January 25, 2006

Olympians mix parenting with Olympic dreams

By DAVID NIELSEN
Scripps Howard News Service
24-JAN-06

When Vonetta Flowers captured the gold medal in the women’s bobsled event at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics, she had a pretty good inkling that her life would never be the same.She didn’t know the half of it.

Barely six months after the Games ended, Flowers gave birth to twin boys, Jaden and Jorden.

Flowers is one of a handful of U.S. Olympians competing in Turin who is balancing their Olympic dreams with the hefty responsibilities of parenthood.

Just five months after giving birth, Flowers resumed training. In addition to juggling demands from sponsors, coaches, media and friends, Flowers had to squeeze in diaper changes and midnight feedings while training and competing all over the world.

“I talked to the coaches. In order for me to come back into the sport, my family’s coming with me,” said Flowers, now 32. “I’m not leaving them at home. It wasn’t an option.

“It’s working out, but it was tough at first, because they were five months old. They got their little passports at five months, and it was tough for the (other bobsledders), of course, just adjusting to the sleeping with the crying the whole night.

“So they would move our room on one side of the hotel, and the team would be on the other side, because of the babies. But they’re three now, and so they’re better. And the girls help out as much as they can.”

Flowers’ bobsled partner, Jean Prahm, had a front row seat for the challenges Flowers faced.

“I know especially the first year it’s very difficult,” said Prahm, who got married last year. “Just the things you wouldn’t even think about, like nursing (and) all the things that your baby requires. I don’t know what the future holds for me, whether I would attempt that or not. It requires a lot of patience and a lot of love. I think her husband has been just awesome to support her through this.”

Ross Powers, who won a gold medal in the snowboarding halfpipe in Salt Lake, became a father for the first time in 2003. His daughter, Victoria, joins Powers on the snowboarding circuit about half the time.

“I went for a five-week stretch away (in 2005),” said Powers, who didn’t qualify for the team in Turin. “Being a Dad, I have to think a little more (about things). More events require helmets. I wear a helmet now. I have more people to worry about.”

Figure skater Michael Weiss, who narrowly missed qualifying for Turin, juggled fatherhood with competition longer than most. His two kids are 6 and 7.

“Fatherhood is forever,” said Weiss, who competed in 1998 at the Nagano Games and finished 7th in men’s singles in Salt Lake. “You have a huge impact and a responsibility to do the best you can at raising your kids in a positive, loving, caring environment. And anybody who’s a parent knows your job is important to you, but it will take a back seat at any given moment if something in your family needs to be taken care of. And that’s the case with me.

“Everybody said as soon as I was married, ‘Oh, he’s got a family; figure skating’s over for him.’ And that was back in 1999, and that was the year I won nationals and was third at worlds. And then, ‘Oh, he’s got a daughter now, he’s got other focuses, other things going on’ in 2000, and then I won nationals and I was third at world. So those types of things happen to everybody.'”

Well, not everybody. For some Olympians, the concept of raising a child while training for the Olympics is incomprehensible.

“No, I think if I were to have a kid, that would be it for me,” said speedskater Jennifer Rodriguez, who is married to speedskater K.C. Boutiette. “I think my time would go toward the kid. I’ve had a very successful career and I’ve had enough to be like, ‘OK, it’s time for me to retire.'”

Pairs figure skaters Denis Petukhov and Melissa Gregory were married in 2001. But becoming parents is a little farfetched for now.

“We train together,” said Gregory. “We spend sometimes all day skating or training doing what we need to do. That leaves not much time left for anything else.

“We have a hard time with our dog having to sit all day long by himself,” said Petukhov.

Added Gregory: “That’s our son right now.”

