Daily Archives: March 19, 2020

Local business paying it forward to others during COVID-19 – KSNT News

Posted: March 19, 2020 at 11:48 pm

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) A local business is paying it forward to others in the community during the coronavirus pandemic.

Golden Rule Remodeling in Topeka bought $500 worth of gift cards from several local businesses like Dialogue Coffee House.

The owners, Matt and Sara Vincent, say they understand how difficult it is to be a business owner and especially right now with sales down due to the coronavirus.

They hope this small act of kindness will encourage others in the community to find a way to continue to support local businesses.

So thats all were doing is trying to encourage other people in the community to do the same thing and bring Topeka business, business when they need it, Matt Vincent said.

The company plans to give the gift cards to families who need them right now and other businesses they see doing good for others.

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Local business paying it forward to others during COVID-19 - KSNT News

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Coltala Holdings’ Trudela Partners Completes Third and Fourth HVAC Acquisitions in the First Quarter of 2020 – Yahoo Finance

Posted: at 11:48 pm

With the acquisition of North Texas Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. and Big Bear Air Conditioning and Heating, Trudela Partners has completed coverage of Collin, Denton, Dallas and Tarrant counties representing 75 percent of the DFW Metroplex.

DALLAS-FORT WORTH, Texas, March 19, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Coltala Holdings' HVAC acquisition platform Trudela Partners, a leading provider of residential heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and indoor environmental filtration technology, is pleased to announce the third and fourth additions to their portfolio in just the first quarter of 2020.

With the acquisition of North Texas Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. in Denton and Frisco-based Big Bear Air Conditioning and Heating, Trudela now serves four counties in the Metroplex with coverage of over 75 percent of the DFW geographic footprint.

Both companies provide quality residential service, installation and replacement, and are strong legacy brands with excellent reputations in the DFW market. With the expansion of territory and technicians, Trudela can provide rapid, world-class service anywhere in Dallas - Fort Worth.

"North Texas and Big Bear afford Trudela strategic access to the growing population in the northern corridor of the Metroplex," remarked Trudela CEO Paul Adams.


North Texas Heating and Air Conditioning was founded by Rodney Preston in 1996. He attributes his company's success to his "Golden Rule" philosophy of business. "When you treat customers as you would be treated, you inspire loyalty, generate repeat business, and get lots of referrals," he declared. As to why Preston chose Trudela he said, "Because they share our core commitment to treating people right."

Coltala CEO Ralph Manning commented, "It's gratifying to see the growth in Trudela and the high-quality DFW brands choosing to partner with us. These are truly businesses of significance."


Diel Rojas started Big Bear Air Conditioning and Heating in 2006 after having worked for other HVAC companies. Recognizing that "there was something missing" when dealing with customers, he set about to provide service that was "a cut above the rest." On why Rojas chose Trudela he said, "Because I believe the Trudela team cares about the customer as much as I do."

Former naval intelligence officer and current Coltala Holdings president Edward Crawford added, "We are privileged and honored to serve in the homes of our local community especially during this coronavirus crisis. As more Americans are working from home and sheltering in place, healthful indoor air quality has never been more important."


The Trudela HVAC companies employ a variety of whole-house filtering technologies, some of which capture pathogens as small as 0.1 microns (700 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair). While Trudela can make no claims of medical efficacy, validated tests have shown the technology to result in a greater than 99 percent reduction in airborne viruses similar to that causing Covid-19.

ABOUT TRUDELA . Trudela Partners is a DFW-based company specializing in home service repairs and maintenance. We focus on providing our customers with an exemplary customer experience through preventive maintenance and a first-time fix approach on service appointments. With over 70+ years in combined home services experience, the Trdela Partners team is committed to operating with honesty and integrity in everything we do and treating our customers like family.

The Trudela Executive Team includes Paul S. Adams, Chief Executive Officer overseeing all areas of the company's business including operations, sales, and marketing; Eric Shaw, COO with over 20 years of HR and operations experience in the manufacturing, retail, financial services and contracting industries; Mark Carlson, VP People and Culture with nearly 20 years of operational HR experience in building and leveraging Culture, Organizational Development, Talent Acquisition & Management, Succession Planning, Performance Management and Employee Relations.

Trudela Partners 8900 John Carpenter Freeway Dallas TX 75247

HVAC businesses interested in joining the Trudela team should contact Paul Adams at paul@trudela.com.

Story continues


Coltala Holdings Building Businesses of Significance http://coltala.com/ Trudela Partners The Proven Home Service Professionals http://www.trudela.com/ North Texas Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. Your Local HVAC Experts https://www.nthac.com/ Big Bear Air Conditioning and Heating - Customer-centered, Up Front and Honest - https://www.bigbearair.com/


Trudela is proud to be a member of the Coltala family of businesses. Coltala is committed to being conscientious stewards of company legacies and to working with you and your team to take your company to the next level. Coltala is actively seeking potential acquisition targets that share our passion for operational excellence, continuous improvement and authentic and principled business stewardship.

