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Socializing While Social Distancing Learning to Love Zoom
We all like a little downtime. It’s a chance to escape for a while, recharge, do some undisturbed thinking, read a good book, go for a walk or a run, or maybe ride your bike (preferably outside rather than on a machine). But for most of us, being alone with our thoughts is only enjoyable and nurturing for a limited period of time. We are social beings, plain and simple. Biblically speaking, “Man was not meant to be alone.” We just can’t escape our biological roots. Eons ago, prehistoric people survived by living together in communities. They socialized by talking about where to find food and what dangers to avoid. Those who listened and passed on this information survived, and the “loners” did not. So, we are all descendants of socializers. It’s part of our genetic makeup. Although, I admit, more so in some than others. How, then, do we satisfy our need to socialize in a world where we are asked to social distance or even quarantine ourselves at home? I think I can sum up the answer in one word: Zoom! Zoom is a conferencing service company headquartered in San Jose, California. It provides remote videoconferencing, online meetings, chat, and mobile collaboration services. It’s the leader in modern video communications, with an easy (even I can do it) and reliable Cloud platform for audio- and videoconferencing using mobile, desktop, and room systems. You can invite up to a thousand participants (depending on your plan), and it is very affordable. Plus, the video quality is pretty amazing! You can sign up for free and enjoy unlimited meetings for up to 40 minutes at a time. To host, manage, and set feature controls, the least expensive plan is only $14.99 a month. I first began using this platform for office meetings. All but two of our 13 employees have been equipped with laptops and monitors to work from home. Personally, I have been telecommuting for the last 10 days, but that’s another story. In the meantime, I’ve discovered that Zoom can be used for many other types of social gatherings: a birthday party, dinner and drinks (BYOF and BYOB), or just casual communication with friends. Presently, Zoom really is the next best thing to being together in person. If you do try Zoom, you’ll want to practice proper Zoom etiquette (good manners while Zooming). Here is my list to get you started. First, remember your main light source needs to be in front of your face, not
behind it (unless you want to hide a bad hair day or unshaven stubble). Second, stage an appropriate background. No one wants to peer past you and view your wet towel slung over a closet door. Third, Zoom focuses on your face with great clarity. If there is too much light shining up from below, you look spookier than Vincent Price in a horror movie. (I know, this reference dates me.) If your only light comes from above, your face will look droopy and stern. We elders battle this effect no matter what the lighting is. And last, cut out any unwanted or disruptive commotion going on behind you. That R-rated movie playing in the background may not make the impression you desire. To learn how to host or join a zoom meeting, just ask one of your children. If you’re an empty-nester like Cory and I, there are a number of tutorials available on the Zoom website. Otherwise, you’re welcome to call our office and talk to one of our youthful employees. I know this is a difficult time for everyone, but I’m confident we will get through it together. In the meantime, we need to keep communicating and socializing. Now, go try Zoom with your family and friends! Stay safe and be well.
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SOMETHING IN THE WATER WHY ROB BILOTT TOOK ON DUPONT
Rob Bilott never should have agreed to represent Wilbur Tennant’s case.
property provided water for all the cattle and wildlife in the area. Since the sale, the stream had become frothy and discolored, and the animals that drank from it were sick, malformed, or dead, including 153 of Tennant’s 200 cows. When Bilott stumbled upon a letter from DuPont to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the real horror story began to emerge — one that went far beyond the boundaries of Tennant’s farm and into the drinking water of every American. The letter mentioned a mysterious chemical called PFOA, and Bilott requested documentation from DuPont to find out more about it. However, the company refused, so Bilott requested a court order. Soon, dozens of disorganized boxes filled with thousands of 50-year-old files arrived at Bilott’s firm.
The cattle farmer had presented evidence of the strange malady plaguing his cattle to lawyers, politicians, and veterinarians in Parkersburg, West Virginia, but no one took Tennant’s case seriously.
in the mess of documents, but soon, his time as an environmental lawyer helped him see the bigger picture. It became clear that DuPont had orchestrated a massive cover-up regarding their use of PFOA. PFOA is used in the manufacturing of Teflon, and the company had knowingly exposed workers and the Parkersburg water supply to it. Bilott filed a class-action suit as a medical monitoring claim on behalf of the people of Parkersburg, and, as of 2011, a probable link between PFOA and six health conditions, including two types of cancer, has been found.
But when Bilott saw the evidence for himself, it was clear that something was wrong.
The videos and photographs Tennant had collected showed cattle with patchy fur, growths and lesions, white slime coming from their mouths, and staggering gaits. Tennant told Bilott that the abnormal behavior and physical deformities had started after his brother Jim sold his property to DuPont, a chemical company with a big presence in Parkersburg. Jim’s property bordered on Wilbur’s, and a stream running from Jim’s
He was worried he wouldn’t be able to find anything incriminating or even conclusive Because of the medical monitoring claim, plaintiffs can file personal injury lawsuits against DuPont. So far, 3,535 people have. If it weren’t for Bilott and Tennant, the public might have never known the dangers of PFOA. DOYOUR PART TO KEEP AMERICA BEAUTIFUL And Maintain Green Living Spaces for Everyone
Have you ever walked through a park and seen a plastic bottle or wrapper lying on the ground? If so, did you pick it up and properly dispose of it? You might not have realized it, but in that moment, you took a small step toward keeping your community — and, by extension, America — beautiful! April is Keep America Beautiful Month, and folks who celebrate aim to help each community in every state stay clean and green. Created by the nonprofit organization Keep America Beautiful, this holiday offers a perfect opportunity to roll up your sleeves and work to better the place
you live in. Here are three ways to show your appreciation for a green America this month.
of your health and keeps your community clean. Anybody can do it: Just throw on your running shoes, grab a bag, head out the door, and pick up any stray bits of trash you see on your morning jog or evening walk.
