Battle Ground Healthcare Clinic Supports Obamacare Overflow
Jul31

Battle Ground Healthcare Clinic Supports Obamacare Overflow

Every year, Americans spend almost $1.4 billion on teeth whitening procedures and products alone, but there are still people who can barely afford basic dental care. A clinic called Battle Ground in Nebraska is aiming to change that. The all-volunteer staff of Battle Ground HealthCare provides limited medical and dental care to individuals ages 18-65 who can’t afford health coverage, but do qualify for the Affordable Care Act. Because of Obamacare, many physician’s offices are so full that they’re not able to support the influx of new patients. Though the situation may eventually resolve, the new insurance policies are causing their own problems which free or inexpensive clinics like Battle Ground, New Heights and The Free Clinic of SW Washington are trying to mitigate. Priority with dental care is given to ending pain. Patients are given dental x-rays and general dental assessments then given a treatment plan. A second appointment addresses any minor procedures like tooth extraction of restorative care. Major restorations like dentures and bridges are referred to Battle Ground’s partners in the area, who agree to provide free or inexpensive services. Dental cleanings may also be performed as needed. Battle Ground’s goal is to hold at least two screening clinics a month, assessing 8-10 patients at each clinic. At the moment, they’re able to open about once a week for a four hour block of time. With more volunteers and dentists, they could open every day of the week. Many of the current volunteers are retired dentists who are excited to help patients in a field that they love, while others are donating time while maintaining a paying patient load elsewhere. Right now, there are 80 volunteers total, and they’re seeking 15 more for the dental clinic, including receptionists, schedulers, assistants, hygienists and dentists. Anyone who can use a computer and speak on the phone is encouraged to contact the clinic. Battle Ground doesn’t receive funding from the government and runs solely on independent...

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Model Families Act as Human Props in Luxury Homes
Jul28

Model Families Act as Human Props in Luxury Homes

The Mueller Family in Tampa, Florida is living large under an unusual set of circumstances: They’re human props in an unsold luxury home.The Muellers live a nomadic lifestyle as part of a new trend in real estate. This marketing technique allows people to move into empty, unsold luxury homes for a fraction of what they’d cost to live in normally, on several conditions. They must keep the house pristine, vacate if an agent is showing the house, and move onto the next house when it’s sold. Home-staging firms are very optimistic about this technique, claiming that having a family in a house creates a pleasant and homey atmosphere that’s very popular with potential homebuyers. It also allows for more organic and lived-in home staging that softens flaws and enhances focal points. The homes often sell faster and for more money as the result of model family living. Houses that are less lived in often feel hollow or dreary to homebuyers, and many house-staging firms refer to them as “naked homes.” The stagers have very specific rules for their model families. Clothes must be organized and personal items minimized, and everything must be clean and properly placed at all times. Families like the Muellers have their living arrangements inspected regularly to make sure everything is still in it’s place. The Muellers once owned seven homes and a bed and breakfast, but a financially devastating fall from grace caused them to lose all of it. Living as prop families has actually been a lifeline for them, allowing them to live in the opulent surroundings they’re used to on nothing more than minimum wage jobs at McDonald’s. Custom homes are often valued at over one million dollars in the US, and are usually 17% more energy efficient than older homes. They’re also built in high-end luxury areas, and the home the Muellers currently occupy overlooks the tenth hole of an exclusive golf course in Tampa. The company they work for pays their moving costs, and the Muellers pay them about 1,200 in rent, plus household bills. “This is an interesting trend for inventory homes. For the new home market, even the presence of a sales associate in every model helps make residences more ‘human’,” says Erik Cocks, Marketing at Arthur Rutenberg Homes. “I think this has the potential to positively affect prices as it keeps the residence from giving off the impression of an unwanted house and makes it a wanted ‘home’.” The family actually enjoys the adventure of their living style, and celebrate every time one of their houses is sold. They’ve lived in five over the past two years and say that its drawn them...

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Like Tesla, Honda Hopes to Start a Green Revolution by Opening Green Home Data to the Public
Jul24

Like Tesla, Honda Hopes to Start a Green Revolution by Opening Green Home Data to the Public

Like electric-only automaker and green technology pioneer Tesla before it, Honda has opened up the data for its green technology to the public. The Honda Smart Home, located in Davis, California, uses specialized building plans, custom green materials, eco-friendly furniture, and a number of other techniques to make it one of the most environmentally and human health friendly houses on the planet. By opening the home to architects, engineers, researchers, and a seemingly endless number of professionals in other disciplines, even going so far as to offer the 2D and 3D CAD data to interested parties, Honda, like Tesla, believes they can find partners in others looking to make their revolutionary tech mainstream. Despite Costs, Green Homes Are Increasingly Popular One of the biggest hurdles for widespread adoption of green home technologies must undoubtedly be said to be cost. Energy efficient weather stripping costs $400, and green appliances can run the gamut from the exceptionally affordable to the downright ridiculously priced. Nobody is arguing with their ability to reduce environmental impact and energy bills, but many find the pricing just too much to consider. Even so, the sale of green homes and the retrofitting of older homes into models of eco-friendliness have been on the rise in recent years. Increasingly, homeowners are viewing the short term expenses of more expensive green techniques and technology as a temporary inconvenience, outweighed by long term environmental sustainability and reduced energy bills. If Honda’s experiment to get others interested in their technology plays out, it’s likely that interest in green homes will continue to grow at a far accelerated rate. Do you have any plans to buy a green home or upgrade your home with eco-friendly appliances and whatnot? Let us know in the comments...

