Weather Forecasters Predict Continued Flooding Throughout Northern California and Oregon During Holiday Season

Dec 24, 14 Weather Forecasters Predict Continued Flooding Throughout Northern California and Oregon During Holiday Season

Posted by in Featured, Home Living

It’s been 50 years since Oregon and California residents experienced “The Flood of the Century,” as one NewsOK article calls the Christmas Flood of 1964. Where there are now cracked concrete slabs and broken bridges, there once stood vibrant communities that were destroyed within a matter of days by widespread flooding. Homes were filled with nearly 20 feet of water, and every single river in California and Oregon was overflowing with both melting snow and heavy rains. Now, half a century later, Oregon residents are faced with more flooding problems — albeit not as serious as the flood in 1964. The Western Coast of the U.S. was recently hit pretty hard with inclement weather from the Pineapple Express tropical storm, but the National Weather Service is now saying that another storm could hit the region again, just in time for Christmas. Flood warnings and winter storm warnings have already been issued throughout California and Oregon, and according to CNN forecasters, up to eight inches of rain on the coastlines of both states could trigger flash flooding and mudslides. Oregon weather authorities are particularly concerned, CNN notes, because of the widespread forest fires that ravaged the state’s infrastructure earlier in 2014 and burned down acres of vegetation. With fewer obstructions (both manmade and natural) to restrict and redirect excess water, it’s more likely that roads and buildings will be flooded — and that’s exactly what has started happening. The major concern at this point, however, is that many residents in Oregon and California will be unable to travel for the holidays. The region’s concrete retaining walls and dams, built by specialized engineers after the flood of 1964, have already begun leaking and cracking. Unlike modern homes in the area, which are often protected by high-quality epoxy and polyurethane sealants, the retaining walls that protect major highways throughout Oregon and Northern California seem to be less effective at preventing flooding. According to reports on December 21st, U.S. Highway 101 (running through Oregon) had already sunk down...

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New Jersey Man Indicted of Slew of Charges After Staging Car Accident

Dec 23, 14 New Jersey Man Indicted of Slew of Charges After Staging Car Accident

Posted by in Featured, Legal

Police in Linden, NJ have finally uncovered the culprit of an insurance fraud ring that took insurance companies for tens of thousands of dollars. The ringleader, 28-year-old Miguel Saldivar-Liberato, was arrested for a number of charges related to staging a car accident and manipulating witnesses. According to NJ.com, Saldivar-Liberato allegedly orchestrated a staged car accident in 2012 and tried to influence witnesses in a different fraud case while his uncle, Oliveras Liberato-Cohen, was being investigated. In early December, a grand jury charged Saldivar-Liberato with a slew of crimes, including insurance fraud, tampering with witnesses, conspiracy, theft by deception, and hindering prosecution. According to Clark-Garwood Patch, Saldivar-Liberato’s uncle has admitted to being behind a number of different staged car accidents in Northern New Jersey. Saldivar-Liberato staged his own car accident in January of 2012. He gathered four people to participate in the scheme and planned the staging of the accident. The investigation, called Operation Bang Up and conducted by the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor, looked at car accidents in Passaic County between the years 2009 and 2013. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are an estimated 5.5 million car accidents each year, which result in more than three million injuries. In the staged accident, the four participants were each instructed to fake injuries and report to certain medical care professionals for treatment. NJ.com reports that Saldivar-Liberato and his cronies ultimately frauded insurance companies for $55,468. Four of the co-conspirators, Hairo Matias, Ramon Mosquea, Anthony DeCastro, and Daniela Garcia, were arrested and charged with theft by deception, conspiracy, and insurance fraud. Liberato-Cohen, the uncle, was the original focus of Operation Bang Up. He admitted last month to orchestrating two similar accidents in 2010. When he announced Saldivar-Liberato’s indictment, acting State Attorney General John Hoffman said, “Many times doctors are treating patients that do not need care and insurers are fixing cars that should have never been damaged. The bottom line here is that all insurance premium payers are victims of this...

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Digital Printing Growing Rapidly, Poised to Overtake Offset Methods

