Thursday, July 31, 2008

Learning the Hot Spots in Asheville by Trolly

Are you new to the town of Asheville, North Carolina? I was once. And for some time I know nothing about the area I lived in. However, I learned of a great way to learn about downtown and it’s cool places to hang out by taking Asheville North Carolina trolly tours.

I had been in town for a few months and I decided it was about high time I learned about the city I lived in. So, I decided to take a sightseeing tour with the local trolly company.

I went to a centralized downtown location to get on the trolly. It was all ready mostly full of people who were from out of town who seemed to be excited about the North Carolina historic trolley tours and what looked like a few people similar to myself who were trying to learn a bit more about their new environment. Naturally I sat next to a couple of people who appeared o be there for the same reason.

As our tour began, the driver began to point out different sites. Most of which had historic significance. The first of which was the S&W Cafeteria, one the the arenas most sticking pieces of architecture from the Art-Deco era. Come to find out Asheville has one of the largest collections of original art-deco building. Continuing down the road we came to Pack Place and the Vance Monument. As an example of stunning architecture, Pack Place failed me. However, it is surrounded by a few other awesome buildings. Pack Place is a museum with some pretty cool displays. Of course, for me my interests lie in the restaurants that were nearby and and cafes and pubs that were right down the street.

Taking a wide turn around the monument, our trolly tour continues as we pulled into Renaissance hotel of Asheville. Here we all got out for a few moments and walked over to the Thomas Wolfe house. Here was another example of Asheville's rich history but for me I was ready to go. I wanted to see more clubs, pubs, cafes, and places to eat.

After about 5 minutes we loaded back onto the trolly and headed down the road. Moments after being seated we were on Lexington avenue. Here is where I experienced the mother load. There are several clubs, restaurants, and cafes on this street. Bobo’s Gallery, Broadways, Emerald lounge, Mela, Bouchon, and so much more. This looked like it was going to be my new favorite part of town.

As we continued on Lexington we passed the beautiful Haywood Park Hotel. The hotel is at a small epi-center of Asheville. With quaint shoppes in every building this was a vacationers dream come true. I'm sure those who were on the trolly vacation tour were getting their monies worth.

Containing our trolly sightseeing tour we traveled to the River Arts District of Asheville. Here there were several artists studios and galleries almost all of which we were able to walk into and talk with the artisan and view and purchase pieces of art. There was quite a wide range of arts to be seen I must say. There were potters, wood worker, metal smiths and much more. My personal favorite where the 12’ metal sculptures that looked like musical instruments that where meant to be sat in.

Finishing up with our event trolly tour I feel I had gain a good understanding of the arts and history of Asheville but it also served me with a greater purpose. I learned where several good places to eat and hangout were. So, I suggests to anyone new to the are to check out any event trolly charter in Asheville, it will be well worth your time.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

GeSCI: E-Schools in Ghana

In the past five years Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative (GeSCI) has starting bringing hope to the educational system throughout Ghana. There have been several steps taken during this period. Changes at this level take lots of research and planing.

The project began in 2003 when GeSCI start doing research concerning the issues facing Ghana’s educational system. What where the problems and what needed to be taken first and then next? In order to find this out GeSCI interviewed teachers, the Ministry of Education, non-governmental organizations, share holders and private sector groups. During these interviews they found out the most need issues was a high-drop out rate for all level of students. And the major contributor to this was an inadequate amount of trained teachers, materials and other tools for a proper level of education.

This research brought about an initial surge creating Ghana e-Schools and Communities Initiative as well as an oversight community insure the development of Information and Communication Technologies (ITCs). In the educational system.

In April of the following year, 2004, the UN founded group GeSCI sent representatives back to Ghana to hold a 2-day workshop. These two days were spent progressing the development of the national e-schools strategy. The purposes of the workshop where to:

- Highlight the questions that need to be answered in a detailed national Ghanaian e-schools plan

- Generate discussion around potential answers to these questions

- Facilitate the group in creating a time frame for writing sections of the plan and for the final version of the plan

- Identify people to be involved with writing the plan

Continuing with their work in Ghana, GeSCI hired Denise Clarke, a Country Programme Facilitator, to work with the Ministry of Education. Much of Clarke’s work has been focusing on:

- Developing the capacity of the staff within the Ministry. GeSCI has organized a number of workshops, as well as an ongoing series of peer to peer knowledge exchanges with counterparts from other African Countries;

- Conducting the ICT Deployment and Usage Survey to determine current practices, capabilities, and needs in the education system;

- Facilitating global partnerships to assist the Ministry in building up its ICT infrastructure;

- Developing a framework for integrating ICTs in curriculum development and teacher education.

Later that year in September, the Ministry of Education came together with GeSCI and came up with a work-plan for ICT4E. In January of 2007 the policy was finalized. The two groups worked together to insure the policies of the ICTs were aligned to support the educational reforms that were to be applied to the curricula in September 2007. Training Needs Assessments (TNA) were giving to the Curriculum Research and Development Division (CRDD) and from that recommendations for the best course of action were made.

The Ministry of Education set a date in Summer of 2008 for the launch of the Implementation Plan. In the 12 months to follow, GeSCI assisted in the building capacity within the MoE; to contribute to the development of a detailed implementation plan as well as lend guidance to the Ministry of Ministry as they address some of the jointly identified challenges towards the achievement of this plan.

As you can see there has been substantial work done in Ghana. As GeSCI continues to work with groups in the country ICTs are being place into action and schools in these areas are poised to benefit. The more I learn about this organization the more hope I have for education in countries such as Bolivia, Rwanda, Namibia and India.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Natural Recipes and Organic Food

Last night I had the most wonderful meal. I dined on all natural, locally grown organic Vadalia onions, caramelized and set atop organic black eyed peas with fresh garlic. To accompany, there was some organic brown rice lightly seasoned with black peppercorn and a serving of organic swiss chard, gently misted with liquid aminos.

I enjoy eating healthy local organic foods but eating this way hasn’t always been easy. A time not to long ago pretty much everything I ate was conventional grown, full of pesticides and full who knows what else chemicals. Every time I sat down to eat I would wonder, “what am I really eating here?” Particularly with the genetic modifications that have been happening over the past few decades. When I eat a tomato, I want to eat a tomato not half of an Alaskan salmon, one one forth watermelon with a dash of actual tomato. All this so vegetables can grow bigger in colder areas.

It wasn’t to long ago that eating a simple meal like this was actually hard to find. Now that said, its true I could have found all of those ingredients at my local grocer. However, getting organic foods and local crops where pretty much out of the picture. That is, unless you grew them yourself. And I’ll tell you what, if you are a busy person like me who has the time for gardening and a general sense of natural living.