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Has Social Media Raised the Bar for Wedding Photographers?
Jul22

Has Social Media Raised the Bar for Wedding Photographers?

Has social media changed the way we think about wedding photos?In the era of Facebook and Instagram, wedding photos are no longer just for friends and family, and couples and photographers with the most impressive or entertaining photos can become celebrities overnight. While this may seem jarring to some people, it’s not a trend that’s going away any time soon.A strange marriage of wedding photography and natural disaster occured when an wildfire interrupted a wedding in Oregon.Rather than panic, the enterprising couple and their wedding photographer Josh Newton hurried down to the road to snap some stunning pictures in front of the blaze. The photos are something between a surrealist dream and a summer blockbuster poster, with a generous touch of Midwestern Americana. The photos went viral, gaining the attention of Good Morning America and a large chunk of the internet A Canadian couple got a similar moment in the spotlight when their photographer Colleen Niska snapped a photo of them walking down the road followed by a powerful tornado. The photos themselves are stunning, featuring the happy couple posing casually on a dirt road while the twister tears through the field behind them. The photos blew up online, receiving more than 42 thousand likes on facebook and at least 17 thousand shares, accompanied by humorous requests for Niska to recreate the photos for other couples. Neither disaster event caused any casualties, and both photographers admit it’s going to be hard to top their incredible photos, especially since natural disasters have trouble with punctuality. Still, an io9 writer speculated on what natural disaster could be next for social media savvy photographers. The trend that proceeded this one featured couples and their bridal parties running hilariously from T-Rexes, AT-AT walkers from Star Wars, and hastily photo-shopped giant sharks. In the age of social media and massive sharing, wedding photos that go viral can be a huge advantage to both the couple and the photographer. Newlyweds Jennifer and Jeff Salvage got a book deal out of their One Dress, One Woman, One World photo blog, which featured stunning photos of the bride in her wedding dress all over the world, and both disaster photographers have been featured on major news outlets. “A lot of brides and grooms can get annoyed from their pictures being posted to social media sites before the event is even complete,” says Robyn Mangrum of Weddings Magazine. “We believe that proper etiquette should be followed and to that to wait until the bride and groom get to see their professional pictures before posting to Facebook or other social media sites unless given prior permission from the bride and groom.” With the rise of...

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LGBT Families and Individuals Encounter Media Backlash With Equal Rights Changes
Jul22

LGBT Families and Individuals Encounter Media Backlash With Equal Rights Changes

Yet another short video taken from a segment on Fox and Friends has gone viral in the past week. The segment attempted to show Americans’ “outrage” over gender-neutral bathrooms at Illinois State University, but instead, it profiled a few cringe-worthy minutes of trying to figure out how gender-neutral bathrooms are different from family bathrooms, as well as determining whether the color of the bottom half of the symbol is pink or red. While most Americans are finding some lighthearted humor in the video, this is just another example of how easily LGBT issues can be contorted. It did not take long for the media to label the university’s change as inappropriate, offensive, and invasive. This is just one example of the struggles that LGBT individuals and families have to deal with on a daily basis; the smallest changes, like adding a third type of bathroom on a university campus, are often intended to give LGBT people rights that the majority of Americans have taken for granted. Great changes are being made every day as state after state rules anti-gay marriage laws unconstitutional, but it is important to realize that higher marriage rates will also create higher divorce and separation rates, often involving property disputes, childcare issues, and financial contracts. The recent White House Summit on Working Families briefly addressed this issue as well, and to use a phrase spoken by President Obama at the Summit, it is becoming increasingly important to be aware that many “hardworking Americans are forced to choose between work and family.” Not specifically husbands or wives — but Americans. The struggles of LGBT parents are just as real as any other parents trying to find a balance between work and family. And since the U.S. Census reports that an estimated 650,000 couples are raising children, it is clear that the concerns of these parents cannot — and should not — be ignored. Will the media try to skew the facts about LGBT concerns? Most likely. It is easy to imagine another Fox and Friends segment discussing an American “outrage” over growing divorce rates of LGBT families, or some other issue that seems negative on an aesthetic level. But it is important to remember, during these changes, that media outlets do not dictate the rights of the LGBT...

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