Holiday Helpings Lends a Hand to Children in Need

first_imgSusie Stauffer, director of Holiday Helpings, hands Remedios Zurita a bag of food for her child Thursday at St. Peter’s Methodist Church. By Maddy VitaleThere are 400 children on free lunches in Ocean City schools. So, what happens on the holidays when school is out? Do they still eat nourishing meals, do they go hungry, or eat less healthy?Susie Stauffer had those questions a few years ago. She went to her friends, fellow volunteers, and school officials, to create a plan to provide grocery bags filled with good foods to take children through Christmas break and spring break.Stauffer, director of Holiday Helpings, Sarah Lee, co-director of Holiday Helpings, from St. Peter’s Methodist Church and Waves of Caring director Ocean City Fire Chief Jim Smith, joined forces and everything fell into place. “What do the kids do when there is no school for an extended period of time?” Stauffer asked, explaining her initial thoughts that led to Holiday Helpings. “There are a lot of programs around the country that provide food and I wanted to do the same.”Ocean City schools helped a lot, Stauffer said. “When I started Holiday Helpings three years ago, I spoke with the principal of the primary school, and the superintendent. District staff tells us how many letters we need prepare and the staff puts the labels on. There is a lot of confidentiality around it.”The letters went home in November and about 45 families with about 100 children, signed up for the grocery bags. One bag is given per child.Parents and their children came in to pick up their grocery bags Thursday afternoon at St. Peter’s Methodist Church, 8th Street and Central Avenue. Another pick-up time was scheduled for later in the evening to give more people an opportunity to pick up the food. Volunteers packed up the groceries throughout the week. More than 120 bags lined the tables, filled with soups, macaroni and cheese, pancake mix, canned fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, a can of raviolis, a loaf of bread and some frozen sandwiches. More than 100 shopping bags filled with groceries were given out to needy families.Remedios Zurita walked up to the table and gave her phone number. Names are not required for confidentiality purposes. Stauffer handed her a bag of groceries and a loaf of bread and they chatted briefly, before Zurita turned to leave.“This helps,” Zurita said smiling. “Thank you.”Volunteer Edgar Rivero acted as a Spanish interpreter Thursday to communicate with some of the people who picked up their groceries.  One woman walked to the church for four bags. Lee, co-director of Holiday Helpings, asked her, through Rivero, if she needed a ride home. The woman said yes. Lee helped her with her bags and gave her a ride home.Holiday Helpings volunteer Edgar Rivero, who acted as a Spanish interpreter, speaks with Enriqueta Ramirez.Another woman, Enriqueta Ramirez, came to the church to pick up bags of food for her three children. Rivero spoke with her and helped her with her bags.Lee called the program an “eye opener,” because it shows of a definite need in the community.“It’s meant to fill that gap for breakfast and lunch, when kids aren’t at school,” Lee explained of the foods given to the children for their school break. The program couldn’t be a success without the help of St. Peter’s Church and Waves of Caring, Stauffer remarked. “Jim (Smith) has good resources in town. Now that we are partnered, he has one of the guys drive me out to the foodbank in their big truck. The first few years we had cars to pick up the food,” Stauffer said. “Now we can put everything on a palette. Each bag contains 12 to 14 items and there were 120 bags, so the palette had 1,400 food items on it. That is a lot of food.”To date, Holiday Helpings has provided 575 bags of food to children in the community between the Christmas and spring breaks.For more information on the Holiday Helpings organization call 609-277-3885 or email [email protected] Susie Stauffer and Sarah Lee, both of Holiday Helpings, work together to prepare bags to hand out to families.last_img read more