Businesses interested in joining the Coltala Family should contact Co-founders Ralph Manning and Edward Crawford at info@coltala.com

For more information, please follow Coltala Holdings on: LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/coltalagroup (Coltala Holdings) Twitter at https://twitter.com/coltalagroup (Coltala Holdings) ###

SOURCE Coltala Holdings

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Coltala Holdings' Trudela Partners Completes Third and Fourth HVAC Acquisitions in the First Quarter of 2020 - Yahoo Finance

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So You Bought Someone a Gadget. Heres How Not to Become Their Tech Support. – The New York Times

Posted: at 11:48 pm

So, when Mr. Isaacian couldnt set up a new router for his grandmother, he booked a technician through TaskRabbit who didnt need a how-to video or any additional language support. It was a fairly simple process, he said, though he did take this time to vet the TaskRabbit Tasker, such as checking how many tasks the person had completed and how reliable they were. He also had to make sure his grandmother knew to check in on the Tasker to ensure they werent taking advantage of her or deliberately wasting time to earn more money. But Mr. Isaacian said hed use TaskRabbit or a similar service again.

Its something that would take me a lot of time, but he handled it, Mr. Isaacian said.

However, there are some products Mr. Isaacian simply refuses to buy for his family, like a laptop or smart TV even if it comes with additional tech support. It might sound mean or heartless, but its a strategy that Mr. Santo Domingo also recommends.

Its like any relationship you have and its really a two-way street, Mr. Santo Domingo said. If you have a relative that just pesters you to no end, then like any other person youre going to end up maybe not picking up the phone quite as quickly. As long as your relative asks you nicely, its really like the golden rule. As an IT person or as your family IT person, if youre treated well, youll reciprocate.

If you really want to get someone a gadget, Mr. Santo Domingo recommends a product like a mesh Wi-Fi router like the Wirecutters pick, the Eero Pro + 2 Eero Beacons. Unlike other routers or even gadgets, you can reboot the system from anywhere even if youre not in the household where the product is, making it an easy product to serve as the go-to IT person for your loved one, if necessary. Or, if your recipient insists on some smart home gadgets, get a smart switch or smart plug to go with it, Mr. Santo Domingo said. Similar to a wireless mesh router, you can remotely turn it on and off again, which fixes more common problems than you may think.

A smart switch or plug can save you hours, Mr. Santo Domingo said. Instead of telling a relative to unplug or plug something back in, you can do that remotely with a smart plug. Sometimes, even though you tell a relative over the phone to do that, they may or may not do it.

And if you absolutely have to play the role of tech support, use whatever gadget your friends or family own to your advantage, Mr. Santo Domingo said. If theyre having trouble with a router, ask them to FaceTime or use Skype, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger to video chat and see for yourself what the issue might be and help guide them in the right direction.

At the end of the day however, Mr. Isaacian wishes tech companies and manufacturers made it easier to conduct a remote demo for his family or more important, made more video tutorials that arent in one language.

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Thinking Inside the Box by Adrienne Raphel review adventures with crosswords – The Guardian

Posted: at 11:48 pm

It is one of lifes great injustices that America claims to be the birthplace of crosswords. Yes, the first Word-Cross puzzle ran in 1913 in the New York Worlds Fun supplement, instructing readers to fill in the small squares with words which agree with the following definitions, but the man responsible, Arthur Wynn, was born in Liverpool. Whats more, his idea wasnt original but based on similar word puzzles hed enjoyed in childrens newspapers before emigrating.

More grievous is that Americans dont even do proper crosswords, making do with the type this newspaper deems Quick. By proper I mean cryptic, the kind that separates true cruciverbalists from mere dabblers, invented in the UK in 1925. To me, the true crossword is the cryptic, its concise cousin an aberration. I have my own family to thank for my stringent criteria: my great-grandfather, Prebendary AF Ritchie, set them weekly for the Listener magazine. I still remember his own puzzle collection, published under the pseudonym Afrit, being brandished by my grandpa, who seemed to think I would be a natural successor to Afrits talents. Alas no.

But then I read Thinking Inside the Box and realised the richness of the American relationship to crosswords. Adrienne Raphel, an aficionado, mixes history with reportage from the crossword frontlines. She journeys to Stamford, Connecticut, for the annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, and takes a crossword-themed cruise to mark 75 years of New York Timess puzzles. Her writing is packed with the sort of beautifully observed details youd expect from a New Yorker contributor. At the ACPT, the reigning aesthetic was orthotics meets checkerboard. A snippet about competitive puzzlers preferring a lower case e because its quicker to scrawl than an E conveys the competitors dedication.

She has a stab at submitting her own puzzle to the NYTs crossword editor, Will Shortz. The chapter on her own compilation doubles as a useful social history. In the middle of the 20th century, the New York Times crossword became Americas version of BBC English. Being able to complete the crossword signalled that youd arrived in a certain echelon of education, and no matter your background, you could manoeuvre in a specific aspirational cultural milieu.

Raphel describes how the composer Stephen Sondheim tried and failed to convince Americans to up their crossword game. There are crossword puzzles and crossword puzzles, she quotes him saying in a 1968 New York magazine article. To call the composer of [an American] crossword an author may seem to be dignifying a gnat, he quipped, but cryptics were different, Raphel writes. Sondheim wrote several cryptics but the genre remained niche.