Well, as of the past few years, I have seen a huge change in the trends of major grocery stores that has made healthy living a lot easier. During this change, I have seen Organic items pop up all over place. The shelves of my local grocer now has a place on almost every isle for organic “health foods.” This is a great thing to see because it make my life a lot easier. Now living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to take away from my schedule.

I can find easy healthy organic choses every where now. All natural recipes can be found at local stores and at the touch of a button on the internet. Check out this great one I found just the other day:

Chick Pea, Ham and Orzo Soup


8 ounces dried chick peas (also called garbanzo beans)
2 tablespoons olive oil or Organic Valley Butter
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped carrot
1 tablespoon minced garlic
10 cups homemade or unsalted chicken stock (or use a combination of stock and water)
1 meaty Organic Prairie ham bone*
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
Salt and pepper
2/3 cup uncooked orzo
Organic Prairie Shredded Parmesan (optional)


1. Cover chick peas with water by three inches and soak them at room temperature 8-16 hours. Drain and rinse.

2. Heat olive oil or butter in a large, heavy pot over medium flame. Add onions, carrots and garlic and sauté them, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have begun to soften, 8-10 minutes. Add stock, ham bone and bring to simmer, occasionally skimming off the froth that forms at the top. Partially cover the pot and adjust heat so that the soup simmers very slowly. Cook it about 1 hour, or until the meat is very tender.

3. Remove ham bone, cool it slightly, cut off the meat, chop and reserve it. Return bone to soup pot along with cumin and oregano and continue to simmer until beans are fully tender, another hour or so.

4. Stir in reserved ham and salt and pepper to taste. Add orzo; simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Serve hot, with Parmesan sprinkled over each bowl, if desired.

Note: Use the meaty bone leftover from an Organic Prairie Hardwood Smoked Bone-In Spiral Sliced Half Ham.

Houser Shoes opens GB Shoe Warehouse in Asheville, NC

Houser Shoes new GB Warehouse in Asheville, NC is open for the tax free weekend in North Carolina this year. This huge 30,000 sq feet shoe store, opened last week with over 50,000 shoes in stock.
There are many after school shoe discounts going on after the tax free weekend Aug 1-3, so drop by and check them out in August for great savings on shoes.
Be sure to check out all the shoes, handbags, and clothing available at this new store. Discounts Shoes are available at 20% off and some styles are discounted 50%-75%! They are located just off I-26 at Asheville Hwy:

South of I 26 interchange and Fletcher
5418 Asheville Hwy
Hendersonville, NC 28791

Their phone number is: (828) 209-1800

Their hours are:

Monday - Saturday 10:00AM to 8:00PM
Sunday 12:00 noon to 6:00PM

About GB Warehouse:

Customers are the most important people in any business. That's the lesson Gary Houser learned when he began his shoe career working for 'International Shoe Corporation' while going to college in Charlotte, NC. He worked part time in stock and sales. He soon worked his way up to assistant manager.

Eventually, he was offered the manager position at 'Phillip Shoes' in the Charlotte Town Mall - Charlotte, NC. Gary was relocated several times to manage stores: Once to Asheville, NC and then to Charleston, WV. After paying his dues, he was transferred back to Charlotte, NC as district manager of International Shoe Company.

An opportunity came about in 1973 where Gary and a few partners could buy into a 3 store lease operation. The department store was called Bon Marche, located in Asheville, NC. After having success in those three locations, Gary decided to venture out on his own.

The first 'Houser Shoes' opened in Gastonia, NC in 1976. Houser Shoes is a 11 store operation, being one of the southeast’s largest independent retailers, and is still owned and operated by Gary Houser.

In 2000, Gary and his daughter, Beth, opened "GB Shoe Warehouse" - one of the southeast's largest shoe stores. This 35,000 square foot concept store, consists of all brand names at prices up to 75% off regular department store prices. Gary and Beth offer a huge selection all under one roof.

Currently, there are approximately 150 people employed with Houser Shoes. Houser is a small company that believes in making our people feel special. The staff is the backbone of their existence and understand that the customers have faces and names - not just numbers.

And that's why you'll find friendly, welcoming employees at all the Houser Shoes stores and on their online customer service department; Yes, the kind of people who will make your shopping experience a real pleasure.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hacky Sack Shoes: How to Choose the Right Ones

Growing up, I was quite active. Playing sports was a daily event for me and my friends. From football to basketball, baseball to Frisbee I played it all, whenever I could. As I’m sure you know, with each sport it was important and quite helpful to have the proper equipment. And, I’d say the most important piece of equipment to have is shoes. For all major sports the proper footwear is easy to find. For football you have numerous types of cleats for outdoor and indoor alike. The same goes for baseball, basketball, tennis, and bowling for that mater. For all of these activities the proper athletic shoes can be found on the Internet, at the mall, any discount shoe store and many other shoe outlets. However, if you play sports that are not in the eye of the main stream, there are probably going to be difficulties finding the proper shoe for your needs. I found myself in this predicament all too often because my favorite sport, above all others, is Hacky Sack.

So how do you pick the right shoe for playing Hacky Sack? With many other sports shoes there is a fair amount of cushion on either side of the foot. Some sports footwear has thick soles or a tread specifically designed for the sport. With Hacky Sack all you need is a flat grip sole similar to a basketball shoe. However, unlike basketball shoes, you don’t need all the padding that surrounds the foot. As a matter of fact, the more plain and simple the shoe the better.

Back in the old days as it were, the best thing to use for playing Hacky Sack was pretty much any skate shoe. My first few pairs of Footbag shoes were canvas shoes without large fat toughs, gel soles, and fat laces all of which are undesirable with proper footwear for playing a good game of Hacky Sack. Some people play in boots, sandals or even walking shoes but these options are not ideal. Men's and women's boots can be quite heavy and can contribute to early exhaustion and not to mention they can be a pain when they come down on a fellow players toes. Sandals are also not the best choice to play in either. Even though they are light weight and usually have fairly flat surfaces they still have too many open spaces for the Hacky Sack to get caught in and/or get misdirected when kicking. Also, sandals sometimes aren't always on tight and have been known to come off mid-kick. So, the main thing you are looking for is flat canvas that protects the foot while not being overly bulky. A shoe with a flat insole, face and outer edging is ideal. This means no big fluffy shoe laces, no air pump, and no tags dangling from the shoe. One of the best things about buying a pair of shoes to help your game is that since they need to be plain they are almost always inexpensive and can be found at any discount shoe store. Quality footwear can also be a simple and plain shoe, it does not always have to be the most expensive shoe in the store.

Once you have found the right shoe, now you can play an enjoyable game of Hacky Sack. Good luck! I hope to see you a Hacky circle soon.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cross Training Shoes: What Are They?

