Livingston Reporting

Emergency Food Market Expected to Gain Revenue

According to a report released by Technavio, ready-to-eat meals (specifically focused on emergencies) are expected to grow by $2.88 billion from 2021 to 2026 at a rate of 7.23 percent. 

The report segments the emergency food market by product type, distribution channel, and geography. Some product types include ready-to-eat meals, non-perishable pasteurized milk, infant food, dried food, and more. How these product types perform will be explored worldwide, both online and offline. 

The largest contributor to the skyrocketing marketing growth is the ready-to-eat sector, powered by pre-cooked, pre-cleaned, and packaged food for consumers. The increasing number of working women, the growing Millennial community, quick consumption habits, and hectic work schedules all contribute to the expanding segment.

Maximum growth will be especially seen throughout Northern America, which is anticipated to contribute up to 31 percent of the global market growth, thanks to the United States. 

Vendors are strategically analyzing the difference between organic and inorganic strategies, as the market is fragmented. 

The emergency food market is experiencing stagnation as a result of the growth of the organized retail sector. As consumers can effortlessly choose from a wide range of ready-to-eat products, an increase in the number of retailers is predicted to raise market growth during the forecast period. 

Though the emergency food market is expected to grow significantly, there is at least one challenge: the requirement to adhere to strict guidelines and regulations. Several food safety organizations throughout the world, such as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), set regulations that can be laborious for the emergency food market. Overcoming these hurdles and abiding by the law is essential, as consumers are swiftly made aware of incompliance or deviation. 

These factors and more will affect the growth of the ready-to-eat market during the forecast period. 

Are you looking for emergency food for you and your family? Check out our wide selection of delicious freeze-dried and ready-to-eat meals today. 

Wolf Survival Gear is a hub for your prepping and survival needs. We are your trusted resource for concerned families, avid hunters, or serious preppers. Make us your one-stop-shop and prepare now, before you need it later. 

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: https://www.cpsmi.com/ 

How Proper Portable Generator Safety Can Save Your Life

Portable generators can be lifesaving machines, but they can also be lethal. Post-storm fatalities are often attributed to carbon monoxide poisoning from the improper use of generators. People who suffer from power outages seek out portable generators to supplement their power usage. However, generators can quickly produce lethal amounts of carbon monoxide (an odorless and colorless gas.)

Never use a generator indoors; be aware that carbon monoxide poisoning can mimic flu-like symptoms before knocking a person unconscious (and eventually killing them) in minutes. 

Alexander Hoehn-Saric, chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said, “As people are focused upon rebuilding their lives, they’re not necessarily focused on the dangers of something like a generator helping them out by turning power back on.”

After Hurricane Irma tore through Florida in 2017, over a dozen post-storm deaths were blamed on generators. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one of the most common causes of death after Hurricane Irma was power outages. After 6.7 million people were without power, 27 power outage-related deaths were recorded, including 16 from carbon monoxide poisoning. 

The CPSC recently re-published its generator safety guidelines, which outline how one portable generator can produce the same amount of carbon monoxide as hundreds of cars. 

Every year throughout the United States, about 85 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning kicked out from a portable generator. Even if windows are open, adequate airflow cannot prevent lethal levels of carbon monoxide from building up inside. All generators should be situated at least 20 feet from the home, windows, or garage, and the exhaust must be pointed away from the home. 

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include slight headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, weakness, and shortness of breath. Generators should only be operated with battery-operated carbon monoxide alarms, which will automatically detect carbon monoxide levels and alert when necessary. 

One of the best ways to ensure you own a safe generator is to invest in a permanent, whole-house version that can automatically make the switch to supply power when needed. Portable generators are often overlooked in terms of maintenance and can be dangerous if not used properly. Whole-home generators are a safer option and are installed by professionals. 

At State Electric Company, our trained technicians are qualified to install whole-home generators properly. Contact us today to learn more. 

State Electric Company is a leader in the electrification of the nation. Our highly educated and experienced team of professionals uses industry-leading software technology and has partnered with manufacturers to deliver affordable solutions for all your electrical needs. State Electric Co. is also an exclusive distributor of Enel X JuiceBox EV chargers for residential and commercial use. We are fully licensed, insured, and bonded to install charging stations for homes, offices, hotels, and more. With our extensive knowledge of renewable energy, our team provides customers – large or small – with efficient electrical solutions. Contact us today to learn how we can safely and affordably meet your energy needs. 

