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Chad Pregracke: Rescuing Our Rivers

One of the most powerful forces of nature, the river, has been revered the world over since ancient times, says ‘HelpSaveNature.com.’ These massive freshwater bodies have been called ‘the sources of life,’ and some of the most advanced civilizations of the world have originated and flourished on the banks of major rivers. Apart from being sources of sustenance, rivers have also been major hubs of economies. Their ease of transportation has facilitated mass mobility and trade and led to incalculable wealth accumulation. Clearly, this has been the case with America’s second longest river with the second largest drainage basin, the prodigious Mississippi River. The Noble Mississippi “The Mississippi River carries the mud of thirty states and two provinces 2,000 miles south to the delta and deposits 500 million tons of it there every year. The business of the Mississippi, which it will accomplish in time, is to methodically transport all of Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico.” – Charles Kuralt               From the time of Native Americans to the present, the “business” of the river has

Eric B. Maddox: Interrogator-in-Chief

As we dig deep into the lives of the highest echelon of entrepreneurial spirits, whatever be their pursuit, certain consistent characteristics emerge to explain their success. Early influences, work ethic, grit, positivity and a never-say-die mindset are all part of their recipe, no doubt. However, another less-appreciated “learned skill” is making an appearance time-and-again. In our noisy world that never stops talking, it is the art of patient, empathetic listening. Eric Maddox is famously known as the man whose investigatory techniques were most responsible for the 2003 capture of Saddam Hussein in war-torn Iraq. But he is much more than that. Let’s dig beneath the surface to discover the core of this warrior’s incomparable life-force. An Empathetic Warrior in Service When most young people are a few months away from graduating college, they are busy studying for finals, getting their cap and gown ordered, securing tickets to the ceremony, attending various celebrations across campus (i.e. keg parties), and planning for life beyond the safe campus confines, also called “the real world.” These may all describe Maddox, with one minor nuance.

Ronnie Coleman: A Mountainous Man

How many athletes can we name who’ve reached the summit of their sport, in fact, who’ve been so dominant that their name is synonymous with the sport itself? The names flashing through our minds are a ‘who’s who,’ and include: Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger, Michael, LeBron, Serena, the Babe, Joe DiMaggio, Lawrence Taylor, Tom Brady, Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis. Of course, there are several others deserving of such accolade, so please cool your jets. This subject will forever make good bar-top banter, and we’ll discuss it further over the next round. But for now, we have another obvious name to add to this esteemed list. For those who follow the sport of bodybuilding, with such notable champions and celebrities as Ferrigno, Schwarzenegger and Haney, the name often at the very top of the mountain is Ronnie Coleman. And why not? He won bodybuilding’s preeminent world championship, Mr. Olympia, a record-tying eight (8) consecutive years (1998-2005). It is said that the physique Coleman displayed on stage in the 2003 competition, at

Pavlo: Mediterranean Nights

There is one common ‘language’ that has the power to emotionally connect every human being on the planet, regardless of their race, culture or living conditions. It is the language of music – especially instrumental ‘feel-good’ music. The universal melodies can speak intimately to people of widely diverse backgrounds in a similar manner, causing spontaneous reminiscences, moving a person to tears, be they of despair or joy, and they can compel a person to leap up and gyrate their body excitedly in jubilant, celebratory dance. The inventor and reigning king of an instrumental ‘feel-good’ musical genre known as ‘Mediterranean’ is recognized across the globe only as Pavlo. The Early Years  In the aftermath of World War II, over half-a-million Europeans left their war-torn countries and emigrated to Canada, specifically to the Greater Toronto area. By 1960, a third of Toronto’s population were newcomers, including an estimated 12,500 Greek immigrants. By the 70s, the Greek population had grown to 30,000, and a section of town called ‘the Danforth’ was dubbed, ‘Little Athens.’ Among the early influx of immigrants were George and

Sarah Moshman: The Hero Within Her

She found her message, then traveled the country.  One fierce woman at a time, she dared to have their voices heard. In a burgundy jacket, jeans and grey boots, a non-assuming and charismatic speaker stood in front of an audience. She smiled and focused. In the audience, the people eagerly waited to hear her voice. She was slightly nervous, slightly excited but very determined. Nothing else accompanied her on stage other than a microphone and her message. The crowd slowly fell into a deep silence with full attention on her. She adjusted her hair, stood up straight, and said, “Hello, the Gina Davis Institute on Gender and Media did a study across all the popular films in 11 countries around the world and what that study found is that only 31% of those films had women with speaking roles and only 23% had a female protagonist,” said Sarah Moshman standing on the TEDx stage. Woman is Another Word for Hero Before that TEDx event, five women hopped into a minivan and drove across the United States. They traveled from Los

