Ameritech New Media, the nations largest competitive cable company, recently extended its reach into a 15th city in the Cleveland area. Independence city officials unanimously voted to open the door to local cable television competition, setting the stage for a battle between Ameritech New Media and Cablevision for the communitys 2,500 households.
Leaders of Brecksville, Garfield Heights and Valley View voted to allow the Cleveland-based cable competitor into their cities earlier this summer. Expect the trend to continue. Ameritech New Media is currently negotiating with a dozen other Northeast Ohio cities.
If I had a hammer
Cleveland-based www.callacontractor.com (Call A Contractor.com) is hoping to become the Internets one-stop resource for home and business owners looking to hire professional contractors for remodeling or construction work. The site lists all known contractors in the United States and can be searched using a wealth of different variables. For a fee, of course, the site offers banner advertisements and Web development packages to contractors.
Employment ups and downs
After several years of robust employment growth, it appears the number of new jobs created each month is decreasing, says the National Retail Federation. The economy generated an average of 280,000 jobs a month in 1999, 240,000 a month in 1998 and 196,000 a month so far this year, according to figures supplied by the organization.
The last several years of employment growth pushed the unemployment rate to a 29-year low of 4.2 percent in May. However, wage increases have remained tame, despite the ever-tightening labor market. During 1999, wages have increased just 3.6 percent compared to the year before. In 1998, wages were accelerating at a rate of more than 4 percent. However, there is concern that as the labor pool dwindles, wage pressures will build.
The Cleveland office of the law firm Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP won a victory in U.S. district court that has important implications for the nations solid waste transporters. The firm successfully defended Waste Management of Ohio Inc. against allegations that a company it merged with disposed hazardous substances in a county incinerator prior to the merger.
VSSP lawyers argued the company was not liable under federal guidelines because use of the site was dictated by local ordinance. For solid waste transporters, the decision means if they do not have a choice about where to dispose of hazardous and nonhazardous waste due to a local flow control ordinance, they are not liable for clean-up of the site.
The benefits of the best
Special benefits plans to help attract top executives are now commonplace in corporate America. William M. Mercer Inc. recently surveyed 241 companies to analyze and study how they handled it. Among the nonqualified executive benefits covered in the survey were defined benefit, defined contribution, elective compensation deferral, life insurance, long-term disability and medical plans. Here are the results:
With an increasing portion of executives retirement income expected to come from nonqualified plans, almost half the surveyed companies led by mid-sized firms have moved to fund their executive benefit plans.
About half the companies require executive benefit plan participants to have pay of at least $160,000, the current federal limit for purposes of calculating retirement benefits.
More than half the employers surveyed include change-in-control provisions in their plans, typically providing for accelerated vesting of benefits or either immediate lump sum payments or accelerated funding.
Copies of Mercers Survey on Executive Benefit Plans are available at no charge by calling (800) Mercer9 or visiting Mercer online at www.wmmercer.com/us-news.
Health care in cyberspace
Medical Mutual of Ohio has created SaveWell.com Inc., an Internet-focused subsidiary that will market a variety of health-related products and services to help offset rising health care costs. Ben Zelman, Medical Mutuals vice president of Care Management, will lead the new operation as president and chief operating officer.
Zelman says the virtual company will allow consumers to save money on health care services and products not typically covered by insurance. In June, Medical Mutual began offering its first product available through the SaveWell card, a prescription drug program that for $52 a year entitles customers to Medical Mutuals discounts on brand new and generic prescription drugs at participating pharmacies.
Medical Mutual says the card program is being developed to eventually include discount networks for vision care, dental care, alternative health treatments and nutritional supplements. For more information, visit www.savewell.com.
A few facts about women in business
There are nearly 8 million women-owned businesses in the United States, with that number rapidly growing as women start businesses at twice the rate of the general population, according to the American Business Womens Association. In fact, 74 percent of corporate women indicate they are interested in eventually starting their own business.
Women-owned businesses generate $2.3 trillion in annual sales and employ one out of every four U.S. workers 18.5 million employees. The ABWA recently sent out the figures as part of a membership drive for its 11,000-member national organization. For more information, visit www.abwahq.org.
Changing of the guard
The Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce elected Yvonne Sanderson as its new board president. Sanderson, who was the organizations executive director for seven years, wanted to continue her involvement with the chamber as she grows her two businesses, Focal Pane Photography and Nightwak Signs, a business she owns with her husband. The HRCC represents Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, Richmond Heights, University Heights, Lyndhurst and South Euclid and has served the local business community since 1948.
Shopping for a new system
When shopping for business information systems, there are three things PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the worlds largest professional services firm, suggests you consider. The first is specificity. It sounds simple, but make sure the equipment you are buying can actually perform the functions you need it to. Develop as-is models to chart how cash flow, invoices and purchases are handled to be included in proposals sent to vendors.
Secondly, the system must be flexible enough that each person in your organization can access the information needed to complete assigned tasks. It is crucial its capabilities are matched by the comfort of the people using it.
Finally, as businesses put valuable information online to interface with vendors or allow access to staff at diverse physical locations, security becomes paramount. Make sure there are adequate security measures for any information system you purchase, especially if proprietary information relating to your companys competitive edge is at stake.
A Sunday sundae
In an effort to jump on the bandwagon of good feelings surrounding the return of the Cleveland Browns, Pierres French Ice Cream Co. has created Brownie Touchdown Sundae a mix of chunks of chocolate brownies, fudge sauce and roasted pecans. Hopefully, the Browns season will be as sweet.
Let me talk to my lawyer first
In a society which seems ever more litigious, perhaps a backlash has begun. A survey conducted by Roper Starch Worldwide Inc. for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found that many Americans oppose the trend toward government-sponsored litigation that targets legal businesses.
When asked how they felt about lawsuit s against gun manufacturers that hold them responsible for crimes committed with their products, 68 percent strongly or somewhat opposed the action. Only 19 percent strongly or somewhat favored the suits.
Now if the only the government would listen to the people.
Leaders on the cutting edge
More than 1,200 individuals and companies involved in software development, contracting or consulting in Cleveland now have a way to recognize leaders in the field. The Northeast Ohio Software Association (NEOSA), a private industry trade association formed in 1998 by the Greater Cleveland Growth Association, has established the regions first awards to acknowledge excellence in what has been dubbed the knowledge industry. The first annual Cleveland-Area Knowledge Industry Awards will be presented by NEOSA Nov. 11.
Electronic taxes, part one
More than 1 million Ohioans filed individual income tax returns electronically last season, putting Ohio second only to California among all 50 states. This includes telephone filing and E-File, a new program allowing citizens to submit returns from a personal computer for the first time. Taxpayers were able to use their personal computers and tax preparation software to file their 1998 tax returns electronically from home, or have their taxes filed by an authorized electronic filing provider. Approximately 13 percent of the 5 million Ohio tax returns were filed using the E-File method.
