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31 August
Comments Off on Foreign Correspondence: It may not be Vilnius, but Edmonds could use a cat café

Foreign Correspondence: It may not be Vilnius, but Edmonds could use a cat café

Lithuania is a little like the Edmonds of the globe. It’s a small, scenic nation with a temperate climate and a bit of coastline; its overgrown neighbors have often threatened to swallow it up; and, while lovely, it’s not exactly a hot tourist destination (sorry, Edmonds).

This past July I bucked the trend and spent some time in the capital, Vilnius. Perhaps it lacks the sweeping grandeur of Paris, or even Prague, but Vilnius has its share of continental charm. There are the cathedrals, and the plazas, and the monuments, but the smaller scale lends the city a more intimate quality. Ever had one of those horrible ordeals where you’re lost in an endless maze of identical side-streets and nobody around you speaks English? (No? Just me?) Well, it’s not going to happen in Vilnius. Wandering around without a map feels less like an invitation to disaster, more like an adventurous ramble. I’m tempted, in the best way possible, to call it quaint.

But wait! There’s more! Want a giant egg statue? They’ve got one of those. Looking for a cat cafÃ, where you can play with adorable cats while you drink your coffee? Look no further! The walls of Vilnius are alive with vibrant street art, perhaps owing in part to Užupis. This neighborhood officially declared its independence on April 1, 1997, and perseveres today a “republic” of free spirits and artists. They’ve yet to gain recognition from any government, but it hasn’t stopped them from electing presidents, bishops and ambassadors. They have an anthem and a constitution, whose articles range from “Everyone has the right to love” to “Everyone has the right to celebrate or not celebrate his birthday.” Even the republic’s nonhuman residents are provided for: “A dog has the right to be a dog,” while “A cat is not obligated to love its master, but must help in times of need.” They used to have a standing army of 12, but this was disbanded in keeping with the republic’s nonviolent principles. Incidentally, the aforementioned giant egg statue used to live in the main square until it was auctioned off to the municipal government.

Vilnius is just weird, in that beautiful, spontaneous way that alerts you to the presence of the city’s soul. By contrast, Edmonds—while quaint enough—is almost totally devoid of spontaneity. Lately it seems like everything in the Bowl is coordinated and polished in tasteful beiges and olives and grays (although, according to the Edmonds Mural Society web page, we have one of the most popular collections of murals in the Pacific Northwest! Keep up the good work, neighbors).

People of Edmonds, I’ve seen what Vilnius has, and I want it for us. So what if they have five hundred thousand more citizens than we do? The Užupis neighborhood has a mere fraction of our population, and they’re an independent republic, for goodness’ sakes. The closest thing we have to a constitution is a plaque in that square where they always do the Christmas tree:

“Since February 1907 Edmonds Chamber of Commerce has worked to preserve the small town atmosphere and develop a complete shopping experience. ‘It’s an Edmonds Kind of Day!’”

I’m sorry, what? Don’t our dogs deserve the right to be dogs? Don’t we, as the citizens of beautiful and richly historic Edmonds, deserve something a little more ambitious than a complete shopping experience?

Now I’m not saying we can transform ourselves overnight into the Fremont of Snohomish County, nor do I think we should. And in fairness, Vilnius is flourishing now as the pendulum swings back from decades of occupation and oppression. Their beautiful European architecture is interspersed with Soviet-era hulks of shabby concrete. Young Lithuanians are fueling the country’s renaissance with humor and energy and art. The older generations, kerchief-wearing old ladies and leathery-faced men in sweaters, are the survivors who have endured grim years of war and Soviet rule. Lithuania has been through the fire again and again, and its people have nonetheless held on to their unique identity for many hundreds of years. By contrast, the worst tribulation to befall us here in Edmonds of late has been this Five Corners traffic circle that no one seems happy about.

I admit that, yes, it’s a stretch to compare an ancient European capital to our old overgrown mill town here in Edmonds. But whenever I go abroad and see something I greatly admire, I want to bring it home and apply it. I want to enrich my community. Isn’t that, ultimately, why many of us travel?

In so many ways, downtown Edmonds is the heart of our city. While we will probably never have a giant egg statue of our own, we do have more than enough boutiques. We have enough jewelers and galleries and upscale eateries. Now it’s up to us to defend the little pockets of quirkiness that, so far, have survived the push towards manicured, bland uniformity. The Edmonds shopping experience is about as complete as it’s ever going to get. The small town atmosphere could use some work. And you know that empty storefront where Red Petal used to be? (RIP. Red Petal, those cupcakes were great.) If you ask me, that would be the perfect spot for a cat cafÃ.

