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Archive | March, 2013

Still texting while driving?

Quitting might be easier than you think

 

CAR-texting(BPT) – Most Americans know texting and driving is dangerous but it continues to be a problem, especially for young drivers. While 97 percent of teens agree that texting and driving is dangerous, 43 percent still admitted to continuing to do it, according to a recent survey.

The 2012 AT&T survey of teen drivers also found 75 percent of teens say texting while driving is common among their friends and the majority of respondents said they have texted when stopped at a red light and often glance at their phones while driving. While teens might be the worst offenders when it comes to texting and driving, plenty of adults are guilty too. As the evidence continues to mount concerning the dangers of texting while driving, 39 states have made it illegal. Whether it’s legal or not in your state, here are three good reasons to quit once and for all:

* Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to be in an accident, according to Virginia Tech Transportation Institute research.

* Texting while driving is distracted driving. Distracted driving is a factor in 15 to 25 percent of all crashes, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

* Each day, an average of more than 15 people are killed in crashes that result from distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

How to stop texting while driving

To help people break the perilous habit of texting and driving, technology companies are coming up with unique and practical solutions for drivers. For instance, Xperia SmartTags by Sony give you the ability to turn off all distractions from your smartphone with just a simple touch. These small tags can be put on a dashboard or a set of car keys and allow you to change your phone’s settings for driving by simply touching your NFC-enabled smartphone to the tag.

Smartphone applications can make this process even easier. When paired with AT&T’s free Drive Mode app, you can automatically disable your phone’s texting and calling capability. The app can also be programmed to include an automatic message that’s sent to anyone who texts you while you’re behind the wheel, letting that person know that you’ll respond when you are finished driving. You can program this app to run when you tap your phone to your SmartTag, while also setting your phone up to automatically run GPS programs and engage your car’s Bluetooth system for both safety and convenience.

While messages from your friends and family are important, nothing should take precedence over safely getting yourself and your passengers to your destination. To help make your driving experience safer, outfit your car with tools such as SmartTags, which you can learn more about at www.sonymobile.com, and don’t forget to take the pledge to never text and drive again at www.itcanwait.com.

Posted in Auto Life, FeaturedComments Off

Extend your car’s longevity with these spring cleaning tips

CAR-Spring-Cleaning(BPT) – The open road lies in front of millions of drivers who are ready to lower the windows and feel the warm breeze. Nothing curbs the excitement of a spring drive more than car issues that could have been avoided by simple maintenance to combat the lasting effects of driving through winter.

Many people consider spring the perfect time to clean their homes, but it is also important not to forget the vehicle. The average vehicle stays on the road nearly 11 years, according to a study by Polk Research. This trend of consumers holding onto their vehicles longer than usual continues to grow.

To help protect what is typically the second largest investment for any consumer – your vehicle – here are simple tips to make sure you are ready for a successful spring travel season.

* Seasons change … so does tire pressure: As temperatures change, so can tire pressure. Proper tire inflation is essential for increased automotive safety, optimum driving performance and significant cost savings, including better fuel mileage. Tires should be inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations printed on the vehicle door placard or in the glove box, and should be checked at least monthly. Over-inflation can lead to premature or irregular tire wear and under-inflation reduces a vehicle’s fuel efficiency by an average of 3.3 percent, according to fueleconomy.gov.

* Keep hydrated: Many fluids require attention, including the engine oil, transmission fluid and power steering fluid. Spring is the perfect time to make sure they are all clean and at the proper levels. Additionally, to help ensure maximum engine life, change the oil and oil filter every 3,000 miles, or as directed by your owner’s manual.

* Breathe free: Replacing a dirty air filter can increase a vehicle’s life expectancy and fuel efficiency by reducing the strain on the engine, especially during warmer months. Over the winter months, salt, sand and other impurities may build up in a vehicle’s air filtration system, and replacing this air filter can improve acceleration time by around 6 to 11 percent, according to fueleconomy.gov.

* April showers bring May flowers, and wet roads: Many times, consumers postpone tire purchases, but after enduring a harsh winter and looking ahead to the wet spring weather, it is not the time to have low tread on your tires. The lower the tread depth, the less traction you will have on wet roads, and the greater the distance you will need to stop. For drivers in need of “new shoes” for their vehicle, every tire in the Goodyear Assurance family offers confident all-season traction plus a relevant benefit that enhances the driving experience – ultra traction, refined handling and comfort, and fuel efficiency.

