Livingston Reporting

Consumers Energy Aims to Expand Solar Capacity

Landowners and communities looking to partner on creating solar power plants are encouraged to contact Consumers Energy, as the company plans to add 8,000 megawatts of solar energy to the power grid. According to their Clean Energy Plan, they plan to pull more than 60 percent of their electric capacity from renewable resources and be carbon neutral in 2040. 

Dennis Dobbs, Consumers Energy Vice President of Enterprise Project Management and Environmental Services, said, “We need to support Michigan, especially in rural and agricultural areas, and we want to work with landowners and local leaders interested in sitting solar power plants to deliver environmental and economic benefits for their communities. Harnessing the sun is Michigan’s moonshot – and we won’t achieve this historic goal without help.” 

Consumers’ timing is just right, as wind and solar energy accounted for 20 percent of electricity generation throughout the United States for the first time in history. Solar energy is also experiencing a boom worldwide, as wind and solar were the fastest-growing sources of energy for the 17th year in a row. Between 2015 and 2021, wind and solar energy doubled electricity production to 10 percent.

Dobbs said, “Our goal is to meet Michigan’s property owners and communities where they are to start a conversation about mutually beneficial solar solutions.” 

Consumers Energy is looking for roughly 500 to 900 acres to install solar panels and suggested three locations that would work well for what they need: publicly owned property, brownfield sites, or fields.

While the Clean Energy Plan focuses on improving the environment, it will undoubtedly create more jobs and provide an economic boost as well. According to experts, the plan has the ability to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 63 million tons. 

Are you interested in installing solar panels to power your home or business? Contact the professionals at State Electric Company today. 

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/

Tornado Myths and Safety

Tornadoes can wreak havoc on property and life. Depending on your location, it’s essential to stay abreast of the weather and analyze whether a natural disaster is coming your way. Preparing for tornadoes is imperative to prevent loss of life.

Despite their imminent danger, tornadoes come with many myths associated with them – read on to learn more.

FICTION: You can outdrive a tornado
FACT: Tornadoes can travel more than 60 mph, and their 200 mph winds can lift cars with ease. 

FICTION: The best place for shelter is in your basement’s southwest corner
FACT:
Tornadoes don’t know directions. Find a walled room without windows on the lowest level.

FICTION: Opening windows will depressurize the area
FACT:
Depressurizing doesn’t work like that. Instead, move to the lowest floor and focus on protecting yourself from flying debris. 

FICTION: Freeway overpasses are the safest place to be while driving if near a tornado
FACT:
Bridges and overpasses can collapse, create a wind tunnel, and let more debris hit your car. So, in fact, they increase your risk of danger. 

FICTION: Tornadoes cannot go through water, mountains, or big cities
FACT:
The 1974 “Super Outbreak” of tornadoes near Cincinnati had wind speeds varying between 260 and 318 mph. Also, tall buildings do not affect a tornado’s path. 

FICTION: The tornado itself is the most dangerous aspect of the natural disaster
FACT:
On the contrary. Wind speeds and secondary storms cause an incredible amount of flying debris. 

FICTION: Tornadoes only take place during the season
FACT:
 Though most tornadoes form in the spring, many instances show that off-season tornadoes are just as destructive.

FICTION: People can see and hear tornadoes before they occur
FACT:
Rain or clouds can obstruct your view, giving you less time to react. Check weather updates from the NOAA and know the difference between tornado watches and warnings. 

FICTION: Tornadoes never hit the same place twice
FACT:
These natural disasters don’t have a schedule or comprehension of history. Three separate tornadoes hit the same place in Arkansas in one day. Also, Cordell, Kansas, was hit by a tornado on May 20th for three years in a row. 

FICTION: If a tornado isn’t headed in your direction, you are safe
FACT:
Tornadoes can switch directions at any time, causing major unpredictability.