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: https://www.cpsmi.com/

Small Rural School Districts and Disadvantaged Communities Face Unfair Levies and School Bonds

The Wahkiakum school district in southwest Washington argues that the levying system leaves rural school children with crumbling, outdated buildings. The small community of about 2,000 residents has appealed to the states Supreme Court and is waiting for the attorney general’s office to respond.

In 2012, the state Supreme Court favored the McLeary case, in which Washington state was found to be underfunding K-12 schools. After years of litigation, the state’s highest court ruled that Washington needed to pay nearly $2 billion to fund teacher salaries rather than rely on local levies.

Today, the same argument is applied to school bonds. School bonds provide funding for building new schools, attaining property, and renovating and repairing facilities and systems within buildings. In contrast, levy dollars pay for educational programs and day-to-day operations such as teachers, support staff, classroom supplies, technology, extracurricular activities, transportation, utilities, and insurance. 

Washington School Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chris Reykdal, thinks the way schools are funded needs to change. Bigger, wealthier school districts usually don’t have difficulty in passing a bond vote as school construction bonds in property-rich communities cost minimally on every $1,000 of assessed property value for each taxpayer. However, in rural areas with less valuable property, bonds are much more expensive for individual households, making them harder to pass.

Reykdal further explains that without bond approval, districts can’t qualify for state match funding. Like most other states throughout the U.S., school districts are initially funded by property taxes based on the local tax base. Constituents vote on the applied tax rate, and the money ultimately comes in levies. That money is then supplemented by state aid.

Experts said that property tax has historically been used for school budgets because they are stable and less likely to fluctuate with the economy, unlike other revenue, like income and sales taxes. Additionally, voters usually like holding local control over neighborhood institutions.

Washington is not the only state suffering from an unbalanced levying and construction bonding system. While every state varies within its specific guidelines for school funding, more than half of states have per-pupil funding levels below the national average. Sometimes, even within the same district, students face a disparity.

Luckily, a lot of attention is being drawn to closing America’s education disparity gaps. The Century Foundation (TCF) has created a report that estimates what is needed to provide each child in America the opportunity to succeed.

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At Construction Bonding Specialists, we work with new and experienced contractors to find the most satisfactory bond solutions. As a distinct surety-bond-only agency with decades of bonding experience, we work to discover surety solutions for all types of cases ranging from ordinary to challenging. Call us at 248-349-6227 to learn more.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: https://www.cpsmi.com/

Holiday Home Safety Tips

It’s a jolly time of year for most, filled with upbeat spirits, laughter, and celebrations. While we endure the hustle and bustle of shopping, wrapping gifts, cooking, baking, and preparing for the upcoming festivities, it’s important not to overlook safety. Read on to learn some common safety hazards that are often overlooked.    

  • Never leave cooking unattended. The most common cause of cooking fires is from the stovetop or fryer. Be sure to observe small children in the kitchen and remove any clutter near the cooktop that may ignite other flames. Clean built-up grease from the cooking area, including the hood vents.
  • Don’t leave lit candles unattended. December is the peak month for candle fires, and holiday decorations like festive greenery and wrapped presents increase the combustible hazards. Be sure to use sturdy candle holders on clear and steady surfaces. Do not allow candles to burn all the way down, especially if they are within a glass jar, as they can explode when the glass gets too hot.
  • Prepare for bad weather. Keep salt and snow shovels nearby to clear walkways as needed. Ensure that gutters are free of debris and ice dams to prevent water damage. If you own a generator, ensure it is in good working order and NEVER use it indoors or near an open window, as carbon monoxide fumes are incredibly toxic. Running generators should be at least 20 feet from the home, windows, or garage, and the exhaust must be pointed away from the home. 
  • Keep your chimney clean. If you have a fireplace or a wood-burning stove, it’s imperative to clean the chimney at least once a year. Creosote is the buildup of residue in chimneys and contributes to 25% of heating-related fires. Be sure to soak hot ashes and store them in a metal container until there are no embers. Also, keep objects at least three feet away from heat sources, including space heaters, which cause 43% of home heating fires. 
  • Don’t overload your electrical wires. Be sure to follow instructions on lighting equipment and your surge protector. Use clips, not nails, to secure lights and prevent damage to cords that can spark fires. Christmas tree fires often occur due to inaccurate electrical distribution. Keep them watered, away from heat sources, and get rid of them shortly after the season, as dry trees become extremely flammable.
  • Check your smoke detectors at least once per month, and replace the batteries every six months, even if they still hold a charge. The detector itself should be replaced every ten years. An easy reminder is during the fallback and spring-forward time changes, or at the end of the year and mid-year.