The whole story

first_imgNo doubt fuelled by the likes of poo-obsessed TV nutritionist Gillian McKeith, healthy breads and, specifically, whole grains, have seen a revival over the last five years, with the focus being on maintaining a healthy gut. Heart health, on the other hand, has fallen somewhat off the radar. As one industry insider stated, during the course of researching this feature, “The health claims are amazing, yet the Brits seem to concentrate on bowels!”While most heart-health claims related to wholegrain foods have so far been made by breakfast cereal suppliers (see pg 34), this could be set to change with the introduction of the Whole Grains Stamp to the UK, which is being taken up on bread products. An American initiative, the stamp has lifted the US market for wholegrain products from 1% growth in 2001-2004, to 18% in 2005.It no doubt played a small hand in the rise of wholegrain product launches too, which doubled between 2005 to 2006, according to Mintel’s Global New Product database. The stamp, which helps consumers identify wholegrain foods was, at the last count, being used on over 1,700 products in the US, 23% of which are breads or bagels.Paul Morrow, managing director of British Bakels, says bakers have yet to tap the full marketing potential of whole grains. “Food giants such as Nestlé (Shredded Wheat and Shreddies) and PepsiCo (Walkers’ SunBites crisps) have realised the opportunities that whole grain offers and are now advertising these products heavily. Bakers will also benefit from this, as it will raise awareness of whole grain in the diet.”Bakels is the first to make the stamp available to UK bakers to use on packaging and labelling as part of a point-of-sale package that includes posters, shelf talkers and leaflets. Its message is ’It just takes 2’, as two medium slices of its multi wholegrain bread (2x41g) would give consumers 48g of whole grain – the recommended daily amount in many countries, and more than treble the current UK average.Holding back whole grain in the UK has been a lack of any industry-wide definition, confusion over EU legislation on health claims, and the lack of agreed minimum levels of whole grains before making claims. Now that this has changed (see below and pg 34), the Whole Grains Council believes the stamp could take off over here.”This is potentially huge for the UK baking market,” says Cynthia Harriman, director of food and nutrition strategies for the US Whole Grains Council, a non-profit-making organisation. “In the first nine months of 2007 alone, bakers worldwide launched more than 500 wholegrain products, accounting for one-third of all new wholegrain launches. Wholegrain bread is wildly popular, and we want to help UK bakers benefit from the growing consumer interest.”While the UK bread market has traditionally been dominated by white bread, the last five years have seen a boom in brown and wholemeal, which is rapidly catching up with white bread. Brown and wholemeal bread are now worth a fifth of the total value market for bread and bakery products, with expenditure up 75% in just five years, according to Key Note’s latest bakery report.Eyeing the opportunity is a newcomer to the UK, Danish firm Valsemøllen, which launched into the UK at the Baking Industry Exhibition in April, offering conventional and organic bread mixes, concentrates, premixes and improvers. “We’re focusing a lot on whole grain – it’s important in Denmark right now. UK bakers are showing a big interest in our organic products,” says export manager Bo Sander.Meanwhile, established UK players, such as BakeMark, have seen low-GI, high-fibre bread products fast become category staples: “We’re focusing heavily on taste and health across our product ranges, but particularly in breads, with the development of our healthy choices such as Seeds ’n’ Grains,” says Vera Malhotra, head of marketing. “There will be more to come in this area in 2008.”Meanwhile, the wrapped breads category has seen a slew of healthier bread product launches in the last two years. “Now more than ever, consumers are looking for added health benefits from staples such as bread,” says Sarah Miskell, category director at Warburtons, which launched a Wholemeal Fibre Boost 800g loaf in February. New product development such as this will no doubt kick the category on: in 2007 the brown and wholemeal bread market was worth just over £700 million – up from £400m in 2004, with a 15% increase on 2006. This contrasts with the white bread sector, where spend has slowly declined, dropping £40m to be worth £962m last year.But before you all get carried away, Key Note states: “The brown and wholemeal bread sector has tended to be much smaller than the white bread sector, mainly because of some consumer resistance to its taste and texture, compared with the blander products available within the white bread sector. At the same time, it was seen as less interesting and less exciting than the speciality and ethnic sector.”—-=== So what’s new? ===DSM has launched a new enzyme, BakeZyme WholeGain, which is designed to help wholegrain bread manufacturers overcome the common problems associated with producing high-fibre bread, such as reduced volume and unappealing crumb. The enzyme is claimed to increase dough tolerance by enabling better gluten development and improves proofing stability… British Bakels has introduced New Multi Wholegrain Bread Concentrate, which contains four different types of grains and rye flour. It is added to wholemeal flour to give high-fibre bread that contains 60% wholegrain and the concentrate is used on a 50/50 ratio with the wholemeal flour…. Country Choice has launched three artisanal-style loaves, produced in France. Supplied frozen, ready-to-bake, all three 400g varieties are made by traditional methods, which include hand-cutting, rustic decoration and baking on the stone floor of the oven. They include a Malted Grain Baton, Sourdough Boule, and the Premium Seeded Batard—-=== Who’s buying whole grain? ===l UK interest in wholegrain products is still heavily centred on gut health issues. However, there is a growing awareness of the benefits of a low-GI diet, both in terms of weight control and in the control of blood sugar and prevention of diabetes.l In the US, however, heart health has been by far the most important single issue behind the phenomenal growth of wholegrain products in recent years. This particular benefit of wholegrain foods has yet to achieve such widespread recognition in the UK and the market could perhaps benefit from greater promotion of this issue.l While white breads made with hidden wholegrain flours are popular as a way to improve the diets of children, adult consumers are more likely to choose wholegrain breads with ’bits’. Grain or seeded products represent the fastest-growing sector of the wrapped bread market, up 30-35% in 2006.Source: Bakels/Leatherhead Food International: The UK Bakery Market 2007—-=== Labelling: whole grains ===In November 2007, a definition of ’whole grains’ was agreed in the UK by a food industry working group, which also recommended a level of inclusion for whole grains in foods.Market analyst IGD’s Working Group on nutrition, which had representation from the Flour Advisory Bureau, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Premier Foods among others, recommended that packaged goods claiming the presence of whole grain should contain at least 8g of whole grain per serving.This term ’whole grain’ refers to the edible entire grain after removal of inedible parts, such as the hull and glume. It must include the entire germ, endosperm and bran. The whole grain definition includes grains that have been subjected to processing – milling, cracking, crushing, rolling, flaking and extrusion – but only if, after processing, the proportions of the germ, endosperm and bran are present in the same or virtually the same proportions as the original grain.Temporary separation of whole grain constituents during processing for later recombination is deemed acceptable, provided the proportions of the germ, endosperm and bran are the same or virtually the same as in the original grain. Simply adding together these three whole grain constituents as separate ingredients does not constitute a whole grain and making a claim that it does could be misleading to consumers, it states.Different varieties of the same grain may be combined during processing and be called whole grain – for example, different varieties of wheat – as long as the final product contains the component parts of the grain in line with their pre-processed proportions. Recombined bran, germ and endosperm from different cereals – for example, wheat plus oats – would not qualify as whole grain.For packaged foods stating ’contains whole grains’ or ’with whole grains’, it was recommended that foods should contain a minimum level of 8g whole grain per serving, based on final batch load proportions. This forms the basis of the Whole Grains Stamp, which has been rolled out across whole grain products in the US. Source: IGD—-=== Stake your claim ===As of December 2006, EU legislation lays down rules for the use of health or nutritional claims on foodstuffs across the EU and seeks to ensure that any claim made on a food label in the EU is clear, accurate and substantiated. This includes all nutrition and health claims. So how can the whole grain content be assessed in foods highlighting the presence of whole grain?In line with EU labelling legislation 2, highlighting the inclusion of whole grain on a food package – for example, by stating ’with whole grain’ or ’made with whole grains’ – will automatically trigger the requirement to provide a Quantitative Ingredient Declaration (QUID). This provides a mechanism for consumers and other interested parties to assess the level of whole grain that is present.The benefits of whole grains have been ratified by the Joint Health Claims Initiative, a UK government body set up to review health claims. They approved wording on heart health claims that ’People with a healthy heart tend to eat more wholegrain foods as part of a healthy lifestyle’.What you can say:l Eat more whole grain foodsl Look out for ’whole’ on the label – wholemeal, whole wheat, whole oats are all whole grainsl Choose brown varieties of bread, rice and pastal Eating more wholegrain and high-fibre foods forms a key part of a healthy, balanced dietlast_img read more

