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Archive | July, 2013

Celebrating 5 Generations

C-5-Generations-2

Lauri (Rowland) Waller, Tom Rowland, Jessica Waller

Bonnie Rowland, Brady Elliott (baby)

 C-5-Generations1

Treva (Rowland) Freer, Tom Rowland, Scott Rowland

Bonnie Rowland, Lillian Freer

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Thank You

I would like to thank family, friends and all who donated to the Randy Leversay cause. Also, thanks to the businesses who donated items for the benefit. All thoughts, prayers, cards and phone calls were deeply appreciated. A very heartfelt thank you to everyone.

 

Terry Leversay

 

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City turtle goes Country

Photo by L. Allen.

Photo by L. Allen.

Our thanks to avid Post reader, Mel Smith, who replied via email regarding our “City Turtle Goes Country”. Mel said the rescued turtle in town on Maple Street, is actually a Box Turtle. He just wanted us to know Box Turtles are NON-aquatic turtles, which apparently means they can’t swim.

That may explain why the turtle sank when he was put in the pond. Just kiddin’ Mel. The turtle was placed next to the pond to make sure he had a good water source on a very hot day.

Thanks for the info.

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Social Security and you

Spouses have a significant benefit

Vonda VanTil

Vonda VanTil

By: Vonda VanTil, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist

 

Social Security can be an important financial asset for married couples when the time comes to apply for retirement benefits. In many cases, one spouse may have earned significantly more than the other, or have worked for a longer span of years. Or it could be that one spouse stayed home to do the work of raising the children or caring for elderly family members while the other focused on a career.

Regardless of your situation, Social Security will look at all possibilities to make sure both spouses receive the maximum benefit possible.

Even if you have not paid Social Security taxes, it’s likely you’ll be eligible to receive benefits on your spouse’s record. If you did work and pay into Social Security, we will check eligibility based on your work record and your spouse’s to see which amount is higher.

You can apply for spouses benefits the same way that you apply for benefits on your own record. You can apply for reduced benefits as early as age 62, or for 100 percent of your full retirement benefits at your “full retirement age.” You can find your full retirement age, based on your birth year, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/ageincrease.htm.

The benefit amount you can receive as a spouse, if you have reached your full retirement age, can be as much as one-half of your spouse’s full benefit. If you opt for early retirement, your benefit may be as little as a third of your spouse’s full benefit amount.

If your spouse has already reached full retirement age but continues to work, your spouse can apply for retirement benefits and request to have the payments suspended until as late as age 70. This would allow the worker to earn delayed retirement credits that will mean higher payments later, but would allow you to receive your spouse’s benefit.

You can also apply for spouse benefits based on the earnings record of an ex-spouse or deceased spouse if you were married for at least 10 years. Spouses can consider a number of options and variables. We make it easier to navigate them. A good place to start is by visiting our benefits planner at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners. Take note of the “Benefits As A Spouse” section.

If you are ready to apply for benefits, the fastest, easiest, and most convenient way is to apply online! You can do so at www.socialsecurity.gov/applyonline.

Whether you receive benefits on a spouse’s record or your own, rest assured we will make sure you get the highest benefit we can pay you. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov.

Vonda VanTil is the public affairs specialist for West Michigan.  You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp St NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at vonda.vantil@ssa.gov

 

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We’re no longer no. 1, but we’re still too fat, says physician


HEA-scales
Five myths that misinform our efforts to slim down

We’re not No. 1 anymore. Mexico, according to the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization, has surpassed the United States as the fattest nation in the world.

An estimated 70 percent of the population is overweight, and about one-third of Mexicans are obese. Just one fat-related disease, diabetes, accounts for nearly 70,000 Mexican deaths per year.

“But this doesn’t mean our health to the north has gotten better – it just means others have gotten worse, and the dubious distinction of who is the world’s most obese nation is debatable,” says Dr. James L. Hardeman, who has seen firsthand the consequences of unhealthy habits during his 30 years as a practicing physician.

“For one, we’ve been fatter longer than Mexico has and yet we still haven’t sufficiently dealt with our national epidemic of fat-based disease. Our overweight and obese percentages are neck and neck with Mexico’s, and some of this is due to misinformation.”

