Tag Archives: Blog Post 1 – Intelligent Filter – Annotated Link

Distractions While Driving

Did you know that distracted driving kills approximately 9 individuals each and every day?

  • Other people’s/ children
  • Pets / animals
  • Taking hands off the wheel
  • Eyes wandering
  • Usage of electronics

In the world we live in now, it’s easy to get distracted especially while driving. From texting and
driving and eyes wandering across the street and you driving into a pole. There are 3 main
types of distractions while driving that can all lead to a car accident or injuries to you and other
passengers/ pedestrians . First one is visual- taking your eyes off the road to text back or use
your GPS. Second is manual- taking your hands off the wheel to reach for something. Lastly is
cognitive- your mind spacing out somewhere else to the point you forget your driving. Statistics
show younger drivers tend to email/text while driving as they are leading in distracted driving

Ways to prevent distracted driving

  • Avoid phone usage completely- have an idea or know your route
  • Speak up if your another passenger in the car.
  • Avoid eating or doing tasks while driving
  • Have everything arraigned before putting the car in drive gear

Arrive alive, don’t text and drive


What do you do to Self-Care?

Self -care is often times abandoned or delayed. September is the month to appreciate the act of self-care. Self care should not be preceived as selfish or egotistical. Many situations require the need to care for others before caring for yourself, however maintaining proper self care can sometimes be overlooked. I know it can be time consuming and in most cases vastly spendy. According to NationalDayCalendar.com, you should use the month of September to observe your daily self-care practices and to be good to yourself. Outside of taking morning breaths, there are several ways to practice robust self-care.

What is Self-Care?

Self-care can be defined by maintaining a regular sleep routine, eating healthy, reading on Sunday afternoons in the park or even having a cup of cocoa after a cold day out. Self-care is limitless. NationalDayCalendar.com reminds us to keep ourselves the focal point of your own life. A birdie once told me that it only counts as self-care if it produces happiness and health. Self-care should be looked on as taking care of yourself so that you can take care of others. It should make you feel good about yourself and should show to others. It should promote happiness within your heart and within communities.

I hope in respect to the Evolve of Life non-profit organization, don’t forget to hashtag #SelfCareAwarenessMonth when you show how you self care.

Take Action Against Hunger

September is Hunger Action Month and a great time to think about what you can do to donate to your local food shelf or other local organization to take a stand against hunger and food insecurity.

By Visiting Feeding America, you can find resources to share with those who may be struggling to feed their families or themselves. You can also find a way to join in the fight in your own community. No donation or participation is too small.


Feeding America

Here are some startling facts from their website if you needed anything to convince you to take action:

Facts about hunger in America

Millions of children and families living in America face hunger and food insecurity every day.

  • Due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 42 million people may experience food insecurity, including a potential 13 million children.
  • The pandemic has most impacted families that were already facing hunger or one paycheck away from facing hunger.
  • According to the USDA’s latest Household Food Insecurity in the United States report, more than 38 million people in the United States experienced hunger in 2020. 
  • Households with children are more likely to experience food insecurity. Before the coronavirus pandemic, more than 12 million children live in food-insecure households.
  • Every community in the country is home to families who face hunger including rural and suburban communities.
  • Many households that experience food insecurity do not qualify for federal nutrition programs and visit their local food banks and other food programs for extra support.
  • The rates of food insecurity are much higher for African AmericanLatino, and Native American families because of systemic racial injustice. To achieve a hunger-free America, we must address the root causes of hunger and structural and systemic inequities.

Register for Minnesota’s Walk for Recovery!

September 2021 is National Recovery Month! Celebration events in the Twin Cities include the Walk for Recovery on September 18th, which takes place at the Minnesota State Capitol Grounds. All are welcome and encouraged to participate in this community event. Register for free on this link: https://minnesotarecovery.org/walk/


Social Media is a Game Changer!

For my News Media class this week we were required to read chapters 1-3 of our textbook, “The New Rules of Marketing and PR.” In these chapters the author went into great detail about how he believes that big corporations are (sometimes) clueless about what the public truly wants and needs when it comes to advertising. He believes that social media and its ability to speak and learn directly from the consumer is the answer to lowering marketing budgets, getting better understandings, and finding the correct niches. The author Scott, D. M. (2020) said, “The web has opened a tremendous opportunity to reach niche buyers directly with targeted information that costs a fraction of what big-budget advertising costs.” (p.19)

Also, during lecture we discussed the process of communicating and how knowing what happens and how to manage a message once it is in transition from sender to receiver is key to a successful healthy understanding and conversation. We looked at the Hannon & Weaver, “Transmission” Model (1949) that that shows the whole process on a graph step by step with the “senders” message working its way through the many distractions and interruptions that can affect how the receiver perceives or inherits the message.  This Message from Tony Robbins says it well!

