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Archives for September 2016

The legend of Bart Starr [INFOGRAPHIC]

When you think of “America’s Quarterback,” who comes to mind? Is it Aaron Rodgers? Tom Brady? Russell Wilson? Before any of these players were born, that distinction belonged to Bart Starr. Bart Starr is best known for quarterbacking one of the first dynasties in the National Football League: The 1960s’ Green Bay Packers. Bart was a fearless leader in an era when football was rough and still trying to attract a stable national audience. But off the field, Bart Starr shines even more. He was, and remains, a quiet supporter of numerous charities, a strong supporter of the local community, and a one of a kind, All-American icon who has given hope and special memories to thousands of individuals throughout his decorated life.

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The Legend of Bart Starr Infographic

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A Starr is born

Bryan Bartlett Starr aka Bart Starr was born January 9, 1934 in Montgomery, Alabama to Benjamin Bryan and Lula Starr. During Bart’s childhood, his father pushed him to develop a mean streak, clashing with Bart’s introverted personality.

Bart attended Sidney Lanier High School in Montgomery and tried out for their football team his sophomore year. After two weeks, he decided to quit. However, Bart’s father’s influence weighed on him yet again. Bart was given the option to either work in the family garden or play football. To the future delight of many, Bart chose football.

Roll tide!

After a successful senior year of high school in which Bart was named All-State and All-American, colleges from across the nation sent him scholarship offers. The University of Kentucky was the front runner, but Bart’s heart pulled him elsewhere. His high school sweetheart, Cherry Louise Morton, was planning on attending Auburn and Bart wanted to be close to her so he chose the University of Alabama.

Bart became Alabama’s starting quarterback, punter, and safety during his sophomore year, ranking second in the entire nation with a punting average of 41.4 yards per kick. This was Starr’s best year in college. A back injury his junior year prevented him from playing, and a coaching change his senior year limited playing time for the former starting quarterback.

The biggest bargain in NFL draft history

Despite his lack of playing time, the Green Bay Packers saw enough in Bart to select him in the 17th round, 200th overall in the 1956 NFL Draft. Many experts consider Bart one of the biggest steals in NFL Draft history. Initially, Bart backed up quarterback Tobin Rote, and then split time with Babe Parilli, until the Packers hired Vince Lombardi  in 1959. Lombardi knew Starr was his man from the start and benched starter Lamar McHan, giving Bart the starting quarterback position until 1971.

Bart Starr captains a dynasty

It only took Bart one year to lead the Packers to their first championship game. On December 26, 1960 the Packers traveled to Philadelphia to battle the Eagles in front of 67,325 fans. Despite out-gaining the Eagles 401 yards to 296, the Packers lost 17-13, the only playoff loss in Bart’s career.

Bart brought the Packers back to the NFL championship in 1961 against a New York Giants team that never stood a chance. The Packers won 37-0, their first of 5 championships over the next 7 years.

The 1966 Green Bay Packers

In 1966, Bart Starr had a career year, leading the Green Bay Packers to a 12-2 record en route to earning the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award. Starr’s statistics for the year are incredible:

  • 62.2% Completion rate, highest in the NFL
  • 14 Touchdown passes to only 3 interceptions for the lowest interception percentage (1.2%) in the NFL
  • 9.0 Yards per pass attempt, highest in the NFL
  • 105.0 Quarterback rating, highest in the NFL

 

But it was in the postseason that made Bart Starr entrenched his legacy. The 1966 NFL Championship matched the Green Bay Packers against the veteran Dallas Cowboys in Texas. The winner earned a trip to California to play against the AFL champions in the first ever Super Bowl. Bart Starr put on one of the greatest playoff performances of all time by an NFL quarterback, completing 19 of 28 passes for 304 yards, 4 touchdowns, and compiling a quarterback rating of 143.5.

The Packers won 34-27, and were off to the first Super Bowl.

Super Bowl I

Bart continued his strong play two weeks later, passing for 250 yards, 2 touchdowns and earning the game’s MVP award. Behind Brett’s leadership the Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 to capture the first ever Super Bowl Championship. But Bart, Vince Lombardi, and the Green Bay Packers weren’t finished.

The Ice Bowl

After another successful regular season, the Green Bay Packers faced the Dallas Cowboys for a rematch of the 1966 NFL Championship. Only, this game wasn’t under the warm Dallas sun. It would be the game that earned Lambeau Field the nickname “The Frozen Tundra”.