Although the book comes billed as equally suitable for crossword virgins as superfans, Raphel waits until chapter nine to confess she is average at best. Im a hunt-and-peck solver I admire cryptic crosswords from afar, like bonsai. She broadens her focus from American puzzle fans, dipping into the crosswords literary roots. Vladimir Nabokov thought in crosswords, publishing the first Russian puzzle in 1924 from Berlin while in France, Georges Perec created complex mots croiss. In Kirchstetten, Austria, WH Auden filled in conversational lulls by filling in puzzles. Back in the UK, Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy Sayers and PG Wodehouse all liberally deployed crosswords as plot devices.

Raphels preoccupation with the American form and US crossword personalities means that she misses the opportunity to delve deeper into how Edward Powys Mathers invented the worlds toughest puzzle challenge for the Saturday Westminster Gazette. (He also established the tradition that cryptic setters use a pseudonym: his was Torquemada, the first Spanish grand inquisitor.) And she omits Afrit, my great-grandfather, and his golden rule of cryptic clueing - I need not mean what I say, but I must say what I mean from his 1949 book, Armchair Crosswords. (This newspapers own crossword editor, Hugh Stephenson, has said Afrit was one of the forces centrally involved in codifying the rules of the modern cryptic clue.) Raphel mentions only Ximenes Derrick Somerset Macnutt Torquemadas successor at the Observer. Yet Ximenes himself said he learned more from Afrit than Torquemada. But perhaps the ultimate rule is that summed up by Raphel: The resilient little puzzle can be whatever you need it to be. Combatant, interlocutor, punching bag, security blanket: the crossword is there for you.

Thinking Inside the Box is published by Robinson (RRP 18.99). To buy a copy go to guardianbookshop.com. Free UK p&p over 15.

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How Racist Is Trumps Republican Party? – The New York Times

Posted: at 11:48 pm

LaFleur Stephens-Dougan, a political scientist at Princeton and the author of Race to the Bottom: How Racial Appeals Work in American Politics, wrote me in an email:

Most Americans have a distorted definition of racism. We think of racism as person-to-person acts of prejudice like using a slur. Such behavior is racist, but racism is far more than that. We have baked racism into our political institutions and economic systems.

It is important, Stephens-Dougan argues, to ask people why they think black and Latino neighborhoods struggle with poor school and higher levels of crime. If ones answer, she continued, is that those neighborhoods are under-resourced because blacks and Latinos are less smart, less hardworking or less disciplined, etc., then that answer is racist.

Ryan Enos, a political scientist at Harvard, applies what he calls the Golden Rule of Intergroup Relations which means that if you would be upset if somebody did something to or said something about your own group, then it is bigotry if you say it about or do it to another group.

Ashley Jardina, a political scientist at Duke and the author of White Identity Politics, put it this way:

The use of these terms is complicated, messy, and without consensus. There are a number of important distinctions we can make. We think of racial prejudice as an individual-level sense of hostility, animus, set of negative stereotypes, or other negative attitudes that one person has toward members of a group by way of their race. We refer to a person as racist when they have some degree of racial prejudice. For most Americans, this is generally what they think of when they hear the term racism or racist. A racist is a person who uses racial slurs directed at racial out-groups and thinks their own racial group is superior.

Lets turn back to Darren Davis of Notre Dame. I asked Davis and other scholars whether Asian-American protests in New York City against the potential elimination of entrance exams as the sole determinant of entry into selective high schools like Stuyvesant or Bronx Science were racist. Likewise, is the opposition of well off suburbanites to affordable housing in their neighborhoods racist? Is the number of African-Americans in prison evidence of racism? And is white opposition to the decarceration movement, or to the prison abolition movement, racist?

Davis stresses that, in his view, not all racialized behavior and expressions stem from racial hatred or hating African Americans. He is cautious in his wording:

Ordinary citizens, without being racists themselves, may do and say things that are consistent with a racist ideology. It does not make the outcomes any less egregious or harmful. For instance, Asian-Americans protesting NYC school proposals is not necessarily racist in my opinion because I can see other motivations driving the support for higher standards not just beliefs about the inferiority of others.

Davis argues that the debate has become clouded, that even though individual and group motives may not be racist, the outcomes achieved can be identical to the ones that racists would seek:

My overall point is that we have forgotten what racism means. In doing so, we have focused attention on bigots and white nationalists and not held ordinary citizens accountable for beliefs that achieve the same ends.

Chloe Thurston, in turn, cited as specific examples

President Trumps or Steve Kings comments about certain types of immigrants being unassimilable or not sufficiently American and suggesting that other (e.g. white) immigrants do not have those characteristics.

While both Trump and King, an anti-immigrant congressman from Iowa, balk at the label racist, she continued, it is descriptively accurate and necessary from the standpoint of keeping track of the role and uses of racism in American society and politics.

Like Davis, Thurston sought to address the more difficult question of when it is legitimate to use that label for everyday behaviors.

Her answer:

People can participate in and perpetuate racist systems without necessarily subscribing to those beliefs. People can recognize something they participate in or contribute to as racist but decide its not disqualifying. And people can design racist policies and systems. These are distinctive manifestations of racism but not all of them require us to know whether a person is expressly motivated by racism.

