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Rapid Rise to the Top; A year after slow start, track team wins state title

Sports - Patrick - February 15, 2019

ALBUQUERQUE — More than a year ago, the Cimarron High School boys track team won the 1600-meter relay at a meet in Clayton. It was the first time that year the boys had placed first in any event.

“We were jumping up and down after that relay,” remembers team member Cody Pittman. “With that win in the mile relay, we realized what we could do.”

Fast forward to this past Saturday, as the Rams claimed the Class A boys state track and field championship.

“It’s awesome,” says Pittman, now a CHS senior. “The credit goes not to just our team and to our coaches, but to God as well. It’s awesome — it’s the best I can say it.”

En route to the Class A team title, the Ram boys took first place in three individual events and three relays, and five other top-six placings.

Ram coach Joe Giglia remembers the parents’ meeting prior to the 2012 season, in which he told the parents and athletes that “‘you are working for three years from now.’ Darned if they didn’t make it happen in their second year.”

Junior Henry Sime says that relay victory in 2012 was “where we first realized we are a better team than everyone — and even we — thought we were.”

Sophomore Jacob Subratie adds it made the athletes realize they had what it took to accomplish bigger things.

“The coaches told us to carry that with you into a state,” Subratie remembers about heading into the state meet last year, adding the coaches reminded them that “everyone on this team has got one more race” and could continue to progress.

Sime adds that cross-country and summer running helped. The Ram boys won the Class A state title in cross country last fall.

“Being on a state championship team and pushing each other got everybody much better,” he says.

Senior Malik Subratie says, because he and his teammates push each other in practice, it makes them better on the track.

“It’s amazing how much they push you,” he says. “You always want to get better and be at the same level as the rest of your team.”

“We push each other, encourage each other,” adds senior Stephen Hawkes. “We’re really a tightly-knit family. That thought just makes me want to work harder, for their sake.”

Sophomore Efrain Acosta says the athletes keep in mind the advice Giglia gives them when it comes to working hard.

“Coach always tells us that work always beats talent if talent doesn’t work,” Acosta says.

Malik Subratie says the tradition the Rams have for a quality program helps, crediting Giglia for the work he puts into the program. “We just happen to be the latest installment,” he says.

And Pittman believes the Rams will carry forward their latest high level of success — a level that only grew ever since that 1600-meter relay team took first in Clayton more than a year ago.

“This is just the beginning,” the senior says. “These kids coming up will be back.”

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The Best Amusement Parks

Breaking, Travel - Patrick - February 13, 2019

For exciting, adrenaline-pumping rides, relaxing and humorous shows, delicious carnival food, games, and lifelong memories, few things beat the experience of an amusement park. American entertainment companies have assembled some of the grandest amusement parks on the planet, and the best are scattered throughout the country.

Six Flags
Six Flags is more than just an amusement park, it is a massive entertainment behemoth. With 22 parks throughout the United States and Canada (not including the newest park in the United Arab Emirates), it is hard not to be close to a Six Flags park. Some of the more exciting parks are the ones located in California, Texas, and Georgia, but few amusement parks can compare to the sprawling entertainment complex that is Six Flags Great America near Chicago. With exciting thrill rides like the King Chaos and fun entertainment like the Looney Tunes Talent Show, Six Flags Great America is certainly one of America’s greatest parks.

Six Flags Great America

1 Great America Pwy.

Gurnee, IL 60031


Located just outside the city limits of Charlotte, NC, the Carowinds amusement park has a very unique geographical characteristic — half of the park is in North Carolina, while the other half is separated by the South Carolina state line. Guests can easily wander between the states, though, and take advantage of breathtaking thrill rides like the Carolina Cyclone and Thunder Road, or enjoy one of the numerous shows sponsored by the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. An air-conditioned, relaxing tower in the center of the park also offers pleasant skyline views of nearby Charlotte.


14523 Carowinds Blvd.

Charlotte, NC 28273


King’s Island
King’s Island, located in Ohio, is an enormous collection of thrill rides, shows, food, kid’s park, and a water park. Despite its gigantic size, King’s Island is renowned for its roller coasters, and sports two of the most famous wooden coasters in the world. The Beast is the longest wooden roller coaster on the planet, and Son of Beast, the tallest, fastest wooden coaster, and the only one with a loop. If the lines for these rides are long, though, visitors can check out any of the other more than 80 rides and attractions on the park’s 364 acres of land.

