Day care is becoming a booming business avenue with passage of time. As more moms are working out and no one at home to take care of the children so day care facility is the only choice. These centers offer care for children of different ages like newborn, infant, toddler, preschool or older children. As an extension, you can also find on-site day care for businesses or schools, after school day care programs, over night care, part time care, occasional care etc. It means you can find children care facility according to your needs.

Care centers keep your children busy in different activities. Children not only enjoy but also learn a lot of things at day care centers. Theses centers provide you solution for children’s sleep issues, biting tendencies, potty training, teething etc. If you want to start a day care business then you must have the qualities that parents look for while selecting a day care facility. These qualities are:

  • A licensed day care facility
  • Trained, helpful and pleasing staff members
  • Special attention to each and every child
  • Attractive play equipment
  • Adequate different areas for different activities
  • All the area must be hygienic
  • Prepare balanced meals
  • First aid facility
  • Ability and equipment to handle emergencies

A good day care center should have a proper schedule for different activities of the children. It may include physical games, learning, coloring, meals like breakfast, lunch, snack time etc., story telling, sleep time, cleaning up mess, prepare to go home etc. Apart from making schedule for the children, you would be looking after many other tasks like meeting parents, explaining them your facilities, arranging the record of your customers, matching number of children admitted and staff members available and a lot of other things. So, your actual focus i.e. caring children is somewhat compromised.

There is a solution that can help you in automating your official processes. It will help you in lessening your tedious work, making you efficient, building up your reputation and boosting your earnings. This is a facility that will be installed on your website. Your would-be customers will get all the needed information through this facility and afterwards they will enroll their children there automatically. Due to automation of your processes, you would have a lot of time saved for your actual job. The benefits of this facility are:

  • Your interaction with customers will be minimal
  • Customers can access the facility from internet anytime from everywhere
  • You will provide all the information once and iteration will be done by the system
  • It will keep all the records about your customers, your staff, your receipts and payments etc.
  • You can generate different needed reports easily and print out them as well
  • You can handle many centers situated in different localities from this facility easily
  • You can maintain different access levels for customers and staff
  • All your information would be secure
  • You can process payments electronically

This is only a short list of benefits you would enjoy by installing this facility. It is an “Online Scheduling System” which enables you to automate all your processes and boost your earnings.

Elderly care is an event that most children do not wish to think about. No one wants to think about his or her parent growing old. We look to our parents for guidance and support, but there comes a time when the parenting roles reverse.

It is important to discuss future events with your loved ones and develop a long-term plan for their care for when they become unable to care for themselves. Developing an Eldercare checklist is a proactive way to ensure your loved ones whether parents or grandparents receive the level of care they need and services they want, or, in the case of artificial nutrition, they may not want.

There are several key points and strategies you will want to include on your Eldercare checklist:

1. What level of eldercare is needed, and where will this care be given?

2. How will you pay for the eldercare? The medical costs of eldercare.

3. What will be done with your parents’ or grandparents’ assets while they are receiving eldercare?

4. Are all legal documents including the Will and Living Will current? Have your parents’ or grandparents’ Wills and Living Wills been reviewed recently by an Attorney? What is an Advanced Financial Directive? What is an Advanced Medical Directive in eldercare estate planning?

5. Have your parents or grandparents designated a Durable Power of Attorney?

Making sure you have answers to these questions for your parents or grandparents eldercare early on will avoid confusion and distress later. Don’t wait until there is a tragedy to make plans that will affect how your loved one spends the rest of their life. For the purposes of this article we will assume “loved one” to mean a parent or grandparent.

Where will eldercare be given, and by whom?



There are two types of caregivers: informal and formal. An informal caregiver might be a spouse or child, and these caregivers do not receive direct payment for their services. Usually payment is made through services exchanged such as food or housing at no charge while caring for your parent.


A formal caregiver is usually employed by an agency to provide quality care in the comfort of your home. If the formal caregiver is not associated with an agency, it is important to conduct a thorough check of references to ensure you are hiring a quality professional.

It is important to inform all formal caregivers of the responsibilities associated with your parent’s needs. If your parent needs assistance in and out of a wheelchair, a hired caregiver should be able to perform this task without harm to your parent or to him/herself. To avoid injury to all persons involved, informal and formal caregivers should receive training on proper techniques for lifting and moving, proper use of bedpans, and how to maintain good hygiene for a parent confined to bed.


There are many options for the location of care provided. Most people would agree that living our their remaining years in the comfort of home is more appealing than living in a state facility. If your parent wishes to receive care in their home you can make home modifications, such as a wheelchair ramp or seat in the shower, to accommodate their changing needs. You can also hire a formal caregiver to come and assist your parent with daily activities such as bathing, eating, taking medications, or regular exercise.


If it is not possible for your parent to remain at home, you can choose to place them in assisted living houses or a nursing home. Before placing your loved one in a facility, you should thoroughly check both the location and the staff. Make yourself familiar with required paperwork ahead of time to prevent delays when it comes time to move in, and, if possible, make several unannounced visits to oversee daily activities.

You should check if the facility is regulated by the state, and request to see any licenses they have for providing eldercare. Find out how the staff is trained and if they are required to have certification to work there. You should consider the cost of the facility and the living accommodations your parent will be provided.

Additional considerations when choosing a facility might be types of activities offered to residents and the quality and type of food provided. While no place will be perfect, you should choose a facility that makes your parent feel as comfortable as possible away from home.


Not many insurance companies are willing to pay for long-term care. It is important to check the details of your parent’s policy and read the fine print for restrictions. For example, Medicare will not pay for long-term care but it will pay a very short-term benefit. However, Medicaid will pay for long-term care but only if your parent receives care in a Medicaid facility.

If you plan far enough ahead, you can begin setting aside money so you can afford to provide long-term care to your parent at home. You should consult a financial advisor or estate planner to go over your parent’s bank statements and assets to determine how long their current funds will be able to provide medical care, and based on this assessment you can establish a savings plan to make up the difference needed for long-term eldercare. When figuring in additional savings you need, keep in mind that you will also need to continue paying any current bills your parent might have.


Before you rush off and put your parent’s house on the market, make sure you have discussed where they want to receive their long-term care. It would be quite devastating for your parent to come home from a hospital stay to discover you had sold the house and moved their belongings into a nursing home.

You should also ask your estate planner or financial advisor which of your parent’s accounts you should withdraw money from to help offset costs. Some accounts, such as annuities, carry penalties for early withdrawal and may require you to pay taxes on income earned through these accounts. Also, once you begin withdrawing money from an annuity you cannot stop payments.


Hopefully, your parent has written a will and made you aware of its location. A Will should be reassessed by an Attorney every few years to make sure all the people listed as beneficiaries are still alive, and that your parent still wants them to receive a portion of their estate.

Moreover, your parents should have an irrevocable trust as part of their estate planning eldercare needs which will avoid the high expenses of probate, reduce estate taxes and possibly eliminate some earned income and your parents will gain the benefits of asset protection. Speak with a qualified and good estate planner such as Estate Street Partners who can guide you through this complex process.


You should also council your parents on drafting a Living Will in the event they are unable to speak for themselves. Learn more about Living Wills and Advanced Financial Directives and Advanced Medical Directives by going to our website. The Advanced Financial Directives and Advanced Medical Directives are extremely important in eldercare estate planning when your parents cannot speak for themselves and will protect their financial and medical wishes.


You should know ahead of time where these documents are before an emergency arises to ensure that your parent’s wishes are followed. Having a DPOA allows someone your parents trust to act on their behalf and make legal and financial decisions for them, including the transfer of valuable assets, if they become incapacitated.

The world today has become surrounded by drug abuse as well as drug addiction. This escalating disorder has become so common, that its truth is based on misconceptions that people have concerning drug abuse as well as addiction. This paper briefly provides an overview of drug abuse as well as addiction, and at the same time looks at the aspects of epidemiology, social problems, pathophysiology, as well as ethical issues that might arise with medical emergency respondents.

Drug abuse and drug addiction; exactly what does that mean and who is affected by it? There is a confusion between drug addiction and abuse. Drug abuse happens when there is usage of a substance, generally illicit drugs or alcohol, while drug addiction takes place in a broad variety of substances and activities. Addiction can be termed as the compulsive need for usage of substance forming habits, such as alcohol, nicotine and heroin, of which is eventually characterized by obviously physiological signs upon withdrawal as well as tolerance; widely: insistent compulsive use of known substances that are harmful to the user. Drug addiction is usually not a substance forming habit, it also includes things such as gambling, sex, video gaming, and even internet. All the same, the primary focus of society is still to do with drugs, tobacco and alcohol. Several characteristics of pathophysiology and epidemiology will be discussed together with the social implications that addiction causes as well as any ethical problems that lie with addiction and medical emergency service providers.

The addictive behavioral study is relatively new. Science just started to study behavioral addictive in the 1930. Prior to this, studies were being carried out by scientist on drug abuse that were plagued by misconception shadows as well as nature addiction. But with present day discoveries as well as information on how brain chemicals work and the methods of alteration, there is now a deeper understanding of alcohol and drug addiction. Drug addiction, according to Dr. Dryden-Edwards also referred to as chemical dependency or substance dependence, is an illness that is described by a destructive drug abuse pattern that leads to major problems which involve tolerance towards or substance withdrawal and other problems arising from substance use that could have implications to the sufferer, either by school performance, socially or in terms of work. More than 2.5% of humanity suffer from drug addiction at some point in their lives. Some of the commonly abused addictive substances are alcohol, anabolic steroids, amphetamines, cannabis, caffeine, ecstasy, cocaine, inhalants, hallucinogens, nicotine, phencyclidine, opiates, sedatives, anti-anxiety drugs, and or hypnotic. Despite the fact that alcohol and drug addiction is viewed as a mental health issue, there is no one particular determinant cause. However, several people believe that drug addiction and abuse is a genetic disease of which is a false fact. A person’s environment is cause for the development of a predisposition dependency drug.


The socially associated risk factors of drug addiction and drug abuse encompass the male gender, between the age ranges of 18 and 44 years, heritage of Native American persons, low socioeconomic status as well as the marital status of the unmarried. State statistics reveal that residents from the western U.S are more at risk to substance dependency as well as abuse. While males are very prone to alcoholism development, females seem more vulnerable to alcoholism at fairly lower amounts of alcohol consumption, this is because females have a much lower body mass as compared to males. The combined medical, criminal, economical, as well as the social implications costs American taxpayer more than half a trillion dollars annually. Each year drug and alcohol abuses contributes to 100,000 American deaths, with tobacco contributes approximately 440,000 deaths annually. Individuals of all ages suffer the damaging consequences of drug as well as alcohol addiction and abuse. Babies can get affected while within the mother’s womb if the mother is to engage in drug or alcohol use, which as a result causes defects in birth as well as slows down the intellectual development in the later years of the child. As for Adolescents, they usually perform poorly in school and usually drop out while they are abusing drugs. Adolescent girls stand the risk of having unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, and violence. In addition, parents and adults are also affected, usually by having their cognitive abilities clouded. With all the vast exposure, the stage has easily been set for the next generation to simply step into the addictive lifestyle.


