Emerald Ash Borer Makes Its Way to Chicago

As the world we live in grows smaller, and as air travel becomes more abundant, we must take more care to curtail the spread of invasive species, especially those that affect our native trees. Having trees next to your home can provide energy saving shade, positively affect your mental health, attract local wildlife like songbirds, and even raise the property value of your home. However, proper attention must be given to the types and numbers of trees that are spread out in a neighborhood in order to prevent the devastating effects of invasive effects. A suburb of Chicago afflicted with the Emerald Ash Borer insect is only just starting to recover.

According to this article in the Chicago Tribune, the Emerald Ash Borer, an insect native to Southeast Asia, was first confirmed to have entered the suburb of Southland in 2008. Since then, thousands of ash trees have either died or been removed, but even a decade later the new trees are nowhere near as impressive and will take years more to come close to their former glory. Some communities in Southland responded to the pest better than others, and before the pest was confirmed the village of Homewood already had a plan in place to remove nearly every Ash tree. The trees were replaced from selections of 89 other species of native trees so that if such a pest or disease were to ever hit again, not every tree would be taken out. Mokena had a similar tree replacement program that started in 2013 and went through 2016, after which the focus shifted to education and the public was encouraged to take action on their own. The villages in Southland that did not take any action and left the trees to die do look much worse, but for the most part, there was not enough money in their budgets to implement a replacement program.

What this article tells us is that regardless of where you live, it is important to vary the species of trees that you choose to grow in your yard. Of course, native trees are also generally a better fit and matching the landscape of your neighborhood so that the entire community can benefit is also a consideration. Whether you suspect one of your trees is being attacked by an insect, or if you are looking for ways to diversify your plant life, landscaping companies like Ware Landscaping in the Chicago area can help identify what trees should go where and what action should be taken against any pests.

Communities as a whole should make sure education materials are available to the general public so that widespread devastation of this sort never happens again. Blight and hungry pests will continue to be an issue, but having a diverse landscape will ensure that community members retain the value of their homes and that they will not lose any shade trees. Funneling money into programs meant to protect our trees should be on the agenda for every community development organization.

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The Various Threats of Depakote

Depakote is the brand name of the drug Divalproex Sodium in the U.S. This anti-convulsant prescription drug was developed to treat migraines, seizures due to depression, anxiety, epilepsy, and other problems relating to mental health, but most especially, manic-depression or bipolar disorder. Though Depakote served as an effective treatment for some ailments and disorders, it was also linked to serious side-effects that can cause lasting health problems.

Depakote can cause a variety of unintended health problems beyond the typically mild side-effects. Most notably, women who took Depakote during pregnancy have given birth to babies with severe birth defects. The FDA has released warnings regarding the link between Depakote and birth injuries, including:

  • Spina bifida and other spinal defects
  • Malformation of face or skull
  • Malformation of cardiovascular system
  • Brain defects
  • Fetal valproate syndrome, a condition that causes the development of facial deformities in children
  • Infantile Scoliosis, which is case when this disease develops during infancy or early childhood

Due to the threats to health Depakote is linked to, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a safety alert on May 6, 2013, where it advised health care professionals and women that the anti-seizure medication valproate sodium and related products, valproic acid and divalproex sodium, are contraindicated and should not be taken by pregnant women for the prevention of migraine headaches. The FDA will also be issuing stronger warnings about use of Depakote during pregnancy: from category “D” (the potential benefit of the drug in pregnant women may be acceptable despite its potential risks) warnings will be changed to “X” (the risk of use in pregnant women clearly outweighs any possible benefit of the drug).

Fetal valproate syndrome, which is characterized by distinct facial dysmorphism, can result to cleft palate, cleft lip, deformed ears, facial asymmetries, developmental delay, eyes spaced too far apart or too near each other, mismatched eye colors and others. These deformities definitely have an impact in the life of a child, affecting his or her level of confidence, happiness and health.

Medical treatment to correct the deformity may be available, but such treatment is long and costly. Thus, as parents or guardians of children suffering from facial dysmorphism you need to know that you do not need to suffer from the costly medical treatment required; you can also possibly get compensation for the financial losses you have already suffered due to the harm done. By filing a Depakote birth defects lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories Inc., this drug’s manufacturer, you may be able to avail of the financial compensation that you deserve.

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No Drunk Drivers: Safer Roads for Everybody

Drunk driving is dangerous for obvious reasons. First, alcohol has negative effects to the driver’s body, influencing his or her ability to drive efficiently. Second, it puts not just the drunk driver in danger, but also the other drivers around him or her. Third, drunk driving accidents often involve high speeds and high impacts, resulting into more severe injuries and property damages.

