) - What would you do if you learned you had only one year left to live? A new novel from published author Blaize Nolynne explores this question from the perspective of a volunteer fire captain in River Falls, Maine. The novel, The Captain's Last Year, Fighting Fire and Cancer, One Year to Live
, depicts the reality of cancer and examines its impact on patients and their families.
The story centers on fire captain Steven Williams, whose doctors have given him one year to live after a diagnosis of stage IV stomach cancer. Steven starts with denial, but then he attempts to come to terms with his situation as treatments fail. His thoughts turn to how to make the most of his remaining year, and he grapples with a range of issues. Could he change his relationship with his son, Christopher, or improve the disrespectful attitudes that have become an epidemic in his community? Ms. Nolynne's intent is to make readers consider what they would do if they learned they had one year left to live.
Fire and rescue services are the venues of many of Ms. Nolynne's books, and she writes from personal experience. In an interview with a local newspaper, The Independent, she notes that her father was a volunteer fire captain with the fire department in Standish, Maine, and that she visited the department often as a child. Her paternal grandfather was a volunteer firefighter and a driver for the local rescue squad, and her great-grandfather served as a fireman in South Portland, Maine.
Another family member -- Ms. Nolynne's grandmother -- also inspired the novel through her battle with terminal cancer.
Ms. Nolynne is honoring her grandmother and the firefighters in her family by assisting with the medical expenses of Jeff Douglass, a fire chief in Baldwin, Maine, who has stage four pancreatic cancer.
A portion of the proceeds from sales of The Captain's Last Year, Fighting Fire and Cancer, One Year to Live will go to Team Jeff, Code 3 for a Cure, in addition to other firefighter cancer charities. Ms. Nolynne's books are available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and bam.com (Books A Million).
For more information about the book, visit www.ayresdelzariopublishinginc.com
) - Winter is coming -- and that means it's time to store seasonal tools and recreational equipment. Safe, smart storage of motorcycles, RVs, power equipment and seasonal cars goes a long way towards keeping them at their best to ensure peak performance in the spring.
To keep the fuel in gas-powered machines and equipment in peak shape through winter storage, consider these three elements:
Time Is the Enemy
Fuel in gas-powered equipment that remains in storage during the winter months needs to be stabilized to ensure easy starts and full power in the spring. Untreated fuel begins to oxidize, losing quality and combustibility over time, which leads to engines that are hard to start or run rough.
Draining gas from power equipment or cars is one way to prevent gunk and debris from forming, but it isn't always a practical solution. One alternative -- add a fuel stabilizer. However, you need to choose the right treatment to ensure maximum fuel quality. In general, ethanol-blended gasoline should be used within 30-45 days. However, an enzyme stabilizer, such as Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment
, will stabilize gasoline for up to 2 years. Star Tron does much more than simply stabilize; the unique enzyme formula also helps improve fuel combustibility to ensure easy starts, full power, improved fuel economy and decreased emissions.
Some fuel stabilizers contain many of the same anticorrosion and antioxidant additive packs that are already present in pump-grade gas. Adding more of these add-pack compounds can degrade fuel quality causing engines to run rough and smoky when they are started after winter storage. An enzyme stabilizer is designed to work in conjunction with pump-grade gas additives to keep fuel fresh for maximum performance in the spring. Fresh fuel and easy engine starts are better for fuel economy, which means lower emissions and less environmental impact. And it's not just for winter; an enzyme fuel treatment can maximize fuel quality all year long.
For more information, please visit www.startron.com
or call (800) 327-8583.
) - While an apple a day may keep the doctor away, it turns out that this delectable fruit can help students, too.
This month you can aid specific school causes across the nation by taking a bite out of your favorite apple with "Buy an Apple, Help a Student," a fundraising program supported by the U.S. apple industry and other sponsors.
The way it works is this:
Between now and Nov. 15, the U.S. Apple Association, through its Apples for Education program, will feature 12 student causes on Apples4Ed.com
. The classroom projects in need of funding range from new school gardens and improved libraries to updated technology, revitalized playgrounds and enhanced resources for teachers. To support one of these causes, all you have to do is follow these four simple steps:
* Snack. Grab anything apple-related, such as a piece of fruit, juice, applesauce, or any product from one of the program partners, like Marzetti dips and dressings, KIND Snacks, Roth cheese, or Johnsonville sausage.
* Snap. Take a picture of yourself or others enjoying the snack.
* Tag. Find a school cause that you would like to support at Apples4Ed.com, tag your photo with the project's name and use the hashtag #Apples4Ed.
* Share. Vote for your favorite school cause by uploading the photo to Apples4Ed.com or sharing on Instagram. You can vote as often as you like by uploading photos of yourself or others enjoying apples and apple pairings.
