Your view makes a real difference

first_imgThe opinion pages of Personnel Today provide the ideal forum for gettingyour ideas across and help to put HR on the national agendaWith this being the final issue of 2003 (our next issue comes out on 6January 2004), it seemed like an opportune moment to thank all those who havecontributed to this section in Personnel Today this year, making it a fabulousplatform for some raging debates. We’ve seen heated discussions on topics ranging from workplace stress to humancapital management, and much more besides. But perhaps the hottest of them all was sparked by columnist Stephen Overellwho questioned in his Off Message column (13 May) whether it was right thatemployees with children were given unfair advantages over their childlesscolleagues. Some of you thought bosses were too lenient with working parents, whodemanded and took far too much time off in the name of their kids, leavingtheir colleagues to pick up the pieces. Naturally, those with children argued their case loudly and clearly throughthese pages – for months. This healthy discourse demonstrates the importance of letting yourcolleagues in HR know what you think through the opinion pages of PersonnelToday. One letter sparked a Personnel Today/Doctor magazine survey of GPs and HRprofessionals, to see what they thought about the current situation on issuingsicknotes. The result? A front page story that has been picked up by themainstream media, and has made the issue a matter of national importance. It’sa good example of how effective your input can be and how HR can influence thenational agenda. And so to 2004, when the economy is predicted to inch forward and pursestrings are expected to be slightly loosened. What will be the issues of the day? Our crystal ball rests on fact: HR flewfrom backstage to centre stage this year, and there it will stay as peoplemanagement gets ratcheted further and further up every organisation’s agenda. Personnel Today is here to be the independent voice of the HR profession,but it is your day-to-day experience in HR that sets the agenda. So keep thoseletters rolling in. By Penny Wilson, Deputy editor, Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Your view makes a real differenceOn 9 Dec 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. last_img read more

Greggs’ sales are up following successful Easter trading

first_imgGreggs has continued to defy the downturn after its latest figures showed total group sales were up 5.2% for the 19 weeks to 9 May.The bakery retailer also saw like-for-like sales grow 2% in the same period. It “enjoyed a successful Easter”, having sold over 2.3 million hot cross buns so far this year – a 10% increase on 2008.Chairman Derek Netherton said there had been encouraging signs of greater stability in customer numbers over recent weeks, and performance remained in line with expectations.“Margins are as we budgeted, with ingredient costs continuing to increase overall, but offset by some improvement in energy costs, which we expect to continue during the second half,” continued Netherton.The chain launched the latest phase of its television advertising campaign last month, featuring comedian Paddy McGuinness, and is currently emphasising the promotion of its improved three-cheese recipe cheese and onion pasties and new Belgian chocolate muffins.It is continuing to create a single Greggs brand and has now converted 35 of its 160 Bakers Oven shops.A proposed 10-for-one share split, subject to approval at Greggs’ Annual General Meeting today (13 May), will take affect on Monday, 28 May. “We believe that this will make the company’s shares more accessible, particularly to small shareholders and our own employees,” said Netherton.last_img read more

News story: Electromagnetic imaging for aviation security

first_imgChallengeDASA is interested in finding and funding next-generation automated imagery analysis to ensure that the UK has the latest capabilities to efficiently detect security threats. In collaboration with the Department for Transport, the University College London (UCL) has been funded £332,520 to progress their project to develop ‘Electromagnetic imaging for aviation security’.SolutionMagnetic induction tomography (MIT) is a non-contact and non-destructive electromagnetic imaging technique allowing the sensor to operate on an automated basis and with great penetration through metallic barriers, meaning it has potential applications in transport security.Current sensors show poor sensitivity at low frequency, hence lacking of penetrating power through barriers. The UCL team recently demonstrated that Magnetic Induction Tomography can be performed with atomic magnetometers, which have record sensitivity at low frequency and offer promise of great penetration through barriers. The team also demonstrated machine-learning-aided classification of the relevant images. These features pave the way to applications in the security sector, as well as in industry, medicine and geophysics.Prof. Ferruccio Renzoni, Project Lead, University College London stated: DASA funding allowed me to progress the technology to higher TRL. BenefitsParcel operators, airport security operators could benefit significantly from improved and more reliable sensor techniques.Next StepUCL would like to liaise with companies interested in collaborating to develop this project further.ContactProf. Ferruccio Renzoni, [email protected]last_img read more

