IJR News of the month pick

Here we highlight the news of the month pick.

 All of our journalist submit their vote by 6 pm Eastern Standard Time and the results are featured here, let us know your thoughts

April 2012

Newport Beach Dental Implant Specialist says teams always outperform individuals.

In a concept that seems so simple, often needs emphasis, especially when it comes to medical opinions.  Dentists leave medical school and have the mentality “they can do it all” but can they?  A Newport Beach oral surgeon questions this thinking.

IJR NEWS interviewed Dr. Tom Michaelis who gave IJR his dentistry  tip of the month,” Dr. Michaelis said this, “I love this quote “Teams outperform individuals, especially when performance requires multiple skills, judgments, and experiences.” JonR. Katzenbach.”  I’ve been saying the same thing for years, just not as succinctly.  Think about it, everywhere in society there are teams working together. Our federal government is like a team with the three branches working together. The federal government works with state and local governments, another team. Our families function like a team with parents, children and extended family all working together towards a common goal.”

“Businesses are created with the team framework in place. In my business there are doctors, front office personnel, back office personnel, an office manager, vendors and sales reps all working together to function as efficiently as possible.  Healthcare delivery is no different. Or at least it shouldn’t be different.  Multiple doctors often come together to help their patients.  Working together as a team allows doctors with different areas of expertise and different levels of experience, training and knowledge to come together and provide the best possible outcome for their patients.  These outcomes will always be better from the team framework compared to the outcomes from an individual.”

Michaelis went on to say, “Somehow in dentistry that message has been lost.  Dentists are now leaving dental school with the mentality that “I can do it all.” They are trained to think they can do everything and that there is never any need to refer their patients to a specialist. As a result, patients are being hurt. Injuries are occurring to patients as a result of dentists not making the referral, when really they should.  I’m specifically talking about dental implant surgery but this message could also pertain to root canals or Invisalign or any other subspecialty in dentistry. These general dentists will always have less training and experience than a specialist. They have only one perspective, derived from their limited experience, and they often treat many different situations with only one solution. The only solution they know. But one solution is never enough to handle all the problems and all the situations that patients present with.  We as patients will always be better off having a team of doctors working on us. I hope this “Jack of all trades” mentality changes before more people get injured. The only way it will change though is if patients demand it. Patients should ask to be referred to a specialist when it comes to their health. Demand it. Don’t let your dentist convince you otherwise. It’s in your best interest to have a team of dentists working for you.”

In dentistry, as in life, a “Jack of all trades” is the master of none.  The staff at IJR thanks Thomas R. Michaelis, DDS, MD for his constant commitment to patient advocacy. To view other articles on dentistry “best practices” and to see videos on this subject visit his website at www.DoctorNewportBeach.com.

Dr Michaelis is a Diplomat Board of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

George King

IJR NEWS Senior Journalist

contactIJRnews@gmail.com

March 2012

FBI warns of new banking scam

Some crafty criminals are aiming to steal one of the most valuable pieces of your personal property: your banking information.

In a new warning, the Federal Bureau of Investigation warns account holders of a new spam email scheme that involves a type of malware called “Gameover.” The scheme involves fake emails from the National Automated Clearing House Association, the Federal Reserve or the FDIC. These messages attempt to trick recipients into clicking on a link to resolve some type of issue with their accounts or a recent ACH transaction. Once you click on the link, Gameover takes over your computer, and thieves can steal usernames, passwords and your money.

The FBI also warns the thieves’ hacking capabilities can navigate around common user authentication methods banks use to verify your identity, which is certainly a cause for concern. Those additional authentication steps — often personal questions, birth dates or other pieces of private information — are meant to provide some extra security padding.

While phishing scams are nothing new to the world of online banking, this type of warning serves as a reminder of just how susceptible account holders can be to malicious attacks. As more account holders begin to jump on the mobile banking bandwagon, it’s important to remember that a smartphone essentially acts as another computer. While this additional connection to the Internet is convenient, it also serves as another outlet where your information can be compromised.

Here are a few crucial steps to take to avoid falling victim to this type of Internet crime.

  • Keep your computer and mobile device updated with the newest versions of anti-virus software.
  • If you have any doubts about an email sender’s authenticity, do not click on any embedded links.
  • Remember, banks never request any personal information via email.
  • Be vigilant about checking your account balances. The sooner you notice and report any type of fraudulent activity, the more likely you’ll be able to be reimbursed for any missing funds.

January 2012ops: Man tried to use $1,000,000 bill at Walmart

Lexington man charged with making a fake $1 million bill and trying to spend it

 By: JOHN HINTON | Winston-Salem Journal
Published: Jan 1, 2012
LEXINGTON –Talk about leaving the store with a big chunk of change.A Lexington man is accused trying to use a fake $1 million bill to pay for his purchases at a Walmart.Michael Anthony Fuller, 53, of 3 Parker St., walked into the Walmart on Lowes Boulevard in Lexington on Nov. 17. He shopped for a while, picking up a vacuum cleaner, a microwave oven and other merchandise, totaling $476, an arrest warrant says.When he got to the register, Fuller gave the cashier the phony bill, saying that it was real.Store staff called police.Fuller was later charged with attempting to obtain property by false pretense and uttering a forged instrument, both felonies, court records show.