If you find yourself in a situation where tornadoes are near, protect your family and pets by doing the following: 

  • Analyze your home and look for areas that can be susceptible to damage
  • Maintain a clean landscape to avoid unnecessary flying objects
  • Fill your emergency kit with things such as: 
    • Battery-operated radio
    • Extra batteries
    • Medication
    • Important documents
  • Have a safety plan detailing instructions for where and how your family will seek shelter
  • Ensure your home insurance policy covers tornado damage
  • Monitor local weather updates

If you are stockpiling supplies, look no further for the best products at low prices; Wolf Survival Gear has it all. Check out our website today to learn more.

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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.

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

Milford Drinking Water Endangered by Underground Contamination

A treatment system is swiftly being constructed in the Village of Milford to counteract underground contamination seeping into the drinking water system from a former automotive supplier (Kelsey-Hayes) plant. The toxic plume is threatening the community of roughly 6,500 people by exposing them to vinyl chloride. 

According to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, an unsafe level of the dangerous chemical was detected in a monitoring well in May, located only 150 feet from Milford’s drinking water intake system. 

Though the toxin has not officially been detected in the public water supply, it “Represents an imminent and substantial endangerment to the public health, safety, welfare, or the environment,” according to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). 

Milford Village Manager Christian Wuerth said, “It’s not a good thing. When you get something like this and it hits close, it’s obviously a concern. I live here, my family’s here, I’ve got friends here. The concern is for everyone in the community and making sure we’ve got clean drinking water.” 

In 1989, the village found a chemical called cis-1,2- dichloroethane, a toxic organic compound, in water found below a vacant downtown parcel once owned by Kelsey-Hayes, according to Kevin Wojciechowski, project manager of EGLE’s remediation and redevelopment sector. 

Kelsey-Hayes closed its doors and demolished its manufacturing plant in 2001. In 2015, ZF Active Safety US acquired the business after taking over TRW Automotive. According to Wojciechowski, ZF is now responsible for the cleanup of the Milford property.

Tony Sapienza, a ZF spokesman, said, “ZF is fully committed to continuing our longstanding working relationship with EGLE and the Village of Milford to ensure that these ongoing activities at the site address impacts from the former industrial operations and that they meet the timelines specified in the administrative order.” 

Wojciechowski said, “This is something that EGLE and the village and others have been dealing with, unfortunately, for a long time. The vinyl chloride is something new that’s come about, but we’ve had a long issue out here of dealing with these issues in the village.”

Don’t let contaminated, toxic water affect you or your family. Contact Reynolds Water today to schedule a consultation and ensure your drinking and shower water is pure and pristine.

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/

World’s First Double Hand Transplant is Performed

The National Health Service, the publicly funded healthcare system throughout England, recently performed the world’s first double hand transplant to treat scleroderma. 

Steven Gallagher suffered from scleroderma, a severe condition that affects the skin and internal organs. For Gallagher, the disease forced his hands to close into a fist position after 13 years of initially presenting itself as a rash. 

Gallagher underwent a 12-hour surgery. Afterward, he said, “After the operation, I woke up and it was quite surreal because before it I had my hands and then when I woke up from the operation, I still had hands so in my head I never really lost any hands. These hands are amazing, everything has happened so quickly. From the moment I woke up from the operation I could move them. It has given me a new lease of life. I’m still finding things hard just now, but things are getting better every week with the physio and the occupational therapists, everything is just slowly getting better. The pain is the big thing. The pain before the operation was horrendous, I was on so much pain relief it was unbelievable, but now I’ve no pain at all.” 

At first, the double hand transplant was dismissed by Gallagher. Once the pain became intolerable, he decided to go ahead with the surgery despite the risks. 

“My hands started to close; it got to the point where it was basically two firsts, my hands were unusable, I couldn’t do a thing apart from lift things with two hands. I could not grab anything; it was a struggle to get dressed and things like that.” 

Professor Simon Kay of Leeds teaching hospitals’ NHS trust said the surgery was “A huge team effort” with over 30 healthcare employees. 

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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: www.cpsmi.com

Smart Kitchen Storage Design

If you are thinking of revamping your kitchen design, a few cosmetic updates might not be enough. A full-blown remodel might be your best bet…but don’t skimp on storage. Score a beautifully designed kitchen with plenty of room for storage with help from several tips below. 

