Operation Recovery

USA Today U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Special Edition When tragedy hits, the Army Corps of Engineers has boots on the ground. Kevin Wagner lost everything. Once the levees overflowed during Hurricane Katrina, water poured into his Chalmette home in lower Saint Bernard Parish, eventually climbing two to four inches above the eaves. Levels rose to six inches above the cabinets in his mother-in-law’s second-floor kitchen. His mother’s house did not fare any better. “My mother, this is the first time she didn’t pack up family photos,” Wagner said with a Louisiana drawl. Instead, she stashed them in the attic thinking they’d be fine, but this was a gargantuan storm, made more dangerous by failing floodwalls and overwhelmed levees. “They lost all of the family photos,” Wagner said. And much more. As a senior project manager with the Army Corps of Engineers (US-ACE), Wagner knew what was coming next: recovery. All of Saint Bernard Parish and 80 percent of New Orleans were flooded. When the...
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Backlog Blues

USAToday Veterans Affairs Special Section  Thousands wait while VA streamlines its claims process The lesion on the left side of Sara Poquette’s brain is no bigger than a lima bean. But its symptoms – severe headaches and memory loss – are not insignificant. Today, Poquette knows she has a traumatic brain injury (TBI), which she traces back to November 4, 2004. As a broadcast journalist serving with the Army National Guard in Iraq, she was riding in a Stryker vehicle when an improvised explosive device (IED) blew up in the street. “We drove through the explosion,” she explains. Poquette hit her head and blacked out, but TBI wasn’t on the Army’s radar back then. “At that time, TBI didn’t really exist,” Poquette says. “It was discovered later, based on some of the symptoms I was having.” In 2009, a Veterans Affairs doctor sent her to a neurologist, who noticed the lesion on an MRI. Poquette had already filed a disability claim for a herniated disk, an injury sustained...
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Creating a Family-Friendly Workplace

Pet Age With some creativity even the smallest pet business can implement family-friendly work policies that help attract—and keep—loyal employees. Attracting and keeping good employees is a struggle for many small retail stores. So given the expense of traditional benefits like paid vacation time and health care coverage, small pet stores and product manufacturers are turning to family-friendly workplace policies to keep employees happy, productive and on the payroll. Flexible scheduling, telecommuting and other employment practices that address work-life balance already have become standard in some large companies. Now to stay competitive, small companies are figuring out ways to tailor these practices to their specific needs. “These policies are necessities in today’s business climate,” said George Whalin, CEO of San Diego-based Retail Management Consultants. Whalin has been offering advice to retailers for 21 years. “Family-friendly workplace policies help keep and attract employees. That’s one of the biggest challenges that all retail businesses face.” Whether they help employees balance work with children, elderly parents or furry friends,...
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Shifting Gears: Transitioning your technology

Published August 2008, Chiropractic Economics With the proper planning and right expectations, transitioning from one practice-management software system to another can be relatively trouble-free. A solid practice-management software system can do the work of 10 employees. An outdated or poorly designed system can eat up time, money and energy. And making the transition from one system to another is rarely a piece of cake. New software and hardware may be the answer to bulging file cabinets, concerns about HIPPA compliance and the dream of streamlining documentation and billing. The move from the old to the new can be exciting—as well as frustrating, expensive, time-consuming. But there is good news. Dr. Tye Bratvold, DC, owner of Millennium Chiropractic in Puyallup, Wash., was overwhelmed by the stacks of patient files piled on his desk at the end of each day. It was time to expand his automated scheduling and billing system to include documentation. “We were getting busy enough,” he says. But like most chiropractors looking for...
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Fun and Games

Published October 2008, Parents, As They Grow: 4–5 years Bring out your child’s best behavior by adding some zaniness to his daily routines. You’re making dinner and your kid is having a meltdown—hardly the best time to play a game, right?  Not necessarily.  You can actually diffuse the most trying moments of your day—and still accomplish you need to—by doing something fun.  “At ages 4 and 5, kids are starting to feel things more intensely,” says family therapist Lawrence J. Cohen, Ph.D., author of Playful Parenting.  “Play helps shield them from overwhelming emotions and keeps them connected to their parents, which leads to cooperation.” We’ve broken the day down into five danger zones and suggested games that can help move everyone along and lighten the mood.  So if you’re ready to leave those out-of-control mornings, conflict-filled days and less-than-idyllic evenings behind, then let the games begin! Morning Time The Game: FOLLOW THE LEADER How to Play:  Tell your child to skip to the bathroom to brush his teeth,...
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The Diaper Dilemma

Published November 2008, Pregnancy magazine Can you calculate your baby's carbon butt-print? Here's help in deciding which method is right for your family—cloth or disposable. If green is the new black, baby diapers are anything but stylish.  It turns out that all diapering choices—cloth, disposable and hybrid—come with potential problems for Mother Earth. Because no method is absolutely environmentally friendly, the quandary persists:  Wash or toss? Unfortunately, science hasn’t yet settled the debate. Until recently, studies on the environmental impact of diapers were funded by the disposable or cloth diaper industries. The results were predictably biased, and each side of the argument called foul. The UK broke this trend with a 2005 study from The Environment Agency, a government bureau in Great Britain. It found virtually no difference between the environmental effects of cloth and disposable diapers. In fact, the authors wrote, “For one child, over two and a half years, these impacts are roughly comparable with driving a car between 1,300 and 2,200 miles.”...
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