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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.

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Yoga studio ribbon cutting and free class in Beavercreek May 19

In Business, Dayton Ohio News, Economy, Education, Health, Religion on May 5, 2015 at 1:05 am
Innerlight Yoga and Wellness offers a variety of classes.

Innerlight Yoga and Wellness offers a variety of classes.

Beavercreek, OH  – Innerlight Yoga and Wellness invites the public to share in celebration as they cut the ribbon on a new facility and celebrate a second anniversary in Beavercreek. A free open house is scheduled for 5:00PM, Tuesday, May 19, 2015, at the new location, 1265 N Fairfield Road, with the official ribbon cutting ceremony slated for 5:30PM. Open house visitors are also invited to attend a free, 45-minute, “all levels” yoga class beginning at 6:15PM, RSVP requested.

Jen Ater is the owner of Innerlight Yoga and Wellness. She has been teaching since 2005 and holds a master’s degree from Antioch University in yoga studies with a focus on yoga therapy.

Ater started out in Indiana but opened her first studio in Yellow Springs, Ohio in 2008, then moved to Beavercreek five years later. Innerlight Yoga and Wellness offers somewhere between 24 and 26 classes each week ranging from gentle, restorative yoga to more active, hot power yoga. The studio also offers private yoga sessions, massage, yoga therapy, and other wellness services.

“We have a wide variety of classes, as a human being shows up in many different body shapes and sizes, different ages, different health and mobility issues,” said Ater.  “So, I find that it’s important to offer yoga that’s available for everyone and make it as inclusive as possible.”

Jen Ater, Instructor and owner of Innerlight Yoga and Wellness.

Jen Ater, Instructor and owner of Innerlight Yoga and Wellness.

“I try, on the fly, to present yoga to all different types of people in a down-to-earth way,” said Ater, who, over the years, has taught yoga in diverse settings from chiropractic offices to juvenile detention centers. “Sometimes maybe I failed, but I think that someone who is truly successful has to fail quite a lot in order to really know what they’re doing.”

“I don’t think there’s anyone with as much experience teaching in as many different environments,” she suggested. “And people like the simplicity of our studio. It’s well-kept and organized. It’s also not an overly feminine environment, but very neutral in terms of feminine or masculine.”

Outreach is also a big part of the mission at Innerlight. “I am not

Watch Jen Ater on WDTN, TV2's LIVING DAYTON --- http://wdtn.com/2015/05/14/innerlight-yoga-wellness/

Watch Jen Ater on WDTN, TV2’s LIVING DAYTON — http://wdtn.com/2015/05/14/innerlight-yoga-wellness/

happy, unless I feel like I’m helping people,” explained Ater. Although the programs are not yet in order, Ater has a history of organizing community outreach programs such as the YS Youth Yoga Project, a grant-funded free yoga immersion for Yellow Springs School’s students and staff. “Three percent of the studio’s revenue will go towards outreach programs to bring yoga to schools and other organizations that cannot afford to provide classes,” she continued. “We want to make a difference, on many levels.”

Light refreshments will be provided at the open house, and space is limited for free yoga class, so those interested in attending are asked to RSVP by email to Erin at info@innerlightwellness.net. For more on classes and schedules, call 937-306-8235 or visit Innerlight Yoga and Wellness online at http://www.innerlightwellness.net. CLICK HERE to watch the WDTN-TV2 interview with Jen Ater.

A short discussion of time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

For some, depression darkens the holiday season

In Children and Family, Health, Holiday, Opinion, Senior Lifestyle, sociology, Uncategorized on November 24, 2014 at 1:54 pm

DIH LOGOIt’s never great to lead off with a cliché, but there may really be a silver lining behind every dark cloud. The hard part is that it’s up to the individual to recognize and interpret it. During the holiday season, however, for some the darkness may become overwhelming and everyone else should be sensitive to those around them suffering from seasonal depression.

As the Thanksgiving Day holiday heralds in the Christmas season, it’s important to try to remember that not everyone is happy and cheerful during this time. Many people suffer from various types of clinical depression, exacerbated by the holidays.

Seasonal Affect Disorder, or SAD, is a seasonal pattern associated with a recurring depressive disorder. It’s a fact that people experience mood changes along with the seasons but some may actually experience an even more sever bout during the stressful holiday season.

