Thursday, October 1, 2020

How Hiking Can Help You Find a Healthy Balance


Hiking is one of those sports you can pretty much be any age to engage in. Old or young you can stroll or climb your way through the forest. Hiking does more than get you in shape. It also gets you out in nature where you can unwind from hectic life. It brings you back toward a simple time when doing nothing but enjoying nature was more common. 

I think people should hike or walk at least a couple times a week. It is one of those supper easy activities you can do on your lunch break, neighborhood, or gym. 

You can also find parks in cities or travel outside. I have seen challenging hiking/walking trails in the city and way out in the middle of nowhere. 

If you want to get in shape and enjoy nature I suggest you walk fast enough to raise your heart rate. Studies support that walkers are often in better shape than runners because of consistency (I think that is true for average people but not for fitness gurus.)

Broadband Service to Unserved Rural Areas-Could Delta County Michigan Consider New Broadband Service?

 Escanaba and Gladstone have a need for improved data infrastructure to help its local population connect to a bigger world but also to better ensure they can attract more advanced industries. The beautiful local communities could capitalize on this grant for improvement that could also lead to attracting more virtual workers. Investors, intellectual workers, virtual workers, etc... need fast Internet. Companies also need powerful bandwidth if they want to compete globally. 

The U.P. is one of those places that when you drive a few miles from town your cell phone reception becomes spotty and you may not have access to affordable Internet. I know because I get my bill every month and unless your on the initial introductory offer you will likely be paying a lot of money. 😳

As a community we should look for new opportunities like this to enhance the appeal and connectivity of the community. Expanding out more into rural locations improves the charm of country living and having access to modern amenities. We may also want to enhance access and covered within our town. Some places offer free internet downtown. Not sure if Escanaba and Gladstone do that but I don't think so. 

The following was taken from the Congressman Jack Bergman Brief.........

Washington - United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand today announced that USDA is accepting applications to provide broadband service in unserved rural areas.

USDA is making grants available under the Community Connect Grant program for Fiscal Year 2021. The program provides financial assistance to eligible applicants that will provide broadband service in rural, economically-challenged communities where broadband service does not exist. Grant recipients must provide broadband speeds of at least 25 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream and 3 Mbps upstream to all premises in the proposed service area.

USDA will give priority to rural areas that demonstrate the greatest need for broadband services, based on requirements that can be found at 7 CFR part 1739.

Applicants are encouraged to review the FY 2021 application guide and sample material online. Electronic submissions must be received no later than Dec. 23, 2020 at 11:59 Eastern Standard Time (EST) to be eligible for funding under this grant opportunity.

USDA encourages applications that will support recommendations made in the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB) to help improve life in rural America. Applicants are encouraged to consider projects that provide measurable results in helping rural communities build robust and sustainable economies through strategic investments in infrastructure, partnerships and innovation. Key strategies include:

• Achieving e-Connectivity for Rural America
• Developing the Rural Economy
• Harnessing Technological Innovation
• Supporting a Rural Workforce
• Improving Quality of Life

For additional information, visit

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

House Hearing on Drug Pricing-Drug Companies Testify

Drug companies testify.  More information about vaccines and drug prices HERE. 

Presidential Biden and Trump Debate 09/2020

 Presidential Debates are part of getting to know your presidential competitors in order to form opinion for voting purposes. What we might find is that the way in which we think of politics could benefit from change. Many Americans vote strictly party line and only agree with those opinions that are part of their party. A truer assessment of self-belief is when you understand the arguments on both sides and make a personal choice over the ideological aspects you agree with and which one's you disagree with. 

Thus the debates are often about solidifying a base and trying to convert those people who are middle of the road thinkers. Without them we may not need debates in the same way because it is hard for people to think outside of their social networks. It is our responsibility as citizens to think about what we believe and why we believe it outside of social adherence 

There are two videos here. The first is the highlights and the second is the full debate. You can formulate your own opinions, and of course I have my own. The point I was trying to make is that before we promote a message or promote a party we should not do so blindly and instead seek a greater understanding before we shout the world our unevaluated beliefs. Doing so just adds to the noise and confusion around a already divisive election. As Americans we have a responsibility to think about what we believe and how we vote to ensure the truest nature of our democracy comes forward.


Full Length

Monday, September 28, 2020

Governor Whitmer Discusses Increased COVID cases in the U.P.-At What Spot do We have Economy-Infection Equilibrium?

 I'm watching Governor Whitmer discuss increased disease rates in Houghton Michigan and how that might impact the use of putting in place restrictions again. There is a large political debate at what point economic activity is a necessity and at what point slowing the spread of the virus is necessary. I wonder if there are scientist calculating the spot where speed of infection meets the economic openess activity level of businesses. 