Lenny Kravitz Releases New Funky “Low” From Upcoming Album

first_imgLenny Kravitz released a new track today, “Low”, from his upcoming studio album, Raise Vibration–due out September 7th via BMG. The new album is the follow up to 2014’s Strut and will mark Kravitz’s 11th album to date. “Low” is the second track released from Raise Vibration, following the protest anthem “It’s Enough”.<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, the Grammy Award-winning rocker explained his struggle with writer’s block on this album, and his refusal to work with other modern-day musicians who his associates suggested might help launch the creativity. Kravitz felt uncomfortable by the idea of not sticking to his own art, and preserving his authenticity came first despite it meaning a delay in new music from the “American Woman” rockstar.“I’ve never really worked that way, following trends or doing what people think you should do,” he explained in the interview. “I’ve always made music that came naturally out of me. What am I going to do, make a trap record? Not that I don’t like that stuff, but I’ve got to be me.”Eventually, Kravitz found the inspiration he needed while he was asleep. “This is what I’d been waiting for. And once I started that process, the floodgates opened and it all started coming out me. I dreamt the whole record.”Although achieving “legendary status” happened early on in his career, Lenny Kravitz is still a mastermind behind hit-making and pop music. Raise Vibration was recorded in Kravitz’s Bahamas home studio with his longtime guitarist Craig Ross, and will officially drop this fall.Head to Lenny Kravitz’s website for more information on the album and upcoming tour dates.[via Rolling Stone]last_img read more

Widespread Panic Bring “Quarter Tank of Gasoline” To Milwaukee Opener

first_imgWith a stripped down tour schedule, Widespread Panic’s fall tour consisted of a whiskey-bent stay in Nashville before sailing away and nearly capsizing in St. Augustine. Now, Panic has back-to-back weekends in their crosshairs with a beer-guzzling hiatus in the “Brew City” of Milwaukee before doubling down in Las Vegas next weekend for an early Halloween celebration.After the boys departed from St. Augustine, they took the long way to Milwaukee with Jimmy Herring making an appearance in New York City for the first night of Tedeschi Trucks Band’s six-night run at the Beacon Theater, Schools hit home in California, and the rest of the band disappeared deep into the unknown before resurfacing at the Minhas Craft Brewery a few days before the show. A brewtender who served John Bell stated that the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist and JoJo Hermann barricaded themselves in an undisclosed location and watched re-runs of Happy Days in preparation for this run to put them in the Milwaukee mindset before appearing at several of the home field NLCS baseball games clad in Brewer’s apparel.The boys returned to the stage last night at the Riverside Theater, which was built in 1928 and has an in-house theatre organ made by Wurlitzer. The band hasn’t played in a month so they looked refreshed and well rested as they opened the night with a heavy “Saint Ex”. The song’s build-up and break down of tempo and intensity was based on the incredible story of a German pilot shooting down his favorite author, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry–of The Little Prince notoriety–in World War II. “Saint Ex” hasn’t opened a show since the Ryman Auditorium in 2010. The musicians then drove home a swampy rendition of the Bloodkin’s “Henry Parsons Died” before JoJo lyrically recounted the story of his joining the band with the humorous tale “One Armed Steve.”The Panics bedazzled in a sweet 18-minute version of “Diner” which the audience responded warmly as soon as the drum line indicated its arrival. Only John Bell could make the feeling of waking up early on a cold bench and stumbling in search of a warm cup of coffee seem so relatable. A bouncing segue revealed another oft-sought after jam with “Little Lily” which preceded the groovy instrumental “Happy.”After a brief pause, Jimmy Herring and John Bell aced the opening guitar introduction to the first half of “Driving Song” which remained incomplete as they transitioned thematically into a hard-hitting “Shut Up and Drive” with Jimmy Herring and Dave Schools standing out with their incredible white and dark magic, respectively. To complete the lengthy first set, JoJo led the boys through an intoxicating version of “Blackout Blues”.After setbreak, the band returned to play an electrifying rendition of “Radio Child” before John Bell clearly articulated some saucy mumbo jumbo about Mama’s gumbo in a dirty “Thought Sausage.” Dave Schools played the opening notes to “Red Hot Mama” and the crowd immediately went nuts. Schools remained omnipresent while Herring wove arcane configurations around the bassist’s foundations. John Bell shape-shifted into a Papa Legba-esque figure with all the strut and swagger of a Nawlins street performer. JoJo’s fingers danced nimbly leading into a piano guided tour of J.J. Cale’s “Ride Me High” for a classic combination of “RHM > RMH” with a heavily improvised jam in-between. All in all this “RHM > RMH” combination totaled a thirty-minute shred-fest and to many was the highlight of the night.Duane Trucks announced the next song to be “Cease Fire” with his abusive beat-down of his drum kit, which followed in the natural Street Dog tradition with “Jamais Vu.” This arrangement allowed John Bell to showcase his ability to switch tones from imploring desperation to uncannily esoteric with the ease of an ordinary man could turn his hat backwards. Returning to finish the second half of “Driving Song”, the band iced the cake with a supplementary jam known as “Breathing Slow.”Taking the second set to a higher altitude, the boys soared through “Airplane” with the intensity building up until the frantic “Takeoff Jam” left the audience scrambling to pick up the scattered remnants of their skulls with Jimmy Herring and Dave Schools packing gargantuan riffs into a small measures of time. Schools finished the jam with teases to next song, a suave tribute to The Band‘s “Ophelia”, which hints a controversial interracial relationship with a woman of the night. An explosive cover of Jerry Joseph’s reggae toned “Chainsaw City” returned from St. Augustine’s set list to precede an equally passionate “Action Man” (Cheers Curtis!) to conclude the second set.In honor of Daniel Hutchen’s birthday, Widespread Panic encored with this fellow Georgian and friend of the band’s song of “Quarter Tank of Gasoline” covering Bloodkin for the second time of evening. To finish the first night of devastation, the band played “Imitation Leather Shoes” which featured Dave Schools pulsating bone-crushing bass notes and John Bell getting weird in this musical interpretation of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis.Widespread Panic will play two more shows at this legendary venue so pick your head off the ground and get ready for more premier musical nastiness with all the grit and soul that has been come to be expected of this tight-knit, world-class band.Setlist: Widespread Panic | Riverside Theatre | Milwaukee, WI | 10/19/18 Set 1: Saint Ex, Henry Parsons Died, One Arm Steve, Diner > Little Lilly, Happy, Driving Song > Shut Up and Drive > Blackout Blues (74 mins)Set 2: Radio Child, Thought Sausage, Red Hot Mama > Ride Me High > Cease Fire > Jamais Vu > Driving Song > Breathing Slow, Airplane > Ophelia, Chainsaw City, Action Man (91 mins)Encore: Quarter Tank of Gasoline, Imitation Leather Shoes (12 mins)Notes: [‘Quarter Tank of Gasoline’ LTP 2/05/16 Playa (133 shows) – Today is Danny Hutchens’ birthday]last_img read more

