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Archive | April, 2014

Turn to spring car care after rough winter

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Many vehicles were neglected during the recent brutal winter months and could use a little extra care by now. The Car Care Council recommends that motorists follow three simple steps during National Car Care Month in April to get vehicles ready for the spring and summer driving season.

* Keep your vehicle clean. Regular car washes and waxes protect the paint and body of your car from corrosive debris. In parts of the country where salt is used on the roads, regularly washing is especially important.

* Keep your car on schedule. Every vehicle has a manufacturer recommended maintenance schedule. Whether you choose to do your own maintenance or patronize a local repair shop, following a routine service schedule is essential to keeping your car in safe and dependable working order.

* Keep an eye on the little things. Your windshield wipers aren’t cleaning as well as they should? Your gas tank is missing its cap? There’s a warning light on your dashboard?  When you see your car needs attention, don’t delay. Repairing small things now can help avoid more costly problems down the road and add years of useful vehicle life.

The Car Care Council offers many free tools on its website at www.carcare.org to help consumers drive smart, save money and be car care aware, including the popular 60-page Car Care Guide and a custom service schedule and email reminder service.

 

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Is your child’s car seat keeping them safe?

 

By Diana Barkey

 

One of the most important jobs as a parent is keeping your child safe. Reading up on the crucial subject of car seat safety is an effective way to keep your child safe inside a moving vehicle.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator (NHTSA) estimates that a properly installed car seat lowers a child’s risk of death by a shocking a shocking 71% for infants and by 54% for toddlers.

Since 1975, approximately 8,000 children ages 1 to 5 have been saved due to car seats. Thousands of children are injured or killed each year from car accidents. These statistics prove that keeping children safe inside a car is extremely important.

Everybody loves to get hand me downs when they have children. However, are car seats an acceptable hand me down to use? Sometimes car seats fail to protect children if the car seat has been in an accident, haven’t been properly taken care of or if the car seat is expired.

Typically in the United States car seats expire after six years but some expire anywhere from five to nine years. A great tip to remember is that the car seat expires from the time it was manufactured, not to be confused with the date the car seat was purchased.

Every car seat is different so be sure to read the user guide to find the expiration date. If for some reason the user guide has been misplaced, there will most likely be an expiration date stamped on the base of the car seat.

Car seats expire due to the fact that safety standards in the United States change over time. This is because as new and safer technology is developed, the old ones are dismissed. Secondly, the materials the seat is made from wear down. For example, the elasticity in a seat belt can potentially decrease if use is continued after a serious car accident or after the expiration date. Finally, car seats are only tested for a certain amount of time. Manufacturers do not test how well old car seats work in a serious accident.

A main concern for parents is the price of car seats and how to maintain up to date ones on a low budget. To save money, do not be fooled by the price tag. All car seats must be approved by the United States current car seat standards. If a more inexpensive seat is purchased, it won’t necessarily put your child in more danger than an expensive car seat would. Also, more expensive car seats don’t always have a longer life expectancy.

Ask yourself questions such as, “Has this car seat been in an accident?” “Are the labels still attached?” “Has this car seat been recalled?” and “Is this car seat expired?” Taking all of these questions into consideration will keep your children safer while in a vehicle.

Diana Barkey is in the early childhood program at Ferris State University.

 

 

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April is Financial Literacy Month

What to know before buying or leasing a vehicle

CAR-Auto-Financing(StatePoint) Buying or leasing a vehicle is an exciting decision. For many consumers, it’s the first “big ticket” item they acquire. Knowing what to expect before making this important financial commitment will help you feel confident about your decision for years to come.

“To make wise decisions, it pays to understand the tools available to educate yourself on financing a vehicle,” says Mike Kane, vice president of Consumer Credit Operations at Ally Financial. “The internet has made it easy for shoppers to access these tools, which can help you get the most for your money during the financing process.”

This April, which is Financial Literacy Month, Kane is offering some auto finance tips to help you make sense of the process.

