Up slightly over last year……
Up slightly over last year……
COLUMBUS, Ohio—If you were thinking this winter has been fairly mild so far, it has been, but gear up.
Frigid temperatures could be gripping Ohio, the Midwest, and the Northeast around the last week of January.
The polar vortex, a wide area of swirling cold air near the North Pole, has weakened and split in two, which happens from time to time when air in the stratosphere above it warms. With the split, forecasts indicate one of the portions of the vortex may drift south toward Canada and the northern United States.
These weakened polar vortex conditions often drop temperatures well below normal (think single digits and sub-zero) and may lead to more snow, said Aaron Wilson, climate specialist with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).
“We’re watching this evolve,” Wilson said. “It’s eye-catching from a meteorologist’s standpoint. It can obviously cause some storms and lead to very cold conditions.”
And it’s possible snow could come with those cold temperatures if the conditions are right, he said.
That’s because this winter’s weather is also being influenced by La Niña, meaning the temperature of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Central and South America is colder than average. Those conditions can influence weather around the world.
For Ohio, a La Niña year typically means a wetter and warmer-than-average winter and spring.
Whether that additional precipitation will mean more snow or more rain, is uncertain, Wilson said.
“We’ve experienced La Niña years where we got a lot of snow and some in which we didn’t.”
But the trend has been for a bit more snowfall than average during La Niña conditions.
“We’re not talking about a lot more snow—more like 1 to 3 inches above average for the season,” he said.
Central Ohio typically gets 25–30 inches of snow, on average, a year, with southern Ohio getting less and northern Ohio much more, with about 60–70 inches of snow near Lake Erie.
The typically coldest seven-day period of winter in Ohio has yet to come: Jan. 18–25.
Flu shots help reduce serious respiratory illness…..
(BPT) – As our country grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, the threat of the pandemic will become more complicated by increasing cases of the flu, making more people ill and putting further strain on the U.S. health care system.
Pediatric epidemiologist and infectious disease specialist Dr. Emily Godbout from Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU offers five crucial reasons everyone should get a flu shot this year.
1. Flu shots help reduce serious respiratory illness
While some people who get vaccinated may still contract influenza, the flu shot typically prevents about 70 of 100 people who receive it from developing a moderate to severe flu infection. So even though the vaccine might not completely prevent the flu, it can help keep you from getting sick enough that you have to go to the hospital.
“Reducing the overall burden of respiratory illnesses is really important to help protect vulnerable populations at risk for severe disease,” said Godbout, “And it also helps lessen the resulting burden on our health care system, which is crucial throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Godbout said that while practices people follow to help guard against COVID-19, such as handwashing, social distancing and wearing masks, will probably help decrease the spread of influenza, the flu shot is still the single most effective way to reduce the spread of the flu.
2. Flu shots are safe
“The flu shot is very safe and effective at helping prevent severe disease and hospitalization,” Godbout said. “I know people might have reservations about coming into the doctor’s office, but I can assure everyone that our providers are really vigilant about taking appropriate precautions to make sure everyone is safe.”
The doctor also pointed out that patients will not contract influenza from the vaccine. “The virus is inactivated,” she said, “so it can’t actually cause the flu infection after you get the shot.”
Flu shots are recommended for anyone six months old and older.
3. Flu shots are updated every year
“The U.S. flu vaccine is reviewed every single year and updated to match circulating flu viruses,” said Godbout. “The flu vaccine can typically protect against three or four different viruses. Since the virus changes from year to year, immunization or natural infection from the previous year is not protective.”
She also said that our antibody response — what helps us fight the virus — can decrease over time, so a yearly dose will help boost the antibody response before the start of the influenza season.
4. Influenza and COVID-19 share some overlapping symptoms
It’s important to know that some symptoms of COVID-19 and influenza are similar. If you have symptoms you are concerned about, it’s best to call your health care provider right away. You may need to be tested for both the flu and COVID-19 to be certain what is causing you to be sick, so your doctor can recommend the best course of treatment.
