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(NewsUSA) - Libraries are no longer just spaces filled with books and movies to borrow. They are places of wonder and imagination and, if they happen to be affiliated with Family Place Libraries (FPL), they are fun, interactive early learning and family support destinations for families with very young children. And they are celebrating their 20th anniversary.The Family Place Libraries initiative began when the former library advocacy organization, Libraries for the Future, was searching the nation for a model parent program that could be replicated in public libraries. A visit to Middle Country Public Library and its Parent/Child Workshop sparked this collaborative project.Family Place Libraries is a nationwide network of children's librarians who embrace the fact that literacy begins at birth, and that libraries can help build healthy communities by nourishing healthy families. The organization transforms libraries into community centers for early literacy and learning, parent education and engagement, family support and community connectivity, helping to ensure that all children have the foundation they need to succeed.Over the last 20 years, FPL has grown from five to more than 500 sites in 30 states and it keeps growing.The organization has worked hard to build relationships among the librarians and parents, children and community early childhood, health and human services agencies.These libraries offer parents, caregivers and community agencies access to a variety of services and materials: books, toys, DVDs, programs, information and referrals to library and community services (i.e., early intervention, parenting support groups, ESL, citizenship), and guest speakers on a variety of topics. All of these offerings strengthen the bonds between the libraries and the communities they serve."Family Place brings together the critical elements for families … reading and learning, a relationship with knowledgeable staff equipped with tools to support families, an opportunity to learn in a new way, a place to meet others in the community, and form strong cohort relationships," says one library director.Evaluation findings from the three-year Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership Grant corroborate this.* Partner library directors and librarians became critical communicators and advocates for both the importance of the early childhood years and the role of the library in those years within their local community and library profession;* Active membership in early childhood and family support coalitions increased from 59 percent to 79 percent;* Presentations at local, state and national professional conferences increased from 68 percent to 100 percent.* Seventy percent of community agencies surveyed believed that their agencies have an increased understanding of the needs of families with young children because of the library.* Ninety-five percent of community agencies surveyed see the library as a vital link in supporting families and the early learning of their young children"I have always loved the library, but adding Family Place toys, encouragement for interaction -- this has improved my perception," says one community agency. "It makes it easier to refer families."Family Place Libraries have become an integral part of communities throughout the country -- starting young and looking at the whole child and family to encourage and support learning and identify and address needs to help build and strengthen healthy families.And they look forward to 20 more years. 

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(NewsUSA) - All artists have one thing in common -- they start with a blank canvas.In the case of George Sosnak, a folk artist whose work is being exhibited through August at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Va., his canvas of choice happened to be a part of America's favorite pastime -- baseball.To understand the artist, you have to understand the medium, its history, and the man behind the art.It was around this small, leather ball that the artist found a way to express his love of the game.While Sosnak was passionate about baseball, he was athletically unskilled as a player. So, he did the next best thing -- he became an umpire. After World War II, he landed in the Pioneer League for the 1956-1958 seasons, later going on to umpire in the Three-I League (Iowa, Idaho, and Indiana) and Southern Association, before both leagues folded. With that, his dream of becoming a Major League umpire died. The Artist Within Emerges His calling to art came in the form of an odd request from a female fan while he was umpiring a game in Idaho in 1956: Could he paint her favorite player on a baseball?From there, the seed of an idea began and became an outlet for Sosnak to maintain his passion and connection to baseball in a way that he had never envisioned.Demand soon followed -- from politicians to U.S. presidents to baseball players and fans to foreign dignitaries, sportswriters, churches, and charities. On occasion, Sosnak would be paid for his work; oftentimes, he would give the baseball to the player, person, or organization as a gift.Over time, as with any artist, Sosnak's technique developed to the point that baseballs became murals for his work. Using India ink, Sosnak would meticulously and elaborately cover the ball with microscopic text and colorful backgrounds. Many times, he would include logos from a certain team, using arcane material that he researched, commemorating everything from a player's stats to the night of Aug. 6, 1967 when Dean Chance of the Minnesota Twins pitched a perfect no-hitter against the Red Sox for five innings before the game was called because of rain. Collectors Abound Before his death in 1992, auction houses believe Sosnak created somewhere between 800 and 3,000 baseballs. As for worth, prices started creeping up posthumously as more people realized the individuality of his work. In 2009, the market was anywhere from $500 to several thousand dollars for a ball.For fans who may not be able to afford a Sosnak baseball but would love to see his work, the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, VA., is exhibiting his baseballs until Aug. 27. Admission is free."His work combines the whimsical, artistic expression with endless statistics and game descriptions, that are so beloved by baseball fans," says Susan Leidy, deputy director of the museum."Even if you're not a folk art fan, it's fun to see every possible detail about someone's career [because] everything is on these balls in the tiniest possible writing."For more information, visit www.chrysler.org

