Livingston Reporting

Campfire Cooking Tips

With spring and summer quickly approaching, the campfire-cooking season is almost upon us. Before you get your marshmallows and chocolate bars out, try cooking a chunk of bread or potatoes first.

Here are some great food items you can easily cook over a campfire:

Bread, kebobs, hotdogs, corn-on-the-cob, muffins, fruits, vegetables, potatoes, bacon, and more.

Okay, you know what to cook, but just how do you cook it? Here are some tips.

  • Cut, slice, and dice as much as you can at home. Any food preparation that can be done ahead of time should be.
  • Make sure you are prepared with the right tools. Remember, this isn’t your standard grill. The open flames might char some foods more than others due to higher fat contents, so be ready with some extra-long tongs and other fireproof cooking materials.
  • Ensure your flame doesn’t fizzle out quickly. Build your campfire with enough wood to get the fire roaring and enough extra wood to keep it going once it starts to slow down.
  • Choose a safe area to light your flame without overhead wires, trees, branches, roof overhangs, etc.
  • Don’t cook on top of open flames. If using a wire or mesh grill on top of the campfire, try to keep your food away from direct flames, which could result in burnt casualties.
  • Flip your food periodically, ensuring a nice, even cooking distribution is taking place.
  • Avoid pouring olive (or any other type of) oil directly on your food while it’s over the campfire. Fire and oil can cause large sparks or higher flames.
  • Make sure you can extinguish your fire when you are done whether it’s with water, sand, dirt, or any other non-flammable material. Never leave a campfire to sizzle out on its own overnight.

For more survival tips, tricks, or to purchase gear, visit our website today.

Wolf Survival Gear is a hub for all of your prepping and survival needs. We are a trusted resource for concerned families, avid hunters, or serious preppers. Make us your one-stop shop and prepare now, before you’ll need it later. Visit our website or e-mail us today for more information. Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com

Eight Underlying Causes of Night Blindness

Night blindness, or the inability to see at night, is generally a symptom of some serious vision issues. Also known as nyctalopia, it’s important to get your eyes checked regularly to ensure everything is functioning properly. If you notice you can’t see as well in dim light while driving or adjusting from outdoors to indoors, you might have night blindness.

Symptoms of night blindness include reduced contrast sensitivity, difficulty seeing people, places, or things outdoors at night or in a dim-lit area, trouble driving at night, excessive squinting at night, or difficulty adjusting from darkness to light.

Here are some underlying factors that can cause night blindness:

  1. Vitamin A: this vital vitamin helps keep your cornea (thin layer in front of your eye) clear. It’s also an essential component of rhodopsin, a protein that lets you see in low-light conditions. Though uncommon in North America, deficiency of Vitamin A can induce night-blindness.
  2. Glaucoma: the actual eye disease itself, along with the medications used to treat it, can cause night blindness. Glaucoma is associated with pressure build-up in the eye that damages the optic nerve.
  3. Cataracts: a buildup of protein clouds the eye’s lens, which leads to impaired vision at night or in poor lighting conditions.
  4. Diabetic retinopathy: damage to the eyes’ blood vessels and nerves can result in vision loss, including challenges with nighttime sight.
  5. Myopia: also known as nearsightedness, makes distant objects appear blurry; patients describe a starburst effect around night lights.
  6. Keratoconus: this irregularly shaped cornea can result in blurry vision and sensitivity to light which can worsen at night.
  7. Usher Syndrome: a genetic condition that causes both hearing and vision loss, night blindness is also an effect.
  8. Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP): this progressive genetic eye disease can be associated with other conditions and lead to night blindness and peripheral vision loss.

After a proper diagnosis, treatments for night blindness can be mitigated by your eye care professional. There is no proven way to prevent night blindness.

If you are experiencing night blindness, we can help. Contact us and schedule an appointment today.

