Oh, my heart: February is Heart Health Awareness Month

18February is known for Valentine’s Day, but it is also a month for heart health awareness.

In the U.S., heart disease ends in mortality approximately every 40 seconds. In 2022 there were more than 356,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests nearly 90% percent of which were fatal.
The leading factors for heart disease are high blood pressure and low density cholesterol or LDL, which is known as the bad cholesterol that builds up plaque in our coronary arteries.

There is a second type of cholesterol known as the good cholesterol, HDL, that assists in cleaning out the bad cholesterol and keeping the arteries balanced.
Cholesterol is a fatty wax substance produced in our liver and found in certain foods. It is important in building cells, making hormones, and an important contributor to making vitamin D. When you eat too much food containing cholesterol, trans fats, and saturated fats the liver begins to make more cholesterol than it needs and begins to clog our arteries

When we flip over the package and read 0% cholesterol, we may think that is okay if we eat this bag of chips. But read on to see the amount of fat, sugar and salt contained.
Fat falls into the category of trans and saturated fat. Trans fat has been mostly eliminated in foods, but saturated fat is still present in many of the foods that we eat.

Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and they come in the form of butter, cheese, coconut oils and red meat with a high amount of saturated fat.

A recent challenge that involved a 5k with a leading doughnut maker encouraged the participants to eat a dozen doughnuts in the mid part of the race and then finish. One of these doughnuts has no cholesterol but out of 190 calories that person consuming a dozen doughnuts has consumed 2,280 calories with 132 grams of fat and 60 grams of saturated. The recommended allowance per day for fat intake in a 2,000-calorie diet is less than 65 grams of fat and less than 20 grams of saturated fat. Although it may be an isolated incident, the amount of fat that we eat each day mounts up.

We are not always what we eat but the question is who, how and why we are at risk for potential heart disease. Genetics may be one of the reasons we may have an inherited risk for heart disease if we have parents or siblings who have had heart disease. Men fall into the category of age younger than 55 and women 65 with genetic cholesterol issues.

Factors that increase the risk of high blood pressure, cholesterol and metabolic syndrome are diabetes, smoking, a sedentary lifestyle and our diet.
We cannot do anything about our genetics but we can be aware of our diet and what foods can increase our risk of heart disease since sugar, salt and fat are part of the everyday American diet, especially in processed food.

Healthy comes in all sizes but a large amount of weight gain results in visceral fat around your organs which results in an increased effort for your body to keep up, putting strain on your heart which can result in heart disease.

Live, love life and be healthy.


Top five reasons to work with a business broker

17Whether you’ve spent a lifetime operating your business or have just recently taken the reins, when it comes time to sell, you want the experience to go well and achieve a successful transaction.
And by going well, people typically mean without a lot of headaches, and, of course, financially capitalizing on your time and hard work. Achieving those goals becomes much easier when you enlist the aid and support of an experienced business broker or advisor.

Business advisors are experts in the field, offering help and insights for every step of the sale. They typically have years of experience to offer you during the process so that you achieve all your goals.
While the reasons for opting to work with a qualified broker are many, here are the top five:

Valuing your business

The first reason that you should consider working with a business advisor is they evaluate your business and determine a probable sale price.
You want to value your company realistically, of course, but there are numerous factors that go into determining not only a fair price but one that is in line with the current market. This includes advising you on the best time to sell and marketing your business for sale to maximize profits.

Finally, a business advisor is a great source of advice and guidance on all aspects of business, as the following reasons demonstrate.

Preparing the business

Next on the list of reasons you should consider working with a business advisor to sell your company is they will help you get all the business’s legal and financial records in order.

Business advisors have a network of professional partners that they can recommend for all manner of experts that may be required during the sale of your business, such as accountants, lawyers, financial advisors, and property and equipment appraisers.

Additionally, because business advisors have assisted in numerous other business sales, they can manage your expectations of the process, ensuring that all aspects of the sale run smoothly and identifying potential pitfalls and addressing them before they potentially kill the deal.

Finding the right buyer

For many entrepreneurs, a big concern revolves around vetting potential buyers for their business. A qualified business advisor can assist in that process. This includes helping you market your business to find the best buyer. In line with vetting concerns, many business owners hope to keep the sale of their business as confidential as possible to avoid issues with their employees, suppliers, and clients.
Brokers also make every effort to market a business’s sale and conduct the process confidentially.

Managing the details

When you need your car worked on, you go to a trained mechanic because you want someone who understands cars and is experienced in making repairs.

It’s the same when it comes to selling your company. Brokers are experts in selling a business, with an understanding of all the financial ins and outs of a sale.
Deciding to part ways with a company you created can be an emotional process and a business advisor is an objective partner that can guide you.

Getting the best price

The final reason to work with a business advisor is to maximize your profit. Brokers have experience negotiating with buyers when it comes to selling a company. They know how to take advantage of all relevant opportunities to get the best price for your business and avoid potential deal killers during the sale process.

