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In this issue:
Seeking Your Input on SLAC Vision, Mission and Core Values
People Today: Deacon's Wonder Dog
Safe Driving Practices
Save the Date: Science Bowl 2008
Conservation Tip of the Week

SLAC Today

Wednesday - November 14, 2007

Seeking Your Input on SLAC Vision, Mission and Core Values

SLAC staff photo courtesy of Peter Ginter.
(Click on image for larger version.)

Over the past several weeks, I have been working with the Associate Lab Directors and the Director's Office staff to craft new Vision, Mission and Core Value statements for the laboratory. These statements help remind us of our ultimate goals, and will serve to keep us on track during this time of transition.

I ask each one of you to read through the draft statements and carefully consider whether or not you believe they reflect the laboratory. If you have suggestions, please e-mail them to We will carefully consider all you have to say. While the words we ultimately choose for our Vision, Mission and Core Values are very important, the active discussion we have as we try to come to consensus is even more important.

Thank you for your input in this important process.

(Weekly Column - Profile)

Deacon's Wonder Dog

Ashley Deacon and his Pyrenean shepherd Luka have won five national agility competitions in the past three years.

Most dog owners consider "roll over" and "fetch" to be pushing the limits of canine obedience and athletic ability. But when SLAC's Ashley Deacon bought a black Pyrenean shepherd named Luka four years ago, he had something far more ambitious in mind.

Deacon and Luka compete in the high-pressure, perfection-seeking sport of "dog agility." In an agility competition, the owner navigates his or her pooch through an intricate obstacle course littered with seesaws, ramps, hurdles, tunnels and slalom poles—running alongside to encourage and command it from one obstacle to the next. The team with the best time and fewest mistakes wins.

"It always seemed like fun," said Deacon. "So when I got a puppy, I thought I'd try it."

Now, a mere three years after they began competing, Luka and Deacon have won five National Championships, including three this year—the American Kennel Club (AKC) Nationals, the United States Dog Agility Association's (USDAA) Steeplechase, and the USDAA Grand Prix. Luka even won a spot on the USA National Team to compete at the World Championships in Hamar, Norway, but was unable to participate due to a technicality.

"We caught people's attention this year," Deacon beamed. He attributed their phenomenal success to diligence and a close relationship. "We've worked hard to improve in all aspects of the sport. Luka is naturally athletic, but she isn't the most confident of dogs. With lots of patient training, her confidence has grown and her speed has increased."

The training regimen is far from trivial. Deacon and Luka train five to six days per week at their home in Redwood City—including long walks, short training sessions and a game of fetch—and once per week at a training facility in San Jose, where they can practice on a full-sized course. "The rest of the time," said Deacon, "she's a couch potato."

The next showcase for Luka's athletic prowess will be the AKC Invitational this December, which she won last year. Deacon is optimistic, but it's clear that regardless of whether Luka remains in the pantheon of agility superstars, she will always make him proud.

A video of the team winning this year's USDAA Steeplechase is available online.

Safe Driving Practices

(Photo - Buckle Up sign)
Buckling up is a way of life. This is a reminder to everyone in the SLAC community that anyone driving (or riding in) a motor vehicle equipped with seat belts must be buckled up at all times when the vehicle is in motion.

Everyday, we use our personally owned and General Services Administration vehicles to conduct business at SLAC; please remember to buckle up in both types of vehicle. Not wearing a seat belt constitutes a moving violation, and citations will be issued according to the California Vehicle Code safety-belt law.

In addition, please practice safe driving by obeying the posted speed limits at SLAC. By respecting these limits and being courteous to pedestrians and other drivers, we can help make SLAC safe.

If you have any questions about driving policies at the lab, please contact Simon Ovrahim at x2310.

Save the Date:
Science Bowl 2008

(Photo - Science Bowl winners)
The 2007 SLAC Science Bowl winners.

SLAC's fourth annual Regional Department of Energy Science Bowl will be held on February 2, 2008. Come watch the uber-intelligent high school science elite compete in a battle royale for the chance to go to Washington, DC, for Nationals! But wait...why watch when you can be part of the action?! To ensure the success of next year's event we need your help as volunteer timekeepers, scorekeepers and moderators. For more detail, please see SLAC's Science Bowl website or contact Melinda Lee at x8547.

Conservation Tip
Of the Week

If you have an old-fashioned shower head that uses five gallons of water a minute, a household of 5 people will use about 64,000 gallons of water a year for showers. By converting to a 2.5-gallon-per-minute shower head, you will save 32,000 gallons of water a year. Because your hot water heater will need to heat less water, you will also save money on your energy bill.

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