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Archive | December, 2013

Great Car Care Tips for Seniors

CAR-Senior-Car-Care(StatePoint) Car repair and maintenance can put a strain on both a senior’s budget and back. With some smart and simple preventive care, you can reduce automotive troubles down the line.

Tread and Tire Pressure

The last thing any senior needs is a blown out tire while driving. Avoid this dangerous scenario by checking the tread on your tires and the air pressure once a month. Tires with little or no tread and that are showing threads are unsafe and should be replaced immediately.  For the recommended air pressure for your tires, do not go by the numbers on the sidewall of the tires. Instead, refer to the owner’s manual or sticker on the driver’s side door. Not only does proper air pressure decrease the likelihood of a blowout, but it increases your car’s gas mileage, and gives your vehicle better traction.

Change the Oil

The truth is that oil changes take time and money. However, if this task is not done routinely, then the overall health of your engine can be jeopardized.

When using conventional oil, it’s recommended to change the oil every 3,000 miles. However you can save yourself some work and better protect your investment by using high-quality synthetic motor oil instead. For example, Royal Purple HMX is specifically designed to minimize wear and tear and restore performance in engines with more than 75,000 miles. Instead of the typical oil change once every 3,000 miles, synthetic oil can reduce the frequency to once every 10,000 to 15,000 miles, or once every 12 months, depending on how much your vehicle is used.

For more information on how you can maximize your engine’s longevity and save money, visit www.RoyalPurpleConsumer.com.

Check Lights

Don’t be the one left in the dark. Regularly check your headlights, taillights, turning signals and brake lights. Thousands of accidents a year are the direct result of failed lights. Check your lights by asking a trusted neighbor, friend or family member to walk around your car as you turn the headlights, taillights and turning signals off and on. Also, apply light pressure to the brake to make sure your brake lights are working as well. If a light is out, check the fuses. An easy do-it-yourself replacement can save you time and money.

You don’t have to be a professional mechanic or overextend your budget to increase the lifetime of your car. Some simple proactive and regular care will go a long way in keeping you and your car together, far down the road.

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Prepare for Holiday Travel Season by Placing Emergency Preparedness Kits in Vehicles

LANSING. The Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) encourages Michigan citizens to prepare for the holiday travel season by placing emergency preparedness kits in their vehicles.

Michigan winters can produce extremely cold temperatures, large amounts of snow and bursts of freezing rain. In the event of an emergency, help may not be immediately available. By having an emergency preparedness kit in a vehicle, a person can survive until help arrives.

“Road conditions can quickly change for the worse during the winter months,” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “A vehicle emergency preparedness kit adds a sense of safety and security when traveling to destinations this holiday season. If an incident does happen, you will be prepared and ready.”

Michigan weather is unpredictable any time of year, but especially during the winter months. If you are stranded in a winter storm, do not leave your vehicle. Stay with the vehicle and wait for help.

Essential items to include in a vehicle emergency preparedness kit include:

· Hand-crank radio

· Hand-crank flashlight

· Cell phone charger

· Windshield scraper

· Blanket and extra clothes

· Tire repair kit and pump

· Emergency contact list

· De-icer and extra anti-freeze

· “Call Police” or other “Help” sign

· Jumper cables

· Tow chain or rope

· Fire extinguisher

· Cat litter or sand for better tire traction

· Shovel

· Flares

· First aid kit

· Bottled water and nonperishable, high-energy foods (e.g., granola bars, canned nuts, raisins, hard candy, trail mix, peanut butter and crackers)

In addition to having a vehicle emergency preparedness kit, the MSP/EMHSD reminds motorists to take extra precautions when stopping and driving in the winter weather.

Remember to do all of your braking before the turn is made and take proper line of travel through the turn to reduce the potential for a skid to occur. If your car begins to skid, let off the throttle and brakes and use a quick hand-over-hand steering technique to turn the front tires in the direction you want to go.

“A vehicle’s handling capability is drastically reduced in winter weather, so take it slow on ice and snow,” Kelenske said. “Be sure to leave enough distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Always keep your focus on the road and avoid cell phone use while driving.”

Safe winter driving tips:

· Keep tires at the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure and routinely check tire pressure during cold weather.

· Keep windshield solvent at full strength and make sure the reservoir is full, and keep new wiper blades on front and rear wipers, if so equipped.

· Wash your vehicle for better visibility to other drivers, and remove ice and snow from all lights, windows and the license plate before driving.

· Periodically check all lights and replace when necessary.