Happy Holidays from JFC Remodeling! Stay safe and call us if you’re in the market for some home remodeling.

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 improvement, repair, or is a new construction, you can trust our experts to deliver remarkable results. Call or email us to learn more.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: https://www.cpsmi.com/

Six Ways to Clean Wastewater

Wastewater treatment is an imperative part of our lives; however, many people do not fully comprehend the process. There are several different options for creating clean water, which we will delve into in this article. 

Advanced Oxidation Treatment
This environmentally friendly chemical process utilizes oxygen and some hydrogen peroxide to purify water by removing organic compounds. High-quality water can be produced for cooling towers, irrigation, domestic, or industrial processes with advanced oxidation. This low-tech treatment option is fairly economical and does not produce air pollution as a byproduct. 

Dewatering With Pumps
If the wastewater is too polluted to be treated by other means, dewatering can come into play. Special “Dae Pumps” are specifically made for this and can separate the water from waste in lieu of filters. Dewatering can be implemented through a deep well, dug well, or farm well. Small communities typically benefit the most from this cost-effective option. 

Biological Treatment
Using living organisms, pollutants can be removed from wastewater with this cost-effective and low-energy option. There are various types of biological treatment, so it is important to select the right one for the community’s needs. Anaerobic and aerobic digestion is typically combined with biological treatments, sometimes requiring high surveillance and maintenance.  

Membrane Filtration
This type of water treatment is commonly found in areas that do not have an allocated wastewater treatment plant. This process filters the water with a semipermeable membrane (made of plastic or fabric) before it runs to the sewer. Since only a specific size of particles can get through, the membrane is filled with chemicals that kill pathogens, making the water potable. 

Gravity-Based Treatment
Sustainable and reasonably priced, the gravity-based treatment uses pipes to transfer wastewater into a settling tank. Once the sludge has fallen to the bottom, the clean water is removed first, followed by the waste, which is then sent to a sludge digestion tank. There, a bacterial treatment is implemented to digest the bacteria. 

Chemical Precipitation
Solids in wastewater are effortlessly broken down in this treatment process, also known as coagulation or flocculation. The chemicals used are typically sodium or potassium hydroxide and sodium chloride. They react with wastewater and form solids that are eventually separated from the purified water. 

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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 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: https://www.cpsmi.com/

Topical Painkillers Inadequate for Hand and Wrist Osteoarthritis

According to researchers, most patients with hand and wrist osteoarthritis do not see a long-term improvement in pain after using topical analgesics. 

Yuchen Liu, BS, said, “Hand and wrist osteoarthritis (OA) is a highly prevalent upper extremity condition, with every one in two women and one in four men experiencing symptoms by the age of 85 years old, which strongly limits their activities of daily living. Oral analgesics were commonly prescribed to manage their symptoms; however, long-term use was associated with adverse side effects.” 

Liu and other researchers sent a 26-questionnaire to 100 adults diagnosed with hand or wrist OA. VAS pain scores, and patient-reported changes in stiffness, swelling, and overall condition improvement, were measured. 

Fifty-one (63.75 percent) out of eighty patients who completed the survey said they used topical analgesics to relieve pain. However, those who used them incurred higher pain scores (an average of 18 points higher) than those who did not use topical analgesics. Also, their VAS pain scores immediately improved by an average of 24.8 points after the analgesia was used. 

Some patients who used topical analgesics (63.46 percent) described mild- to zero improvements, while 39.6 percent revealed no improvement in stiffness, and 41.8 percent reported no improvement in the swelling. 

Topical analgesics can be effective in some instances, but discrepancies suggest this treatment is ineffective as a long-term therapy option for hand and wrist OA. 

If you are suffering from hand and wrist pain, contact the experts at MI Hand & Wrist to learn how we can help reduce your pain today. 