A warrant says of the fake million-dollar bill: “There is no such thing.”

The largest bill in circulation is a $100 bill. In 1969, federal officials discontinued the use of $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 bills because of lack of public use.

The largest note ever printed was the $100,000 bill, which featured President Woodrow Wilson. The bills, which were not available to the public, were printed from Dec. 18, 1934, through Jan. 9, 1935, and were used for transactions between Federal Reserve banks.

Fuller was being held Friday night in the Davidson County Jail with bond set at $17,500. He is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.

Lexington police Sgt. Shannon Sharpe said the case is unusual.

“It is kind of strange,” Sharpe said.

jhinton@wsjournal.com (336) 727-7299

Decembers top picks

NFL and swimsuits, need we say more?

Irina Shayk, 24, is a native of Emangelynsk City, Russia. She was discovered in 2004 while on a three-day train ride from Chelyabinsk to Moscow. Since then, Irina has been featured in Intimissimi, Lacoste and Guess campaigns. This is Irina’s fifth appearance in the Swimsuit Issue.

Novembers top picks

Google Music Competes Against iTunes, Amazon

by LAURA SYDELL

November 17, 2011

Google’s music store will allow Android smart phone users to buy songs directly from Google, which is something they can’t do from iTunes. They’ll also be able to share their purchases with friends on the Google Plus social network. But the company, known mainly for its search engine, has a long way to go before it can challenge the big kid on the block.

 Copyright © 2011 National Public Radio®. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And our last word in business is download this. Google just launched a music store to compete with iTunes and Amazon. NPR’s Laura Sydell has more.

LAURA SYDELL, BYLINE: Google’s music store will allow Android smartphone users to buy songs directly from Google – something they can’t do from iTunes. They’ll also be able to share their purchases with friends on the Google Plus social network. But the company known mainly for its search engine has a long way to go before it can challenge the big kid on the block. Apple’s iTunes is the largest music retailer in the world. And even though Amazon is second in the market, both of these companies already have good relationships with consumers, says Michael McGuire, an analyst at Gartner Research.

MICHAEL MCGUIRE: iTunes has 250 million credit card secured accounts. Amazon probably has a very large number of credit card secured accounts as well.

SYDELL: McGuire says Google would have to make its service really compelling to draw away consumers. And as it stands, Google only has three of the major record labels. It’s missing Warner Music, which was just sold. But Google is also making a play for unsigned musicians with a new service that lets them create their own pages and upload and sell music directly through Google. Laura Sydell, NPR News.

MONTAGNE: And that’s the business news for MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I’m Renee Montagne.

October news and our journalist “pick of the day”

11/7/2011

2012 race likely to be close, tough, maybe brutal

By CHARLES BABINGTON – Associated Press | AP – Sat, Nov 5, 2011

RELATED CONTENT

WASHINGTON (AP) — One year to go until Election Day and the Republican presidential field is deeply unsettled, leaving President Barack Obama only to guess who his opponent will be. But the race’s contours are starting to come into view.

It’s virtually certain that the campaign will be a close, grinding affair, markedly different from the 2008 race. It will play out amid widespread economic anxiety and heightened public resentment of government and politicians.

Americans who were drawn to the drama of Obama’s barrier-breaking battle with Hillary Rodham Clinton, and the up-and-down fortunes of John McCain and Sarah Palin, are likely to see a more partisan contest this time, with Ohio and Florida playing crucial roles as they did in 2000 and 2004.

Republicans have their script; they just need to pick the person to deliver it. It will portray Obama as a failed leader who backs away when challenged and who doesn’t understand what it takes to create jobs and spur business investment.

Obama will highlight his opponent’s ties to the tea party and its priorities. He will say Republicans are obsessed with protecting millionaires’ tax cuts while the federal debt soars and working people struggle.

On several issues, voters will see a more distinct contrast between the nominees than in 2008. Even the most moderate Republican candidates have staked out more rigidly conservative views on immigration, taxes and spending than did Arizona Sen. McCain.

Democrats say Obama has little control over the two biggest impediments to his re-election: unemployment and congressional gridlock.

The jobless rate will stand at levels that have not led to a president’s re-election since the Great Depression. Largely because of that, Obama will run a much more negative campaign, his aides acknowledge, even if it threatens to demoralize some supporters who were inspired by his 2008 message of hope.

The tea party, one of the modern era’s most intriguing and effective political movements, will play its first role in a presidential race. After helping Republicans win huge victories in last year’s congressional elections, activists may push the GOP presidential contenders so far right that the eventual nominee will struggle to appeal to independents.

“It’s going to be extremely different, with much more hand-to-hand combat, from one foxhole to another, targeted to key states,” said Chris Lehane, who helped run Democrat Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign.

Republican consultant Terry Holt agreed. “You can expect a very negative campaign,” he said. “In 2008, Barack Obama was peddling hope and change. Now he’s peddling fear and poverty.”

Obama and his aides reject that characterization, of course. They say the Republican candidates are under the tea party’s spell, noting that all of them said they would reject a deficit-reduction plan even if it included $10 in spending cuts for every dollar in new taxes.

Both parties agree that jobs will be the main issue. The White House predicts unemployment will hover around 9 percent for at least a year, a frighteningly high level for a president seeking a second term.

GOP lawmakers, who control the House and have filibuster power in the Senate, have blocked Obama’s job proposals, mainly because they would raise taxes on the wealthy. The candidates, echoing their Republican colleagues in Congress, say new jobs will follow cuts in taxes, regulation and federal spending.

With the economy struggling and Obama hemmed in legislatively, his advisers sometimes say the election will be a choice between the president and his challenger, rather than a referendum on the administration’s performance.

“That’s a very genteel way of saying ‘We’re going to rip your face off,'” said Dan Schnur, a former aide to McCain and other Republicans, and now a politics professor at the University of Southern California. Obama has little choice but to try to portray the GOP alternative as worse than his own disappointing record, Schnur said.

Some Republican candidates would be tougher targets than others. Texas Gov. Rick Perry promotes his state’s significant job growth, leaving Democrats to grouse that he was a lucky bystander rather than the cause.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney says his years in the private sector make him best suited to lead an economic expansion. But Obama’s allies have gathered details of jobs that were eliminated when Bain Capital, a takeover firm that Romney headed, restructured several companies.

Obama can’t fine-tune his strategy until Republicans pick their nominee, and that may take months. So he’s spending part of this year traveling to some of the most contested states, telling disappointed liberals he still deserves their strong backing and trying to convince centrists that he can revive the economy.

Obama’s overall job-approval rating was 46 percent in an Associated Press-GfK poll from October. Only 36 percent of adults approved of his handling of the economy, a worrisome number for any incumbent.

Yet 78 percent said he’s a likeable person, which forces Republicans to be careful. It’s possible Obama will run a more cut-throat campaign than will his challenger. For now, anyway, Romney calls Obama “is a nice guy” who doesn’t know how to lead.

Republican insiders see Romney as their most plausible nominee. He has run the steadiest and best-financed campaign thus far, relying on lessons and friends picked up in his 2008 bid.

But the GOP race has been unpredictable, and Romney has struggled to exceed one-fourth of the support in Republican polls. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota emerged as his main challenger last summer, only to be supplanted by Perry. A few halting debate performances hurt Perry, and former pizza company executive Herman Cain replaced him at or near the top of the polls, along with Romney.

Last week, Cain tried to swat down allegations of sex harassment from the 1990s. Party activists are waiting for the impact. Some, however, think Cain’s lack of political experience and his unorthodox style, which includes largely ignoring Iowa and New Hampshire, are more likely to bring him down.

Two schools of thought run through Republican circles. One holds that Romney is the logical nominee and will consolidate the party’s somewhat grudging support after conservatives stop flirting with longshots such as Bachmann and Cain. Republicans have a history of nominating the runner-up from previous primaries, and Romney fits that bill.

The competing theory holds that Americans are angrier at government and the two parties than political pros realize, and the tea party is just the start of a potent, long-lasting movement. Under this scenario, Romney can never placate conservative voters because of his establishment ties and the more liberal positions he once held on abortion, gay rights and gun control.

If this view is right, the shifting support for Bachmann, Perry and Cain is more than a flirtation, and someone will emerge as the “non-Romney” who wins the nomination.

Veterans of past presidential campaigns tend to doubt this outcome. But even with Obama’s economic woes, plenty of Republican insiders worry that Romney’s inconsistency on important issues and voters’ doubts about his authenticity could let the president slip away.

Romney should have put his GOP rivals “in the rear-view mirror” by now, said Mike McKenna, a Republican lobbyist who has tracked focus groups and polls in various states. “The problem is, a huge part of the party views him as a third Bush term.”

McKenna said pundits don’t realize that the tea party movement was as much a rejection of the high-spending, high-deficit practices of President George W. Bush and Republican lawmakers as it was a reaction against Obama’s health care plan. With his ties to New England and the party establishment, Romney “looks like the lineal descendant of Bush,” McKenna said.

He said he fears that a lot of conservatives will sit out the 2012 election if Romney is the nominee.

Plenty of strategists reject that view. They think conservatives’ deep antipathy toward Obama will cause them to overcome their misgivings and fully back Romney.

David Axelrod, Obama’s top political adviser, points to issues Obama can cite success on, from health care and undermining al-Qaida to reviving the auto industry and ending the Iraq war.

“We’re going to have a very robust debate,” he said. “The Republicans say if we just cut taxes and spending and regulations, we will grow. And I think the American people understand it’s more complicated than that.”

10/30/2011

Zombies may be the walking undead, but their contribution to Main Street’s economy is very much alive. In modern times, the zombie genre has evolved from a cult following to a highly popular theme. 24/7 Wall St. estimates that the today’s zombie genre economy is worth billions of dollars.

