A Big "Thank You!"

by Alissa Taylor and John Martin

The Newsletter Committee would like to give tremendous thanks to the relentless hard work and dedication put forth by Lewis Gordon, resulting in the new look and launch of The Rural Reader website. Lewis volunteered to join the newsletter team’s constant effort to deliver new and exciting content from Rural Testing. Lewis is not only the acting site admin for The Rural Reader, he has also helped us with brainstorming, layout design, and content delivery; please see his Code Challenge article featured in this edition.

A big thank you to Lew, and the Newsletter Committee looks forward to working with you going forward!

Meet the Consultants

Caleb Brough

UNCG - Computer Science He likes cooking, playing soccer, trail running and drawing.

David Quach

Mechanical Engineering Degree at the University of Texas at Arlington He played electric guitar with his friends.

Jeff Dudelston

University of Alabama - B.S. Mechanical Engineering, N.C. State U. - Computer Programming Cert. Working on M.S. in Computer Eng. at State. He enjoys spending time with wife and 1 y.o. daughter, mtn. and road biking, hiking, and fly fishing.

John Doll

Bachelor’s in Physics from UNCG. Pursuing a Master’s in Computer Science from UIS. The city I was born in had free-roaming zebra and giraffe. I own over 700 video games even though I don’t actually play games much.

Kevin Munro

NC State – BS in Computer Science He enjoys photography, soccer, and trying to come up with fun facts.

Joshua Jackson

University of North Carolina at Greensboro - English Loves to learn useless knowledge and writes action adventure novels.

Gabriel Jackson

Bachelors degree in computer science He has been a gamer since he was four years old. PC geek.

Jock Lanier

Guilford Technical Community College - Computer Programming ECPI University - Network Security He is a hardcore gamer; he can solve a rubik's cube.
The link to the prize is hidden inside An article quite neat, about foods to eat Buried in the text, is your key to success When the temperature is shown You're almost home

St. Patty's Day Potluck

by John Martin

With celebration in the United States dating back to the 18th century, Saint Patrick’s Day has established itself as one of the most widely recognized holidays. Stemming from religious origins and an appreciation for Irish heritage, celebratory measures often include: parades, parties, copious eating, drinking, and of course – the display of the color green.

The GSO Rural Testing division of Orasi is no exception; having our very own office potluck sporting green outfits and foods with a “green twist”, Saint Patrick’s Day celebration was a smash hit and enjoyed by many. Thank you to all who contributed and participated in this event – we look forward to doing it again next year!

The Caveman Lifestyle

by Tim Ruckriegel

Imagine 2.5 million years ago, The Stone Age, a time of hunter-gatherers. What did people eat? What was life like? The Paleo diet in combination with CrossFit attempts to answer those questions. The “Caveman Diet” is based on the types of food people ate during the Paleolithic era, and CrossFit is a way for people to be active and less sedentary. In the Greensboro office, Hope Isley follows a regimen of both the Paleo diet and CrossFit.

The Paleo diet consists of meat, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Paleo avoids bread, grains, legumes, dairy, and stays away from processed foods. Organic fruits and vegetables are preferred as well as - grass-fed meats. Most alcohol is not Paleo however, tequila and some ciders are OK. Organic food and grass-fed meats are often more expensive than traditional food, but that does not mean the diet has to be costly. In fact, according to Hope she saves a lot of money by making her own meals and not going out to eat very often. By preparing her own meals she eats healthier and knows exactly what is in her food and how it is prepared. Although the diet may sound restrictive there are actually plenty of delicious foods to enjoy.

Hope enjoys a variety of food ranging from baked salmon to sweet potato fries. She has gathered a lot of Paleo recipes from internet sites such as Pinterest including meatloaf, lettuce-wrapped BLT’s, and even ketchup and mayonnaise. When grocery shopping she avoids the center aisles where most of the processed and non-Paleo items are sold. The outer aisles contain the fruits, vegetables and other fresh food. Even with this variety of food available, how does one decide what is Paleo?

To answer this question, Hope either does her own research or consults with her CrossFit coach. One tip is to read the packaging. If food is packaged and has a long shelf life it is likely not Paleo. Also, read the food labels. If you can’t pronounce or don’t know what one or more of the ingredients is then it is doubtful the food is Paleo. Now let’s see how exercise fits into the plan.

CrossFit is an exercise program of high intensity workouts, incorporating movements from gymnastics as well as weightlifting. The workouts are very short (ranging from five to twelve minutes) but because they are high intensity they are also very tiring. During the workout’s short time frame, the object is to do as many repetitions as possible. Almost every visit to the CrossFit gym involves new workouts, and rarely are workouts repeated. The only exception is doing benchmarks, which involves performing an exercise at the beginning of the month and again at the end of the month to measure your progress. The benchmarks also coincide with the “Thirty-day Challenge” which incorporates exercise with the Paleo diet.

In July of 2013 Hope completed her first 30-day challenge, and shortly will be participating in another. The challenge is to do CrossFit and eat 100% Paleo for 30 days. Before the challenge begins Hope will meet with her coach and develop a diet plan that is customized for her. Since beginning the Paleo diet she has lost weight and feels better overall than she did before. She does not always eat Paleo, but tries to eat an approximately 90% Paleo diet. Even though she does not eat Paleo 100% of the time she believes that overall she is healthier than she was before and plans to eat a Paleo diet for the rest of her life. If you would like to learn more about Paleo eating Hope recommends the book, “The Paleo Coach” by Jason Seib, which explains the diet in detail.

Greensboro Office Charity Initiative

by Kristi Collins

We wrapped up our second quarter of charity work on March 21st and had a lot of fun raising money and collecting needed items for the Humane Society of the Piedmont. We were able to tour the facility early in the quarter to get an idea of their day-to-day operations as well as determine their biggest needs. It was very eye opening to see the services and care they provide not only to Guilford County but also to surrounding counties in the Piedmont.

In order to raise funds we planned some really fun activities, including: a scavenger hunt, an ice cream and hot chocolate bar, dress down day, and a dip cook-off. On March 31st, we presented a check to the Humane Society of the Piedmont in the amount of $1,234.20. We also donated items such as dog and cat food, towels, and newspapers, which are all needed in abundance at that facility. In appreciation, they presented Orasi with a plaque recognizing our dedication and service. We were happy to help and hope to do the same for other organizations in the Guilford county area in the future.

March Madness Charity Initiative

by Hope Isley

March Madness refers to the final weeks around the college basketball tournament in the US. It is described as Madness due to the amount of schools playing in the tournament and games going on throughout the country, usually during the same time.

For the Charity Initiative in the Greensboro office, we decided to have a Tournament Challenge and allow people to purchase and fill out as many NCAA Brackets as they wanted. The price was $5.00 per bracket, and half of the proceeds earned went towards our current charity at the time, The Humane Society, and the other half went to the person who had the best overall bracket. We had 40 total brackets purchased, which earned $100 for the charity and $100 for the winner.

The winner from the Tournament Challenge was Bryan Ball. His points totaled 910 which were 110 more points than the runner up LJ Davis’. If you were keeping up with the Brackets during the tournament, it looked like LJ Davis was going to take home the prize money. But if you know anything about college basketball you know that there are going to be huge upsets and the most unlikely brackets could win it all. Bryan had UNC as his overall winner in his winning bracket; however they were knocked out of the tournament pretty early so seeing this bracket win was surprising.

The top three brackets belonged to Bryan Ball, LJ Davis, and Katie Chumbley. However, not one set of brackets filled out within our Tournament Challenge had the #7 Ranked Connecticut Huskies winning the Championship Game. That just goes to show you predicting the outcome of these games is much harder than it seems thus making March Madness so much fun!

Bryan’s winning bracket:

Rural Testing Code Challenge Tournament

by Lew Gordon

At the end of last year, the Code Challenge saw some of the biggest prizes since its inception in June 2013. The winners of the end of the year challenges received a Nexus 7, a Kindle Fire HDX, and a Microsoft Surface. Not only did the end of the year challenge have some of the best prizes, but it also had some of the toughest and most interesting challenges. Although the rewards had improved, overall participation in the Monthly Code Challenges had been waning. To overcome this, we changed the format of the challenge. No longer would the challenge award only monthly prizes, but seasonal (~ 3 month) prizes would be granted as well. In addition, everyone who participated and completed a challenge would be eligible to win the end of season prizes.

Previously, the Code Challenge was on a monthly winner schedule with 3 winners per month, one for each of the Bronze, Silver and Gold challenge levels. With the new “season format”, winners of the monthly challenges receive a less extravagant prize, but everyone who completes a challenge is entered into a raffle. At the end of the season, 3 names are drawn from the raffle pool and declared winners for that season. Because the Code Challenge is on a seasonal schedule, the prizes are much more expensive. During the first season an Xbox One, PS4, and Beats Wireless Headphones were up for grabs.

