Baldwin-Whitehall Addresses Overdose Crisis

Baldwin-Whitehall took a leadership role in the epidemic currently facing our country. I am so proud to see what they have started and excited to see where it goes.

OffScript by Saltworks

A few weeks ago Baldwin High School students attended an assembly presentation of OffScript by Saltworks. OffScript is a live performance about three high school students that are very different but have one thing in common, addiction to prescription drugs. I was not able to see OffScript but my mother, step-father, sister and daughters did and found it very moving. Several parents provided me wonderful feedback on the assembly and also where told the same thing from their students.

My mother shared Amber’s story during the assembly to the students. She talked about Amber’s struggle with depression, addiction and losing her battle to addiction. Sharing Amber’s story was very difficult for my mother but she wanted to help others and from what I was told touched many students. We have the audio from my mother’s talk and will be sharing it shortly.

Chasing The Dragon by the FBI and DEA

Baldwin Whitehall also hosted a screening of Chasing The Dragon this week. Chasing The Dragon is a documentary about the lives of people addicted to opiates and how it takes hold of their lives. The documentary was a joint effort of the FBI and DEA.

A DEA agent was present during this program and spoke prior to the screening. He also stayed after to answer questions and talk with people. The Whitehall chief of police spoke about how close this epidemic is and shared about the administering of Narcan and overdose deaths right here in Whitehall Borough.

Tables where set up outside of the auditorium by the DEA, Gateway Rehab, Mercy Behavioral, Holy Family Institutes SHORES Program, Al-Anon and Alateen. These organizations are working to help in recovery and coping with grief. Having them present was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about how to address this crisis and reach out for help. Baldwin Whitehall also has social workers in the schools that can help anyone

I spoke after the Chasing The Dragon and shared Amber’s story. I was nervous as I usually am when I speak especially when talking about losing Amber. It is a strange and comforting feeling telling Amber’s story, I pray before I speak and have a feeling of being spoken through.

The number of lives that we are losing to this epidemic is mind boggling, addiction is gripping people like never before. Families are being destroyed, lives are being shattered apart.

I hope that this is the beginning of a more comprehensive and regular program by not only Baldwin-Whitehall but other districts and communities. We can’t arrest our way out of this problem, we have to help people suffering.

I will be posting the audio from both talks soon and hope to see a program like this brought to middle school students. We as parents have to keep this conversation going and teach our children what to do when confronted with situations involving substance abuse. They will be in a situation, we need to give them the tools to know how to handle it.

I would like to thank the Baldwin-Whitehall Administration and Social Workers who organized these events and worked to put this together. They took a great step in helping our community learn more about this crisis and hopefully save some lives.

CRM Summit 2016

**WOW!

That is a one word description of my experience at CRM Summit last week in Tampa. The Summit is hosted by CRMUG, an international user group for Dynamics CRM.

**CRMUG Vision
To engage every individual and company using Microsoft Dynamics CRM in value-added networking and knowledge sharing and to be the single most important communication channel for Microsoft to seek guidance on future development of Dynamics CRM. Read more about CRMUG

As a first timer to the Summit and any event by CRMUG I wanted to share my experience. I was so impressed with everything that I saw and participated in. Today, I am going to share my experience from my perspective as a new comer. I will then follow up with some additional posts on what I learned.

CRMUG Academy Black Belt Training Series

Before the official start of the Summit, Academy Classes are available. The academy classes are priced very reasonable and I encourage you to take advantage of them or look for them on the CRMUG site. I decided to attend the Administrator Blue and Purple Belt classes from the Black Belt Series. I am looking forward to completing the series with the Brown and Black belt!

Both of the classes where instructed by Chris Weilandt, a Senior Solution Architect from Edgewater Fullscope. The series is designed to take in sequence, moving from Blue to Black Belt.

Blue Belt

Monday, I participated in the Blue Belt Academy, this is the first in the Black Belt Series. Chris provided a foundation of CRM and Office 365 as it relates to CRM. Starting with user maintenance, settings, business units, teams, security, form and view configuration and closing with field level security. This was a great way to begin the journey and start learning the powers of CRM.

Key Takeaway: Hierarchy Security

Purple Belt

Tuesday, I continued the academy with the Purple Belt and learned more. Chris continued with some advanced form configuration, multiple forms, custom entities, advanced find and closed with reports and dashboards.

Key Takeaway: Reporting and Dashboards

Dynamics 365

The keynote was so full of excitement. We walked from the Tampa Convention Center to Amalie Arena. Microsoft had people waving Dynamics 365 flags and some people on hover boards guiding us to the arena. I worked my way through the security gates to enter the arena and the excitement grew.
It was like a rock concert in the arena!