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(NewsUSA) - In 1967, one of today's most iconic runners made her mark in history.Despite an angry official who tried to push her off the course of the Boston Marathon, Kathrine Switzer defiantly ran on, broke barriers and became the first woman to officially complete the legendary race.Today, at the age of 70, Switzer continues to defy the odds.This year, she ran the 26.2-mile Boston Marathon again to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her historic milestone and continued to inspire others to break new ground. She also announced a partnership with the health and well-being company, Humana, to help celebrate seniors, encourage them to take an optimistic view of aging, and live healthy, active lifestyles."When the Boston Marathon race director tried to shove me off the course in 1967, my life's purpose was crystalized. I knew I wanted to be a champion for others committed to blazing their own path," Switzer says."I'm working with Humana to inspire seniors to achieve their best health, so they can experience all that life has to offer."Switzer shared tips on how she maintains an optimistic outlook on aging, and why she believes that great things are ahead when your health is ready -- no matter what age you are!Don't let your age define you.The biggest tip is to realize that you're never too old, too slow or too out-of-shape to begin living an active lifestyle. Whether it's walking the dog a bit further than usual, or taking a swim at the local health club -; finding ways to get active can help you live healthier and be more optimistic.Take it one step at a time. Allow time to adjust to a new routine. Start small and build on your efforts in small intervals. Listen to your body and be proud of your progress.Two is better than one. To help you stay motivated, get a buddy who has similar fitness goals. If a buddy is waiting for you, you won't worry about being embarrassed or feeling slow; it'll just be the two of you. There are few things greater than sharing victories and accomplishments with someone close.Make time for rest. Equally as important as staying active is ensuring that your body recovers from the stress endured from physical activity. Not only will your body thank you, but you will grow to love your active lifestyle more without aches and pains holding you back.Switzer recently took her message to the National Senior Games presented by Humana, one example of how the company is committed to championing seniors and breaking barriers -- namely, the stereotypes associated with seniors in today's society -- and proving that with a healthy body and mind, age is truly just a number. While at the Games, she participated in the 10K Road Race in a celebratory role and presented an inspiring and encouraging speech at the Celebration of Athletes.In addition to being a fierce advocate for seniors and optimistic aging, Switzer has been a lifelong advocate for women runners in general.In 1972, she co-founded the first women's-only road race; in 1984, she led the drive to get the women's marathon into the Olympic Games; and in 2015, she founded 261 Fearless, a global non-profit that empowers and connects women through the transformative action of running, and encouraging them to overcome life obstacles and embrace healthy living."I think optimism is everything and you don't have to be a marathon runner to possess it," Switzer says."The more you do, the more you can do!"  

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(NewsUSA) - CME Group has once again partnered with National 4-H Council to sponsor the interactive and educational Commodity Carnival, which will visit 120 state and county fairs in the Midwest during the summer and fall of 2017. The Commodity Carnival and companion app, Risk Ranch, give players a fun and engaging way to learn about agriculture by bringing a steer to market."CME Group's roots are in agriculture, and we are pleased to provide this program for the fifth straight year," says CME Group Chairman and CEO Terry Duffy."We look forward to helping the next generation of farmers, ranchers, and agribusiness leaders to better understand the concept of risk management in a fun way and from a young age."The participants in the Commodity Carnival will learn how to grow and bring a "steer" to market. If they are successful, they can win a blue ribbon while improving their literacy in agriculture science and basic economics."Our partnership with CME Group has allowed us to instill fundamentals of risk management and basic economics with young people throughout fair season and beyond," says National 4-H Council President and CEO Jennifer Sirangelo."This program helps students develop problem solving, communication and technical competence skills, and those are essential for both positive youth development and preparation for the workforce."The Commodity Carnival's entertainment and education is not limited just to the fairgrounds. Kids can continue to learn about real-life cost and risk management through the award-winning agriculture app developed by CME Group, "Risk Ranch." This enjoyable and informative game can be downloaded free of charge either online or on your mobile device.To learn more about Risk Ranch or see a list of the 120 fairs participating this fair season, visit www.cmegroup.com/4hcarnival.