Dr. Hardeman, author of “Appears Younger than Stated Age,” a pragmatic guide to looking younger, debunks some of the myths that aren’t helping dieters:

• Myth: Thirty minutes of exercise three times a week is sufficient. Moderate exercise may work for the 25-year-old with a reasonably healthy diet. When we are young, our basal metabolic rate (BMR) rages like a furnace. Unfortunately, our BMR decreases 2 to 3 percent each decade after age 25. That means we have to make up for that decrease with either better eating habits, more exercise, or both – if we want to maintain a healthy weight. For those who are older, overweight or obese, a stronger commitment is necessary, including an hour’s worth of exercise at least five times a week.
• Myth: Gaining weight with age is healthy because it’s natural. Metabolism slows with age, causing many to put on the pounds. However, maintaining your Ideal Body Weight (IBW), which factors in height, gender and frame size, will keep you feeling and looking younger if you do not slowly gain weight over time. Also, casually accepting some weight gain over time can lead to massive weight gain considering our largely sedentary lifestyles and easy availability of quick, fatty meals.

• Myth: You should drink at least eight glasses of water per day. Humans posses a sensitive thirst center in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which responds to dehydration and tells us to drink water. The amount of water needed for each person varies; so we don’t need to target a set amount because our thirst will tell us. However, drinking plenty of water may decrease appetite, and water should always be chosen over sugary beverages for satiating thirst.

• Myth: Diet books keep you slim. “Going on a diet” is one of America’s favorite pastimes. Diets typically entail temporarily altering eating patterns, losing a bit of weight, and then going back to old habits. This has created an entire genre of literature, as well as videos, gear and meal plans that have become a multibillion-dollar industry. Really, it all boils down to the I&O (Intake and Output) principle. People who stick to Atkins, South Beach and the Sugar Busters diets lose weight because they limit the intake of calories.

• Myth: Taking vitamin supplements every day makes you healthy. Dietary supplement sales represent a $20 billion a year business, yet the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act allows for significantly more lenient rules for supplements than medications from pharmaceutical companies, which are carefully scrutinized by the FDA. Manufacturers are not required to substantiate the supposed benefits of their products. A balanced diet generally provides all required vitamins and minerals needed, with the possible exceptions vitamin B12 for those who eat no animal products, folic acid for women of childbearing age, and, if blood tests indicate deficiency, vitamin B12 and vitamin D in the elderly.

About Dr. James L. Hardeman

Dr. James L. Hardeman has been a practicing physician for 30 years. Triple board certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Diseases, and Critical Care Medicine, Dr. Hardeman has maintained the demanding schedule of both hospital-based medicine and a busy office practice. More info at jameslhardeman.com.

 

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Surviving severe morning sickness

Michael D. Weiss

Michael D. Weiss

Michael D. Weiss, D.O.

 

What can you expect when you’re expecting? Nearly 90% of pregnant women will experience morning sickness and one in 50 will be afflicted with the more severe hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), a potentially life-threatening condition marked by weight loss, malnutrition, and dehydration, due to continuous nausea and vomiting. Rarely is morning sickness so severe that it’s classified as HG. However, women diagnosed with this condition can take comfort in knowing that there are ways to manage it. Michael D. Weiss, D.O., an osteopathic OB-GYN physician from Rochester Hills and President of the Michigan Osteopathic Association discusses the common symptoms associated with the condition and provides tips to help manage them.

Symptoms of Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Labeled as a diagnosis of exclusion, HG can only be confirmed after ruling out other possible conditions. HG is a condition believed to be triggered by high levels of the ‘pregnancy hormone’ HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin. According to Dr. Weiss, HG is typically indicative of a multiple pregnancy or hydatidiform mole, an abnormal growth of the placenta. “HG is much more severe than the typical nausea and vomiting that a lot of women experience during pregnancy,” explains Dr. Weiss. “Common symptoms, which include severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss, dehydration, lightheadedness, and fatigue, could last anywhere from several weeks to right until the mother gives birth,” he says.

HG symptoms can be debilitating. According to Dr. Weiss, sufferers cannot eat or drink without vomiting, may lose greater than 5% of their body weight, and, most times, are left too sick to function.