More shoppers to cook or bake from scratch

first_imgNew research has suggested that a generation of shoppers are cooking more from scratch, aspire to shop ethically and waste less food.The study by IGD ShopperTrack research conducted a demographic breakdown comparing shoppers aged under 35 with those aged over 35It found that more than half, 51%, claim they will be cooking more from scratch – compared to 30% of over-35s.Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive, IGD, said: “This is great news for the whole food chain in the UK. The last 20 years have seen a foodie revolution as people have grown up watching celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and Gordon Ramsay. The under-35s have travelled abroad more than their parents and grandparents. They are more aware than ever of the challenges facing our global climate. And the internet has brought recipes from around the world direct to people’s kitchens.“Our food industry continues to provide shoppers with a wide range of great quality, tasty food from around the world. They are well-placed to please younger shoppers who are more concerned with ethics, the environment and animal welfare and who select their supermarket based partly on its commitment to environmental sustainability.”The study also found:• 26% of shoppers under 35 expect to buy more organic food over the next 12 months, compared to 13% of over-35s• 43% of younger shoppers are cooking more with leftovers (compared to 30% of over-35s)• 30% are prepared to pay extra for premium quality food (compared to 16% of over-35s)• 19% of the under-35s aspire to use specialist stores (like butchers, bakers and fishmongers) more over the coming 12 months (compared to just 8% of over-35s)last_img read more

Bob Weir Will Be Performing For Norwegian Crown Prince & Princess On Their Visit To America

first_imgNow here’s something you don’t see every day.According to Royal Central, their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway are planning to visit New York, NY from December 5-7, where they will hear music by none other than our very own Bob Weir. The Grateful Dead guitarist will be performing at an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) event, of which the Crown Prince Couple are members. Actresses Connie Britton and Michelle Yeoh will also speak at the event, with Padma Lakshmi hosting.The UNDP operates to eliminate poverty around the world, working in over 170 countries to improve the lives of people in need. Though Weir has long been a champion of philanthropic causes, it will be interesting to see how his music and message fits with this high end event. You can find out more about the UNDP here.[Photo by Steve Rose]last_img read more

