Archives August 2017

Salem Eclipse Campers Show Hospitality In Bush’s Pasture Park

According to 47% of adult campers, it’s the joy of camping itself that’s the biggest motivator to pitch up a tent in the great outdoors and enjoy a hot s’more around the fire.

However, citizens of Salem, Oregon didn’t quite share that joy when the city opened its parks to campers for the August 21, 2017, eclipse.

“Over the years, we’ve literally had people pee in our fence,” said Claudia Howells to the Statesman Journal. “And we’re not alone.”

Howells, who’s lived near Bush’s Pasture Park since 1984, was just one of the many Salemers concerned over the use of bathrooms in the park. Citizens were also concerned over general respect for the park and surrounding area.

“I was very negative about it,” Irene Longaker, who’s lived across from the Park for 41 years, said to the Journal.

However, after the eclipse, the campers proved to be gracious about their temporary stay in the park.

The City of Salem provided campers with port-o-potties for bathroom facilities, made signs for proper disposal of garbage, and limited traffic by prohibiting RVs and other vehicles from parking on the grass. According to USA Today, tailgating and fire pits were also forbidden.

Bush’s Pasture Park horticulturist, Tom Beatty, said approximately 1,500 to 2,000 visitors camped in the park the day before the eclipse. The campers were courteous and for the most part cleaned up after themselves. Even Jeff Schumacher, the chair of the South Central Association of Neighbors, who was initially apprehensive of the Salem campers and critical of the free event, was happy to find people enjoying the park responsibly on Sunday night.

Schumacher told the Statesman Journal that the city should be urging visitors to use their hotels and RV parks in order to increase revenue and feed the local economy. However, Salem officials had chosen not to charge for camping in Bush’s Pasture Park in order to provide better crowd control in the morning when the eclipse would bring about larger crowds.

Longaker approved of the parameters set forth by the city. “I’m about to write the city and say they couldn’t have done a better job.”

Boy Scouts Bring Light To Illinois Route 1

A group of boy scouts helped bring light to a Danville Township. On Wednesday, August 17, Dalton Rolinitis and three other Boy Scouts from Troop 234 installed solar panels along a series of utility poles along Illinois Route 1’s east side.

Rolinitis, 16, thought of the project back in May as a part of his final step to becoming an Eagle Scout. A high school sophomore, Rolinitis often bikes between Home Gardens and Westville on a mile-long sidewalk between Lete Lane and Lyons Road along Illinois Route 1. The stretch of road is incredibly dark, the lights having been removed years ago.

According to Commercial News, the power poles that were placed along the road were torn away by an F2 tornado in 2013.

“Ameren replaced most of the poles,” reports Commercial News, “but not the lights.”

Without the street lights, the stretch of land was extremely dangerous for those who walk, jog, or bike between Westville and Home Gardens. Pedestrians were at risk of being hit by passing motorists and other pedestrians have been injured after colliding with one another.

Rolinitis and his friends aren’t the only aspiring Eagle Scouts who have embraced green energy. The Boy Scouts of America have become far more eco-friendly over the years, and the group encourages learning about conservation and the human impact on the environment.

Most Americans are aware that fluorescent light bulbs are five times more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs. However, LED lights are considered to be more eco-friendly than fluorescents because of their lack of mercury.

Rolinitis chose to use the latter for his project, opting to use LED lights powered by solar panels as an eco-friendly and inexpensive way to provide the township’s joggers with the light they need.

The lights, 18 in total, cost the township only $306. With the help of fellow scouts Donnie McMasters, Kenny Clarkston, and Kacy Clarkston, the boys attached the 5″x8″ lights to blocks of wood before attaching them to the utility poles 12 feet off the ground. While the light is dim, it brightens as a pedestrian or motorist approaches, and the light will stay on in the dark for up to eight hours.

Should any of the lights break in the future, the township will replace them. For now, the lights will be maintained by the Rolinitis family.

The Department of Transportation Is Getting Creative With Anti Drunk Driving Ads

Every two minutes someone is injured in a drunk driving crash around the country. And the Department of Transportation is looking to change that.

For their new nationwide ad campaign, the DOT focuses on the “Four E’s” — enforcement, education, engineering, and emergency medical services. So far, the Four E’s have brought a lot of success as nationwide long-term anti drunk driving trends are positive.

The DOT believes this success is due in part to their creative and hard hitting ad campaigns, which vary all across the nation. While the ad campaigns may differ state by state, the message is crystal clear.

Take Oregon, for example. The state has made it a law to specifically use billboard advertisements as part of their comprehensive traffic safety program. New Mexico has utilized an intensive media campaign, including social media posts to make drivers aware of the dangers and potential risks of driving intoxicated. They also have one of the strictest interlock device laws in the country, which is used both to punish repeat offenders and to prevent them from driving with any alcohol in their system.

Montana is another state that is getting creative with their laws. Native Americans make up about 7% of the population but represent about 20% of traffic fatalities over the past five years. So, the state DOT branch has decided to produce safety advertisements that are relevant and relatable to different Native American cultures, and they are posting them, with permission, on reservation lands.

The Texas DOT is reminding people not to drink and drive by putting the faces of victims of drunk driving on billboardsfor everyone to see. They hope that by making a personal connection to those killed by this serious matter, people won’t even attempt to drive intoxicated.

These creative and unique campaigns seem to be working. In recent years more than 90% of Americans report wearing a seatbelt. Traffic fatalities nationwide also dropped from more than 51,000 in 1980 to 33,000 in 2014.

Amazon Wishes To Hire 50,000 Workers Nationwide

Warehouse worker scanning box while smiling at camera

Hiring individuals that are perfect for the job can be rough, and keeping them onboard can be even more challenging. This was demonstrated in 2015, when some 2.7 million workers left their jobs in June, a 25% increase from the years prior. And while the market has recovered and grown since The Great Recession, the War For Talent rages on.

But Amazon is making a big move, having announced that they intended to hire 50,000 workers. With the labor market still little tight, others will be competing for many of those jobs.

The major retail company will be opening their doors to job seekers Wednesday at more than 10 shipping sites, and the majority of the jobs offered will be full-time positions. Around 10,000 part-time jobs will also be offered at sorting centers, and some supporting and manager positions have also opened.

Back in January, Amazon stated their intent to hire some 100,000 full-time workers in 18 months time. Since then, they’ve steadily announced jobs, like plans to grow their Boston and Michigan employments between 900 and 1,600 workers.

The labor market is uncertain in its ability to support the retail giant’s demands. The U.S. experienced a drop in unemployment to just 4.4%, a nearly 16-year low, but the average hourly pay only rose 2.5% in the last year. This is in contrast to the 4% raise that occurred the last time unemployment was so low.

Amazon stated that the jobs will offer “highly competitive” pay and include health insurance, disability insurance, retirement-savings options, and company stock. These come along with 20 weeks of paid leave and other benefits.

In the last few years, Amazon’s growth has been phenomenal. They’ve had sales that nearly doubled in a three-year span, and Amazon is growing outside of its original position of just retail. They’ve purchased grocer Whole Foods with a $13.7 billion deal and then added Sears’ Kenmore products to their website and rolled out ready-to-eat meals that compete with companies like Blue Apron.

If the plans of the company to hire so many workers goes just as planned, then they could see another large increase in sales.