When Stephen Gardner prowls the commercial produce markets of Los Angeles, he passes the same stalls, vendors, and products he’s inspected countless times




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Making it a Success

The system’s development required close cooperation between the participating programs and beyond. “It took a real team effort to make this system a success,” said Alison Young, who has managed the ePermits project. With the help of Science Applications International Corporation, SAIC, an outside contractor, and many people throughout the agency, system developers had to navigate many complicated logistics concerning funding, security, and technology.

In the true spirit of e-Gov initiatives, the e-Permits System incorporates existing outside electronic systems as well. It uses the USDA eAuthentication system to register users and the U.S. Treasury Department’s Pay.Gov System to process payments.


Good News for Agency Employees

As Young points out, it’s not just APHIS customers who benefit from the ePermits System—agency programs and employees reap rewards as well. The programs gain much improved oversight and reporting options. For example, information is now uniformly managed, tracked, and stored; program staff can now more easily and accurately verify the number of permits and workload trends. In short, better information is leading to better management of agency time and resources.

With the e-Permits System, agency staff who process permit have reduced the time that they spend on paper hunts. As the number of regis­tered users continues to grow, so will the time-savings for the agency’s permit.

Both inside and outside the agency, apprecia­tion for the new system is strong. Young said, “I actually had someone I never met before come up to me in the café. Right out of the blue, she said, ‘Thank you for bringing ePermits to our agency.”


PHOTO

APHIS employees dress sharp and celebrate the agency’s recognition at the GCN Gala Award cer­emony. From left to right: Deitra Phillips, PPQ; Neil Hoffman and Lee Hand­ley, BRS; Mike Firko, PPQ; Karen James-
Preston, VS.



END


Clean Up and Back Up

Your E-mail Inbox

By John Scott


Throwing things out can be one of the hardest things to do. E-mail is a great example of some­thing we’re good at saving. Sometimes for good reasons, but—as many employees freely admit—often not. For many, the result is an overcrowded inbox that buries the things you need under the things you don’t. And, as any computer special­ist in the Agency will tell you, our Agency’s mail servers are straining under the e-mail clutter.

So, in the spirit of the New Year, here’s how to drop a few of those unwanted pounds from your e-mail inbox. There are two things that you can do: clean out what you don’t need and back up what you want to save.

Quick and Dirty Tips

for Cleaning the Clutter

First, take a critical look at your inbox. If you take a minute and truly assess the mess, you may be surprised at how easy the pickings are for delet­ing. How many stray e-mails do you still have about lost cell phones or notary requests?

After cleaning out what first catches your eye, there’s more that can be done with ease to get rid of deeply buried e-mails. Instead of scrolling through your inbox line by line to delete single e-mails, use Lotus Notes’ “sort” options and searches to identify and delete groups of e-mails. It takes less time and can make a big dent in clean­ing out your inbox. Try these tips:


• Click on the “Who” column at the top of your e-mail view. This re-orders your

e-mails alphabetically by sender (and

secondarily by date). Then, scroll through your e-mail list. Using this view, it’s

easier to identify e-mails from specific

senders that you know you don’t need to save. It’s also a powerful reminder of just how old some of your e-mails are.


• You can also re-order your e-mails by

clicking on “size.” Using this view helps find large announcements and event flyers that take up a lot of server space.


• Use the Find/Replace function under the

Lotus Notes Edit pull-down menu. Search for

words that will help find common e-mails

that you can delete. Search for words like: lights, notary, cell phone, etc.


• For an e-mail that you’re saving solely

because of its attached file, consider

detaching and saving the file to your hard drive. You can then either delete the

original e-mail or, using the edit options in

Lotus Notes, you can keep it and insert a note in the original e-mail to remind you where you have saved the detached file.


Remember, too, that some e-mails may be considered a record under the Federal Records Act. Before you delete any e-mail, be sure to review the Agency guidance available at
http://inside.aphis.usda.gov/records/e-mailhome.htm.

With these basic tips and a little practice, you can quickly get your inbox back into shape. To keep the excess down, spend just a few minutes each day deleting what you don’t need. Your in­box and the Agency’s mail servers will thank you.

Saving Server Space

with an E-mail Backup

For e-mails you truly need to save, consider making a personal backup copy of your e-mails and saving it to CD, DVD, or some other storage media, like a flash drive. Broadly, this is a three-step project: naming the backup file; copying the backup file; and moving the backup file to CD, DVD, or other storage. Armed with a backup copy, you may find it easier—possibly even enjoy­able—to delete e-mails from your inbox.

