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Statewide News


OKLAHOMA CITY – In a Jan. 15 hearing chaired by state Rep. Richard Morrissette (D-OKC) and co-chaired by Rep. Cory Williams (D-Stillwater) at the Oklahoma State Capitol to review data on the state’s recent earthquakes, attendees crowded into three large committee rooms, forcing a move to the House Chamber and its galleries.

The attendees, and interested citizens who listened via the Internet, heard presentations by geologists and environmentalists as well as residents’ accounts of experiencing earthquakes and damaging after-effects.

Morrissette announced Wednesday that he plans to request emergency legislation to establish guidelines for a victim reparation fund endowed by the oil and gas companies, and he encouraged attendees to contact their legislators immediately to insist upon legislation to deal with all of the earthquake issues, to include a call for moratorium.

Rep. Morrissette opened the hearing with the following statement: “The goal of this hearing is to begin to honestly and forthrightly establish an unbiased knowledge base from which our state and our wounded communities can draw the confidence necessary to move forward, without fear, after years of enduring earthquakes of dangerous and destructive magnitude, while having no one in government or industry truly willing to listen or accept responsibility.

“Now that the testimony section of the hearing has concluded, I can say that the level of damage to both lives and property is simply shocking,” Morrissette said. “Until these testimonials, our state had no collective record of the scope of the damage. We had no record of how many ways drilling and injection disposal might forever ruin our land and water. And peace of mind no longer exists for our residents. The intensity and severity of the damage has the potential to ruin our economy and our Oklahoma way of life, in my estimation, for years to come.

“The reckless decisions by gas and oil companies to ‘drill baby drill’, obviously without a clear understanding of the potential dangers, threaten to ruin our economy and the environment. And the irresponsible legislation that permits the industry to make these decisions must immediately be repealed. It could take decades, or God forbid, forever, to entirely repair the damage. No victimized private citizen should be made responsible for an energy company’s mistakes. No citizen should have to shoulder the burden of home repairs and earthquake insurance policies. We need a reparation fund established by the industry to begin the process of making these people emotionally and financially whole and we need at least a partial moratorium on injection well disposal.”

Contributors to the hearing included Todd Halihan, professor of hydrogeology, Oklahoma State University; attorney for a class-action lawsuit, Scott Poynter of Arkansas, Poynter Law Group of Counsel to Steel, Wright, & Collier PLLC; Robert Jackman, Tulsa petroleum geologist, Jackman, Inc.; Johnson Bridgwater, director of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Sierra Club; state Insurance Commissioner John Doak; and perhaps the most powerful message was delivered by Ponca Tribal Council member Casey Camp-Horinek, who spoke of how energy companies operating disposal wells in north central Oklahoma treat the area as a ‘sacrifice zone’ and she also raised the issue of water and its sacred value and purpose and how by hydraulic fracturing and injection well disposal, millions of gallons are fouled and wasted while we languish in intermittent and continuing drought. Ms. Camp-Horinek recently returned from the International Climate Summit in Paris, where she participated as an environmentalist on behalf of her sovereign nation.

Since the hearing on Jan. 15, the Associated Press and KWTV-9 have reported at least half a dozen earthquakes around the state. Additionally, KOCO-TV reported Wednesday that through the first 19 days of January, Oklahoma recorded eight earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 or greater – a new state record for a single month. The previous record was seven occurrences in November 2015 – just two months ago. In yet another related matter, the estimated damage from a recent fracking fire near Chickasha was around $50 million.

Audio of the Capitol hearing:


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A FREE, international campaign organized by The Girls Gone Green is challenging people to go meat-free for 31 days. The goal is to help people think about their food in a whole new way and the results are more than astounding they are life-changing!veggies

According to Executive Director of the nonprofit Julie Watkins, "March is National Nutrition Month and what better way to celebrate than by participating in a community-supported initiative developed to help you feel and look better. I truly believe No Meat March has saved people's lives and will continue to do so with each challenge we offer!"

Participants go online and pledge to eschew meat during the month of March. There are also options for them to give up dairy, eggs and cheese. It invites those curious about exploring a plant-based diet to become part of a growing population seeking healthier alternatives to animal protein. All the questions about health, food, protein and more are answered making the transition easy and effective for everyone.

Watkins explains, "We just want you to use the 31 days of going meat-free as a way to explore your body and health. It allows you to take a break from foods high in fat and cholesterol to see if you like the way it makes you feel. We are here to offer support and encouragement."