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. Call us at 248-596-0412 for further questions. 

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: https://www.cpsmi.com/ 

What is a Reverse Mortgage

Reverse mortgages are specially designed for homeowners 62, and older looking to supplement their income, cover healthcare expenses, etc., by converting part of their home equity into cash. The homeowner retains the title and gets an advance on some of the home equity in lieu of paying monthly mortgage payments. While this may be enticing for some, it’s important to know that a reverse mortgage will eventually result in fewer assets for you and your family. Read on to learn about the different types of reverse mortgages, how to qualify, get the best deal, and more. 

While regular mortgages require homeowners to pay the lender monthly, reverse mortgages require the lender to pay the homeowner. Reverse mortgages allocate part of the homeowner’s equity and convert it to payments, tax-free. As long as the homeowner lives in the same home, they do not have to pay the money back unless they sell their home, move out, or pass away.

The three different types of reverse mortgages are: 

Single-Purpose: Offered by some state and local government agencies and nonprofits. They are the least expensive options and can only be used for home repairs, improvements, or property taxes. 

Proprietary Reverse Mortgages: Private loans backed by developmental companies; these are tailored towards higher-valued homes.

Federally Insured Reverse Mortgages: Also known as Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs), these are backed by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Many factors are associated with HECMs, such as age, home appraisal value, interest rates, and more.

Lenders for reverse mortgages usually charge a service fee, closing fees, along with mortgage insurance premiums. As the homeowner acquires money, interest is added each month. So over time, the amount of money the homeowner owes rises with interest. Reverse mortgages often come with variable rates, which are associated with a financial index and fluctuate based on the market. Interest on reverse mortgages is not tax-deductible until the loan is paid off. With a reverse mortgage, the homeowner is responsible for property taxes, insurance, utilities, fuel, maintenance, and more. 

Reverse mortgages can be helpful for some people but might not be the best option for others. It’s important to compare fees, costs, understand total costs, loan repayment, and more. 

Are you interested in applying for a Reversed Loan? Contact the loan experts at EB Mortgage today. 

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 or e-mail us today!  

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: https://www.cpsmi.com/ 

Web Browsers Spellcheck Can Unveil Passwords

Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge are two Internet browsers that use extended spellcheck features to transmit form data, including Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and passwords to their parent companies. 

While this feature is intended to assist the browser user, it does raise privacy concerns and calls the efficacy of password protection to question.  

“Spell-jacking” is the term used to describe the process of a browser sending PII from spellcheck to Google, Microsoft, and the like. Transmitted PII form data can include Social Security Numbers, Social Insurance Numbers, personal names, addresses, e-mails, dates of birth, contact information, bank information, and so much more. 

Josh Summit, co-founder and CTO of JavaScript security firm otto-js, unearthed this issue while testing script behaviors for his company. When Google Chrome Enhanced Spellcheck or Microsoft Edge Editor is enabled, nearly everything you type in form fields is instantaneously transmitted to Google and Microsoft. Clicking on “show password” can spell-jack your data. 

Summit stated, “Some of the largest websites in the world have exposure to sending Google and Microsoft sensitive user PII, including username, e-mail, and passwords, when users are logging in or filling out forms. An even more significant concern for companies is the exposure this presents to the company’s enterprise credentials to internal assets like databases and cloud infrastructure.” 

Though the transmission of form fields is securely sent through HTTPS, what happens to the user data after it reaches Google’s server, for example, is not exactly clear. Some companies have mitigated the issue by adding ‘spellcheck=false’ to all input fields; however, this could cause problems for users who can no longer use the spellcheck feature. 

Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge users can turn off spellcheck (or remove Edge’s Editor add-on) until the companies revise their code to exclude passwords and other PII from sensitive fields. 

Do you need assistance with adding or removing spellcheck from your browser? Has your data already been compromised? Contact the computer experts at CPS today – we can assist!  

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 team at Creative Programs & Systems: https://www.cpsmi.com/

Winter Weather Outlook

For the third year in a row, La Niña will return to the United States, driving warmer temperatures in the Southwest, the Gulf Coast, and the entire Eastern Seaboard, according to the Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. Beginning in December 2022 and continuing until roughly February 2023, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted dry conditions along the South and wet weather for the Ohio Valley, Great Lakes, Northern Rockies, and the Pacific Northwest. 