Cross training shoes are shoes that are a hybrid of several different types of athletic footwear. The phrase “cross training” implies engaging in activities that draw from a variety of different sports. Originally, to cross train meant an athlete would train in a sport or activity that was very different from the one he or she primarily specialized in. A good example would be running. Almost every sport and every athlete runs as part of his or her training. If your sport is tennis, then become technically proficient at running would be a from of cross training.

Nowadays, cross trainers or cross training sneakers are a type of footwear that bear the characteristics of many different types of shoes. They may have the heel cushioning of a running shoe, the the lateral stability of a tennis shoe or basketball sneaker, and the forefoot cushioning of a volleyball shoe. They may be made of all leather type materials, or may have flexible materials like a running shoe around the toe or sides.

Cross trainers are also a popular style now, in a certain sense replacing the tennis shoe as the most popular style or generic casual-athletic shoe on the market. The category has gotten so big that cross trainers are even divided up into smaller sub-categories.

Aerobics and similar forms of dance related exercise are good examples of activities or sports that utilizes the design and benefits of a classic cross training shoe. They are designed to have the side to side support of tennis footwear, and the flexibility and heel cushioning of a running sneaker. Added support under the ball of the foot, where the tarsals meet the metatarsals, makes for a complete shoe for most types of aerobic workouts. This activity finds the athlete on the balls of his or her feet a lot, and these types of cross trainers are great for that.

Some mens cross trainers or womens cross trainers are more appropriate for folks who do a lot of different sports but do not specialize in one. Maybe an all around shoe is needed for the weekend game of pickup basketball or the flag football game that somehow seems to always spontaneously break out at the parties and picnics. A shoe that will serve if you are spending the day at the park playing baseball and frisbee with your kids, or serve just as well playing a game of tennis with buddies on a sunday afternoon. A quality cross training shoe will serve the hobbyist well in all these sports, until he or she decides to get more serious about on or another particular sport.

Fitting a cross training shoe is pretty much like fitting any other athletic shoe. When you try the cross trainers on, put on both pair and walk around the store a little bit. Bend down and flex the toe to see how soft they are, and whether or not they rub around the sides of your feet or ankles. Try them on with a pair of socks that are similar to the ones you do your athletic activities in, as many sportsmen will have special hosiery that they wear for one particular sport or another. Move side to side, jump a little bit and run a short distance. Try to get the feel of them on a hard surface so you can see how they grip the floor, and do any special motions that are particular to the activities you partake in.

The training shoes should fit snug without pinching across the widest part of your foot or the heel. If a shoe pinches your toes, the result can be anything from blisters to bunions to stress fractures. The foot depends on a certain range of motion to operate properly during a step, and the footwear you choose should enhance and support that range of motion, not inhibit it. Check out for a complete selection of quality discount footwear.

Gray Line Asheville's Trolley Charters

Taking the Gray Line Asheville Trolley Tour is one of the best ways to get to know the city that everyone is making plans to visit. This guided tour runs to all the hottest destinations in Asheville, North Carolina including Pack Place, the historic Montford neighborhood and The Asheville River Arts District. With unlimited hop-on, hop-off privileges, it’s the only form of ground transportation in Asheville worth considering. No parking hassles, traffic issues or getting lost…you get just to kick back and enjoy everything this amazing mountain town has to share.

Asheville, NC has become known as a cultural mecca, drawing travelers “in the know” for several years now. Quickly becoming hailed as one of the creative centers of the southeast and indeed the nation, Asheville offers something for every personality and walk of life. The famous art deco architecture of downtown set against the backdrop of the ancient and beautiful Appalachian Mountains is truly a sight to take in. The inhabitants of the town and surrounding area are as eclectic as the studios, art galleries, independent restaurants and shops that line Asheville’s streets and avenues.

Gray Line Asheville is the perfect way to organize a summer party or gathering of friends of any kind. Keeping everyone on the same page is easy, as the trolley tour of Asheville makes a continuous circuit throughout the day, and unlimited hop-on, hop-off privileges means everyone can find their way back to each other, while enjoying some of the best sightseeing in Asheville. A few can hop off at The Haywood Park Hotel and walk around the shops while others explore the galleries and studios in The River Arts District.

Asheville is a dream destination for any group of folks, whether it’s school group, family reunion or just a group of friends getting together to enjoy the summer. The Historic Biltmore Village area is rich with some of the cultural heritage of the city, and blends nicely with the traditional Appalachian feel. Folk art abounds as this area is famous for it. The newly revitalized Asheville River Arts District is now home to some of the most eclectic and skilled contemporary artists in the area.

An excellent way to plan for a group of party-goers is a fun-filled bus tour of Asheville on a Gray Line Trolley. The Renaissance Hotel, The Grove Park Inn, Biltmore Village and Haywood Park Hotel are all destinations along the way on the Gray Line Asheville schedule. Take the whole trip or get on and off at any of the stops all day and enjoy the many restaurants and events taking place throughout the city.

Private trolley charters are a dream come true for any party planner. Sure and easy ground transportation to all the places in town you need to get to including entire downtown Asheville area, with no hassles about finding a place for everyone to park and keeping the group together. It’s a fun and easy way to get people from one spot to the next or anywhere in between.

A complete page of rates, routes and schedules can be found on the web at Making arrangements for a charter is easy and hassle-free, and the kind folks at Gray Line Asheville take great pleasure in being a part of your western North Carolina travel experience. For party charters, historic sightseeing in Asheville, and transportation around the city there really is nothing better than a Gray Line Asheville Trolley Tour.

Bellhousings for a Classic Ford Mustang

Keisler Engineering began making replacement electrical components for classic Mopar cars in October of 1991. By the mid '90s, Keisler Automotive Engineering expanded to include reproduction molded lamp lenses for these same 1960’s and 1970’s Mopar automobiles. By the late '90s, Keisler had engineered an all-inclusive 5-speed transmission upgrade for the Jaguar V12, and then after that several Mopar drive trains. Keisler Engineering has become known around the world for these innovations.

The goal of Keisler Engineering is to help muscle car restoration enthusiasts to bring their vehicles to whatever level of performance they desire. Keisler has become well know for their PerfectFit 5-speed transmission upgrade, 6-speed transmission kits, and automatic overdrive transmission kits, however they also offer many other accessories for classic Fords, Chevys and Mopar muscle cars. Since 2000, Keisler has continued to develop a full line of expertly manufactured products and accessories to support specialty market constomers. Recent offerings in their line of high tech, custom engineered components include hydraulic actuator kits, pedal kits, and new clutch bell housings. The bellhousing selection for each classic muscle car is extensive. The options for the classic Ford Mustang alone are many:

*Aluminum Bellhousing for Ford 4.6L w/TKO
New aluminum bellhousing for Ford 4.6L engine with TKO. Includes clutch fork cover.

