Florida Just Released Its Own Mosquitoes In The Fight Against Zika

florida's own mosquitos

Earlier this week, Florida released its own mosquitoes to try and reduce the local population numbers.


Earlier this week, Florida took a new step in its fight against the Zika virus. State officials released its own mosquitoes to try and reduce the local population numbers. These recently liberated specimens were specifically infected with a bacteria which should help stop the spreading of the species.

The mosquito release was carried out by Florida Keys Mosquito Control District authorities. They freed 20,000 male specimens on Stock Island. Through this somewhat unusual method, the state officials will be trying to fight off both Zika as well as other diseases that manifest in the area.

Florida’s Own Mosquitoes Are Carriers Of The Wolbachia Bacteria

Florida’s own mosquitoes were bred by MosquitoMate. This is a Kentucky-based company which specializes in non-genetically modified, natural mosquito solutions. The Stock Island release is a trial test as specialists will be looking at it in order to determine the method’s efficiency and applicability.

All the study specimens are male and have been specifically exposed to the Wolbachia, a naturally occurring bacterium. The plan is to let them loose to mate with Aedes aegypti female mosquitoes. This species is known for being the main carrier of the Zika virus.

As the two species mate, the resulting eggs should not hatch. Even if they do, the ensuing mosquitoes will reportedly not reach adulthood. As such, the mosquito population should be kept at a low as the species stops excessively reproducing.

The Tuesday release is just the first stage in the trial. This will be carried out over a period of three months. State officials will be releasing a new batch twice every week. They will continue doing so until the total liberation of 40,000 additional male specimens.

Authorities hope that this trial will help put a stop to Zika transmissions. Also, it can be helpful in halting the spread of other dangerous diseases as well, as mosquitos are known for carrying various viruses.

“A successful trial with the Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes could mean the availability of a new tool in the fight against the Aedes aegypti mosquito […] for the Mosquito Control Districts around the country.” This is according to Executive Director, Andrea Leal.

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The I-85 Bridge Should Be Completed By June 2017

i-85 road june 2017

The GDOT released news about the I-85 which should be ready and reopened by June 2017, more exactly the 15th.

Earlier this week, the Georgia Department of Transportation or the GDOT released news about the I-85. According to this, the collapsed portion should be ready and reopened by June 2017, more exactly the 15th.

GDOT Officials Will Be Trying To Finish The Reparations By June 2017

The additional information about the I-85 was released on Tuesday, during a press conference. According to the GDOT officials, they will be using various methods in order to make sure that the highway will be ready by the promised time. They will be trying to expedite the reconstruction as this is one of the main highways of Atlanta, one also situated at its heart. One of the utilized methods will be contracting incentives, for example.

The GDOT officials stated that they have and will continue asking the state marshal as well as the insurance commissioner to carry out another task. They should be revising the practice of storing materials under a bridge.

This revision should come as a future safety measure. It is also directly tied to the current I-85 investigation. This, as well as the reconstruction in itself, are the result of a fire which broke out last Thursday. The event escalated as flames engulfed construction material surplus which had been stacked under the elevated section of the I-85.

Following this event, a section of the interstate collapsed, which resulted in the road being closed. Currently, local authorities are working on repairing and reopening the segment. Demolition work is still in progress, but should allegedly be completed by the end of the week. Following this step, crews will start removing the debris. Then, they will also begin erecting the new columns and caps that sit atop of them.

“We’re in coordination with GDOT and the June 15 date is achievable”. This is according to Dan Garcia, the C.W. Matthews president. They will be leading the repair efforts.

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FDA Suspended The Dixie Dew, A Soy Nut Butter Manufacturer

dixie dew nuts

The FDA decided to suspend activity at Dixie Dew, a soy butter manufacturer as it detected insanitary conditions.

The FDA decided to suspend activity at Dixie Dew, a soy butter manufacturer as it detected insanitary conditions during a control. This latter was also the consequence of another issue. Dixie Dew Products Inc. products may be involved in an E. coli outbreak.

As the FDA or the Food & Drug Administration was investigating an E. coli outbreak, this led it to an Erlanger, Kentucky-based manufacturer, Dixie Dew Products Inc. Reportedly, the authority was initially refused access to the factory. However, according to the FDA statement, they managed to gain access by issuing the Demand for Records under Section 414 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

Then, the health authority investigated the facility in between March 03rd and 15th, 2017. Reportedly, this inspection revealed insanitary conditions in the factory.

