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The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource: Part 2 – Distribution and Delivery

May 3, 2017

Source: Water must sometimes travel over hundreds of miles in distance to reach those that depend on it the most. What is the real price of distribution and delivery of fresh drinking water, and how do we protect clean drinking water from being contaminated during its journey towards its final destination?

Water—without it, our society comes to a screeching halt. This natural resource is foundational for our existence in life, and the vast majority of our way of being depends upon it. From manufacturing to food production, water is a vital requirement in aiding us to feed our planet and build the modern conveniences of today. Water is our most precious resource on planet earth, yet we put our future at risk every time we either waste this valuable commodity, and/or abuse it with pollutants.

Half of the United States depends on clean, fresh water sources that must be redistributed from another area of the country, sometimes having to travel hundreds of miles from its original source. With this journey, water faces another set of risks, including the risk of being contaminated during its travel to its final point of delivery to the consumer. Aging infrastructure is at the center of attention, with recent series of circumstances of lead contamination in water supplies for the cities of Flint, Michigan and Newark, New Jersey, for which this corresponding issue runs parallel with the issue of available clean fresh drinking water.

A stressed economy, metro centers with aged infrastructure and a shrinking population, only compound the mounting complications on how to fund and fix decaying pipes and waterways. In the instance of Flint, it’s not the distance in which the water must travel that is the issue, but how the water must get to end users. Flint’s mayor, Karen Weaver, stated that it would take over $1.5 billion dollars to update the infrastructure that carries fresh water supply to residents and businesses in the region. In a report published on March 21, 2016, it was found that the aging pipes that carried Flint’s water supply to residents contained lead and were contaminating the water. The decaying pipes would leak traces of lead into the water supply, which would then affect the quality of water at the faucet. The complete report can be reviewed by clicking here.

In other parts of the United States, such as the barren Southwest, entire communities are facing major water shortages. This includes the “four corner” states of Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah. Each have faced rapid population growth in the cities of Las Vegas, Phoenix, Santa Fe, and Salt Lake City, all which are major urban metro centers that rely on water sources as far away as Colorado. As these urban center populations grow, infrastructure and the demand for clean fresh water increase, while the main supply—the Colorado River, becomes overtaxed and dwindles. New residents that locate to these metro areas forget that these cities are in the desert, and bring with them the introduction of plant life and urban landscape not native or natural to the area. As more homes and lawns are added to the system, the demand for water rises. Residents must make choices about curb appeal sacrifices in the name of water conservation.

Over the past few years, California has also faced an ongoing water crisis. The amount of record rainfall needed to naturally sustain Southern California and its agriculture industry has been far below the norms. Urban zones like Los Angeles and San Diego have seen a rise in population growth. With the lack of rainfall, California is facing serious water shortage concerns. California is home to 70 percent of the nation’s fresh fruits and nuts, and 55 percent of the nation’s vegetable supply. Many parts of the state have instituted water restrictions on watering of lawns and washing of cars and sidewalks; however, these practices are too little too late. As of recent, California has been getting water from water supplies that are tied to the Sierra Mountains of Nevada in order to meet growing, clean, freshwater demands.

The further fresh clean drinking water must travel, the greater its risk to becoming contaminated along the way. In West Virginia, the Elk River was recently polluted by a manufacturing company found to be dumping pollutants, which made its way into the waterway. This water is the main source of fresh clean drinking water for Central West Virginia. The further water must travel to the point of delivery the more filtration systems will need to be added to the system before the water is deemed potable.

New York City, home to over 8.5 million people, gets its drinking water from Upstate New York. This means water must first travel up to 125 miles before it is processed and filtered, then sent to kitchens and bathrooms all over the five boroughs.

So what standards are in place to assure that the water which has traveled hundreds of miles is the same or better quality as it is at the source? In the case of New York City, since most of the water is naturally filtered through a series of watershed areas, their water is relatively clean. NYC did begin to build a new state of the art water filtration plant known as the Croton Water Filtration Project. There are some aging issues within the infrastructure, resulting in over 36 million gallons of clean, fresh, drinking water lost to leaking each day.

In Flint, it’s a much different story. In order to save money, Flint began to source its water from the Flint River, which contains significant amount of chlorides, a corrosive agent to lead pipes. The filtration systems in place were in fact functional, but when the water had traveled through the aging infrastructure, lead began to end up in water coming out of the tap. Since this issue was brought to light, the City of Flint switched back to their original water source—water from Lake Huron.