I think (and agree) that understanding communication and how to craft the message to adapt to your desired audience or receiver’s needs is vitally important to the success of not only getting what you want but giving respect in return. This is where I also agree with the author of our text that social media really helps to break down those barriers and enhances understanding. I think it does this by allowing people or companies to first research the subject or group they are attempting to reach and then talk to them directly. I think when done correctly it can sometimes give you a direct insight into the receiver’s thoughts and beliefs before the conversation even begins. Entering someone’s page or reading their posts is almost like walking in on an unrelated conversation and being able to make an informed decision about your own topic as to how (or if) your message will be received or relevant to the potential receiver’s needs or beliefs. To a certain extent with the right amount of research you will have “mind reading abilities” !

In relation to this topic, as you will see in the (attached link) I found a great article called “6 Ways Social Media Changed the Way We Communicate” this compelling article does a great job at looking at social media as a whole and how the most popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc… have taken it to a level that makes it almost impossible to deny that Social Media is not only here to stay but it is a part of and has created a worldwide shared culture! Willis 2017 said, “This means that over a third of the world’s population is using some form of social media to communicate, making social media marketing an imperative tactic ….” It’s ability to entice people to open up, share, and connect is uncanny and when used correctly can be a profound and powerful tool! 

Seasonal Depression

Although we are now (thankfully) entering the warmer months in MN, I know that a lot of us, including myself, have experienced seasonal depression this year. Typically it comes with the winter months, but even if it may only be temporary it can a have a very negative affect on people’s mood, health, energy level, performance in work and school, and many other aspects of their lives. It’s important to address your seasonal depression in order to improve your overall health.

Seasonal depression is also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is defined by the Mayo clinic as“...a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year.” Most people who experience SAD have symptoms that begin the fall and continue into the winter months. However, there are some that also experience SAD in the spring and even early summer.

Why do most people experience it during the cooler months?

Reasearchers do not know exactly why SAD occurs but they speculate that is caused by a number of imbalances in the body which I will list below.

  1. One possible reason is due to a change in your circadian rhythm aka your biological clock. When we have less sunlight our internal clock may have trouble regulating sleep which in turn means that you may have issues regulating your mood as well.
  2. Serotonin levels in the body could also play a role because reduced sunlight can cause them to drop. Serotonin is a chemical in our brain that regulates mood so lower levels could cause depression.
  3. Melatonin levels are another factor that could be causing SAD. Melatonin is a chemical that affects our sleep pattern and when we receive less sunlight it may cause an overproduction of melatonin that leads to fatigue

Treatments for seasonal depression

Light therapy or phototherapy is one of the recommended treatments for SAD. It involves sitting in front of a special light box for the first hour when you wake up in order to mimic natural light. Not much research has been done on this therapy, but according to the Mayo clinic it seems to have a positive effect on many patients.

Of course with depression it may also require medication such as anti-depressants or psychotherapy in order to work through these stressful symptoms. Sometimes doctors may recommended patients to start on either one of these treatments when they start to experience symptoms each year

Of course it’s also recommended that you try to spend time outdoors whenever possible since sunlight helps to alleviate symptoms. I personally was prescribed a vitamin D supplement for my symptoms this winter and this another common treatment.

It’s important to take care of yourself if you experience SAD as it can have lasting effects and seek help from a professional if necessary!

The Love of Dogs Supports Emotional Health

Dawn Edwardson, MDST 485, Post #6, Type #1


The National Alliance on Mental Illness states that depression affects approximately 40milion adults (2018).  Don’t despair! This article also notes several helpful ways to address depression in order to help you feel better. Some of these helpful ways are to: see a licensed psychiatrist/psychologist, try some of the effective medications that are available(as prescribed), include daily exercise, try eating more healthy, spend time and open up with family, friends, and pets. Yes pets! Not surprising to me, this article specifically mentions that dogs can play an integral role in improving one’s emotional health.

