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Check back for the latest articles about the law and other fascinating stories.

By oldhamdei76735407, Sep 15 2016 01:56PM

"I think [the bicycle] has done more to emancipate women than any one thing in the world, I rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a bike. It gives her a feeling of self-reliance and independence the moment she takes her seat; and away she goes, the picture of untrammelled womanhood." - Susan B. Anthony, 1896.

The latter part of the 19th century was a time of great change. American was in th midst of the industrial revolution, the suffrage effort was in full swing, the separation of labor between men and women was being redefined, and woman were dicovering the joy of bikes.

A relatively affordable and accessible peice of technology, bikes gave women the ability to leave the house more easily. According to Sue Macy, author of "Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom, “when women rode bicycles, they weren’t confined to the home. They were creating public personas, and back then, that was not the norm for women to have a public life. It was definitely a plus to be able to be in the world, to be more connected to life outside the home.”

One of the more controversial effects of women riding bikes was that they traded their skirts and petticoats for bloomers. Women would ride their bikes in City Hall Park in New York City, and wear bloomers while doing so. However, if they were still wearing bloomers when they left th park they would often times have rocks thrown at them. A woman wearing what were basically pants was scandalous in the late 1800's, so some women would bring a change of clothes so that they could make it home without being attacked.

Bicycles gave even more freedom to African-American women. During a time when some streetcars prohibited black women from ladies' cars, bicycles gave these women the ability to get where they needed to go, despite the racist rules that tried to hold them back.

Of course there were people that didn't think women should be riding bikes. Charlotte Smith fought hard for women's rights in the workplace. She created the first directory of women-owned businesses and had a habit of hitting men over the head with an umbrella whenever she saw one being disrespectful to a woman. However, she thought that women cyclists were going straight to hell and opening themselves up to physical and moral attacks by men. She even went so far as to start an organization to fight against women riding bikes.

It's been 120 years since Susan B. Anthony made her quote about women on bikes, and bicycles are still changing the lives of women. Women in the Middle East are getting on their bikes and finding a little bit of freedom and independence. Afghanistan’s National Women’s Cycling Team was recently nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

One of the riders said that “People are watching us from behind our backs, it is horrifying” and another adds: “Some people believe women are meant only to stay at home, and all they can do is cook food and do housework. They say a bicycle can destroy a girl’s future. People say a lot of things. If we listened to them we would never leave our houses”.

Lorie Mertes, director of public programs at the National Museum of Women in the Arts said, “The bicycle is a designed object and it’s one that has changed so little in terms of its basic machinery and design over those 120 years — and yet its impact remains incredibly relevant and powerful today, especially for women.”

By oldhamdei76735407, Sep 15 2016 01:53PM

Has money gotten a little tight and you’re finding it hard to make your mortgage payments? If so, you need to contact your lender right away. Their contact information will be located on your statement. When you call, be prepared to explain why you are unable to make your payment, whether the problem is temporary or permanent, and details about your income and expenses. If contacting your lender makes you nervous, you can call a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved housing counseling agency to help you understand your options free of charge.

There are a couple of things you can do after contacting your lender to help you along the way. First, make sure you’re opening all of the mail that you receive from your lender. Not opening your mail isn’t an excuse for not being aware of what is going on with your loans. Correspondences from your lender will contain important information and maybe even important legal information. The next step is going to be to try to help your bank account. Is there anywhere you can save money? Can you cancel your cable or Netflix? Try eating out less often. Can you get a part-time job? Showing your lender that you’re serious about repaying your loan will only help you out in the long run.

Once you contact your lender they should inform you about all of the options available to you. While they may vary by lender, the following will give you an idea of what is available to you:

Special Forbearance Your lender may provide a temporary reduction or suspension of your payments to allow you time to work out the issue that has affected your income. They then may offer you a payment plan where you will pay back the missed payments a little at a time until you are caught up again. If you are actively seeking employment you could be offered an extended forbearance.

Mortgage Modification This option will permanently change your loan. The overdue payments may be added to your loan, the interest rate changed, and length of the loan extended.

Partial Claim With a partial claim, the borrower will receive a second loan in the amount necessary to bring the delinquency current. This second loan will be interest free and doesn’t need to be repaid until you pay the first mortgage or sell your house. This option is only available to borrowers with FHA-insured loans. If you don’t have this type of loan, ask your lender if they offer an “advance claim”.

Federal Housing Administration Home Affordable Modification Program (FHA-HAMP) This option combines a partial claim with a loan modification. The partial claim loan will not only include the amount necessary to bring your mortgage current, but it may also include an amount to reduce your existing loan balance by up to 30%. The reduced balance will then be modified to lower your monthly mortgage payment to an affordable level. Again, the partial claim is interest free, but must be paid off when your pay off your mortgage or sell your house.

Sometimes your income or expenses have changed too drastically and even with the plans offered by your lender you still can’t afford your mortgage. Here are some options to consider if you can no longer keep your home.