The game-time temperature at Lambeau was -13 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill around -36 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature was brutal:

  • The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse marching band had to cancel their halftime show as many instruments froze
  • The heating coils under the field broke
  • Before the game, many Packer players were unable to start their cars, forcing them to find alternative travel arrangements
  • The referees were unable to use their whistles during the game as they froze to their lips
  • CBS announcer Frank Gifford said on air, “I’m going to take a bite of my coffee”

 

Bart attended an early church service with his father before the game. Bart recalls, “It was so cold that neither of us talked about it. Nobody wanted to bring it up.” The conditions proved difficult to play in and late in the game things didn’t look good for Bart and the Packers. With 4:50 left in the game, the Packers needed to move the ball 68 yards down the field, something they’d struggled to do all day. The wind chill fell to -70°F and players on both teams had trouble staying upright on the slippery field. But Bart was up for the challenge.

He completed short pass after short pass, bringing the Packers to the 1 yard line with only 16 seconds left to play. It was 3rd and goal and the Packers were out of timeouts. A failed run play would end the game, but Starr saw something in the Dallas Cowboy’s defensive line he knew he could exploit. Packers radio announcer Ted Moore gave the play-by-play:

Here are the Packers, third down, inches to go, to paydirt. 17-14, Cowboys out in front, Packers trying for the go-ahead score. Starr begins the count. Takes the snap. He’s got the quarterback sneak and he’s in for the touchdown and the Packers are out in front! 20-17! And 13 seconds showing on the clock and the Green Bay Packers are going to be… World Champions, NFL Champions, for the third straight year!

Bart didn’t tell the other players he’d be keeping the ball. He clutched the ball in his frost bitten fingers and dove in for the game winning touchdown. On Bart’s back, the Packers headed to their second consecutive Super Bowl.

Super Bowl II

With Bart, Lombardi, and an experienced team, their Super Bowl opponent never stood a chance. The Green Bay Packers dominated the Oakland Raiders 33-14. Bart Starr was named the game’s MVP for the second consecutive year, passing for 202 yards and a touchdown for a passer rating of 96.2.

The playing career of Bart Starr

Super Bowl II was the last playoff game of Bart’s playing career. Despite a run of poor seasons for the Packers, Bart led the league in both completion percentage and quarterback rating in 1968 and 1969 before retiring in 1971.

Bart retired as one of the most decorated quarterbacks in NFL history. In his career, he amassed:

  • 3149 pass attempts
  • 1808 pass completions
  • 57.4% completion percentage (An NFL record when Bart retired)
  • 152 touchdown passes
  • 24,718 passing yards
  • 80.5 passer rating
  • 1x MVP Award (1966)
  • 2x Super Bowl MVP Awards (Super Bowl I and II)
  • 1x First Team All-Pro (1966)
  • 2x Second Team All-Pro (1962, 1964)
  • 4x Pro Bowl

 

Bart’s postseason records truly cement his legacy. He amassed a 9-1 record and a 104.8 passer rating in the playoffs, an NFL record unbroken to this day (nearly 50 years!). In 1973, the Green Bay Packers honored Bart by retiring his number and in 1977 they inducted him into the Packers Hall of Fame. In 1977, Bart was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.

Bart Starr shines off the field

The Legend of Bart Starr MVP Corvette

While a legend on the field, Bart had even more of an impact off. Bart is a supporter of Rawhide Boys Ranch and was instrumental in its foundation. It all started with a call.

Rawhide founders John and Jan Gillespie were trying to get Rawhide started and were looking for a notable supporter. Jan told John just to call Bart. John was hesitant, saying, “You can’t just call Bart Starr!” But the Gillespie’s looked into the phone book, found his number, and did just that. Before John knew it, he was talking to Bart Starr, and Bart invited John and Jan over to dinner that night. John declared his vision to Bart and Cherry Starr and they agreed to help out almost immediately.

In a stunning move of selflessness, Bart donated the Corvette he received as MVP of Super Bowl II. Bart’s charitable heart has impacted Rawhide for over 50 years. He held fundraisers in the early years to get Rawhide started, donated vehicle after vehicle, and showed up to support numerous events.


Bart has meant so much to Rawhide Boys Ranch, its on-campus school was named after him: Starr Academy.

Bart’s legacy

Without Bart’s help, Rawhide and the Green Bay Packers would not have the strong foundations and successes they enjoy to this day. Bart even has a week named after him. But he is always quick to give credit elsewhere, much like he made his triumphant return to Lambeau Field all about Brett Favre. Bart Starr is a football legend and someone who has left a positive mark on the world.

Please leave a comment or share a special memory about Bart Starr to inspire more people to live life with a similar passion and charitable spirit. Thank you, Bart. For everything.

Armed forces suicide rate skyrockets [INFOGRAPHIC]

Suicide is an often under-discussed and increasingly prevalent issue for armed forces personnel. Armed forces suicide rates have tripled since 2001 and are often tied to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and/or depression. Warning signs of these conditions shouldn’t be ignored. Help is available for armed forces personal facing mental health issues. It’s time to talk about suicide and the armed forces.

