Thursday, September 28, 2017

Ideas, Actions, and Inspiration for a Better Tomorrow - September 28 Edition

Heroes, Vietnam War

"In writing my preview of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s epic 10-part documentary The Vietnam War, which is now airing on PBS and streaming on the network’s app, I couldn’t stop thinking about one particular figure who reappears throughout the series: an eloquent, soft-spoken veteran named John Musgrave. In recent days and weeks, I have learned, other viewers and professional reviewers have found Musgrave equally captivating. Why? Take heed that some big spoilers lie ahead in the next paragraph, if you haven’t yet watched the full series.

It isn’t only that Musgrave is able to vividly summon the fear and pain he experienced as an 18-year-old Marine serving in Con Thien in 1967, but also that he underwent a profound evolution after suffering grievous wounds and then coming home to an America that was in no mood to honor its veterans. As the documentary advances, Musgrave, who grew up in a Missouri town where his father and his neighbors were revered for their World War II service, retreats into depression, considers suicide, and ultimately evolves into an anti-war activist and member of the organization Vietnam Veterans Against the War (V.V.A.W.). One of the series’ most dramatic moments comes in a later episode, when a bearded, long-haired protester first glimpsed in a still near the very top of Episode 1 is revealed to be the formerly clean-cut Musgrave: a transformed man.

For my V.F. article, I spoke by phone earlier this year with Musgrave, who now lives outside of Lawrence, Kansas, and has published volumes of poetry about his wartime experiences. Here are some previously unpublished excerpts from our conversation, about the documentary, his life, and the pride Musgrave still takes, despite everything, in having served as a Marine in Vietnam."

Puerto Rico, Hurricane Maria, Disaster Assistance

"Royal Caribbean, which operates cruise ships and tours around the world, canceled a voyage so that its ship can help with recovery efforts on the Caribbean islands devastated by Hurricane Maria. 

Royal Caribbean announced Wednesday that it will cancel its Adventure of the Seas cruise, which was scheduled to depart from San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Sept. 30 and sail to various islands in the Caribbean, to free up the cruise liner to dock in ports in San Juan and on the U.S. Virgin Islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix to aid in relief efforts.

The ship will bring donated supplies to each port and bring evacuees from the islands to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, ahead of ship’s next scheduled cruise on Oct. 6.

The company said it will give full refunds to the customers who were booked on the Sept. 30 cruise, including for payments for onshore activities. On top of that, Royal Caribbean will offer a 25 percent cruise credit for those who rebook trips within 30 days." 

Opioids, Addiction

"The gravest public health emergency in America has hit Brumage’s home state hard, with the nation’s highest drug overdose rate that claimed nearly 900 lives last year.

Brumage, executive director and health officer of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, runs a harm-reduction program that includes overseeing a clean needle exchange for opioid users. It’s powered not with federal or state dollars, but with donations, grants and volunteers. In just over two years, it has grown as large as a similar program run by the city of Baltimore after 20 years ― serving some 3,700 patients.

People enrolled in a harm-reduction program are five times more likely to go into recovery than if they’re not a part of it, he said.

And while the challenge is immense, Brumage ― who also serves as assistant dean at the West Virginia University School of Public Health among other social positions ― has pushed ahead with his innovative approach to a stark crisis.

“I’m convinced based on the evidence that syringe service programs, as part of a larger harm-reduction program, are really one of the major solutions to dealing with the epidemic,” Brumage said. “So in the syringe service program, of course, what we’re trying to do is avoid becoming the next Scott County, Indiana, where they had over 200 cases of HIV in about a year.”"

Child Care, Work

"When workers have access to affordable, high-quality child care, they are less likely to experience unplanned absences, which reduce productivity and hurt an employer’s bottom line. These absences aren’t negligible, either. A 2017 survey reported that 21% of households with at least one working parent reported being absent from work in the last three months. Some employers even provide child care on premises as a way to keep productivity high and as a recruitment tool.

With access to child care, they’re also less likely to drop out of the workforce entirely, which is a tremendous expense for employers. For most workers, it costs approximately 20% of salary to replace a lost employee. That’s significant whether you’re a small or large business.

We also know that investing in high-quality early learning now will pay off in the long run for our future workforce. In fact, high-quality child care has been shown to have positive impacts on children’s cognitive and social developments, leading to better outcomes in school and later in life.  When I ran the YMCA of Greater Miami, countless parents from our child care program would share with me how much more prepared their child was for kindergarten than many of the other children in the class."

Business, Email Etiquette

"If you're brand spanking new to the professional world, there are hundreds of perfectly good lists of email etiquette tips out there, reminding you to do basic things like proofread, keep it brief, and use a short, sensible subject line. This list is not one of those.

This list is for people who have been firing off emails for years, who have not only long ago banished excessive exclamation points and long-winded asks, but have even mastered the dark art of the subtle email clapback and figured out how to pack even complicated communication into a tight, five-line missive.

But even email pros sometimes make mistakes. They're not just the "reply all" disasters of the less experienced (or less cautious). Instead, they're usually errors of context, timing, or empathy, like these below, that can lead to misunderstandings, hurt feelings, or blown deals."

No comments: