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Summer Safety Reminder For Parents And Caretakers

Summer is fully upon us, unfortunately, it’s a time of year accompanied by headlines about the tragic deaths of children left in hot cars. More than 800 children have suffered fatal heatstroke in hot cars since 1990, including 12 so far this year. The children that have died have ranged in age from 5 days to 14 years. More than half of the deaths are children under 2 years of age. In 2016, the number of children that suffered vehicular heatstroke deaths hit a two year high of 39, breaking what advocates hoped was a downward trend. The deaths of most of these children can be blamed on sheer forgetfulness – since 2002, 54% of recorded deaths occurred when a parent or caretaker unintentionally forgot a child in the car. 28% occur when a child accidentally locks himself inside of a car (which often included child lock features in the back seat), and 17% occur when someone intentionally locks a child in the car. The circumstances in the remaining one percent of cases are unknown. One of the things these caretakers may not fully understand is how quickly a car heats up — and how hot it can get. According to “” founder Jan Null, on days when the external air temperature exceeds 86 degrees, the air in a car can reach 154 degrees. The air temperature inside a car rises, on average, 40 degrees with 80 percent of that occurring in the first thirty minutes. Most notable, perhaps, is that the air temperature outside the car does not affect how quickly the temperature inside the car rises. And the trick of cracking a window to keep the car cooler? That doesn’t seem to make an effective difference. In a recent study of a car with all windows cracked, the temps inside raised on average +3.1 degrees per five-minute interval, rather than 3.4 degrees with the windows closed. An organization called Kids and Cars is working with lawmakers to put a stop to these preventable deaths. Last week Representatives Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Peter King (R-N.Y.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) reintroduced the Hot Cars Act to ensure that an alert system is standard in every car to prevent these tragedies. In the mean time, there are already several devices on the market designed to prevent hot car deaths.

1. Sensorsafe is a technology found in some car seats from the brand Evenflo. There is a receiver that goes into your car’s diagnostics port, a socket located inside a vehicle that accesses various vehicle subsystems where small receivers can be installed to tap into a car’s computer system. That receiver communicates with the car seat’s smart chest clip – letting the driver know through a series of chimes whether a child is still in the seat after the car is turned off.

2. General Motor’s Rear Seat Reminder System: This feature in some GM cars uses back door sensors that become activated when either the rear door is opened or closed within 10 minutes of the vehicle being started, or while the vehicle is running. Under these circumstances, when you reach your destination a reminder appears on the dashboard as well as an audible chime notification. When Faris opened the rear door before starting the car and then turned off the car, this reminder popped up on the dashboard: “Rear Seat Reminder. Look In Rear Seat.”

3. Driver’s Little Helper Sensor System is a sensor system sold at several major retailers that can be put in a car seat. The sensor goes under the car seat padding where the child sits. The sensor is then attached to a battery pack and synced with an app. You can set when you want the app to send you notifications after you stop the car. You can set the interval for when you receive the notification — the fastest being a minute.

4. Waze, a popular traffic app, has a setting that will remind a driver to check his or her back seat when a destination entered into the app is reached. But it won’t alert a driver during an impromptu stop. As Faris pulled into the driveway for her Waze destination, she received an alert before she turned off the car: “Check your car before you leave.”

Other Tips – Experts recommend the following layers of protection, even if you are using some sort of electronic sensor. Janette Fennell, president and founder of, recommends leaving your purse or briefcase in the back seat, telling your daycare to call if you haven’t arrived as scheduled or making a habit of always looking in the back seat before you walk away from the car. “The biggest mistake that parents make is they really feel this can’t ever happen to them,” Fennell said. (Sources: ABC, Parents, noheatstroke, KidsAndCars)

17 Inches… One of My All-Time Favorite Life Lessons!

This was sent my direction by my friend John Santi, Wealth & Investment Advisor. John is always passing along some interesting items, but this one really caught my attention and I wanted to share it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have…

Over twenty one years ago, in Nashville , Tennessee , during the first week of January, 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA’s convention.

While I waited in line to register with the hotel staff, I heard other more veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present during the weekend.
One name, in particular, kept resurfacing, always with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is here? Oh, man, worth every penny of my airfare.”