Drug addiction primarily affects the brain, but also affects the flow of a person’s organ systems. Drugs as well as mind changing substances which can be abused usually target the body’s natural system of reward either willingly or unwillingly causing entire euphoric effects for the drug user. These effects arise from the dopamine, which is a regulated neurotransmitter movement, emotion, cognition, motivation and pleasure feelings. The release of Dopamine is naturally rewarded to the body for natural behaviors as well as initiations for the cycle to repeat the behavior all over. The dopamine neurotransmitter fills the reward system that is often concealed in restricted amounts from routine activities such as sex or eating. The brain perceives this as a life-sustaining action as a result of the activated reward system. On introducing the chemical substance within a person’s system and the euphoric effects are realized, a person’s brain takes note of several significant happening events and teaches itself to do this action repeatedly until it is a habit. The consumption of illicit drugs can cause an individual to impulsively act when the brain’s reasoning system would normally delay or prevent a form of given action.

This reasoning system is circumvented, hence leading to the undesired action that can possibly have negative consequences on the drug user’s life. However, several drug effects as well as chemical substances are at times euphoric, and other times the substance causes depression, suicidal thoughts, and paranoia. Continuation of the drug causes the brain to become acclimatized to the surplus of dopamine within the reward system. This then leads to the decrease of dopamine release as well as the dopamine receptors numbers within the system itself. In turn, this affects the user’s ability to attain the desired effects of the drug usage. This response from the person’s brain causes the person to try and reactivate the receptors by adding the dosage or amount of the drug in order to attain the same dopamine high. This effect process is referred to as a tolerance. Long term drug abuse causes changes to occur to other systems parts within the brain. The neurotransmitter glutamate of which is a part of the reward systems can be changed and hence cause learning inability. When the brain reaches the maximum level of glutamate, it causes an off balance and the brain tries to compensate, of which as a result affects the drug user’s cognitive ability. Once the brain accustoms to the drug effects, dependence is made and drug abuse cessation causes a result known as withdrawal. While most withdrawal signs are very uncomfortable for the drug addict, there are several serious signs such as seizures, strokes, myocardial infraction, delirium tremens, and hallucinations.

Social, Ethical issues as well as the impact on emergency medical services (EMS)

The consequences of drug abuse and addiction are very evident in an individual social life. The addictions destructive behavior affects every area of their personal life, right from the genesis of the drug abuse. The addictions symptoms from a physical perspective include alteration of sleeping patterns as well as eating habits, which in turn contribute to both weight gain as well as loss. Frequent drug abuse tends to lead to failure in meeting important responsibilities at work, school or even home. Other drug addiction effects include domestic violence, family disintegration, child abuse, employment loss, and failure in school. People with addiction engage in risk taking, and with alterations in the reward system within the brain, the drug users expect positive reactions prior to them taking the substance that would satisfy their needs for the risks they take. Impulse control is difficult when drug choice is available to people with addiction. As a result this fuels the addiction even more.

The effect of the emergency medical service is immense. The calls from addiction range from medical overdosage to trauma. The emergency medical provider’s obligation in response to overdosed patients requires paramedics to find out how much as well as what the patients took, and what is the correct medication to give in order to reverse the condition that is being experienced by the patient or drug user. With the various emergency responses comes danger, with the possibility of violent outbreaks by the addicts or users. Therefore, paramedics must be aware of their surroundings while handling the patients. In addition, patients who experience withdrawals tend to hallucinate a complete event as well as incorporate the paramedics, thus causing the patient to react violently towards the care provider. Drug addiction is a very serious condition that can be considered as a psychiatric problem, of which needs to be treated with a sure diligence as well as suspicion.

Within the realm of the emergency medical service, the response rate of addiction is not considered an emergency condition. The incident will arise if an addict is experiencing withdrawal violent signs or has substance overdose, and the patient would appear in a state of agitation or even unconsciousness. There is no prearranged method in handling a patient that is experiencing problems related to addiction. The key element is in treating the symptoms of the patient. All patients require supplementary oxygen through non rebreathe if tolerance is acceptable. To assist in flushing out a normal saline of infusion, obtaining of intravenous access is a must. Should a patient or addict be in a state of agitation or seizure, administration of a sedative is required, such as versed or valium. Caution must be taken when administrating benzodiazepines because of the risks regarding failure or respiratory depression is present. Should a patient experiencing an opiate overdose as well as low breathing, Narcan 0.4 – 2 milligrams must be administered, but caution must be observed when administering the drug of which is done slowly in order for the patient to breathe sufficiently so as to sustain life. Should breathing and airway problems continue then intubation must be considered in order to secure the airway of the patient. Quick transport with due concern is suggested in order for the patient to be evaluated so as to have the hospital staff commence detoxification.


The drug abuse and addiction world is unforgiving and harsh, especially if an addict or user is unwilling to leave it behind. A number of people claim that the addiction is all within the head, and research has verified this notion. The brain effects from a formed learned pattern is similarly rewarded to such activities like drinking or eating.

A lot of people do not comprehend as to how and why other people become drug addicts. It is wrongfully presumed that drug users have no willpower or moral principles and cannot stop using drugs simply by choosing to alter their behavior. The reality is, drug addiction and abuse is a complex illness, and quitting it requires lots of good intentions. In actual fact, because drugs alter the brain in ways that raise drug abuse compulsiveness, quitting becomes hard, even for the willing addicts.

A lot of drug users also believe that they can control their drug abuse and addiction. Having a drug habit is a costly affair that leads to loss of belongings, money and even self-esteem. Curiosity is what drives some people abuse drugs, while others it is peer pressure, and another group of people become addicts of prescription drugs. While drug abuse normally leads to drug addiction, overcoming drug addiction is no easy task. So the question begs, is this drug abuse or is this drug addiction? These are two completely separate paths that lead to the same depressing outcome. In addition, the consequences of drug abuse as well as drug addiction become noticeable after a given period of time whereby compulsiveness and violence take over, furthermore, the physical toll which includes illness and depression at times could be debilitating. Therefore, the only method to reducing drug abuse as well as addiction is through educating or sensitizing the public. Avoidance is viewed as the best prevention.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is part of the federal government’s Department of Health and Human Services. Because many Medicare and Medicaid recipients are elderly, much of the funding goes to nursing homes or eldercare services. Health agencies that receive certifications from Medicare undergo an assessment every three years. CMS assesses these home health agencies via quality measures and publishes each agency’s results.

CMS & Home Health

CMS provides scoring for all Medicare-certified home health agencies via Health Compare. The quality measures take into account: (1) the patient’s improvement in performing a variety of activities of daily living (ADLs), and (2) whether the patient’s health improves or stabilizes over time.

It is important to note that the quality measures should only be used as a general guide. Many home health care recipients are elderly, and each patient’s needs are different. Some patients are recovering from surgery or a medical emergency. Others have chronic and worsening medical conditions. Therefore, the lack of improvement in some home health care recipients is not due to poor standards or substandard care, but rather due to declining health. In addition, Medicare’s quality measures for home health are fairly recent and are still being refined. Currently, the quality measures provide a baseline to help consumers see how a local agency compares to both state and national averages.

CMS Quality Measures

CMS quality measures are used in Medicare-certified home health care agencies in order to come up with the final scoring. Medicare details the following quality measures:

* Three measures related to improvement in getting around:
– Percentage of patients who get better at walking or moving around
– Percentage of patients who get better at getting in and out of bed
– Percentage of patients who have less pain when moving around

* Four measures related to meeting the patient’s activities of daily living:
– Percentage of patients whose bladder control improves
– Percentage of patients who get better at bathing
– Percentage of patients who get better at taking their medicines correctly (by mouth)
– Percentage of patients who are short of breath less often

* Two measures about how health care ends:
– Percentage of patients who stay at home after an episode of home health care ends
– Percentage of patients whose wounds improved or healed after an operation

* Three measures related to patient medical emergencies:
– Percentage of patients who had to be admitted to the hospital
– Percentage of patients who need urgent, unplanned medical care
– Percentage of patients who need unplanned medical care related to a wound that is new, is worse, or has become infected

How can you find capable and honest people whose quirks won’t drive your parents nuts? How much will they be paid? For how many hours at a stretch? How many stretches per week or month? Will these people be employees of yours/your parents? Of an agency? Or independent contractors? Do you know how the IRS determines these things and what paperwork and record keeping are required? Have you thought about worker’s comp and withholding? Suppose the applicants don’t speak much English?

Finding Candidates
There are two common ways to find help. Your parents can hire workers through an agency or can hire privately using referrals from friends, neighbors, physicians, local groups, or advertisements. Do you and your parents know the pros and cons of each option?

Agency hires
What are the pros and cons?

If your parents hire through an agency, the helper is the employee of that agency. It will find candidates, select a helper, pay that person, withhold taxes, provide W-2 forms to the helper, and bill you/your parents at its hourly rate. Although your parents will not have to recruit, screen, or haggle over wages, they will have limited choice in whom the agency sends – but somebody will show up, including substitutes when your parents’ worker is ill or on vacation. Clients may ask about the agency’s hiring and screening policies but are expected to rely on the agency’s selection.

If your parents have a problem with the worker, they can call the agency and a supervisor will talk to the worker for them. This is a strong argument in favor of agency hires, as long as your parents are willing to ask for help. How likely are your parents to report dissatisfaction while problems are small and easily fixed? Will they have the moxie to call the supervisor? Will they let you know?

Your parents will probably be charged between $20.00 and $40.00 per hour and will have to agree to a minimum number of hours per visit, usually four. The worker receives about half of the agreed-on fee. If the worker is dissatisfied with the fee schedule or benefits, that dissatisfaction is with the agency, not with your parents. Most agencies have policies prohibiting clients from supplementing salaries or giving gifts to their helpers. This is to protect clients from pressure by rather poorly paid helpers. If a helper suggests ways to skirt this policy and bestow tokens or riches, the agency should be told immediately. This could lead to financial abuse. Will your parents tell you or the agency promptly if this happens?

Types of agencies:
If your parents need simple housekeeping, they should work with a housekeeping agency. If they need in-home help including personal assistance, they should use agencies that specialize in in-home helpers and non-medical personal care providers. If they need assistance with health problems, they’ll need to look into more skilled home health aides.

The first option, housekeeping agencies, provides people who clean homes. But even this apparently simple option should be influenced by the results of the check sheets.

