Patrap's WunderBlog

CNN's Hero of the Year !

By: Patrap, 11:08 PM GMT on November 28, 2008

Hurricane Preparation Entry: Link

St.Bernard Project Co-Founder Liz McCartney Named CNN's Hero of the Year!

www.stbernardproject.org Link



Thanks from Liz- CNN Hero of the Year

Dear Friends,

Thank you!!! By voting for me, you voted for the real heroes – the people of New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish who want nothing more than to rebuild their homes and communities. Despite being virtually abandoned, these hard-working Americans keep fighting. This award is a tribute to them.

When Zack and I started the St. Bernard Project two and a half years ago, we were just two people with an idea and a willingness to help. Very quickly we were joined by other caring people who recognized that the tax-paying residents of St. Bernard deserved to rebuild and get back into their homes. We soon grew from a small group of volunteers — working on weekends, one house at a time — into an organization with a staff of 32 and 100 to 200 volunteers working daily on 30 families' homes at a time. This outpouring of hard work, advice and commitment from more than 9,000 volunteers and 2,500 donors has made the St. Bernard Project what it is today: a rebuilding organization that can transform a gutted house into a safe and comfortable home in 12 weeks for about $12,000.

But it has not always been easy. Launching a new organization not based on any existing model has been challenging. Working in a disaster area is deeply saddening. It is riddled with unexpected barriers and frustrations. At times, our hope was tested, and we had doubts about our ability to make a meaningful impact on our clients' lives. But then another volunteer group would appear and we'd be reenergized. A check and an inspiring note from a generous but often unknown donor would arrive in our mailbox, and we'd be able to pay the next bill. Our staff would rebuild another family's home, and we would be revitalized. Along the way we've been reminded of just how insignificant our challenges are compared to those of the families we are trying to help.

Seeing Terrence Howard, Salma Hayek and Anderson Cooper from the front row of the Kodak Theatre on Saturday was thrilling. Watching Christina Aguilera and Alicia Keys belt out their songs sent chills up my spine. For a moment I was caught up in the glamour of Hollywood.

But that moment was short-lived. My thoughts returned to the stark realities of life for families back in St. Bernard: the Loze family — mom, dad and four girls — who are still living in a trailer on their front lawn; Chris, a maintenance worker at the local refinery, who recently sat in our office for 30 minutes before he could muster up the courage to ask for help; the 1,000+ tax-paying American families (73% of whom were homeowners before Katrina) who still live in FEMA trailers. And this is just in St. Bernard Parish. I thought about the fact that in New Orleans, those numbers are even higher, and, in many areas, the progress is even slower. I thought about the struggles that families face in Texas, Iowa and Missouri. Sitting in the Kodak Theatre, I felt disheartened knowing that there is still so much suffering and so much work to be done.

But then I recalled the army of supporters from across the country and around the world who have made SBP what it is: people who spend family vacations rebuilding homes; people who send their hard-earned funds; people who spread the word to friends and family about my nomination and got out the vote!!! Remembering our army of supporters, my mood was lifted, from despair to hope.

I know that together we can improve the work we are doing in St. Bernard Parish. We can expand into New Orleans, and we can replicate our model in other storm-devastated areas. Indeed, I know this is what we must do. We must ensure that families move out of trailers and back into their homes, that seniors live out their lives in their own homes, and that children spend their formative years in homes, not tiny trailers. We cannot simply continue, we must improve and expand. The operational ethos of the St. Bernard Project — treating our clients the way that we would want our family members treated — demands it.

So, I ask you to continue voting! But this time:

vote with your feet and Volunteer Link
vote with your voices and spread the word about the St. Bernard Project's needs and goals.
Vote with your wallets and support our efforts to increase our capacity in St. Bernard and expand into Gentilly.

You can be a hero simply by getting involved. For the families you help, you will be more of a hero than I could ever be. Now that we have won, I ask you to continue to spread the word about SBP. Please ask your friends to spend time on our website, where they can get to know the families we have helped and those who are still waiting.