Who is John Scolinos, I wondered. No matter; I was just happy to be there.

In 1996, Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948. He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate.

Seriously, I wondered, who is this guy?

After speaking for twenty-five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage. Then, finally

“You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility. “I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.”

Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the room. “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?”

After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches?”, more of a question than answer.
“That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth’s day? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the house?”

Another long pause.

“Seventeen inches?” a guess from another reluctant coach.

“That’s right,” said Scolinos. “Now, how many high school coaches do we have in the room?” Hundreds of hands shot up, as the pattern began to appear. “How wide is home plate in high school baseball?”

“Seventeen inches,” they said, sounding more confident.

“You’re right!” Scolinos barked. “And you college coaches, how wide is home plate in college?”

“Seventeen inches!” we said, in unison.

“Any Minor League coaches here? How wide is home plate in pro ball?”…………“Seventeen inches!”

“RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide home plate is in the Major Leagues?
“Seventeen inches!”

“SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls. “And what do they do with a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over seventeen inches?” Pause. “They send him to Pocatello!” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter. “What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Jimmy. If you can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it eighteen inches or nineteen inches. We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of hitting it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.’”

Pause. “Coaches… what do we do when your best player shows up late to practice? or when our team rules forbid facial hair and a guy shows up unshaven? What if he gets caught drinking? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change the rules to fit him? Do we widen home plate?”

The chuckles gradually faded as four thousand coaches grew quiet, the fog lifting as the old coach’s message began to unfold. He turned the plate toward himself and, using a Sharpie, began to draw something. When he turned it toward the crowd, point up, a house was revealed, complete with a freshly drawn door and two windows. “This is the problem in our homes today. With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids. With our discipline.

We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards. We just widen the plate!”

Pause. Then, to the point at the top of the house he added a small American flag. “This is the problem in our schools today. The quality of our education is going downhill fast and teachers have been stripped of the tools they need to be successful, and to educate and discipline our young people. We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?”

Silence. He replaced the flag with a Cross. “And this is the problem in the Church, where powerful people in positions of authority have taken advantage of young children, only to have such an atrocity swept under the rug for years. Our church leaders are widening home plate for themselves! And we allow it.”

“And the same is true with our government. Our so called representatives make rules for us that don’t apply to themselves. They take bribes from lobbyists and foreign countries. They no longer serve us. And we allow them to widen home plate! We see our country falling into a dark abyss while we just watch.”

I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curve balls and bunting and how to run better practices, I had learned something far more valuable.

From an old man with home plate strung around his neck, I had learned something about life, about myself, about my own weaknesses and about my responsibilities as a leader. I had to hold myself and others accountable to that which I knew to be right, lest our families, our faith, and our society continue down an undesirable path.

“If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today.

It is this: “If we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools & churches & our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to …”

With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside, “…We have dark days ahead!.”

Note: Coach Scolinos died in Nov 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches, including mine. Meeting him at my first ABCA convention kept me returning year after year, looking for similar wisdom and inspiration from other coaches. He is the best clinic speaker the ABCA has ever known because he was so much more than a baseball coach. His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your players—no matter how good they are—your own children, your churches, your government, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches.”

And this my friends is what our country has become and what is wrong with it today, and now go out there and fix it… “Don’t widen the plate!”

This is just a small excerpt of the full Van Trump Report that I send out every day. To find out what you’re missing, sign up for a FREE 30-day trial.

The Fed’s New Dot Plot

The “dot plot,” part of the FOMC’s Summary of Economic Projections released along with the policy decision statement, shows where each participant in the meeting thinks the Fed funds rate should be at the end of the year for the next few years and in the longer run. The Fed releases those predictions in a chart that includes a dot for each of the members at their target interest rate level for each time period. The median FOMC member forecasts rates between 1.25% and 1.5% at the end of 2017. With rates increasing to 1-1.25% at the June meeting, that suggests one further rate hike this year, before gradually moving to around 3% in the longer term. Here’s the June dot plot, with the March plot for comparison. Notably, only 16 of the 17 FOMC members included their projections in the June plot, with two members abstaining from including a longer-run projection. (Source: Business Insider)