• Ways to Pay. There are a few different options when it comes to buying or leasing a vehicle, such as paying cash, getting a loan from a bank or credit union, or negotiating a retail contract or lease through a dealership. It’s important to choose the option that works best for you.  Visiting different dealerships is a way to learn more about the options available.

• What to look for. When financing the purchase of a vehicle, the total amount you pay during the term of the retail contract will depend on several factors including the price of the vehicle, the amount you finance and the Annual Percentage Rate (APR).

• The length of your retail contract matters. Retail contract terms typically range from two to six years, or longer. The longer you take to pay, the lower your payments will be, but your total cost to finance will increase. The length of your retail contract may also impact your options to trade in your vehicle, should you have an outstanding balance. Choose the terms that best fit your financial situation.

• Negotiation may be part of the transaction. The terms of the financing — such as the APR, vehicle selling price, down payment, monthly payment amount and term — may be negotiable with the dealership. Ask about any incentives the dealership offers, such as cash rebates or low APRs.

• Do your homework. Using free online tools like payment calculators or vehicle valuation guides will give you the information you need when it comes to negotiating with the dealer.

• Stick with your budget. There are ways to stay within your budget after all the negotiations are over as well. For example, once you have your vehicle, you’ll need insurance. To get a lower premium, consider increasing your insurance deductible, should it fit your financial situation.

For more auto-related financial advice and for free resources, visit www.allywalletwise.com.

Remember, there is no one “right” way to finance a vehicle; only a series of choices you can make to get the most for your money. If you’re planning to finance or lease a vehicle in the near future, improve your financial knowledge to better understand the process.

 

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Wrestlers place at nationals

Blake Peasley takes national championship title

 

S-Wrestling-Nationals-264-webWest Michigan Pursuit thought that the MYWA State Finals would be their last tournament of the season but we have some wrestlers who were not ready to end their season quite yet. There is the National United Wrestling Association for Youth (NUWAY). This competition typically brings the top 8 wrestlers from each state to compete. WMP brought five grapplers to compete and all five brought home a coveted All American Status Title.

“I have a core group of kids who can’t get enough wrestling. Looking forward to training these young kids during the off season and start out strong next year, said Owner and Head Coach, Dave Andrus.”

Luke Egan, a first year wrestler, is six years old and attends Cedar Trails here in Cedar Springs! Luke wrestled the 49 lb wt class and finished taking 7th Place in the nation with a season record of 57-9 and eight Championships under his belt. Olivia Male, a fourth year wrestler, is 10 years old and attends Cedar View here in Cedar Springs! Olivia wrestled the 70 lb wt class in the USAW Women’s Nationals and finished taking 6th Place in the nation with a season record of 23-23 and two Championships under her belt. Jayden Marcano-Cruz, a first year wrestler, is five years old and attends East Elementary in Grandville. He wrestled the 43 lb wt class and finished his season taking 4th Place in the nation with a season record of 37-8 and seven Championships under his belt. Brocke Fisher, a fourth year wrestler, is 11 years old and attends Rockford middle school. Brocke wrestled the 60 lb wt class and finished his season taking 3rd Place in the nation

with a final record of 19-9 and five Championships under his belt. Blake Peasley, a second year wrestler, is six years old and attends Lakes Elementary in Rockford. He wrestled the 58 lb wt class and finished his season taking home a National Championship Title and giant eagle trophy. Blake is our only West Michigan Pursuit grappler who remained undefeated the entire season with a record of 36-0 and fourteen Championships under his belt. Congratulations to all of our Pursuit of Champions!

If you are interested in obtaining more information about West Michigan Pursuit, please come check us out. We are located in the Cedar Springs Sports Plex and practices are on Tuesday and Thursdays from 6:30-8:00 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

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Wildfire season is here

This wildfire started a house on fire in Nelson Township 5 years ago last week.

This wildfire started a house on fire in Nelson Township 5 years ago last week.

Wildfire prevention week April 20-26

 

Most of Michigan’s wildfires occur in the spring – April, May and June. According to the Department of Natural Resources, which is responsible for wildland fire protection on 30 million acres of state and private land, April is when wildfires start becoming a problem. During the state’s annual observance of Wildfire Prevention Week, April 20-26, the DNR reminds the public about the dangers of wildfires.