· Have your vehicle inspected by a mechanic before making long-distance trips.

Travelers are encouraged to go to www.michigan.gov/roadconditions and www.michigan.gov/drive to check road conditions before traveling. Weather and road conditions are also available by calling the MSP Travel Hotline at 1-800-381-8477. The MSP/EMHSD asks that you view these websites or call the Travel Hotline rather than calling your local MSP post or 911.

For more information about being prepared before, during and after an emergency or disaster, go to the MSP/EMHSD’s emergency preparedness website at www.michigan.gov/beprepared or Twitter at www.twitter.com/MichEMHS.

Posted in Auto LifeComments (1)

Fishing out of the dark house

Keith Stanton and a monster fish

Keith Stanton and a monster fish

by Jack Payne

 

Spearing is a long time tradition in the northern states and a great way to pass a cold winter day. As in any ice fishing sport, safety is always an issue. Be sure the ice is thick enough to support you and the gear you’ll need.

Spear fishermen usually use a saw to cut a hole in the ice about 3-feet by 3-feet. An icehouse or shanty is placed over the hole. It is important to keep the interior of the shanty as dark as possible. The light through the surrounding ice will illuminate the water under the shanty and make the target fish visible. Most spearing is done near a break or on the shallow flat in 4-8 feet of water. Pick an area close to a marsh or a large flat where small perch and gills will roam.

Weighted spears are used to harvest the fish. These spears generally have six to twelve tines, and are five to six feet in length. A small diameter rope is attached to the spear for retrieval.

Keith Stanton might easily be called a dark house fanatic. He loves spearing and fishing out of any type of dark house. Keith created his own web site just to share the joy of this type of fishing with everyone. His site is called www.pikespearing.com. In addition he produces videos of spearing and fishing from a dark house.

“First and foremost, it’s a blast,” remarked Stanton on his thoughts of spearing. “The closest thing I can compare it to is bow hunting for whitetail deer.”

In his opinion, spearing fish through the ice offers much more of a challenge than tip up or hook and line fishing for this reason. And just like with bow hunting whitetail deer, when you see the fish swimming through the spearing hole you get the same adrenaline rush as you do when you are staring down a whitetail buck.

But pike spearing really offers so much more than just spearing the fish, especially if you have friends or family in the shanty with you. As you sit and wait for the fish to come in, it is a great time to catch up with old friends or just hear about what is new with your kids.  And of course just watching the aquatic life under the ice is also very cool. You usually see bass, pan fish, muskrats, carp, crayfish and other underwater water dwellers darting in and out of the spearing hole.

Pike spearing is a relatively inexpensive sport to get into, as all you need is just a shack or a portable shanty, a spear and a decoy. With the advances over the years in the portable fishing shanties, it is easier than ever to come up with a “dark house.”

When spearing for pike through the ice patience is the key. Some days you can sit all day without seeing a single fish. Other days it seems as though you can’t keep them out of the hole. Don’t get discouraged or give up until you have landed or speared at least one fish. And after you have experienced that excitement, you will be hooked!

Spearing provides solitude, quietness and a time to share a sport with a friend. The shanty provides a dark background and keeps the wind and snow off of you. I enjoyed sitting there and watching the perch and gills swim through nearly as much as the pike sliding in for a kill.

 

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Cougar illegally killed in UP

 

Michigan Department of Natural Resources law enforcement officials have confirmed a cougar was illegally killed last week in the Upper Peninsula’s Schoolcraft County.

Acting on a tip that a cougar had been illegally killed at a hunting camp in northeast Schoolcraft County, DNR conservation officers and Special Investigations Unit detectives were able to successfully recover evidence and identify and apprehend two suspects from Bay County.

Upon completion of the DNR’s investigation, the case will be turned over to the Schoolcraft County Prosecuting Attorney with warrant requests for charges. The state penalty for illegally killing a cougar, classified as an endangered species in Michigan, is up to 90 days in jail and fines and restitution of up to $2,500.

Anyone with information about this or any other poaching case is encouraged to call the DNR’s Report All Poaching (RAP) hotline at 800-292-7800, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Information can also be reported online at www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers. Tips and information can be left anonymously; information that leads to an arrest and conviction is eligible for a cash reward funded by the state’s Game and Fish Protection Fund.

A trail camera photo of a cougar near the same area as this incident was recently confirmed by the DNR’s Wildlife Division. Wildlife officials believe the animal killed was most likely the same cougar seen in the recent photo.

