Awards Honor Mental Health Professionals

Many people with severe mental illness are able to contribute to their communities as working, active individuals – if they’re given the opportunity. Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding many mental health conditions can prevent patients from fully reintegrating into society through competitive jobs, independent living and the ability to function within social circles.

Eli Lilly and Company, a corporation with a growing portfolio of pharmaceutical products, is sympathetic to the difficulties these individuals face. For this reason, the company created the Lilly Reintegration Awards, which honor treatment teams, programs and services that assist those with severe mental illness as they re-enter the community, as well as individuals with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia who provide hope and support to their peers. The awards are now in their 14th year.

Do Travel Web Sites Offer the Best Bargains?

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Before Americans hop aboard planes, they go online. According to the U.S. Travel Association, the Internet was the nation’s top-ranking source of travel information in 2009. Between travel agency Web sites and search engines, Americans saw little reason to call travel agencies or airlines. But do travel Web sites really offer the best deals?

Many Web sites offer ridiculously low prices at first glance, like a $99 flight from New York City to London. But the price you see might not include taxes and other fees, which can increase costs quickly. In a 2004 Consumer Reports Webwatch research report, testers experienced repeated fare-jumping — the largest jump increased the ticket price by $748.

Would-be travelers might also click on a good deal, only to find that, by the time they enter their information, the seat is no longer available. Travelers might also spend hours online comparison-shopping, only to find the best prices gone by the time they go to book. Others might struggle to find a reasonable price on the return flight. What is going on?

“When you’re buying a ticket online, your seats aren’t confirmed until you enter your credit card information, so the seat can be lost while you type,” explains John Ferry, CEO of CheapTrips (www.cheaptripsandfreeairfare.com). “However, if you’re on the phone with one of our agents, they secure the price as they talk to you on the phone. You’re always better off speaking to a person.”

Travel agents can also compare prices far faster than the average computer user — often closing deals within five minutes — and advise travelers on hidden fees, like those on checked-baggage.

Ferry says that many Web sites do not publish the best prices. Airlines frequently offer less expensive, wholesale tickets that cannot be sold online. “Our travel representatives and vendors buy these confidential tickets in bulk, then sell them to our customers for less than online ticket prices.”

If you’re determined to book your flight online, look for travel Web sites that offer flexible booking — many tickets cannot be refunded, even if you find a better deal. For example, CheapTrips not only lets its members cancel trips, but also offers a full money-back guarantee if the customer finds a lower price within 24 hours. The Web site also offers free trips every day, which are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

You should also make sure that you know what’s included in the ticket price. CheapTrips offers benefits like emergency funds or emergency tickets home, while others give you nothing more than a seat on a plane.

To learn more, call 800-383-7708 or visit www.cheaptripsandfreeairfare.com.

From Burnt Out to Behind the Burner

Many Americans in unrewarding careers are choosing to enter new fields as unemployment rates continue to soar. Forced from longtime positions in some of the nation’s largest industries, men and women alike are making the jump into the world of professional cooking as they trade pinstripes for chef whites.

Culinary arts and pastry career programs attract students of all ages and professional backgrounds, according to the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City.  Everyone from former Wall Street bankers to marketing managers to talented kids out of high school or college, all of whom are looking to switch careers in the rocky economy.

From Burnt Out to Behind the Burner

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Many Americans in unrewarding careers are choosing to enter new fields as unemployment rates continue to soar. Forced from longtime positions in some of the nation’s largest industries, men and women alike are making the jump into the world of professional cooking as they trade pinstripes for chef whites.

“Our culinary arts and pastry career programs have been attracting students of all ages and professional backgrounds,” said Rick Smilow, president of the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. “We have everyone from former Wall Street bankers to marketing managers to talented kids out of high school or college, all of whom are looking to switch careers in the rocky economy.”

But a diploma from a leading culinary school doesn’t only lend itself to a position as a chef. More and more culinary school graduates are using their degrees to enter the fields of hospitality, food media and personal start-ups from coast to coast. Professionally trained chefs can go on to command kitchens or boardrooms, which allows them to dip into an industry driven by their passion rather than economic gains.