According to Healthline.com, “Depression may occur at any time of the year, but the stress and anxiety of the holiday season—especially during the months of November and December (and, to a lesser extent, just before Valentine’s Day)—may cause even those who are usually content to experience loneliness and a lack of fulfillment.”

baileygeorgeNot surprisingly, depression during this time can result from loneliness. Healthline.com reports that a 1999 Canadian study of patients treated by emergency psychiatric services during the Christmas season, states the most common stressors were feelings of loneliness and “being without a family.”

Experts also suggest that part of the problem is a level of media bombardment, mostly advertising, that depicts cheerful holiday festivities, smiling families, and so on. The joyful, light-heartedness of the season might to a depressed person seem much more a requirement and painful nuisance than a genuine, heart-felt emotion.

The elderly often suffer from depression caused by any number of contributors including, serious medical problems, poor diet, loss of a spouse, chronic pain and more. Depression may worsen in the elderly, not expressly because of the holiday, but that it brings memories of happier, more fulfilling times, and it might be hard to spot.

Helpguide.org suggests that elderly patients suffering from depression might display rapid mental decline but memory of time and date, as well as awareness of the environment, remain. They may also exhibit more outward concern than usual about slipping memory and their motor skills may be normal but noticeably slower.

Regardless of age, depression is a painful illness to endure at a time of year when the sufferer is surrounded by the usual excitement of the season.  There are many ways to help combat depression.

Social isolation can be a major contributor to depression, particularly during the holidays.  Start by getting involved and being among friends and family wherever possible. Of course, sometimes, family can be the cause of stress. In those instances, it might be better to spend time with close friends or attend some kind of social activity, go to bingo at the local community center, or anything else to avoid being alone. But remember to feel free to leave an event if you feel uncomfortable. Adding stress to depression would be seriously detrimental to the purpose of the interaction.

Other ways to ward off “holiday blues” include, beginning a new tradition, volunteering at local charity centers, or get outside and take a walk or go on a bike ride.  Self-care is an important step to fighting depression. Even with decreased appetite, it’s important to remember to try to eat well, exercise and maintain a regular sleep schedule.

Seek medical treatment as well. General practice doctors can help determine what sort of specialized treatment may be beneficial. Depression is an illness with treatments available to help people live active, involved lives but nothing can happen without taking that first step. Proper treatment may help people have a happier, more meaningful holiday season.

On a final note, although it is a myth that more suicides occur between Thanksgiving and Christmas, those suffering severe depression might still be dealing with suicidal thoughts. Contact one of the local crisis lines, 24/7: Greene County Crisis Services: (513) 376-8702 or Dayton Suicide Prevention Center, Inc.: (937) 297-4777.


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

 

 

Do your homework before voting this election.

In Jobs, National News, Opinion, Politics, State News, Uncategorized on September 29, 2014 at 11:26 am

DIH LOGOHere we are in election season again, when liberals and conservatives alike spend millions of dollars trying to convince voters to either keep them in office or replace the incumbent.  As always, when they’re not kissing your baby, they’re stealing his lollypop. With so many candidates running who are essentially, “the lesser of who cares,” how will you decide at the ballot box?

A common theme of election strategies is the tired old, “let’s bash the other guy,” method, which is exactly as it sounds. In the months and weeks preceding the election, voters are inundated with television commercials, fliers and post cards all declaring the treachery of the opposing candidate, regardless of the validity of the claims. The goal is to “scare” you away from that candidate for fear he or she will bring about the end of democracy as we know it.

Another popular method of political marketing is the “two chickens in every pot” promise. The goal here is to simply convince you that no matter how you are living now, vote for “me” and I’ll make your life better, and the themes follow trends.

In the years following 9/11, for example, candidates promised better homeland security. After the recession hit, they promised banking reform and more jobs. In reality, however, politicians have little to do with any of that.

When you read about a lower unemployment rate, chances are it’s because many jobless simply stopped reporting their status or benefits have run out. Unemployment numbers fluctuate, organically, not because some politician changed the face of the workforce with the swath of a pen. Please try to keep this in mind: government does not, has not, and never will create jobs in the real world. Regardless of how much they hype job-creating policies, no politician can create jobs in private industry.

Probably the most famous photo of Truman. (Photo by W. Eugene Smith//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Probably the most famous photo of Truman. (Photo by W. Eugene Smith//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

In fact, the majority of political interference just impedes business and slows workforce development – unless you have a nice, fat check to send them at election time. Then you get all the help you want until your money runs out.

The rest of the time, business owners must contend with the result of what these self-serving bureaucrats do best. Invasive regulations, ever-increasing taxes and other legislative roadblocks usually just muck up the works and prevent small businesses from growing – or hiring.

