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Five words or less(NewsUSA) - One year ago, Purdue and CME Group launched the Ag Economy Barometer, the first economic indicator to help gauge the monthly outlook of the U.S. farm economy. Since its inception, the barometer has measured farmers' sentiment through market-moving events -- such as Brexit, the U.S. presidential election and key agricultural reports -- and continues to be an important tool for taking the temperature of the nation's agricultural sector. Each month, the barometer measures the confidence of 400 food producers regarding the farm economy and key economic drivers, resulting in a barometer reading that represents sentiment. The barometer reading is published on the first Tuesday of each month, indicating whether sentiment has improved or declined month over month or above or below the baseline score of 100. Since Purdue and CME Group started fielding this research, the barometer has seen a significant rise in producer optimism from 116 to 130 points, due to unexpected factors beyond commodity prices. Sentiment began rising steadily after the U.S. presidential election in November and reached an all-time peak of 153 points in January, when Donald Trump took office. "Over the last year, we learned that producer expectations are a driving force of sentiment, not solely day-to-day changes in commodity prices or even overall profitability," says Jim Mintert, director of Purdue's Center for Commercial Agriculture and principal investigator for the barometer. "While near-term economic conditions in agriculture barely changed around the election, producers' attitudes improved with expectations of less regulation and tax reform down the line." "Agriculture is a key component of the global economy, so understanding the health of the farming community is critical to get the full picture," says Fred Seamon, CME Group executive director of commodity research & product development. "We're pleased that the barometer is providing vital insight into an industry on which consumers so heavily rely, and will continue to do so." Results for the Ag Economy Barometer are tabulated and published on the first Tuesday of each month by Purdue University. To learn more about the barometer, survey methodology or to view the most recent results, visit www.purdue.edu/agbarometer

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Five words or less(NewsUSA) - While the approach of summer signals sun and fun, it also marks the height of storm season. And although summer storms can have devastating effects on homes and property, planning ahead can help. "It doesn't matter if you live in a tornado path or in an area that receives little precipitation or severe weather activity. Weather patterns change quickly and preparation for any type of storm can be a difference maker," says Peter Duncanson, Director of Business Operations for ServiceMaster Restore. "Safety is always the top priority, but be sure you have a plan in place for your family and pets, and practice it so there is no guess work when you have to put it into action," he adds. Keep these tips in mind to be prepared for storms throughout the year: - Before: Pay attention to storm watches and warnings on your local weather news channel or website. Also consider downloading the American Red Cross Emergency App, which provides severe weather alerts and steps to take in different emergency scenarios. Be sure you have important numbers stored in your phone, such as local emergency response agencies and the number to your homeowner's insurance carrier. In addition, know whom you would call if water or debris needs to be removed from your home. Assemble an emergency preparedness kit for your home. Include any essential medications for all family members, along with first aid items such as bandages, rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, and gauze. Also stock several flashlights with extra batteries, as well as spare chargers for phones and other devices. Furthermore, include bottled water, a can opener, and ready-to-eat canned foods. For your car, safety staples include water, a first aid kit, and a few blankets, as well as an umbrella, towels, and paper towels. - During: If you are indoors, the safest place in your house is the innermost area. Avoid rooms along the outside of the house, and stay away from windows and doors. Ideally, stay on the first floor or in the basement, if possible. Although lying in a bathtub can be a safe place to shelter, be sure to have cushions or a mattress on hand to protect yourself from falling debris in the bathroom. A closet or under the stairs can also be safe places, with pillows and blankets for protection. - After: Once the storm has subsided, plan a designated meeting place for your family and let a friend or relative know the location. If you have pets, factor them into the plan. Don't inspect your property until it is safe to leave the house. Watch for downed power lines, tree limbs, and other debris. Take photos to document damage, and contact a restoration company or your insurance company as soon as possible. Most weather-related home damage is not a do-it-yourself job; leave it to the experts. For more information about storm preparation and recovery, visit ServiceMasterRestore.com.