Dec 17, 14 Digital Printing Growing Rapidly, Poised to Overtake Offset Methods

Posted by in Featured, Technology

Digital printing is growing at a rate of 25% annually and will overtake traditional offset printing within 40 years, a top official in the Indian Printing Packing and Allied Machinery Manufacturers Association told the Economic Times Dec. 15. Estimates differ on exactly how soon digital methods will make up the bulk of the printing market, but experts seem to agree that digital techniques will continue to grow, changing multiple print industries along with them. An estimate released by Smithers PIRA on Nov. 26 projects that digital printing will grow by 250% by 2024. So what, exactly, does digital printing entail? Digital printing refers to the fact that projects are printed directly from digital files, rather than being transferred onto a medium via custom plates and rubber blankets, as in offset printing. But as Gretchen A. Peck explained in a Dec. 8 article for Editor and Publisher, digital printing has come a long way from its inception, when commercial digital printers were little more than oversized office printers. “Today, digital printing technologies are diverse — from toner-based systems to the newest classes of large-format equipment and high-speed inkjet Web presses,” she writes. “The resolutions have been upped, the images sharpened. Digital print systems are quick now and can be paired with in-line or near-line finishing technologies for folding, cutting, stacking and sorting. They’re highly efficient.” Technical Capabilities The capabilities of digital printing, as alluded to by Peck, depend heavily on the type of machine being used. In general, however, digital printing allows for quick turnaround times and affordable printing at low minimum runs (a boon for small businesses). This is because the process doesn’t require the same amount of setup as an offset printing run. Digital printing also allows for customized applications such as specialized finishes on unusual papers or other printing surfaces. It used to be that image and color quality were generally lower on digitally printed projects, but advanced digital presses have caught up to their offset counterparts in most respects, experts say....

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LED Lights Take Center Stage in Citywide Energy Conservation Plans

Dec 13, 14 LED Lights Take Center Stage in Citywide Energy Conservation Plans

Posted by in Featured, Technology

As the issue of global warming has become more visible, largely in the form of melting icebergs and endangered species, millions of private businesses and homes across the world have taken matters into their own hands and have begun replacing traditional appliances with energy-saving counterparts — and every energy-wasting item, right down to traditional halogen light bulbs, is being phased out. It was only a matter of time before entire communities and cities began taking action, too. Considering that LED (light emitting diode) light bulbs save both electricity and money (compared to traditional non-digital billboards or signs), it’s no surprise that so many cities across the globe are actively switching to LED lights. In fact, research shows that switching to LED light bulbs can save about 30% in energy costs — and when an entire city replaces its streetlights and traffic lights with LED bulbs, the millions of dollars that it costs to replace the light bulbs is an investment that pays off quite quickly. As New York Times‘s Diane Cardwell recently reported, Copenhagen is becoming a global leader in this development. The city, which is well-known for having an usually large number of bicyclists and for being ultra-conscious of its environmental impact, is installing LED lights that conserve energy and also make streets safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. Ultimately, the city hopes to become the first carbon-neutral city in the world by 2025; replacing thousands of lighting fixtures with new LED bulbs, as well as installing streetlight sensors that will automatically dim the lights when cars and pedestrians pass by, is merely a primary step for Copenhagen. As Cardwell notes, Copenhagen isn’t alone in its endeavor. Estimates show that about 50 million old light bulbs are expected to be replaced with LED bulbs over the next three years, and at least half of these replacements will occur in European cities. Over in the Canadian city of Halton, for example, city officials are pushing to replace about 10,000 street light bulbs with LED bulbs...

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Man Reaches Goal of Running Marathons Barefoot in All 50 States

Dec 12, 14 Man Reaches Goal of Running Marathons Barefoot in All 50 States

Posted by in Featured, Lifestyle

As one runner crossed the finish line in last Sunday’s Tucson Marathon, he broke a world record: running marathons barefoot in all 50 states. “I have stepped in just about everything you can think of,” Eddie Vega told the local ABC affiliate on Dec. 7. “Dog poop half a dozen times, nails, screws and rocks.” But Vega runs barefoot for a reason. “There’s a saying that to really understand someone, you need to walk a mile in their shoes,” he said. “And there are over 300 million kids in the world who have no shoes.” Vega collects donations for the nonprofit Soles4Souls, which provides shoes and clothing to the needy. This year, donations for his runs have contributed 7,000 pairs of shoes to people in the Philippines, where he lived before emigrating to Guam and then the United States at age six. “It brings tears to my eyes when I think about it because as a toddler I grew up not having shoes,” Vega said. “Being there myself, I know what it’s like, and I want to make sure they don’t have to suffer those consequences because they can’t afford shoes.” Sunday’s run also marks Vega’s 89th marathon run barefoot. But he’s not stopping anytime soon: “My goal is to run 100 barefoot marathons,” he said. Barefoot Running Trends Not all runners who train or compete barefoot do so for charitable causes. The popularity of running barefoot or in minimalist shoes surged after Christopher McDougall’s bestselling book Born to Run was published in 2009. Sports One Source, a sports research firm, says that sales of these minimalist shoes reached a peak of $400 million in 2012. But popularity has dropped since then. This year, popular five-finger shoe maker Vibram settled a class action suit that alleged the company had made health claims about its shoes without evidence. Healthy barefoot running, doctors say, requires that a person be able to transition from a heel-strike to a forefoot-strike running style. In a 2011 study done by the University of Wisconsin...

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