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Start Talking! Know! To Focus On Mental Health
5/9/2017 -- If our pancreas has a chemical imbalance, we seek treatment. If our kidneys are not physiologically working right, we seek treatment. When our most complex organ, the brain, is not physiologically working right or has a chemical imbalance, for some reason we ignore or hide it. May is Mental Health Month; an opportunity to break the negative stigma that surrounds mental illness... read more.
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Broke Wife, Big City… I’m wearing these yoga pants ironically, By Aprill Brandon
It’s no secret that when you become a mom, you go through a bit of an identity crisis. It can be hard to remember who you were when it feels like who you are now is someone who spends all of her time cleaning up mystery stains. Is that poop or chocolate? Apple juice or pee? I used to be on a first name basis with the mayor and win journalism awards... read more.
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Just Because You’re Paranoid… By Kate Burch
We read these days about the “conspiracy theorists” claiming falsely that there exists a “deep state” composed mostly of Obama administration holdovers who are busily undermining the attempts of the Trump administration to realize its goals.  According to the pundits, who are hand-in-glove with the “resistance,” all right-thinking people are outraged by... read more.
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NPR Ed… A Public University Acquires A Big For-Profit, And Raises Big Questions, By Anya Kamenetz - In a move that's being called "bold" and "out of the blue," Indiana's Purdue University is acquiring the for-profit Kaplan University. In announcing the deal last week, Purdue President Mitch Daniels said it was designed to open the university up to a vast new pool of students nationwide. "We cannot honor our land-grant mission in the 21st century without reaching... read more.
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Start Talking! Know! To Arm Them with Education, Motivation, Expectations and the X-Plan -- 5/2/2017 -- In previous Know! tips, we discussed the prevalence of underage drinking and the many negative consequences that can go along with it. We also shared an important fact; young people who begin drinking before the age of 15 are six times more likely to develop alcoholism or have problems with alcohol later in life, compared to those who wait until turning 21... read more.
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Broke Wife, Big City… Oh, the places you’ve been, By Aprill Brandon
My little brother is graduating high school. And yes, if you’re doing the math in your head, let me just stop you right there. There is a 17 year gap in our ages. I joke that my mom needed that long to recover from my birth and let’s just leave it at that instead of getting into the whole “she was a single mom for a long time and then finally found love” story. Besides, this... read more.
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Start Talking! Students Awarded for Drug Prevention Videos
4/23/2017 - Five students from Genoa Area High School in Ottawa County were recognized on April 20 by representatives from Drug Free Action Alliance, the Start Talking! program and Verizon for submitting the winning video in the Start Recording/Start Talking statewide video contest. The top three videos and the students who produced them were... read more.
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Broke Wife, Big City… I called my kid a butthead in public, By Aprill Brandon
There have been times in my writing career that I have slightly exaggerated a story for comedic effect. Not much, mind you. Just a detail or two, here or there. For instance, when my kids are driving me insane, I don’t actually chug a whole bottle of whiskey. It’s half a bottle, tops. So, with that said, let me assure you that what follows below is not one... read more.
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Ramblings of an Old Man… Why Teachers Teach, By Bob Robinson
“They cheered.” “Huh?” “They cheered,” said the teacher. “When they heard you were subbing today, the whole class cheered. They didn’t even know they’d be seeing you.” She grinned when she saw the expression on my face. Confused? Uh… yeah! The students had entered the room and I had to focus on settling them down long enough to learn what their teacher... read more.
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Start Talking! Know! April is Alcohol Awareness Month
4/12/2017 - The media has done a good job bringing to light the prevalence and severity of the use of heroin, prescription drugs and marijuana among our nation’s youth. But what about alcohol? We don’t hear much about it in the news anymore. Is underage drinking still that widespread? And is it really that big of a deal? YES and YES. Alcohol remains... read more.
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State Senator Bill Beagle… Modernizing Ohio's Child Support Guidelines
As a parent myself, as well as the chairman of the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood, I know firsthand that all children deserve the best possible quality of life in order to prepare them for the future. Child poverty’s devastating effects on families, education and eventually one’s ability to work are well documented. Improving financial support for Ohio’s children is why I introduced Senate Bill 125, which aims... read more.