Other types of technology are currently being explored regarding purification and redistribution of wastewater into a usable water source. These processes would be applied for building cooling systems and refrigeration, irrigation for agriculture, and/or water for manufacturing or maintenance needs. The outcome would provide clean, fresh, water dedicated for drinking, and can be preserved solely for human consumption. Gray water is water from showers, laundry, sinks, and other non-sewage sources. Though this water cannot be digested by humans, it can be reused for the purposes of toilet water, irrigation, laundry, and car washes. Both biological and mechanical filtration systems are utilized in filtering and purifying gray water so it can be used again.

Sea and ocean water are being considered in places located near these sources, and where water is absolutely scarce. The process of removing saline, salt, and other harmful agents from sea or salt water is already used on ships and submarines. As it stands, 1 percent of the world’s population relies on this process for clean drinking water; however, it is estimated by 2025, over 14 percent of the world’s population will be getting their drinking water from desalination.

As our population grows, and our access to clean fresh drinking water dwindles, the market of bottled water for sale will skyrocket. Our society has been trained by consumer habit and a strong marketing effort, where we now expect ourselves to purchase a case of bottled water as part of our practice when shopping for groceries. Though these sources of water seem to be a bit better and trusted than scooping up water from our local lake or stream, not all bottled water is created equal.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy and public policy concerns. He is also a career entrepreneur who currently is the CEO/President of Extreme Energy Solutions Inc., a green tech company located in Sparta, New Jersey. Burlum lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in a number of areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management and systems integration. He is also author of the books, The Race to Protect our Most Important Natural Resourceand Life in the Green Lane – in Pursuit of the American Dream.

Homeless and Displaced Veterans: America’s Hidden Pandemic

April 24, 2017

Source: As a nation, our society faces many insurmountable challenges; however one of our most pressing issues that affect the quality of life in communities is the rapid rise in veteran displacement and homelessness. Sam Burlum examines what is at the core of this issue and the available resources in solving this matter.

The statistics are alarming; beyond alarming. It’s as if the alarm has been signaling to our great nation, yet many of us decided to turn the radio up, similar to when we hear that irritating noise our car may make when it needs a repair, however at that time it is easier to ignore it than be inconvenienced by taking time out to solve the problem. Veteran homelessness is rising at an unprecedented rate. Even with the number of nonprofit organizations that outreach to homeless veterans aimed at getting them off the street and into a home and/or back to work, the amount of homeless veterans outpace the investment of time it takes to reach a veteran and get their situation resolved.

The National Alliance for Homelessness published their report in 2014, in which they sampled homeless populations in which were reported across the nation, whereas one January 2013 night, over 610,042 individuals experienced homelessness. Veterans accounted for about 10 percent of this total figure, or around 60,000 veterans were accounted for as reported to be homeless. Currently there are just less than 400,000 retired military personnel, who include former enlisted personnel, officers, and related staff whom received military retiree benefits. Also included in this demographic are disabled veterans, and veterans that suffer from mental illness. That means over 15 percent of this population are homeless. Like I mentioned, that is only those that have reported to be homeless.

There are a number of homeless veterans whom either go unnoticed or refuse to reach out for help for a number of reasons. The largest contributor to why most non-reporting homeless veterans refuse or hide from help relates to mental health. The largest mental health issue that diminishes this demographics’ ability to function in society, able to integrate back into civilian life, is post traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD. The number of veterans affected by PTSD depends on the era they served, as indicated by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Over twenty percent of veterans (about 500,000) whom served during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom have experienced PTSD. This has increased from the Gulf War, where only twelve percent of the military (about 84,000 veterans) served had PTSD. As it relates those military personnel whom served in Vietnam, a more recent study demonstrated over 30 percent of returning Veterans (about 770,000) had admitted and/or were diagnosed with PTSD. Prior to Vietnam, very few statistics were kept on this subject matter. The numbers of homeless veterans that stem from the demographic of those that served in Vietnam and those that served during Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom are so parallel in spite of gap between the ages of generations that served.

So what is the cause of PTSD? And how do we solve this pandemic issue that is in every corner of the United States? PTSD is a mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event; either experiencing it or witnessing it, according to the Mayo Clinic. However Jake Clark, Founder of Save A Warrior, has a different view.

“PTSD is not a condition of the mind or a mental health issue. What we have found, is PTSD is a condition that the inner heart and emotional state must be healed of the wounds and stresses of battle that impact so many whom hide their emotions from family, friends, and fellow colleagues in fear of being mocked,” added Clark.

“We focus on bringing peace to heart and then mind, so our cohorts can now come to terms with the things they had to deal with as a part of battle, first touching upon the inner peace of themselves, learning to forgive themselves, then others. Save A Warrior has had a 100 percent success rate without having to use the normal aids of prescription drugs,” continued Clark during an interview with Sam Burlum a few years ago at the SAW Facility in Malibu, California.