Insanitary is mostly used in order to name something that is unclean enough as to pose a public health risk. Following the inspection, the FDA found a set of objectionable conditions. Then it advanced a list with this issues to the Dixie Dew.

FDA Decided To Suspend Dixie Dew, Especially Its Soy Nut Butter Production

The Dixie Dew responded to the FDA’s list as it reported a set of actions that will be taken in order to fix the problems. However, the health authority considers that these corrective actions are not adequate as they do not fully address the potential risks associated with them.

As such, FDA decided to issue a Suspension Order. This suspends the facility’s registration and comes with the following limitations. No food is to leave the Dixie Dew factory, be it either for sale or distribution. This decision targets the entire factory, not just the soy nut butter production line.

“The FDA will reinstate Dixie Dew’s food facility registration only when the agency determines that adequate grounds do not exist to continue the suspension of registration.”

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Verizon Unlimited Data Plan Will Make A Return

verizon unlimited store

Verizon will once again start offering an unlimited data plan called the Verizon Unlimited starting with February 13.

The weekend came with a surprising announcement from Verizon. This wireless network provider is reintroducing its unlimited data plan. And it will do so starting with February 13th. How will the new service be called? The Verizon Unlimited.

Verizon Communications is considered the largest wireless communications service provider in the United States. And it is also one of the biggest broadband telecommunications companies.

This Sunday, Verizon revealed some interesting news. This was released in an official statement, posted on the company’s website. And it announced the launch of the Verizon Unlimited.

This will be a new unlimited data plan. Starting with February 13, the company will start offering it as an introductory plan. In the official blog post, the company revealed some details about the new data plan.

As such, Verizon Unlimited should offer access to one of the best 4G LTE networks. It will also be providing HD video streaming options. And also Mobile Hotspots.

Verizon Unlimited will also come with some special features for Mexico and Canada. Users will be able to call and text users in the respective countries. And also provide with 500 MB per day of 4G LTE roaming. Both these options will be readily included in the unlimited data plan. And they will not inquire an additional fee.

Verizon Unlimited will come with an introductory cost of $80. This will be the price for one line. A four-line unlimited data family plan will come with a $45 per line. Interested users will have to enable the AutoPay service. And also the paperless billing.

This new unlimited data plan will include the following options. It will offer the aforementioned Mexico and Canada services. It will also provide access to the TravelPass. Following its activation, this latter will offer 500MB LTE roaming. But it will come with an extra $10 fee.

Verizon Unlimited will be offering hotspot tethering. At 4G LTE speeds, it will be working up to 10GB. After this value is reached, users will be moved to a 3G data speeds.

Unlimited plan users will benefit from the full LTE speeds. But only until they reach a 22GB usage. After reaching this limit, their data speeds will be reduced. They will also be de-prioritized. Verizon stated that it is not expecting this de-prioritization to become a common event.

In the blog post, Verizon also points out the following. It will not be imposing the unlimited data on users that do not need it. As such, it will continue offering the 5GB L, M, and S Verizon plans.

According to the same source, Verizon has been working on improving its network. They have been trying to make it “better, faster, stronger, every single day”.

Verizon Unlimited will also support connected devices. For example, a GizmoPal or a smart watch. These can be linked to the unlimited data plan for $5 a month.

The decision to introduce this new unlimited data plan came as a surprise to some. Verizon stopped offering unlimited data plans to new users back in 2011. Though a small number of subscribers held on to the “grandfather” unlimited data plan. Although the company seems to have been trying to transition them to other plans.

Verizon Unlimited will start being available this Monday. The duration of this “introductory plan” offer was not revealed. As such, interested users should look into the matter.

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Willis Tower In Chicago Will See A $500M Renewal

willis tower entrance

Earlier this week, Blackstone announced that it will be investing about $500 million in renovating Chicago’s Willis Tower.

Earlier this week, the Blackstone Group LP announced that it will be investing about $500 million in renovating and updating the iconic Willis Tower in Chicago.

Willis Tower is also known as the Sears Tower. Situated in Chicago, it was once the tallest building in the world. It held the title for almost 25 years. Presently, it is the second-tallest building in the United States. And the 14-th in the world.

The Willis Tower opened in 1973. It is a 1,450-foot tall building. The building has 110 stories. It is one of the most visited local landmarks. Over one million people are estimated to reach its observation deck each year. And now, the building will be going through a renewal.

Presently, the skyscraper is administered by the Blackstone Group LP. On February 01, the company released an announcement. In it, it stated its wish to invest in a renewal of the Sears Tower.