Because of folks like you, SBP has grown from a two-person operation to a new and effective model for post-disaster recovery. Please continue to help us grow. I urge you to think about what you can do to become a hero for our clients. Zack and I look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,
Liz

P.S. If you are a SBP supporter who recruited friends and family members to vote for me, please either send them this letter or guide them to our website. I want them to know how much we appreciate their support and how much we continue to need their help.




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CNN's Hero of the Year !

By: Patrap, 11:08 PM GMT on November 28, 2008

St.Bernard Project Co-Founder Liz McCartney Named CNN's Hero of the Year!



Thanks from Liz- CNN Hero of the Year

Dear Friends,

Thank you!!! By voting for me, you voted for the real heroes – the people of New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish who want nothing more than to rebuild their homes and communities. Despite being virtually abandoned, these hard-working Americans keep fighting. This award is a tribute to them.

When Zack and I started the St. Bernard Project two and a half years ago, we were just two people with an idea and a willingness to help. Very quickly we were joined by other caring people who recognized that the tax-paying residents of St. Bernard deserved to rebuild and get back into their homes. We soon grew from a small group of volunteers — working on weekends, one house at a time — into an organization with a staff of 32 and 100 to 200 volunteers working daily on 30 families' homes at a time. This outpouring of hard work, advice and commitment from more than 9,000 volunteers and 2,500 donors has made the St. Bernard Project what it is today: a rebuilding organization that can transform a gutted house into a safe and comfortable home in 12 weeks for about $12,000.

But it has not always been easy. Launching a new organization not based on any existing model has been challenging. Working in a disaster area is deeply saddening. It is riddled with unexpected barriers and frustrations. At times, our hope was tested, and we had doubts about our ability to make a meaningful impact on our clients' lives. But then another volunteer group would appear and we'd be reenergized. A check and an inspiring note from a generous but often unknown donor would arrive in our mailbox, and we'd be able to pay the next bill. Our staff would rebuild another family's home, and we would be revitalized. Along the way we've been reminded of just how insignificant our challenges are compared to those of the families we are trying to help.

Seeing Terrence Howard, Salma Hayek and Anderson Cooper from the front row of the Kodak Theatre on Saturday was thrilling. Watching Christina Aguilera and Alicia Keys belt out their songs sent chills up my spine. For a moment I was caught up in the glamour of Hollywood.

But that moment was short-lived. My thoughts returned to the stark realities of life for families back in St. Bernard: the Loze family — mom, dad and four girls — who are still living in a trailer on their front lawn; Chris, a maintenance worker at the local refinery, who recently sat in our office for 30 minutes before he could muster up the courage to ask for help; the 1,000+ tax-paying American families (73% of whom were homeowners before Katrina) who still live in FEMA trailers. And this is just in St. Bernard Parish. I thought about the fact that in New Orleans, those numbers are even higher, and, in many areas, the progress is even slower. I thought about the struggles that families face in Texas, Iowa and Missouri. Sitting in the Kodak Theatre, I felt disheartened knowing that there is still so much suffering and so much work to be done.

But then I recalled the army of supporters from across the country and around the world who have made SBP what it is: people who spend family vacations rebuilding homes; people who send their hard-earned funds; people who spread the word to friends and family about my nomination and got out the vote!!! Remembering our army of supporters, my mood was lifted, from despair to hope.

I know that together we can improve the work we are doing in St. Bernard Parish. We can expand into New Orleans, and we can replicate our model in other storm-devastated areas. Indeed, I know this is what we must do. We must ensure that families move out of trailers and back into their homes, that seniors live out their lives in their own homes, and that children spend their formative years in homes, not tiny trailers. We cannot simply continue, we must improve and expand. The operational ethos of the St. Bernard Project — treating our clients the way that we would want our family members treated — demands it.

So, I ask you to continue voting! But this time:

vote with your feet and Volunteer Link
vote with your voices and spread the word about the St. Bernard Project's needs and goals.
Vote with your wallets and support our efforts to increase our capacity in St. Bernard and expand into Gentilly.