Electronic taxes, part two
Created by Congress in October 1998 as part of the Internet Tax Freedom Act, a 19-member Commission has been charged with studying the impact of federal, state, local, and international taxation and tariffs on transactions using the Internet and Internet access. Central to the examination of these issues is the fact that the Internet knows no geographical boundaries, and, by its very nature, violates those geographical boundaries that hinder other forms of commerce. The commission is also expected to analyze the implications for personal privacy implicit in the taxation of Internet purchases. Recommendations are due in to Congress no later than April 21, 2000.
Y2 not OK
The Y2K budget at many large nonfinancial companies has quintupled during the first part of the year, according to a study by Weiss Ratings Inc. The belief is that management may have vastly underestimated the scope of the millennium bug. USX-U.S. Steel Group, for example, nearly doubled its budget to $71 million. Due to its slender Y2K budget, and because it had barely used 50 percent of its 1998 budget by the end of the first quarter, the company received a low rating. Other Fortune 1000 companies which have received low ratings for their Y2K preparedness include Intel, Comcast and 3Com. If youre not ready, at least youre in good company. For ratings of other companies visit www.weissratings.com.
Commercial National Financial Corp. of Latrobe has renamed its bank subsidiary Commercial National Bank of Pennsylvania.
Pittsburgh-employment.com is offering postings on its Web site to both businesses and job seekers. Job seekers can post their resumes online at no charge. Interested employers can view their qualifications, but full disclosure of resumes will not occur without the job seekers permission. Recruiters can search the bank of resumes at no charge for qualified candidates and can post job openings for free.
WTW Architects has been selected to design the $5 million Western Pennsylvania Surgery Center to be located in Pine Township. The project will include four operating rooms, a mobile MRI facility, examination and treatment rooms, physicians offices and support areas. Parking for 142 cars will also be provided.
Carnegie Mellon University and the Community College of Allegheny County are combining efforts to provide an opportunity for CCAC students to earn certificates in software systems development and computer programming from CMU.
The agreement allows CCAC students to earn college credits toward a degree from CCAC and to access Carnegie Mellons latest Web-based information technology courses for $68 a credit. Students who pass the required courses will receive grades from CCAC and certification from Carnegie Technology Education Inc., a nonprofit subsidiary of Carnegie Mellon.
Desbow & Associates, a downtown Pittsburgh-based communications and design firm, has formed a market research division, Research Engine, that provides a wide variety of market research support for the firms marketing and public relations clients.
Landau Building Co. has been awarded the general construction contract from the Jelin Corp. for the Elephant & Castle Pub & Restaurant to be located in Grove City.
Batteries Plus, a national retail and business-to-business battery chain, has opened a franchise location on Library Road, Castle Shannon. The store offers battery testing, charging and installation, as well as designing of custom battery packs and conditioning of nickel cadmium batteries, which are used in a variety of cordless products. The store also serves as a recycling location for disposal of many types of batteries.
PWCampbell has been awarded the design/build contract by the Indiana County PA School Employees Federal Credit Union. The project is a 6,000-square-foot main office with two drive-up lanes, two private loan offices, a central file room, two conference rooms and an automated teller machine.
Kings Family Restaurants has opened a restaurant, the chains 33rd location, in Buffalo Plaza on South Pike Road in Sarver.
Winner International, the company that markets The Club vehicle anti-theft device, has formed Winners Club, an online network marketing company.
WTW Architects has been chosen to complete a two-story addition for the Green Tree Borough Municipal Center and Library. The $450,000 project will expand the librarys space by approximately 40 percent.
Just as it seemed the 20-month legal battle between Crystal Mortgage CEO David Moore and the city of Amherst over alleged unpaid taxes (chronicled in the October issue of SBN) would end with a whimper, more gasoline was thrown on the fire.
Apparently, Moore autographed copies of the SBN article and dropped them in the mailboxes of city officials, a move that prompted Amherst Law Director Alan Anderson to file a cease-and-desist order against Moore in Lorain County Common Pleas Court claiming the prominent local businessman was harassing him. Moore, who has already blown $100,000 in his fight against the city and a comprehensive political campaign against Anderson specifically, classified the court filing as pre-election shenanigans.
If he was trying to stir up some re-election support, it didnt work. Anderson was defeated at the November polls by Democrat challenger Kenneth Stumphauzer.
Fussy about Mrs. Hargrove
Mike Hargrove may have been sacked as manager of the Cleveland Indians, but Fussy Cleaners isnt necessarily going to follow suit with his wife, Sharon. At least not right away.
For much of this year, Mrs. Hargrove has put her sassy West Texas twang to good use as a radio and print pitch person for the Akron-based chain, which has 18 locations in four Northeastern Ohio counties. And President John Baraona says hes made no decision yet on whether shell remain in the marketing mix for next year, now that her husband has been hired by the Baltimore Orioles.
This is long-term, institutional advertising, he says. She doesnt say, Come on in. And, he points out, Sharon and I never talk about baseball.
Even the small warming to e-commerce
According to a study by California-based Sage Software, 29 percent of small and mid-sized companies with Web sites are doing some form of e-commerce. The survey was based on responses from 200 companies with between 10 and 500 employees. One mild surprise: just 9 percent of respondents think the Web is an effective promotional tool for them.
NAWBO cancels Net
Who says business owners never tire of learning more about the Internet? The Cleveland chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners was due to convene a gathering of members to hash over the topic Sept. 28. But the session was canceled, apparently because almost no one but SBN called to RSVP.
You probably wont be surprised to learn that when they cash out or otherwise retire, entrepreneurs often head for sunnier climates than Cleveland. The two most recent defectors to the Left Coast are Dan and Kate Krause and local ad veteran Dan Fitzsimmons.
Dan and Kate headed back to her native California after the couple sold to a consolidator the Internet Service Provider ExchangeNet that they had started with his brother Mike.
Fitzsimmons, a fixture in the ad agency world for 30 years, recently moved to Los Angeles with his wife to better peddle his idea for a cable TV channel devoted exclusively to puppies, The Puppy Channel. In earlier days, he was known for, among other things, helping take the Council of Smaller Enterprises from an unknown organization to a major powerhouse, in no small part because of savvy leveraging of its $1 million annual ad budget.
YPOers have all the fun
The Young Presidents Organization likes to think of itself as an elite gathering of young corporate leaders. Its educational tracks tackle serious subjects such as estate planning and personal security, but its members also like to have a little fun.
Thats precisely what the local chapter offered members with a couple of marquee events this year. In one, members got a chance to scrub into and observe first-hand various surgeries at the Cleveland Clinic. They also took part in a drill mounted by the Cleveland Police SWAT team, in which members, outfitted in night-vision goggles and 9 mm paintballs, tested their wits against imaginary bad guys. What are they going to do for an encore?
Tapping into valuable databases
Its touted as supporting the research efforts of full-time state and federal judges. Cleveland-based Loislaw.com Inc. (formerly Law Office Information Systems, Inc.) provides no-cost access to its state and federal law libraries via the Internet. State judges can receive a no-cost subscription to the law library of their state; federal judges can receive Internet access to U.S. reports, their applicable circuit court product.
