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Tech’s next logical step

In Business, Economy, Entertainment, Local News, Opinion, psychology, Science, Technology on September 15, 2016 at 6:12 pm

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOAs Apple releases details on the next iPhone (number 7), some changes in the product have met with mixed reviews. The main point of contention is Apple’s decision to do away with the headphone jack, partly in an effort to waterproof the device, a fault that users have complained about for years. But another obvious reason was to force consumers to purchase expensive Bluetooth, wireless ear buds.

Whatever the purpose, major changes in technology have always given pause. As consumers, we hate change. We like what we like and it needs to remain as we remember it. The white, wired headphones have been a symbol of the Apple device culture since the iPod burst on the scene in 2001.

A natural progression from the success Sony experienced in the 1980s with the Walkman, the iPod kept Apple from bankruptcy and ushered in a new era of personal technology. The times change and technology changes with it.

Just to make the point, let’s not forget that earlier this year, the last VCR rolled off the assembly line and into the history books.

Technological innovation is driven by a host of influencers, from government research to the demands of the consumer. A company like Apple has great pressure on it to be innovative but can’t always hit the mark. The Apple Watch is a good example of this kind of fluid change in consumer following.

When it debuted, the wearable tech was going to revolutionize how we use smart phones, monitor our health and more. But even now, it has underperformed in almost every way, especially in sales. Either the public wasn’t ready for it, or the device wasn’t robust enough for the consumer.

Of course, Apple has tried to respond to complaints regarding the watch, issuing updates and several changes to the next model, but it may be too little too late. Or, it’s entirely possible, the gadget just isn’t going to fly, and that happens sometimes.

vm700_manualIn the 80s, the Commodore 64 and the Apple II were the pinnacle of home technology, offering games, word processing and the first glimpses into what we now know as social media. Today, a smarter phone and thinner tablet seem to be the highest demand consumer technology, with better Internet connection and more apps being the selling points.

So where are things headed next? That’s a good question and every major tech company in the world would pay big bucks to whoever could tell them. But, barring a psychic hotline with a beam into the future of the next iPhone or Kindle Fire, it’s a coin toss.

While innovation is the goal, the consumer is a fickle mistress. Developers always proceed with a best guess combination of “this is what would be great tech,” “since they like this, they should like that,” and “let’s just build it and see what happens.” There’s really no way to tell.

During my days in tech, I worked in the programming side, watching companies like CompuServe and AOL amass the fortunes of Midas and then sliding down the hill of obsolescence in a relatively short period of time. But, here’s my educated guess, in case you’re wondering.

Television is still king of advertising and, to capitalize more on that, it will become more mobile soon as well, allowing you to watch live TV over your cell phone with a digital receiver transmitted via your wireless carrier. Wireless cellular companies are going to have to step up their game, in both speed and bandwidth.

I work with a lot of Apple products in my career, but I think that the iPhone is about to be dethroned as the hippest, coolest thing on the market. Partly because the iPhone 7 really has no major innovations and the cost seems to keep going up. That said, every device manufacturer must stay ahead of the game with better operating systems and app availability.

My forecasts here could be totally off the mark. But, whatever happens, it’s in everyone’s best interest to keep up with the times. There are endless possibilities, but you need to have patience and be open-minded about change.

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

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Star Trek: Beyond, a fitting 50th tribute

In Entertainment, Media, Movies, Opinion, Science, Technology, Uncategorized on August 8, 2016 at 9:14 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOIn 2009, Paramount Pictures released “Star Trek,” a modern, big screen, retelling of the classic science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry. Directed by J.J. Abrams (Lost, Star Wars: The Force Awakens), the film offered fans an alternate beginning to the life of Captain James T. Kirk, played by Chris Pine.

Abrams’ take on nearly a half-century of Trek lore angered a good portion of the fan base. In this first foray into Trekkie land, he managed to hit the delete key on some very important story canon. And, just to make the point that he could do whatever he wanted with the franchise, in the second film, Star Trek: Into Darkness, he did it again.

This time, he brought back Khan (played by “Sherlock’s” Benedict Cumberbatch), Kirk’s nemesis from the original series and again in 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Since the origins of Kirk and company were altered, the Enterprise didn’t stumble upon Khan’s derelict spacecraft as it did originally, but ended up fighting him anyway thanks to a power-mad Starfleet admiral.

