Small Rural School Districts and Disadvantaged Communities Face Unfair Levies and School Bonds

The Wahkiakum school district in southwest Washington argues that the levying system leaves rural school children with crumbling, outdated buildings. The small community of about 2,000 residents has appealed to the states Supreme Court and is waiting for the attorney general’s office to respond.

In 2012, the state Supreme Court favored the McLeary case, in which Washington state was found to be underfunding K-12 schools. After years of litigation, the state’s highest court ruled that Washington needed to pay nearly $2 billion to fund teacher salaries rather than rely on local levies.

Today, the same argument is applied to school bonds. School bonds provide funding for building new schools, attaining property, and renovating and repairing facilities and systems within buildings. In contrast, levy dollars pay for educational programs and day-to-day operations such as teachers, support staff, classroom supplies, technology, extracurricular activities, transportation, utilities, and insurance. 

Washington School Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chris Reykdal, thinks the way schools are funded needs to change. Bigger, wealthier school districts usually don’t have difficulty in passing a bond vote as school construction bonds in property-rich communities cost minimally on every $1,000 of assessed property value for each taxpayer. However, in rural areas with less valuable property, bonds are much more expensive for individual households, making them harder to pass.

Reykdal further explains that without bond approval, districts can’t qualify for state match funding. Like most other states throughout the U.S., school districts are initially funded by property taxes based on the local tax base. Constituents vote on the applied tax rate, and the money ultimately comes in levies. That money is then supplemented by state aid.

Experts said that property tax has historically been used for school budgets because they are stable and less likely to fluctuate with the economy, unlike other revenue, like income and sales taxes. Additionally, voters usually like holding local control over neighborhood institutions.

Washington is not the only state suffering from an unbalanced levying and construction bonding system. While every state varies within its specific guidelines for school funding, more than half of states have per-pupil funding levels below the national average. Sometimes, even within the same district, students face a disparity.

Luckily, a lot of attention is being drawn to closing America’s education disparity gaps. The Century Foundation (TCF) has created a report that estimates what is needed to provide each child in America the opportunity to succeed.

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Understanding Construction Bond Claims

Experienced contractors generally make a conscious effort to avoid claims situations, while being proactive about understanding the process. Utilizing the perfect surety gives those contractors the knowledge and power they need for their claims team. For any contractor to take on bonded jobs, basic comprehension is essential.  

The three main types of construction bonds are: bid bonds, payment bonds, and performance bonds.

Bid Bonds
These bonds stem from situations when the principal is the successful bidder but cannot enter into the contract or provide final bonds. In bid bonds, the principal and surety are required to pay a specific sum to the obligee. The bond form caps liability at a particular amount (the difference between the principal’s bid and the next highest bidder’s bid) instead of exceeding the penal sum of the bid bond. The responsibility of this task is between the principal and surety. 

Payment Bonds
When the principal fails to pay subcontractors, laborers, and/or suppliers, payment bonds give the surety the right to assert all of the principal and surety’s defenses, which sometimes include limitations on notice and time. Only proper “claimants” can benefit from these bonds, so the principal and surety need to confirm the claimant can pursue the claim. 

Performance Bonds
A performance bond claim arises when the obligee defaults or terminates the principal for non-fulfillment regarding their contractual obligations. Handling a performance bond claim has various levels of importance, including cooperation, agreements, and challenges. One of the most trying decisions is to admit or deny liability. After analyzing contract documents, bond forms, factual issues, and possible defenses, the surety has to eventually decide whether to perform. 

Surety partners will typically work in conjunction with contractors to avoid claims or mitigate the damages. Selecting the ideal surety with a good track record of minimizing legal fees while resolving claims is paramount for any contractor. 

If you are seeking a construction bond, contact the specialists at Construction Bonding today. 

At Construction Bonding Specialists, we work with new and experienced contractors to find the most satisfactory bond solutions. As a distinct surety-bond-only agency with decades of bonding experience, we work to discover surety solutions for all types of cases ranging from ordinary to challenging. Call us at 248-349-6227 to learn more.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: https://www.cpsmi.com/ 

Novel ‘Cure’ For Cancer Treatment

A new report published in Nature titled “Decade-long leukemia remissions with persistence of CD4+ CAR T cells” highlights a novel treatment called CAR T, which is being hailed as a “cure” for cancer by Dr. Carl June, the principal investigator for the trial at the University of Pennsylvania.

June said, “Now we can finally say the word ‘cure’ with CAR T cells.” In 2010, when the trial began, the idea for this sort of therapy “was way out there,” he added.

June and his colleagues reported that the CAR T therapy wiped out cancer in two out of the three initial early-trial patients, all of who had chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Though the cancer disappeared, the CAR T cells stayed circulating through patients’ bloodstreams, almost guarding the body against future attacks.

In CAR T therapy, T cells (white blood cells that fight viruses) are removed from a patient’s blood and re-introduced after being genetically engineered to fight cancer. Patients’ T cells are taught to recognize and destroy B cells, a key player in cancer formation throughout the body. Without B cells – or cancer – patients require regularly-scheduled infusions of immunoglobulin infusions, which replenish antibodies.

Many people with blood cancer have benefitted from CAR T therapy, which has proved especially effective against acute leukemia. Roughly a third of patients who underwent the CAR T therapy have gone into remission, but many patients later relapse.

Dr. John F. DiPersio, chief of the division of oncology at Washington University in St. Louis, said, “The question is not only why some patients relapse or are resistant to therapy but why are some patients cured?”

He continued, “Oncologists don’t use words like ‘cure’ lightly or easily or, frankly, very often,” he said. “I guarantee that it’s not being used lightly. The patients we treated had far advanced disease,” he noted, adding, “the biggest disappointment is that it doesn’t work all the time.”

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com

Ice Safety Tips

Lakes can be a great place to enjoy activities on or near the ice. However, no ice is ever considered “safe,” as there’s no reliable measurement to determine whether it’s sturdy or will not break. Snow acts as an insulator and slows the freezing process; therefore, snow-covered ice should be considered unsafe because the ice underneath will be thinner and weaker.

Did you know ice weakens with age? The longer it’s been frozen, the weaker it becomes. The strongest ice is clear with a bluish hue. In contrast, the weakest ice is formed by melted and refrozen snow, appearing milky in color. Ice with slush on top should be avoided at all costs. It is only half as strong as solid, clear ice, and the slush indicates the ice is not freezing from the bottom.

Sudden cold fronts with low temperatures can cause cracks within a half-day. Warm weather can take several days to weaken ice, which causes it to thaw during the day and refreeze at night.

Be extra cautious if you see water around the shoreline but ice on the lake. The stronger the current, the more likely ice will give way to open water. Also, be on the lookout for ice with exposed logs or brush. These materials can make ice crack with the slightest amount of pressure.

Some ice safety materials to have on hand include:

  • Auger or spud
  • Lifejacket
  • Ice pick

If you happen to fall through ice, remain calm. Do not remove your winter clothing; these heavy items won’t drag you down but provide warmth instead. The strongest ice is more than likely in the same direction you came from, so turn that way first. If you have ice picks, dig through ice while actively kicking to pull yourself up onto the surface. Slide forward on the ice and roll away from the weak area. 

Remove your clothing immediately, and dress in dry, warm clothing, consuming warm water or tea as soon as possible. If you feel disoriented, have uncontrollable shivering, or any other hypothermia effects, call 911 or seek medical attention immediately.

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Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Using Medical Radiation Detectors

By 2030, the global medical radiation detection market is projected to reach $2,558.1 million; in 2020, the market was valued at $1,173 million, according to a new report from Researchandmarkets.com.

A variety of fatal illnesses can result when people are exposed to radiation for an extended period. Radiation detectors are medical equipment solutions that can detect the presence of radiation. Handheld Survey Meter (HSM), Personal Radiation Detector (PRD), Radiation Portal Monitor (RPM), and Radiation Isotope Identification Device are some of the options available to detect radioactive materials and ionizing radiation.

Dosimeters, radiation-detecting equipment, can detect Gamma rays, which are the most dangerous. Cancer rates have been rising, accelerating the need for medical radiation detecting equipment. An increase in diagnostic imaging facilities requiring medical radiation detectors has helped avoid unnecessary exposure.

Encouraging awareness in radiation-prone settings has been crucial when it comes to safety. In the upcoming years, the increased potential for medical radiation detection is expected to expand in emerging markets.

There are different branches of the global medical radiation detection market, including detection type, product, end-user, and region. Each category contains its sub-categories as well. All of these segments are what drive market growth.

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

All About Raynaud’s Discorder

Raynaud’s is a disorder that affects the arteries by restricting blood flow to toes and, most commonly, fingers. There are two types of Raynaud’s: primary and secondary.

Primary Raynaud’s (also called Raynaud’s disease) comes from an unknown origin and tends to be less severe than secondary Raynaud’s. Secondary Raynaud’s is sparked by another unknown illness, condition, or something else, often called Raynaud’s phenomenon. Causes of secondary Raynaud’s include:

  • Diseases/conditions that directly harm the arteries or nerves in the hands or feet
  • Damages to the arteries in the hands and feet caused by repetitive actions
  • Injuries to the hands and feet
  • Chemical exposures
  • Medicines that minimize blood pressure and narrow arteries

Raynaud’s attacks can be triggered by either cold temperatures or stress, marked by little- to no blood flow to the extremities. As flood flow diminishes, the skin might turn white and then blue for a short time. Once blood flow returns, the fingers (or toes) might turn red, throb, tingle, burn, or go numb.