Rohr Eye & Laser Center offers the most advanced technology available to provide personalized and extraordinary care to our patients. Whether your goal is to maintain or improve your natural vision, we are here to help you. Call us at 877-579-0202 or visit https://www.michiganlasik.com/ to schedule an appointment today.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Another ‘Forever Chemical’ Called 1,4 Dioxane Found in Ann Arbor

Popular in the second half of the 20th century, 1,4-dioxane was used in pharmaceutical ingredients, filters, metal degreasers, and more. In toxicity studies, laboratory rodents given the chemical in their drinking water developed liver cancer. The United States National Toxicology Program classifies 1,4,-dioxane as a human carcinogen. The United States Environmental Protection Agency also deemed the synthetic chemical a likely carcinogen.

In the United States, production of 1,4-dioxane has diminished, though certain companies import it from Germany to supply customers. Even as the use of 1,4 dioxane declines, the chemical is not disappearing. Water monitoring data collected from 2010 to 2015 shows that more than seven million people in the United States in 27 different states had utility-supplied tap water with detectible levels of 1,4-dioxane according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

There is currently no federal limit on 1,4 dioxane in drinking water, and removing it is challenging. When released into the air, the chemical poses a cancer risk. However, it doesn’t float through the air often or evaporate easily. It dissolves completely in water, even at high concentrations, making it difficult to remove.

Traditional groundwater treatments filter water through granulated activated carbon to remove chlorine and other contaminants. This technology is not applicable to 1,4-dioxane. Many communities have water tainted with worrisome levels of 1,4-dioxane. After leaking out of landfills or as a result of unregulated industrial practices, 1,4-dioxane may infiltrate public aquifers.

In Ann Arbor, between 1966 and 1986, 1,4-dioxane was filtered into groundwater through lagoons that held wastewater from the manufacture of medical and industrial filtration equipment at Gelman Sciences, which has since closed. There is currently litigation regarding the underground plume of 1,4-dioxane headed for the Huron River, Ann Arbor’s main source of drinking water.

Cleaning products, laundry detergents, and shampoos still contain 1,4-dioxane as an unintentional impurity from surfactants, typically rinsed down the drain.

To learn more about the chemicals that might be in your water or gain solutions to these issues, contact the water experts at Reynolds Water today.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Osteoarthritis and Turmeric

One of the most common human ailments, arthritis, comes from the Greek words artho and itis, which translates to “joint inflammation.” Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, which affects millions of people worldwide. Also referred to as a degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis is caused by age, genetics, inflammation, stress, and overuse.

After years of research, there is no cure for osteoarthritis. Standard treatment involves NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) combined with topical medications, braces, weight loss, and exercise. Side-effects of NSAIDs are well-documented and include stomach ulcers, gastrointestinal issues, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Due to these facts, patients have begun turning to alternatives for relief. Turmeric is one popular option.

A well-known spice, turmeric is native to Asia and is related to ginger root. It is yellowish-orange and widely used in Indian and Asian cuisine. Turmeric has an extensive history in Chinese, Ayurvedic, and traditional Eastern medicine practices for many centuries. Curcumin, one of the active components in turmeric root, is thought to have the biggest role in health. It has many anti-inflammatory properties similar to NSAIDs. In excessive in vitro and in vivo studies, curcumin exhibits anticancer, antiviral, antiarthritic, anti-amyloid, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.

A majority of these trials included 1,000 mg per day of curcumin, with adverse effects uncommon and mild but including nausea, acid reflux, and diarrhea. No serious side effects are listed in any studies. Caution should be used in patients who are on strong blood thinners such as Warfarin since turmeric can act as a mild blood thinner.

A new study suggested that curcumin is effective for combatting osteoarthritis. Researchers studied 139 people who exhibited moderately severe knee osteoarthritis and were prescribed NSAIDs. For one month, the participants were given either the NSAID or curcumin. Both treatments helped: 94 percent of those taking curcumin and 97 percent of those taking NSAIDs reported at least 50 percent improvement. None of the study subjects taking curcumin needed treatment for stomach trouble, compared to 28 percent of those who needed treatment after taking NSAIDs. Those taking curcumin lost nearly two percent of their total body weight in only four weeks. 

