News + Briefs

Thursday, Nov. 9

Valdosta Adopts PDExpress-Based Programs

The Valdosta City School District in Georgia has implemented Lucid Data's PDExpress, a professional development and information management system for educators and staff. According to Lucid, the district is using the technology to manage its professional learning programs and related activities.

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Adobe Ships Creative Suite 2.3

11.09.2006—Following the rollout of Acrobat Pro 8, Adobe has released a new version of its Creative Suite software package. The new version adds in the latest release of Acrobat Pro and bundles Dreamweaver 8, a Web design and development tool. The new Creative Suite is available now for Mac OS X and Windows.

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Comcourse Offers Exit Exam Help Online

11.09.2006—Comcourse Inc., Santa Cruz, Calif., has launched a new Web site called ExitExamHelp.com. The site offers free online test preparation for students taking high school exit exams, which are required in several states. According to the company, the initial course implementation will be for the CAHSEE, with other states "following shortly thereafter." Comcourse has been developing online courses for high schools and colleges for more than nine years and also offers a free online GED course.

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Markzware Ships Q2ID 2 Quark to InDesign Conversion Tool

11.09.2006—Markzware has released a new version of its Q2ID utility for converting documents from QuarkXPress to Adobe InDesign. The new version 2.0 now supports QuarkXPress documents from version 3.3 to version 7.0. The plugin supports the conversion of font assignments and style sheets, linked images and graphics, color blends, linked and anchored text boxes, CMYK specifications, Pantone and other color models and page positioning. It works with Adobe InDesign CS and CS2 as a plugin on Mac OS X systems.

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Wednesday, Nov. 8

Falls Church Schools Implement Online Registration

Infosnap reported today that Falls Church City Public Schools used its technologies to implement online registration for K-12 students. The company said the new procedure was implemented in response to "in response to parents' complaints about burdensome forms, long lines and inconvenient timing." Using the online registration process, parents registered their kids via the Internet; those without Internet access were invited to an open house where the system was demonstrated and explained. Infosnap's system is designed to work with a variety of database solutions used by schools, including SASI, Blackbaud, FileMaker, Access, Rediker, Power School, and other databases. Infosnap says that more than 250,000 families have used its technology to apply, register, and enroll their children in schools and summer programs.

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America Can! Seeks President

Following the announced resignation of current head H. M. Motsinger, America Can! is now seeking a new president and CEO to lead the non-profit organization. America Can! operates in a network of 10 public schools, working with more than 7,000 "at risk" students per year in Texas to provide a "second chance" at earning a high school diploma. Application packets can be requested by calling 214-944-1948. Deadline for applications is Dec. 15, 2006.

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ProCan Launches Scholastic Tracks

ProCan Software has launched Scholastic Tracks, a new education administration system tailored specifically for independent educators and small businesses with training departments. The subscription-based service provides a variety of administrative features and also allows educators to track courses, students, academic progress and enrollment and also provides utilities to assist with monitoring functions. Pricing begins at CDN$30, and packages range up to CDN$3,840.

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CDC's 'Act Early' Campaign Enters New Phase

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has launched a new phase of its "Learn the Signs. Act Early" campaign. "Act Early" is an awareness program designed to help child care providers, including preschools, understand the importance of tracking the social and emotional development of children and identify potential early warning signs of developmental disabilities, including autism. In the latest phase, more than 407,000 child care facilities in the United States will be targeted by the campaign, and informational materials will be distributed, including a resource kit that contains a a CD-ROM, a growth chart that allows parents to track specific developmental milestones and educational posters. The kit is available in English and Spanish.

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Tuesday, Nov. 7

Fantom Ships Network Drive: Up to 750 GB

MicroNet's Fantom Drives unit, Torrance, Calif., has started shipping a new network attached storage device: the Fantom Network Drive. The unit is designed for network storage (up to 750 GB) using either USB 2.0 or Ethernet without a dedicated network server. All setup and permissions are administered via a Web user interface, allowing access for Windows- and Mac OS X-based systems.The Fantom Network Drive is available now in three capacities: 250 GB for $149.95, 500 GB for $279.95 and 750 GB for $649.95.