Once again, fans reeled. As a fan myself, my opinion is that it was a terrible film. It was a bad copy of the first Star Trek II (now that’s not confusing is it?). So where would they boldy go next? Well, fortunately, with Abrams having been snatched up by Disney to take over the Star Wars world, they needed new leadership.

When the first Abrams Trek was released, I had the privilege of reviewing it for my hometown newspaper. While I enjoyed the film, I, like many of my fellow fans, found it lacking a “Star Trek” feel. It was more action and less “human.” I could live with the alternate universe concept, after all, it’s “Star Trek” and you can do anything you want with it. But the complete disregard for the character-driven humanity that Roddenberry injected into the franchise in favor of a nauseating level of lens flare and CGI effects was a bit much for me.

Chris Pine (Kirk) and Zachary Quinto (Spock) in Star Trek: Beyond   Photo Courtesy MovieWeb.

Chris Pine (Kirk) and Zachary Quinto (Spock) in Star Trek: Beyond Photo Courtesy MovieWeb.

This summer, Paramount released the third in the alternate Trek series, “Star Trek: Beyond.” And, in my humble opinion as a lifelong fan, this time they got it right. Co-written by Simon Pegg, who plays “Scotty” in the films, “Beyond” offers more of what “Star Trek” is famous for – the human struggle to achieve and make a difference.

With numerous nods to the original by way of images, original series dialogue and character interactions, “Beyond” is the first in this series to make this fan actually want to see it again – and again. It’s just a fun movie. It’s “Star Trek” again, well, almost.

As good as it is, “Star Trek: Beyond” still lacks something, but we can’t have Shatner and Nimoy back on the bridge. Nor can we go home to the comfortable captain’s chairs of the 1980s feature films. But, with a fourth film already given a green light and a new TV series set for streaming video in 2017, “Star Trek” may have finally found its second wind.

I’m still in favor of J.J. keeping his director’s chair over at Lucasfilm and staying away from the Starfleet world indefinitely. He just doesn’t get it. Not that I really think he gets “Star Wars” either, but I don’t care as much about that.

To me, “Star Trek” is not space fantasy, but science fiction in the best sense. It offers a positive vision of our future and suggests that we can be better people, that humanity is worth saving and any film or TV versions from here on should perpetuate that concept

With the passing last year of Leonard Nimoy (Spock prime) and the recent tragic death of Anton Yelchin (Checkov), this film could have been a painful reminder of loss. Fortunately, “Star Trek: Beyond” is a wonderful tribute to original Enterprise crew, all of whom get a quick photographic cameo, and it’s a fitting celebration of Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary. I’ll be seeing it again for sure, and so should you. Live long, and prosper.

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

 

 

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

 

Dayton-based 3D manufacturing leader Bastech, Inc., combines brands

In Business, Dayton Ohio News, Economy, Media, News Media, Science, Technology, Uncategorized on September 27, 2015 at 2:53 pm

BUSINESS NEWS …

Ben Staub, Jr., owner and president of Bastech, Inc.

Dayton, OH – Dayton-based Bastech, Inc., has combined its full range of manufacturing and consumer services under one brand. Since its founding two decades ago, Bastech, Inc., has grown into three separate divisions offering a wide range of services and products from manufacturing prototypes and end-use parts to professional and consumer 3D printing equipment solutions.

Bastech, Inc., is an industry leader in field of “additive manufacturing,” or what is now more commonly known as 3D printing. The company opened in 1994 and first applied the process to automotive and product design.

Today Bastech, Inc., develops revolutionary solutions for many applications including aerospace, medical device, jewelry, packaging, metal casting, injection molding, education and more. As more commercial opportunities arose the firm established separate companies to manage industry-changing niche services.

The first, Rapid Direction, Inc., was founded in 2006 to provide 3D printing equipment and supplies, meeting the needs of those manufacturers who wanted to have in-house, 3D part production capability. Next, the retail 3D printing service, GetPrinting3D, was established in 2012 and offers consumer-based products, ranging from desktop 3D printers to full-color, 3D figurines and custom bobble heads.