(E-mail David Nielsen at nielsend(at)shns.com. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.shns.com)


January 22, 2006

Baby Boomers Using Google and Yahoo to Find In-Home Care

Baby Boomers Using Google and Yahoo to Find Assisted Living and In-Home Care for Aging Parents

Ashland, MA (PRWEB) January 16, 2006 — ElderCarelink, the nation’s leading provider of internet referrals to eldercare providers, reported that almost all of the one million people who visited their site last year found the site from Google and Yahoo search engines. The ElderCarelink site offers a free consumer service that helps families find assisted living, nursing homes, adult day care, in-home care, and other elder-care products and services for their elderly parents.

“Finding the right eldercare provider for your loved ones is not an easy process,” says Robert Brooks, ElderCarelink’s CEO, “Baby boomers who are faced with important decisions regarding their parents care are more comfortable using the internet to research and explore their options. That’s where Eldercarelink comes in. With our large and growing nationwide network of providers, we are able to match close to 90% of all completed needs surveys with qualified providers.”

In 2006, the first wave of baby boomers is turning sixty. At the same time, their parents are advancing into their eighties and nineties. While some small percentage of the elderly parents have made provisions for their own care, many of the most important care decisions are being made, or at least heavily influenced by, their children.

Data from the ElderCarelink website in 2005 indicates that the majority of assisted living service requests are being completed by women looking for an eldercare residence for their mother or father. “As one might guess, daughters, typically youngest daughters, outnumbered sons as primary caregivers two-to-one.” says Brooks. “We also noticed a stronger demand for in-home care providers this year, which supports a growing trend of seniors wanting to stay in their own homes and live independently for as long as they can.”

Families today are facing difficult and emotional issues in deciding how to provide the best care for their loved ones and how to finance it. Unlike medical care, which can be covered by Medicare or health insurance, most long-term care services are only available on a private pay basis. Unless an individual has long term care insurance or qualifies for public assistance such as Medicaid, they must pay for these services out-of-pocket.

Adding to challenge of finding good eldercare is that many families put off these decisions until something happens – a parent falls, or becomes partially incapacitated by a stroke. ElderCarelink reports that over half of the service requests that it receives require immediate action within the next two weeks.

When faced with all these stressful decisions, baby boomers are turning to their comfort zones –that means hitting the internet at Google, Yahoo, MSN and other search engines to gather information about care options and providers. ElderCarelink assisted over 80,000 families in their search for qualified providers in 2005, and expect that number to continue to grow substantially in 2006.

About ElderCarelink

Founded in 2004, ElderCareLink is an internet-based referral service – free to consumers — that specializes in helping families find everything from assisted living, in-home health care professionals and visiting nurses to care managers, and in-home products and services. The ElderCarelink network includes over 1300 providers across all 50 states, with more and more providers joining the network daily.

For more information, visit ElderCarelink or call 508-881-0831.


Be Prepared for Random Acts of Violence Against Children

Know what to do if your son or daughter is the victim of a random act of violence

Pittsburgh, PA (PRWEB) January 19, 2006 — Mike Ference is a freelance writer, speaker, entrepreneur and one parent who can give you his side of the story about what may happen if your son or daughter is the victim of a random act of violence.

His 16-year-old son Adam was riding the bus to school when another student put a gun to the back of his head, only inches away from his son’s skull and fired. Through almost two decades and the birth of seven grandchildren Mike Ference never gave up his fight. He just ignored everyone who asked him to forget about the case. Finally, after years of investigating the attempted murder of his son Adam, he’s ready to release the not so civic- or Christian-minded details of how law enforcement, government officials and Catholic Clergy failed miserably at pretending to do their jobs.

“I never want another family to go through the Barney Fife-like investigation that preceded the attempted murder of my son. I tell it all. I don’t hold anything back. In Allegheny County if you want police protection, you have to pay for it, good police work doesn’t come without being connected,” says Mike Ference,

Unfortunately, it gets worse. Now that the puzzle pieces are all together, there’s still no place to go for help. Here’s a copy of an e-mail Mike Ference sent out to all the major Pittsburgh media and most of the Pennsylvania State Senators and Representatives and not one person ever replied.

“Just so you know I got a telephone call from the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office today. Spoke with Laura Ditka who handles child abuse cases for the DA’s office in Allegheny County. I was referred to her by Senator Jane Orie, who must have taken my comments seriously, at least enough to send a letter to the DA’s office and the Pennsylvania State Attorney’s office.

After talking to Ms. Ditka for over an hour, I felt slightly encouraged, at least for a minute or so. Looks like I did everything that I was supposed to do and could do as a concerned citizen worried about children being harmed. Unfortunately, everyone else dropped the ball, especially the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese, McKeesport Police, West Mifflin Police and the DA’s office, to name just a few.”

Can the same thing happen to you and your family? Let’s hope not. But if it does, will you have a plan of action? Do you know who you will be able to trust? Even if your child is completely innocent and just a victim, will law enforcement, school and government officials do the right thing? Will you friends and neighbors step up to the plate? And if it’s a Catholic School, what are the rules?

The answers to these and many more questions will really surprise you and probably open your eyes on how some crimes are handled.

Here are some points to ponder:
Know who you would assign to handle communications between law enforcement, school and government officials and the media. This may be the most important detail to understand.

Press law enforcement officials for as many details as early on in the investigation as possible.

Secure the best legal representation possible. If you don’t, it will haunt you. Forget about a local attorney or one who may have handled family affairs. If the shooting takes place on Catholic Church property, forget about hiring a law firm with ties to a Catholic law school or university.

Find out as much information about the shooter as possible. The fact that the shooter’s parents have friends on the police force or maybe one of the parents was or is a police officer will also make a difference on how the investigation is handled.

Find out if the shooter’s family is connected politically or criminally, etc.

While you’re caring for the loved one who has been shot, there may be people with a vested interest who are shaping and tailoring the way the investigation needs to go. That’s why you need to assign someone, possibly a close friend or family member to keep tabs on what’s going on.

Mike Ference was blind to the type of justice and that’s why it took him 16 years to complete his own investigation. With no badge and no leverage, few people were willing to step forward and tell the truth. But after over 16 years, the story will be told. As for why a man stays on the case so long, “that’s what my dad would have done for me,” says Mike Ference

To set up an interview, to arrange a speaking engagement or for more information on the details to Mike Ference’s 16-year investigation, contact him at (412) 233-5491.

Mike Ference
817 Worthington Avenue
Clairton, PA 15025

Source: PRWeb


Kids Attend College on the Merit of Their Mother’s Handwriting.

Alabama woman puts kids through college thanks to John Hancock and her ability to detect forgeries in handwriting. Moves from lowly legal secretary to court qualified document examiner.Birmingham, AL (PRWEB) January 22, 2006 — Teresa DeBerry has three kids, a full-time job and lives on a dirt road outside Birmingham Alabama. Her closest neighbor spends his time searching for UFO’s. Yet, thanks to her new career as a handwriting & forgery expert, her kid’s college tuition is all but paid. John Hancock will always be her hero, because on his birthday, her life changed from legal secretary to court qualified document examiner.
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When she heard Bart Baggett on the radio three years ago analyzing handwriting, Teresa DeBerry had no idea how significant that event would be in her life. That day happened to be John Hancock’s birthday, January 23rd. She remembers that fact because it was during National Handwriting Week – a week Teresa now marks on her own calendar. Baggett is one of America’s most respected handwriting experts and authors.Teresa was immediately intrigued by the idea that handwriting could solve crimes and reveal inner personality secrets. Could handwriting examination be the key to her kid’s college fund? She didn’t realize at first most handwriting experts earn over $1000 per day to testify in court and upwards of $100 per hour for her laboratory research.She visited Baggett’s website (http://www.HandwritingU.com) and immediately enrolled into the two year home study & apprenticeship program to master the skill of determining forgeries and testifying as an expert witness.

In the legal field, she heard the same quote dozens of times. “You’re a handwriting expert. Great! We need help with a forgery case.” Teresa followed the advice of a local judge, who said there is a desperate need for court-qualified handwriting experts nationwide.

Knowing her kids‚ college tuition depended greatly on her ability to build a financially successful career, she made straight A’s, contacted local attorneys, and launched her website http://teresadeberry.com. She is now an entrepreneur, too.

Now, Teresa DeBerry works from home, but travels throughout the Southeast solving forensic document cases as part of the nationwide alliance of document examiners called Handwriting Services International. (http://handwritingservicesinternational.com).

Teresa’s kids are a still a little young to be worried about college just yet. At 7 (twins!), and 12 they have some time for their Mom to build a lucrative career as one of America’s Top Handwriting Experts. Every case adds to her kids college fund.

About Teresa DeBerry
Teresa DeBerry is available for interviews and handwriting consultations.
www.teresadeberry.com or calling 205-542-6301

About Bart Baggett
Bart Baggett is one of America’s top handwriting experts, author of five books, and founder of Handwriting University’s School of Forensic Document Examination (http://handwritingu.com)
His Handwriting Analysis 101 is a best-seller worldwide (http://handwritinguniversity.com/products/101 )

Source: PRWeb


Sex v Relationship: Which wins?

Leytonstone, London, UK — (SBWIRE) — 01/20/2006 — It’s that age old question, which would you choose, great sex, or an amazing relationship? Is it worth staying in a poor relationship if the sex is great? Or if the relationship is amazing, can sex be put on the backburner?

To mark Sam van Rood joining as the new Date Doctor for www.makefriendsonline.com, an online survey of members was carried out to discover what people really value; sex or relationships.

‘This is one of those questions everyone seems split over, sex v relationship – so we decided to find out the answer!” said van Rood.

The survey found that the British overwhelmingly prefer a great relationship over amazing sex. 71% of the 25,000 responses stated they would prefer OK sex with an amazing relationship, compared to 29% who would prefer great sex.

Men and women split firmly along gender lines with 80% of women and 64% of men saying that they would choose an amazing relationship over amazing sex.

Britain’s most sexually demanding region is the Isle of Man, where 52.94% of those surveyed would prefer great sex and an OK relationship.

Gloucestershire, proved to most committed to great relationships, with a whopping 83.08% of those polled saying an amazing relationship is most important.

Aries, Leo, Libra and Scorpios were the most frisky star signs, while Aquarius and Taurus were most committed to relationships.

Not surprisingly, those with higher incomes and education placed sex as a higher priority, with 40.54% in the High Range compared to 24.58% Low range.

Women looking for men who will put the relationship first should stick to the regions, particularly Leicestershire (80.47%), North Yorkshire (76.64%), Mid Glamorgan (76.6%), which fare much better than London where only 59.42% of men put relationship first over sex.

Men looking for a bit of fun should try Isle of Man (60%), Powys (44.44%), or County Armagh where 33.33% of women chose amazing sex over a relationship.

‘It seems that despite all the emphasis that seems to be put on sex, at heart people still want a amazing relationship and may be willing to look the other way if the sex is a bit iffy’ said Sam.

Survey details.

The survey was conducted with members of www.makefriendsonline.com. 25,622 members answered the question:

Would you rather:

Have amazing sex and an OK relationship? 29.21%
Have OK sex and an amazing relationship? 70.79%

Data was analysed by location, gender, star sign, age, income bracket and religion.

About Sam van Rood see www.samvanrood.com
Sam van Rood is a dating doctor who works for some of London’s leading single agencies, has featured in the Mirror, Sun, Express, Mail, Star, Glamour, More, on Trisha, BBC3, ‘What women really want’ and is currently filming the series ‘How to find a Husband’.

About www.makefriendsonline.com
MakeFriendsOnline is the UK’s largest Dating & Friendship service with over half a million members. Site features include free membership, member profiles, email, instant messaging, chat rooms, message boards and events.