• Some house cleaners sent by housekeeping agencies bring their own cleaning supplies. That’s a help if it saves you or your parents a shopping trip, especially one that involves hauling heavy containers. But it’s a problem if your parents want specific cleaning products used and not others.
• House cleaners from agencies probably are on a fairly tight schedule, will come in, clean, and move on to the next house and may work in pairs or teams. This is great if your parents want the house cleaned quickly because it reduces the time somebody is in their home. But it can be a problem for a parent who doesn’t like people in the house because it increases the number of people there at one time. And with a team cleaning, several rooms may be in upheaval at the same time.
• Agency house cleaners may also chat with each other, and not necessarily in English. This can be a problem if your parents don’t want the noise involved with several people cleaning and talking. If they want to work along with or supervise the helpers, they may hit trouble both because of the helpers’ time constraints and also because they may not speak much English. And, if your parents want sociability as well, they may want to avoid this option. These workers get paid for cleaning, not talking, and need to move quickly and get on to their next job.

The second option, agencies that provide personal assistance and light housekeeping, offers more services and more sociability. Even if your parents don’t need much assistance beyond light housekeeping at this point, choosing an agency that provides in-home health aides may make sense. As your parents’ needs increase, they won’t have to start fresh with a new agency. These agencies provide employees who can offer broader services including transportation, sociability, assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), and other support. In essence, your parents make a list of things they’d like help with, how many hours a day/week they’d like assistance, and the agency does its best to match the request with their available staff. The agency bills an agreed hourly rate based on the level of difficulty of the services provided. It has policies about weekend, holiday, and overtime charges.

To get the best match through an agency that provides help beyond housekeeping, you and your parents should give the intake worker at the agency a detailed list of what your parents want help with and how they want to be helped. These checklists should be reviewed right away with any helper who shows up at the house to prevent the well meaning 19-year-old aide from driving your parents crazy by gabbing all day long about a fruitless search for a soul mate. Review the checklists and work regularly with the aide, and pass the feedback along to the aide’s supervisor at the agency. Attention to little details at the outset will make eldercare services more tolerable to your parents now and in the future.

For eldercare services to be tolerable to the elders, you need to explain to the in-home helpers exactly what your parents want help with. It’s not enough to say “hire someone to clean the house.” Does this mean the person cooks meals? Does laundry? Makes beds? Waters the lawn?

It seems simple enough. Your father said he can’t drive anymore so he needs someone to help him with shopping. Unfortunately, it’s easy to misinterpret what’s really needed. Does your father need someone to take a grocery list, go shopping and drop groceries off in the kitchen? Or does he need someone to stop by, pick him up, wait outside while he shops, bring him back, and drop him off? Does he need someone to go in the store and shop with him? For him? Help unpack and put the groceries away?

People make assumptions about what to do and how to help-and don’t get enough detailed information for the assistance to be acceptable to person needing assistance. To avoid these mistakes, and the complaints and cycle of hiring and firing in-home aides, get a complete picture of what your parents want help with. Begin the conversation by focusing first on a single, simple issue like shopping.

Because an apparently simple task like shopping is actually a series of smaller tasks, we have broken each topic into its components. Explore these details with your parents to learn what they really mean when they say “I think I want help shopping for groceries.” The detail may seem excessive to you, but it will make your parents feel understood and allow you to train the helper in acceptable assistance so his/her tenure will exceed a nanosecond.

• Shopping for groceries
Some people enjoy grocery shopping and would miss the activity. They may like the social connection of seeing and talking to other people in the store; they may enjoy slowly wandering down the aisles looking at and feeling the fresh fruits and vegetables, or they may want to keep control over decisions about what is purchased and how much money is spent. For these reasons, grocery shopping can plug into issues of authority and companionship.

Be sure you don’t hire a mismatch, e.g., someone who comes in and does a fabulous job selecting, buying, and organizing the groceries thereby annoying your parents who love to shop and see this as one of the last vestiges of control over daily life. Talk to your parents about the tasks involved in grocery shopping.

Do you want help:
• Deciding how much to spend?
• Making grocery lists?
• Getting to and from the store?
• Selecting the groceries?
• Navigating the aisles?
• Reaching items on very high and/or low shelves?
• Putting the groceries into the cart, onto the checkout counter?
• Paying?
• Carrying the groceries to the car and into the house?
• Unpacking the groceries?
• Doing the whole thing?

Grocery related issues – Do you want:
• Someone to follow along patiently while you shop?
• Someone to chat with while you are shopping?
• Someone to talk to the store clerks for you if you need help finding an item?
• Someone to handle the payment at check out?
• To do shopping on a regular schedule…when?
• To buy only specific brands or specific product sizes?

You may not have realized how much was involved in shopping for somebody else. Busy people just zip in, buy what they need and zip out. But, for people whose world has gotten smaller, these little things matter a great deal. No matter how experienced the provider of eldercare services is, he/she cannot anticipate each client’s preferences and may not ask in sufficient detail to get adequate information. Use these questions to help your parents get clear on exactly what they want help with and how they want to be helped, and to train the helper so he/she can provide elder care services they will accept.

Choosing a career in child care requires a natural love for children, the ability to be creative and inspiring, and consistent child care training. There are many ways to receive child care training which depends on if you are working for yourself or for a company.

It takes many character qualities to work with children successfully and among these characteristics is patience. You also need to use your imagination as well as your talents. If this is your first position in a child care career you may find it difficult to switch from a corporate setting or office setting to a relaxed atmosphere full of vivid colors, shapes, and toys.

Training for a company

If you are working for a children care company they may pay and provide child care training for all their employees. During child care training you will learn different topics to help you prepare for your career as a children’s care provider. The company that you are working for may require that you have so many hours of training and they may decide what topic they want you to receive child care training in and they will probably also pay for it as well. This care training can last anywhere from eight hours to twenty-four months, depending on what type of certification you are required to obtain.

Training for your business

If you have decided to open your home to other families and become a children care provider, you will need to first determine what type of training for child you need. The requirements for a care provider is different in every state so you will need to check with your local health and human resources department to determine what type of children’s care training is required before you can begin to provide care for them in your home. You will also need to determine what type of training you will need to continue to care for children in your home every year.

Training College Courses

If you love taking care of children and want to make a career of it, you may want to consider obtaining a child development degree or child care associate degree so you can open up your very own child care center outside of your home. You may also want to work for a child day care center in your local community instead of opening your own center. It’s not easy to obtain this training and it requires many hours of hard work, class time, and studying however it will be worth it when you have a degree and the job of your dreams.

Children’s care training can be provided locally in your community, at a college, or online. You can also receive training materials in the mail that allow you to read the instruction manual and then take a written test in order to achieve your certification in that particular area of children’s care.

Here the 4 Secrets of Fast Foods: Eating “On-The-Go” & Not Gaining Weight. The success of a weight loss plan is to accept that, by circumstance of time, location, or even money, one might end up in a fast food restaurant or having to eat while driving in their car. Just because one has to eat “on-the- go” does not mean your weight loss has to be disrupted. The secret is like eating anywhere is to have a plan. In this case it’s easier to remember what you should not have rather than the best choices. Here is the short list of what you should try to avoid: It’s as simple as can be, and if you examine it closely it really works. I use a simple acronym: F.A.S.T. to point to the really bad drinks and foods.

The Perfect World:

Ideally, everybody has the “right breakfast” at home, does away with eating at fast food restaurants, picks lower calorie alternatives at the office or at the school cafeteria for lunch, has a high-protein, low-carb snack in the late afternoon and then comes home at the end of the day for a nutritious, healthy dinner including fish, vegetables and salad. That is the perfect world.

50% of All Food is Fast Food Types:

Unfortunately, let’s face it, the perfect world never happens in the lives of the majority of Americans. The NPD Group®, an organization that estimates food trends in the United States, reported in 2002 that more than 50% of all food consumed (not just restaurant foods) consisted of burgers, fries, Mexican food and pizza.

Why Fast Foods?

Consumers go to the drive through at McDonald’s®, Burger King® or Taco Bell® and pick up burgers, chicken nuggets and fries without even thinking about the consequences. These foods taste good, are cheap, satisfying and, most importantly, are convenient-they fit into our busy life styles. Unfortunately, gaining weight is easy even when you only eat small amounts of these high-calorie, fattening foods, especially foods with portions that are difficult to control.

Fast Foods Give Pleasure:

The reality is that, more often than not, these foods represent a main source of a lot of pleasure for many people. Depriving yourself of what you like only leads to wanting it more. Sooner or later, the “I can’t have it” becomes “I must have it” and creates anxiety. The SECRET is to learn how to choose smartly from the vast selection available.

4 Secrets to FAST Food Eating: F.A.S.T.

When you find yourself forced to eat on the go, the secret is to choose foods that will not add thousands of calories to your diet. From all of the choices that surround you, here is a short list of what you should try to avoid.

Just remember the word, “FAST.”

  • F=no fried foods
  • A= No add on’s-sauces, high cal dressings, dips, mayo, all “special sauces”
  • S= skip breakfast, skip sugary drinks
  • T= “thick”--no burgers, sandwiches that have double & triple layers, remember most of these have been eliminated because they are fried.

The easiest way to navigate the 200 or more items is not what’s good, but what’s bad. Here is how F.A.S. T. eliminates all of the high calorie, high carb foods:

F: No Fried Foods for Lunch and Dinner at Fast Food Restaurants:

You really only need to avoid a small number of items among the two hundred or more food choices we are exposed to everyday. Going to fast food restaurants and finding reasonable, low-calorie, portion-controlled foods is absolutely possible.

fried foods: this eliminates all burgers, fried chicken, fried fish, French Fries, onion nuggets

A: Add-On’s:

This means all of the sauces, including Mayo, many of the proprietary sauces, bad salad dressings, croutons,- this can save you hundreds of calories.

Low cal salad dressings, mustard and ketchup are great

S: Skip: Skip Breakfast:

Breakfast is the easiest meal to adjust because what we choose to eat in the morning is not as much about satisfying cravings or wanting comfort food. Many people will pick up the first thing they see, such as a Pop Tart®, a bagel, pastry, a donuts or a muffin. In fact, we would be just as satisfied with foods that have much lower calories. Fast food breakfasts can easily account for a third to half of the total daily calories for a person on a diet. Often, people in a rush get their breakfast at a drive Thur gobble down their food in their cars and often do not even realize what they are eating! –SKIP BREAKFAST IN THESE RESTAURANTS

S: Skip: Skip sugary drinks:

Forget the juices, fruit punches, whole milk, high calorie lattes, and mostly the regular soft drinks There are numerous zero calorie drinks, try water, diet soft drinks, no fat milk

T: Thick(double stacked, multiple ingredients)

If the fried food exclusion did not get you, this will. This eliminates all foods with multiple more than one meat or chicken patty, combinations of meat-bacon and other almost crazy ideas. Vegetables like lettuce and tomatoes on great, we are talking about adding extra proteins and carbs to the sandwiches.

What Can You Eat: Here are the foods that past the F.A. S. T. “test”:

McDonald’s: hamburgers(single), cheese burgers, grilled chicken, wrap snacks, apple dippers, all salads, side salads, watch-no creamy dressings,

Burger King: hamburger, cheese burger, chicken sandwich-grilled, BK Burger Shots(kids and adults), salads, again watch dressing and add-on’s

Wendy’s: Junior hamburger or cheese burger, grilled chicken, Classic single, chili(large or small), baked potato.(sour cream and chives as 80 calories), all salads-watch the add-on’s and dressings,

Subway: most subs, nothing fried, no mayo, watch sauces, avoid meatball, Philly cheese-steak, chicken and bacon ranch, BMT, Italian spicy, Feast, Chicken Teryaki

It’s that simple, you can go to these places when you need to you just need to be a little careful with what you chose.

