No. 213 October 2000
FIRST-EVER CUSTOMER SATISFACTION SURVEY FOR FEDERAL SERVICE Vice President Gores reinventing government staff has led the effort to implement Executive Order 12862, Setting Customer Service Standards, dated September 11, 1993. This Executive Order calls for "putting customers first" and striving for a "customer-driven government" that matches or exceeds the best service available in the private sector. American Customer Satisfaction Index, Federal Agencies Government-wide Customer Satisfaction Report for the General Services Administration, December 1999 (ASCI Report) http://www.customersurvey.gov/GovernmentWideResults.PDF is the first cross-agency measure of customer satisfaction with Federal Services and contains the "American Customer Satisfaction Index" (ASCI). The ASCI and Report show the American customer is as satisfied with Government Services as he is with private sector services. Government Service exceeds expectations, and Government employees deliver high quality customer services. Customers find information from information-providing federal agencies accessible, useful, and of high quality. Some of the agencies, such as WIC, HEAD START, and the U.S. Mint deliver services on the same customer satisfaction level as many private companies. U.S. Government Customer Satisfaction Initiative (CSI) http://www.customersurvey.gov/index.html is where this FIRST CUSTOMER SURVEY begins and links to a SUMMARY http://www.customersurvey.gov/summary.htm and seven other linked pages of information appearing for the first time in American History. The question, which may be answered by a very careful reading of the information found here, is: "will there be another customer satisfaction survey, and when"? Yes, (per http://www.customersurvey.gov/future.htm ) next year, same time, same station (I should say website), maybe even same newsletter stay tuned
COUNTY HEALTH STATUS AND INDICATORS Do you live in a healthy county? How healthy are the people? Do they have a healthy long life? or early death? What are the vulnerable populations? Do they use Preventive Health Services? How does your county rank among the 3,082 counties in the United States? "Community health improvement begins with an assessment of needs, quantification of vulnerable populations, and measurement of preventable disease, disability, and death." The U.S. Human Resources and Services Administration "Community Health Status Indicators Project" database http://www.communityhealth.hrsa.gov/ provides easy access to its collection of county health data and (the resulting) 3,082 Reports of Health Status Indicators for every county in the United States. The Community Health Status Report for (Name) County, (State) for any county(ies), found at the HRSA "Find a county" page http://www.communityhealth.hrsa.gov/searchCounty.asp can be viewed online (if you computer has Java Script), and/or downloaded as a PDF file. The HRSA frequently-asked-questions page http://www.communityhealth.hrsa.gov/faq.htm is very helpful and helps the researcher to input his/her own data into the Status Report on the website. The Boone County, Kentucky Report, 16 pages of information, reflects every reports uniform data themes/topics: summary measures of health, leading causes of death, vulnerable populations, preventive services use, and risk factors. After its health status is determined, the county is ranked nationally and compared to its demographic peers (Boone County has 27 peer counties) which are identified within the Report and whose Health Status Reports can be found within this HRSA database.
PHYTOREMEDIATION OR BIOMINING: METAL CLEANUP WITH PLANTS Cleaning up soils contaminated with heavy and toxic metals is showing results after 13 years of research. Leon V. Kochian has become an expert on the mechanisms by which certain plants absorb metals through their roots. This means that cadmium can be prevented from getting into the edible plants that are part of the food chain. Yet, it is the Alpine Pennycress that thrives in soils with high levels of zinc and cadmium. This plant that thrives on zinc and cadmium draws the metals out of the soil and performs a service called Phytoremediation. Uranium and Cesium-137 are two other contaminants that have been shown to be removed from the soil by Phytoremediation. "Biomining is the use of plants to mine valuable heavy-metal minerals from contaminated or mineralized soils, as opposed to decontaminating soils." Plants would be grown to absorb the metal(s) or minerals out of the soil and then processed to use their metallic content in some practical use(s). With this goal in mind, Rufus L. Chaney has patented a method to use Alpine Pennycress and similar plants to "phyto-mine" nickel, cobalt, and other metals. Phytoremediation and phyto-mining requires plants with very high intake of minerals to be effective. Phytoremediation, Using Plants to Clean Up Soils," by Hank Becker , pages 4-9 and "Today's 'Phyto-miners' Rush to the Cry of 'There's Metal in Them Thar Plants'" by Don Comis, pages 6-7 are found in Agricultural Research v. 48, No. 6 June 2000 (in paper at A 77.12:48/6 and) at http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/jun00/ .
