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Of the thousands of News "Nuggets" that are added to our databases each day, we try to select weekly a few that we feel challenge and inform our viewers/readers the most.

Recent postings from our clients....

Finding Joy and Meaning Are Key to Getting through Tough Times

Sheryl SandbergSheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook and the author of Lean In, recently delivered the commencement address at the University of California at Berkley. Her address focused on what she had learned since her husband’s death a little over a year ago. She said, “I learned about the depths of sadness and the brutality of loss. But I also learned that when life sucks you under, you can kick against the bottom, break the surface, and breathe again. I learned that in the face of the void — or in the face of any challenge — you can choose joy and meaning.” She went on to say, “My New Year’s resolution this year is to write down three moments of joy before I go to bed each night. This simple practice has changed my life. Because no matter what happens each day, I go to sleep thinking of something cheerful.” 

If you would like to read an edited version of Ms. Sandberg’s commencement address, here’s the link.  Or, if you would like to listen to her very moving speech in its entirety, go to her Facebook

They Can't Stop!

Railroad CrossingI was driving out of Hillsborough on Old US10 and turned left onto Mount.Herman Church Road when I came to a railroad crossing and as I drove over it I noticed an old cemetery on my left. Immediately the thought jumped into my head, "How appropriate, a railroad crossing and a cemetery." So many times I'd traveled to railroad crossings and walked down the tracks to examine the shattered remains of autos and the dead bodies of crash victims. 

I worked for the Grand Trunk Western Railroad in Michigan for 35 years and in my work the first twenty-five years I investigated railroad crossing accidents between trains and motor vehicles.  Most of them were fatalities and then when I got a promotion one of my jobs was producing audio-visual presentations. With the help of Roger Thurgaland who worked with me we produced a presentation titled "They Can't Stop!".  The theme was, "The only one who can prevent a railroad crossing accident is you the motorist." Our trains traveled at speeds up to 69 MPH and with a hundred cars or so, it took half a mile to stop a train. Our filmstrip  was used in Michigan's Operation Life Saver and over a million driver education students saw it. Then it was used nationally.                     

Today I still keep reading about people being killed at railroad crossings and even with flashers and gates at so many crossings, people are still getting killed. Unfortunately in most cases folks still haven't gotten the message.  They Can't Stop! The only one who can prevent a railroad crossing collision is you the motorist. 

WXYZ Sponsors Railroad Day

Railroad DayWXYZ sponsors Railroad Days

HPSCI - House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

White House by Peter Griffin - Public DomainPictures.netLed by Republican's the report concludes that there was no intelligence failure prior to the attacks, no stand down order was issued during the attacks, and the administration's initial talking points about the attacks were based on the Central Intelligence Agency's assessment at the time.

Palo Verde Regional Park

Palo Verde ParkAn amazing proposal for saving a major portion of land for the public use and it's right next to the City of Maricopa.  An amazing asset. The project is located at the western side of Pinal County between SR 238 (to the north) and Interstate 8 (to the South)

An Early Alpha Session

Question - What if?As I was waking up this morning thinking about my life, some of my failures and some of my achievements, I could suddenly see things so clearly. It all seems so simple, the fact that I was born a Change Agent.  Why did I have so much trouble in high school with the Jesuits?  Because I was a troublesome student who wanted change. I wanted them to open their minds to allow a different thought from what they had been taught. Fat chance.

And in the Army?  I questioned the value of what was in their book. Why did they send platoon after platoon after platoon up that damn enemy hill and then watch them carry us off dead or wounded? And oh the potatoes I peeled. 

I can see now how the parent owner of our railroad sent their very best leader in from Canada to either change our failing railroad or else they would sell it; and how I, just by blind luck and passion, happened onto the scene stumbling in with all of my badly needed ideas on employee communications and compassion and challenge and how they were a fit for what was required and although there was resistance from the status quo still we managed to succeed somehow and create the needed change in time to save the organization. 

And this morning lying in my bed it was like an open sesame experience and I could see why many of my concepts were welcomed in the speaking industry and then into a few children’s classrooms and then into the safety departments of major industries and even in small ways into the military.

And am I trying to imply that I was a brilliant guru, the wizard of change?  Of course not. It is just that for a brief moment this morning in my mind I could see a tiny spark of understanding, just why as one woman I met explained to me, the reason she had her second marriage annulled just a week after the wedding, “He wanted me to change.”

People resist change. Organizations resist change. It makes them uncomfortable. It is a threat to their status quo. There is fear that change could threaten ones very presence within an organization or maybe even lives.  

I was born with an overactive “what if” factor in my mind.  And perhaps with such a factor came a large lack of tact.  That inability to suffer fools gladly. And, of course, overdoses of impatience and ego.