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Armed Forces Suicide Infographic

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PTSD and depression in armed forces

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a common problem in armed forces veterans and unfortunately many struggling with PTSD are undiagnosed or don’t seek treatment.

Military mental health counselors believe these numbers are even higher, especially when taking into account Traumatic Brain Injuries or TBIs. But underreporting and an overall stigma of weakness prevents many armed forces personnel/veterans from discussing their concerns and symptoms.

Armed forces suicide rates triple

The Army’s annual death toll from suicide has more than tripled since 2001. In addition, a concerning amount of non-fatal suicide attempts are reported on a daily basis.

Suicide demographics

Armed forces suicides occur more often in male veterans 50 years or older.

While a suicide often comes as a shock to friends and family, some warning signs may appear.

Warning signs

Suicide attempts often have warning signs, though many are subtle. Many armed forces personnel contemplating suicide display at least some of the following warning signs:

  • Appears sad or depressed often
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Withdraws from friends and family
  • Frequent mood changes
  • Expresses feelings of guilt or shame
  • Talks about feeling trapped

Who to talk to

If you or someone you know experiences the warning signs, or you’re concerned for any reason, there are many options available for life-saving help.

Depression, PTSD, and suicide are not issues to gloss over. Please take note of the statistics and warning signs to help prevent more lost lives. Suicide in the armed forces is too big of a problem to ignore.

Youth lessons learned on the Rawhide Ranch

Sixteen years old, overwhelmed, nervous, surrounded by complete strangers, Larry Eckes arrived at Rawhide Boys Ranch unsure what to expect.  Little did Larry know, he just started one of the best years of his life. In his brief year spent in that house along the Wolf River he grasped vital youth lessons that formed the loving, kind man he is today.

And in many ways he never left.

Opening to new experiences

Larry remembers feeling overwhelmed by the abrupt life changes at Rawhide. He went from living in a difficult environment to living in a large house with strangers from various backgrounds. But the changes were welcomed. He went to school in New London and cherished working on projects with his housefather John Gillespie. Larry loved that everyday brought a new experience and a different project, including:

He even visited Bart Starr’s house in Green Bay and met Bart’s family, calling it  one of his most exciting and adored life experiences.

Halloween and a Cadillac Hearse

But as great as it was meeting Green Bay Packer, and personal hero, Bart Starr, Larry’s life truly changed when John introduced him to ten cars donated to the ranch. Larry said,

“That’s where I got hooked, was with the vehicles…that set me on my way and changed my life forever.”

He got his driver’s license shortly after and proved himself responsible enough to serve as a driver for some errands. While he loved all the vehicles on the ranch, one in particular still makes him smile. “Favorite memory is the ’59 Cadillac Hearse. I got my driver’s license on ranch and was able to drive it,” Larry said with a laugh, adding, “We had a lot of fun with that Cadillac Hearse, especially around Halloween time.”

Driving and tinkering with cars gave Larry an outlet for his energy and frustration. When around cars he felt, and still feels, comfortable and calm.

Jumpstarted into a career

At the time working with the cars was just a fun activity, and necessary chore at the ranch, but when Larry left Rawhide his love for automobiles continued to grow. He said, “The biggest thing that happened is after I left Rawhide I went into the automotive field.”

But it wasn’t just working with cars that kept Larry in the automotive industry for 43 years:

“Vehicles and people I’ve taken care of is my whole life. Being a service consultant for 43 years, I’ve touched a lot of people’s lives.”

Living and working with “guys from all walks of life” at Rawhide and seeing the great care John and Jan had for them molded Larry’s desire to help others. He said, “Just knowing them and their guidance even though it was a short amount of time, it molded my life even up until this day. And it was in a good way.”

Larry’s lifelong connection to Rawhide goes beyond youth lessons in how to live a fulfilling life. While a service consultant at three different dealerships, he worked with Rawhide employees and donors as a vehicle drop-off facilitator for vehicles donated to Rawhide Boys Ranch.

For all they had done, from giving him the tools to live a wonderful life, to setting him on a career path he delighted in, Larry wanted to tell John and Jan, “Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Help us teach our youth lessons

Since he met John and Jan Gillespie 50 years ago, Larry has seen and done a lot, yet he still looks fondly back on his days spent working and learning on the Rawhide Boys Ranch. He called it “one of the best programs I’ve ever seen,” adding, “From 50 years ago to today it’s remarkable. It has proven it can stand the test of time.”

Please join us in adding to Rawhide’s legacy by donating your old car, truck, or boat. Rawhide’s vehicle donation program funds many of our at-risk youth programs. In fact, over 83% of funds go directly to helping at-risk youth.