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(NewsUSA) - Most companies know the need to go mobile to make their workforce more productive and efficient, but many don't know what is needed outside of buying some tablets and software.The truth is, companies simply don't consider how a mobile employee will carry or use a tablet while out in the field -- whether that be an actual field, the floors of an emergency room, the roof of a hail-damaged house or the halls of a huge hotel.The problem is elegant in its simplicity -- a tablet, like any tool, must be easily carried and accessible at all times.For most of us who sit behind a computer all day, this doesn't seem like an issue -- but think about what it would be like to climb a ladder while, at the same time, juggling a tablet.A mobile device-carrying solution is just as important for anyone working with a tablet (such as an iPad) as it is for a carpenter needing a toolbelt for a hammer.Mobility is all about efficiency and increased productivity. If executed right, that's the end result. If executed wrong, it can be a costly mistake, hazardous to the worker's safety.Enter RUNNUR, a hands-free, wearable system that locks a tablet directly to an employee's side via a standard belt or heavy-duty belt clip.In one simple click, the system solves the problem of carrying a tablet for on-the-go work, even keeping it safe from inadvertent drops by way of a tethering system (much like a tiny rock climber's rope)."Our products provide a unique combination of attributes: hands-free functionality, device access in one second, and protection against dropping," says Andrew Hamra, CEO of RUNNUR."We don't expect a carpenter to carry his hammer around by hand all day. Neither should we expect someone to do the same with their tablet."Get more information or purchase your own RUNNUR at mobiletechgear.com

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Five words or less(NewsUSA) - This fall, like clockwork, Apple, Inc. will launch its iPhone 8, with yet another new operating system. Added to the mix will be the launch of Apple Pay Cash and sending money inside its messenger app, also known as Peer to Peer (P2P). The problem is that millions of Apple and Android users won't be able to use it. The reason is that you must have an iPhone 6 or higher to be compatible with iOS11, which means that of the more than 90 million iPhone users in the United States, approximately 55 million will not have access to Apple Pay Cash and P2P. This gap in service by two of the largest technology companies in the world could send all of the excluded iPhone and Android users to seek an alternative way to send money and have it loaded to a card. Enter MovoCash, the brainchild of Eric Solis, which has created a payment platform that allows consumers to link their bank accounts to their MovoCash account for mobile payments with no limitation on the number of supported banks. Unlike Apple Pay or Android Pay, MovoCash eliminates the need for retailers to buy expensive equipment. "MovoCash is a transformative way to think about payments," says Eric Solis, CEO and founder of the company. "It always bugged me that companies like Apple would roll out a product that is so hard to use. You have to have a newer iPhone, you have to have a card that supports Apple Pay, you have to go to a merchant that supports Apple Pay. At the end of the day, so many consumers are locked out of the digital economy. We fixed all of that with MovoCash," says Eric Solis, founder of the company. To that point, MovoCash allows users (and even non-users) to send money to a friend instantly. And that friend can then turn around and buy a latte. Some of the many advantages of Movocash compared to Apple Pay are that: * Apple Pay can only be used by iPhone owners. With Movo- Cash, you can send money to anyone who has a smart phone. * Only about 1 in 3 retailers support Apple Pay, while MovoCash is supported by more than 99.9 percent of retailers. * Apple Pay can be spent where Apple Pay is accepted (usually not online) or sent to your bank. MovoCash, on the other hand, can be spent at nearly 100 percent of merchants. You can also get cash at an ATM, cash back with a purchase, pay bills, send someone a check, or shop online. Consider this: according to Gartner, Inc., an American research and advisory firm providing information technology-related insight, of the 431 million smart phones sold worldwide in 2016, 352 million were Android devices and 77 million were iPhones. This is important because MovoCash has plans to expand globally. As for the domestic market, there are 107 million Android smart phones in the United States and 90 million iPhones, of which 55 million are iPhone 5 or older. This means that a total of 142 million smart phone users in the United States will be blocked from using Apple Pay Cash. Alternatively, MovoCash works across all devices and has plans for global expansion. "We are thrilled with the capabilities created with MovoCash," says Solis. "Our technology is available now and has many more features that make managing your money much easier than any other tool on the market." For more information, visit https://movo.cash/.

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(NewsUSA) - Want to volunteer to make things better, but think you lack the time? You're not alone. A new survey conducted by State Farm found that busy lifestyles is one of the biggest barriers keeping people from getting as involved as they'd like. And since 77 percent say they prefer volunteering with those they know, the summer months - with kids off from school - offer parents the ideal opportunity to perform their good deeds with the entire family. Two of the best suggestions that take maybe an hour each? Drawing pictures to send to veterans, and cleaning up a local beach or park. See other ideas and the full-sized image here. 

