This week is Occupational Safety and Health Week here in North America and since many of you come to our blog by way of our Chamber website, we are mostly connected with safety and health via the workplace. Our Live Healthy Brown County newsletter will come out tomorrow, as it usually does, but this week it will include a new feature – volunteer opportunities. You may be thinking that is because I’m always looking for volunteers for lots of things. And, I do that, yes – but we are including it because volunteering is good for your health! I was always told it helping others is good for the soul, but I’m thrilled to find it is more than that.
A few bits of information on this topic:
- Improvement of cardiovascular health. Being a volunteer can lower your blood pressure and improve heart problems. One study, done by the University of Michigan Research Center, showed that volunteers with a history of heart problems had reduced chest pain and lower cholesterol levels compared with non-volunteers.
- Lower risk of death. Another study on older adults who volunteer regularly demonstrated that those who spend time volunteering may enjoy a longer lifespan.
- Better mental functioning. Concerned about preserving your brain power as you age? An increase in cognitive (mental) functioning is yet another potential benefit of volunteering.
- Overall mind and body improvement. Volunteers have been shown to have reduced anxiety and depression and an overall sense of well-being. Volunteers have also been found to recover more quickly from surgery, sleep better, and have healthier immune systems compared to people who do not volunteer.
Volunteering provides many benefits to both mental and physical health.
- Volunteering increases self-confidence. Volunteering can provide a healthy boost to your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity. And the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals.
- Volunteering combats depression. Reducing the risk of depression is another important benefit of volunteering. A key risk factor for depression is social isolation. Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system, which in turn protects you against stress and depression when you’re going through challenging times.
- Volunteering helps you stay physically healthy. Volunteering is good for your health at any age, but it’s especially beneficial in older adults. Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not, even when considering factors like the health of the participants. Volunteering has also been shown to lessen symptoms of chronic pain or heart disease.
The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research has found a significant connection between volunteering and good health.
The report shows that volunteers have greater longevity, higher functional ability, lower rates of depression and less incidence of heart disease. The report is available by clicking here.
“Volunteering makes the heart grow stronger,” said David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation. “More than 61 million Americans volunteer to improve conditions for people in need and to unselfishly give of themselves. While the motivation is altruistic, it is gratifying to learn that their efforts are returning considerable health benefits.”
The Health Benefits of Volunteering documents major findings from more than 30 rigorous and longitudinal studies that reviewed the relationship between health and volunteering, with particular emphasis on studies that seek to determine the causal connection between the two factors. The studies, which were controlled for other factors, found that volunteering leads to improved physical and mental health.
Research suggests that volunteering is particularly beneficial to the health of older adults and those serving 100 hours annually. According to the report:
- A study of adults age 65 and older found that the positive effect of volunteering on physical and mental health is due to the personal sense of accomplishment an individual gains from his or her volunteer activities.
- Another study found that volunteering led to lower rates of depression in individuals 65 and older.
- A Duke study found that individuals who volunteered after experiencing heart attacks reported reductions in despair and depression – two factors that that have been linked to mortality in post-coronary artery disease patients.
- An analysis of longitudinal data found that individuals over 70 who volunteered approximately 100 hours had less of a decline in self-reported health and functioning levels, experienced lower levels of depression, and had more longevity.
- Two studies found that volunteering threshold is about 100 hours per year, or about two hours a week. Individuals who reached the threshold enjoyed significant health benefits, although there were not additional benefits beyond the 100-hour mark.
“This is good news for people who volunteer,” said Robert Grimm, Director of the Corporation’s Office of Research and Policy Development and Senior Counselor to the CEO. “This research is particularly relevant to Baby Boomers, who are receiving as well as giving when they help others. Just two hours of volunteering a week can bring meaningful benefits to a person’s body and mind.”
Volunteering in America: 2007 State Trends and Rankings in Civic Life, a report that includes numerous measures on volunteering and civic engagement. The Health Benefits of Volunteering report builds on that by showing states with higher volunteer rates also have better health and that there is a significant statistical relationship between states with higher volunteer rates and lower incidents of mortality and heart disease.
“There is now a convergence of research leading to the conclusion that helping others makes people happier and healthier. So the word is out – it’s good to be good. Science increasingly says so,” said Dr. Stephen Post, a professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and co-author of the forthcoming book “Why Good Things Happen to Good People: The Exciting New Research That Proves the Link Between Doing Good and Living a Longer, Healthier, Happier Life.”