Hidden costs of emotional labor

first_imgTopics included indentured servitude in the U.S. and abroad, the “wages for housework” debate, informal and formalized sex work, and the labor of reproduction.“I designed the class to bring critical race theory and gender studies together into a conversation around the history of this thing we’re calling emotional labor and the histories of value extraction that are embedded in settler colonialism, racial capitalism, and patriarchy — enmeshed systems that frame the way workers produce and consume today,” explained Light.Students read work by theorists of labor, affect, and oppression including Sara Ahmed, Audre Lorde, Iyko Day, and Cedric Robinson. The readings bring new dimensions to the original notion of emotional labor and raise questions about the influence of technologies, governments, and social relationships on current and future work structure.Constance Bourguignon ’20, a joint concentrator in Romance languages and literatures and studies of women, gender, and sexuality, plans to be a high school teacher and was drawn to the course because of its focus on vital care work that is often underpaid and undervalued.“Some of my favorite readings were about ‘do what you love’ messaging, and how this messaging is mobilized to make people more productive, which is something that can be applied, among other things, to being a teacher,” said Bourguignon. “There’s this weird idea that if you’re doing what you love, then you don’t need to be paid as much for it, and that it isn’t as valuable. In terms of inequality, not everyone has equal access to doing what they love, and so [the message] kind of shames people who come from a socioeconomic, or racial, or gender background where they’re made to perform labor that they don’t necessarily enjoy.” “My students have been able to apply Marxist, feminist, and critical race theories to the labor that they do, whether it’s paid work or volunteering, and how it becomes commodified in the service of their institutional community.” — Caroline Light, course instructor Bourguignon and more than 80 other students entered the lottery for the course, now in its second year and offered jointly by the Committee on Ethnicity, Migration, Rights and the Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Department. Most of the 17 students in “Love’s Labors Found” were seniors, and many came to the course from other concentrations, including computer science and English.“Caroline Light is one of the best professors I’ve had at Harvard, and her class has been one of the most intellectually fulfilling experiences I’ve ever had,” said Angela Hui ’20, an English concentrator. “I appreciated how deeply this class makes us think and how many viewpoints and analytical approaches we’ve engaged with. Interdisciplinary fields like WGS are extremely valuable, and a comprehensive understanding of any issue requires thinking across disciplinary boundaries.”For Light, the interdisciplinary approach to studying emotional labor lends itself to more nuanced analysis and application to students’ lives in the classroom, at Harvard more broadly, and in the world beyond college.“My students have been able to apply Marxist, feminist, and critical race theories to the labor that they do, whether it’s paid work or volunteering, and how it becomes commodified in the service of their institutional community,” she said.“Next year, many of them will graduate and enter various workplaces, some in economically powerful spaces like finance and consulting, and for some, their class escalation may be significant after they leave Harvard. I hope they’ll take with them a certain critical vision that helps them better diagnose their experiences, but also to see how their experience as workers is interconnected with other flows of labor, capital, and value in a global community.”“We deal with really intense, emotional issues in class, but we also try to look at some of the ideological and theoretical modes of resistance in the readings and from each other,” said Bourguignon. “Sometimes it’s dark, but there are ways to fight back.” Is a smiling flight attendant performing emotional labor? How about the harried mom baking cupcakes for a kindergarten class, or your friend who’s always ready to listen and dispense advice?The term “emotional labor” was first coined in 1983 by sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild to refer to jobs that require people to manage the feelings of others at the expense of their own. Consider, for instance, how child-care workers and teachers must maintain a cheerful, positive tone with their charges and parents, regardless of how they feel.The concept has been expanded and become a lens to view a variety of paid and unpaid work, including household chores and household management, social organizing at the office, and intimate relationships, with an eye toward the hidden, unacknowledged costs of time, effort, and stress. And in the seminar course “Love’s Labors Found: Uncovering Histories of Emotional Labor,” Caroline Light and her students scrutinize the myriad ways emotion and work intersect, encouraging students to think critically about the connections between labor and identity, and how their experiences fit into larger systems.“Emotional labor has become somewhat of a buzzword in the past five years or so, and doesn’t mean the same thing for a historian, or a sociologist, or psychologist,” said Light, director of undergraduate studies and senior lecturer on studies of women, gender, and sexuality. “It resonates so much for this generation of students, because many of them see themselves as producers of certain forms of under-remunerated, unremunerated, underacknowledged, or invisible forms of labor,” including peer counseling, tutoring, and volunteer work.The course covers current issues of visibility and lack of economic compensation for “work that is disproportionally done by female-identified people to reproduce the workforce [through having children] and then to maintain these kinds of structures that we depend on in a capitalist economy,” said Light. “Some of my favorite readings were about ‘do what you love’ messaging, and how this messaging is mobilized to make people more productive …” — Constance Bourguignon ’20center_img The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news.last_img read more