*Lakewood SFI Steel Bellhousing for 1996-2003 Ford 4.6L - 5.4L
Lakewood SFI steel safety bellhousing for 1996-2003 Ford 4.6L - 5.4L engines. Includes engine protection plate and all necessary hardware. 6.9" depth.

*Lakewood SFI Steel Bellhousing for Ford 351M-400-429-460 1968-78
Lakewood SFI steel safety bellhousing for 1968-1978 Ford 351M, 400, 429, and 460 engines. Includes engine protection plate and all necessary hardware. 6.5" depth.

*Lakewood SFI Steel Bellhousing for Mustang Small Block 1979-1993
Lakewood SFI steel safety bellhousing for 1979-93 Ford Mustang with 289, 302, 351W, and 351C six bolt blocks and cable-operated clutch OR Keisler hydraulic clutch actuation system. Includes engine protection plate and all necessary hardware. 6.9" depth.

*QuickTime Ford 289/302/351 to GM 4-speed SFI Bellhousing
QuickTime lightweight steel bellhousing adapts Ford 289, 302, 351C/W engines to GM Muncie, Saginaw, and B-W T10 4-speeds. Also fits Chevrolet V8. For 157 or 153 tooth flywheel. Includes engine protection plate and all necessary hardware. 6.3" depth.

*QuickTime Ford 4.6L/5.4L SFI Steel Bellhousing for TKO & T5
QuickTime lightweight steel SFI bellhousing for Ford 4.6L & 5.4L engines with TKO or Mustang T5 transmission. Uses 164 tooth flywheel and either pushrod or cable type clutch linkage. Includes pivot ball, brackets, engine plate, and hardware. 6.9" depth.

*QuickTime Ford 4.6L/5.4L Steel Bellhousing for TKO & T5
QuickTime lightweight steel bellhousing for Ford 4.6L & 5.4L Mod motors with TKO or Mustang T5 transmissions. Uses 164 tooth flywheel and either pushrod or cable type clutch linkage. Includes pivot ball, brackets, engine plate, and hardware. 6.9" depth.

*QuickTime Ford 460 Bellhousing for Toploader & TKO
QuickTime lightweight steel bellhousing for Ford 351M-400-429-460 with Toploader or TKO with optional short input shaft. Uses 184 tooth flywheel and either pushrod or cable type clutch linkage. Includes brackets, engine plate, and hardware. 6.4" depth.

*QuickTime Ford 460 Steel Bellhousing for TKO & T5
QuickTime lightweight steel bellhousing for Ford 351M-400-429-460 with TKO or Mustang T5 transmissions. Uses 184 tooth flywheel and either pushrod or cable type clutch linkage. Includes brackets, engine plate, and grade 8 hardware. 6.9" depth.

*QuickTime Ford FE Bellhousing for Toploader & TKO
QuickTime lightweight steel bellhousing for Ford 352-390-427-428 with Toploader or TKO with optional short input shaft. Uses 184 tooth flywheel and either pushrod or cable type clutch linkage. Includes brackets, engine plate, and hardware. 6.4" depth.

*QuickTime Ford FE Steel Bellhousing for TKO & T5
QuickTime lightweight steel bellhousing for Ford 352-390-427-428 with TKO or Mustang T5 transmissions. Uses 184 tooth flywheel and either pushrod or cable type clutch linkage. Includes pivot ball, brackets, engine plate, and grade 8 hardware. 6.9" depth.

*QuickTime Ford Small Block Bellhousing for Toploader & TKO
QuickTime lightweight steel bellhousing for Ford 289-302-351C/W with Toploader or TKO with optional short input shaft. Uses 157 tooth flywheel and either pushrod or cable type clutch linkage. Includes engine plate, brackets, and hardware. 6.3" depth.

*QuickTime Ford Small Block SFI Steel Bellhousing for TKO & T5
QuickTime lightweight steel SFI bellhousing for Ford 289-302-351C/W with TKO or Mustang T5 trans. Uses 157 tooth flywheel and either pushrod or cable type clutch linkage. Includes pivot ball, brackets, engine plate, and grade 8 hardware. 6.9" depth.

*QuickTime Ford Small Block SFI Steel Bellhousing for TKO & T5
QuickTime lightweight steel SFI bellhousing for Ford 289-302-351C/W with TKO or Mustang T5 trans. Uses 157 tooth flywheel and either pushrod or cable type clutch linkage. Includes pivot ball, brackets, engine plate, and grade 8 hardware. 6.9" depth.

Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative

On 12 December 2003, the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) affirmed the Geneva Declaration of Principles related to Building the Information Society: a global challenge in the new millennium. it was acknowledged that information and communication technologies have a crucial part to play in addressing these global issues and plays a key role in the Geneva Plan of Action. Almost 50 government leaders, 82 Ministers, and 26 Vice-Ministers from 175 countries, as well as high-level representatives from international organizations, the private sector, and society attended the Geneva Phase of WSIS and gave support to the Geneva Declaration of Principles and Geneva Plan of Action.

The Global eSchools and Communities Initiative (GeSCI) was established in 2004, a result of the work of the United Nations ICT Task Force which agreed that education is an area desperately in need of development and one where ICTs (information and communication technologies) have the potential to create vast positive changes.The UN ICT Task Force approved a proposal for a UN-affiliated organization to work in this field. Providing demand-driven assistance to communities in developing countries who are seeking to channel the potential of ICTs into improving the quality of education in primary and secondary academic institutions. GeSCI is headquartered in Dublin, with the support of the governments of Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland and Finland. Canada was one of the founding partners.

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) is a general term that refers to "any communication device or application, encompassing: radio, television, cellular phones, computer and network hardware and software, the Internet, satellite systems and so on, as well as the various services and applications associated with them, such as videoconferencing and distance learning."

GeSCI provides expert, strategic advice to the Ministries of Education in the communities of developing countries on the effective implementation of information and communication technologies. Adopting a demand driven, supportive and comprehensive approach, GeSCI aims to improve the quality of teaching and learning through the appropriate and effective use of ICTs, thereby transforming education, empowering communities and promoting development. At its core, GeSCI's basic goal is to facilitate sustainable and quality education and community development, through the effective deployment of ICTs in schools.

At the local, national and regional level, GeSCI works to support the creation and effective implementation of ICT4E strategies, using a collaborative, comprehensive and demand-driven approach. Acting as guide, GeSCI fosters country ownership of ideas, strategies and implementation, allowing communities to maintain sustained development.

In all aspects of its work, GeSCI responds to the Ministry’s needs, who determine the design and implementation of policies and plans. Capacity building strategies and utilizing ICTs cost-effectively to achieve educational objectives are all directed by the Ministry. GeSCI’s approach is comprehensive and coordinated, and driven by demand and need.

