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Name: Kathy Hinsman
Gender: Female
Hometown: Pittsburgh PA
Home country: USA
Current location: Pittsburgh
Member since: Sat Feb 18, 2017, 02:16 PM
Number of posts: 20,491

Journal Archives

We can all learn to love reading

Found this on Reddit but I suspect it might have been reposted from Twitter.

Pittsburgh PA street sign - this is an official street sign

If you're familiar with Pittsburgh, it's posted on Grant St. & Blvd. of the Allies.
That's a high-traffic area in Downtown Pittsburgh.
I believe they may be posted elsewhere as well.

Found on Reddit!

Tick Bites: How to Remove a Tick

Summer and early fall months are the time we're more likely to encounter a tick. Checking for ticks is not for the squeamish, but it needs to be done regularly during tick season if you go outdoors. Don’t be shy to ask for help — you can’t see everywhere ticks may lurk.

Ticks love the dark, damp creases and folds of your body. Check all along the hairline, behind your ears, in your armpits, behind your knees, and between your legs. Ticks tend to crawl upwards, so if they hopped on at ground level they may migrate as far as your head.

If you should find a tick: First of all, don’t panic. Not all ticks carry Lyme disease and even if this one does, you stand a good chance of avoiding infection if you remove the beastie within the first 24 hours.

To remove a tick once it has become attached to you, firmly grasp it as close to the head as you can with fine-tipped tweezers, and in one steady motion pull the tick up and away from the skin. Be careful not to squish its body.

This next advice is very important: Do not twist it out, cover it with petroleum jelly, douse it with alcohol, or dab at it with a hot match. These ideas aimed at bugging the tick to get it out can actually cause it to inject more mouth secretions into your system, thus increasing the chances of infection.

However, don’t worry if the mouthparts remain in the skin; they alone do not carry much of the bacteria that cause disease, but rather serve as a conduit to pass them from the tick’s body into a host. Put the tick in a jar of alcohol to kill it. Then treat the bite with antiseptic.

Write on your calendar the date you were bitten. Keep an eye on the site of the bite and make sure you know what early symptoms of the disease look like, so you can recognize them in case they appear.

This handy advice comes from a book I'm reading - Deerproofing Your Yard & Garden by Rhonda Massingham Hart.

Newser: More Than 1K Missing in Germany Floods

(link) https://www.newser.com/story/308639/death-toll-tops-90-in-germany-belgium-flooding.html

(NEWSER) – The death toll from devastating floods across parts of western Germany and Belgium rose above 90 on Friday, as the search continued for hundreds of people still unaccounted for and officials warned such disasters could become more common due to climate change. Authorities in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate said 50 people had died there, including at least nine residents of an assisted living facility for people with disabilities, the AP reports. In neighboring North Rhine-Westphalia state, officials put the death toll at 30, but warned that the figure could rise further. Some 1,300 people in Germany were still reported missing, though authorities said efforts to contact them could be hampered by disrupted roads and phone connections.

In a provisional tally, the Belgian death toll has risen to 12, with five people still missing, local authorities and media reported early Friday. The flash floods this week followed days of heavy rainfall which turned streams and streets into raging torrents that swept away cars and caused houses to collapse across the region. President Biden and Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed their sorrow over the loss of life during a news conference at the White House late Thursday. The longtime German leader said she feared that "the full extent of this tragedy will only be seen in the coming days." Rescuers were rushing Friday to help people trapped in their homes in the town of Erftstadt, southwest of Cologne. Regional authorities said several people had died after their houses collapsed due to subsidence, and aerial pictures showed what appeared to be a massive sinkhole.

Short article - no more at link except these photos:

Caption: A regional train sits in the flood waters at the local station in Kordel, Germany, Thursday July 15, 2021 after it was flooded by the high waters of the Kyll river. (Sebastian Schmitt/dpa via AP)

Caption: Destroyed houses are seen in Schuld, Germany, Thursday, July 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

Caption: Damaged houses are seen at the Ahr river in Insul, western Germany, Thursday, July 15, 2021 (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

Caption: Cars lie in a washed out part of the Bessem district of Erftstadt, Germany, Friday, July 16, 2021. (David Young/dpa via AP)

Caption: The Ahr river floats past destroyed houses in Insul, Germany, Thursday, July 15, 2021. D (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

Caption: People use rubber rafts in floodwaters after the Meuse River broke its banks during heavy flooding in Liege, Belgium, Thursday, July 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Valentin Bianchi)

Newser: Naked Woman Found Stuck Between 2 Buildings

(link) https://www.newser.com/story/308556/firefighters-free-naked-woman-stuck-between-buildings.html

(caption) Firefighters cut a hole in the wall of the auto shop to rescue the woman.
(Orange County Fire Authority)

(NEWSER) – Firefighters in California say that after a "cautious and technical" operation, a woman was rescued from a tiny gap between two buildings. The naked woman had somehow become stuck in the space between two businesses in Santa Ana, Fox 11 reports. Max Benett, the owner of Tim's Auto Repair and Smog, says the space is less than 10 inches wide. "It's big enough for a cat, or maybe a dog, but definitely not a human," he tells the Orange County Register. Firefighters cut through the concrete wall of his business to rescue the woman, who was freed Tuesday afternoon, more than two hours after her cries for help were heard.