Cougars, also known as mountain lions, disappeared from the state in the early 1900s. The last confirmed wild cougar in Michigan prior to 2008 was an animal killed near Newberry in 1906.

Since 2008, the DNR has confirmed photos or tracks of cougars on 23 occasions in 10 Upper Peninsula counties. The animals are believed to be young individuals dispersing from established populations in the Dakotas in search of new territory. There is no evidence of a breeding population of cougars in the state.

The Wildlife Division’s specially trained cougar team welcomes citizen reports of possible cougar evidence or sightings. Cougar photos and other evidence, such as tracks, scat or cached kills, should be reported to a local DNR office or through the DNR’s online reporting form at www.michigan.gov/cougars.

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Restoring life in your yard

By Ranger Steve Mueller

 

The joy of this past year with friends and family provides satisfaction and contentment. Immediately we anticipate what the coming year holds. We determined much of the future by our activities. Grandiose plans are forming. Some are just a start towards healthier days for our family, community, nation, and the world in fragile finite environments that support us.

Everything begins close at hand here at home. Look around and notice not much human activity takes place in yards. Most of us hide away in the warmth and comfort of our shelter with tasty food tucked away. We are like the Eastern Chipmunk that makes fewer ventures outside during late fall and we might also stay hidden inside during the coldest snowy days of winter.

The chipmunk stored food for the short days and long cold nights and is now curled in a snug ball in its underground fortress. It will remain active, eat and wait for a spring emergence. She will not hibernate but will sleep with little else to do. It has aided root health by tunneling and aerating the soil.

We do not need to sleep away the beauty and marvel of winter. We can venture to hidden corners of our yard enjoying evidence of abundant life. Tracks on snow, tunnels under it, sightings of squirrels in trees keep us entertained and aware that we do not live alone in the world.

The more native plants you allow to survive in the yard allow for an abundance of animal life. There is beauty in a manicured grass lawn and feeling of space that gives comfort to us even when it is under inches of snow. A lawn, however, is an almost sterile world that is crowding life off the planet.

Lawns often have little human activity except on workdays when we mow them with power mowers that expel carbon greenhouse gas into the air. Tom Small describes US lawns collectively as 45 million acres of “No man’s land.” It might be better to identify them as sterile land lacking suitable nature niches for sustaining biodiversity to support us and fellow inhabitants of Earth.

Small states that lawns are a vast, sterile, industrialized monoculture that robs soil of nutrients, robs streams of water, robs the region’s creatures of habitat, and robs the neighborhood of community.

It impressed me when I took a group of middle school students, including two from Cedar Springs, on an educational trip to the rain forest and rural communities in Belize. In a poor rural community, we observed women with children gathered in a yard with flower hedges along the property boundary. Neighbor’s yards were without flowers and shrubs and were devoid of people. People usually do not gather on empty lawns to visit and pass time even here in the US. We like to be among life and beauty.

During the New Year, plan to restore the yard with an abundance of life that preceded settlement of our town and rural surroundings. Most yards now use natural resources without giving back or paying it forward for the health of coming generations. We often give gifts and community support for those in need. Consider giving vital inheritance for coming generations. Squandering the soil, nutrients, air, and water quality steals economic and physical health from unborn generations. Unfortunately, beautiful lawns reduce life on Earth. Let nature into your yard this coming year and restore life. It starts at home.

The creatures that fill nature niches replenish nutrient cycles, brighten our days, and maintain clean air and water. Fellow inhabitants of Earth are money in the bank for a sustainable future. They are the savings account of our kids. This new year, plan to replace sections of the lawn with native plants to restore health in the yard. You will enjoy birds and the air will fill with the songs of nature during day and night.

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

 

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Protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning

HEA-Carbon-Monoxide-BrochureLANSING. The Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) asks citizens to be aware of the dangers associated with carbon monoxide poisoning as many use generators to power their homes and heaters during the ice storm-related power outage.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless and tasteless gas produced when fossil fuels — such as coal, gasoline, natural gas and oil — are burned. In only minutes, deadly fumes can develop in enclosed spaces. When you breathe carbon monoxide, it enters the bloodstream and cuts off delivery of oxygen to the body’s organs and tissues.

The first symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may be headache, dizziness, confusion, fatigue and nausea. As more of this gas is inhaled, it can cause unconsciousness, brain damage and even death. If you do suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, move yourself, your family and pets to fresh air quickly and immediately call 911.

“Generators must be placed outside and away from windows or any other area where exhaust can vent back into a living area,” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “They should never be placed inside a home or garage.”

To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:

· DO NOT use an oven or range as a heater.