During the month participants will receive daily emails sharing nutritional information and recipes to support their commitment to No Meat March. A recipe for breakfast, lunch and dinner is provided taking out the guesswork of what to eat next. Plenty of resources are available to foster community, allowing participants to communicate, ask questions and get feedback.

"The best part about this challenge is hearing from people years later who say they are still meat-free because of No Meat March."

The Girls Gone Green is a 501(c)(3) organization formed in 2007 devoted to environmental, animal and health issues. They organize several events, campaigns and online programs to support these causes.

For more information please visit www.NoMeatMarch.com.

(Shawnee, Okla. – January 18, 2016) The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) Baccalaureate/Graduate Degree Board of Commissioners has awarded St. Gregory’s University accreditation of its business programs.

"A degree from an accredited school is more valuable to students and employers. The ACBSP accreditation schools focus on student learning and success,” said Dr. Angela James, chair of St. Gregory’s Business Department. “Being ACBSP accredited is a signal to students and employers that the program meets standards of rigor and excellence required to compete in the global market place."

Established in 1988, ACBSP is the only organization offering specialized business accreditation for all degree levels, from associate to baccalaureate to doctoral degree programs. ACBSP accreditation certifies that the teaching and learning processes within the undergraduate and graduate business programs offered in the Department of Business at St. Gregory’s University meet the rigorous educational standards established by ACBSP.

“St. Gregory’s University has shown their commitment to teaching excellence and to the process of quality improvement by participating in the accreditation process,” said ACBSP Chief Accreditation Officer Dr. Steve Parscale, who will present the Certificate of Initial Accreditation at ACBSP Conference 2016 in Atlanta, Ga., on June 19. “This accreditation is evidence that St. Gregory’s is committed to providing the highest quality business education for their students.”

Based on the criteria of the National Malcolm Baldridge Quality Award, ACBSP accreditation evaluates aspects of the institutional leadership, strategic planning processes, relationships with the community, quality of academic programs, faculty credentials and services, and educational support to determine whether or not the institution offers a rigorous educational experience and demonstrates continuous quality improvement.
For more information about St. Gregory’s business degree programs, contact Admissions at 1-844-BE EXTRA, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.stgregorys.edu/business.

Founded in 1875, St. Gregory’s University is Oklahoma’s oldest institution of higher learning and only Catholic university. St. Gregory’s offers a liberal arts education rooted in the Benedictine tradition of cultivating the whole person – mind, body and spirit. With campuses in Shawnee and Tulsa, St. Gregory’s features both traditional and adult degree programs, including associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. For more information about the University, visit www.stgregorys.edu.

ACBSP’s mission is to promote continuous improvement and recognize excellence in the accreditation of business education programs around the world. ACBSP, www.acbsp.org, is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as a specialized accreditation agency for business education. ACBSP currently has 1,220 member campuses, 233 of which are located outside of the U.S. Of those campuses, 962 have achieved accreditation and more than 160 are in candidacy for accreditation. Individual members on these campuses now exceed 13,000.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016 17:58

Tips to Beat the Winter Blues

If you have been feeling down lately,  you’re not alone. The mid-winter blues are a common phenomenon.

When clinically diagnosed, it is formally referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  The National Institute of Health characterizes SAD as a type of depression that can leave those who suffer from it with less energy and feelings of sadness and anxiety.

While light therapy, talk therapy and medications are often prescribed to those diagnosed with SAD, there are also some lifestyle measures anyone can take to beat the blues.

Exercise regularly. Exercise is not only great for your physical health, it can also be beneficial to your mood, boosting endorphins and raising self esteem.

Make plans.  When the weather outside if cold, it mat be tempting to spend every night curled up indoors.  However, making a conscious effort to stay connected with friends and family can combat feelings of loneliness.

Take a vacation.  Plan a vacation somewhere sunny and warm, to get a dose of summer fun during the long, cold winter.

Staying inside can still be fun if you have to.  Here are some fun things to do:

Cleaning out closets can be fun.  Pull out everything and reorganize.  In the process, chances are you will find old items, photo albums you have not seen in a while. You will have time to stop and look through them and reorganize and throw some old things out.  Vacuum or sweep out and spray a little insect spray before putting everything back.  This can lighten the spirits to know where things are and usually makes a person feel accomplished to have their spaces tidied up.what heirs want even more than money

Buy a puzzle or two and work on a few hours each day.

Do you have an old record player and records you haven't listened to in a while?  This would be a good time to break them out and listen to some old favorites.

Buy a new book that is inspiring and has a happy or comical storyline.  You can take a journey through the pages and escape to other worlds that leave you happy hearted.