Local government interference can make things even worse, because that’s where the real decisions are made. When local politicians have a “pal” in a particular industry and a competitor comes in to try to set up shop, it can be harder to get official processes pushed through, like location approvals, licensing, and so on. It does happen, and far more often than you might think.

What gets even more annoying is the level to which some politicians try to convince people they are “regular folks,” when most of them are millionaires many times over. Great examples are Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Congressman John Boehner, and many of their compatriots, on both sides of the aisle, each of whom are super-wealthy and many up for re-election. None of them have a clue what it would be like to have to survive paycheck to paycheck like so many of their constituents.

Whatever the ploy, a politician is a business selling a product in the same way that any company would try to get you to buy their brand of soap or corn flakes. It’s all marketing, and knowing that people make political decisions emotionally rather than based on any logic or facts, the more frightening the ad campaign the better.

The same goes for choosing to approve or deny the various ballot issues. Just because they send kids to bang on your door with big sad eyes and a long sad tale of how the children will suffer without passing a tax increase (while the kid has no idea what they’re shilling for, because they’re kids), that doesn’t mean you should pull vote “yes.”

Best advice, ignore the advertisements. If every voter did a little homework on the candidates and issues instead of voting a party line or from fear or guilt, there would be a marked improvement in the quality of our leadership.
The Jamestown Comet.com editor / publisher, Gery L. Deer, is an independent columnist and business writer. More at gerydeer.com.

Local festivals must evolve to continue.

In Charities, Economy, Entertainment, Holiday, Local News, Media, Opinion on September 22, 2014 at 12:05 pm

DIH LOGOVirtually every community festival I’ve been involved with around Ohio this season has reported steadily decreasing attendance. Some of them have run for more than a half-century, others only a few years, but regardless of their endurance, the people just aren’t coming like they used to. Could it be time to mothball the town festival and pool resources into larger, joint events like county fairs?

Over the course of the last couple of decades I have participated annually in more than a dozen different festivals and similar community events. Since 2002, I’ve produced the Western Arts Showcase performances at the Annie Oakley Festival in Greenville, Ohio, an event that’s been running for more than 50 years. Sadly, I’ve watched the attendance at these events dwindle year after year to the point where even the vendors aren’t coming.

I hate the idea of our local festivals shutting down, but it’s not possible to perpetuate an event on good intentions. It must evolve with the times. With that in mind, and for those interested in trying to breathe new life into a long-running festival, here are a few ideas to consider.

First, whether you want to think of it this way or not, a town festival is like any other product you’re trying to sell to the public, from toothpaste to breakfast cereal. Consumers have options and getting them to choose your event over another takes effort and money.

Poor marketing on the part of festival organizers is common and usually the result of inadequate funding. It’s simply not enough to pin up cookie-cutter fliers that look the same year after year. Like any business venture, it takes real advertising and legwork to get the word out.

Could deteriorating attendance kill local festivals?

Could deteriorating attendance kill local festivals?

Community organizers should consider another question too, “What is the purpose of the festival?” If the reason is just to have one, then maybe that’s part of the problem. Every event should have an end goal, whether it’s charitable fundraising or increased awareness of what the community has to offer.

Successful events tend to seek out corporate sponsorships; not from local merchants but larger resources. For example, instead of going to the local Pepsi retailer, contact Pepsi’s corporate office and ask to speak to regional marketing reps or district managers. Tell them what you need and they can often direct you to the right department.

Those advanced funds should go toward better marketing and, most importantly, high-end feature entertainment, the real draw to any community event. Organizers should strongly resist the trend toward using the local bluegrass garage band.  Grants are also a potential funding option, but carry oversight burdens and restrictions on festival content.

Financially, local residents don’t provide enough of a revenue base to sustain an event year after year. To keep people coming in, you have to reach outside the area to draw attendees to your event with something to set it apart from all of the others – feature entertainment, unique exhibits, something. Let’s face the facts, there’s no difference between the funnel cakes at your event and those at any other.

Finally, one organizer I spoke to recently suggested that the major roadblock to growing his local festival was the old guard’s resistance to fresh ideas, complicated by an unbreakable, well-established good old boy system – a common problem in small communities. Organization committees are generally manned by those who show up or others who need to feel powerful. If that’s the case, and the argument given against change is often something like, “We’ve done it this way for 20 years and …” and nothing has improved! It’s probably time for new blood.