Think way beyond zombie movie ticket sales. Think about DVD sales, video games, comic books, novels, Halloween costumes, zombie walks, merchandise, conventions and even zombie art. Add to that all of the websites, homemade movies, Facebook sites, YouTube sites and other forms of “digital” zombies, not to mention music. And if you think the financial tab has been high so far, by the end of 2012 the tab is going to be far larger.

Of course, figuring out the exact dollar figure around the “value of zombies,” despite hours of research and interviews with “zombie insiders,” is difficult. Many companies and top industry leaders do not share any sales data and they do not want to divulge how much they make off this craze. On a global scale, the market is even larger. Could this craze be tied to the hard economic times?

24/7 Wall St.: American cities sunk by underwater mortgages

Index Last Change
NASDAQ 2737.15 -1.48
-0.05%
S&P 500 1285.09 +0.50
+0.04%
DJIA 12231.11 +22.56
+0.18%
Major Market Indices

Bestselling zombie genre author Max Brooks noted on his website, “I think they (zombies) reflect our very real anxieties of these crazy scary times. A zombie story gives people a fictional lens to see the real problems of the world. You can deal with societal breakdown, famine, disease, chaos in the streets, but as long as the catalyst for all of them is zombies, you can still sleep.”

Regardless of the reason, zombies are worth billions of dollars. The figure that we were able to piece together: $5.74 billion. In all honesty, this tab is grossly undercalculated in each category. By the time you add the money spent in total around the zombie genre, the figure is much higher.

These are 24/7 Wall St.’s estimates of the zombie economy:

Movies
> Zombie economy: $2.5 billion

The zombie genre in movies is massive and is only going to get larger. Amazingly, George Romero’s 1968 cult classic “Night of the Living Dead” is royalty-free, and does not add much to the actual economics of the zombie genre. Over the past decade, the tally for the top two master titles alone surpasses $1 billion. Milla Jovovich sexed up the zombie theme with four “Resident Evil” films, grossing more than $600 million globally according to the Internet Movie Database. And Will Smith’s hit “I Am Legend” generated close to $600 million globally in sales. We added to the tally such films as the “Dawn of the Dead” remake, “28 Days Later” and “28 Weeks Later,” “The Crazies,” “Zombieland” and others. The entire zombie genre is closer to $2 billion in the past decade alone for just the big titles.

Once you include the endless DVD sales and the various rentals and subscription services, the tally comes closer to $3 billion than $2.5 billion. On top of it, hundreds of various for-theater and b-grade zombie flicks have been made.

The figure could rise by 2012 and beyond as the fourth “Pirates of Caribbean” film features zombies; there was talk of a prequel to “I Am Legend;” “Zombie Island” is being made; and “World War Z” is coming to the screen with Brad Pitt in late 2012. A fifth “Resident Evil” film is also expected next year. If you include the numerous remakes of “Frankenstein,” the figure for movie sales only climbs higher and higher. We will go with the $2.5 billion just to be safe, and we expect that this total is a massive understatement.

Video games
> Zombie economy: $2.5 billion

Zombie video games have grown into nothing short of another billion dollar business. Series of games under such franchises as “Resident Evil,” “Doom,” “Dead Rising,” “House of the Dead,” “Call of Duty” and the new wave of PC and tablet games like “Plants vs. Zombies” are worth millions of dollars. The various “Resident Evil” titles from Capcom have sold roughly 46 million titles. Doom sold more than 8 million copies. And the Nazi zombies were responsible for many more expansion packs and raw “Call of Duty” sales. In fact, many observers believe that, when it comes to zombies, the video game industry is larger than the movie industry. To smooth out the sales through time, we used a theoretical $29.99 average per “Resident Evil” title for a low-ball figure, which comes to more than $1.3 billion. By the time we add the used video game title market, the arcade segment, console sales, and the PC and app-version games, the figure has to be at least $2.5 billion. And that is conservative.

24/7 Wall St.: 10 signs we’ve dodged a double-dip recession

Comic books, magazines and TV
> Zombie economy: $50 million

“The Walking Dead” is a top-seller in the comic book industry, which is dominated by superhero themes. The publisher, Image comics, told us that edition #90 is set to have 30,000 printed editions. At $2.99 per edition, implied comic book sales would be close to $10 million. The comic is also an AMC Networks smash hit, as is all the zombie rage these days. The show, which averaged more than 5 million viewers in Season 1, and Season 2 is just underway, with a whopping 7.3 million viewers tuning in for the season opener. And more is coming.

Marvel Zombies has even produced an alternate universe where many Marvel characters become zombies. This has seen several off-shoots due to high readership interest. DC Comics has I Zombie. The horror and undead genre magazines include Rue Morgue and Fangoria. Rue Morgue said they have 1,850 monthly subscribers. Their total monthly circulation was listed as close to 14,000. The Halloween issue is even larger. The Center for Disease Control even launched the 40-page comic novella Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic, really. The major and small media brands behind the zombie genre are then worth some $50 million combined at least.