While having the flu shot doesn’t mean you can’t get the flu, as discussed above, a vaccination will at least lessen the severity of your symptoms — giving you and your loved ones peace of mind.
Reducing the spread of flu cases overall, by getting vaccinated, will help cut down on the number of seriously ill patients that clinics and hospitals need to diagnose and treat, which will help everyone get through the winter season more easily.
5. A flu shot protects you throughout the season
Now is a good time to get vaccinated. It takes a couple of weeks for antibodies to develop in your body, but the vaccination will continue to protect you throughout the worst months of the flu season.
Godbout said, “We will continue to offer the flu shot throughout the fall and winter.”
For the latest on flu and COVID-19, visit vcuhealth.org.
FREE Virtual Trainings Available….
Here are some available FREE trainings and classes in our area:
Remember to get outside, even when it’s chilly. It’s good for our mental and physical well-being
Alexandria, Va. – With the pandemic keeping people sheltering at home, more people are extending their outdoor time in the winter by adding fire pits, outdoor heaters and other features. Even in the wintertime, it’s important to take care of your yard. The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, an international trade association representing power equipment, small engine, portable generator, utility vehicle, golf car and personal transport vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, offers tips to keep your yard in top shape for winter use.
Stop trimming your lawn once it freezes. Trim your grass to the height recommended for your lawn variety before it freezes. Cutting your grass too short can leave it dry and exposes it to the elements, not to mention insects and disease.
Add a thin layer of mulch to your lawn before it’s too cold. A thin layer of mulch can protect your grass roots from snow and frost. It can even prevent deeper layers of soil from freezing, making it easier for your lawn to bounce back in the spring.
Check your trees for dead or damaged limbs. Removing dead or damaged limbs before inclement weather arrives, is one way to protect your shrubs and yard from damage (not to mention people and pets!).Snow and ice can weigh heavily on dead branches and make them snap and fall. Remove any dead branches carefully with clippers, a chainsaw or pole pruner, following safety precautions. Consult an arborist for problematic trees.
Mark pathways to clear and beds to avoid. Mark the areas that you will need to clear of snow and ice, as well as areas you want to avoid, like flower beds. Stakes or sticks can help. When it’s time to run your snow thrower, you won’t accidentally cut a path through the lawn and can stick to your walkways. Always follow manufacturer’s safety procedures and never put your hand inside the snow thrower. Always use a clean out tool or stick to clear a clog. Be sure that children and pets are safely inside and not near outdoor power equipment while it’s being operated.
Keep new (and old) plantings well-hydrated. Many people have added trees and shrubs to their yards during the pandemic, and caring for them in the winter is still important. Plants and trees that are well-hydrated are more likely to survive a hard freeze so water well before the cold snap sticks. Newly planted trees can only survive about two weeks in the winter without water, so be sure to water any new trees you’ve added to your landscape if they aren’t getting water naturally from rain or snow. If your outside hose is already shut off for the winter, then use a bucket and add 5 gallons to the area around the tree.
Continue watering plants and trees even after the leaves drop. Older plants and trees should enter winter well-hydrated, so continue watering even after the leaves have dropped. Even in the wintertime, hardy evergreen plants continue to lose moisture through their needles and if it’s a dry winter they need supplemental water too.
Don’t shake heavy snow and ice off branches. It may be tempting for children (or adults) to wiggle those branches and watch the snow come off, but snow or ice can damage a branch. Shaking them can cause the branches to snap. It’s better to wait until the snow melts to assess the damage.
Remove damaged branches as soon as the weather allows you to do it safely. If snow or ice have snapped a limb, look at the cut and assess the damage. Try to get a clean cut on an already broken branch or limb, as this will make it more difficult for insects or disease to enter the stressed area on your tree or shrub. Follow all manufacturer’s safety precautions if using a chainsaw or pole pruner.
Be careful about salt. Salt can melt snow and ice, but it can also damage plants and trees by drawing water away from their roots. Keep salt applications away from your trees and shrubs. Salt should also be cleaned off pet paws following a romp outside in the snow.