Pre-foreclosure sale With the permission of your lender you can put your house for sale and offer it at a fair market value, even if that amount is less than the amount you owe. If you meet certain conditions, you may be eligible to receive relocation expenses.

Deed-in-lieu of foreclosure As a last resort, you may be able to voluntarily give your property back to the lender. If you leave the property clean and undamaged you may be eligible to receive relocation expenses.

Finally, be aware of anything that sounds too good to be true. Just because an organization contacts you with an official sounding name doesn’t mean they are official. If it sounds too good to be true it very likely is. Never sign any papers that you don’t fully understand. Check with a lawyer, your lender, or an HUD-approved housing counselor before entering into any deal involving a loan assumption, contract of sale or a transfer of the deed to your new home.

If you have any questions you can contact Oldham & Deitering at 937-898-7673, a HUD counselor at 1-800-569-4287, or FHA Resource Center at 1-800-225-5342

By oldhamdei76735407, Sep 15 2016 01:48PM

It isn't often that a video game or app becomes a cultural phenomenon, but that's exactly what has happened with Pokémon Go. The game is played on your Smartphone where an augmented reality is displayed on the players screen via Google Maps. To play the game, the user must travel around and look for Pokémon to capture and level up.

There have been some injuries reported due to the game, such as people wandering into traffic, but so far the pros far out way the cons. An unexpected benefit of playing the game is that it has helped people suffering from depression and anxiety.

Dr. John Grohol is an expert on how technology impacts human behavior and mental health. He is also the founder of mental health network Psych Central, and is very familiar with the latest tools and medicines aimed to help with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Even with all of his experience, Grohol has never seen anything like Pokémon Go:

"In terms of the phenomena of people expressing the benefits of playing the game to their real-world mental health status, I think that's very unique and it's the first time I've ever seen anything like that."

Take a look at Twitter and you'll be bombarded with tweets from people praising Pokémon Go for the help it has provided them. Typical comments revolve around how the game has gotten the users out of bed and out of the house, which can be quite the feat when you're suffering from severe depression.

@TheBabyWitch

Srsly though, I haven't felt this comfortable leaving the house in years. #PokemonGO is helping with my anxiety & depression & it's amazing.

@uglycatlady

Real talk - as someone with anxiety/depression, the fact that I've spent most of this weekend outside with friends is unreal. #PokemonGo

There is decades worth of research showing that exercise and social interaction are great ways to help with some mental illnesses. Grohol says: "The research is really, really clear on this, that the more you exercise, the more it would help decrease feelings of depression. It actually works as an anti-depressant and it has a really, pretty strong effect. It's probably one of the most beneficial things a person with depression can do, especially if they're not accessing other types of treatments, such as psychotherapy or medication."

For 10 year old Chris in Oakwood, Ohio, the game is helping him get out of the funk he's been in since his dad left for the military. Chris and his mom, Darlene, have been going on three walks a day to look for Pokémon together. Not only are they both getting exercise this way, but they are bonding and Darlene is able to keep an eye on her son to make sure he doesn't accidentally walk into traffic.

Pokémon Go requires uses to hatch new Pokémon from eggs, so when Phil Peckinpaug, the director of Muncie Animal Shelter in Indiana, saw groups of people walking down the road on the hunt for more Pokémon, he had an idea. He made a flyer featuring two Pokémon that said "Come out to the Muncie Animal Shelter between 10am-5:30pm any day and walk an adoptable dog as you hunt for Pokemon and hatch eggs!" The first day after the flyer was released dozens of people showed up. The flyer has been shared more than 25,000 in less than a week since being released.

Unfortunately, the game isn't without it's issues. One complaint is the fact that users spend so much time looking at their phones while on the hunt. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the children have no more than two hours of screen time a day, which includes television, computers, smartphones, and tablets. Studies however, show that many have up to seven hours of screen time each day.

Another issue with the game deals with people using it to treat their depression. Being a new game, there have been constant server issues since its release. And people that live far away from towns can't do much with the game yet either, apart from catching a stray Pokémon in a field, which can lead to even more feelings of isolation and loneliness. People that are using the game as a crutch can face a huge setback if they try to use the app and the servers are down again.

@OJMPlemons

just trying to play #PokemonGo but I live to far away from the road to find ANYTHING...

Depression hit hard tonight

Grohol says that the game is great for helping with depression, but that it shouldn't be someone's only treatment. "I wouldn't recommend people look at this sort of game or any video game as an opportunity to treat a serious mood disorder, such as chronic depression, solely with a video game. I think it's a great adjunct to other kinds of treatment, such as psychotherapy and medication, but it should not be the sole treatment that person is using to try and help their depressed mood."

If Pokémon Go can help people get through a rough time in their life, then it has already surpassed it's purpose. "If this is what it takes to help you get a treatment or consider a treatment, by all means, this can be an excellent first step," Grohol says. "But it shouldn't be a last step."