Bastech’s president and owner, Ben Staub, Jr., first worked with additive manufacturing during the early 1990s. During that time, he learned the complexities of programming and prototyping with stereolithography (SLA), one of several methods used to create 3D printed objects.

That experience, combined with his background from a strong manufacturing-based, entrepreneurial family culture gave him the tools to master the process and, more importantly, match advancing capabilities with industry demand.

As the technology becomes more accessible and the industry more fluid, Staub recognized that the division of these related products and services into separate entities might make for missed opportunities.

“Many times, customers of one company have no idea what the other has to offer,” Staub says. “Explaining why we have different business units has often been confusing, even to our own people.”

For example, an electronics manufacturer outsourcing prototype parts to Bastech might not be aware that Rapid Direction could actually provide an in-house solution.

More applications for 3D printing are being developed every day and Staub’s team wants Bastech to grow with the demand while giving customers the single, best resource. Over the next few months, a concentrated brand identity will be rolled out to present a clear, single solution under the name Bastech.

“Rebranding is never an easy decision, or an uncomplicated one to execute,” he said. “Nevertheless, it is the right time for that to take place and ‘Bastech’ will become the one solution for our customers.”

Bastech, Inc., corporate facility is located at 9233 N. Dixie Dr. in Dayton. For more information, contact Bastech, Inc., by calling the corporate offices at 855-890-9292 or go online to http://www.bastech.com.

Amateur radio license classes start Sept 13 in Beavercreek

In Dayton Ohio News, Education, Local News, Science, Technology, Uncategorized on August 31, 2015 at 2:57 pm

radiosGREENE COUNTY, OH – Anyone interested in obtaining or upgrading an amateur (ham) radio license should sign up for one of the Amateur Radio license classes being offered by the Greene County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (GCARES) starting on Sept. 13. The classes will meet from 7 to 9 p.m. each Sunday through Nov. 8.  A test for all classes of licenses will be given Nov. 15 at 6 p.m. in the Training Room at Beavercreek Township Fire Station 61, 2195 Dayton-Xenia Road.

There is no charge for the classes  which are supported by the Bellbrook  Amateur Radio Club (BARC), the Upper Valley Amateur Radio Club (UVARC) and the Xenia Weather Amateur Radio Network (XWARN) in addition to GCARES.

The entry level Technician Class course will be held in the Training Center at the Bellbrook Amateur Radio Club Clubhouse, Room 1 Sugarcreek Elementary School, 51 South East Street in Bellbrook. No experience is required and there is no minimum age required to earn a Technician Class license. There is no Morse Code requirement.

The General Class course and the Test Session will be held in the Training Room at Beavercreek Township Fire Station 61 located at 2195 Dayton-Xenia Road just west of Orchard Lane.

The Extra Class course will be held in the Training Room at Fairborn Fire Station 2 located at 2200 Commerce Center Blvd just south of Dayton-Yellow Springs Road just east of I-675.

To register for a courses or for more information, please contact Bill Watson K8WEW by email at wwatson4@att.net or by phone between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. at (937) 426-2166.

Fragile life, one to a customer.

In Health, Local News, Opinion, Science, Senior Lifestyle, Technology on July 18, 2015 at 12:59 pm

Deer In Headlines

By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGORecently, I was reminded again of just how fragile life really is for us. The human body is an amazing bit of engineering. Each of us is comprised of a mass of carefully balanced electromechanical systems that may seem at times indestructible but at others so delicate that the slightest damage could be catastrophic.

The adult body is supported by 206 bones, around 6 quarts of blood, a pair of lungs, two kidneys, about 20 feet of intestines, one heart and stomach, and 31 pairs of nerves. But for all of this, and more, the most important component is the brain, the body’s control center.

The human brain is incredibly resilient, resisting failure through high fevers, concussions, and countless other kinds of injuries. But, like an electronic circuit board, the brain’s delicate electrical system can “short out,” causing failure in other areas of the body, sometimes without warning.

Last week my brother, Gary Jr., was complaining of numbness in his right arm. He was having trouble gripping things or using simple tools. He worked through it, but over the next several days the symptoms advanced to become Parkinson’s – like tremors, causing his arm and hand to shake and flail.

IMG_3857

Gary Deer Jr. with brother Gery (left) and father Gary Sr. just prior to surgery.