HIGH INTENSITY DRUG TRAFFICKING AREAS In 1990, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) identified certain areas of the United States as having the most critical drug trafficking problems that adversely affect the United States and designated them as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA). In 1990, the Director of ONDCP designated the first five areas. In 1994, 1995, 1997, and 1998 there were many new areas designated as HIDTAs in an effort of the ONDCP to promote more effective drug control efforts and support the local, state, and federal law enforcement officers in their drug control and traffic prevention efforts. On May 8, 2000, the ONDCP announced the designation of 40 additional counties that is a substantial increase to the number of already designated areas that are found in many states throughout the country. The "Office of National Drug Control Policy Designation of Forty (40) Counties as Part of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, Notice" (as it appears in the) Federal Register v. 65, no. 89 May 8, 2000, pages 26611-26612 (AE 2.106:665/89) list the years and identifies all the States which have HIDTAs and in many instances identifies the City(ies) which were designated each year. For what it worth, there are 3082 counties in the United States. Though the number of designated counties and cities is growing each year.
THE BEAGLE BRIGADE The USDAs Beagle Brigade recruits and uses Beagles at 21 international airports, three land border ports, and select mail facilities. The Beagles are used to detect prohibited agricultural items such as fruits, plants, and meats. There are about 50 Beagles working at 90 ports of entry used to detect the illegal entry of agricultural plants and animals. pests and diseases. After safeguarding Americas agricultural plants and animals, these Beagles retire from their work with their USDA Inspectors. Upon retirement, the USDA National Detector Dog Training Center in Orlando, Florida ensures that the dogs get placed in good homes. The beagles recruited by the Center that dont make it through the evaluation and training program are placed in good homes. "Beagles available for adoption from USDA National Detector Dog Training Center" Animal Welfare Information Center Bulletin, v. 10,no. 3-4, Winter 1999, page 18 (A 17.27/2:10/3-4) is where you will get more details. If youd like more information on adopting a beagle from the National Detector Dog Training Center please contact the center at (407) 816-1192. http://www.aphis.usda.gov:80/travel/adopt.html
FETAL VIDEO WEBPAGE In August 1994, the FDA issued an announcement notifying the medical community and the ultrasound industry, regarding the misuse of diagnostic ultrasound equipment for non-medical purposes. The FDA asked the medical community to discourage their patients from having sonograms for non-medical reasons. In the FDA Consumer, v. 31, No. 1, January/February 1997, Isadora Stehlin's "Fast-Forwarding Video Service Permanently Ejected" pages 32-33 relates some details about recent FDA Investigators' Reports about cases of sonogram misuse. The problem still exists since a recent subject search of the web resulted in one Fetal Foto website. The use of ultrasound equipment to create a fetal photo is harmful to the fetus and an illegal use of this medical device. In June, 2000, the FDA updated their 1994 notice and put it into their web site http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/consumer/fetalvideos.html .
MOST POPULAR NATIVE AMERICAN WOMEN: TWO Pocahontas the Algonquian Indian princess who married Captain John Smith and assisted the American colonists in Jamestown is the first (and maybe the only Native American Woman) everyone has learned about at some time in any American school system. Other Native American Women may have had essential roles in American history, but it is usually the (Native American) Men, usually (Indian) Chiefs who have been the object of historians. With the United States Dollar Coin Act of 1997 Congress mandated the new golden dollar coin to replace the unpopular Susan B. Anthony dollar coin. This coin, which is gold in color, but has no gold content, carries the image of Sacagawae. "Sacagawea was the 15 year old Shoshone Indian who assisted the historic Lewis and Clark expedition. Between 1804-1806, while still a teenager, she guided the adventurers from the Northern Great Plains to the Pacific Ocean and back. Her husband, Toussaint Charbonneau, and their son who was born during the trip, Jean Baptiste, also accompanied the group." Without Sacagawea's navigational, diplomatic, and translating skills, the famous Lewis and Clark expedition would have perished. These and other facts are found on the U.S. Mints (webpage) "Life of Sacagawea" http://www.usmint.gov/mint_programs/index.cfm?action=golden_dollar_coin . The Frequently Asked Questions page ( http://www.usmint.gov/faqs/ ) at the U.S. Mint has a selection: "New Dollar Coin" which provides all the details about Sacagawea, the second most popular Native American woman. For what its worth: A search of "Native American Women" on the AltaVista search engine resulted in many websites which included a link: "WOMEN A-Z" which yields (the names of) about thirty-six Native American Women. One of the names was Sacajawae, but Pocahontas was not included in this list. Sacagawea is also spelled Sacajawae on the Internet, and searching with both spellings brought results.
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November 28, 2000