Firefighters say workers in the auto shop heard her pleading for help, but because of noise in the business, it took almost 30 minutes for them to find out where the cries were coming from. "The biggest challenge was cutting close enough to actually get her out without pulling her through this tight little space but then also not [letting] any part of that wall come down on her and injure her," says Capt. Thanh Nguyen of the Orange County Fire Authority, per NBC Los Angeles. "She was just right inside here. She was scrunched in there sideways." He says the woman, who was alert and conscious during the rescue, was taken to an area hospital for evaluation. Details on how or why she got stuck haven't yet been revealed.

- Short, no more story at link, but at least 100 hilarious comments -

PA Dept of Labor admits it overcharged unemployed Pennsylvanians $ millions

(link) https://www.post-gazette.com/business/career-workplace/2021/07/10/pennsylvania-Department-of-Labor-overcharged-unemployed-millions-of-dollars-jobs-workers-spotlight/stories/202107100035

July 10, 2021

HARRISBURG — Just one day after Spotlight PA contacted the Department of Labor and Industry with a list of questions about a serious error that overcharged unemployed Pennsylvanians millions of dollars in interest for a decade, the agency announced Friday it will issue refunds to roughly 250,000 people.

Each year, interest accrues on money people owe to the department because, for various reasons, the state overpaid their unemployment benefits. A Spotlight PA investigation found the Department of Labor and Industry, from 2006 to 2016, did not use interest rates set annually by the state revenue department, which ranged between 3% and 8%.

The agency instead charged a fixed, 9% interest rate, because it failed to adjust the number annually in the computer system that processes payments. The department said this was an oversight following a 2005 legal change.

During that time, the state collected millions of dollars in inflated interest charges from hundreds of thousands of unknowing Pennsylvanians. The state made a rough estimate Friday, in response to questions from Spotlight PA, that it owes at least $14 million, saying this amounts to less than $50 for most people.

But former employees at the Department of Labor and Industry tasked with assessing the mistake have for months told Spotlight PA that the agency owes much more money.

According to internal emails and datasets reviewed by Spotlight PA, records obtained from the department through Right-to-Know requests, and corroborative interviews with former labor employees, the state learned about the mistake in late 2016, referring to it as the “interest rate problem.”

Three former employees who began working on the issue in early 2017 told Spotlight PA they were instructed to keep it confidential during the years of aftermath. The employees said numerous refunds were worth more than $500, not $50, and often several thousands of dollars. The highest refund, one said, exceeded $11,000.

- more at link -

Spotlight has been hound-dogging this story for several months and investigators are speaking with former PA-Dept of Labor employees who are now on the record. It's a very big deal, unemployed Pennsylvanians have been overcharged for more than 10 years. Thank you Spotlight!

You say it's HOT in Pennsylvania?

I know ... our temps are nothing compared to what's going on out west.

Maybe that's why we can still joke about it.

The 4th of July (joke)

So, it's the 4th of July night and all the dead presidents are gathered around the heavenly campfire having a party.

They're drinking, eating and just generally having a great time when President Washington puts President Lincoln on the spot.

W: "Hey Abe, do that thing you do!"

L: "What now, George? What thing?"

W: "Lincoln, do the thing. The speech! You know, the thing!"

L: "Oh yeah, the speech. Yeah, that thing. Nah, I can't. Can't remember the words."

W: "Whadya mean you can't remember the words? It's the speech; you've said it a million times! You've got that like burned in your brain, right?"

L: "Well yeah, normally I've got it memorized, but that was four s'mores and seven beers ago!"

Preet Bharara's prediction re: Weisselberg


Preet Bharara:
I’m not optimistic that Weisselberg will flip but I am optimistic he’ll be convicted. The law is fairly clear on what is income & what is taxable. He’s a sophisticated executive; mistake is implausible. The company booked much of it as income. And juries hate rich tax cheats.
4:24 PM · Jul 1, 2021

Game commission recommends removing bird feeders as disease spreads

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette June 1, 2021

(link) https://www.post-gazette.com/news/science/2021/07/01/Pennsylvania-Game-Commission-alert-mysterious-disease-songbird-population/stories/202107010179

The Pennsylvania Game Commission released an alert Thursday morning recommending that people remove their bird feeders and baths until it can figure out the root cause of a disease discovered recently that is plaguing the songbird population in many states, including southeastern Pennsylvania.

Some of the most affected are blue jays, starlings, and common grackles, but also robins and cardinals the game commission said.

Characterized by conjunctivitis, as well as neurological signs such as erratic flight, the unidentified disease first became prevalent in Ohio and Washington D.C. Though it has not yet reached Western Pennsylvania, the public should take all the same precautions to prevent spread, experts said.

Along with removing feeders and baths, the game commission and the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania recommend continued cleaning of the feeders and baths with a 10% bleach solution, as well as keeping people and pets away from sick and dead birds.

“Last week we started getting calls coming to our office asking if people should do the same [as Ohio], and because it wasn’t seen in Western Pennsylvania at the time, we were still trying to learn about it. We’re still kind of in that place because there is no cause that’s been identified, but we understand now the importance of bringing in those feeders,” director of communications at the Audubon Society, Rachel Handel, said Thursday.

Without the presence of feeders and baths, the birds are unable to congregate, which is the main cause of spread. It does not appear to spread to humans, but there is no concrete evidence yet, according to Ms. Handel. There are speculations, though, of where the disease comes from.

- more at link -
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