Pull out those board games and invite people over to play.  Plan refreshments and include hot chocolate or apple cider.  Just planning and preparing will get your mind on your task and laughing with friends is great medicine.

Pull out the old cook books and search for new or old favorites you have not fixed in a while. Do some baking.  Not a cook?  Why not pick something simple and give it your best try.  If it doesn't turn out, they fun was in the activity, but chances are you will do just fine if you follow the instructions carefully.  Cookies are an easy item and a little sweet treat can be nice with hot tea or coffee.

If you can purchase some lean proteins,they carry plenty of amino acids, which may positively affect your mood. Lean proteins are also a great source of energy, which is something you’ll need to help beat fatigue. Besides being high in omega-3s, salmon is a great source of lean proteins.

Last but not least, do yourself a favor and have a little willpower. Even though it's cozy under those blankets in the morning.  Don't draw the blinds at night.  Let the daybreak wake you up and push yourself a little get on up out of bed and get your day started.  Too much sleep can add to your woes.

And if the sun should break through at all, take advantage of getting outside for a brief walk.  Breath in some fresh air and take in what sunshine you can get on your face. You will be glad you did!


(Shawnee, Okla. – November 10, 2015) St. Gregory’s University invites prospective students and their family members to experience Cavalier Day on Thursday, November 12 beginning at 10 a.m. in Benedictine Hall.
Students and their families are able to visit with current students, tour the historic campus, learn about student activities and campus life, attend a college class and meet current faculty and staff who are able to assist with the admissions process.

Additional Cavalier Days are scheduled for February 11 and April 14.

Cavalier Day is free to attend, and lunch will be provided. For more information, or to RSVP, contact St. Gregory’s Admissions Department at 1-844-BE EXTRA, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or register online at www.stgregorys.edu/cavalierday.

Founded in 1875, St. Gregory’s University is Oklahoma’s oldest institution of higher learning and only Catholic university. St. Gregory’s offers a liberal arts education rooted in the Benedictine tradition of cultivating the whole person – mind, body and spirit. With campuses in Shawnee and Tulsa, St. Gregory’s features both traditional and adult degree programs, including associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. For more information about the University, visit www.stgregorys.edu

StG 51115 0476

2015 has lost too many lives due to driving off into flood waters and some of them could have been prevented. Fema is asking for your help to read these tips to help save the lives of you and your loved ones. This video will show you why you should TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN!

Safety and Preparedness Tips

.· It’s important for all residents and visitors in flood-prone and low-lying areas to monitor local radio or television stations for updated emergency information and follow the instructions of state and local officials.

· If you encounter flood waters, remember – turn around, don’t drown.

· Driving through a flooded area can be extremely hazardous. Almost half of all flash flood deaths happen in vehicles. When in your car, look out for flooding in low lying areas, at bridges, and at highway dips. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle.

· If roads are closed or there is water over a road, do not drive through the water.

· Be prepared to take detours and adjust your route due to road closures if there is standing water.

· Don’t put yourself at risk; follow the instructions of local officials – and if told to evacuate, do so immediately.

· Familiarize yourself with the terms used to identify a severe weather hazard and discuss with your family what to do if a watch or warning is issued. Some of the more common terms used to describe severe weather and tornado hazards include the following:

o A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding.

o A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.

o A Flash Flood Watch: Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; monitor NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.

o A Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.

o A Winter Storm Watch is issued when there is the potential for significant and hazardous winter weather within 48 hours.

o A Winter Storm Warning is issued when a significant combination of hazardous winter weather is occurring or imminent.

· Ensure you have a flashlight, NOAA Weather Radio, and extra batteries on hand. Use your battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio for updates from local officials.

· Injury may occur when people walk amid disaster debris and enter damaged buildings. Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves when handling or walking on or near debris.

· Be aware of possible structural, electrical or gas-leak hazards in or around your home. Contact your local city or county building inspectors for information on structural safety codes and standards and before going back to a property with downed power lines, or the possibility of a gas leak. Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines. Report downed power lines and electrical hazards to the police and the utility company. They may also offer suggestions on finding a qualified contractor to do work for you.

· If your power is out, safely use a generator or candles.

o Never use a generator inside a home, basement, shed or garage even if doors and windows are open.

o Keep generators outside and far away from windows, doors and vents. Read both the label on your generator and the owner's manual and follow the instructions.

o If using candles, please use caution. If possible, use flashlights instead. If you must use candles, do not burn them on or near anything that can catch fire.

· Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are now being sent directly to many cell phones on participating wireless carriers' networks. WEAs sent by public safety officials such as the National Weather Service are designed to get your attention and to provide brief, critical instructions to warn about imminent threats like severe weather. Take the alert seriously and follow instructions. More information is available on WEA atwww.fema.gov/wireless-emergency-alerts.

· Businesses of all sizes should prepare for all hazards including severe weather to prevent loss of life, property, or disruption to operations.

o Review and update your business continuity plan and ensure your workforce knows what to do in the event of severe weather. Resources are available on web sites such as Ready.gov/business and the Sba.gov/disaster-planning including exercises and preparedness tips.

o Encourage your employees to update their family emergency plan to stay connected with during severe weather while at work and develop alternate methods of communication. Also, download the commuter emergency plan to identify evacuation routes while at work, school, or home.

· To learn more about what to do before, during and after severe weather, visit www.Ready.gov.


OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 30, 2015) – Two Oklahoma high school students have been named this year’s state delegates to the prestigious 54th annual U.S. Senate Youth Program (USSYP).

Nathan Levit, a senior at Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, and Matthew Welborn, a senior at Norman North High School, will join 102 other delegates from around the country for an exclusive week this spring in Washington D.C.

Pranoy Behera from Bartlesville High School and Caleb Morrow from Altus High School were chosen as alternates.

“I am proud of the accomplishments of these distinguished students. Their exemplary academic achievement combined with dedicated community service has well prepared them for this unique honor and opportunity,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Hofmeister said. “Across the course of this program, many of the alumni have gone on to become leaders at all levels of government, business and philanthropic endeavors. These distinguished students are without question some of Oklahoma's finest leaders of tomorrow.”

Levit serves as president of the Model UN, senior student council representative, president of the Washington Economics Society, and is co-captain of the golf team. He is the founder and president of Youth for Action and the regional vice president for the Jewish teen leadership organization BBYO. Levit has worked in multiple local political campaigns. He plans to attend law school and work in Washington D.C.

Welborn is president of the Norman North student council and is a member of the National Honor Society and the National Technical Honor Society. He is active in youth leadership in Norman as a member of the City of Norman Youth Council, the Chamber of Commerce Tomorrow’s Leaders Program, and the United Way Teen Advisors of Norman. Welborn runs his own tutoring company and is currently tutoring 14 students. Welborn also attends Moore-Norman Technology Center’s Engineering Program. He plans to earn an engineering degree and attend law school.

Both were nominated by the Oklahoma State Department of Education after going through an application process that adhered to high standards set by the USSYP.

On March 5, two student leaders from every U.S. state, Washington D.C. and the U.S. Department of Defense school system will arrive in the nation’s capital for a week-long look at how the country functions. They will meet with prominent officials from every branch of government and related fields, including members of Congress, the President, a Supreme Court justice, an ambassador and members of the media.

Each will also receive a $5,000 undergraduate college scholarship.

The USSYP has been sponsored by the U.S. Senate and fully funded by The Hearst Foundation since its inception in 1962. Alumni of the program include Robert Henry, former U.S. judge, state legislator and attorney general. He is the current president of Oklahoma City University. Other alumni include New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; Richard Burt, former ambassador to West Germany; Thomas “Mack” McLarty, chief of staff for President Clinton; Karl Rove, deputy chief of staff for President Bush; Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, and Sen. Gory Gardner of Colorado.

Delegates generally rank academically in the top percent of their states, and they have shown great leadership ability and a commitment to volunteer work.

For more information on the USSYP in Oklahoma, visit http://sde.ok.gov/sde/social-studies#USSYP.

OKLAHOMA CITY – The magnitude-4.3 earthquake that struck near Edmond early Tuesday morning was the 29th temblor of magnitude-4.0 or greater to shake this state this year, Oklahoma Geological Survey records reflect. So far as state Rep. Richard Morrissette is concerned, enough is enough.

Despite Governor Fallin’s claims that she acknowledges a direct correlation between seismic activity and disposal wells, Morrissette contends “there is much more that she could and should be doing before someone is seriously injured.”

The governor “has control of the drill bit here,” said Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City. “She has the executive authority to order a complete halt to ‘produced water’ being pumped into any more wells that inject into the Arbuckle formation, not simply a reduction in the amount injected into wells near areas that have previously experienced a quake.”