“Morning sickness is normal the first three months of a pregnancy, however it’s time to see a doctor if you are vomiting constantly and can’t keep any nutrients down,” advises Dr. Weiss. “Due to the severity of this condition, avoidance of environmental triggers such as strong smells, medication, and IV rehydration and feeding, are essential. With proper identification of symptoms and careful follow-up, serious complications for the baby or mother are rare.”

Tips to Combat Morning Sickness

While hospital treatment is almost always needed to relieve the complications of HG, various home remedies have been known to decrease the occasional nausea and vomiting associated with common morning sickness. Dr. Weiss recommends:

1. Eating a healthy BRAT (banana, rice, applesauce, and toast) diet.

2. Drinking plenty of fluids and increasing fluid intake during times of the day when you feel least nauseated. Seltzer, ginger ale, or other sparkling waters may be helpful.

3. Taking vitamin B6 (no more than 100 mg daily), Doxylamine (a sleep aid), or herbs like ginger or peppermint.

If your nausea and vomiting are so severe that you and your baby might be in danger, Dr. Weiss advises visiting your doctor. “Never try to self-medicate; always have a doctor prescribe the proper remedy.”

Planning a Healthy Pregnancy

Dr. Weiss advises all expectant mothers to see their doctor regularly and consult them if they experience any severe symptoms during their pregnancy. he also recommends taking prenatal vitamins daily and eating healthy. “You don’t need to ‘eat for two,’ but sticking to a healthy and varied diet of around 2,000 calories is crucial to maintaining your health and the health of your baby.”

Preventive medicine is just one aspect of care osteopathic physicians provide. D.O.s are fully licensed to prescribe medicine and practice in all specialty areas, including surgery. D.O.s are trained to consider the health of the whole person and use their hands to help diagnose and treat their patients.

About the MOA:

The Michigan Osteopathic Association represents more than 8,000 osteopathic physicians and students and promotes osteopathic medicine in Michigan by shaping the health care delivery system to better serve the community. To learn

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Driving with dogs: Tips to keep everyone in the car safe

CAR-Driving-with-dogs(BPT) – It’s only natural for man’s best friend to stay close by his master’s side, but for dog owners who drive frequently, bringing Fido along for the ride can be risky. The problem is particularly worrisome for older drivers; a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham showed that for people 70 years and older, crash rates were higher among those who frequently drove with pets in the car. But for many drivers, leaving precious pets behind isn’t an option. The best compromise is to find solutions that will get you from point A to point B without compromising the safety of human or animal passengers.

Distracted driving is a growing concern and a loose pet in the car certainly numbers among the potential hazards that can take your eyes – and mind – off the road and lead to accidents. While older drivers might not be as likely to be distracted by texting or smartphone surfing, even those who have spent many years navigating the roads need to honestly assess how having a pet in the car can divert their attention away from the road.

To stay safe on the road when Fido is with you, remember these tips:

* Don’t allow pets in the front seats. Having a pet sit on your lap is obviously distracting, but if he’s in the front passenger seat, the problem can be just as bad. In the front seats, your pet is more likely to be within your line of sight and obstruct your view of the road. An unrestrained dog in the front seats could also be easily injured if you have to slam on the brakes or swerve, or are hit from behind. The force with which airbags deploy also poses a safety hazard for dogs in the front seat – if you’re in an accident and they inflate and hit your dog, he could easily sustain an injury.

* Create separation. There are a variety of pet barriers on the market that can keep your pet from moving between the front and back seats of your car. Installing a barrier will help keep your pet out of your way and diminish concerns about him being propelled forward in case you have to make a sudden stop.

* Restrain your pet. There are a number of options for pet restraints in your vehicle. Pet seatbelts and car seats will help keep a dog safely in place. Keeping a crate in the car is also a good option. Make sure it’s secured and large enough so that he can stand up, turn around and comfortably sit or lay down. Add a soft pad in the bottom of the crate and it might just become your pet’s favorite new way to travel.

* Brush up on your driving skills. Today’s driving environment is probably very different than it was when you first got your license. A refresher course, like those offered by AARP Driver Safety, is an ideal way to ensure that your skills are up to date. Brushing up on defensive driving techniques and the essential rules of the road will help keep everyone in your car safe – and you may even qualify for a multi-year automobile insurance discount from your insurance company (check with your agent for details). AARP Driver Safety courses are available in a classroom or online setting, in both English and Spanish.