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Gluon Updates StudioPack, Slugger ID

Gluon has released updates to two of its print production tools: Slugger ID and StudioPack ID. Slugger is a document trafficking tool for Adobe InDesign CS2. It places stamps on each page with document information, including font lists, color lists, image lists and other data. The new 6.07 update fixes various minor issues, improves XML specification implementation for native custom slugs and adds better integration with preferences from Slugger for QuarkXPress. StudioPack is a suite of tools for Adobe InDesign. The latest release, version 3.07, adds InDesign CS2 compatibility and now includes the latest version of Slugger ID.

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FileMaker To Be Featured at Technology & Learning Conference

Two cases studies will be presented tomorrow at the National School Boards Association's Technology + Learning Conference showcasing how FileMaker Pro has been used in two chool districts for assessment and education planning in two school districts. At 11 a.m., Bob Barboza, resource specialist for the Paramount Unified School District in California will hold a workshop entitled "The Complete Teaching Toolbox: From Lesson Planning to Improved Student Performance using FileMaker Pro." At 4:30 p.m., Greg Walker, data solutions administrator, Pinellas
County School District, Largo, Fla., will present a FileMaker Pro-based student information system that assesses and evaluates student performance for the No Child Left Behind Act. The Technology + Learning Conference runs Nov. 8 through 10 at the Dallas Convention Center.

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Monday, Nov. 6

Sketchpad Math Software Goes Universal

Geometer has released an update to Sketchpad, a software tool for teaching and learning math. The new 4.07 update adds native compatibility for Intel-based Macs and continues to support PowerPC-based Macs and Windows systems as well.

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Adobe Releases Acrobat Pro 8.0

Adobe has started shipping the final release of Acrobat Pro 8.0 for Mac OS X and Windows. The new software is Adobe's first full Universal Binary release of a major piece of software, and it adds a variety of productivity and creative enhancements for versions on both platforms.

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Google Earth Gets Update for Mac

Google has released an update for its popular Google Earth for Mac OS X. Google Earth is, of course, a tool for locating places around the world, acting as a sort of interactive 3D globe. It allows users to point and zoom into any place on the earth and provides satellite images and various pieces of information about the location. It also allows users to search for specific addresses and zoom into those addresses.

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Natomas USD Expands HOSTS Implementation

Natomas Unified School District in Sacramento, Calif. (11,200 students) is expanding its implementation of HOSTS learning solutions. According to HOSTS, Natomas has been using its system to help high school seniors pass the California High School Exit Exam. Based on the results with 57 seniors, Natomas will implement the complete HOSTS Learning Classroom Solution in all of its schools starting in January. The solution includes the HOSTS Instructional Management System, HOSTS Mentoring & Intervention, and HOSTS Professional Growth & Learning.

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People: Martinez Named ‘Generation YES’ President

Sylvia Martinez has been named president of Generation YES (Youth and Educators Succeeding), an organization that works with schools to plan and implement technologies programs for students. Martinez has been an electrical engineer and was most recently vice president of development for Encore Software, a developer of console games.

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NCTET Announces Reception to Celebrate E-rate's 10th Anniversary

The National Coalition for Technology in Education will host a reception Feb. 28, 2007 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of E-rate. The event will be held in the Botanic Gardens on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC and will include presentations honoring U.S. Senators Rockefeller, Snowe, Kerrey and Exon (posthumous). NCTET will follow up the event with a press conference March 1, presenting a report on the achievements of E-rate over the last 10 years. In addition, the organization, along with the Education and Libraries Coalition, will host a roundtable event that will focus on the future of E-rate and its reauthorization.

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FamilyEducation.com Relaunches ‘Get Ready To Read’

11.06.2006—FamilyLearning.com has partnered with the National Center for Learning Disabilities to relaunch its Get Ready To Read program. FamilyLearning is an online publisher (launched by Pearson PLC in 1996) that provides guidance for parents of schoolchildren and information for children about school experiences. Get Ready To Read is once of the company's programs, tailored specifically for parents of 4-year-old children to help them determine their children's reading skill levels prior to starting kindergarten. Part of the relaunched program includes a 20-question test that determines the strength of a child's reading ability. There are also tools provided to help improve reading skills for kids going into kindergarten, including activities and various resources for parents. According to the company, the new version doubles the amount of activities and resources.

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ScienceWorks Brings Mac OS X and Windows XP Compatibility to CatWorks

11.06.2006—ScienceWorks has released an update to CatWorks, the company's electronic dissection program designed to replace live lab requirements in high school classrooms. The new 1.5 release adds native compatibility for Mac OS X and Windows XP. (The company says Mac OS 9 and Windows 95/98/2000 versions will continue to be available as supplies last.) ScienceWorks says it's nw working on bringing all of its titles to Mac OS X and Windows XP. These include DissectionWorks, Rocks! & Minerals, Discover the Elements, SlideWorks and SkyWorks.

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Thursday, Nov. 2

Toshiba, NSTA Kick Off ExploraVision Science Competition

Toshiba and the National Science Teachers’ Association have launched their annual ExploraVision student science competition. The program, now in its 15th year, is designed for K-12 students in the United States and Canada, offering prizes of up to U.S.$10,000 for the winners.

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Parallels Desktop Automates Windows Installations on the Mac

Parallels Inc. has released an update to its popular Parallels Desktop software. Parallels is a tool that allows Mac users to run Windows, Linux and other operating systems on their Intel-based Macs. Unlike Apple’s Boot Camp, Parallels Desktop does not require a restart to run Windows on the Mac.

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Fairfax Public Schools Implement 7,000 Wireless Access Points with AirWave

AirWave Wireless yesterday announced that Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia has implemented a wireless network with more than 7,000 access points using the company’s management and security technologies. FCPS comprises some 220 schools and 164,000 students—the 13th-largest district in the United States—and had set a goal to provide wireless access to every individual classroom in the district.

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Apple Updates Xcode, X11

Apple yesterday released updates for its X11 and Xcode software. X11 is Apple’s implementation of the X Window System. Based on the open-source XFree86 Project, it allows those familiar with Unix to run X11R6.6 applications concurrent with standard Mac OS X applications. Apple’s X11 includes the full distribution of XFree86 4.4 and is fully integrated with Mac OS X, including Aqua interface elements and Dock interaction, and Apple’s Quartz graphics system, including OpenGL rendering.

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Wednesday, Nov. 1

:: Adobe Names Active Youth Voices Sites
Adobe Systems has kicked off its Active Youth Voices program, naming the first 41 sites to participate in the philanthropic venture. Recipients of the benefits of the program include schools and non-profit youth organizations in the United States, United Kingdom and India.

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:: NEC Intros Projectors, Plasma Displays
NEC
today announced several new projectors and plasma displays that it will begin shipping later this year. These include five new projectors in NEC's VT series of entry-level professional projectors, as well as two home theater plasma displays. The new models will roll out this month and into December.

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:: Portland Portals Revamps Sherwood District’s Sites
Sherwood School District
in Sherwood, Ore. has revamped its Metadot intranet/extranet with the help of Portland Portals, based in Portland, Ore. According to a district representative, Portland Portals handled all of the work on the Metadot skin for the district’s elementary, middle and high school sites, which are based on the Metadot Portal Server.

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:: Florida School Boards Implement Wireless Disaster Recovery System
Two school boards in Orlando, Fla.—Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board (82 elementary schools and 15 secondary schools) and Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic School Board (32 elementary and six secondary schools)—will be deploying a wireless disaster recovery system from Hitachi Data Systems and McData Corp. In the system, designed by CONPUTE, the boards will share a 49 Mbps data link between their education facilities. A live demonstration of the solution will take place at Storage Networking World Fall 2006 at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes Resort in Orlando.

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:: Horatio Alger Launches Scholarship for Survivors of Adversity
A new scholarship is being offered for students in Illinois by the Horatio Alger Association of
Distinguished Americans
. The fun includes $200,000 in total scholarships to go toward paying for college tuition. The scholarships, ranging fro $2,500 to $20,000, are aimed at high school seniors who have faced adversity, such as poverty, abuse, abandonment and serious illness, among other criteria.

