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Reviews On The Pest Control Company

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Ascending New Hampshire’s Mount Washington

1. Mount Washington:

If the White Mountains wore a crown, it would look like Mount Washington, the highest peak in New Hampshire, New England, and the northeast, cresting at 6,288 feet. Yet, the greater the obstacle, the greater seems to be its attraction, and it is this philosophy which has served as its magnet for hikers, skiers, and technology-tamers-that is, those who sought to surmount it by road and rail-all in the conquering spirit of “reaching the top.”

Originally designated “Agiochooki”-the Indian word for “home of the Great Spirit,” “the place of the spirit of the forest,” and “the place of the storm spirit”-it was seen as the exalted domain of just such a deity, “Gitche Manitos,” and any attempted ascent was therefore considered sacrilegious. Non-Native Americans, however, did not think so and did not hesitate to try.

Its obstacles were not to be underestimated. Surrounded by 5,372-foot Mount Monroe, 5,716-foot Mount Jefferson, and 5,533-foot Mount Clay, Mount Washington itself, a melange of metaphoric rock and characterized by ancient alpine glacier-carved ravines, lies at the center of three storm tracks in the Presidential Range and its prehistoric continental ice sheet covering left vegetation above its tree line only found in the near-arctic regions of Labrador. Its slopes are drained by several rivers, including the Ammonoosuc, the Dry, the Rocky Branch, the New, the Cutler, and the Peabody.

Below-zero temperatures on more than 65 days per year ensure summit permafrost, and hurricane wind velocities of at least 75 mph pound it on more than half of its winter days. Its lowest temperature was -49 degrees Fahrenheit and highest wind velocity 231 mph, as recorded at its summit on April 12, 1934.

Yet, none of this daunted summit-strivers. The initial path, so to speak, was forged in 1642 when Darby Field, aided by two Indian guides, made the first recorded climb, while the first scientific mission, the Belknap-Cutler Expedition, was conducted more than a century later, in 1784, when it was undertaken for the purpose of measurement and alpine plant collection.

Renamed Mount Washington after then-General George Washington, it was also the target of Colonel George Gibbs, a mineralogist, who cleared its first path in 1809, but made several successive climbs since then.

Forging their own summit-surmounting path a decade later, Abel and Ethan Allen Crawford, a father-and-son team, passed it to brother Thomas, who considerably improved it between 1838 and 1840 by widening it and rendering it suitable for horse negotiation. Although it has no current equestrian use, it remains as the Crawford Bridle Path and is maintained by the White Mountain National Forest.

Each “step up” brought those path blazers to new strata as the flora and fauna reflected the climactic conditions generated by their elevation-associated temperatures, which dip three degrees with every 1,000 feet, and wind and precipitation, which commensurably increase.

Between 2,000 and 2,500 feet, for example, hardwood forests-of American beech, sugar maple, yellow birch, white ash, white pine, red maple, red spruce, Eastern hemlock, and red oak-predominate, becoming spruce-fir forests, of balsam and red varieties, up to 4,000 feet.

As if malnourished, the balsam fir trees creating their own system become stunted at about 4,500 feet, yielding to the short transition, or Krummholz, zone, up to 4,800 feet, where twisted and slanted trees mark the end of the forest and the beginning of the alpine area. The latter, considered above the tree line, is no longer able to support tree growth because of its pounding rain, snow, fierce winds, and intolerable temperatures, and instead incubates robust, low-lying plants.

There are two significant plateaus above 5,000 feet: Bigelow Lawn, an alpine meadow with arctic sedges, and Alpine Meadow, abundant, as its name suggests, with alpine wildflowers.

The summit is a rocky, desolate, wind-swept moonscape whose view of the other Presidential Range peaks is awe-inspiring when the clouds allow it.

In order to take up the challenge imposing Mount Washington seems to propose, visitors have three principle means of doing so: by foot, road, or rail.

2. Foot:

Most of the challenges early ascenders had faced remain for modern-day hikers and climbers. Because of the mountain’s weather severity and changeability, the season for either is relatively short, running from Memorial to Columbus Day, with often-encountered mud, snow, and ice after this time. Winter surmounts, fraught with the most frigid temperatures, highest winds, deepest snow accumulations, and the least amount of daylight, should only be attempted by the most fit, trained, experienced, and provisioned. Ravines expose climbers to potential avalanches and the summit is usually shrouded in cloud.

Indeed, a sign located at the mountain’s approach warns, “Stop! The area ahead has the worst weather in America. Many have died there from exposure, even in the summer. Turn back now if the weather is bad. White Mountain National Forest.”

Trails vary according to length, elevation gain, gradient, severity, and obstacle, and run the spectrum from short, low-elevation hikes to full, summit-surmounting climbs. Of the latter, there are several.

From the west, for example, the Ammonoosuc River Trail, passing waterfalls, the Lakes of the Clouds, and the Appalachian Mountain Club hut, offers a 3,800-foot elevation gain and covers a 9.2-mile round trip distance. The Jewell Trail, Gulfside Trail, and Trinity Heights Connector, with only a 100-foot greater elevation gain, offers a ten-mile round trip path that initially follows the westerly ridge of Mount Clay before leading to Mount Washington and crosses both the Ammonoosuc River and the Cog Railway tracks.

There are two approaches from the east, both of which are accessible from Route 16 in Pinkham Notch. The first, the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, offers a 4,250-foot elevation gain and an 8.4-mile round trip distance. Because of its moderate grades, it is the most popular. The second, also encompassing the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, as well as the Boot Spur Trail and the Davis and Crawford paths, entails a 4,300-foot elevation gain. At 10.6 miles in length, it is both rougher and longer than the previous routing, but is also considerably more scenic.

The Glen Boulder Trail, combined with the Davis and Crawford paths, affords a southeasterly approach, again from Route 16, and entails a 4,400-foot elevation gain during its 11.4-mile round trip stretch.

From the northeast, the Great Gulf and Gulfside trails, with the Trinity Heights Connector, penetrates the deep, secluded Great Gulf Valley and proceeds over the 1,600-foot rocky headwall, delivering a 5,000-foot elevation gain and the longest, 15.8-mile round trip distance.

3. Road

Present-day sport, of mountain climbing, followed and emulated past-day necessity to reach Mount Washington’s summit, but a designated trail for equestrian and wagon negotiation was soon proposed. Abel Crawford, reaching the top on horseback as early as 1840, paved the way-at least in idea.

Access, to the mountain’s peak, is exactly what bred it-in the form of rail to its base. In order to provide an overland route to transport wheat from Montreal to Portland, the Atlantic and Saint Lawrence (later Grand Trunk) Railroad laid track in 1851, carrying passengers into Gorham, New Hampshire. Quickly assessing the area’s tourism potential, it invested in infrastructure, including the Alpine House Hotel, a road to Pinkham Notch, and the peak-pinnacling Glen Bridle Path, at the foot of which rose the First Glen House.

But the desire to triumph over Mount Washington’s imposing height provided the impetus for a road that could support horse-drawn tourist-transporting omnibuses and a peak hotel in which to lodge them, and Governor Noah Martin granted a charter to the Mount Washington Road Company on July 1, 1853 for an eight-mile artery from the Glen House to the summit. David O. Macomber, of Middleton, New Hampshire, was appointed Project Manager.

Not all visions, however, are transferred into reality. Construction in pre-motorized and relatively primitive times was daunting. Residing in shanties or tents, and devoting between ten and twelve hours per day, workers often relied on their own strength and brute force to transport supplies to the site from an eight-mile distance, relying on horse or oxen, hand-boring their own blasting holes, filling them with black powder, and then removing the explosion’s resultant gravel and rock.