Cindy Kam a political scientist at Vanderbilt, and a co-author with Camille Burge, a political scientist at Villanova, of Uncovering Reactions to the Racial Resentment Scale Across the Racial Divide added another element to the discussion: wariness about how the word is used in political and policy debates:

As a social scientist, I would entertain the possibility that peoples actions are guided by a variety of motivations, potentially including racial considerations but also values (i.e., a commitment to a free market; egalitarianism; moral conservatism); economic considerations; self-interest (concerns about my childs ability to get into a high school or my childs commute to a faraway school), or even factual beliefs.

Because of the wide variety of possible motivations, Kam wrote in her email, she would hesitate to label an action as racist unless racial considerations seem to be the only or the massively determinative consideration at play, based upon statistical modeling or carefully calibrated experiments.

Kam notes that she worries about excessive use of these labels because describing someone or some action as racist can easily escalate conflict beyond the point of return.


How Racist Is Trumps Republican Party? - The New York Times

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Coronavirus in the Netherlands: more of your questions – DutchNews.nl

Posted: at 11:48 pm

The Netherlands is currently in a state of semi-lockdown in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. On Sunday the government announced a string of new measures, including the closure of schools and daycare centres to all but the children of essential workers. Here are the answers to some of the new questions you may have:

Why are we not in total lockdown?The government does not consider it necessary at the moment, as long as the health service can cope. But it has not been ruled out at some point in the future.

Can I travel abroad?The government is recommending against all but essential travel and has imposed major restrictions on incoming travellers.

I am a freelancer and my income is drying up. Can I get help?The government is working on a scheme to top up freelancers income to the level of welfare benefits and will publish more information as soon as it is finalised.

I own a small business. Is there help for me?The government is working on a string of measures to help small firms.

I am an employee. What are my rights with regard to coronavirus?This article by lawyers at GMW outlines your rights as a worker.

Can I still go to the shops?Yes, unless you are showing any symptoms, but keep away from other shoppers. If you have symptoms, say home.

Why are non-food shops still open?Health minister Bruno Bruins has said other measures may still be taken at a later date. The decision to close cafes and bars was partly taken because so many were busy last weekend, not least with tourists from over the border in Belgium, where bars had been closed. Many shops are closing voluntarily.

Can my children play outside with other kids?Research appears to indicate that children are less seriously affected by the virus and virologists say there is no reason to stop children playing with each other, as long as they have no symptoms. But you should be aware there is a risk they will pick up the virus and spread it to others.

I am pregnant. Should I be worried?As far as we know, there is no increased risk of miscarriage or birth defects due to infection with this virus.

Can I go out for a walk or a run?Yes, providing you keep your distance from others and dont have any symptoms.

Can I walk my dog?Same as above.

Can I go to the hairdresser?Opinion is divided on this, but the golden rule, virologists say, is stay home if you have any symptoms both as hairdresser and client. And wash your hands regularly.

Can I celebrate my birthday?In general, any unnecessary gatherings should be postponed. In particular, avoid contact with the elderly who are the most susceptible.

Can I become infected from a package that Ive ordered?Coronaviruses spread through humans and animals. Acccording to the RIVM, they do not survive well outside the body, on cardboard, packaging material or other items. The chance that you will be infected by touching surfaces or products is very small but to be sure wash your hands afterwards.

Can the health service cope?Some hospitals are postponing non-emergency operations but at the moment there are no signs that hospitals are becoming overloaded. There are some 1,500 intensive care beds available in the Netherlands and plans to create a further 500 are underway.

Some hospitals have also cancelled leave in readiness for the expected rise in the number of cases requiring hospitalisation.

What are the best ways to protect myself?The Dutch public health institute RIVM and World Health Organisation say everyone should follow these instructions to prevent infection:

The RIVM says face masks should only be worn by medical staff. Most of the paper masks used by the general public are worthless and offer a false sense of security, officials say.

Can I get tested?Tests for coronavirus can only be requested via the local health board or a hospital and it takes around 24 hours for the test results to come through.

Testing is currently only being carried out on people who have worsening symptoms and have been in an at risk area or in contact with people who have coronavirus.

The RIVM has an interactive map showing where corona infections are being confirmed.

This article is based on expert views featured in the Volkskrant and NRC newspapers as well as the public health institute RIVM.

DutchNews.nl has been free for 13 years, but now we are asking our readers to help. Your donation will enable us to keep providing you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Donate via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.

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As a minister who worked with Andrew Yang, I’m glad to see everyone finally admitting he was right – The Independent

Posted: at 11:48 pm

Andrew Yang was right and I knew it from the day I was first introduced to his campaign in February 2018. Id stumbled across an article in the New York Times entitled The Robots are Coming, featuring a new entrant into the 2020 presidential race.

Though I was still reeling from the outcome of the 2016 election, I found the articles title intriguing enough to continue reading and found therein a message that resonated on a level with me that I was not expecting.

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

Yang talked about how thousands of jobs had already been automated away, particularly across the Midwest, and how more job losses were on the way if immediate action was not taken. He pointed out, accurately, that people were suffering, feeling left behind and uncertain about their futures. I knew intimately the scenario he was describing.