“Our students go on to work in some of the top restaurants in the country,” Smilow said. “But they aren’t all working directly as chefs; a lot of them get involved in fields like research and development at major food brands, work in food media or are entrepreneurs building food businesses.”

The rise of culinary school enrollments may signal an oncoming tidal wave of career-changers, as economic woes leave many with a desire to start new in an industry once only considered a dream job. So while the economy may be down, attitudes will be up as more and more Americans find happiness in the world of food.

For more information, visit www.iceculinary.com.

Children Create Posters for Peace

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – When Yennie Shyu, a 12-year-old from San Jose, Calif., tried to visualize peace, she immediately thought of e-mail.

“In this age, technology and computers are very popular, so I thought about combining technology and e-mail with spreading the message of peace and love,” said Shyu, whose poster, which depicts little girls e-mailing olive branch-carrying doves, won the 21st Lions Clubs International Peace Poster Contest.

Shyu describes the image as “little fingers typing big messages, spreading love and peace worldwide.”

Shyu’s poster, which was selected from 350,000 entries from 70 countries, portrays the theme “Peace Begins With Me.” As the grand prize winner, Shyu received a trip to New York City for a special award ceremony during Lions Day with the United Nations.

“Lions in many nations have embraced the Peace Poster Contest as a hands-on way to promote peace and to support the young people in their communities,” said Lions Clubs International President Al Brandel. “The contest is another example of Lions being everyday heroes in reaching out and listening to the young people of this world.”

During the past two decades, more than 4 million children from ages 11 through 13 have artistically shared their visions for peace through the Lions International Peace Poster Contest. Lions clubs sponsor the contest in schools and organized youth programs. The contest provides an outlet for children and adults to discuss the meaning of world peace while visually portraying their feelings. Now entering its 22nd year, the contest has been held in more than 100 countries.

“It takes energy and even courage to live in peace,” said Remi Delanghe, a merit award winner from Belgium. “It’s something you need to work on every day in order to be able to create and maintain it.”

Winners have come from all across the globe to share their visions of peace. “Peace is something big and marvelous, full of happiness to be achieved from our own homes and in the heart of each human being,” said Ana Stephanie Rosero Morales from Peru, a merit award winner.

The 24 finalist peace posters will be exhibited during the year at children’s museums and various locations throughout the United States. Visit www.lionsclubs.org to view posters and send e-cards.

Aging Cats’ Nutritional Needs Change After Age 11

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – America’s most popular pet, the cat, lives more than half of its life in the senior years. Although advances in veterinary care, better nutrition and better educated owners have helped improve the quantity and quality of these years, studies reveal that senior cats continue to struggle with weight as the result of reduced activity levels and a steady decline in senses, nutrient absorption and fat digestion.

“One of the most important goals when feeding senior cats is maintaining an ideal weight and keeping that weight stable,” said Dr. Arnold Plotnick, who developed a senior wellness program to address the special needs of aging cats at his veterinary clinic, Manhattan Cat Specialists in New York City.

Owners of senior cats can help their aging felines maintain an ideal body weight throughout the senior lifestage by feeding a diet that addresses their unique nutritional needs. Purina Pro Plan, for instance, has reformulated its entire line of senior cat foods to address the changing nutritional needs of aging cats in two different phases of the senior lifestage: ages 7 to 11 (mature) and 11 and up (senior).

As cats age, there’s a gradual decline in the body’s ability to repair itself, maintain normal body functions and adapt to stresses in the environment. Disease and weight changes are common throughout the senior lifestage.

Cats are more likely to face weight gain during the mature years when activity level declines and metabolism slows. But around age 11, weight loss becomes a greater concern.

The 11-plus years are particularly problematic for cats because their sense of smell and taste often diminish at this time, which affects their interest in food. The ability to absorb key nutrients and digest fat declines, making eating itself less efficient.

The undesirable result is that more food passes through as waste and less is used for energy, causing a drop in lean muscle mass and body fat that leads to potentially harmful weight loss.

In addition to providing the proper diet, owners of senior cats should pay close attention to their cats’ activity levels, weight, and eating, grooming and elimination habits and report anything new or different to their veterinarian.

Though many of these changes are a normal part of aging, others may signal a more serious problem. Scheduling veterinary visits at least twice a year is good practice during the senior years as many potentially serious conditions are treatable if caught early.