So just how is this claim supported? Where’s the evidence? There have been several studies documented by the National Center for Biotechnology Information(NCBI) which show a positive correlation for Human-Animal Interaction and which support the positive effects of such a scenario. These studies share data which support the fact that dogs can increase happiness. These Human-Animal Interactions prove many positive effects such as decreased stress, anxiety, and depression. Furthermore, it’s proven that they reduce loneliness, encourage increased exercise, promote more positive social interactions, and even aide in reducing heart rate and blood pressure.  The studies note that the presence of a friendly dog help to reduce fear, anxiety and promote calmness. When in the presence of one’s own dog these effects are even stronger. Also, there is data that shows simply stroking the coat of your own dog significantly lowers systolic blood pressure and heart rate.

This article touches on three specific aspects which are significantly improved through dog ownership. Daily exercise is improved because dogs need to go for walks, they enjoy playing and interacting with their owners and others, and you’ll likely be enrolling in obedience classes. They also need to be cared for through feeding, bathing, grooming, and displays of affection such as petting.  Socialization is improved through increased interactions with others while you’re out for walks or resting on a park bench with your dog. You may also meet new people while training your dog in obedience classes or at doggy daycare or playtime. These are great opportunities to connect with others and develop friendships as you’ll likely see the same people repeatedly. Self-Worth is improved through caring for your dog. In a sense, by caring for your dog you are proving to yourself that you can care not only for yourself but for others too.

Dog ownership can be expensive and not everyone’s lifestyle is conducive to it. In those situations, you could volunteer to dog sit or volunteer your time at a local animal shelter and websites like rover.com are a great way to see the many opportunities available. You can still reap the positive benefits without the long-term commitment.

Radon – What’s Your Level?

Dawn Edwardson, MDST 485, Post #5, Type #1

To be honest, I never really gave this much thought until recently. I’ve been on the house hunt and upon finding a home that was seriously considering and writing an offer on, I was asked by my realtor if I wanted to include a radon test along with the home inspection. I was puzzled and asked her what is a radon test? She explained to me a little bit about radon and why people test for it pretty routinely these days. That got me curious and so I started looking into it to understand a little more.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) defines radon as a colorless and odorless gas that comes from the soil. The gas can accumulate in the air we breathe. Radon gas decays into fine particles that are radioactive. Furthermore, MDH explains where radon comes from as a breakdown of uranium and radium which is found in the rocks and soil that we build our homes on. First uranium breaks down into radium which then decomposes into gas particles which is what we know as radon.

So, why should we care about this? It’s important because Radon exposure can lead to lung cancer. In fact, of all individuals diagnosed with lung cancer, Radon exposure is the primary cause for all non-smokers.  The Minnesota Department of Health shares a wealth of information on Radon in their  Radon in Homes tab on their website. You will find information on the most commonly experienced symptoms of radon poisoning here on the National Radon Defense webpage.  

In Minnesota, radon levels are, on average, greater than 3 times the national average. This is due to our geology and our lifestyle. Due to the extreme cold in the winter months and the extreme heat/humidity in summer months, we rarely have our windows open to allow for exchange of fresh air within our homes. This allows for significant radon build up. The MDH website shares a great interactive radon map @ the county level with helpful statistics specific to each county.  You can see in the picture below, the various pathways that radon follows as it enters your home.

Testing is an important first step in understanding your home’s current radon level. Test kits run about $5 – $30 and are easily available via these links on the MDH website. There are two types of tests that you can perform. A short test (2-7 days) and a long test (90days).  Regardless of the type of test you perform, you will want to ensure you place your test in the lowest level of your home that you use regularly. Tests should be performed about every 2-5 years in order to allow you to be the most proactive with addressing any radon issues.

Once you have your results you may need to take action to correct a high radon reading. Hiring a professional to install a radon mitigation system may need to be part of your action plan. There are different types of radon mitigation systems specific to the type of home you have. Once you have addressed any potential radon issues it will be important to stay on top of things by ensuring you perform your radon test every 2-5 years. The MDH offers some good planning tools in their How to keep your home safe from radon PDF guidebook.

Food Deserts and Race

Since the beginning of my college education, I have learned about food deserts in several of my classes so I decided to do more research on this topic for my blog post. What I didn’t realize is how deeply food deserts are intertwined with the history of systematic racism in this country.

Food deserts are generally defined as places where residents don’t have access to affordable nutritious foods. Lower income areas are typically the hit the hardest with food deserts. It can lead to an increase in diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other diet-related conditions.

