Jeudi 04 août 2011

IN MY SHOES: Airport manager loves customer service

Mary Gasper's job is part receptionist, part travel agent, part manager - and all about the customer.

Gasper is the new manager at Dodge County Airport. She started working at the airport in 2002 and was offered the manager position in May.

She said her main focus throughout it all has been the customer.

"In the morning, we count the drawer and we prepare the coolers with ice for the drinks that we sell," Gasper said. "If anybody needs to be pulled out of the hanger early in the morning, then we do that. When people start coming in, we take care of the customers."

In addition to the pilots flying into the airport, Gasper also keeps track of the instructors and student pilots who are taking planes out for lessons.

Taking care of the customers can mean anything from answering telephones to making car reservations to greeting pilots as they fly in.

"I make hotel reservations or car reservations," Gasper said. "I put food out when people start coming around late morning. We get the vehicles when they come in for their cars. I have to make copies of their driver's licenses and credit cards and have them sign the contracts. I do invoicing in between and whatever else the customer requests that we can help them out with."

She said taking care of the pilots who come in starts before they have landed. She greets them before they hit the runway and gives them advisories.

Hundreds of pilots have been greeted with the words, "Welcome to Dodge County Airport. Will you need any services today?"

Pilot requests include fuel, tie-downs, hanger space when it is available, car rentals and sometimes just a simple bathroom break.

"I love customer service," Gasper said. "I like doing whatever I can for the customer."

Service becomes more challenging when the weather can dictate having no customers, or suddenly having a rush of pilots needing to land.

"Mother Nature plays a big part in when people actually get here," Gasper said. "What we do depends upon the weather and customers and the planes coming in or leaving. We had a student that was supposed to fly this morning, but that got cancelled because of the cloud coverage."

She said another challenge is having a rush of people in line.

"I don't like to have a customer wait," Gasper said. "When I have several things going on, that's a challenge. I prefer taking care of the customers the best I can, as quickly as possible."

She said the best days are the ones when everything goes smoothly and her staff can accommodate most of the customers.

The worst day would be if they had an incident, crash or accident. None has happened since she has been there.

Gasper said she is finishing her last semester of classes focusing on health information technology: If she weren't at the airport, she would be working in the medical field.

Convicted football hooligan from Rainhill caught by CRB check

A CONVICTED football hooligan landed a job at a Rainhill school after hiding his chequered past.

But Everton fan David Bradwell Walsh, 51, was rumbled during record checks after securing a permanent job as an English teacher at Rainhill High School in St Helens.

He has now been struck off and handed a two-year ban by school staff watchdog The General Teaching Council (GTC).

Despite a string of offences Walsh had been employed at Rainhill and other schools as a supply teacher.

His criminal past includes assaulting a club steward after he was refused entry to Goodison Park’s main stand during Everton’s 2-1 defeat to Tottenham on February 21, 2007.

He was convicted of battery and banned from football matches in England and Wales for three years.

He also received a 12-month community order.

His banning order expired in May 2010. They normally ban access from all grounds in England and Wales.

The previous year he was given a fixed penalty notice for attempting to steal a pair of ladies shoes from a Warrington shop.

He also has a string of motoring offences between 2001-2007 including drink driving and driving while disqualified and without insurance.

St Helens Council believes he escaped detection as a supply teachers agency’s criminal record checks pre-dated the offences.

But the GTC heard his past came back to haunt him when council staff carried out their own checks when he secured a job as an English teacher at Rainhill in April 2008.

Issuing the ban the GTC said he was guilty of ‘unacceptable professional conduct’ for not disclosing the offences on his application form.

Committee chairman Paul Bird said: “We have a particular concern as to the conviction of battery and the fixed penalty notice for theft of ladies shoes.”

He added: “We have real concerns as to the role model of Mr Walsh and the reputational damage to the profession.”

When his past came to light Mr Walsh, who resigned, told the school he ‘was not proud of the convictions’.

A St Helens Council spokesman said: “He was employed by a supply teaching agency who had carried out a satisfactory CRB check.

“It was only later upon appointment at the school, when the council carried out a CRB check, that the offences came to light which had occurred after the original check.”
Mardi 02 août 2011

Midwife extraordinaire Susan Wente

Susan Wente is running late.


She's running as fast as she can down the hall that connects her office at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial Obstetrics and Gynecology to the hospital's birth center.

A baby's on the way, faster than anticipated.

But first, Wente, who is a certified nurse midwife, is meeting with Arielle and Chris Ernst, a young couple from Hesperia. Their first baby is due Aug. 25. Wente's voice is calm; her attention totally focused on them. She gives the impression she has all the time in the world for them, even though a pager is buzzing insistently in her pocket, letting her know of an impending birth.

“Anything else?” she asks the Ernsts.

