Saturday, December 21, 2013

One in Five American Deaths Now Associated with Obesity

obesity (Photo credit: Iqbal Osman1)
By Dr. Mercola
A new report reveals staggering statistics about the extent to which the obesity epidemic is robbing Americans of their health and longevity. Columbia University and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation examined the real impact of obesity on death rates.1
The study found that nearly one in five US deaths is associated with obesity, which is more than three times higher than previous estimates.
The effect varies somewhat by your gender, race and age. The younger you are, the greater obesity’s influence on your mortality. And contrary to a previous study2, obesity is not protective if you’re elderly. The Columbia study found the following percentage of deaths associated with high BMI (body mass index):
  • Black women: 26.8 percent of deaths were associated with a BMI of 25 or above (overweight or obesity)
  • White women: 21.7 percent
  • White men: 15.6 percent
  • Black men: 5 percent
The authors wrote:
“We believe that it is imperative for the US public and those who construct policy for that public to recognize that population health and more than a century of steady gains in life expectancy are being jeopardized by the obesity epidemic. Indeed, evidence has already implicated high rates of obesity as a significant contributor to the United States' relatively low life expectancy among high-income countries.”

But It May Be Even Worse...

Obesity rates could be much worse than these studies suggest, for a couple of reasons. First, the number of Americans who are overweight or obese increases every year and is already considerably higher today than it was in 2006, the final year for data used in the Columbia University study.3
Secondly and more importantly, the study uses BMI to gauge obesity, which is a seriously flawed index  that doesn’t take into account percentage body fat, or thedistribution of that fat.
When those variables are factored in, the number of people who meet the criteria for obesity is MUCH higher—possibly even twice as high! Even without adjusting for body fat, if obesity trends are accurate, societal impacts will be far worse by 2030. Rates of “extreme obesity” (people with a BMI above 40) have risen by 350 percent over the past few years.4
As far as simple indicators go, waist size is a better predictor of heart disease risk than body weight or BMI. Determining your waist size is easy. With a tape measure, figure the distance around the smallest area of your abdomen below your rib cage and above your belly button. If you're not sure if you have a healthy waist circumference, a general guide is:
  • For men, between 37 and 40 inches is overweight and more than 40 inches is obese
  • For women, 31.5-34.6 inches is overweight and more than 34.6 inches is obese

Obesity as a Harbinger of Death

Unfortunately, obesity statistics are a bit tricky to determine because obesity itselfis never listed as the cause of death. Instead, the complications of obesity, such as heart disease or diabetes, are blamed for a person’s death. If you are obese, your risk for a number of serious health problems multiplies. Eight obesity-related diseases account for a staggering 75 percent of healthcare costs in the US. These diseases include:
Type 2 diabetesNon-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
HypertensionPolycystic ovarian syndrome
Lipid problemsCancer (especially breast, endometrial, colon, gallbladder, prostate and kidney5)
Heart diseaseDementia

The four diseases in the left column are associated with metabolic syndrome, which is a common factor in obesity. However, several other diseases fall within this category as well, which are listed on the right. And many more could be added to that list. According to the Surgeon General, in addition to the above, obesity increases your risk for asthma, sleep disorders (including sleep apnea), depression, pregnancy complications, and poor surgical outcomes.5
While obesity is associated with metabolic syndrome and the diseases mentioned above, it is not their cause; it is simply a marker. The common link among them is metabolic dysfunction, and excessive sugar/fructose consumption is a primary driver. Please realize that you can have metabolic dysfunction and be prone to “obesity-related diseases,” even if your body weight is fine—you can’t rely on your BMI alone, as it won’t give you the complete picture.