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Broke Wife, Big City… Guess who’s negotiating for dinner? By Aprill Brandon
I’m not exactly sure when it happened. I have a feeling it was something like when you go broke: gradually, then all at once. But somehow our nightly family dinners have turned into a one big negotiation (occasionally escalating into a full-blown hostage situation). It doesn’t matter what I make. It doesn’t matter how many options I give. It doesn’t matter that... read more.
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What I learned at the Senior Job Fair, By Mike Stegall
Tuesday April 12th at the Greenville High School, seniors from most of the schools in the county came to visit with, interview, and to be interviewed by 15 of our fine businesses.  Lisa Wendel, our workforce specialist, has done a great job organizing and putting on this event along with Melanie Nealeigh, the office coordinator.  The Economic Development office has... read more.
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Ramblings of an Old Man… Loss of Innocence, By Bob Robinson
“How old are you, Mr. Robinson?” 72. “Aww… nobody’s that old!” “Yeah, they are,” says another… “My grandma’s older than that!” I assure the students that, yes, I am that old and, when necessary, remind them… “I’m an old man, right?” Right! “Have you ever heard the term, Grumpy Old Man?” A few say no, a few say yes… but quite a few have heard... read more.
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College Credit Plus… What does “College-Ready” mean?
Are you interested in College Credit Plus for your son or daughter, but aren’t sure if he or she is ready for college? Many parents who have students in grades 7 through 12 are excited for this option, and their sons and daughters are academically ready, but it’s important to consider all of the aspects of being “college ready.” Here are just a... read more.
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Start Talking! Know! Puberty is a Brain-Changer
4/5/2017 - Cracking voices, body odor and wild mood swings - all indicators of the long-awaited and sometimes dreaded period in every adolescents’ life. We’re talking puberty. Most youth are well-aware of the physical changes they can expect their bodies to go through, but do they know the impact of puberty on their brains? Are your children... read more.
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Broke Wife, Big City… Rollercoaster of Love (and Anger and Guilt and Exhaustion), By Aprill Brandon - “So, how was your day?” Has there ever been a more loaded question? Yes. But for my purposes here, I need you to ignore that. Because I get asked this on a daily basis. Sometimes multiple times during that daily basis. And it stumps me every single time. How was my day? How was my whole, entire, day? Well, nothing is currently on fire. That’s how my... read more.
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Start Talking! Know! To Secure, Monitor and Properly Dispose
3/29/2017 - Tis the season for spring cleaning. As you’re working hard to get your home decluttered, organized, spotless and sparkling, be sure to include the clearing out of old, unused or unwanted medicines – it’s a vitally important task. Families are continuing to be devastated and destroyed as children by medicine abuse. Kids end up in the ER... read more.
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Broke Wife, Big City… Free at last, free at last, By Aprill Brandon
Hi. How’s your day going? I have cabbage leaves in my bra. And no, this isn’t some fancy new way to make coleslaw I learned from Gwyneth Paltrow on Goop (although I wouldn’t put it past her). Oh no. My bra is stuffed with produce because it allegedly has healing powers. Which I need because after nine long months, I am …(drum roll, please)… finally weaning... read more.
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Commissioner’s Corner March 2017
Is it just me or should February have been March and March should have been February? This weather has been completely confused! Seventy- degree weather in February and 30’s in March was the norm this year. Hopefully, now that we are at the end of the month, things will get back to a more normal setting, and April will be a regular April! March has been... read more.
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Flight From Love, By Kate Burch
There are a number of conditions of contemporary life in America that disturb me.  One that I find almost unutterably sad is the “hookup” culture on our college campuses.  Even at many religiously-affiliated colleges, participation—usually alcohol-fueled—in numerous and casual sexual encounters with strangers or mere acquaintances has become normative behavior... read more.
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Broke Wife, Big City… The Life-Changing Magic of Giving Up, By Aprill Brandon
Oh, early spring. Isn’t it lovely? That magical time of year where you can kick the melting, dirty, gray snow out of your path with your new flip-flops while walking in an unrelenting downpour of freezing rain. Mmm…so life affirming. Ugh. Oh, how I hate this time of year. So much. It’s dumb and the weather sucks and there are no good holidays unless you count... read more.
