CIvic Groups Call on FEMA to Update Flood Maps for Better Flood Protection

Last week, several civic groups filed a petition for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to revise and update the agency’s floodplain maps and rules. Concerned citizens have noted that despite the fact that flooding is now the most common disaster faced by the country, FEMA has not changed any of the floodplain rules since 1970 .

Lack of oversight in floodplain use have kept many people in the dark about the risks they face in building their home in low areas; particularly on flat lands near stream or rivers that under present conditions are likely to be inundated by water level rise. The petition was filed by several environmental and planning groups calling on FEMA to update flood maps and establish more rigid standards for floodplain construction in anticipation of the risks posed by climate change.

Atty. Joel Scata, the spokesperson for Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), one of the groups that filed the petition said:

”FEMA could have spared millions of Americans the misery they go through as they live near rising waters, had the agency updated its flood-risk maps.” “Up to now they agency has been furnishing historical data that does not accurately reflect the evident growing threats of climate change.”

The Association of State Floodplain Managers, another group behind the petition, through its Executive Director Chad Berginnis said that its imperative for the federal agency to “catch up” in order to ensure more at-risk communities will have better protection.

According to the World Resources Institute, research studies indicate that an estimated 15 million Americans, or about 5% of those who live in floodplain areas are likely to experience flooding at least once in 100 years. The problem however is that developers are still offering available lands in floodplains, and as a result have brought a growing number of people living in flood-prone areas.

Homeowners Now Confronted with Possibility of Owning Low-Value Homes

Now here’s the thing, while FEMA has given indications of acting on the petition to have their floodmaps updated, homeowners living in areas that will be designated as at risk of flooding, face the possibility of owning low-value properties. After all, water damage due to flooding have caused many insurance companies to up their premiums.

Those whose homes were built with hardwood floors suffered the most. While many took to replacing their floorings with other materials that can better withstand water damage, others can only afford to put up with the hassles of trying to save their wood flooring. In some cases, many had to do the cleaning and the repairs themselves as professional providers of cleaning and restoration services were swamped with calls, unable to respond immediately to all requests.

Water needs to be remove immediately so that wood floorings can dry as quickly as possible. Water proofing and sealants can only do so much in protecting floors, since there are numerous entry points by which water can penetrate undersurfaces. Problems caused by water damage include mold growth and wood “cupping,” which if not immediately addressed lead to more issues.

As an aside, when trying to save wood floorings, it would be best to do some heavy sanding on floorboards already showing signs of cupping. Using an orbital sander can ease out the difficulty of taking off some of the cupped areas that are likely to appear as floor imperfections.

Still, even if FEMA releases floodplain maps updated for 2021, many homeowners are faced with the dilemma of having to live in homes constantly at risk of flooding.

Minneapolis Cuts Down Budget as Preliminary Step to Police Force Reformation

Today, Dec. 10, 2020, the Minneapolis City Council arrived at a unanimous decision of cutting down by $8 million, the budget of the city’s police department. The amount will instead be used to fund initiatives that will go toward crime and violence prevention. The original proposal of reducing the humber of authorized police force staffing down to 750, from the existing 888 was dropped as Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey would have not approved at all.

The budget cut is a compromise to citizen calls for police defunding, ever since the senseless killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. While the calls were for the dismantling of the police force, Mayor Frey believes that doing so would be irresponsible, as the city has been seeing an increase in criminal incidences.

Still, the city’s police force has been under close scrutiny, particularly by social media users. Many are calling attention to the fact that police officers are applying, even without proper training, Brazilian jiu jitsu strangulation techniques in subduing subjects. When Derek Chauvin applied a chokehold on Floyd’s neck, it was apparent that Chauvin lacked knowledge about the possible fatal consequence of such action since he ignored Floyd’s pleas of not being able to breathe.

That being the case, many have also been suggesting to the city council to have the members of the police force undergo Brazilian jiu jitsu training as a way of reforming the police officers. However, it is still a debatable matter as others point out that Chauvin’s application of the chokehold was uncalled for, since George Floyd was not resisting arrest and was in fact, doggedly following police orders.

Why Defunding and Jiu Jitsu Training are Not the Real Solutions in Instituting Police Reform

Anyone who has knowledge of judo or jiu jitsu readily understood why Chauvin’s act of kneeling on Floyd’s neck was fatal. UFC champion Jon Jones, identified the technique as “blood choke,” a form of submission hold that compresses the carotid arteries. When applied for more than 20 seconds, the strangulation becomes fatal because blood is prevented from flowing to the brain. Although chokehold in combat sports is allowed, its use is subject to restrictions based on the age and rank of the competitors.

Still, as a trained law enforcement officer, Chauvin has knowledge that the use of lateral visceral neck restraint or blood choke, is only applied on uncooperative subjects but without causing permanent injury or death in enforcing submission. Moreover, since the early 1990s, blood choke has been widely banned in American police departments throughout the country. The nationwide ban followed suit to the Los Angeles Police Department’s 1980 decision to ban the method after news reports revealed a spate of choking deaths had occurred during the period.