To view step-by-step instructions on making a personal backup copy, select and open the file, Backup_stepbystep.pdf attached to this file.


[See next page for “Backup_stepbystep.pdf” file content]


END


Inside

APHIS

Page 12

Making a Personal E-mail Backup: Step by Step


Before creating a backup, read the following instructions carefully and call ATAC if you have questions or if the screen views described do not match your specific e-mail and/or computer environment.


Naming the Backup File

1. Open Lotus Notes and go to the “Workspace” screen. This is usually the default opening screen with tabs across the top. If your Lotus Notes opens to a welcome screen, click on the “Databases” icon on the left side of the screen, then on “Workspace” in the list.


2. Highlight the Mail file by clicking on the square mail file icon just once. The icon has your name and your mail server name on it. For most employees, clicking on the icon changes the appearance of the filename from black to blue.


3. From the pull-down menus at the top of the screen, select File. Click on Database and then New Copy.


4. It’s time to name the copy you are about to make. In the box that appears, enter a filename. Use a filename that includes useful information, such as the word “copy” and a date reference. The filename’s extension should be “.nsf” For example, consider using a filename like “copyjohndoe011207.nsf” which includes the word “copy,” along with your name and the date by month/day/year.


5. In this same dialogue box, under the Specify What to Copy heading, be sure to make the following choices: select the “Database design and documents” option; uncheck the box next to “Access Control List;” and uncheck the box next to “Create Full Text Indexing.”


With these settings, you are now a manager for the backup copy. The default access will be “Designer.” If you accidentally leave the box checked, make sure after the copy is made that you change the default access to “Designer” or “Manager” to ensure access to the backup file.

Copying the Backup File

1. Before you make the copy, choose a place to save it on your hard drive. To do this, click on the yellow folder button to the right of the filename window. Then, navigate to your hard drive and the folder you choose. Do not select your CD/DVD drives or other removable storage media at this time. Also, do not save your copy to a network drive; this would, in effect, double the storage burden on the Agency’s already overburdened drives!


2. Click the OK button to begin the copy creation process. PLEASE NOTE: This process can take a long time and your computer cannot do anything else while creating the copy. Consider beginning the actual copy process just before lunch or at the end of the day.

Moving the Backup file to Storage

1. The copy now appears as an icon on your Lotus Notes “Workspace” screen. Open it by right-clicking on the icon and selecting open. If you get an “About…” screen, just hit the ESC key on your keyboard to close it.

2. Next, expand the folder list that appears along the left. What does this mean? It means that, if you have subfolders, make sure you can see them in the list. This is done by clicking once on any “+” sign next to a folder. Similarly, for Lotus Notes version 6 users, you must expand the “Views” and “Tools.” To double-check yourself, make sure there are no “+” anywhere in the list displayed on the left of your mail view.


3. Next, press Ctrl + Shift + F9 all at the same time to rebuild/refresh all the views/view indexes for your database. This is an important step. Without it, the information you are about to move to CD, DVD, or other storage media will not be viewable.


Now your file is ready to copy to CD, DVD, or other storage. IMPORTANT: first, close the copy AND close Lotus Notes. To copy your file to CD or DVD, use the software that came with your computer’s drives or system. For many employees, a Roxio or Sonic product is available on their computer to burn CDs and DVDs. Using the appropriate software, burn a disc of the .nsf file that you have just named (e.g., “copyjohndoe011207.nsf”) and created. To save your backup copy to a flash drive, use Windows Explorer to simply drag and drop a copy to the flash drive as it appears in Explorer.

If you choose to burn your copy to CD, remember that CDs have smaller storage capacity. You may want to burn to DVD instead because they can hold up to 4.7 GB of information. To check the size of your backup file, right-click on your copy’s icon that is now on your Lotus Notes “Workspace” screen, select Database and then Properties. After selecting Properties, a box opens with several tabs along the top. The file size appears on the second tab (info).

Your file should be approximately 5 percent smaller than the maximum capacity of the CD you are copying to. For example, the maximum file for a 650 MB CD would be approximately 620 MB. If the file size of your backup copy is too large, try deleting e-mails from the file. One other caution—remember that CDs and DVDs are not permanent media and over time may become unreadable if not protected properly.