Halloween costumes
> Zombie economy: $500 million (over a 4-year period)

Calculating a true tab on just what the adult population will spend on zombie costumes for Halloween is no simple task. The National Retail Federation estimates that Halloween costumes for adults alone will be around $1.2 billion (and about another $1 billion for children) in 2011. We have spoken with Spirit Halloween, the largest U.S. seasonal Halloween retailer with nearly 1,000 seasonal locations, as well as other local year-round costume shops, to come up with some rough figures. CostumeHub.com also noted for this season that zombies would be in the top 10 costume categories. While we cannot find exact figures for zombie costumes, especially because of overlapping sales of rotting flesh, fake blood, makeup, and more, our sources estimate that 8 percent to 10 percent or higher of all costume sales are zombie-related. Adding do-it-yourself zombie costumes — without accounting for child costumes — is $100 million to $150 million in the U.S. Over a four-year period, the value can easily reach over $500 million.

Books and novels
> Zombie economy: $100 million

“World War Z” author Max Brooks is modern-day zombie hit writer. The book, about a zombie apocalypse, is set to become a Brad Pitt movie in late 2012. Almost 1 million copies were sold prior to a more recent mass market release. Both it and a prequel of sorts called “The Zombie Survival Guide” have both hit The New York Times bestsellers list. While the printed books business is declining, it is hard to ignore the millions of Frankenstein novels sold in the past.

Other books include “The Walking Dead,” which is sold in novel formats as well. Seth-Grahame Smith added zombies to Jane Austen’s classic “Pride and Prejudice” in “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” There is Jonathan Maberry’s “Rot & Ruin” and “Dust & Decay” for zombie apocalypse fans. In non-fiction, there is the newly released “Better Off Dead: The Evolution of the Zombie as Post-Human” co-edited by Sarah Lauro which explores the history, change and impact of the zombie in society. Amazon.com lists 8,772 titles in the books category. If you include all of the Frankenstein books as well, then the zombie book market could easily be worth $100 million in sales through time.

10/18/2011

BROWNSTOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A Detroit-area man had his 9-year-old daughter drive him to the store because he had apparently been drinking, police said Monday, and surveillance video from a gas station shows him telling a clerk that his daughter was his “designated driver.”

Brownstown Township Detective Lt. Robert Grant said the girl was sitting behind the wheel in a child’s booster seat before 3 a.m. on Oct. 8, when an officer opened the driver’s side door of the full-sized panel van her father uses for work. He said she was surprised when police pulled her over.

She said to the officer, “What did you stop me for? I was driving good,” Grant told the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News.

Someone called police after spotting the pair stopped at the gas station. The caller watched the girl get in the driver’s seat and pull the vehicle onto the road. She drove a couple miles before police pulled her over.

The videotape obtained by The Associated Press shows the van pulling up to the station and walking in with his daughter. He told an unseen clerk that she was driving him around because he had been drinking.

“I got a designated driver,” the man said.

The AP is not naming the father in order to protect the identity of his daughter.

The girl told police that her father had been drinking whiskey all night. She said he had allowed her to drive before.

The father, who told officers he was teaching his daughter to drive, was arrested and refused a Breathalyzer test, Grant said. He was charged with second- and fourth-degree child abuse during an Oct. 10 arraignment. He was ordered to have no contact with his daughter.

His preliminary examination is scheduled for Tuesday.

He also was charged with being a habitual offender and could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison if convicted. The habitual offender charge stems from convictions on four previous felonies, including receiving and concealing stolen property and unarmed robbery, Grant said.

He was convicted of driving while intoxicated in connection with an October 2007 crash in Wyandotte and had his license restricted for a year, Michigan Secretary of State spokesman Fred Woodhams told the Free Press.

The girl was turned over to her maternal grandfather when police could not reach her mother. The girl’s parents are separated.

10/15/2011

HOMER, N.Y. (AP) — A high school football player in upstate New York died Friday night after he suffered a head injury during a game.

The fatal injury comes at a time when the safety risks of youth sports are under intense scrutiny, due to questions about whether enough is being done to protect players’ heads. It occurred during the third quarter of a varsity game in Homer, south of Syracuse. A lineman on the visiting team from Phoenix High School was hit hard and lay face down after the play.

“The coaches and trainers went over. He was talking. He rolled on his back by himself,” said Phoenix School District Superintendent Judy Belfield. The boy was able to sit up after the play, but he complained of a very bad headache and collapsed when he tried to stand, she said.

An ambulance took him to a hospital, and he was being transferred to a larger medical center in Syracuse when his condition deteriorated, Belfield said. The ambulance turned around, but doctors were unable to save the student’s life.

The teen’s name wasn’t immediately released out of concern that not all of his relatives had been notified of the death.

Team coaches didn’t learn until after the game that the player’s injuries were severe, Belfield said. She said the school community was distraught, and that officials would open the high school Saturday to students or staff who wanted to talk about what had happened.

“It just one of those freak things,” she said. “The Homer players have to be feeling just as much sadness.”

The Homer Central School District posted a message on its website Saturday morning saying the community had been “deeply saddened and shares in the grief of the Phoenix School Community.”

Head injuries in football have been a concern across the country in recent years, with some medical evidence emerging to suggest that the equipment players use may not be enough to protect them from serious, long-term injuries.