You can be a hero simply by getting involved. For the families you help, you will be more of a hero than I could ever be. Now that we have won, I ask you to continue to spread the word about SBP. Please ask your friends to spend time on our website, where they can get to know the families we have helped and those who are still waiting.

Because of folks like you, SBP has grown from a two-person operation to a new and effective model for post-disaster recovery. Please continue to help us grow. I urge you to think about what you can do to become a hero for our clients. Zack and I look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,
Liz

P.S. If you are a SBP supporter who recruited friends and family members to vote for me, please either send them this letter or guide them to our website. I want them to know how much we appreciate their support and how much we continue to need their help.

Jackson Square, New Orleans

By: Patrap, 12:15 AM GMT on November 21, 2008

Hurricane Preparation Entry: Link





Jackson Square

(U.S. National Historic Landmark)





Jackson Square, also known as Place d'Armes, is a historic park in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana.



Prior to its expansion, early New Orleans was originally centered around what was then called the Place d' Armes. After the Battle of New Orleans, in 1814, the Place d' Armes was renamed Jackson Square, after general Andrew Jackson. In the center of the park stands an equestrian statue of Jackson erected in 1856, one of three in America by sculptor Clark Mills. The square was originally designed by architect and landscaper Louis H. Pilié, although he is only given credit for the iron fence.

The design of Jackson Square was modeled on the famous Place des Vosges in Paris France.

The square originally overlooked the Mississippi River across Decatur Street, but the view was blocked in the 19th century by the building of larger levees. The riverfront was long given to shipping, but the administration of Mayor Moon Landrieu put in a scenic boardwalk along the river across from the Square; it is known as the "Moon Walk" in his honor.



On the opposite side of the square are three 18th‑century historic buildings which were the city's heart in the colonial era. The center of the three is St. Louis Cathedral. The Cathedral was designated a minor Basilica by Pope Paul VI. To its left is the Cabildo, the old city hall, now a museum, where the finalization of the Louisiana Purchase was signed. To the Cathedral's right is the Presbytère, built to match the Cabildo. The Presbytère originally housed the city's Roman Catholic priests and authorities, it was then turned into a courthouse at the start of the 19th century, and in the 20th century became a museum.



Inside the St. Louis Cathedral




Cabildo



Presbytère




On the other two sides of the square are the Pontalba Buildings, matching red-brick block long 4‑story buildings built in the 1840s. The ground floors house shops and restaurants; the upper floors are apartments that are the oldest continuously rented such apartments in North America.
Jackson Square in 1885



Diagonally across Decatur Street upriver from Jackson Square is the Jax Brewery building, the original home of a favorite local beer. After the company ceased to operate independently, the building was converted into several businesses, including restaurants and specialty shops. In recent years, some retail space has been converted into luxury condominiums.



From the 1920s through the 1980s the square was famous as a gathering place of painters of widely varying talents, including proficient professionals, talented young art students, amateurs, and caricaturists. However, in the early 1990s tarot card readers began to tell fortunes on Saint Peter and Saint Anne Streets. Chartres Street passing in front of Saint Louis Cathedral, the Presbetyre and the Cabildo with its accompanying benches has become the domain of musicians and varied street performers such as jugglers and magicicans. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960.[1]

Live music is a regular feature of the square. Occasional formal concerts are held here, but for a century or more musicians playing for tips have set up in the square, the subject of unending controversy with nearby residents..



Diagonally across Decatur Street downriver from the square is Café du Monde, open 24 hours a day, well known for the café au lait with chicory and beignets served there continuously since the 19th century.





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Hurricane Preparation..

By: Patrap, 1:00 PM GMT on November 12, 2008

Hurricane Preparation

Naval Safety Center
Link

LT Jason Dalby, VFA-86

With hurricane season upon us again, it's time to dust off that family disaster plan, or in many cases, create one. Keeping your family safe during a hurricane starts with proper planning. One in six Americans live along the eastern seaboard or the Gulf of Mexico, making hurricane preparation a must for many service members and their families.