Captain Charlie Plumb: Pilot, POW, Survivor

The true story of a Kansas boy’s dream, a prisoner of war’s nightmare, and a man’s hope that overcame adversity. In the hot tropical heat, their faces swollen from mosquito bites, these American prisoners of war could hardly see. Lying on his side, Charlie Plumb tasted the putrid floors, the twine tightly wrapped around his black and blue wrists. Survival training had not sufficiently prepared him or explained the use of such brutal tactics. What occurred in Viet Cong prisoner of war camps overshadowed the most hellish imaginings we can muster. A meat hook adorned the chamber he was in. It hung above them ominously like a sadistic foreshadowing. Every day the Viet Cong would use new forms of torture on the young American captives. Plumb’s wrists and ankles were rubbed raw from being hogtied, he’d been in this position for months. One night, he was dragged into an 8-by-8-foot cell, where he would endure years of physical and mental torture. Through the pain, the tears and blood, his biggest concern were his fellow brothers in arms. The days of

ALDEN MILLS: EX NAVY SEAL & PERFECTLY UNSTOPPABLE

Personal Growth, A Brief History  The popularity of the ‘Personal Growth’ or ‘Self-Help’ genre of literature, and its associated seminars and training programs, is more than a century old. Just a few of the names you may be familiar with include: As a Man Thinketh by James Allen (1902), How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (1936), Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill (1937), The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale (1952), See You at the Top by Zig Ziglar (1975), The Sky’s the Limit by Wayne Dyer (1980), The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey (1989), Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins (1991) and Good to Great by Jim Collins (2001). These classic books and related trainings, while disparaged by some, have inspired countless success stories and even saved lives. The foundational principles involve becoming more aware of human psychology and thereby developing a better understanding of why we think and behave as we do. Then, time-honored tools and techniques are implemented to make positive changes and gain greater control over the direction of our lives. The genre

Laura FitzGerald
: Woman Trailblazer

Looking out for the little guy, this gal gives oil and gas goliaths a run for their money. She is known as an honest game-changer for landowners who are seeking to secure and sell their mineral rights. Her ability to navigate through all the intricacies of mineral rights transactions helps ensure the seller of getting the best value for their minerals. Meet Laura FitzGerald, a gentle but tough southern gal who founded IIios Resources, an oil and gas exploration company based out of Shreveport, Louisiana. From the Ground Up FitzGerald started as a paralegal for some of the best oil and gas attorneys in Shreveport, Louisiana. During her four years working as a paralegal, she sharpened her knowledge of oil and gas legalities while keeping up with the latest federal and local regulations on drilling minerals. This experience would be foundational to her going full force into the field, forming the entrepreneur and leader she is today. FitzGerald made a career change leaving her paralegal work and becoming an independent landman, or shall we say landwoman, for major oil and

Steve Morello: Your Photo Fellow

Add this to your bucket list — an unforgettable photography adventure. You’ve probably seen his stunning photographs in publications and books from prestigious publishers such as National Geographic, National Wildlife, Outdoor Photographer, The New York Times, or in the photo collection of World Wildlife Fund. Steve Morello has spent his entire career dedicated to photographing nature and travel destinations all over the world. Morello is also an accomplished author having written The Traveling Nature Photographer, considered by many as an absolute must-have for novice and aspiring photographers. The guide prepares the reader for photographic adventures in the wild and includes tips for taking professional-quality photos. It also features beautiful examples of his work as a source of inspiration. He’s also authored a plethora of articles on travel and nature photography that have been widely published in many magazines. Whether as a guide or photographer, his experiences have taken him throughout most of the world. His subjects have spanned the globe from the Arctic to Antarctica, Asia, the Americas, Africa, and Europe. Hiking through forest jungle, pontooning along a river, or

Frank M. Ahearn: Now You See Me…

Have you ever wanted to track down a deadbeat who owes you money? You call, text, email, stop by, but you’re completely ignored, like you’re invisible, or they are. Have you ever been on the other side of the transaction, the pursued, hiding out from someone you’d rather never see or speak with again? If so, have you ever wanted to just disappear into thin air? In your online life, have you ever been threatened, scammed or even blackmailed? Do you know the real identity of the person you met online, perhaps a romantic interest from one of the blogs or dating sites? Are you 100% certain of their true identity and intentions? Is there something out there in cyberworld, perhaps a past indiscretion or soured relationship, that could come back to haunt you, maybe even destroy your career or marriage? Wouldn’t you just love to make it disappear?   Potential enemies are lurking everywhere in our digital world and the uninformed are at great risk. No one knows this better than privacy expert, Frank Ahearn, a magician of sorts