So wheres the money being made? Judges can upgrade their free subscriptions to a half-price discount and receive access to all of Loislaw.coms state and federal law libraries available on the Web. Thats a windfall for all, considering that estimates say Loislaw.coms databases contain more than 5.5 million documents of federal and state law, continuing education materials and other legal information. Talk about leveraging the power and value of information.
A new cook in the mix
Last month, SBN featured two local entrepreneurs offering to solve one of the most important question any busy executive faces: Whats for dinner? Well, clear the plate for a third player. Cleveland chef Tim Powers rolled out a new service for health-conscious executives on the go with a company named, aptly enough, Whats for Dinner? Personal Chef Service. Salivating yet? If so, sample his wares at (216) 371-3133.
Microsoft crack down
After sweeping through Cleveland skewering computer companies selling pirated software, Microsoft is urging consumers and resellers to become familiar with the warning signs that can help identify counterfeit or illegal software.
Unwary customers who get a seemingly fantastic deal on their new, nicely loaded computer often end up having been duped, says Janice Block, corporate attorney for Microsoft. She warns to look out for prices too good to be true or software marked with messages like Academic price or for distribution with a new PC only. Finally, make sure software is properly licensed and comes with a certificate of authenticity.
Within the next five years, Microsoft expects to recoup $50 million in its software piracy crackdown, with half of that amount earmarked for donation to nonprofit organizations focusing on providing access to technology for disadvantaged communities. In 1998, Microsoft estimates software piracy caused losses to the U.S. economy totaling nearly $1 billion in taxes and more than 100,000 jobs.
A local buzz
Cleveland Today, a nonprofit organization dedicated to hyping all things Cleveland, and The Cleveland International press center, which assists foreign journalists in establishing contacts here, have jointly created a slick Web site www.clevelandtoday.org to help expand the reach of both groups. The Web site will also feature current and past issues of Dateline: Cleveland, a bimonthly magazine which reports on developments in Northeast Ohio and provides story pitches for foreign journalists considering giving Cleveland ink in their publications.
Coming to a checkout counter near you
The impulse buyer was never in more danger. NCR Corp. recently announced the creation of new software that allows for Web-based product promotion as customers are having their purchases tallied at the checkout.
Heres how it works: a small screen at the point of sale terminal rings up a customers purchases on one side. Meanwhile, product promotions, advertisements and event announcements are presented in a Web-based window on the other half of the screen.
There are enhancements to the system already in the works. Eventually, each purchase a customer makes will trigger a promotion for related or complementary merchandise, creating extra sales opportunities for the retailer while customers have their money or credit card in hand.
Cleveland State Universitys Advanced Manufacturing Center received a $190,000 grant from the SME Education Foundation to develop a Manufacturing Discovery Laboratory that will train teachers as manufacturing ambassadors and introduce middle-school students to career possibilities in manufacturing and engineering.
The laboratory will have 18 fully networked computers equipped with manufacturing design software, along with other equipment that integrates math, science, engineering and manufacturing concepts. Summer camp programs for seventh, eighth and ninth grade students are in place and the laboratory is expected to be fully operational by September 2000. Talk about molding a work force.
Even the best laid plans ...
After generating $5 million in capital in a little more than 90 days, Buckeye Community Bank executives anticipated fairly smooth sailing to their self-imposed Sept. 1 opening date. But never underestimate the power of Y2K and governmental red tape. Buckeye Community Bank President George Mayer (featured in the September issue of SBN) warned that making sure all of the banks vendors were Y2K compliant and waiting for state approval may take a little longer than expected. He was right. However, the bank did open its doors at 105 Sheffield Center in Lorain Oct. 18, just 48 days after its Sept. 1 goal.
A new e-commerce site for the grade school set? Chris Goodin and Jack Haas, Cleveland entrepreneurs, are banking on the concept of an interactive Web site for kids ages 3 to 12 www.readyeddiego.com where parents can purchase learning products only available online.
But what is any product that appeals to kids without a mascot? Enter Internet Eddie. Described by Haas as a big green lizard guy that can be a friend a role model and lead, Internet Eddie will be a childs new icon-of-the-week. A costumed Internet Eddie will be making the rounds at schools, libraries and hospitals to push the companys learning is fun theme.
In the early years, Internet Eddie is soft and safe, says Haas. In the middle years, he is more sophisticated and is developing his own personality complexities and later on, hes highly interactive. Haas failed to mention whether Eddie will ever explore his wild side as those all-so-familiar college years roll around. We guess not.
The month of December can take a toll on even the most well-intentioned attempts at customer service. If just the thought of the next three weeks has your blood pressure on the rise, help is available. The second edition of Customer Service For Dummies recently hit the shelves and offers tips for the holiday season. One of them is to refine your companys phone style during the crush of holiday business.
It is vital to answer the phone within three rings with a greeting such as Happy Holidays, XYZ Company, how may I help you? Also, if you need to put a customer on hold, ask permission and wait for a response. Just remember that over the phone, more than 80 percent of the message your customer receives is through the tone of your voice.
Need a little extra motivation before facing the throngs of holiday shoppers? Check out www.dummies.com.
Ameritech New Media strikes again
Northeast Ohio cable companies should be afraid, very afraid. After popping up to do battle in 11 local communities, Ameritech New Media the nations largest competitive cable company is introducing a new fiber optic service in Garfield Heights.
Boasting a razor sharp picture, 99.9 percent reliability, an interactive television listings guide and 24-hour customer-care line, Ameritech New Media may quickly catch the attention of other city leaders hoping to breath a little life into their communities dusty cable packages.
Not fading away
For anyone who still deludes themselves into believing the Linux operating system will be a passing fad, there are solid numbers showing its popularity is on the rise. In a recent
national survey by California-based RHIConsulting, 57 percent of chief information officers polled said they believe use of the Linux system will increase over the next three years.
Only three percent projected a decline. The survey polled 1,400 CIOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with more than 100 employees. As for Northeast Ohio, consultants are beginning to recommend it to their clients as well (see Novembers SBN).
Y2K silver bullet?
Still got some Y2K jitters at this late date? If you do, youre in serious trouble. But Advanced Programming Resources, Inc., a Dublin, Ohio, IT consulting firm, has a new product that promises to automate the tedious, manual process of gathering data regarding programs currently running on your companys system.
The Snooper identifies the existence of multiple versions of a program, indicating older, noncompliant versions that could lead to Y2K problems at the turn of the year. Everyones been searching for the Y2K silver bullet, says Barry Heagren, president of APR. Weve got the closest thing to it. Sound good? Get moving. Youve only got a few weeks left.
A lesson in self-promotion
A recent survey at Chicagos OHare and Dallas/Ft. Worth International airports reported 72 percent of business travelers were carrying at least one promotional product imprinted with a companys name, logo or message. Even more incredible was the fact that 77 percent of those polled said they used the promotional product once a day.
Pens and pencils topped the list of favorite promotional products, followed closely by clothing. But before you go rushing out to buy those fleece pullovers bearing your companys logo, consider the fact that the Promotional Products Association International conducted the survey.