Societal Forces Promote Rampant Metabolic Dysfunction

Socioeconomic forces and a food system that is stacked against healthful eating make it extremely difficult for many people to adopt a healthful lifestyle. This is compounded by the vast sea of misinformation out there, some of which comes directly from government regulators and so-called nutrition experts.
One dogma that has contributed to the ever-worsening health of Western society is "a calorie is a calorie." This is one of the first things dieticians are taught in school, but unfortunately, it is completely FALSE! A second common myth is that obesity results from eating too much and exercising too little—i.e., consuming more calories than you're expending. This has led to the view that obese people are simply "lazy."
But there are societal forces at work that go beyond personal habits. An increasing number of infants are even becoming obese, and "laziness" is certainly not a label that can easily be affixed to an infant. The societal changes over the past 60 years have created what amounts to the perfect storm for eroding human health—a dramatically changing food environment, combined with reduced exercise and increased exposure to a wide array of industrial and agricultural chemicals that have adverse biological effects.
Key among these changes to our food environment is the excessive use of sugar, added to virtually all processed foods primarily in the form of high fructose corn syrup. And this is where the fallacy of "a calorie is a calorie" comes into play, because a calorie from fat does not impact your body in the same way as a calorie from sugar. The single largest factor driving obesity is excess sugar in the Western diet, specifically fructose.
The problem is further inflamed by the recent proclamation by the American Medical Association that “obesity is a disease,” which ignores obesity’s root causes and calls Big Pharma to the rescue. Conveniently, two new prescription weight loss drugs have recently been released, and two obesity vaccines are under development. Drugs are not the answer, no matter how convincing their advertising campaigns may be. The only way to reverse these trends is with diet and lifestyle changes.

Similar to Drinking Alcohol, Excessive Sugar Acts as a Poison

According to Dr. Robert Lustig, one of the leading experts on childhood obesity, excessive amounts of sugar can serve as a toxin that contributes to obesity in a big way, as well as many chronic and lethal diseases. Research shows that fructose can activate taste cells found on your pancreas, which can increase your body’s secretion of insulin and raise your risk of type 2 diabetes. Dietary sugar combines with amino acids to create advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in your body, and these compounds cause damage that leads to disease and premature aging.
The idea of losing weight by counting calories simply isn’t a valid approach because your body metabolizes glucose and fructose along two distinctly different pathways. Fructose is broken down very much like alcohol, damaging your liver and causing mitochondrial and metabolic dysfunction in the same way as ethanol and other toxins. Your liver immediately converts most of the fructose you eat into fat, for storage. So, you get fat because you are eating the wrong types of calories, as opposed to too many calories, and the problem is amplified by not getting enough exercise.
The average American consumes one-third of a pound of sugar per day, half of which is fructose. As a standard recommendation, I strongly advise keeping your TOTAL fructose consumption below 25 grams per day. You may find thisfructose chart helpful in estimating how many grams of fructose you are consuming each day.