Simply stated, police reformation is not just a matter of cutting down budget or maintaining a specific number of police officers as members of the police force. It’s not even the need to give proper jiu jitsu training because the method is not the problem. It’s more on the willingness to perform law enforcement duties within the boundaries of law.

Pandemic Turned Many Middle-Class Indian Households into Washing Machine Users

In India today, the use of large, automated appliances have become part of the so-called new normals that middle-class Indian families found necessary to adopt. Large washing machines for one, are now considered as the most convenient to have as an alternative to hiring women who perform laundry services as a profession.

While many middles class Indian households tend to be large, the burden of having to do most of the house chores are traditionally conferred to female family members.

Prior to the pandemic, large appliances were not at the top of must have lists in many Indian households. However, as the reality that the pandemic will be staying in the midst of a nation as thickly populated as India, dishwashers, food processors, vacuum cleaners, coffee-making machines and even home theater equipment have found favor in most middle class Indian households. Yet the one big appliance that spurred an notable increase in demand in India is the washing machine, for both the semi-automatic and fully automatic models.

Factors that Triggered a Huge Spike in the Demand for Washing Machine in India

Whereas before, middle-class families engaging the services of women who took on laundry chores, was the norm. After all, when compared to using washing machines or using the services of laundromats, professionally-washed clothes are relatively much cleaner and less costly. Moreover the country’s social distancing mandates include a ban on the hiring of part-time maids as a way to prevent the spread of the disease.

Traditional hierarchy also influenced decisions to purchase a washing machine that women family members can use in carrying out a task that is generally regarded as difficult. In traditional families, men outranked women in the same age groups, while senior family members, whether male or female outrank the junior members. That being the case, men reserved the right not to help in menial chores like laundering, while the younger female members are the firsts in line to do most of the household tasks.

However, many modern Indian women have made it possible to attain financial independence, which in some ways helped free them from Indian traditions; including arranged marriages that prevented them from choosing to marry a partner who treats them as equals. In modern Indian households, husbands now assume equal responsibility in doing household chores. That way, they can help their wife manage multiple roles as housewives, mothers and providers of additional income.

As many looked for the best washing machine in india, many also discovered that they do not have to limit their choices to LG Collins products, being the leading brand in the country’s washing machine market. During the year of the pandemic, Bosch washing machines also gained widespread recognition. Mainly because the German manufacturer improved their washing machine technology not only with automated features, but also with energy-saving efficiency, silent washing operations and touch-screen controls.

Aging and Other Stressors that Cause Degenerative Disc Diseases

2 Corinthians 4:16
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”

The gospel tells us there is honor in aging because the process normally increases wisdom through experiences. Yet the unsettling truth about growing old is that it is often accompanied by degeneration of the physical body. While the progression of degenerative disorders can be stalled, such conditions can prevent continued participation in normal day to day activities with the usual vim and vigor.

Let us cite as an example the degenerative disc disease, which happens as a person grows older. Actually, the condition is not a disease but is a disorder that occurs as part of the ageing process. Understand that parts of the spinal column are spinal discs lodged between vertebrae. A doctor may refer to them as intervertebral discs that function essentially as a cushion between each vertebra that makes up the spine.

What Happens When a Person Has Degenerative Disc Disease?

Whenever a person moves, the soft, gelatinous inner core of an intervertebral disc makes moving about and exerting force, as well as heaving or lifting loads less stressful on the spine.

Yet as a person goes through the years of performing different activities, the inner core of the intervertebral discs degenerates, eventually losing suppleness. As a result there will be friction between vertebrae on every spine movement, causing pain at the lumbar or base of the spine.

As the degenerative state advances when a person ages, weakness caused by numbness and pain radiating down to the thigh and leg will render that person less ambulatory. In severe cases of degenerative disc disease, the afflicted person loses his or her ability to walk about, without aid or assistance.

Aging though is not the only condition that leads to intervertebral degenerative discs. Obesity, strenuous labor, frequent physical work, tobacco smoking, or an injury, may result in disc degeneration. The resulting back pain may start as a slight discomfort that is initially manageable, but could worsen over time if stress is not alleviated and treated.

Conservative and Other Therapeutic Treatments

Conservative treatments of back pain caused by degenerative disc disorder include pain-relief medication and anti-inflammatory drugs. In special cases, the attending physician may prescribe muscle relaxers or steroids. Medical treatment may be accompanied by physical and/or occupational therapy, weight loss program or special exercises.

In severe or inexorable cases, surgery or medical options such as Lumbar Fusion, Epidural Steroid Injection, Disc Replacement Surgery or other similar advanced spinal treatment may be necessary.

Sufferers of back pain due to degenerative disc disorder residing in, or around Austin, Texas do not have to go far in seeking appropriate treatment. The Central Texas Spine Institute offers full services for spinal care, conservative treatment and surgery.