Remember to get outside, even when it’s chilly. It’s good for our mental and physical well-being to spend time in our family yards and breathe in the fresh air – and it also helps us connect to each other and with nature.
(Family Features) Because of the pandemic, fewer Americans are taking to the skies, but a significant number likely plan to hit the roads to visit friends and family during the winter months.
Whether a few towns over or a couple states away, many drivers will travel interstates, which are major logistics corridors often dominated by commercial trucks.
According to the United States Census Bureau, there are approximately 3.5 million people working as truck drivers in the U.S. From keeping grocery store shelves stocked to delivering those next-day packages, professional truck drivers impact lives with the freight they move and serve an important role in keeping the economy running.
Professional truck drivers are also experts when it comes to planning travel. From mapping out a route to maintaining their vehicles and even practicing a healthy diet, many truck drivers are road trip experts.
Caron Comas is a professional truck driver for Variant, a subsidiary of U.S. Xpress, one of the nation’s largest trucking companies. Highly trained, she’s driven trucks for 17 years and her expert insight can aid the average automobile driver planning to hit the roads this winter.
“It’s important that the average driver give trucks plenty of space on the road,” Comas said. “People can forget we’re generally handling 75 feet of tractor and trailer, which can weigh 80,000 pounds. We can’t stop on a dime like automobiles, so increase distance when merging in front of trucks and avoid slamming on your brakes.”
Comas suggests following these tips on the road and before you travel:
Keep in mind the global pandemic. Check each state’s quarantine requirements that you’ll be traveling to or through, wear a mask when in public and follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines when traveling.
For more travel tips, visit usxpress.com/news.
Winter can wreak havoc on the body. Here are tips on how to avoid common winter health problems and discover a few specific concerns….
As the winter season officially begins, many people are eager for the first snowfall and, of course, for the holidays. However, this time of year also comes with its own set of hazards to be on the lookout for—mainly those having to do with your health. If you want to better protect yourself as the temperatures drop, learn what the risks are and how to avoid these common winter health problems.
Whether it’s the cold or the flu, the likelihood of getting sick greatly increases with the arrival of colder temperatures. For this reason, it’s crucial that you wash your hands regularly, get enough sleep, and take immune boosters when necessary. All these things will work together to keep your immune system strong and make it more efficient at fighting off infections.
Cold-weather asthma is also a possibility for people who already have sensitive respiratory systems. The dry winter air can irritate the esophagus and trigger inflammation that makes it more difficult to breathe. To avoid this common winter health problem, it’s recommended that you limit the time you spend outdoors and refrain from strenuous activities while exposed to cold outside air. If you suffer from frequent asthma attacks, you should also keep your prescribed medication nearby at all times.
As excited as we always are when winter first starts, there always comes a point later in the season when we begin to feel isolated from the outside world. This leads to lethargy and an overall decrease in happiness as the frigid months seem to drag on—also known as seasonal affective disorder or seasonal depression. Remember to look out for your mental health this season and to find time to do things you enjoy. This will make the days go by more quickly and put you in a better frame of mind.
Schools will determine the process for how parents will attend athletic contests, such as how many are permitted and where they will be placed to watch the contest.
OHSAA Confirms Parents Can Attend Athletic Contests
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine asks that no other fans be permitted to attend games through December 31
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Following Governor Mike DeWine’s remarks during his news conference on Tuesday (Nov. 24), the OHSAA, in conjunction with the Governor’s Office, recommends that schools restrict attendance to only the parents of the participants, or eliminate all spectators, for their winter sports competitions through December 31, 2020, due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.
“We want to follow this recommendation so that our kids can continue to compete,” said OHSAA Executive Director Doug Ute. “We believe it is crucial that parents be permitted to attend the contests of their children, but large crowds at our indoor athletic contests are not a good idea at this time. We all need to work together to give our kids and schools the best chance at having a full winter season.”
Schools will determine the process for how parents will attend athletic contests, such as how many are permitted and where they will be placed to watch the contest.
Regarding media coverage, the OHSAA asks schools to still permit media coverage of their contests, but the number of media attending should be restricted to those who regularly cover the teams involved. Schools are encouraged to provide live video streaming of their athletic contests for those who cannot attend.