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Start Talking! Know! To Stop, Drop and Breathe
3/15/2017 - Even as adults, anger can be a difficult emotion to control, especially when it involves a child who continues to defy his or her parents. No one can push our buttons like our own children. However, the importance of exhibiting self-control in order to discipline a child appropriately, is monumental. An angry parent is scary enough. An angry... read more.
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Broke Wife, Big City… When your village lives far away, By Aprill Brandon
My life would make for a horrible sitcom. Not because I’m not funny. Pffft. Please. I’m super funny. Hilarious, even. And yet humble. Oh, so humble. I’m essentially the love child of David Sedaris and some really humble dude. And not because my life isn’t absurd. It is. Oh, how it is. The other day I spent 45 minutes sitting on the floor of my... read more.
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A Message from Paolo DeMaria, Superintendent of Public Instruction
As Ohioans, we all want every child to receive a high-quality education so they can succeed in life, careers and future learning. That unity is crucial as we seek to lead our education system to be the best it can be in the service of every child. Only by working together can we reach our aspirations. The submission of the state's Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA... read more.
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Start Talking… Know! To Practice Kindness
3/8/2017 -- When kindness is a priority in the lives of young people, they are likely to have an increased overall sense of well-being, purpose and happiness. We all want our children to be happy, right? So as parents and teachers, we find ourselves going out of our way, doing many small acts of kindness every day, solely for their benefit. But what we quickly learn is that these acts... read more.
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Broke Wife, Big City… Wolverine vs. The Really Hyper Bunnies, By Aprill Brandon
Here’s a million dollar idea for all you budding entrepreneurial wanna-be types: Invent a self-defense class for parents of small children. Now, to be clear, I don’t mean for situations where you need to protect your children. Pretty much every parent I know is capable of murdering someone with a rattle if they catch that person even looking at their... read more.
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Know! What a Healthy Dating Relationship Is, and What It Is Not
2/28/2017 - It is always important to focus attention on abuse in young people’s relationships and provide information to help prevent it. In a previous Know! tip, The Not-So-Innocent Side of Teen Romance, we discussed the prevalence of physical, emotional and verbal dating abuse that takes place among youth, as well as the long-lasting problems... read more.
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A day without a woman? By Susan Olling
A local commentator, whose opinions I respect, raised a good question about what went on 08 Mar: who were women in this country trying to educate?   Any answers out there?  If you want to hear his excellent comments, follow this link and go to 08 Mar: http://wtop.com/core-values-chris-core/. I read various articles about a day without a woman... read more.
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Broke Wife, Big City… The seven-year glitch, By Aprill Brandon
It was our seventh wedding anniversary. Which is the baby wipe anniversary, I believe. Or perhaps the Swiffer anniversary. Either way, we had no money for gifts after Googling local preschool prices. But it didn’t matter. The sun was shining. I was wearing a skirt AND non-pregnancy underwear. And my mother-in-law was in town, happily volunteering to... read more.
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A bit of this and a bit of that….. By Susan Olling
I love a good clear out.  Not necessarily a whole room, but clearing stuff, even out of a drawer, is always therapeutic.  I found a bag on the top shelf of a closet recently.  The bag contained a copy of the Washington Post.  The Wednesday, September 12, 2001 edition.  Needing a break, I spent some time going through this piece of ancient history.  There was... read more.
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The Learning Network… Will Social Media Help or Hurt Your College and Career Goals? Student Opinion By Caroline Crosson Gilpin - Feb. 24, 2017 - Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites have become an integral part of teenage culture. Yet the snarky comment or inappropriate picture we share with our friends just might not project the image we want the rest of the world to see, especially as we get older. How careful are you online? In this... read more.
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Know! The Not-So-Innocent Side of Teen Romance
2/14/2017 - The month of February is known as a time of “love,” where secret-admirers and Valentines of all ages express their affection for one another through candy hearts, red roses and love letters. In sharp contrast, however, February has also become known as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month to focus attention on abuse in young people... read more.
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Commissioner’s Corner… Commissioners Update for February
February has passed by very quickly, and with weather comparative to what we have in March; some nice days, some rain, some snow. Well, after all, this is the Great Miami Valley, and if you don’t like the weather now, just wait 5 minutes and it will change! The year has started out pretty well for the county. We continue to move forward on some projects... read more.