You won’t want to miss the official opening for Summit 2016! Microsoft joins in the celebration with an inspiring presentation of the Microsoft vision, including an exclusive first look at the all-new Microsoft Dynamics 365 by Microsoft EVP Scott Guthrie.

Dynamics 365 brings together the Dynamics products into a seamless suite of applications. Dynamics will have a CDM (Common Data Model) which will provide seamless integrations between the applications. Moving from opportunity to cash will be available with Dynamics 365 out of the box.

You can move between Sales, Marketing, Financial and Operations and the data is shared across systems! This is HUGE!

We have been building an Enterprise Service Bus to accomplish this bringing data from CRM to Oracle Financials. If you use Dynamics 365 Marketing, Sales and Financial you won’t have to build an integration, it is out of the box!

Microsoft also showed demos of Cortana Intelligence Suite and how artificial intelligence is used to help you make decision and relate records in CRM. This is then extended by adding actionable email with intelligence! Corresponding with your contacts has never been so easy and guided.

Key Takeaway: Common Data Model; Cortana Intelligence Suite; Actionable email with Intelligence  

So Much Learning

One thing I found out quickly is there are a lot of very good sessions and I ended up starring them through the CRM Summit app, triple booking myself! I then went back several times trying to single out each time block for a session I will attend. I tried to attend as many session as I could and also moved across skill sets to get the most valuable information to bring back to share with my company.

Below are some of the sessions I attended and my thoughts about each of them. I am not going to go through what I learned just my impression of the sessions. I have added a Key Takeaway after each section for future posts. I added a new section on my blog for Dynamics CRM that will be a place to write what I learn and share information about CRM and Dynamics 365.

I also met with one of the leaders a of the local Pittsburgh Chapter and talked with him about my involvement with the local chapter. Bob, was very friendly and excited about growing the Pittsburgh Chapter. User groups only work if people become involved and I will be working with Bob and the others to help the Pittsburgh Chapter.

Key Takeaway: Webinars; Local Involvement

Introduction to CRM Development

My first session was a good start. A basic introduction to developing plugins for Dynamics CRM. Corrie Rands went over how to register a plugin as well as the tools that are available to get started. This was a great session for anyone that wants to get started with plugins, I worked on plugins but still left the session with some great tips and tricks from Corrie.

Key Takeaway: Tools! Debugging Technique

Power BI + CRM = Better Together

Mike Hammons presented on Power BI and CRM, this session was full of demos and how to use the content pack of PowerBI. Mike showed how to embed PowerBI dashboards within CRM as well as some of the limitations of using the provided content packs. Mike really showed how powerful PowerBI is and how using it with CRM there is so much that we can present to our users.

Key Takeaway: Embedding PowerBI in CRM & Content Pack Limitions

Advanced Techniques to be your Organization’s CRM Guru

Kylie Kiser and Patrick Wright jumped right into some of the great tips and tricks that can be used every day as a CRM administrator. So many wonderful tips provided in this session that I learned about.

Key Takeaway: Security, Data Management

How to Maximize Value with Dynamics CRM Presented by Avtex

Below is an affiliate link for Marc’s book.
What to say about this… Well, Marc Wolenik is the author of Dynamics CRM ‘Unleashed’series of books. I just purchased Dynamics CRM 2016 Unleashed before coming to the convention and was honored to hear him speak and talk with him afterwards. He presented 25 tips that are very good for anyone using Dynamics. I started reading his book on the flight to and from Summit and write my thoughts on the book once I finish.

Key Takeaway: Use Business Process instead of Code

Security Best Practices – the Basics (Part 1)

Gustaf Westerlund guided us through best practices on security. The differences between Position and Manager Hierarchy security. He continue with concepts of teams, users, roles and business units. Gustaf provided some very good best practices for designing your security system.

Key Takeaway: Hierarchy Security

Different Strokes – Javascript vs. Business Rules

Donna Edwards shared some very useful information on when to use Business Rules verses Javascript. Business Rules in CRM continue to be more robust and powerful, a lot of functionality that was previously limited to Javascript can now be performed with Business Rules. This helps with upgrading CRM as well as providing more configuration options to CRM.

Key Takeaway: Configuration over Code

CRM Real Time Integrations with Azure Service Bus

I was excited to see this session, we are using Azure Service Bus to integrate CRM and Oracle. Abraham Saldana started with the concepts of Azure Service Bus, explaining the differences between the different patterns:
– Topics
– Publisher / Subscriber
– Queues
Abraham explained a lot in the short time he had for this session. If you have an opportunity to watch this on a webinar I would put this on your list.

