

Unlike citizen band (CB) radio, amateur radio requires an FCC license and operates on a different set of frequencies and power guidelines. Each operator is assigned an alphanumeric call sign that become a kind of personal nickname in the ham circle.

13244704_10153908418374342_9000172653944694244_nI admit some trepidation about attending, even though the adventure was my idea. My hesitation was mostly due to the shadowy reputation ham operators have for being made up mostly of the off-your-rocker survivalist, who walks around with a bag full of canned beans, a shotgun, and a ham radio and 15 foot antenna sticking out of his backpack. With no first-hand experience, it all seemed a bit bizarre.

Now, before I go much further, I need to point out here that I am no stranger to the bizarre. I’ve spent a good portion of my free time at science fiction conventions. You know, full on “Star Trek” events complete with green people and otherwise normal folks walking around speaking Klingon to each other.

Instead of me thinking the convention goers were odd, I’m the one who actually felt weird and strangely out of place. What I experienced, standing there amidst thousands of people from very different walks of life, was a fascinating collection of people, all of whom had one thing in common – their interest in amateur radio.

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Geiger counters and radiation detection of all kinds … at Hamvention 2016 – Photo GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd.

Yes there were some, what I would normally describe as, oddballs, as well as stereotypical survivalist types. In fact, one vendor sold nothing but Geiger counters. I couldn’t have imagined where a table full of Geiger counters would look at home, carefully packed together like someone had spray painted yellow all the pieces of a life-sized Tetris game.

Still, I’m the one who didn’t look like he belonged there. But it was fascinating how people were sharing their knowledge and experiencing the trade and technology of ham radio as if it was a big group of friends who’d never met and only got together on this one occasion.

People tend to congregate with those of common interest. Conventions like this are representative of virtually all aspect of our sociological makeup as human beings. From churchgoers and athletes to writers and amateur radio enthusiasts, an interest or devotion to a culture or activity brings people together in a consistently predictable way that nothing else can.

We should all have that one thing that makes us feel odd or weird, so long as we remember we’re not alone. When we come together with others of similar interests, great things can happen. We learn, grow, and build friendships that might otherwise never have come about.

In the end, I was indoctrinated into this eclectic family. On his birthday, Jim bought himself a couple of hand-held radios but got one for me as well. I guess it’s time for me to go take the test and get my license. I’m just relieved you’re no longer required to learn Morse code. Oh, Happy Birthday, Jim and thanks.

 

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

McAfee scholarship award recipients announced

In Business, Charities, Dayton Ohio News, Economy, Education, Local News, Media, Uncategorized on May 11, 2016 at 11:20 am

Dayton, OH – Greg McAfee, owner of McAfee Heating and Air Conditioning, has announced the winners of the inaugural “You Can Count On Me” scholarship program for the 2016 school year. Focusing on more than just academic performance, McAfee, along with other area sponsors, funded the scholarship to also reward students for their overall contributions and commitment to family and community.

The “You Can Count On Me” scholarship program awarded $2,500 to ten high-school seniors set to graduate in the 2016 academic year. Funds can be used for any accredited post-secondary course of study including: two or four-year colleges, trade or technical schools, or programs resulting in the award of a professional licensure issued by the state.

According to McAfee, the program is designed to support students who have demonstrated a “can do” attitude through a combination of school-related activities, work experiences, and community involvement. Each applicant’s personal narrative weighed heavily in the selection process, as did recommendations from teachers, employers, clergy, and other community leaders influential in the student’s life.

Qualified students were residents of Montgomery, Warren or Greene counties in Ohio, or attend Miami Valley Career Technology Center or the Greene County Career Center. Applicants also submitted three letters of recommendation and attained a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or greater, both at the time of application and upon graduation.

According to McAfee, the program is designed to support students who have demonstrated a “can do” attitude through a combination of school-related activities, work experiences, and community involvement. Therefore, each applicant’s personal narrative weighs heavily in the selection process, as will recommendations from teachers, employers, clergy, and other community leaders.