“Veterans are either too scared or are too embarrassed to ask for help, and so we need to reach out to the community and their families to bring them out of hiding and into the light so we can offer them all the assistance that we have available,” provided Sandy Mitchell, founder of Project Help, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that delivers on a number of veteran assistant services including clothing drives, fundraisers and lending a hand to other causes where proceeds directly benefit veterans in need.

Veterans have disclosed to this investigate reporter that it has taken them years to get help from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). “Gerry” (he did not want to reveal his complete name for this interview), was a veteran whom served late in the Vietnam Campaign, and continued to serve in the military until the mid-1980s.

“It took me years just to get someone at the VA to give me an answer on how I can access my benefits. When I finally did get access, I waited for what felt like forever to get medical assistance for aliments I had related to my service in the field,” shared Gerry, “I see in regular hospital, illegal immigrants whom don’t speak a word of English get better care than I whom served this country.”

“I can’t believe after eight years of service in the navy, it took the administration another two to four years to just get my application in front of an advocate and case worker. If I were a criminal, I would have had service afforded to me right away,” added Matthew B., from New Jersey, a veteran of the navy whom served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. “It’s no reason why this system has to be so complicated. When you complain about it, it seems then magically your application gets lost or you go to the back of the line. Who wants to sign up to serve in the military if we are treated like second-class citizens,” questioned Matthew.

The VA has defended its position, in saying, “There is a process in which each veteran’s needs must follow a protocol in order for the need to be addressed, and we have limited resources available,” when called the VA Hospital in East Orange, New Jersey, as the receptionist refused to provide her name.

According to U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, the 2017 Budget for the VA is over $182.3 billion dollars, a far cry from poverty in which homeless veterans experience. So with so many dollars dedicated to the VA, one would have to ask the question, “why are so many Veteran’s homeless and/or displaced?”

It seems like when our nation needs to focus on solving these pandemic and systemic issues, we have turned a blind eye and worries more about what how a professional football player decides to make a political statement. It is civic our duty to hold our political leaders to a vow of assisting our nation’s veterans.

Without a doubt, men and women whom put their lives on the line to fight and defend the freedoms and civil liberties afforded to us under the U.S. Constitution, deserve better. Each of us that did not serve in battle or in uniform should take notice to this rising tide. It is our duty and our privilege to serve those whom fought on our behalf. We have a responsibility to do so. What message are we sending to young men and women that would have considered joining the military, when we cannot care for those properly that return home from the battlefield? That is the battle on the homeland that now matters the most.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy and public policy concerns. He is also a career entrepreneur who currently is the CEO/President of Extreme Energy Solutions Inc., a green tech company located in Sparta, New Jersey. Burlum lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in a number of areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management and systems integration. He is also author of the books, The Race to Protect our Most Important Natural Resourceand Life in the Green Lane – in Pursuit of the American Dream.

Motorsports Marketing No Longer Just for NASCAR

April 17, 2017

Source: Motorsports Marketing and Race Car Sponsorship no longer just apply to the race teams involved in the top stock car sanction body, NASCAR. Many local and regional businesses are finding value in advertising and supporting racing teams involved in other forms of competition.

Travel to any local dirt or asphalt circle racing track on a Friday or Saturday night and you will find race cars, full fender and open wheel, covered in flashy graphics and logos of businesses and companies you may have never heard of. Local and regional businesses such as RV Escape from Branchville, New Jersey, a company that sells and rents travel trailers and recreation vehicles, to Halmar International, a construction company with corporate offices located in Nanuet, New York; have devoted themselves to all-out race car team sponsorship programs. Race tracks like those of the Orange County Fair Speedway, Middletown, New York, are built to accommodate tens of thousands of race fans, many whom reside within a 50 mile radius of the speedway dubbed the “Hard Clay.”

With over 20 regularly schedule races over a given race season, means direct exposure of brands, businesses, products and/or services to race fans whom attend such race events. From the hobby class entry-level form of stock car racing, street stock-pure stocks, to the upper tier of regional dirt track racing divisions, big-block modified division, you will find cars donned in advertising from local pizza shops to large regional and national companies. Businesses have discovered the value of race car and racing team sponsorship, which in the past was usually reserved for the elite of racing communities, are now a part of doing daily business in order to compete for local championships. Racing teams are competing just as much off the track as they are on the track, for sponsorship dollars, mainly because there are so few businesses available with marketing and advertising budgets for promoting their products and services at sporting events.