They are both 19 and can hardly wait for their first to arrive, a boy they've already named Owen Christopher. The Ernsts thought about having an at-home birth, a “more natural setting” than a hospital, says Chris Ernst, who is a Ferry Township emergency medical technician and part-time student. But his wife has diabetes, and they thought they'd better go the more traditional route in the hospital — so they have found the best of two worlds in Susan Magee Wente.

Wente, 61, works alongside three obstetricians and gynecologists in an office on the second floor of the Fremont hospital, deliberately located within walking — or some days, running distance — of the birth center. She's been a certified midwife for 34 years, has full hospital privileges, delivering babies, performing prenatal examinations and providing well-baby checkups.

She also has a private practice called Home Birth Partners in Newaygo, making her the only certified nurse midwife — registered nurses who have graduated from a nurse-midwifery education program — in the area who also does at-home deliveries. Many of her patients are from Newaygo and Mecosta counties' Amish communities.

“I've always loved taking care of people,” she says.

Wente, who grew up in Fremont, didn't start out in the medical field. She went to Grand Valley State University as an anthropology student. One day in class, something clicked, some conversation about feminism and women's health care, and Wente knew she had to be a midwife because midwives “empowered” women.

“Pregnant women aren't sick,” she says. “They're pregnant.”

She decided the quickest path to midwifery was as a registered nurse, so as soon as she got her bachelor's degree in anthropology, she headed to Purdue University to earn an associate's degree in nursing before applying to nurse-midwifery schools, which were rare in the early 1970s.

After getting her certificate in nurse midwifery at the Medical University of South Carolina, she earned a master's degree in public health from the University of North Carolina and a doctorate in public health from the University of Texas.

From 1981-1999, she helped start the midwifery section at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. She was responsible for three hospitals, 1,200 babies delivered each year and 30,000 patient visits in 10 clinics, plus she was an associate professor. When she left Baylor, she provided nurse-midwifery care for Seton Healthcare Network in Austin.

“It was incredible, wonderful,” she says, “but after 20 years, I just wanted to be a midwife. Not an administrator. I wanted to be a midwife again, and I wanted to come home.”

Surprise find in the attic as almshouses restored

A STOVE pipe hat, a girdle and some old hobnail boots from the Victorian era were discovered during the restoration of almshouses in a Lutterworth-area village.

The six homes are in Powell Row, in Lutterworth Road, Bitteswell, and were built in 1847 to provide living accommodation for poorer people, using funds left for charitable purposes by Wakelin Welch esq and his wife Elizabeth, the sister of the Rev James Powell, former vicar of Bitteswell.

The funds are still managed by a group of nine volunteer trustees who form a group called the Powell and Welch Almshouses.

Recently, the homes have been undergoing improvement works as occupants have moved out, and the top hat, boots and girdle were discovered in a top floor room.

Marion Reid, a trustee of the almshouses, said: “The homes are Grade II listed properties so we have been restoring them in a sympathetic fashion.

“The items were found in one of the attics. The boots had obviously been repaired a number of times and a piece of the top hat had been cut off, probably to patch an item of clothing.

“They were possibly owned by earlier occupants of the houses, who may have worked at Bitteswell Hall or on one of the nearby farms."

Occupants of the homes pay less than the market rental value for the properties, and are referred to as residents, rather than tenants.

Improvements are paid for from the original money which was bequeathed and the group has also received a grant from Harborough District Council for some of the work.

Census records from 1851, passed to the Mail by Mrs Reid, show that the homes were at that time occupied mostly by older people, although some younger relatives also lived there.

One of the records, for house number 6, shows that it was occupied by two women, both called Elizabeth Broughton, one aged 82 who was an ex-school mistress, and the other a 26-year-old ‘stockingmaker’. Both had been born in Bitteswell.

Number 2 was occupied by 70-year-old ‘washerwoman’ Mary Williams and her 14-year-old granddaughter Anne.

The trustees and residents held a cream tea day on Friday.

Mrs Reid added: “We have had a number of new trustees and residents so it was a good opportunity for them to meet and get to know each other a little bit."
Mardi 26 juillet 2011

You Docs: Dry-mouth solutions, heel-pain relief, memory-saving steps

Q I’m 75. Seven months ago, I suddenly developed “Sjogren’s-like” symptoms. I take prescription lozenges for my severe dry mouth, but the relief is only temporary. Is there a cure?

Estelle, Colorado

A: Unfortunately, there’s no cure yet for Sjogren’s (SHOW-grins), an autoimmune disease that causes dryness in the body, especially in your eyes and mouth. About 4 million Americans, mainly women, have it. Lozenges will get your saliva going, but just for a while. If you’re not already taking one of them three times a day, talk to your doc about more frequent use. And these six simple steps should help you feel less like you’re in the desert without a water bottle.

1. Sip (don’t gulp) water or unsweetened drinks all day.

2. Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless hard candy.

3. Avoid caffeine and alcohol; both can be dehydrating.

4. If you smoke, quit immediately. It’s more dangerous to your mouth than to most people’s, not to mention what it does to your heart and lungs.