175 Pokémon Go statistics for family fun (February 2017) [INFOGRAPHIC]

Here at Rawhide, we value family and family activities. That’s why it’s almost impossible to ignore the impact Pokémon Go can have on family activities! No mobile game has had as big of an impact on the world as Pokémon Go. Since the much anticipated release, Pokémon Go continues to break download records, set unprecedented usage-rate marks, and even caused real-life stampedes. With download numbers far exceeding apps like Candy Crush, Clash of Clans, and Hearthstone and an engagement rate Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can’t help but drool over, we couldn’t help but compile all the Pokémon Go statistics you need to know in our all-encompassing guide. Check out our infographic below to discover: How big Pokémon Go has become and where this cultural phenomenon is headed. We’ve also included stats on the Generation 2 update!

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Pokémon Go Statistics Infographic

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Pokémon Go statistics that will blow your mind

The Pokémon Go sensation is only beginning, and so are the mind-blowing Pokémon Go statistics surrounding the game. Everything from record-setting download rates to unprecedented usage and engagement rates have occurred since the initial release. Only time will tell where the app will go, but the rumored updates and potential for 7 Pokémon generations worth of game-play make Pokémon Go a game not to take lightly. Dataminers discovered lines of code in the recent updates leading to “daily quests”. More reports surfaced that revealed Pokémon Go earned $1 Billion in a little over 6 months.

What is Pokémon Go?


Pokémon Go is a free-to-play, location-based mobile game that encourages users to walk around and explore their surroundings in hopes of finding digital monsters called Pokémon. It’s the first mobile game attached to Nintendo, and certainly won’t be the last.

But who is the average Pokémon Go player?

 

Pokémon Go players earn experience points through tasks such as catching Pokémon, hatching eggs, and visiting PokéStops. Once a Pokémon Go player earns enough experience points to reach level 5, they may join one of three teams: Mystic, Instinct, or Valor.

  • 43% of players joined Team Mystic
  • 32% of players Joined Team Valor
  • 25% of players joined Team Instinct

 

Pokémon Go Statistics What is Pokemon

 

Players pursue 151 possible Pokémon by visiting locations where Pokémon are known to spawn. Once a player encounters a Pokémon they would like, they use their finger to throw capture devices known as “Pokéballs” at the Pokémon. The overall goal is to “Catch ‘em all”.

Players may also battle gyms, hatch eggs by walking either 2, 5, or 10 kilometers, collect items at “PokéStops” and  much more as Niantic, the company behind Pokémon Go, continues to add new features to the game. The highest level or combat points a Pokemon can attain is 4,144. Currently, only legendary Pokemon Mewtwo (not currently available in the game) can reach that level. The highest level or combat points currently available is 3500 by dragon type Pokemon Dragonite.

Players may also declare one of their Pokemon their “buddy” and earn rewards for walking 1, 3, or 5 kilometers. Niantic included an Easter Egg in the game where if a player walks 10 kilometers with a Pikachu, the Pikachu will hop on their shoulder.

A handy Level Speed Calculator was created to track how long it will take players to reach certain levels. Many estimates show it may take players years to reach level the maximum level possible: 40. 20,000,000 experience points are required to hit the level cap. Reaching 20,000,000 experience points is equal to:

  • Visiting 400,000 PokeStops
  • Capturing 200,000 Rattatas

 

84 possible medals exist for players who achieve goals such as walking a certain distance or catching a certain amount of Pokémon. 

Pokémon Go first week

Pokémon Go was released on July 6, 2016 in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. The initial popularity created such a strain on the game’s servers that Niantic delayed releases in other countries until they resolved the issues. Just how popular was the initial release? In the first week, Pokémon Go was downloaded:

  • Once every 81 seconds
  • Every 55 seconds on Apple devices
  • Every 26 seconds on android devices

 

Within 5 days, Pokémon Go was installed on:

  • 16% of all android devices in New Zealand
  • 1% of all android devices in Australia
  • 8% on all android devices in the United States

 

Apple declined to release how many times Pokémon Go was downloaded on their devices, but they did announce it was downloaded more times in its first week than any other app in history.

The initial Pokemon Go traffic was 50 times higher than Niantic’s expectations and 10 times higher than their worst case scenario. Pokemon Go reached peak traffic numbers within 15 minutes of launching.

Pokémon Go usage

Pokémon Go was slowly released to users across the world and is now available in over 100 countries. Having millions of users is great, but how much time do they spend on the app? More than any other app, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

Roughly 7 out of 10 people who download the game continued to play the next day. In comparison, the average rate for next-day return on other apps is approximately 3 out of 10.

Pokémon Go Statistics comparing apps

Pokemon Go released the Pokemon Go Plus accessory on September 16th, adding an extra wrinkle to the game, allowing players to play the game without checking their mobile devices.