Businesses are finding bargains at local and regional speedways and are seeing a higher return on investment on their sponsorship dollars. Companies are getting far more for their advertising dollar, because the local or regional racer has realized in order to gain a commitment from a business for sponsorship, they must offer much more than just spot on the car for logo placement. Drivers, their teams, and their car have been making themselves available for talent appearances, where they are on site at an event on behalf of the sponsor. Drivers are finding that they are asked to participate in the creation of marketing and advertising collateral such as print ads, video, photos, and social media; repurposed for targeting audiences who have an interest in auto racing and may be potential customers of sponsor’s products.

Racecar sponsorship has transformed from donating a few dollars to an individual who is conducting a fundraising drive so he or she can race; to a full-time job and business of offering a suite of advertising and marketing services to potential corporate sponsors. The evolution has been long coming. There are two major factors to this change. Attendance is up at the local and regional speedways where seats at NASCAR races have gone empty. The economy has been playing a role in the transfer of race fans since the price of admission to NASCAR events are out of reach for the average working class family. So they have been making their way to second best; the local dirt speedway in their own back yard. With the transfer of race fans, brings higher potential customer conversion ratios; so dollar for dollar advertising reach is increasing.

Another factor is that more businesses are searching for creative ways to reach potential customers, where they aim to maximize their advertising dollar. A full-page ad in the local newspaper could cost upwards of $2,000 for a one-time print. That newspaper will usually stay in front of the subscriber for less than a week before it finds its way into the recycle bin. A local business or regional company can enter into an agreement with a local racer for that same amount of money, could have their logo placed on the side of a racer’s vehicle, race car trailer, back of their uniform, on the racer’s website or social media page, and in an unlimited number of pictures taken by race fans.

A night’s worth the full schedule of race events could last up to six hours of entertainment. Most speedways can seat up to 2,500 race fans. If you calculate advertising reach, a business can touch potential future clients for less than .80 cents per person. That is less than the cost of most paid per click ads banner ads on the internet. Calculate that number of race fans multiplied by 20 races divided by your sponsorship commitment (dollar amount) and you can calculate your return on investment per reach. Based on an entire season, if exposed to 50,000 race fans over the term of the race season, a business that spends $2,000 on a sponsorship package would reach each potential consumer for less than .04 cents per race fan per race.

You will find more businesses adopting some level of motor sports marketing program as a part of their marketing/advertising mix. From new and used car dealers to now-regional products like Extreme Kleaner, can be found advertising their brands on local race cars. Some events are captured on video and are syndicated on YouTube and on social media. These are marketing outlets not available to sponsors just a decade ago.

“In order to compete in a regularly scheduled season, and race up front, you must have the sponsor dollars behind you. Racers are willing to be more accommodating to businesses whom choose to put their advertising dollars at work on the side of a race car,” added Tommy Vigh Jr., long time driver at the Orange County Fair Speedway, Middletown, New York.

“What use to be a hobby, is almost a full-time job,” contributed local stock car racer Ron Constable from Layfette, New Jersey, “One will put in just as much work in the shop as is spent behind the wheel. The cost has risen sharply over the last few years so now we must be willing to give more to businesses for their sponsor dollars.”

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy and public policy concerns. He is also a career entrepreneur who currently is the CEO/President of Extreme Energy Solutions Inc., a green tech company located in Sparta, New Jersey. Samuel K. Burlum lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in a number of areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management and systems integration. He is also author of the books, The Race to Protect our Most Important Natural Resourceand Life in the Green Lane – in Pursuit of the American Dream.

What was the Real Root of the Automotive Industry Emissions Scandal?

April 10, 2017

Source: With the list of automobile manufactures that had “cheated” on their vehicle emissions and/or fuel economy results growing weekly, many are quick to criticize the auto industry; however, is there more behind the reasoning why so many manufactures had allegedly lied about their results? We take a look at several factors that contributed to this systemic issue.

First there was Volkswagen, which included all of the VW Group (Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Porsche, Ducati, Scania, Seat, and Skoda); then there was Mercedes; then fell Mitsubishi, joined by Fiat, Peugeot, Renault, Hyundai and Kia, BMW, and even American vehicle manufacture mainstays Ford and General Motors offered their fair share of having to make amends with consumers for representing false fuel economy and/or emissions results on their window stickers. You would think that these corporations with vast research and development departments would be able to breeze through testing protocols with ease, however many of them still have not been able to obtain the peak efficiencies to meet mandated benchmarks. Or is the problem more complicated than that? So with so many manufacturers having this issue, what is the core of the problem?