Last, but not least, a business advisor can also serve as a valuable resource to help you plan for your next steps once the sale of your business is finalized. Just because you are selling one company doesn’t mean that you are walking away from the business world after all. A business advisor can assist you in taking on whatever your next challenge may be.
There is a lot involved in selling a business. Having a professional to guide you can help ensure the sale goes smoothly and you maximize your profit. Business advisors are available to help facilitate the process. Many offer a free consultation today to get you started.

Editor’s note: Ashley Kelsey is a Business Broker at Transworld Business Advisors of Eastern North Carolina. For more information call 910-302-6447 or visit

This, That and the Other: Feb. 15

The Homeless Highlight National Issues

5We all see homeless people among us, a sad and shocking reality in the United States, boasting the world’s largest economy.
Some of them will get back on their feet, but others, many of whom suffer from serious mental illnesses, will not.

The cold, hard truth is that the United States, including North Carolina, does not have a working mental health system.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams shocked his city and the nation late last year when he announced that police and medical officials would round up and involuntarily provide “care” to unsheltered people deemed to be in “psychiatric crisis.”

As far as I can tell, New York City is the only locality attempting such detentions, although homelessness among the mentally ill is common across our nation, especially in our cities.
Individuals in crisis whether talking to themselves and others, whether behaving erratically and/or aggressively can make us feel uncomfortable, even frightened.

But they are human beings with rights, and hauling them off without their consent should make us equally uncomfortable.
The underlying problem is that beginning in the mid-20th century, communities across America began dismantling large, often state-run mental institutions for a concept called community care.
Decades into this, it has become clear that with a few exceptions, there is no such thing as community care. People with serious mental illness may get a bandage here and there, but true, effective treatment does not really exist.

If Mayor Adams has done nothing else, his edict to round up mentally ill homeless people has shown the spotlight on one of ugly failures in modern American life.

Telling Tales

5aU.S. Representative George Santos (R-NY) is nothing if not a top contender for the title of King of the Whoppers.

So far, he has lied about where he attended both high school and college; said that he was a star volleyball player on a team that never existed; said that his mother lived through 9-11 in New York when she was actually in Brazil; claimed false marriages; and lied about forming a charity for animals and apparently cheated a disabled vet out of medical treatment for his vet dog.

My eastern North Carolina grandmother had a special word for lies. She called them “teewaddies,” as in grabbing a little girl by her shoulders, looking her squarely in the eye, and hissing, “Margaret Dawson, don’t you ever tell me a “teewaddy” again.

George Santos should have had such a grandmother, but — oops! — he said she died in the Holocaust.
She did not.

Considering a Tattoo?

5bLongtime Up & Coming Weekly readers may remember that for quite some time this columnist had a “thing” about tattoos.
Coming from a non-tattoo generation, she simply did not understand them or why one might want one. She has since mellowed a bit, but still no personal tatts. Nonetheless, she recently found some helpful hints for those considering body ink, and here are a few.

Research your tattoo artist’s work before lying down on the bed. Do you like his/her style? Are the designs and colors you want available?
Are the materials used safe for you or are you possibly allergic? Can the artist test your skin with the various inks? Are you vaccinated against Hepetitis B?

Some tattoos are more painful than others, depending on where they are on your body. Are you prepared for that and for tattoo aftercare?
Will you regret your tatt in 10, 20 or 30 years? Tattoos mark a specific moment in time, and we all change and evolve.

Will the 50-year-old you love what the 20-year-old you did?
Do you know that tattoo removal is expensive, painful and does not always work?

All good questions to ask before you hand over your skin to an “artist.”

Freedom is the solution, not the problem

6The “problem” with freedom is that other people may do things that trouble, annoy, or even anger you. In a free society, you have no legitimate authority to stop them.

Strictly speaking, that’s not a problem. It’s a solution. Throughout human history, much suffering has derived from a lack of freedom.
One faction obtained government power, wielded it to impose its values on others, and then either successfully or unsuccessfully made its imposition stick with violence or intimidation.

Another faction, aggrieved, eventually obtained power of its own, and the cycle of strife recurred.
Freedom is necessary for living together peaceably in a world of conflicting values — which is, in fact, the only world we’ve got.

If you are free to worship Baal and I am free to worship God, one of us is likely to be in dire moral peril. But at least I am not also fearful of being tyrannized or killed for acting on my beliefs, and you can say the same.

Moreover, in a free society I have more than just the right to worship as I please. I also have the right to attempt to evangelize you, just as you have the right to try to sell me the full Baal-Believers benefits package, complete with free Ginsu knives for ritual sacrifice (did you know they can cut through these tin cans as easily as through a ripe tomato?)
Of course, in a free society, there’s nothing that says one has to listen. Therein lies the “problem.”

In my experience, liberty lovers fail to appreciate how difficult it is for most human beings to handle not being listened to, and to be confronted with the fact that others are doing something self-destructive or wrong but can’t be enjoined from continuing.

Such psychic pain is also an inalienable facet of human nature. It can be excruciating.

Yielding to the temptation to use government coercion to make this pain go away is wrong — no less than yielding to other kinds of injurious temptations — but surely one can understand why it happens.
It has become fashionable in modern society to attribute this behavior primarily to religious conservatives, typically portrayed as puritanical busybodies or hypocrites. But I find at least as much willingness among groups on the political Left to use governmental coercion to impose their beliefs.