A handful of high school students suffer fatal on-field injuries every fall, according to the University of North Carolina’s National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research. A player at Frostburg State University, in Maryland, died after suffering a head injury in a practice in August.

Belfield said the Phoenix school district sends its football helmets out to be reconditioned every year, and that each has to pass a safety inspection before the season begins.

“Over the course of the past few years, they have really tried to improve the protection of the head. But there is always a risk of injury or of death,” she said. She added that an investigation would be conducted to try to determine what went wrong.

In New York, a law signed this summer will require school coaches to bench student athletes who have symptoms of a concussion, a mild traumatic brain injury with symptoms such as dizziness or headaches. Students can play again only after they are symptom-free for 24 hours and cleared in writing by a doctor.

10/13/2011

ScienceDaily (May 12, 2011) — Scientists are reporting development of three promising formulations that could be used in a vaccine to treat methamphetamine addiction — one of the most serious drug abuse problems in the U.S. The report appears in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

In the paper, Kim Janda and colleagues note that methamphetamine use and addiction cost the U.S. more than $23 billion annually due to medical and law enforcement expenses, as well as lost productivity. The drug, also called “meth” or “crystal meth,” can cause a variety of problems including cardiovascular damage and death. Meth is highly addictive, and users in conventional behavioral treatment programs often relapse. Previously tested meth vaccines either are not effective or are very expensive. To overcome these challenges, the researchers made and tested new vaccine formulations that could potentially be effective for long periods, which would drive down costs and help prevent relapse.

The group found that three of the new formulations that produced a good immune response in mice (stand-ins for humans in the lab) were particularly promising. “These findings represent a unique approach to the design of new vaccines against methamphetamine abuse,” say the researchers.

The authors acknowledge funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology.

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10/11/2011

Floating cooler key to locating 7 boaters off Fla.

Relatives in mourning after matriarch of family, 79, dies; official says ‘they shouldn’t have been out there’ due to rough waters

ARATHON, Fla. — Eight relatives had set out to fish in less-than-ideal conditions off the Florida Keys for a Columbus Day weekend expedition. It was raining, seas topped 7 feet and winds were whipping up to 38 mph. But neither the rough waters nor the lightning in the sky kept the boaters from venturing out.

Before they knew it, two waves hit, almost instantly capsizing their anchored 22-foot boat and knocking them into the sea about 3 1/2 miles offshore Saturday. Seven, including a 4-year-old, survived by clinging to their capsized vessel and a small blue cooler for nearly 20 hours , suffering exhaustion, jellyfish stings and hypothermia. A 79-year-old woman, the matriarch of the group, drowned, reported the Miami Herald, despite her son’s efforts to save her.

“When the will to live kicks in, human beings can do amazing things,” Coast Guard Petty Officer Nick Ameen said.

Four miles from shore, the women grabbed the girl, Fabiana, and the 2 ½-foot cooler. One of the men tried to rescue his mother, but she slipped through his grasp and disappeared into the water. The women said the boat turned over so quickly that there wasn’t time to grab life jackets for anyone except Fabiana, said Kendra Graves, a seaman with the Coast Guard.

Almost immediately, the two groups — the three women and the girl, and the three men — drifted apart.

Nearly a day later, as the weather improved Sunday, commercial fishing boat captain David Jensen headed out with customers to catch live bait. Off in the distance, he saw a large object floating in the water.

As he turned the boat to get closer look, he saw a man waving. At first, he said, he thought there was only one person holding on to the sunken boat, its bow protruding just a few feet out of the water. When he got closer, he realized there were three men.

“I tried to get them to swim to the boat, but they said they didn’t know how to swim,” Jensen said. “Then I had the mate throw them life jackets. One guy put on the life jacket and swam to the boat. The other two guys wouldn’t get off the boat.”

One of Jensen’s customers jumped in and swam over. He tied the boats together, and helped the other two men, one at a time, back to Jensen’s boat.

“They were exhausted. One guy overnight had lost his mother,” Jensen said. “He was very visibly upset, which was a little tough because he was the one who spoke the best English.”

Mother died in survivor’s arms
The man said his mother died in his arms minutes after the boat capsized.

“The man told authorities he tried to keep his mother afloat, but reached a point he could not hold her up any longer,” Robert Dube, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said. When rescued, he was inconsolable, reported The Miami Herald.

Zaida San Jurjo Gonzalez died. Her son, Jorge Alejo Gonzalez, survived along with his wife, Tomasa Torres, the elderly woman’s daughter, Elena G. Gonzalez, and her boyfriend, Juglar Riveras.

“They were very fortunate. They were lucky,” Jensen said, reported NBC’s Kerry Sanders. “They had to be very strong-willed is all I can say.”

Video: Boat capsizes, passengers fight to stay afloat (on this page)

Also rescued were Jorge and Elena Gonzalez’s uncle, Jose Miguel De Armas, his wife, Yunisleidy Lima Tejada, and their 4-year-old daughter, Fabiana De Armas Lima. All are from South Florida. The other survivors’ ages ranged from 30 to 62.