Designate Cabinet Space
All the drawers and cabinets in your kitchen can probably be expanded or organized to suit your needs and tailored accordingly. For example, wide, shallow drawers can house dishcloths and utensils, while deep upper cabinets are ideal for pantry goods such as spices near the stove or oven. A quick and easy solution for lower cabinets is to install pullout systems from companies such as Rev-A-Shelf, for example.

No More Corners
Corner cupboards used as a pantry – or any type of storage – are less-than-ideal. Too often, staple pantry items can be lost in the shuffle, pushed back to the out-of-reach corner. Instead of installing a corner cabinet, try a combination of cabinets and drawers you can see – and reach. 

Expand Cabinets
Forget the bulkheads and extend your above-countertop cabinets to the ceiling. Though you might need a step ladder to reach some items, it’s a great way to store kitchen appliances or special plates you don’t use as often as others. 

Drawers & Cabinets
Cabinets are a winning solution for bulky items (as described above), but drawers are more helpful in maximizing organization for smaller items. Drawers allow you to see exactly what’s inside without clearing other objects to find the item you need. 

Spice It Up
Once you experience a built-in spice rack near the stove or oven, you won’t believe how you lived without it. Consider adding a Lazy Susan in a cupboard above the stove for easy rotation or add a specially made spice drawer (usually the length of a cabinet) that perfectly fits spice jars. These usually come equipped with rails to help ensure the seasonings stay in place.

If you’re in the market for a kitchen remodel, contact the experts at JFC Remodeling today.

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 or email us to learn more.

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

Four Ways to Improve Curb Appeal

Making a first impression with potential buyers can be a hit-or-miss scenario. In today’s seller’s market, it’s important to hook buyers…but how? The simplest answer: curb appeal. 

Your home’s appearance can have a huge impact on how much money a potential buyer is going to fork over. Houses with a poor exterior sell for seven percent less than those that are polished and attractive, according to a recent study

Business professor Sriram Villupram at the University of Texas at Arlington programmed computers to recognize features such as trimmed shrubs, manicured lawns, and inviting flowers on more than 400 Google Street View images. 

Villupuram said, “The value of curb appeal could be as high as 14 percent during cold residential markets. This study also brings to light the value of homeowners’ associations and their covenants, which tend to maintain a uniformly positive curb appeal for the neighborhood as a whole.” 

Read on for seven tips and tricks for making your home more appealing to potential buyers.

Landscape
A 2019 survey of real estate agents found that well-landscaped homes sell between one and 10 percent more than those with no landscaping. Potted plants, window boxes, hanging planters, trimmed and edged grass, raked leaves, pruned trees, etc. are all surefire ways to boost curb appeal. If you have a patio or deck, don’t leave it empty. Add a bench or some chairs to invite buyers. 

Polish
Pull out your (or rent a) powerwasher and start cleaning your driveway, porch, siding, etc. Use some elbow grease and wipe all windows, clean walkways, handrails, and more. Sparkling clean windows let more natural light into your home, making it much more appealing. 

Replace
Swap out old light fixtures for new ones, paint (or replace) your front door, and add bright, LED light bulbs throughout your home to make it appear more refined. If your home has drab, old house numbers, replace those with new ones as well. Don’t overlook your mailbox, either! 

Upgrade
If your appliances are even slightly out-of-date, try updating some – or all – to give your home a sleeker look. If your home is not energy-efficient, consider upgrading windows, smart thermostats, light bulbs, and home appliances. 

Are you looking for a mortgage? You’ve come to the right place. Contact us 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/

The Next Computer Screen Could Be in Contacts

Imagine living in the past, around 1900, wondering what the world would be like in 100 years. Technology, electronics, computers, and cell phones were far from being even remotely possible. 

Now, imagine the future: where you can see words, numbers, and other information flowing across your screen – except no one else can see that screen – it’s visible only to you since it’s in your eye.