Tips for Conquering Obesity, Once and For All

For optimal health and longevity, it is necessary to return to a lifestyle closer to our hunter-gatherer roots. We've strayed too far from the foods we were designed to eat, so going back to basics with a focus on fresh, unprocessed whole foods, with a minimal amount of sugar and grain, will prevent most people from becoming overweight. Addressing the following diet and lifestyle factors is your best way of achieving a long and healthy life!
  • Proper Food Choices
  • For a comprehensive nutrition guide, refer to my optimal nutrition plan. Generally speaking, focus on consuming whole, ideally organic, unprocessed foods that come from healthy, sustainable and preferably local sources. For the highest nutritional benefit, eat a good portion of your food raw.
    Although there are clearly individual differences, most people would do well to  strive for a diet high in healthful fats (as high as 50-70 percent of the calories consumed), moderate amounts of high quality protein, and abundant vegetables. Non-vegetable carbohydrates should be a fairly small part of your overall diet. For sweetening, you can use the herb stevia, or natural cane sugar and honey in very small amounts.
  • High Quality Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats
  • Increase your intake of omega-3 fats and reduce your intake of processed omega-6 fats. An animal-based omega-3 fat like krill oil is essential for heart and brain health.
  • Comprehensive Exercise Program, including High-Intensity Exercise
  • Even if you're eating the best diet in the world, you still need to exercise—and exercise effectively—if you wish to optimize your health. You should be incorporating core-strengthening exercises, strength training, and the right kind of stretching, as well as high-intensity “burst” type activities. Consider combining these with intermittent fasting to supercharge your metabolism. Extreme endurance training has been scientifically proven to do more harm than good so should be avoided.
  • Optimize Your Vitamin D
  • The important factor when it comes to vitamin D is your serum level, which should ideally be between 50-70 ng/ml year-round, and the only way to determine this is with a blood test. Sun exposure or a safe tanning bed is the preferred method, but a vitamin D3 supplement can be used when necessary. Most adults need about 8,000 IU's of vitamin D per day to achieve serum levels of 40 ng/ml.
    If you take supplemental vitamin D, you also need to make sure you're getting enough vitamin K2, as these two nutrients work in tandem to ensure calcium is distributed into the proper areas in your body. Vitamin K2 deficiency is actually what produces the symptoms of vitamin D toxicity, which includes inappropriate calcification that can lead to hardening of your arteries. Fermented vegetables can be a great source of vitamin K2 if you ferment your own using the proper starter culture designed to generate vitamin K2 like the one we will offer later this year. Gouda and Edam cheese are also good sources.
  • Stress Reduction and Emotional Housekeeping
  • There are often emotional factors underlying weight gain, so it’s important to do some regular emotional housekeeping. In fact, your emotional state plays a roll in nearly every physical disease, and yet it’s the factor most often neglected. Stress has a direct impact on inflammation, which underlies many of the chronic diseases that kill people prematurely every day. Meditation, prayer, yoga, and energy psychology tools such as Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) are all viable options that can help you relieve stress and clear out hidden emotional blocks.
  • Avoid as Many Chemicals, Toxins, and Pollutants as Possible
  • This includes tossing out your toxic household cleaners, soaps, personal hygiene products, cosmetics, air fresheners, bug sprays, pesticides and insecticides, just to name a few, and replacing them with non-toxic alternatives.
  • Earthing, or Grounding Yourself to the Earth
  • When walking barefoot on the earth, free electrons transfer from the ground into your body through the soles of your feet. These free electrons are some of the most potent antioxidants known to man. Experiments have shown that these electrons decrease pain and inflammation, improve heart rate, promote sound sleep, and make your blood less viscous, which has a beneficial impact on your health.
    Lack of grounding due to widespread use of rubber or plastic-soled shoes has contributed to the rise of modern diseases by allowing chronic inflammation to proliferate unchecked. So the more you can walk barefoot on the ground, the better. Ideal locations are the beach, close to or in the water, and on dewy grass. If you spend much time indoors, you may want to consider investing in an Earthing mat.
  • Drink plenty of fresh, pure water every day.
  • Be sure to get plenty of high-quality, restorative sleep.
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My Metal Christmas, Free Mp3 Album And Songs Downloads

christmas tree
christmas tree (Photo credit: fsse8info)

My Metal Christmas.  Free downloads on just about all of the tracks above.  Now there is some really good stuff on here and there is some stuff that is okay.  A couple of the tracks hits us with an opinion of, "What the heck were you folks thinking?"  So how do you download tracks?  See the area where it says download on the far left side by the album cover?  Click on that.  Then the download should start in a matter of seconds.  Hey, it's free and how can you possibly complain about free stuff?  More to add to your Christmas collection.  Merry Christmas and enjoy.
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Federalist Papers No. 35. The Same Subject Continued (Concerning the General Power of Taxation)