Fighting for inclusion’

first_imgThe Gay & Lesbian Alumni of Notre Dame & St. Mary’s (GALA-ND/SMC) gathered Saturday evening for the presentation of the Thomas A. Dooley Awards, which recognize outstanding work by individuals on behalf of lesbian and gay Americans. The awards dinner was the highlight of a weekend of events which included a GALA-ND/SMC sponsored dance for LGBTQ students and allies, viewing of the film “Love Free or Die” and discussion. The weekend concluded with a morning prayer service at the Grotto yesterday. The awards united many community activists who have worked for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBTQ) inclusion, student body president Alex Coccia said. “A lot of the speakers touched on the roles that so many people in the audience had played in some form or another, fighting for inclusion and equal rights at various levels – whether in South Bend, nationally or internationally,” Coccia said. “It was a blessing to see how many people had been involved … for me it was a cool experience.” GALA-ND/SMC presented four awards Saturday, each for different types of advocacy. The keynote speaker and Thomas A. Dooley Award recipient was retired Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay, partnered bishop to be consecrated in a major Christian denomination. The GALA-ND/SMC website said the award specifically “honors individuals who, through their faith-based background, have demonstrated personal courage, compassion and commitment to advance the human and civil rights of lesbian and gay Americans.” Robinson ministered to the Diocese of New Hampshire in the Episcopal Church. After divorcing his first wife in 1986 and publically coming out as a gay man, Robinson began a formal relationship with his current spouse two years later. Though his controversial election incited much dissension within the Episcopalian Church, Robinson persisted in his efforts advocating LGBTQ inclusion within the Church, especially by calling for the Church to bless same-sex marriages and to willingly anoint well-suited candidates to leadership positions within its hierarchy. Coccia said Robinson’s address highlighted how much LGBTQ advocates have accomplished, while inspiring them to continue fighting for full inclusion in the Episcopalian Church and in American society. “I think what Bishop Robinson highlighted is the necessity of really making the effort to push,” Coccia said. “[He said] that is what the Christian calling is, that is what Jesus did, [Jesus] pushed for social justice, social change. That feeling resonated throughout dinner.” Coccia said Robinson shared a vision of a version of Christianity with the potential to incite great social change. “Bishop Robinson talked about a wide range of things … [including his sense of] Christianity as this radical and prophetic movement … prophetic in terms of foretelling the present and really engaging with people to make social justice changes,” Coccia said. “[Robinson] said the end is God and God is just.” GALA-ND/SMC also celebrated the work of Catherine Pittman with the Lawrence Condren Distinguished Service Award. The weekend’s pamphlet said she was chosen as the award recipient in recognition of her “service as the faculty advisor for SAGA, the Saint Mary’s College Straight and Gay Alliance, and her leadership in South Bend Equality’s successful campaign that amended the South Bend Human Rights Orientation to include sexual orientation and gender identity.” This ordinance was amended March 27, 2012, after five hours and 42 speakers by the South Bend Common Council, according to WNDU. The meeting was the third time in six years that this issue was brought before the council, the article said. John Blandford, Notre Dame class of 1983 and 1999, received the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award for his “leadership in our community as a found member and co-chair of GALA-ND/SMC in the ’90s, as former chair of GALA (’99-’01), and for his lifelong commitment to HIV/AIDs education, treatment and prevention,” according to the weekend’s pamphlet. Blandford currently serves as chief of the Division of Global HIV/AIDS Health Economics, Systems and Integration Branch in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Center for Global Health. Sister Margaret Farley was awarded the Award for Academic Achievement for “her many contributions to the academic fields of theology and ethics, [most notably] her book, ‘Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics,’ which offers contemporary interpretations on sexuality and gender,” according to the weekend’s pamphlet. Each recipient spoke about his or her work to the attendees, but Coccia said the most moving part of the dinner was the final call to action addressed to all present. “Regarding [inclusion at] Notre Dame specifically, I got involved as a matter of principle,” Coccia said. “I had read about the ‘No home under the Dome’ march that took place … that was prompted by a comic and started a lot of discussion but there didn’t seem to be any concrete outcome of that discussion. Coming to Notre Dame, it seemed hypocritical that a Catholic institution with such a rich tradition of civil rights [and the status as] the place where the Church does its thinking wouldn’t be a the forefront of the [LGBTQ inclusion] movement. “The fact that there are people who don’t feel welcome on campus, and the fact that there are people who have such harrowing stories of experiences on campus made it a lot more personal for me.” The dinner helped to unite and solidify the relationships between the Notre Dame community’s LGBTQ advocates, Coccia said. “You always have to have, in any sort of social movement or any sort of push that is driven by a lot of emotion and personal experience, you really have to have moments of solidarity,” Coccia said. “For me the dinner was one … it puts a lot of things in perspective and makes it easier not going it alone. “It ended with a call to action … Bishop Robinson touched on how the role of a Christian, in many ways, is agitation for justice [because] Justice is God. In that push for justice, that’s where you find God.”last_img read more

National 4-H Congress

first_imgBy Cat HolmesUniversity of GeorgiaThanksgiving weekend will be about more than turkey and football for the more than 1,200 U.S. teens who are headed to Atlanta for the 82nd National 4-H Congress.The youths, ages 14-19, will attend a variety of educational programs and cultural events during the five-day congress Nov. 28-Dec. 2.Highlights of the program include performances by Miss America 2004, Ericka Dunlap; the U.S. Army Ground Forces Band; and Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, author and former 4-H’er Rick Bragg.”‘Growing Into the Future,’ is the theme of this year’s Congress, and the big focus is environmental awareness,” said Susan Stewart, director of National 4-H Congress.”These kids come because they’ve excelled in the 4-H program at home,” Stewart said. “They come from 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and they’re coming to Atlanta to learn more.”The delegates will have a range of educational programs to choose from. Some will tour the earth-friendly, sustainable home at Southface Energy Institute. The educational staff from the Atlanta Aquarium will present a program, “One world, one ocean.” Lonice Barrett, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, will conduct a session on “Gettin’ involved and makin’ a difference.”Delegates will also do community service projects. On Monday, 300 4-H’ers and Miss America will set up and decorate trees for Atlanta’s Festival of Trees, which benefits Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.Other delegates will get involved in service projects at Zoo Atlanta, Grant Park, five area public schools, Goodwill Industries, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Big Trees Forest Preserve and the St. Vincent de Paul Society.”Since National 4-H Congress came to Atlanta in 1998, delegates have participated in a wide variety of community projects,” Stewart said. “They are encouraged to start similar service projects when they return to their own communities.”The idea of the congress is to teach skills that delegates can use in their own communities.”4-H emphasizes leadership skills, youth empowerment and cultural diversity,” Stewart said. “Congress delegates will return home prepared to ‘grow into the future’ in their own communities. Atlanta provides an excellent backdrop for the diversity of cultural experiences National 4-H Congress offers.”(Cat Holmes is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more


first_imgThe 1,300-Mile Florida Trail is an often overlooked long-distance footpathSure, there are plenty of winter adventures in the Appalachians, but it’s hard to deny the allure of warm-weather hiking. In February, Florida’s rains have subsided, the bugs are (mostly) gone, the temperatures moderating, and the landscape as lush as ever. Snowbirds, it turns out, are onto something.The backbone of the Florida hiking community is the orange-blazed, 1,300-mile Florida National Scenic Trail, or simply the F.T. The F.T., which stretches from Pensacola Beach to Miami, is “unlike any other long-distance hike in America,” contends local James “Jupiter” Hoher, who operates Jupiter Hikes. It’s wilder, tougher, and more scenic than many assume. As the trail hopscotches between protected swaths of longleaf pines, prairies, and oaks, it’s easy to forget about the pricey, ticketed attractions and high rises. Even more enticing, the F.T. only gets a fraction of the traffic as other long trails. Across much of the trail, skittish Florida black bear or bugling sandhill cranes are more common than hikers.Don’t skip the tiki bars, amusement rides and beaches on your next Florida trip, but carve out some time for one of these five orange-blazed F.T. hikes.Little Big Econ State ForestHalf day / 5 milesThis is the perfect escape from your next family Disney expedition in Orlando. Park at the Barr Street trailhead, and follow the F.T. as it traces the bluffs of the Econlockhatchee River (“Econ” for short). From your vantage point, you’ll likely see a few gators in the tannic waters below. Downstream, link up with the white-blazed Flagler Trail which loops back to the F.T.Big Cypress National PreserveOne day / 6 milesBig Cypress is the only true swamp portion of the trail, so expect solitude, wildlife, slow travel, and wet feet. Trek three miles from the F.T.’s southern terminus at the Oasis Visitor Center, until the trail splits, then turn back. Opt for trail runners instead of sandals and boots, recommends Jupiter, and don’t fret the swamp: “the toughest step is the first one.”Blackwater River State ForestOne day / 8 milesSet a shuttle at Red Rock Road and set off from Blackwater River State Park. Once paralleling Juniper Creek, you’ll be surprised by the steep, red-clay bluffs and diversity of habitats.Ocala National ForestTwo days / 20 milesStart beside the blue-green waters of Juniper Springs, cross through the big scrub of Juniper Prairie Wilderness, and camp under the big sky of Hopkins Prairie. Finish on Salt Springs Trail with a celebratory dip in the constant 72-degree waters of Salt Spring Run.Suwannee RiverFour days / 65 milesCommit to this long-haul section of the F.T. between Bell Springs and Twin Rivers State Forest for a little bit of everything, including sinkholes, springs, shoals, and even the sleepy trail town of White Springs. Here, says Jupiter, is where the F.T. most resembles the A.T. with rolling hills and even a few riverside shelters.last_img read more

Wilma upsets legal system

first_img November 15, 2005 Regular News Wilma upsets legal system South Florida works to get back on track Jan Pudlow and Gary Blankenship Senior Editors Jay Feldman is a solo practitioner in Tamarac with a hurricane plan — but even the best-laid plans got blown away by Hurricane Wilma.He backed up and transferred copies of his computer records and documents to his home computer in Coral Springs, where underground utilities meant power was restored in just three days.He had enough cash on hand to pay bills, his small staff, emergency supplies, and equipment. He had business interruption insurance that he hopes will cover his loss. He had a back-up battery for his phone system, but still had to resort to cell phones blocked by jammed airwaves. He had a home generator that powered two phone lines, though he wished he had an old Buick to more easily siphon gas to keep it running.He subscribes to a voicemail system through the local telephone company that allows him to retrieve all messages from calls to his office that luckily suffered no damage.But still — when Wilma, the worst hurricane to strike Broward County in more than 50 years — Feldman couldn’t plan for everything.A week after Wilma blew through on October 24, tumbling trees that felled power lines, there was still no power. And without power, his office elevator won’t work. And when you specialize in elder law, well — many of those clients cannot reach his office on the second floor because they cannot climb stairs.“Perhaps the worst element of the entire experience was my inability to provide my clients or their families with needed services during this period of tribulation,” 57-year-old Feldman wrote in an e-mail October 31. “We elder law attorneys are especially sensitive to the vulnerability and dependence of the elderly.”Add to that a cable modem and DLS Internet service that wouldn’t work after the storm, and Feldman proclaimed: “We lawyers come to forget just how completely dependent we have become on technology, that is until a Wilma strikes.. . . It may sound quaint, in a Charles Dickensian sort of way, to practice law by candlelight, but it is not fun, and certainly not efficient!”Compared to many Florida lawyers, Feldman got off easy.Wilma came ashore 20 miles south of Naples as a Category 3 hurricane, losing little intensity as it cut a wide, destructive swath through South Florida’s most populous counties and knocked out power to a total of about 6 million people. On the East Coast, the blackout extended from Key West to parts of Brevard County, east of Orlando, a distance of about 400 miles.Some law offices in Broward County became danger zones.One heavily damaged building in downtown Ft. Lauderdale was 1 Financial Plaza, where several legal offices are housed and many windows were blown out. Recovery efforts were hampered on October 29 when two electricians working on the internal electrical system were injured, one seriously and one critically, in an electrical accident, according to Ft. Lauderdale police.Nancy Gregoire, a member of the Bar Board of Governors and of the Bunnell Woulfe law firm located in the tower, said the building’s owners expected to have it open by the second week of November.Recent hurricane seasons have improved her firm’s readiness, Gregoire said, noting it has an offsite service that allows voice mail messages and other functions, even though the law offices are closed.“It could be worse. We could be New Orleans. We have only wind damage,” she said.She also reported that as of October 31, she was hearing that many law offices were reopening, with the return of electricity and the easing of gas shortages.The Broward County Courthouse, one of the most dramatic symbols of Wilma’s widespread destruction, had more than 175 windows shattered, with glass blown inside, rendering courtrooms unusable and sending books and files to office floors in total disarray.“It makes Baghdad look tame,” Broward Circuit Judge Robert Lance Andrews told The Miami Herald. Marlene Michael, a spokesperson for the Broward County court administrator’s office, said they planned to have the courthouse fully open by November 7 (after this News went to press).She noted that the administrator’s office remained closed until October 31, and even then problems remained when workers returned. One was that callers could leave voice mail messages, but employees were unable to access those messages even though the phones were working.In downtown Miami, the scene of the most talked-about damage was to Greenberg Traurig’s national headquarters at 1221 Brickell Avenue, where 20 lawyers’ offices had broken windows.Eight days later, Cesar Alvarez, the chief executive of the firm, sat in his office with plywood covering windows, and was able to laugh about it all, even though the rest of the staff was not allowed back until the windows are replaced.“I tell people it’s no big deal,” Alvarez said. “A big problem is when my parents got here from Cuba and couldn’t speak the language, and had four kids, and no job, and there’s not enough Cuban coffee. This is just a little glass and a little cleaning up to do.”Important papers were stored in the hallways, away from the windows, he said. Telephones and electricity were up the day after the storm. Even with the gas shortage, lawyers in the Miami office, who make up just 10 percent of Greenburg Traurig’s legal staff, were able to work from home on their Blackberries or in the business office in Doral, 15 miles away.On the West Coast, Naples lawyer John Cardillo, a former Board of Governor’s member, called the situation “civilized chaos.”“We felt totally isolated for a week. It was like an outer-world experience. No phones, no e-mails, nothing but the mail. There are lawyers on the East Coast who had it just as bad. And they had cases over here and were not able to communicate. You know things are happening in your practice, and adverse parties have no idea what’s going on over here, and there’s no way to tell them.”Eight days later, on November 1, Cardillo said, “Things are back to relatively normal for the lawyers, but not necessarily for the judges,” explaining that some judges’ chambers at the Collier County Courthouse in East Naples were deluged with water from rain pouring in the third floor that ran down to the second floor.Key West had problems of a different nature: storm surge.Ed Scales, a member of the Board of Governors and Key West resident, said the island was hit with two surges, one from the Atlantic at 2 a.m. on October 24, and the second, more devastating, one at 6 a.m. from the Gulf of Mexico that reached six feet. Sixty percent of the island flooded, he said.“It is very, very bad, the water damage,” Scales said. “As far as law offices, I don’t know the extent of the damages. If the offices were on the first floor, the chances are there was significant damage. I’ve heard anecdotal stuff about folks losing their electronic stuff, their files, and any electronic equipment that they had on the floor.”Discarded refrigerators standing by the roadside with high water marks at their tops were mute testimony to the size of the surge, he said.“We are so fortunate in Monroe County that no one was hurt. Stuff can be replaced. People can’t,” Scales said.Courts in Monroe County reopened on October 31, and because of its smaller size would have less trouble coping than the larger circuits to the north.“The court system down here is really efficient and nobody will be too terribly inconvenienced,” Scales said.But it wasn’t always easy for court personnel to keep the courts running.Court Security Officer Kenny Alonso had to swim out the window of his mother’s flooded house in the Keys, but still reported to work to help Deputy Vashon Watson stand guard over the courthouse to minimize any damage during and immediately after the storm, according to the Florida Supreme Court.Two days after the hurricane, Chief Justice Barbara Pariente issued words of praise: “There are many heroes of the hurricane. But I must say that we especially owe a debt to our trial court judges who go out to the jails in storm-littered streets to hold first appearances and hear other emergency matters, such as domestic violence. This year and last, some of these judges even left their own damaged homes to serve the public.”center_img Wilma upsets legal systemlast_img read more

