Rancho Bernardo Urgent Care Center Closes, Reopens Due to Suspected Measles Case

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As if the severity of the 2014-2015 cold and flu season wasn’t enough cause for concern, a recent measles outbreak linked to Disneyland has spread across Southern California, forcing the Sharp Rees-Stealy Rancho Bernardo urgent care center to temporarily close its doors on Monday.

Late Monday morning, Sharp Healthcare tweeted that is had closed its Rancho Bernardo urgent care location in Via Tazon due to a suspected measles case. A comment posted by Sharp Healthcare on the organization’s Facebook page later reported the urgent care center was scheduled to reopen at 3:30 p.m. that same day.

“A patient suspected of having measles has been discharged, with test results pending by the county department of public health,” officials posted.

The unidentified patient came into the Sharp Rees-Stealy urgent care center shortly before 10:30 a.m. according to Sharp Healthcare spokesperson Curtis Ippolito. The patient was seeking treatment for symptoms commonly associated with measles.

“The child had a pretty extensive rash,” said Dr. Dan Smith, who runs the facility. “He had some redness. That’s one of the signs of measles.”

The patient was immediately placed in an isolated room while the San Diego County Health Department was called in order to begin infectious disease protocol.

“We immediately closed the clinic and stopped registering patients,” said Dr. Smith. “Patients that were here were asked to stay.” Twenty other patients were inside at the time of the closing.

Over two dozen people across four states have contracted measles after visiting Disneyland theme parks between Dec. 17 and Dec. 20.

On Monday, the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) announced that there were three new possible cases of measles in San Diego County. The North County locations where residents may have been exposed to the virus were released by health officials.

The HHSA announced they are awaiting confirmation of these cases. If the results test positive, the total number of measles cases in the country will rise to 13.

The measles virus is highly contagious and spreads through air via coughing and sneezing. Symptoms can develop between seven to 21 days from exposure. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, early symptoms include cough, running nose, high fever and red, water eyes. After two to three days, small white spots appear inside the mouth. After three to five days, the distinctive rash develops.

“The proper handling of a suspected measles case is very important in containing the spread of the highly contagious virus. Urgent care centers in the West and really all across the country could potentially expect to see more of these types of cases if containment and proper medical care are not received by the infected patient,” said Alison Hare, Practice Administrator of AFC/Doctors Express Urgent Care “It’s important for parents and all citizens to be aware of the signs/symptoms of the virus and take proper precautions if they feel they have been exposed or their child(ren) has been exposed to the virus.”

The Surprising Effect of Lowering Oil Prices

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As the United States produces oil from new sources via fracking and horizontal drilling, global oil prices are nearing six-year lows. Drivers and airlines are obviously benefiting from the price drop, but one of the biggest beneficiaries is less obvious. Producers of plastic packaging are situated in a great position to prosper from this change.

Because plastics are derivatives of crude oil polymers, 5% of the world’s oil is used to manufacture them. Lower oil prices will reduce transportation costs in the plastic industry, as well as boosting the manufacture of plastic resins such as polypropylene and polyethylene. Plastic resins are sensitive to price fluctuations in crude oil, natural gas, and other production materials.

Lower oil prices have an effect on the plastic packaging industry beyond lowering production costs. Gasoline in the United States is at its lowest price since April 2009. According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), Americans will spend an estimated $550 less on gasoline during 2015 than they did in 2014. The EIA expects that oil prices will continue to fall through May 2015, then rise slightly for the end of the year. The lowered cost of gas combined with an increase in employment rates means that consumers have more expendable income than in the recent past.

An increase in customer spending has led to an increased demand for plastic packaging. Because demand is so high, plastics companies are reluctant to lower prices. Keeping packaging prices consistent will increase margin expansion for the manufacturers. By keeping packaging pricing consistent as production costs drop, plastics companies can expect to see increased revenue in the coming year.

Between increased employment rates and decreasing oil costs, it appears that 2015 will be a profitable year for packagers, product manufacturers, and consumers alike.