My own investigative research has found there are a number of factors which has contributed to the auto industry having issues during testing their products; some which are technical in nature, and some which are due to the complicated regulation in place which pushes the envelope beyond reason.  Some of the pre-existing market conditions are responsible for manufacturers having to push their limits in order to stay competitive.

Manufacturers have had to put their reputations at risk in order not to be responsible for hefty gas guzzling taxes and pollution penalties associated with the Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards (known as CAFÉ), and GHG emissions standards.  Traditionally, these standards would be raised incrementally, so manufactures were given ample time to develop technology that would help engines become more efficient without compromising either better fuel economy or vehicle performance. In 2009, it was announced that vehicle manufactures would have to jump up from 22.5 miles per gallon average, to 35 miles per gallon by 2016. In 2011, the Obama Administration announced that that standard would now be pushed up to 54.5 miles per gallon average by year 2025. Vehicles models with a higher gas guzzler tax would suffer a slide in sales due to consumers not wanting to pay the extra price for not meeting these benchmarks.

This cat and mouse game did not begin in 2015 with the VW scandal; it has gone on since these two sets of standards, both CAFÉ and GHG, were introduced in 1975 and 1978, respectively. Since these laws were instituted, Cadillac in 1995 had its bout with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over the issue of pollution controls related to the line of 4.9-liter V-8 engines. The company then, General Motors was forced to cough up a whopping $45 million over to the U.S. EPA to settle out the matter. In 1998 the diesel engine manufactures of Caterpillar, Cummings, Detroit Diesel, Mack, International, Volvo and others had to deal with a major investigation into their potential violations of environmental laws under the Clean Air Act, which cost the companies combined over $1 billion dollars, which was doled out to regulatory civil penalties. That same year, Ford and Honda had their rounds with the U.S. Justice Department over emissions control manipulation.

I predicted that when VW was found to be allegedly cheating on their results, that this was just the beginning. There would be more car manufactures that would either be investigated, or would come forth on their own as a good faith measure in exchange for leniency on fines and penalties. But the issue is larger than just manufactures using tactics to “cheat.” It is like the unspoken issue auto racing—in order to catch the cheaters, you must sometimes cheat yourself. But why cheat when you can innovate or adopt innovation from third-party sources?

When one manufacturer hears that another manufacturer just achieved x-number of more miles per gallon more out of their product, and that number exceeds the current record holder, the competitive race is on to catch up to the adversary. With limited market share of car buyers in the world, the United States being one of the largest markets in the world (having over 300 million vehicles on the American roads, that is one car per-person, regardless of age and their eligibility to drive), it is no wonder why manufacturers are willing to take such risk. There are over 28 major brands of vehicles which account for 80 percent of the entire new vehicles manufactured in the world (65 million new vehicles manufactured in 2012); over 7 million were sold in the United States. In order to capture market share, manufacturers have had to find ways to better market their product, even if that meant exaggerating their emissions and fuel economy results. Once another vehicle manufacture would one-up everyone, then it forced others to follow.

Part in of the issue is self-pride. No manufacturer after spending hundreds of millions of dollars on research and development, wants to tell their shareholders that they could not meet regulatory benchmarks and that instead of paying out to dividends, net earnings would now have to fork over taxes, penalties and fines for not meeting regulatory benchmarks. In some cases, manufacturers don’t want to admit that they cannot solve the problem. When millions of dollars are dedicated to a program, such as emissions reduction innovation, most companies desire to develop their own solutions than go outside their labs. This becomes more of a pride issue which in turn becomes a momentary issue. The last person to turn to outside research and development teams as an answer to expedite product development on a wide scale was Lee Iacocca while he led Chrysler.

The public policy and incentive based policies where vehicle manufacturers would get special tax credits that could be passed down to consumers, only amplified the situation. As each manufacturer jockeyed for position of whom was going to be first in line for these incentives that could push the market toward potential consumers, this would be a tactical advantage for any auto manufacturer that could capture the lion’s share of incentives, thus driving the sticker price down for consumers at the time of their new vehicle purchase.

Then there is the technical perspective of why vehicle manufacturers “cheated,” or did they not “cheat” at all, but were trying to follow one set of guidelines, which forced them to have to tweak other programs in order to meet these more stringent regulations? Here is where it gets complicated, and so I will do my best to present these arguments in laymen terms.