After slipping in the top grossing rankings, Pokemon Go climbed back to the number one spot after running a Halloween theme update that gave players:

  • More spooky “Ghost Type” Pokemon
  • Double candy earned

 

Shortly after Halloween, Niantic added a new system that provides rewards to daily users:

  • Catching a Pokemon every day earns a player 500 Experience Points (or XP) and 600 Stardust
  • Catching a Pokemon every day for 7 straight days earns a player 2,000 XP and 2,400 Stardust
  • Visiting a PokeStop every day earns players 500 XP
  • Visiting a PokeStop for 7 straight days earns a player 2,000 XP

 

Due to this success, Pokemon Go released a holiday themed updates for Christmas, and on December 12th, added 8 new Pokemon to the game. The Pokemon are from the second generation (Gold/Silver) and must be hatched by users. The Pokemon added are:

  • Tyrogue (Becomes Hitmonchan/Hitmonlee/Hitmontop, however, it’s unsure when Hitmontop will be available)
  • Smoochum (Becomes Jynx)
  • Cleffa (Becomes Clefairy)
  • Igglypuff (Becomes Jigglypuff)
  • Elekid (Becomes Electabuzz)
  • Magby (Becomes Magmar)
  • Togepi (Becomes Togetic, however, it’s unsure when Togetic will be available)
  • Pichu (Becomes Pikachu)

 

The update also added a festive Pikachu donning a Santa hat. A Valentine’s Day update is rumored as well as user activity peaks around holiday events.

25 quick Generation 2 Pokémon Go statistics

The full Generation 2 update of Pokémon Go went live February 17th, 2017. The update added approximately 85 new Pokémon as well as:

  • Genders for Pokémon
  • New evolution items that modify the evolution of Gen 1 Pokémon. The evolution items are:
  • Nanab berries, which slow Pokémon down (trust me, some of these Pokémon are FAST)
  • Pinap berries which doubles the amount of candy you receive if your next catch attempt is a success
  • New avatar items such as hat, shirt, pants, and shoes users can purchase with coins
  • A new catch bonus has been added.
    • 50 EXP for a catch on the first throw.
  • Users will receive additional candy when they catch an evolved Pokémon
  • Users will also get extra stardust when catching an evolved Pokémon
  • Users can now evolve Eevee into Espeon and Umbreon by giving them specific nicknames
    • Naming Eevee Sakura evolves it into an Espeon
    • Naming Eevee Tamao evolves it into Umbreon

 

Smeargle and Delibird are yet to appear in the game. It is rumored that their unique moves are difficult to put in the game, causing a delay similar to that of Ditto.

Pokémon Go benefits physical health

Can playing a game for extended periods really be healthy? The answer is yes. Pokémon Go’s requirement to go outside and move around positively impacts health for many users. Players have extra incentive to walk as eggs in the game hatch once a player walks either 2 kilometers, 5 kilometers, or 10 kilometers. A new study found that over 30 days, Pokemon Go added 144 billion steps to U.S. physical activity. Pokémon Go players have lost weight, visited areas they admit they wouldn’t have in the past, and many remark it has improved their mental health.

 

Playing for 43 minutes a day, 7 days a week burns:

  • 1795 calories for males (equal to 7 small chocolate doughnuts)
  • 1503 calories for females (equal to 6 small chocolate doughnuts)

 

Playing 43 minutes a day and catching around 22 Pokémon a day translates to:

  • 1 pound lost for males every 13.75 days
  • 1 pound lost for females every 16.27 days

 

Pokemon Go could add approximately 2,825 million years of total additional lifetime to users in the U.S. if the game sustained engagement of its user base.

 

 

Recently, Niantic revealed the total walking distance of every Pokémon Go player combined is 4.6 billion kilometers, roughly the distance from Earth to Pluto. Particularly engaged users increased their daily steps by more than 25%. Using Pokémon Go as a workout tool can save users money as well. The average monthly gym membership is $58. Depending on individual data plans, playing Pokémon Go for an hour a day will likely save a few bucks.

Pokémon Go benefits mental health

Roughly 43.8 million adults in the United States experience mental illness every year: equal to 1 in 5 adults. Mental illness is especially prominent in the video game world. But Pokémon Go players are finding the game helps them cope with:

  • General Anxiety
  • Social Anxiety
  • Depression

 

Exercise helping manage mental disorders isn’t a surprise to many mental health experts. Dr. John Grohol, an expert on how technology impacts human behavior and mental health, said, “The research is really, really clear on this, that the more you exercise, the more it would help decrease feelings of depression.” But what does surprise Dr. Grohol is that Pokémon Go is helping people so profoundly.

In terms of the phenomena of people expressing the benefits of playing the game to their real-world mental health status, I think that’s very unique and it’s the first time I’ve ever seen anything like that.