I did alright, you know.  Not great, nor fantastic. Not brilliantly. But considering my lack of further formal education and lack of organization in my life it is amazing how I survived and landed on my feet so many times.

So what have I learned being a change agent? That it takes an awful lot of luck and tenacity and the support of a lot of other special people at the right time to survive. 

And now after that dream or that Alpha session I experienced this morning I feel better about the whole thing. 

Face Your Fears First

Getting Things Done by David AllenRecently I had gotten into the habit of putting unpleasant or scary tasks off because I was afraid to deal with them—it’s called procrastination. As a result, my productivity suffered because of the weight of these tasks hanging over my head. For example, I needed a huge favor from a fairly famous person whom I am not all that close with and who didn’t owe me any favors. I put off calling this person for more than a week because I was afraid that I might be turned down. Finally, because of the encouragement of a mutual friend, I called him. When we connected, he said he was delighted to hear from me and when I asked for the favor, he said “no problem” and took care of the matter immediately. Putting this call off caused me a great deal of stress and rendered me ineffective at what I do. From that point forward, my morning mantra has been, “Face your fears first” and I repeat it several times before I get out of bed. In other words, get any unpleasant tasks behind you right away so that you can get on with the rest of your day stress free. Doing so will not only make you happier, but far more effective as well.

City of Maricopa Dangerous Intersections

One of the most dangerous intersections in the City of Maricopa: Smith-Enke Rd. and Arizona 347.

Laughter Is A Powerful Medicine

LaughThere aren't many medicines that even come close to delivering the benefits that laughter delivers.  To start with, laughter makes us feel good, makes our burdens seem lighter and makes the difficult times seem less difficult.  In addition, laughter strengthens the immune system, helps you heal more quickly, reduces food cravings, reduces stress, anxiety and anger while providing you with a better night's sleep.  And, the more we laugh, the more of these benefits we accrue.  The problem is that we simply don't laugh enough.  Recent research shows that adults average only 17 laughs per day while a kindergartener laughs 300 times per day--and guess who is happier and healthier?  The lesson here is that we all need to make it a point to laugh more each and every day.  If we do, just like those kindergarteners, we'll find ourselves happier and healthier.

Thank You President Obama for Enforcing the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause

Seal of the United StatesWe are a nation of laws based upon an incredible document called the United States Constitution.

The Equal Protection Clause is a part of the Fourteenth Amendment which took effect in 1868 that provides that no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction "The equal protection of the laws".

The President of the United States, Barrack Obama, through the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division has issue a Notice of Language Assistance clarifying what this means in regards to the clarification and compliance with Title IX.

It's unfortunate that some political figures blatantly disregard the rights of others despite the clear language of our Constitution.

DOJ and North Carolina HB2

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced that the Justice Department has filed a complaint against the state of North Carolina, the University of North Carolina (UNC) and the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (DPS) alleging that they are discriminating against transgender individuals in violation of federal law as a result of the state’s compliance with and implementation of House Bill 2 (H.B. 2). H.B. 2 requires public agencies to treat transgender individuals, whose gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth, differently from similarly situated non-transgender individuals.

My Music

Greg Brayton and Art FettigIn 1997 I went on a songwriting binge and it lasted thru 2001. When I discovered a recording studio in Coldwater, Michigan manned by a musical genius, Greg Brayton,  I managed to turn out at least one song a month and Greg and I turned out a total of 57 recorded songs. When people asked me what genre my music fell in I said, "Da?".   We turned out folk, comedy, country, blues, spiritual, high drama and stuff we still haven't found a category to drop into.  One of my favorites is a love song I wrote for my wife, Jean.  Its title is "If I Loved You Any More You'd Be My Dog."  It wasn't about her or me but about a cowboy sort of guy trying to express his deep love for a particular girl. Same with "I Never Slept Alone 'til I Got Married."  I'd slept alone a lot, believe me, because at the time I wrote it my wife Ruth had died 5 years earlier. Like with my writing books and articles and such, I gave myself permission to write anything I pleased when writing songs. I penned, "You're The Most Pathetic Person That I Have Ever Met," long before I met my wife, Jean. Same with, "Have a Good Life Because I'm Movin' On."  

Recently I have started talking with audiences about my songs, how I wrote them and then I play the song on a CD.  I invited the audience to chime in on some of my blues songs such as "Don't Wait Too Long." and "Too Long Partyin' Blues."  I generally close these sessions with my "I Love You Waltz."  I figure it is time that we all say "I love you" to one another here in America. There is just too much hate going around lately.

Listening to Someone Else's Troubles can take away Yours

A Grief ObservedThe other day I went to the Post Office to mail a gift to my mother in law. I was not doing well that morning as I felt very stressed and anxious. When I was called to the counter, I noticed the postal employee who was about to help me was drying her eyes and blowing her nose. I said to her, “It looks like the allergies are getting the best of you.” She answered, “No, my husband passed away two weeks ago and I have been crying a lot.” I then shared with her that I’d lost a son a year and a half ago. She then took hold of my hand and said, “The person may die, but the love lives on.” After we had shared a few more experiences about our respective situations, I got her name from her name tag and told her that I would pray for her. She asked me my name and said she’d do the same. At this point, I had tears running down my cheeks and felt a huge lump in my throat. At the same time, I could feel all my stress and anxiety lifting from my body. As I was about to leave, she smiled and said, “Thanks for sharing Ross.” Tears continued to run down my cheeks all the way to Sprouts Farmers Market which was my next stop, but my stress and anxiety were gone. I had taken the time to listen to someone else’s troubles and, as a result, mine had disappeared. 

Bathroom brouhaha

Martin Zimman writes in Living Lutheran on May 6, 2016, "On a trip overseas, I had a long layover in the Netherlands, so I spent a day in Amsterdam. I was amazed to see what at first glance appeared to be open phone booths on the corners—iron affairs painted green that were aesthetically pleasing to the eye. My guide smiled and said they were for men who imbibed too much Heineken and needed relief. “Ohhhhh, I get it—an outdoor urinal!” my jet-lagged brain realized. It never occurred to me to actually try the thing out, because I was used to American public bathrooms—you know the kind—silhouette of a guy on one door, silhouette of a woman (or a Scottish guy in a kilt) on the other. ..."

Hooked on Facebook - Campus Ministry Takes Web Presence to New Level

A great article by Nicole Adamson originally published in The Lutheran, explains how some students and ministries use social ministry websites to their advantage.

Hillary Clinton's Religious Values

We need a president who firmly believes in religious values and the power of Christ's Gospel.

Friendships Are Very Good for Us

The Friendship FactorAn article by Elizabeth Bernstein which recently appeared in The Wall Street Journal, points out that people who have solid friendships live longer and healthier lives. She goes on to say, “Friendship decreases blood pressure and stress, reduces the risk of depression and increases longevity, in large part because someone is looking out for us. Ms. Bernstein further points out that a recent study by the British Journal of Psychology “looked at 15,000 respondents and found that people who had more social interactions with close friends reported being happier….” The lesson here is that the quality of our lives will be a great deal better if we intentionally spend some time not only nurturing our current friendships, but cultivating new ones as well.

You’re Somebody

The Three RobotsIn 1981 we came out with my first children’s book titled The Three Robots. My goal was to teach children positive living concepts. My vision was of parents reading my books to their children while they hugged them and thus learning these concepts themselves. The following are the lyrics of a song that my Positive thinking robot Pos sings to her friends.  

I’m Somebody
Art Fettig
 

I'm happy, I'm healthy, I'm somebody 
Not a sad nobody, I'm somebody. 
And I wear a smile just to let the whole world know 
That this somebody's happy inside.

I'm somebody special just one of a kind. 
I'm unique with a greatness I'm seeking to find. 
I'm happy, I'm healthy, and I’m somebody, true, 
Yes, I'm sure glad to tell you, "You're somebody too."

Throughout my career I have used poems in my live presentations. I had the honor of making presentations in schools throughout the U.S. and Canada and it was with real joy that I would sing this song to the children. So many children had never been told “You’re Somebody!”  

Just in case you might have missed this in your lifetime, I’m telling you right here, right now.  You are somebody special!

The Power of Handwritten Note Taking

Writing - Note TakingAccording to an article by Robert Lee Hotz which recently appeared in The Wall Street Journal, students who take handwritten notes outperform those who type them on a keyboard. While handwritten note takers take fewer notes than those who type them (22 words per minute vs.33), they learn better, retain information longer and more readily grasp new concepts. The primary reason cited for the differences is that when people take hand written notes, they actually process the information in their mind as they write it down. On the other hand, people who type their notes, take verbatim notes which are not processed nearly as much in their mind. Thus, while key board note takers are better able to keep up with the pace of the lecturer, they don’t learn as much during the process. The article went on to say that these findings are likely to apply to any situation where “…we try to collect our thoughts in writing, whether in a classroom, a business meeting or a doctor’s office….” I found this article both fascinating and enlightening.

Foster Care & Adoption Orientation for the LGBTQ Community

Join Child Crisis Arizona for a FREE Foster Care and Adoption orientation for the LGBTQ community. 

LGBT Foster Care and AdoptionThe orientation is an informational session that discuss the needs of children in care, what your role in meeting those needs will be, the process of licensing/certification and support/resources offered to foster and adoptive families. A licensed LGBTQ couple will be in attendance to share their experience and answer any questions.

Date: Saturday, April 30
Time:10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Location: 817 N. Country Club Drive, Mesa, AZ 85201
Registration: No registration is required, all you have to do is show up! 

Contact adoption.foster@childcrisisaz.org with questions.  

I-347 Three Killed on Arizona 347 between Riggs and I-10

Three people killed on Ariona Route 347 Sunday morning, April 24, 2016.  The closure of the road for over nine hours left many Maricopa residents taking alternate routes to drive into Phoenix.

The accident occured just before 5 a.m. and appeared on many traffic websites as occuring at 5:40 a.m.  Although both DPS and Gila River Police Department were both on scene, the accident is being investing by the Gila River Police.

Competitive Arizona

Competitive Arizona - A coalition of businesses, organizations and individuals working to promote economic development in Arizona through equality and inclusion for all people, including gay and transgender individuals, in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

Books

BooksFor most of my life I have been a book nut. When I go to a yard sale I'm a real sucker for a stack of used books.  I've got seven book cases in my office and music room combined and they don't come anywhere near holding the books I have around here. There is always another stack accumulating. It's like they are breeding.  I keep threatening a major purge but every time I go on a clean up kick, I find that instead it had turned into a reading binge instead. For months I have been trying to get rid of my Ultimate Visual Dictionary of Science. It weighs a ton. 448 pages of illustrated knowledge that would be a real gem to someone interested in that stuff.  I picked it up for a dollar at a yard sale and I buy books like that now and then just thinking I might run into someone who would treasure it and I'd make a gift of it. Of course, now, most of the stuff in that book can be found at your fingertips online. There is that big Picasso art book over there in the corner just drawing dust. Another dollar investment. I've tried four times to give that sucker away. 

Some days I get so desperate for space that I tell myself that I'm going to purge every book that is more than an inch thick. I've got some thick joke books here and I can search through hundreds of pages and not find one joke I think is funny any longer. Maybe it's me?  Well, I've got to get on with it.  Lookout Goodwill, I will be headed your way with a load of books to contribute.  I hope I will anyway.  My intentions are firm.

Happiness During Retirement isn’t just about Money

RetirementMost of the advice about preparing for retirement centers around making sure that you’ve put enough money aside in order to live comfortably. However, an article written by Brian Stoffel which appeared in a recent issue of USA Today points out that it takes more than money to have an enjoyable retirement.” Mr. Stoffel cited a survey conducted by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave which points out that in addition to having a reliable paycheck, the other things that retirees missed most about not working were social connections, having a purpose and work goals and mental stimulation. So if you want to have an enjoyable retirement, in addition to making sure you have enough money set aside, also make sure that you cultivate plenty of friendships outside of work and identify a number of worthwhile activities (at least four) that will replace the sense of meaning and the mental stimulation you’ll lose when you leave your job. If you would like to read Mr. Stoffel’s complete article, here’s the link.

Observation

RiverwalkFor most of my life now I have been watching people. I remember doing it in Chicago in the mid-fifties,backed up against a building so I didn't get knocked down and trampled. I'd be standing on a really busy street downtown during the rush hour and just watching the people rushing to get somewhere. Now I go into town here in Hillsborough and watch both locals and tourists and sometimes wonder what their lives are all about. If I sit outside at Cup A Joe's, across from the old hardware store for an hour or more there is just no limit to the assortment of unique characters I might encounter. Sometimes I try to listen too but if I plan to use anything in my writing from what I might hear or see, hell, by the time I get done interweaving a couple or more of their looks or sounds or characteristics there just ain't no way anyone might recognize themselves. I might sit near the steps to our Riverwalk and fill my head with images sometimes, and underneath my breath I'm humming a wild solo in a 1950 jazz rendition of How High the Moon.  Music flowing through my mind helps me enjoy my people watching all the more. Gosh, Hillsborough is a treasure with all of these absolutely unique folks to keep a watch on and every now and then I get the feeling that some of them are keeping an eye on me. 

 


Amazon.com
100% Employee Engagement--Guaranteed!: A Three Step Formula for Getting More Done and Generating Way More Profit [Kindle Edition]

EngagementThis book presents a new leadership model that guarantees an employee engagement level of 100%. Putting this simple, three-step formula to work in your business—profit or nonprofit—will ensure that 100% of your employees will become engaged with their work—all working to their full potential. As a result, your employees will get more done, have more fun and generate way more profit. 

Ross Reck's Selling Made Incredibily Easy [Kindle Edition]
Selling Made Incredibily EasyIf you want to be an incredibly successful salesperson without killing yourself in the process, there’s only one way to go - it's called repeat and referral business. In other words, get your customers to do all the hard work for you. This 70 page book will show you how to work smarter instead of harder as a salesperson. The payoff for using this method of selling is simple: You'll be far more successful with far less effort and stress, but most important, you'll feel really good about yourself.

 

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