This follow-up report issued today brings more evidence that volunteering produces significant health benefits. Those who gave social support to others had lower rates of mortality than those who did not – even when controlling for socioeconomic status, education, marital status, age, gender, and ethnicity, the report stated.
So, look for the column tomorrow to find ways to volunteer and we will give you links for even more ways to volunteer. In fact, here is the link to the Volunteer Center of Brown County’s community database to search for more!
From our friends at Hawkins, Ash, Baptie & Co. an article near and dear to my-parent-of-a-college-student-and-another-high-school-senior heart!
College Financial Aide Changes for 2011-2012
The Department of Education recently announced numerous adjustments to the Federal Need Analysis Formula. This is the calculation that takes information from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and determines the expected family contribution (EFC). The EFC is the amount each college uses to award federal need-based financial aid.
For 2011-2012, the Income Protection Allowance for a dependent student has jumped from $4,500 (for 2010-2011) to $5,250 (for 2011-2012). This is the amount of income a dependent student may earn in the 2010 calendar year before excess income impacts the EFC. Parents of a dependent student are also permitted an Income Protection Allowance based on the family size and the number of dependents in college.
Certain students qualify for a zero EFC, meaning their families are not expected to contribute anything toward the cost of higher education, and thus they are eligible for more financial aid. For the 2011-2012 award year, the income threshold to be eligible for a zero EFC is $31,000, up from $30,000 in 2010-2011.
Back to Cheryl here: wow! a whole $1,000 increase on the EFC (estimated family contribution and $750 whole dollars in student income??? Have these people been to the grocery store or gas station lately? How about writing a check for the water or power or phone bill??? Seriously?!
We are in the home stretch! As you probably know, there is a fabulous addition to downtown De Pere that has been in the planning and fundraising stages since the old Claude Allouez Bridge came down – the Katherine Harper Riverwalk and Nature Viewing Pier. Today, I bring you two exciting updates!
The process toward the permit has been a long & twisted road with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the finish line is in sight – except, we need your help.
The project has a total price tag of $2.1 million dollars and NONE of it is public money (i.e. tax dollars) – it is all private donations. We are only $300,000 away from our goal. Won’t you help us? There are still some key sponsorship areas available. If you are interested in more information or just want to write the project a check, please contact James Boyd at 336-0305 or myself at 338-0000. You can mail your check to the Chamber at 441 Main Avenue, De Pere WI 54115 made out to the Katherine Harper Riverwalk and Nature Viewing Pier.
Please help us get this project across the finish line and begin construction on this amazing project as soon as possible! Details are below …
If yes, then mark your calendar:
US 41 Project Business Group Meeting County G (Main Avenue) Interchange
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) invites you to attend a business group meeting for the County G (Main Avenue) Interchange.
BUSINESS GROUP MEETING
September 29, 2010 | 7 a.m. – 9 a.m.
St. Norbert College – F.K. Bemis International Center Room 20 (lower level) 299 Third Street, De Pere, WI (Parking available in Lot #14 located on Grant Street across from the Kress Inn)
Presentation at 7:15 a.m.
This meeting will present draft transportation management plans (TMP) that are being developed for the area including:
- Construction staging scenarios created for County G (Main Avenue) Interchange
- Alternative access routes
- Staging concepts and schedule for remainder of Orange to Glory segment including mainline US 41, Grant Street, and Glory Road
Transportation management plans are important because they determine how construction will be staged and what strategies are needed to keep traffic moving during the construction zone. This is an opportunity for you to provide input as WisDOT refines TMP plans for this area.
In addition to the business group meeting, project staff will be available to hold small group workshops with interested businesses to discuss specific issues. These meetings can be located at your business or at WisDOT offices and can be geared towards your specific questions.
If you would like to receive US 41 Project updates or notices of future meetings related to the County G Interchange via e-mail, please submit your e-mail address to Wendy Knaus at email@example.com.
If you have questions or would like to schedule a workshop, please contact one of the following WisDOT staff members:
US 41 Project Communication Manager (920) 492-4109 Kris.Schuller@dot.wi.gov
Project Manager (920) 492-4112 Chad.DeGrave@dot.wi.gov
If you would like would like information on the area road constructions projects, visit our website here. We keep this area update with news as soon as we know it!
USDA Rural Development Notices of Funding Availability
Housing Preservation Grant Program (HPG): USDA Rural Development is accepting applications for the Rural Housing Preservation Grant Program. This program provides funding to intermediaries such as town or county governments, public agencies, federally recognized Indian Tribes, and non-profit and faith-based
organizations. The grants are then distributed to qualified homeowners or owners of multi-family rental properties or cooperative dwellings who rent to low- and very-low-income residents. The grants can be used to weatherize and repair existing structures, install or improve plumbing or provide access to people with disabilities.