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The Opioid Solution, By Mike Stegall
I heard an incredible statistic last week, one that makes you really stop and think.  It stated that the United States has 4% of the world’s population, but 80% of the world’s opioid use!  That is just mind-numbingly awful.  I also saw where Dayton, Ohio is the #1 city in America from drug deaths per capita.  That is just 35 miles south of us here in Darke County.  This problem is not exclusive to just us... read more.
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A Crisis of Self-Doubt, By Kate Burch
A little-noted recent event was the call by Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, for a “post West world order.”  He made his remarks, also including denunciations of the current “post truth” state of international relations, at the Munich Security Conference.  Does the failure of our media to remark or object imply their agreement? The intellectual and... read more.
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Broke Wife, Big City… White lies I told my children this week* By Aprill Brandon
*or possibly just today. The sun doesn’t like it when you wake up before he does. Mommy can’t play cars with you until she drinks ALL her coffee. It’s the law. I’ll come help you find the green car in five minutes. No, it hasn’t been five minutes yet. I still have three minutes. Maybe I’ll let you go play in the snow after breakfast. Nope, we’re all out of yogurt... read more.
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Know! To Role Model RESPECT for the Rx
2/7/2017 - Why focus on prescription drugs? Research shows that more deaths are now occurring each year from accidental drug overdoses than from car accidents. Someone in the U.S. dies every 15 minutes from an accidental overdose. Nearly half of the drug overdose deaths are due to prescription drugs. Parents are powerful influencers when... read more.
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Broke Wife, Big City… Confessions of a “Threenage” Drama King, By Aprill Brandon
He’s moody. He’s disrespectful. He hates everything I do. Yup, my little boy is growing up. I can’t believe he’s a teenager already. Oh wait. Sorry. That was a typo. I meant to type threenager. He’s three. THREE. I always thought people were exaggerating when they talked about the Terrible Twos. My angel was just that when he was two. An angel. He... read more.
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NPR Ed… Not All Fun And Games: New Guidelines Urge Schools To Rethink Recess, Sophia Boyd - February 1, 2017 - What's the best time for students to have recess? Before lunch, or after? What happens if it rains? If students are misbehaving, is it a good idea to punish them by making them sit out recess? Those are just a few of the issues addressed in new guidelines designed to help schools have good recess. The recommendations... read more.
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Musings on Social Media, By Jim Surber
“If I were to run, I’d run as a Republican. They are the dumbest group of voters in the country. They believe anything on Fox News. I could lie and they’d still eat it up. I bet my numbers would be terrific.” Millions of people read this quote on their Facebook news feed, attributed to Donald Trump in a 1998 interview in People magazine. It was, no doubt, received with... read more.
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Broke Wife, Big City… But where’s my gold star? By Aprill Brandon
The one thing I probably hear the most since having children? (Besides “whoa, you look tired”). “You are so lucky you get to stay home with your kids.” There are different versions of this, of course. All with fun varying degrees of passive-aggressiveness. “I’d love to spend all day in my pajamas doing nothing.” “I hope you appreciate it. I die a little... read more.
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Broke Wife, Big City… Am I a lazy mom? By Aprill Brandon
You know those brief moments in time when, as a parent, you finally feel like you have it all together? All the balls are in the air and you feel oddly confident you can keep them there? Maybe even have a whole extra second to use one of your hands to gulp down a glass of wine because you are a parenting goddess and you’ve earned it, dammit. This... read more.
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Start Talking! Know! January 23-29 is National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week
1/18/2017 - When it comes to alcohol and other drugs, there are opinions and then there are facts. It’s hard enough for adults to distinguish between the two; it is even more challenging for youth, who get much of their information from the internet, TV, movies, music or from friends. With that in mind, parents and other caregivers are encouraged to... read more.
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Hey Everyone! Whew. It’s been a busy week
Let's start with Betsy DeVos' Senate confirmation hearing — all three hours and change. We finally know a little more about Donald Trump's pick to be the next education secretary. At the hearing, DeVos faced questions on a range of issues, from private school vouchers and charter school oversight to guns in schools. "The answer is local... read more.