“One out of three wildfires in Michigan is caused by someone burning debris who did not take proper precautions or obtain a burn permit,” said Paul Kollmeyer, resource protection manager within the DNR’s Forest Resources Division. “Many people look outside and think the snow and spring rains have taken the edge off the wildfire danger.”

That’s not the case, Kollmeyer said.

“The dried leaves, needles and brown grass from last year are still there. When the weather is warm, folks want to get out and clean up their yards. They don’t realize that all it takes is one strong wind gust catching an ember to ignite a wildfire.”

Kollmeyer said this is why planning is so vital before a match is even lit.
A person is required to get a burn permit prior to burning brush and debris in Michigan. Residents in the northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula can obtain a free burn permit by www.michigan.gov/burnpermit. Residents in southern Michigan should contact their local fire department or township office to see if burning is permitted in their area.

In addition to obtaining a burn permit, the DNR recommends people take the following steps to reduce the risk of wildfire to their home and property:

Clear leaves and other debris from gutters, eaves, porches and decks. This prevents embers from igniting your home.

Keep your lawn hydrated and maintained. Dry grass and shrubs are fuel for wildfire. If it is brown, cut it down to reduce fire intensity.

Remove fuel within 3 to 5 feet of your home’s foundation and out-buildings, including garages and sheds. If it can catch fire, don’t let it touch your house, deck or porch.

Remove dead vegetation surrounding your home, within the 30- to 100-foot area.

Wildfire can spread to tree tops. If you have large trees on your property, prune them so the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet high.

Don’t let debris and lawn cuttings linger. Chip or mulch these items quickly to reduce fuel for fire.

When planting, choose slow-growing, carefully placed shrubs and trees so the area can be more easily maintained.

Landscape with native and less flammable plants. For more information about making fire wise landscaping choices, visit www.firewise.msu.edu.

“Be safe and smart when it comes to fire,” Kollmeyer said. “Fire prevention is everyone’s responsibility.”

For more tips in safeguarding your home and property from wildfire risk, www.michigan.gov/preventwildfires.

 

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Game and Nongame Management

 

Wildlife management has been shifting to an ecosystem approach for 50 years. In the early 1900’s and before, wildlife management was done species by species. If more deer were desired, that was the focus of management. If more ruffed grouse were desired, effort focused on that species.

Aldo Leopold revolutionized management thinking with his 1933 Game Management textbook. He encouraged a shift from autecology to synecology. Autecology is narrowly focused on single species without concern for other species or impacts of its management on the ecosystems. Synecology is focused on the ecosystem with attention toward improving conditions for wildlife communities.

Today the Michigan DNR uses a synecology approach more extensively. It considers a multitude of species when making habitat management decisions but continues emphasis on selected hunted species. Changing the cultural mindset of the public and staff is a slow difficult process.

Howard Meyerson reported that a National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife Related Recreation found 39 percent of Michigan residents watch wildlife and 21 percent hunt and/or fish. The Michigan DNR spends 95 percent of its wildlife management budget for hunting and fishing management and 5 percent to support nongame wildlife management.

A 2011 survey by the US Fish and Wildlife Service found 71.8 million people engage in wildlife watching, while 33 million fish and 13.7 million hunt wildlife. Correspondingly watchers spend $54.9 billion annually, fishers spend $41.8 and hunters spend $33.7 billion.

Interest in wildlife is shifting toward watching from hunting. There is a management need for both to maintain healthy ecosystems. Deer and rabbit abundance damages ecosystems because we have reduced predator populations to unhealthy ecosystem levels. That was a result of autecology practices. The synecology practice of allowing wolves to survive in ecosystem is controversial to our traditional autecology mindset.

Unfortunately most people are not aware of autecology or synecology. Our culture remains focused on autecology game management instead of the synecology ecosystem management. Public focus is often focused on “What I want from the environment” instead of supporting healthy ecosystem management. Wildlife biologists strive for synecology practices but public pressure and support lags behind.