Complete applications must be received by close of business on June 28, 2010.
For further details about eligibility rules and application procedures, visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rd/NOFAs/2010/housing_2010-9648.pdf.
Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP): USDA is accepting applications for grants and loan guarantees in the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). This program provides funds for the purchase of renewable energy systems, make energy efficiency improvements and to conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy systems for agriculture producers and rural small businesses in eligible areas. Funding will be available in the form of grants and loan guarantees. Eligible projects include installing renewable energy
systems such as wind turbines, solar, geothermal, biomass, anaerobic digesters, hydroelectric, and ocean or
hydrogen systems. In addition, applicants may apply for combination loan guarantee and grant funding.
Complete applications must be received by close of business on June 30, 2010. For further details about eligibility rules and application procedures, visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/mo/FY%202010%20REAP%20NOFA.pdf.
Public Television Digital Transition Grant Program: Applications are being accepted for grants to help rural public television stations purchase digital broadcasting equipment. Some rural public television licensees have yet to complete a full digital transition of their stations. Funding under the grant program can be used to acquire, lease, and/or install facilities and software necessary to the digital transition. The amount of funding available is $4.5 million. Public television stations which serve rural areas are eligible for Public Television Station Digital Transition Grants. Complete applications must be received by close of business on June 24, 2010. For further details about eligibility rules and application procedures, visit http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-9452.pdf.
To View Future Notices of Funding Availability or all Current Notices, visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/rd/nofas/
New Eligible Areas Proposed for Rural Housing Programs – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development has recently completed a review of eligible areas in Wisconsin that can receive financing through available Housing programs to assist rural communities and residents. Financial assistance available through USDA Rural Development is limited to rural areas. USDA Rural Development is required to complete a periodic review of all Wisconsin counties to identify areas, in each county, where area designations are changing from non-rural to rural or areas that no longer qualify as rural. The review has been completed for the counties of Brown, Calumet, Chippewa, Dane, Eau Claire, Fond du Lac, Kenosha, La Crosse, Manitowoc,
Outagamie, Ozaukee, Racine, Rock, Sheboygan, Washington, Waukesha, and Winnebago. Information on the proposed changes can be found on the USDA Rural Development website at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/wi/programs/rhs/proposedineligible.htm. All other counties were reviewed with no changes proposed at this time. If you would like to provide comments on the findings and proposed changes, please send your
comments to USDA Rural Development, 4949 Kirschling Court Stevens Point, WI 54481, attention Rural Housing Programs; or via e-mail at RD.SFH.SO@wi.usda.gov. Comments are welcomed for 90 days or through
July 27, 2010.
On Monday, the Wisconsin Assembly’s Partnership for a Stronger Economy will be holding a meeting in Manitowoc with business leaders, lawmakers, and state officials. Representative Tom Nelson has extended an invitation to both myself and our members to be part of this work group.
The Partnership is a bipartisan working group that has been charged with finding ways to make Wisconsin a better place to do business. Additional information about the Partnership and Monday’s meeting is below. I’ve extended invitations to many people individually since I received it yesterday, but, please let me know if you would like to attend by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or commenting here.
Information on the meeting is below:
Partnership for a Stronger Economy (PSE) hearing from 1:00-3:30 p.m. on Monday May 24th in the auditorium at Orion Energy Systems 2210 Woodland Drive in Manitowoc.
- Welcome and Introductions: Orion Energy Systems
- Economic Development Needs of NE Wisconsin
- Legislation Session Wrap Up
- Department of Commerce: continuity and consistency
- Wisconsin Competitiveness Study
- Follow-up on Ideas from Previous Meetings
- New Initiatives
- Next Meetings: 1 p.m. Friday June 25th and 1 p.m. Monday August 30th
There is website on the Partnership that includes information such as biographies of members, upcoming meetings, and media articles. The link is: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/assembly/committees/wipartnership/index.htm
The previous meetings are on Wisconsin Eye. Click on “Video Archive,” “Around the State,” and “Public Meetings” to reach the Partnership video links (the meetings were in December and November of last year, scroll down the page to find them).
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has recently notified us that the America’s Recovery Capital (ARC) Loan Program will be offered until funding runs out or until September 30, 2010, whichever comes first. If you or someone you know owns a small business, see below to help determine if the business may be eligible for this unique loan program.
Why should you take the time to check into this?