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Broke Wife, Big City… Why I went to the women’s march, By Aprill Brandon
I’ve been trying to write this godforsaken article for hours now. So much of my social media feed is cluttered with people demanding to know why women across this country felt the need to protest and, as someone who participated, I felt it was my duty to explain. To respond. To…ugh…get a dialogue going. I started a bunch of sentences. About how... read more.
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Start Talking! Know! To Get YOUR Cell Phone Use in Check
1/10/2017 - Teens spend an average of nine hours a day on their smartphones. Yes - you say - you’ve heard it before, you know it’s unhealthy for them for a number of reasons, and you have rules in place to reduce their screen time. Very good; you’ve got your child’s phone use in check, but how about yours? According to Common Sense... read more.
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Yes!  I Want to Know, By Kate Burch
Governor Kasich, who more and more is exposed as a practitioner of the kind of cronyism and authoritarian rule we have seen in Washington these past eight years, is refusing to support or enforce a 2015 law providing for transparency in the prices of health care services and procedures. The law would provide that when a patient requests an estimate of the total cost of a non-emergency... read more.
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Broke Wife, Big City… How much no is too much no? By Aprill Brandon
Is there anything more surreal than being a parent? I can’t tell you how many times I have been in the midst of some hardcore parenting and thought to myself “is this real life?” Pretty much every day of my life is the ultimate performance in the theater of the absurd. Take, for instance, when I’m arguing with my almost 3-year-old about something... read more.
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No place to be on Jan 20, By Susan Olling
Every four years, January 20 is a day on the National Mall just like the 04 Jul.  There are a few differences, but the result’s the same:  the Mall is no place to be. Before continuing, I would like to say a few things related to the upcoming festivities.  The local fish wrapper didn’t and still doesn’t have much positive to say about the upcoming administration change.  Mind you... read more.
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Washington Post… Why surging high school graduation rates might be a mirage, By Jay Mathews - U.S. high school graduation rates are soaring. President Obama announced in October that the 2014-2015 rate was up to 83 percent in a fifth straight record-setting year. The D.C. public schools’ increase was the greatest anywhere, from 53 percent to 69 percent. Sadly, as impressive as these numbers seem, there is no research indicating they... read more.
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Unqualified???? By Kate Burch
Many on the Left are outraged by the election of a hugely successful businessman as our new President.
Some decry his lack of experience in government, implying that unfamiliarity with the arcana of Washington renders him ineffective as the chief executive of our country. Others—those who believe that it is fundamentally unfair that some... read more.
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Start Talking… Know! To Set Family Goals for the New Year
1/5/2017 - January rolls in like a breath of fresh air. The calendar is reset and, in many regards, it is a chance to begin anew and an opportunity to do things “better” moving forward. The new year is also an ideal occasion for parents and children to come together to set fresh goals as both a family unit and as individuals. As you consider... read more.
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Broke Wife, Big City… Surviving winter, By Aprill Brandon
Well, Christmas is over. Meaning life is basically over. Nothing to look forward to now except a bleak, never-ending winter and easily getting all my cardio in with the Herculean exertion it takes to stuff two squirmy tiny humans into snow suits and winter coats and mittens and hats and snow boots that were designed by engineers who have... read more.
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Start Talking… Know! How to Even the Playing Field for Your Child
12/28/2016 - The NFL and its advertisers are gearing up for the Super Bowl, set to kickoff Sunday, Feb. 5. About 111.9 million viewers tuned in for last year’s Super Bowl, making it the third highest watched U.S. broadcast in history. The upcoming Super Bowl is expected to catch just as much attention for the commercials as much as the... read more.
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Greenville Schools: Looking Back… Looking Ahead, By Bob Robinson
“I got memories,” he said. “I went to school there.” He rode up on his bicycle while I was taking pictures of East school. Nice guy, late twenties or early thirties. “Don’t know if I really want anything from there, but I got my memories.” He was referring to the announced auction sign in front of the school. The resident wanted to know if the high... read more.
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Broke Wife, Big City… I’m a Fitbit person now, By Aprill Brandon
Guys, it’s been nice knowing you. You’re all swell, really. But eventually all good things must come to an end. So, while I enjoyed our time together, it’s a new year and time for me to move on. Time for me to leave you in the dust as I walk exactly…*checks wrist* …6,101 steps away from you. I’m a Fitbit person now. Yes, dear readers, thanks to my husband... read more.