Enforcing DUI Laws

Drunk driving is illegal, and what qualifies for drunk driving may depend on a jurisdiction basis. On most jurisdictions, the legal limit for blood alcohol content is 0.08%, and 0.04% for those who are under twenty-one years old. According to the website of Truslow and Truslow, drunk driving charges can be defended. Therefore, it is safe to assume that these laws are not ridiculously limiting.

Setting up Check Points

If there is a greater risk of getting arrested, less people will drive while under the influence of alcohol. A good technique to achieve this is by setting up a sobriety check point, wherein authorities will stop vehicles and check their occupants for signs of intoxications.

Implementing Severe Penalties

DUI convictions can result into fines, license suspensions, license revocations, and jail times. The severity of these penalties may vary on a jurisdiction basis, but most jurisdictions consider the blood alcohol content level and how high it exceeds to the legal limit. If jurisdictions impose damaging consequences, they are reducing the number of people who even think of driving while drunk.

Installing Ignition Interlocks

The installation of ignition interlocks is one of the severe penalties of drunk driving. Ignition interlocks are devices that monitor whether the driver is drunk or not. If the driver is determined to be under the influence, the vehicle’s ignition will not start. This can be very inconvenient, and it is a good way to make drivers think twice before hitting the road while drunk.

Utilizing Drunk Driving Programs

One of the best ways to avoid drunk driving on the streets is by letting its dangers known to the public and letting authorities be stricter in enforcing the laws. This can be achieved through public education, prioritization of drunk driving cases, and police motivation to make arrests. If the overall attempt to deter drunk driving is convincing, it may significantly reduce the drunk drivers and drunk driving accidents on the road.

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Fit for Duty Testing for Current Employees

Fitness for duty examinations are there to determine whether a newly hired applicant or a current employee is medically fit enough to effectively perform the tasks of his job position or not. In the case of newly hired applicants, fit duty testing may seem logical because the employer is still gauging the capabilities of his new employee. But in the case of current employees, fit duty testing may be unjustifiable. So it is important to know whether a fitness for duty examination is warranted or not.

Disclosed Medical Issues

If an employee has admitted having some sort of medical condition, he may be required to undergo a fitness for duty examination, to determine whether his medical condition is preventing him from successfully doing his job. It is also important to know whether the physical, emotional, and psychological toll of the job is affecting his medical condition or not.

Excessive Absence Due to Injury or Illness

Not going to work because of an injury or an illness may make an employee subject to a fitness for duty examination. This is to determine if there is a direct or indirect relation between the employee, his job tasks, and his injury or illness.

Performance Issues

If an employee fails to perform the tasks he is supposed to do or accomplishes the task in an unsatisfactory manner, he may be subject to a fitness for duty examination, to know whether his physical, emotional, and psychological condition is affecting the way he does his job.

Return to Work

An employee who has missed work because of injury or illness may be required to take a fitness for duty examination, to make sure that he is not just medically healthy to perform the job, but also recovered enough to prevent further injury or illness.

Unsafe Behavior and Conduct

Unsafe behavior and conduct puts not just the guilty employee at risk, but also the others around him. He may be subject to fitness for duty examination to know whether there are direct correlations between his unsafe behavior and his health.

Fit for duty testing is an essential part of safety in the workplace. If you become subject to one, do not be angry in the hassles that it may bring, especially if it is justifiable. Remember that it is also not just about you, but also about the others around you. A safe workplace is a productive workplace.

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Starting a Business: What is a Limited Liability Company or LLC?

Plenty of effort goes into starting a business. Those that are looking to pursue this goal should be aware that it can be a long and difficult process. So many details must be ironed out to ensure the success of a venture. Aspiring business owners need to have a complete and well-delineated plan in order to decide what sort of business structure will suit the vision that they have. Every business is unique and it’s crucial that the structure plan you settle on suits the unique characteristics of the brand you want to introduce to the public.

An option you can take is structuring your business as a Limited Liability Company, also called ‘LLC’. The U.S. Small Business Association defines an LLC as a legal structure you can use for your company in order to combine key characteristics of partnerships and corporations. In other words, business owners that opt for an LLC will be referred to as members and will be given limited liability protection. This means that their personal assets will be protected from lawsuits and debts that could—if ever— involve your company. This also means that your business can have the opportunity to benefit from flexibility in operations as well as tax efficiencies, thanks to the fact that membership is shared. Lastly, a limited liability company will not be regarded as a separate tax entity. Despite these advantages, however, starting an LLC also marks your business with a limited lifespan, since it relies on members to continue operations.