Evacuation Considerations for the Elderly, Disabled and Special Medical Care Issues Link

Your Evacuation Plan Link


Disaster Supplies Kit
Link

NOAA Alert Weather Radio's: Link




History teaches that a lack of hurricane awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters. By knowing your vulnerability and what actions you should take, you can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster.

5
HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS TIPS



Hurricane hazards come in many forms: storm surge, high winds, tornadoes, and flooding. This means it is important for your family to have a plan that includes all of these hazards. Look carefully at the safety actions associated with each type of hurricane hazard and prepare your family disaster plan accordingly. But remember this is only a guide. The first and most important thing anyone should do when facing a hurricane threat is to use common sense.

You should be able to answer the following questions before a hurricane threatens:

*
What are the Hurricane Hazards?
*
What does it mean to you?
*
What actions should you take to be prepared?

Hurricanes and Your Health and Safety


* The great majority of injuries during a hurricane are cuts caused by flying glass or other debris. Other injuries include puncture wounds resulting from exposed nails, metal, or glass, and bone fractures.
* State and local health departments may issue health advisories or recommendations particular to local conditions. If in doubt, contact your local or state health department.
* Make sure to include all essential medications -- both prescription and over the counter -- in your family's emergency disaster kit.


* Hurricanes, especially if accompanied by a tidal surge or flooding, can contaminate the public water supply. Drinking contaminated water may cause illness. You cannot assume that the water in the hurricane-affected area is safe to drink.
* In the area hit by a hurricane, water treatment plants may not be operating; even if they are, storm damage and flooding can contaminate water lines. Listen for public announcements about the safety of the municipal water supply.
* If your well has been flooded, it needs to be tested and disinfected after the storm passes and the floodwaters recede. Questions about testing should be directed to your local or state health department.

Water Safety

* Use bottled water that has not been exposed to flood waters if it is available.
* If you don't have bottled water, you should boil water to make it safe. Boiling water will kill most types of disease-causing organisms that may be present. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for boiling. Boil the water for one minute, let it cool, and store it in clean containers with covers.
* If you can't boil water, you can disinfect it using household bleach. Bleach will kill some, but not all, types of disease-causing organisms that may be in the water. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for disinfection. Add 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach for each gallon of water, stir it well and let it stand for 30 minutes before you use it. Store disinfected water in clean containers with covers.
* If you have a well that has been flooded, the water should be tested and disinfected after flood waters recede. If you suspect that your well may be contaminated, contact your local or state health department or agriculture extension agent for specific advice.

Food Safety

* Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water.
* Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water. Food containers that are not waterproof include those with screw-caps, snap lids, pull tops, and crimped caps. Also, discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
* Inspect canned foods and discard any food in damaged cans. Can damage is shown by swelling; leakage; punctures; holes; fractures; extensive deep rusting; or crushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel-type can opener.
* Undamaged, commercially prepared foods in all-metal cans and retort pouches (for example, flexible, shelf-stable juice or seafood pouches) can be saved if you do the following:
o Remove the labels, if they are the removable kind, since they can harbor dirt and bacteria.
o Thoroughly wash the cans or retort pouches with soap and water, using hot water if it is available.
o Brush or wipe away any dirt or silt.
o Rinse the cans or retort pouches with water that is safe for drinking, if available, since dirt or residual soap will reduce the effectiveness of chlorine sanitation.
o Then, sanitize them by immersion in one of the two following ways:
+ place in water and allow the water to come to a boil and continue boiling for 2 minutes, or
+ place in a freshly-made solution consisting of 1 tablespoon of unscented liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available) for 15 minutes.
* Air dry cans or retort pouches for a minimum of 1 hour before opening or storing.
* If the labels were removable, then re-label your cans or retort pouches, including the expiration date (if available), with a marker.
* Food in reconditioned cans or retort pouches should be used as soon as possible, thereafter.
* Any concentrated baby formula in reconditioned, all-metal containers must be diluted with clean, drinking water.
* Thoroughly wash metal pans, ceramic dishes, and utensils (including can openers) with soap and water, using hot water if available. Rinse, and then sanitize them by boiling in clean water or immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available).
* Thoroughly wash countertops with soap and water, using hot water if available. Rinse, and then sanitize by applying a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available). Allow to air dry.

Frozen and Refrigerated Foods

* If you will be without power for a long period:
o ask friends to store your frozen foods in their freezers if they have electricity;
o see if freezer space is available in a store, church, school, or commercial freezer that has electrical service; or
o use dry ice, if available. Twenty-five pounds of dry ice will keep a ten-cubic-foot freezer below freezing for 3-4 days. Use care when handling dry ice, and wear dry, heavy gloves to avoid injury.
* Your refrigerator will keep foods cool for about four hours without power if it is unopened. Add block or dry ice to your refrigerator if the electricity will be off longer than four hours.
* Thawed food can usually be eaten if it is still "refrigerator cold," or re-frozen if it still contains ice crystals.
* To be safe, remember, "When in doubt, throw it out." Discard any food that has been at room temperature for two hours or more, and any food that has an unusual odor, color, or texture.

Sanitation and Hygiene

It is critical for you to remember to practice basic hygiene during the emergency period. Always wash your hands with soap and water that has been boiled or disinfected:

* before preparing or eating
* after toilet use
* after participating in cleanup activities; and
* after handling articles contaminated with floodwater or sewage.

If there is flooding along with a hurricane, the waters may contain fecal material from overflowing sewage systems and agricultural and industrial waste. Although skin contact with floodwater does not, by itself, pose a serious health risk, there is risk of disease from eating or drinking anything contaminated with floodwater.

If you have any open cuts or sores that will be exposed to floodwater, keep them as clean as possible by washing them with soap and applying an antibiotic ointment to discourage infection. If a wound develops redness, swelling, or drainage, seek immediate medical attention.

Do not allow children to play in floodwater areas. Wash children's hands frequently (always before meals), and do not allow children to play with floodwater-contaminated toys that have not been disinfected. You can disinfect toys using a solution of one cup of bleach in five gallons of water.

Immunizations

Outbreaks of communicable diseases after hurricanes are unusual. However, the rates of diseases that were present before a hurricane may increase because of a lack of sanitation or overcrowding in shelters. Increases in infectious diseases that were not present before the hurricane are not a problem, so mass vaccination programs are unnecessary.

If you have wounds, you should be evaluated for a tetanus immunization, just as you would at any other time of injury. If you receive a puncture wound or a wound contaminated with feces, soil, or saliva, have a doctor or health department determine whether a tetanus booster is necessary based on individual records.

Specific recommendations for vaccinations should be made on a case-by-case basis, or as determined by local and state health departments.

Mosquitoes

Rain and flooding in a hurricane area may lead to an increase in mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are most active at sunrise and sunset. In most cases, the mosquitoes will be pests but will not carry communicable diseases. It is unlikely that diseases which were not present in the area prior to the hurricane would be of concern. Local, state, and federal public health authorities will be actively working to control the spread of any mosquito-borne diseases.

To protect yourself from mosquitoes, use screens on dwellings, and wear clothes with long sleeves and long pants. Insect repellents that contain DEET are very effective. Be sure to read all instructions before using DEET. Care must be taken when using DEET on small children. Products containing DEET are available from stores and through local and state health departments.

To control mosquito populations, drain all standing water left in open containers outside your home.

Mental Health

The days and weeks after a hurricane are going to be rough. In addition to your physical health, you need to take some time to consider your mental health as well. Remember that some sleeplessness, anxiety, anger, hyperactivity, mild depression, or lethargy are normal, and may go away with time. If you feel any of these symptoms acutely, seek counseling. Remember that children need extra care and attention before, during, and after the storm. Be sure to locate a favorite toy or game for your child before the storm arrives to help maintain his/her sense of security. Your state and local health departments will help you find the local resources, including hospitals or health care providers, that you may need.