- ARC loans are interest-free to the borrower, and have no SBA fees associated with them, and are 100% guaranteed to your financial institution by the SBA.
- ARC loans are deferred-payment loans of up to $35,000 available to established, viable, for-profit small businesses that need short-term help to make their principal and interest payments on existing qualifying debt.
- The loan funds get disbursed over a period of up to six months, but repayment will not begin until 12 months after the final disbursement. After the 12-month deferral period, borrowers will repay the loan principal over a five year period.
If you can answer “yes” to the following questions, you will likely qualify:
- Have you been in business for at least two years?
- Have you had positive cash flow for at least one of the last two years?
- Do you have enough qualifying small business debt? This debt includes mortgages, term and revolving lines of credit, capital leases, credit cards, and notes payable to vendors, suppliers and utilities, as well as personal debts used for business purposes.
- Are you experiencing a financial hardship?
Contact your lender for information or click here for help.
No, not birds or buds or blooms … Orange road construction barrels are the official symbol of summer!
If you travel north-south from Oshkosh to Appleton, you have (and are) experiencing the Highway 41 construction. If you are in northeastern Wisconsin, you already know of the construction on Highway 172 still underway, you probably also know that Military Avenue is undergoing a re-construction project — but wait! Don’t call yet! There is more. Lots more to come!
Beginning next Monday, May 3rd, the business 41/Ashland Avenue exit off Highway 41 Northbound will close until August 6th and Ashland Avenue southbound to Highway 41 will also be closed for the same time due to the building of a multi-lane roundabout and reconfiguration of 9th Street and Glory Road at the area.
With 172 being closed as well, that means businesses along Ashland from Highway 41 just north of Main Avenue in De Pere north through Ashwaubenon and into Green Bay will have NO DIRECT ACCESS TO OR FROM either HIGHWAY 41 OR HIGHWAY 172 for nearly all of the Summer of 2010. (this includes the Brown County Fairgrounds, btw). 8th and 9th Streets will NO LONGER BE ACCESSIBLE TO Ashland Avenue and will be closed at their northern ends.
Beginning tomorrow, our website www.deperechamber.org will have both maps, detours and updates. They won’t all be up tomorrow, but will be flowing as more information comes to us. We are working with the City of De Pere to get detours established and those will be posted and signed.
We are setting up a weekly email communication that will include updates and progress reports. There will be weekly Business meetings convened by the contractor and the DOT, but if that is something you don’t want to attend on a weekly basis, email our office at Construction@deperechamber.org and we will add you to our list.
Today at 1pm, at the construction trailer at Glory Road and Holmgren Way, there is the pre-construction business meeting. You are welcome to attend.
Additionally, if you are in the construction area, we have a sign permit in process for you to place signs along Ashland that say “road open to XYZ Business.” We need to know you want to put up a sign to include you in our permit however, please email that intent to Construction@deperechamber.org as well.
Everyone knows this is a frustrating time of year, but the Chamber will work with you as best we can to mitigate the negative impacts. Please contact us with questions or to be part of the communications circle.
And, the best news is … there will be more to come! GV at Dickenson Road (far east end of Chicago Street) in Ledgeview will have a closure as a roundabout is built this summer and also Scheuring Road at Lawrence Road will be partially closed due to the construction on the east side of *that* roundabout that will begin this summer in preparation for the mammoth Highway 41 expansion that begins in Brown County in earnest next summer!!
We commit to keeping you informed and to help you and your customers make the best of the time while all these improvements to our transportation systems are constructed. Yes, it is frustrating and blindingly inconvenient, but when done, will be tremendous for our vital transportation corridors.
“FINANCING AND GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING FOR SMALL BUSINESS”
May 7th, 2010
711 E. Boldt Way Appleton, WI 54911
Warch Campus Center
(Julie Esch Hurvis Room)
LEARN HOW TO DO BUSINESS WITH THE GOVERNMENT
MEET WITH LENDERS TO REVIEW FINANCING OPTIONS
MEET WITH SBA AND WISCONSIN PROCUREMENT REPRESENTATIVES
RSVP: Amanda at 920-380-0061 or Amanda.email@example.com
In the Green Bay Sun on April 29th, there will be 16 extreme close up pics of features of buildings in De Pere. Contestants are going to have to drive to De Pere to try to figure out where the buildings are. They will have a week to do it. Contest winners will get Celebrate De Pere Passes, food vouchers, and a few other goodies yet to be determined.
Check out the Sun this Thursday and then find these buildings! It is the 20th Annual Celebrate De Pere next month, what could be better than to go for free!!