A few years at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, I was intrigued by the numbers of both prototype and production items that were evolving into what is now known as “Internet of Things,” or “IoT.” For the majority of us, when we think of the Internet, we think of our computers, tablets and smart phones.

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Wednesday, Jan. 6, that U.S. Marshals, at the agency’s request, seized nearly 90,000 bottles of dietary supplements labeled as containing kratom. The product, manufactured for and held by Dordoniz Natural Products LLC, located in South Beloit, Illinois, is marketed under the brand name RelaKzpro and worth more than $400,000.

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Lamar University has named four alumni as Distinguished Alumni for 2016, noting that their dedication to their professions, service to their communities and loyalty to their alma mater epitomizes the Lamar University spirit. The award is the highest granted by the university to its graduates.

"These four individuals represent excellence in their careers and a genuine love for their alma mater,” said Shannon Copeland, director of alumni affairs. “It is an honor to name them as our Distinguished Alumni for 2016.”

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As we all rushed around getting ready for family visits, good home cooked food, the buying and exchanging of sought-after gifts, and travel to celebrate Christmas with those we love the most, how many of us became worn out, tired, physically ill, and sometimes blue? For some, it seemed that we just could not get everything we wanted to do accomplished within the tight deadlines, or that we did not have the money we wanted to spend, or we could not get home at all. As I observed and visited with those I love the most, I saw some tired faces, concern about finances and sadness.

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When it’s been raining and cold, and it’s probably a few months until we can truly enjoy our outdoor spaces, I look for “inspiration”: a trip to Marrakech with its fabulous winter weather or to Seville with the Andalusian water gardens. Possibly the best option is to plan a virtual or real trip to Claude Monet’s garden in Giverny, France.

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