For every vote, the U.S. Apple Association and its program partners will pledge financial assistance to nominated projects to help them reach their goals. In addition, participants are eligible to win gift cards and have money donated directly to their selected projects.
In December, USApple will announce the cause with the most votes, which will receive the highest donation. All schools will receive a portion of funding for their respective project.
"We love the time-honored connection between apples and education and wanted to bring it to life with a fun program that lets people turn their daily apples into direct support for important classroom projects nationwide," said Wendy Brannen, USApple director of consumer health and public relations. "With Buy an Apple, Help a Student, enjoying an apple or delicious pairing from our program partners can go a long way in supporting healthy bodies and minds."
For more information, visit www.Apples4Ed.com
) - It's recognized as a "silent epidemic" among our nation's youth.
We're talking sports-related injuries. Every day nearly 8,000 young athletes sustain an injury bad enough to send them to an emergency room, and -- if that's not chilling enough -- just look at these numbers from the National Athletic Trainers' Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
* In the past year alone, 48 youths died due to sports injuries.
* About 30,000 high school athletes are hospitalized every year.
* Concussions account for 90 percent of high schoolers' 300,000 annual head injuries.
That explains why a new program called "Athletic TIPS" (Towards Injury Prevention in Sports) has garnered the support of everyone from health care professionals to athletic directors to sports stars like football legend Michael Strahan. The retired New York Giants defensive end, in fact, narrates the introductory video on behalf of the not-for-profit group behind the initiative.
The program's goal? To foster "a safer experience" for athletes at the kindergarten through college levels by focusing on the recognition, prevention and management of sports-related injuries -- all done through community workshops, online learning, and other grassroots initiatives.
"Athletic TIPS answers a critical need for educating school-age athletes, their parents, and advisors about sports-related injuries," says Ed Goren, the former vice-chairman of Fox Sports Media Group, who's backing the initiative. "Hopefully, parents will feel more confident encouraging their sons and daughters to reap sports' substantial benefits and life lessons."
The workshops target four key areas: concussion recognition and prevention; nutrition in sports management; preventing dehydration and heat-related conditions; and recognizing, managing, and preventing musculoskeletal injuries.
To learn more or schedule an Athletic TIPS Community Workshop in your area, visit www.TIPS4Sports.org
) - With Halloween and cooler weather right around the corner, sightings of creepy creatures indoors are sure to be on the rise as they search for cozy places to hole up for the winter. Rats, bats and spiders are the stuff nightmares are made of, and for good reason; these creepy critters are capable of spreading disease, and incurring serious harm to people, and even causing property damage.
The National Pest Management Association
(NPMA) offers the following guide on three common, creepy fall invaders, along with a few tips for preventing your home from turning into a true haunted house!
These primarily nocturnal pests are known to gnaw through almost anything to obtain food or water, including plastic or lead pipes. Rats are able to fit through an opening the size of a quarter, and once inside they are capable of spreading diseases such as plague, jaundice, rat-bite fever, trichinosis and salmonellosis.
Tip: Before bringing decorations out of storage and into the home, inspect all boxes for signs of infestation such as gnaw marks and rodent droppings. When it's time to put away decorations, store them in a plastic, sealed box to keep rodents out.
Bats are frequently associated with vampires and haunted houses, causing an unfounded fear in many people. However, it is important to note that bats are common carriers of rabies, a disease that can be fatal in humans, and their droppings can lead to histoplasmosis, a lung disease.
Tip: Screen attic vents and openings to chimneys, and install door sweeps this fall to keep bats out of the home. If an active bat infestation is suspected, it is important to contact a licensed pest control professional because bats are protected by law in most states.
While most spiders that invade homes are simply an annoyance, albeit a creepy one, the brown recluse and black widow spiders will bite when threatened and can cause painful -- possibly fatal -- reactions. Prompt medical attention is required if you've come into contact with one of these venomous spiders.
Tip: Avoid coming in to contact with spiders by keeping garages, attics and basements clean and clutter-free. Be sure to wear heavy gloves when moving items that have been in storage, such as Halloween decorations.
For more information on preventing pests this fall, please visit www.pestworld.org
) - If you are one of the millions of Americans that have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 to 45, you may have thought about bariatric surgery to lose weight. The problem is that while it works, it's invasive and there can be significant long-term side effects. So much so that only a fraction of those who are obese consider a surgical option.
Now, however, the future of weight loss may just lie in a first-of-its-kind, pacemaker-like device that reduces hunger and leads to prolonged fullness without altering or restricting the anatomy. The way it works is this: the vagus nerve is the communicator between the brain and the stomach. If interrupted, the stomach tells the brain it's full sooner. Thus, patients eat less and feel full, allowing for safe, sustained weight loss.
Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in January 2015, it was the first weight-loss device to be available to patients in over a decade.
"Obesity is a global epidemic with consequences to both public and personal health," said Sajani Shah, MD, and Bariatric Surgeon, Tufts Medical Center. "From diet and exercise to bypass surgery, existing treatment options have failed to stop the advance of this disease."
Created by St. Paul-based EnteroMedics, vBloc Neurometabolic Therapy
is implanted in a minimally invasive outpatient procedure and allows patients to eat a normal, healthy diet without food restrictions.
"With this new weight-loss option, what's really important to understand is that it's less invasive, less complex and there are absolutely no restrictions to what you can eat," said Shah. "Patients like that it's reversible, they have more control over their hunger and they have more control over how fast they lose weight. They are able to go back to work within days, and it's outpatient surgery," she said.
For Erica Roy, who received her vBloc device over 18 months ago, the results speak for themselves. Down 45 pounds, Roy said she couldn't be happier.
"What is amazing to me about this device is that it doesn't just affect me physically, it works on helping me address my relationship with food," she said.
Roy said the device caters to that group of people who feel gastric surgeries like lap band or bypass are too extreme.
For more information, please call 1-800-MyvBloc or visit www.vbloc.com
) - Gordon Scott Venters thrives on challenges. As CEO of The Movie Studio
(TMS) in Hollywood -- that's Florida, not Los Angeles -- he's been in the entertainment industry for more than 20 years.
Venters' resume reads like a who's who of Hollywood (California), where he was president and CEO of Destination Television, now TMS. While Venters has a soft spot for the West Coast, he is betting that, like California, South Florida will become the premier destination to produce movies.
"The energy is completely different here than in LA, and making movies in Florida has some terrific advantages," said Venters. "The visual landscape is stunning from a cinematic standpoint, there are diversified places to shoot and great visual optics. That's the value proposition in Florida."
It also doesn't hurt that the rich and famous work and play in the Sunshine State.
As a publicly traded micro-cap company, according to Venters, he knows that, although risky, there are huge growth opportunities for TMS (OTC: MVES).
"We want to give our followers, shareholders and supporters the chance to be a part of what we see as one of the newest hot studios providing full services in distribution, creativity and complete production," Venters said.
Currently, TMS has acquired a 60 percent membership interest in the Seven Arts Entertainment film library(SAFELA), giving TMS 14 titles including, "Drunkboat" with John Malkovich and John Goodman, "Night Of The Demons" with Shannon Elizabeth, "Fractured," "Knife Edge," "Shooting Gallery" with Freddie Prinze, Jr, "Nine Miles Down," "Noise," "The Pool Boys" with Matthew Lilliard, "A Broken Life" with Ving Rhames, "Autopsy," "Deal" with Burt Reynolds and Shannon Elizabeth, "Boo," "Back In The Day" with Ving Rhames and Ja Rule, and "Cemetery Gates."
Venters says he plans to bundle these with indie movies that the studio has produced, such as "Exposure" -- released on Netflix DVD and Amazon, and in Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Target.
Other movies in the pipeline for TMS are "Bad Actress" and "Double Exposure." The Movie Studio completed principal photography in Colombia, South America, for its film "Bad Actress," starring Sean Stone, son of the iconic Hollywood director Oliver Stone, and The Movie Studio's sensational Latina bombshell, Excelina from Colombia.
TMS has also completed its reverse stock split (OTC- MVES) finalizing the company's corporate restructuring while tightening the float and outstanding shares.
The Movie Studio Inc. is also involved with music videos, television shows and other intellectual properties. To learn more, visit www.themoviestudio.com
) - There is no doubt that life today moves fast. The rise of digital technologies has given people the ability to talk on the phone, watch their children's soccer games and send work emails all at once. Consumers have come to expect these same conveniences afforded by the Internet age from all the businesses and services they use -- except, oftentimes, from their insurance companies. Health insurance companies process 98 percent of claims within 30 days; but for today's fast-paced lifestyle, 30 days can feel like a lifetime, especially for those struggling to pay medical expenses.
With almost two-thirds of American households earning less money today than they did in 2002, just being insured is no longer enough. What's really important is how fast and hassle-free your insurance carrier can process and pay claims because the speed of claims payment can be vital to both physical and financial recovery.
According to a recent survey, 66 percent of workers would not be able to adjust to the large financial costs associated with a serious injury or illness, and 49 percent have less than $1,000 available to pay out-of-pocket medical expenses. Not to mention, due to rising health care costs, employers are implementing several cost-saving measures that are putting even more financial pressure on workers, such as:
* Increasing employees' health care insurance copayments.
* Increasing employees' share of premium.
* Implementing high-deductible health plans with health savings accounts.