If no one is willing to change, it may be hard to maintain an event and people will just stop coming. If you belong to an organization that’s trying to decide whether to keep an event running, and few are open to change, ask this simple question. After the bills are paid this year, is there enough money left over from the event to cover start up costs on next year’s festival? If the answer is no, it may be time to hang it up. Remember, nostalgia won’t pay the bills.
The Jamestown Comet.com Editor / Publisher Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer based in Jamestown, Ohio. More at gerydeer.com

Fire House Poker Run to benefit child victims of domestic violence

In Charities, Children and Family, Entertainment, Local News, State News, Uncategorized on July 15, 2014 at 7:23 pm

IMG_7297On Saturday, July 19, motorcyclists will have the opportunity to participate in the first annual Fire House Poker Run to benefit the “Shoe Barn Project,” a fundraising effort to provide new shoes for children who come through the Greene County Children Services or The Family Violence Prevention Center. Registration begins at 10:30 AM for $15 per bike at Buckminn’s D and D Harley Davidson at 1213 Cincinnati Avenue in Xenia.

With kickstands up at noon from Buckminn’s, participants will ride from one fire house to the next, enjoying the unique look and atmosphere of each and actually driving through several of them as if they were covered bridges.  After a long, scenic tour along the Greene County countryside, including Cedarville, New Jasper, Silvercreek, Jefferson, Xenia and Spring Valley Township fire departments, the ride will conclude at Willie’s Bar in the Xenia Towne Square with an after party featuring gift raffles and entertainment by the Just-N-Time band. Willie’s will be donating 10 percent of sales to the fundraiser.

The first annual Fire House Poker Run is an event organized by First Responders And Bikers Advocating Against Abuse (FRABAAA). According the FRABAAA’s mission statement, the group is, “committed to empowering, educating, advocating, as well as facilitating victims of abuse and violence to become survivor, one HERO at a time.”

IMG_7293Shella Baker is the organizer of FRABAAA. “After helping kids and families who lived in The Family Violence Prevention Center of Greene County (FVPC) what we noticed each year was that, even above toys, children were asking for shoes,” she says. “This really struck me as such a basic need; it was surprising that a lot of children would even think about asking for shoes at Christmas.”

“This past April, during child abuse awareness month, we had a shoe drive with local hospitals and fire departments as well as Samaritan Crisis center and Xenia Walmart,” she says. “We collected shoes to start what has become known as the Shoe Barn Project to benefit the kids housed at the center.”

Supporting the FVPC is a personal mission for Baker, a nurse and paramedic who sees, first hand, the devastating toll domestic violence can take on a family. But Baker’s actions are driven from a much more personal experience – as a survivor of domestic violence. Twenty-five years ago, she and her son took refuge at the FVPC to escape an abuser and now she wants to give back. Today, she has joined with fellow first responders to advocate for victims and promote awareness and prevention, the poker run will help support that cause.

The FVPC began in 1979 as a project of the Greene County Welfare Department known as the Greene County Domestic Violence Project. It started out as a simple, two-bedroom apartment in Yellow Springs but the agency has evolved to provide support and education through services such as a 24-hour crisis hotline and safe housing as well as prevention and outreach programs.

Today the agency is located at 380 Bellbrook Avenue in Xenia and is certified by the Council on Accreditation. It was also recently renamed, The Kathryn K. Hagler Family Violence Prevention Center, to honor the late Greene County leader’s service in advocacy of families and children.

“When FRABAAA started the Shoe Barn Project we wanted to reach out even further to help all kids in the system that have been victims of abuse,” Baker notes. “We hope to one day have a huge operation to help not only Greene County but counties across the state and Country. To make that happen, we need to get more communities on board.”

FIRE_HOUSE_POKER_RUN_1Riders in the poker run will get to actually drive through the fire stations at Cedarville, Xenia and Spring Valley, with a snack stop at the Jefferson Township station in Bowersville. Awards will be given for first, second and third place hands and a Fire House award for the worst hand. For more information about the poker run, visit the group website at http://www.frabaaa.com or call Shella Baker at (937) 789-7262. If you are in immediate need of help in a domestic violence situation, call the center’s crisis line at 937-372-4552 or 937-426-2334.

“When FRABAAA started the Shoe Barn Project we wanted out  reach out even further to help all kids in the system that have been victims of abuse,” Baker notes. “We hope to one day have a huge operation to help not only Greene County but counties across the state and Country. To make that happen, we need to get more communities on board.”