Fraught moment for religious freedom

first_imgThose who cherish the nation’s tradition of religious freedom should be alarmed by President Trump’s executive order temporarily banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries and all refugees, two Harvard Divinity School faculty members warned Monday.“I find it to be a moral travesty,” Diane L. Moore, director of the Religious Literacy Project and a senior lecturer on religious studies and education, said of the president’s order, which was issued Friday and set off a weekend of nationwide protest.While planning for the forum on religious freedom began before the November election, recent actions by the president were a key focus at the Andover Hall event.Moore and Dudley C. Rose, associate dean for ministry studies and a lecturer on ministry education at the Divinity School, warned that the immigrant ban and other moves by the administration are sending chilling signs about coming challenges to religious and other bedrock American freedoms.The immigration ban, Moore argued, is a particular worry because it is “based on an association of Islam with violence and terrorism.” A related concern, Moore said, is the administration’s apparent effort to “make a distinction between religion in terms of its freedom of protection and Islam, which they are associating with political ideology.”“This notion that is being promoted to exclude the current executive order … from being challenged on religious freedom grounds [is] very dangerous,” Moore said, warning that it could lead to justifications for executive orders based on claimed links between Islam and terrorism.“This is exactly what the foundations of a police state require,” she said.Both speakers urged those worried about an erosion of religious freedom, particularly religious groups, to take a vocal stand. Resistance is especially important, Moore said, in the context of the president’s suggestion of preference for Christian refugees.“So many Christian groups said no …. to giving exemptions for Christians coming from Syria, for example,” she said. “These are the sorts of things we have to stand up to and stand up against — the desire to try and divide.”In the discussion, moderated by Aisha Ansano, M.Div. ’16, Moore urged that religious freedom be seen in its historical and social context. Both she and Rose traced the way different perceptions of it have taken root in this country in recent times.“To exclude the current executive order … from being challenged on religious freedom grounds [is] very dangerous,” warned Moore. “This is exactly what the foundations of a police state require.” Jon Chase/Harvard Staff PhotographerThe two recalled how several court cases that ruled against individuals or groups claiming the right to engage in certain religious activities prompted Congress to adopt the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The bipartisan measure barred limits being placed on religious freedoms beyond those needed to protect the rights of others or the rule of law.But a 1997 court ruling declared the act unconstitutional, and Moore and Rose said that with the aid of other court rulings since — including the 2014 Hobby Lobby case — some states have adopted laws allowing firms to cite religious convictions in sometimes controversial business decisions.Moore said the trend shows how “the context of religious freedom is so critical. … If it’s just the freedom of any individual or corporation now to hold any religious belief they want, it really can come into conflict and violate other fundamental values that we have enshrined in our Constitution. And that I think becomes a very interesting challenge and tension.”Rose said he feared a shift in focus from religious freedom being understood as protecting people vulnerable because they are religious minorities to “people in power using the claim of religious freedom to actually impose their will on the vulnerable.”last_img read more