King’s Island

6300 Kings Island Dr.

Mason, OH 45040


Walt Disney World Resort
No amusement park list can be complete without mention of the largest, most visited amusement center in the world. With multiple parks inside its 45-square-mile kingdom, not to mention nightclubs, a downtown district, water parks, and numerous resorts, Walt Disney World resort is a true icon of the amusement park industry.

Walt Disney World

Kissimmee, FL 34747


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Enlarged prostate

Health - Patrick - February 3, 2019

Several years ago I was having difficulty urinating. It got worse. I went to my doctor. She did the butt check and a few other tests. Announced that I had an enlarged prostate, and put me on antibiotics. After a while (weeks) I was fine.

Then it started again. Got pretty difficult. From the prior episode, I knew what the problem was. Because of my wife’s experience with the home remedy for gallstones, I thought I’d research the web for a remedy. Found out that (according to the literature) there were four substances which would affect the prostate:

  • saw palmetto extract
  • stinging nettle extract
  • green tea extract
  • Pygeum Africanum extract (African Prune bark)

There were others (black pepper extract, lycopene, etc.) but these were mentioned as the principal ones. So I searched for products with these four substances.

I also looked for side effects and drug interactions for these but found none.

Of the products I found, there was a wide range of prices — up to $140 for a 1 month supply.

I kept searching and finally found Irwin ProstaStrong. Had all the above ingredients plus a few more. It was available from several sources. The price varied, but one supplier had it for about $18 for 90 capsules — 22.5 days worth.

I thought I might as well try it. I ordered 3 bottles, and they arrived in about a week. I had read that herbal remedies do not usually have an immediate effect, so I wasn’t expecting overnight results. After about 2 weeks, I began to notice a difference. After 2 months, the problem was gone. What a relief.

Doctor’s note on saw palmetto:

His and her Herb
Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) is a vigorous palm that’s native to the southeastern US. Colonial planters noticed that cows and pigs that reached beyond their corrals to eat the berries grew unusually healthy and fat. They resisted illness, had richer coats, and readily put on flesh. In time, doctors started to use it to increase the strength and weight of patients who needed to put on pounds after an illness.

Doctors now use saw palmetto to normalize sex hormones; they found that it increases sex drive in women and revitalizes their reproductive organs. The herb has been called “old man’s friend” because it slims down an overgrown prostate. It’s used in younger men to increase sex drive and remedy atrophied testicles. Oddly, it’s prescribed both for people who crave sex too much and for those with no sexual appetite at all.

I rely on saw palmetto in my clinical practice. I find that my patients turn up looking sleek and well and feeling, shall we say, fully operational.

Male Sex Hormone Helper
Shifting hormone levels in men can lead to a swollen prostate and declining libido. A string of convincing human clinical trials suggests that saw palmetto relieves conditions caused by changing hormone levels, most notable symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and poor sex drive.

Note on Green Tea

Green Tea
Nature’s amazing healing beverage

Americans are Coffee drinkers. The English are the tea drinkers!

Ever since the Boston Tea party, English “high tea” at five PM has not featured strongly in American’s customs. Yet think about the buckets of iced tea we imbibe at lunch (providing we don’t belong to the Double Martini set!) Not only do restaurants serve up pre-made iced “black” tea, but it is also often laced with bacteria, as the staff is too lazy to clean out the containers regularly. Bacteria would not survive in a green tea, freshly brewed, but try to order a glass in a restaurant, and observe the blank stare. Green Tea? What’s that?

Why should he and we care? Because we are missing one of the natures most powerful anti-oxidants which not only tastes good but is natural to enjoy as a thirst quencher throughout the day. According to Dr. Earl Mindell, although it comes from the identical plant, it differs from black tea in a number of fundamental ways – green tea has 30% to 42 % of catechins: black tea has 3 to 10%.

Black tea is partially crushed and fermented before it is dried – the fermentation destroys most of the catechin. My own theory is that my English ancestors were introduced only to black tea, as it took months to ship it to Europe from China in sailing ships with no refrigeration. It was packed “green” but it fermented naturally on the way, aided and abetted by the movement of the ship and the humidity at sea. This was how the English thought tea should be, and to degrade it more they added milk, which appears to immobilize the polyphenol’s effects! But this was not how tea had been used in Asia for thousands of years. The Chinese and Japanese only knew the fresh green dried variety and their herbalists certainly knew, and still know, of its benefits.

Catechins are the polyphenols, bioflavonoids that act as super antioxidants. They have been found to have significantly higher antioxidant powers than grape juice and wines. And they also have an almost unlimited range of health benefits, which have been subject to over one hundred scientific studies during the last five years, most of them in Asia and Europe, but a number of key ones in the US. These studies have not only quantified the benefits but have started to establish which of the many polyphenols in the tea provide the body with that particular benefit. The most important catechin is Epigallocatechin gallate.

In general, the benefits of using green tea can be placed in two categories: antiaging/cancer fighting and cardiovascular. Because the subject is so vast, the benefits established in these studies will be itemized under these two headings. Two detailed articles on this subject can be found in the Life Extension Foundation June 1999 edition. Nearly 100 references to these studies are given at the end of these two articles.

Antiaging, Cancer fighting properties
Studies have shown that, taken in sufficient quantities, green tea can:

  • Block angiostasis, the new blood vessels tumors need to grow.
  • Inhibit metastasis, the process by which cancer spreads in the body
  • Interferes with the production of telomerase, the enzyme which immortalizes cancer cells
  • Reduce the production of DHT, a potent form of testosterone implicated in causing prostate cancer
  • Lower incidence of lymph node metastasis in postmenopausal women
  • Inhibit the onset of breast and colon cancer, as well as melanoma.
  • Enhances the effectiveness of chemotherapy in ovarian cancer.
  • Helps protect DNA from radiation-induced damage
  • Can produce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in lung cancer patients, as well as protecting smokers from the onset of lung cancer.
  • Prevent inflammation and possible subsequent skin cancer when applied to the skin.
  • Can lower serum glucose and consequent insulin, reducing the possibility of tumors and immunosuppressive hormones.

Cardio-protective Qualities
The use of adequate amounts of green tea can:

  • Reduce the triglyceride and blood glucose levels by reducing the action of the starch-digesting amylase enzyme resulting in lower insulin secretion and calorie restriction.
  • Increases the healthy function of the liver and pancreas
  • Lower LDL cholesterol levels
  • Lower intestinal fat absorption
  • May act as natural calcium-channel blockers
  • Lower blood pressure because of its powerful vasodilatation properties
  • Lower fibrinogen and inhibit excessive clotting and platelet aggregation.
  • Protect the brain from oxidative stress
  • Raise the seratonin and dopamine levels in the brain
  • Diminish the incidence of iron-induced epileptic seizures
  • Improve kidney function
  • Protect the body from the ravages of oxidized linoleic acid produced by heating margarine, corn, and safflower oils.
  • Inhibit HIV virus replication
  • Promote dental health by inhibiting the growth of unwanted oral bacteria.
  • Destroy harmful intestinal bacteria and lowers the pH
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Early symptoms of HIV

Health - Patrick - February 2, 2019

The possibility of getting infected with HIV, which leads to full-blown AIDS, is scary for most people. But that is the reality that cannot just be wished away. While the thought of being infected with a deadly disease is difficult to imagine for many people, advancements in the medical field have ensured that the HIV virus can be easily treated so that one lives with it for years, even decades, provided it is diagnosed and treated early. This is why identifying early symptoms of HIV in both men and a woman is crucial for long-term treatment.

What are the early symptoms of HIV?

In most cases, early HIV symptoms in both men and women appear like flu symptoms. However, in some cases, the symptoms may not be seen at all. Signs and symptoms of HIV can take months or even years to be evident. As the infection advances or gets progressively worse, early HIV symptoms can appear, for example, extreme tiredness, weight loss, temporary memory loss etc. Some of the common early HIV symptoms include the following: FeverHeadacheFatigueEnlarged lymph nodes
Generally, these early symptoms of HIV go away within one week or up to one month. Many times, these symptoms might be mistaken for other viral infections. During this period, those infected are highly infectious and have large quantities of HIV in their genital fluids.