Yet, by the time the project had reached its halfway point in 1856, funding had been as exhausted as the men performing the job.

Assuming the project three years later, the newly formed Mount Washington Summit Road Company completed the artery, and the Mount Washington Carriage Road-the country’s first man-made tourist attraction-officially opened amid a ceremony on August 8, 1861. Earning the title of “first to the top” had been coveted by many, particularly Joseph Thompson, proprietor of the Glen House, and Colonel John Hitchcock, landlord of the Alpine House.

Ascending in a horse-drawn carriage three weeks before the road’s completion, and negotiating still-existent boulders near its terminus, the former succeeded.

The road’s popularity, confirming its concept, progressively increased, as did the number of first feats accomplished as a result of it. Three members of the Dartmouth Outing Club, for example, made the first ski ascent in 1913, and they were followed by the first husky team to reach the summit in 1926. Four- to six-horse wagons, accommodating between nine and 12, transported as many as 100 daily passengers.

But, although the road in and of itself did not change, its use did when Freelan O. Stanley had earlier made the first steam-motor climb on it in two hours, ten minutes on August 31, 1899 and it paved the way for the first gasoline powered automobile to follow in its motorized tracks, sparking its redesignation from its initial “Carriage” to a final “Auto Road.”

A graph line representing the annual number of cars using it is as steeply angled-and rising-as the mountain it represents: 3,100 in 1935, 6,600 in 1955, 12,800 in 1961, and more than 45,000 today.

Present-day motorists can “take the high road,” as it advertises itself, by accessing it from Route 16 in Pinkham Notch on the mountain’s east side. The Great Glen Lodge, with a restaurant for breakfast and lunch, and the adjacent Douglas A. Philbrook Red Barn Museum, are located at the Auto Road’s base. The latter, the last of the many horse and hay barns which had been integral to the then Carriage Road’s staging process, is complementary and features a collection of restored wagons, carriages, stagecoaches, and automobiles that once left their own imprints in the path up the mountain.

The basic fee to enter the Auto Road includes the car, its driver, an audio or CD cassette tour, and the famed, “This car climbed Mt. Washington:” bumper sticker, with separate and supplemental charges for additional adults and/or children and motorcycles.

Guided van tours, including commentary and admission to the Mount Washington Observatory Museum at the summit, last 90 minutes, with a third of the time at the top, while season and time-of-day tours entail those conducted at dawn, in the evening, and during winter, in which case ski-equipped vehicles operate “SnowCoach” trips.

Intermodal climbs, offered between late-May and early-October, enable the hiker to travel one way by foot and the other by van, with hiker’s shuttle stops at the Auto Road base, the Great Gulf Train Head, and the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Pinkham Notch Camp.

Driver and mother nature respectively produce ever-changing vistas and weather, as the car negotiates the winding, climbing, partially paved and partially graveled, mountain surmounting road that once bore the imprint of horses’ hooves.

Passing through a ravine on the mountain’s east side, the 7.6-mile-long Mount Washington Auto Road ascends from 1,543 feet to 6,288, with an elevation gain of between 594 and 880 feet per mile, passing Two Mile Park; the Mycko’s, Jenny Lind, and Twin bridges; the Halfway House and Horn Park; and negotiating S-turns and Five Mile Grade. Moving northerly, it widens and commences a distinct climb on the crest of Chander Ridge, passing Cragway Spring and Six Mile Park and ascending Six Mile Grade.

4. Rail:

Prior to the motorized days, Mount Washington’s pendulum had swung to its west side and to yet another peak-pinnacling method-rail-each technological step having provided another step up the imposing New Hampshire monolith.

Its catalyst-once again proving the validity of the “turn pain into purpose” philosophy-had been the climb that Sylvester Marsh, a Campton, New Hampshire, native and wealthy Chicago meat-packing veteran, had made in 1852. Caught and lost in a fierce snowstorm, he was forced to spend the night on the mountain, almost succumbing to its arctic temperatures and vowing, upon his return, to devise a means of ascending it that was rapid, comfortable, enclosed, and safe.

Mechanically-minded, he had already had considerable experience with applying for farm machinery patents, such as for grain conveyor belts and dryers, and therefore parlayed this background into a rail system whose technology would enable a locomotive and at least one car to negotiate, climb, and surmount grades hitherto impractical for conventional railroads.

Devising a plan for a mountain-climbing cog rail system, he applied for a patent for it on August 24, 1858, but it was rejected the following month, the New Hampshire Legislature claiming that five similar submissions had already been received between 1836 and 1849 and laughing at the idea with the now-famous statement that Marsh “might as well build a railway to the moon.”

Undeterred, he applied for an amended one three years later, on August 3, and it was quickly granted.

The secret to the system’s ascend-ability was a small cogwheel positioned below the locomotive whose 19 teeth would bite into the cylindrical rungs of a center track, pulling it and its cars up the mountain, like tiny hands grasping bars, on a trestle that, depending upon its section, was positioned somewhere between the horizontal and vertical and thus formed an angled ladder. The engine itself would provide the propulsion and the traditional rails would guide otherwise standard wheels.

Financed with an initial, $20,000 of capital, the system’s underlying Mount Washington Steam Railway Company was organized. Marsh would serve as both its president and construction agent.

After several mountain surveys, it was decided to adhere to the route laid out by Ethan Allen Crawford in 1821 on the mountain’s west side and to begin track laying at its base near the Ammonoosuc River. Access to it, however, was hardly obstacle-free. An old logging road, extended from Fabyan’s Station, terminated half a mile from the construction site, and the remainder of the distance was densely forested.

A rudimentary, oxen-traveled trail hacked out ultimately enabled men to reach the construction worker-housing log cabin. Timber had to be hand hewed.

The Cog road consisted of 12-foot sections, or “bents,” and progressed in number from “1” at the base to “1200” at the summit

Each component of the construction process, which itself commenced in May of 1866, made the proceeding one possible. Marsh himself, for example, built the first 40-rod test track. The first locomotive, still in sections, was then ox-pulled to it, and a platform car to transport construction materials followed it.

The geared locomotive itself was cabless and featured a single pair of cylinders and drive wheels. Although it had been called “Hero,” its vertical, pepper sauce bottle resembling boiler quickly earned it the nickname of “Peppersass.”

Pushing a flatbed car during a two-hour test run on August 29, 1866, it successfully demonstrated the cog concept, construction, and capability, and attracted the necessary additional investment from initially skeptical railroad companies.

Reaching a section designated “Jacob’s Ladder” two years later, on August 14, the world’s first rack-and-pinion Cog Railway reached the summit in July of 1869 after a $139,500 construction project, becoming the second steepest-after one in Switzerland-and it is today both the oldest and a National Historic Engineering Landmark.

Cog Railway access was improved in July of 1876 when the White Mountain Railroad completed a spur line from Fabyan’s Station to its base.

Other than “Peppersass,” it had initiated service with three other upright boiler configured locomotives: the “George Stephenson,” built in 1868, and “Atlas” and “Cloud,” which followed two years later.

Employing wood for the first 40 years, these and the 18 other engines in the fleet subsequently used coal, each ascent requiring a ton of it, as well a 1,000 gallons of water. Combining original, 19th-century cog and 21st-century “green” technologies, the four locomotives introduced since 2003 are bio-diesel types and burn between 16 and 18 gallons of fuel per trip.

The Mount Washington Cog Railway, reached by the six-mile base road leading to it from Route 302 next to Fabyan’s Station, offers three-hour round trips to the summit between May and October, with time at the top varying according to steam or diesel locomotive propulsion, and one-hour halfway trips in November and December.