I grew up in the small town of Portsmouth, Ohio in the late 70s and early 80s, and manufacturing was the backbone of our community. My grandfather worked at the atomic plant; my grandmother, the shoe factory; and when their jobs began to disappear, due to automation or being shipped overseas, so did their hope.

Making $16 to $20 per hour in those days meant a pretty decent living, and afforded our family the opportunity to maintain a relatively stable existence. In the absence of that income, everything faltered.

There were no comparable jobs available and unemployment income was merely a temporary stop-gap. Everything fell apart, not just for our family but many others in the community. We felt forgotten.

Yang talked about that human suffering and how people needed a lifeline then and now; how people need to feel like they have a chance to recover. Subsequently, he introduced the idea of a universal basic income (UBI) of $1,000 a month for every American to offer some measure of stability and reassurance while we faced the crisis ahead. He was offering a tangible solution, not just an idea. All I could think about was how that money would have made a world of difference to our family and so many others. I reached out to the campaign via email that day and never looked back.

Universal Basic Income, I later discovered, had been supported by many in the past, including Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, who championed the idea just before he was assassinated in 1968, the year I was born. He saw it as the moral imperative of our time. Andrew picked up the torch. Under his campaign mantra of Humanity First, he carried it forward to the present day and brought it to the presidential debates. Andrew believed in giving Americans an economic floor to stand on.

As a minister, I thought about members of my congregation who were faced with the choice of paying for their rent or getting their medications and how an extra $1,000 a month would change the entire trajectory of their lives. Spiritually, it was akin to taking care of the least of these and following the golden rule.

Many dismissed the idea of UBI during Yangs campaign, which he suspended in February; some even laughed. Now hes being sought after by people across the political spectrum, including the current administration. His phone is ringing off the hook.

Andrew Yang endorses Joe Biden

The coronavirus pandemic is a human crisis of monumental proportion, the likes of which we have not seen before. All of humanity is being affected and the potential for losses both emotional and financial is tremendous. Our collective hope is being shaken and people need immediate help.

Suddenly the idea of putting cash directly into peoples hands, as UBI proposes, has caught on and is making sense to everyone. The notion that money is needed to keep us from falling off a cliff is the same message Yang was sharing two years ago. It makes sense in so many arenas: in the context of the threat of automation as well as an epidemic.

Votes were taken this week in Congress to pass a form of temporary Universal Basic Income for all Americans. Checks will begin going out in April. What began as a novel idea became an actionable proposal and I couldnt be more thrilled.

People are seeing today what I saw early in 2018 Andrew Yang was right. And our country is the better for it.

Rev. Wendy Hamilton is the former Director of Spiritual and Cultural Outreach for Andrew Yang for President 2020

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As a minister who worked with Andrew Yang, I'm glad to see everyone finally admitting he was right - The Independent

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Keene Reiki Practitioner Offers Alternative Healing Tools – The Keene Sentinel

Posted: at 11:47 pm

Before you reach inside your medicine cabinet, consider the most powerful healing tool is your own body. That is the philosophy certified reiki practitioner Korinne McManus follows.

Her practice, Amethyst Reiki and Healing, located on Roxbury Street in the Miller Forge building, is the result of her answering her calling to educate people about this form of alternative medicine with roots in 19th century Japan.

A reiki practitioner channels universal life force energy (known as qi) and transfers it through the palms to the patient to promote physical or emotional healing. During a session with a client, McManus uses light hands-on touch to assist with activating the bodys natural healing process, often incorporating essential oils.

Her interest in the modality began 20 years ago when she received her own first reiki session.

In that moment, I realized how loudly our bodies speak, she said, adding that a reiki session is an opportunity to talk to the body. I started to learn who I was as a person, and I committed to my own reiki practice.

In 2012, McManus reiki practice became a medical intervention after she was diagnosed with cancer.

It allowed me to continuously connect with my body, she said. I believe reiki and other healing modalities I utilized have kept me cancer-free.

Reiki became even more deeply important to McManus when she was seriously injured two years later in a motor vehicle accident and in recovery for several months after.

Through my healing journey over 15 to 20 years, seeing how (reiki) healed my deep roots whether spiritual, emotional or medical I knew I had to share it and empower others to look at themselves as an ultimate healing tool rather than relying on pharmaceuticals, she said. Reiki is just one tool to ultimately figure out the root cause of what youre experiencing.

Once McManus was healed from her injuries, she enrolled in her first reiki certification training. She opened her Keene practice in 2018.

While her clientele greatly varies, she said, her specialty is working with people who have issues with addiction and mental health, as well as those with developmental disabilities. Her full-time job is working in the mental health field, which she has done for the past 20 years. In addition to her private practice, she also offers reiki services at a recovery center in Vermont.

I have a personal addiction connection with family members. Its my mission to reach out to those in recovery to say, Lets give you another tool to have in your toolbox, she said. Its important for people to have opportunities and experience different [types of] alternative care.

For that reason, McManus offers a discounted rate for her services to those in recovery.

My goal is to knock down any barriers to accessing alternative care, she said. I dont do what I do to make money. I have a full-time job. If someone couldnt afford to pay full-price, I want them to reach out and have a conversation with me.

A reiki session with McManus starts with just that, in fact: a conversation.

