Posted By: Francis Koster Published: September 22, 2020

I have bad news, and good news.   The bad news is that if your household does not complete the Census by September 30, you can be fined $100.00.[1]  Why would you be fined?  Because money follows the numbers.  Populated areas get more. if your household does not complete the Census it can cost Cabarrus County $5,100 per year every year for the next 10 years in lost federal dollars that would have funded schools, police and fire, health departments, food stamps, environmental protection and almost 300 other community strengthening programs.  Your own family’s failure to take 10 minutes and answer a few questions would cost Cabarrus County taxpayers $51,000 between now and the next census in 2030.

Posted By: Francis Koster Published: September 22, 2020

Authored by Kevin Kendrick - Published in Wheel of 7680 - Rotary Magazine August 2020 This has been a remarkable year, mostly for all the wrong reasons. But as challenging as it has been for all of us on differing levels, there are people who are likely having more challenges than we can imagine. Some of these are the students attending CMS Title 1 schools and in particular, our 2nd and 3rd grade students. Here are a few facts:

  • 3rd grade reading proficiency is super-important. Educators say this is the point where most children transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.”
  • According to a new report published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, "Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters," your child's reading proficiency by third grade has a direct correlation to his success in high school and beyond.

Posted By: Francis Koster Published: September 16, 2020

As a school kid, if I tried and failed at something important to me my dad would usually say “so, what have you learned from this?” I could share some examples, but I will not, thank you very much. If I made the same kind of mistake twice, I assured him I did not need to be reminded of it. Now I am not so sure. As I grew older, I began to realize that making the same mistake over and over was not just a personal problem – countries also repeat mistakes. One good example of our society making the same kind of mistake over again can be seen in our failure to remove lead from drinking water and paint where we live, work, and send our kids to school. The use of lead in plumbing and paint became common around 1900. Children began to eat lead paint flakes and drink lead-contaminated water, and suffer lifelong damage to their brain from it.  As the understanding of the cause and effect of lead on brains grew, the doctors started pushing for the removal of lead from paint and plumbing around 1920 - right about one hundred years ago.

Posted By: Francis Koster Published: September 7, 2020

As my youngest grandson’s first birthday approached, and a Zoom birthday party was being planned, I was scrambling around trying to think of something I could order on-line that would make him (and his parents) happy and be small enough I would be willing to pay for express shipping. Yes, I had failed to pay attention when my wife kept reminding me that if I was going to send something, I need to do it last week. Sigh. How about candy? Well, I am not a fan of adding sugar to a kid’s diet, so that was out.   How about chewy vitamins?  They would maybe do some good health-wise, and maybe dodge or reduce the sugar bullet. As a father of four, and grandfather of a growing number, and a retired pediatric healthcare administrator, I spend a lot of my time thinking about how to protect children.  So I went online to try to figure out what kids’ vitamin would be a good choice.  I also looked up safety – and everything I learned was bad.

Posted By: Francis Koster Published: August 30, 2020

We pride ourselves for being a wealthy nation. It may shock you to learn that in this elite group, we rank 35th in life expectancy. [1] Invisible things in our environment are dramatically impacting our citizen’s health. A major contributing factor to our nation's awful life expectancy is that 72% of all American adults are either overweight or obese – and the percentage is rising. Since 1960, the weight of the average American adult increased by 28 pounds! [2], [3], [4]

Posted By: Francis Koster Published: August 26, 2020

When most people think of K-12 schools, they think of things like reputation, quality of education, statewide rankings, school taxes, and so forth. What is often not recognized is the fact that public school systems are the major way many poor children get fed in our country. There are two public school systems in Cabarrus County. During the booming economy, last school year seven out of every ten of the students enrolled in the Kannapolis Public School System qualified for free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch on school days. If this program did not exist, 3,780 school kids would not have had enough food to eat during the school week. [1]

Posted By: Francis Koster Published: August 24, 2020

If I asked you where you would invest if you inherited some unexpected money this week, I bet your first thought would be into the stock market.  You may not know that there are other better local opportunities. The current COVID-19 epidemic has created two major wounds – on the bodies of those infected, and the health of the economy.  One out of five people that become infected have lifelong health damage, so staying at home is encouraged, [1][2][3][4][5] but we know that this has impacts: the economy will suffer, people will lose their jobs, homes, not have food, and may suffer mental stress.

Posted By: Francis Koster Published: August 18, 2020

During the last two “pre-covid” school years, Rowan County was the only county in America where both the K-12 school system and the community college both scored in the top ten in the nation for their on-line teaching capability.  Rowan/Salisbury schools and its 20,000 students is one of the most advanced on-line public school systems in the country, ranked in the digital top 10 large K-12 school systems in America over several years for its digital technical infrastructure and teachers trained in electronic teaching, and because of the school systems success in ensuring that the students have access to the Internet through widespread installation of electronic equipment that allow all students throughout the district to connect to the school system. (1)

Posted By: Francis Koster Published: August 6, 2020

A fierce disorganized debate is raging as our country approaches the time schools traditionally open. Millions of citizens afraid of suffering lifelong damage to their health from the virus are trying to stay home, wearing face masks if they go out, and otherwise avoid being in large groups. There is tension between this group and the folks who desperately want life to go back to something resembling normal with schools in session. Other millions find themselves in the middle, unsure what to do. For many, it feels like the ship is in danger of sinking, and people are looking around for life rafts should they be needed.

Posted By: Francis Koster Published: August 6, 2020

We are at war with COVID-19.  What is surprising is that the casualty reports are leaving an entire group out.  When we talk about the war on COVID-19, the casualty reports talk about “infected”, “deaths” and “recovered” – but no “wounded”.   Think back to how the casualties of war are stated. In the Vietnam War, there were 3.4 million United States military in Southeast Asia.  47,434 died in combat, and 303,644 were wounded (1).  In many cases those that were wounded lost arms or legs, or suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and endured lifelong health issues.  To this day the publicly available websites all show them as having been wounded. The same is not true when recording casualties in our war with COVID-19.   As crazy as it sounds, once a patient who was infected with COVID-19 and is added to the state and national data bases, they are automatically moved to the “recovered” column within a month (2). This is terribly misleading to the American public as they try to plan ahead.

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