Across the three months of challenges there were a total of 704 submissions from 32 participants. Although not every submission received a raffle ticket (due to not meeting the challenge requirements), there were a significant number of raffle tickets issued this season. The season officially ended after the March challenges deadline, and on April 15th the raffle was held and the winners officially announced (see the YouTube video below).

With a resurgence in the number of participants, the Code Challenge team eagerly anticipates future participation and prizes for upcoming seasons. In addition to this new seasonal format, Orasi employees completed a survey to further assist the Code Challenge Team plan future challenges. The survey feedback was very helpful and will greatly benefit the team moving forward.

If you have participated in any of the challenges we sincerely appreciate your time and effort and hope that you will want to participate in future challenges. Keep checking the Code Challenge Site for updates and announcements regarding end of season prizes.

Challenge Participants

Code Challenge Site

Employee Spotlight: Rodney Rodis

by Zach Goins

Rodney Rodis has been with Orasi for four years in our Atlanta office. During his time here at Orasi, he has been a valuable resource to the customers with which he has had the opportunity to work. From humble beginnings on Cox Communications, working with their web billing front end, to most recently working on various Scottrade projects, Rodney has become a valuable asset to the Rural Testing community. Since joining the Scottrade team in November of 2012, he has worked with both the Trading and Non-Trading teams, allowing him to obtain a working knowledge of the customer’s many programs. Utilizing his nearly two years of Scottrade project knowledge, Rodney is able to take a leadership role when a new resource joins the team bringing them up to speed with the various programs and investment terminology they will need to be successful on the project. Rodney has received good feedback from both the client and his Orasi team.

In his free time, Rodney enjoys spending time with his dog, the noble art of sleeping, and anything related to comic books. Rodney even self publishes his own comics! Interested in seeing some of his comic book work? Head on over to his Facebook pages, stop by his desk, or send him a message on Skype.

With his positive attitude and fun-loving personality, Rodney continues to be a valuable member of the Orasi team.

Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes

by Julia Walser

A light, refreshing cupcake that is bursting with flavor. Recipe from HoosierHomemade.com

Ingredients

  • 1 Lemon Cake Mix (I used Pillsbury)
  • 1 small box instant Lemon Pudding
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • Raspberry Filling – I used Smucker’s Simply Fruit Seedless Red Raspberry
  • Frosting – your favorite, I used COOL WHIP Vanilla Frosting
  • Fresh Raspberries for garnish if desired

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and add cupcake liners to pan
  2. In a large bowl combine all ingredients for the cake, combine well
  3. Divide batter into cupcake liners, about 2/3 full
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F
  5. Mini cupcakes – 8-10 minutes
  6. Regular cupcakes – 12-15 minutes
  7. Or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
  8. Cool completely
  9. Filling
  10. Fit a decorator bag with a Bismarck Tip and fill with raspberry
  11. Pipe raspberry into each cupcake
  12. Frosting
  13. Fit a decorator bag with a large round tip – I used #1M
  14. Fill with frosting and pipe on
  15. Top with a fresh raspberry

Announcements

Greensboro Local Events

Every Friday at 8:00 p.m. The Idiot Box presents "No Nonsense" Comedy. No-Nonsense is a stand-up comedy showcase featuring the best comedians in North Carolina. Buy tickets: https://ibcomedy.yapsody.com/
BROTHER WOLF at the triad stage May 6 - 25, 2014 http://triadstage.org/series/158/brother-wolf

Atlanta Local Events

Florida Georgia Line, Eric Clapton, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Morrissey, Luke Bryan, etc. in concert http://concertful.com/concerts/united-states/ga/atlanta
37th annual Atlanta Jazz Fest – May 23-25 - Piedmont Park (3 stages – main, international and local) https://www.facebook.com/atlantajazzfestival
Atlanta Food & Wine Festival – May 29-June 1 – Midtown http://atlfoodandwinefestival.com/
Atlanta Cycling Festival – June 7-14 http://www.atlantacyclingfestival.com/
Peachtree Road Race – July 4 http://www.peachtreeroadrace.org/
Fantastic Fourth Celebration – Stone Mountain Park – July 3-5 http://www.stonemountainpark.com/

Comics

Rural Anniversaries

Rural Birthdays

Thank you to the Newsletter Committee and all volunteers who helped us put together our Fourth Edition of "The Rural Reader":

Adam Thomas
Adley Haywood
Alissa Taylor
Hope Isley
Jessica Marshall
John Martin
Julia Walser
Julie Dodd
Kristi Collins
Lew Gordon
Rodney Rodis
Tim Ruckriegel
Zach Goins