Pokémon Go is a social experience for many as well. Players meet and share what they’ve learned about Pokémon and other features in their neighborhoods. Meeting and interacting with new people has always been a personal struggle. However, since the games release, I’ve had long, detailed, Pokémon related conversations with complete strangers. Before Pokémon Go released, the thought of spending that much time with strangers induced anxiety. But the social world of Pokémon Go created a healthy community for individuals like me who struggle to meet new people or socialize with strangers.

Pokémon Go benefits business

 

Businesses are using Pokémon Go to attract new customers and then interact with both new and returning customers. Many businesses will attach a “lure module” on a PokéStop at or near their business and watch the foot traffic roll in.Pokémon Go Statistics at businesses

Restaurants and bars are taking note.

 

The financial benefits are huge. One 30 minute lure only costs $1. Derek Fridman and Michael Koziol attached $49 worth of lures to Huge Café and saw a great return on their investment as customers playing Pokémon Go provided steady traffic the whole day. Stores that resell used Pokémon video games are also benefiting.

  • Prices of all used Pokémon games have gone up 100%
  • Sales of old Pokémon games have increased 200%

 

Sales of external, portable battery packs for smartphones are also rising. In the first two weeks, portable power pack sales increased 101%. Over 1.2 million portable power packs were sold in that short period of time.

RAVPower has seen their overall charger sales through Amazon double. The company Lifeproof also saw sales for their LifeActiv bike/bar mounts for smartphones increase by double digits. When users become comfortable spending money on in-app purchases, this often benefits more than one app, and competing apps are reaping the rewards of player’s spending money in Pokémon Go. The following companies saw a sales increase on in-app purchases thanks to Pokémon Go:

  • Peak Games
  • Google
  • King
  • Supercell

 

Some estimates show Pokemon go is still bringing in around $2 million a day.

Pokémon Go takes social media by storm

If you’ve been on any social media site, you’ve probably seen at least one (but probably more like 500) post mentioning Pokémon Go. Since Pokémon Go’s launch, there have been 645 million Facebook posts, reactions, comments, and shares related to the app. It’s also taken over Twitter. In Pokémon Go’s first week:

  • 3 million tweets related to the app

 

This overshadowed one of the biggest European political and cultural events of 2016:

  • Brexit only had 7 million tweets
  • Euro 2016 had 5 million tweets

 

Music streaming service Spotify saw an increase in Pokémon related usage.

 

Negative Pokémon Go statistics

Unfortunately, Pokémon Go has not been free of negative publicity. Some are using the game at inappropriate times while others are encountering dangerous situations.

 

Players aren’t just playing the game when they shouldn’t; they’re playing the game where they shouldn’t.

 

While the app is free, some players experienced data overages from constant playing. The most newsworthy story occurred during the 2016 Summer Olympics when Japanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura racked up $5,000 in data roaming charges while playing Pokémon Go in Brazil. (Though, that didn’t stop him from winning two gold medals.) But real world concerns turned dangerous, if not fatal.

Teen issues
Pokémon Go Statistics headlines

Teens make up a significant number of the Pokémon Go community. 1 in 5 players are between the ages of 13-17, but stories of teens encountering issues appeared since Pokémon Go launched.

 

These stories emerged within a short amount of time after the game’s launch. While some are extreme, there is one Pokémon Go statistic that hits close to home:

 

That is New York City alone. Similar figures are found in:

 

With over 5 million PokéStops in existence, and more on the way, there’s a chance your teen may play near a registered sex offender. Family Watchdog is a helpful resource that shows where sex offenders live to help you guide your children where to play safely.

11 tips to catch em’ safely

1. Beware of lures

PokéStops are a great place to stock up on items catch Pokémon once lures are placed on them. Once a “lure module” is placed on a PokéStop, more Pokémon appear there, often followed by more players. But armed robbers have used this feature to lure unsuspecting people to secluded locations. If a PokéStop raises any concerns, use caution near it.

2. Be respectful of where you’re playing

Locations such as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC, Arlington National Cemetery, and even Auschwitz Memorial Museum ran into issues with visitors coming solely to play Pokémon Go. It’s reached such a level that memorial sites asked for the removal of all Pokémon from the area.

3. Keep off private property

Police continue to remind the public not to trespass, as some Pokémon Go players wander off paths and over fences.

4. Do not catch and drive

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85% of players admit to playing Pokémon Go while driving and 4% of players admit to being pulled over while playing. Deaths have already occurred from drivers playing Pokémon Go. There’s a reason the game has a speed limit. Please do not play and drive.

5. Play the game with friends and family

Enjoy the game’s social aspect and play with your friends and family. This allows younger players to get out and play in adult-managed groups. For teens, encourage them to play with a friend, and impose other rules such as, not playing late at night or in remote places.

6. Watch where you are going

Tracking Pokémon through the game has changed significantly and causes players to walk distractedly, turning around, backtracking, and not watching where they are going.