People who have Raynaud’s typically do not experience long-term tissue damage or disability, though they can form skin sores or gangrene from extended attacks.

Roughly five percent of the American population experiences Raynaud’s, and for most, it’s a bother rather than a severe illness. Researchers continue to explore Raynaud’s.

Treatments for Raynaud’s include lifestyle changes, medicines, and in rare cases, surgery. Those with Raynaud’s can take preventative measures such as wearing a hat, mittens (not gloves), scarf, coat, and warm socks during cold weather. Warming up your surroundings before entering (warming up the car, for example) can help ease Raynaud’s. Avoiding stressful situations can also help reduce Raynaud’s symptoms. Certain medicines can be prescribed to Raynaud’s patients to minimize attacks as well.

Do you think you might suffer from Raynaud’s? Contact the experts at Michigan Hand & Wrist to schedule an appointment today.

Michigan Hand & Wrist was founded in 2001 with the mission to provide the highest-quality care for patients seeking surgical or non-surgical hand or upper extremity relief. Our goal is to exhaust all non-operative measures before discussing or moving on to surgical interventions. We offer on-site physical therapy from therapists committed to improving your quality of life. Our individualized treatments are modern, progressive, and exceptional. Contact us today at www.michiganhandandwrist.com or call 248-596-0412.Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com

Spring Tips for Car Maintenance

After a long winter cooped up indoors, you’re probably ready to trade hibernating for some sunshine and traveling. Whatever you choose, chances are you’re going to hit the road. Before revving up your engine, make sure you get to your destination safely and efficiently with our tips for spring car maintenance. Winter can be harsh on vehicles both interior and exterior so it’s imperative to bring your car in for a full checkup to detect minor issues before they become major problems.

Oil Filter
To keep your engine running smoothly, change your oil filter at the intervals recommended in your owner’s manual. Neglecting to do so can result in poor engine performance, higher fuel consumption, and severe engine damage.

Fluids
While changing your oil and filter, it’s essential to check your fluid levels for the power steering, brakes, transmission, windshield washer, and coolant. If the levels are inadequate, flush and replace them as recommended per the vehicles manual.

Wipers
After the winter, wiper blades typically get torn, cracked, or dried from excessive salt. Ensure you have the best visibility possible by replacing your blades in the spring.

Battery
Plummeting winter temperatures can affect the battery, so be sure to have it tested. While you’re there, make sure the mounting brackets are secure, the connections are clean, tight, and corrosion-free.

Windshield
With the fluctuating temperatures between summer, fall, winter, and spring, your windshield might need some TLC. Smaller, barely-noticeable cracks in the summer can turn into huge lines that span the width of the glass in the winter season due to expansion and contraction. Windshield damage can decrease the effectiveness of airbags, seatbelts, roof stability, and your safety in an accident.

Lighting
Ensure your exterior and interior lights work correctly. If motorists don’t notice you breaking, turning, or heading their way, the results could be dangerous.

Rubber
Cold temperatures can harden and damage rubber, so check all of your belts, hoses, and tires for damage. Look for hardening, softening, leaking, cracks, blistering, looseness, frays, or glazing. Check the pressure on your tires monthly, and maintain the optimal pressure recommended by your owner’s manual. Make sure the tread is raised, and rotate your tires regularly.

Filters
Check your engine air filter, cabin air filter, and your fuel filter for damage or clogs and replace if necessary.

To prolong the life of your vehicle, bring it to the experts at Team CAMC today.

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Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

FDA Authorizes New Device That Protects Athletes’ Brains During Impact

The United States Food and Drug Administration recently authorized a novel product that recent Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) shows might protect athletes’ brains from traumatic injury.

A c-shaped, non-invasive device dubbed the “Q-Collar” goes around the neck and applies compression, which increases blood volume, therefore reducing brain movement.  

Several FDA studies proved the effectiveness and safety. One such study included a long-term analysis of 284 participants, age 13 and older. A total of 139 athletes wore the collars, and 145 did not; both underwent head MRI before and after the season.

To compare structural changes after a season of play, researchers also generated diffusion tensor imaging of the brain. Significant differences were noted in the deep tissue involved in transmitting electrical nerve signals in 73 percent of the collarless group. Those who were equipped with the Q-Collar showed no change in white matter throughout 77 percent of the group.

“These differences appear to indicate protection of the brain associated with the device use. No significant adverse events were associated with device use,” The FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health reported.

An estimated 3.8 million sports-related traumatic brain injuries occur in the United States yearly, according to The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Along with the Q-Collar manufacturer Q30 Sports Science, FDA officials hope the device will lower this number, reducing “slosh” by creating a tighter fit of the brain in the skull through increased blood volume.