Testing Your Backup Copy

Your personal backup copy is now complete! To open and test the backup copy of your e-mails, insert the CD, DVD, or flash drive in a computer and open Lotus Notes. Next, select File, Database, Open and select the Browse button. Navigate to your file and open. Again, if you get an “About . . .” screen, just press ESC and you will be taken to the opening screen of your copied mail file.


To confirm that the backup is fully accessible, you should open e-mails and attachments from your copy. You should also test the backup by opening it on a computer other than the one you used to create it.

With access to your backed up e-mails confirmed, you can delete the copied file (e.g., “copyjohndoe011207.nsf”) that you saved earlier to your hard drive. Depending on the availability of hard drive space, some employees choose to keep the backup copy on their hard drive in addition to making a copy to CD, DVD, or flash drive.


And now, finally and most importantly, you can do your part to conserve network server space. With an operable backup copy in hand, you can begin deleting those old but still wanted e-mails from your server-based mail file.


END

From Kuwait to Minnesota and to Iraq: A Map for

Developing Veterinary Infrastructure

By Teresa Howes


As an international team of veterinary officials have found, the road to progress sometimes takes unusual turns: from Kuwait to Minnesota and then to Iraq. Along the way they also found that, in the company of dedicated people, together they can clear large obstacles in their path.


Kuwait City, Kuwait 2004

It began 2 years ago, when a team of veteri­nary professionals from different cultures and countries first met in a city surrounded by des­ert sand, waters of the Persian Gulf, and tens of thousands of U.S. service members and coalition partners. At 120 degrees Fahren­heit, in Septem­ber, Kuwait City, Kuwait, is a place where many would rather be enjoying the cool of an air conditioner as opposed to being outside, baking in the sun. Despite the extreme weather, the veterinary profes­sionals met gladly with the goal of helping to develop a road map to rebuild the vet­erinary infrastructures in Afghanistan and Iraq.

According to Dr. Paula Cowen, Director of Veterinary Services’ (VS) Professional Development Staff and a key member of the team, the workshop in Kuwait City was a starting point envisioned by Col. Cliff Walker, Veterinary Command, Com­mander at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

“Col. Walker’s vision for the team was to as­sist both Afghanistan and Iraq in rebuilding their veterinary infrastructures so that they could control the diseases of both animal and human health significance and ultimately allow them to produce more food animals for their people,” said Cowen.

It was clear to the team as it met in Kuwait City that Afghanistan and Iraq have many similari­ties, among them the presence of U.S. and coali­tion forces; however, they also have many dif­ferences. Afghanistan remains rooted in a tribal system and has throughout the years lost much of its talented workforce. Iraq on the other hand has maintained its educational system and a robust cadre of professionals. Iraq traditionally offered free education up to and including graduate school. Yet, Iraqi scientists have been largely isolated for almost 30 years.

The first workshop held in Kuwait of 2004 happened as a result of the generosity of the Kuwaiti Humanitarian Operations Center and the Henry Jackson Foundation along with funding from APHIS’ International Services program.

At the meeting, Afghan and Iraqi veterinar­ians met with officials from the U.S. Armed Forces and USDA, as well as representatives from the American Veterinary Medical Association and from U.S. veterinary universities—including deans from the University of Georgia, University of California-Davis, and the University of Missouri.

“As a result of our first meeting in 2004, long- and short-term needs were identified. It focused the efforts to help rebuild programs,” Cowen said. To date, great progress has been made in Afghanistan with a number of technical experts holding workshops to assist in developing a National Animal Health Plan, as well as to start an Afghan Veterinary Associa­tion. The U.S. Agency for International Develop­ment has also contributed funding for a number of projects, including starting private veterinary practices.


Minneapolis, Minnesota 2005

In July 2005 the team gathered for a second time. But, not in the desert. This time, in a cooler climate—Minneapolis, Minnesota, at the World Vet­erinary Congress. There, they had frank discussions about the prospect of holding workshops in Iraq.

“From the beginning, the Iraqi veterinarians wanted to host workshops in their own country. They did not feel that they were treated well in Kuwait, and they were tired of being shipped outside of their country for training,” Cowen said.

In addition, it was difficult for them to secure VISAs and get approval from the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture. As a result, the workshops typically could reach only a very few Iraqi veterinarians at a time.

To overcome this obstacle, Dr. Mo Salman, a key team member and graduate of the University of Baghdad over 30 years ago, began working along with others on a dream that they hoped to soon realize. Salman, now a professor at Colo­rado State University, had the dream of bringing a large group of veterinarians together in the relatively stable Kurdish region in northern Iraq. That dream would happen in September 2006.

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