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(NewsUSA) - Fungal infections in the lungs are a serious, underreported medical issue.Most people don't realize that the air we breathe is laden with the spores of many different types of fungi and molds. For the large majority, this isn't a problem. The spores either get trapped in our airway mucus and expelled, or are tackled and neutralized by our immune systems.But in many people, especially those with compromised immune systems or lungs, such as those who have cystic fibrosis (CF), the spores germinate into fungi that cause both serious infections and allergic reactions.Usually caused by the spore-forming mold, Aspergillus fumigatus, the problem is particularly acute in CF patients, with half of that patient population requiring treatment for fungal infections in their lungs and, in the case of severe asthma, affecting millions of patients."This infection can cause an allergic reaction, known as allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis or ABPA, that impairs lung function," explains Dr. Richard Moss, former chief of the Pediatric Pulmonary and Allergy Divisions at Stanford University.Fighting these fungal lung infections has been difficult.There are oral anti-fungal drugs, such as one called itraconazole. The problem is getting enough of the drug through the bloodstream to the lungs, where it's needed. Getting sufficient lung concentrations requires giving high oral doses that can cause severe side effects, including liver toxicity.The ideal alternative would be to deliver the drug directly to the lungs of patients by inhalation. However, due to dosing limitations, standard inhalation technologies aren't able to do this.But now there's an innovative new technology from a Massachusetts-based company, Pulmatrix (NASDAQ:PULM), which uses small, dense particles that easily fly into the lungs. The company has incorporated itraconazole to the particles, enabling it to be efficiently delivered.Preclinical studies have already shown that Pulmatrix's experimental anti-fungal inhaled drug can achieve high drug concentrations in the lungs, with very low amounts in the bloodstream."This inhaled drug technology has great potential to treat serious fungal infections and the allergies those infections cause without the dangerous side effects and drug-drug interactions of using oral drugs," says Moss. 

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Five words or less(NewsUSA) - Florida may be best known as a winter- and spring- break getaway, but savvy travelers will tell you that the Sunshine State is most certainly a summer destination as well. Florida is home to many diversions perfect for lazy summer days, especially when you head inland and away from the crowds. Streamsong Resort, located between Tampa and Orlando in central Florida's Polk County, is one off-the-beaten-path destination that truly shines during the summer. Known for its nationally-ranked golf, the 16,000-acre property is home to soaring sand dunes, wide open fields, dense woods, deep lakes, and a lone palm tree, giving it a distinct "anywhere but Florida" look. "Out-of-staters think Florida is just crowded beaches and theme parks," says Richard Mogensen, Streamsong's general manager. "They're shocked when they travel inland and experience a destination like Streamsong that's more about relaxing and savoring their time off." While golf may be in the resort's DNA, it has become known as a prime spot for outdoor enthusiasts. In fact, Streamsong's guided bass fishing tours routinely pull in fish weighing more than six pounds, and it's not unusual for guests to reel in a catch north of eight pounds. The property's sporting clays course -- located about 15 minutes from the Lodge, but, amazingly, still on the property -- challenges guests to shoot over a variety of ravine landscapes from multiple stations, all the while being surrounded by local flora, fauna and wildlife. And, the adjacent archery range lets guests perfect their marksmanship in a serene natural setting. Of course, you don't have to be the outdoorsy type to enjoy Streamsong. The lakeside infinity pool is prime for lounging and the resort's grotto-style spa beckons guests seeking a slice of serenity. "At Streamsong, relaxation is whatever you want it to be -- whether it's playing 36 holes of golf or spending the afternoon stretched out in a cabana," Mogensen says. For more information, go to www.streamsongresort.com or call 1-866-849-8582.

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Five words or less(NewsUSA) - Oral contraceptives are the most common form of hormonal birth control in the United States, and while research shows that they are safe and effective, the pill can carry risks like any other prescription medication. The common risk factor for any form of hormonal birth control, including the pill, patch or ring, is the hormone estrogen, which increases the risk of dangerous blood clots, especially in women with a clotting disorder, a previous blood clot, or a family history of blood clots. Some of the newer hormonal birth control pills poses a greater blood clot risk than the older oral hormonal contraceptives, and the use of hormonal birth control patches and rings poses an even greater blood clot risk. It is important for women to know their risks of blood clots, and to understand their options for birth control. In recognition of National Women's Health Week, the National Blood Clot Alliance is partnering with the Alexandra L. Rowan Memorial Foundation to provide women with this essential information by encouraging them to go to www.womenandbloodclots.org. On the Resources Page, women will find a risk assessment tool to help them determine, along with their doctor, their risk of blood clots, and also their best contraception options. Birth Control and Blood Clot Prevention Even if you are a woman at risk for blood clots, it is still possible for you to plan your family as you choose, by understanding your risk of blood clots and taking steps to reduce your risk: * Complete the Risk Assessment on the website www.womenandbloodclots.org and discuss your results and birth control options with your doctor. * If you decide take birth control for the first time or are already taking birth control, talk to your doctor about your personal or family history of blood clots, and your existing risk of blood clots. Signs and Symptoms of a Blood Clot It's also important to recognize the symptoms of blood clots in the legs or arms, which include: * Swelling. * Pain or tenderness not caused by injury. * Skin that is warm to the touch, red, or discolored. Blood clots in your legs or arms can travel to your lungs, which can be life-threatening. Symptoms of blood clots in your lungs include: * Difficulty breathing. * Chest pain that worsens with a deep breath or cough. * Coughing up blood. * Faster than normal or irregular heartbeat. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of these signs or symptoms. For more information, visit www.womenandbloodclots.org.