For more helpful car care advice or information on tires for cars, light trucks, SUVs and more, visit your local Goodyear retailer or go online to www.goodyear.com.

Posted in Auto LifeComments Off

Home office deduction

A tax break for those who work from home

If you use part of your home for your business, you may qualify to deduct expenses for the business use of your home. Here are six facts from the IRS to help you determine if you qualify for the home office deduction.

Generally, in order to claim a deduction for a home office, you must use a part of your home exclusively and regularly for business purposes. In addition, the part of your home that you use for business purposes must also be:

your principal place of business, or

a place where you meet with patients, clients or customers in the normal course of your business, or

a separate structure not attached to your home. Examples might include a studio, workshop, garage or barn. In this case, the structure does not have to be your principal place of business or a place where you meet patients, clients or customers.

You do not have to meet the exclusive use test if you use part of your home to store inventory or product samples. The exclusive use test also does not apply if you use part of your home as a daycare facility.

The home office deduction may include part of certain costs that you paid for having a home. For example, a part of the rent or allowable mortgage interest, real estate taxes and utilities could qualify. The amount you can deduct usually depends on the percentage of the home used for business.

The deduction for some expenses is limited if your gross income from the business use of your home is less than your total business expenses.

If you are self-employed, use Form 8829, Expenses for Business Use of Your Home, to figure the amount you can deduct. Report your deduction on Schedule C, Profit or Loss From Business.

If you are an employee, you must meet additional rules to claim the deduction. For example, in addition to the above tests, your business use must also be for your employer’s convenience.

For more information, see Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home. It’s available at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Posted in Tax TimeComments Off

Poison prevention means keep out of reach for pets, too

Doctors from Michigan Veterinary Specialists are encouraging people to also remember their pets during National Poison Prevention Week.

National Poison Prevention Week started Sunday and runs through Saturday. The purpose is to create awareness and prevent injury or death due to poisoning.

“While many precautions are taken to prevent humans from being exposed to toxins, it is equally important to remember to take precautions for pets,” said Dr. Sayra Reyes, senior emergency clinician at Michigan Veterinary Specialists. “A good way to do this is to know what types of items can be toxic to pets.”

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the top 10 pet toxins of 2012 were:

Prescription human medications

Insecticides

Over-the-counter human medications

Veterinary products and medications

Household products

People food

Chocolate

Plants

Rodenticides

Lawn and garden products

Additionally, garlic, grapes, macadamia nuts, onions, raisins, the sugar substitute xylitol, and raw or undercooked food can create major problems for pets.

While rodenticides may not be intended for pets, they are designed to attract animals. Should pets encounter these indiscriminate poisons, the condition is life-threatening and the pet must be treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Antifreeze is another toxic substance pets are often attracted to due to its sweet taste. If ingested, pets can almost certainly die if the condition is left untreated.

If a pet does ingest something that may be toxic, make sure to bring the label or packaging of the substance with you to your veterinarian. For example, there are different types of rodenticides with different forms of treatment. It’s important for veterinarians to know what substance they are treating for.

“Most importantly, if you believe your pet has gotten into something that may be toxic, get him or her to your veterinarian or an emergency veterinarian immediately,” said Dr. Reyes. “Time can ultimately be the difference between life and death.”

Posted in HealthComments Off

TOPS member receives KOPS status

Congratulations to Martha Bobb, who lost 40 pounds and met her goal as a TOPS (Taking off pounds sensibly) member! Martha joined TOPS in 1985 and had many difficulties as she struggled to lose weight. One day, as she met the scales, her weight was at an all-time high. Shocked at what she saw, she knew it was time to take charge of her life and get busy doing what needed to be done.

Wanting a healthier path, Martha listened to the TOPS recommendations about food choices, started to  exercise, and with the help of her chapter, she took charge of her health. Her doctor helped her find the best weight for her age and size. With a new mindset, she was determined to exercise twice a week and turn to her TOPS friends for support when needed. The weight dropped off slowly, but steadily. Her neighbor, who is also a TOPS member, was very helpful when she became discouraged. Working together paid off.

Martha celebrated her success at her chapter, TOPS 1229 Sand Lake. In May, she will be honored at state recognition days, when she receives KOPS (keep off pounds sensibly) status.