For the Independent Journal. Saturday, January 5, 1788

To the People of the State of New York:
BEFORE we proceed to examine any other objections to an indefinite power of taxation in the Union, I shall make one general remark; which is, that if the jurisdiction of the national government, in the article of revenue, should be restricted to particular objects, it would naturally occasion an undue proportion of the public burdens to fall upon those objects. Two evils would spring from this source: the oppression of particular branches of industry; and an unequal distribution of the taxes, as well among the several States as among the citizens of the same State.
Suppose, as has been contended for, the federal power of taxation were to be confined to duties on imports, it is evident that the government, for want of being able to command other resources, would frequently be tempted to extend these duties to an injurious excess. There are persons who imagine that they can never be carried to too great a length; since the higher they are, the more it is alleged they will tend to discourage an extravagant consumption, to produce a favorable balance of trade, and to promote domestic manufactures. But all extremes are pernicious in various ways. Exorbitant duties on imported articles would beget a general spirit of smuggling; which is always prejudicial to the fair trader, and eventually to the revenue itself: they tend to render other classes of the community tributary, in an improper degree, to the manufacturing classes, to whom they give a premature monopoly of the markets; they sometimes force industry out of its more natural channels into others in which it flows with less advantage; and in the last place, they oppress the merchant, who is often obliged to pay them himself without any retribution from the consumer. When the demand is equal to the quantity of goods at market, the consumer generally pays the duty; but when the markets happen to be overstocked, a great proportion falls upon the merchant, and sometimes not only exhausts his profits, but breaks in upon his capital. I am apt to think that a division of the duty, between the seller and the buyer, more often happens than is commonly imagined. It is not always possible to raise the price of a commodity in exact proportion to every additional imposition laid upon it. The merchant, especially in a country of small commercial capital, is often under a necessity of keeping prices down in order to a more expeditious sale.
The maxim that the consumer is the payer, is so much oftener true than the reverse of the proposition, that it is far more equitable that the duties on imports should go into a common stock, than that they should redound to the exclusive benefit of the importing States. But it is not so generally true as to render it equitable, that those duties should form the only national fund. When they are paid by the merchant they operate as an additional tax upon the importing State, whose citizens pay their proportion of them in the character of consumers. In this view they are productive of inequality among the States; which inequality would be increased with the increased extent of the duties. The confinement of the national revenues to this species of imposts would be attended with inequality, from a different cause, between the manufacturing and the non-manufacturing States. The States which can go farthest towards the supply of their own wants, by their own manufactures, will not, according to their numbers or wealth, consume so great a proportion of imported articles as those States which are not in the same favorable situation. They would not, therefore, in this mode alone contribute to the public treasury in a ratio to their abilities. To make them do this it is necessary that recourse be had to excises, the proper objects of which are particular kinds of manufactures. New York is more deeply interested in these considerations than such of her citizens as contend for limiting the power of the Union to external taxation may be aware of. New York is an importing State, and is not likely speedily to be, to any great extent, a manufacturing State. She would, of course, suffer in a double light from restraining the jurisdiction of the Union to commercial imposts.
So far as these observations tend to inculcate a danger of the import duties being extended to an injurious extreme it may be observed, conformably to a remark made in another part of these papers, that the interest of the revenue itself would be a sufficient guard against such an extreme. I readily admit that this would be the case, as long as other resources were open; but if the avenues to them were closed, HOPE, stimulated by necessity, would beget experiments, fortified by rigorous precautions and additional penalties, which, for a time, would have the intended effect, till there had been leisure to contrive expedients to elude these new precautions. The first success would be apt to inspire false opinions, which it might require a long course of subsequent experience to correct. Necessity, especially in politics, often occasions false hopes, false reasonings, and a system of measures correspondingly erroneous. But even if this supposed excess should not be a consequence of the limitation of the federal power of taxation, the inequalities spoken of would still ensue, though not in the same degree, from the other causes that have been noticed. Let us now return to the examination of objections.
One which, if we may judge from the frequency of its repetition, seems most to be relied on, is, that the House of Representatives is not sufficiently numerous for the reception of all the different classes of citizens, in order to combine the interests and feelings of every part of the community, and to produce a due sympathy between the representative body and its constituents. This argument presents itself under a very specious and seducing form; and is well calculated to lay hold of the prejudices of those to whom it is addressed. But when we come to dissect it with attention, it will appear to be made up of nothing but fair-sounding words. The object it seems to aim at is, in the first place, impracticable, and in the sense in which it is contended for, is unnecessary. I reserve for another place the discussion of the question which relates to the sufficiency of the representative body in respect to numbers, and shall content myself with examining here the particular use which has been made of a contrary supposition, in reference to the immediate subject of our inquiries.
The idea of an actual representation of all classes of the people, by persons of each class, is altogether visionary. Unless it were expressly provided in the Constitution, that each different occupation should send one or more members, the thing would never take place in practice. Mechanics and manufacturers will always be inclined, with few exceptions, to give their votes to merchants, in preference to persons of their own professions or trades. Those discerning citizens are well aware that the mechanic and manufacturing arts furnish the materials of mercantile enterprise and industry. Many of them, indeed, are immediately connected with the operations of commerce. They know that the merchant is their natural patron and friend; and they are aware, that however great the confidence they may justly feel in their own good sense, their interests can be more effectually promoted by the merchant than by themselves. They are sensible that their habits in life have not been such as to give them those acquired endowments, without which, in a deliberative assembly, the greatest natural abilities are for the most part useless; and that the influence and weight, and superior acquirements of the merchants render them more equal to a contest with any spirit which might happen to infuse itself into the public councils, unfriendly to the manufacturing and trading interests. These considerations, and many others that might be mentioned prove, and experience confirms it, that artisans and manufacturers will commonly be disposed to bestow their votes upon merchants and those whom they recommend. We must therefore consider merchants as the natural representatives of all these classes of the community.
With regard to the learned professions, little need be observed; they truly form no distinct interest in society, and according to their situation and talents, will be indiscriminately the objects of the confidence and choice of each other, and of other parts of the community.
Nothing remains but the landed interest; and this, in a political view, and particularly in relation to taxes, I take to be perfectly united, from the wealthiest landlord down to the poorest tenant. No tax can be laid on land which will not affect the proprietor of millions of acres as well as the proprietor of a single acre. Every landholder will therefore have a common interest to keep the taxes on land as low as possible; and common interest may always be reckoned upon as the surest bond of sympathy. But if we even could suppose a distinction of interest between the opulent landholder and the middling farmer, what reason is there to conclude, that the first would stand a better chance of being deputed to the national legislature than the last? If we take fact as our guide, and look into our own senate and assembly, we shall find that moderate proprietors of land prevail in both; nor is this less the case in the senate, which consists of a smaller number, than in the assembly, which is composed of a greater number. Where the qualifications of the electors are the same, whether they have to choose a small or a large number, their votes will fall upon those in whom they have most confidence; whether these happen to be men of large fortunes, or of moderate property, or of no property at all.
It is said to be necessary, that all classes of citizens should have some of their own number in the representative body, in order that their feelings and interests may be the better understood and attended to. But we have seen that this will never happen under any arrangement that leaves the votes of the people free. Where this is the case, the representative body, with too few exceptions to have any influence on the spirit of the government, will be composed of landholders, merchants, and men of the learned professions. But where is the danger that the interests and feelings of the different classes of citizens will not be understood or attended to by these three descriptions of men? Will not the landholder know and feel whatever will promote or insure the interest of landed property? And will he not, from his own interest in that species of property, be sufficiently prone to resist every attempt to prejudice or encumber it? Will not the merchant understand and be disposed to cultivate, as far as may be proper, the interests of the mechanic and manufacturing arts, to which his commerce is so nearly allied? Will not the man of the learned profession, who will feel a neutrality to the rivalships between the different branches of industry, be likely to prove an impartial arbiter between them, ready to promote either, so far as it shall appear to him conducive to the general interests of the society?
If we take into the account the momentary humors or dispositions which may happen to prevail in particular parts of the society, and to which a wise administration will never be inattentive, is the man whose situation leads to extensive inquiry and information less likely to be a competent judge of their nature, extent, and foundation than one whose observation does not travel beyond the circle of his neighbors and acquaintances? Is it not natural that a man who is a candidate for the favor of the people, and who is dependent on the suffrages of his fellow-citizens for the continuance of his public honors, should take care to inform himself of their dispositions and inclinations, and should be willing to allow them their proper degree of influence upon his conduct? This dependence, and the necessity of being bound himself, and his posterity, by the laws to which he gives his assent, are the true, and they are the strong chords of sympathy between the representative and the constituent.
There is no part of the administration of government that requires extensive information and a thorough knowledge of the principles of political economy, so much as the business of taxation. The man who understands those principles best will be least likely to resort to oppressive expedients, or sacrifice any particular class of citizens to the procurement of revenue. It might be demonstrated that the most productive system of finance will always be the least burdensome. There can be no doubt that in order to a judicious exercise of the power of taxation, it is necessary that the person in whose hands it should be acquainted with the general genius, habits, and modes of thinking of the people at large, and with the resources of the country. And this is all that can be reasonably meant by a knowledge of the interests and feelings of the people. In any other sense the proposition has either no meaning, or an absurd one. And in that sense let every considerate citizen judge for himself where the requisite qualification is most likely to be found.

Visit Jamestown, Yorktown and Colonial Williamsburg Living Museums to learn more about American History.  
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Christmas Eve Short Stories Ebook

traditional Christmas Eve supper in Poland - d...
traditional Christmas Eve supper in Poland - dishes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christmas Eve Short Stories - Free Ebook from Chuck Thompson

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Short Stories ebook.  Some old fashioned stories to read to help you get you into the spirit of the season.  To read the ebook in full screen mode, right click the icon at the far bottom right hand side of the above container.  To exit full screen mode, hit the escape key on your keyboard.  Free downloads of this ebook are available from our slideshare site.  You will either need to log in with a Facebook account or a LinkedIn account or set up a free account to get the free download on this.

  Merry Christmas.
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Gloucester, VA Trans Siberian Orchestra - Christmas Eve/Sarajevo Music Video

Continuing what we have already started, we are bringing you more Christmas music videos.  Today we are bringing you the Trans Siberian Orchestra.  This is one of the official videos and not shot by someone that attended one of their concerts and got lousy footage and sound.  Merry Christmas and enjoy.
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Governor McDonnell Announces Results of Regulatory Reform Initiative

English: Governor of Virginia at CPAC in .
English: Governor of Virginia at CPAC in . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Repealed 848 Sections of the Virginia Administrative Code; Streamlined an Additional 678 Sections Resulting in Freer, Fairer System and Savings for Tax Payers
Full Report Available Online Here

RICHMOND - Governor Bob McDonnell today announced the results of his Regulatory Reform Initiative (“RRI”).  The RRI consisted of a comprehensive review of regulations currently in place, and has resulted in the repeal of regulations that are unnecessary or no longer in use, the reduction of unnecessary regulatory burdens on individuals, businesses, and other regulated groups, and the identification of statutes that require unnecessary or overly burdensome regulations.

            As a result of the RRI, 167 regulatory actions have been filed, 848 sections of the Virginia Administrative Code have been repealed, and 678 sections have been reformed or streamlined. Included in the reforms are substantial cost savings to taxpayers in the form of reductions of fees, removal of excessive licensing procedures, and arduous permitting processes. Citizens, stakeholders, and twenty nine different agencies submitted reform recommendations. The RRI efforts were coordinated through the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall website ( by the Economic and Regulatory Analysis Division of the Department of Planning and Budget.   

he RRI is an extension of Governor McDonnell’s efforts as Attorney General to eliminate unnecessary and onerous regulations through his Task Force on Regulatory and Government Reform.

            Speaking about the RRI, Governor McDonnell said, “Good governance means in fostering an environment where citizens and business can thrive. By streamlining confusing code and eliminating unnecessary regulations we are making smart reforms that ensure that government works for the citizens.  I applaud the work accomplished by the agencies who participated in the RRI for their efforts to make Virginia freer and fairer.  Not only did agencies work diligently on identifying reforms, but we took an innovative approach and allowed the citizens and stakeholders to submit recommendations through our website.  Working together we helped taxpayers keep more of their hard earned money by reducing fees, we’ve streamlined regulations, and permitting processes; all of which contributed to naming Virginia the ‘Top State for Business’ in the nation”. 