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(NewsUSA) - While America may not appear to have the kind of hunger that is pervasive in other countries, that's not to say it doesn't exist.Hunger remains a concern for millions of Americans, and for people who are "food insecure," the average reported need for food has increased, based on data from Map the Meal Gap 2017, a new report released by Feeding America, a non-profit hunger-relief organization.The report describes the cost of food and food insecurity in communities across the United States.Food insecurity is defined by the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all members of a household.According to the USDA, the number of Americans identified as food insecure decreased from 50 million in 2009 to 42 million in 2015. Still, Map the Meal Gap finds that the individuals who are food insecure report needing an average of nearly $530 more per person in 2015 to afford enough food, representing a 13 percent increase since 2008."This is grim news," says Diana Aviv, CEO of Feeding America, in a statement. "It is disheartening to realize that millions of hardworking, low-income Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to feed themselves and their families at the same time that our economy is showing many signs of improvement, including a substantial decline in the number of people who are unemployed."The online version of the report features an interactive map, and key data points include estimates of the number of food-insecure individuals at the community level, the percentage of these individuals who may or may not qualify for federal nutrition programs, such as SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, as well as information about average cost of a meal in these areas.Consider this: According to the report, even states such as North Dakota, where the rate of child food insecurity is lowest, 1 in 11 children are estimated to live in food-insecure households. In addition, food insecurity tends to be more common in rural areas versus urban areas."Feeding America is particularly concerned about children who struggle with hunger because of the devastating and sometimes life-long consequences caused by lack of adequate nutrition," Ms. Aviv says. "Children are our most vulnerable citizens."The report uses data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as food price data and analysis from the information company Nielsen, a global provider of information and insights.The study was supported by The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Conagra Brands Foundation, and Nielsen.Visit feedingamerica.org for more information about hunger, local member food banks, and opportunities to help. 

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(NewsUSA) - Within the past two decades, job opportunities that offer telecommuting options have quadrupled, and as technology advances, that number will continue to grow.Besides having more time to manage personal and family obligations, research shows that telecommuting also boosts productivity and reduces stress. If the thought of having flexible work hours sounds appealing, becoming a benefits advisor may be the answer. Learn more at www.aflac.com/agent High resolution infographic here.

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(NewsUSA) -Education is a cornerstone of our culture and society. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are more than four million teachers in the United States. Every day, they go above and beyond to shape children's minds through their passion for lifelong learning.The average teacher spends $500 investing in his or her classroom, with one in ten having spent $1,000 or more. Some teachers work in economically challenged districts where purchasing gym equipment, art supplies or even groceries with their own money helps engage a child, or their family, in education.For the projected 60 million children who attend preschool through grade 12, the lengths to which educators go to invest outside of their curriculum and official hours is staggering.Companies have earnestly started recognizing the work of educators everywhere, and online retailer zulily has taken National Teacher Appreciation Week a step further. zulily is launching a series of curated collections inspired by six teachers, selected through its Thank a Teacher Contest. The contest invited individuals from across the country to submit inspirational stories about a teacher who made a difference in their students' lives.The brand received an influx of stories highlighting the different ways that teachers show dedication to their students. These stories include a teacher who created a Kindergarten Santa project to ensure that every child would have a Christmas present, and a teacher who continues to teach while undergoing chemotherapy because she wants to be with her students, who "give her life."Teachers from across the country were nominated from preschool through grade 12, with schools including public, private, Head Start, Montessori, court school system and homeschool represented."We wanted to bring visibility to everything that teachers do and spotlight a few stories that are emblematic of all teachers," zulily's CEO, Darrell Cavens, says."Great educators have encouraged and impacted everyone in meaningful ways, big and small, which is why we wanted to share a heartfelt thank you, from all of us here at zulily."During National Teacher Appreciation Week (May 8-12), zulily will run the curated teacher-inspired sales events, featuring classroom-ready merchandise in education categories, including: STEM, Art & Creative Play, Foreign Language, Homeschool & Montessori, Special Needs, and Teacher Supplies & Furniture. zulily is offering an additional 15 percent off items purchased from any of these six events.Visit The Find to learn more about the 50 winners of the zulily Thank a Teacher Contest. 