Riders in the poker run will get to actually drive through the fire stations at Cedarville, Xenia and Spring Valley, with a snack stop at the Jefferson Township station in Bowersville. Awards will be given for first, second and third place hands and a Fire House award for the worst hand. For more information about the poker run, visit the group website at www.frabaaa.com or call Shella Baker at (937) 789-7262. If you are in immediate need of help in a domestic violence situation, call the center’s crisis line at 937-372-4552 or 937-426-2334.

Watch the full video interview on WDTN-TV2’s Living Dayton.

IMG_7290

 

Too much rides on a credit score

In Business, Economy, Education, Jobs, National News, Opinion, Uncategorized on June 16, 2014 at 11:33 am

DIH LOGOFor all the important numbers in the life of the average American, the credit score seems to wield the most power. It’s hard to imagine how three little digits could determine how an individual will live his or her life, regardless of the circumstances that created it and with the average person having virtually no understanding of what it is or how it’s calculated.

Credit scores determine how much a consumer will have to pay for credit (as interest rates), insurance, and other necessities. For many years, the credit score was a value hidden from the consumer because Fair Isaac and Company, the firm which created the process, decided it would just be too confusing to the general public. (Of course, that’s the usual excuse offered up by big business and government agencies trying to dupe the general public.)

That’s little comfort, however, to those who have been held hostage by the credit reporting companies for decades. Almost since inception, credit data has been full of inaccuracies and misinformation, a problem to which consumers have had little (practical) recourse other than the slow, usually pointless, process required to amend a report.

As of 2012, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was charged with the oversight of personal credit rating companies. With countless rule changes over the years, the Fair Credit Reporting Act finally forced at least some restrictions on the credit rating companies. The FCRA is the legislation that required companies like TransUnion, Experian and Equifax to provide free credit report, limit outside access to personal credit files, initiate identity theft protections and other consumer defense measures. Click here for a downloadable version of the Fair Credit Reporting Act is available.

creditoneRegardless of the current legislation, however, credit monitoring and reporting services still have entirely too much power and control over the general lives of consumers. A credit report (and score) whether accurate or not, can limit access to vital, day-to-day needs like transportation and employment.

Considering how much inaccuracy can exist or the irrelevancy of the information to the situation, it’s bewildering how it is legal for employers to reject applicants based on a credit score. In another example, how is it permitted that credit score can determine whether someone should be provided with car insurance, particularly when coverage is mandated by the government?

Whatever more ignorant people choose to believe a low credit score doesn’t always mean a person is unwilling to pay their bills or is inept at handling money. Sometimes circumstances change, as with the predatory lending practices that contributed to the housing market crash of 2008.

Likewise, although there is a higher risk in lending to people with a sorted credit history, almost no one takes into account how the score got so tarnished. On the heels of the worst recession in U.S. history, the credit rating process seems almost backwards to the average consumer.

If you can afford a higher rate and larger payment, you get a lower one, and vice versa. A person may be in desperate need of a car or renters insurance but, because of a lower credit score, they are charged significantly higher rates and payments. Wouldn’t it make more sense to offer those people lower rates and payments, making it more likely they can pay on time and help shore up the economy in the process?

The consumer should always keep in mind that the credit reporting organizations are private sector businesses, not government agencies. They are not affiliated with the Federal Trade Commission in any way nor any other government office. Credit scores are big business for those companies that calculate and report them.

In the first quarter of 2014, TransUnion, one of the three largest firms, reported earnings just over $303 million. That’s just for one credit reporting company over three months! So, with billions of dollars in revenue at stake, there is little to no motivation for limiting the power of these companies. It’s a sure bet that lobbyists for the credit reporting companies are well-entrenched in Washington, greasing all of the appropriate palms to make sure that the “have nots” never catch up to the 1-percent.

 

The Jamestown Comet.com editor / publisher Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business contributor to WDTN-TV2’s Living Dayton program. More at http://www.gerydeer.com.

 

 

 

India vs. China: Economic growth and national security

In Economy, history, National News, Opinion, sociology, Uncategorized on June 9, 2014 at 9:47 pm

DIH LOGOOn June 4, 1989, after three weeks of civil rights protests by nearly a million Chinese, many of them students, Chinese troops stormed a packed square in Beijing, killing and arresting thousands. The Tiananmen Square Massacre shocked the world and confirmed the belief, not that there was any doubt, that China’s political system is completely incompatible with that of the United States and pretty much any other democratic nation.