Just remember: FAST-fried-skip-skip-ad-ons-thick & stacked

Choosing an eldercare home for an elderly can be a challenging task. You want them to get the best care they can and should receive, but there are just so many homes around, you may just feel lost at to what to consider. But do not worry too much, as here we have a guide to choosing a suitable eldercare home for the elderly.

First of all, you should talk to the elderly person, even if they are very sick. They are still very much human like we are, and would appreciate being consulted before having any decisions made. There may be some things that they would want in the centre in order for them to live comfortably. Whether it is the personality of the people caring for them or the facilities available, if the request is not too much to ask, and if some of the homes have what they need, you can narrow down your options to the few homes. At least you are taking care of their spiritual needs this way. You should also evaluate the other needs of the person, for example, if they are gravely ill needing 24-hour care, or healthy and require minimal supervision.

The cost of the eldercare should also be taken into consideration as what you can give may determine the type of care received. Some of these expenses can be covered by insurance, depending on the type of care the elderly receives. Nevertheless, make sure you calculate the costs that you will need to chip in, such as the care, medicine, toiletries, and other necessities.

Ensure that the company that provides the eldercare service is licensed, and meets the state and federal guidelines to provide care for elderly people. With the license, it is recognized that the minimum standards to care for the elderly are met by the centre. Those standards can range from the architectural dimensions of the centre; the staff having undergone intensive training and received certification; as well as the facilities and services available. Such standards are made in order to create a safer environment for the elderly. You should also do additional research on the service provided and ask for references. Just because a centre may be licensed does not make it satisfactory.

Last but not least, pay the centre a visit. Both you are the elderly person should take a look at the place to see if the environment is pleasant and clean, staff are hospitable, and the residents are safe. You will want the elderly person to be able to live there peacefully without complaints. Then, both of you can make the final say.

A study conducted by an organization known as Monitoring the Future, found that 47% of teenagers had involved used illegal drugs before they completed high school. This is not only a problem attributed to the youth, since it is found in adults too. Illegal drugs have a detrimental effect on the livelihoods of the people who use them, making it a national concern. People have lost their lives, and caused untold pain to those who are around them. These drugs have also led to a high level of crime, an issue, which has led to the formation of enforcement agencies, to fight the vice. There is a significant relationship between Drug Abuse and Health Care Cost.

How the abuse of drugs affects healthcare costs.

People who use illegal drugs spend a lot of time in medical facilities, due to a myriad of problems brought about by consumption of the drugs. These drugs affect your health directly by compromising your immune system. If you abuse drugs, you will always be suffering from one illness to another, thereby resulting in more visits to the hospital, than you would, if you were not abusing the drugs. This considerably increases the cost of health care per capita. Insurance companies that provide healthcare schemes are therefore forced to increase the amount of money that you pay, in the form of premiums. Government healthcare schemes are also stretched thus, providing lower cover for people. Drug abuse also has an indirect effect on the cost of healthcare. Scores of people around you will be affected when you abuse drugs. Accidents, on people who do not use drugs, caused by people who are under the influence of drugs are on the increase. These people need medical care, and therefore have to spend large sums of money, treating a condition that was not of their own doing. This is how drugs, directly and indirectly, affect the cost of healthcare provision.

Apart from increasing the cost of providing emergency medical response to people who abuse drugs, a large volume of financial resources goes into curative drug abuse programs. These are programs designed to help you stop abusing drugs. The reason why they are expensive is because they take a long time to have any measurable effect, and they are conducted by highly paid professionals. Drug rehabilitation programs have a draining effect on the exchequer. A lot of taxes are used in creating programs that help people to stop using drugs. Private medical care schemes also spend a lot of money in paying for private rehabilitation of drug addicts in clinics or at home. The costs are further increased by the fact that you still have to be monitored after you leave a rehabilitation facility. This is done so you do not suffer a relapse, and end up where you began.

How you can help lower the healthcare costs brought about by drug abuse.

The first step towards lowering this cost is to stay away from drugs in the first place. Get involved with your peers, and other members of your community, to educate people on the dangers of abusing these drugs. Your efforts will reduce the cost of providing healthcare to drug addicts. If you, or anyone you know, are abusing drugs, you should seek immediate help from a professional. The cost of rehabilitation can be reduced considerably, if you make a personal commitment to staying away from illicit drugs. If you go through a rehabilitation program, only to relapse later, you will have increased the national cost of healthcare provision.

The untold story of abusing prescription drugs

Although the abuse of illegal drugs is a primary concern, when it comes to the cost of providing healthcare, the abuse of prescription drugs, to a lesser extent, also contributes to this issue. When you are addicted to prescription drugs, you will have to spend a lot of money buying the drugs, when you do not need them. To stop this, you should use all prescription drugs according to the directions given by your physician. Do not use the drugs, for a longer period than that prescribed. If you do not get better, you should visit your physician who will give you an alternative treatment.

“If mom is not working, no child care,” insisted Deputy District Attorney Roye Randall of Los Angeles County at the pre-hearing interview of a mother of three, seeking modification of child(ren) support from the father through the County of Los Angeles Child Support Services Department.

Mandatory Child Care
Related To Employment:

The mother, as the other parent represented by this Author, in the proceedings for modification of child(ren) support before Department 2G, Com. Anthony B. Drewry presiding, (Com. H.M. Webster retired in April 2009) against the father as respondent, was willing to split monthly children care costs of $1,056.00 (at $88 per week per child).

But the father objected to child care costs and yet asserted that mom should be working. But mom has three children, 10, 9, and 7 years of age, and a fourth child, 1 year old, with another partner, who is living with mom and the four children.

With four young children, mom is a full time homemaker without time to look for work, nor study, nor train for work, nor actually work. Should the rule on child care costs be changed to provide child care costs to allow mom to look for work and hopefully find work?

Indeed, Section 4062(a)(1) of the Family Code provides for child care costs as mandatory add-on, if “related to employment or reasonably necessary education or training for employment skills” of a parent.

Pros and Cons On Changing
Child Care Rule:

The proposed change in child care costs rule is for the non-custodial parent to provide child care costs to allow the not-working custodial parent to look for work for a reasonable length of time.

Otherwise, the rule perpetuates the status quo, with mom unable to pursue her work or career development, and dad liable for more non-custodial parent’s basic child support according to the Family Code guidelines.

If mom is able to work and earn income, she would be able to contribute to child care costs. And dad’s basic child support payment would be lessened due to mom’s income according to the guidelines.

On the contrary, if the rule of no child care costs for a non-working mom is retained, mom would be a better child caregiver than any other care-provider unrelated to the child. And the dad would not be burdened with paying child care costs in addition to the basic child support payment.

Child Support
Deviation Guidelines:

The guideline formula for computing basic child support is stated as an algebraic formula in Family Code Section 4055(a), as: CS=K[HN-(H%)(TN)]. CS= child support amount; K= amount of income to be allocated for child support as stated in Family Code Section 4055(b)(3); H%= percentage of time the high earner parent has or will have physical custody of the child, compared to that of the other parent; and TN= total net monthly disposable income of both parties.

As a matter of practice, California family law courts arrive at the basic and additional child support payments by using the DISSOMASTER software, where relevant entries from the Income and Expense Declaration of each parent are entered, pursuant to standards contained in California Rule of Court 1258 (renumbered Rule 5:275).

After the formula child support is computed, the court may deviate from the formula amount of support by considering one or more of the five codified factors of: (1) parties’ stipulation to a different amount of child support; (2) deferred sale of family residence whose rental value exceeds mortgage payments, homeowner’s insurance, and property taxes; (3) parent’s extraordinary high income and formula amount of support exceeds needs of the child; (4) non-contribution to needs of the child commensurate with the parent’s custodial time; and (5) special circumstances causing application of the formula to be unjust or inappropriate, stated in Family Code Section 4057(b).

Mandatory and Discretionary
Add-ons To Child Support For
Child Care:

Family Code Section 4062(a) states the two (2) mandatory add-ons to child support, as “(1) child care costs related to employment or to reasonably necessary education or training for employment skills” of a parent; and “(2) reasonable uninsured health care costs for the children.”

And the two discretionary add-ons under Family Code Section 4062(b) are: “(1) costs related to the educational or other special needs of the children;” and “(2) travel expenses for visitation.”

The aforesaid add-ons are considered additional support for the children; and such child care costs may be apportioned one-half to each parent, or a different apportionment, if requested by either parent, in proportion to their net disposable incomes, pursuant to Family Code Section 4061.


Whether mom or a custodial parent can get child care costs pursuant to Family Code Section 4062(a) and (b) depends on whether the child care costs are mandatory or discretionary add-ons to basic child support.

As mandatory, the Family Law Judge or Commissioner has no discretion not to grant child care costs related to employment or necessary education or training for employment skills for a parent and uninsured health care costs for the child

As discretionary, child care costs related to educational or other special needs of the children and travel expenses for visitation, the Judge or Commissioner may decide one way or the other, as long as no abuse of discretion is committed.

Finding the right way to care for aging members of the family can be tough job. There are a variety of online resources for researching your options so you can make a choice that will benefit everyone.

The aging of America has led to a booming industry providing for the care of our seniors. It has also led to difficulties with Medicare and dire threats of the collapse of Social Security. What is important however is that the medical establishment has responded in a variety of ways to support the special needs of people in their final years.

The omnibus site provided by the Department of Health and Human Services is. This site provides a thorough selection of choices for locating eldercare services in your community. The site is multilingual and provides both online support and phone numbers that can be utilized.

A sponsored site with good information can be found at. It is sponsored by QuietCare, a security warning device for seniors living at home. Nevertheless, the site has a good collection of “how to” articles for both seniors and those family members who feel charged with guiding them through the lifestyle changes leading to eldercare.

An extremely well organized site that provides the same guidance and a library of other online resources is at. This site takes the caregiver from first steps right through facility selection and legal issues. Perhaps the most valuable portion of the site is a list of related online sites, broken out by category. Divisions include Assisted Living; Food and Nutrition; Legal Issues; Equipment and Personal Health Supplies; Financial Issues; and several others. For each of these categories the site provides a dozen or more major web sites as references. A few are commercial; more of them, however, appear to be sites put up by professional associations in the industry or non-profits that give unbiased recommendations on resources.

There is a National Long Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center (ORC) established and supported by the Federal Government. This organization is an excellent starting point for localized resources. You can click on a map on their web site and select a state where you’ll find listings for such offices as the State and Regional Ombudsmen, Office of License (where you can check on Long Term Care facilities); Medicaid Fraud Control; and so forth. The site is located at.