The OHSAA provided the following recommendations for member schools:
As administrators were notified last week, the OHSAA winter sports seasons are moving forward as planned. That decision was made after the Executive Director’s Office had discussions with the Governor’s Office, the OHSAA Board of Directors and numerous administrators combined with the results of the membership survey in which 56 percent of the 1,464 respondents recommended that the OHSAA begin all winter sports contests as they are currently planned and scheduled.
The decision for schools to move forward with sports is a local decision. Schools may certainly choose not to participate in a contest or to pause their season(s) for a period and should do what is in their best interest. The OHSAA believes that our member schools provide student-athletes with the safest possible environment to continue participating, and we all recognize the educational, physical and mental health benefits of participation.
Few things beat a warm, durable and fashionably versatile motorcycle jacket……
(Family Features) Nearly everyone on your gift list may need a little revving up this year. Bringing a smile or much-needed dose of adventure is an easy way to leave a lasting impression this holiday season – especially with these gift ideas.
Whether that hard-to-buy-for person on your list is already a rider or it’s on his or her to-do list, Harley-Davidson has something for nearly everyone.
Elevate Work-from-Home Wardrobes
Working from home doesn’t mean you can’t dress for adventure. Hoodies and sweatshirts can keep your loved ones looking cool and comfortable, no matter how long their next video conference call might last. With a variety of color and style options for men and women, you can find the right fit for basically everyone on your list.
Inspire the Next Generation of Riders
The thrill of riding can be felt at any age, especially for kids on your list looking for a new activity. Options like the IRONe12 and IRONe16 electric bikes are tools for learning hand-eye coordination and developing riding skills while having fun. Kids will learn to push, balance and coast in non-powered mode before graduating to the powered mode, where they’ll learn to use the throttle and brake. These bikes can provide a one-of-a-kind learning experience and spark a lifetime love for riding on two wheels.
Connect with the Inner Child
Give the gift of building something unique with a present like the LEGO® Creator Expert Harley-Davidson Fat Boy® Building Sets. This set showcases the beauty of a real-life motorcycle and provides an immersive building experience that can make people of all ages feel like kids again.
Adventure in Style
Few things beat a warm, durable and fashionably versatile motorcycle jacket. Whether your loved one enjoys a more rugged look to pair with outdoor adventures or is a style trend-setter who likes to stand out from the crowd, a leather motorcycle jacket is a must-have for almost any wardrobe.
Give the Gift of Riding
For the person in your life you haven’t seen in a while, reconnect and give the gift of an experience that can be appreciated for years to come with the Harley-Davidson Riding Academy New Rider Course. This course will help you and any thrill-seeker in your life learn to ride with confidence on two wheels after just one weekend.
This holiday season, Harley-Davidson is giving away 500 Riding Academy passes. All you have to do is share your favorite personal Harley-Davidson motorcycle photo on Instagram or Twitter, tag the friend or family member in your life you want to learn to ride with and use #GiftOfRiding and #Giveaway.
Find more holiday gift-giving inspiration at H-D.com/Holiday.
Winter can cause damage to the exterior and interior of farming equipment. Prepare your farming equipment for winter…..
The winter can take a toll on farming equipment if it is not properly stored or cleaned. Corrosion is among one of the main concerns many farms have when it comes to the winter months. Taking the time to prepare your equipment by checking fluids and cleaning the exterior can decrease the likelihood of any damage to farming equipment.
If you are considering tips for farming equipment in the winter, you are probably trying to preserve the quality of your equipment. It is important to clean your farming equipment because, otherwise, the dirt and debris will cause damage. Dirt and debris can be corrosive when mixed with the oil that may be on the equipment. Putting a piece of equipment away clean will ensure that it will not rust or fall victim to corrosion.