While the study was one of many, it’s important to consult with your doctor. A hand surgeon can assist in offering treatment options and develop a comprehensive care approach for osteoarthritis in the hand.

Michigan Hand & Wrist was founded in 2001 with the mission to provide the highest-quality care for patients seeking surgical or non-surgical hand or upper extremity relief. Our goal is to exhaust all non-operative measures before discussing or moving on to surgical interventions. We offer on-site physical therapy from therapists committed to improving your quality of life. Our individualized treatments are modern, progressive, and exceptional. Contact us today at www.michiganhandandwrist.com or call 248-596-0412.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Are Custom Cabinets and Furnishings Worth the Cost?

The small details are often overlooked yet are vital for a room’s appearance. To express cohesion and vitality, fabric patterns, art pieces, or custom-built cabinets can transform an awkward area into the highlight of the room. Why is it important to pay attention to the little things rather than go with the big-box-store cookie-cutter ideas? Read on to discover why….

Craftmanship
Custom-designed furniture, cabinets, or upholstered panels of curated fabric are works of art. The craftspeople who create these fine pieces have honed their skills over many years. Since they aren’t “ready-to-ship” or “put-it-together-yourself” pieces, a higher price point is often included. Crafting these unique pieces can take some time and serious effort. Some semi-custom cabinets aren’t drastically different in price than fully custom. If you’re receiving a bespoke, functional, and aesthetically pleasing item that makes your space more unified and harmonious, what’s not to love?

Shop Small and Support Local Business
Custom-designed pieces are fabricated and installed by professionals who typically have been in the industry for years, if not generations. Most often, these people are located in your own backyard. Hiring professionals puts money into your local economy and keeps artisans employed.

It’s All in the Details
Looking at straight lines and right angles can be similar to viewing perfection. With an eye for detail, these made-to-order custom designers will not only deliver substance but style as well. Having perfectly aligned framing creates an instant wow factor.

Bring it into Balance
Though custom-designed pieces can be pricier, one strategy is to counter-balance the price point in other areas. Try to keep your budget in check by shelling out more money for permanent architectural features and finishes rather than on furniture. Custom-built cabinets, shelving, fireplaces, ceiling details, etc., will all increase the value of your home. An expensive couch that is moveable, easily replaceable, and easily stained will not. Custom pillows can give an inexpensive sofa an updated, luxe finish. If you counter-balance the monetary costs and shop smart, custom-built pieces will be an easier purchase.

To discuss remodeling your kitchen, bathroom, or another living area, contact the experts at JFC Remodeling today. We can bring your space to life!

JFC Remodeling is committed to providing top-quality home reconstruction services to clients throughout Livingston County. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, our licensed contractors create unique, individualized, and polished renovations. Whether the site requires an improvement, repair, or is a new construction, you can trust our experts to deliver remarkable results. Call: 810-923-1123, e-mail: jfcllc@comcast.net, or visit us at: www.jfcremodeling.com today.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

What to Do with Water-Damaged Electrical Equipment

April showers lead to May…electrical equipment damage? Springtime can bring damaging thunderstorms and flooding. In the typical rainy season throughout the United States, flooding is a byproduct. Determined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, flood zones are mapped out based on drainage characteristics, grading, and buildings in the area. Flood exposure depends on whether the building is within the 100-year flood plain. Flood maps are only reliable until the following construction season forces grading to change, which affects drainage. If a building is within an official flood plain, mortgage holders typically require the owner to possess flood insurance.

If electrical equipment has been submerged, it should immediately be de-energized from a safe location, preventing further damage to equipment. Flood water generally affects equipment in a building as it contains sediment such as plant residue, sticks, mud, dirt, hazardous materials, oil, and more. When floods strike, some sort of advanced warning is usually given, which might allocate some time to de-energize equipment and mitigate electrical hazards, including arcing and shock.