Ancillary issues facing our senior population today is what sort of long term care insurance is best for them, and the question of whether or not they should pursue home equity conversion, a “reverse mortgage,” to finance their final years. There are increasing numbers of online resources relating to both these areas.

One site that covers both issues and several other related matters – such as wills, trusts and powers of attorney; assist technology and remote monitoring – is the National Care Planning Council’s Guide to Long Term Care Planning at. The site includes 35 in-depth chapters totaling over 670 printable pages covering virtually all areas of long-term care planning. It also provides numerous lists of care providers, advisers and specialized services in four categories of care needs. For the role of Medicare in Long Term Care, go to the government site at.

Finally, the AARP provides some basic information on reverse mortgages at. HUD has a reverse mortgage program that is insured by the FHA and is outlined at. Reverse mortgages are expensive, and not without complications. The FHA insists that reverse mortgages on loans they’ve insured not be provided without a counseling session between an FHA or HUD professional and the homeowners.

Ava has flute lessons at 4:00. Dad has a doctor’s appointment at 5:00. And you have no clue what you’re going to whip up for dinner. As a member of the sandwich generation-those who care for both their children as well as their aging parents-you’re in a unique situation. You’ll feel stress in your mind, your body, and even your pocketbook. This guide will help you assemble an eldercare solutions team that can make you feel a little less sandwiched.

Non-medical in-home care
In-home care providers are a favorite solution for many children caring for aging parents. These companies offer a wide variety of services designed to enhance to help your parent in the tasks of everyday living. Professional in-home care can provide assistance with bathing or toileting. They can also perform light housekeeping, such as changing linens or unloading groceries. What’s more, these companies offer companion eldercare solutions services. That means Dad has someone to play checkers with while you’re at a day-long conference.

Adult day care and other senior activities
From day trips to the local tourist trap to water aerobics, you can find a number of local services to keep Mom or Dad active. Church groups and social service agencies are two good sources for activity-related eldercare solutions. Your local agency on aging can also provide a list of resources for you to contact.

Family and Friends
Many of us have a circle of family and friends-and when it comes to caring for aging parents, it’s important to tap into that resource. Have a family meeting to decide how each person can help. Maybe your retired Aunt can become Mom’s taxi service. Perhaps your spouse can take over cooking one night a week. Teens can take on responsibility, too, by picking up prescriptions or taking over one of your typical household chores.

Even if your family consists simply of you and your aging parent, you can still find solutions to make your life less stressful. For instance, ask a neighbor to watch a movie with Dad while you slip away for dinner. If help with household stuff will help make caring for aging parents easier, ask a church youth group if they’d be willing to trim the fire bushes. Have a neighbor with a ladder? Exchange a home-cooked meal for clean gutters.

Professional Services
Caring for aging parents comes with a price tag, especially if you’re part of the sandwich generation. Experts estimate it costs more than $16,000 a year to pay for child care and elder care. That’s why it’s important to enlist the help of professionals who can help guide you through the numbers. Consult a financial advisor who has experience in eldercare solutions.

Remember to ask your parents about getting legal advice regarding living wills and medical powers of attorney. Putting these documents into place now, when your parent is still relatively health, can save the family future heartache and conflict when a serious illness strikes.

Don’t let the stress of raising children and caring for aging parents take its toll on your life. By planning and finding the right kind of help, you can find an eldercare solution you and your aging parent can live with.

Your parents need more help than they’re willing to admit. They bristle at the thought of elder care services and independent living programs, and they have fired all the in-home helpers and housekeepers you’ve hired for them. How might you prevail upon them to accept some assistance? Ask them about their pets.

They surely want the best for their animals and might be willing to let somebody take their dog for an occasional romp or change the litter box a couple of times a week.

Pet owners often make decisions about their own health and circumstances based on the impact the decisions would have on their pets. “I can’t go into the hospital over night for the test the doctor ordered-who would feed and walk Fluffy?” Your parents might welcome assistance that would make it easier to keep the animal at home and in good health and spirits. And, accepting help for the pet is easier than admitting you need help yourself. Still, help is help, and accepting help for the pet is a face-saving way to ease in to help for oneself.

There are various dog walking and pet sitting services, and some are fully bonded and insured. Local animal shelters and veterinary practices have referral lists. Neighbors with pets probably have recommendations too. A responsible teenage neighbor looking for pocket money might also be a good resource.

When was the last time your parents’ pet went to the vet for an exam and shots? Getting an animal into a carrier is hard enough for many pet owners in the prime of their-and their pet’s-life. It may well be impossible for your parents to catch the cat, put it in the carrier and carry the carrier to the car they shouldn’t be driving anyway.

The way to make assistance tolerable is to get clear and detailed information about what your parents want help with and how they want to be helped. Starting with a topic they’re willing to consider, help with a trip to the vet, you can follow this good experience with others like help with shopping and eventually with in-home help.

Do your parents want help with:

• Walking the pet
• Feeding and watering the pet
• Cleaning up after the pet, inside or out
• Getting the pet ready to go to the vet
• Taking the pet to the vet
• Staying with the pet if your parent is out of town or in the hospital?

No matter how experienced the provider of eldercare services is, he/she cannot anticipate each client’s preferences and may not ask in sufficient detail to get adequate information. Use these questions to help your parents get clear on exactly what they want help with and how they want to be helped, and to train the helper so he/she can provide elder care services they will accept.

Natural health treatments are best treated when the whole of you is taken into consideration. Typical health treatments isolate parts of you, dealing only with your eye, your big toe, you digestion, etc. But how can this make sense, bearing in mind the whole of you is all connected?

Let’s look at a more efficient way of considering the whole of you in your treatment.

Consider shock. Initially this can cause an increase in your heart rate, make you sweat more, make you extremely anxious, agitated and restless. Your body is preparing you for flight – to flee from a potentially dangerous situation. However, often shock comes after the danger has passed, such as in a bad accident. Fleeing is no longer necessary, although it would have resolved the shock.

This unresolved shock remains in your system forever, unless it is energetically treated. This can lead to ailments such as high blood pressure, panic attacks, heart conditions and other serious health issues.

But by resolving the shock with an energetic health care modality such as homeopathy, the related health issues are also resolved.

Homeopathy works at an energetic level, which is highly appropriate given that you are an energy being. Many people find this concept hard to understand, in this current climate where the focus of ill health is on the physical, or outside forces. However, natural treatments as a whole, and homeopathy in particular, understand that this is a very limited way of looking at health. And normally, an ineffective one.

It does mean a change of mindset. But given the fact that worldwide health is at an all time low even, or perhaps especially, in those countries where medicine has never been more available, it may be a long overdue change.

When you buy home furniture that is Made in America, you are being sensible, not just patriotic. Sure, its good to buy stuff that has been made in your own country, and the ‘Made in America’ push is intended to help give the American economy a big boost (it sure needs it), but often you will find the quality of items made in the USA is just as good, and often better, than their equivalents manufactured elsewhere.

Why buy solid wood furniture made anywhere else when the USA offers such a fabulous range of hardwoods such as American black walnut, maple, American cherry, various oaks, beech and many others? Not just solid wood, but some fabulous veneers cut from the root bole of the American walnut, or with the beautiful burl ash, plane or any wood thinly cut where major branches intersect with the trunk.

It is difficult to beat the beauty of quarter sawn oak with its beautiful flecks and medullary rays, and all of this can be incorporated into solid wood or veneered home furniture made in America. When you purchase such American-made products, yes, you are contributing to the economy of your own country, but you are also buying quality and a product that will last.

Have you even visited an old American house, such as Paul Revere’s house in Boston? If so, did you notice the furniture, particularly in the two rooms upstairs in his house? These pieces are believed to have belonged to his family – all solid as a rock and still as functional today as it was back on that April day in 1775 when he jumped on his horse and made that famous ride.

Solid wood home furniture, made in America using traditional carpentry techniques, and using genuine American hardwood. Furniture crafted by American carpenters and cabinet makers, men and women, who are proud of their work and also innovators who are unafraid to try new techniques and use new methods, such as the Stickley way of use quarter sawn oak for center-posts.

While it is patriotic to buy furniture such as this from American firms such as Stickley, Sherrill, Simply Amish, Southwood and American Craftsman, it also makes sense if you want value for money. Why pay the transport of furniture from China or even Europe when you can get the same or even better quality from home? Every penny you spend on home-built furniture is on the product, not on paying for it to be shipped half way round the world.

Take these furniture manufacturers mentioned above, and add to that list firms such as The Custom Shoppe, Cambridge Mills and Nichols & Stone. Every one of these uses traditional carpentry joints in their construction, such as dovetails for the drawers and mortise and tenon for most of the cabinetry. Dovetails are use for stretchers, where no glue is needed – the joints are strong enough without glue, nails or screws.

When you buy home furniture that is made in America you are not only investing in your country’s financial well being, but also in your home and the enduring quality of the furniture that graces it. You are investing in solid American furniture that you can pass on to your children. You are investing in your own and their future. Why spend your money elsewhere when you can be both patriotic and sensible by purchasing the best quality furniture you can get for your money.

Let’s have a look at some examples. Gustav Stickley made use of quarter sawn oak and its beautiful flecks created by the medullary rays of the natural oak. Leopold Stickley used panels of this oak to show these flecks on all sides of a post, rather than on just the two sides as was possible previously – an example of ingenuity! However, it is the Stickley carpentry that makes their American furniture so strong and enduring.

They use no glue unless essential, but high quality jointing techniques such as dovetailed cross rails that offer strength without glue or screws, pinned tenons on door frames that can never come loose and even pinned miter joints on mirror frames. Others, such as Sherrill and Simply Amish employ similar traditional carpentry techniques – the same methods used by your forebears when all their furniture had to be hand-made!

The standard of workmanship of genuine hardwood furniture made in America by craftsmen and women is obvious. Everything fits, everything works and if it doesn’t then check the label or the stamp on the wood. You will likely find it made outside these shores, because American-made furniture is made to last and to look good – invest in your own country and not in somebody else if you want genuinely high quality home furniture.

Modern construction methods are extremely efficient and safe. Many homeowners and renters enjoy the protection from the weather and the hazards that run through nearly every home, with near complete immunity. The most frequent criticism of modern construction that many people have is that the materials and substances that go into creating the modern home are harmful to the environment, and sometimes the occupants.

There are many ways to limit the risk and harm that people can be exposed to with modern construction methods and one is to use ecologically friendly construction means, as called “green construction”. Green construction is essentially the endeavor to use material that will not emit chemicals or substances that are harmful to the environment or life. One of these green construction methods is called “cord wood” construction or stack wall construction.

Cord wood construction is basically using firewood that is cut to a specified dimension as fill for a mortar supported wall. Think of it like this, instead of using bricks, you use wood. Cord wood walls vary in thickness from 8 to about 16 inches depending on the weather conditions prevalent in the area. In colder areas, a thicker wall helps insulate from the cold, but where the cold is not as big a concern your resources can be used in a more frugal manner by making 8 inch walls.