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:: Microsoft Kicks Off Math Partnership Program
Microsoft Corp. has launched the Microsoft Math Partnership, a program aimed at math education in middle schools in the state of Washington. Initially the program will focus on eight school districts in the Puget Sound area, offering professional development workshops for teachers; math software for sixth, seventh and eighth graders; an awareness campaign; and legislative advocacy.

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:: Rauland Intros VoIP Intercom/PA System
Rauland-Borg
has announced Telecenter VoIP, a voice over IP system for K-12 schools. The system is an intercom and PA solution designed to use existing cabling to implement safety communications throughout a facility. It provides hands-free, two-way communication between administrators and classrooms, as well as remote monitoring, and allows for the broadcast of emergency tones, pre-recorded messages and other communications via cell phone into the system. Rauland-Borg has published a white paper on the topic of VoIP in K-12 facilities. It can be requested by following the link below.

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Tuesday, Oct. 31

:: A new piece of software promises to bring Palm OS applications to other mobile platforms. StyleTap 1.0, released today by StyleTap Inc., is the first in a family of tools designed to allow software written for Palm devices to run unmodified on other operating systems, including Windows Mobile, Symbian OS and Windows Mobile for Smartphones.
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:: Following a week of public beta testing, Badia Software, based in Toronto, Canada, has released the full version of BigPicture 3.0, a tool for working with graphics in QuarkXPress. The new version, which became available Today, is the first Universal Binary release of BigPicture. It also adds native support for QuarkXPress 7.
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:: BenQ, a technology manufacturer based in Irvine, Calif., today announced a new model in its ultra-portable line of professional digital projectors. The M510 is a 5.7-pound single-chip, DLP-based model that comes in at less that $500. It's expected to ship next month.
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:: NEC has kicked off a new program for educators called “Star Student.” The program rewards frequent purchasers of NEC display technologies with discounts and free warranties.
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:: Monkeybread today releaed an update to its addon for FileMaker Pro, MBS. MBS adds functionality to FileMaker, including various window operations; new AppleScript options (such as running scripts on exiting a field); and taking screen shots and placing them into container fields. The latest 1.1 release gains aditional window and new window functions and also adds support for FileMaker 7, in addition to 8.0 and 8.5.
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:: Gluon has released a maintenance update to Slugger ID , the company's document trafficking tool for Adobe InDesign CS2. Slugger is designed for high-volume print departments. It places stamps on each page with document information, including font lists, color lists, image lists and other data. The new 6.06 release principally fixes bugs in lists and spreading slugs over overlapping pages. It also gains improved XML support, better support for Slugger prefs for the QuarkXPress version and improved licensing. The new version is for Mac OS X only.
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Monday, Oct. 30

:: Apple has released an update to Boot Camp, its utility for installing and running Windows XP on Intel-based Mac hardware. The new version fixes a number of issues, especially for users of Mac notebooks.
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:: Sanyo today announced its new PLV-Z5 projector. Targeted toward home theater applications, it offers a 10,000:1 contrast ratio and a brightness of 1,100 ANSI lumens.
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:: Kingston has released new configurations of DDR2 RAM in its ValueRAM line of notebook memory. The company’s 533 MHz and 667 MHz chips are now available in capacities up to 2 GB. Kingston also released 512 MB and 1 GB versions of its new 800 MHz DDR2 SO-DIMMs.
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:: Intel and Cisco have announced a new online seminar entitled “Five Myths of Wireless Networks.” Executives from the two companies, as well as an analyst from Forrester Research, will present tomorrow, Oct. 31, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. PST.
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:: The American Psychiatric Foundation today kicked off its “Typical or Troubled?” mental health education program, which will be implemented in 17 non-profit organizations, schools and school districts (for a total of 73 individual high schools) during the 2006/2007 school year. The program is designed to help education professionals recognize signs of mental health problems and refer students for help. Some 4,000 teachers and other school staff members are expected to participate in the program, according to a statement released by the APF.
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:: Autodesk said today it will continue to be the exclusive 3D software provider for Project Lead the Way. PTLW is a non-profit group dedicated to providing pre-engineering training for students in middle and high schools, focusing specifically on enhancing math, science, technology and engineering education. Autodesk is the developer of high-end CAD, 3D design, animation and compositing/motion graphics software, such as AutoCAD, Maya, Combustion and others. Autodesk supplied Autodesk Inventor and Autodesk Revit software for the program, which reaches some 200,000 students via 1,700 individual programs around the United States. According to the company, it will continue to be the exclusive 3D software provider for the program for the next five years. For more information on Project Lead the Way, click here. For more information on Autodesk, click here.