· DO NOT let the car run in an attached garage.

· DO NOT use a gas or kerosene space heater inside a home, garage, cabin or other enclosed space.

· DO NOT sleep in a room with an un-vented gas or kerosene space heater.

· DO NOT operate fuel-powered engines – such as generators — indoors.

· DO NOT use a barbecue grill indoors.

· DO follow operating and maintenance instructions for fuel-burning appliances and equipment.

For more information about being prepared before, during and after an emergency or disaster, go to the MSP/EMHSD’s emergency preparedness website at www.michigan.gov/beprepared or Twitter page at www.twitter.com/MichEMHS.

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The nation’s most deadly disease

18888618_web(BPT) – Few people understand just how much a threat cardiovascular disease (CVD), or heart disease, can be. Consider this: heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world. Cardiovascular disease claims more lives each year than cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease and accidents combined. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 71 million American adults (33.5 percent)-have high LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol and only one out of every three adults with high LDL cholesterol has the condition under control.

While heart disease is truly dangerous, in many instances the disease is preventable. You may have heard concerns over high cholesterol levels. Elevated cholesterol is among the leading risk factors for CVD. Living a healthy lifestyle that incorporates good nutrition, weight management and getting plenty of physical activity can play an important role in lowering your risk of CVD, according to the American Heart Association.

If you’re interested in reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease, these tips can help.

* Move your body. Exercise not only reduces your bad cholesterol levels, it can also increase your HDL, or good cholesterol, levels. The exercise need not be strenuous to enjoy the benefit either. Get a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps a day. A 45-minute walk can help you reach your goal.

* Cut the saturated fats. Saturated fats have long been linked to high cholesterol levels. As you prepare your next meal, use canola oil or olive oil instead of vegetable oil, butter, shortening or lard.

* Opt for fish. You don’t have to become a vegetarian to achieve a healthy cholesterol level; you just have to make smarter meat selections. Fish and fish oil are loaded with cholesterol-lowering omega-3 acids. The American Heart Association recommends fish as your source for omega-3s and eating fish two or three times a week is a great way to lower your cholesterol.

* Avoid smoking. Smoking has been linked to many health concerns and research shows that smoking has a negative impact on good cholesterol levels and is also a risk factor for heart disease.

Heart disease accounts for one in three deaths in the United States and many cases of the disease are preventable through healthy choices.

There is a clinical research study being conducted to try to help with this disease. The Fourier Study, sponsored by Amgen, is a clinical research study to find out if an investigational medication may reduce the risk of future heart attacks, strokes, related cardiovascular events and death in individuals with a prior history of heart disease. The study is investigating a different approach to reducing LDL cholesterol or “bad” cholesterol.

To learn more about how you can take part in The Fourier Study, call 855-61-STUDY or visit HeartClinicalStudy.com.

 

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Christmas Coloring Contest Winners

Winner for  Age Group 3-4 yrs: Paige Metzger age 4 of Cedar Springs

Winner for
Age Group 3-4 yrs:
Paige Metzger
age 4
of Cedar Springs

Winner for  Age Group 5-7 yrs: Grace Olivia Ader age 7 of Sand Lake
Winner for
Age Group 5-7 yrs:
Grace Olivia Ader
age 7
of Sand Lake

Winner for  Age Group 8-10 yrs: Ariana Watkins age 9 of Cedar Springs

Winner for
Age Group 8-10 yrs:
Ariana Watkins
age 9
of Cedar Springs

 

 

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Happy New Year

Click the link below to download our Milestones of Success feature. Area businesses show off their success as they celebrate another year in business.

MilestonesOfSuccess.pdf

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Gather Around Hearty, Comforting Foods

NY-country-stewFamily Features

 

Keep warm with hearty dishes that satisfy appetites and comfort food cravings. From russets to reds, fingerlings to purples, the hearty potato comes in many beautiful varieties that add color and texture to beloved comfort dishes. Bring out the flavors of your down-home creation by pairing it with a perfectly suited wine.

Comforting Complements

A spicy red with raspberry and peppery flavors, Zinfandel pairs particularly well with the flavors of winter — the season where comfort food is king. When searching for the perfect complement to your hearty, comfort fare, go for wines that deliver on quality at a fair price.

Discover Amador County, an up-and-coming wine region nestled in the rolling Sierra Foothills of California, through the wines of Renwood Winery. The winery runs under the direction of Joe Shebl, a talented winemaker whose artistic vision and passion for both Zinfandel and Amador County shows in every bottle.