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Sticks and Stones, By Kate Burch
Living or working on today’s college campus must be, for one who is not a member of a protected group, something like navigating a mine field.  One may, while totally lacking malevolent intent, commit a “microaggression” or otherwise be guilty of insulting or disparaging, or even “harassing” another by simply offering a compliment or remarking... read more.
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Social Media: A Good Thing or a Bad Thing? By Jonathan Holman, Edison DCC Comp 1 Student - Social media is one of the most argued subjects of today. From parents, teachers, and reporters, to kids, students, and entertainers. It seems as though everyone has a strong opinion on the subject in one way or another. But this is all recent. The concept of social media has been around for centuries. It wasn’t until now that people are starting to question its methods... read more.
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Start Talking! Know! To Interact with Tact with these Smartphone Tips!
12/14/2016 - Is your son or daughter among the many youth begging for a smartphone this holiday season? And are you among the many parents considering the buy? Smartphones certainly have their advantages. The number one reason parents cite for purchasing their child’s first cellphone is that it provides location tracking and makes it easier to communicate... read more.
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After School Program at Edison… Making a Difference in the World, Jim Kildow, Edison Student Volunteer - I have put in over 60 hours at the afterschool program. As a result I like to consider myself fairly knowledgeable about the mechanics of the program – how it works, why it works, and what needs fixing. Originally I had assumed this option for the final was provided only as an easy way to get more tutors for the program. By the end of my first day... read more.
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After School Program at Edison… The Program a Positive Reinforcement to the Students, By Samantha Buchy, Edison Student Volunteer - The after school program was a great addition to our schools, and our students. This program was designed to open a free after school program for students, which provided tutoring and companionship for these young students. The workers help the students with homework or understanding new lessons. I feel like... read more.
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After School Program at Edison… This Program has Rededicated my Commitment to Learning, By Courtney Toops, Edison Student Volunteer - The program in my opinion was effective throughout the weeks. I think the children began to have fun learning, made new friends, learned respect. Some of the students are less than eager to leave when being told they are being picked up. The age group is appropriate as well, since K-4th... read more.
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After School Program at Edison… This may change their future, By Seth Phillippi, Edison Student Volunteer - I believe I have made a good choice in choosing to do the after school program. This is one of the best ways I can spend my free time. I enjoy coming and helping the kids. I am thinking about helping out even after the semester is over. I think the after school program has a good benefit from being in communication class. I have used my own critical thinking during... read more.
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After School Program at Edison… A Valuable Experience I’ll need later in Life, By Makenzie Stucky, Edison student volunteer - I feel as if I have gained valuable skills that will benefit me later in life through helping with this program. As I plan to be a teacher I believe that this experience has been very valuable to me because it has shown me some of the things I will have to deal with when I do become a teacher. I think it was extra valuable because... read more.
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After School Program at Edison… Helping kids become better students, By Bryce Filbrun, Edison Student Volunteer - I have gained a lot from participating in the after school program. By participating in the program, I have gained a lot of respect for my parents. I have learned that my parents have raised me in a way that I respect my schooling and my grades. I have learned how to be more patient. When working with the little kids, you have to be... read more.
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After School Program at Edison… An experience I’ll remember forever, By Kinsey Goins, Edison Student Volunteer - The After School Program was a very unique, fulfilling, and satisfying experience. At first I wasn't sure if I was going to like the program since I didn't know any of the kids, or have any previous experience working in that type of environment. All of the Edison core values were used over the course of my participation in the program... read more.
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State Rep. Jim Buchy … To the Residents of the 84th House District, Farewell
As the year and my term of office wind down, I want to take a minute to thank you for the privilege of serving in the Ohio House of Representatives for 24 years. There is no better place in which to live than west-central Ohio. We have the best families, schools, and places to work. A very high percentage of our families have a strong belief in God and are active in... read more.
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Tips to make the holidays happy and bright—and safe
 (Dec.22, 2016) — According to the song, this is the most wonderful time of the year. It’s also one of the busiest—and most dangerous. With last-minute gifts to buy, social events to attend and family and friends to visit, there are a lot of distractions that may keep you from having that wonderful time. So the American Red Cross is offering 12 health and... read more.
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