At the emergency room, doctors first thought he’d had some kind of stroke and he was admitted for further tests which revealed some type of mass on the lower left part of his brain. At this point, they’re still not certain whether the spot is a tumor or some kind of infection, but any type of stroke has been ruled out.

During the first day at the hospital, he experienced several seizures similar to those caused by Epilepsy, each more invasive than the last; violent shaking of one side of the body, garbled speech and periods of unconsciousness. Medication settled the seizures but doctors are still waiting to figure out how to treat the lesion on the brain. Hopefully there will be something positive to report later on, but for now we wait.

Until his arm went numb and the tremors started it seemed like there was no warning to all of this, high insight revealed that the clues were everywhere. Most of his early symptoms were easily dismissed as fatigue or previous injury.
He had been more tired than usual in recent weeks, even falling asleep during conversations. He was having trouble with the right arm before as well, but attributed those issues with a car accident he’d been involved in a few months earlier.

So the point here is, if something seems out of the ordinary don’t wait until it turns into something more to get it checked out. At this point, there is no way to know if earlier detection would have made much difference for my brother, but, assuming a full recovery – and that’s the only outcome I can imagine right now – it might have helped decrease the yet to be known long-term effects.

For a guy in his early 60s, my brother is in relatively good health, having only ever gone to the doctor for severe cases, such as pneumonia or to be checked out after that car accident. Even though he eats like a teenager on a diet of hot dogs, popsicles and soda pop, he is usually energetic and on the move. Still, this thing snuck up and bit him when he wasn’t looking, as many serious illnesses tend to do.

Sometimes it’s hard to accept your own mortality or imagine that something the size of the end of a ball point pen could cripple you or end your life. We are incredibly fragile creatures. Gary Jr. and I joke often that we each should have died several times over from events we’ve experienced in life – a truck crash, lightning electrocution, something – but I never imagined either of us being taken out by something so small.

I survived serious health issues from birth, so I don’t play games with life – extreme sports, drinking, smoking, etc. – and this is one example of why. So if you’re experiencing odd symptoms, or don’t feel like yourself for whatever reason, don’t wait. Go get checked out. People need you more than you might realize.

Update: July 18, 2015 – My brother’s case has changed since this column was first submitted. Surgery on July 15th revealed no tumors or cancer but instead a serious bacterial infection which created a tumor-like abscess in the brain. The infectious mass was removed but the overall infection will have to be treated with intravenous antibiotics for several weeks followed by many months of continued antibiotic therapy. At this time, he is still in the hospital but recovering and is expected to be released soon to home care.

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

Vent maintenance key to dryer fire prevention

In Children and Family, Education, Health, Home Improvement, Local News, Science, Technology, Uncategorized on April 15, 2015 at 5:07 pm

dryer_vent_3_ductzDayton, OH – According to the United States Fire Administration nearly 3,000 clothes dryer fires are reported each year, causing an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries and more than $35 million in property damage. Statistics show that the most common cause of those fires (some 34-percent) was failure to keep the traps and dryer vents clean and free of lint.

Many people proceed from the incorrect impression that the dryer’s removable lint trap will protect prevent major lint build up. Dryer lint can blow right past the trap and end up packed around the machine’s internal components and clog the entire length of a vent pipe.

Click to watch the TV interview with Larry Phillips on WDTN-TV2

Click to watch the TV interview with Larry Phillips on WDTN-TV2

Larry Phillips is the owner of DUCTZ of Southeast Miami Valley, a professional duct and vent cleaning service. “The most important reason to have the dryer vent cleaned is safety,” Phillips says. “There are some things you can do to help reduce your risk of a dryer vent fire.”

dryer_vent_2_ductzFirst, Phillips suggests paying close attention to the dryer’s operation. “If you notice that your clothes are taking longer to dry, especially if it’s more than 50 minutes, you should probably have your dryer vent cleaned, or even replaced,” Phillips says.

“Your dryer vent should be made of flexible aluminum and never a PVC pipe or plastic material. Plastic vent pipe materials may add to the fire hazard. Your dryer vent should also vent to the outdoors – never indoors, especially natural gas units. Gases vented during the dryer’s operation can be harmful to people and pets.”