By Elijah Garrard

Elijah Garrard was born and raised in Edmonds. He is a graduate of Edmonds-Woodway High School and Bowdoin College. He writes about travel, people, and curious goings-on in his monthly column.

31 August
Comments Off on Building strong marriages

Building strong marriages

Most Americans consider marriage an important goal in their lives. In fact, more than 90 percent of adults will marry at least once in their lifetime. About half of these marriages will indeed last a lifetime. Almost all marriages start with adults who are committed to making the marriage last, but relationships change as life pressures become greater.

Research indicates that most successful marriages have key characteristics in common, namely high levels of positivism, empathy, commitment, acceptance, love and respect.

Successful marriages are based on positive thoughts and actions. This does not mean that marriages are void of any negativity. Feelings and thoughts that are not discussed and resolved can lead to frustration and hostility. There must be a balance between positive and negative actions. Positive interactions may include being affectionate, taking pride and joy in each other’s achievements, and listening attentively to each other.

Empathy means understanding and identifying with another’s feelings and seeing another person’s perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes.

Both spouses must commit to the relationship for a marriage to thrive. To find satisfaction in a marriage, spouses need to be concerned for each other. Sometimes this may mean that one has to sacrifice some of his or her own needs for the sake of the marriage.

Everyone needs, and wants, to be accepted and to feel valued and respected. Change is often resisted when force is used. However, if spouses respect each other’s differences and accept each other, marriages have a better chance of success.

All marriages will experience some type of conflict. Common areas of conflict include money, in-laws, sex and children. The success of any marriage depends on how skillfully couples handle these conflicts.

Ideas for effective marital communication:

* Try to understand what your spouse is feeling when he/she talks to you.

* Let your spouse know that you understand what he/she means by giving both verbal and nonverbal feedback.

* Be aware that nonverbal communication can be very powerful. Facial expressions or body posture should be positive.

* Try not to make judgmental comments or jump to conclusions before the other person is finished speaking.

* Be respectful of the other person’s perspectives, even if you do not agree with them.

* Really listen to your spouse to show that you value his or her opinions and ideas.

* To make conversation easier, make sure there are no distractions. Talk when the children are gone, turn off the television and do not answer the phone in order to avoid interruptions.

* Communicate clearly and directly so you are understood.

* Focus on your own feelings when speaking and try not to guess what your spouse is thinking.

Creating a strong marriage is challenging, but a lifelong commitment is worth the hard work and determination.

31 August
Comments Off on Full Coverage Car Insurance by State Agencies Now Quoted for American …

Full Coverage Car Insurance by State Agencies Now Quoted for American …

PR Web

New York, NY (PRWEB) August 23, 2014

Sorting through prices for different automobile insurance prices can be difficult for a person who still relies on making telephone calls to review policy data. The Quotes Pros company is now helping to quote full coverage car insurance by state using its open tools at http://quotespros.com/auto-insurance.html.

A bigger and more defined list of agencies that are available in the US to prepare price data has been added to the instant finder tool now available. The motorists who plan to use this system for research this year will be greeted with affordable policies that are now promoted nationally by zip code.

Getting the most value for an insurance policy is one of the ways that drivers can make sure that the right amount of coverage is available if an accident occurs, said one Quotes Pros rep.

The full coverage automobile insurance quotes that are being prepared and delivered electronically this year are made possible by new insurers. The inclusion of a new variety of companies has enhanced the standard system in use since last year to review rates information.

Any driver can use our system to find out the prices for liability, collision, SR22, collector and other plans that are important for motorists, said the rep.

The Quotes Pros company is expected to continue offering free access to its price finder tools this year as more agencies are being included in the database. Instead of limiting the system to auto industry providers, consumers also have the option to review policies from life or health providers at http://quotespros.com/health-insurance.html.

About QuotesPros.com

The QuotesPros.com company is one national company that is helping the public to save cash during the purchase of an insurance policy. A database is now part of the tools that are open and usable by the public daily. The QuotesPros.com company is now a national provider of quotes that are independently offered by agencies in the US and new providers are being added inside of the consumer accessible search platform weekly.

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/full-coverage-car/insurance-quotes-rates-us/prweb12117060.htm

31 August
Comments Off on Higi and Stayhealthy team up in kiosk consolidation

Higi and Stayhealthy team up in kiosk consolidation

Health kiosk startup higi has merged with Stayhealthy, another mobile health company that also has a health kiosk business. The two announced the merger last week. The new company will apparently still be known as higi. Higis Jeff Bennett will stay on as CEO, while Stayhealthy CEO John Collins will take on the role of Vice Chairman and Director of Innovation.