5. Keep a humidifier humming in your bedroom at night.

6. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, and floss at least once. Dry mouth makes you much more vulnerable to both decay and gum inflammation and disease, which can spread to your whole body.

Q: I have been battling plantar fasciitis for a few weeks. How can I combat the heel pain?

Juanita, via email

A: This is one battle you don’t want to charge into. In fact, the more you rest your foot, the better, at least for a week or so. Your plantar fascia — the thick ligament connecting your heel to your toes — needs a timeout, since inflammation (the “it is” in “fasciitis”) is often from overuse. Running, a tight Achilles tendon, a high arch, wearing shoes with high heels, poor arch support or worn soles, or being very overweight can take a toll on your sole, too.

Giving your foot a break doesn’t mean you have to sit around. Switch to activities such as swimming or rowing, or use weight machines at a gym that don’t press on your feet. Meanwhile, these remedies will ease that hot-coals feeling in your heel:

 ? Give yourself a 10-15 minute ice massage twice a day. Roll your foot back and forth over a can of frozen juice to increase blood flow and help break down adhesions from the inflammation.

 ? Take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen, for pain relief.

 ? Place drugstore heel pads in your shoes, and save the stilettos for weddings and parties.

 ? Do foot stretches before you get out of bed. They’ll reduce the pain, which usually is worse when your feet hit the floor in the morning. How? Sit up, bend forward and try to touch your toes, curling your toes toward your knees. Or just put one leg over the knee of the other, grasp the toes on the upper leg, pull them toward you and hold for five minutes.

 ? Stretch during the day. Put the ball of the sore foot on a step, hold the railing, and let your heel hang down.

Q: My ability to recall information and think quickly on my feet is no longer very good. I’m only 46. How can I improve my mind?

Susan, via email

A: Many of us are at that stage in life where we walk into a room and ask, “Why am I here?” And it’s not a philosophical question. Around 40, we all begin to notice a decline in some brain functions, like how fast we process information. In fact, we YOU Docs have so many words on the tips of our tongues that our next book may be a dictionary. (Actually, it’s called YOU: Stress Less. We remember!)
Par authenticlouisvuitto - 0 commentaire(s)le 26 juillet 2011

Vladimir Putin's election push kicked off by high-heeled 'soldiers'

They tottered nervously on high heels and wore pink shirts emblazoned with the likeness of their hero: Vladimir Putin. Meet Putin's Army, a new group aiming to get their man back into the Kremlin.

About 20 of Putin's teenage "soldiers" gathered in Pushkin Square in central Moscow at rush hour on Friday, shouting his name and singing the 2006 hit A Man Like Putin.

The gathering came less than a week after the group, organised via a Russian social network, released a racy video calling on "young, smart and beautiful girls" to join their ranks and support Putin for president – by tearing their shirts – in a provocative move renewing the debate on Putin's potential return to the Kremlin.

With parliamentary elections less than five months away, and a presidential vote set for next March, Russia's version of electioneering has entered full swing. In addition to social media-originated movements – another, called I Really Do Like Putin, held a carwash only for Russian-made vehicles on Thursday – full attention has been put on the All-Russia People's Front, an amorphous group created by Putin in May.

Even its members have difficulty defining the group; analysts describe it as a means of rebranding Putin's increasingly unpopular United Russia party. It is unregistered and therefore subject to no laws. But that also means its members cannot stand for election without linking up with United Russia first.

"It's not an organisation," said Kirill Schitov, a prominent United Russia deputy and a leader of its Young Guard youth wing. "It's a platform for dialogue." Analysts see it as Putin's direct link to voters.

Two months after its creation, the front now comprises hundreds of trade unions and social organisations, as well as entire village streets.

The steel giant Severstal said its trade union, which has more than 20,000 members, joined this week. Russian Railways, which employs more than 1 million people, joined last month, along with the 415,000 men and women who work at the Russian Post. Banking and media tycoon Alexander Lebedev has also joined, via his Our Capital anti-corruption movement.

This week, the front began to hold a month-long series of "primaries", in co-operation with United Russia, to see which candidates would be put forward for December's parliamentary vote.

Schitov denied the front was simply a means of rebranding United Russia, which has seen its support fade as concerns over corruption and stagnation grow. "You rebrand when a brand loses popularity," he said. "United Russia is strong and well-known."

Yet its popularity, like Putin's, is slipping. A new poll by the Levada Centre, an independent pollster, showed Putin's approval rating had fallen to 68%, That puts him above any other Russian politician, including current president Dmitri Medvedev, but well below the 80% the prime minister garnered in early 2010 and even the 77% he got in July 2010. Of those polled, 31% said they disapproved of his work.

Groups such as Putin's Army and I Really Do Like Putin were designed to boost the prime minister's popularity with young people, said Nikolai Petrov, an analyst at Moscow's Carnegie Centre.
Par authenticlouisvuitto - 1 commentaire(s)le 26 juillet 2011
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