AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreJennifer Francis credits her steadfast four-legged companion with saving her life: her mental health assistance dog, Spirit. She and Spirit are proof that the burden of mental illness can be made lighter with the help of a specially trained service dog. Spirit is not just any working dog. Trained by Hamilton-based Encouraging Paws Service Dogs (encouragingpaws.com), she knows more than 50 commands that help keep Francis safe. (Read more in the Toronto Star) AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore
Ginna Claire Mason is Broadway-bound. The celebrated Wicked touring star will take over the role of Glinda in the hit Broadway production at the Gershwin Theatre beginning on April 9. She will succeed Katie Rose Clarke, who will play her final performance on April 7.Mason joins the Broadway company of Wicked after having spent the last year playing Glinda on tour. She has also appeared on tour in Newsies and Flashdance the Musical and starred as Korie in Duck Commander: The Musical in Las Vegas. Her regional credits include Thoroughly Modern Millie, Hairspray and Grease.Mason joins a cast that includes Jessica Vosk as Elphaba, Ryan McCartan as Fiyero, Jesse JP Johnson as Boq, Nancy Opel as Madame Morrible, Jamie Jackson as Doctor Dillamond, Michael McCormick as The Wizard and Gizel Jiménez as Nessarose.Wicked features a book by Winnie Holzman, a score by Stephen Schwartz, direction by Joe Mantello, choreography by Wayne Cilento and music direction by Stephen Oremus. Ginna Claire Mason Ginna Claire Mason in “Wicked”(Photo: Joan Marcus) Related Shows Wicked from $95.00 Star Files View Comments
How does a Credit Union truly “live”? We live through growth, growth inspired by change and change aligned with our Missions and Visions. Successfully completing a field of membership expansion, helping with the creation of a new logo, redoing our membership application and associated forms or my role in the execution of our remodeling plans all supports the growth of Martinsville DuPont Credit Union. As we grow, our membership and community grows. This brings value to my Credit Union and the Credit Union industry as a whole. My previous personal and business successes made the pairing of myself with MDCU a great fit. I was able to come in and understand the need for an organization to change. Along with the rest of the management team, I was able to find unrealized potential and bring that potential out. We all asked many questions… the questions of why things are done and if these same things can be done in a more efficient manner. Personally, I began to build positive employee relationships, which allowed me to connect with everyone on a level that inspired and welcomed change. As much as this organization needed to see change, I too needed an organization that I could give back too. My passion centers on helping people and that’s exactly what Credit Unions do – “Help People”. Everything the MDCU team and I have accomplished thus far in relation to this project along with items not yet seen or talked about helps my Credit Union truly live. With so much negativity in the world, Credit Unions need to be a positive ray of light in our communities. My project, “Change to Grow, Grow to Live” embodies MDCU’s mission to improve the quality of life and the financial well-being of our members and our employees.How does this project bring value to the Credit Union industry? Well, opposite my project title, if you are not changing you are not growing; if you are not growing you are dying. Over 35 Credit Unions have failed or been placed into conservatorship in the last two years. No, my Credit Union is not on the verge of dying and yours may not be either. However, part of remaining relevant in our community and in the industry is completing projects in a strategic manner that will help us thrive individually and thus as an industry. And that is exactly what I am doing and taking part in at MDCU. While the Credit Union can simply maintain business practices that got them to this point in time, I am evaluating and implementing systems that will help us grow and thrive in a competitive market. Here are several examples…creation of an electronic safe deposit box form – cutting down member wait times and streamlining the process;the implementation of a gift card program offered to our membership at a rate lower than the competition;department reviews and training – seeking to improve processes or products;proposal and implementation of thermal receipt printers – driving down member wait time while increasing productivity;overhauling our vendor management program – increasing due diligence while operating within good business practices;rebranding, including a name and logo change – which I plan to reveal as part of my project;lastly, a culture change – one of a positive and energetic nature, geared towards building relationships, which is what I am all about! continue reading » 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
A football building included in the athletics department’s $190 million facilities plan is slated to displace the school’s outdoor track, home to 136 student-athletes, 87 of which are women.One member of the Gophers track team said student-athletes haven’t been told where the new facility will be built, but that the St. Paul campus is an option.Athletics Director Norwood Teague recently wrote in an email to student-athletes that the University and Gopher Athletics “will cooperate fully with the investigation,” which he expects to begin in February.If the OCR finds the University to be out of compliance with Title IX, it risks losing federal funding.The Daily reported in September that the OCR was investigating the University for a separate complaint alleging that the school didn’t take effective steps to end sexual harassment by a former volunteer assistant coach for the women’s gymnastics coach. University will undergo investigation for alleged Title IX violationsA complaint was filed with the Office for Civil Rights. Betsy HelfandJanuary 23, 2015Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintA federal office will investigate a complaint alleging that the University of Minnesota has discriminated against women on the basis of gender, according to a government document and a press release.The complaint was filed with the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to explore whether the school had violated Title IX, which protects against gender-based discrimination.Specifically, the complaint alleges that the University fails to provide women with the same opportunities as men in areas including equipment and supplies, scheduling, facilities, and athletic scholarships, according a letter from the Office for Civil Rights obtained by the Minnesota Daily. Last summer, before the University received the complaint, it hired a gender-equity consultant to review the athletics department, a press release said.“The University and Gopher Athletics are committed to Title IX compliance,” the release said. “We focus on the student-athlete experience to ensure our student-athletes are provided equitable experiences and opportunities.”An anonymous party filed the complaint in November. That party wrote in an email to track athletes that the complaint’s intent was to “prevent the destruction of the current outdoor track or force the construction of a new track — before the 2016 outdoor season.”
A new study by researchers from the University of Michigan Medical Center has found that contamination of patient privacy curtains by multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) is common, and that the high-touch surfaces could be a source of MDRO transmission to patients.The study will be presented at the upcoming meeting of the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) in Amsterdam.The study’s lead author said the findings, which revealed that more than one in five cultures taken from patient privacy curtains at skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) was contaminated with MDROs, are a concern because of how often these surfaces are touched by patients and healthcare workers, how ubiquitous they are in healthcare facilities, and how infrequently they are cleaned.”Healthcare textiles and soft surfaces often fly under the radar,” Lona Mody, MD, MSc, a geriatrician at the University of Michigan Medical Center, told CIDRAP News. “Curtains are an issue because it is really required to touch them in order to move them…and healthcare workers are likely to touch the curtains after they do hand hygiene and before they see the patient.”VRE, MRSA, and resistant gram-negativesFor the prospective cohort study, conducted at six SNFs in southeastern Michigan, Mody and her colleagues obtained cultures from patient body sites and high-touch surfaces on the day patients were admitted and on days 14, 30, and then monthly for up to 6 months.The patient population mostly consisted of those on short-stay admissions (average length of 22 days) recovering from acute-care hospitalization. A total of 1,521 samples from privacy curtains in 625 rooms were obtained, with the researchers focusing on the edges of the curtains, where they are most frequently touched.Analysis of the privacy curtain samples found that 334 (22%) tested positive for MDROs, with contamination rates ranging from 11.9% to 28.5% across facilities. The most frequent MDRO detected was vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), which was found in 210 cultures (13.8%). Drug-resistant gram-negative bacteria (including Acinetobacter baumannii, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Enterobacter cloacae) were found in 94 cultures (6.2%), and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was detected in 74 cultures (4.9%).The proportion of MDROs found on privacy curtains in private rooms (23.1%) and shared rooms (22%) was similar. MDROs were more commonly found on curtains on the day of admission (28.5%) than during the follow-up visits (18.2%). In the rooms where 6-month follow-up data were available, curtain contamination was intermittent.The study also found an association between patient colonization and curtain contamination. In 15.7% of sampling visits, patients and curtains were carrying the same MDRO at the same time. In the 210 sampling visits during which VRE was detected on privacy curtains, 57.6% of patients were also colonized with VRE. For the 74 visits in which MRSA was detected, 56.7% of patients were colonized with MRSA. On the flip side, in the rooms where MRSA and VRE weren’t detected on privacy curtains, 85% and 73.3% of the patients weren’t colonized with these pathogens.Mody said that while she and her colleagues “had some suspicion” of the amount of contamination they would find on the curtains, “this reinforced our suspicion.”The question, however, is which direction the MDROs are being transmitted: from the curtain to the patients, or the other way around? Mody said analysis of a subset of privacy curtains that were newly contaminated with VRE found that 60% of the patients in those rooms were colonized before the curtain was contaminated, while only 5% of curtains were contaminated before VRE was detected in the patients. This suggests patient-to-curtain transmission is more prevalent.Mody said it would be more troubling if the transmission was going in the other direction. “The concern would be more if we were to find that curtains were always contaminated before the patient was contaminated,” she said.But Mody stressed that the findings need to be replicated using genomic and molecular testing methods, which will provide a clearer idea of directionality and the relationship between the MDROs found on the curtains and the patients. She also noted that healthcare workers coming from other parts of the hospital are touching the curtains as well, so there may not always be a direct connection between the patient and the curtain.More frequent curtain cleaningAlthough more research needs to be done, Mody said the results suggests that regulatory agencies need to establish cleaning frequency and guidance for privacy curtains, and pay more attention to healthcare textiles in general.The study found that the frequency of changing curtains at the six facilities ranged widely. Some SNFs changed the curtains once a week, while others changed them during deep cleaning or “at least annually or when visibly soiled.”She also suggested there might be a way to redesign the curtains, which she noted can be cumbersome to take off and clean.”People touch curtains in a very specific place,” Mody said. “Maybe we could create a handle that could be removed easily and washed.”In addition, Mody stressed that hand hygiene plays a major role in reducing transmission of dangerous pathogens. “Hand hygiene is important for everyone: patients, visitors, and healthcare providers,” she said.See also:Apr 13 ECCMID abstractApr 13 ECCMID poster
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Steven Blowers, Bahri’s country manager in the USA, explained that the new office will house eight staff and cover the US Gulf, South American and Mexican markets. “We are focused on expanding in the Gulf, where a number of our large customers are located.””It is a fairly competitive market, but we are looking to invest in the downturn,” noted Blowers, adding that the company is looking to recruit new blood into the industry.Bahri was also recently enrolled into the United States Coast Guard’s (USCG) Qualship 21 programme, which enables the Saudi Arabian company’s vessels to benefit from faster clearance at US gateways and should give the carrier enhanced market credibility.In the general cargo business, Blowers explained that Bahri has achieved record profits in spite of the challenging environment. The carrier operates six con-ro vessels, with lifting capacities of 120 tonnes, as well as ramps with load capabilities of up to 250 tonnes.Blowers told HLPFI that its focus in the US market would lie in working with forwarders, engineering, procurement and construction contractors (EPCs) and other shippers to increase its high and heavy shipments to and from the Gulf.”The mining machinery market is not as buoyant as it has been,” said Blowers, adding that the truck and automotive market in Mexico is looking promising.”Construction projects in the Middle East continue to be at the core of our business, predominantly in Saudi Arabia.”In North America, Bahri is looking particularly at gaining cargoes related to upcoming LNG projects in the region, with its liner service that runs from the Gulf Coast to the Middle East and India via the US East Coast, Canada and the Mediterranean.”Our strategy is to focus on strengthening our transport and logistics capabilities in the general cargo business, with the backing of Bahri’s network behind us,” added Blowers. www.bahri.sa
UK: The Abellio Greater Anglia subsidiary of Dutch national operator NS is to continue operating passenger services between London Liverpool Street and eastern England under a new 27-month franchise agreement announced by the Department for Transport on April 16.The short-term direct award franchise runs from July 14 2014 to October 16 2016. DfT plans to hold a competition next year to award a longer-term Great Anglia franchise.The short-term agreement features a £20m package of improvements which includes:A ‘major refresh’ of MkIII coaches operated on the Norwich – London route, which are to receive new power sockets, carpets, seat covers and lighting;Fitting controlled-emission toilets to the MkIII fleet and Class 321 electric multiple-units;Accessibility improvements to 12 Class 321s ‘as a precursor to further rolling stock improvements which would be agreed as part of the next Greater Anglia franchise’. Abellio will also work with fleet owner Eversholt Leasing to evaluate options for starting refurbishment of a small number of Class 321s before the end of the short-term franchise;New off-peak weekday Cambridge – Stansted Airport services from July 2014, and enhanced Sunday services on the routes to Sheringham, Sudbury and Lowestoft from 2014-15;New on-line compensation arrangements for season ticket holders;Additional cycle parking spaces, with all stations to have cycle parking by October 2016;A 20% increase in funding for Community Rail Partnerships;Completion of station upgrades at Bishop’s Stortford, Cambridge and Chelmsford. ‘This deal delivers much-needed and very welcome service improvements for passengers who have already experienced the limiting effects of one short-term franchise’, said Abellio UK Managing Director Dominic Booth. ‘The extension also sets the course for future development’, he added. ‘We look forward, therefore, to starting a dialogue with stakeholders soon about the requirements for the long-term franchise, and the investments required to create a rail service that will unlock and support the long-term economic development of this important part of the country.’Abellio has dismissed media reports that it is to end its strategy of bidding for rail operating contracts outside the Netherlands. The company says that it will submit its bid for the ScotRail franchise on April 17, is awaiting the outcome of current bids for the Thameslink, Southern & Great Northern and Essex Thameside franchises, and will ‘continue to assess opportunities in the UK, Sweden and Germany.’
