Utahns Flock to Idaho for Lottery Tickets as Powerball Jackpot Soars Over $1 Billion

Powerball fever is sweeping the nation, and Utah residents who want their chance at the historic jackpot are crossing the state border to buy their tickets before Wednesday’s drawing.

According to local news affiliate KUTV, the most popular destination for Utahns looking to play Powerball is Malad, ID, a tiny city of just 2,200.

While some Malad business owners are welcoming the new customers with open arms, others are a bit overwhelmed by the number of people who have suddenly descended upon their quaint town.

“They bring their kids in. Their kids help themselves to everything they can get in our store. We got kids stuff there all the time. And what do they do? They just go help themselves,” said Keith Atkinson, the owner of KC’s Oil.

Oneida County Sheriff Jeff Simrad called a meeting with local business owners and law enforcement on Sunday to prepare Malad for the high number of lottery hopefuls coming in from surrounding states.

“This is a huge influx of people. And we’ve had issues with parking, with lines of people and trying to keep everybody safe,” said Simrad.

“In our job, we always plan for the worst and hope for the best. And that’s what we’re doing today,” Simrad added. “These last few days, actually, it’s been really good. The people have been patient, they’ve been respectful, and so far it’s gone really well.”

About 76% of Americans are currently living paycheck-to-paycheck, and millions of people across the country are looking to strike gold on Wednesday and escape their own financial rat race.

If the previous Powerball jackpot of approximately $950 million didn’t convince some Utahns to travel out-of-state for tickets, perhaps the new grand prize will.

According to The Detroit News, lottery officials project the next Powerball jackpot to be a whopping $1.4 billion. It will be the largest jackpot in human history.

“Biggest jackpot in the history of the world. Absolutely confirmed,” said Texas Lottery executive director Gary Grief.

As for business owners in Malad, it seems as if petty theft is more of a concern than disorderly conduct. To combat this, Atkinson is hoping that law enforcement will stop by his store every now and then to make sure things are running smoothly.

“If the cops would come in every half hour and just walk through with their badges on and just show ’em, I think people will be more honest,” said Atkinson.

Considering store owners get a hefty payout of their own if they sell a winning Powerball ticket, it’s safe to say that Atkinson and his peers would trade a few stolen Slim Jims for a cut of the largest jackpot ever.

New Synthetic Cannibas Pill May Treat Sleep Apnea

Prescription pillsThere are a few options for treating sleep apnea, including new or used CPAP machines, but there’s one method of treatment that is unlike any other currently on the market.

Medical professionals have developed a synthetic cannabis pill that could potentially treat sleep apnea. This could help keep patients’ airways from closing while they’re sleeping, leading to a better night’s sleep and breathing that isn’t labored.

While a CPAP machine is a common choice of treatment for sleep apnea, some users complain of not being able to wear it throughout the night and dislike having marks on their face in the morning.

News4Jax spoke with Lisa Smith, a sleep apnea sufferer, who consistently uses her CPAP machine while sleeping. When told about a potential synthetic cannabis pill that could ease her apnea, she was optimistic about the possibility of being able to fall asleep easily.

“If it will put me to sleep, I will do it,” Smith said.

Affecting an estimated 18 million Americans, sleep apnea is a not-so-silent killer for many. If left untreated, sufferers are four times as likely to have a stroke and are three times as likely to develop heart disease.

Sleep apnea is a condition that leads to the constant stopping and restarting of breathing while asleep. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, these pauses cut off oxygen to the brain and brings you from a deep sleep to a shallow sleep state. This shift occurs throughout the night, leaving sufferers feeling tired throughout the day, no matter how much sleep they got.

The biggest danger of sleep apnea is being undiagnosed. Because there are no blood tests available to diagnose it, and the patient certainly can’t tell if their windpipe is becoming obstructed in their sleep, it may be left unnoticed for years. It is usually a family member or bed partner that first notices it.

While disturbed sleep may seem mild, it takes a huge toll on the body. Some patients don’t seek treatment and instead spend years without getting a good night’s rest.

Dozens of Wal-Mart Store Closings Are Ruining Local Communities

The community of Fairfield, Alabama is already wondering how residents will manage to access food and healthcare products when its main grocery store closes. With the median income of Fairfield hovering around $34,400, added to the fact that 15% of residents are over 65 and living alone, the 10-minute drive to the closest grocery and retail center is more difficult than most Americans would think.

The town of Winnsboro, South Carolina is going through the exact same problem.

Residents of Oriental, North Carolina already have to make a 50-minute trek just for groceries and prescriptions because the town’s main retail store drove out local businesses within two years of setting up shop — and then abruptly decided to close its doors.