At the Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative, it is believed that programs to improve the quality of education through the deployment of ICTs in schools can also improve the economic and general social well-being of the wider community. These efforts can provide an ideal system for linking residents to the greater global community, helping to increase the education level of the overall populace, and granting access to health and government services previously unavailable. In short, ICTs deployed in schools to help redress educational deprivation can also help to accomplish wider development goals.

GeSCI’s community is comprised of a number of partnerships from many disciplines, all offering support and expertise to achieve our common goals. As well as their partners in developing countries such as Ministries of Education, rural and urban schools, telecommunications providers and other local partners, GeSCI also fosters relationships with a variety of donors and non-profits whose expert experience of development enhance their efforts to aid their developing country partners.

Indoor Cremation Memorials

When a loved one passes away who was close to us, we may often be left with the unfortunate task of making the arrangements for a funeral. This difficult task is often made easier when arrangements and decisions are made ahead of time, so the wishes of the departed are known in advance, and can be carried out in the manner of their choosing. Many options for the loved ones remains are available to us these days, and lately, cremation memorials have become a popular alternative to traditional casket burials. 25% of Americans are now choosing cremation over traditional cemetery burials.

Although it is a very difficult thing to have to think about at the time of the passing of a friend or family member, but the unfortunate truth is that cemeteries are becoming increasingly more expensive, and as land becomes rarer and more valuable, they are less and less practical. They use up a tremendous amount of space, require constant care and maintenance and cause friends and family to travel sometimes a great distance to visit the grave of a loved one.

One benefit of cremation memorials that many folks take advantage of, is the opportunity to divide the cremated remains up amongst many smaller companion decorative urns, custom designed to match the primary funeral urn. Family and friends who would like to make their own private cremation memorials can do so, and have the person they loved so much with them always.

A small shrine dedicated to celebrating the life of the departed can be constructed in the home, with the remains enshrined inside a one of a kind handmade funeral urn. Indoor memorials offer the most versatility, since you need not worry about rain, snow, sun or the elements. A glass cremation urn, wood cremation urn or ceramic cremation urn, as well as sturdier materials such as stone and metal are all appropriate materials for indoor shrines.

Creating an indoor cremation memorial also offers the chance to set other memorial objects and personal keepsakes around the art urn centerpiece. Photographs, possessions and trinkets that belonged to the honored friend or family member are appropriate items to place here. Textile memorial art, such as a custom made memorial quilt can be created in the loved one’s honor in many sizes. Larger quilts can be displayed on a wall behind the shrine, and smaller quilted squares can but put out in an album or displayed next to the decorative cremation urn. A piece of memorial jewelry, or a hand made memorial book or album are also great items to include in or around a cremation memorial.

There are many resources for finding beautiful memorial objects, both online and in traditional shops. Always be sure you are buying from a reputable company such as Shine On Brightly. The western North Carolina artisans that they deal with are carefully screened, so you can be sure they are some of the most skilled artists in their fields. Also, the artists that Shine On Brightly selects understand the significance of the sacred memorial objects they are creating.

A tastefully arranged cremation memorial can be a far more personalized and beautiful way to celebrate the life of a special person, or even a special animal friend. An indoor or outdoor cremation memorial using a one of a kind cremation urn or decorative funeral urn as the centerpiece can be truly lovely. A custom made art urn can be created in a style and using materials that are personalized to reflect something about the person being memorialized.

Healthy Foods for Healthy Children

Sometimes in our busy workaday life it’s hard to make sure we are keeping our family and children healthy and supplying them with all the nutrition they need to grow into healthy, well balanced adults. With so much going on in our day to day lives, the temptation to rely on prepackaged quick meals, lunch cafeteria choices, and other less wholesome lunches is hard to resist. However, there are so many good reasons to make sure kids eat fresh, all natural foods as often as possible.

These days it seems like there are new health risks facing our children every day. More and more young people are being prescribed medications for all sorts of illnesses from physical to mental to emotional. These powerful medications are not always 100% successful, and often come with a hefty price tag of dangerous side effects. Yet we neglect the basic building blocks of life…the foods we eat.

It is well known that healthy foods such as whole grains, fresh organic vegetables, all natural foods and unprocessed ingredients are much better in every way. They keep the body clean and in proper working order, prevent illness and disease, extend life expectancy and combat the symptoms of old age, promote healing and recovery faster and more thoroughly and a whole range of other benefits.

Maintaining a healthy diet and good nutrition is especially important for children. Kids are still growing and developing, and the body uses a lot of fuel during these stages. Young people tend to be more active as well, and require the proper kind of fuel to maintain the constant on-the-go lifestyle of many youngsters. A lot of energy is burned by a child out playing in the woods, running in the yard, riding a bicycle and playing all the sports and activities that kids do

Children are also students, and in this span of years they do a lot of learning and emulating and also at this time habits are formed that may stay with them for the rest of their lives. All natural menus and organic recipes are one way to help your kids maintain the energy and attention span needed to achieve the most they can in academics. It seems that many children today live on diets that are full of things such as artificial ingredients, highly processed refined sugars and ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup. Then we wonder why they can’t sit still and concentrate in class.

Middle schools and high schools around the country have also taken to the strange practice of allowing fast food chains that serve meals devoid of nutritious value to our young people to occupy space on campuses or in the schools themselves. Fast food chains such as these offer breakfast, lunch and dinner foods, and many young people are relying on these places for two and sometimes three of their meals a day. Ice cream, candy, soda and other types of snacks and junk food are often made available to students in the stores of the school itself. How can we expect to make the right choice when it comes to nutrition with such temptations available to them?

Teaching children to respect good nutrition from the start is one way to ensure that your children will appreciate the benefits of a healthy diet and natural lifestyle. When a young person learns about the value of organic foods, all natural recipes and healthy diets, they have a chance to get excited about it and carry on the habits into adulthood.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cross Country Running Shoes

One of the greatest sports I can think of is cross country running. A popular sport in high school and college athletics, and also a popular activity among outdoor enthusiast and runners in general, cross country running offers the opportunity to get out into nature and experience it in a very personal and intense way. If you enjoy running, either for the health benefits or the runners high, you should try getting out to one of your favorite spots in nature, find a good trail, lace up a decent pair of trail running shoes and go running through the forest.

I remember when I first went to purchase a pair of cross country running sneakers as a high school freshman. The sales person told me about durability and ruggedness and other things he had no knowledge about and sold me a pair of low quality tennis shoes. Well, needless to say I paid for that mistake with injuries and terrible times, but I learned a valuable lesson. It is important to be informed before going to shop for an important item like a trail running shoe. Your health and well being may depend on it, and you can’t always rely on the sales clerk to know what he is talking about.