“Some students may not necessarily have the grades to qualify for many of the scholarships out there today,” McAfee says. “But, in my opinion, hard work, dependability, and commitment to family and community is equally important, if not more so.” Additional consideration will be given to applicants with a significant financial need that would otherwise limit post-secondary opportunities. McAfee noted that he was not part of the judging committee.

The 2016 recipients of the “You Can Count On Me” scholarships, and their respective schools, are as follows: Jayden Lee, Carlisle High School; Hanna Midtlien, Bellbrook High School; Kaitlin Dunn, Fairborn City Schools; Karina Brady, Dayton Christian High School; Adam Gallatin, Oakwood High School; Brian Petachi, Wayne High School; Timothy (Devon) Cook, Brookville Local Schools; and from Beavercreek High School, Andrew Rice, Madison Fecher and Kayleigh Brown.

Influential teachers are also being honored. “We realize that there are people within our lives who are instrumental in helping us to achieve our true potential,” McAfee says. “We asked students to identify a teacher at their school they would like to recognize as being a positive role model and contributor to their scholastic and extracurricular achievement.”

In recognition, a $250 donation will be made in honor of each of the following teachers to their respective schools: Sam Lee, Carlisle High School; Paulette Hensley, Bellbrook High School; Mrs. Halloway, Fairborn High School; Mr. Gail Gnagey, Dayton Christian High School; Kim Hobby, Oakwood City Schools; Mrs. Knepp, Huber Heights High School; Ann Stammen, Brookville High School; and Jami Russ, Kevin Tritschler, and Mrs. Mindy Burcham, all from Beavercreek High School.

According to McAfee, “This being the first year of the program, we are very pleased with the results. Our partners, sponsors and educators did a tremendous job getting the word out…we had over 450 applications submitted, and look forward to many more next school year,” says McAfee. “The character and passion demonstrated by these students not only is refreshing, but also solidified the decision to offer the program and should provide us all with the sense that our future is in good hands.”

Sponsors of this year’s scholarship include McAfee Heating and Air Conditioning, Omnispear, Soin Medical Center, Media Explosion, Guardian Financial, Net-X Computers, and Cedarville University. An official awards banquet will be held at Cedarville University at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17th. More information on the scholarship is available on the official website, YouCanCountOnMe.org.

Gallery of recipients …

Get smart about birth defects.

In Children and Family, Education, Local News, Opinion, Science, Technology, Uncategorized on March 3, 2016 at 8:12 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOAccording to the March of Dimes, one out of every 33 babies in the United States is born with some kind of birth defect. The severity of these problems is broad reaching, from minor defects needing no intervention at all to those requiring invasive surgical treatment.

It’s important that people understand how many different kids of birth defects exist and how they affect the child, and the family. A structural birth defect occurs when a part of the body is missing or deformed. Kidshealth.org reports that heart defects are the most common of these but others include cleft palate and spina bifida.

When the child’s body chemistry is affected, it’s called a metabolic defect, which prevent the body from breaking down food for energy. Tay-sachs and phenylketonuria (PKU) are examples of this kind of defect. Causes of birth defects are not always clear but may include a combination of genetics and outside influences such as prescription drug use.

My mother, Lois, was epileptic. Sometime in her 20s she was prescribed phenobarbital to help reduce seizure events. Phenobarbital is an FDA-approved drug introduced in 1912 and was presumed safe. Mom took it for decades, including during the entire time she was pregnant with me.

According to findings by the North American Antiepileptic Drug (AED) pregnancy registry, and countless medical studies, phenobarbital has been linked to a myriad of birth defects. Research shows the drug to have some negative effect on an expectant mother’s level of folic acid.

Photo Courtesy ScienceMag.org

Photo Courtesy ScienceMag.org

Enter, me. I came into the world in the late 60s, fat, happy … and somewhat inside out. I was blessed by one of those structural birth defects mentioned earlier, apparently the result of my mother’s anti-seizure medication.

Without getting into specifics I had an internal organ protrusion to the outside through a defect in the abdominal wall, missing vertebra, malformed hip joints and several other related deformities.