Unlike the Auto Road’s east side access, the Cog Railway’s track climbs the west side and enroute views and vistas are therefore different. All trains depart from and return to its Marshfield Base Station, named after the railroad’s inventor. The depot itself offers reservations and ticketing; a self-service restaurant, Catalano’s at the Cog, with prime views of the train departure point; a gift shop; and the Cog Museum.

Aside from showing the “Railway to the Moon” film, the latter provides a glimpse into early cog technology. A 1908 boiler, for instance, was continually used by the Number 9 locomotive– itself constructed by the American Locomotive Works-until it was replaced by a Hodge Boiler Works-furnished contemporary boiler in 1986. The devil’s shingle, employed between 1870 and 1920, had enabled railroad workers to descend the track’s length in less than three minutes. A frame section demonstrates how the cogwheel’s gears mesh with the track’s rungs. A log cabin office offers insight into the life of Sylvester March-promoter, as well as inventor and builder, of the railroad. The Mount Washington Cog Railway Shop furnished all but one of the seven currently operating locomotives and cab and boiler sections illustrate their construction.

“Old Peppersass,” the very first engine to propel the railroad up Mount Washington and into National Engineering Landmark fame, is displayed outside. Built, of course, by Marsh himself and ox-transported to the track in sections, it weighs four tons, cost $3,000, and could transport a payload equivalent to 60 passengers. It presently sports the letters, “N. 1 Mt. W. R.” on its side. It was withdrawn from service after it literally wore itself out and succumbed to mechanical exhaustion.

The 4.8-foot-wide cog track (a half inch less than the American Standard Gauge), commencing at the 2,700-foot base station and entirely laid on a wooden trestle, spans three miles as it ascends a narrow ridge line between the Ammonoosuc and Burt ravines at an average 25-percent, or 1,320-foot-per-mile, grade. Its nine curves vary in radius from 497 to 945 feet.

All trains consist of a steam or diesel locomotive attached to the back of a single wooden or metal passenger coach in pusher configuration and, after pulling away from the slender platform, almost immediately cross the Ammonoosuc River and then begin their climb up Cold Spring Hill, the track’s second-steepest section.

It next arches to the right, facilitated by solar-powered, hydraulic switches, circumventing Waumbek Tank at a 3,800-foot elevation, and either awaits the descending train so that it can pass it on its own side track or replenishes itself with water, if it is a steam engine.

Visible in the distance on the right side is the Appalachian Mountain Club’s camp and hut and several Presidential Range peaks, including Mounts Monroe, Franklin, Eisenhower, Clinton, Jackson, and Webster.

Passing the Halfway House at 4,500 feet, the locomotive-and-car pair now surmounts Jacob’s Ladder, whose grade is an astonishing 37.41-percent (and renders it impossible to walk down the car’s aisle without grasping its seat backs), and transcends the tree line.

Crossing the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Maine to Georgia, the train approaches the summit, with views of the Great Gulf Ravine on the left and its dramatic, 2,000-foot drop to Spalding Lake.

5. The Summit:

Converging point-and mountain-luring goal-of all hikers, drivers, and rail riders is the summit, location of the 59-acre Mount Washington State Park, which had been established in 1971.

Vistas from this desolate, wind-swept moonscape, when not obscured by cloud or precipitation, are part of the purpose of the climb and encompass a 130-mile radius. The four states of New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, and New York are visible, along with the province of Quebec in Canada and the glimmer of the Atlantic Ocean. Across the Great Gulf are numerous Presidential Range peaks, such as Jefferson, Adams, and Madison, and all are below the viewer-as often occurs with the clouds themselves-explaining the American Indians’ belief that the lofty, exalted position had been the exclusive domain of the Great Spirit.

With the exception of the State Park and an additional 60 acres of private land, most of the visible mountains belong to the 725,000-acre White Mountain National Forest, itself the spawning ground of four major New England river tributaries.

Visitor services are located in the Sherman Adams Summit building, the fourth and only non-hotel Summit House to grace the peak. Serving as the Mount Washington State Park’s headquarters, the building, constructed in 1980 as an integral part of the north slope, features a cafeteria, two gift shops, a post office, a museum, and the Mount Washington Observatory, the latter of which is a Class A weather station for the US Weather Bureau.

Another vistable structure is the Tip-Top House. Built in 1853 at a $7,000 cost from stone blasted from the very mountain that supports it, the 84-foot-long, 28-foot-wide hotel rose from the ruble to compete with the neighboring First Summit House, which had been completed the same year. A pitched roof, containing 17 tiny bedrooms, was later added.

Abandoned for 35 years, it regained its purpose when the Great Fire of June 18, 1908 ravaged the subsequently built, 91-room Second Summit House. Resurrected and remodeled, the Tip-Top House itself became the mountain top’s only hostelry for seven years until a replacement Summit House had been constructed in 1915–at which time it had let its guard down and was itself the victim of fire.

Reconstructed and relegated to a Summit House annex, it was vacated in 1968 before being restored for a second time, in 1987, so that it could begin its third life-this time as a National Historic Landmark.

Another significant structure is the Summit Stage Office, which presently serves as a souvenir shop and the hiker’s shuttle depot. Having housed the Mount Washington Observatory from 1932 to 1937, it was the location of the world’s highest measured wind velocity, of 231 mph, on August 12, 1934, as indicated by its outside sign, which reads, “The highest wind ever recorded by man was here – 231 mph.”

The actual, 6,288-foot summit can be reached by following Crawford Path, which was first laid in 1819 and is therefore considered the oldest mountain hiking trail in America.

Washington DC – Our Nation’s Capital

Washington DC is the capital of the United States of America. When in a new area, we find it beneficial to get the lay of the land. We knew were not going to attempt to drive into Washington, DC with Boss. Remember that Boss is a one ton dually with an extended bed and wide hips. Finding a parking place is difficult. We have heard the horror stories of the Beltway, not to mention the traffic in DC proper. The beltway is an Interstate highway system, which encircles the city: well known for major traffic jams.

We found out that DC has a wonderful Metro, train/subway, system which will take the traveler almost anywhere in the general area. First we had to find the stations near us and check out the parking. The station at College Park is convenient, but has a postage stamp parking lot. Mostly students from the University of Maryland use this depot via their shuttle bus. The other station, the terminus of the Green line is Greenbelt, the planned city built after W.W.II. The parking lot there has its own shuttle bus to assist the patrons from the far reaches of the lot. Nearby is Greenbelt Park, a hidden gem in the National Park Service. Even though the park is officially closed at this time, dry camping is still allowed in one of the areas for only $14.00 per night (half for Seniors with the Golden Passport). A dump station is available for the necessary. The campground is less than a half mile from the College Park train station.

Our goal today was to scale the Washington Monument for the aerial view of the city and then visit the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. To enter the Washington Monument, you need to have a ticket, picked up for free at a nearby kiosk. To get a ticket you have to be there by 8:00 AM. We arrived about 11:00 and all were taken.

We headed to the Lincoln Memorial via the Vietnam Wall, a moving sight with the flowers, wreaths, and letters laid at the base of the monument. At the South end are two books with the names of the dead in alphabetical order. The names on the memorial are chronological. Look up the name of the individual in the book and you will be directed to the panel on which his/her name appears. Across a small green are two more memorials dedicated to the survivors of the war: one of three soldiers, the other of the women who served.

What can be said about the Lincoln Memorial which has not been done before. These days barricades and fencing restrict the tourists’ movements. You cannot walk completely around the Memorial on the upper level. On the ground floor, however, is a museum which chronicles the construction of the Memorial and the events which have taken place at the site, such as the freedom marches, Marion Anderson’s concert, and Martin Luther King Jr. “I have a Dream” speech. Once again the NPS has scored with a wonderful movie relating the importance of Abe Lincoln’s life through his words and pictures and the impact throughout the history of our great country. The musical background is Aaron Copeland’s Lincoln Portrait.