SWITZERLAND: Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn is keeping its Oberalp Pass route open this winter using a snow clearing vehicle which has been completely rebuilt by Schmidt.The metre-gauge vehicle which was previously used on the Rhätische Bahn’s Bernina route is more than 50 years old. After being acquired by MGB it was transported to Schmidt’s St Blasien site in Germany, where it was completely dismantled and rebuilt with only the frames, cab and parts of the power unit retained.The new telescopic clearing head has maximum clearing width of 4·6 m and a maximum clearing height of 3·0 m. A new 682 kW diesel engine was fitted and the control systems replaced, with the drive system for the clearing head converted from overhead electric to diesel-hydraulic power. The control console was completely overhauled and redesigned to offer significantly more control functions than before, with the clearing head now operated by joysticks. The vehicle was also retrofitted with Abt rack braking equipment.
credit Ben Andrew (rspb-images.com) AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInWith red kites now thriving across Dumfries and Galloway, RSPB Scotland is stepping back from the Galloway Kite Trail and handing over its on-going management to local businesses.Founded in October 2003, The Galloway Kite Trail was set up by RSPB Scotland in a partnership with Forestry Commission Scotland and Bellymack Hill Farm. It was created as a community-based wildlife viewing initiative to help raise public awareness of red kites and promote Dumfries and Galloway as a visitor destination.Red kites were locally extinct in Dumfries and Galloway until 2001 when they were brought back through a re-introduction programme that ran until 2005. There are now around 130 pairs breeding throughout all vice-counties in the region, and over 1000 chicks have fledged in the wild since the project began.Across the UK, where other successful re-introductions have also taken place, the red kite has gone from a red-listed bird, the highest level of conservation concern, to a green listed bird, the lowest level. Incidents of illegal persecution against kites are still recorded, but their population is stable and growing, and it is hoped that they will continue to spread.RSPB Scotland’s Calum Murray worked as a community liaison officer on the project for over 12 years. He said: “The Galloway Kite Trail has been a huge part of my life, and it’s been a privilege to be involved in something so worthwhile, with so many tangible and knock-on benefits for wildlife and for people. It’s also been a pleasure working with the businesses and landowners involved, who have all contributed to the trail’s success as a visitor attraction and will, I’m sure, continue to support it.“It’s definitely sad to be stepping back, but as a conservation charity, the RSPB has to prioritise its efforts based on the needs of species and habitats. We’ll continue to monitor the red kite population in Dumfries and Galloway, and we’ll help to support nature-based tourism through other projects, such as our work at Mersehead and the Mull of Galloway.”One of the aims of the Galloway Kite Trail was to use nature-based tourism to support local businesses and land owners following the devastating impacts of the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak.An economic survey carried out annually by the RSPB between 2004 and 2015 found that visitors to the trail spent an estimated £54.6m in Dumfries and Galloway, with £8.2m directly attributable to people visiting the area to see the kites. In the same period, the trail attracted over 100,000 visitors and supported, on average, the equivalent of 19 full-time jobs every year.The Galloway Kite Trail will continue to operate through a leaflet – which can be picked up at local venues – signs, and interpretation at sites around the trail.