They are planning on investing an estimated $500 million in the skyscraper. Blackstone also offered some renovation details. The Willis Tower will be going through its first major renovation.

It will also be the company’s largest investments in one of its buildings. This is according to Jon Gray. He is the chief real estate officer.

Blackstone is planning on reconfiguring some of the existing spaces. This will target an almost 460,000 square feet area. The space already hosts various services. It includes event spaces and lounges. And even one of the resident fitness centers.

Following the renewal, the Willis Tower will also expand. It will be gaining over 300,000 square feet. These new areas will host different services. A new retail will be added. And also new entertainment and dining areas. These 300,000 square feet will be added at the base of the skyscraper.

The building will also feature a new, 30,000-square feet outdoor garden and deck area. Still, the existing outdoor spaces will not be forgotten. Sears Tower’s Skydeck Chicago will also see some improvements.

This latter is one the tower’s main attraction. It is situated on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower. According to the statement, it receives 1.7 million visitors each year.

A new glass structure will be added to the entry plaza. The project proposes a three-story tall such structure. Beneath it, there will be three underground floors. These will be organized around a new winter garden.

The Willis Tower will go through a quite serious renewal. According to the Blackstone statement, the company is hoping to attract new visitors. And it is also trying to attract new tenants.

Currently, 85 percent of the building is occupied. United Airlines is its largest tenant. The airline company moved in back in 2013.

Blackstone acquired the Willis Tower back in 2015. It offered $1.3 billion for the skyscraper. This was a local record sum paid for an office building. The skyscraper received its current name in 2009. Until then, it was officially called the Sears Tower.

Now, it is called the Willis Tower after the Willis Group. The company has a lease on a part of the tower. The fate of the “Universe” statue is as yet unsure. Designed by Alexander Calder, it does not appear in the presented renovation plan. An official mention as to its fate has yet to be released.

Image Source: Wikimedia

USPS Will Stop Its Staples Stores Services

usps truck

USPS or the U.S. Postal Service will end its Staples collaboration as it will no longer offer its full set of services in the store.

USPS or the U.S. Postal Service will end its Staples collaboration as it will no longer offer its full set of services in their stores.

The USPS or the United States Postal Service first became a U.S. government agency in 1971. Since then, it has expanded and attained quite a renown. It is considered to have the world’s largest civilian fleet. It reportedly operates more than 211,000 vehicles. USPS also has about 620,000 active employees.

Back in late 2013, the postal services released an announcement. In it, they outlined their future collaboration with Staples. The two launched a pilot program.

According to it, USPS would start operating in the chain’s stores. Staples Inc. is based in Brighton, Massachusetts. It is an office supply retailer corporation. Its services have expanded and are available in 26 countries. Staples has more than 3,000 stores worldwide.

Starting with 2013, its stores also had postal mini booths. The pilot program started out on a small-scale. Initial market tests were carried out in Pittsburgh and Atlanta. The Boston suburbs and San Francisco Bay Area were also included in the pilot.

Since then, the USPS -Staples collaboration expanded. However, it also had to face critique and protests. Starting with early 2014, the APWU began contesting the partnership.

The APWU is the American Postal Workers Union. It has been protesting against the said collaboration for almost 3 years. As of 2014, the union has organized rallies, held protests and other similar demonstrations. Its targets were the Staples headquarters and various retail locations.

The sometimes thousands of protestors had a specific slogan. “The U.S. Mail Is Not For Sale!” On Thursday, the union was notified of the following fact.

USPS will no longer be offering its services in Staples stores. The collaboration will end by March 2017. As such, users will no longer be able to mail anything from Staples stores.

However, they will be able to pick up some envelopes. Their size will not matter.

As the deal ended, Staples stores will be removing USPS markings. As it is, the former will be removing all such signage. Postal services will also be discontinued in all the Staples locations.

About 500 of the retailer’s stores offered postal services. By the first week of March, they will have stopped doing so.

Following the announcement, APWU representatives also went to offer a statement. They declared that they will put a stop to the Staples boycott. This decision will be effective immediately.

As such, it will be notifying its allies and supporters of the matter. APWU was joined in its Staples – USPS boycott by a number of other unions.

One such union is the AFL-CIO. This is The National Association of Letter Carriers. The National Postal Mail Handlers Union also joined in the efforts. U.S.’s largest teacher unions were also part of the movement.

Mark Dimondstein, the APWU President, went to offer details. According to him, the union was trying to fight against the postal privatization.

