Sunday, February 28, 2010

BUDGET TRAVEL MAGAZINE PICKS 8 PLACEs YOU NEED TO VISIT

8 Places Every American Should See
No offense to the nation's capital, but the landmarks of our heritage extend far beyond the District of

Sears Tower (Willis Tower)
It's fitting that the country's tallest building, the Sears Tower (we haven't come to terms with the new name either), is in the same city that built the first skyscraper, the Home Insurance Building, demolished in 1931. Chicago's innovation sparked a worldwide race that continues to redefine city skylines from London to Dubai to Taipei. There's simply no better way to experience those early architects' remarkable vision than to stand on The Ledge at Skydeck Chicago, a transparent observation box that suspends you 1,353 feet above street level, on a wisp of glass just one and a half inches thick.
Gettysburg
The site of the Civil War's bloodiest battle and of one of Abraham Lincoln's most famous speeches, Gettysburg National Military Park is a lasting memorial to the devastation caused by, and the reasons for, the war that remade the union. In its successful efforts to fend off encroaching development, Gettysburg also reflects the struggles of many historic sites to preserve the sanctity of their land. nps.gov/gett.
Yellowstone
Yes, other National Parks are stunning (Grand Canyon and Yosemite come to mind), but Yellowstone, signed into being by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872, was the very first in the world—and established an early precedent for land conservationists internationally. This majestic park, bordered by Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, preserves an enormous natural bounty: It is home to 10,000 hot springs and 300 geysers, numerous lakes and rivers, and wildlife such as bighorn sheep, bison, grizzly bears, and more than 1,000 gray wolves. nps.gov/yell.
New York Harbor
It's still easy to imagine the bay as millions of immigrants might have perceived it on their way to the United States: the promise of the Statue of Liberty, the judgment of Ellis Island, and the hope of Manhattan's skyscrapers rising in the distance. Emma Lazarus's ode to the huddled masses, inside the Statue of Liberty's pedestal, is a timeless reminder of our common bond as immigrants, a history that stretches from Jamestown to the current day.
Monticello
Why Thomas Jefferson and not George Washington, you ask? It's undeniable that Washington was the greater warrior, but it was Jefferson who authored the Declaration of Independence and helped define our claim to liberty—the reason we fought in the first place. Monticello, filled with more than 5,000 of his prized artifacts, like botanic microscopes, an illustrated engraving of the Declaration of Independence, and elk antlers from the Lewis and Clark Expedition (which Jefferson sponsored), is a fascinating exhibition of the progressive, transformative ideas of its owner. monticello.org.
Graceland
Born in Mississippi and raised in Memphis, Elvis Presley incorporated the homegrown sounds of the Delta blues and country music into his songs, and then shared them with the rest of the world. Graceland, his home, is a similar melting pot of styles and tastes. Like his music, it's American through and through. Among the highlights: two private jets named Lisa Marie and Hound Dog II, five gold-plated showerheads, and in the car museum across the street, 10 of the King's favorite rides, including his famous pink Cadillac. elvis.com/graceland.
Pearl Harbor
The bombing of Pearl Harbor transformed a sleepy, remote naval base into a fiery catalyst for America's entry into World War II. Within the space of a few hours, the U.S. Pacific naval fleet was devastated, more than 2,300 servicemen died, and the nation united around a common cause. It's hard to imagine a more poignant memorial than the Alfred Preis-designed bridge that hovers over the midsection of the sunken battleship, the USS Arizona, which remains the underwater grave for 1,177 of her crewmen. nps.gov/valr.
Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church
The struggle for racial equality has taken place all over the country, but for Martin Luther King Jr., it began in Atlanta at the church where he was baptized, delivered his first sermon, and served as co-pastor with his father until his death in 1968. His soaring speeches clarified the goals of the civil rights movement and extended the country's promise of freedom; his example of nonviolence remains an astounding contribution to the country's history of dissent.
Note: The parish has grown into a larger building across the street (where visitors can attend services); the historic church is now part of a National Historic Site that includes his birth home and grave. The church is closed until the end of 2009 for restoration. nps.gov/malu, historicebenezer.org.
WHAT, NO GRAND CANYON?
In trying to come up with a list of places every American must see, we knew we'd raise some hackles. We considered options like the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Ground Zero, Philadelphia's Independence Hall, the Trail of Tears, the Inside Passage, and the Golden Gate Bridge, among others—before publishing our final list.

GOOD ADVICE FOR PICKING A CRUISE CABIN

How to Pick the Right Cruise Cabin
By a Goldilocks-like process of elimination—this one's too small, this one's too loud—you can find a stateroom that's just right.

 

On paper, choosing a cruise cabin seems pretty simple. There are four basic styles: insides (no window), outsides (with window), balcony, and suite.
But booking a stateroom is not a snap. Even though there are just four room styles, cruise lines divvy them into as many as 20 price categories. A cabin's location, size, and amenities determine the price, which generally increases the higher, bigger, and more deluxe you go. The trick is figuring out what's worth paying extra for, and that depends on your priorities. If you don't plan to spend much time in your cabin, feel free to book the cheapest price you can find. But if you think of your stateroom as a retreat, proceed carefully and avoid these not-so-ideal scenarios.
A CABIN THAT'S TOO SMALL
Cruise cabins are designed for maximum efficiency, so they're generally more than adequate as long as you're neat and you haven't overpacked. Some cabins, however, are just plain miniscule. Rooms on older vessels can be as little as 100 square feet, particularly for inside cabins. If this is your home for a week, you might feel like an inmate in a cell. When looking at cabin measurements, note that cruise lines often include the veranda in the overall square footage. A balcony cabin on Celebrity Summit, for example, may look about average size at 208 square feet, but that factors in 38 square feet of veranda. The cabin itself measures just 170 square feet. So the advice is: Think hard before booking a cabin that's extraordinarily small—say, one that's less than 150 square feet, not including the veranda.
What to ask a travel agent: What's the square footage of the cabin? Does that figure include a veranda?
A CABIN THAT'S TOO LOUD
A ship's deck plans, available at each cruise line's website, are easily readable, like this one for the Carnival Ecstasy. It's important to check what's below, above, and around the corner from the cabin you're considering. Avoid anything right under the lido buffet, as meals are served nearly around-the-clock. Unless you plan to close the ship's late-night disco, don't book a stateroom nearby. If your cabin is just below the pool deck, your morning wakeup call could be the scraping sound of chaise lounges being dragged into position. Cabins on lower decks are cheaper largely because guests have to put up with the hum of propellers. The best bet is to choose a cabin that has staterooms above and below it—and then cross your fingers that the neighbors in every direction aren't rowdy night owls.
What to ask a travel agent: How noisy will the cabin be? Are there restaurants, discos, pools, or public areas nearby that'll keep me up at night?
A CABIN WITH A LESS-THAN-STELLAR VIEW
Every outside cabin pretty much looks out on a similar sea-and-sky vista, but there are some notable differences. Most are located either port or starboard, so you're always looking sideways. A front-facing stateroom lets you see where you're heading, but also takes the brunt of wind and rough seas—the big reason why these cabins rarely come with balconies. Backward-facing cabins boast the best views. There's something incredibly Zen-like about gazing at the wake and the panorama behind the ship. Backward-facing cabins are hard to come by because most cruise lines devote that part of the ship to public spaces. Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity Cruises are among the lines that regularly have backward-facing cabins.
What to ask a travel agent: What's the view like? Can I get a better view for the same money?
A CABIN THAT FEELS LIKE GRAND CENTRAL STATION
Many passengers prefer centrally-located cabins because they're close to stairways, elevators, pools, and buffets. Still, there's such a thing as too central a location. Stateroom doors are absurdly flimsy, so you'll hear pretty much everything going on outside. There is no truly quiet corner of a cruise ship. But it's smart to avoid lower deck cabins that are close to the ship's atriums—the extravagantly designed openings, often several stories high, attract a lot of foot traffic. In a cabin around the corner from an atrium, you'll hear the hordes milling or power walking past your door from dawn to dusk.
What to ask a travel agent: How close is the cabin to the ship's atriums? Is the cabin on the main walking path for people disembarking or reboarding the ship?
A CABIN THAT'LL MAKE YOU SICK
Newer ships have all sorts of nifty stabilizers that try to tame the sea and give passengers a smoother ride. Most people feel fine, even during mildly rough seas. But if you are unusually sensitive to movement, you may want to forego the higher decks. The higher you go, the more likely you'll get not only back and forth (or side to side) rocking, but will also feel an unsettling swaying effect. Stick to the center, the most stable part of the ship, and by all means avoid any stateroom within a dozen cabins of the front.
What to ask a travel agent: I'm worried about getting sick if the seas get rocky. Can you book me in a cabin in the most stable location?

AND I QUOTE

"The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction you give it." – Ayn Rand

IT'S SUNDAY, WHAT WILL YOU BE WATCHING?

Today is Sunday, and like many people, you may decide to spend the evening curled up in front of the television to cap off the weekend. We thought it might be fun to see what people were watching on Sunday nights, 25 years ago, in February of 1985. If you happened to be loyal to CBS, this is what you could expect: Did you eagerly anticipate Trapper John, M.D. and Murder She Wrote on CBS? Or were you more likely to be watching MacGyver and the ABC Sunday Night Movie over at ABC? Perhaps you were looking for something a little more out of the ordinary, and tuned into NBC for Amazing Stories and the return of Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

DREAMS CAN COME TRUE


A Rotary club chartered during the last Winter Olympics in Canada has teamed up with a charity to make wishes come true for six children with life-threatening illnesses. 
As the Olympic Games returned to the country this month, The Rotary Club of Calgary Olympic, Alberta, worked with the Children's Wish Foundation of Canada to provide accommodations for the children, ages 4-14, so they could attend.
"Our club wanted to do something special since the Olympics are back in Canada," says Tamara McCarron, club member and project chair. "We are thrilled to make a difference in these children's lives. It's a dream come true for them and for me."
This year's games are being held in Vancouver, British Columbia. With most of the area's hotels booked, McCarron found Home for the Games, a website that matches visitors with Vancouver hosts for short-term homestays. The club spent US$30,000 for lodging for the six families. Home for the Games funnels 50 percent of the housing fees to charities that help the homeless in Vancouver.
"I was lucky enough to come across an ad in The Rotarian magazine for Home for the Games. It's a win, win, win for our club, the Children's Wish Foundation, and local charities of Vancouver," says McCarron, who joined the club last year. "It's a huge effort, but having the resources of Rotary made things a lot smoother."
The six families, who live in different parts of Canada, attended several events at the games from 12 to 28 February, including the highly anticipated men's gold medal hockey game.
The Children's Wish Foundation worked with Olympic officials to allow one of the girls to pick up gifts thrown into the rink by spectators during a figure skating medal round.
"We're creating a legacy for these children and their families," says Tara Johnson, the club's community service chair. "This project is very symbolic of what Rotary does for people who live at a disadvantage."
"The assistance and support of Rotarians from across Canada, specifically those from the Rotary Club of Calgary Olympic, have made it possible to send the children to share an unforgettable Olympic experience with their families," says Lyanne Goulin, director of the foundation.

PAINT CHIP MOSIAC

Saturday, February 27, 2010

PEOPLE BEING PEOPLE

Police are still baffled by how Gregory Denny, 37, was able to "deport" Cherrie Belle Hibbard from her home in Hemet, Calif., in January back to her native Philippines. According to Hemet police, Denny, with a gun and fake U.S. Marshal's badge and shirt, knocked on Hibbard's door and convinced her that he was there to escort her to the airport and out of the country and that Hibbard's husband had to buy her the ticket. Denny then accompanied Hibbard through airport security and put her onto a flight. Upon questioning by police later, Denny apparently remained in character, continuing to insist that he is a Marshal. Denny was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping, impersonating a peace officer and several other charges.

THE FAMILY THAT PLAYS TOGETHER...

ROTARY AND DIABETES


RAG Diabetes publicizes to the Rotary world its concerns about the growing epidemic of diabetes around the globe. It raises awareness of how Rotary districts and clubs can help through a strong commitment to diabetes education and to the identification and treatment of the disease, especially among children in developing countries. Lack of insulin is the leading cause of death for children with diabetes worldwide, and diabetes is the leading cause of amputations not due to trauma. Members of the action group are working on projects in Bolivia, Cameroun, the Caribbean, Nepal, Nigeria, and Sri LankaRead more.                                   

DO YOU REMEMBER?

Ronald Howes Sr., the inventor of the Easy-Bake oven, passed away Friday February 19th at the age of 83. And if putting a smile on a kid’s face gives one brownie points at the pearly gates, Mr. Howes certainly amassed enough through his invention to be welcomed with open arms.
The Easy-Bake oven, first introduced in 1963, allowed millions of kids to try their hand at baking without the associated risks of using adult appliances. Powered originally by a 60-Watt light bulb, it was still possible (as many former battle-scarred kids can attest) to get a minor burn should you fish around blindly for your Betty Crocker brownies. Still, that was a far cry from the damage a 350-degree oven could inflict. And so, thanks to the vision of Ronald Howes Sr., all of us, girls and boys alike, learned a thing or two about cooking within a safe environment.

TODAY IN HISTORY

FEBRUARY 27

1973:Members of the American Indian movement begin a 71-day occupation of  Wounded Knee, S.D., where U.S. troops massacred more than 150 Sioux in 1890.

1968:
CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite declares the U.S. “mired in stalemate” in Vietnam, marking a turning point in support for the war.

1991:
President George H.W. Bush ends combat in Kuwait and announces: “Kuwait is liberated.”

105 AND COUNTING

As members of the Rotary Club of Chicago celebrated Rotary's 105th anniversary at a downtown hotel on 23 February, the city's historic Wrigley Building was illuminated in the background with an urgent message: End Polio Now.
The Wrigley Building joined several other iconic landmarks worldwide, each lit with an anniversary message or the three words representing Rotary's commitment to rid the world of the crippling childhood disease.
Joining Chicago Rotarians at the lighting ceremony were Illinois Governor Pat Quinn; the Reverend Jesse Jackson, president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition; Dr. Ciro de Quadros, executive vice president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute; James Galloway, U.S. assistant surgeon general; and RI General Secretary Ed Futa.
Before the lighting, Rotarians handed out End Polio Now postcards at the Wrigley Building.
"This is a very significant event," says Angelo Loumbas, president of the Chicago club. "Rotary's end polio campaign is the initiative I want my club to sponsor as much as they can this year. The fact that we were able to promote End Polio Now and at the same time celebrate Rotary's 105th anniversary really turned out to be a big advantage for us."
Joined by Rotarians from districts 6440 and 6450, the Chicago club, the first Rotary club, commemorated its own 105th anniversary. At the celebration, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley congratulated Rotarians for their achievement and thanked them for their ongoing commitment to literacy, promoting peace, improving health, and eradicating polio.
"I'm very grateful for Rotary's commitment to service, not only here in America but all over the world," said Daley. "In the spirit of volunteerism, Rotary carries the torch. Each and every one of you stands alone in leading the way to eradicate polio."

Within reach

"I'm honored to participate in the End Polio Now campaign in Chicago, where Rotary was founded 105 years ago," said Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. "The eradication of one of the world's most terrible diseases is finally within reach due to Rotary International's extraordinary efforts."
The club awarded de Quadros its Chesley Perry Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service for global polio eradication. He led a team responsible for developing a surveillance and response strategy to eliminate polio from the Americas.
The landmark displays coincide with a mass mailing of End Polio Now postcards to heads of state in more than 40 countries, encouraging governments to continue or increase their commitment to polio eradication.
In addition to the Wrigley Building, other landmarks illuminated during the week of 23 February include the Pyramid of Khafre in Egypt; the Taipei Arena in Taiwan; the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain; the Old Port Captain's Office on the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa; the Obelisk of Buenos Aires, Argentina; and the Royal Palace at Caserta in Italy.  
"By lighting these historic landmarks with Rotary’s pledge to end polio, Rotary is saying to the world that we will fight this disease to the end," said Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair Glenn E. Estess Sr. “People around the world will see these words and join Rotary and its partners in the historic effort to eradicate polio from the face of the earth.”

Friday, February 26, 2010

NOT MUCH ROOM FOR ERROR

Background:
Getting to this paradise-like island,
Saba, Netherlands Antilles can be a bit distressing thanks to a 1300-foot-long runway, slightly longer than most aircraft carrier runways.

Why It's Unique:
Large planes aren't landing here, but the small runway is difficult even for Cessnas and similar aircraft. "The little X means don't land there," says Schreckengast, a former Navy pilot who is no stranger to landing on less than lengthy runways. "It's challenging, but if you don't have something like that, the people here don't get things they routinely need, like mail." Given the limited amount of land and rolling topography of the island, not many other options exist.

FREE VACATION OPPORTUNITY VIA FACEBOOK

It looks like Spain is the latest destination to use a clever Facebook campaign to drum up some interest among traveling social media users. Free vacations are being offered to users who provide the best answers to questions about Spain and its customs. The contest is set to last through the end of February, so there's still time for you to get in on the action. Winners will receive a one-week trip ever year for three years, including airfare and lodging at Parador hotels, which are refurbished castles and monasteries – not a bad way to roll. If you think you have what it takes to get your vacations covered for the next three years,head over to Facebook to prove it!

CHINESE FACT

"[By 2025,] 40 billion square meters of floor space will be built -- in five million buildings. 50,000 of these buildings could be skyscrapers -- the equivalent of ten New York Cities."
Source: Mckinsey, "Preparing for China's urban billion"

LOAD YOUR DISHWASHER FOR DINNER

Cooking in the dishwasher is not much different than baking; you just need to keep the food from getting soapy. Here's how to make dishwasher chicken, hot dogs, or vegetables:

Requires:

  • Aluminum Foil
  • Raw Chicken, Hot Dogs, or Vegetables
  • Butter
  • Salt or Spices (optional)
  • Meat Thermometer (or Adult)

How to:

  1. Prepare food. Cut chicken into strips about 1⁄2 inch wide. If you don't like chicken, hot dogs, vegetables, or apples work just as well. Place food in center of a sheet of foil. Dab with butter and add salt or spices if you like.
  2. Seal it up. Fold up, then carefully roll the edges of the foil to create a watertight packet. You can add another layer of foil if your foil is thin. Place packet in top rack of dishwasher (middle if you have three racks) and finish loading the dish- washer with dirty dishes. Do not let packet get punctured by the rack or any dishes.
  3. Cook it. Run the dishwasher on the hottest setting (at or above 160 degrees F). After the wash cycle finishes, make sure the dry cycle completes before opening.
  4. Check it. Carefully remove the foil packet from the dishwasher and examine for punctures. Discard and try again with the next load of dishes if any holes are found. Open the packet and check to make sure your chicken is thoroughly cooked.
  5. Enjoy. Toast goes particularly well with dishwasher chicken.

Note: Undercooked chicken can be unsafe to eat. Check your food carefully before consuming. Use a meat thermometer

A GREAT IDEA

We've seen plenty products both real and imagined that promise to improve on the standard power strip, but few as elegantly designed as this so-called "Multi-Tab" concept from designer Soon Mo Kang. Not only is it modular to accommodate as many plugs as you need, but each module also has its own release mechanism to eject the plug without pulling on it, and it would come with a set of stickers to let you label each plug for minimal confusion. About the only drawback is that it might not be able to handle larger plugs, but that's nothing a little fine-tuning can't fix -- optional brick modules, perhaps?

AND I QUOTE

"Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still." – Chinese Proverb

TODAY IN HISTORY

FEBRUARY 26

1815:Napoleon Bonaparte escapes from exile on Elba Island with plans to regain control of France.

1870:
New York City’s first subway, powered by pressurized air, opens with rides costing 25 cents.

1993:
A car bomb detonates in a garage of the World Trade Center, killing six people. A witness eerily compares it to an airplane hitting the building.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

SOCIAL NETWORKING HELPS WITH FUNDRAISING


Social networking is a great way to raise funds for your club's project or an upcoming volunteer service trip. One online fundraising tool is a fundraising page. There are many services available to help you start one of these pages, and a web search will help you identify one to suit your needs. Here are some tips to keep in mind when developing a fundraising page:
  • Start with a modest fundraising goal.
  • Include a project description, story, photos, and a video, if possible.
  • Develop a creative campaign. For example, plan a fundraising day on your birthday.
  • Use a service that allows donors to give online.
  • Use social networking to publicize your campaign. On Facebook, you can start a group that includes a link to your fundraising page.
  • Add the URL for your fundraising page to your e-mail signature.
  • Send reminders, but don't overdo it. Two to three reminders should be sufficient.
  • Send your donors updates.
  • Thank your donors.
Learn about Rotary International's social networking pages. 

THE WIZARD IS COMING TO ORLANDO

Even though the exact opening date has not been revealed, Universal Orlando just revealed its first Wizarding World of Harry Potter vacation package.

Starting at $645 per adult ($1,548 for a family of four), guests can enjoy the new resort with the following benefits:

  • Four-night accommodations at one of Universal's three on-site AAA Four Diamond hotels: Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, HardRock Hotel and Loews Royal Pacific Resort
  • Three days admission to Universal Studios and Universal's Islands of Adventure theme parks (park-to-park not included)
  • Complimentary Universal Express access to bypass the regular lines at select theme park rides and attractions (a $70 value per person, per day)
  • Early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Traditional British breakfast at the Three Broomsticks
  • Commemorative ticket for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Good for travel beginning May 28, 2010
Notice that last line? This obviously gives a bit of a hint as to the opening date, but Universal is quick to point out that the date was only set to help consumers plan their vacation, and that it does not represent the opening date. The current time frame is still "Spring 2010".

To learn more about the available vacation package options, head on over to the Universal Orlando web site.

AND I QUOTE

"Look at all the sentences which seem true and question them." – David Reisman

PEOPLE BEING PEOPLE

In December, British Columbia's District of Sechelt Council approved a bylaw making it illegal for licensed dogs to chase squirrels, seagulls and other wild animals. The councillors added a defense of "provocation" but left it undefined, which might be especially problematic in instances in which the dog is the only witness to the alleged provocation.

TODAY IN HISTORY

FEBRUARY 25

1870:Mississippi’s Hiram Revels is sworn in as the first black U.S. senator.

1570:
Queen Elizabeth I is excommunicated by Pope Pius V, who hopes the Catholic faithful will dethrone the Protestant queen.

1964:
Cassius Clay upsets Sonny Liston to become boxing’s world heavyweight champion. He later changes his name to Muhammad Ali.

MATCHING GRANT MAXIMUM INCREASES

At its January 2010 meeting, The Rotary Foundation Board of Trustees increased the maximum Matching Grant award from US$150,000 to $200,000, effective 1 July 2010.
During 2009-10, Health, Hunger, and Humanity (3-H) Grants were phased out, one year earlier than initially anticipated under the Future Vision Plan, due to the decrease in available World Funds.
In the absence of 3-H grants, increasing the maximum Matching Grant award allows clubs and districts to undertake larger projects than previously possible with Matching Grants.
The Trustees hope that this change will give Rotarians around the world the ability to continue to pursue large-scale sustainable development projects through the Matching Grants program. Matching Grants materials are currently being updated to reflect the change and will be available soon at www.rotary.org.
Please contact your humanitarian grant coordinator for more information regarding deadlines and requirements for competitive Matching Grant applications (applications requesting more than US$25,000 from the Foundation).

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

ROTARY FELLOWSHIP GROUPS

Rotary Fellowships offer Rotarians the opportunity to make friends with others in Rotary who share a common vocation, hobby or recreational interest. There are currently more than 60 groups. Want to find out more? (link above)

ULTIMATE CARPOOLING

ROTARY PR

NIGERIA HITS NEW HIGH NOTES AGAINST POLIO

For over four decades, folklorist Dan Maraya Jos has stirred the hearts of Nigerians with songs on a range of social issues.
He has written more than 1,000 songs and released 150 records, using his musical talent to promote Operation Feed the Nation, the Universal Primary Education program, and other national initiatives.
In January, Dan Maraya was named Rotary's ambassador for polio eradication in Nigeria. "[He] no doubt has become a living legend with his lyrics and kind of music, which has gained acceptance amongst the low and mighty, in the towns, and even in the remotest rural areas," says Nigeria PolioPlus Committee Chair Busuyi Onabolu.
A custodian of Hausa culture and tradition, Dan Maraya has also performed in several countries in Africa, Europe, and Latin America, as well as in the United States. His long list of awards includes Nigeria's Federal Republic Medal and the Order of the Niger.
Dan Maraya has recorded three radio public service announcements (PSAs) in a regional version of Rotary International's " We Are This Close to Ending Polio" campaign.  The PSAs are aimed at listeners who speak the Hausa language.
"President Yar'Adua is calling, the Sultan of Sokoto is calling, traditional and religious leaders are calling, and Rotary International is calling all families to take children under five years for polio immunization," he says in one of the PSAs.
Such social mobilization efforts helped vaccination teams reach more than 40 million children during Nigeria's Immunization Plus Days, held from 30 January to 2 February. For the first time in Nigeria, the new bivalent oral polio vaccine was used to target the two types of wild poliovirus remaining in the country: types 1 and 3.
Nigeria is one of four countries in the world (along with Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan) where polio remains endemic. In 2009, the incidence of polio in Nigeria dropped by more than 50 percent, compared with 2008. Only 13 cases have been reported since August.
"What this means in very simple terms is that we are now reaching more children," says Onabolu. "And Rotary International, as catalyst for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, is determined to support every effort at mobilizing the citizenry toward ensuring every child is immunized."

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY ROTARY

From kicking a soccer ball in Cape Town, South Africa, to illuminating prominent landmarks with the End Polio Now message, Rotarians around the world are celebrating 23 February, the 105th anniversary of the first Rotary club meeting.
On this day in 1905, Paul Harris, Gustavus Loehr, Hiram Shorey, and Silvester Schiele met to talk about their personal and professional experiences. Harris then unfolded his general plan for a club. Out of this simple beginning sprang the world's first international service organization, which has now grown to include more than 1.2 million members in over 33,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas.
Rotary International helped celebrate the milestone by spelling out End Polio Now on the side of RI World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA, and by joining districts 6440 and 6450 in plans to light up the Wrigley Building in downtown Chicago with the End Polio Now logo on the evening of 23 February. The Rotary Club of Chicago is celebrating its own 105th anniversary immediately after the lighting.
Other sites scheduled for illumination this week include the Pyramid of Khafre in Egypt; the Taipei Arena in Taiwan; the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain; the Old Port Captain’s Office on the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, with world-famous Table Mountain as the backdrop; the Obelisk of Buenos Aires, Argentina; the Lake Marathon Dam overlooking the historic Marathon Memorial Battlefield in Greece; and  the Royal Palace at Caserta in Italy.
In Cape Town, one of the host cities for the 2010 World Cup, a Kick Polio Out of Africa awareness campaign will launch with the symbolic kicking of a soccer ball signed by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who had polio as a child. The ball, which will be auctioned to the highest bidder, will then travel through 22 polio-affected countries en route to the RI Convention in Montréal, Québec, Canada, in June.
In Puerto Rico, the House of Representatives has approved a measure setting aside the week of 23 February to be celebrated as "the week of the Rotary movement."
In addition, clubs have found a variety of creative ways to celebrate Rotary's birthday, also known as World Understanding and Peace Day:
  • Members of Rotary clubs in Nepal will be taking part in a peace rally in Biratnagar.
  • The Rotary Club of Scottsbluff/Gering, Nebraska, USA, is celebrating Rotary's 105th birthday by marking the 90th year since it received its club charter with a fundraiser to expand the local library.
  • The Rotary Club of Canton, Georgia, USA, holds its weekly meeting on Tuesdays and will be celebrating with a large cake, complete with big 1, 0, and 5 candles. The club will also be donating $105 to PolioPlus.
  • The Rotary Club of Tumkur City, Karnataka, India, has conducted a free dental checkup for children at a Red Cross school for the deaf and mute.
  • The Rotary Club of Milledgeville, Georgia, USA, has invited Rotarians, families, veterans, and community members to a large Peace Day celebration at the peace monument at the county courthouse.
  • All 21 districts in Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland will be taking part in a Thanks for Life Week to raise funds for End Polio Now.

SWEET THINGS IN THE A.M.

hrough half-opened eyes and a cloud of sleep-deprived fog, we stared at them intently every morning while shoveled their contents into our mouth. That box of breakfast cereal greeted and enthralled us each day. And yet, take a walk down the cereal aisle today and only a handful of favorites from yesteryear remain – and most of those are barely recognizable. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a place to go, where you could revisit the glory days of breakfast cereal boxes?
Ask and ye shall receive. Over here at theimaginaryworld.com, they have amassed an impressive archive of some of the most beloved cereal boxes of all-time. Looking for some retro Alpha-Bits, Quisp or Count Chocula? You’ll find them here, along with plenty that were once brave enough to proudly display the word “sugar” in the title.

AND I QUOTE

"Drive thy business or it will drive thee." – Benjamin Franklin

TODAY IN HISTORY

FEBRUARY 24

1803:The Supreme Court rules for the first time in Marbury v. Madison that a law passed by Congress is unconstitutional. The precedent gives the court the right to have final legislative say.

1868:
President Andrew Johnson is impeached by the House of Representatives for trying to fire his secretary of war.

1968:
Astronomers Jocelyn Bell and Antony Hewish announce the discovery of pulsars—pulsing stars that emit radio waves.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

GREAT IPHONE AND TOUCH APPS FOR KIDS

If you are looking for some very kid friendly apps on your iPhone or Touch, link above.

A BETTER TOILET


Nitrate-laden effluent from unimproved pit latrines can directly contaminate groundwater. Waterless toilet technology can provide a safer and more efficient option. Waterless toilets are ideal for environments that lack ample water resources, are prone to drought, or have contaminated water sources. Waterless composting pit latrines are one promising alternative because they do not require plumbing, drains, pipes, or chemicals, and transform waste into odorless compost.
 
Read a recent article about sanitation from The Rotarian

Planning a sanitation project? Visit the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group's 
website for guidance.

PEOPLE BEING PEOPLE

Shane Williams-Allen, 19, was arrested in Tavares, Fla., in January and charged with burglarizing an unmarked police car and stealing several items, including handcuffs and a Taser gun. Eventually, Williams-Allen called the police for help after he accidentally cuffed himself, and officers believe he also accidentally Tasered himself.

PERSISTANCE PAYS

Persistence has paid off for a handful of Rotarians determined to launch a new Rotary club in the tiny town of Troutman, North Carolina, USA.
The fledgling club celebrated its charter, which the club received in October, during a special dinner 12 February with 28 members plus guests and district officers, and punctuated the evening by making a $1,000 donation to The Rotary Foundation for polio eradication.
"People here are very passionate about Rotary," explains Deborah Bowen, a member of the Rotary Club of Top of the Lake-Mooresville, which sponsored the Troutman club. "Troutman's an old town, and there's not a lot of business. But people are very welcoming."
Bowen was appointed by the district governor to help start the new club shortly after she and her husband moved their office from Mooresville to Troutman, a community of 2,100 about 10 miles north.
Six clubs already existed within a 12-mile radius of Troutman, but Bowen and a small group of residents were convinced the town would support its own club. With the help of two other Rotarians from her club, she rounded up eight prospective members, who began to meet in October 2008.
"We lined up a great public relations gal, who made up fliers" using Humanity in Motion Start with Rotary material, Bowen recalls. They also put notices on town bulletin boards and began diligently recruiting people who were well connected in the community.
After they assisted at a high school event, the school's principal became a member, and the town's other three principals followed suit. Another big break came, Bowen says, when a popular young pastor joined. 
Follow-through is critical in promoting a club's growth, Bowen says. "You can't just call one time; you have to follow up."
She came up with a visual prop to encourage the provisional club members to think about membership every day of the week: flower pots to put on their desks with three sticks in them, each representing a person they had identified as a likely member. When they brought in a new member, they got a flower sticker to put on their stick.
The club held a fundraiser in December at one of the town's four schools, bringing in more than $8,000 to buy gift cards for 70 needy children.
“The Rotary Club of Troutman was once just a vision that grew into a purpose: community service conducted by local folks who become Rotarians," says Scott Mitcham, the club's charter president. "We have already and will continue to make a difference.”
Bowen is excited for the charter club, even though the economy has been rough on her business and community. "We may be going through some tough times for our business," she says, "but we would never give up on Rotary."

LOOKING FOR AN EVENT TICKET WITH GOOD VALUE? READ ON


If you're looking to buy tickets to a sporting or music event, you'll want to pay a visit to SeatGeek to find the best value for your money.
At SeatGeek you can search for your favorite team, performing artist, or even by venue or city if you're open to taking in anything. SeatGeek renders a map of the venue, charts out where the seats are located, and dishes the dirt on the overall state of pricing at the venue as well as individual tickets. The price forecast tells you if you should buy now or wait based on prior data for the team/artist and the venue in question. In our example above—purchasing Houston Rockets tickets—SeatGeek suggested that we buy now because it projected a moderate price increase between now and the event.
In addition to simply searching for events and comparing immediate prices, SeatGeek publishes TicketPulse. TicketPulse massages the data across the board at SeatGeek and highlights interesting facts based on ticket prices, number of tickets purchased, and other factors. For example if you consider part of the value of a ticket to be seeing the team win, the New Orleans Hornets provide the best value—the win average compared to their average ticket price makes for the cheapest "they're gonna win!" ticket purchase in the NBA.(link above)

A SAD REALITY

Building Team Spirit
Nurses hesitate to challenge doctors even when doctors are ordering the wrong drug or operating on the wrong limb.

By LAURA LANDRO-Wall Street Journal

When it comes to safety, the aviation industry has it down to a science, compelling pilots to go through checklists before takeoff and relying on every crew member, regardless of rank, to work as a team and report dangerous lapses. But in hospitals there is no such fail-safe system, one reason that tens of thousands of American patients annually are harmed or killed by preventable infections, wrong-site surgeries and medication mishaps.

A few years ago, after seeing a toddler die from substandard care, Peter Pronovost, an anesthesiologist and critical-care specialist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, set out to change the way that hospitals function. In "Safe Patients, Smart Hospitals"— co-authored with Eric Vohr, a former Hopkins media-relations executive—he makes a compelling case for shaking up an archaic and often "toxic" medical culture.

Too often, Dr. Pronovost writes, doctors "think they are infallible, communication between nurses and doctors is poor and accountability is virtually non-existent." He notes that doctors aren't trained to listen to nurses, family members or anyone else for that matter. "Medicine operates like a private club of self-styled deities where the entrance requirement is an M.D."

Dr. Pronovost proposes a two-fold strategy for bringing health care closer to the standards of aviation: simple, rigorous checklists designed to deliver proven treatments and procedures; and a cultural makeover aimed at tearing down the traditional hospital hierarchy that makes nurses afraid to challenge doctors even when doctors are ordering the wrong drug or operating on the wrong limb. Hospitals need a collaborative model, Dr. Pronovost says. Members of a medical team need to work like flight crews to redesign flawed systems of care.

Not that making such changes will be easy. Whereas pilots learn to fly a few basic planes and must remember a set of controls and checklists that rarely change, doctors must retain vast amounts of information, and the information itself is constantly undergoing refinement and revision. In aviation it has long been accepted that humans are fallible; flight crews, for instance, must go off-duty after they reach a work-hour limit. By contrast, doctors are trained to work punishing hours; sleep deprivation is a badge of honor; and, as Dr. Pronovost writes, "there is difficulty admitting that well-meaning, highly trained, competent doctors predictably and continuously make mistakes."

In the course of advancing his argument, Dr. Pronovost offers glimpses into the harrowing world of intensive care, such as a patient accidentally left to overdose on narcotics—saved, ironically, because he was a heroin addict and could tolerate the excess of drugs. In one heart-stopping scene, Dr. Pronovost faces off with a surgeon who refuses to admit that the patient on the operating table is having a deadly allergic reaction to the latex gloves that the surgeon is wearing.

Dr. Pronovost had his first inklings of medical fallibility when his own father was diagnosed with cancer—just not the kind he actually had, which resulted in worthless treatments that fatally delayed the care that might have saved him. But Dr. Pronovost's epiphany came with the death of Josie King, an 18-month-old who was brought to Johns Hopkins in 2001 for burn treatment and ended up dead because of hospital error. Her mother, Sorrel King, recounted that tragic tale in her own book, "Josie's Story," reviewed in these pages last year.

One obvious target for improved care is in the use of so-called central-line catheters. Inserted into veins in the neck, chest or groin, the catheters administer medications and fluids and sometimes measure blood volume. Though they regularly save lives, each year roughly 80,000 patients in the U.S. get central-line infections, many linked to failure to follow preventive measures, and 30,000 to 60,000 die.

The guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for preventing central-line infections run to 120 pages, hardly a handy reference. Dr. Pronovost has distilled the guidelines down to a five-step checklist for doctors and nurses: wash hands; use sterile gowns, gloves and masks; clean the insertion site with antiseptic; avoid placing catheters in the groin (where infection risk is higher); and remove a catheter as soon as it is no longer needed. In a federally funded program, 50 intensive-care units in Michigan hospitals followed the checklist. Infection rates dropped to nearly zero and stayed there, saving an estimated 2,000 lives.

But it is hard to disturb the status quo. As he travels around the country urging his message of reform, Dr. Pronovost has often found that hospitals want to do things their way and don't rigorously collect data; chief residents don't want to follow his proposals to let nurses accompany them on patient rounds; and surgeons resent interference.

When a particular hospital culture proves resistant to change, Dr. Pronovost devises workaround strategies, such as giving nurses pagers to summon hospital executives if a doctor's intransigence threatens safety, or setting up a Web site where staffers can anonymously report problems. Dr. Pronovost acknowledges that he can come off as a caped crusader, rubbing his peers the wrong way. He tells of one case where a nurse was afraid to tell a surgeon that he had to keep a patient in the operating room longer because the intensive care unit was overwhelmed. Dr. Pronovost stepped in and took the heat from the screaming surgeon, who didn't want to lose the next paying case. But hospital profits are clearly not Dr. Pronovost's first concern at the moment. Safe patient care is.

ROTARACT WEEK COMING NEXT MONTH

Don't miss the chance to observe World Rotaract Week! Rotaract will celebrate its 42nd anniversary the week of 8-14 March. Rotaract clubs around the world are encouraged to partner with their sponsor Rotary clubs to commemorate the founding of the first Rotaract club on 13 March 1968. Rotaractors can increase community awareness of the program by
  • Making a presentation to a Rotary club that does not yet sponsor a Rotaract club
  • Inviting Rotarians to attend a Rotaract club meeting
  • Encouraging Rotaractors to attend a Rotary club meeting
  • Conducting a joint Rotaract and Rotary club project
So join the celebration, and tell the world about Rotaract!
 
Rotaract clubs and their sponsoring Rotary clubs that submit a celebration recognition form will receive a signed letter from President John Kenny and a commemorative pin. The deadline for submissions is 15 April.
 
Learn more about the history of Rotaract.

VINTAGE ADVERTISING-1969

TODAY IN HISTORY

FEBRUARY 23

1945:AP photographer Joe Rosenthal photographs U.S. Marines raising Old Glory on Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi. The picture wins a Pulitzer Prize.

1836: Col. William Travis orders his troops to withdraw into the Alamo after Mexican troops are spotted, starting the fatal 13-day siege.

1903: President Theodore Roosevelt approves a deal with Cuba to lease a naval station at Guantanamo Bay. The U.S. will continue sending checks to Cuba, though the communist government won’t cash them.

1954: Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine is used in Pittsburgh for the first mass inoculation of children against the disease.

Monday, February 22, 2010

HAITIAN RELIEF UPDATE


After a devastating earthquake struck Haiti on 12 January in the area around the capital, Port-au-Prince, the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund, a donor advised fund, was established through The Rotary Foundation to streamline contributions to recovery projects. Long-term projects will be listed on ProjectLINK in the coming months. Learn more about the Rotarian response and how to help.

SCALING NEW HEIGHTS FOR POLIO

"You breathe and you breathe and you breathe. And then you take a step."
That’s how Finbar O’Sullivan, a member of the Rotary Club of Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, describes climbing to the summit of 23,000-foot Mount Aconcagua in Argentina, the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere. "It was physically brutal -- probably one of the hardest things I think I’ve ever done."
O'Sullivan, 56, was part of a team of seven climbers from Kelowna, including four Rotarians and a guide, who made the ascent in December, raising US$48,000 for Rotary’s US$200 Million Challenge. The feat was part of the Kelowna club’s Peaks for Polio project to raise awareness of the disease and funds to help eradicate it.
O'Sullivan came up with the idea for the project in 2007, after attending a Rotary club meeting as a guest. “The talk was on the PolioPlus program, my first lesson on the work Rotary does," says O'Sullivan, who has vivid memories of polio's effects on children he knew as a boy in England. "This was something I wanted to be part of. I wanted in."
He joined the Kelowna club that year. In planning the project, the team decided on Laurie Skreslet as its guide. Skreslet had climbed Mount Aconcagua 27 times and became the first Canadian to scale Mount Everest in 1982.
The project's goal is to make the climb an annual fundraiser until Rotary's challenge ends on 30 June 2012. The target is to have the next 20 participants each raise $50,000, for a combined total of $1 million.
O'Sullivan described the last 1,000 feet of the ascent as "brutal," up a 45-degree incline full of ice and snow, buffeted by winds that felt "just like a chainsaw cutting through you."
"Climbing this mountain was extremely difficult. But it is nothing compared with the difficulties faced by a child afflicted with polio," says team member and Kelowna Rotarian Gordon Savage. He invites Rotarians to learn more about the challenge and to assemble a team to climb a mountain closer to them as a fundraiser for polio.
Contact the project organizers at peaksforpolio@gmail.com, or go to www.peaksforpolio.com to learn more.
Learn more about Rotary's effort to eradicate polio:
  • Read more about polio and what you can do to help.
  • Watch a video about Rotary's progress in meeting the US$200 Million Challenge

OLYMPIC TRIVIA

It may look like a ski jumper can pull on any old form-fitting bodysuit and hit the mountain, but things are a bit more complicated than that. Their suits have to be made of a spongy material and can’t be thicker than five millimeters. Additionally, the suits must allow a certain amount of air to pass through them; jumpers wearing suits without sufficient air permeability are disqualified. (This rule keeps jumpers from wearing suits that could unfairly act as airfoils.) These rules are seriously enforced, too; Norwegian skier Sigurd Petterson found himself DQed at the 2006 Torino Games due to improper air permeability.
Those aren’t the only concerns, though. At last weekend’s normal hill event, judges disqualified Italian jumper Roberto Dellasega because his suit was too baggy.