When someone reaches out to me [for an appointment], I always ask if they have ever had reiki before and I ask them if there is anything theyd like to work on, she said. Sometimes the answer is no and they just want to come in and relax. But I do revisit the original conversation once they come in.

At the beginning of her session, she does what she calls a body scan.

I pay attention to how [the clients] energy feels if theres a shift in temperature and I work my way down the body and back up, McManus said. When your qi is low, [thats] when we start to see illness and disease.

Some areas of the body require light hands-on touch to heal. For others, McManus will hover over with her hands, depending upon what energy she is picking up in the body and the level of support she feels is needed. With the goal of ultimate relaxation, clients wear a lavender-scented eye pillow during the session and listen to soft background music.

After the first session to assess the client, McManus creates an individualized plan.

It varies, she said. If the client is experiencing high anxiety, I may request to see them once a week. If someone just needs time to de-stress, it might be once a month.

Another way she breaks down barriers is by offering home visit healing sessions for those physically unable to see her at her office or for those whose social anxiety prevents them from doing so.

In addition to reiki services, McManus offers reiki with guided meditation, crystal and chakra healing and breath work, as well as intuitive reiki, during which she will connect with spirit.

If someone is open to those messages [from spirit], I offer them, she said.

McManus also facilitates a monthly womens sacred circle, during which other alternative healing practitioners will offer their wisdom.

Its a nice mix of women who attend, she said. Its been really eye-opening. Your story is no different than my story its important for us to understand that. Every circle, I leave feeling just so connected and proud to be doing what I do, offering that space for women to come and release whats heavy on their heart.

McManus hope is to offer another womens sacred circle in Brattleboro, where she is also planning to expand her services. She always talks to her clients about additional alternative healing therapies and how they can complement each other in the path to overall wellness whether its acupuncture, massage aromatherapy or the many others on this list.

Its about moving energy within the body, she said. The most important thing you can do when finding out what healing modality works for you is by simply listening to your body. When someone gets on my table, they get the chance to slow down, connect with and honor themselves.

Amethyst Reiki and Healing is located at 103 Roxbury St., Suite 103 in Keene. For more information, call (603) 762-1135 or visit Facebook: m.me/amethystreikiandhealing.

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Keene Reiki Practitioner Offers Alternative Healing Tools - The Keene Sentinel

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Dosed Review: The Case for Plant-Based Recovery – The New York Times

Posted: at 11:47 pm

Straddling the line between advocacy documentary and D.I.Y. infomercial, Dosed promotes psychoactive vegetation as a potential cure for drug addiction. The filmmaker, Tyler Chandler, trails a friend, known in the film only by a first name, Adrianne, as she experiments with psilocybin mushrooms and the hallucinogenic plant iboga to treat her seemingly intractable dependence on heroin, methadone or morphine. The effectiveness of these alternative-medicine therapies, and the question of whether they should be legal, is still the subject of debate.

Adrianne, who lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, has a third, potentially powerful ingredient contributing to her recovery: the presence of the camera, which, at times, is clearly on her mind. As the documentary opens, Adrianne is asked how she would like it to end. Id love to be sober, she replies, but adds that shed like to be sober, generally. And although her treatment does not follow a straightforward path her initial efforts at a supervised iboga retreat are disrupted by a hospital trip for a panic attack she eventually achieves the sobriety she foreshadows.

Which is great. But the shot-calling undermines the movies pro-psychedelics argument, because there is no way to control for the psychosomatic effects of starring in a documentary. Nor does Dosed do much to counter or even address objections to mushrooms or iboga as treatments, although it does include firm warnings about the need for supervision.

The movie, which was scheduled to be released in New York on Friday, will instead be available to rent or buy on Vimeo. The distributor has pledged a portion of the proceeds to fighting the coronavirus pandemic.


Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 22 minutes.

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Dosed Review: The Case for Plant-Based Recovery - The New York Times

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Are Surgical Masks the New Plague Masks? A History of the Not-Always-Helpful Ways We’ve Reacted to Pandemics – Newsweek

Posted: at 11:47 pm

While it may seem silly today, when Hippocrates defined the four humorsblood, black bile, yellow bile and phlegmthe Greek physician of the fourth century B.C. built on the best science (or natural philosophy) available, systematized in the idiom of the day's most cutting edge technology: hydraulics.

In The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee describes the Greeks preoccupation with fluid mechanics, spurred by a "revolution" in irrigation and "culminating with Archaemedes discovering his eponymous laws in his bathtub."

"This preoccupation with hydraulics also flowed into Greek medicine and pathology. To explain illnessall illnessHippocrates fashioned an elaborate doctrine based on fluids and volumes, which he freely applied to pneumonia, boils, dysentery, and hemorrhoids," Mukherjee writes. "In the normal body, these four fluids were held in perfect, if somewhat precarious, balance. In illness, this balance was upset by the excess of one fluid."

His point is simple: how we name and describe disease, and the idiom in which we understand them, affect how the disease is understood and how its sufferers are treated. While the advent of the germ theory of disease has advanced our understanding and our ability to treat diseases, we are not always more rational in how we choose, as individuals, to respond. We have better information, which can lead researchers to vaccines instead of new methods of bloodletting, but our perspectives are still colored by culture and how we interpret our place in the world.