If you are going to be running cross country, you will inevitably find yourself running on every kind of terrain imaginable, from pavement to track to grass to trails through the woods. You will often find yourself jumping over roots and rocks, making sudden inclines or declines and crossing drastically from one type of surface to the next. However, ultimately you are still running, and a running shoe is what you are looking for.

trail running footwear is a running shoe that is generally a little sturdier and focuses on delivering a lot of cushioning and lateral support. The often treacherous and unpredictable paths a cross country runner takes requires a shoe that can withstand a lot of abuse. Trail running shoes are often made to be a little more weather and element resistant, as you will often find yourself trekking through mud, wet grass and perhaps even snow.

One sacrifice trail runners will sometimes make is in weight, as the added protection and durability come at the cost of more material and therefore more overall weight in the mens or womens running shoe. However, as you go up in quality, the trail running footwear will get lighter and lighter, until you find a range of durable, supportive, quality running shoes with the appropriate tread on the bottom and support to survive the rugged sport of cross country running.

Fitting a trail running shoe is exactly like fitting any other athletic footwear. Trail running shoes come in all the varieties that other running shoes do, so choose an appropriate style of shoe for your particular needs. When you try the running shoes on, put on both pair and walk around the store a little bit. Crouch down and bend the toe to see how flexible and comfortable they are, and whether or not they rub around your ankles. Try them on with a pair of socks that are like to the ones you run in, as many cross country runners will have special socks that they wear. Move side to side, jump a little bit and run a short distance.

The shoe should fit snug but not pinch your foot. This is especially important in trail running shoes, because the terrain you will be moving across is so varied and uneven. If a shoe pinches your toes, the result can be anything from twisted ankles to bunions to stress fractures. The runner’s stride depends on a certain range of motion to operate properly during a step, and the trail running shoes you choose should enhance and support that range of motion, not inhibit it.

Automatic Overdrive Transmission Kits for Classic Muscle Cars

Keisler Engineering is one of the industry leaders when it comes to upgrades and replacement components for classic muscle cars and street rods. For over a decade, they have been employing some of the industries most talented automobile engineers to create high performance parts and accessories for some of the greatest cars ever made. They offer products that are professionally designed, and custom engineered to boost nearly every aspect of your automobile’s performance, appearance, longevity and fuel efficiency.

Keisler Engineering’s goal is to help you bring your vehicle to whatever level of performance you desire, whether you want it to be as good as new… or even better. Transmission upgrades, shifters, lights and many other aspects of the vehicle are enhanced and improved through Keisler's innovative designs.

Keisler Engineering started in October of 1991 as an electrical component restoration company for 1960–1970s Mopar cars. By the mid '90s, Keisler Engineering evolved to include reproduction molded lamp lenses for these same Mopar cars. By the late '90s, Keisler had developed a complete, modern technologically engineered, 5-speed conversion kit for the Jaguar V12, and then several Mopar drive trains. All of these incredible innovations became highly successful worldwide.

Since 2000, Keisler has continued to work in developing a full line of manufactured products to support specialty market consumers. Recent offerings in their line of high tech, custom engineered components include hydraulic actuator kits, pedal kits, new clutch bell housings and low volume, molded plastic parts.

The Keisler Engineering facility is located just ten minutes from Interstates 40 and 75 in Knoxville, TN. Their resources include in-house digital scanning, solid modeling, CNC machining, precision fabrication, low volume plastic molding and assembly.

One of the best selling products Keisler offers, is a full line of automatic overdrive transmission upgrades. Installing an overdrive transmission - manual or automatic - into your classic car, truck or street rod has many benefits.

1. The old classic muscle cars are some of the best looking automobiles ever made.
With a Keisler PerfectFit transmission upgrade, you get modern driving quality with classic looks. Keisler Engineering offers new car performance while retaining the original factory look.

2. An automatic overdrive transmission upgrade will reduce the wear and tear on you and your engine. Lower engine RPM means longer life for your classic street rod and less heat.

3. An automatic overdrive transmission gives you lower RPM at highway speeds. This means you get maximum driving pleasure and ultimate enjoyment from your classic muscle car or street rod.

4. Better fuel economy is becoming more and more important these days. Most classic car restoration enthusiasts who use a Keisler automatic overdrive transmission kit experience a 30-50 % increase in fuel mileage.

5. A high performance automatic overdrive transmission upgrade will allow for faster acceleration and better engine response. Automatic overdrive transmissions give better gear ratios and more gears for optimum performance at all speeds.

6. High tech modern engineering and technology with the classic look of the car you love.

Keisler Automotive Engineering offers 5-speed manual transmissions, 6-speed manual transmissions and 4-speed electronically controlled automatic transmissions. Each of the transmission upgrade kits that Keisler offers is custom engineered to your specific make, model and year, and includes all the required components to make a complete, high quality and safe installation, typically with little or no modification to your vehicle. Keisler Engineering continues to lead the market with innovation, product excellence and customer service.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Gray Line Asheville's Trolley Tour: An Artist's Perspective

As an artist, I can understand why people refer to Asheville, North Carolina as a “creative mecca.” The history of the city is rich with artistic and cultural significance, and the community of people who have continued to move there are keeping the spirit alive. From the Asheville Mural Projects huge undertaking on the 240 overpass, to the exciting things happening in the River Arts District, to the new breed of open mic nights and live performing arts venues such as The Courtyard Gallery, Asheville is continuing to prove itself as a diverse cultural haven. My recent return to the Gray Line Asheville Trolley Tour gave me a chance to see all this first hand.

This time my intention was to explore the new creative culture that is blossoming in parts of many different parts of Asheville. As usual the tour guide was friendly and knowledgeable, and genuinely seemed to enjoy his job. We kept a slow pace through downtown and I was able to admire the amazing architecture in the Pack Place part of town, and the surrounding area. A short walk from the Vance Monument in Pack Square leads to the new Pritchard Park, where the Friday night drum circle and many events throughout the summer now take place. The buildings of College St. and Patton Ave. are beautiful, and added much to my historic tour of Asheville.

My next stop was the historic Biltmore Village neighborhood, where I was able to browse independently owned cafes and boutiques. Art galleries and interesting shops offering local hand crafts abound, and an even mix of tourists and local professionals were out to enjoy the lovely sidewalk cafes.

Perhaps the highlight of my tour from the perspective of a traveling artist was the newly revitalized River Arts District. These old warehouses and factories located along the French Broad River are now being converted into the most eclectic community of artists studios you could possibly want to find. From clay to metal to glass and everything in between, artists and craftspeople of every stripe have moved in to make the Asheville River Arts District one of the most thriving sources of independent art available. The weekend long studio strolls that take place throughout the summer are amazing, and highly recommended. There are even a few live music venues, and a wonderful café to compliment the wide array of workshops and galleries.