The biggest benefit of building a home out of cord wood construction is the price. Typically a 2000 square foot home can be built out of about 5 cords of firewood, which may cost less than $1000 depending on your location. When placed inside of a frame of post and beam structure the cord wood wall is one of the most beautiful and rustic looking forms of construction in the world.

The second biggest benefit of cord wood construction is that it is something anyone can do with a little effort. It takes time to build a cord wood wall straight and true, but it is not that hard so any novice builder can have a decent home erected safely. Since the mortar takes time to set up and harden you can only go at a certain pace of construction which allows you to rest and plan before getting too far ahead of yourself.

The most important benefit of cord wood construction is that you are creating a home which does not release toxic chemicals into the home environment. Once the mortar is dried the home is done releasing any gases or chemicals, so you do not have to worry about your kids inhaling formaldehyde for 2 years afterward like you do in new construction. Keep in mind that is does take a deliberate effort on your part not to put in any chemicals as well. This can be avoided by choosing to decorate your home with something other than paint and glue down your rugs with a substance that does not emit formaldehyde.

With a little conscious planning and thought you can use green construction techniques to completely prevent a dangerous environment for your loved ones, and yourself.

Luxury watches are not only for time purpose but also for life style status. Mostly wealthy individual and celebrities are fun of luxury gold watches. Although there are some individuals especially the socialites also want to have gold luxury watches.

Gold luxury watches are one kind of accessories that creates mindset about you among the others which is not as important as your outfit although it brings or create impact to yourself. As you can see, people like latest fashion which governed by lasts accessories like shoes, jewelry, handbag and watches.

Luxury products sometimes serve various purposes in our society. Some companies give them to their loyal employee who have served in their company for more than 25 years. Most are elegant to look at and durable. It can be an asset to you also.

Luxury gold watches are mostly in 18 karat gold and some had combination of stainless gold. In branded watches, usually their models will have some small diamonds on it to look more sophisticated and stunning to the eyes of everyone. Wearing one means giving it tender loving care since some of the diamonds in luxury gold watches are embedded in the bracelet of the watches.

There are lots of luxury watches that are branded and known worldwide. Here are some of the few luxury gold watches, name:

  • Tag Heuer – Aquaracer Quartz for men and women
  • Tag Heuer – New Link Quarts for men and women
  • Audemars Piguet- 18K yellow gold for ladies and men
  • Baume & Mercier -Hampton Milleis 8243
  • Cartier – Tank Americaine Ladies Watch
  • Cartier – Tank Francaise Ladies Watch
  • Cartier – Roadster Men’s Watch
  • Concord-La Scala ladies mini watch
  • Concord-La Tour Men’s Watch
  • Euro Geneve-14 k Gold Round for Men

These were few of the luxury gold watches but there are lots to choose from with different brands and elegant designs. There are a huge number to choose from, for women rather than men’s gold watches for the reason. Women are more fashionable then men and women have excellent choice than men when it comes to watches and other accessories.

There are lots of watches that are inexpensive but you can find that in online shopping. You can also buy inexpensive ones when you go around to shop and compare their prices.

Just be sure you know what kind of brand of luxury watch you want to purchase. They can also be an asset because in time you need money and you cannot find some, you can sell your luxury gold watch or pawn it.

Now it is easy to find luxury watches through online internet. It is open 24/7 and it is convenient in time. Lots of websites that offer them for sale. Some offer lower price and some offer discount. Just be careful when buying over the internet, since there are frauds or fake website pretending to sell luxury gold watches. Go to the sites that have reputable image.

Traveling nurses are registered nurses who travel around the United States filling temporary nursing positions. If you are a nurse and you love to travel, then this may be the right career move for you. Most travel nurses enjoy the experience of traveling, meeting, and working with new coworkers. They hope to gain a well-rounded work experience that will serve them if they decide to settle on working full time at a specific medical facility. Many travel nurses claim that the experience allows them to develop a better understanding of their chosen specialty. Many travel nurses also claim that their unique work experiences have helped introduce them to better patient focused nursing.

Travel nurses are registered nurses, usually hired by travel nurse companies, who take temporary positions in a variety of settings in order to fill a shortage. Generally, they will work in the hospital setting, where shortages of nursing personnel are rampant.

Travel nurses also have the option of traveling to other countries experiencing shortages and may even become independent contractors. As an independent contractor, though, you must find your own housing, negotiate for pay, and pay your own insurance to name just a few things that you will be required to negotiate for on your own. But for our purposes, we will speak generally of travel nurses hired by travel nursing companies.

Hospitals hire nursing personnel, as well as other health care professionals, for a number of reasons. The major reason for hiring temporary help is to fill a gap in the numbers of nurses required. With such a shortage of qualified nurses today, many areas of the country are experiencing the deficit. Travel nurses bring a variety of knowledge and experience and are able to seamlessly fill these vacant positions.

Other areas of the country experience large population fluctuations which are more seasonal in nature. In some areas, the population can double due to these changes. For example, Florida experiences huge population shifts during the winter as snowbirds flock to warmer climates. Other areas have become huge tourist towns and require more professional help for the seasonal changes related to tourism.

Travel nurses are needed in both kinds of situations to fill a void in healthcare left by the fewer numbers of nurses.

Another reason where a nurse may find temporary employment while traveling is the opening of a new medical facility. Rather than hiring all new nurses, these new organizations benefit from the great experience of travel nurses. Newer staff members also gain from working with more experienced members of the nursing field.

Other areas of work in which a travel nurse may find temporary employment include: acute care facilities, outpatient surgery centers, assisted living or nursing homes, or working with children in schools or camps. Still other positions may include: physicians offices, correctional facilities, clinics or laboratories. Most places require at least one year of experience in the hospital setting.

Travel nurses generally enjoy a more lucrative salary than they would receive if they worked in a single location. The salary the travel nurse earns is generally based on the location where they are working. Typically a travel nurse will not earn as much working in a hospital in a rural community as they will earn working at a larger inner-city hospital. Some nurses prefer travel nursing to nursing in a single medical facility because they enjoy the opportunity to see the world and other cultures. Working in a constantly changing location challenges a travel nurses knowledge and talents. The skills that the travel nurse develops on their journeys are skills that they will be able to utilize should they settle on a home base.

Although most travel nursing jobs average 13 to 26 weeks, some can be as short as four weeks or as long as 52 weeks. Maybe you are looking to live in another state and want to be able to experience particular areas and the employment opportunities available in those areas. Travel nursing makes this possible while continuing to earn a living.

Travel nurses, generally, will be employed through a travel nurse agency. The agency is responsible for filling positions and medical facilities with qualified and interested candidates. These agencies usually have had a long relationship with hospitals, medical facilities, and medical professionals in certain parts of the country, sometimes, countrywide at larger agencies. A recruiter at the agency will assist the nurse with obtaining the proper state license or hospital requirements. You will have a contract drawn up by the agency, with the hospital, for salary, length of assignment, and hours worked. The travel nurse agency generally pays for travel expenses and will also have made living arrangements for you in your area of choice. If there are any professional criteria that must be met, your agency and recruiter will assist you with that as well.

There are some things that you need to consider before becoming a travel nurse. These are the things that can make up your mind on whether being a traveling nurse is the right choice for you. The jobs that you accept could take you away from your family for up to a year. Depending on how far away the job is could be another deciding factor. Generally it is best if you do not have pets because it is possible that the housing provided for you will not accept them. You will have to be licensed in every state that you choose to work in. These are things a good traveling nurse agency will help you work out.

If you are looking for a rewarding career that allows you to travel across the United States, then a career as a traveling nurse could be just what you’re looking for. Look for agencies in your home town or on the Internet to help you get started on your journey as a travel nurse. They will help place you in a job that is right for you. Happy nursing.

Show someone you love and care about them with jewelry and watches purchased online, from a department store, a jeweler or a consignment shop.

For online browsing, you can check ShopNBC to find reasonably priced items from Carrera, Seiko, Bulova, Croton, Gucci, Tag Heuer, Movado and more. The site is easy to navigate and once you click on the “watches” tab, you can narrow your search by gender. Within gender, you can narrow it down by type of strap, price, brand and style, making it quick and easy to find what you’re specifically looking for.

You can also choose the “sorting” function to arrange the items by price, newest models or top sellers. If you’re unsure, just browse in your desired price range or check out the new arrivals and best deals sections for ideas. There’s a huge selection of items under $200 as well. Shopping for jewelry and watches is a breeze with ShopNBC!

Overstock is another terrific site for online jewelry and watches browsing. Most items are 1/2 price and come directly from the manufacturer. Get a 10-karat, 1/2ct diamond tennis bracelet for $219 or a Movado ladies black Classic Museum watch for $424.

Shipping is only $2.95 per order, there’s an online best price guarantee and you also have the option of purchasing extended warranties through the site. Many people also like their “Bill Me Later” option where there’s no payment requirements for six months.

Sometimes you just want to run into a store and select jewelry and watches right then and there. Whether you’re looking for jewelry watches or sport watches, you can find reasonable selections and prices in a department store. Macy’s, Sears and Bloomingdales carry many designer brands and you can even browse their websites beforehand to get an idea of what’s offered.

Zales, Kays and Littman Jewelers are in many cities across the US and specialize in diamond-studded jewelry and watches, so you’re able to find something elegant yet relatively inexpensive, rather than just all-around cheap. For the rich and famous, Tiffany and Co offers jewelry and watches in the thousands for that very special occasion where you’re set to impress.

If you happen to be hunting for a new one, don’t trust any online retailer or a stand at the mall. There are only three stores in North America carrying authentic watches (in New York City, Toronto and Mexico City), so buyer beware!

What about used or pre-owned jewelry and watches? They say that the value of a watch depreciates the moment you purchase it, much like an automobile — but, a pre-owned or used one (or other high quality brand) could be a better buy. The same rings true for diamonds.

The person you’re buying for will never know that the item has been pre-owned and if you find a trustworthy jeweler selling used items, they will give you a full one to two year warranty and paperwork guaranteeing authenticity. For many shoppers, used or pre-owned jewelry and watches is a matter of sensible shopping.

Dealers vary from city to city, but you’re probably better off visiting a jeweler, rather than making a hefty investment online.

To show that special someone you love them, consider jewelry and watches for your next major gift. While it generally requires a little bit of forethought, planning, budgeting and research, your loved one will surely appreciate your thoughtfulness and generosity!

This is a gift idea that not only lasts a lifetime, but could also last several lifetimes, getting passed down from generation to generation as a keepsake.

What distinguishes one apartment from another, otherwise identical in structure? What are the ‘comforts of home’? Well, to a great extent it depends on the way you have furnished your interiors. Home furniture is what makes a home out of an empty apartment, cottage or grand mansion, for that matter.