Anyone interested in visiting TOPS can call Martha at 696-1039. They meet on Tuesday mornings at 9:15 a.m. at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Sand Lake. Feel free to arrive early, have a cup of coffee, and visit with members.

Posted in HealthComments Off

Norovirus on the rise in Kent County

GRAND RAPIDS – Reports of stomach illness to the Kent County Health Department have increased over the past week.  In many cases, it appears individuals are suffering from norovirus, a common illness that causes stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.  Communicable Disease staff at KCHD has been in contact with local emergency departments and urgent care centers, as well as people impacted by the illness. Norovirus is highly contagious and is easily transmitted from a sick person to those who are well.

“If you or someone in your family is suffering from norovirus, avoid contact with those who have not been infected,” said Adam London, acting Health Officer of the Kent County Health Department.  “If you work in the food service industry, in a cafeteria, or in a restaurant, and you are ill, stay home until you recover. The Michigan Food Code requires food employees to be symptom-free from diarrhea or vomiting for a minimum of 24 hours before returning to work.”

Norovirus is contained in the vomit and diarrhea of an infected individual. Although a surface may not be visibly soiled, the virus can still be present and can live on this surface for long periods of time if not properly cleaned. Because of this, if possible, infected individuals should use one bathroom while uninfected individuals use another.  The infected person should use disposable paper towel to dry their hands after washing, to prevent the virus from spreading. Be sure to clean that bathroom (and any other potentially contaminated areas) with a chlorine bleach solution, mixing ¼ cup of bleach with one gallon of water.

Other tips:

1.Wash your hands before eating, after using the bathroom, and before, during and after preparing food. Rub your hands together to lather the soap, and be sure to really scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails:

• Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds.

• Rinse your hands well under running water.

• Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dry them.

• After drying, use another clean paper towel to open the door, and then dispose of it.

2. If you have been suffering from vomiting or diarrhea, remain at home until symptoms subside.

3. Don’t prepare food for anyone else until you haven’t had symptoms for 24 hours or more.

4. If sharing food, don’t use bare hands when handling foods, and use utensils to transfer food from container to plate.

There is no medication to treat norovirus. If you suspect you have it, drink plenty of water or sports drinks that do not contain caffeine. If you feel you are suffering from severe dehydration, contact a health care provider immediately. Symptoms can be worse in young children, the elderly, or in those with weakened immune systems.  For more information, check out http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/.

Posted in HealthComments Off

He Is Risen Indeed!

C-Cedar-Creek-Community-Church-LandscapePastor Dick Nichols

Cedar Creek Community Church

2969 14 Mile Road, Sparta

If you ask the average person on the street what Easter is about, you are more likely to hear about the beginning of spring and new life, about warm weather and plants starting to grow and days getting longer again, more than you are to hear about Jesus.

Easter isn’t about spring or the growing season, it’s about something more important than that. Easter is about the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.  We read in John’s Gospel, “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” (John 11:25 King James Version).

Easter is about the promises of Jesus as to our great hope for resurrection into a new life eternally. We read in John 14:2-3, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (King James Version).

A lot of people doubt that Jesus rose again on the first Easter; it doesn’t make sense to human reason that a dead man should come alive again.  But it doesn’t depend on human reason, Jesus rising from the dead doesn’t depend on our belief or understanding.  It depends on God and his sovereign promises and authority, and God himself said Jesus would live again.  Though many people will say ‘no, Jesus didn’t rise,’ they don’t have the authority, we have God’s word.

Of course Jesus’ own disciples thought their walk with Jesus was ended when he died on the cross. But the Gospel truth, the Good news is, Jesus Christ is risen today!  When the disciples met Jesus after the cross, this truth changed their lives for ever.  What a joy it is to know that his promises have been kept, Jesus turns sadness into joy and that is reason to celebrate now.  Jesus lives today and that means that those who believe on him will live also.

Until Jesus Christ rose from the dead, death had been the enemy of mankind, no one knew what awaited beyond that point; until Easter morning.  That all changed and now we can dare to believe that the Lord will see us through the days and minutes of our lives, and that he will never leave or forsake us.

The great Easter truth is not limited to our new life after death, but we are to live here and now by the power of resurrection hope.  When we face the tragedies in this life, we can draw from God’s promised resurrection power to overcome the pain, sorrow and mourning that terminal diseases, sudden calamities and fatal accidents inflict on us.  Because He lives, I can face today and tomorrow. We should live like we believe!