I think big data will likely start to answer some of these questions. I don't know if there are scientists studying this cross section and the reward/risk balances in the speed of infection and recovery. We do know there is a lot of data being collected and when we have the time to analyze in real time we may find large macro view of how people and information move around society. We may find bigger patterns in the data unrelated to the disease and more telling of movement within and across societies.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Little Town of La Grange Kentucky-Could Delta County Do Something Similar?


Just Northeast of Louisville KY is a little town of La Grange. Not far from Louisville Ky for those who want to get out of the big city for the day. We were there to dive at a local quarry but others were there to relax and unwind from life.  As you make your way through the small downtown you will notice the abundant beauty of La Grange. Farmers, markets, cute store fronts, and a nice quiet family place that looks nearly untouched by modern times. 

Storefronts with big windows, the smell of homemade coffee permeating in the air, and the chatter of families that are enjoying their Saturday afternoon are likely to attract your attention. You can't but help to peer inside some of the stores and check out what treasures are located inside. I suspect a person could spend the entire morning exploring the tranquil sites.

Not sure if this is like this all the time and asked a local farmer stand if this was a "hot spot" tourist destination. He said with a smile that most come on the weekends but don't go to far.  Local tourists frequent on a regular basis to eat breakfast, stroll down the street and sit at the court house. Its the reliving the feeling of a time gone bye where abundant flowers is enough to uplift anyone's mood.

I'm from the U.P. of Michigan and like to think about economic development for pleasure and work. It would be nice to see Escanaba and Gladstone adopt a little more brand management practices to raise awareness of local tourism and investment opportunities. With a little changing of the light and tweaking of policies Escanaba could have its own brand reputation. 

Delta County Michigan has an opportunity to enhance its strengths to engage in micro and SME manufacturing, adventure tourism, and international/regional shipping. Much of the literature discusses how manufacturing and tourism seem to work in polar opposites. However, with a cluster theory I'm working on I believe it is possible to take existing underdeveloped clusters and enhance them with others that have global market alignment to create unique branding and competencies. 

 Micro manufacturing tourism related products can lead to a beautiful store front for tourists and a developing product that can be sold on local shelves and across the globe. Some of these products are likely to bud and in turn be future economic SME boons that employ local workers. 

You can learn more about La Grange HERE.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Raphael Bostic Discusses Inflation and Policies

 The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's President Raphael Bostic discusses the economy ranging from economic justice to U.S.-China relationships. Main topics include:

1. Keep inflation moderately above 2% for some time.

2. Metrics on racial equality.

3. Developing strategies for micro investing in underdeveloped communities.

I would agree that the crisis has highlights for us in a vivid way the disparities that still exist in our society. 

Kayleigh McEnany White House Briefing 9/24/20

 Keeping up on the news....

Breonna Taylor Protest Highlights Need for More Love and Less Hate

 Last night was heated to say the least. It may be the last night of violence but that is very unlikely considering the heightened emotions. We are moving into a new phase in this national discussion. When people fire back it creates a whole new risk level for everyone involved as safety measures are put in place. Police will get more edgy and protesters are likely adjust to the change of mood. There must be safe ground police and protesters see eye-to-eye. We need a functioning police mechanism that is capable of protecting the public while at the same time have the highest moral/ethical values. Discussions often start with what you can agree with and once that happens we can then move onto other discussions on controversial issues. 

For example, a main point might be short statement, "We will likely still have policing of some type in the foreseeable future." and "We want our police to engage in universal justice where race, religion, and other discriminatory forms are not part of the process."  We could also say something about the national dialogue, "Americans are defined by core shared values and when you are an American you have equal rights in all aspects of our society."  Perhaps we can go further and say, "We want everyone to economically engage in the  future of our society and further push our capitalistic values through removing barriers to success". 

I'm not saying these are right and that people would agree as they are just examples. However, you can kind of get my point.  If we can agree on the big picture we can keep moving down the reasoning line by discovering where we do and where we don't meet. For example, once we agree law enforcement must be moral and ethical then we have to define that for guidance to departments. As another example, if we agree we need some type of policing then we can talk about training, feedback loops, internal investigations, etc...

The sky and ground were in movement last night. Blocked streets, sirens, crowds, helicopters and stun grenades. Yikes!

Bergman's Veteran Suicide Prevention Initiative Heads to President's Desk

 Our veterans served to support our most basic fundamental way of life and beliefs about freedom and economy. They are put on the front line and engage in actions that most of us couldn't possible understand. While these sacrifices may sometimes be necessary we do have a responsibility to help them when they get back home. Our freedoms do require a level of care and concern over those who help us keep them. 

This was taken from the press release below......

Washington - Today, the House unanimously passed S.785, a critical Veterans mental health package featuring Representative Jack Bergman’s bipartisan IMPROVE Act. This provision authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs to take a new, effective approach in fighting the Veterans suicide crisis by making grants to - and coordinating with - community organizations that provide lifesaving services to local Veterans. Over the course of the 116th Congress, Rep. Bergman has garnered wide support from his colleagues, Veterans, and VSO's for this key legislation, which now heads to President Trump's desk to be signed into law.

