Monday, April 27, 2009

Tree-Loving Artists of All Ages

Are you an artist who loves trees - doodling dogwoods, painting maples, etching elms? Would you like to win a year's supply of paper products? If so, you have until June 30 to send your original, arboreal artwork to the "Save the Trees Paper Towel Design Contest," sponsored by Marcal to promote its new Small Steps line.

In an ongoing effort to save a million trees (according to their website, they're up to 20,618,043) Marcal's new Small Steps brand is made from 100 percent recycled paper. In addition, the line is hypoallergenic, virtually lint free, manufactured without chlorine bleaching and made without added dyes or fragrances.

Artists of all ages are encouraged to apply. Multiple entries from each artist will be accepted. Children must have a parent or guardian sign their entry form.

Entries will be judged on three criteria: the appreciation for trees theme (30%), originality/creativity (30%) and appeal (40%). In the event of a tie, the tie will be broken based on the highest appeal score.

The grand prize is a trip for four to "hug a giant tree" at California's Sequoia National Park, a year's supply of Small Steps paper products and the chance to have their artwork used "as inspiration for future Small Steps brand product packaging." The second prize is a tree for the artist's yard, awarded in the form of a $250 check made payable to the winner, plus a year's supply of Marcal Small Steps paper products. The third prize is a $100 gift certificate to a local garden center, plus - you guessed it - a year's supply of Marcal Small Steps paper products.

So get out the crayons, charcoals, chalks and markers. We'll be "root"ing for you.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Kids Fear End of World

As we recycle, conserve, preserve and do whatever else we can think of to "greenify" our homes, schools and lives, children are getting the invaluable message that the Earth is vulnerable. But that message is making some kids nervous about the future. A survey conducted earlier this month, finds that one out of three children, aged 6 through 11, fear that the planet won't exist when they grow up and more than half believe that the Earth will not be as nice a place to live.

  • Hurricanes and tornadoes are the natural disasters that most worry half of the 500 children polled.
  • Clean drinking water was a big concern. Nearly a quarter of all children polled are afraid that there is not enough for everyone on the planet.
  • Penguins, polar bears and other species becoming extinct, is the biggest environmental fear for another 28%.
"I am more committed than ever to help educate children around the globe in a way that is not scary to them," says Sharon Lowe, founder of Habitat Heroes, an ecologically-themed, playful and educational webiste targeted toward children aged 6 - 14. "Hopefully Habitat Heroes fills a void and gives us the opportunity to raise awareness in ways that children embrace to maintain a healthy and beautiful planet."

This report presents the findings of a telephone survey conducted by CARAVAN Opinion Research Corporation, using a national sample of 500 children (half boys, half girls) ages 6-11, living in private households in the Continental United States. The poll was completed during the period of April 3-7, 2009.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Marriage Calculator

Before heading to the altar or the Justice of the Peace, surf over to the Marriage Calculator to decide if you and your beloved are in danger of ending up divorced. Already married? Check your chances of staying that way for the next five years. The Marriage Calculator uses information from the U.S. Census Bureau to figure the odds of living happily ever after with your spouse.
Matrimonial track records suggest that factors such as level of education and age at time of marriage are strong indicators of longevity. Income isn't one of the specific factors on the Marriage Calculator but level of education is often related to income level.
"The past is being used to determine the future with this calculator," says G. Cotter Cunningham, CEO of "Here's a tool for everyone who is thinking of getting married right now."
What do you think? Would you let the Marriage Calculator influence your choice of spouse?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Fired Over Faulty Nose

"The evidence sufficiently demonstrated that Agostino suffered a physical disability that rendered him unfit to serve as a police officer," wrote Judge Bernard L. McGinley in a decision delivered by a Pennsylvania appeals court last month. The disabling injury in question is an inability to smell, a condition called anosmia.
Officer David J. Agostino, who had served as a police officer for Collier Township since 1998, acquired the rare condition as the result of a head injury sustained in an off-duty motorcycle crash in 2004. After two years of rehabilitation, when he was finally able to pass a physical and return to duty, his dimmished sniffer became an issue.
Fellow officers testified that Agostino's nose was no longer able to detect alcohol on a driver's breath or natural gas leaking from a furnace.
Perhaps a larger police department could have found a clerical position for the olfactorally-deprived officer. But apparently, in Collier Township, there are no paper pushers. All police officers work the streets and all are first responders. Therefore, all must be able to pass the smell test.
Except there is no smell test.
According to Pennsylvania State Police Major, John Gallaher, executive director of the state municipal officers' training commission, there are standards for an officer's vision, hearing and cardiovascular health, but not for smell.

Do you use your nose at work? Would losing your sense of smell lead to losing your job?