SHELTER BOXES IN HAITI

DO YOU REMEMBER?


The characters were "robots in disguise," metal men from out of this world who could change into typical earth objects: vehicles, cassette tapes, guns, dinosaurs, insects, and more. In the beginning, there were only two camps: the good guy Autobots, led by semi truck transformer Optimus Prime; and the villainous Decepticons, led by the transforming handgun Megatron. Both hailed from Cybertron, a robotic world fueled by "Energon." When the Autobots set out on a spacefaring expedition to secure more of the fuel, the Decepticons attacked, sending both groups crash landing down to the planet Earth, several million years B.C. and sending everyone into suspended animation.

In the present, a volcanic eruption re-activated the 'bots, and the Autobots and Decepticons decided to carry on their feud in their new locale. There were human co-stars (Spike and Sparkplug Witwicky, and later Chip Chase, for the Autobots; the arch evil Dr. Archeville for the Decepticons), but robots dominated the often elaborate storylines, which frequently stretched over two, three or a full week's worth of five episodes.

Trasnformers, both as a series and as a toy line, was an instant hit, and the robot lineup expanded frequently: Constructicons, Insecticons, Aerialbots, and the dim-witted-but-good-hearted Dinobots. At the height of its popularity, the show even went big-screen with 1986's Transformers: The Movie, which featured the voices of Leonard Nimoy, Eric Idle, and Orson "Citizen Kane" Welles in one of his final roles as Unicron, the Living Planet.

The Transformers fad faded as the 80s closed, as kids moved on to new toy/comic/shows like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but the franchise has managed quite a few comebacks since:

In 1993, old episodes were spiffed up with CGI bumpers and transitions, repackaged as Transformers: Generation II. A true "second generation" arrived three years later, as the computer-generated Beast Wars: Transformers brought new characters and a new storyline to television.

Finally, in 2002, the original 'bots came full circle, as the Japanese CGI series Transformers: Armada reached America's Cartoon Network. Optimus Prime, Megatron and many of the other old school Autobots and Decepticons were back, but this time the two sides were fighting for control of tiny Transformers called Mini-Cons, which amped up the robots' mighty powers to super-Transformer levels.

Though their new millennium revival in America didn't reached the popularity levels of other Japanese imports like Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh!, the Transformers have proven their staying power. With a seemingly permanent place on toy shelves, they're the robot world's version of G.I. Joe - speaking of toy/cartoon/comic synergy…

A GREAT COMMUNITY SERVICE PROJECT

On a hot day about 13 years ago, as the mercury hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit, Rotarian Roy Gandy delivered an air conditioner to a polio survivor.
As Gandy was leaving, he saw the man crawl across his lawn to get to his truck and realized that without a wheelchair ramp, the man had no other way to leave his house on his own.
Moved by the sight, Gandy, a member of the Rotary Club of Madison County, Georgia, USA, returned a week later to build the man a 24-foot-long ramp that met Americans with Disabilities Act  specifications. Since then, Gandy and other members of his Rotary club have built more than 400 wheelchair ramps.
"You can't imagine how some of these people are really hurting," says Gandy of the recipients, most of whom would be isolated without a ramp. Even if recipients have a spouse, the spouses are often elderly and are not strong enough to lift them out of the house on their own.
A wheelchair ramp can cost as much as $1,500 to have a contractor build, and many of the people in Gandy's rural community can't afford that. In the United States, if someone is not a war veteran, that person may not be eligible for federal funds for a ramp. And Gandy said state and local funds are typically unavailable in the Madison area.
At a cost of just $300 to $600 for materials, Gandy and his fellow club members build ramps for those who don't qualify for federal funds. The recipient pays nothing, although some decide to make small donations.
At first, Gandy didn't think his club would be building so many ramps, because the community only has about 25,000 people. But as word spread and the local newspaper printed an article on the effort, Gandy's club received more and more requests.
By necessity, club members have become more efficient. What once was an all-day project now takes a crew of 20 members less than two hours. The club owns a trailer loaded with everything needed, including a generator.
"It's gotten so we've done enough of them that we pull the trailer up and everyone knows what to do," Gandy says. "I'm so pleased with the program. It's a wonderful way to serve the community."
But the program has done more than help the community: It has also strengthened the club by attracting younger members who want to be part of the ramp-building effort, Gandy says.

AMAZON FREE SHIPPING ASSISTANT


We've all been here: you pick out a few items from Amazon.com, you're about to finish your order, and Amazon informs you that you're a mere $3.72 away from free shipping. FillerItemFinder finds a cheap item you actually want to meet the cutoff.
Whenever you spend $25 or more at Amazon.com you become eligible for free basic shipping. Why pay for shipping—usually around $5-10 depending on the size and weight of your order—when you could spend that shipping cost on an actual product and end up with free shipping?
At FillerItemFinder you enter the amount you need to get to $25. FillerItemFinder gives you a massive list of all the items that fit the criteria ordered by rising price.You can filter the results by category and subcategory, narrowing your search to include only "Entertainment" and "Technology" or only the "Books" and "DVD" section of "Entertainment"—the ability to filter by category is what sets this service apart from a filter-less but similar service we reviewed four years ago. Once you've found the perfect filler—Richard Simmons Groovin' with the Silver Foxes, anyone?—add the found item to your cart and you've scored yourself free shipping.