Midland County News

January is National Radon Action Month

  • December 26 2014
January is National Radon Action Month

January is National Radon Action Month

Test.  Fix. Save a life.

Nearly ONE in EIGHT Michigan homes would be expected to have an elevated radon level, and in some counties, more than 40 % of the homes could have problems! Still unsure “How can Radon affect you?” Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas that can accumulate in your home and cause cancer in you and your children. The primary source of Radon usually comes from surrounding soil entering through openings in your homes foundation floor and lower basement wall openings. Sump openings, other penetrations caused by plumbing, wiring, and ductwork not properly sealed may allow radon into your home. Exposure over time can increase your risk of lung cancer. In fact, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.  ALL HOMES SHOULD BE TESTED FOR RADON!

• The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that radon is responsible for about 20,000 lung cancer deaths in the U.S. each year. Furthermore, it is estimated that one in every 15 homes nationwide have a high radon level of at or above the recommended radon action level of 4 Picocuries (pCi/L) per liter of air.

• The Surgeon General of the United States issued a Health Advisory, warning Americans about the health risk from exposure to radon in indoor air. The Nation’s Chief Physician urged Americans to test their homes to find out how much radon they might be breathing.   

• The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that they had launched an International Radon Project involving more than 20 countries in a partnership to identify and promote programs that reduce the health impact of radon. WHO acknowledges that radon is an international problem. Epidemiological studies confirm that radon in homes increases the risk of lung cancer in the general population. Other health effects of radon have not consistently been demonstrated.

• A report by the Michigan Public Health Institute estimates that 600 new lung cancer cases in Michigan each year are attributable to exposure of elevated indoor radon gas levels.

“However, says Robert Wolfe from the Midland County Department of Public Health, because there are no warning symptoms like headache, nausea, fatigue, etc, people tend to downplay the health effects and ignore the possibility that there might be a silent killer in their homes. Two adjacent houses may have drastically different radon levels. Any kind of home can have elevated levels -- new or old, drafty or well-sealed, and basement or non-basement. The only known health effect is an increased risk of lung cancer”.

Midland County Homes in 2014 have experienced very low Radon levels. Midland’s normal calculated background level of radon was 1.13 pC/L for 2014. Yet in 2014 we had seen a slight increase in homes exceeding the action level of 4 Picocuries (pCi/L) per liter of air. There were seven (7) homes that had levels exceeding the action level. Since 1992, only 69 homes exceeded the action level where repairs were recommended. The average level of the exceeded test results was 6.5 pC/L. Radon problems can be fixed. In most homes, cost is similar to common home repairs, like painting or having a new water heater installed.

Building healthier homes starts from the ground up. New homes constructed should have radon mitigation systems installed to further reduce potential health risks from radon gas. If you’re thinking about building a new home, insist on having your contractor install a radon reduc

Pere Marquette Rail-Trail Improvements are underway!

  • December 17 2014
Pere Marquette Rail-Trail Improvements are underway!

Work is underway on the Averill Rollway Trail-Head project adjacent to the Pere Marquette Rail Trail.  Mild December weather has allowed crews to begin construction of a new trailhead parking lot and pavilion at the scenic Averill rollway site, an area rich in our Michigan’s logging history.  Construction will be stopped as winter moves in, but will recommence when weather breaks this spring.  Completion of the project will provide a new access location for the trail, as well as a historical look at the significant location that was Averill in the 1880's logging era.

The Averill improvement and the replacement of two miles of trail surface at North Bradley are the results of a Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant that was awarded to Midland County in 2013.

The North Bradley trail surface improvements will take place in 2015.

Midland: Exploring Our Future

  • November 26 2014
Midland: Exploring Our Future

Five Steps To Prevent A Scam

  • November 24 2014
Five Steps To Prevent A Scam

FIVE STEPS TO TAKE WHEN IT’S NOT YOUR DEBT THEY’RE CALLING ABOUT
If a debt collector is contacting you about a debt you know you don’t owe, explaining your case can be an uphill battle. Whether it’s a case of mistaken identity, an honest error or identity theft, Sheriff Scott Stephenson recommends the following five steps to fight back.
If you’re receiving calls for a debt you don’t owe, it could be a case of mistaken identity. Perhaps you share the same name, or even inherited an old phone number of the person who actually owes the debt. You could also be the victim of zombie debt, which is where you paid the original debt off but it wasn’t recorded as paid or the statute of limitations on the debt has expired and the debt collector is trying to get you to pay for a debt you can no longer be taken to court over.

A final common cause of being hounded for a debt you don’t owe is fraud. You could be a victim of identity theft where someone has opened up lines of credit in your name OR the “debt collector” could actually be an identity thief trying to get you to divulge personal financial information.

If you’re being pursued for a debt you don’t think you owe Sheriff Stephenson recommends taking the following five steps:

  1. Request written proof of the debt. By law, a debt collection agency must provide you with a validation notice within five days of contacting you about the debt. If you would like to get verification of the debt, send a written request to the debt collector within 30 days of receiving the validation notice. This written proof can help you determine if the callers are actually identity thieves, or if you really do owe the debt. Once you have the name and contact information for the agency, confirm they are a legitimate debt collector with your local Better Business Bureau.
  2. Correct any errors. After confirming you do not owe the debt, you may want to correct any incorrect submission related to the debt captured on your credit report. Contact the company that has provided the information to the reporting bureau by writing a detailed letter and include copies of pertinent documents which back your case. The FTC provides additional information on how to report errors.
  3. Weed out fraud and errors. Check your credit report with the three major credit reporting bureaus, Experian, Equifax and Transunion every year by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com. If you’ve been the victim of fraud or identity theft, you may also be eligible to view your reports for free. By keeping a close eye on your credit reports, you’ll be able to more quickly identify fraudulent activity or mistakes and make corrections before the debt collector calls.
  4. Tell them to stop contacting you. According to federal law, a debt collector cannot continue to contact you – at work or home – if you tell them to stop. After confirming you do not owe the debt in question, you may cease all contact from the debt collection company by sending a letter (via certified mail) to the debt collector advising them to cease contact. Keep a copy of the letter and the return receipt for verification purposes. Any further contact to you from the debt collector except to advise you there will be no further contact, or to inform you that the agency is filing legal action, is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
  5. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Familiarize yourself with the consumer protections provided under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Included are ru

Ebola Information

  • November 13 2014
Ebola Information

In the past few months, the United States has been dealing with the first few Ebola cases on American soil.  However, all the cases in the United States have been linked to the current outbreak in West Africa. The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa. Although the risk of an Ebola outbreak in the United States is very low, federal, state, and local partners are preparing and taking precautions to prevent this from happening.  In Midland County, planning and preparation continue in order to protect the health of residents.  In the unlikely event that Ebola affects Midland County directly, residents will be provided all appropriate information they need to know to keep them safe.  For the most current information, please visit www.michigan.gov/ebola or call the Health Department at (989)832-6766.

Ebola FAQs

http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/2014-west-africa/qa.html

Ebola Information

www.michigan.gov/ebola

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