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National Institutes of Health seek 1 million volunteers for All of Us Research Project

In a time when health care can often be one-size-fits-all, imagine having your health care tailored to your specific needs. That’s what the All of Us Research Project is aiming to create, but in order to do that they need a little help, and the Williston Community Library is the next stop on their national tour.

The All of Us Journey is a traveling, hands-on exhibit presented by the National Institutes of Health to raise awareness about the organization’s program. The program has been traveling throughout the United States, looking for one million volunteers to provide the types of information that can help the Institute create individualized prevention, treatment, and care programs.

The mobile exhibit will be stopping at the library from Tuesday, June 25, to Friday, June 28, as part of its tour, sharing highlights of the program and giving individuals the opportunity to join the program as well. the tour was most recently in Grand Forks, where it visited the University of North Dakota.

What exactly is the program looking for? All of Us is asking volunteers to share different types of health and lifestyle information, such as where they live, what they do, family medical history as well as providing bio-samples, such as blood and urine. According to the All of Us website, researchers will use the samples and physical measurements to understand both health and disease. All the data collected will be valuable for researchers to study things in samples like chemicals, bio-markers, and DNA. This information can then be used to create what is called “precision medicine.”

The All of Us Project states that precision medicine is health care that is based on the individual and takes factors such as where you live, what you do, and your family health history into account. If a person does become ill, precision medicine may help health care teams find treatments that will work best, and will help give health care providers the information they need to make tailored recommendations that are more relevant to people of different backgrounds, ages, or regions.

“The All of Us Research Program will change the way we do research.” said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes for Health. “Participants will be partners in research, not subjects, and will have access to a wide range of study results. What we’re doing with the All of Us Research Program is intersecting with other fundamental changes in medicine and research to empower Americans to live healthier lives.”

The mobile exhibit will contain many features, including a virtual reality experience that will teach visitors how medical breakthroughs have made a difference in the world, a waiting area for individuals to sign up for the program online, private rooms for measurements and bio-sample collection, and an interactive station where participants can share with others their reasons for taking part in the program.

The program is open to any individuals 18 years or older, regardless of health condition. The mobile exhibit will be at the library, located at 1302 Davidson Drive, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 25 to June 27 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 28.

For more information on the project, or to sign up in advance, visit joinallofus.org.

Drones take research data to new heights in the MonDak

Hand-held devices have long helped agronomists take data from fields on such things as canopy heights and temperatures, to help in assessing the performance of new varieties.

But the devices are time-consuming to use, and their results vary based on the time of day and the temperature. That makes collecting uniform data from a large number of test fields problematic.

“If you started on this field, it’s a lot of data,” research Agronomist Dr. Gautam Pradhan said. “You would have already spent three hours, and the sun is elsewhere and the temperature is something else.”

That makes it difficult to correlate all the data.

“You do it with math, but it won’t be exact,” Pradhan said.

A drone could dramatically speed the process, allowing researchers to collect in a half hour what used to take half a day to do. Pradhan is looking at how well drones can collect the information researchers need in a collaborate project with the Eastern Agricultural Research Center, Williston Research Center, and the USDA-ARS laboratory in Sidney. He has been flying drones to collect data to evaluate new varieties of spring wheat, barley, and durum wheat in both dryland and irrigated conditions, and comparing it to the data collected by the old method.

Pradhan brought his drones to the EARC and ARS Dryland Field Day on Thursday, June 20, to demonstrate how quickly the devices can fly a field and shoot the pictures that collect the data needed to evaluate new varieties.

The drone he used for the demonstration is fairly large and sturdy.

“It is so big and nice that it can even carry a big camera that you might have used during your wedding,” Pradhan said.

The camera has to be light enough in weight that the entire unit doesn’t exceed 55 pounds, otherwise it is no longer considered a drone by FAA regulations.

All kinds of cameras can be attached to the drone, but the kind Pradhan is using is called a multi-spectral camera. These cameras use green, red, red-edge and near infrared wavelengths of light to capture images of crops and vegetation. The images can later be analyzed by software programs that analyze them for such things as identifying pests, refining fertilization schemes, and estimating crop yields.

For variety trials, researchers are looking at certain plant canopy traits that relate closely to the crop’s physiology, growth, and yield, to develop higher yielding, more drought tolerant and winter resistant cereal varieties.

Not only can the drones get the same data more quickly than previous methods, but they can be sent out to collect that data more often, which should help researchers evaluate varieties with more accuracy.

Sounds of Summer Drum Line Camp returns after 9-year hiatus

The Yamaha Music Sounds of Summer Drum Line Camp has influenced an estimated 50,000 percussionists since its inception in 1985. After a nearly decade long hiatus, the program is returning to Williston to inspire the next generation of drummers.

Williston Middle School music instructor Chad Askim, with help from the Williston Convention and Visitors Bureau, are bringing the program back for students in grades 7 through 12. The camp is a little less than a month away, but Askim is hoping to get as many students registered as soon as possible.

Ashley Oyloe, events and convention services coordinator for the CVB, said that once word started getting around that the program was coming back, she began getting messages from community members expressing their excitement and offering their support.

“It’s really cool to see the community literally donate food, donate hotels, donate anything they can to help this program because they see the significance of it.” Oyloe told the Williston Herald.

The program is bringing in a special guest clinician for the camp, Denver Broncos Stampede Drumline Director and Arranger Dave Marvin. Marvin visited Williston previously when the Stampede took part in the Band Day Parade several years ago. Askim said Marvin will be working alongside two other instructors to work with groups of students on various techniques.

Participants will have a “Show and Tell” performance at 6 p.m. on July 16 to show off the skills they learned over the two-day camp. The performance will be held at the high school and is open to the public.

Cost for the camp is $75 per student, which gets the participant a Marching Essentials book, a camp shirt and lanyard, a CVB water bottle and covers the cost of food, transportation and access to the Williston ARC. For participants traveling from outside Williston, Oyloe added that the El Rancho Hotel is offering discounted rates for those taking part in the camp.

Study says Williston has second highest rate of suspended drivers in U.S.

If you’ve ever driven around Williston and thought the road was filled with drivers who should not have licenses, you might be onto something.

A recent post by an insurance shopping website claims that Williston has the second-highest rate of drivers with suspended licenses in the United States, behind only Reston, Virginia. The company, Insurify, claimed the rate of suspended drivers in Williston was 13.5 percent, and that 34.55 percent of drivers had a prior ticket or other violation.

The company used a database of more than 16 million car insurance applications, which asks people about their driving history, including their license status.

Regardless of whether Williston deserves second place on the list of cities with the highest rate of suspended drivers, one thing is clear: the number of citations issued for driving with a suspended or revoked license has more than doubled from 2018 to 2019.

A review of court records showed there were 121 such citations between January and May 2018. Of those, 64 were heard in Northwest District Court and 57 adjudicated in Williston Municipal Court.

For the same period in 2019, there were 264 citations issued for driving with a revoked or suspended license. There were 134 in district court and 130 in municipal court.

In North Dakota, driving with a suspended or revoked license is usually a class B misdemeanor, punishable by at most 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,500. If someone is convicted four or more times of driving with a suspended license in a five-year period, it becomes a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 360 days in jail and a fine of up to $3,000.

Things to know

Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site has announced the second season of Kidz Kraft Saturdays! Every Saturday from June 29 through Aug. 17, Fort Union will host a different activity or craft geared towards kids of all ages. Kids will enjoy these hands-on history activities and will learn a new skill or receive a take-home project.

Each of the Kidz Kraft activities are free, open to the public, and open to all age levels. Most programs will take approximately one hour to complete. Proper adult supervision is required during the activities, and rangers will be available to answer any questions and assist during the activities as well.