A stop at the Haywood Park Hotel offers the opportunity to further enjoy Gray Line’s unlimited hop-on, hop-off privileges. A walk towards the newly renovated Grove Arcade offers more wonderful restaurants and shopping, and leads to the Flat Iron Building and Wall Street, which offers a wide variety of local artist studios and independent shops and boutiques. A short stroll from there put me on Haywood St., where independent book stores and shops line the street.

From there a short stroll down Walnut St. took me to one of Asheville's lesser known creative communities in the quaint and hidden courtyard that separates Lexington Avenue from Carolina Lane. A lovely tree filled stone courtyard is surrounded on every side by pillars of the local creative community such as The Courtyard Gallery, Top Floor Studios and Altamont Recording. From there it is a short walk back up Broadway to Pack Place, where the next Gray Line Asheville Trolley will take me away to the next leg of my adventure.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

ICT's in Developing Nations

In our modern life, we use information and communication technologies every day in so many ways. it is becoming increasingly easy to take them for granted. Like the electric sockets in our houses, we seldom stop to think about how amazing it is that we can walk into a room and plug in an appliance and have it magically work, or pick up the phone and dial a friend anywhere in the world. However, like the complex system of power stations, transformers and amazing devices that bring us electric power, the ability for us to communicate so quickly and effectively all over the globe in an instant requires an amazing amount of knowledge, resources, money and time to implement.

Moving information and method we use to do it could generally be considered a kind of ICT, but it properly refers to systems that use modern technology such as computers, electronics and scientific advances such as cell phones and ipods. It is a term heard more often outside the US, and often is used in reference to a particular area such as: "ICT's in education or health care."

ICT means “Information and Communications Technology” (or technologies). This is a very generalized term that refers to a multitude of communication forms. ICT in society might include television, cellular telephones, satellites, radio, computer software, computer hardware and many others.

Not everyone in the world has access to these necessities, however. These crucial tools to our modern existence that we so take for granted are not present everywhere. There are entire communities, and countries that are still and these places lack the resources to make full use of these modern technologies. For peoples looking to join the race and thrive in the global market, these Information and Communication Technologies must be understood, implemented and used effectively. Development through ICTs is one of the most effective ways for nations to join the dialogue. It takes a lot of support from experts who are already doing this in other places. This is where organizations like the Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative comes in.

GeSCI was established in 2004, founded by the UN ICT Task Force. The United Nations ICT task force approved a proposal for a UN affiliated organization to provide demand-driven assistance to developing countries seeking to utilize the tremendous potential ICT’s have for improving the quality of teaching and learning in primary and secondary education.

We have a whole world of information at our fingertips through the power of the internet, as well as radio station, satellites and televisions. The opportunity to reach out to another person nearly anywhere in the world through the amazing advances of telephone and cellular communication technology is completely expected and taken for granted. These technologies are absolutely essential to the survival of our modern culture. Even our cars come equipped with GPS tracking devices, which is constant communication for us.

Its good to see that there are others who are in a position to give a hand, and share their expertise for the good of others. These pioneers are helping to facilitate development that allows an even playing field for all. Future world leaders can now come from places previously isolated form the global community, and education and information previously unavailable to the residents of these communities can help to create a true global family.

Creating an Outdoor Cremation Memorial

Most of the time, when we choose to cremate a departed loved one, if a memorial is to be erected it is a small one set up inside the home. A photo of the friend or relative is often placed next to a decorative cremation urn, set up on a mantle or special shelf somewhere in the house. Perhaps some special keepsake that the person found precious in life may be displayed with the memorial as well.

Indoor cremation memorials also offer the chance to place other memorial objects and keepsakes around the decorative art urns. Photographs or trinkets belonging to the honored person are great items to place here. Memorial textile art, such as a custom made memorial quilt can be displayed somewhere within the shrine. Various sizes are available, from large wall hanging to small quilted squares. A piece of memorial jewelry, or hand made memorial books and text in an album are also great additions to an indoor cremation memorial.

However, if you want to create a shrine outdoors, you can be just as creative, but you will need to use a metal cremation urn or stone cremation urn to withstand the elements. Things like photographs or delicate items will need to be protected somehow. A nice outdoor memorial can be a very special place, and can also be more easily accessible to others friends and family who may want to visit with the departed. If room permits and the time is available to do it, an outdoor cremation memorial can be truly wonderful.

An out of the way spot can be selected in the yard, and a small altar erected. A miniature gazebo with flowers and a bench or seats can create a peaceful environment for friends and family to sit and reflect. A custom made cremation urn as the centerpiece of the memorial is appropriate if made from the right materials. If the memorial is covered in this way, a slightly more delicate material can make the decorative cremation urn.

Perhaps there is a special tree in the yard somewhere that may serve as the location of a memorial. If the location of the memorial is to be exposed like this, then a sturdy cremation urn, or perhaps even a burial urn designed to be placed in the ground is appropriate, to survive for a long time in the sun and the rain.

A great thing about a cremation memorial of any kind is the fact that it is so versatile. The shrine can be rearranged, changed, dismantled or moved with relative ease. In many cases, the cremated remains are divided into smaller, matching hand made cremation urns. These smaller versions of the main decorative urn are then distributed to friends and family who wish to create their own personal memorial to the departed.

Another option is to have the remains incorporated into a beautiful, one of a kind memorial glass keepsake. A small amount of the cremated remains are introduced into the molten glass, allowing it so swirl and create lovely patterns in the colored glass. The cremation urn that holds the remains of the dearly departed can even be made in this way. Small pendants of beautiful art glass can be given to those who wish to have a lasting reminder of the friend or family member.

There are many options for memorial objects, and many places to find them. Always make sure you are dealing with a reputable website when shopping online. Ensure that the folks creating these works of art take the responsibility of creating memorial objects seriously. A good example is Shine On Brightly. Their selection of hand crafted memorial objects are hand made in the studios of artists local to western North Carolina. These artisans are dedicated to making art that aids in the healing process.

Health Foods as Medicine

What is medicine to you? Oftentimes the word medicine will conjur up images of pill bottles, icky syrups or syringes. The word has developed a negative connotation for many, especially since a particular medicine is often associated with the unfortunate malaise it is intended to treat. However, to view medicine as something to be taken only after one is already sick is to do a disservice to ourselves. Medicine can be a substance, or a practice of using substances that prevent disease in the first place, such as an all natural diet and healthy lifestyle. The foods we eat can be medicine too.

Sometimes it seems that the entire “western” medical profession is based around treating illness after it already arises. We are constantly chasing symptoms, and trying to undo damage we create by our day to day living. Invasive surgeries and powerful chemicals are used to combat years of disregard for the body. Doesn’t it make more sense, however, to avoid getting sick in the first place?