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(NewsUSA) - An innovative venture fund is creating opportunities to support the American Dream by providing capital and resources to small businesses. ProgressWorks is a non-profit 501(c)(3) U.S. job-creation venture fund with a mission to facilitate job creation and retention in the United States. Its vision is to impact the growth of employment through targeted investment, strategic partnering, and resources that reduce the challenges small businesses face when seeking capital.The non-profit raises capital through memberships, sponsorships, donations, and investments in the fund. Capital is deployed into qualified business transactions with the sole purpose of job creation and retention. Target investments can be startups or existing businesses in any industry. When the fund receives a return on its investments, it redeploys the capital and profits into new projects."ProgressWorks was created by and is operated by investment banking and venture capital professionals with experience in investing and operating businesses from technology to logging," states CEO Roy Y. Salisbury. "Our goal is to do good for our country by creating a legacy that continues to infuse capital into the lifeblood of the American Dream: small businesses."To help facilitate transactions and create opportunities, on August 18, 2017, the first ProgressWorks Opportunity Expo will be held at the Disneyland Resort in Southern California. The Expo will bring together capital sources, companies, executives, and professional resource providers. Key to the event will be the PitchFest competitions, where companies seeking capital will have three minutes to present to a panel of judges and investors. There will be three categories, with the grand prize winner in each category receiving $10,000.The Expo is structured as a vacation-destination event, with discounted hotel rooms, and park tickets, and the chance for sponsors, exhibitors, and attendees to bring their families and find new opportunities while enjoying a tax-deductible mini-vacation.Without American entrepreneurship, we would not have Apple, Google, Facebook, Starbucks, or countless companies that are a part of our daily lives. ProgressWorks aims to help the next wave of small businesses pursue the American Dream, creating new jobs in the process.Here are five ProgressWorks initiatives:1. Membership Drive. Members support a worthwhile cause, and receive opportunities and benefits.2. Funds Development. Investors can participate in ProgressWorks bond offerings, compliant with federal securities laws, and support the funding of companies while receiving a fixed rate of return.3. ProgressWorks Opportunity Expo. This is the best way for businesses seeking expansion capital to present themselves for investment consideration. Another is by competing in the PitchFest competition.4. Expansion. The non-profit is seeking volunteers across the United States to start the building of a national infrastructure. Successful volunteers who staff operations and develop business will be first in line for paid positions.5. Scholarships. Current and future students can participate in membership drives and earn scholarship dollars towards tuition, books, tools, housing and food. Students must be enrolled in a curriculum with good prospects for employment.To learn more, visit www.ProgressWorks.org. For more about the Expo, go to www.ProgressWorksExpo.org.

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Five words or less(NewsUSA) - The Bible is one of the most studied texts in existence, but a new book reveals a previously unrecognized encrypted message in the Old Testament that foresees the birth, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus. In the book, The Chamberlain Key: Unlocking the God Code to Reveal Divine Messages Hidden in the Bible, author Timothy Smith describes how he discovered the message by cracking a code in Genesis 30:20-24 in the oldest form of the Hebrew Old Testament. Smith, an appraiser and restorer of fine art and antiquities, was researching his family history and became intrigued by the Torah after learning that his matriarchal ancestors were in fact Sephardic Jews, and early Christians of Jewish decent. He said in a statement that he was drawn to the specific passages in Genesis because of parallels between descriptions of the family of Jacob, known as the father of the House of Israel, and his own family. Smith assessed the passages using an equidistant letter skip decryption method inspired by the Hebrew spelling of his name (the nine-letter Timotheus). He discovered not only his own name, but also biographical information that reflected other members of his family As he reviewed the passage in Genesis using the code, Smith found details about the birth, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus. He also identified references to religious images, including the Rocio Madonna, clues to the location of the contents of the Ark of the Covenant, and warnings of the spread of anti-Semitism, hate, and violence. Smith's research methods and conclusions have been reviewed by experts, including Dr. Robert Jahn, dean emeritus of engineering at Princeton University, and Dr. Eugene Ulrich, chief editor of the Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls and professor of Hebrew Scripture and Theology at University of Notre Dame. "Never before have so many high-level language and scientific experts agreed that the encrypted structures we have detected in this section of the Hebrew text, and the other structures logically predicted from this key code, are a very deliberate attempt by the Author of the pre-Christian text to make 'contact.' No other published 'Bible code' discoveries impress us in this way," Smith says. The Chamberlain Key takes readers through Smith's journey of discovery, including his personal account of the spiritual experiences that inspired him to pursue his research into the Torah. In addition, a history documentary series about the book and Smith's story are in production and scheduled to air within the year. For more information, visit http://chamberlainkey.com.

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