Down from the Lincoln Memorial, opposite the Mall from the Viet Nam Memorial, is the Korean War Memorial. Make sure you have a ranger tour to derive the utmost from the experience. The purpose of the memorial is to involve everyone, the living and dead, into the experience. Originally there were to be thirty-eight(re: 38th Parallel) life-sized statues of soldiers climbing the rugged hill to freedom. The number was halved to nineteen.

Approaching from the road the one soldier is looking over his shoulder signaling to the troops massed in the woods behind to come out into the clearing, filled with juniper and rocks. As you climb the hill to the US flag, the symbol of freedom, you see at the end etched in stone that over 53,000 men lost their lives and more than 8,000 were MIA. At the top is a reflecting pool with a triangular wall jutting into it (the Korean Peninsula). Not to be overlooked is the dark wall on the other side of the hill. Into the wall are carved 2,500 photographic images of men and women who were ancillary to the combatants. You cannot see the faces from afar, only up close. Drawing near the wall the real faces can be seen staring out at you, and you yourself are also reflected in the wall along with the nineteen soldiers climbing the hill to freedom. You become part of the memorial and memorial becomes part of you. This is an eerily haunting feeling which lingers throughout the day.

Across the road to the tidal basin we walked. The thousands of Japanese Cherry Trees were in full bloom. In the distance stood the Jefferson and the Washington Memorials. Along the way lays the memorial to Franklin D. Roosevelt. This consists of four outdoor rooms of writings, water and statuary, each one dedicated to a term in office. The monument is a lovely tribute to a great president who led us out of the despair of depression and the horrors of war. The tribute pales in comparison to what we had just experienced earlier.

The Jefferson Memorial is another on the must see list in Washington DC. Dedicated to reason and enlightenment, this makes a fitting end to an emotion filled day.

Some impressions of Washington and Washingtonians. The city looks like Illinois in the summer: construction everywhere you look; cranes, chain link fencing, barricades. Police presence where ever you look: on foot, in cars, on bicycles, motorcycles and horses. Joggers, I mean many joggers, not just a few pass by no matter where you are; in the park, on the tidal basin paths, on the street. People out in great numbers, either seeing the sights in small groups or large tours, or individually. A calliope of people, scents, sights, and sounds fill every pore of the body.

The early bird catches the worm, or breakfast with our Senators. Every Thursday morning at 8:30, while Congress is in session Senators Dick Durbin and Peter Fitzgerald hold a continental breakfast with their constituents in one of the subcommittee rooms in the Dirkson Building. We were also given passes to the Senate and House of Rep galleries. Check with your Senators, if they do the same.

A tour of the Capital is given only by Senate or House personnel. You have to know someone to visit your building. What has our country come to when you can’t even visit your capital building? Luckily we had gallery passes.

Our first stop was the Senate. What a marvelous place to see government in action.. We were disappointed by the paucity of gallery occupants. Less than ten percent of the gallery was full. The ones who came in were mostly school groups. Granted no earth shaking votes were being taken, but we heard Sen. Barbara Boxer of CA argue for an amendment to add antiterrorist devices to commercial airlines. This was supported by Sen. Evan Bayh from IN who also spoke. Sen. John McCain of AZ spoke in rebuttal. Sen. Kennedy came into the Chambers later. Every hour the President Pro Temp of the Senate changes. Every fifteen minutes, the court reporters rotate. What is missing is modern electronics. There are no tote boards, cell phones. The only computers we saw were one on the secretary’s desk and the ones operating the television cameras.

From the Senate to the House of Representatives. Whereas the Senators had individual desks and chairs, the Reps. sit in pew like seats with dividers between them. They have no desks. If they want to speak, they must go to one of the tables on either side of the center aisle and be recognized. One representative was giving a speech about bringing the troops home from Iraq. He finally withdrew his amendment, but got his anti-war point recorded in the Congressional Record.

Went to the Rayburn Building, where our Representative, Jesse Jackson, Jr. has his office. We still vote in Illinois and keep up with the local politics. He was out of the office, but his little daughter, Jessica, was in charge and had the staff running around looking for a lost soccer ball. His staff is in process of setting up a tour of the Capital for us.

To complete our day on “The Hill”, we visited the Supreme Court. They were not hearing any cases that afternoon. So we were able to visit the courtroom and receive a lecture (tour) of the building. When they are in session, you have to get into line very early to listen to each case. When all of the seats are taken the rest of those in line are allowed to sit on wooden chairs in the rear of the Chambers for three minute periods. The plaintiff and defendant lawyers have only one half hour to plead their case. Did you know that there is another court above the Supreme Courtroom? It is a basketball court. Both courts cannot be in session simultaneously.

We tried to see the Ford Theater, where President Lincoln was assassinated. The line was very long for the guided lecture. We are not allowed to bring backpacks into the theater. But after 12:00 you can go for a look see inside for a few minutes.

On our way to the theater we passed the new International Spy Museum. The price of entry was slightly steep, $12.00 per senior. I was expecting to be disappointed and ripped off. Much to my surprise, I was neither. The museum is high tech and delves into the many aspects of espionage, from Biblical time to modern surveillance devices and techniques. The museum is divided into different sections with many hands on activities. We spent over two hours there and could spend more time watching all of the videos and programs. Yes, Agent Maxwell Smart, they had your telephone shoe too. There were many replicas from the cold war, even the poison injecting umbrella. Did you know that Julia Child was once a spy? Maybe that’s how she got all of her recipes.

Off to the Ford theater we went (only a block away). Lincoln saw part of “My American Cousin”. Today “1776” was on stage. Unlike 40 years ago, Lincoln’s box is now off limits. A picture hangs in from of the bunting where Boothe caught his spur and thereby broke his leg. The museum downstairs and the house across the street, where Lincoln died are closed for renovation,

On the way to the department of the Interior, we passed by the Willard Hotel, a strikingly beautiful edifice, where final negotiations were held to keep the Union united in 1861. We passed by the White House. Guess what-under construction-many blockages. The closest anyone can see of the White House these days is by watching West Wing. Another beautiful building is the Old Executive Office Building (one of the largest in Washington), next to the White House. This is also closed to the public. Interesting is that on the other side of the White House is the Treasury, close enough for the President to keep an eye on the money.

Finally we made it to the Department of the Interior. The building is more than two blocks long. Anne James gave us a wonderful tour of the facility. There is a large museum in the building depicting the history and various aspects of the department. The Interior was formed in 1849. The primary foci of it today are Land management and Indian Affairs. On the seventh floor is the old cafeteria with murals painted by artists from various Native American tribes. The windows give a beautiful view of the city.

All of the government buildings are closed on Saturday. Off to the Smithsonian we went. Everything is free. The first museum we wanted to see was the National Air and Space Museum. Get there early to avoid the long lines. The museum is two floors tracing the history of flight and space exploration. Some of the original aircraft include Lindbergh’s Spirit of St Louis, Yeager’s Bell-1, Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo capsules, V-1 rockets, Steve Fossett’s balloon capsule, and many others. The Enola Gay is in storage. Later this year the museum will open an addition near Dulles International Airport and display much more of its collection.

We had a short time to visit one of the lesser museums of the Smithsonian. Next door is the Hirshhorn Museum specializing in modern sculpture and paintings. The museum, itself is a work of art, circular in design with a beautiful center atrium with a fountain and surrounded on the outside with elegant sculptures. They had an exhibit of Gerhard Richter, an East German escapee. His paintings depict either a bad case of myopia or an unwillingness to say openly what he wanted to say. Many of his paintings are blurred, but photographic in nature. He loved the use of the color gray.