The most direct control we have over our own health is our diet and consumption habits. Of course eliminating harmful toxins such as cigarette smoking or environmental factors are a huge help as well, but our diet is crucial. We eat multiple times every day. Each meal is a choice between healing our bodies with natural menus and organic foods, or doing more harm to our bodies with processed junk foods and take out dinners. Simple changes in the ingredients, the menus and the way we eat can drastically change the quality of life for the better.

We hear a lot about “health care” these days. In the political arena, in the workplace and at home it is a hot topic, and everyone seems to have an opinion about it. It is a topic that affects everybody at every age. Once again, however, when we think of this term, it still seems to refer to what we do after we get sick. When we really look at the phrase, it too should refer to our lifestyle. Medicine and health care can be more than drugs, surgeries and treatments. It can be a way that we live our life; the way we care for our health.

Creating organic menus and switching to an all natural lifestyle is easier than one might think, and benefits every aspect of our lives. Eating whole foods and avoiding chemical filled, over processed ingredients is one way to avoid having to see the doctor so often. These foods are medicine for sure, as they do the job of fighting off disease and keeping the body healthy and energized. Adopting an organic lifestyle will help to make sure you stay active later into life as well.

Spending time outdoors, walking or exercising and adopting an attitude of health will go a long way to helping you transition into a more sustainable lifestyle. Activities such as these are a great way to compliment natural menus and organic recipes. In this way, medicine becomes the way we live our whole life. Health care becomes something we do every day, all the time, instead of the program you have set up with you insurance agency.

A walk through the library or search on the web will reveal many resources for living a more natural lifestyle. Web sites such as have tips, stories, recipes and menus all designed to help folks make a smooth and enjoyable transition to a healthy lifestyle.

Friday, July 18, 2008

ICT's in Education

As the global community grows, education becomes increasingly more important for every individual as well as every country. In many countries education is difficult to come by, particularly in developing countries where poverty is much more prevalent then so called first world countries such as the United States, England and pretty much the whole of Europe. With the advent of the internet, education has become increasingly more possible for anyone who has access to the internet and a computer. However, not everyone has this level of affluence. Not everyone can afford internet service much less a computer. So how do people in developing countries such as Bolivia, Ghana, Rwanda, India, and Namibia access this education so they can rise up out of poverty? Well now there is a foundation that is, as their slogan states, transforming education, empowering communities, and promoting development in these countries. GESCI, global e-schools and communities initiative, is working to reduce poverty by helping to bring education to these people in need. Founded by the United Nations (UN) Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) Task Force in 2004 the foundation works with the governments of developing countries to harness the potential of ICTs to improve the quality of teaching and learning in communities and schools.

India is a good example of why GeSCI is needed in communities worldwide. Even though there are 1.12 million schools spanning 35 states and union territories there are still 35 million children who are not in school. This is the world’s largest out-of-school population. So what is being done about this situation?

What is GeSCI doing in India? Currently in the early stages of planning GeSCI is focusing on helping the Department of School Education (DoSE), Ministry of Human Resources and Development (MHRD), and Ministry of Education (MoE) in conjunction with Rajasthan Education Initiative (REI) to create ICT enabled school environments. The following steps are taken to lay out the policies and framework for the DoSE and MHRD, to assume its leadership role in the ICT in School Education arena:

• Developing an appropriate framework to support the effective deployment and integration of ICTs in the Education system.

• Providing a platform for dialogue amongst all relevant stakeholders to ensure alignment of plans, programs and projects.

• Evolving a strategy for leveraging economies of scale in procurement of standard content, equipment and services, and leveraging resources from other partners.

• Evolving a mechanism to ensure that knowledge, expertise and skills are shared across all states and territories.

• Building in house capacities within the MoE to conduct regular updates for ensuring a dynamic and live policy.

It is through steps like these just mentioned, GeSCI will help elevate educational systems in developing nations around the world and begin bringing people and communities out of poverty and into an overall better living situation. Giving people access to education helps the individual grow to become a more discerning and responsible participant of the global family. These individuals as community members will hopefully begin to bring themselves, their families and their communities out of poverty with their newly gained insights. And, as communities grow in education and economic affluence townships, cities, states and countries as a whole grow. GeSCI may be a relatively new foundation but it is making many inroads with its work. You can check out what they have going on at

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Gray Line Asheville's Historic Trolley Tour: A Review

Have you ever wanted to learn about historic Asheville, NC in a relaxed enjoyable setting? I did, and Gray Line Asheville helped me to make it happen. The group of people I went with was picked up at UNCA in a bus made to look like an old trolley. The historic tour began as we turned on to Lexington Avenue and headed toward Pack Place downtown. En route to our destination, our tour guide pointed out some of Asheville’s famous art-deco architecture, as several buildings still stand from that era. As we drove past the Vance Monument, I could see the reflections of what were once the tallest buildings in the area on the windows of a modern office building. The city of Asheville has a beautiful mix of buildings from different times, nestled in the mountains.

The pace of the evening trolley tour helped me to relax and enjoy a bit of sightseeing as we motored down the road. The River Arts District of Asheville is alive and well, as you can tell by looking around the city. Throughout our tour of Asheville bronze sculptures spotted the streets. The buildings where painted attractive colors, as if to be saying, “come visit,” and their front windows were decorated with creative displays. It is easy to see that Asheville is rich with art, craft and culture by all the examples of sculpture on the streets, the architecture and the overall sense of life and festiveness.

As we continued on with our western North Carolina historic trolley tour we learned about the Vanderbilts, and Biltmore Estate along with Biltmore Village and how much of an integral part the construction of the estate had on the area as a whole. It is interesting to learn that Biltmore Village was built for the workers and now it is a luxury shopping center. Pulling into the Renaissance Hotel’s parking lot we walked a short distance over to The Thomas Wolf Estate. The house of his birth had been restored to its original splendor. As we stood before the historic monument, we were told of Thomas Wolfe’s contributions to literature and to Asheville. When our education about Thomas Wolfe and other past citizens of Asheville was over, we all loaded back onto the trolley and headed back to where we started.

For those who wish to just enjoy the ground transportation around asheville without taking the full tour, you can take good advantage of the hop-on, hop-off privileges that Gray Line Asheville offers. Get off the trolley and spend sometime exploring in detail one of Asheville’s many lovely neighborhoods, art districts or boutique-lined streets and avenues. Then get back on the next trolley that comes by and ride to the next destination to spend a little time.

I had a wonderful time with Gray Line Asheville Historic Trolley Tours. Everyone on the trip had a good time and we all learned about many of the great places in the area to stay such as Grove Park Inn, Haywood Park Hotel, and the Renaissance Hotel Asheville. We also got to experience a taste of Asheville River Arts District and learn about the figures that helped to shape the area’s history. All this, along with sightseeing, made my time with Gray Line Asheville time well spent.