Pets are important members of the family, so it’s only right that drivers consider their safety, just as they would for any other passenger. For more safe driving tips and information about AARP Driver Safety, visit www.aarp.org/drive.

 

Posted in Auto Life, FeaturedComments Off

Beat the heat with these 10 summer driving tips

With the arrival of summer, more drivers will hit the American highways for summer vacations. Here are a few summer driving tips to help prepare your vehicle and ensure it is in optimal driving condition for your summer getaway or your day-to-day driving in hotter weather conditions:

1. Change your motor oil regularly.
Regular oil changes with the correct grade of motor oil can improve gas mileage up to two percent.* Synthetic oils are best for high temperature driving conditions and for added protection when towing.

2. Check your tire pressure.
Keeping your tires properly inflated can help improve gas mileage up to three percent.* Be sure to check your tire pressure before you begin driving for the day. This allows you to get a cold pressure reading (the number commonly referenced in your owner’s manual).

3. Clean your fuel system.
This helps improve fuel economy and maximize engine performance by removing dirt and deposits from the fuel system.

4. Use cruise control on highways.
This will help you maintain a constant speed, which in most cases helps improve fuel economy.

5. Do not idle.
It requires less gas to restart a vehicle than to let it idle.

6. Park in the shade or a garage.
The sun zaps fuel from your gas tank. Parking in the shade or garage will lessen the amount of evaporative emissions.

7. Check your cooling system (radiator).
It protects your engine from overheating in hot summer conditions. Follow your owner’s manual for regular maintenance.

8. Check your serpentine belt.
Replacing the serpentine belt when needed helps prevent breakdowns. It keeps your vehicle’s power steering, alternator, water pump and AC running.

9. Check your air conditioning system.
Nothing makes the summer heat more unbearable than traveling with an air conditioning system that will not cool properly.

10. Check your windshield wipers and wiper fluid.
The combination of bad wipers and a summer downpour can leave you with no view of the road. Be sure you have plenty of wiper fluid to help keep your windshield clear of dirt and debris.

Also, remember to follow the vehicle maintenance procedures outlined in your owner’s manual. These can help improve your fuel economy and prolong the life of your vehicle. The following should be included:

Check your transmission fluid: Changing the fluid when needed helps restore your vehicle’s operation by protecting the gears from grinding.

Rotate your tires regularly: This prevents uneven wear, which can shorten the life of your tires. It also improves vehicle handling and traction.

Check your gearbox fluid: Changing the fluid when needed restores additives to protect the gears from grinding. This is especially important for four-wheel drive vehicles because they have three gear boxes.

Follow these Summer Driving Tips and your vehicle’s regular maintenance schedule to get optimal driving conditions and good fuel economy for your vehicle this summer. So, get out there and enjoy your summer vacation, or at least, you can feel better about driving during the dog days of summer. To learn more or to find a Valvoline Instant Oil Change near you, visit vioc.com.

* As cited from the U.S. Department of Energy at fueleconomy.gov

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Fishers return to the Lower Peninsula

Fishers, which vanished from Michigan in 1936, are making a comeback. The DNR recently confirmed a fisher in Presque Isle County. The above photo is from the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Service

Fishers, which vanished from Michigan in 1936, are making a comeback. The DNR recently confirmed a fisher in Presque Isle County. The above photo is from the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Service

Although there have been regular reports of fishers in the Lower Peninsula, the Department of Natural Resources had not been able to confirm fishers south of the Mackinac Bridge—until now.

Recently Melissa and Nate Sayers of Onaway were out for walk in North Allis Township, located in Presque Isle County, when they saw something odd. “We heard the neighbor’s dog barking at a base of a tree, and we saw a ball of fur up in the tree; we initially thought it was a bear cub,” said Melissa Sayers. “Then it moved, and we realized it wasn’t a cub!”

The DNR was notified of the sighting and was provided pictures. Local DNR wildlife biologist Jennifer Kleitch investigated the location where the pictures were taken and confirmed the photos were legitimate.

“This is very exciting, but we always want to be sure,” stated Kleitch. “We treat every rare animal sighting very seriously, and we must have evidence we can follow up on and investigate to make a definite identification.”