China Recently Cut Its 2017/18 Corn Production Forecast

China Recently Cut Its 2017/18 Corn Production Forecast to the lowest level in four years after drought and hail hit planting in the northeastern region of one of the world’s top producers. In its monthly crop report, the agriculture ministry said it expects 2017/18 corn output of 211.65 million metric tons. The figure in June’s Chinese Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates would make it the smallest crop since 2013 according to the China National Grain and Oils Information Center think tank. Farmers in parts of China’s northeast corn belt regions switched to soybeans and substitute grains after drought made it hard to plant corn, leading to a drop in corn acreage.

Crop Progress for w/e 6/11/17

Corn Conditions: The USDA slightly adjusted crop-conditions lower by -1% to 67% rated “Good-to-Excellent”. From my perspective, I see the “Worse Than” group being much more impactful than the “Better Than” group. Hence even more reason to believe the U.S. yield needs to be worked lower. Below are this years conditions compared to last year:

State Conditions “Better Than” Last Year

  • Pennsylvania +18% better than last year…+2% this week to 84% GD/EX
  • Kentucky +16% better than last year… +3% this week to 85% GD/EX
  • Colorado +12% better than last year… +10 this week to 93% GD/EX
  • Tennessee +5% better than last year… +0% this week to 83% GD/EX
  • Texas +2% better than last year… -3% this week to 76% GD/EX
  • Nebraska +1% better than last year… -1% this week to 78% GD/EX
  • North Carolina +1% better than last year… -2% this week to 75% GD/EX
  • Michigan same as last year… -1% this week to 69% GD/EX
  • Minnesota same as last year… +1% this week to 78% GD/EX

State Conditions “Worse Than” Last Year 

  • Indiana -29% worse than last year… -2 this week to 44% GD/EX
  • North Dakota -28% worse than last year… -9% this week to 58% GD/EX
  • South Dakota -27% worse than last year… -17% this week to 45% GD/EX
  • Illinois -17% worse than last year -1% this week to 58% GD/EX
  • Ohio -15% worse than last year… +1% this week to 50% GD/EX
  • Wisconsin -15% worse than last year… +2% this week to 70% GD/EX
  • Missouri -13% worse than last year… +0% this week to 59% GD/EX
  • Kansas -5% worse than last year… +4% this week to 65% GD/EX
  • Iowa -3% worse than last year… +0% this week to 77%GD/EX

Soybean Conditions: The first crop-condition estimate by the USDA however showed only 66% of U.S. soybeans rated “Good-to-Excellent” compared to 74% last year and compared to 67% the year prior. From my perspective, states experience “Worse Than” conditions compared to last year are more sever and bigger named production states than those showing “Better Than” conditions. Hence, similar to corn, there’s reasons for the bulls to argue for a reduction in yield, despite it being so early in the game.

State Conditions “Better Than” Last Year

  • Arkansas +15% better than last year… at 69% GD/EX 
  • North Carolina +6% better than last year… at 82% GD/EX
  • Tennessee +6% better than last year… at 75% GD/EX  
  • Kentucky +1% better than last year… at 77% GD/EX 
  • Minnesota +1% better than last year… at 78% GD/EX 
  • Louisiana same as last year… at 76% GD/EX 
  • Mississippi same as last year… at 65% GD/EX 

State Conditions “Worse Than” Last Year 

  • South Dakota -32% worse than last year… at 43% GD/EX
  • North Dakota -25% worse than last year… at 56% GD/EX
  • Indiana -24% worse than last year… at 51% GD/EX
  • Ohio -11% worse than last year… at 57% GD/EX
  • Illinois -9% worse than last year… at 66% GD/EX
  • Iowa -8% worse than last year… at 73% GD/EX
  • Kansas -7% worse than last year… at 60% GD/EX
  • Wisconsin -7% worse than last year… at 76% GD/EX
  • Nebraska -5% worse than last year… at 74% GD/EX
  • Michigan -4% worse than last year… at 70% GD/EX
  • Missouri -3% worse than last year… at 61% GD/EX

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