When vehicle inspection procedures were changed from having to test vehicle pollution and emissions at the tailpipe to having to be checked via the car’s on-board diagnostic port (OBD), the rules of engagement significantly changed for the auto industry. Auto manufactures had to adopt computer protocols, a system of Readiness Monitors and drive cycles that must cycle completely in order for the vehicle to come into compliance before it is able to either be tested for a repair verification, or worst yet, a regulatory emissions test. These protocols can sometimes conflict with the existing engine controls and components on a vehicle and in order for one to be functioning, sometimes other controls and/or modules have to be delayed or shut off for an extended period of time. In some cases, this very protocol is conflicting with other mandated protocols. This is where the technical confusion begins to be introduced.

I also argue that some of the testing procedures are out of date. The auto industry has evolved where your vehicle is a giant computer with an engine attached, and as a result there are far more variables to take into consideration, such as all the added technology, yet these tests protocols for emissions and fuel economy have not changed since their introduction. Some of these test are incapable of measuring the true impact of some of the added-on technology manufacturers have adopted in order to make the engine run more efficient. I had personally experienced this when we were conducting test for retrofit emissions technology formally under development, called the Smart Emissions Reducer.

Then there is the issue of “cold start” conditions. This is when a vehicle emissions is looked at when a vehicle is to be tested after sitting for a period of 24 hours, the vehicle is tested at start-up for emissions and is ran through a series of testing procedures until the vehicle reaches benchmarks of operational speeds, and then is brought back down to slower speeds. This is called coast up and coast down. The issue is that these tests can be conflicting with the vehicles’ need to cycle through “drive cycles” before it is ready to come into compliance and offer accurate data information. Upon cold start, most vehicle controls are not yet fully functional since they are now operated by the vehicles computer.

Furthermore, vehicle manufacturers are mandated on many areas of technical competency of what they can and can’t do to solve some of these obstacles. For instance, there are some measures that are defined by mandate and have been a mainstay, such as the catalytic converter, and EGR. Manufacturers have to find a fix using outside the box thinking, yet must stay confined to regulation and mandates.

When you combine all of these factors, you can see why the issue of so many vehicle manufacturers having skewed emissions and/or fuel economy testing results has run away in the industry. This is by no means meant to be a free pass to the auto industry; they have a responsibility to deliver to consumers a product that is aimed at providing the best measures and quality, including emissions and fuel economy; however, they are not the only ones at fault. So what are the fixes you ask? Well that is content better saved for another article.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy and public policy concerns. He is also a career entrepreneur who currently is the CEO/President of Extreme Energy Solutions Inc., a green tech company located in Sparta, New Jersey. Samuel K. Burlum lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in a number of areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management and systems integration. He is also author of the books, The Race to Protect our Most Important Natural Resource and Life in the Green Lane – in Pursuit of the American Dream.

The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource: Part 1- The Source of the Problem

March 22, 2017

Source: As we take a look at the poor water quality issues that have hit major metro centers such as Flint, Michigan and Newark, New Jersey, we examine the source of these issues and what some are doing to rush in to protect the most important natural resource vital to the existence of the human race.

While the world’s population grows and our available sources of clean drinkable freshwater dwindle, the critical demand to find ways to preserve and protect our current water supplies have rapidly increased. Alternatives on how to clean up used and polluted water supplies are now being explored. Schools of thought and tech companies are eager to create the ability to filter recycled water for reuse as fresh water supplies continue to be maxed out.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, only 2.5 percent of the all of Earth’s water supply is fresh water. The main sources of available drinkable freshwater supply mainly come from glaciers, ice caps, ground ice and permafrost, as well as lakes and ground water. It is surprising to realize that with this natural resource being so scarce, we as a society have not done more to preserve and protect it. Ironically, we continue to sabotage ourselves by contributing to actions and behaviors that increase pollution of our rivers and lakes. Only about half of the world’s population has access to clean drinking water, leaving the other three billion people to fight for a source of quality water. In addition to that, according to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 783 million people have no access to any clean water sources and are left to rely on “dirty” water or no water at all.

It seems this issue would be a problem that only plagued impoverished countries; those lacking infrastructure and societies with undeveloped economies. Apparently, that stereotypical outlook has been crushed by the recent developments which now haunt cities of Flint, Michigan and Newark, New Jersey. In one of the richest developed nations in the world, it seems it too, struggles in the area of getting quality fresh water to its citizens. Flint first announced its dilemma as early of May 2014; although it was only disclosed to a few circles in the political arena. Neighboring Detroit residents showed up to rallies where political candidates would be speaking in the race for state governor, determined to share their concerns for the tainted water that was now coming out of their faucets.