Today we planned as a day off. I had wanted to do a little genealogical research. So I figured that today would be a good one to find out information about my relatives. The National Archives are located in Washington DC and they have a branch in College Park, MD. Arriving at the Archives, NARA, I registered and received a photo ID to do research. Sadly, all of the records I was seeking were at the downtown office. The gentleman said that there was a free shuttle bus, which runs every hour on the hour between the two facilities. I scarcely believed my ears. Noon came and I hopped on the promised shuttle. I thought that this would take some time due to the horror stories of Washington DC traffic and the blockades everywhere. Taking the main roads, we passed through Hayettsville, Catholic University with the Basilica, many ethnic neighborhoods. Within thirty-five minutes, we were at NARA, on Pennsylvania Avenue, in the heart of downtown DC. We had hit the mother lode again. Free transportation without the hassle of finding a parking space at the METRO and the same travel time from College Park to DC proper.

NARA is the repository of federal records more than thirty years old (72 for census). The exhibition hall, closed for renovations, has the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution on display. Showing my registration card I was allowed complete access to the microfilm sections and later to the main reading room, where original records are pulled for the researcher by a very helpful staff. One note of caution: be sure you leave enough time for the record pulling. It takes some time to retrieve them. I took the four o’clock shuttle back to College Park.

We took the NARA shuttle downtown and went to the National Gallery of Art, a mere two blocks away. This is an incredible series of beautiful buildings with two main structures: East Wing and West Wing. Inside are fountains, gardens with live flowers, and, of course art. Their collection of Impressionists is not as extensive as other museums, but they do have something special: the only Leonardo Da Vinci in the US, Ginevra de’Benci. We spent the entire day immersed in the beauty provided by the great master artists and sculpturers. There were special exhibits by Gainsborough, Kirchner, Vuillard, and Matisse. Next week begins an exhibit of Remington’s Night paintings. We want to go back.

At the entrances of many of the exhibit rooms, there are boxes with information cards in different languages about the works in the specific hall. The visitor reads the card and then replaces it in the box for others to use. I have not seen that type of information at other galleries.

We finally got through to Andy Wilson, the intern for Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. and had a tour of the Capital. His staff was happy to see us again. A staff led tour opens doors for the tourist not available to the ordinary gallery viewer. We were able to go through hidden stairwells and go into the rotunda with a magnificent view of the capital dome. Today the Senate was discussing the Budget, which it later passed. The House was discussing natural gas drilling. We were on the way back to the Rayburn building, when the House called for a vote. Bells kept ringing in the corridors, and the Representatives we hurrying to the House chambers. It was exciting to see our government in action.

Because it was lunchtime, we were shown where the cafeteria was in the House complex. If you are ever in the area, I recommend eating lunch there. The cafeteria resembles a food court. The prices are reasonable and the portions ample.

Our next stop was the Library of Congress, the Jefferson Building. Self-guided tours are offered, but the docent guided ones are better. The paintings and statuary in the great hall are allegorical. Everywhere you look, you see the thought that went into the construction to one of the greatest libraries in the world. On display are one of the three complete Gutenberg Printed Bibles in the world and the last hand illustrated written Bible. The main reading room is dedicated to the different subjects of knowledge. The Library of Congress has its own web site, http://www.loc.gov. Here you have access to their card catalogue and to other information offered by the library.

Today we journeyed to The Holy Lands, a.k.a., The Franciscan Monastery. The facility was built so that people could visit the Holy Land Shrines, without having to spend all of their money to go to the Middle East. The shrines are replicas of Golgatha, the sepulcher, the manger at Bethlehem, etc. There are also replicas of the catacombs. Tour guides give insights into how the sites were authenticated. Even being a skeptic, I was impressed by their knowledge and the significance of the shrine. This is a highly recommended stop for any Christian visiting Washington.

A few blocks away rises the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. The church dedicated to Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ, was started in 1920s and is still under construction. The architecture is a combination of Byzantine and Roman: the dome fashioned after the Capital dome and the Campanile after the Washington Monument. Besides the main upper Nave and the Crypt nave, there are numerous side chapels and oratories sponsored by different groups of people in the world. Each one is dedicated to Mary. The predominant manner of expressing the artwork is via mosaics. The sheer amount and quality of the mosaics ranks it among the top cities of the world.

On to the Natural History Museum. What we liked about the museum was the use of skeletons to classify the various species of animals, from prehistoric times to the present era. Some areas are under construction: namely the mammals Hall and the Native American exhibits. The geological collection of stones, especially the Hope Diamond, salivates any woman who loves to wear beautiful gems. The myriad colors of the different types of geological formations are a delight to the eyes.

The staff at the museum do a lot of things right. Comparing this museum is like comparing apples and oranges with the Chicago Natural History Museum. Each one has its strengths. Overall, I would have to rate the Field Museum in Chicago a higher grade for extensiveness of its collection, except for the geology department.

Visited the Holocaust Museum in DC. This is a moving experience. I have done extensive research on this black spot in World history. I was impressed by the lack of bias in the exhibits. The self-guided tour takes you up to the fourth floor, where the history of the rise of Hitler and Nazism is told in visual pictures and short videos. The lesson learned on this floor is that much of the prejudices, feeding upon ordinary people’s fears, and the manipulation of the media are still with us even seventy years after the events leading to this tragedy. Moving to the third floor, one encounters the solution to the Jewish Problem: the ghettoes, slave camps, death compounds, etc. Not only were Jews hunted down, but also Jehovah Witnesses, gypsies, Polish and Russian Intelligentia, and anyone deemed inferior to the Aryan ideals. On display are mounds of footwear from the prisoners, many of their personal artifacts, and one of the boxcars used as transportation to the camps. From my readings of the atrocities committed in the camps, many of the exhibits were understated. The second floor exhibits emphasize the resistance to Nazism by the Jews and many citizens of occupied countries. Also recorded, in a muted way, is a condemnation of the silence of many allies denying knowledge of the genocide, which was known to be occurring.

On a lighter note, we visited the US Forestry Service. How do you say Smokey Bear? We found useful information about our national forests and resources for camping and visiting them.

On the way back to the Archives, we stopped by the Smithsonian Castle, so named because of the architecture of the building. The main floor is open to the public and acts as a welcome center, complete with a video, explaining the various museums of the Institution. The Commons at the west end of the building is used as a banquet hall. It reminds me of the nave of a medieval gothic chapel, without the stained glass windows.

The path back took us through a butterfly garden. Most of the plants were not in bloom, yet. There were many signs describing the various plants and trees and the type of butterflies which they attract. This was a beautiful ending to a cathartic day.

The National Zoo boasts the home of the giant pandas. On the whole, we were disappointed with the treatment of most of the animals. No zoo is perfect. Each one puts their energies and resources on specific species of animals. From our observations, it seems that the National Zoological Park has a lot to learn from other institutions. Most of the animals, especially the more advanced animals are separated from each other. We did not speak with anyone and find out if there any extenuating circumstances for our observations. Even the great apes were secluded from each other. We thought about what would have happened at the Brookfield Zoo a few years ago, when the gorilla saved and cared for the child who fell into their exhibit, if they were not allowed to socialize and live naturally as a troop.

Took a trip to Walter Reed Army Hospital today. This the place where presidents get their annual physical exam. On campus the AFIP (Armed Forces Institute of Pathology) has a museum dedicated to medical research and history. They have an extensive microscope collection, beginning with the primitive ones of the 17th century to the modern electron microscopes of today. They are presently exhibiting the cycle of life from the hereditary stage to birth. They use many different forms of photography, from MRIs and X-rays to normal photos. Many are surreal.