Our ultimate goal is to promote and develop a collaborative approach to healthcare between physicians, providers, payers, employers and individuals, Bennet said in a statement. By leveraging Stayhealthy’s innovative algorithms, advanced testing methods, and screening technologies, we get one step closer to achieving this goal through access to high-tech data. There is a great synergy between our products, services and passion for providing quality healthcare screening and engaging individuals to take control of their health.”

Stayhealthy has been around since 1995, but has been in the digital health space since at least 2009, when the startups focus was on standalone health devices for the mass market as well as health tracking iPhone applications. The companys main mission statement has to do with going beyond BMI to provide customers with a way to assess the healthiness of their weight based on body fat percentage, body composition, and hydration.

In 2011, the company pivoted into the kiosk business, incorporating their body composition sensor technology into a design they developed with IBM in the late 90s.

What is unique in the Stayhealthy HealthCenter approach goes beyond the kiosk hardware, Collins said at the time. Anyone can make a blood pressure machine or health station. Its the science and research behind the solution, and our bundling of both the hardware and software technologies into a HIPAA and ADA-compliant, Web-enabled and user friendly total wellness management system that is unique. This is what the average consumer is looking for in todays consumer-driven healthcare environment.

Stayhealthy had major deals to put kiosks in Kroger grocery stores, Supervalu supermarkets, and Albertsons drug stores, while higi was previously rolled out in 2,000 stores including Whole Foods, CVS, and Rite Aid. The newly merged company will have 6,000 kiosks, with contracts for 10,000 by the beginning of 2015. In a statement, higi indicated that Stayhealthys strength is in the accuracy of its novel clinical measurements, while higi brings an engaging, rewards-based user experience to the table.

“Bringing the two companies together makes great strategic sense and expands our influence in the market,” Collins said in a statement. “By combining our different technologies and resources, we can offer a best in class, next generation product. Higi’s engagement platform makes tracking your health simple, fun and rewarding. This merged with our clinical-quality health measurement technology is a win-win for the end user.”

While Stayhealthy is nearly two decades old, higi just launched last year at SXSW in Austin, Texas. Backed by serial entrepreneur Michael Ferro and hip hop artist Lupe Fiasco, the company quickly gained traction. It acquired rewards and challenge platform Earndit in December.

31 August
Comments Off on Panjab University B.Ed Correspondence Course: Admissions 2014 open

Panjab University B.Ed Correspondence Course: Admissions 2014 open

Admissions for the B.Ed correspondence course at Panjab University, Chandigarh has commenced for in-service teachers conducted by university school of open learning. Candidates who are interested and eligible should apply in prescribed format before August 8, 2014.

Course name: B.Ed. Semester System (Correspondence) 2014-16 for working teachers

Eligibility criteria

       (A) Teaching experience

  •  For 500 seats: (for Punjab amp; Chandigarh)
    The candidate should be teacher in a recognized school /+2 level institution located in the State of Punjab and Union Territory, Chandigarh, and having two years teaching experience as on April 30, 2014 shall be eligible for admission to B.Ed. semester course.
  • For 300 seats: (for all India including Punjab amp; Chandigarh) The candidate should be a teacher in a recognized school/ +2 level institution in any part of India including the State of Punjab and Union Territory, Chandigarh, and having two years teaching experience as on April 30, 2014, shall be eligible for admission to B.Ed. semester course.

Please Note: A candidate shall be considered eligible only if he/she produces a teaching experience certificate at the time of counseling.

       (B) Educational Qualifications for admission

  • A candidate should have a bachelor’s degree of this university or any other recognized university with at least 50% aggregate marks, and that the candidate has offered at least two school subjects at the first degree level.
    OR
  • A candidate should have a MA or M.Sc. or M.Sc. (Hons. School) or M.Com. degree of this university or any other recognized university with a minimum of 50% aggregate marks, with a combination of at least two school subjects at the first degree and postgraduate degree level.
    OR
  • A candidate should have a BA degree of the university through modern Indian Languages and English only examinations, in which case the aggregate of 50% marks shall be calculated by considering the marks obtained in English and the elective subjects taken together.
    OR
  • A candidate should have any other qualification recognized as equivalent to (i), (ii) or (iii) above.

Selection process

The admissions will be based on the merit prepared by considering the marks obtained in the qualifying examination.

Application process

The application process for this course is online. Interested candidates can click following link to register online: http://usoladmissions.puchd.ac.in/index.php. For additional information please refer the official website.