Michael Farrar, Ph.D., director of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction said, “The hardworking forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center produce timely and accurate seasonal outlooks and short-term forecasts year-round. NOAA’s new supercomputers are enabling us to develop even better, more detailed forecast capabilities, which we will be rolling out in the coming years.” 

In collaboration with the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), NOAA forecasters constantly observe the drought conditions that have plagued the Western United States since late 2020. They also track the Central United States as low-water conditions are afflicting the area. 

“Drought conditions are now present across approximately 59 percent of the country, but parts of the Western U.S. and Southern Great Plains will continue to be the hardest hit this winter. With the La Niña climate pattern still in place, drought conditions may also expand to the Gulf Coast,” said Jon Gottschalck, chief of the Operational Prediction Branch in NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. 

The greatest warmer-than-average weather will occur in Western Alaska, the Central Great Basin, the Southwest, the Southeast, the Atlantic Coast, and the Southern Plains. Below-normal temperatures will stretch from the Pacific Northwest eastward to the Western Great Lakes and the Alaskan Panhandle. 

In terms of precipitation, Western Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, the Northern Rockies, the Great Lakes, and the Ohio Valley should brace themselves for wetter-than-average conditions. Parts of California, the Southwest, Southern Rockies, Southern Plains, the Golf Coast, and the Southeast will see drier-than-average precipitation.

Widespread drought will affect the West, Great Basin, central-to-southern Great Plains, the middle and lower Mississippi Valley, South-central, and the Southeastern United States. Moreover, the already-established drought conditions are expected to improve across the Northwestern United States in the coming months. 

Do you have all the cold-weather gear you need for winter? Are you prepared? Check out our supplies, available online and get what you need today…before you’ll need it tomorrow. 

Wolf Survival Gear is a hub for your prepping and survival needs. We are your 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. 

GM Energy Set to Compete with Tesla Powerwall

General Motors (GM) has sparked its own energy storage business called GM Energy, which will utilize its Ultium battery packs to rival the Tesla Powerwall and Powerpack products. GM Energy will power homes, charge cars, and convert energy back to the power grid if necessary. 

GM Energy will be split into three divisions: Ultium Home, Ultium Commercial, and Ultium Charge 360, specifically designed for charging the already-existing fleet of electric vehicles (EVs) made by GM. Using a special software application, Ultium Charge 360 will allow drivers to search for public chargers in the area.  

Tesla’s Powerwall and Powerpack devices are built with similar batteries used to power their cars. GM Energy will have a similar concept; the batteries will be put into large, immobilized packs to store energy. During power outages, the packs will provide power to the property and can even recycle power back into the grid, which usually results in a credit on a power bill. Hydrogen fuel cells will be a part of the new GM Energy lineup, including solar energy products

GM Energy aims to provide software by allowing plugged-in EVs to provide electricity to a home during short-lived power outages. California’s Pacific Gas and Electric will collaborate with GM Energy to test the concept starting in 2023. The Chevrolet Silverado EV pickup is slated to pioneer the bi-directional charging concept. 

The new GM subsidiary will join forces with several major power companies, such as SunPower, to install solar panels on customers’ homes. According to GM, the overall goal of the subsidiary is to mitigate concerns regarding possible strains on the power grid caused by EVs. Allowing EVs to charge using previously saved power would reduce concerns over short-term power loss.   

Moreover, software applications could help EV owners coordinate their charging activity based on usage, peak times, and demand spikes. 

Are you looking for ways to power your home with green energy? Look no further – the experts at State Electric Company can help you reduce your overall dependency on the power grid. Contact us today to learn more about our offerings. 

State Electric Company is a leader in the electrification of the nation. Our highly educated and experienced team of professionals uses industry-leading software technology and has partnered with manufacturers to deliver affordable solutions for all your electrical needs. State Electric Co. is also an exclusive distributor for Enel X JuiceBox EV chargers for residential and commercial use. We are fully licensed, insured, and bonded to install charging stations for homes, offices, hotels, and more. With our extensive knowledge in renewable energy, our team provides customers – large or small – with efficient electrical solutions. Contact us today to learn how we can safely and affordably meet your energy needs. 

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: https://www.cpsmi.com/