After water damage, a great resource to look to for suggestions is NEMA GD-1, “Evaluating Water-Damaged Electrical Equipment.” This document “Provides advice on the safe handling of electrical equipment that has been exposed to water. Outlines items that will require complete replacement or that can be reconditioned by a trained professional. Equipment covered includes electrical distribution equipment, motor circuits, power equipment, transformers, wire, cable and flexible cords, wiring devices, GFCIs and surge protectors, lighting fixtures and ballasts, motors and electronic products.”

The first question is whether the equipment is damaged and how much exposure it has had to water. If an entire room is flooded, a significant exposure issue will arise. If some fine water spray misted the electrical equipment, the damage probably would not be too substantial. Immediately wipe or clean the equipment to minimize corrosion. Equipment manufacturers can offer guidance and recommendations based on their products.

Need new equipment or suggestions for remediation? The experts at J&P Electrical are available to answer your questions. Contact us today!

J&P Electrical is a full-service electrical equipment company. At J&P, we supply contractors, end-users, and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned, and obsolete electrical equipment. We also purchase a wide range of electrical equipment such as bus plugs, ducts, panel switches, substations, and transformers. Call us at 877-844-5514 or visit us at https://www.jpelectricalcompany.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Locking vs Floating a Mortgage

The age-old question of “Lock or Float?” is typical in the mortgage industry. Mortgage brokers get asked this question frequently by first-time home buyers. The answer to this question will determine the mortgage rate borrowers ultimately receive.

Interest rates dictate monthly payments for up to 30 years (without refinancing), so this option should not be taken lightly. When you apply for a mortgage, you will be given the option to either lock or float your interest rate. Read on to discover some differences between the two.

Lock

  • Interest rate won’t change as long as you fund your loan prior to the expiration
  • Guaranteeing yourself a specific interest rate that will remain
  • Doesn’t obligate you to go through with the loan but promises a specific rate
  • Refinancing is best because the schedule for closing the loan depends on the lender
  • Doesn’t work as well for borrowers who are buying a home

Float

  • Rates might rise and fall until you finally lock in your interest
  • Ability to take advantage of a lower rate if it comes up, but you must be vigilant
  • Better choice for home buyers
  • Ensure you know exactly what the float rate will be based on

The mortgage experts at EB Mortgage can advise you on which move to make. Contact us to learn more.

EB Mortgage is a locally-owned mortgage company with experts in new home purchase, refinancing, and commercial loans. Our wholesale rates can’t be beaten. We offer more products, more options, and more solutions. Our “3C” Process is simple: complete our pre-approval request, consider options based on your requirements, and choose the offer that suits your needs best. Call us at 866-246-0516 or e-mail contact@ebwmtg.com today.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Why You Should Consider Using a Password Manager

Password managers are an essential tool in 2021. Most websites require a username and password to log in or use their services. The human brain cannot possibly keep up with dozens of different combinations. To sidestep this issue, some people use basic passwords like “123456789” or “thisismypassword” or even integrate pet, family member names, or birthdates. Using simple, generic, or easy-to-guess passwords can easily lead to identity theft.

That’s where password managers come in: they store, generate, and manage passwords for you. All you have to remember is a single master password for your account, which is used to encrypt the contents of your password vault. It is imperative that you remember this password (maybe jot it down somewhere safe) because it is likely unrecoverable if you forget it.

Additionally, you can set up two-factor authentication to secure your password manager account. The best password managers support authentication through hardware keys or authentication apps.

Ensure the password manager you are considering supports each device platform you use. Several browser extensions rely on a local desktop component, which might not support all operating systems. The best password managers have browser extensions that function independently wherever you install them.

Complete support for mobile platforms is usually required for most modern password managers. Smartphones are typically used to access secure sites and apps. A majority of password managers translate to mobile platforms without issues. However, automatically generated passwords such as “5^3iojs#0%1@” can be challenging to input on their tiny smartphone keyboard. Thankfully, password manager apps offer fingerprint or facial recognition to fill in app credentials automatically.