7. Beware of in-app purchases

While free to download, Pokémon Go does make money via in-app purchases. It is possible for a player to spend $99 a pop on “Pokécoins”, the game’s digital currency, accidentally. This kind of spending may accidentally happen with younger players.

8. Be mindful of personal privacy

Don’t let your family or teens use real names for Pokémon account names. Encourage them to flex their creative muscle and come up with fun code names or Pokémon Trainer-style names. Or use this fun name generator.

9. Monitor when teens play the game

Pokémon Go provides a time-stamp down to the minute the action took place, which means parents have a complete log of when children play the game.

10. Watch data and battery consumption

Pokémon Go uses a large amount of a phone’s data and battery life. Consistently playing Pokémon Go,

 

This can cause players to be left far from home with a dead phone or end up using more data than they’re allotted.

11. Read the Pokémon Go arbitration clause

Parents should be aware of an arbitration clause in the Terms of Service detailing when the right to sue the company or join a class action suit against it (for example, if you’re injured while playing) is waived. To opt out of this clause, you need to send an email to termsofervice@nianticlabs.com with “Arbitration Opt-Out Notice” as the subject line and clearly state you are opting out of the arbitration clause in Pokémon Go’s terms of service. You must do so within the first 30 days of agreeing to the Terms of Service.

Good luck catching ‘em all!

Pokémon Go is more than just a game. It’s become a cultural phenomenon that’s given complete strangers a way to connect and celebrate accomplishments with one another. It’s encouraging people to get outside and interact with their environment and neighbors, creating a sense of community and togetherness.

While Pokémon Go is limited to your phone, its impact on our culture is incredible. The most important thing is to enjoy the game safely. Good luck on your journey! Hope you catch ‘em all!

Police officer suicide, number one threat to officers [INFOGRAPHIC]

Suicide is the #1 killer of police officers. A variety of factors such as PTSD, stress, and depression are linked to this growing concern. Police officer suicide occurs 1.5 times more frequently than among the general population.

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Police Officer Suicide Infographic

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Demographics behind police officer suicide

When analyzing police officer suicide rates since 2008, a few common trends appear:

  • 91% of suicides were by male officers
  • Average age of officers committing suicide was 42
  • Average length of career in law enforcement for officers committing suicide was 16 years

Older male officers well into their career on the force have a higher risk of committing suicide than newer officers.

Police officer suicide prevalence

Roughly the same amount of police officers take their lives every year. Many officer suicides come as a shock to a vast majority of people who knew the officers.   

    • Over 100 police officers take their lives per year, dating back to 2008
    • 15%-18% of officers that committed suicide suffered from PTSD
    • 64% of police suicides were completely unexpected

Warning signs

Police officers who contemplate suicide sometimes display these common warning signs:

  • Neglect personal welfare
  • Withdraw from friends and family
  • Lose interest in hobbies or passions
  • Mood changes
  • Deep sadness

These signs appear in many individuals before they commit suicide. Unfortunately, police officers tend to be more withdrawn by nature, making it harder for friends and family to identify any problems.

Who do police officers turn to?

When police officers are facing issues, they discuss the issues with a variety of different people. That is, if they choose to discuss it at all.

  • 56.9% turn to family members
  • 44.1% turn to nobody
  • 42.1% turn to a friend at work
  • 37.2% turn to a friend outside work
  • 17.6% turn to professional help outside work
  • 10.8% turn to a direct supervisor

An alarming 44.1% turn to nobody at all. This might be due to pride, denial, or many other factors causing an officer to not feel comfortable discussing their mental health issues.

How can law enforcement agencies help?

Law enforcement agencies can and have taken steps to address the high number of police officer suicides. Some methods found to be effective include:

  • Law enforcement agencies can endorse, develop, and encourage peer support programs.
  • Overcome unwritten Police “rules”.
  • Remove the stigma that accompanies seeking help.
  • Train officers in healthy self-care rather than poor coping strategies such as excessive alcohol consumption, avoidance, and distancing.
  • Raise awareness about motivations and risk factors for suicide so fellow officers will recognize them before it’s too late.
  • Encourage agencies to investigate and report suspected LEO suicides using a psychological autopsy format similar to the one outlined by the U.S. Department of the Army.

How can officers help?

If you are an officer experiencing mental health issues or you know an officer who is, refer them to the two numbers below for potentially life-saving support:

  1. Safe Call Now (Crisis hotline specifically for first responders) 1-206-459-3020
  2. COPLINE (“There is always a cop on the other end of the line”) 1 -800-267-5463

Also, visit Talk2EndStigma to read Chris Prochut’s story and share many of the resources on his page. Chris experienced many of the issues police officers face when dealing with mental health and provides valuable insight on situations officers may not know how to handle.