All together now!

first_img 6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Brian Wringer Former watermelon farmer Brian Wringer wears several hats for iDiz Incorporated, including Web Projects Manager, Wordsmith, and Big Idea Guy. He builds better credit unions by day and weird old … Web: Details Your credit union’s culture, collaboration, and consistency aren’t things you can leave to chance. An intranet (an “internal” website accessible only to employees) is an important way to keep everyone in all locations pulling in the same direction.A well planned intranet is an important part of building and maintaining a credit union’s internal culture across many departments and locations. It has the power to communicate important objectives and priorities, preserve organizational knowledge, share resources, and to build a stronger shared culture.Unfortunately, way too many credit unions share information with a patchwork system of network hard drives, email, occasional all-staff meetings, break room posters and thumbtacks.Of course, you’ll always need all-staff meetings, email, and probably even break room posters.But an intranet is a fantastic way to keep everyone on the same page while they work, not by interrupting their work.And because it’s web-based, updating and using an intranet is as familiar as any other web-based tool or service.Intranet BasicsEvery credit union is different, but we’ve found the following are the essential elements of any credit union intranet:Communication and SharingThe most basic use for an intranet is to quickly communicate news, updates, current/upcoming events and marketing promotions. No matter where they are, everyone sees project and product updates, changes, reminders, and other day-to-day announcements like security reminders.It’s also important to share. Sharing news about each other, not just the work, helps strengthen the bonds between employees and gives everyone an important added support network. You can share galleries of photos or videos from CU-sponsored community events as well as baby pictures, weddings, birthdays, promotions, graduations, and other important events in your employees’ lives.Resources and DocumentsDocument management (or the ability to integrate with cloud-based systems such as Dropbox or SharePoint, if that’s what you prefer) is another essential part of every credit union intranet. This means making documents, forms, procedures, and other essential information easily and consistently available and searchable.You can reduce errors and frustration by making sure everyone is always working with the latest versions of things like:Printable and online operations formsHR forms and disclosuresCompliance forms and guidanceTraining and certification materialsOperations proceduresBranding manuals and resourcesEmergency and disaster preparedness documents and proceduresStaff and building directoriesFAQsAdded FeaturesOf course, the possibilities don’t end there. There are quite a few features that can be added to your intranet as it’s built or later on, such as:Custom branding to match your website, brand visuals, and marketing materialsOnline training and testing toolsOnline forms and e-signaturesSupport ticket system (for internal and member-facing problems)A regular blog, advice column, or even cartoon or photo of the day.Social and messaging tools to build community internally, and share team-building kudos. For example, you might choose to have your own internal “CUBook”, a forum, instant messaging, or even an employee-to-employee marketplace.Collaboration and project management tools such as calendars, visual task management tools, and file sharing“Gamification” elements to track and encourage sales and service goals, and give recognition and feedbackPolls and surveys to gather feedback from staffSafe reporting for dangerous behaviors, harassment, etc.A password-protected Board or Management portal to handle sensitive materials and discussionMake it YoursEvery credit union has its own unique brand and culture, and its own unique mix of ideas, needs and wants. So it’s important to actively manage your intranet; listen to feedback, encourage participation, be willing to experiment, and add capabilities when needed.If it’s a resource they can trust and that adds to their job satisfaction, your credit union’s intranet will soon be an indispensable part of everyone’s workday.last_img read more