After the men were found shortly before 9 a.m., the fishermen called the Coast Guard, who found the women. The women were hanging on to the floating cooler and started waving and yelling for help when they saw the Coast Guard boat.

Capsized boat

AP

This Oct. 9 photo released by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission shows a capsized boat in the waters off the Florida Keys.

“It’s difficult to spot a person in the water,” Coast Guard senior chief Chuck Lindsey told NBC. “The fact they were on a cooler, and the cooler was higher on the water than they were, definitely played into it and helped us locate them.”

The survivors were taken to a port, where the 4-year-old girl “wouldn’t stop crying,” dock hand Wayne Crosby told the Orlando Sentinel. “She was spooked and dehydrated.”

Those rescued were taken to a hospital exhausted, swollen from jellyfish stings, and dehydrated, but with non-life-threatening injuries, reported NBC. All of the boaters were soon reunited, wrapped in blankets and treated for shock and hypothermia.

“They were all pretty happy to see each other,” Graves said.

Too many people, too few life vests?
A relative, Lynette Gonzalez, told NBC her family is not ready to talk about the ordeal, and are mourning the loss of the 79-year-old.

“My aunts are not speaking much about it,” she said through tears. “It’s my grandmother, their mom. You can tell they’re sad.”

It wasn’t clear if the boaters were aware of a small-craft advisory that had been posted early Saturday.

Florida law requires children 6 or under on a boat 26 feet or less to wear a life jacket if the boat is moving. If the craft is anchored or docked, they don’t have to wear one. It’s unclear how many life flotation devices were onboard.

“They shouldn’t have been out there,” said Florida Fish and Wildlife spokesman Robert Dube, whose agency is investigating. “It was nasty from the get-go.”

Overcrowding on the boat will be among factors investigated in the woman’s death, Dube told The Miami Herald.

Ecstasy joins marijuana for healing benefits according to the UK

LONDON, Oct. 1 (UPI) — The first clinical study of ecstasy in the United Kingdom is being planned to test the drug’s benefits for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Professor David Nutt, a psychopharmacologist, and Taunton-based psychiatrist Dr. Ben Sessa are two scientists hoping to recreate a successful trial conducted in the United States on the benefits of MDMA, The Guardian reported Friday.

“I feel quite strongly that many drugs with therapeutic potential have been denied to patients and researchers because of the drugs regulation. The drugs have been made illegal in a vain attempt to stop kids using them, but people haven’t thought about the negative consequences,” Nutt said.

The U.S. study involved 20 people who had previously been in therapy and on medication for an average of 19 years for PTSD; 12 participants were given MDMA before a therapy session, the rest were given placebo pills.

Eighty-three percent of the group given ecstasy showed significant improvement after two sessions compared with 25 percent of the placebo group.

“I expected it was going to be effective,” said Michael Mithoefer, the psychiatrist who ran the U.S. study. “I suppose we wouldn’t have done it otherwise. But I didn’t necessarily expect we’d find such statistical significance in that number [of people]. That was the icing on the cake.”

Nutt said PTSD is “an extraordinarily disabling condition and we don’t have any really effective treatments. In order to deal with trauma, you have to be able to re-engage with the memory and then deal with it. For many people, as soon as the memory comes into consciousness, so does the fear and disgust.”

Sessa said he wants to reproduce the trial in the United Kingdom but “with an added twist – lots of neuro-imaging,” adding MDMA “is not about dancing around nightclubs — it’s a really useful psychiatric drug.”

NEW YORK (AP) — Protests against Wall Street spread across the country Monday as demonstrators marched on Federal Reservebanks and camped out in parks from Los Angeles to Portland, Maine, in a show of anger over the wobbly economy and what they see as corporate greed.

In Manhattan, hundreds of protesters dressed as corporate zombies in white face paint lurched past the New York Stock Exchangeclutching fistfuls of fake money. In Chicago, demonstrators pounded drums in the city’s financial district. Others pitched tents or waved protest signs at passing cars in Boston, St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo.

The arrests of 700 protesters on the Brooklyn Bridge over the weekend galvanized a slice of discontented America, from college students worried about their job prospects to middle-age workers who have been recently laid off.

Some protesters likened themselves to the tea party movement — but with a liberal bent — or to the Arab Spring demonstrators who brought down their rulers in the Middle East.

“I’ve felt this way for a long time. I’ve really just kind of been waiting for a movement to come along that I thought would last and have some resonation within the community,” said Steven Harris, a laid-off truck driver in Kansas City.

Harris and about 20 other people were camped out in a park across the street from the Kansas City Federal Reserve building, their site strewn with sleeping bags, clothes and handmade signs. Some passing drivers honked in support.

The Occupy Wall Street protests started on Sept. 17 with a few dozen demonstrators who tried to pitch tents in front of the New York Stock Exchange. Since then, hundreds have set up camp in a park nearby and have become increasingly organized, lining up medical aid and legal help and printing their own newspaper, the Occupied Wall Street Journal.