For more information, visit www.renwood.com.

 

One Healthy Spud

Beyond their appearance in some of the most beloved dishes, potatoes also boast many benefits to your diet. Here are few reasons to add this versatile vegetable into meals:

• Potassium — Potatoes are a great source of potassium, which may help lower high blood pressure, making them a heart-healthy choice. In fact, potatoes contain more potassium than a banana or spinach.

• Vitamins — A spud a day may keep the cold germs away. One medium-sized spud has nearly half the recommended daily value of vitamin C and is also a good source of vitamin B6.

• Dietary fiber — Potatoes are also a source of dietary fiber, a complex carbohydrate, which is known to increase satiety and help with weight loss.

• Gluten free — Potatoes are a naturally gluten-free food, so those with gluten sensitivity can enjoy this flavorful vegetable.

For more on potatoes and healthy recipe ideas, visit www.eatwisconsinpotatoes.com.

 

Country Stew 

Pair with Renwood Zinfandel, California

Yield: 6 servings

5 pounds bone-in short ribs, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 cups water

1 1/3 cups Renwood Zinfandel

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 beef bouillon cubes

6 large Wisconsin potatoes, washed, peeled and quartered

1/2 pound small fresh mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed

1 package (10 ounces) frozen whole green beans

1 can (16 ounces) peeled whole tomatoes, undrained

1. Dredge ribs in flour to coat; reserve leftover flour.

2. Heat oil in 8-quart Dutch oven on moderate heat.

3. Add half of ribs and brown on all sides. Once browned, remove ribs. Repeat instructions for remaining ribs.

4. Stir in the reserved flour. While stirring, add 1 cup water and wine and stir until thickened.

5. Return ribs to the pan.

6. Add onion, garlic, salt, pepper and bouillon and bring to a boil.

7. Cover and lower heat to simmer for about 1 hour, or until ribs are tender.

8. Remove ribs with slotted spoon and cover with foil to keep warm.

9. Add potatoes, mushrooms and beans. Simmer 20 to 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

10. Add ribs and tomatoes with liquid, and heat through.

11. Use slotted spoon to remove meat and vegetables to large serving platter.

12. Remove gravy to serving container and serve with ribs.

 

NY-lasagnaHealthy Potato Lasagna 

Pair with Renwood Premier Old Vine Zinfandel, Amador County

Yield: 4 servings

2 links Italian turkey sausage (3 1/2 ounces each)

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1 cup fat-free ricotta cheese

1 teaspoon dried basil or Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 egg white

2 cups marinara sauce, divided

1 1/4 pounds Wisconsin Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced, divided

1 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1. Remove sausage from casing and crumble into medium skillet with onion.

2. Cook for 10 minutes or until both are browned, breaking up sausage with back of spoon.

3. Stir together ricotta, basil, garlic powder and egg white in small bowl.

4. Spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce in bottom of 9-inch square baking dish.

5. Place 1/3 of the potatoes in the bottom of the dish, forming solid layer with no gaps.

6. Drop 1/2 ricotta mixture in spoonfuls over top and spread out just a little.

7. Sprinkle with 1/3 of mozzarella and 1/2 sausage mixture.

8. Add 1/2 cup more sauce then repeat potato, cheese and meat layers.

9. Top with last layer of potatoes, remaining sauce and mozzarella.

10. Cover with plastic wrap and make small slit to vent.

11. Microwave on high for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

 

NY-chickenQuick & Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken & Potatoes

Pair with Renwood Zinfandel, Fiddletown

2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence (or combination of dried thyme, fennel, basil and savory)

1 teaspoon garlic salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup flour

1 tablespoon canola oil

4 small (2 pounds) bone-in-chicken breasts, skin removed

1 1/4 pounds small Wisconsin red potatoes

3/4 cup frozen, thawed pearl onions

1 cup small baby carrots

3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

8 ounces small baby bella or white mushrooms

Chopped fresh thyme (optional)

1. Combine Herbs de Provence, garlic salt, and pepper on a dinner plate.

2. Spoon flour onto a second dinner plate.

3. Coat each chicken breast with herb mixture; then dredge in flour.

4. Heat oil in a large skillet.

5. Add chicken and cook over medium-high heat until chicken is golden brown on both sides (approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side). If necessary, cook chicken in two batches so as not to crowd the pan.

6. Once browned, place chicken in large slow cooker and add all remaining ingredients, except fresh thyme.

7. Cover slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.

8. Sprinkle with fresh thyme before serving, if desired.

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