A quarter of a century later, it’s still largely incomprehensible why America is so tied to a country with no decency with regard to human rights. It’s about two things that shouldn’t surprise anyone, money and political power. There’s a little fear thrown into the mix as well associated with China’s massive military might and a government with no reservations about using it.

Labor costs are incredibly also low in China, with the average factory worker earning just one-tenth of what their American counterparts bring home, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Cheap labor is an attractive prospect to American companies looking to expand production with fewer tax and employment expenses. It seems there is no end to U.S. manufacturers relocating in China; producing cheaper goods to be shipped back America and sold at a premium profit.

Contrary to popular belief, however, according to the Council on Foreign Relations, only 15-percent of U.S. imports come from China. That comes out to something like $29 billion of a $1 trillion monthly output. There are more than 1.3 billion people in China, many of whom, like their American counterparts, want, more than ever, the latest technology, fashions, entertainment and so on. Although it is generally exaggerated, a definite trade deficit exists between the two nations, which is unlikely to change anytime soon.

China or India? Which makes more sense for the US?

China or India? Which makes more sense for the US?

It’s entirely possible the United States should be looking a little further southwest for political and economic growth in Asia – India. After all, which would seem a much more stable and amiable political and economic ally? With more than 1.2 billion people living in 29 states, India is the world’s second-largest country and second-largest democracy, English speaking and primed for growth.

If India is a more lucrative and stable prospect, what’s holding America back from a greater fueling of the fire of partnership, economically and socially? Unfortunately, recent years have seen the U.S./India relationship strained over trade and intellectual property disputes. Plus, the Indian economy has had some rocky spots recently.

In 2013, the average median income per capita in India was around $1,200 (Compared to China at $2,100). Add to that, India’s economy has fallen off nearly 5-percent with 8-percent inflation and the country’s fiscal health is a major barrier. However, the election of a new prime minister, Narendra Modi has encouraged investors and the economy has reflected that confidence.

According to CNN Money, “The prospect of a government led by Modi has boosted Indian stocks by 15 percent so far this year. The rupee has responded too, gaining six percent against the dollar after a dismal performance in 2013.”

There are other more politically charged issues slowing down a more aggressive relationship with India, but most U.S. officials see the country as a thriving democracy and a strategic gold mine. Close to Afghanistan and Pakistan, a more advanced partnership between America and India would benefit both countries in terms of economic growth and national security.

America imposed sanctions against India in 1998 because of nuclear testing. But, thanks to former presidents Clinton and Bush, relations improved greatly and the two nations even signed a ground-breaking defense and civil nuclear (power) agreement.

With the possible exception of the political unknowns surrounding a new prime minister, previously a Hindu Nationalist, there is little reason to spend so much time courting the stagnant communist regime in China instead of nurturing a reasonably stable democracy, and growing economy, in India. In the end, it certainly seems that it would be much wiser for Washington to advance trade and economic partnerships with India.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer based in Jamestown, Ohio. More at http://www.gerydeer.com.

 

Jamestown salon featured on Dayton television program

In Dayton Ohio News, Economy, Jobs, Local News, Uncategorized on November 19, 2013 at 5:46 pm

JAMESTOWN – Local hair salon owner Samantha Cox was featured on a recent edition of the WDTN-Channel 2 daytime talk show, Living Dayton where she showcased her shop’s hair extension services. She was joined on the show by her hair model, Ryan Bush and interviewed by Living Dayton co-host, Vanessa Freeman.

Uptown_Charleys_LD_1Named after Cox’s two-and-a-half year old daughter, Charley, the shop is located at 9 W. Washington Street, in the historic area of downtown Jamestown. “Uptown Charley’s” is a full-services salon offering haircuts for men, women and children, as well as color, highlights, perms, manicures and pedicures, facial waxing, and licensed therapeutic massage.

Cox is a specialist in hair extensions and customers are coming from all over the Miami Valley to experience the quality and service and “downtown style with an uptown flair.”

Uptown_Charlies_5“I was very nervous,” Cox says about her first television appearance. In addition to demonstrating bonded hair extension, she also explained that her shop is looking for qualified stylists. “We are looking for more help; a managing cosmetologist.

The program originally aired on a live broadcast but the Uptown Charley’s segment can be seen online by going to this link: http://www.wdtn.com/living-dayton/fashion/hair-extensions-in-jamestown

For more information on Uptown Charley’s, call (937) 675-7224 or visit them online at http://uptowncharleys.com/.