These situations aren’t isolated; they’re occurring all over the country in dozens of communities where residents tend to be living at or below the poverty line, and where a high percentage of residents are elderly seniors living alone.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. owns all of the retail stores referenced above. Officials announced on Jan. 15 that the big box monolith would be closing 269 of its locations, including 154 stores in the U.S. Some locations already began their close-out sales before 2015 ended; others are just starting to let customers know that they’ll have to find a new place to shop.

As the Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg Business reported, the retail giant made a habit out of moving into vulnerable towns and driving local businesses into the ground. In Oriental, for example, the town’s main grocery store had been an important establishment in the community for 44 years; it took just over a year for a new Wal-Mart location to force the mom-and-pop shop out of business.

Offering products at rock-bottom prices and advertising hundreds of new jobs, Wal-Mart stores tend to be a welcome sight in rural, small towns at first. These stores provide everything from electronics to groceries, and many even have their own pharmacies.

Small towns often know that these chain stores aren’t good for their local economies, but it’s hard to fight back when the opportunities of a big box store seem so magnetic on paper.

Residents certainly don’t blame their local stores for shutting their doors after a Wal-Mart moves into town, but it’s only when that Wal-Mart also closes that people realize just how important those small businesses were. An independent pharmacy, for example, can usually accommodate the needs of elderly house-bound residents better than a big box store can.

Mike Gross, VP of Sales and Marketing at Retail Management Solutions, noted, “As a long time supporter of independent pharmacies, we feel very strongly about what is taking place in these rural areas that won’t have a local resource for prescription filling and pharmacist guidance. Pharmacies, more than ever, are playing a larger part in the overall healthcare service that an individual receives. Big box stores are all about the rapid servicing of customers, but with low expectations. This is where independent pharmacies can offer the extra care needed by their patients, by offering niche products and services not provided by big box stores.”

Gross added, “I was just speaking with one of our customers who is opening his fourth pharmacy location, even among many big box stores in his service area. He’s able to do this by delivering specialty medication, personalized services like bedside delivery to a local hospital, curbside pickup using mobile POS technology, and again, focusing on niche products and services that big box stores can’t compete in. It’s a matter of refocusing on your customer.”

It won’t be easy for those 154 American towns to recover as those Wal-Mart locations close. But one thing is clear: small businesses have never been more important for the country’s well being.

GE Releases Smartphone Capable Pizza Oven

General Electric has released a pizza oven that is raising eyebrows all over the internet.

The GE oven, dubbed the Monogram Pizza Oven, can reach 800 degrees within half an hour and 1,200 degrees at full blast, which is enough to cook a Neapolitan-style pizza in just two minutes, according to Digital Trends. By comparison, a run-of-the-mill oven can barely reach 550 degrees, while commercial pizza ovens hit 800 degrees.

While the ability to reach such a high temperature is impressive, it doesn’t stop there. The engineers at GE aimed to replicate the best pizza ovens to provide the best pizza-making experience possible. Considering that more than 90% of people eat at least one piece of pizza each month, this feat may prove quite tempting to potential buyers.

They did this by building a “digital pizza” and loaded it with sensors. They then sent it around the country and had cooks at legendary pizza restaurants throw them into their ovens to see what the conditions were like.

The sensors were able to measure three different types of heat: conduction, convection, and radiant.

The dedication paid off. The engineers were able to dictate exactly what kind of heat needed to be applied to a prepared pizza in order for it to cook optimally.

Considering the oven doesn’t have a conventional door to close it, some consumers may be worried about the temperature rising in their kitchen when the oven is in use.

“It’s similar to putting an oven on self-clean,” GE product evangelist Taylor Dawson explained. This means the air will be circulated back into your kitchen through a vent and is filtered to remove any burnt smells. Essentially, using the oven will raise the temperature within the kitchen.

Another aspect of the oven that is making waves is its smartphone capabilities. Users can set the oven temperature via a touchscreen on the oven itself or through a smartphone app that is in development. The app will connect to the oven via Bluetooth, allowing the owners to remotely set the oven temperature.

GE is actually a bit of a latecomer to the luxury pizza oven trend. In the past several years, outdoor wood fired pizza ovens in particular have become a popular item among luxury builders.

“Pizza ovens are becoming more and more popular in residential applications. Those who have experienced the taste of pizza cooked in a genuine wood-fired oven can immediately discern a flavorful difference,” said Kirk Laing, the owner of Fontana Forni USA.

Laing added, “With the advent of cooking shows and the desire for great, genuine food, homeowners are making an effort to return to healthy eating. Outside gatherings around a wood-fired oven, cooking with real, natural wood, not only promote a comfortable family atmosphere, but also provide a genuine Italian cuisine experience that can be traced back centuries. This heritage is one that has been enjoyed worldwide for generations, and we strive to continue that same experience and flavor with our own ovens.”

The Monogram Pizza Oven will cost roughly $10,000, according to Gizmodo, which is a bit more than what most consumers would spend on standard pizza ovens and wood fired pizza oven kits.