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  • The Stars of Keystone's Staff - George

    George sits on a bench with his laptop on his lap and a tree in the background.

    Our blog post this week is the latest in our "Stars of Keystone" series. This time we're highlighting our newest Keystone staff member, so let's welcome and learn more about George!

    Basic Stats:

    Name of Staff Member: George Martell

    Year Hired: 2022

    Current Job Title: Software Development Specialist

    Getting to Know You Q&A:

    Q: What are you most excited about / looking forward as a new KLAS developer?

    A: Much of my life has been spent serving various communities and trying to develop tools that enable people to do more. I love to pursue the promise of technology where it allows us to do things that we couldn’t do before, do them more efficiently, or do things in new ways that were previously thought impossible. Technology has the power to transform lives, and being able to contribute my small part to that gives me purpose.

    Q: What did you do before working for Keystone?

    A: IT, Safety, and Security at NC State University. Taught Nuclear Power, Radiological Chemistry, electronics repair and design at a Department of Energy Site. Operated, Maintained, and Repaired Nuclear reactors for 10 year, 5 of which I lived on a submarine.

    Q: What are your hobbies outside of work?

    A: plants, backpacking, pretty much anything outdoors, building things.

    Q: If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go?

    A: Somewhere I haven’t been before, I love to explore.

    Q: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind and what are their names?

    A: Turtle, had her since I was in elementary school, her name is Urtle (give me a break on the name, I was in elementary school).

    George stands with his back to the camera in the middle of a cave looking up.  

    A map of places where George has traveled.

    A map of US and Canada with many red dots indicating places George has traveled. Nearly every state has at least one dot.

  • The Stars of Keystone's Staff - Katharina

    Katharina stands facing the camera. She has long brown hair and is wearing a green Dr. Seuss "Green Eggs & Ham" t-shirt.

    In this week's blog post and latest in our "Stars of Keystone" series, we're excited to introduce the newest member of the Keystone Customer Support Team! She's been with us since early July, and we are already benefiting from her contributions to our support services. So, please join us in welcoming Katharina!

    Basic Stats:

    Name of Staff Member: Katharina Stevens

    Year Hired: 2022

    Current Job Title: Customer Support Specialist

    Getting to Know You Q&A:

    Q: What are you most excited about / looking forward to as a new KLAS customer support specialist?

    A: I think reading and access to books is very important. In America we are blessed with an over abundance of resources though we don’t always realize it. I’m excited to be a small part in promoting and improving access to reading materials.

    Q: What did you do before working for Keystone?

    A: I was the school librarian at an international school in East Africa for nine years. The only wildlife I saw in my yard were geckos, birds and stray cats but coworkers had monkeys that would visit.

    Q: What are your hobbies outside of work?

    A: Reading, traveling, board games and being an aunt.

    A selfie of Katharina taken in front of a cliff, with a massive waterfall dominating the background. She is smiling and wearing a black t-shirt, blue Nike baseball hat, and a blue and purple neck gaiter.
    Katharina standing in front of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

    Q: If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go?

    A: New Zealand & Australia and then somewhere in South America so I can say I’ve been to all continents (except Antarctica).

    Q: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind and what are their names?

    A: While in East Africa my housemate and I found two puppies in the field across the street. The mama was the neighborhood stray so we ended up taking the puppies. Roo and Stoney (named after a Ugandan ginger soda) needed a bath every day for a month to get them clean and bug free.

    Two brown short-hair puppies sit on a pile of towels in a small child's plastic pool. They have floppy ears and black snouts.   One of the puppies from the previous photo is being held in a bucket by two hands. The puppy is sopping wet and looking plaintively up at the person bathing it.

  • Wishing you a hearty & healthy Thanksgiving

    A Happy Thanksgiving image with a roast chicken and plenty of fall favorite sides and fixings.

    Keystone Systems' office will be closed Thursday, November 24 and Friday, November 25 in observance of Thanksgiving. But before we send out staff off to gather with friends and family, we asked them to share some of their favorite holiday recipes.

    We're all grateful that you're part of our KLAS users family, and hope you all have a lovely holiday!

    From Nancy Honeycutt, Customer Support Manager:

    Mom would always make refrigerator rolls. One time she left a cookie sheet with rolls rising on the counter while we went to pay a Christmas visit to neighbors. When we came back, the cookie sheet was on the floor, completely cleaned off, and the dog was suspiciously innocent (and sick later that night).