As a result, I was neither expected to walk nor was there any exact estimation of a prognosis. Much of the surgical procedures involved in my care had yet to be invented and it took many years to get some of it right. Fortunately, nearly a half century later, thanks to medical science and my family’s level of faith and determination, I’m up and walking and in relative good health.

During her pregnancy with my two siblings in the early 1950s, my mother was not yet on the drugs and they were born with no similar issues. And, although the exact causes of my defects were never conclusive, mostly due to the lack of medical knowledge on the subject at the time, the drug angle is widely accepted as fact.

Countless lawsuits are going on to help families of those children affected by these drugs. But that’s a little like closing the barn doors after the horses have come home.

After decades of experimental surgery, trial and error medicine, and, at many times, constant pain, when I see an expectant mother smoking or drinking or doing something equally as stupid, I just want to scream. She has no idea what she is probably doing to her child and what he or she will go through because of it.

My mother and her doctors didn’t know that her treatment would do such damage to her youngest child’s life. But now, in our modern day of free and easy access to constant information, how can anyone be so ignorant as to do that to an unborn child?

And spare me the speeches and excuses about addiction. If you’re pregnant, you stop. If the life of your unborn child isn’t enough motivation to make you put down the bottle, or whatever it is that makes you a bad risk, nothing will be. You have to do whatever it takes to stop and hope the damage isn’t already done.

The point is that there are things we cannot control for our children and those that are entirely up to us. Do not consciously put your child through the kinds of horrible things I experienced because of a lack of knowledge or an unwillingness to change.

 

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

 

Game Plan for Super Bowl 50: Are You Drinking or Are You Driving?

In Education, Health, Sports News, Uncategorized on February 1, 2016 at 9:45 am

This is NOT the Time for an Option Play

XENIA, OH – The Super Bowl is America’s most watched national sporting event. On Super Bowl 50 Sunday, February 7, there will be lots of game day socializing that may include drinking. That’s why the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Greene County Safe Communities Coalition and Greene County’s highway safety and law enforcement officials are urging football fans to call the play now: drinking or driving.

safe communities logoIf you plan on drinking on Super Bowl Sunday, designate a sober driver to get you home safely. NHTSA’s Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk campaign encourages people to make plans ahead of time that will prevent them from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking.

Driving impaired could result in injury or death for you or others on the road. According to data from NHTSA, in 2013 10,076 people were killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes in the United States—31 percent of all vehicle crash fatalities in the nation. The numbers go even higher on weekends. (There were 5,637 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities, making up 41 percent of all fatalities that occurred during weekends.)

A driver is considered alcohol-impaired with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher, the set limit in all states. This February 7, don’t become a tragic Super Bowl stat.

“Drunk driving is completely preventable,” said Ashley Steveley, Greene County Safe Communities Coordinator. “All it takes is a little planning. We want fans to remember that it’s a choice. Drink or drive—but never do both.” For those who plan to drink, leave your keys at home. Designate a sober driver, whether it’s a friend, relative, taxi, ride share or public transportation. Use NHTSA’s new SaferRide mobile app.

The app helps people who have been drinking get a safe ride home; it helps users call a taxi or a friend and identifies their location so they can be picked up. The app is available for Android devices on Google Play, and Apple devices on the iTunes store. For those who plan to drive, refrain from any alcohol.

Instead, enjoy the game with food and nonalcoholic drinks. Being a sober, designated driver is a key role on Super Bowl Sunday. You might just save a life. Press Release Page 2 of 2 If you’re hosting a Super Bowl 50 party, designate a responsible driver before the game begins. One way to thank your designated driver is by tweeting us their name during Super Bowl 50, which will appear on NHTSA’s Wall of Fame.

If you’re the designated driver, be sure to tweet us your name during Super Bowl 50, and make NHTSA’s Wall of Fame! For more Super Bowl weekend safety information, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/SuperBowl For more information on the Greene County Safe Communities Coalition, please contact Ms. Steveley at 937- 374-5624 or email her at asteveley@gcph.info.