Choosing the right structure for your new business is a balancing act. While the LLC structure can have several advantages that could contribute to a successful venture, it might also be susceptible to a few bumps on the road. Starting a new business and structuring your own company is a daunting task. This is a decision that shouldn’t be made lightly. In order to find out what type of business structure is right for you, don’t hesitate to contact a legal expert on corporate formation working in your area. Those in Arizona may contact a Tuscon corporate attorney from Russo, Russo & Slania, P.C. for more detailed advice.

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Effects of Brain Injury On Human Functioning

The brain is perhaps the most important organ in the human body. This is why it is located at the top portion of our head. The brain is the control center of all human activities such as thinking, judgment, and emotional reactions. For this reason, brain injuries can have a huge impact on the life of an individual. The website of Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC reveals that such injuries will usually require intensive and long term care.

In general, the effect of a brain injury is partially dependent on its location. The more areas that are affected, the more severe the injury will be. Traumatic brain injuries for instance usually affect multiple areas of the brain. Let us now take a look at how brain injuries can affect functioning.

Physical Effects

People who suffer from traumatic brain injury can regain their ability to walk and use their hands within 6 – 12 months after injury. In most instances, the individual can resume work and drive their cars. However, long term physical effects of TBI may include reduced coordination, weakness, and problems with balance. They may not be able to engage in sports as well as before they had the injury. Likewise, they may easily get tired.

Cognitive Effects

Moderate to severe brain injury may result to basic cognitive problems such as concentration, paying attention, remembering new information and events. Likewise, they may think slowly, speak slowly, and solve problems slowly. They may experience difficulty finishing tasks and may be unable to switch from one task to another.

Emotional/Behavioral Effects

Brain injuries can bring about disturbing new behaviors or changes in the personality of a person. It can make the individual restless, dependent on other people, unmotivated, irritable, lethargic, and show mood swings.

Communication Effects

Brain injury can bring about language impairment or aphasia. They may experience difficulty understanding language and expressing their thoughts through language. The injury may also cause speech difficulties on the part of the individual.

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One Major Cause of Truck Accidents: Much Deeper than Sleepy, Tired or Impaired Drivers Operating Their Trucks

When a truck accident occurs, the chances of lives being lost, injuries being serious and other vehicles getting severely damaged are very high. Though the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) works persistently in implementing its primary mission, which is “to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries,” (https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/mission/about-us), the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) still register about half a million truck accidents every year which result to more than 100,000 injuries and close to 4,000 deaths.

In 2014, about two million semi-trailers, also known as trailer trucks, big rigs or 18-wheelers, were registered and operated in the US. This is only about 13% of the total number of trucks (which are more than 15 million) that were registered during the same year. With only 3 million truck drivers on active duty, this means that each driver will need to operate five trucks at the same time.

The lack of qualified truck drivers and the number of job orders that drivers need to complete within schedule spell a big problem in the trucking industry. With truck accidents continuously occurring, most of which, according to the FMCSA, are the fault of truck drivers who drive while intoxicated or even though when feeling fatigued and drowsy, it is necessary that the government realizes that there really is a much deeper problem than huge vehicles being operated by sleepy, tired or impaired drivers.

Despite the mandate on maximum hours of service and rest period for truck drivers, many drivers who lack sleep are still made to complete job orders and asked to perform extra chores. While some use stimulants to remain awake, others just cannot keep their eyes from closing, opening them when they get startled, but only to find themselves already very close to a pack of stopped vehicles.

This was what actually happened one August in 2010 when a big rig never had the chance to slow down, ramming a Ford Focus into another semi-truck and then careening into five more other vehicles, all of which burst into flames. According to the veteran truck driver, he has had only three hours sleep since his last duty and had his eyes closed prior to the accident.

Failure to hire qualified drivers, failure to make sure that hired drivers can and will safely operate trucks, and failure to give drivers the length of rest which the law requires them to have before their next duty, are all faults of the employer. Because of this, as explained by a Charleston truck accident attorney, a trucking company can be held liable for the negligence or errors committed by its drivers, especially if these errors of negligent acts result in accidents. Additionally, a trucking company may be held liable for failure to properly train its employees.

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Child Support Options

One of many elements of breakup in films is that of child-support while alimony often looms big, when, in fact, alimony is frequently just obtained for a restricted period and is not always required. Child support, about the other-hand, will be an area of the breakup deal where modest kids are typically involved until the age of 18.