    Refrigerator Rolls

    Ingredients

    • 1 yeast cake
    • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
    • 2/3 cup shortening
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 cup mashed potatoes
    • 1 c scalded milk
    • 6-8 cups flour
    • 2 eggs

    Instructions

    1. Mash potatoes.
    2. Add shortening, sugar, salt & eggs. Cream well.
    3. Dissolve yeast in water, add to lukewarm milk. Then add to potato mixture.
    4. Add sifted flour to make stiff dough. Knead lightly.
    5. Place in casserole and brush top with butter.
    6. Cover tightly and place in refrigerator until ready to use.
    7. About 1/2 hour before baking time remove and shape in rolls. 
    8. Cover and let rise until light.
    9. Cook at 400* for 10-12 minutes.

    A handwritten card with the above recipe. The card shows clear signs of age and use.

    From Marion Campbell, Customer Support Specialist:

    One of my families favorite food for the holidays are sweet potato biscuits. One holiday when my nephews were 9,10,10-ish, the biscuits came out early and were warming on the table. Slowly, they each snuck a biscuit or 3... when it was time to eat there were no biscuits left in the basket because the boys had eaten them all. Needless to say, a 2nd tray came out soon after but the boys were full from biscuits and did not eat much else that year. They all had tummy aches from the biscuits and now the rule of biscuits is: only eat 2, more than 2 and you will not be happy.

    Sweet Potato Biscuits

    Here's what's cookin': Sweet Potatoe Biscuits
    From the kitchen of: Dorothy Wright

    Ingredients

    • 4 cups packed of sweet potatoes
    • 1 cup Crisco
    • 1 cup of sugar
    • 4 cups of self-rising flour

    Instructions

    1. Peel sweet potatoes and boil until done.
    2. While hot mash and add to them Crisco, sugar, and flour.
    3. Mix good.
    4. Work into biscuits.
    5. More flour is sometimes needed. Depends on wetness of potatoe to be able to handle the mixture.
    6. Bake at 350* for 20-30 minutes. Depending on size of biscuits.
    7. Mix handles better if cooled.
    8. Bake on greased cookie sheet.

    The sweet potato biscuit recipe card has labels for "Here's what's cookin'" and "From the kitchen of" in an imitation-handwriting font. The card has an image of various fruits and veggies spilling out of a basket in the lower corner.  The reverse side of the card with more instructions.

    From Katharina Stevens, Customer Support Specialist:

    Among many other things I am thankful for are ovens that allow you to set a specific temperature and that cook evenly. Baking in East Africa was always an adventure. One summer I brought the ingredients for pumpkin pie back with me to make at Thanksgiving. It didn't turn out very pretty. Had to cut off the burnt parts, and take a moto taxi across town to buy some cinnamon whipped cream to hide the mess. Tasted good though.

    Seriously though, I'm immensely thankful for family, friends and the blessing that is America. We've come a long way from the 5 kernels of corn that that Pilgrims had to eat each day that first winter of 1620.

    Photo of an unusually lumpy pumpkin pie with burnt blotches on half the top.  The pie is now covered in whipped cream, and is on a metal charger with a blue diamond-patterned tablecloth behind it.

    From Drea Callicutt, Director of Marketing, Sales & Communications:

    One of our favorite holiday dishes is more recent. My sister learned to make duck fat roasted potatoes while she was in graduate school in Edinburgh. She made them for us for the first time for Christmas dinner when were visiting her in Leeds, and they’re now a staple whenever she’s joins us for a holiday meal.

    This recipe from Vindulge.com is pretty much how she makes hers:

    Roasted Duck Fat Potatoes

    Equipment

    • Large Sheet Tray
    • Parchment Paper
    • Ingredients
    • 2 pounds yellow potatoes, cut into ½ inch dice
    • 2 tablespoons salt (for boiling the potatoes)
    • ¼ cup duck fat
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 tablespoon freshly graded parmesan
    • 1 teaspoon thyme, finely diced

    Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
    2. In a large pan, place the diced potatoes and fill with cold water until it just covers the potatoes. Add 2 tablespoons of salt in the water.
    3. Bring to boil. Start timer for 14 minutes. When the potatoes come to boil, reduce heat to a simmer. After timer runs out, strain the potatoes in a colander.
    4. In a large bowl, place the potatoes and then add the duck fat, additional kosher salt, and pepper. Stir with your hands to incorporate and then place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
    5. Place in the oven, and toss the potatoes every 15 minutes. The duck fat will slowly brown the potatoes, especially the sides touching the pan. So turning the potatoes every 15 minutes will help get more of the crunch on the surface area of the potatoes.
    6. After 40-45 minutes, the potatoes should be golden in color. Remove and place them in your favorite serving dish. Top with the parmesan and thyme. Serve warm.

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Keystone Systems, Inc.
8016 Glenwood Ave., Suite 200
Raleigh, NC 27612
800-222-9711