Too far-fetched? On the contrary. Smart contact lenses will soon be a part of our reality; you’ll be able to do much more than you’ve ever imagined.

Steve Sinclair of Mojo Vision said, “Imagine…you’re a musician with your lyrics, or your chords, in front of your eyes. Or you’re an athlete, and you have your biometrics and your distance and other information that you need.” 

Mojo Vision is on the cutting edge of implementing smart contact lenses in humans. These “screens” within contacts will exhibit a heads-up display that will seemingly float in the user’s eyes. A tiny microLED display, smart sensors, and solid-state batteries will comprise the smart lenses. 

Sinclair said, “We’ve built what we call a feature-complete prototype that actually works and can be worn – we’re soon going to be testing that internally. Now comes the interesting part, where we start to make optimizations for performance and power and wear it for longer periods of time to prove that we can wear it all day.” 

At Columbia University, Rebecca Rojas, instructor of optometric science, says smart lenses could “include the ability to self-monitor and track intraocular pressure, or glucose. They can also provide extended-release drug-delivery options, which is beneficial in diagnosis and treatment plans. It’s exciting to see how far technology has come, and the potential it offers to improve other patients’ lives.” 

Mojo’s product testing has shown that smart lenses can be worn all day without a single battery recharge. Similar to our smartphones, actual battery life will depend on how often the smart lens is used.

Rojas said, “Any type of contact lens can pose a risk to eye health, if not properly cared for or not fitted properly. Just like any other medical device, we need to make sure the patients’ health is the priority, and whatever device used has benefits that outweigh the risk. I’m concerned about non-compliance, or poor lens hygiene and over-wear. These can lead to further complications like irritation, inflammation, infections, or risks to eye health.” 

Mojo’s smart lenses are expected to last for roughly a year, but he clarified that they could be programmed to detect whether they are being cleaned enough or need replacing. 

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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/

AI Tools Launched at Radiology Center for Breast Cancer 

US Radiology Specialists has partnered with Artificial Intelligence (AI) company Volpara Health to form superior mammography and breast cancer services at Charlotte Radiology in North Carolina. 

Novel analytics performed by Volpara Health’s AI will execute risk assessment, patient communication, reports, quality assurance, and breast density analytics. 

Lindsay Muns, group president of physician practices for US Radiology and CEO of Charlotte Radiology and Upstate Carolina Radiology, said, “With each of our 16 breast imaging centers now equipped with the latest Volpara software tool suite, Charlotte Radiology can better fulfill our most important mission: diagnosing breast cancer early and supporting our patients through their treatment. Implementing advanced technologies like these help us continuously improve both experiences and outcomes for our patients across the Carolinas.”

Amy Sobel, MD, section chief of Charlotte Radiology Breast Imaging, said, “Our partnership with Volpara allows us as radiologists to keep our focus where we need it: on each patient we see. With Volpara, we are assured of accurate and timely reporting, as well as high quality data. This streamlines our workflow and helps us deliver excellent patient care as a team.” 

Across the United States, AI is being implemented at an accelerated rate due to improving cancer care. 

At the Miami Cancer Institute, data from analytics company COTA were used to formulate insights to identify the BRCA gene. This research led to the implementation of total BRCA mutation testing for all newly diagnosed breast cancer. 

Now, a new partnership will focus on minimizing health disparities and gaps in cancer treatment, as preventative care was severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) reported in 2021 that the global pandemic resulted in drastic decreases in cancer screening tests. Without early detection and treatment, many patients suffered from larger growths or more advanced stages of cancer by the time it was eventually detected. 

The COVID-19 pandemic did bring some innovation to cancer screening, however. By using video conferencing tools, education about screening and personalized tests was made possible. 

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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 to learn more.

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

Aphantasia Could Be Diagnosed Based on Pupil Size

Pupil size fluctuates to let just the right amount of light into the eye. Vision is improved by contracting the brightness and dilating in the dark. New research shows that beyond light changes, pupil size might also change based on perceptual and cognitive circumstances. 

Mental imagery was shown to facilitate pupillary responses to light in this study published in the Association for Psychological Science (APS). 