Do-it-yourself business valuations
You want to know the value of your business, but dont want to hire a high-priced business consultant to do the work. For better or worse, companies are cropping up with products that allow entrepreneurs to determine a value for their business in the comfort of their own homes. There is Colorado-based Innovative Professional Software Inc., which offers a program to value your business for a mere $200. Meanwhile, VALUware is for sale at www.bizbookssoftware.com for $330. The only lingering question seems to be whether any of these means of business valuation would hold water with the IRS.
Food to go
Forgetting to eat lunch in the midst of a busy, deadline-laden day isnt uncommon among time-strapped execs, so the results of a study by the National Restaurant Association asking Whats for lunch? should come as no surprise.
The top three answers were fruit, hamburgers and wraps a list made up of compressed lunches. That suggests a trend toward hand-held food, which allows consumers (read: busy execs) to fit more work into each day. It also explains the finding that four out of 10 people dont take a real lunch break, choosing instead to eat at their desks or on the run between meetings.
Further substantiating the findings, this brief was written between forksful of salad at the authors desk.
Lamson & Sessions on the defense
A U.S. District Court judge in Illinois last month denied Cleveland-based Lamson & Sessions request to set aside a jurys decision to award Illinois-based Intermatic $12.5 million in damages in resolution of a patent infringement case. The court also ordered Lamson & Sessions to pay $1.5 million in prejudgment interest to Intermatic. The ruling came two months after a jurys ruling that Lamson & Sessions infringed on Intermatics patent for an outdoor electrical outlet cover.
Passing the bell to generation three
Jess A. Bell Jr., grandson of founder Jesse G. Bell, has been named chairman and CEO of Bonne Bell Inc., a Lakewood-based cosmetics and beauty aids manufacturer. Bell takes over from his father, Jess A. Bell, 74, who assumes the post of vice chairman of the 72-year old company.
We are now officially in the third generation, says Bell, whose innovative use of senior workers was recently profiled in SBN. Very few private family businesses make it to the third generation.
Another chunk of medal for the collection
Clevelands youngest microbrewery, Western Reserve Brewing, added another national medal to its quickly growing collection a silver at the Great American Beer Festival in the category of Belgian & French Style Specialty Ales for its Cloud Nine beer.
More than 400 breweries from around the nation competed in the festival. The beer joins other Western Reserve winners American Wheat Beer, Amber Ale, Nut Brown Ale and the seasonal Lake Effect Winter Ale.
Philip Morris Cos. is acknowledging that scientific evidence shows that smoking causes lung cancer and other deadly diseases, after decades of disputing the findings of the U.S. surgeon general and other medical authorities.
In recent years, Philip Morris, the nation’s largest cigarette maker, has moved closer to prevailing scientific opinions about the health risks of smoking, as it has faced increasing pressure from smoking-related lawsuits, regulators and Congress.
On an Internet site it is unveiling as part of a $100 million corporate image campaign, the company unequivocally states there is an “overwhelming medical and scientific consensus that cigarette smoking causes’’ diseases including lung cancer, emphysema and heart disease. It also states that smoking “is addictive as that term is most commonly used today.’’
Philip Morris’ move is part of a trend among tobacco producers to try to put health-related issues behind them, after agreeing in the last two years to pay $246 billion to settle lawsuits brought by states seeking to recover their Medicaid costs for treating ill smokers.
By making more disclosures about smoking risks, producers also want to make it harder for those who start smoking now to sue by claiming they were unaware of the dangers.
Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co. created a Web site with information on health issues last year, and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. is in the process of doing so.
Every fall, when people fire up their furnaces and fireplaces, somebody dies. Health officials say fall is the time to check equipment to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, but many people don’t. About 1,500 people die and 10,000 are injured annually through carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the American Medical Association.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is odorless, and as it begins to hinder the blood’s ability to carry oxygen to body tissues, including the heart and brain, people become confused and sleepy. They often pass out without realizing the cause, and die if help doesn’t reach them in time.
The danger zones to be aware of, and precautions to take:
- CO detectors They work, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends a detector on every floor of a residence. At a minimum, you should have a CO detector on each sleeping floor and another near any major gas-burning appliance such as a water heater or furnace.
CO detectors measure the gas concentration being inhaled as parts per million, or PPM. At 200 PPM over two or three hours, a person fees a mild headache, fatigue and nausea. At 800 PPM over 45 minutes, a person feels dizzy. After two hours, a person would be unconscious, and within three hours, he or she would be dead.
CO detectors cost $30 to $50.
- Chimney Blockages caused by cracked masonry, nests or soot can cause CO buildup. Have a chimney sweep inspect and clean it.
- Fireplace A common source of CO even smoldering ashes are enough to produce high concentrations. Always leave a window open a few inches to circulate fresh air. Don’t burn treated wood, painted wood or scrap lumber. Always leave the flue open, even if the fire is almost out. Gas logs and burners produce a lot of CO because their less efficient yellow flames are desired for a cozy atmosphere.
- Portable heater Buy one that has a CO sensor that shuts down the appliance if the atmosphere becomes toxic. Don’t use them inside enclosed structures, such as tents, if they need to be vented.
- Kitchen range and stove Gas stoves and range tops in houses are common sources of CO, because they’re often unvented. The exhaust fan over the range is unvented and therefore does not help dissipate CO. Never warm a house with a natural gas or propane oven.
- Gas clothes dryer Clogged exhaust lines can cause CO to build up. Clean the lint trap after every load of laundry; inspect it regularly, because the burner can become dirty or clogged.
- Attached garage The greatest danger in a house is a running car in an attached garage, especially if the door is closed. Never warm up your car in the garage, even if the door is open. An outdoor grill used in the garage also is a hazard.
- Water heater Dangerous if the appliance is installed improperly. Basement flooding may cause damage to the heater. Make sure it’s regularly maintained.
- Furnace Most often produces CO because of mechanical failure as a result of a cracked heat exchanger, flue or burner problems. Inspect annually.
- Airtight, energy-efficient homes Insulation cuts heat loss, but also cuts the amount of fresh air into your home. If you have a tight home, you must be extra careful with maintenance of your appliances. Crack windows occasionally.
There’s something about chocolate that makes it an object of the palate’s desire more than any other food. What that something is remains unknown, but researchers believe it is probably a combination of chocolate’s nutrients, chemical composition and, of course, its fat and sugar.
Whatever the delicious truth, chocolate craving exists, according to a report in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
“Clearly, controversy surrounds the question of whether motivations for chocolate are physiological, psychological or pharmacologic,” write Dr. Douglas Taren and Kristen Bruinsma of the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Despite the downside of fat and sugar consumption, the researchers add, the body’s craving for chocolate should be acknowledged and may be fit into a healthful diet. The investigators came to this conclusion after reviewing studies of the physical, psychological, chemical and otherwise “drug-like” effects of chocolate indulgence.
For some people, the authors note, chocolate represents “self-medication.” Certain compounds found naturally in chocolate, called biogenic amines, are also produced in the brain; some studies have shown that these compounds are important regulators of mood and may play a role in depression.
From a nutrition standpoint, the researchers report, chocolate’s high concentration of magnesium may ease the effects of magnesium deficiency, a condition that research suggests may contribute to premenstrual syndrome. Along those lines, chocolate’s storied association with some women’s monthly cravings may well have a hormonal basis, according to the report.
“Chocolate cravings,” Taren and Bruinsma note, “appear to exist in 40 percent of females and 15 percent of males.” Studies have shown that women’s episodic chocolate cravings tend to be strongest just before menstruation, when levels of the hormone estrogen are moderate and progesterone levels are high. Because progesterone promotes fat storage, keeping it from being used as fuel, high levels of the hormone may trigger fatty-food cravings, they explain.
Eat those veggies
A study has shown that eating fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of an ischemic stroke. Researchers found that eating five to six servings of fruits and vegetables each day can result in a 31 percent decrease in ischemic stroke risk when compared to eating fewer than three servings.
Ischemic stroke comprises 80 percent of all strokes. The condition is brought about by a blood clot in the arteries of the brain. Experts estimate that 700,000 Americans are afflicted with stroke each year. Approximately 160,000 die from the disorder.
Scientists, led by Dr. Kaumudi Joshipura, assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, examined more than 114,000 adults in two studies. As part of the Nurses’ Health Study, 75,596 women were observed for 14 years, and 38,683 men for eight years in the Health Professionals’ Follow-Up Study.
Each individual serving of fruits and vegetables resulted in a 6 percent decrease of ischemic stroke risk. Researchers also discovered that a fruit and vegetable intake of more than six servings per day did not result in any additional reduction of ischemic stroke risk.
“There are very few studies that relate fruit and vegetables to cardiovascular disease, even though some of the constituents of fruits and vegetables are associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease,” Joshipura said. “I would hope that this study provides an additional motivation to the public to increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables.” One of her future projects will examine the link between fruits and vegetables and heart attacks.
Consuming citrus fruits, citrus juice, green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower) resulted in the lowest risk levels.
Ask Dr. Computer
Medical authorities are alarmed about the lack of information and personal care available on prescription medications ordered and delivered via the Internet. In response, VideoPharmacist, www.VideoPharmacist.com, an interactive pharmaceutical care site, has been released by a top pharmacy multimedia producer. It also features access to Weber’s Pharmacy, an independent pharmacy and member of America’s largest network of community pharmacies.
Pharmacist Charles Calvano, inventor of VideoPharmacist, has created an interactive video library detailing the use of the most common prescriptions. More than 100 videos can be viewed online. Questions that require a customized response are answered via video e-mail. Video conferences, using Microsoft Netmeeting, allow direct contact between patient and pharmacist. A “topics” category, scripted and delivered by Dr. Jody Adams of Midwestern University, explains disease states and demonstrates products.
You’ve come a long way, baby
While smoking is declining for Americans, it is not decreasing as rapidly among women as it is among men. Almost 23 percent of adult American women smoke; that translates into about 22.6 million women.
Since the 1920s, the tobacco industry has targeted women with advertisements portraying smoking as liberating, glamorous, sexy, slenderizing and feminine. “Women’s cigarettes” were developed in the 1960s and 1970s, and large advertising and promotional campaigns coincided with sharp increases in the number of girls between the ages of 12 and 17 who began smoking. The sales of women’s cigarettes were high, and the smoking rate more than doubled among 12-year-old girls from 1967 to 1973.
In 1987, lung cancer surpassed breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the United States. Smoking is directly responsible for 87 percent of all lung cancer cases in the United States.
There is much speculation about the reasons for this slower decline. Women may be affected differently than men by their nicotine addiction. They may be reluctant to give up an effective weight management tool for fear they will gain weight. Nicotine is quite effective in weight management because it increases metabolism and suppresses appetite. The behavior and rituals of smoking can provide an effective substitute for the hand-to-mouth behavior of eating.
Feel the burn
Although researchers have not proven a direct cause-and-effect relationship between exercise and a better mood, it is widely believed that by improving the fitness levels of our heart and lungs through regular physical activity, we can improve our mood. Furthermore, exercise boosts our self-esteem and self-confidence by giving us a sense of accomplishment and independence.
Preliminary results from a major study on depression conducted at Duke University show that intense physical activity rather than sustained regular exercise may be the most effective way to reduce feelings of depression, anger and fatigue. The study is part of a larger, five-year study comparing these three treatments for depression: A four-month exercise program, drug therapy and a combination of exercise and medication.
Talk about soothsaying. Ralph Della Ratta, senior managing director of McDonald & Co. Securities in Cleveland and manager of its corporate finance, recently accepted an honor on behalf of McDonald & Co. for 40 years of continuous support of the Achievement Centers for Children (McDonalds founder was one of the ACC founders). The afternoon of the event, Della Ratta and his wife had tea and fortune cookies. Della Rattas fortune read: If a true sense of value is to come forth, it must be through service.
Later, at the evening event, Della Ratta relayed those prophetic words. Were all in business and competitive, he says. But you can come together and work on something you believe in. At the end of the day, thats what community service is all about.
As the calendar rolled over from 1999 to 2000, executive priorities made a subtle shift. More than 31 percent of the nations entrepreneurs say they plan to devote the most time this year to family matters, according to an American Express poll. Growing their businesses ranked second at 21 percent.
Other priorities include getting organized (13 percent), brushing up on technology skills (13 percent) and getting and staying in shape (11 percent). Meanwhile, the poll revealed that 35 percent of those execs plan to keep better records this year. Apparently, with all the time they plan to spend with their families, they expect to put their company books in better order ... just in case.
Lick the loopholes
Frustrated by undue legal loopholes, unnecessary government regulation and bureaucratic roadblocks that hamper your endeavors to succeed as an emerging growth company? Then voice your opinion at www.aeeg.org, and ally with American Entrepreneurs for Economic Growth, a nationwide network of more than 10,000 entrepreneurs who serve as a united voice for growth.
Profiles in currency
Working on your first million? Every wonder how being a millionaire might affect your lifestyle? According to William D. Danko and Thomas J. Stanley, authors of The Millionaire Next Door, a typical millionaire with a net worth of $1 million or more:
- Is 57 years old;
- Is self-employed in an ordinary business;
- Works 45-55 hours each week;
- Buys (not leases) an older model car;
- Owns a home with an average value of $320,000;
- Has a median household income of $131,000;
- Invests about 20 percent of annual income.
Ready to cash in on that next great dot-com IPO? The future may not bring as many as you might expect. According to the first netrepreneurs survey by Ernst & Young LLP, 50 percent of Internet company owners say they have no plans to go public.
Heres what else the survey found out about this emerging breed of business person:
- 69 percent run profitable companies;
- Independence and fun are preferred over stock options as ways to attract talented employees;
- Respondents say they plan to start, on average, five online businesses in their lifetimes;
- 27 percent would have gone into corporate life if the Internet didnt exist.
As for the other 50 percent, who plan to take their companies public, keep your eyes peeled and your portfolio managers on notice.
Cleveland-based Creativity for Kids (featured in the February 1998 SBN) was recently acquired by Faber-Castell USA Inc. Creativity for Kids, one of the citys hidden treasures, manufactures childrens arts and activity kits. Faber-Castell markets art and graphic products worldwide.
This joining represents an entrée for Faber-Castell USA into the specialty toy retailer market, says Christopher Wiedenmayer, Faber-Castell CEO. Creativity for Kids co-founders Phyllis Brody and Evelyn Greenwald remain as co-COOs, and the companys headquarters will remain in Cleveland.
Just as in the glory days of rubber, Stark and Summit counties manufacturing strength still lies in materials processing although today, the offerings range from plastics molding to metal machining and electronics assembly.
But Robert Algera is worried. As director of business growth for the Akron Regional Development Board, Algera says theres a weak link in the chain.
We supply parts to many different industries, but the weakness is that, even though we have a fairly diverse group of customers, were selling very cost-competitive items. When a lower-cost provider comes along, were at risk.
The challenge, says Algera, is to keep new and existing companies competitive on a global basis.
We need to find ways to enhance our productivity through smart use of capital equipment, and to use information technology to become more customer responsive.
Now, whats our name again?
Acquisitions and branding trends have spawned new names and logos for growing companies everywhere. Now, the parent company of North Americas largest critical-shipment carrier has relabeled what the country has come to know as Roberts Express.
Established in 1947 and based in Akron as Roberts Cartage, the trucking company was acquired in 1971 by Emery Airfreight. Five years later, Emerys former treasurer bought the freight carrier, renamed it Roberts Express Inc., and eventually sold it to Roadway Services Inc., which later became Caliber Systems Inc. In 1998, FDX parent company of FedEx added the shipper to its arsenal as part of its acquisition of Caliber.
In late January, FDX renamed itself FedEx Corp., and Roberts became FedEx Custom Critical Inc.
The ever-changing company name doesnt concern president and CEO Bruce Simpson, who joined Roberts in 1983. Fact is, hes eager to get his new letterhead.
Ive been around here since the entrepreneurial days and I think this is the most meaningful, exciting thing thats ever happened to us. Were finally being identified with one of the great names of the world, he says. FedEx has a brand name, and the attributes of us as a custom critical carrier clearly identifies the value and meaning of our service.
Behind the scenes
As executive director of administration to Summit County Executive Tim Davis, Karen Doty sees a great deal of second-guessing when it comes to the countys agenda.
One of the things that poor Mr. Davis is always getting bashed for is his trips abroad. Its an easy thing for people to misunderstand they think hes taking a vacation on county money, she says. But what hes doing is developing economic partnerships with various industrial centers in Europe, and the point of these industrial partnerships is to open up trade opportunities for local businesses, give them a vehicle to get into the European economy, and add job opportunities for people in the county.
Doty says shed like to see the county viewed as a force that works to secure a broad and diversified economy.
So, lighten up, already.
If youre considering reallocating or increasing your charitable donations this year, it may help to know that your gift can go further if you do your homework beforehand.
When shopping for a charity, look for one that gives 75 to 80 percent of its income back to the people it services, says Bill Ginter, president of the United Way of Summit County.
Ginter, who is the former president of Advanced Elastomer Systems of Akron, recently spoke to a group of Leadership Akron alumni on the state of philanthropy.
An efficient charity is spending 20 percent on keeping the shop running, he says.
Shopping for a worthy cause is the same as shopping for anything else.
Be an informed consumer. Dont be an impulse buyer. When you impulse buy you generally make a bad buy.
Suzanne Dibble’s top five factors in attracting, keeping and losing talent are:
Top five attractors
2. All around good employer
3. Flexibility in hours
4. Co-workers are good
Top five preventers of leaving
1. Waiting to finish my education
4. Do not believe I can match my pay
5. Lose seniority
Top five reasons for leaving
1. Lack of career opportunities
2. No opportunity to move up
3. Dead-end job
4. Was not paid what I was worth
5. Better offer
From the book ”Keeping Your Valuable Employees: Retention Strategies for Your Organization’s Most Important Resource,” published by John Wiley & Sons.
I pay them in bits and bytes
Available through Powerpay.com is Powerpay Internet Payroll Services, a pure Internet-delivered payroll system accessible from anywhere, anytime, with same-day payroll processing, reporting and tax filing; background checks and drug screening; optional employee benefits programs available through deductions; full retirement plan administration; and premium only, Section 125 plans for employees.
Powerpay, a service of Ceridian Corp., is targeted exclusively at small businesses.
Where did my cash flow go?
The small business experts at American Express recommend the following step-by-step plan to guide small business owners preparing a cash flow projection.
1) Cash on hand. Count your cash at the beginning of the first month of your projection. This amount is your cash on hand. In succeeding months, the ending cash balance from one month will be carried over as the beginning cash balance of the next month.
2) Cash receipts. Record cash sales, credit card sales, collections from credit accounts and any interest income. The key is recording receipts in the months the money is paid, not the month the sale is made.
3) Account receivable. Record anticipated receivables in the months they are to be paid. If there are no records that show how long it takes individual customers to pay, calculate an average collection period by dividing total sales from the previous year by 365. Then divide by the dollar value of current accounts receivable. That number is the average number of days it takes to collect on a bill and should be used as a guide to forecast payments over the next year.
4) Miscellaneous cash. Account for anticipated miscellaneous cash infusions, including new loans from banks or family members, or stock offerings.
5) Total cash available. For each month in your projection, add the amounts in steps one through four. This figure shows the total cash available to you each month.
6) Cash paid out. Calculate spending in each month. First, assess operating expenses. Note every expense in the month it will be paid, not the month it is incurred, and be sure to include the following:
- Wages and benefits.
- Monthly stipends to owners.
- Subcontracting and outside services, including cost of labor materials.
- Purchases of materials for use in making a product or service.
- Supplies for use in the business.
- Repairs and maintenance.
- Packaging, shipping and delivery costs.
- Travel, car and parking costs.
- Advertising and promotion.
- Professional services.
- Regular monthly payments such as rent, phone and utilities.
- Taxes, including sales and payroll.
- Interest due on loans.
22) Other costs. Calculate the ongoing costs of doing business, including the following:
- Loan principal payments.
- Capital expenditures.
- Start-up costs.
- Reserve or escrow monies.
- Owner’s withdrawal payment of owner’s income tax, Social Security taxes, health insurance etc.
28) Total cash paid out. Add the costs of doing business to the subtotal for operating expenses. This figure is the total cash paid out, and reflects estimates for the total cash needed every month.
29) Determine monthly cash flow. Subtract total cash paid out (Step 8) from total cash available (Step 5). The difference is a firm’s monthly cash position or cash flow. Cash flow projections should be updated monthly.
SBA, changing with the times?
“Through our new emphasis on oversight and risk management, we are expanding our recent efforts to hold our business resource partners more accountable for prudently delivering effective and efficient help to the small business community,” according to the recently released SBA plan.
The SBA says it’s changing with the times.
