If the travel-and-tourism industry comes back, students at Arapahoe Community College will be ready to help customers book trips with the experience they've amassed as interns at ACC Travel, which is run by the school's travel-and-tourism department. They don't get paid, but they work like pros, booking real travel for real customers of the agency, a satellite office of DTR Travel. If you're finally ready to get away, you can book that vacation at ACC and help a struggling college student learn valuable lessons.


So, you want to know everything there is to know about a prospective employee, tenant, business partner, date, fiancé, soon-to-be-ex-spouse -- but just can't bring yourself to shell out the big bucks to a private investigator for a background check? Log onto www.backgroundcheckgateway.com, a 300-page do-it-yourself Web site that provides anyone with Internet access an exhaustive directory of public-information databases and ways to search them completely free of charge. If the database you need is not online, or requires the services of an "information professional" to access it, there are helpful tips on how to work around the restrictions or how to hire the company to work for you. And why stop at rooting around in other people's lives? With a few clicks, you can also learn how to locate missing persons and/or hidden assets, as well as how to protect yourself from identity theft...except by those who follow the helpful tips on the site.


Employers who want to keep their workplace computers free of recreational use or abuse by workers -- who should have better things to do than spend all day bidding on kitsch on eBay or checking out the latest trends in video games -- now can turn to Vericept (www.vericept.com.). The Englewood company formerly known as eSniff makes software that monitors every move of every employee's mouse, from the moment that each employee logs on to the Internet. The beauty of this arrangement is that Vericept products rarely announce their presence -- unless an employer wants them to. So if you don't want the boss to know where you're surfing, don't do it on company time. Listen to the worker bee: Do your job or get stung. Why do you think they call it "work"?
At the other end of the workplace surveillance continuum is the oh-so-Boulder FastTracker, software that allows everyone in a company to share their best Internet practices and the information they collect. Instead of the boss surreptitiously spying on individual workers,

all employees know that in most cases their online activity is transparent to everyone else in the company and can quickly learn to surf responsibly. Maybe that's why Human Resource Executive magazine recognized FastTracker as one of the year's ten best new products in 2001.


As layoffs continue to rise, so does conflict, anger and resentment among those remaining on the job. Rather than let bad feelings fester into workplace violence, managers are learning how to manage conflict through programs offered by the Conflict Center. Workshops are conducted by local and national experts and offer training in practical supervisory skills, such as recognizing when co-workers are angry, ways to diffuse a conflict, and how to create a fair work environment free of harassment and discrimination.


So, you're sitting around in your newly leased one-bedroom apartment, wondering what happened to all the things you really cared about: the boat, the big-screen TV, your marriage. Rather than wallow in self-pity, crack open Divorced Men Have Feelings Too ($14.95, PDB Publishing, Inc., P.O. Box 1809, Arvada, CO 80001) and take a big bite of the reality sandwich. Paul T. Smith, a small-business consultant and past president of the Colorado Independent Publishers Association, describes this book, written after his own divorce, as a kick in the pants for men who wonder what went wrong with their marriages. "Take action now to change, or don't consider getting married again," he admonishes, providing exercises, worksheets and illustrations to help readers do just that. There's also a section for women who fall in love with divorced men, including twenty questions they should ask themselves before getting involved.


Imagine what life would be like if it were more like TV commercials, where an offhand remark about your kids to your hairstylist would summon up your personal self-help guru bearing armloads of books she wants you to read. Actually, life is like that, if you get your 'do done at one of the beauty salons on Charlene Ferguson's regular Saturday route. Sista's in the Spirit is a one-woman lending library that's filled with titles from a 400-volume collection and set up in salons in Brighton, Park Hill and Five Points. The dynamic Ferguson found the power of books during the toughest times in her own life, and she now shares that power with others in need at no charge.
The typical managed-care office visit doesn't leave much time for the kind of small talk that can reveal otherwise overlooked symptoms of serious conditions, especially with elderly patients who don't like to complain. The patients of geriatric specialist Dr. John Scott now receive the benefit of an hour-long group visit once a month, where they learn about their multiple illnesses, get their prescriptions refilled and have their general questions answered. That leaves time for one-on-one visits with anyone who needs more care. Dr. Scott isn't accepting new patients at the moment, but other physicians might be open to new ideas in treating older people.


A trip to the hospital isn't supposed to be a day at the spa, but it doesn't have to be dreadful, either. Longmont United Hospital was named "A Hospital With a Heart" last year, for good reason: Family kitchens and dining rooms, quiet rooms for meditation, and health-education libraries on every floor are just some of the amenities available to patients. Non-traditional treatments such as massage and acupuncture are also available to make patients feel a little bit pampered.


Talk about a stirring story! Every Friday afternoon, volunteer Marty Slattery sets up shop at the Hospice of St. John, dispensing cocktails and comfort to the terminally ill. Back in the days when he was a drinker, Slattery tended bar; when he needed to fulfill a community-service requirement, he came up with the cocktail concept. Today it's a real public service. Slattery's even written a novel based on his experiences, the self-published The Cocktail Cart.


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