Food deserts have a deep connection to race and racist actions such as redlining. Redlining is a discriminatory practice developed in the 1930s U.S., where banks denied mortgages to people of color, usually in urban areas, thus preventing them from buying homes in certain neighborhoods. Although this practice is illegal, large supermarkets were still allowed to not open stores in these inner city and lower income areas. They creates issues because large supermarkets typically are able to sell healthy foods at lower prices because they can purchase in bulk. In 2012, the USDA found that in all but very dense urban areas, the higher the percentage of minority population, the more likely the area is to be a food desert.

Not only this, but food deserts may be under-reported because the North American Industry Classification System places small corner grocery stores (which often primarily sell packaged food) in the same category as grocery stores like Safeway and Whole Foods. However, just providing more supermarkets will not fix inequality by itself since food inequality goes beyond location, according to experts, and extends to bigger structural inequalities around income, education, nutritional knowledge and, importantly, race. There needs to be considerations made about the culture of the community, how people will access a place without a car, the quality of the food, and education about how to buy nutritious food.

Homeowner Associations: A Homeowner’s Dream or Nigthmare

Dawn Edwardson, MDST 485, Post #1, Type #1

Yes, you guessed it, I currently live within a homeowner’s association community and actually the home I live in is governed by not one, but two of these associations. The primary association governs all of the amenities within the community such as the clubhouse, gym, parks, pool, tennis and basketball courts, walking paths, along with other additional recreational facilities. The secondary association governs ten townhome complexes within a literal sea of additional townhome complexes.  The sea of townhome complexes, that surround my ten, are governed by the same primary association and also have four secondary associations which govern them. So, to put it plainly, there’s significant overlap in associations within the community I live.

So just what does this mean? From where I sit, it means over governance of people and some pretty outlandish rules and apparently, I’m not alone. Check out these articles for some great examples of just how outlandish some HOAs can get. https://didyouknowfacts.com/homeowners-share-the-most-ridiculous-hoa-rules-theyve-had-to-deal-with/, https://www.startribune.com/fines-fees-and-fear-minneapolis-neighbors-speak-out-against-harassing-homeowners-association/572411472/.

 I understand the rationale for many of the rules. For example, the community pool is for the residents of the community and we are allowed to bring one “guest”. This avoids overcrowding of the pool on behalf of one resident who wants to invite their entire family and friends for a Saturday afternoon “pool party”. That makes sense to me. What doesn’t make sense is that every single thing you do outside of your home is regulated. So, if you’d like to hang a wind chime, that’s a no. If you’d like to place some potted plants on your porch/door step/deck, you are limited to certain size pots, type of pots, when and how long you can keep them outside(May through Sept) etc.  If you don’t abide by these rules, you receive a warning and must correct the issue, or you are fined and then also charged for the association to remove said items. This over regulation isn’t limited to potted plants and windchimes. It goes as far as to regulate where you keep your trash/recycling containers to where you park your car(s).

There are absolute perks to living here which are coupled with the absolute nightmare of living here. Let me share some examples…I love that as I walk my dog on the countless miles of beautiful walking paths that I have multiple opportunities to conveniently dispose of dog waste in well maintained and routinely emptied dog waste stations. That being said, the association has announced that they are working with a company to provide DNA testing on all dogs owned by members of this association. The process they are planning to implement is in response to the amount of dog poo that is not disposed of properly. So, their plan is to do DNA testing on all of the dogs owned by members of this community. The members who own dogs will be expected to provide a sample of their dog’s dog poo for DNA testing. Then, whenever there is dog poo laying on the ground, they can test it and trace it back to the correct dog and fine the dog owner. I wonder how well this is going to work. And can they really get this up and running? Another perk is that I can walk across the street and use a nice clean gym for my work outs at any time of the day (5am – 11pm) with well-maintained equipment. That being said, the office personnel will always check you to be sure that you are changing into a different pair of shoes prior to using any of the equipment. They are there every day 8am – 8pm and outside of their office hours, they have cameras running to “catch” any rule breakers and follow-up with them accordingly.

Here, https://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/things-your-hoa-cant-do/, is a great article that simply and clearly suggests productive steps that HOA members can take when their HOA is pushing on their rights as citizens. Of course, the best step one can take to address pushy HOAs is to simply avoid them buy refusing to purchase or rent a property that belongs to one. As my grandmother used to say, “an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.”