Human Engagement and Modified Social Media Marketing Will Be Most Successful Digital Trends of 2015, Experts Say

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As a new year of marketing gets underway, digital marketers are keeping their eyes on the trends that seem to be gaining traction in the new year.

“Change is happening at an ever-increasing pace — and that looks set to continue into the foreseeable future,” Trond Lyngbø of Search Engine Land reminded readers Jan. 15.

That kind of change can be scary, Lyngbø notes, especially for small businesses that don’t have dedicated marketing teams to help them with transitions. But quite a few marketers have laid out some top guidelines small businesses can follow.
A Human-to-Human Feel
The most successful digital marketing campaigns this year, brand strategist Kim Garst wrote for The Huffington Post Jan. 20, will be the ones that give an impression of human-ness to their audience. This means businesses will need to make the counterintuitive move of putting sales second to storytelling and engagement. The key, Garst advises, is to create a brand that people recognize, like and trust.

A focus on branding ties in well with the continued importance of content marketing. This strategy, which aims to offer helpful information in an effort to build brand credibility instead of specifically marketing products or services, allows companies to create an image of themselves as community members that potential customers can relate to — as opposed to simply being businesses people can choose to patronize or not.

Content marketing will also continue to be popular, multiple experts note, because it draws together two major goals of digital marketing: It both increases brand awareness and accomplishes factors associated with search engine optimization, a perennial concern for digital marketers.
The Changing Face of Social Media
A focus on business-to-consumer relationships will also change the way social media is used, Garst predicts. Brands that primarily use their accounts to push sales or suggest products will need to expand their engagement factors.

Of course, paid social media advertising is far from dead. Christopher Heine wrote for Adweek Jan. 16 that 70% of digital advertisers intend to increase their social media marketing spend in 2015.

And while few small businesses would be able to afford the rates, the figure Snapchat is demanding for a single day of advertising puts into perspective the massive importance of social media in a modern marketing plan: The app, popular with millennials, is asking $750,000 per day for ad placement.
The Continued Rise of Mobile
Underlying numerous aspects of marketing — everything from social media use to website design — is of course the increasing dominance of mobile Internet access. No longer is “mobile-friendly” good enough, Garst writes: “2015 is when we’ll see a shift to a truly ‘mobile-first’ mentality.”

This means that all content, whether it’s an emailed newsletter, an article or blog post, or a banner ad, will need to be optimized for mobile.

“There’s been a change in world order: the smart phone is now the consumer’s object of desire,” said Clayton Thompson, partner at MyNetWire. “When you take into consideration that tablet and smartphone browsing statistics are expected soon to surpass desktop browsing, business websites will be missing out on a huge amount of opportunities if their site and content aren’t mobile friendly.”
New Assessment Metrics
Numerous marketers have pointed out that one area of marketing that should see progress in 2015 is not a specific technique, but rather the technique of measuring success; currently, as Angela Hausman pointed out for the website Business2Community Jan. 18, fully 90% of marketers have no specific training on how to calculate a return on investment.

As digital marketing progresses, decisions are sometimes driven less by what experts recommend and more by whether customers can see quantitative results.

Now, it’s common for marketers to report on the things that are easy to measure, such as Facebook likes, Hausman says. But the things that are easy to count may be only weakly correlated to real marketing success. For that reason, she says, marketers this year will need focus on developing key performance indicators that are custom tailored to each digital campaign’s goals.

From Bathtub to Backyard: L.A. Alligator Makes a Splash

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Pets are an integral part of American society. Some people keep dogs, others keep cats, some even keep parrots or hedgehogs. Up until very recently, Laura Mattson, of Los Angeles, kept an alligator. Jaxson the alligator had been purchased at a pet store in 1967, and lived happily with Laura and her now-deceased husband Jim, until she was taken to the Los Angeles Zoo by animal control officers on January 12th.

The story of Jaxson the alligator starts as an endearing one. When she was first brought home by Jim Mattson, she was small and lived in a cage in the couple’s bedroom. When Jaxson outgrew her cage, she was moved to the bathroom, so that she could be near the tub. Of course, she just kept growing, and was moved outside to a heated pen that she shared with the Mattsons’ tortoises and feral cats. At first, she was given a kiddie pool, then, in 2005, a custom-built pond.

Jaxson did not immediately enjoy her new life outside. She would occasionally pry open the screen door to the house and return to her spot by the bathtub.

“We’ve been asked to install a retractable screen on quite a few homes but never had to screen for alligator protection,” says Frank Kerski of ScreenEx.

Later, she would sit in front of the door when she was hungry, waiting to be fed. Laura Mattson claims that Jaxson subsisted on a strict diet of raw chicken and hot dogs. The discovery of two dead cats in Jaxson’s crate has neighbors and law enforcement officials thinking otherwise. Neighbors are being encouraged to report any mysterious disappearances of pets from the past 37 years.

Alligators are a restricted species in California, meaning that they can only be owned for educational or scientific use. Even if Mattson had a wildlife permit, Jaxson would have been forced to relocate. Commander Mark Salazar of the Animal Services Department told the L.A. Times that the department is launching a criminal investigation, and Mattson may face charges for the unauthorized alligator and for the neighborhood’s missing pets.

Rand Paul’s Rant on Disability Gets Him in Hot Water

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It’s about that time that rumors begin to circulate about the next potential presidential candidates, and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) recently completed a two-day tour in New Hampshire, which is the first Republican primary state. It’s expected that the tea partier will run for President in 2016.

What stands out about this week’s visit are Paul’s remarks regarding disability benefits, made during a breakfast with New Hampshire state legislators. According to the Huffington Post, the Social Security Disability Program, which is considered “the little brother” of the Social Security Retirement Insurance program, is scheduled to run out of money next year.

“What I tell people is, if you look like me and you hop out of your truck, you shouldn’t be getting your disability check. Over half of the people on disability are either anxious or their back hurts. Join the club,” Paul said. “Who doesn’t get up a little anxious for work every day and their back hurts. Everybody over 40 has a little back pain.”

The problem is that the disability system is overburdened and is expected to run out of funds in 2016. Then, payroll taxes will only cover 81% of benefits that are scheduled. According to Paul, “In all of these programs there’s always somebody who’s deserving. But everybody in this room knows somebody who is gaming the system.”

“It is normal for people to have back pain. In fact, 80% of the adult population will experience back pain at some time in their life, the spine has a lot of load to carry,” says Penny Forbes of Sierra Regional Spine Institute. “As we age normal wear and tear of the bones, joints and muscles occur – and the back is no exception. Pain and discomfort result from this wear and tear, senator Rand is not being insensitive. There are definitely people out there who have difficulty functioning day to day because of their back condition- and Rand admits those people deserve help. Unfortunately, there are those who have abused the disability system, so the system has been forced to investigate, doubt and deny. This creates hardships for those deserving of the help.”

Back pain is actually the leading cause of disability for Americans under the age of 45. Additionally, back pain is one of the most common reasons that Americans miss work, and more than 26 million Americans between the ages of 20 and 64 suffer from frequent back pain.

A video of Paul’s rant was uploaded by American Bridge, which, according to their website, “is a research and communications organization committed to holding Republicans accountable for their words and actions and helping you ascertain when Republican candidates are pretending to be something they’re not.”

“We absolutely should take care of those truly in need of help. But the system is broken, and when people can game the system, they are stealing from those who are truly disabled and won’t receive the care and aid they need,” Paul said later in a statement.

Recent Poll Reveals That Too Many People Choose Urgent Care When They Need the ER

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The popularity of urgent care centers as the Goldilocks model of health care boomed in 2014. Since it’s not as expensive as the emergency room and doesn’t require the wait time of seeing a primary care physician, many people find urgent care to be “just right.” The problem is that a recent poll reveals that too many people are choosing urgent care when they really ought to go to the emergency room.

According to Forbes, an alarming 71% of emergency physicians reported in a recent poll that they have treated patients who first went to an urgent care center for treatment which was not equipped to treat them.