This means waiting up to a month for an insurance payment may not be an option for many people. However, with improved technology and an understanding of today's consumers' needs, some insurance companies have been working hard to implement fast service to customers. For example, Aflac
provides policies whose claims are regularly processed, approved and paid in just one day -- a speed that's almost unheard of in the insurance industry.
In the past, an insurance provider that paid claims fast was a luxury, but today it is a necessity. It has never been more important to have money in hand quickly when dealing with a serious illness or injury, so make sure your insurance company can move at your fast-paced speed.
To learn more about Aflac's One Day Pay promise, visit aflac.com/onedaypay.
) - Pearls are the perfect, malleable medium for today's ever-changing fashions. But don't mistake some of today's modern pearls with Grandmother's simple strands. Add a little tech, color and carvings, and you take that classic right into the 21st century. Yes, it's true: Today's pearls are appealing to a new generation that is discovering their beauty and luster while enjoying some amazing new characteristics.
Think pearls can't be high tech? Think again! One designer in California, Chi Huynh of Galatea Jewelry
by Artist, is known for creating numerous variations on the cultured pearl. His latest invention (patent pending) is called the Momento Pearl. To make it, Huynh inserted a tiny NFC chip into a cultured pearl. When you use it in combination with the company's proprietary Galatea App, you can upload voice and text messages, images and web links. Simply tap the pearl against an Android phone to hear the voice message and see what you've uploaded.
How about a little color in your pearl? Huynh has also patented a cultured pearl with a colored stone bead inside. When the pearl exterior or nacre (pronounced "nay-ker") is carved, the color is revealed. Described as one of the greatest developments in pearl culturing since Kokichi Mikimoto invented the process in the early 1920s, the "Galatea Pearl" is one of the rarest pearls in the world. They are available as pendants, earrings and rings in 14k gold.
Why not carve pearls like marble to make miniature sculptures? Hand-carving pearls have always been a hallmark of Huynh's Galatea jewelry designs. More than 75 percent of the company's jewelry use carved pearls rather than the more traditional smooth-surfaced pearls. Normally, pearls are valued for their color, luster (the "shine" on its exterior), uniform and blemish-free surface. Huynh revolutionized traditional beliefs about cultured pearls, calling his carved pearls, "Pearls without Boundaries." They may not be for pearl traditionalists, but that's what makes them so appealing to a younger audience.
And speaking of that younger audience, the company's "King Pearls" are large, dark Tahitian pearls with unique carvings depicting dragons, dolphins, crosses and other modern designs.
All in all -- with pearls on center stage with fashionistas -- pearls are a jewelry mainstay whose time it is to break out of the box. And Galatea is just one company that has proven this to be true.
For more information, please visit www.galateausa.com
) - Your attic could save you from breaking your neck this autumn.
Got your attention, huh? Seriously, this is one of the two times each year when homeowners are supposed to check the health of their roofs. (Among other reasons, because they're key to a home's energy efficiency.) But who wants to be climbing a ladder 25 feet or so into the sky when the weather is turning sharply colder and nastier?
That's where your attic comes in.
According to Jason Joplin, program manager of the Center for the Advancement of Roofing Excellence, that space you're probably using mainly for storage can substitute, as a fallback, for the eyeball roof check normally recommended to be done every pre-winter and spring.
"Roofs actually create an insulated barrier that helps trap heat inside, and most attic spaces are located right below them," says Joplin. "That makes them perfect for spotting potential problem areas and damage without worrying about falling off a ladder."
Here's what to look for while up there:
* Water leaks. As sure as Tom Brady will never be a fave among Deflategated Indianapolis Colts fans, it will soon storm. And when it does, shine a flashlight up in the attic to check not only for dripping water and condensation, but also for water stains on the ceiling, walls and floors. All signal that H2O is finding its way beneath your roof's shingles or behind its flashings.
* Ventilation. "Think of the attic as the lungs of the house," advises Joplin. "It has to be able to breathe in order to function properly." Which is to say, vents stuffed with debris need to be cleared.
* Animal damage. You know those "If you see something, say something" homeland security ads? Well, to avoid the havoc refuge-seeking birds, bats, squirrels and raccoons can create, warning bells should likewise sound -- followed by a call to a pest-control pro -- if you spot any of these telltale signs: nests, droppings and gnawed wood, wires or insulations.
* Structural problems. The mere hint of a sagging roof -- look up for this one -- could indicate potential structural weakness requiring professional repair.
And if prolonging your roof's life is your goal, experts say it pays to consult a professional roofing contractor who's insured and uses quality materials like the new triple-layer line of Glenwood Shingles -- the thickest of its kind, with an authentic wood-shake look -- from GAF, North America's largest roofing manufacturer. A free service that makes it easy to find a factory-certified contractor in your area can be found at gaf.com