About 100 demonstrators were arrested on Sept. 24 and some were pepper-sprayed. On Saturday police arrested 700 on charges of disorderly conduct and blocking a public street as they tried to march over the Brooklyn Bridge. Police said they took five more protesters into custody on Monday, though it was unclear whether they had been charged with any crime.

Wiljago Cook, of Oakland, Calif., who joined the New York protest on the first day, said she was shocked by the arrests.

“Exposing police brutality wasn’t even really on my agenda, but my eyes have been opened,” she said. She vowed to stay in New York “as long as it seems useful.”

City bus drivers sued the New York Police Department on Monday for commandeering their buses and making them drive to the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday to pick up detained protesters.

“We’re down with these protesters. We support the notion that rich folk are not paying their fair share,” said Transport Workers Union President John Samuelsen. “Our bus operators are not going to be pressed into service to arrest protesters anywhere.”

The city’s Law Department said the NYPD’s actions were proper.

On Monday, the zombies stayed on the sidewalks as they wound through Manhattan’s financial district chanting, “How to fix the deficit: End the war, tax the rich!” They lurched along with their arms in front of them. Some yelled, “I smell money!”

Reaction was mixed from passers-by.

Roland Klingman, who works in the financial industry and was wearing a suit as he walked through a raucous crowd of protesters, said he could sympathize with the anti-Wall Street message.

“I don’t think it’s directed personally at everyone who works down here,” Klingman said. “If they believe everyone down here contributes to policy decisions, it’s a serious misunderstanding.”

Another man in a suit yelled at the protesters, “Go back to work!” He declined to be interviewed.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire who made his fortune as a corporate executive, has said the demonstrators are making a mistake by targeting Wall Street.

“The protesters are protesting against people who make $40- or $50,000 a year and are struggling to make ends meet. That’s the bottom line. Those are the people who work on Wall Street or in the finance sector,” Bloomberg said in a radio interview Friday.

Some protesters planned to travel to other cities to organize similar events.

John Hildebrand, a protester in New York from Norman, Okla., hoped to mount a protest there after returning home Tuesday. Julie Levine, a protester in Los Angeles, planned to go to Washington on Thursday.

Websites and Facebook pages with names like Occupy Boston and Occupy Philadelphia have also sprung up to plan the demonstrations.

Hundreds of demonstrators marched from a tent city on a grassy plot in downtown Boston to the Statehouse to call for an end of corporate influence of government.

“Our beautiful system of American checks and balances has been thoroughly trashed by the influence of banks and big finance that have made it impossible for the people to speak,” said protester Marisa Engerstrom, of Somerville, Mass., a Harvard doctoral student.

The Boston demonstrators decorated their tents with hand-written signs reading, “Fight the rich, not their wars” and “Human need, not corporate greed.”

Some stood on the sidewalk holding up signs, engaging in debate with passers-by and waving at honking cars. One man yelled “Go home!” from his truck. Another man made an obscene gesture.

“We lean left, but there have been tea party people stopping by here who have said, ‘Hey, we like what you’re doing,'” said Jason Potteiger, a media coordinator for the Boston protesters.

In Chicago, protesters beat drums on the corner near the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. In Los Angeles, demonstrators hoping to get TV coverage gathered in front of the courthouse where Michael Jackson’s doctor is on trial on manslaughter charges.

Protesters in St. Louis stood on a street corner a few blocks from the shimmering Gateway Arch, carrying signs that read, “How Did The Cat Get So Fat?,” ”You’re a Pawn in Their Game” and “We Want The Sacks Of Gold Goldman Sachs Stole From Us.”

“Money talks, and it seems like money has all the power,” said Apollonia Childs. “I don’t want to see any homeless people on the streets, and I don’t want to see a veteran or elderly people struggle. We all should have our fair share. We all vote, pay taxes. Tax the rich.”

___

Verena Dobnik, Karen Matthews, Cristian Salazar and Jennifer Peltz in New York; Jim Suhr in St. Louis; David Sharp in Portland, Maine; Mark Pratt in Boston; Patrick Walters in Philadelphia; Bill Draper in Kansas City, Mo.; Carla K. Johnson in Chicago, and Christina Hoag and Robert Jablon in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

Faking that the police were outside proved to be the ultimate trick for clerk as the would be robber falls in ears deep.

PALM BAY, Fla., Sept. 26 (UPI) — Authorities in Florida say a drunk woman who allegedly tried to rob a convenience store with a toy gun was tricked by a clerk who faked the arrival of police.

Palm Bay police said clerks at a Kangaroo Express store on Emerson Drive told them Wilnelia Caraballo, 19, was wearing a clear plastic mask and carrying an “Uzi-type” toy gun when she walked into the store at 5:51 a.m. Sunday and went behind the counter, the Orlando Sentinel reported Monday.

Police said one clerk, who had been stocking a cooler at the time, spotted Caraballo behind the counter and shouted “Palm Bay police, get on the ground!”

Investigators said Caraballo, who was intoxicated, complied with the instructions and a second clerk held her until officers arrived.

Caraballo was charged with attempted armed robbery and taken to the Brevard County Jail.

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