One beneficial expression of this can be seen in how we react to the novel coronavirus, the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic spreading through 157 countries. Rather than the Greek's pursuit of internal balance, inspired by hydraulics, we think of the coronavirus in ways appropriate for the social media age. Using terms like "social distancing" and "self-quarantine," our reaction to COVID-19 is defined in relation to a connected humanity, where the best way to address a disease is to retract from the social network that spreads COVID-19.

This is, without a doubt, an improvement on the past. But just because we have made advances in science, doesn't mean we aren't prone to some of the same superstitions and modes of thinking that accompanied earlier plagues and pandemics.

With their dark, heavy robes and beaked masks, the plague doctor will forever be associated with the bubonic plague, even though they first appeared in France and Italy in the 1600s, nearly 300 years after the Black Death ripped through Europe and killed up to 60 percent of the continent's people. But while the plague doctor has become an eerie symbol of pandemic death, there's much about the outlandish costume that's more practical than you might think.

Invented by Charles de l'Orme, chief physician to three French kings and friend to the infamous Cardinal Richelieu, the plague doctor outfit included heavy gloves and clothing designed to keep people at a distance and prevent skin-to-skin contact. Plague doctors would use a staff to point out buboes and other indications of plague on patients, without touching.

While the state of medicine in the 1600sa century that saw a resurgence in bubonic plague epidemics throughout Europedoesn't map well on to modern debates about public vs. privately funded health care, the plague doctor was hired directly by towns and offered a vital public service to all rungs of society (though many became infamous for extracting additional fees). Not only did they treat the sick, but plague doctors also maintained public records, witness wills, conducted autopsies and dispensed medical advice. Some of the most respected medical minds of the era were plague doctors, including the Swiss physician Paracelsus and, strangely enough, Nostradamus, who advised against the bloodletting commonly used to treat the plague (he instead prescribed a lozenge of rosehips).

But even if they may have engaged in the best medical practices of their day, we now associate the plague doctor more with death than healing. The mask, with its skull-like visage, certainly doesn't help. But stuffed with strong-smelling substancesambergris, mint, rose petalsthe plague doctor's mask actually embodies both practical and erroneous responses to the spreading pandemic. While it undoubtedly helped ward off the smell from dead and diseased bodies, the masks were based on an outdated miasma theory of disease, which held that the plague was spread by foul odors and bad air.

We have better masks today. N95 respirators and surgical masks are worn by medical professionals treating people infected with the coronavirus. The respirators protect the wearer from inhaling the aerosolized/airborne virus. Surgical facemasks are less effective, providing only what the CDC describes as "barrier protection" from droplets and "respiratory particles." As such, their primary recommended use isn't for people hoping to avoid catching COVID-19, but for those who already have it to prevent infecting others when they cough or sneeze. But since surgical masks have been shown to decrease transmission rates during flu seasons, other authorities, including Hong Kong health officials, recommend everyone mask up.

While respirators are vastly more effective than 17th century plague masks, surgical masks aren't all that different, providing a barrier that might be effective, but are ultimately imperfect against viruses. In comparing surgical masks to plague masks, what's surprising is not how it highlights modern medicine against the backwards thinking of earlier centuries, but instead how plague doctors, even while working from imperfect premises, got a few things right, or half-right.

There's still a lot more people got disastrously wrong in historical responses to pandemics. What may be surprising is how often the failures of the past continue into the present.

On the Smithsonian Channel series Mystic Britain: Witches and Demons (above), Dr. Elma Brenner of London's Wellcome Library describes a circular diagram, or "plague charm," meant to guard against pestilence.

"These charms quite often had some kind of instruction to write them on the body, sometimes in blood," Brenner says. "But you could do other things with this. You could copy it onto a scrap of paper and carry it on your body, for instance."

While plague charms would seem out-of-place during the coronavirus pandemic, we still aren't immune to the allure of amulets, charms, talismans and snake oil. In March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission issued warning letters to companies selling "fraudulent COVID-19 products," including herbal teas, essential oils, tinctures and colloidal silver.

In 1621, Oxford University scholar Robert Burton published his masterpiece, The Anatomy of Melancholy, which purported to be a medical textbook addressing melancholia, or what we'd describe today as clinical and other forms of depression. Instead, the book is more a wild miscellany of advice, using a library's worth of sources, stretching back centuries, to address the breadth of human emotional and physical wellbeing. Along the way, Burton lists dozens of folk cures, herbal remedies, magical spells and amulets useful for fighting disease.

Some are recognizable, like St. John's Wort, which Burton describes as most effective at driving away "all phantastical spirits" when gathered "on a Friday in the hour of Jupiter" and hung in a bag around your neck. But other amulets include wolf's dung for colic and "a ring made of the hoof of an ass's right fore-foot." Precious stones, in particular, can be effective in treating just about anything.