Nearly a year later, the truth would finally be revealed, detailing the issue of lead contaminated water.The culprit was decidedly the aged infrastructure as the source of this inescapable problem. It was believed that the city had switched locations of where it was receiving its water supply; however, it never added any anti-corrosive agents to the new water supply as was required. This misstep was the singular contributor which caused aging infrastructure to break down much faster; exposing lead from old lead pipes, which would then be carried to the point of distribution (the faucet) in people’s homes.

Not only does Flint (and Detroit) face the challenge of finding quality water—free of chemical laden supply—it must also create a way to deliver this water to residents. This must be accomplished without the impedance of additional poison entering the water supply at the source of delivery; its aging infrastructure. The city faces a huge uphill battle in financing the replacement of its now unfit pipes. Detroit and its neighboring suburbs has lost half of its population over the last twenty years. This means fewer residents available to spread the cost around in making affordable tackling the price tag for replacing pipes and infrastructure.

Flint is not alone. Newark has now joined the ranks of cities that are now dealing with a contaminated water supply. This is no surprise that one of the largest metro areas in the Garden State is facing serious issues with their own water supply. New Jersey is known as the state that has the most environmental issues, with the most superfund sites listed with the U.S. EPA than any other state.

New Jersey took measures to try to protect valuable clean drinking water supplies when its governing body passed the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act in 2004. This law was ushered in with the hopes to slow urban sprawl and protect hundreds of thousands of acres responsible for contributing to supplying the majority of the state’s residents with fresh drinking water. It included land surrounding some of the state’s largest reservoirs, natural preserves, and wildlife sanctuaries, so that areas of the state are not over developed to the point where its fresh water supplies become choked.

Again in Newark, aging infrastructure was pointed to as the culprit; however, there is a larger issue that no one dares to mention; one that is more of a risk than aging infrastructure threatening the city’s water supply at the source. In the foothills of the highlands are reservoirs which are responsible for collecting runoff water from neighboring regions of West Milford, Ringwood, and Wanaque. At the center of years of environmental controversy is the former site in which Ford decades ago once used as a dumping site for paint and other related chemicals in the heart of the Ramapo Mountains.

Located just miles from this dump site is New Jersey’s largest fresh water supply. It has taken years for the by-product of this site’s pollution to reach water supplies with traces of this site’s contaminates found as far away as Totowa, New Jersey. Deemed too costly to clean up, both the New Jersey State Governor and the U.S. EPA have shuffled this issue along, with little or no action in addressing this monumental crisis. Residents in this area continue to fight for environmental justice. Tragically, it is deemed too little too late, as traces of these same chemical compounds are now making their way to faucets around the state.

So with little public money available to solve these issues now, and with the clock ticking, how do we solve the problems facing these two cities? It is estimated by Flint’s Mayor Karen Weaver that it could cost as much as $1.5 billion dollars to correct the issue in Flint-Detroit. Until the concern is solved at the source, New Jersey will also be left with tainted water supply originating from the Ramapo Mountains for generations to come. It is paramount we find solutions to abate these dilemmas.

The World Green Energy Symposium 2016, was recently held in Washington, D.C. There, during his address on Water Solutions, speaker Paul R. Puckorius, CEO of Puckorius & Associates Inc., was asked about how to deal with the Flint water situation. Puckorius answered, “…One of the best ways to tackle the situation in Flint and now in Newark is invest into filtration at the source of water coming into the home and at point of delivery/usage. This will cost much less and allow for the cities to plan infrastructure upgrades and funding.”

Currently, residents of Flint are receiving bottled water, which in reality will only go so far. The faucets and taps at Newark Schools are turned off for now. However, a remedy is needed to long-term solutions to this epic concern. Stay tuned as we investigate into other stories regarding water supply concerns in the United States, and how we should begin to address this very sensitive issue.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. He is also a career entrepreneur and currently the CEO/President of Extreme Energy Solutions Inc., a green tech company located in Sparta, New Jersey. Burlum lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in a number of areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also Author of the books The Race to Protect our Most Important Natural Resource and Life in the Green Lane – in Pursuit of the American Dream.

Tried and True

March 20, 2017

I have been a pesco-vegetarian (a vegetarian that eats fish and seafood) for the past six months. My body has undergone a major transformation from the inside- out.  At first, there was no real huge difference. The changes were subtle, like a sense of feeling lighter and much improved digestion and elimination.

Then came the weight loss, or what I call, the body simply going back to its natural size. Our natural size is where we should be in body mass by consuming clean foods as opposed to all the fast food and harsh GMO’s we consume, which is totally not the way nature intended for us as humans to eat.

I work out at least three to four times per week, but even with the working out and the vegetarian lifestyle, I was still feeling a bit bloated and it showed in my face and hands.