Early symptoms of HIV in men

Early symptoms of HIV in men typically look like those experienced by women. Men should seek medical advice immediately the symptoms below arise: Fever and headaches that can last for up to 2 weeks skin rashes or ulcers all over the body, including the groin area, anus, and penisPainless swollen/enlarged lymph nodes on the neck, under the armpits, and in the groin areaExtreme fatigue and unusual muscle pain and achesDecreased appetite and/or sore throat
Many of the above early symptoms of HIV in men typically persist for a few weeks before they subside or disappear. Men who notice such symptoms should go for an HIV test immediately to determine if they have the virus.

Early symptoms of HIV in women

On the other hand, early symptoms of HIV in women are also almost similar to those experienced by men. And these symptoms typically appear in the first few weeks after transmission of the virus. The early HIV symptoms in women include the following: Painless swollen lymph nodes on the neck, and below the earSore throatFeverFatigueHeadacheSkin rash
It is important for females to understand all the early symptoms of HIV in women because this can help in early testing, diagnosis as well as treatment of the virus.

Advanced early symptoms of HIV

As one’s immune system gets destroyed, a number of complications do arise. The following are early symptoms of HIV infection that has gotten progressively worse: Weight lossLack or energy (lethargy)Frequent sweating and fewer frequent or persistent oral/vaginal yeast infectionsFlaky skin or persistent skin rashesTemporary memory lossPelvic inflammatory infection in women that is not responsive to treatment
Some people may develop severe and frequent herpes infections that bring sores in the mouth, genitals, and anus. Some develop a certain painful nerve disease known as shingles. Children infected with HIV are sick most of the time and usually have stunted growth.

Early symptoms of HIV are difficult to detect

Since HIV is a very long term virus, those infected can go for many years without showing any signs or symptoms at all. This makes many people assume that they are very healthy even when that may not necessarily be true. But it is also worth noting that early HIV symptoms in men and women can disappear within a few weeks of their onset. In essence, this means that if one misses the early signs and symptoms and does not also go for regular medical check-ups, it could be several years before they see other signs and symptoms of the infection.

Why checkups are important

Regular physical checkups may not indicate any early HIV symptoms until several years after the onset of the infection in many people. One should have annual checkups which include physical check-ups and blood tests to find out problems that may have not been detected. This approach is the best in detecting HIV symptoms early before they get worse or graduate into full-blown AIDS. It is recommended for everyone.

In conclusion, early symptoms of HIV are very common, such that it is difficult to differentiate them from symptoms of other viral infections. And in some cases, people with HIV don’t experience any early symptoms at all. All in all, it is important for people to regularly get tested for HIV, especially when they suspect that they have been exposed to the virus so that they know what to do.

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The secret to finding high quality educational iOS apps

Tech & Science - Patrick - January 19, 2019

If you’re looking to spread your digital wings a bit, you probably want to find some of the highest quality educational iOS apps available. You probably head over to the official Apple App Store on your chosen iDevice and check out the ‘featured’ area and perhaps the ‘Top Sellers’ list. That’s great and a solid way to see what is being used on devices around the world. 

For the most part, though, all those top apps are either just big names or have had some recent promotion. As someone who once made an iPad app, I know what it’s like to try and get your app onto one of those promoted areas in the App Store. You would do just about anything because, as I found out, your sales and download numbers skyrocket as soon as you crack the top 100 apps in your category.

So how should you avoid the crazy featured and top sellers lists? By becoming familiar with the category filters, of course! It’ll look something like this on your computer:

See that small little link that says ‘Education Collections’ on the right below ‘iPhone Education’? That’s where you want to focus. It’s out of the way and most people don’t use it.

That’s the secret.

You want to use that link to filter down your app choices into what you actually want. That’s how you find the highest quality educational iOS apps that you wouldn’t normally see surfaced on the main App Store. For example, it’s a great way to find apps for elementary school students who need some STEM activities. Or perhaps it’s a great way to find an app for students in need of special education. Maybe just a handy to-do list for teachers gearing up for the new school year? It’s simple to find all this stuff and you don’t even need to search!

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