After spending a couple of hours at the museum, I wanted to visit Georgetown and embassy row. Driving in DC can be a real challenging experience. Not only do you have the diagonal streets intersecting the grid patterns, you have creative signage, or the lack thereof. Maggie was getting more upset because of the labyrinth we were traversing. We finally found Embassy Row, on and around New Hampshire near the Dupont Circle. Off the circle is M Street, which is the main drag of Georgetown Heights. We got a great view of the stores and the throng of people on the streets, because traffic moves at a tortoise’s crawl.

Crossing the Potomac River, we wanted to avoid traffic to get back to College Park. I knew there was a highway which runs along the front of Arlington Cemetery. Eventually this would take us to I 95 and College Park. Cruising down the highway a police officer flagged me over and told me to follow him. I did not think that I was the millionth vehicle to travel the road. I was also sure I wasn’t speeding: just keeping up with the Jones’s. I found out that duallys were not allowed on this road since 9/11. Other pickup trucks, SUVs, etc. are allowed. He took down my vital information and then tried to take a mug shot for the FBI. After breaking two cameras he was finally successful. Look for my photo at your nearest post office. Now that we are wanted by the FBI, we will just have to flee the country.

On Monday, April 21, 2003 we toured the Smithsonian American History Museum. We spent five hours there and could have spent an additional five hours. Some of the highlights include Louis Armstrong’s first trumpet. The crinkled bell of the horn reminded me of my trumpet in grammar school. The exhibits on the American Presidency and of the First Ladies were exceptional. I especially enjoyed the traffic control through the exhibits. There was usually a specific entrance and exit. This made traveling through them easier. The first floor was devoted to various industries: agriculture, maritime, railroads, information, transportation, and Julia Child’s Kitchen. The museum has something for just about anyone. Having been to Fort McHenry, we were happy to see The Star Spangled Banner undergoing restoration.

The numismatic collection of coins and money is very extensive. What I never realized was the variety of currencies, both foreign and domestic, in circulation during the beginning of our country’s history. Each colony printed and minted its own currency. British, French and Spanish currencies were also considered legal tender. It was worse than the problems the Europeans have with the Euro. A common currency was a necessity to have a real country.

Went to The National Building Museum. The building’s beautiful atrium soars fifteen stories and is supported by large pillars. On the first and second floors are exhibit halls surrounding the atrium. Some of the exhibits are semi-permanent. You never know what will be shown. The atrium was a buzz with people setting up for the greatest craft show in the country. The Smithsonian Institute holds an annual contest for craftsmen and the winners exhibit their work at this museum. The items on display are also for sale.

A few short blocks away is the Postal Museum, a part of the Smithsonian. This museum explores the history of mail service, from blazing trails from New York to Philadelphia, to Ben Franklin’s appointment as Postal chief in the mid 1700s by The Crown, to the Pony Express, RFD, and Air mail. The building itself is impressive. It is in the Old Post Office with a magnificent main hallway with many cages lining both sides.

Next door is Union Station. It is still a pretty impressive building, having undergone extensive restoration and now housing many food courts and different shops to pick up last minute items before going home.

Today we visited most of the rest of the Smithsonian Institute: the Freer Museum of Art, the Sackler Gallery, the Museum of African Art and the Arts and Industry building. This sounds like a lot of walking, but the museums are small in area. The first two emphasize Eastern art from China, Japan, India, and Islamic works from different countries. Some of the pieces from early China and from the Islamic World are exquisite. Not to be missed in the Freer Museum is the Peacock Room by James Whistler. He got carried away with a commission to decorate a dining room. He took the peacock motif to the maximum extent. Even the ceiling is painted peacock feathers. The room is breath taking and is a perfect receptacle for the Chinese Porcelain collection of the owner.

The African Museum has many old pieces from ancient Nubia, which is South of Egypt in present Sudan. There are also many 20th Century pieces reflecting the culture of the people of Western Africa.

Not to be missed is the Arts and Industry Building, the host for many Presidential Inaugural Balls. The atrium is spacious and shaped like a cross. The building hosts special exhibits, which change on a regular basis.

One other exhibit was of a tropical butterfly house. Enclosed in a closed environment (temperature 90°, humidity, 85%), hundreds of butterflies from Central America flew at will. I seemed to be a particular favorite, because they kept landing on my head. Maybe my animal attraction has been lost on the wrong species. Or perhaps they like gray hair. They were very beautiful.

Went to the tower of the Old Post Office: a different building than the Postal Museum. Washington DC has had a series of Post Offices as the demands of the Capital increased. This building has an eight-story atrium with an additional three-story bell tower. On the twelfth floor an open observation deck gives a birds eye view of the city below. Within the tower are the Congress Bells. These change bells are still rung by hand by a special group of ringers. They practice every Thursday evening to perfect their skills. They hold the record for pealing. A peal is a series of over five thousand rings of the bells according to a set pattern, which is never repeated, for the three-hour duration of the peal. The group has a conductor who directs the ringers in the precise patterns. If they miss a beat, they have to begin all over.

Washington Monument – A Tribute to a Legend

The Washington Monument is a magnificent structure designed to honor George Washington, the commander of American forces in the American Revolution and the first president of the newly created republic.

The monument takes the form of an obelisk, a narrow, tall tapering four-sided structure with a top section that resembles a pyramid in shape. The Washington Monument, fashioned in granite, marble and sandstone has the distinction of being the world’s highest obelisk and the world’s highest stone structure. It is Washington DC’s highest structure; there is a misconception that no building in DC is permitted to be taller, but this is not true.

The design of the monument was assigned to an architect of the 19th century, Robert Mills. The construction of the structure commenced in 1848 but was not finished until the year 1884, 30 years after the demise of the original architect. The delays were due to objections by some organizations, the American Civil War and a shortage of funds. At the time of completion the Washington Monument was the world’s tallest man-made structure, a title it held until the completion of the Eiffel Tower in France.

The building of the monument was not without controversy. In 1854 when funds for the construction ran out, Congress allocated fresh funds, but the actions of the society entrusted with the construction caused a withdrawal of these funds. The society requested territories, states and organizations to contribute commemorative stone blocks, thereby hoping to engage the citizenry with the construction, and also reduce the costs involved. Professional organizations, Native American tribes, businesses, societies and foreign nations made contributions. The nativist American Party created obstacles to the work, which caused Congress to cancel the funding.

However it was only after the end of the Civil War that interest in the project was rekindled. After a re-designing of the foundation so that it could sustain the weight of the structure, the construction was finally completed and opened to the public on October 9, 1888. For the traveler in search of Washington DC hotels the ideal way to discover the options available would be the WashingtonDCHotelseye.com online resource, which offers a wealth of information on the hotels Washington offers.

Construction DC Jobs

With new buildings coming up every now and then, DC has become a hot spot for offering construction jobs. Jobs in construction generates a lot of employment opportunities like the electrical professionals, the engineers, the cement masons, the menial labors, the plumber, painter, welders, the project managers, the heavy equipment operators etc. can be put to work and paid salaries according to the categories of work and previous experiences.

The major works available at DC are at Washington and DC Metro. An overall idea about DC construction jobs can be got from the following discussion- Jobs in construction entail hourly payments in general. Construction jobs in DC are majorly meant for very experienced workers for particular occupations. Workers of jobs in construction in DC get relatively higher per hour payment than in other states. Self- employed employees is the characteristic feature of construction jobs.

The civil engineers in Washington, DC need 5 years of experience. The electricians of DC construction works need high school diploma, 5 or more years of experience or training at an apprentice program for at least 4 years, quality work, transportation that can be relied on, personal electrical tools etc are required.