My face looked puffy to me, although my body was shrinking.  So I decided to do an experiment on myself.  I started to increase my water intake and I totally eliminated salt from my diet for two weeks.  Within just one week, I noticed that my waistline shrank.  After two weeks, the puffiness in my face and hands was a minimal.

I then went into overdrive on my system.  I did some research online and found some natural diuretics with other amazing health benefits like cranberry juice.

The cranberry juice seem to attack the extra water retention in my body by flushing out all impurities in my blood stream and my kidneys. This would make sense, because it is a known fact that cranberry juice is a natural remedy in the prevention of urinary tract infections.  Cranberry juice attacks plaque and bacteria in certain areas of the body.  The next ingredient I added to my diet regimen is apple cider vinegar.  I used to drink apple cider vinegar years ago, and somehow, I fell off the wagon, so to speak.

I really should have stayed with it, because it is chock full of healthful benefits, for example it lowers HDL/LDL cholesterol, detoxes the liver and it is ideal for weight loss.

I have trained myself to drink two tablespoons every morning, chasing it down with a half a glass of cranberry juice.  This method, over the past six months was just the overhaul my body needed to help jump start my weight loss goal.  I wanted to drop two pants sizes by spring.  I am happy to say that I am now at a perfect size 8 and my goal of a size 7 is knocking on springs door!

Keep in mind, that a person must be consistent with this method, keep eating clean and keep on keeping on with your workouts.  I have sacrificed a great deal in the past six months  as it has been an uphill battle for me simultaneously dealing with a back injury, making it almost impossible on some days to even work out. Yet and still I rise! I persevered through my back pain and kept eating right and working it out in the gym. I am happy to share my true methods with the world and I know that you will be pleased as well . . . give them a try!

Sonya Marie Bowman is a writer of positive prose for the Milwaukee Community Journal and a published co-author of the book No Artificial Ingredients – Reflections Unplugged. She is a member of Sister Speak, a trilogy of writers who formed in 2010 with a vision of self-expression and a goal of healing. The trio states they are inspired by grace, allowing them to take a genuine position on the struggles and successes of everyday living.

Healing Through Storytelling

March 16, 2017

Whether you are a victim of domestic violence, a stoke survivor, or a recovering alcoholic, healing occurs when you share your story.

The embarrassment. The shame. Or just the pain of it all. Your testimony can heal your open wounds while also restoring faith that you can and will overcome any situation.

Why is it important to tell our truths? Because our realities generate a volubility that forces us to take off our masks and reveal our true selves. This honesty then pushes us to paint a new self-portrait, initiating self-confidence that will then allow us to choose our favorite color palette, and our best paint brushes. In essence, we begin to own our lives, rebuke victimization, and create a brand-new canvas of possibilities.

So what is my story? Pain healed my family. A mother who was not speaking to her son. Siblings who felt betrayed by their parents. And a crisis created by cancer that ironically turned everything around. Turmoil has a way of either tearing things down—or in my circumstance—building new beginnings. The combination of sibling prayer, the start of parent humility, and a Stage 4 disease that I was determined to stomp in the ground, rescued my family from a destructive road that at the time; we were not sure how it was going to end.

As hard as it is to understand sometimes, devastation can be a remedy for healing. This process starts with acceptance and taking responsibility for whatever part that you have played in the situation – then the truth must be spoken. The narratives that we express about ourselves to others are the medicine that we crave, leading us to ultimate self-awareness and honesty.

Richard Stone, the author of The Healing Art of Storytelling: A Sacred Journey of Personal Discovery, says, “without stories, life becomes a book cover without the pages—nice to look at, but not very fulfilling.” (

According to, the meaning of storytelling “is to give some thought to telling the whole and complete stories of our lives . . . ” It is very common for people to cover-up their complete and true existence. As citizens of the United States, we have seen these maskings over and over again in history and in the present day. Society leads us to believe that lying is acceptable and normal. Although it is very familiar, it definitely shouldn’t be the standard.

It is my belief that to jump-start the healing process, as individuals we have to shift our way of thinking and re-train how we exist in this world. Our new reality begins by sharing our ultimate truths. This is how we cure our sick realism; this is how we exhale our deepest breath.

Zelda Corona is a business and life coach under her company Victory Vision Business Ventures, LLC. She co-authored the books No Artificial Ingredients – Reflections Unplugged and Mommy Divas on the Move: 16 Successful Secrets for Mompreneurs. She is a member of Sister Speak, a trilogy of writers who formed in 2010 with a vision of self-expression and a goal of healing. The trio states they are inspired by grace, allowing them to take a genuine position on the struggles and successes of everyday living.