Historically, fishers were found throughout both the Upper and Lower peninsulas, although by 1936 deforestation and unlimited harvest resulted in the species vanishing from Michigan. Beginning in 1961, fishers were reintroduced to the Upper Peninsula, and by 1989 the U.P. fisher population had recovered enough to establish a limited trapping season in the western U.P.

“It’s great to see another native species return to parts of its former range,” said DNR furbearer specialist Adam Bump. “Fishers are another species in Michigan that benefit from habitat management and science-based harvest regulations.”

Now that fishers have been confirmed in the Lower Peninsula, the DNR would like to gather additional information. Those who believe they have seen a fisher in the northern Lower Peninsula, and have physical documentation (pictures, locations of tracks, etc.), are asked call 989-732-3541, ext. 5901.

Fishers are typically found in large forests, with a preference for areas dominated by coniferous trees. They have a very diverse diet, mostly comprised of small- to medium-sized mammals such as mice and rabbits, along with dead deer. Fishers also will consume a fair amount of fruits and nuts, and often are noted for being one of the few species that successfully prey upon porcupines, although porcupines typically make up a small portion of their diet.

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Bears and Butterflies

OUT-Nature-niche-Chestnut-saplingBy Ranger Steve Mueller

 

Someone photographed a black bear southeast of Cedar Springs but I did not get to see the picture. There was a report of one crossing Northland Drive. A bear also crossed Red Pine Drive south of the Howard Christensen Nature Center. Bears are usually shy and fear people. They are moving south in Michigan as forests regenerate. Many of us saw pictures of the bear and cubs that were found near Ada.

It is exciting that native plant communities are recovering well enough to support large wildlife that was present a century ago. In many places, people have bears as neighbors without problems. Sometimes problems develop because we do not properly store garbage or we do things that attract bears into unsafe situations for both people and bears.

We just returned from a vacation where we had the opportunity to hike in bear country. We did not fear. Instead we followed recommended safety procedures. It was a thrill to have the opportunity to see wildlife not normally seen at home. We saw Grizzly bears, Black Bears, Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goats, Moose, Pine Martin, and several other mammals we do not see in the Cedar Springs area. That is a purpose for the trip as well as a chance to get into wild areas for natural beauty and hiking.

While hiking wild country, I thought about the wild country in our local nature niches where wildlife goes unnoticed. Most are not dangerous but some like mosquitoes cause more problems and discomfort than bears. Some wildlife provides great beauty and interest for those that make an effort to observe them in our yards. Allowing part of yards to be claimed by nature gives butterflies and other interesting wildlife a chance to abound.

Fifty-one species of butterflies have been documented at Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary where I live. Many butterfly species can be found around our homes if we look for them. There will be more butterflies in yards where native wild plants are allowed to grow. Extensive lawns, manicured gardens with pesticides and fertilizers discourage butterfly survival. Allowing native nature niches to establish brings beauty and interest to occupy one’s lifetime.

One does not need to spend large sums of money or travel to discover new and unusual species. One can allow nature to share the home site. Daily walks in the yard will provide opportunities of enjoyment and endless discovery. I am continually finding new plants and animals that I did not know shared my abode. A few years ago I discovered the rare American Chestnut on my property. I lived here for almost 35 years and had not discovered it on our few acres. This spring while leading the Michigan Botanical Club on a flower walk we found Purple Avens that had also evaded me.

In your neighborhood, one could probably find 50 butterfly species, learn about their habitat needs, life styles, and habits. As a seven-year-old, I collected and raised caterpillars. It was amazing to watch how fast they grew, observe caterpillar growth, pupation, and finally the emergence of an adult butterfly. The fascination led to my career as Ranger Steve. I still want to share the wonders of life that occur around us everyday.

Traveling to see large mammals in national parks or other wild areas is a rare opportunity. The exuberance of life that shares our yards is an easy healthy and inexpensive family experience. There are many local nature organizations offering support. Howard Christensen Nature Center, West Michigan Butterfly Association, Junior and Senior Audubon, Wild ONES, Land Conservancy of West Michigan, Isaak Walton League, and more are here to assist your enjoyment.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at the odybrook@chartermi.net Ody Brook, 13010 Northland Dr, Cedar Springs, MI 49319-8433.

 

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