Dry wall Installers, Tapers and Ceiling Tile installers are not required to show any college degree as a hard and fast rule. Having a degree always add to the merit point but they generally learn as assistants to other experienced workers in the field and later take it up themselves when their amount of experience starts getting recognized.

Glaziers also learn their work through working with other experienced glaziers first and then move on to being independent when they have acquired proper proficiency. Hazardous Material Removal laborers, however, are required to have a high school degree. Government standards demand some specific kinds of training imbibed on the job.

Washington, DC has hundreds of construction company like- MSS Services Inc, MWH Americas Inc, Parksite Inc, Providus, Anchor Construction Corporation, habitat for humanity, Real Street, Pepco Holdings etc.

The Mergis group in DC Metro is also in DC. All the above mentioned professions are believed to have prospective work in the construction industry in DC since Washington is the Capital of America and important construction work is done their every now and then and are mostly of very high standards so the pay is bound to be very high.

A mechanical engineer in DC construction Jobs can earn up to $100K a year, starting from $ 50K. Along with the salary or wage the companies also offer bonuses and compensations. The higher post employees like the project manager, project superintendent etc are offer insurance facilities also.

Interior designers are often sought after the construction has been finished for furnishing the finished building or other constructions. They could bag a salary of $60K- $100K per annum. Works in Washington require highly experienced designers.

Construction works of high stature are available almost round the year but the construction workers may be in danger when the economy goes in to a dip and constructions are halted and new ones do not crop up.

Top Ten Ways to Manage Profit at Your Online or Community Pharmacy

An online or community pharmacy must be carefully managed for optimum profitability; occasionally, changes to business processes and marketing strategies should be implemented in order to open up new streams of income, while also improving the success of promotional activities. If you’re looking for ways to make more money through your drugstore, you’ll appreciate these top ten tips for managing profit:

10.) Diversify- Open up your business to new customers by adding holistic herbal products to your inventory. For example, if you currently sell OTC pain relievers, prescription medications, and conventional health aids, why not begin offering your clientele herbal supplements that treat health care conditions in a more holistic way? There is a big market for alternative medicines, and herbal remedies are now more popular than ever before.

9.) Cross-Sell -Make the most of your inventory by using cross-selling techniques to bundle related products. For example, if you’re running an online pharmacy, make sure that your checkout area is programmed with sections that show complementary items. “Bundle” vitamins with delicious herbal teas, prescription medications with special pill boxes that help people to keep their tablets organized, and so on. Offering a few percent off the total price on cross-sold goods is an excellent way to add appeal to this sales technique. People often buy impulsively at the checkout, so cross-selling is an excellent way to boost your profits quickly.

8.) Use Social Media- Create a buzz by promoting your pharmacy on the hottest social networking platforms, such as Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr and Pinterest. If you promote properly, the investment of time and energy that you put into reaching out to customers at these websites will definitely pay off. Add photos, blog posts, status updates, and special offers to tempt new buyers, and always respond to any feedback as soon as possible.

7.) Analyze Your Sales- Successful health care entrepreneurs never rest on their laurels; instead, they stay on top of things by analyzing their sales numbers and figuring out exactly which products are most appealing to their clients. To offer people what they really want, check all of your sales records to pinpoint buying trends. Then, consider offering different versions of the items that people buy the most.

6.) Target Your Ideal Customer- Business research doesn’t stop with sales analyses; you must also use market research to profile your ideal customer. Knowing who’s buying from your pharmacy is the key to marketing effectively and stocking your drugstore properly. Use client information to find out where your ideal customer lives and what his or her needs are. Then, market to that demographic or segment.

5.) Become an Expert- Position yourself as an expert in the pharmacy world by writing articles about pharmacy products, offering health care advice, or speaking to your local community. Becoming an expert builds your public profile and creates more trust and rapport with new and existing clientele.

4.) Create a Smart Phone-friendly Website- Today, many shoppers check out businesses online before they buy, and they often use their smartphones to browse the World Wide Web. If your pharmacy website isn’t compatible with a range of electronic devices, including smart phones, it’s time to hire a web development firm that knows how to create a smart phone-friendly environment at your url.

3.) Freshen Your Website Graphics- Nothing is more unappealing than a dated, dusty-looking website that doesn’t have any of the bells and whistles. If you don’t freshen up your graphics to stay current, your customers will soon lose interest. The best pharmacy entrepreneurs know how to adapt to change and keep things interesting; these savvy owner/managers always outsource for the hottest new web design graphics.

2.) Build More Interactivity into Your Pharmacy Web Pages- Whether you’re selling pharmacological products from a community or online pharmacy, you must still offer a business website that acts as a virtual calling card for your company. By building more interactivity into every web page on your website, you’ll create the right atmosphere for success. Hire a web design firm and ask them to add sharing buttons for social media, comment fields, and message boards to boost the appeal and interactivity of your website.

1.) Support a Charity- Your pharmacy is all about the health and wellness of your clients; with this in mind, why not support a charity that also promotes these values? By joining with a reputable and registered charity and donating money and/or time, you will create plenty of publicity and lots of goodwill towards your company. Often, donating to charity is much cheaper than paying for ads, and it’s so fulfilling. Meet prospective clients at local charity events, or donate online and enjoy a better public image that will build your brand.

How Much Does a Pharmacy Technician Earn?

Average earning of a particular profession is perhaps one of the most important parameters that help you decide in favor of or against it. And why shouldn’t it be? Who wouldn’t like to take back home decent wages at the end of a hard day’s work? After all, money plays a vital role in shaping the standard of your life. It is important for securing your family’s and your own future. So, whoever said money should not be a consideration while choosing a career has probably never lived without it.

If you are exploring a pharmacy technician career, then this question must be at the top of your head. We’re here to help answer some of your questions regarding how much they earn on an average.

However, before we get into details about pharmacy techs pay, it’s important to understand what the job entails. Because just like money is important, so is enjoying what you do for a living!

Pharmacy Technician Career

Let’s start with what pharmacy technicians can’t do or rather are not supposed to do. They are absolutely forbidden from giving medical advice to patients who visit their pharmacies. They are not qualified to do so; hence they should resist the urge to not just offer medical advice, but also guide patients on what medication may work better for their condition irrespective of how knowledgeable and experienced they think they are.

Although the duties and responsibilities of a them may vary depending on the type of facility they’re employed in, but in general their day-to-day work involves:

Receiving prescriptions and verifying them for accuracy
Filling prescription medications and labeling them correctly
Preparing intravenous mixtures under supervision
Assisting the pharmacist in inventory management
Answering telephone queries from patients
Storing drugs in a safe and secure manner
Maintaining patient records for reference
Preparing and processing insurance claim forms
Interfacing with customers who visit the store
Operating cash register at checkout
Pharmacy Technician Training

It’s best to start training for a pharmacy technician career in high school itself by taking courses in math, biology, chemistry, computers, etc.

Once you’ve laid the ground by taking appropriate courses in high school, you can choose between a college degree and a vocational pharmacy technician course offered at career schools. A college degree will require a minimum of two years for completion, while a career training course can be completed in a matter of few months.

What’s important is to get certified at the end of your academic study or pharmacy technician training program. Although certification is a hundred percent voluntary, having it just enhances your credibility and with it your job prospects. Certifying examinations are held by organizations like the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ICPT).

Pharmacy technician training should ideally include hands-on experience working in a pharmacy. This training could be incorporated in the curriculum of your pharmacy technician program or you may have to request for an intern position at your local pharmacy.