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Five words or less(NewsUSA) - Ten years after the U.S. financial crisis of 2007, a survey from the Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement found that middle-income boomers feel less than secure about their financial future, with almost 100 percent surveyed saying the economy has not fully recovered, and 65 percent believing they have not personally benefitted at all from any recovery. Prior to the economic crash, many baby boomers had a clear vision of their retirement, but now say in all likelihood they will not be as financially independent as they once thought. Fortunately, resources from organizations such as Bankers Life can help middle-income boomers better plan for retirement with useful tips and how-to's, because no one should have to choose between having to pay for long-term care and buying groceries. Learn more at www.BankersLife.com/TopTips1. See full-sized image here.

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Five words or less(NewsUSA) -As the warm weather of spring and summer arrives, ambitious and well-intentioned homeowners embark on cleaning, maintenance, and improvement projects that often involve roofs, gutters, and ladders. However, working on a ladder can be dangerous. Consider this: every year, approximately 164,000 people visit emergency rooms in the United States because of ladder accidents, according to data from the World Health Organization. Underscoring the fact that lack of knowledge about ladder safety is a growing problem are recent survey results published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine which found that the number of ladder-related injuries in the United States has increased by more than 50 percent in 15 years. Professionals and nonprofessionals alike can benefit by keeping some safety tips in mind, courtesy of the Consumer Product Safety Commission: -Stand firm. When positioning a ladder anywhere around your home, be sure to place it level on firm ground. -Have a partner, but go solo. When climbing a ladder, have another person with you to hold the lower end for extra safety and support. However, only one person at a time should be on a ladder so it doesn't become top-heavy and fall over. -Don't go to the top. Never stand on the top rung of a ladder, and don't reach from a ladder. Instead, climb down and move the ladder to the location of your choice. -Watch for doors. Never place a ladder near a door that can be opened; an unexpected exit could lead to a ladder accident. -Be shoe smart. Wear shoes with clean, dry soles when working on ladders. Avoid sandals or flip flops. Most importantly, don't forget the rule of three: According to the American Ladder Institute, the "Three Points of Contact" rule means keeping either two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand in contact with the steps, rungs, or side rails of a ladder at all times to reduce chances of a slip or fall. Gutter cleaning and maintenance are among the highest risk activities for ladder injuries. One option to reduce the risk is to install rain dispersal gutters that don't require routine cleaning. Products such as the Rainhandler Rain Dispersal system are engineered to keep leaves and debris out of gutters. Visit www.rainhandler.com for more information about how the right gutter management can simplify home maintenance.

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(NewsUSA) - Forget low-carb diets and Atkins; those sweet, succulent spuds are once again finding their place among meat and vegetables at the dinner table.To celebrate its return to center stage, Kita Roberta of Girl Carnivore is recognizing the health benefits of a plant-based diet, while still including your favorite proteins.To that end, Girl Carnivore has created a recipe that is packed with carrots, beets, kale and Idaho potatoes. Add the sweetness of maple aioli and you've got yourself a good-for-you meal. Roasted Roots and Chicken Power Bowl with Maple Aioli * 4 Russet Idaho potatoes, chopped into 1/2-inch cubes* 3 carrots* 1 turnip, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, and then cut into wedges* 1 red onion, cut into wedges* 1 cup butternut squash, peeled and chopped* 2 beets, rinsed, peeled, cut in half and then cut into wedges* 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided* Salt and pepper* 3 sprigs fresh thyme, removed from stem* 3 cups Swiss chard, removed from stem and chopped* 1 garlic clove, minced* 1 cup cooked rotisserie chicken, chopped For the Maple Aioli * 3 tablespoons fresh mayonnaise* 1 tablespoon maple syrup* 1/4 teaspoon cinnamonPreheat the oven to 425 degreeF. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.Toss all of the vegetables in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.Arrange the vegetables in a single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with thyme. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden and fork-tender, flipping once, halfway through.Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet over medium-heat. Sauté the Swiss chard with the chopped garlic until wilted, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.Whisk the mayonnaise with the maple syrup and cinnamon until combined. Spoon into a serving dish.Divide the chard evenly in serving bowls. Top with the roasted vegetables and chopped rotisserie chicken. Serve with the maple aioli on the side for dipping.For more recipes, visit theIdaho Potato Commission's website at https://idahopotato.com.

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