Child support is a court- decided -purchased quantity paid with a non-custodial guardian to the custodial guardian assessed according to whatsoever child support measure the state uses, be it Income Stocks, Percentage of Revenue, or Melson Formula. A divorce attorney for your low-custodial parent, for instance, would attempt to lessen their client’s responsibilities under the revenue stocks design. Establishing child-support payments usually takes into account the non-custodial parent, the finances of the parent custodial parent, as well as the standard of residing the little one would have had when the divorce had not occurred, among different factors.

Child support guidelines in the use change to mention, which may confuse things in certain circumstances such as for instance when parents reside in distinct states outside of wherever the divorce was given along with a modification is required. Even such circumstances, jurisdictional issues will come up with reciprocity.

Administration of child-support is taken very critically in the USA and has been identified globally being a human right. A guardian in arrears for child support or are susceptible to various penalties and penalties including imprisonment, may lose their skilled or driver’s permit, and might entice the curiosity of the US government. Some states allow the courts to order pay garnishment of the low-custodial parent to make sure payments that are regular. The judge could also direct the noncustodial parent to give rise to additional low-periodic bills such as medical and dental companies, as well as in some instances to expenses payments.

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What You Need to Know About Traumatic Brain Injuries

A traumatic brain injury can have very serious effects on the human body. Considering that the brain plays an important role in regulating particular bodily functions, any type of external force to the head can cause significant damage and be considered a great cause for alarm.

The severity of a traumatic brain injury will depend on the amount of force that disrupts the brain. Any type of violent jolt or blow to the head could lead to significant dysfunction in the affected area of the brain. Sometimes, these dysfunctions are only temporary. However, more severe injuries could lead to permanent damage resulting in long-term complications or even death.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are about 1.4 million cases of traumatic brain injuries in the country every year. Minor injuries can result in bleeding, bruising, and torn tissues that could lead to short-term symptoms such as headaches, loss of consciousness, disorientation, and sensory problems. In more severe cases, a traumatic brain injury can lead to a patient experiencing permanent disability or falling into a coma.

Traumatic brain injuries usually result from the following situations: vehicular accidents, slipping or falling, physical assault, blasts or explosions, and any other incident that might cause a strong force to head.

Following an accident, patients might not be able to observe obvious and immediate signs of their injury. They might even walk away from an accident feeling fine. Even then, it’s important that patients at risk of a traumatic brain injury receive medical attention right away.

Anyone who has been in an accident that may have caused a strong blow to the head should be on the lookout for any evidence of significant injury. According the Mayo Clinic, traumatic brain injuries can lead to the following signs and symptoms:

  • Feeling dazed, disoriented, or confused
  • Losing consciousness for any amount of time
  • Headaches, nausea, or vomiting
  • Feeling fatigued, drowsy, or dizzy
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Problems with vision, hearing, smelling, and tasting+
  • Dilation of one or both pupils
  • Clear fluid draining from nose or ears
  • Weakness or numbness in fingers and toes
  • Convulsions or seizures
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Who is at Risk for Asbestos Exposure?

Before the late 1970’s, asbestos was used in many building and other products, such as fireproof vests and a number of other consumer materials. It was praised for its heat resistant, strength and insulating properties. Unfortunately, it was proven that asbestos is highly toxic and the cause of the diseases asbestosis and mesothelioma cancer.

Some professions are more prone and at risk of asbestos exposure. These include miners, electricians, railroad workers, shipyard workers, and a number of other professions. Even military veterans are at risk as asbestos was used in drywall and building materials, mandated for use in every branch by the US government. Asbestos fibers were also used in ship building materials, putting those in the navy at risk as well.

Those at most risk are those who were exposed to a large amount of asbestos fibers over a long period of time. The type of asbestos fibers you were exposed to can also effect your risk as some fibers are known to cause mesothelioma more than others. Some personal factors can also increase your chances of developing an asbestos related disease, such as smoking and if you hold a preexisting lung condition.

One of the more terrifying developments in determining who is at risk is that family members of workers exposed to asbestos may also find themselves with a life-threatening disease. When workers would come home with asbestos fibers still on their clothes or skin, family members may have breathed in the asbestos fibers without knowing it.

In general, people are at less of a risk of asbestos exposure than in the past as the use of asbestos materials has been banned in the United States. However, when buildings previously made with asbestos building materials are destroyed, the asbestos fibers can be released into the air. View more about asbestos related dangers.

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