Seeking Assistance after a Hurricane

SEEKING DISASTER ASSISTANCE: Throughout the recovery period, it is important to monitor local radio or television reports and other media sources for information about where to get emergency housing, food, first aid, clothing, and financial assistance. The following section provides general information about the kinds of assistance that may be available.

DIRECT ASSISTANCE: Direct assistance to individuals and families may come from any number of organizations, including: the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and other volunteer organizations. These organizations provide food, shelter, supplies and assist in clean-up efforts.

THE FEDERAL ROLE: In the most severe disasters, the federal government is also called in to help individuals and families with temporary housing, counseling (for post-disaster trauma), low-interest loans and grants, and other assistance. The federal government also has programs that help small businesses and farmers.

Most federal assistance becomes available when the President of the United States declares a �Major Disaster� for the affected area at the request of a state governor. FEMA will provide information through the media and community outreach about federal assistance and how to apply.

Coping after a Hurricane Everyone who sees or experiences a hurricane is affected by it in some way. It is normal to feel anxious about your own safety and that of your family and close friends. Profound sadness, grief, and anger are normal reactions to an abnormal event. Acknowledging your feelings helps you recover. Focusing on your strengths and abilities helps you heal. Accepting help from community programs and resources is healthy. Everyone has different needs and different ways of coping. It is common to want to strike back at people who have caused great pain. Children and older adults are of special concern in the aftermath of disasters. Even individuals who experience a disaster �second hand� through exposure to extensive media coverage can be affected.

Contact local faith-based organizations, voluntary agencies, or professional counselors for counseling. Additionally, FEMA and state and local governments of the affected area may provide crisis counseling assistance.

Minimize this emotional and traumatic experience by being prepared, not scared and therefore you and your family will stay in control and survive a major hurricane.

SIGNS OF HURRICANE RELATED STRESS:

* Difficulty communicating thoughts.
* Difficulty sleeping.
* Difficulty maintaining balance in their lives.
* Low threshold of frustration.
* Increased use of drugs/alcohol.
* Limited attention span.
* Poor work performance.
* Headaches/stomach problems.
* Tunnel vision/muffled hearing.
* Colds or flu-like symptoms.
* Disorientation or confusion.
* Difficulty concentrating.
* Reluctance to leave home.
* Depression, sadness.
* Feelings of hopelessness.
* Mood-swings and easy bouts of crying.
* Overwhelming guilt and self-doubt.
* Fear of crowds, strangers, or being alone.

EASING HURRICANE RELATED STRESS:

* Talk with someone about your feelings - anger, sorrow, and other emotions - even though it may be difficult.
* Seek help from professional counselors who deal with post-disaster stress.
* Do not hold yourself responsible for the disastrous event or be frustrated because you feel you cannot help directly in the rescue work.
* Take steps to promote your own physical and emotional healing by healthy eating, rest, exercise, relaxation, and meditation.
* Maintain a normal family and daily routine, limiting demanding responsibilities on yourself and your family.
* Spend time with family and friends.
* Participate in memorials.
* Use existing support groups of family, friends, and religious institutions.
* Ensure you are ready for future events by restocking your disaster supplies kits and updating your family disaster plans





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Veterans and America

By: Patrap, 1:29 AM GMT on November 06, 2008






As Veterans Day approaches were reminded of the Sacrifice and Honor our Veterans have given America for over 2 Centuries.

This weekend,tell a Veteran or Active Duty member How much you appreciate their Service.

And come November 11th,Celebrate those gone to rest,those among us..and those serving at Home and Around the Globe.






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A Day to Remember

By: Patrap, 4:06 AM GMT on November 05, 2008





The Democracy is Strong as today record numbers of Voters decided to change the Course for this Great Land.

May God Bless the New President, his VP.. and Cabinet to be.

Brave Valiant,Heroic Souls long past revel in Glory that their sacrifices were not in vain..

The Founding Fathers wisdom Works still.

Together as one people,we have Hope for our future.

Fear is defeated,..let rest the distance between aisles and class.

We can do great things again,..and grow and prosper like our Fathers before us did.

A New Generation leads America.

May we do Great,and Honorable things.





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The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.