But maybe the strangest is an amulet Burton describes his mother using to treat fevers: a spider, trapped in a nutshell and wrapped in silk. But while it's unlikely to catch on today, Burton's reaction to his mother's spider amulet carries with it a cautionary tale for our modern reaction to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Quid aranea cum febre? What has a spider to do with fever? For what antipathy?" Burton writes, doubting his mother's folk remedy. But then he does a little more reading. "Til at length, rambling amongst authors (as often I do), I found this very medicine in Dioscorides, approved by Mattiolus, repeated by Aldrovandus; I began to have a better opinion of it, and to give more credit to amulets, when I saw it in some parties answer to experience."

While initially skeptical of amulets, Burton finds himself a believer after discovering that first century Greek physicians endorsed spider nutshells. This appeal to antiquity remains a potent source of misinformation today: treatments that are described as ancient are assumed to have some efficacy, otherwise why would we have used it for so long?

As a sales tactic, it can be especially potent when wielded by scammers and practitioners of alternative medicine. Silver has a long history of medical use, since the metal is toxic to bacteria, but its uses as an antibiotic are dubious. Nevertheless, alternative medicine peddlers have heralded colloidal silver as a cure-all for all sorts of maladies, including as a treatment for the coronavirus. Far right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been advertising the effectiveness of colloidal silver toothpaste in treating COVID-19, while televangelist Jim Bakker has been sued for selling a similar silver-based tincture. So while amulets have largely been set aside in the 21st century, we are still prone to quackery and snake oil.

Modern talismans aren't just peddled by grifters and scammers either. Guns have become uniquely American amulets during the coronavirus outbreak. Buyers cite the need for protection against civil disorder and their looting neighbors. But while medical systems throughout the world are overtaxed by COVID-19, no country is experiencing the kind of social breakdown gun buyers imagine. When it comes to objects meant to ward against evil or danger, but with zero effectiveness against the coronavirus, the massive increase in firearms and ammunition exemplifies talismanic thinking.

We also remain prone to a strange form of fatalism, which valorizes the coronavirus pandemic as an unavoidable, even necessary, reaction to the state of humanity. In his Anatomy, Burton summarizes some of the positive views held by religious authorities and philosophers:

"Sickness, diseases, trouble many, but without cause; 'It may be 'tis for the good of their souls'; pars fati fuit ['twas part of their destiny], the flesh rebels against the spirit; that which hurts the one must needs help the other. Sickness is the mother of modesty, putteth us in mind of our mortality; and when we are in the full career of worldly pomp and jollity, she pulleth us by the ear, and maketh us know ourselves. Pliny calls it the sum of philosophy, 'if we could but perform that in our health, which we promise in our sickness.'"

In this formulation, disease becomes an expression of virtue, either because suffering results in some form of purification, or because it makes us humble. Similar sentiments are still expressed today. On Sunday, Florida megachurch pastor Guillermo Maldonadowho hosted a January rally for President Donald Trump, according to Right Wing Watchdescribed the coronavirus as the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy and a harbinger of the End Times. He described the virus as a test of his parishioners faith and virtue, urging them to ignore public health warnings to demonstrate they truly sought God's protection (he has since suspended services).

But while religious justifications for disease as somehow "good for the soul" still exist today, the mindset also takes on different, more modern forms. You may have seen viral tweets celebrating the return of wildlife to spaces previously dominated by humans and their pollution:

But notice also a darker undercurrent, which describes the coronavirus as a form of retributive justice; a purification for the planet, instead of the soul:

Actor Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical, Spring Breakers) offered a dramatic example of fatalism masquerading as a form of brave realism, even virtue, in an Instagram Live video posted Tuesday.

"I'm sorry. But it's a virus. I get it. Like, I respect it, but at the same time, even if everybody gets it... yeah, people are going to die, which is terrible, but inevitable," Hudgens said in the video, since deleted. Hudgens issued an apology for the video, but the mentality can be found everywhere, from St. Patrick's Day revelers to Florida retirees.

In 1722, Londoner Daniel Defoe, already famous for his novel Robinson Crusoe, published A Journal of the Plague Year, a novelistic account of the last major bubonic plague epidemic to strike England, the Great Plague of 1665. The meticulously researched historical fiction includes many of the same public reactions as those seen today, including defiant partying in a pandemic's looming shadow, talismanic thinking and the spread of snake oil cures and inaccurate medical information.

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"They ran to conjurers and witches, and all sorts of deceivers, to know what should become of them (who fed their fears, and kept them always alarmed and awake on purpose to delude them and pick their pockets), so they were as mad upon their running after quacks and mountebanks, and every practising old woman, for medicines and remedies; storing themselves with such multitudes of pills, potions, and preservatives, as they were called, that they not only spent their money but even poisoned themselves beforehand for fear of the poison of the infection; and prepared their bodies for the plague, instead of preserving them against it," Defoe writes in his fictional Journal.

While the far lower mortality rate and modern medical science mean the coronavirus pandemic will never approach the horrors of historical plagues, we can find in the past some of the same responses as today, including the rush to hoard supplies and the same proliferation of bad information. Instead of confronting death in the "heaps of dead bodies lying unburied" described by Defoe, we check and recheck the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker. We may not be seeking cures using the Philosopher's Stone, as surgeon Sigismund Bacstrom attempted in the 1700s, but we are, in our character, much the same as people were then.

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Are Surgical Masks the New Plague Masks? A History of the Not-Always-Helpful Ways We've Reacted to Pandemics - Newsweek

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