Most Internet browsers have an integrated toolbar menu of saved logins and other website credentials. When users log into a secure site, the browser offers to save their credentials. When they return to that same site, those credentials are automatically filled in. This includes first and last name, e-mail address, phone number, credit cards, passport numbers, etc.

When creating new or updating weak passwords, don’t strain your brain to develop something different and solid. Password managers can handle that; you don’t have to remember it, after all. Automatically generated passwords should be at least 20 characters long and include major character types (uppercase, lowercase, symbols, numbers).

Overall, password managers are almost necessary for 2021. With various features, options, and security measures, they are much easier to use and ensure you’ll never forget a password again.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; offer top-notch digital marketing services including enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid advertising; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

False Positive Cancer Diagnosis Can Result from COVID-19 Vaccine

Several peer-reviewed literature and radiology societies have been sounding alarms that COVID-19 vaccines can cause temporary inflammation and swelling of lymph nodes in some patients. While this is normal, according to experts, it can be a massive cause of concern for radiologists who assume it’s a sign of infection or cancer.

When lymph nodes are abnormal in size or consistency, lymphadenopathy (also called adenopathy) occurs. It commonly produces swollen or enlarged lymph nodes and is causing alarm on mammograms of recently vaccinated women. Patients who undergo CT scans can also exhibit these swollen lymph nodes.

The swollen lymph nodes that result from being vaccinated for COVID-19 are signs that the body’s immune system is gearing up in response to the vaccine. Experts say the inflammatory response will eventually go away. The same reactions have been seen in other vaccines such as human papillomavirus and influenza.

The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) journal Radiology: Imaging Cancer published an editorial on April 9 that addresses the concerns and diagnostic dilemma. The authors point out that widespread patient education is necessary. Side-effects such as swelling should be emphasized and normalized as an immune response initiated by the vaccine.

“We write this editorial as a public service message at a time where other countries are starting mass vaccinations programs with the goal of preventing unnecessary nodal biopsies and alleviating patient concern. Imaging studies, clinicians, and news media outlets should spread awareness to educate the public regarding this side-effect to minimize patient anxiety,” the report states.

Recommendations are in place which suggest women should be asked if they have received a COVID-19 vaccine prior to imaging exams. The Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) swiftly issued recommendations for how long to wait before imaging women who receive the vaccine.

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Tips for Placing Your First Prepper Food Order

With such a wide range of prepper food available nowadays, your first order should be customizable to you and your family. To begin your prepper food journey, stock up on food that is versatile, nutritious, delicious, and not too foreign to your family.

Produce
What are your go-to fruits and veggies that you buy most at the grocery store? Since you know they won’t go to waste, purchase frozen and/or freeze-dried produce items, using recipes that incorporate them. Best of all, the cleaning, chopping, and slicing are already done for you!

Recipes
What ingredients are in your favorite recipes? Stock up on those ingredients whenever possible and keep an open mind when it comes to using the same ingredients in other recipes. Versatility is a plus!

Staples
What are your most commonly used staples? We’re talking sugar, baking powder, flour, herbs, condiments, etc. Remember, these items are typically packaged for long-term storage, which is a huge bonus. Rice, pasta, grains, and beans are versatile on their own but are also handy for soups or casseroles. They are also packed with nutrition and fiber.

Snacks
Smaller containers might seem counter-intuitive, but they can be ideal for kids and adults who eat smaller meals. Snack-sized items are also perfect for emergency kits. Granola bars, oatmeal, and the like all fall under this category.

Water
All you have to do is add water to freeze-dried meals – so make sure you have some! Tap water might not work in emergencies, so ensure you have potable water available to re-hydrate the freeze-dried food you purchase.

To start your journey in the emergency-food-prepping world, check out Wolf Survival Gear today. We offer a variety of freeze-dried and prepared foods to stock your pantry in the years to come.

Wolf Survival Gear is a hub for all of your prepping and survival needs. We are a trusted resource for concerned families, avid hunters, or serious preppers. Make us your one-stop shop and prepare now, before you’ll need it later. Visit our website or e-mail us today for more information.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.