They held that such a process would undermine the post’s services. A privatization process would have brought significant changes. One such change would have the postal services’ quality and security, according to APWU.

Dimondsein applauded the USPS decision. According to his statement, the collaboration should not have been initiated. He states that the Staples postal services quality is not up to the postal standards.

He pointed out that the public should “have confidence” in the postal services and mail.

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WIPP Workers Will Resume Depositing Waste Underground

wipp deposits

WIPP workers will resume depositing nuclear waste underground after the repository was shut down.

WIPP or the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant workers will resume depositing nuclear waste underground after the repository was shut down for almost three years.

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant or WIPP is the third deep geological repository in the world. It is situated in New Mexico, the nearest town being Carlsbad.

WIPP has received a license for permanently disposing of transuranic radioactive waste. The period is set for 10,000 years. Such waste is the byproduct of nuclear weapons production and research.

Back in 2014, the repository had to face some issues. It had to deal with the ever-increasing backlog of toxic waste. Some also questioned the repository’s safety.

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant experienced a series of incidents. As a radiation source was discovered, the plant was shut down. The source of the respective issue was detected.

Although it has since been resolved, the WIPP remained closed off for almost 3 years. However, news about the repository was released.

On Wednesday, the United States Department of Energy issued a statement. It announced that the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant will be resuming its activity. More exactly, it has resumed depositing nuclear waste in the underground.

The U.S. Department of Energy is the owner of the WIPP. In February 2014, the department decided to shut down the repository. Its decision came after two main incidents.

February 2014 saw an underground truck fire. It also had to face a waste drum leak. This latter burst and released radiations. The problem and reason behind this latter problem were determined to have been caused by improper packing.

Last month, the Department of Energy cleared the repository operation to reopen. The Department contracts the Nuclear Waste Partners so as to operate the WIPP.

According to media reports, the first pallets have already been deposited. Reports state that two pallets were placed in one of the repository’s underground rooms. The two pallets were reported as being low-level radioactive waste drums.

Rick Fuentes went to offer details. He is an onsite waste handler and union president. According to him, the drum transfer went well. Said drums were moved from a storage building situated above ground.

They were then transferred to one of the WIPP’s underground chambers. The drums were already stored on site. They had reportedly been awaiting underground placement since the repository’s shutdown.

For the moment, WIPP workers will resume depositing onsite waste. Other waste shipments remain on hold. Defense sites and national laboratories also used the plant. However, it remains to be seen if shipments from said sources will be resumed.

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant will be officially reopened on Monday. A ribbon-cutting event will take place. U.S. Energy Secretary, Ernest Moniz, as well as other officials, are expected to participate.

WIPP has seen a number of repairs over the past year. Workers have reportedly taken to resolving a number of issues. As such, fire safety issues were addressed. Falling rock problems and comprised air flow issues were also taken into account.

The repository is used to store several transuranic waste products. More exactly, it deposits potentially contaminated gloves, tool, or other similar materials.

These are the result of decades of work involving the development of nuclear weapons. This waste is stored in thick, salt-rock beds. As such, it is deposited about 2,150 feet below ground.

Image Source: Wikimedia

Organ transplant program should be improved

The organ transplant program has to be improved

The organ transplant program has some issues that should be solved.

The organ transplant program is the only chance some people have to live. It all begins when you are not feeling so well, you see a doctor and find that you suffer from a chronic disease. The only hope you have is another organ. However, there are a few situations where relatives can give you the donor you need. Most of the times you have to wait and many people died while being on that list.

There are some issues that should be solved if we want to have a more efficient organ transplant program.  First of all, the waiting list. In some states, you will have to wait more for a liver transplant, for example, while in others you could have more chances. That is why many people spend money and go to other states for the organ transplant program.  A long journey can make them feel worse and not to mention that it is more expensive than staying in your own state.

However, patients are trying everything just to live. Steve Jobs, for example, went to another state because he would have to wait for too much for a transplant in California. The authorities have already promised to find ways to improve the waiting lists and give people the same chance to live, no matter where they live.

Another issue is what happens when the donor was an addict. Should the patient who will receive the organ know this information about the donor? There are doctors who think that the patient should be informed about the health history of the man who gives them the organ. However, there are others who think that as long as the organ has no problem, the patient does not have to know that his donor was an addict.