Another study, published in the Journal of Vision (JoV), suggests the pupil constricts in response to a high-light luminance object in a photo, such as the sun. 

A condition known as aphantasia is diagnosed as the inability to produce mental images in the mind. Aphantasia can stem from birth or manifest later in life, despite being otherwise healthy. Researchers studied pupillary responses of people who experience aphantasia to better understand how the brain’s visual and ocular reflexes work.

The study, published in eLife, compared the pupillary responses of people with and without aphantasia. 

Professor Julia Simner leads the MULTISENSE lab at the University of Sussex and was not involved in the study. After analyzing the data, she said, “The fascinating finding reported here is that people imagining light or dark objects show the same type of pupillary action as we would normally find when the eyes are exposed to light and dark objects in the real world. This suggests that their imagination is treated [as] a simulation of the real world. [Meanwhile,] people with aphantasia — who imagine in a more abstract way because they cannot build a picture in their mind’s eye — don’t show the same effect.”

The study participants were asked to imagine 32 white or gray shapes while their pupil size was measured. Other experiments were conducted, as well as a questionnaire. Researchers concluded that people without aphantasia reacted to perceived and imagined luminous images, which affected their pupillary size. Those with aphantasia did not note a change in pupillary size when perceiving or imagining luminous images. 

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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 to learn more.

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

Five Ways to Influence Commercial Landscaping Clients

Unsightly or uncared for outdoor spaces, particularly commercial ones, can turn people away, especially potential clients. Commercial landscape clients often need a slight nudge to improve their surroundings. Once they see how impactful the benefits are, they will surely come calling. Here are five ways to help encourage those clients to invest in their lawn.

Deal With What Exists

Are there overgrown bushes covering windows and signage? Weeds in the parking lot? Dead trees or unsightly shrubs? This sends a message to customers – in the wrong way. Remind clients these issues can also be a danger to potential clients, as limbs can fall, break, or cause bodily harm. A bit of pruning, grass-cutting, and edging can really brighten up a space.

Maintenance

It’s important to keep up with landscaping, as it grows quickly, and time can slip away from us. Without a regular schedule, the work that’s been done is basically for naught. Explain to your landscaping client that fertilization, irrigation, mowing, trimming, edging, pruning, and more are all imperative for success.

Seasonal Adjustments

Every fall, leaves cover the ground, resulting in an ugly mess. Property owners can attempt cleanup themselves, but it seems like a never-ending task; one that can easily slip through the cracks when it comes second to running a business. Remind clients how time-consuming autumn can be. Likewise, the spring season often requires mulch application and weed control. Same idea, different time…both fall and spring can be overwhelming and time-consuming for potential landscape clients.

Brighten it Up

Pops of color throughout an outdoor space is ideal for drawing in new potential clients with eye-catching designs or flair. Landscape beds filled with the same drab plantings can be boring; instead, opt for easy-to-care-for perennials such as roses, hostas, hydrangeas, daylilies, etc. Annuals can also be added to containers or pots, increasing revenue throughout each season.

Landscape Enhancement

Once your clients have already made the above investments but are still looking for that “wow” factor, direct them to a landscape project. Many business owners are seeking ways to attract – and retain – employees. Suggest adding an outdoor area where their team members can enjoy breaks while boosting morale. Additionally, analyze their property and look for ways to enhance it, such as designating walking areas or paths, adding a fire pit or fountain, sprucing up the entryway, creating a landscape bed, etc.

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T&T Property Maintenance has been visualizing, creating, and maintaining commercial properties since 1997. We offer a vast number of services for our clients, including lawn and landscape maintenance, irrigation set up and repair, fertilization, weed and pest control, snow plowing and salting, and tree trimming and stump grinding. We are licensed with the Michigan Department of Agriculture, so you can rest assured we will do the job right – every time. We work with commercial businesses of any size and offer our services in seasonal or yearly packages, and a la carte. For over 20 years, we believe a satisfied customer is the only kind of customer. Call or e-mail us to learn more.

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