And as with everything, Pokémon Go should be used in moderation. Don't use it in places where it isn't appropriate. Maybe every once in a while take a walk and leave your phone at home and just experience nature.

By oldhamdei76735407, Sep 2 2016 03:20PM

imagae via cnn.com
imagae via cnn.com

Stacey Kozel is a 41-year old woman that is paralyzed from the chest down, but she isn't letting that stop her from achieving her lifelong dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Kozel was diagnosed with lupus when she was only 19 and has been confined to a wheelchair for half of her life. "I've always wanted to hike, but just I felt like I was trapped in my wheelchair," Kozel said. "I was just dying to get outside."

Only 1 out of every 4 people that start the 2,190 mile hike from Maine to Georgia actually finish, but Ms. Kozel intends to be one of the few. Having started the trek March 24, she hoped to reach the halfway point by July 4.

The hike is made possible by computer generated legs that help Kozel bend her legs. She uses her arms, shoulders, and neck muscles to compensate for her leg muscles which no longer work. "There are sensors in the bottom of my foot. The sensors go up a spring in the back and tells this microprocessor that I need full tension at my knees so they don't collapse," Kozel explained.

Rain is a big issue for Kozel as her braces aren't waterproof. For 200 miles one of her knees was completely locked and she eventually had to fly home to Medina Ohio to have the brace repaired. Once it was fixed, however, she went right back to where she left off from. She has begun to watch wildlife and see how they act to help know if rain is on the way so she can take shelter.

"There are a lot of days I wish my legs would actually kick in and help out," Kozel said. "The people out here, all the people, it's really what's keeping me motivated. It's not going to be pretty and it's not going to be fast, but I'll get there."

Follow Stacey's adventures on her Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/ATIronwill/

By oldhamdei76735407, Sep 2 2016 03:06PM

The people of Australia may soon see a giant blue bus driving down their streets if entrepreneur and chef Simon Rowe has his way. He has developed plans for the SleepBus, a giant blue bus with sleeping pods for individuals and families. The SleepBus provides a simple solution for "people sleeping rough" until they can get back on their feet.

Rowe says: “The more I developed and researched a solution, the more I discovered what a good night’s sleep can do for a person’s physical and mental health. Just being able to sleep through the night, warm and safe, can give a person a whole new outlook on life.

“Sleep Bus is distinct, yet complementary, to existing efforts from other organizations supporting Australians experiencing or at risk of ending up on the streets. Our work aims to fill a ‘gap’, rather than overlapping or replicating activities that support the urgent needs of people in Australia.

“The least we can do is provide safe overnight accommodation to people sleeping rough in Australia, until they get back on their feet.”

“The bus design includes 22 individual sleep pods, two toilets, 22 personal items lockers, under bus storage, eight pet kennels, security system, lighting system inside and out and an intercom system for family sleep pods with parental control locks. The toilets have been strategically located at the front of the bus to assist with the safety of guests within the bus,” he said.

“Each sleep pods comes with single bed inner spring mattress, pillows, sheets and blankets (washed daily). The pod has USB charging for mobile phones, personal light, lockable roller door, climate control and television with auxiliary channel running adverts for available services in the area to help with pathways out of homelessness.

“Each pod can be adapted for families, with parents able to control their child’s door lock and intercom for communication between designated family members only.

“We want at least one bus on the road by this coming winter. That one bus will provide 8,030 safe sleeps per year and can last up to 10 years before it needs major work or replacement. One bus costs approximately $50,000 to buy and build.”

The program will start in Melbourne where Rowe is based. First trials will begin in a suburb of the city to test the system and fix any issues that may occur. After that trial, a 90-day two bus trial will begin in the heart of Melbourne. After the second trial, Rowe has plans for a seven bus initiative, details of which haven't been released yet.

Security is being taken very seriously on the SleepBus. There will be a caretaker on the bus every night. Doors will be locked at 8:30 pm. If a guest needs to leave after 8:30, they won't be permitted back on. This is for the safety and enjoyment of others.

There will be two bathrooms at the front of the bus where the caretaker is located, to ensure everyone is safe when they leave their sleep pod. The next level of security will be CCTV cameras which will be monitored by a central monitoring location and can call for assistance in an emergency. The last level of security is working with the local police.

Rowe's early experiences are part of what led him to develop the SleepBus. “In 1993, I fell behind in my rent and was evicted. I had a job, but for the next four months I lived in my car while I saved up enough money for a month’s bond and a month’s rent on another place. I would park in a car park near my old place for the night, and in the morning’s I would drive to a caravan park near by, sneak in, have a shower and go to work,” he said.

You can visit the gofundme page here: https://www.gofundme.com/sleepbus

Or you can like it on Facebook and get more information here: https://www.facebook.com/sleepbusaustralia

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