There is help available. It’s a matter of recognizing something is wrong and admitting help is needed. There is too much at stake to ignore the threat of suicide.

11 winter car tips to conquer harsh conditions

Winter is coming. Weather (pun intended) you like it or not. With freezing temperatures, icy roads, and scraping ice off your car until your hands freeze, one question should be asked: Are you ready for all the obstacles winter throws at you and your car? If you’re worried you’re forgetting something this winter, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered with our 11 winter car tips to face harsh conditions.

1. Create a winter emergency kit

Your winter emergency kit may resemble your usual emergency kit with the addition of warm clothes. Put together a few basics in case cold weather and icy conditions leave you stranded. A good winter emergency kit should contain:

A variety of issues may leave you stranded during winter. Prepare now to get out of any troubles you might encounter.

2. Check engine coolant and antifreeze levels

Inspect that your engine coolant and antifreeze levels are at the recommended levels. Antifreeze excels at preventing rust and corrosion from building up on your cooling system and prevents other fluids from freezing in your engine during winter. Coolant keeps your engine from overheating and allows it to run smooth, even in very harsh climates.

3. Check tires

Winter Car TipsMake sure your car is equipped with all-weather or winter tires. Summer tires will guarantee slipping and sliding all winter long. All-weather or snow tires have deep grooves, giving you great traction during not-so-great weather. Consumer report offers a handy rating guide for various types of tires.

If you have appropriate tires for winter conditions, great! Next, use the penny test in the image above to see if your tire tread will be adequate for the weather to ensure your car stays on the road.

4. Use winter windshield wiper fluid

What’s the difference between regular windshield wiper fluid and winter wiper fluid? Winter wiper fluid is ready for the harshest conditions. Winter wiper fluid allows for use at a lower temperature (check bottle for exact temperature) and can even help melt light frost and ice.

5. Inspect windshield wipers

When examining your wiper blades, check for:

Lift carefully. If your car is older, the wiper arm might be more fragile than you’d expect.   Also, clear off all snow before turning on your windshield wipers. Using wipers to clear off snow adds extra wear to the wiper motors. If you notice any of the before mentioned issues, or if your wiper blades aren’t clearing the windshield well, consider buying new wiper blades.

6. Switch to synthetic oil and durable oil filter

The colder it gets, the more important your oil becomes. In fact, Ramon Nenez, spokesman for Purolator Filters NA LLC said, “The most obvious point to consider when temperatures dip very low is your choice of motor oil… and filter.”

At 20°F, most oils have the thickness of maple syrup, causing the oil pump to force cold, thick oil through the engine.  Synthetic oil has friction modifiers that allow the oil to flow smoothly through the engine and continue lubricating parts to prevent an engine breakdown.

7. Invest in a quality ice scraper

It might seem silly, but having a quality ice scraper will make your life much easier on ice-cold mornings. Many options are available:

  • Gloves attached to the ice scraper
  • Telescoping arms
  • Heavy Duty Brushes

Think back on your experiences scraping your windshield and consider what you need most. Be sure to find a scraper that you know won’t crack (literally) under the pressure.

8. Check the battery

Cold weather puts extra stress on your vehicle’s battery, making it extra important to check that your battery has significant charge. A battery with little life left can put a driver in danger of being stranded in the cold as harsh weather puts extra stress on batteries. Also examine that the battery isn’t cracked. A cracked battery can leak and malfunction. An average car battery lasts about 5 to 7 years, so if your battery is around that age, or older, consider replacing it with a new, reliable battery.

9. Test your car’s heating system

You don’t want to spend all winter driving in a freezing vehicle. Inspect the entire heating system for cracks in hoses or any loose connections. Run your heater and defroster to make sure both work. The defroster is essential to guarantee peak visibility. Heating vents make sure you don’t have to thaw yourself off your seat.

If there is an issue with your car’s heating mechanisms, take the vehicle to a mechanic for further inspection. If you’re a DIYer, you can try some of these tips from Chris Fix.

10. Wash and wax vehicle

Waxing your car before winter provides an extra layer of protection against the ice, salt, and dirt winter brings. A layer of wax keeps paint protected; handy if you plan on reselling your vehicle.

11. Consider a roadside assistance membership

While a roadside assistance membership may not seem like a necessity, consider this scenario: It’s below zero outside, and your tire is suddenly flat. Wouldn’t it be nice to call someone to change that tire for you while you sit in a nice warm car? A roadside assistance membership is a nice assurance  if a family member is stranded during severe winter weather.

Still don’t trust your vehicle after our winter car tips?

These 11 tips can help keep you and your car on the road this winter. But if you’re looking at completely upgrading your vehicle to a better equipped winter machine, consider sending your old one to Rawhide. Vehicle donations help fund programs that give at-risk and troubled youth a second chance.