It is now serving a more diverse small business sector, using the Internet and e-commerce to be more productive, and recognizing that small businesses will increasingly do business internationally.
The number of minority-owned businesses has increased by 168 percent over the past decade and their revenues have grown by 343 percent, according to the SBA. Women-owned businesses grew by 89 percent over the past decade, about twice as fast as businesses in general.
The agency will now place a greater focus on rural and inner city firms, Native American and veteran-owned companies and small exporters.
What kind of boss are you?
Onvia.com offers the following tips on determining whether you are a good boss:
- Are you confident? You need to be comfortable making decisions based on your skill, knowledge and experience.
- Are you visible? Circulating through the work area makes you seem more approachable, increases your familiarity with your employees and encourages them to be more productive.
- Are you a good listener? Employees love to be heard.
- Are you honest? Your success depends on whether your subordinates can trust your word.
- Are you interested? Asking questions not only increases your knowledge, it also shows you care.
- Are you genuine? Simply being yourself is the best way to gain trust.
- Are you generous? Sharing credit for your success builds loyalty.
- Are you consistent? Don’t be a tyrant one day and a pussycat the next. Flip-flopping between styles confuses employees.
- Are you responsible? No one respects a boss who blames others when something goes wrong.
- Are you compassionate? Employees appreciate knowing they can go to their boss if they have a problem.
Ninety-five percent of banks responding to a recent survey said they increasingly use the Internet to acquire and serve small business customers, The American Banker reports.
Banks consider their online small business customers more profitable and more loyal than those using traditional channels, according to the Consumer Bankers Association study.
But despite the proliferation of the Internet, a dedicated sales force is still the most important delivery channel for small business banking, the study concludes.
That is true “not only today, but looking into the future as well,” said the study’s author, Kathleen McClave.
Though 82 percent of responding banks said they provide information and some customer service on their Web sites, “site functionality is still fairly limited, as less than half can really offer loan and deposit applications,” McClave said.
Going once, going twice
Ever consider listing your goods on an online auction site? You might want to. Forty-six percent of Internet users participate in online auctions, reports research firm Greenfield Online, and bidders outnumber sellers 3-to-1.
However, auctions aren’t fail-safe. Both sellers and buyers can be stung by deals that go awry, although buyers who often send money for products, sight unseen shoulder the most risk. In the last two years, there has been a 100 percent increase in auction-fraud reports, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
To help you sell ethically and successfully through auctions, the FTC offers these guidelines:
- Provide an accurate description of the item you’re selling, including all terms of the sale and who will pay shipping costs.
- Respond quickly to questions bidders raise during the auction.
- Contact the high bidder as soon as possible after the auction closes to confirm details of the sale.
- Ship the merchandise as soon as you receive payment.
Pitney Bowes recently sponsored a survey of more than 1,400 small-business owners to identify the psychological traits and attitudes that lead to success. The results: Five types of potentially prosperous small business owners. Which best describes you?
Idealist (24 percent of respondents)
Idealists start businesses because they have a great idea or want to work on something special not because they enjoy managing the financial details of running a company. This group is the most willing to work for someone else.
Optimizer (21 percent)
Optimizers enjoy running a business and would never con
sider working for someone else. They focus on maximizing profits, not necessarily expanding the size of their company. They are savvy about technology and financial matters, which allows them to generate more revenue per employee than many other businesses.
Hard worker (20 percent)
These business owners love what they do and crave growth. The successful ones develop long-term growth plans and stick with them. They exercise broad personal control and concern themselves with every detail.
Juggler (20 percent)
There are never enough hours in the day for jugglers. They are intimately involved with every aspect of their business and reluctant to relinquish control to staff. They take pride in their ability to coordinate all the elements of their operation and are always looking for ways to improve their business.
Sustainer (15 percent)
Sustainers are likely to have inherited their business or bought it. They are the most conservative of small business owners and the least likely to incur additional debt. They enjoy their work and have little interest in expanding their business.
The Stark County Regional Planning Commission is accepting applications for its Micro-Enterprise Loan Program. The program offers loans up to $10,000 to owners or operators of qualified Stark County small businesses.
The goal of the program is to assist small businesses that have difficulty securing traditional financing, by providing loans at or slightly below market rate for the creation, stabilization or expansion of those businesses.
To request more information, contact Jeff Dotson at the SCRPC at (330) 438-0402.
Roughly one-third of Americans on Medicare have no insurance coverage for prescription drugs, and many of those with coverage still have high out-of-pocket expenses. While some Medigap plans offered through private insurance companies are designed to cover prescription medications, experts say the system isnt working.
According to the American Association of Retired Persons, seniors with Medigap coverage spend an average of $570 a year on prescription drugs, while those without the extra coverage spend only $20 more.
Repairing a bone fracture requires a healthy diet adequate protein, calcium, vitamin C and other essential nutrients. But in the case of athletes or heavy exercisers, time off from exercise is crucial, to give the bone a break from physical stress so it can heal.
If you eat or drink two to three dairy products daily, or regularly consume calcium-fortified orange juice or other calcium-fortified products, chances are you are already meeting your calcium needs. A calcium supplement of about 500 milligrams will help ensure adequate intake. Remember: Its rest, not calcium, that will most help mend your bones. Source: Onhealth.com
Your protein requirement is based on your body weight. The Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein is 0.36 grams per pound of body weight about 65 grams for a person who weighs 180 pounds. But the extra 25 percent to 50 percent required by physically active people bumps the requirement up to 81 to 98 grams daily for a 180-pound athlete. Your body uses the extra protein for building and repairing muscle tissue and burns small amounts for fuel.
A major headache
The symptoms of migraine vary from person to person in intensity, frequency, character and duration. Migraine attacks occur in two basic forms: migraine without aura and migraine with aura, a warning usually consisting of visual disturbances or neurologic symptoms occurring within an hour before the onset of the headache. About 60 percent of all types of migraine attacks consist of migraine without aura.
The most prominent symptom of migraine without aura is headache, which may be severe and is often described as throbbing. About 60 to 70 percent of the time, the headache pain is unilateral (occurring on one side of the head). Symptoms which commonly accompany the headache include photophobia (severe sensitivity to light), phonophobia (sensitivity to noise), nausea and, occasionally, vomiting. These features distinguish migraine from tension-type headache, often described as a band-like sensation around the head without other associated symptoms.
Migraine with aura is characterized by the same symptoms as occur in migraine without aura, except that the headache phase is preceded by, or less often accompanied by, visual disturbances or neurologic symptoms. Some patients experience symptoms of the aura without subsequent development of headache, referred to as acephalgic migraine.
Take a snooze
Americans dont sleep enough, according to the National Sleep Foundation, which reports that only 35 percent of adults sleep the recommended eight hours or more per night during the average workweek.
Most sleep six hours and 58 minutes per night, the foundation reports. Sometimes the loss of a few zzzs is inevitable, but more often, its not.
It is an interesting sociological phenomenon, where, at a time of timesaving devices and so many material things that are supposed to make your lives easier, we still lead lives where theres not enough time for sleep, says Joe Cunningham, an internist and senior vice president for medical affairs at Providence Medical Center.
A clear gel containing an investigational compound may help prevent hair loss in chemotherapy patients, report researchers at Glaxo Wellcome Inc.
Hair loss is a common side effect of drug therapy used to fight cancer. Anticancer drugs act on rapidly dividing cells, a feature typical of cancer cells and of hair follicle cells.
In a recent report, Dr. Stephen T. Davis told conference participants about GW8510, a newly synthesized gel compound that may inhibit or stop rapid cell division in hair follicle cells in chemotherapy patients.
Davis and his colleagues at Research Triangle Park studied the agent in rats undergoing chemotherapy. They found that whereas typically 90 percent of rats treated with the anticancer drug etoposide lose their hair, this fell to less than 50 percent in rats treated with a gel containing GW8510. No GW8510-related side effects were detected.
The compound renders normal cells insensitive to chemotherapy. Researchers say they do not believe that it interferes with chemotherapeutic drugs.
Italian for everyone
Italian scientists report that patients with high blood pressure reduced the amount of antihypertensive drugs they needed by switching to a diet low in saturated fat and rich in olive oil. Whats more, some patients were able to stop their high blood pressure medication completely with the dietary changes.
A slight reduction in saturated fat intake, along with the use of extra-virgin olive oil, markedly lowers daily antihypertensive dosage requirement, according to Dr. L. Aldo Ferrara and colleagues, who first reported their findings in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Study subjects who increased their intake of sunflower oil did not achieve the same beneficial results, according to the report.
Fads no more
Ever in search of a faster, easier way to lose weight, more and more Americans are bravely confessing to their so-called carbohydrate addictions, swearing off sugar and diving headlong into the latest fad diet.
The pursuit of a slimmer body has translated into big business. In 1995 alone, Americans spent an estimated $30 billion on weight-loss aids, including diet books, appetite suppressants and other diet pills, diuretics, mechanical reducing devices and health spas geared toward weight loss.
The problem is that, for the vast majority of the population, these diets, gadgets and pills just dont work over the long run, and may even be harmful.
Any diet that deviates from sound nutrition principles, reflected in the U.S. Department of Agricultures Food Guide Pyramid, should be viewed with suspicion. Such diets are easy to recognize they almost invariably promise quick and painless weight loss by following a regimen that is contrary to common sense and often defies the laws of physics and chemistry. They may advocate consuming no fat or no carbohydrates or even no solid food. Every fad diet has its special gimmick, sometimes a whole truckload of them.
The typical crash diet initially creates a rapid loss of water due to sudden changes in the bodys metabolism the way the body uses food. While the scale may show a drop in weight after only a couple of days, what has been lost is water, not fat. Much like a dried prune, when water levels are restored to normal, the body plumps up again. Of course, after a few days or weeks, some fat, along with muscle, will be lost, too.
But the only way weight can be shed quickly more than two pounds per week is by following a diet that is too low in calories. Any diet that is too low in calories is necessarily unbalanced and/or extremely restrictive.
While its fortunate that most people lack the stamina to adhere to such regimens for long, any quick-weight-loss diet is ultimately self-defeating because the dieter is likely to regain the lost weight once the program is discontinued.
Health plans must earn the trust of their customers to compete in the managed care marketplace, according to experts at a recent meeting of the National Managed Health Care Congress.
To improve the quality of health care, we must restore consumer trust in physicians, health plans and insurers, says Les Meyer, a marketing and sales executive for Access Health Group of Denver. Trust is the cornerstone of the buyer-seller relationship. To earn it, you have to do what you say you will do. We must be patient-centered.
To survive in todays competitive health care industry, health plans must attract new members and make sure they remain loyal customers.
If 3,100 customers drop your plan during open enrollment, thats $15 million in lost revenue, Meyer said. We must earn loyalty and retain it. To do that, we must keep the focus on patients and exceed their expectations.
An uncommon heart problem that suddenly triggers a rapid heartbeat is frequently mistaken for panic attacks, especially in women, new research suggests.
The disorder, called paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia or PSVT, results from an abnormal bundle of fibers on the hearts ventricle that periodically makes the heart flutter wildly sometimes for just a few seconds, other times for hours. PSVT can be tricky to diagnose but is easily corrected by surgery or medications.
Nothing to sneeze at
Although about a third of Americans believe they have food allergies, studies show that no more than 2 percent actually do, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system mistakenly makes antibodies against proteins in food. Histamine and other chemicals are released, producing mild hives, swelling and even life-threatening shock. Common culprits include eggs, nuts, seafood and some fruits.
A metabolic food intolerance can cause similar, severe symptoms, but unlike a food allergy, does not involve the immune system. People with a metabolic intolerance lack an enzyme necessary to digest a certain food or additive, such as milk or wheat. But this condition is also quite rare. So why do so many people believe they have adverse reactions to food? Reasons include normal but unpleasant reactions to food properties (think of the familiar relationship between beans and gas), as well as instances of food poisoning.
Certain foods may also have bad associations if they were eaten when a person was sick from other causes. Because true adverse reactions to food are so rare, its best to see your doctor before resorting to dietary restrictions that could be unnecessary. Source: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
A four-year dispute between Kent Display Systems and a Texas competitor has resulted in a federal court ruling in favor of the Kent company.
The dispute began in 1995 when Kent Displays bought the licensing rights to use a polymer-free liquid crystal technology developed by researchers at Kent State University. A year later, Kent Displays discovered that Advanced Display Systems of Texas was using similar technology, and after negotiations failed, the Kent company sued the Texas company for patent infringement.
Although a lower court ruled in favor of Advanced Display Systems in a 1997 trial, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned that ruling in May, granting a new trial and awarding court costs to Kent Display Systems.
According to Kent Display Systems CFO Joel Domino, the ruling read like a John Grisham novel, "retelling how ADS, having failed in creating their own cholesteric device, photographed, then copied Kent's, and then with the assistance of their attorneys, withheld that fact."
Psychology Today magazine recently named Akron-based www.holistic-online to its list of top Web sites. The magazine, published by the American Psychological Association, named the site as the best Web site to learn about the alternative prayer-based therapy, Ayurveda.
Www.holistic-online was created by Dr. Jacob Mathew to provide information on all aspects of health, with an emphasis on alternative therapies, including herbal healing, yoga and stress management.
Mathew, who is president of Akron-based International Cyber Business Services Inc., an e-commerce solution provider, says he is working on adding information to the site on cancer therapy, hormone replacement therapy and menopause.
Cuyahoga Falls Chamber of Commerce named Fred Anthony, president and CEO of Cuyahoga Falls General Hospital, its Business Person of the Year.
Anthony was cited by the chamber as a sound fiscal manager and credited with maintaining excess revenue (the not-for-profit equivalent to profit) for the past 11 years. He achieved this during a period of declining reimbursement, allowing for a 22,000-square-foot ICU addition that is currently under construction.
Anthony was also commended for his leadership, particularly his initiation of the Community Health Advisory Board.