The Q-Collar should not be used in place of helmets or other protective devices. Athletes with a history of seizure disorders, brain blood clots, or problems with blood clotting, in general, should not use the device.

For more information, read the full FDA report.

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Researchers Better Understand Sleep Patterns with MRI

Stages of deep sleep can significantly change our consciousness, just as it does in a coma or under anesthesia. Scientists have hypothesized that brain activity declines when we sleep, using research conducted with electroencephalography (EEG), a process that uses electrodes placed along a patient’s scalp to measure brain activity.

Anjali Tarun, a doctoral assistant at EPFL’s Medical Image Processing Laboratory within the School of Engineering, decided to investigate brain activity during sleep using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI.) Dimitri Van De Ville, lab lead, said, “MRI scans measure neural activity by providing important information in addition to EEGs.” Tarun used EEG to identify when study patients fell asleep, pinpointing the individual sleep stages. The MRI images were later used to produce spatial maps of neural activity, specifying brain states.

Deep sleep is reasonably challenging to achieve while undergoing an MRI, as the machines are quite noisy. Despite the hurdle, Tarun was able to leverage simultaneous MRI and EEG data from roughly thirty people. “Two hours is a relatively long time, meaning we were able to obtain a set of rare, reliable data,” she said. “MRIs carried out while a patient is performing a cognitive task usually last around 10 to 30 minutes.”

The data Tarun collected was surprising. “We calculated exactly how many times networks made up of different parts of the brain became active during each stage of sleep. We discovered that during light stages of sleep – that is, between when you fall asleep and when you enter a state of deep sleep – overall brain activity decreases. But communication among different parts of the brain becomes much more dynamic. We think that’s due to the instability of brain states during this phase.”

Van De Ville said, “What really surprised us in all of this was the resulting paradox. During the transition phase from light to deep sleep, local brain activity increased and mutual interaction decreased. This indicates the inability of brain networks to synchronize.”

Neural networks might be linked to our introspection process, memory, and spontaneous thoughts, all associated with consciousness. “We saw that the network between the anterior and posterior regions broke down, and this became increasingly pronounced with increasing sleep depth. A similar breakdown in neural networks was also observed in the cerebellum, which is typically associated with motor control.” At this point, the researchers aren’t sure why this happens; their findings are a novel step toward a better understanding of our sleep consciousness.

“Our findings show that consciousness is the result of interactions between different brain regions, and not in localized brain activity. By studying how our state of consciousness is altered during different stages of sleep, and what that means in terms of brain network activity, we can better understand and account for the wide range of brain functions that characterize us as human beings,” said Tarun.

For further reading, find the original article from EPFL.

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Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.  

Brain Tumor Visibility Doubled with New MRI Technique

When compared to existing visualization methods, a new 3D technique with MRI scans doubles the visibility of brain tumors. Since a large number of tumors are discernable, the new process has the potential to make it easier to treat them earlier and at smaller, more manageable stages.

Robert Edelman, M.D., is an inventor, lead author, and clinical professor of radiology. His work was shared in the Science Advances journal. He said, “Our goal is for the new technique – T1RESS – to help thousands of patients by allowing malignant tumors to be detected at an earlier, more curable stage.”

According to the American Brain Tumor Association, 700,000 Americans are living with brain tumors and 16,000 will die this year. The new MRI technique can catch the tiny malignant tumors that often escape notice, potentially saving lives and improving outcomes. 

The hope is that those patients undergoing surgery or radiotherapy will receive better clinical outcomes by making the tumor margins on contrast-enhanced scans more visible.

Edelman and his colleagues studied brain tumors in 54 patients to determine how well T1RESS works. He applied magnetic fields and radio waves used to generate MRI signals differently from existing imaging techniques. The new technique uniquely manipulates brain tissue signals to produce images that offer significantly improved tumor visibility. This application makes T1RESS highly sensitive to the T1 shortening effects of paramagnetic contrast agents, but it also reduces the signal intensity of non-enhancing background issues, both improve tumor visualization.

Experimental results showed that the new technique provided a two-fold improvement over existing MRI methods in regards to the contrast between tumors and normal brain tissue. Edelman compared the visualization to seeing more stars: “There just isn’t enough contrast between the stars and the sunlit sky to make them visible. In the case of brain tumors, T1RESS doubles the contrast between tumors and normal brain, so the tumors are more easily detected. It’s like looking at the stars on a dark night instead of a sunny day,” Edelman said. 

A larger, multi-site trial will need to be performed in order to confirm the findings, but the plan is to apply this technique to both prostate and breast cancers as well. If the benefits are confirmed, widespread use will be as simple as the installation of a specialized software package.

Visit the Science Advances website to read the full journal article. For more information about CT Scanners, Linear Accelerators, and the like, contact Acceletronics today.
 

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.