Although the Fallin administration says several steps have been taken to address the disposal well problem, “Those steps are not having any significant impact,” Morrissette charged. “Back in March, operators of 347 wells were ordered to reduce injection outputs. In July, another 211 wells were ordered to do the same. Have we seen a reduction in ’quakes? I think today’s earthquakes prove my point, and no order to cease operations has come from Fallin’s office.”

The U.S. Geological Survey logged a magnitude-4.3 earthquake at 5:39 a.m. Tuesday approximately five miles east northeast of Edmond, and a magnitude-3.4 aftershock centered nearby was recorded 10 minutes later. In addition, a 2.9-magnitude ’quake occurred at 6:48 a.m. Tuesday 17.4 miles northwest of Fairview.

Link Established

In June, two Stanford geophysicists, Professor Mark Zoback and Ph.D. student Rall Walsh, completed their research into Oklahoma earthquakes and the link to oil and gas drilling. In Phys.Org’s Earth Sciences report, the pair say that the primary source of the quake-triggering wastewater is not so-called “flow back water” generated after hydraulic fracturing operations. Instead, they say, the culprit is “produced water,” the brackish water that coexists with oil and gas within the Earth.

Oil wells in Oklahoma generate an average of about 10 barrels of produced water for every barrel of crude oil. However, some of the wells in this state’s seismically active areas generate as much as 50 barrels of wastewater for every barrel of oil that’s recovered, research shows.

Zoback is a Benjamin M. Page Professor in the School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences, a senior fellow at Stanford’s Precourt Institute for Energy, and director of the university’s recently launched Natural Gas Initiative.

Zoback and Walsh looked at three study areas centered around the Oklahoma towns of Cherokee, Perry and Jones, which have experienced a large number of earthquakes in recent years. All three areas showed clear increases in quakes following increases in wastewater disposal Three areas that did not have much wastewater disposal did not experience increases in the number of quakes.

“The scientists from Stanford have come up with a solution but Governor Fallin refuses to listen,” Morrissette said. “Cease injection of produced water into the subterranean Arbuckle formation entirely in those counties where seismicity is extraordinarily high.”

Disposal Well Volumes

Approximately 1,000 disposal wells across the state inject produced water into the Arbuckle, Oklahoma Corporation Commission records indicate.

“We have to cease this practice now,” Morrissette asserted. “They’ve already injected so much water that the pressure is still spreading throughout the Arbuckle formation. The earthquakes won’t stop overnight but we have to be pro-active”

In 1997, about 20 million barrels of produced water were injected in the three areas of concentrated seismicity, records show. In comparison, 400 million barrels of wastewater – 16.8 billion gallons – were injected in 2013, “speeding up the activity significantly,” Morrissette related.

Earthquakes Increase

Records reflect a steady increase in the number of earthquakes in Oklahoma in recent years. There were 585 earthquakes of magnitude-3 or greater last year – “three times more than California had,” Morrissette noted. That number had soared to 878 magnitude-3≥ earthquakes through noon Tuesday, Oklahoma Geological Survey records show.

Oklahoma experienced 5,646 earthquakes – ranging in magnitude from 1.3 to 4.7 – through noon Tuesday. Of those temblors, 29 were of magnitude-4.0≥, and 850 of them were of m-3.0 to m-3.9.

U.S. Geological Survey data reflect that Oklahoma experienced an average of fewer than two magnitude-3 temblors per year for 30 years, from 1978 through 2008. That statewide average shot up to 247 per year over the past seven years.

* Oklahoma County has had 134 ‘quakes this year, in magnitudes that varied from 1.3 to 4.3. Nineteen were recorded at m-3.0 to m-3.7.

* Payne County has had 449 earthquakes, extending in magnitude from 1.6. Two were of m-4.0≥ and 65 were of m-3.0 to m-3.8.

* Logan County has had 814 earthquakes this year. Seven were logged at m-4.0≥ and 137 others were recorded at m-3.0 to m-3.9.

* Grant County has been shaken, rattled and rolled by almost 1,500 earthquakes this year. Nine were of magnitude 4.0≥ and 218 were recorded at m-3.0 to m-3.9.

* Noble County: 618 earthquakes, including one at magnitude-4.2 and 67 of m-3.0 to m-3.9.

* Garfield County: 533 tremors, ranging in magnitude from 1.3. Two were recorded at m-4.0≥ and 94 were registered at m-3.0 to m-3.9.

* Alfalfa County: 675 ’quakes this year, five of m-4.0≥ and 112 of m-3.0≥.

* Lincoln County: 144 earthquakes this year, including one of magnitude-4.4 and 27 of m-3.0 to m-3.8.