On public university campuses, they restrict free speech and require participation in tendentious diversity training.
In legislative bodies and regulatory agencies, they seek restrictions on advertising, either because they don’t like the products being sold or they don’t like consumers are smart enough to understand the claims made.

They claim the right to impose restrictions on wages, prices, working hours, and other conditions of employment regardless of what the parties to an employment contract may seek or think is fair.
They think it’s okay to force taxpayers with strongly held moral or religious views to fund obscene art or social-justice activism but think it’s outrageous that taxpayer money goes to educational institutions and social-service nonprofits that teach or adhere to traditional views.

Freedom isn’t easy. It requires us to be grown-ups, to settle for living in a society in which some people, no matter how hard we try, just aren’t going to do what we say or believe what we believe.
It requires hippies to respect the rights of fundamentalists, and those with less to respect the rights of those with more, and gays to respect the rights of straights, and pacifists to respect the rights of hunters. Yes, it also means the reverse in each case. It works both ways.

Yielding to the temptation to coerce inevitably creates a more serious problem than the problem of learning to live with daily annoyances and outrages — just as yielding to a strong temptation to drink or overeat can make one feel good in the short run but cause severe harm in the long run. I guess it’s time for a new 12-step program.

Parents are not the enemy Schools shouldn’t shut them out

4A parade of teachers and activists stood in front of the long table of senators Monday night, Feb. 6, labeling parents as abusive, volatile, unsafe adults whose involvement in their children’s difficult journeys in self-discovery would lead to suicide, self-harm and death.

The militant message boldly asserts that parents are the enemies, and secrecy between schools and children should be ordained by the state.
During the Senate Rules Committee hearing about the Parents Bill of Rights, Democrat state Sen. Julie Mayfield said children face “withering inquisitions from parents” about their gender confusion, painting parents as berating outsiders instead of concerned family members.

Senators were asked by activists to trust schools as secret keepers of “affirming spaces” and that asserted any attempt for parents to be informed about pronoun changes was “policing queerness.”
Sen. Amy Galey, the Republican bill sponsor, reminded attendees that SB 49 makes provisions for rare instances where children might be subject to abuse if parents learn about their child’s chosen identity. But that provision wasn’t quite enough to satisfy anti-parental rights activists, who want parents left out in the cold while school employees usurp the moral and emotional guidance of other people’s children.

In the last two months, there have been 13 documented sex crimes by North Carolina school employees, one charge for larceny, four for assault, one for being drunk while teaching, and another for child pornography. Considering the number of crimes, with the majority being sexual and assault charges, the school system and their activists are in no position to claim moral authority over parents.

In fact, between the sexual assault by school employees, the bullying, violence, and drug use, it seems schools are one of the least safe spaces for children.
Speakers in favor of SB 49 gave shocking examples of why transparency is needed, detailing graphic sexual storylines in books offered in schools and gender confusing books aimed at kindergartners.

A retired Orange County school teacher of 16 years said in a statement to the committee, “these books in media center would make grown people blush… We are supposed to protect our children, not harm them.” She added that being asked to use alternative pronouns contributed to her decision to retire early.

NC Values Coalition executive director Tami Fitzgerald told the committee that Charlotte Mecklenburg School District started using “Welcoming Schools” in 2016, a teacher development program directing teachers to incorporate sexual orientation and gender identity into lesson plans.

Sen. Amy Galey has been the “mom representative” for many — she speaks on behalf of most moms in the state. Very plainly, Galey said in a press conference, “It baffles me to think that this bill could be divisive, quite frankly. I cannot understand why it would be controversial to say that children 5-6-7-8-9 years old should not be taught about sexuality or sexual activity in a public school classroom.”

The campaign to shut parents out while school administrators provide pornography, keep secrets, and indoctrinate children is indeed baffling. It’s especially troubling that the pattern follows grooming tactics, which include gaining access, trust development, isolating children from parents, and desensitizing children to sexual material by slowly exposing it to them. If you reference the Pavement Education Project’s website at you can see examples of pornography and books on gender ideology by county and school in North Carolina.

As one speaker put it, there is no academic value in teaching children about gender fluidity or showing them sexually explicit material. Schools should stick to academics and leave cultural issues to the family.

None of this happens suddenly; it’s been a slow drip of agenda-driven curriculum brought to parents’ attention largely during COVID shutdowns. The activists paint themselves as victims of parents who are in the wings, waiting to violently abuse their children because of gender confusion.

Teachers who spoke positioned themselves as necessary parental surrogates, the first adults who should rightfully respond to students’ personal struggles.
The character assassination of parents is simply a way to gain exclusive access to children, cutting out parents to influence an agenda.

Thankfully, the Senate passed S.B. 49. As the House considers a response, I hope members will consider the harmful toll educational agendas have taken on our children.
While test scores continue to fall, mental health problems and gender confusion continue to rise. Schools are failing in their mission to provide a solid education that will prepare students to become productive, educated members of society.

They should leave moral and personal matters to families.

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