Critters can be cause problems for dryer vents as well. “Outside dryer vents should be free of debris and any louvered cover must be able to open easily. Also, be sure to check the outside vent often, as small animals and birds often see the vent as an ideal place to make a home.”

dryer_vent_1_ductzFinally, Phillips advises to never use duct tape on a dryer vent, but metal foil tape. Most building codes restrict the length of dryer vent pipes to no more than 25 feet. Longer pipes with sharp turns or raised and lowered sections can be of particular concern because lint gets trapped in the elbows and is difficult to detect and remove.

For those who rent a home, Phillips offers this advice. “Ask your landlord what their dryer vent cleaning schedule is. Most landlords are required to have the dryer vent cleaned each year by their local government.”

For more information on dryer vent safety, contact Larry Phillips at DUCTZ of Southeast Miami Valley, (937) 399-8500. Online at http://www.ductz.com/contact-us/location-map/ohio/ductz-of-se-miami-valley/.

Duct cleaning reduces indoor air pollution

In Economy, Education, Health, Home Improvement, Science, Technology, Uncategorized on February 25, 2015 at 12:51 pm

According to estimates by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air may be as much as 70-percent more polluted than outside. Much of that contamination can be attributed to bacteria and mold growing inside residential and commercial air handling systems.

Allergies, asthma, and other illnesses may be aggravated by microbe-laden air circulated through a building’s duct system. Larry Phillips, owner of Ductz of Southwest Miami Valley, is a professional residential and commercial duct cleaning specialist. A 30-year veteran of the health care industry, Phillips chose a second career that offered the opportunity to continue improving the well being of the community.

Air duct before cleaning.

Air duct before cleaning.

“A thorough cleaning and disinfecting of the air ducts can minimize pollution-causing agents lurking in the air system,” Phillips said. “Cleaning the air system at a seasonal change, such as when switching over from heat to air conditioning, is ideal.”

Phillips also cautions consumers to make sure the duct cleaning service they hire is well qualified. “Duct cleaning technicians should be well trained and follow the guidelines of the National Air Duct Cleaning Association (NADCA), the professional organization that sets the standard for air system cleaning,” he said.

“It should take 4 to 5 hours to clean an average size home’s duct system,” said Phillips. “If done properly, the cleaning should not have to be done annually, but instead only every few years.” Phillips suggests that, in addition to a high efficiency filtration system, air duct sanitization and ultraviolet germicidal disinfection equipment can maintain the air quality after cleaning.

Besides older, existing structures, it’s also a good idea to clean the air systems of new construction before the space is occupied. In new buildings, duct work, filters and vents can be layered with dirt, sawdust, and drywall dust from the construction process.

Air duct after cleaning.

Air duct after cleaning.

Home owners and operators of commercial laundry facilities should also pay close attention to the condition of clothes dryer vents. Lint that escapes the trap inside the dryer accumulates inside the vent tube creating a fire hazard. According to statistics provided by Ductz, an estimated 15,500 fires, 10 deaths and 310 injuries are associated with the lint in clothes dryers annually.

“Cleaning the ducts and dryer vents is also good for the environment,” Phillips noted. “Regular maintenance of the air circulation system improves the efficiency of heating and air equipment which helps to save energy, and reduce operating costs.” For more information contact Larry Phillips at Ductz of Southwest Miami Valley by calling (937) 399-8500.

Greene County Amateur Radio Emergency Service offers licensing class

In Entertainment, Health, Local News, Science, Technology, Uncategorized on February 16, 2015 at 3:41 pm

The Greene County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (GCARES) is offering classes to help in obtaining an FCC amateur radio license. radiosStarting February 8, GCARES offers classes for all three levels of amateur radio licenses. The classes will meet from 7 to 9 p.m. each Sunday except Easter through April 12. A test for all classes of licenses will be given April 19 at 6 p.m. in the Training Room at Beavercreek Township Fire Station 61.

There is no charge for the classes and Morse Code is no longer required to obtain any amateur radio license. The classes are supported by the Bellbrook Amateur Radio Club (BARC), the Upper Valley Amateur Radio Club (UVARC) and the Xenia Weather Amateur Radio Network (XWARN) in addition to GCARES.

