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Perth County fire departments generate buzz with social media campaign – The Beacon Herald

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Finding unique, fun ways to spread an important message was the main reason the West Perth and Perth East fire departments created what turned out to be an effective social media safety campaign the past few weeks.

Stewart Reynolds, known as Brittlestar, worked with the West Perth and Perth East fire departments on a social media fire safety campaign last month – and it’s generated some buzz! Ketchup potato chips, which are unavailable in the United States, were part of the humourous campaign. (Submitted photo)

Finding unique, fun ways to spread an important message was the main reason the West Perth and Perth East fire departments created what turned out to be an effective social media safety campaign the past few weeks.

And they relied on a Perth County native son to help put it all together.

Fire prevention officer James Marshall, along with fire Chief Bill Hunter and public educator Jess Jorritsma, began “spitballing” ideas with various members of their respective fire stations earlier this year. They were looking for a different way to spread fire safety messages because, as Marshall said, he’d done hundreds of voice-over commercials during his career and he was, quite frankly, sick of doing them.

Stratford native Stewart Reynolds, known as Brittlestar, was hired for his expertise in social media content to create professional, serious messages, but in a fun manner.

“I think it’s really important that people realize that this is a very serious message but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it,” Reynolds said. “It’s kind of a ‘wink and nod’ quality to what we put together. People realize that this is ridiculous and silly and we all know how important it is, but this is just a reminder to everyone … ”

Their short videos and photo sessions featured safe cooking in the kitchen; a reminder to use “stupid” daylight savings time to change your clocks and your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarm batteries; a plea to pull over for emergency vehicles (tied in with a not-so-subtle message of wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic) and a message about having CO alarms on every floor of your home that happened to coincide with election day in the U.S. – and ketchup potato chips.

All of the posts became popular over social media, especially on Twitter and Facebook, which acted as way to boost traffic and attract followers to the fire department’s newly developed Facebook page, Marshall said.

Marshall said they’re receiving a lot of comments from people who said a particular safety message struck home, or really made them think, which was clearly the point of it all.

Reynolds explained the majority of his home-based company’s income – which has been ongoing full time since 2013 – is from tying in his own original content with branded content, so when the fire departments asked him to tailor the message to his appealing style, he took the ball and ran with it.

“I think what’s great about what we created is the message applies everywhere,” Reynolds said.

Marshall noted they specifically created these messages in a generic manner for use literally all over the world.

“We like it that it’s timeless and anybody can use these if they need them,” Marshall said.

Comments have come in from Australia, Alabama, California and all over North America, with Marshall saying the National Fire Protection Association has also taken note.

“It is getting noted in the emergency service world,” he said, adding the fire protection association wants to use the material as an example on how to use social media, “which is pretty cool.”

One of the fun photo shoots, which coincided with the early November U.S. election, involved the presence of Lays brand ketchup chips, a delicacy that isn’t available south of the border. About three years ago, during chaotic times in the U.S., Reynolds made a popular video that turned into a gif of him eating a bag of chips looking out the window at his American “neighbour.” A couple of dozen large bags of ketchup chips were loaded in and on West Perth’s fire tanker truck, complete with the tag line “don’t worry, I’m here and I brought chips!”

“It was a fun project for everyone,” Marshall said. “It’s worked really well. It certainly taught me that I need to learn a lot about social media and trying to get the information out there and make it look good because (Reynolds) does it seamlessly.

“I think he’s having fun with us. I know there was a big smile on his face when tanker no. 3 pulled up to his house with 30-some odd bags of chips hidden in every compartment.”

The fire department is thrilled with the response to the short videos and messages they’ve revealed, but Reynolds – who jokingly admits he has a large ego – said he wasn’t surprised it generated some buzz.

“It goes back to the idea that you can have fun with something that’s a serious topic, but you can do it in an entertaining way, because it’s not like people don’t know fire safety and smoke detectors,” he said. “People know that stuff, it’s not like we’re telling them something brand new.”