:: A new Web site launched today that provides free access to historical magazine content. Dubbed OldMagazineArticles.com, the site provides a free archive of a wide range of magazine and book content, from articles to comics. The site is targeted toward students and other researchers looking for access to original sources. Content is scanned and provided in PDF format, so all original formatting carries over from the originals. The site is structured by topic (such as “19th Century Zionism,” “Art & Architecture,” “Civil War” and others) and provides keyword searches for specific artists, authors and topics.
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:: Leander ISD, a school district near Austin, Texas, has adopted Relatrix’s EZEnterprise solution for online communications and for standardization of Web content. EZEnterprise is used to publish newsletters and other online content across all of an organization's Web sites. Leander had been using EZEnterprise at the district level for the last year, but, according to a district representative, would be moving it down to the campus level in response to community and school input. The district will roll out EZEnterprise in five schools.
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:: The United States Distance Learning Learning Association (USDLA) has released its list of award winners in distance learning for 2006. Both traditional schools and online-only organizations received distinctions, including BJ HomeSat (gold awards for fourth-grade English and K5 Beginnings in the category of Satellite Technology, pre K-12); Gwinnett County Public Schools (silver award for its online campus in the category of Online Technology); IDSolutions & The National Association of Health Education Centers and North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics Distance Learning Technologies (recognition in the category of videoconferencing, pre K-12); and White Plains City School District Eastview Middle School for its “Global Run Project 2005/2006” (bronze award in the category of videoconferencing).
More info
...

:: FileMaker Inc., developer of the database solution of the same name, will showcase Web development technologies this week at the Zend/PHP Expo and Conference in San Jose. The company says it's is developing technology that provides an “easy way to develop dynamic data integration between Web applications and back-end databases.” The Zend/PHP conference runs from Oct. 30 through Nov. 2. It's being held at the Doubletree Hotel in San Jose. For more information on the conference, click here.
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:: Sun Microsystems today announced that it’s delivered more than 6 million licenses for its Solaris 10 operating system since its release in January 2005. The company says that, as a result of the increased enterprise deployment, third-party developers have stepped up the number of applications available for the OS: 2,600 for Solaris on the SPARC platform and more than 1,800 on the x64/x86 platform. Solaris is a free, open-source operating system that can be downloaded from their Web site.
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...

:: Tracker Software has released an update to two of its PDF creation tools for Windows: PDF-XChange and PDF-XChange Pro. The latest update, version 3.601081, offer print to PDF capabilities from most Windows applications; new options for manipulating PDFs through the PDF-Tools feature; Microsoft Office integration; and a Microsoft Office Batch Converter (Pro version only). Both versions are available as free updates for current users. PDF-XChange sells for $49.50; PDF-XChange Pro sells for $69.50.
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:: InfoLogic Inc. has updated all versions of its MathMagic and MathMagic Pro software for Mac OS X (the stand-alone version and the versions for QuarkXPress and Adobe InDesign). MathMagic is an equation editor that allows users to create mathematical expressions with custom colors and styles. All versions, now at 5.44, get fixes for issues with floating palettes, exporting in TeX and baselines of exported Pict equations. MathMagic sells for $199 to $695.
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:: Interarchy 8.2.2 from Stairways Software is now available for Mac OS X. Interarchy is a tool for FTP, SFTP, HTTP, WebDAV, iDisk and general networking utility. The new version offers a bug fix for working with Microsoft FTP servers. It's available as a free update. The full version sells for $59.95.
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:: Microsoft today released version 11 of its Windows Media Player software. The new version adds aqua-style buttons. Concurrent with the release comes a whole new Windows Media SDK. Complete SDK documentation can be found here. A list of known issues can be found here. (broken link)


About the author: Dave Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's educational technology online publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com.

Have any additional questions? Want to share your story? Want to pass along a news tip? Contact Dave Nagel, executive editor, at dnagel@1105media.com.

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