Key Takeaway: Enable Custom Workflow Activities

Retrospective

This was one of my longer posts, I wanted to provide my perspective of the Summit and I hope I accomplished that. While I was at the Summit I joined CRMUG as a member for my company. I am also excited to be an active member of our local Pittsburgh Chapter to help build our local community. I am also already excited about next year’s summit in Nashville!

Like I mentioned earlier, I will be added a special section to my blog on CRM to post information, tips, tricks that I learn and also information about the local Pittsburgh Chapter.

Why I do what I do

I have been blogging since 2011! WOW!

Why do I blog?

Technology Geek

Well, I am a technical professional. I work in technology and enjoy technology. I am amazed by the advancements that we are seeing on a rapid pace. I remember in the early nighties setting up internet “newsgroup” for a corporate BBS, before the web was what it is today. Now,people have access to so much information in the palms of their hands.

Writing Wantabe

I enjoy writing, always have, even when I was a child I would write stories. I am not the best writer and also not the best with English grammar… But, I write because I enjoy it. I enjoy sitting and putting my thoughts on paper or now a screen. I write in a journal regularly. Writing a blog is different that journaling though. A blog is public compared to my private journal. Big difference.

Blogging

I maintain a blog for many reasons. I started because I am a technologist and like to learn more about technology. I use my time with a blog to learn more about technology, keep up to date and record my notes. I also write on a blog to share my thoughts and notes on technology and hopefully start a conversation.

I share my perspective about topics that I am concerned with. As a global community we have the capability to share news and perspectives very easily now. Setting a blog is easy and allows you to share your thoughts.

Responsibility

I think that you should think before you share anything though. We have seen that on social media, people sharing everything and also not thinking about what the effects of what you are sharing will have. I try to think before I share, try. We are all human and make mistakes.

Why I Do It?

So, why do I do what I do? This question came up at the school district I belong to and I just love the question and reflecting on this. I think this question is a good regular prompt and have a scheduled reminder on Day One, which I use for journaling. I share what touches me and also things that I enjoy. I also share adventures that I am on. I have “met”, some interesting people that share my same thoughts this way. I have learned from many people that I might not have known otherwise.

Addiction & Overdose

I share a lot of information about overdose and addiction on this blog and everywhere I can. This epidemic affects me personally and we as a society need to do something to address it. We are living in a time when we are loosing a generation of people from addiction. People are being prescribed addictive medicines that can have tragic consequences. People do not have empathy or compassion for people who are suffering or the families that are having their hearts ripped apart. I hope to help raise awareness to this health crisis and help make changes. I firmly believe that we can ALL make a difference. If each of us would do something, the collection of small actions can make a big difference. Little by little, individuals join together and changes can occur.

Ramblings of a Pittsburgh Dad

The purpose of this blog is just like the subtitle says Ramblings of a Pittsburgh Dad. I am a proud father and husband from Pittsburgh. I am a technologist by trade, an activist (never thought of myself that way) and an elected school board member. I enjoy learning about other points of view and reflecting on what I hear. I believe that we have to be open minded and consider the thoughts and feelings of others. We don’t have to agree and I don’t agree with all of my friends. But, I try to listen to what people have to say and discuss politely. I think that is what makes this country great, we can speak out and express our different points of view.

If we as a society would listen more with an open mind we can do anything.

What do you do what you do?

{Image credit BrainyQuote App}

WTAE Editorial on Opiate & Heroin Awareness

This morning I was watching WTAE Pittsburgh and they aired an editorial on the Opiate and Heroin Epidemic that is killing so many people in the United States.

I am so happy to see the Editorial. I agree that every week should be Opiate and Heroin Awareness Week until this crisis is controlled.

Watch the editorial here

Addiction is a disease that destroys the person suffering and family and friends of the person. Addiction can affect anyone! You are NOT immune from addiction and the horrible effects it takes on people. You may not be aware that you know someone suffering with addiction, it is hidden because of the nasty stigma attached to addiction.

The feature image on this post I found on Facebook, this shows the quantity of heroin compared to fentanyl. Fentanyl is mixed with heroin and other substances which is extremely potent and has been taking lives. Now the DEA is also alert about carfentanil which is even more potent that fentanyl.

Please help fight this health crisis. Below are my three simple goals, I have written about them this past week. I have written about them for over a year now.

Please help. Stand up and take part in fighting this crisis.