            The initiative resulted in hundreds of reforms, some examples of these reforms include:

  • The Virginia Waste Management Board took action to provide relief from a burdensome permit amendment fee for solid waste landfills that are undergoing corrective action. It was charging landfill sites a fee of $22,860, but streamlining efforts within the corrective action program have reduced costs. These efforts allowed the board to decrease the fee to $3,000, a reduction of 87 percent.

  • The Board of Medicine provided a one-time reduction in renewal fees for family physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, respiratory care practitioners, physician assistants, occupational therapists, radiologic technologists, acupuncturists, athletic trainers, and midwives.

  • A change in permitting procedures will reduce costs ($7,000 per facility) for entities such as some electricity generators, paper manufacturers, and landfills, without affecting the environment. 

  • Manufacturers outside of Virginia have been taking advantage of costs subsidized by Virginia taxpayers for “street drug preparations” (bath salts for example) during forensic testing. The proposed changes would allow the Department of Forensic Science to charge the actual costs of the “street drug preparations” used in the forensic evaluation process, saving Virginia taxpayers thousands of dollars.
 The full report can be viewed and downloaded here.

            Regulatory changes that are not exempt from the Administrative Process Act involved executive branch review by the Office of the Attorney General, the Department of Planning and Budget DPB, the appropriate Cabinet Secretary, and the Governor in accordance with the requirements of the APA and EO 14.  Recommendations that have not completed this regulatory process will continue until finalized.
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Governor McDonnell Announces Work to Begin on Interstate 64 Upgrades in the Shenandoah Valley

English: The state seal of Virginia. Српски / ...
English: The state seal of Virginia.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
New Technology Utilized to Enhance Afton Mountain Safety

RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell announced today that the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is moving forward with technology upgrades designed to improve safety and traffic flow on Interstate 64 over Afton Mountain.

            The Commonwealth Transportation Board recently awarded a $4.6 million contract to G4S Technology of Springfield to design and build an Active Traffic and Safety Management System (ATSMS). The project will be located on I-64 between mile markers 94 and 107 through Augusta, Nelson and Albemarle counties.

            “This is a prime example of VDOT using technology to save lives,” said Governor McDonnell.   “This section of the I-64 corridor has a higher than average traffic crash rate related to fog or wind, including several large multivehicle accidents. The ATSMS project will help mitigate frequency and severity of crashes related to adverse weather conditions within the corridor.” 

The I-64 Afton ATSMS includes numerous improvements:

·         A network of Dynamic Message Signs to keep drivers informed of changing traffic and weather conditions.
·         Additional traffic cameras that will allow complete surveillance of the corridor by the Staunton Traffic Operations Center, which provides real-time information to drivers through the 511 Virginia system.
·         Visibility detection sensors to improve the response and performance of the existing fog-light system.
·         Fiber-optics infrastructure that will support future development of variable speed limits based on weather and traffic conditions.

            Keeping drivers informed of road and weather conditions is a key component of the ATSMS project. Dynamic Message Signs will communicate information received by the Staunton Traffic Operations Center from the visibility detection sensors, traffic cameras and traffic detection sensors. All of these systems aggregate atmospheric and roadway surface condition information as well as traffic speed and volumes.  VDOT will be responsible for operating and maintaining the system.

Other key stakeholders in the project will include the Virginia State Police, as well as multiple city and county law enforcement and emergency response agencies that respond to incidents occurring along the corridor.

            By supplementing existing operations technologies on Afton Mountain, TOC operators will have improved traffic incident management and information sharing capabilities. Drivers will have an improved driving and decision making experience to help achieve lower crash rates along this portion of the I-64 corridor, making the road safer for all who use it.

            Throughout Virginia VDOT is improving corridor operations with similar ATSMS projects. Other projects are in Northern Virginia on Interstate 66 and a proposed project on Interstate 77 in Carroll County in Southwest Virginia.

            Construction on the I-64 Afton ATSMS project is scheduled to begin in early 2014, and finish in summer 2015.
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