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Chickens Finally 'One-Up' Humans

COLBY, Kan. - Birds, reptiles and mammals are all descended from a common ancestor, but during the age of the dinosaurs, most mammals became nocturnal for millions of years. Birds likely owe their superior color vision to not having spent a period of evolutionary history in the dark.

"Birds have clearly one-upped us in several ways in terms of color vision," says Joseph C. Corbo, M.D., Ph.D., senior author and assistant professor of pathology and immunology and of genetics at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

According to Corbo, researchers have peered deep into the eye of the chicken and found a masterpiece of biological design.

COLBY, Kan. - 1 out of every 6 Americans do not have access to any physicians or medical care at all. Another 2 out of every 6 Americans are woefully under-insured and, due to insurance restrictions or high copay amounts, are unable to get even basic health care needs met on a consistent basis.

Among the 36 percent of U.S. adults age 18 and older who needed to see a specialist in 2007, about 8 percent reported that getting to see one was a big problem, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

While the national survey did not ask respondents why they said that getting to see a specialist was a big problem, research shows that reasons for difficulty accessing specialty care can include lack of health insurance, specialist non-participation in patients' health insurance plans, difficulty contacting specialists; lengthy wait times to get an appointment, and specialist location.

COLBY, Kan. - White roofs can have the effect of cooling temperatures within buildings. As a result, depending on the local climate, the amount of energy used for space heating and air conditioning could change, which could affect both outside air temperatures and the consumption of fossil fuels such as oil and coal that are associated with global warming.

©American Geophysical Union, photo by Maria-José Viñas
Depending on whether air conditioning or heating is affected more, this could either magnify or partially offset the impact of the roofs.

White roofs would reflect some of that heat back into space and cool temperatures, much as wearing a white shirt on a sunny day can be cooler than wearing a dark shirt.

Moreover, painting the roofs of buildings white has the potential to significantly cool cities and mitigate some impacts of global warming, a new study indicates.

Showering Kansas Kids With Love

COLBY, Kan. - In these tough economic times, even when cash is low, many Kansas parents I've talked with feel bad that they can't do the holidays up in a big way. Most seem to think that they are letting their kids down if they don't come up with a big Christmas or Hanukkah.

It's tough. Parents hard hit by the recession may wonder how to explain to their children why there aren't as many presents under the tree this year.

COLBY, Kan. - Now is the time for Congress and the President to bring about real health reform to cover every child in 2009 and provide quality, affordable health coverage for every family in America. I'm disturbed that neither of the health care bills being considered in the House or the Senate begin until 2012 or later.

TOPEKA, Kan. - A 72-year-old woman from the Wichita metro area has died from infection with the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus.

It is important to note that the number of deaths confirmed to be caused by pandemic H1N1 influenza under-represents the true number of deaths; many more deaths may have been caused by the virus in Kansas. Numbers are not complete because routine testing for H1N1 was stopped earlier this year because once a patient has acquired a flu-like illness, those with the swine flu are offered the same medications as thought with just seasonal flu.

The great majority of all influenza or pneumonia-related deaths that occur (pneumonia is the most common severe complication of influenza) do not have a confirmatory lab result associated with them.

Though the vaccine is not yet widely available in all counties to all Kansans, Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, Kansas State Health Officer, points out, "Healthy adults are susceptible to severe complications of the pandemic H1N1 flu virus."

COLBY, Kan. - Latinos now make up about 14 percent of the nation's workforce. Rural Midwestern and Great Plains states have experienced rapid increases in immigrant populations in recent years, as workers from Latin America have moved to small towns to work in the meatpacking and construction trades. This shift has heightened discussion in these states about the impacts of immigration on both local cultures, economies, service industries and crime.

Industries located in rural Kansas, such as meat-packing, create job opportunities that bring significant numbers of Latino workers and their families to our small- and medium-sized towns.

This influx of Latino migrants is often met with resistance from other Kansas residents, who fear increases in crime and poverty rates will accompany the population growth.

But a new study from North Carolina State University debunks some of those fears.

WASHINGTON - The goal of health care reform, according to the Obama administration, is to provide quality, affordable health care for every American while preserving what works in today's system, expanding choice, and containing costs.

In the first years, the Health Insurance Exchange is targeted to serve employees of small businesses, the self-employed and the uninsured. That means that tens of millions of Americans will be eligible to purchase the plan in the first year. The only place the public option will be available is in the 'Exchange.'

The public option will not be limited to just a few Americans; it will be available for purchase, from day one, by all Americans that are uninsured, self-employed, or work for a small employer with less than 26 employees. Also, that first year, even those who work for large employers will be eligible to purchase the public option plan, provided that their employers did not offer them an opportunity to participate in a plan through their jobs. The second year all of those just named, the uninsured and self-employed will still be able to buy the public option but it will also be extended to even larger small employers, including those with less than 51 employees. By the third year, small employers with less than 101 employees will be folded in, including all of the self-employed and all those uninsured.

Want to read more posts by Lola Wheeler? We surely have more! By default, this page only lists some of the recent stories by this writer. Most of the stories that our authors post are very timeless and relevant, regardless of when their articles are originally published. We encourage you to look back through all of the archives for Lola Wheeler. The archives for this author are listed left sidebar on this page.

To see the rest of this author's entries, just click on any of the months shown in the left column of this page!

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About This Page

This is the main archives page for Lola Wheeler. To learn more about this author, you can also read a short biography of Lola Wheeler here.

Just a few of the most current posts by Lola Wheeler are excerpted in the center of this page. However, we have links to this author's complete archives, listed below.

Archives for Lola Wheeler

This list shows all of the stories ever published in the Kansas Free Press by Lola Wheeler, organized by date:

Other Archives

Do you want to browse some more? You can find archives for other KFP writers by reviewing our complete Directory of Authors and Writers here.

Interested in specific topics perhaps? You may wish to poke around in our Table of Contents.

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