Many of the tips for farming equipment in the winter are so important because they help prevent corrosion. Replacing old oil with clean engine oil will reduce engine erosion during the winter months. Another thing to do when the weather starts to get cold is to top off fuel and hydraulic oil tanks. This is important to do because it will reduce the water accumulation that may take place, as well as prevent any possible tank corrosion. After topping off the fluids, it’s smart to add a fuel stabilizer. Lastly, check that the fuel and antifreeze used for that equipment are appropriate for the winter temperatures.
Prepping equipment might mean putting it away and prepping it for spring, or it might mean prepping it for use during the winter months. If you are putting your equipment away for the season, it is important to repair damages now to prevent delays in the spring. Putting equipment away clean will also ensure that the equipment doesn’t rust or deteriorate during the winter. This is also a good time to repaint any worn out surface or replace damaged parts.
If you are planning to utilize farming equipment in the winter months, repairing damages is essential to the functionality of the machines. Replacing agriculture tires is a smart idea if you are planning to utilize your tractor or any other equipment during the winter. Since you can utilize a tractor as a snowplow, looking into tires that perform well in the snow is something you may want to consider.
It’s important to check the forecast and trail conditions before heading out….
(Family Features) As travel restrictions and popular trends like staycations have changed the way many people escape from their day-to-day lives, rediscovering classic, outdoor winter activities like snowmobiling can provide a simple way to spend time with loved ones.
In fact, BRP – a global leader in the world of powersports and boating, and manufacturer of the Ski-Doo snowmobile – is forecasting a rise in popularity of the pastime among new riders this year.
“Snowmobiling can be an exhilarating way to experience and take in the beauty of winter,” said Pascal Vincent, director of global product management, Ski-Doo. “To ensure a smooth and fun experience, it’s important to be prepared before hitting the trails. By following these tips, riders can take advantage of fun on the snow, get in some healthy escape therapy, recharge their mental batteries and practice social distancing to create memories that will last a lifetime.
1. Check if you need a license. Licensing requirements vary by individual state, but all necessary information is available through your state snowmobile association, state natural resource office or highway department. For example, many states recommend against drivers under the age of 16 and require passengers to be at least 6 years old.
2. Understand your snowmobile before you hit the snow. Spend some time learning the controls and functions of your snowmobile so you can hit the trail with confidence. The experts at Ski-Doo recommend checking your operator’s guide, knowing your fuel level and understanding best operational practices before heading out. Some areas also require a safety class. Your state snowmobile organizations may offer safety training classes that teach riders about the parts of a snowmobile, riding skills, how to handle emergencies on the trail, laws and regulations, and hazards to avoid, among other topics.
3. Wear the right gear. The right riding gear is as much about comfort as it is about safety. Essentials include high pants or bibs (pants that extend up your chest and back), jackets, gloves, boots, goggles and helmets. Even if not required in all locales, a Department of Transportation-approved helmet can provide warmth and protection as well as fog-free vision. Learning to layer is also essential for maximum comfort. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer, add a mid-layer that provides insulation but breathes then an outer shell to protect from the elements. Most snowmobile dealers offer a full line of clothing specifically designed and manufactured to keep you warm and help withstand winter weather. For additional safety, always keep the tether cord connected to you.
4. Plan out your route and share the trail with others. Respect everyone on the snow and adopt a fun and safe riding style. Learn traditional hand signals for turning, slowing and stopping, and stay to the right when approaching hills and turns. Be mindful of signs and reminders to slow down. Planning your route in advance can help you stay out of restricted areas. Consider downloading an app like BRP GO!, which uses connected technology to provide navigation for unusual and faraway routes. The app also allows you to safely track fellow riders and download content directly to your phone if service may be limited.
5. Pay attention to the weather and protect the environment. It’s important to check the forecast and trail conditions before heading out. The wind chill or other conditions like snow blindness or whiteouts can make riding less enjoyable. Also avoid riding on rivers or other ice-covered surfaces that may be unstable. Leave your playground and surroundings cleaner than you found them. Don’t throw trash in the snow and respect the animals in the area that call it home. Protecting nature and the outdoors can help keep winter sports and recreational activities viable for decades to come.
For more tips and snowmobile safety advice, visit ski-doo.com .
Full days–Beginning November 16th…
By Sue Miklovic, TheNBXpress.com
The North Baltimore Board of Education decided to return to classes five days per week beginning November 16th. Board President Tami Thomas made the motion and a second to the motion was made by Board Member Tim Archer. Voting “yes” were Thomas, Archer, and Marcy Byrd. Voting “no” were Board Members Jaimye Bushey and Jeremy Sharninghouse.
The board had called a special meeting for 6:00 PM Wednesday November 4, 2020 for the purpose of seeking community input in regard to a reopening plan for the North Baltimore schools while managing the Coronavirus epidemic.
About 20 or so community members attended the meeting at the NBHS auditeria, where they were permitted to address the board with their concerns and questions for a period of three minutes each. After all who wanted to speak had been given the opportunity the board members themselves were permitted to speak if they wanted to. During that time, Thomas made the motion for the district to reopen 5 days per week.
The ability to hear in the auditoria, coupled with a poor microphone/sound system was less than ideal so here are a few random notes of things I was able to hear during the ongoing discussion.
Josh Stufft: What date are you using to decide? What data are you using? The number of cases in kids hasn’t gone up since May 2020. Only one child (under age 18 ) in Ohio has died over summer. My children have not progressed (educationally).
Tracy Cotterman: I’m going to tell you right now, there’s nobody in this room that understands what this corona virus can do to your family more than I can. Kids may not get sick. They may not die. But they can bring it home to your parents and their great grandparents. To the school board: the first decision you made you should have stuck with it and moved on instead you are making our NB schools look weak right now.
Jamie Wilhelm: my kids are regressing. They are not doing as well as before. The concern for others in the community…that’s on me isn’t it?
Emily Ishmael: Everyone knows now I was the first COVID-19 positive person in our school district. I did not get support from the administration which was a catastrophe. I called the Wood County Health Department, and they were furious with our administration in how they handled things. I felt like a leper.
Phil Walter: I just have one question. Me and Emily are the only ones who walked up to this micro phone with a mask. How concerned are we really?
Andrea Brim: My two kids are only getting two days of new material per week. Are we not concerned with how we are comparing against other schools like Elmwood and other schools near us? I didn’t get the choice to keep my kids home.
Jeff Long: I’m not going to yell at anyone. If we don’t have a plan in place that’s probably pretty bad. Teachers, like police officers, have the toughest jobs. Bad things are happening all over the place. The safest hands we have are our own.
Andy Allison: if we don’t go back now what is the time? Are you working on a plan? I have talked to people whose kids have IEP’s and 504 plans that are not getting the help they need.
Mary Casey: I feel my daughter is not learning this year. I asked her and her friends if they thought they were learning. She said no she’s not learning this year and her friends agreed they’re not learning.
Joe Kepling: Can we social distance properly when we’re back at full time when everyone is there? I don’t care if it’s 2, 4, or 5 days. Who decides if it’s the flu or covid?
Mr. Delaney: We have had 19 or 20 cases of parents calling in, keeping kids home in self quarantine.
Someone in the crowd: We’re not social distancing in sports
Jaimye Bushey: The Ohio statistics for November 3rd had over 4200 new cases and 33 deaths. The statistics for November 4th had reached 4071 new cases and 55 deaths by 5:00 PM today.
Marcy Byrd: I just want you to understand clearly I put the good of the community first. This is really stressful for all of us. None of us wants to be here. I thought we were going to make a public statement to the community after we took the vote three weeks ago and made the decision to go 2 days. I apologize for my part in the breakdown of communication. I have been gathering all the data that I depend on from the CDC and the Wood County Health Department. I’m disappointed that people think we don’t have the best interests of our community at heart. Please, please, please adults be mindful of what you are doing. The kids are not spreading this—the adults are. It’s the parties, the gatherings. I implore, I beg you to be responsible-to commit to wear your masks, and be socially distanced.
After a few more random comments that I was unable to hear, Board President Tami Thomas made a motion for the NB Local School District to return to school full time 5 days per week beginning November 16th.
You can watch the video on the North Baltimore Local School District facebook page: