Two West Virginian Women Compete in an International Whitewater Rafting Race

The Soca river, Triglav national park, Slovenia, EuropeTwo West Virginian women paddled their way to a place on the U.S. Whitewater Raft Team. A remarkable run on the Upper Gauley River was enough to earn them a coveted place on the team roster.

In September, Jo-Beth Stamm and Koreen Padjen took on some of the most challenging whitewater rapids in America to win a nine mile race down the Upper Gauley River in West Virginia. Their first place finished secured their spot on the women’s U.S. Whitewater Raft Team.

Their impressive win caught the eye of the U.S. Team’s captain, who also had a boat on the river at the time. They were invited to compete in the World Whitewater Rafting Championship on the Citarik River in Indonesia.

The race took place in December 2015.

Stamm, 33, has been a guide on the New and Gauley rivers for the past 10 years, where she honed her skills as a rafter. In an article from the Charleston Gazette-Mail, she states that she was “absolutely thrilled to be invited” and that the invite was a “fantastic opportunity to learn more about the sport and see how big it has become around the rest of the world.”

Stamm and Padjen both live in Fayetteville, WV, and have trained with whitewater rafting Olympians. It has been an Olympic sport since 1992.

The pair flew to Jakarta in late November to train for the big race. Contestants from 22 countries gathered to the Indonesian capital for their chance to claim world renown in the sport of whitewater rafting.

“We had seven people on the team and used the six best suited for a particular event to be the crew,” said Stamm, who competed in the head-to-head downriver race. She went on to explain, “Head-to-head racing is very exciting. The Citarik is a shallow river, with very technical whitewater.”

Stamm excitedly explained the challenges of head to head rafting: “When you’re racing head-to-head, sometimes both rafts are heading to spots that are only one raft wide, and a lot of times, the rafts would collide as they got to the same place.”

The U.S. women’s team ended up finishing eighth overall, just behind Russia and one jump ahead of Australia. The top three finishers were the Czech Republic, New Zealand, and Japan.

The popularity of whitewater rafting has increased dramatically across the globe. In America alone, 28% of adults participate (or plan to participate) in the sport.

Stamm and Padjen are say they hope their first international race experience won’t be their last! The next winter Olympics are in 2018 — Perhaps we will see Stamm and Padjen on the U.S. roster once again!

Truckers with Sleep Apnea May Be Subject to New Federal Regulations

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????A new set of federal regulations could have more truckers headed to their doctors for sleep apnea evaluations.

The new rules, which were proposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation, intend to collect data on truck operators to find out how many might suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.

According to Landlinemag.com, which follows the trucking industry, the FMCSA submitted advance notice to the Office of Management and Budget that such a regulation could come to pass.

The abstract for the notice reads, “the FMCSA and Federal Railroad Administration request data and information concerning the prevalence of moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnea among individuals occupying safety sensitive positions in rail and highway transportation.”

Both organizations also want information regarding “the potential economic impact and safety benefits associated with regulatory actions that would result in transportation workers in these positions, who exhibit multiple risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea, undergoing evaluation by a healthcare professional with expertise in sleep disorders and subsequent treatment.”

Sleep apnea disrupts the sleep of millions of Americans, causing them to snore loudly and even stop breathing at night. It is most often treated with the use of a continuous positive airway pressure device, such as a CPAP mask, and other therapies.

Federal regulations dictate that anyone driving a commercial vehicle must have “no established medical history or clinical diagnosis of a respiratory dysfunction likely to interfere with his/her ability to control and drive a commercial motor vehicle safely.”

The proposal will print in the Federal Register sometime in January, which will be the first public disclosure of the proposal. After that, the rulemaking process will include public comment periods, legitimate research, cost-benefit analysis, and other steps.

Truck drivers will also have to carry a Department of Transportation medical card to show they’ve passed a physical examination, according to KOAM TV in Pittsburg, KS.

One of those drivers is Bob Sponseller. He is required to get a physical every year because of his sleep apnea.

In the past, Sponseller could have received an extenuation of 30, 60, or 90 days if he didn’t pass his physical exam. A new rule going into effect on Dec. 22, however, states that either the driver or the trucking company must pay for another complete physical before the limited card expires.

Federal regulators intend to not only collect data on the prevalence of sleep apnea and other disorders, but also to obtain feedback from drivers about the proposed regulations, according to trucking news site Overdrive.

Fire Marshals and Experts Nationwide Warn Against Holiday Fire Hazards

Hosue FireAlthough the weather may vary across the United States this holiday season, there’s one thing that all homeowners, apartment dwellers, and even business owners need to be conscious of this December. The winter holidays present some of the biggest fire safety issues throughout the country.

In Tuscon, AZ, the Golder Ranch Fire District wants to keep people safe, especially if they plan on bringing a Christmas tree into their homes or have one there already.

“Once the tree starts to dry out, it becomes a real fire hazard in your home,” Anne-Marie Braswell, community relations manager for Golder Ranch Fire District, told Tuscon News Now.

One sure sign that a tree is drying out, Braswell said, is that the needles will drop more easily from the tree.

A well-hydrated tree is less likely to catch fire, however, so both residential and commercial property owners who have Christmas trees up should make sure that the tree stand has enough water in it at all times.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that one out of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems, such as those related to the use of string lights or other decorations. Candle fires also tend to break out during the month of December because many people may leave them too close to their Christmas trees.

Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan also points to candle fires as a cause of home and apartment fires in the winter. Cooking and heating in general top the list for winter fire causes, he said, but candle fires are the most common on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

Those who want to burn candles should do so with a one-foot “circle of safety,” Coan told the Greenfield, MA, Recorder. This is crucial for both home and apartment fire protection as people use candles to decorate or for religious reasons.

“Many of the holidays celebrated at this time of year use candles,” he said, adding that, “Sadly, the increased candle use at this time of year also causes a boost in candle fires.”

Coan gave the example of a fire last Christmas Eve in a 13-unit apartment building, which the Lowell Fire Department responded to. The wallpaper in a first-floor apartment’s living room ignited because a candle was burning too close to it.

Although the apartment’s alarm system was working and no one was injured, there were no fire sprinkler systems in this unit. The total damages from the fire were estimated at around $15,000.

The Chapel Hill Fire Department in North Carolina is also warning people to stay safe during the holiday season.

Deputy chief fire marshal Todd Iager said that the highest number of house fires start in the kitchen, so don’t cook while distracted.

“When people come over make sure you turn the stove off,” Iager told Chapelboro.com. “Make sure you keep anything that can burn away from the stove, make sure you keep your kids away from the stove and make sure you’re taking care of the safety in the kitchen before you get distracted, whether it’s having a drink with relatives or giving somebody a hug.”

How the Holiday Season Often Reveals Addiction Issues Within Families

????????????????????????????????For many people across the country, the holiday season is the one time of the year when we can spend much-needed quality time with our families.

But for families who have one or more members struggling with addiction, the holidays aren’t quite as enjoyable. Federal studies reveal that an astonishing 70 million children live with addicted parents, and the reverse scenario is also common.

During these holiday gatherings, when families spend more time with one another than normal, problems with substance abuse and addiction often rise to the surface and become more apparent.

“Families usually have a gut feeling that something isn’t right,” Dody Vail, director of NCADD of Northeast Mississippi, told DJournal.com on Dec. 29. The NCADD provides free assessments and treatment program referrals to people battling substance abuse.

That’s because there are often many indicators of addiction that raise warning flags among families, explained David Carpenter, clinical therapist at the Oxford Centre’s outpatient office in Tupelo, MS. Changes in personality or appearance, and trouble at work or in relationships, are common signs of trouble. It’s not uncommon for family members with addiction to become defensive when asked probing questions.

“Family members can be instrumental in helping a drug-dependent individual gain awareness and insight into their behaviors and at least start the process of accepting their situation and seeking help, instead of being in denial,” said Arnold Hesnod, Clinical Outreach, Clear Sky Ibogaine. “Ultimately every person must take responsibility for their actions and begin moving in the right direction; but especially in the early stages of recovery, family can be the instrumental in helping start the recovery and healing process.”

Despite the familial fractures that can come at this time of year, there is some hope for parents who want to help their children overcome addiction, Vail explained. It’s imperative for friends and family to move past the defensiveness of their loved one and not stand by and do nothing. Avoid shaming and becoming overly confrontational during any intervention, as well.

“Budging denial isn’t fun, but it’s essential,” Vail said.

By remaining supportive, honest and engaged, family members can become the impetus for their loved one’s recovery from addiction.

Children Who Don’t Receive Preventative Dental Care Are at a Higher Risk of Developing Cavities

Dental treatmentAccording to a recent study conducted by the Delta Dental Foundation that analyzed more than 97 million dental claims, two-thirds of children who don’t get the recommended preventative dental care are at a higher risk of developing cavities.

In the study, researchers found that 27% of children up to the age of 18 have an increased risk of developing cavities, as shown by records of dental fillings. Of the 27% of children who developed cavities, 65% of them did not receive the recommended two fluoride treatments per year, 68% of children between the ages of six and nine didn’t receive sealants on their first personal molars, and 85% of those children between the ages of 10 and 14 didn’t receive sealants on their second permanent molars.

Statistically speaking, previous studies show that 78% of individuals have at least one cavity by the age of 17. However, this landmark study shows that failing to take the necessary preventative measures can increase both the incidence and frequency of cavities among children below the age of 18.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), children who have a higher risk of tooth decay should receive two fluoride treatments per year and sealants on both their first and second permanent molars.

These kinds of treatments are typically fully covered by dental insurance benefits.

And while many children are failing to receive preventative care, an alarming number of children don’t receive any care at all. In fact, 25% of children between the ages of three and 18 don’t visit the dentist, and 71% of children under three don’t visit the dentist at all.

“Dental diseases like tooth decay and gum disease are preventable, so it is very important for children and adults at higher risk for dental disease to fully utilize the preventive dental benefits available to them,” said Dr. Bill Kohn, the vice president for dental science and policy for the Delta Dental Plants Association.

While oral health is often a result of both environmental and genetic factors, regular trips to the dentist can ensure that children grow up with lasting and good oral health.

This Robot Can Navigate Tinder for You, Based Only on Your Sweat

Shy woman and man sitting on sofa. First date.Do you find Tinder — and the ultimate decision to Swipe Left or Swipe Right — too overwhelming?

A new contraption called the “True Love Tinder Robot,” developed by NYU grad student Nicole He, could provide a solution. According to He, the robot is able to measure a person’s attraction to another individual by measuring the amount of sweat on his or her hands.

Tech Times and Mic reported that the robot uses an Arduino mini-computer, a text-to-speech converter, LED lights, galvanized metal sheets, a synthetic hand, and — of course — a smartphone connected to the dating app, Tinder.

“Can you see yourself spending your life with this person?” the robot asks, as a photo of another Tinder user is displayed on the smartphone screen. The usual protocol for the app is simple: swipe right for a “yes,” or left for a “no.”

With the True Love Tinder Robot, you don’t even have to think about your answer. You merely place both hands on the galvanized metal sheets as you look at the photograph, and the sensors in these sheets measure changes in perspiration levels of your hands. This information is sent to the robot’s mini-computer where it’s analyzed to determine attraction, and then the computer instructs the synthetic hand to swipe left or swipe right on the smartphone screen.

Galvanic skin response (GSR), according to Vice, is an interesting way of measuring a complicated concept, such as attraction. When an individual sees something exciting, beautiful, or even scary, the skin responds by releasing sweat; even the smallest amount of sweat can signal a change in what a person is feeling, thinking, or perceiving.

This extra liquid moistens the skin and makes it more conducive to electricity, and GSR sensors measure the amount of electricity that can (harmlessly) be conducted from one moment to the next.

The True Love Tinder Robot certainly rests on verifiable scientific data, but there is one small flaw: the body doesn’t just release sweat based on feelings. Environmental factors (like temperature) play a role, and some people have a condition called hyperhidrosis where they experience excessive sweating for no apparent reason.

The True Love Tinder Robot may not be perfect, and it’s not exactly about to hit store shelves any time soon. Still, it’s an interesting example of just how powerful a person’s sweat can be.