  • End the stigma with addiction and overdose
  • Educate people on the epidemic and this health crisis
  • Celebrate recovery

Celebrate Recovery

Today I want to take time to write about my third goal, my goals are simple and can be accomplished by anyone. Addiction is a horrible disease that affects so many people in the United States and around the world. I have personally been affected by people who lost their battle to addiction and people who are in long term recovery. Today, I would like to share with you about recovery.

I found this video on DrugAbuse.gov and thought it would be a good video today share today.

Recovery is possible!

Last month during International Overdose Awareness Day I had the honor of having two family members speak about their recovery. Seeing the changes they made and how they try to help others suffering addiction is so inspiring.

So, today I ask you, how could you help to celebrate recovery?

Educate about Overdose and Addiction like BWSD

I am so happy to write this post about what one local school district is doing. I am a member of this district and proud to see how the [BWSD](http:BW schools.net) is addressing the overdose epidemic.

Educate people on the epidemic and this health crisis

The Baldwin-Whitehall School District takes the president’s call to action seriously as this Opioid and Heroin Epidemic has affected families in our school community. The misuse of prescription drugs is often overlooked and goes unnoticed for too long. Research tells us that the cause and effect of pain killers can be very different for individuals and lead to a lifetime of treatment and suffering. In an effort to educate our students, staff, and community members the district will be providing the following programs about the Opioid and Heroin Epidemic to our students. Read more

Baldwin-Whitehall School District has announced a program that will be help educate not only students (high school) but also the community. On October 12th high school students will see “Off Script” from Saltworks Theatre Company. This program is recommended by the DEA as part of the DEA 360 program. If you have a high school student in Baldwin-Whitehall, I would love to hear their feedback on this program. You can read more about Off Script and Saltworks here

Also, Baldwin-Whitehall School District will be hosting a screening of Chasing the Dragon on October 26 from 6:30 – 8:00 for the community. This program will show the never-ending pursuit of a person who is addicted to Opiates. Please mark you calenda and provide feedback, I would love to have a detailed retrospective about both of these programs. You can read more about Chasing the Dragon on the FBI site here.

Thank you Baldwin-Whitehall for taking a great move during this health crisis that is affected so many families in our community and around the world.

End the Stigma of Addiction & Overdose

There is a stigma with addiction and overdose. We all know it, we treat people who suffer from addiction as if they have a moral failing. We don’t consider looking at their circumstances. People become addicted for many difference reasons. Some people become addicted during recovery from an injury after have legally prescribed medicines. The medicines hook them and then they are cut off after they develop a dependency to it. Some people suffer tragic events in their lives that they draws the to substance abuse to help mask the tragedies in their lives. There many reasons people become addicted, show empathy first before looking down on them.

I have talked about my three simple goals that I feel can help this epidemic. Simple if each person would look to these goals and try to achieve them personally.

  • End the stigma with addiction and overdose
  • Educate people on the epidemic and this health crisis
  • Celebrate recovery

Today, I am writing about the stigma associated with addiction and overdose. I know people who after their loved one passing from an overdose are looked down instead of comforted for their loss. They think the family is at fault. The family is NOT at fault, addiction affects every walk of life, social status, gender and race. It does NOT discriminate.

We have had to look too many mothers in the eye and tell them their child is gone, Altomare wrote. …It takes a lot of courage to seek help. … Drug treatment can work. People recover from addiction every day. WE BELIEVE YOU CAN DO IT BUT WE CANT DO IT FOR YOU. Read more

The article above is what I believe we should be doing. I know that I believe in you if you want to fight this battle against addiction. I know that you can do this. There are many other people who are willing to help you also. Many of the people willing to help you and fight with you are people who have been affected by addiction.

We can’t arrest our way out of Pa.’s heroin epidemic: Josh Shapiro Read more

We can’t arrest our way out of this epidemic, it just won’t work. The War on Drugs failed. I am not saying that if you break that law you shouldn’t be punished, I am saying that this is not the way to help a person to the road of recovery. But, sometimes a jail sentence is the rock bottom a person needed. Also, it is the break the family needs to know their loved one is not on the street.It is a night that loved ones can sleep without waiting for a call in the middle of the night.

FDA launches competition to spur innovative technologies to help reduce opioid overdose deaths Read more

I was happy to read this notice from the FDA. This just shows that you can help, anyone can help. If you are a coder and work in mobile application development you can compete to build a mobile help to help people find Narcan. You can help save lives and help make a difference. There are many other ways you can help, you can look at my goals. You can stop the stigma when you hear it. You can learn more about addiction. You can keep you eyes open and report illegal activity.

How can you end the stigma?

Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 18 through September 24, 2016, as Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week. I call upon all Americans to observe this week with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities that raise awareness about the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic. Read more

The United States suffering from a tragic epidemic that is taking more lives that car accidents now. Addiction is a disease that takes a strong hold on a person and their families’ lives As a community we must address this epidemic and health crisis. Suffering from addiction is NOT a morale failing, it is a disease that affects a person’s ability to stop using. Some people start using from legitimate prescriptions and then move to illegal substances after the prescription is stopped.

As a community we need to stand together and learn about this health crisis that is taking so many lives. We need to understand and show empathy without enabling people who are suffering with addiction. We need to show love to the loved ones of addicts. We need to educate our youth and give them the tools they need to prevent or recover from addiction.

As part of Opioid Epidemic Awareness Week, the White House will host parents who have lost children to addiction, and U.S. Attorney’s Offices throughout the country will participate in more than 160 different events, according to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Read more

What can you do to raise awareness, help people suffering from addiction, celebrate recovery and educate?

My three simple goals are listed below, I will write one post for each goal this week about these goals. I would love to hear you thoughts and how you can help end this epidemic.

  • End the stigma with addiction and overdose
  • Educate people on the epidemic and this health crisis
  • Celebrate recovery

EverNote or OneNote

My subscription to Evernote Premium expired about a month ago, so I had to decide what I would do. As an Evernote Community Leader I am a big fan of Evernote and use it daily. But, with the pricing model change and the addition of device limits I had to think about how I would proceed. I have an Office 365 subscription through work so I have access to OneNote. I decided to stop before upgrading from Basic and think about how I will proceed.

I wanted to look at the features and functionality of Evernote as compared to OneNote to confirm my decision to use Evernote with the changes made in the last year. Below is a summary of my decision criteria that I consider and why I stayed with Evernote.

Searching Notes

I find the search functionality in Evernote to be very powerful and easy. I can search through all of my notebooks and find the text I am looking for. I also can search for text that is contained in images (with Plus) and documents (with Premium).

Todo Lists

I make heavy use of Todo lists in Evernote, I take notes and add todo lists for action items that I have from meetings. I also create a note to just keep tasks that I have to complete with todo lists.

Reminders

I use reminders along with todo lists, setting a reminder on a note to go back to on a specific date. This is very useful for my workflow, Flagging notes that I want to review for actions or just to review for further research. Reminders are a wonderful feature.

Sharing notes and collaboration

Collaboration is key to my workflows, I work with many different people professionally and on other projects I am involved in. Sharing a note or notebook is simple, I can send a link to the note and provide them access to contribute. Now, with iOS 10 I an send text messages to include a note. This is a cool feature, I haven’t used it yet but am excited to try it out. I click in my text message and I can have access to my notes so I can choose which note I want to share.

Access on all devices

Devices, we use so many devices and having notes available anywhere anytime is so vital to having an electronic note workflow. Evernote has been available on all devices for a long time and they update the feature set on a regular basis.

Summary

So, I kept my subscription active so I can still use the powerful feature available in Evernote. I decided at this time to go with Plus instead of Premium. I am not sure if I will stay with Plus or upgrade to Premium again. Right now I needed to have my notes all on devices and not limited to 2 devices and also use the search in images functionality often. This alone provide the value for the price of Plus.

I am curious which plan you subscribe to and why? I would love to hear about your workflows and how you get value from Evernote. Please comment below and let’s see how we can enhance our Evernote experience.

Publish to WordPress with Ulysses and Markdown

Today I decided to also try out the Ulysses app on my iPad, it is a bit expensive for an app but has some great reviews and I received some good recommendations on it.

Publish to WordPress out of box

Ulysses has publishing to WordPress out of the box, this is one of the reasons that I decided to try it out. Nothing to add to the app, I just setup the connection information for my hosted WordPress site and it is ready to go. My site is configured to accept and interpret Markdown so I will publish Markdown.

Library of sheets with iCloud

Ulysses uses iCloud as one of the cloud services for storing sheets that are written. They are also grouped together for organization. I liked this concept, I don’t have to keep the sheets locally and back them up I can just use iCloud to store everything I write. I also created a group for this site that I will store everything together. I added a goal to this group of 300 words for each sheet.

Add images to posts

Ulysses also provides built in ability to add images to posts using Markdown. I don’t have to upload separately and then get the URL to add the Markdown to my post.

This is the first post with Ulysses to my site. I wanted to write some using Ulysses and publish it to see how the experience is. I will be writing about the experience this weekend to provide a retrospective of the experience.