Image courtesy:Wikimedia Commons

30 August
Comments Off on Faulkner Academy of Arts announces artistic director of Conway theater

Faulkner Academy of Arts announces artistic director of Conway theater

CONWAY — Texas singer/actor Michael Dean “Doc” Cato, who has performed on stage in cities from New York City to Las Vegas, will now utilize his experience in musical theater at the Conway Dinner Theater.

He is the new artistic director of the Conway Dinner Theater, which is sponsored by the Faulkner Academy of Arts. He will also teach classes in voice and junior repertory theater at the academy.

Cato graduated from Sam Houston State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in musical theater and has 25 years’ experience as a performer. For several years, he was the lead singer for the Glen Dorsey Orchestra in the Dallas area.

Cato will teach a workshop, The Art of Audition, from 4-7:30 pm Thursday and again Sept. 4, at the Faulkner Academy of Arts, 2201 Washington Ave. The workshop is designed for young people 10 to 18.

“The workshop is absolutely free,” Cato said, adding that the workshop is designed to prepare young actors and singers for auditions. To enroll, or for more information, call (501) 339-7401 or email faulknerarts@yahoo.com.

Following the workshop, auditions will be held for the junior repertory theater, with its classes beginning in September and culminating with a full-fledged production in November.

“We will teach every aspect of production,” Cato said. “We will teach everything from auditioning to acting methods, stage combat, and set construction and design. It will be hands-on training in all aspects of putting on a production.”

Cato said the Faulkner Academy of Arts has a lot of voice and piano students, “but not everyone is a singer or piano player. We hope to attract those who would love to get on stage.

“Hopefully, this will be an ongoing class with the goal of getting one production, maybe even two productions, on stage per semester,” he said.

Joan Hanna, director of the Faulkner Academy of Arts, said she is “excited to have Dean on board to really take the dinner theater to a whole new level.

“We are already increasing the number of weekends that shows are available,” Hanna said. “Dean has already expressed the desire to increase the number of shows and to plan a season at one time. That translates to season tickets and more savings for our patrons.

“On the teaching end, Dean’s experience on a professional level in the Dallas area brings much-needed knowledge and practical skills to the studio. He’ll be teaching voice and junior repertory theater.

“I am so looking forward to seeing junior rep grow. I have been searching for five years for a person with a theater/music background who sees the necessity of teaching stage skills that culminate in a stage production. I guess that’s the musician in me.

“What good is taking lessons and not performing, or performing and not taking the time to really develop the skills you need?”

Originally from Snyder, Texas, Cato has been in Conway for approximately two years. He is a graduate of Renewal Ranch, a faith-based rehabilitation program for men with addictions. He is the praise and worship leader at the Perry County facility.

“I fell in love with the community,” Cato said. “The people here are so family oriented. They are good people.”

Cato said he always wanted to have a career in music.

“I come from a family of singers,” he said. “I was singing before I could talk.”

His mother has a band in Texas, and his sister is an opera singer and teaches voice in Houston, Texas.

“I come by it naturally,” he said with a smile.

Cato said most people call him “Doc.”

“That’s a nickname I got when I was in college,” he said. “One of my professors asked me what my name was, and I said, ‘Michael Dean.’ He asked what I went by and I said, ‘Either one.’ He said, ‘Michael Dean … MD … Doc,’ and it stuck.”

Cato has two adult sons, Joseph, 23, who is a musician in Fort Worth, Texas, and

Clayton, 21, who is stationed with the Marines at Twentynine Palms, California.

“Ideally, I want to help Conway Dinner Theater have an ongoing program for kids by developing the junior repertory theater and by establishing a regular full season of six productions a year at the theater,” Cato said. “We will take it a little bit by little bit.”

Cato said he believes Conway is “just the right size for a dinner theater. We just need to get enough folks to realize we are here.

“Where else can you go for dinner and a show for $27.50? What a fun evening that would be.”

Cato will also be involved in marketing and fundraising, going into the community to find corporate sponsorships.

Cato said the Conway Dinner Theater is seeking a corporate producer (sponsor) and benefactors for the theater’s next production, Wait Until Dark, a play by Frederick Knott that was first performed on Broadway in 1966. The play was later adapted as a film starring Audrey Hepburn.

Local auditions for Wait Until Dark will be held Saturday; call (501) 339-7401 for an appointment. The cast includes six men, one woman and one girl, who should look about 12.

Conway Dinner Theater will present Wait Until Dark on Oct. 17, 18, 24, 25, 31 and Nov. 1. Tickets will be available soon at www.faulkneracademyofarts.org.