Marshall agrees the project was a blast to do and a welcome break from the day-to-day routine.

“I’m not going to pretend I’m cool enough to know all the different platforms that we’re on, and we’re probably 10 years behind, but if it’s getting noticed by parents or if people are talking about it, that’s great,” he said.

“I think we’re in the right direction. The question is, what are our next steps going to be to keep our momentum? We don’t mind having fun, it’s a good group to have fun with. And if you can have fun and get the message across and do it in a way that puts a smile on somebody’s face, than to me that’s a win.”

abader@postmedia.com

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Robotics blended into media, technology classes – BayToday.ca

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A broader range of future career options are being revealed through curriculum evolution at Northern Secondary School.

Technology teacher Kevin Baker and Carmen O’Brien, media studies, have worked together to blend robotics into courses for “experiential learning” opportunities.

It’s a by-product of the “Octomester format” needed this year due to the enhanced protocols for COVID-19.

In Baker’s class, students are introduced to electrical, woodworking and hydraulics while they construct a fully operational robot to perform a practical function.

“We are learning the basics of hydraulics with wooden arms,” says Alex, as quoted in a Near North Board of Education media release. “The task is to pick up masks from the ground, and, of course, no one wants to pick them up with their hands, so we are building a robot.”

They learned a lot by trial and error, Alex explained, noting there was a lot of planning, designing, and building.

“I’m very satisfied with the completed project,” Alex said, adding that “woodworking is an amazing skill to have. I’ll definitely be using it further down the road.”

Students designed their robot to be a combination of a VEX Robotics, electrically-driven chassis with a wooden hydraulic arm mounted on top. The assignment culminates with a demonstration exercise picking up masks.

Down the hall, O’Brien’s media studies students learn how to program robots from scratch using programming blocks I the EV3 LEGO programming software.

“Students have learned how to program robots, how to use three different sensors; touch, ultrasonic, and colour sensors,” explains O’Brien. “They’ve used those sensors to detect objects that are in front of the robot and programmed the robot accordingly so that it can move autonomously through either a maze or through the First Lego League mission board, and accomplish different missions at the same time.”

O’Brien said programming can be challenging, so students develop problem-solving skills to identify which parts of the program work, which ones don’t, and why, to get their robots to successfully complete the mission or maze.

“Robotics is becoming more and more prominent in the job market,” stated O’Brien. “If we look at this pandemic, more companies are switching to automation because robots won’t get sick, won’t need time off and can work 24 hours a day.”

Incorporating robotics introduces students to a possible career avenue while also helping them develop problem-solving skills that they can use in their everyday lives, she said.

Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada.

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Right in the centre – Many in the media have failed us – myWestman.ca

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By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

After nine grinding months of daily death count statistics, there are some media types coming to some realizations. Among those realizations, the most tragic one is that the efforts of governments across Canada and around the world are not working to control C-19. After all the lockdowns and fond hopes of bending the curve, few places in the world are winning the battle. The larger the centre and the more closely packed the population, the more people are dying. The sad fact appears to be that we are not winning the battle.

That said, the overall death rates are not as high as some predicted (yet) and the overall annual death rate may not be as high as we were told to fear.

The constant stream of numbers about deaths, hospitalizations, ICU cases and recoveries is only part of the story.

And this is where the media have failed. Instead of constantly barking at governments about who has done what and who failed to do that, the media, with all their resources, all their abilities to investigate solutions, has failed miserably.  Newspapers, TV stations, web sites and radio have all hammered endlessly at spewing out the stats fed to them by the government. The daily death count has become a morbid benchmark for the media who simply pass on the stats assuming they have somehow done their job. They haven’t. Many media types will protest and have protested, that it is not their job to come up with the solutions. But it is their job to identify the possible solutions and shed light on them. In a time of danger, when there is little to lose by exploring ideas, media should have pulled out all the stops to show us there is hope and there may be a solution to C-19 some day.