TAKE ACTION ONLINE.
With the current COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the world, it might be difficult to get outside and participate in a few community cleanup programs. But that doesn’t mean the public still can’t participate in Keep America Beautiful Month. April 22 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and to celebrate, Earth Day Network is providing digital events for everyone around the world to take part in. Follow Earth Day Network’s social media accounts and stay updated on efforts to keep the Earth green or participate in an event yourself! For more information, visit EarthDay.org.
IMPROVE RECYCLINGTHROUGH EDUCATION.
An important goal during Keep America Beautiful Month is to spread awareness about recycling. There are various ways to educate those around you about recycling and encourage them to do their part. At work, for example, you can volunteer to lead a recycling initiative by printing off guides and fostering discussions on why recycling is so essential. At home, you canmake a commitment with your family to fulfill the three R’s of recycling: reduce, reuse, recycle. To discover more ways to participate in Keep America Beautiful Month, visit their website at KAB.org today!
If you’re passionate about staying active and cleaning up your neighborhood, then this is the perfect activity for you! Plogging combines jogging and picking up litter, which takes care
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TAKE A BREAK
Few things change faster than the internet, and how we connect with the internet is constantly evolving. When it comes to wireless capabilities, fourth-generation (4G) networks have been the norm for 10 years. But 4G couldn’t meet demands forever, and there’s already talk of a fifth-generation (5G) network taking center stage. So, what makes 5G different from 4G, and how will it affect consumers and their internet-enabled devices? SO, WHAT IS 5G? A New Horizon in Wireless Technology
WHAT ARE THE BASICS?
Simply put, 5G is the fifth generation of wireless technology that enables mobile devices like cellphones and stationary devices like desktop computers to send and receive data without being physically connected to a network via cables. As technology improves and more connection points are established around the globe, new network generations are “released” to represent significant advancements in speed and reach.
HOW POWERFUL WILL IT BE?
Consumers will notice the rise of 5G mostly with their smartphones. Apps and services that function using the internet will have fewer delays, faster loading times, more reliable internet access in remote locations, and more stable downloading and uploading capabilities. Experts predict that 5G will provide download speeds of up to 10,000 megabits per second, which is roughly 100 times faster than 4G. While it can take a 4G network upward of 15 seconds to download a simple 5-megabyte music file, a 5G network will be able to download an entire movie in less than two seconds.
EASY DEVILED EGGS
While the kids hunt for Easter eggs in the yard, whip up this easy deviled egg recipe for a hearty snack that’s sure to satisfy any craving.
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp ground mustard
2 tbsp milk
Salt, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper, to taste
These network updates are all about speed, but that doesn’t mean you should rush to switch your cellphone over to 5G. Many providers are still testing the service with select markets, and a full rollout of 5G isn’t expected until later this year. Check with your network provider about the options they currently offer and get ready to connect with the world like never before.
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
12 large eggs, hard-boiled
1/2 tsp dill weed
Fresh parsley, minced, and paprika for garnish
1/2 tsp fresh chives, minced
1. In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, milk, parsley flakes, dill, chives, mustard, salt, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper. Mix well and set aside. 2. Cut eggs lengthwise and remove yolks carefully to preserve egg whites. 3. In a small bowl, mash yolks. 4. Mix mashed yolks with mayonnaise mixture. 5. Spoon or pipe the mixture back into the egg whites. 6. Garnish with fresh parsley and paprika. Refrigerate before serving.
Inspired by TasteOfHome.com
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Socializing While Social Distancing
The Lawyer Who Took on a Multibillion-Dollar Company Keep America Beautiful
Easy Deviled Eggs 5G Made Simple
The History of Libraries in America
THE OLDEST LIBRARIES IN AMERICA A STORY OF MANY FIRSTS
A FEW MORE FIRSTS
What’s the oldest library in America? It’s an easy question to ask, but it has an unexpectedly complicated answer. Before the Industrial Revolution generated greater interest in public services, a library’s function and purpose varied widely. Several libraries in the United States claim to be the country’s “first,” but for different reasons.
During the 1700s, a few more “first” libraries were established. In 1731, Ben Franklin and a few others started the first subscription library in the United States. Members of subscription libraries could pay to buy books or borrow them for free. In 1757, 60 men founded the Library Company of Burlington in New Jersey, and Thomas Rodman received a charter from King George II to operate the business in 1758. The library still operates under that charter today. The Library of Burlington was the first library to operate out of its own building after a prominent resident donated the land in 1789.
COLLEGES AND THE CLERGY
Hampshire, at a town meeting. It was the first tax-supported free public library in the United States and in the world. Not long after that, the Boston Public Library, known as the “palace for the people,” became the first municipal public library in the country. The Boston Public Library was also the first library to have a space specifically for children. Out of all the “first” libraries in the country, these are the most probable progenitors of most libraries today — even if they weren’t exactly “first.”
Some believe Harvard University hosted the first library in the United States. Harvard was the first university in the United States, founded in 1636, and clergyman John Harvard seeded the library with a 400-book collection. Soon after, however, Thomas Bray, another clergyman, began establishing the first free lending libraries throughout the colonies to encourage the spread of the Anglican Church. Not surprisingly, most of the libraries’ holdings were theological.
BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE
In 1833, just as the Industrial Revolution was picking up steam, the Peterborough Town Library was founded in Peterborough, New
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