Outdoor Updates: LifeStraw saves the lives of two missing hikers + Trump and pipelines

first_imgPennsylvania nuns face down a pipeline The whereabouts of the hikers were unknown for five days before rescue crews found footprints in the snow and began following them, dispatching a helicopter that spotted the pair huddled around a campfire. The hikers survived by rationing their food and drinking water through a LifeStraw, which filters dirty water and makes it safe to drink. Their survival is credited to the fact that they carried the necessary supplies. Both hikers are reportedly in good condition. LifeStraw saves the lives of two hikers missing in the CA mountains for five days New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called Trump’s order an overreach that undermines state’s ability to protect water quality and the environment. Washington Governor Jay Inslee, in a joint statement with the Washington attorney general, said the executive order was “an unprecedented assault on the right and obligation of every state to protect their waters and their community.” After officials in Washington state and New York stopped new energy projects through the permitting process, President Trump has signed two executive orders that speed up oil and gas pipeline projects and make it harder for states to block the projects. Trump insisted that the move was not intended to strip power away from the states but instead ensures that they follow the intent of the Clean Water Act. Trump signs two executive orders making it harder for states to block pipelines Rescuers have located two California hikers that went missing after descending into a valley and becoming lost. The pair was hiking with a larger group who turned back after deeming the trail too dangerous. The two hikers forged ahead and when they failed to return home that night, their friends reported them missing. A congregation of nuns has taken a stand against the company that built a natural gas pipeline through their land. The Adorers of the Blood of Christ stood up against Williams, an Oklahoma-based pipeline company, and owners of the 200-mile long Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline. The pipeline carries shale gas from northeastern Pennsylvania to the coast, where it is then shipped overseas. Part of the pipeline runs under a cornfield that the nuns have owned for over a century. When Williams claimed eminent domain over the property, the nuns sued. The nuns lost both the case and their appeal. They hoped the Supreme Court would weigh in, but the court refused to hear their case. The pipeline now runs under their property. Still, the nuns are proud of their fight. They see protecting the earth as their religious duty. During the protests they organized, they would stand silently with signs or sing Amazing Grace. One day, while the nuns protested, children passed out bread to the pipeline workers. “We’ve made people aware,” one of the nuns told The New Yorker, “And possibly changed people’s minds that nuns don’t know anything, that we’re just in the church praying all the time.” last_img read more

New and Old Techs Enlisted to Treat Returning Vets

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Virtual reality therapy programs recreate experiences that returning veterans suffering from PTSD endured overseas, to help them readjust to civilian life. (Courtesy of University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies)Screams and the explosion of weapons fire pierce the arid desert air as a procession of armored military vehicles edging through suburban Sadr City in Baghdad come under attack by a group of insurgents.Seated inside a Humvee within the convoy is 24-year-old U.S. Army Ranger Chris Levi. A series of thunderous detonations liquefy a stack of four, 6-inch-wide copper plates, hurling large, molten slugs toward his vehicle at speeds just under a mile per second.The explosively formed projectiles, called EFPs by the troops, tear through his Humvee’s door, slicing its engine and radio mount before eventually splitting off the vehicle’s entire front end.Levi’s platoon sergeant and a nearby medic rush to the aid of the downed mortar-systems expert from Holbrook.“I heard yelling about [someone] finding something, and the medic [was] crying and saying he couldn’t find it and that it was lost,” he recalls over a recent lunch. “I kind of turned my head and looked at them—and [the medic] started yelling that ‘he found it—he found it!’ He was talking about my heartbeat.”For Levi, now 29, narrowly cheating death in Iraq in March 2008 came at a heavy cost. The EFPs claimed his legs and permanently injured his right arm, leaving him with nerve damage and traumatic brain injury. Upon returning home that same year, the infantryman was diagnosed with depression, anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.Of the combined 2.5 million servicemen and women who fought in Iraq and are returning home by the tens and thousands from Afghanistan, 20 percent are coping with PTSD. In addition to the classic counseling methods, to better treat this steady stream of soldiers coming home from America’s longest war, veterans hospitals are increasingly offering high- and low-tech rehabilitative options, such as virtual reality (VR) and complementary and alternative medicine, such as yoga, which experts say can help vets re-acclimate to civilian life.The goal is to avoid delaying mental health treatment—something that happened to many veterans of past wars, and thus, made it that much more difficult for them to adjust.“We have group therapy, individual therapy, we do evidence-based treatment with prolonged exposure therapy and cognitive processing therapy,” says Dr. Robert Galak, PTSD unit manager at the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center, of the options currently available at the center. “We’re also bringing in some of the alternative medicine strategies that have been very successful. We try to incorporate as many different modalities into the treatment of PTSD as we can.”“We’re looking at virtual reality exposure therapy,” he adds.DIGITAL WAR ZONEUsed at veterans hospitals since 2009, computer-based virtual reality exposure therapy, or VR therapy, has its origins at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT).Albert “Skip” Rizzo, associate director for medical virtual reality at ICT, tells the Press he got his inspiration for a VR therapy prototype in 2003, after watching a clip for an upcoming video game called Full Spectrum Warrior released for the Xbox gaming console. This early precursor was originally funded by the Army as a combat tactical simulation.Adopting game elements and art assets from the Xbox video game, Rizzo’s prototype received glowing feedback, and in 2005, his team was given government funding to create better VR simulation programs for use as treatment tools for returning soldiers.Rizzo’s programs, dubbed “Virtual Iraq” and “Virtual Afghanistan” use “virtual scenarios specifically designed to represent relevant contexts for VR exposure therapy, including Middle Eastern-themed cities and desert road environments,” he explains.Vets suffering from PTSD navigate these digital virtual environments and relive the experiences they endured while on the real front lines, helping them deal with the disorder’s triggers head-on, and ultimately, alleviate any related symptoms.Hospitals are implementing computer-based virtual reality therapy to help soldiers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder re-acclimate to civilian life. The treatment allows soldiers to relive the experiences they went through in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Courtesy of University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies)“What we’re doing is basically taking an already evidence-based treatment for PTSD exposure therapy, or prolonged exposure, and we’re delivering it with a virtual reality simulation that allows the clinician to control everything that goes on in the simulation as a way to pace the exposure in a very systematic and controlled way,” says Rizzo.Patients who were treated with his team’s VR exposure programs in 2006 at a naval medical center at Camp Pendleton in San Diego received good results in their initial open clinical trial.“Other groups got interested in it and we kept expanding the system and tried to make it better,” he says. “That version that we built there ended up getting distributed out to about 55 sites [across the country].”Among those to begin using the VR software Rizzo helped pioneer is the Phobia and Trauma Clinic at Hofstra University’s Joan and Arnold Saltzman Community Services Center.According to the clinic’s director, Dr. Mitchell Schare, research in this treatment area initially began at Hofstra in 1998 and has been used with patients struggling with phobias ranging from fear of flying to public speaking. Once implemented, Schare is confident that VR exposure treatment for use with veterans struggling with PTSD will enjoy the same success as the other VR programs already in use at the college.“I’ve been having various people come and speak to my students, veterans themselves [and] people who treat veterans,” says Schare. “We’ve been watching all kinds of materials, some issued by the government, documentaries on Afghanistan and Iraq, so I’ve been training students and preparing them.”“We will be absolutely offering [VR exposure therapy] as part of treatment,” he adds.Levi was among many wounded veterans who underwent VR exposure therapy at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., before it closed its doors in 2011 and merged with the National Naval Medical Center to form the present-day Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.He is living, breathing proof of its success in combating PTSD.“There was a person I know that was afraid for his life sitting in any vehicle,” he tells the Press. “They put this apparatus on his head and he was using it to watch himself walk up to a vehicle and then he would sit in [it] and would be able to stop if he wanted to without being in a [real] vehicle.”Levi credits the program with helping him learn how to drive again after his injuries left him unable to operate a car without special hand controls.“They had screens on all of the walls in the room that you’re in, and there’s the cab of this little pickup truck, and there’s no back on it and there’s no front on it,” he says, recalling his turn in the VR machine.“It’s just the cab of the pickup truck and you have the seat and the hand control,” he continues. “You go on a highway, you go into the town, and you learn how to drive—it’s all virtual and it’s replicating reality.”DOWNWARD DOGThere are approximately 138,000 veterans living on the Island, second only to San Diego in the percentage of vets among citizens, according to local veterans advocates. Roughly 5,000 LI residents served in Iraq and in Afghanistan.With U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq last year, LI is now undergoing an influx of Afghanistan vets, with complete drawdown expected next year.With such a significant sea change in LI’s veteran population, the Northport VA has not only been researching newer technology, such as VR therapy, in treating newly returning vets, but also New Age treatments, such as yoga, for both new and old.“People are looking for this [treatment], so the veterans are very welcoming of it,” says Richelle Rapaport, a clinical nurse specialist in psych mental health and a board-certified advanced practice holistic nurse at the VA.Rapaport, who’s been with the VA since 1988, received grant funding that trained 200 VA staff members in Tai Chi, Reiki Relaxation, yoga, guided imagery, reflexology, clinical meditation and aroma therapy two years ago.Despite their tough and combat-hardened perception, Rapaport says it’s the young vets, especially the men, who do better with these physical modalities combined with elements of meditation and Tai Chi. Overall, it helps both servicemen and women “settle down, focus their brains and reduce their reactivity,” she explains.“You can be the toughest person in the world, but yoga could still knock you out, man,” admits Levi. “It’s not the easiest thing in the world and a lot of these guys…have no range of motion at all, and then they get injured, and they have a bad back or they have a prosthetic on one of their legs. [Their] range of motion is what’s stopping them from being able to maneuver that prosthetic properly. With yoga, you can control your body and do stretches and breathing. It’s relaxing and it’s fulfilling.”THE WAR WITHINEven with this new wave of treatment options, however, experts agree that returning veterans may still find difficulty adjusting to civilian life, whether because of trouble at home or school, unemployment, or drug and alcohol abuse.In the same high-tech vein as the VR therapy, VA officials are now also using online and texting services as a means of connecting with soldiers who served during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.“More and more younger service members are coming home and our texting program is…becoming much more popular,” says Dr. Caitlin Thompson, deputy director of the Canandaigua VA’s Suicide Prevention Program in upstate New York. “So, the use of new technology is essential, and developing ways to both reach people and to intervene with folks with using this new technology is absolutely huge.”She says suicide remains an unfortunate reality among PTSD patients. Of the approximately 32,000 suicides per year in the United States, 20 percent are veterans, and each day 18 suicide-related deaths are committed by veterans, according to the VA National Mental Health Service.The veterans’ crisis line is one of the last lines of defense in helping to subdue this dark trend gripping veterans.“That’s kind of the linchpin for suicide prevention efforts with the VA,” says Thompson. “In general, it’s known you need to get people out of the immediate crisis, and then you need to follow up with them over time so that they can get the treatment that they need and they can get the support that they need because [it] works.“We get calls from people who are waking up from nightmares in the middle of the night and just need to talk with somebody, and that runs to people who are standing on the bridge and are ready to jump.”MODERN WARFAREPTSD is hardly a new phenomenon, but it wasn’t until 1980 that the disorder was even recognized as a medical condition.Older veterans had therefore potentially suffered for several decades without getting the help they so desperately needed, according to John Javis, chairperson of Veterans Health Alliance of Long Island, a nonprofit that works with veterans, their families and collaborates with other vet groups, including the Northport VA.“In World War I we called [PTSD] ‘shell shock’—some of the old black and white footage of soldiers after the war show people walking around these mental hospitals just shaking because of being exposed to artillery and being in trenches,” he says. “In World War Two it was known as ‘combat fatigue.’ In other words, a Vietnam veteran [who], let’s say, came home in 1968 with PTSD, well, the field didn’t even really start to name it until 1980.”Joe Messana understands the difficulties Vietnam veterans faced firsthand. The Hicksville resident enlisted into the military during the fall of 1967 and received orders to deploy to Vietnam the following year with the 90th Replacement Battalion, stationed in Long Binh Post—the U.S. Army’s headquarters.“These poor guys from World War II, Vietnam and Korea who came home, they didn’t get [treatment for] PTSD,” he explains. “There was no understanding, and they were probably put in a mental institute immediately because they weren’t getting used to civilian life. And this is what happens: you can’t get a guy that’s been in combat in 100-degree weather in the jungles of Vietnam and all of a sudden have him go to New York City on 42nd Street.”He suggests the same holds true for the younger generation of combat veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.“When we were in the service you’d hear about constant combat, the sounds of the jets and the sounding of war,” he says. “When we were there it was one year that we were in combat duty and when we came home there was no such thing as an [off] switch. These kids are coming home and they’re confused, and don’t forget…they’re coming back from a war and some [served multiple tours], there’s no such thing as an [off] switch.”While the nature of conflict in current wars and those of years past may differ, Galak says the harsh reality of modern combat still takes its toll.“The changes take place with the change in warfare in Vietnam and Iraq and Afghanistan,” says Galak. “There are no front lines and no rear lines, so you’re constantly under threat of sniper fire and improvised explosive devices. It’s very difficult to tell friendlies from the enemy—they’re under the constant threat of combat 100 percent [of the time].”There are endless examples of such scenarios leaving permanent, invisible scars.Levi, the corporal, recalls a flatbed truck carrying eight pipes—each containing a powerful Katyusha rocket—exploding in Eastern Baghdad outside one of the four largest forward-operating bases.“It was probably booby-trapped, and when the people jumped on they initiated the explosives,” he says. “The amount of damage they did in that confined area was severely intense so…the 80 Iraqi soldiers that were standing around watching this go on were injured by random pieces of shrapnel. Fifteen people were vaporized.”Levi recalls the only person in the vicinity who was capable of treating the injured was an 18-year-old medic who was new to combat.“This medic had to [decide] if certain soldiers’ injuries were severe enough where they wouldn’t make it…to the Iraqi hospital, which was about one kilometer away,” he continues.“In those moments he had to decide how to ration supplies among the injured, and who was going to live or die,” adds Levi. “Their lives were in his hands, and afterwards he was covered in blood and we had to hose him off with water and soap.”Christopher Levi, a 29-year-old U.S. Army Ranger from Holbrook, stands with the help of prosthetic legs in front of his Lexus SUV that he re-learned how to drive with the help of virtual reality exposure therapy. (Chris Mellides/Long Island Press)THE HOMEFRONTEven with all of the outreach, medical advancements and new treatment options for patients suffering PTSD, the stigma associated with seeking mental health treatment can still dissuade veterans from getting the help that they need.“There’s still the concern about stigma, and the VA is trying to work to eliminate the stigma of mental health,” says Joe Sledge, Northport VA spokesman.“Everyone who goes to war comes back affected by that experience,” he says. “They could potentially save themselves years of unhappiness by getting the treatment early. The earlier that they come in, the better off they’ll be.”Tom Ronayne, director of Suffolk County Veterans’ Services, an organization that among other things, assists veterans with processing claims for benefits, also recognizes the challenges this stigma poses to mental health treatment. Ultimately, he says, veterans are doing themselves a disservice by not seeking help for fear of being ostracized.“The de-stigmatization of these mental health issues is going to be a game-changer,” says Ronayne. “When we sent them away, they were okay. When they came home, they’re broken.“We have an obligation to make sure that they’re not only well cared for, but that we support them in any way possible, so that we can ensure that their prognosis going forward is that they’ll be able to move beyond their PTSD,” he adds.Refusing to allow his injuries to get in the way of his career goals, Levi began working at American Portfolios Financial Services less than a year ago. This past June, he enrolled at Long Island University, where he’s studying business with plans to continue his education during the fall semester.“I’d like to be a financial advisor,” says Levi. “I’ve already learned a lot [at American Portfolios] and I’ll learn even more at LIU Post.“Despite all I’ve been through, I know that I can make it if I just go for it.”last_img read more

Compliance: Reg. CC rule includes presumption of alteration

first_img The Federal Reserve has published a final rule amending subpart C of Regulation CC (Availability of Funds and Collection of Checks) to address check alteration disputes when the paper check is unavailable for inspection.The rule adopts a presumption of alteration for disputes between financial institutions over whether a substitute check or electronic check contains an alteration or is derived from an original check that was issued with an unauthorized signature of the drawer.The final rule recognizes that, in today’s check collection environment, original paper checks may be unavailable for inspection in disputes between financial institutions.Currently, in the case of an altered check under the Uniform Commercial Code, the institutions that received the check during forward collection, including the paying institution, have warranty claims against the banks that transferred the check. continue reading » The Federal Reservecenter_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

The CUInsight Experience podcast: Lois Kitsch – Trust the Process (#27)

first_img 84SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Randall Smith Randall Smith is the co-founder of, the host of The CUInsight Experience podcast, and a bit of a wanderlust.As one of the co-founders of he … Web: Details Welcome to episode 27 of The CUInsight Experience podcast. Hosted by Randy Smith, co-founder and publisher of Today’s guest is Lois Kitsch the cofounder of CU Difference. She has worked for years in developing bright minds not only in the credit union space but also within the world as a whole.Lois and I sat down while in Kenya to discuss the developmental education programs both in the US and abroad and how they mirror each other. We share our love of travel and how meaningful the experience in Africa was. We also discuss how credit unions benefit from being involved in aid programs for other countries. This was a truly special episode recorded during an amazing trip abroad (see pictures below). Listen in to learn how Lois’s work with DE in the United States has helped her with her passions in Africa. If you’re interested in learning how to become more involved in cooperative development abroad, contact Lois at on: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, StitcherHow to find Lois:Lois Kitsch, Co-founder of CU [email protected] | FacebookShow notes from this episode:Program mentioned: Credit Union Development EducationLearn more about SOCCOs here.Learn more about the work George Ombado and the ACCOSCA team are doing here.Workshop mentioned: International Credit Union Development WorkshopShout-out: School’s First Federal Credit Union for donating uniforms to the Don Bosco Special School.Lois’ favorite place she’s traveled: Maasai MaraShout-out: Brent Rempe and David MategwaShout-out: Bert HashBook mentioned: Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, Dr. Wayne W. DyerFavorite artists: Chris Botti, The Rolling Stones, and Harry Chapin.Shout-out: Mark Meyer, Gerry SingletonPrevious guests mentioned in this episode: Gigi Hyland, Tracie KenyonYou can find all past episodes of The CUInsight Experience here.In This Episode:[00:33] – Welcome back to the show! Randy introduces Lois Kitsch, today’s guest.[03:12] – Lois shares the recording location for the day’s episode, Kenya.[03:54] – Learn more about the international version of the developmental education program.[05:50] – 43% of Kenyans have no access to clean water, just one of the concerns that credit unions in Africa are tackling.[06:37] – Inclusion of women and children in Africa is another big issue that cooperatives are tackling.[07:39] – Credit union movements in Africa are very diverse and Lois provides more information about them.[09:17] – What are the benefits to US credit unions of participating in programs like ACDE?[10:59] – If you want to find out more about the development education programs in Africa, contact Lois.[12:39] – How did Lois get involved in credit unions and what is her inspiration for continuing on?[14:12] – Lois was 45 when she first left the United States and has been to almost 70 different countries.[14:46] – Her favorite place to travel to is Masai Mara Kenya.[15:31] – “Trust the process,” one of Lois’s favorite sayings.[16:13] – Biggest mistakes that Lois made as a new leader were not trusting herself and second-guessing herself.[17:03] – Lois says she’d tell her 25-year-old self to find balance and work better not harder.[21:38] – Trust the process in DE, but trust the process in life as well.[22:15] – Outside of credit union development, Lois likes doing yoga, walking, and drumming.[23:32] – Lois skipped out in high school and blamed it on her twin sister.[24:13] – Daily routine when she’s home is to do yoga, but when she’s traveling it falls away.[24:44] – Favorite artists are Chris Botti, The Rolling Stones, and Harry Chapin.[25:07] – Dr. Dyer’s Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life is Lois’s favorite book to gift.[25:32] – As Lois has gotten success has become less important and seeing changes in people’s lives is more important.[26:26] – Mark Myer is who Lois thinks of when she thinks of success. She also thinks of Gary Singleton and her sister because of how happy and peaceful she is.[27:26] – Lois asks that you enjoy life and travel. read more