Many people are hoping for a vaccine and that seems like a good idea. However, there are many who don’t want a vaccine, pointing to how sick one can become after getting the flu vaccine shot. Personally, I have heard from many who have been quite ill after getting the flu shot.

But it’s more than those things that the media have missed. It’s the possible solutions that they have missed as well.

For example, some possible solutions that I have found or been told about are as follows. A local doctor says that the use of nebulizers has been used for asthma sufferers and for treating viruses for years. They reportedly use properly and highly diluted Hydrogen Peroxide and a saline solution. The resulting solution is nebulized and it is an already approved method for asthma.

Then, just last week a man named Grant Rigby from Killarney notified us and said he has seen research that shows that virus-infected droplets of moisture spread farther and faster in dry air. It seems that maintaining 40 to 60 per cent humidity would be a good idea and he calls for building code and building operation recommendations be put in place. I bet that nobody has checked air quality or humidity in a seniors’ home in a coon’s age. Even if they did, does anyone know the optimum level? I bet that  spaces, especially those heated with gas furnaces, are way drier than 60 per cent humidity.

There are countless studies that show administering Zinc and/or Vitamin D makes a huge difference in fighting off virus infections. What are the nutrition standards for hospitals and care homes? Are media looking at that? No, they are  too busy bashing meat and milk in our diets to have time to actually look at real nutrition. Why isn’t the mainstream media promoting these things? Why isn’t the CBC using the $2.5 million a day the taxpayers send them to research some solutions? Oh right, I forget, they are too busy criticizing government and health officials and promoting every crack-pot society-changing theory that comes out of the social studies classes at universities.

For sure, governments have lagged behind all over the world on the C-19 deal, but the media has sure been behind as well. And the media will howl it’s not up to them to come up with solutions. They aren’t the elected officials. Think it through folks, we are all responsible to come up with solutions instead of just pressing our butts into the recliner and watching the daily death toll stats.

Media, politicians, civil servants, all of us, we have a duty to search and learn as opposed to just accepting the daily noise.

Disclaimer: The writer serves as a volunteer chair of the Manitoba Community Newspaper Association. The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being  the view of the MCNA board or Banner & Press staff.

Correction: In my column this week, I incorrectly said Hydrogen Peroxide could be used to treat asthma. What should have been said was that Pharmaceutical Grade Hydrogen Peroxide in a diluted saline solution had been used in private practises and clinics for a long time to combat bacterial and viral infections.

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Daughter of former Ghana president warns of social media scam around his funeral – CNN

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In a statement posted on Facebook, Zanetor Rawlings said the culprits are purporting to be her or a representative and urging individuals to make donations to funeral arrangements.
“The modus operandi of these criminals is to first engage the attention of unsuspecting people who genuinely wish to express their condolence to the MP, then they proceed to solicit for donations for the funeral arrangements,” Rawlings, who represents the Klottey Korle constituency in Ghana’s parliament, said on Friday.
Her office asked the public to be on the lookout and report anyone to the police who engages with them on social media claiming to be her.
One example that she posted shows an impersonator sending bank account information to a victim and asking them to “please try and donate if you can,” claiming the funds are for “arrangements for the funeral.”
She warned the culprits that “impersonation is a crime” and that “anyone caught will be prosecuted.” According to Ghana’s 1960 Criminal Code, a person who defrauds another using false pretenses “shall be guilty of a second degree felony.”
Her handle on her official Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts is @zanetorofficial. Funeral arrangements for her father have not yet been finalized.
On Tuesday, Rawlings posted a photo on Facebook showing her dancing with her late father. “You’re sorely missed, daddy,” read the caption.
Jerry Rawlings, who seized control of Ghana twice in military coups before becoming the country’s democratically elected president, died earlier this month at the age of 73.
He went on to oversee Ghana’s transition to multi-party democracy, winning election in 1992 and 1996 before stepping down in 2001.
Rawlings remained a power broker in Ghanaian politics while serving in various international diplomatic posts, including as the African Union’s representative in Somalia.

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