The poll was conducted by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). According to their findings, 90% of emergency physicians say that patients are directed to emergency care centers because they opt to go to urgent care centers even though they need a higher level of care.

Additionally, more than half of emergency physicians think that urgent care centers market themselves as alternatives to emergency care. According to one doctor, that sends a dangerous message about public health.

“Urgent care centers don’t have the same equipment and staffing as an emergency department,” Dr. Michael Gerardi, MD, President of ACEP. “They treat minor illnesses and injuries, such as sprains and minor cuts requiring stitches. They don’t have the capabilities that emergency departments do for complex diagnoses and treatments.”

According to Urgent Care Center of America data, there are about 9,000 urgent care centers in the United States. Though they do not offer emergency care, they can treat non-life-threatening injuries, prescribe medications and offer treatment for illnesses like the flu.

Some urgent care centers also offer routine testing like drug and disease testing as well as X-ray services to diagnose bone breaks, sprains, and fractures.

Though public perception of urgent care centers is that they are a viable alternative to emergency care, this is not always the case. There are a number of different, valuable services that urgent care centers offer, but it’s up to the patient to make the right choice for their needs.

Made in India: U.S. Companies Eager to Invest in India’s Electronics Sector

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India is eager to join the boon of electronics manufacturing pioneered by its eastern neighbors.

The Dollar Business reports that Indian leaders and business owners want to expand India’s electronics manufacturing industry, which is considered “almost negligible” compared to the output of India’s neighbors such as China. Nearly 90% of India’s electronics are met through imports. According to Dr. Ajay Kumar, the head of the Electronics and Hardware Manufacturing Division of India’s Department of Electronics and Information Technology, India’s dependence on foreign electronic imports is predicted to reach $300 billion in five years.

Catherine Novelli, the U.S. Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, expressed confidence that American companies will choose to invest in the Indian electronics industry, though she did caution the nation to pay close attention to the world’s supply-and-demand needs as it moves forward.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, India’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology, assured Under Secretary Novelli that Indian electronics companies will embrace American investments and will even secure export incentives from the Indian government. Dr. Kumar added that the government plans on investing in electronics companies itself by as much as a 15 – 20% share. The remaining capital, he says, will be provided by foreign as well as domestic investors.

Though India is a leading force in the telecommunications and IT industries, it lags far behind competitors like China in its electronics manufacturing output. According to the Indian Electronics and Semiconductors Association, electronics manufacturing only made $300 million in 2010, which is a relatively small figure given the revenues generated by competitors.

Arson Destroys Elementary Playground

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Residents of Hollister, California are upset by the loss of a local playground earlier this month. The playground at Calaveras Elementary School was completely destroyed by a fire on January 9th. Police believe that the fire was arson.

The playground had two structures, and the larger one has been completely destroyed, as the metal frame buckled under the heat of the fire. District Superintendent Gary McIntire told San Benito County Today that he had just inspected the playground and added new components the week before the crime. Replacing the damaged playground is expected to cost the district $100,000.

Witnesses reported seeing two people in the vicinity just before the playground was set on fire at 11 p.m. The Hollister police department is working with the witnesses to get a description of the suspects, and intends to release a flyer asking for information. The police department is offering a reward up to $1,000 for information that leads to the capture of the arsonists.

The playground has been fenced-off, and the Monday after the incident, crews were removing the rubber mulch to be taken to the landfill.

“In general, mulch is not considered to be a fire hazard,” says Don Saunders, President, Saunders Landscape Supply. “However, it is porous material and may become flammable if gasoline or similar liquid is placed on the mulch.”

Most of the playground has since been removed. Residents who wish to make donations for its replacement are urged to contact the school principal, as not all donations may meet the requirements of the insurance inspector.

The Calaveras Elementary School fire is, tragically, not an isolated incident. Two juveniles were arrested on suspicion of setting fire to the playground at Arroyo Verde Elementary School in Redlands, California on January 4th. Police in Yuma, Arizona are searching for suspects in a recent string of arsons in the city, and in Houston, Texas, law enforcement is requesting information regarding two individuals suspected of starting a fire at the Hambledon Recreation Center late in December.

Neeo’s Thinking Remote Annihilates its Crowdfunding Goal, Will Ship in Spring

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If you’ve got too many electronic devices in your house and your remotes are piling up, it might be time to check out the remote that actually does your thinking for you.That’s what the Neeo device, which is currently dominating on Kickstarter, aims to do. The device has already smashed its crowdfunding goal of $50,000 and will therefore go into production.

So what is the Neeo? Simply put, it’s a remote that can control practically any device in your house that’s connected to your wifi.

That includes TVs, stereos, lamps and even window blinds. The creators of Neeo claim that the device will be able to support over 10,000 audio and visual devices right out of the box, no programming required.

And it’s not just the versatility that lends to its appeal. Neeo will also be able to detect who’s using it. That data will be used to personalize films, playlists and other preferences, and can even be programmed with parental controls or guest modes.

Neeo can be installed as a smartphone app which works in conjunction with Neeo’s electronic brain, but funders can also get a physical remote control loaded with Neeo, depending on what funding tier they choose. Right now, the brain and the app can be reserved for $148, and $199 will buy a brain and a controller. Higher tiers include family packs with multiple remotes to allow people in different rooms to control separate devices simultaneously.

The team behind Neeo has clearly tapped into a major consumer need. At the time of publication, Neeo has raised a stunning $348,895 through Kickstarter, nearly six times more than it set out to make. One enthusiastic backer has contributed $10,000, which will buy them a trip to Switzerland to meet the Neeo team as well as their own Neeo remote and brain and another unique piece of hardware.

“There has always been a large demand for one remote that can control your entire system,” says Robert Wallace, owner of Remotes.com. “I wish Neeo luck with their new venture. Until they have wide acceptance, OEM & Replacement remotes for all brands of TVs, Satellite Receivers, Blu-ray and other home theater equipment are readily available at Remotes.com. ”

The first batch of Neeo devices in the Super Early Bird tiers are expected to ship out in March, and the second batch should go out in May.

Man Wearing “I’m With Stupid” Tee Shirt Arrested by 10 Cops For Wearing “I’m With Stupid” Tee Shirt

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Tee shirts have been a weapon of protest for decades. In the 1960s, people sported the image of Argentinian-born revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara on tee shirts and jackets. More recently, people have sported “Je Suis Charlie” tee shirts in response to the attacks on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, and “I Can’t Breathe” tee shirts in protest of Eric Garner’s death.

But “I’m With Stupid” tee shirts?

A group of 10 police officers arrested Iain Fogerty of Queensland, Australia on January 8, charging him with public nuisance. Fogerty, who runs a Twitter handle parodying the Queensland Premier, wore an “I’m With Stupid” tee shirt while standing next to campaigners from the Liberal National Party (LNP, a conservative political party in Queensland).

“T-shirts are a great way to send a message and test your freedom of speech,” says Eric Uzelac of The Shirt Printer.

Campaign teams for the LNP and the Australian Labor Party, an Australian democratic socialist party, had set up opposing rallies on the opposite ends of a road in Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, which was when Fogerty stood next to the LNP, indicating that they were the “stupid” he was with.

“It was just totally over the top,” said Clair Moore, a Labor Senator. “Rather than telling the bloke to just move on, they arrest him.”

Fogerty’s lawyer, Peter Shields, said that he believes the arrest for public nuisance was not appropriate or justified in the circumstances.

However, a Queensland Police Service spokesperson said, “There was a guy who was being disruptive, pushing people around and stuff like that.”

Judi Jabour, a campaign manager for the Australian Labor Party, said that the situation was ridiculous, saying, “All he was doing was standing there waving with an ‘I’m with Stupid’ T-shirt on and Luke Barnes, Robert Cavallucci’s campaign director, seemed to take offence.”

It should also be noted that arresting Fogerty, it seems, has only fanned the flames higher.

Moore also said, “I have been campaigning for more years than I care to recall and I have never seen anything like this before.”