Monday, 28 December 2015 12:10

Tips to Protect Your Pets this Winter

The cold weather can be just as hard on pets as it is on people. This winter, consider these tips to keep your four-legged family members safe and warm.

Warm up on Walks

If you decide to brave the cold for daily walks, there are a few risks to keep in mind. Wind chill can be dangerous, no matter what the temperature is, according to The Humane Society. Pets can be at risk for frostbite and hypothermia during extreme cold snaps, and exposed skin on noses, ears and paw pads can quickly freeze and suffer permanent damage.

On walks, keep your pet warm with a sweater or coat. Small booties or paw gel will help keep sensitive paws from freezing. And if you’d rather not risk a slippery walk outside, try exercising your furry friend at an indoor dog park or doggy daycare.

Stay Safe

The salt used to de-slick an icy road can be dangerous and toxic to pets, often irritating the pads of their feet. In addition, coolants and antifreeze may drip from cars, making an easy transfer to sensitive paws. When returning from a walk, be sure to wipe down paws with a damp cloth before he or she has a chance to lick them.

Take Shelter

It’s always best to provide warm, dry shelter indoors for your pets in the winter months; however, if your pets must stay outdoors, there are a few ways to make their shelter safe and comfortable.

The Humane Society recommends raising the shelter a few inches off the ground and covering the floor with cedar shavings or straw. The doorway should be positioned away from the wind, and the shelter covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic. The American Veterinary Medical Association urges owners to provide unlimited access to fresh water. Change the water frequently to avoid freezing, or use a heated water bowl.

Keep Pets Secure

Consider your pet’s car safety before pulling out of the driveway. Pet carriers, car seats and back seat barriers can provide additional safety as you drive, especially in the event of an accident or sudden stop.

Also, you may want to explore pet injury coverage. For example, Erie Insurance automatically covers up to two dogs and/or cats that are injured in your vehicle during an accident. For more information, visit www.ErieInsurance.com.

“Your pet’s overall health and safety depends on your preparedness,” says Cody Cook, Erie Insurance vice president and product manager. “Check with your insurance company to make sure your pets are covered in the event of an accident. That way, instead of worrying about medical costs, you can have the peace of mind knowing they’re protected.”

This winter, take care to protect your furry friends from winter woes by following these simple tips to keep them safe and happy. (StatePoint)


(StatePoint) The winter months come with many gifts to wrap and unwrap, parties to plan, family-style meals to whip up -- the list goes on. Now more than ever, technology can help us get creative with how to make time with family more meaningful, and then help us capture all the fun so the memories last far longer than just a moment.

Here’s how to get started.

Make Things to Share

Interactive computers such as Sprout by HP are recreating what it means to make things by merging the physical and digital worlds. Sprout is what HP calls an Immersive Computer; it comes with a touch screen, touch mat, overhead projector, HD camera and 3D scanner.

With Sprout, you can grab holiday-inspired items -- like holiday wreaths or jingle bells -- and easily scan them into the device. There are several different free apps available that can help you create, learn, interact and share.

Do-It-Yourself Decorating

If you’re in the mood to get crafty with the family, you can make non-traditional items such as garlands out of leftover sprinkles from holiday baking. JoJotastic.com blogger, Joanna Hawley, doesn’t throw away leftover ingredients; instead she recycles them for a decorating project. Take her lead by throwing some sprinkles on the touch mat to scan, print and cut the images into your favorite shape. Then, tie each piece to ribbon and voila, festive garlands to hang on the wall for any holiday party!

Beat Holiday Boredom

Spending time at home can be a nostalgic, cheerful experience. But between baking pumpkin muffins and holiday shopping, there are bound to be stretches of free time -- especially for the kids. Borrow a few tips from LunchboxDad.com blogger, Beau Coffron, who uses creative holiday boredom busters to keep the kids busy! Like Beau and his family, you can explore apps like Crayola DJ to brighten up a chilly winter day. The kids will love interacting with the projected turnstiles on the touch mat to show off their musical skills.

Direct a Family Video

Give the traditional family video a new twist by recording quirky moments and piecing them together on apps like Video Capture. Lunchbox Dad likes the eye-catching DreamWorks Story Producer app that lets you create and direct your own How to Train Your Dragon animated film. You can even choose the difficulty level. Try challenging the family to see who can get the fastest time!

Don’t Forget To Share

When used imaginatively, technology can unite the family to inspire new, meaningful traditions.

Celebrate your creations on social media by sharing the hashtag #GoMakeThings and see what others have created with family this holiday season!



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