S. 785 - the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act - takes aggressive and unprecedented action to connect more Veterans and their families with support services and mental health resources, in their own communities.

According to the 2019 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report, nearly 11 of the 17 Veterans who die by suicide each day had not sought care within the VA. Importantly, S. 785 and the IMPROVE Act provision will help the VA connect with these previously unreached Veterans – who are often living in rural and remote areas.

Rep. Bergman, a member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and a PREVENTS National Ambassador stated, "Even one suicide is too many. Despite billions of dollars spent within the VA, the statistics on Veterans suicide haven't budged. For this reason, we need to implement new approaches that focus on individual Veterans and reach even more of them than before. I'm grateful for the persistent effort of my colleagues who have helped make passing this legislation a possibility. Ranking Member Dr. Phil Roe, Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, Senators Tester, Boozman and Moran, Secretary Robert Wilkie, and so many others have worked tirelessly with me to ensure our Veterans who've sacrificed so much for our country have access to the care and services they need and deserve."

“Preventing veteran suicide requires a community-wide effort and a commitment to providing veterans who are struggling with the support, care, and treatment that works best for them,” said Ranking Member Roe. “I thank my good friend, General Bergman, for introducing the bipartisan Improve Well-Being for Veterans Act over a year ago which not only did just that, but also jumpstarted the conversation about what Congress could do to find veterans who are at-risk of suicide and help save their lives. I was proud to see General Bergman’s bill included in S. 785, as amended, the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, which passed the House today and is now en route to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law. I have no doubt the grant program this bill will create – which is proudly named after my constituent, the late Staff Sergeant Parker G. Fox – will have a meaningful impact on thousands of veterans’ lives for many years to come.”

“As a veteran and Chair of the Servicewomen and Women Veterans Congressional Caucus, I am passionate about protecting those who have served our country,” said Rep. Houlahan. “There is a crisis amongst our veteran population – thousands are dying by suicide every year. Within this vulnerable population, it’s important to note that our women veterans are twice as likely to die by suicide as non-veteran women. In these partisan times, I’m grateful to work alongside fellow veteran, Representative Jack Bergman, and my colleagues in the Senate – Senators Tester and Boozman – to tackle this crisis head-on in our bipartisan Improve Well-Being for Veterans Act. I’m also grateful to Chairman Takano for his leadership on this issue and bringing this critical legislation to the House Floor. As a Congress and as a country, we have a duty to stand up for those who’ve put their lives on the line for this country. I look forward to the president signing S.785 into law, which includes our legislation, and the support it will provide our veterans.”

“This is a monumental day: passage of my landmark bill honoring a Montana hero sends a very important message to veterans—and all Americans—that Congress can come together during politically turbulent times to do the right thing and support those who have sacrificed on our behalf,” said Ranking Member Tester. “One life lost to suicide is one too many, and I thank the Hannon family for partnering with me to honor their son, father, and brother, along with Chairman Moran, leaders on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and countless Veterans Service Organizations, advocates, and veterans in our steadfast effort to connect more veterans with the life-saving mental health care they need and earned. I urge the President to swiftly sign the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act into law, to better treat service-connected mental health conditions and help heal the invisible wounds of war.”

Senator Boozman stated, “This new approach will allow us to reach more veterans and support organizations that have a track record of success in suicide prevention. Delivering additional resources to community-based groups providing support and services to at-risk veterans will allow them to expand their outreach, identify more veterans in need and provide great access to mental health care. I’ve been proud to join Senator Warner in leading Senate efforts to devise a strategy that empowers veteran community organizations to work with the VA in the fight against veteran suicide, and so greatly appreciate the hard work of  Representatives Houlahan and Bergman, who championed this effort in the House. I’m glad this will soon become law.” 

“After working with veterans service organizations, mental health patient advocacy groups, organizations that serve veterans across the country, hundreds of veterans and their families, Ranking Member Tester and I introduced the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act to improve mental health care and suicide prevention programs for veterans across the country, especially those in hard-to-reach areas,” said SVAC Chairman Moran. “Every day we lose 20 veterans to suicide and this pandemic has further worsened mental health conditions and resulted in more veterans being isolated from friends and family. I applaud Chairman Takano and Ranking Member Roe for prioritizing this important legislation that will bring life-saving care, service and support to veterans. Passing this legislation through Congress was our top priority this Congress, and I look forward to the president quickly signing the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act into law.”

S. 785 also includes new policy to increase the number of mental health professionals in VA facilities, bolster telehealth programs for rural and remote Veterans, and promote innovative treatment options.

Remember, help is always available at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, by calling 1-800-273-8255 (press 1 if you are a Service member or Veteran) or by chatting online at