 

Posted in From the PulpitComments Off

Happy 50th Anniversary

C-ANNIV-MerlingtonHERB & GAIL MERLINGTON

 

Herb and Gail Merlington, of Cedar Springs, will be celebrating their 50th Anniversary. They were married on March 30, 1963 in the Methodist Church in Cedar Springs. Their children are Robert L. Merlington, Todd & Laura Merlington and Michelle Merlington. They have 7 grandchildren, Justin, Jon, Cody, Frazier, Tyler, Alexis & Alyana. Herb & Gail believe the secret to their marriage is communication, love and understanding.

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KEVIN ELENICH

Kevin Elenich age 47 of Cedar Springs passed away March 19, 2013 at his residence.  He was born April 7, 1965 in Reed City the son of Ronald and Oleda (Lodholtz) Elenich. During his working years he worked at McDonalds as well as Compass Coach in Cedar Springs.  Kevin loved collecting movies as well as Indian Memorabilia  to reflect on his heritage .  He also enjoyed making jewelry.  Kevin loved spending time with family and friends.  Surviving are his mother and Step Father Curt (Oleda) Kellog, two sons Jonathan Elenich, Andrew (Hillary) Miller; two daughters Heather Elenich and Tasha Elenich. Grandsons Michael, CJ, Aiden and Kaden and one granddaughter Chloe. One brother Brian (Kimberly) Kellog,  a sister Ronda Taylor, two nephews Rocken and Levi and a niece Sabian. He was preceded in death by his father.  Funeral services were held on Friday at 1:00 pm  at The Heckman Funeral Home with Pastor Anne Reigler officiating with burial in the Amble Cemetery.  Memorials to Helping hands may be left at the funeral home where friends met on Friday from 11:00 am until time of services at 1:00 pm.

Arrangements by Heckman Funeral Home, Howard City  

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JOYCE MARIE BAILEY

C-OBIT-baileyJoyce Marie Bailey went home to be with her Lord and family on Saturday, December 29, 2012. She was born in Perkins, Michigan, on August 13, 1924 to Alfred and Mabel Krouth. All of her life she very much loved her Lord and all of her family. She married Kenneth B. Bailey and they raised their children Kenneth (Bud) and Bonnie in Eckerman, Michigan. In later years Ken and Joyce moved to Union Grove, Wisconson, where they worked at “the colony”, a state facility, where they cared for children for many years. Joyce enjoyed country music, dancing and bowling. She also enjoyed spending time at the Cedar Springs Senior Center with her many friends. She loved a good joke and our funny family stories and laughing. When the great grandchildren were born she was referred to as “GG” (for Great Grandma) by the children and many others. She was preceded in death by her husband, Kenneth B. Bailey; daughter, Bonnie (Bailey) Morten; grandchildren, Julie Morten and Kenny Bailey; sisters, Leona Rochon, Monica Droppart and Mary Lorenson; brothers, Robert Krouth and Don Krouth; niece, Linda (Bailey) Tulwetzky; nephew, David Bailey; brothers and sisters-in-law, Neil Bailey, Jim and Mable Bailey, Alvin and Shirley Bailey, Lloyd Bailey, and Millicent (Bailey) Beauchamp; grandson-in-law, Jim Kirkwood. She will be dearly missed by her son, Ken “Bud” Bailey and his wife, Amber (Williams) Bailey; son-in-law, Don Morten and granddaughter Joyce Morten; granddaughter Sheila (Bailey) Wittenbach and her husband, Joe and great grandchildren Evan and Joshua; granddaughter Annie (Bailey) Kirkwood-Hall and her husband Trever Hall and great grandchildren, Cade Hall, Alex Kirkwood and Tressa Hall; sister, Elizabeth (Krouth) Bailey; brothers, Richard (Mary) Krouth, Alfred (Ruth) Krouth; brother-in-law, Myron Lorenson; many nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 11:00 am at Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. The family will greet friends beginning at 10:00 am. A luncheon will follow at Mary Queen of Apostles, Sand Lake. Private interment will take place at Elmwood Cemetery, Cedar Springs. Donations in her honor may be made to Bishop Hills, 4951 Eleven Mile Road, Rockford, MI 49341, to be used for the fund to provide assisted living housing to those in need.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs 

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