Pharmacy Technician Pay

The exact earnings of a pharmacy tech depend to a great extent on not just the type of facility he or she is employed in, but also other factors like:

The average hourly wages of a pharmacy technician range from $8.03 – $15.56.1 Those who work for a franchise may earn between $7.86 and $13.87 per hour, while pharmacy techs employed in hospitals take home about $9.49 – $19.02. 2

When it comes to experience-level, pharmacy techs with less than one year of experience earn $7.68 – $13.36 per hour, while those with 5-9 years of experience make $9.17 – $17.27 per hour.3

Pharmacy Technician Schools – Things You Should Know

Being a pharmacy technician is quite demanding especially since you are supposed to have enough knowledge of all the types of drugs available, including the latest ones. Also, you have to understand the current laws governing this profession. It is also a must that you understand the existing insurance practices. So, for you to succeed in this career, you have to find the best pharmacy technician training schools. Having enough training before you venture into this industry will help you to cut an edge over the others. Training is also important because it gives you enough skills to do your work well.

So if you really want to become effective in your work as a technician in the medical field, you have to study hard and acquire all the necessary skills. The good thing is that there are many pharmacy technician schools that provide quality training. But before you join any institution for a course in pharmacy technology there are several important things that you have to aware of. Once you have understood these aspects it will be easier for you to become the technologist that you have always wanted. This passage strives to provide you with some of these aspects so that your search for the right institution can be successful.

Points to Note about Pharmacy Technician Schools

• Thorough preparation: Because of the demanding nature of this job, it is imperative that you get enough exposure before venturing into the industry. You have to familiarize yourself with the requirements for this task. This can only be achieved through formal training in a good school. These institutions are important in preparing individuals who wish to venture into this challenging field of medicine. You have to note that even though pharmacy technicians are in demand, more qualified technologists are very much needed.

• Accreditation: If you wish to become a more reliable technologist, you should and must have the right accreditations. These include things like certificates, licenses, recommendations, approval, and so on. The truth is that you cannot get these accreditations without having undergone proper training. Therefore, you should always ensure that the pharmacy technician schools that you consider are credible enough to give you good certificates. Always go for the well established institutions because they are more reliable. Remember, if you do not get the right certificates you won’t the right job.

• Earn more: Having enough training in a credible institution gives you confidence to work in any kind of environment. This in turn gives you a chance to prove your experience to your employers, giving you a better chance of being promoted or given a pay increment. These schools will help you to gain experience in pharmacy technology and thus become the most sought after technologist in your state.

All About Pharmacy Technician Schools

In many countries today, healthcare industry employment continues even while other industries falter, making a health service job a good choice for anyone considering a new career.

Pharmacy technician jobs are one of the main positions seeing drastic increases with hiring expected to increase as much as 25 percent over the next few years. This is a great opportunity for anyone with good attention to detail to consider a career as a Pharmacy Technician or `PT`, especially since it is possible to complete certification programs at reputable pharmacy technician schools in as little as two years and get into a well-paying job soon afterward.

Different Types of Pharmacy Technician Schools

In the US and Canada, some PT jobs do not require any certification or schooling although most do. Those who have schooling and certification are definitely preferable for positions, however, making schooling something that anyone looking at a career as a PT should consider very seriously.

In all likelihood, more jobs will move toward requiring certification as well, so skipping the education may reduce job hire and advancement opportunity.

Pharmacy Technician education is available in programs that last anywhere from 6 months to two years or more, depending on the depth of training.

Like many other medical training and technical programs, the shorter programs give a basic, fundamental overview of what to expect on the job and general education relating to basic pharmacology, pharmacology law, pharmacology records, inventory, labeling, ordering and many other relevant topics to working in a retail pharmacy environment.

Courses and diploma programs

Students that attend the shorter programs usually earn a Pharmacy Technician Certificate for completion of the program, but have no actual approved certifications.

Longer courses offered by schools include specialized diploma programs and Associates Degree courses that last between about 12 months to 24 months.

Diploma programs are great for students who already have some healthcare service experience and want to move into a position as a PT, as well as those entering the field new.

Study usually includes all that is mentioned above, plus pharmacology in more detail, dosage calculation, mixing medications and others, and usually includes an externship to prepare students to take the certification exam. Students completing a diploma course and passing their certification exam will earn the title of Certified Pharmacy Technician or CPhT.

Associates in Health Sciences with a PT specialty takes two years and is recommended for any individual if there is an interest in both obtaining a college degree, and being able to advance the fastest in their career.

Courses of study are much more in depth and include additional medical subjects. Externships are a required part of the curriculum, as is passing the certification examination. Those with their CPhT and an AS degree stand the best chance of being hired in non-retail pharmacy technician positions, and starting at the highest salaries.

Accredited vocational program

In the UK and many other countries a pharmacy technician is required to complete both an accredited vocational program in pharmacy services and a pharmaceutical science program, and must be registered with numerous UK healthcare organizations.

Courses of study include that which is mentioned above, as well as medicines management for patients and training in running and assisting in hospital clinics and more.

Please note however, in the UK there is a difference between a pharmacy technician and a pharmacy dispenser, with the former having more vocational and educational requirements.

Interested individuals are advised to contact local professional organizations in order to get additional details about attending school to become a PT such as which are the best courses and whether they offer job placement and financial aid.

In the US, contact the American Association of Pharmacy Technicians (AAPA) or the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), in the UK contact the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPC) and in Canada the Canadian Association of Pharmacy Technicians (CAPT) to name a few.

Employment After Attending PT Schools

There are actually many more employment opportunities for PTs than most people assume. While the majority of jobs are in retail pharmacy positions there are much more specialized career options for pharmacy techs with the right training.

Hospitals, medication manufacturing and packing companies, medication compounding pharmacies, nursing homes, psychiatric facilities and any type of medical facility that either fills medication prescriptions or dispenses medications directly to patients make use of pharmacy technicians.

These positions can be very rewarding, and tend to pay more as well. Certain qualified technicians also have the ability to counsel consumers and patients on the use of their medications, as well as answer medication questions.

In any case, attending schools that offer the most detailed training and externships, and prepare students to become Certified Pharmacy Technicians are highly recommended for anyone interested in a career in healthcare services that pays well and offers plenty of room for advancement.

Know About Pharmacy Technicians

Pharmacy Technicians are these individuals, who assist licensed Pharmacists to manage and run a pharmacy. Their basic job duties include, safe and effective serving of the customers, provide medications to customers and patients, inform them about various effects and side effects of the drugs, handle cash counter, label the drug bottles and perform numerous other regular pharmacy works.

They work in different types of pharmacies, such as drug stores, retail pharmacies, chain pharmacies and hospital pharmacies. They are also well versed with state and federal pharmacy laws, rules and regulations for effective and safe serving of the patients.

In order to work in a Pharmacy, formal education is not necessary and on-the job training is sufficient. But, appropriate certification, degree, certificate and diploma offer, better career opportunities and lucrative salary. Moreover, the continuous scientific advancement in medical sciences and discoveries of new life saving drugs have also spurted greater demand of medications for sound health cares. Such advancements have also led to the mushrooming of pharmacies all over the country. These drug store owners and hospital medication stores also seek well qualified, trained and efficient technicians to work in their Pharmacy.

A medical store technician can avail different types of Pharmacy training programs from various community colleges, schools and trade schools. Even, numerous online courses are available for obtaining various pharmacy degrees. The duration of training program ranges from less than a year to two years. The training program consists of classroom and on-the job trainings.

The Certification is offered by PTCB and to earn this certification, it is necessary for the pharmacy personnel to pass the competency evaluation test of the certification board. The eligibility of Pharmacy Technician Certification Board certification is high school degree and no felony conviction within 5 years of applying for the certification.

The average pharmacy technician wage is $25,000 to $40,000, depending upon the qualification, education, training and experience. The hourly salary can be estimated at $ 9 to $17.