How do we begin planning our home furniture? Many people make the mistake of thinking only in terms of budget and end up making investments they rue in the not too long a term. In fact, there are several aspects that need to be carefully considered. First, there’s your personal taste and imagination, then the requirements of your family as individuals and as a unit, next comes the size of your selected abode, your financial leeway of course, and don’t forget the climatic factors. Too metallic a touch or too much of glass in chill climates lends a cold, uncomfortable feel. On the other hand, an overdose of dark wood and rich rugs would make a warm place seem unpleasantly stuffy.

Other aspects that you would want to consider are style, whether ornate, conventional, contemporary, rustic; color, texture, size, functional aspects, decorative appeal and the coziness factor, not necessarily in that order. As a matter of fact, the coziness factor that your home furniture introduces into your residence is what ultimately differentiates your well-appointed home from a 5-star hotel!

It is important to bear in mind the function of each room while acquiring your home furniture. Overdoing your living room in ornate period furniture and fragile accessories, for example, might produce a museum-like ambiance rather than the welcoming comfort you would like for your guests. Nor should you altogether go overboard on the ‘casual’ spree and give it a rumpus room-like effect which might appear a tad untidy to outsiders. It is preferable that the family room be done in casual instead, as this would lend a great deal towards the atmosphere of letting one’s hair down after a busy day at work.

Buy sturdy, heavy-duty home furniture for your teenager’s room as that is what he or she is going to appreciate over expensive, high-maintenance furniture. Consider their needs first. Is your child a sports-lover, an artist, a reader? Develop the room around that personality by getting in the appropriate storage space for sports equipment, paint and canvas or books. If it is a small room, organize a futon or a sofa-bed so that your child has space to entertain friends.

Similarly, do your dining room up with the sort of home furniture that meets your requirements. Don’t invest unnecessarily in a large ostentatious table fit for banquets, even if you can afford it, if you are a busy working couple who barely make the time to re-heat leftovers. A pleasant, friendly round or square table for four will serve you nicely on weekdays and still allow you to entertain a couple of friends over the weekend. Creating the perfect living space is an art and you are going to enjoy finding the artist in yourself by browsing through the home furniture we have available for you.

Furniture provides a place to sleep, sit, keep the personal stuff, arrange things or relax in the backyard. You have different furniture designed for different purposes. The home furniture can be classified according to the below mentioned areas –

Bedroom Furniture: The bedroom is a place where you say good bye to the day and the world and brace yourself for the coming day. The furniture required for this room will let the body sleep in peace and prepare you for yet another day. Every home requires this set of furniture.

  • Bed
  • Chest of drawers
  • Wardrobe
  • Dresser
  • Wall shelves

Living room: The busiest part of the entire house is the living room. Having a casual vibe attached to it, it is the center of all the activities going around the house. You spend most of your leisure time in the living room, reading, watching television or doing the daily chores.

The furniture for the living room is:

  • Sofa
  • Side table
  • Bookshelves
  • TV unit

Study room furniture: For people who like to have a secluded space for studying, reading or working inside the house, need these furniture items in their study room.

  • Study Desks
  • Office chairs
  • Cabinets

Dining room: When the whole family unites for having their meals, they need a dedicated place to eat and serve food. The dining room will have a dining set that will allow people to sit and have their meals.

  • Dining table
  • Dining chairs

Outdoor Areas: Furniture is specially designed to make your outdoor area look serene and beautiful. The material chosen for these furniture items will be different from other furniture items because it will be out there in the sun, winds, rains and snow.

The outdoor furniture comprises of:

  • Swings
  • Hammocks
  • Patio furniture
  • Gazebos.

The home furniture designs will vary from traditional to modern to contemporary depending on the taste and preferences of the individual. The designs can be inspired from some of the greatest works of artists, interior designers and architects. Even if you have consulted some of the designers, state your choice and the style you want to dress your home with.

Grace your home with the best furniture items and give a serene and a calm look to your entire house. Nothing can substitute the utility and importance of the right kind of furniture in the house. All you need to do is to pick the right kind of furniture for each room. The home furniture should grace your interiors and outdoors beautifully.

“Our focus [is] on taxi operators who intend to exit the industry and…is certainly about ensuring that we do not destroy vehicles that still have value.”

Delays in the program were attributed to owners holding onto their old vehicles until compensation became available, but ongoing indecision about necessary specifications delayed the manufacturing process. Factory floors can never afford to remain idle, in anticipation of final decisions that never seem to be finalized. Production is planned months ahead and one ‘run’ must be completed before another can begin.

The government was called on to subsidies the industry in the same manner as it does urban rail and buses. Mass action was threatened. When this happens, taxis are not the only public transport that comes to an abrupt halt: strikers stone buses and have been accused of deliberately sabotaging rail services. Intimidation tactics work very well on average citizens, who subsequently also lose income because they are too fearful to venture out to work.

“…applications for conversion of permits into operating licenses…for transfers and upgrade, including those applications made during the Be Legal Campaign [have not been processed].”

Permit issues became cause for fury on both sides of the fence. Authorities officiously claimed that operators were delaying, but instances, where processing channels, meant to deliver within three months, were taking “three to five years” were then exposed. Decisive action was demanded by the Minister. But little glitches are part of process when the tendered management allocation is only R250-million.

“many taxi operators…bring to my attention the serious weaknesses that characterize(s) many of the Operating Licensing Boards in the Provinces.”

Applications finally closed in the latter part of 2006, only a year later than originally planned. Operators at last began seriously to calculate the affordability of the new vehicles on offer.

Making the price right

“For us, a strong, safe and vibrant taxi industry remains a vital element in Government’s efforts to bring about significant improvements in our public transport system.”

The initial taxi recap plan to tender manufacture, relied on high numbers keeping the prices low. When that option fell away, government no longer had any control over the pricing and since then, their only task has been to lobby in defense of an often non-creditworthy market.

The total cost of replacing the 100 000 fleet is estimated at R15-billion. Wesbank pledged R3.6-billion to the cause over five years, whilst a memorandum of understanding was signed by ABSA, Nedbank, Asset Finance, Standard Bank, DaimlerChrysler Services and Santaco.

“…affordability will be determined by other important factors such as the level of competition in the market, willingness and ability of the financial institutions to develop differentiated products suitable to the taxi industry.”

The law regarding Road Accident Fund (RAF) payouts has recently changed to limit the benefits that can be obtained by claimants, but the possibility exists for players in the taxi industry to access top-up public- and passenger-liability cover.

Should the industry consider this, it should be said that their contributions could be high and the limits imposed on insured providers could achieve more to regulate the industry, than the government: clauses could include the need to prove regular vehicle maintenance and safety checks, regular driver training, permit restrictions, regular driver health checks, etc.

“The taxi industry should also be in a better position to negotiate better terms from both the financial institutions and manufacturers.”

The other change that might possibly rock the nation would be that all vehicles on hire purchase must legally be insured. In theory, this sounds like a revelation, since few taxis presently are. But don’t hold your breath and do cancel dreams of insurance payouts in cases of taxi crashes! Rumour has it that, with the increase in vehicle purchases, a new phenomenon has already hit the country.

Apparently, our car pounds are filling with crashed vehicles whose private owners cancelled their insurance despite the fact that those vehicles still belong to the banks that financed them. The vehicles are repossessed as soon as they are involved in accidents, neither use to man nor beast. Since the majority of these vehicles were privately purchased, it seems logical that the same tactic may be adopted by the taxi fleet.

“It is the taxi operators, and not Government, who are ultimately responsible for their businesses and for the choice of vehicles, and as such will still make their business decisions.”

Taxi owners reeled under the Taxi Sector Agreement at the end of April 2005, which defines issues such as working hours, unemployment insurance and minimum wages (between R945 to R1 350 a month; hardly exorbitant) for rank cleaners, marshals and taxi drivers, for the first time.

Unsurprisingly, taxi operators immediately sunk their teeth again into the question of receiving government subsidies in line with rail and bus transport. This is surely their due, and the Minister agrees, but that will require of operators, stricter adherence to government regulations – a game two sides can play. Mind you, buses have also got away with ‘murder’ through the years, so perhaps the theory will not match the practice!

“I hope and trust that the taxi industry will organize itself into appropriate business models and take advantage of this economic opportunities.”

One bright idea for financing the taxi sector came from the Sowetan (Taxi industry could go public and flourish, 4/8/2005) with the suggestion that the taxi industry form a co-op with each member’s contribution being his approved vehicle(s) to be valued at a ‘share’ percentage. Should the co-op then go public, shares could be traded to raise the finance to buy the new vehicles.

I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry at that. Surely it’s not possible to contribute something one doesn’t own into a co-operative that would surely belong only to the banks, have a value attributed to your (which is really mainly their) contribution (when your ownership is only R 50 000 of the total value) and then raise money from independents to buy what you have already contributed although it was never yours to contribute.

Don’t think I’d take a risk on shares like that, but it is possible, I suppose that black economically empowered individuals would back such a deal, doubtless in the interests of economic empowerment, although I would have to add that it would be in their interest to ensure that the money raised from the shares went directly to the finance houses, without passing ‘Go’.

“Municipalities are responsible for the provision of public transport infrastructure and facilities…[often] approved without due cognizance given to public transport requirements.”

Durban and Gauteng are already planning to incorporate the taxi industry into such initiatives as single ticketing strategies: allowing commuters to switch modes of public transport while using the same ticketing system. Not only does this option allow for greater regulation, but many commuters who buy season/monthly tickets, will be able to convert, when their first choice of public transport operators, takes time out to march.

Delivering the vision

One of the difficulties that arises from the three tiers of government is the different perspective that each tier has. National government has the vision, which generally, from the hallowed halls of Pretoria, is pretty benign. Provinces have the difficulty of interpreting the vision for local benefit and often finding that it is not always very pragmatic or ‘do-able’ for local government to achieve.

“…the lack of effective planning frameworks between the three spheres of Government…the absence of planned public transport systems…”

With so many municipalities in financial difficulties and unable to account for their budgets, it is easier to make demands from on high than to deliver the service and pay the bills incurred in so doing. The taxi industry, as an informal sector, has historically and notoriously made up the rules as it went along and municipalities seldom have the ability to maintain the status quo at their pleasure.

For instance: taxis might take over a spare piece of ground at a freeway off-ramp, as a rank, simply because the position is close to an industrial area and therefore convenient to commuters. The local municipality can hardly build a formal rank on a freeway verge, or accommodate any other public transport modes in the same limited area.

“…we see informal taxi ranks mushrooming around major shopping malls, with provision made for parking, but without any consideration for pedestrians and public transport inter-modal facilities for buses and taxis.”

The only suitable land may lie half-a-dozen kilometres away and both taxi drivers and commuters are put out when they find their informal rank is no longer accessible and that their daily journeys must be broken one more time, each way. In the same way, how can taxis be expected to stop at approved stops that are not clearly posted? This is the case in many areas.

The myth of self-regulation

“It does not help when we urge the taxi industry to act in a manner consistent with legislation, when in fact State institutions fail the taxi industry by not upholding requirements of the law.”