The right thing to do is to tell the patient the truth, especially when we are talking about addicts.  The big problem is that those who used drugs could have shared needles. Even if the test for HIV is negative, the virus could be in the incubation period.  Doctors have the technology to discover if the donor was infected, but if the virus was caught in the last week before death, the results could be wrong. Transplant centers have to get consent for donors and make them aware of the danger.

Even though there are some issues which need to be solved,  the organ transplant program is the best hope some people have.

Image source: Wikipedia


Trump Adviser and Retired Army Vet on Benghazi: Clinton is a ‘Disgrace’

Pensive Donald TrumpOn July 19, Al Baldasaro, a New Hampshire politician who currently gives advice to Donald Trump on veteran matters, said in a live radio broadcast Hillary Clinton is a “disgrace” and should be executed for treason for the way she handled the 2012 Benghazi scandal.

After likening Clinton to Jane Fonda, who denounced the U.S. military policy during the Vietnam war and was accused of treason after the controversial visit to Hanoi, Baldasaro said Clinton was nothing more than a “piece of garbage”

“She is a disgrace . . .,”

he said.

Baldasaro was especially upset with how the former secretary of state lied to grieving mothers about their sons killed in Benghazi. He noted that Clinton demanded backup security for hundreds of e-mails just after the attack.

“Something’s wrong there,”

the retired marine added.

He also said that he was disgusted by the “whole thing” and called for the presumptive Democratic nominee to be ”put in the firing line and shot for treason.”

Baldasaro, who also picked on the media for the biased way of depicting Trump, had been a Trump supporter ever since before the businessman-turned-politician’s participation in the state’s primary earlier this year.

On Wednesday, the retired army vet was asked whether he would stand by his statements a day earlier. He promptly said that he would without a doubt. He expendable that in the military, a person who mishandles classified information that eventually lands in the hands of the enemy or other countries is shot by the firing squad. So, he believes Hillary should share the fate of wartime traitors.

He also praised America’s freedom of speech which has enabled him to speak his mind, but added that Clinton is not above the law. He noted that if it were for other State department official or veteran, they would be in prison by now.

Clinton’s campaign replied to Baldasaro’s “outrageous rhetoric” accusing him and Trump of mainstreaming hatred just like the nominee did during the Republican Convention. A spokesperson for the Democratic presidential nominee also accused Trump of trying to overtake the GOP through these dangerous tactics.

The Secret Service recently told reporters that they learned about the accusations and they started an investigation into the matter.

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Runaway Dogs Overcrowd Nation’s Shelters in Wake of 4th of July Fireworks

Woman petting a scared dogSeveral U.S. shelters reported that this year’s July 5 was one of the their busiest days in years. Shelter workers explained that Fourth of July fireworks made hundreds of dogs leave their homes and desperately seek protection on the streets.

Pet owners are urged to show up and take their dogs home. Shelter managers couldn’t tell why there was a surge in Pet Amber alerts this year. Many residents have alerted authorities after finding stray dogs wandering on their property.

They knew that the dogs probably belong to somebody as they looked well taken care of despite being scared. Some animals were so frightened that they refused to leave their place of refuge overnight.

So, people had to call Animal Control, which took them to a dog center from where their owners can retrieve them. Some shelter workers call these strays “fireworks dogs” since all of them left their owners during Fourth of July loud celebrations.

Shelter employees noted that many of the animals are absolutely terrified when they reach a shelter as if fireworks caused them a shell shock.

Pets that can be easily identified are taken to their owners directly, authorities explain. But fireworks dogs without an ID are usually taken in by a shelter.

Shelters advise pet owners to ID their pets through a tag or collar if they want to avoid the heartache associated with losing a beloved pet. However, pet owners need to hurry up and reunite with their dogs because Fourth of July canines are not treated differently than strays are.

Most shelters keep the animals and wait for their owners to show up for five days. Afterwards, the animals are offered for adoption. Yet, in the case of fireworks dogs there are some exceptions: if the animal is still not adopted after seven or eight days, its owner can take it home.

In Fort Wayne, about 100 lost pets were retrieved from the streets over just one weekend. In other municipalities, at least two dozen dogs were taken to shelters in each city. Pet owners are advised to call the county or city shelter if their dog has run away.

According to some reports, about 40 percent of dogs fall victims to noise anxiety around 4th of July celebrations. Dogs can also run away if they are scared by loud lightning strike. Experts in animal psychology explained that the condition is a full-fledged panic disorder, which usually triggers a flight response.

Fortunately, the Food and Drug Administration recently approved the first drug to calm down pets in such scenarios earlier this week.

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