The entry level Technician Class course will be held in the Training Center at the Bellbrook Amateur Radio Club Clubhouse, Room 1 Sugarcreek Elementary School, 51 South East Street in Bellbrook. No experience is required and there is no minimum age required to earn a Technician Class license.

The General Class course and the Test Session will be held in the Training Room at Beavercreek Township Fire Station 61 located at 1298 Dayton-Xenia Road just west of Orchard Lane.

The Extra Class course will be held in the Training Room at Fairborn Fire Station 2 located at 2200 Commerce Center Blvd. just south of Dayton-Yellow Springs Road.

To register for a course or for more information, please contact Bill Watson K8WEW by email at wwatson4@att.net or by phone between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. at (937) 426-2166.

Water: Here’s to your health.

In Education, Health, Opinion, psychology, Religion, Science, Senior Lifestyle, Uncategorized on February 9, 2015 at 1:37 pm

DIH LOGOHi, I’m Gery and I’m a recovering soda-holic (or “pop”-aholic if you prefer). There was a time when I would drink a 12-pack of soda (generally Cherry Coke) within a couple of days. I was an addict – sugar and caffeine were my drugs of choice.

Since I come from a family with a propensity for diabetes, I’d have to guess that drinking that much soda would only push me closer to the Insulin fan club. But all of that changed for me when I was helping to care for my mother and discovered, first hand, the health-promoting properties of water.

My mother, Lois, had already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s dementia when she broke her hip and entered a local nursing home for physical therapy. During her stay, her dementia symptoms seemed to worsen more quickly than anticipated.

Soon she more anxious and unresponsive and always seemed to be suffering from some kind of urinary infection. Most of these issues were waved away by the staff as “normal” for a medicated, bed and wheelchair-bound senior with Alzheimer’s disease. Not in my book it wasn’t.

I paid closer attention to her daily care and noticed that she rarely drank anything. Once in a while a staffer would fill a plastic hospital-style pitcher with water and place it on the night table. But that was all; they just sat it down and left.

By this time dementia had diminished Mom’s awareness of hunger or thirst and even if she had wanted a drink she wouldn’t have been able to get it herself. Unless I, or another family member, poured it for her, the water usually sat there, untouched.

Gery and his family used the green tumbler in the photo to measure the amount of water Lois Deer received. It was filled twice per day - apx 0.5 gallons total.

Gery and his family used the green tumbler in the photo to measure the amount of water Lois Deer received. It was filled twice per day – apx 0.5 gallons total. (Photo Copyright 2015 GLD Enterprises Communications.)

She seemed to get worse so we decided to take her home and care for her ourselves. First on the agenda was to increase her water intake to around a half-gallon a day. That may not sound like much but, since water makes up approximately 60-percent of a person’s body weight, at 78 pounds the volume was significant.

Mom was given water regularly throughout the day and at meal time. With proper hydration and more consistent, personalized care, her physical and mental health improved more than I can adequately express.

Alzheimer’s disease continued its rampage, but we cared for her full time until her death in 2011. Still, I am convinced that better hydration increased her quality of life over those last two years in ways no medication could have achieved.

I’ve also since learned we had been right about the relationship between her behavioral deterioration and dehydration. In seniors, dehydration can lead to serious health problems, such as constant urinary tract infections, skin deterioration, and even present symptoms such as confusion and behavioral changes, much like classic dementia.

Many seniors resist drinking water, but I couldn’t tell you why except there may be a generational component perhaps related to quality. My parents, for example, grew up in the Appalachian foothills of southern Ohio where most of the drinking water came from creeks and shallow wells where the water probably wasn’t too palatable.

While I was caring for Mom I nearly eliminated soda from my diet and quadrupled the amount of water. It was an acquired taste, to be sure, but now my glucose levels are much lower and I genuinely “feel” better. It may not seem like much but I consider this achievement significant, particularly since it was pretty much the only major change I’ve made.

I still have a Coke a couple of times a week (which I rarely seem to finish) but I’m convinced that more water has made all the difference in improving my overall health. Hopefully by starting now, I won’t be so hard to convince at age 70 when any level of dehydration could cause more serious problems.

As for how much you should drink, the typical recommendation for adults is 8 glasses of “fluid” each day. But there really is no precise amount. You’ll have to judge for yourself based on the needs of your own body. Either way, you’ll feel better.

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