The Interim Minibus Taxi Act of 1998 and the National Land Transport Act of 2000 were followed by the Public Transport Bill of 2004, which was set to pass into law at the end of 2005. By September last year, Johannesburg was planning to clamp down on taxis and buses that stopped
illegally on the roads, by constructing dedicated roadside parking bays to allow other road users to pass unhindered.

Since I haven’t visited inland since then, I have no way of telling whether anything has changed, but the habit of taxis to stop as and where they prefer, to the detriment of traffic flow, is one behavior pattern they have in common with Durban buses – a breed that happily comes to an abrupt halt in the centre of two lanes, holding up everything behind it..

“The leadership of the taxi industry must address problems [of] operators [who] pay exorbitant amounts…to use and access what are essentially publicly provided facilities, as well as taxi routes.”

Cape Town reeled under accusations that their May 2005 street battles and shootouts between rival minibus-taxi associations were linked to organized crime and in July of the same year, Metrorail reported that sabotage of the city’s rail system could be traced back to the taxi industry. Durban taxi-related inquiries are common and, if they are not in Johannesburg, it’s not for lack of suspicion.

The Cape Town report found corruption rife in the licensing bodies and a mafia-style industry where hit squads are hired by mature (in age only) drivers to murder rivals. A provincial list of the sixty-two ‘most wanted’ was compiled for investigation (with a view to subsequent prosecution) in an attempt to stop “corruption, extortion, money-laundering and murder in the taxi industry” (Cape Argus 7/9/05).

“there is no taxi operator or association that has the authority to prevent other operators from using these facilities.”

And the only people, surprisingly, who were surprised at these findings, were those who commissioned the investigation! Deregulated, the taxi industry became totally lawless. We all know that. As is said: ‘it doesn’t take a rocket scientist…’. Why on earth would self-regulation ever have been suggested

On a lighter note, the local South African National Taxi Drivers’ Association begged Tshwane’s Metro police for amnesty from their outstanding traffic fines, for its members. Either way, it seems clear that taxi drivers seldom understand the game of socially responsible consequences.

Empowerment tool

“…a comprehensive strategy (that) also seeks to empower the taxi industry and set it on a sustainable path. Our strategy will lay foundation.”

In declaring the taxi industry a “lucrative, black-empowerment tool” (IOL, 22/8/05), the Minister suggested that the industry learn lessons from its dark past for taking advantage of economic opportunities in the future. I, for one, believe the power has been on their side for many years (to the detriment of commuters) and I certainly believe that breaking completely away from the past would be a far better strategy.

In four years, we are promised, three out of every four taxis on South African roads, will be brand new vehicles. For me, that Maths does not add up: in four years, rather, 25% of taxis will be older than four years, another 25% will be four years old, another 25%, two years old and the last 25%, one year old. And then, Dear God, the warranties will start expiring and who will fund ongoing maintenance then?

“We are here to further strengthen and empower an industry that is synonymous and has everything in common with the disadvantaged masses of our people.”

Looking ahead

There is little doubt that, despite how little Mr Joe Average likes competing with minibus taxis for road space, they are virtually all that has kept mainstream South Africa mobile for the last fifty years, plus. Dissolution of the industry would have caused ongoing, total havoc, although its very existence now intermittently causes not much less.

The very thing that ails the industry is what ails the entire country: lawlessness; and God bless anyone attempting to turn that around. I suspect that it’s all a bit like marriage from a woman’s perspective: go into it believing you can change him much and divorce is virtually certain.

“In a nutshell, the taxi industry is doing a pretty job for our country and providing an important service to our commuters.”

At this point, public perception is, that the taxi ‘recap’ process is mostly about lousy drivers taking control of bigger vehicles and cause more devastating accidents, thereby killing greater numbers. The taxi industry doubtless believes it’s being pushed into corners it doesn’t choose to inhabit and it will doubtless retaliate again before acknowledging defeat. Retaliate physically, to the detriment of itself, its customers and their safety, on an ongoing basis, for quite some time.

“I had come here to deliver a message of hope and to assure you that our Government and our movement, the ANC, could not work against the interests of the taxi industry.”

Progress expected by January/ February next year, Mr Editor? Your guess, Sir, is as good as mine, but I’d lay a bet that what hasn’t been achieved in the last twelve years, is unlikely to fall into place in three short months. As with land reform, free housing, free medical treatment, free education, free services, etc., you have to be a real optimist to believe things will ‘be sorted’ overnight.

One week ago (10/11/06) DoT released a press statement about a meeting convened to address grievances submitted last month by the National Taxi Alliance after a strike had left thousands without transport to work. It went so well that a second meeting (two weeks later) was scheduled to “continue with the deliberations” and find “a common ground”.

Trust is an important issue here, and an ongoing PR and information campaign, that targeted the entire industry, might have saved a lot of time, feelings and ‘face’, over the years. Associations, operators, drivers, rank officials all have independent interests in the whole and all deserve equal attention. The message of hope, above, delivered by Minister Radebe more than a year ago, must have worna bit thin, by now.

Place your bets, Gentlemen and Ladies. But I’d hazard a guess that the common ground will not be concealed in Minister Radebe’s stocking this Christmas or in his egg by next Easter!

Okay, even a guy who writes about mob guys needs a break once in a while. So me and the wife took a four-day vacation to Key West, Florida for a little R&R before I go back to mob-busting again.

The quandary you face when going to Key West is what to see and how to see it. There are scores of attractions to see and great food to eat at dozens of restaurants. And every hotel, and even the Key West Express boat we took to Key West from Fort Myers, is pushing a Trolley Tour Bus that goes for 29 bucks for maybe an hour, or so, tour of downtown Key West.

So we decided not to decide on anything until we actually took a cab to downtown Key West from our Comfort Inn Hotel. Our cab driver Richie from Brooklyn (who moonlights as an excellent drummer for several Key West bands) dropped us off at stop number 5 on the City View Trolley Tour. We stepped up to the information counter and was greeted by a cheerful young lad named Marty. We asked Marty a few questions, which he answered effortlessly, and then Marty told us about the City View Trolley Tour.

The City View Trolley Tour makes eight stops in all, each stop having its own great tourist must-sees in the area. And get this: you can get off the bus as many times time you want, get on as many times as you want, see the sights, and a bus stops every 15 minutes at all eight stops to pick you up again and continue on the tour. And if you want to take the tour again that day, no problem. Just get on the bus again at any of the eight stops. The City View Trolley Tour costs only $19 a person, and if you come back the following day, it’s only 9 bucks a person.

The best part of the tour is the constant banter and boundless information the cheerful and always humorous bus driver regales you with over the bus loud speakers, as he tools around downtown Key West. It seems that every street on Key West has its own story, and even the cemetery is filled with fun-stuff information. Like the one tombstone that says, “I told you I was sick.” And another tombstone, where a weary wife put on her philandering husband’s tombstone, “At least I know where you’re sleeping tonight.”

In the course of the two days we took riding the City View Trolley Tour, we must have seen everything two or three times, but never told in the same manner, by one of the tour buses dozen or so drivers. Of course tips are permitted, and believe me even a buck or two is greatly appreciated, and much deserved.

In addition, Marty gave us several discount tickets for various attractions, and bars and restaurants, including 2 for 1drink coupons (he gave us four) for the Conch Republic Seafood Company, which has the best sea food this side of heaven.

One place you must see in Key West is the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum ($12.50 per person). A nice lady gave us a grand tour of Hemingway’s house, and besides all the great tales of Ernie, you get to see 44 of Hemingway’s six-toed cats, which are all descendants of Hemingway’s original six-toed cats. (Actually, the genes for six toes are present in all the cats, but only about a half of them actually have six toes.)

Other grand tour must-sees are: Harry Truman’s Little White House, West Martello Tower, Southernmost Point (which is actually the Southernmost tip of the United States), all of Duval Street (which is like Key West’s Broadway), Clinton Square Market, Higgs Beach, Pat Croce’s Rum Barrell, Sloppy Joe’s Bar (Sloppy Joe Russell was Hemingway’s best friend in Key West), Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, and Fort Zachary Taylor State Park.

So remember this folks, if you plan on visiting Key West for the first time, or maybe you’ve been there before but wanted to see more of the attractions, stop at the City View Trolley Tour. The main office and stop number one is located at 105 Whitehead Street, right across the street from the Clinton Square Customs House. Or see Marty at stop number 5, where you can also buy tour tickets, Stop 5 is located one block from the Southernmost Point near the end of Duval Street (upper Duval Street.

As for me, I’m back home and have my head up the butts of the world’s worst mobsters again. But I’m looking forward to going back to Key West as soon as possible. And of course, I’ll take the City View Trolley Tour again. Maybe twice.

If Key West was good enough for Ernest Hemingway, it’s certainly good enough for little old me.

PS – Did I mention Al Capone visited Key West frequently when he had his winter home in Miami Beach? I wonder where he buried all the bodies.

Many people are not aware of the right approach and right tools to learn English easily and quickly. The moment we think of learning English, big books that are difficult to read or understand come to our mind. Another thing that strikes our mind is spoken English institute.

Are they really helpful? Ask anybody who tried these things. The answer will most probably be ‘No’. Then why are people still following these things which never provide efficient results?

Before you look for an easy and quick way to improve English, you should first understand that English is a skill and not a subject. Hence, stuffing the information from every nook and corner of the English books will not help. It is not the right way to go about learning a language.

Learning English is simple and all it takes is the right process of learning. Firstly, you need to have a minimum set of tools to learn English quickly and easily. Let us have a look at them.

Vocabulary book: What is a language without words? Until and unless you are aware of the words, you cannot use the language properly. Vocabulary book, may sound like any other boring book, but is actually interesting as it contains all the commonly used words in that language. Probably, the fast way to improve English is to learn commonly used words.

Dictionary: Dictionary and vocabulary book may sound similar but they are not. The vocabulary book gives only a list of commonly used words along with their meanings, their origin plus some examples to make it easy to use the words. Whereas, the dictionary gives the words and meaning and sometimes how to use them in the language; along with some grammatical information. It is good to be familiar with the most common words and their meanings in English. Dictionary makes it easier to understand the words. You use a dictionary to find meanings of words for which you are not sure of the meaning, especially as you are reading something. You use the vocabulary book so that you can use the right words easily while speaking and writing.

Illustrated comics and stories: If you think that above sources are serious, then here comes the entertainment side of the language. The smarter way to learn English is to find something easy and fun so that you put more effort to improve English skills. It’s not advisable to do difficult language exercises or go through serious literature to improve and learn English quickly. Illustrated comics and stories are the best aids to improve and learn English quickly while having fun.

Note book: A dedicated note book for writing notes while learning English makes it easy to progress quickly. English learning process will take longer without this. A good learner will make a note of important points to remember for future reference in the process of learning. Later, he can look through the small notes or refer them regularly to improve English skills.

The number of tools mentioned above may appear less, but they are the most effective ones which help in going through the English learning process easily. I believe that learning process should always be kept simple, to be productive. It is not about struggle, it is about smooth process. Proper usage of these tools will ensure you get command over English quickly and easily.