Leopold’s book is revolutionary but dry reading. What Aldo Leopold described almost 100 years ago is still a new idea compared with hundreds of years of wildlife management. We tend to follow practices and focus money on how things were previously done instead of changing our culture toward ecosystem nature niche management.

The question “why staff energy is devoted most heavily to hunted species,” when more of the public watches instead of hunts is not easy and creates uneasiness. Some hunters do not want money they spend on hunting licenses used on non-hunting programs. Some watchers do not want nongame money spent on programs that also supports hunting. Both are essential for healthy ecosystem management. We had an opportunity to approve a tax on sporting equipment like binoculars that would support watching wildlife management programs. The public voted no but hunters generally support hunting taxes.

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.  616-696-1753.

 

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Tips for a Bountiful Backyard Garden

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(Family Features) The benefits of having your own backyard vegetable garden are plentiful, and can include significant lifestyle impacts, such as healthier eating habits, money saving perks and more.

A Relaxing, Healthful Hobby

Looking for a hobby that allows you to contribute to the health of your family? Take up gardening. Beyond producing nutritious foods, it can help you teach your family about local agriculture, all while basking in the tranquility of the great outdoors. Though starting your own home garden can be intimidating, there are a few simple steps to get you started. Once developed, it can yield fruits and vegetables from early spring and into the fall.

1) Do Some Research

Find out what vegetables grow best in your area and when is the right time to plant and harvest. Many local university extension programs have this information readily available online. For each plant, consider the amount of water needed, how much sunlight is required and if it should be started from seed or a transplanted seedling.

SPR-Tips-for-backyard-garden22) Choose a Good Spot

Keep in mind vegetables need at least six hours of sun each day, so plant away from the shade of buildings, trees and shrubs. Planting close to your house may make you more likely to bring your harvest right into your kitchen, and will help you remember to weed and water. Including rain and irrigation, your garden needs at least one inch of water per week. Make sure you can easily access a water supply nearby. Some products, such as an Ames NeverLeak hose reel, provide convenient hose storage and can easily reach all parts of your yard. Be sure to choose a level area of your yard so when watering it will not pool in lower areas.

3) Clear the Area

Use your garden hose or a string to mark the area for proper placement of your garden. Use a sod lifter or garden spade, keeping the area level and removing as little topsoil as possible. Next, use a round point shovel, such as the True Temper True American Round-Point Shovel, to dig into the soil about 12 inches, breaking it up and removing clumps. To encourage proper drainage and escape light freezes in early spring and fall, construct a raised bed by creating a border with wood slats and filling in with soil.

4) Prepare the Soil

Use a rake to create a smooth finish and remove debris or stones on the surface. You may want to add manure, compost or soil additives to provide additional nutrients in the soil.

5) Plant Your Seeds

Determine if you will be starting your plants from seeds or transplanting small seedlings. Be sure to research how much room each plant will need and plot the layout of your garden. Dig V-shaped furrows using a warren hoe or the edge of a garden hoe. Carefully distribute the seeds in the furrows evenly and in accordance with the instructions on the seed packet. Cover the seeds and pat down gently, then water thoroughly.

Use this information for a fruitful harvest this gardening season. For more tips, visit www.AmesTrueTemper.com or www.Facebook.com/TrueTemperTools.

 

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Tips to spring clean your deck and patio

SPR-Tips-to-spring-clean-deck-and-patio(StatePoint) It’s the time of year when sprucing up your deck and patio becomes a top weekend priority. Whether you use the space for entertaining or for solitude, you’ll want it clean, comfortable and safe this spring.

Take time to dust off your outdoor furniture and wipe down cushions that have been in storage all winter. Inspect flower pots, bird feeders and other outdoor décor to ensure they withstood the cooler months. Replace anything that is damaged.

Before setting furniture and décor back, give the surface below a good clean. Whether you’re dealing with cement, brick or wood, the quickest and most thorough way to deep clean and restore surfaces to a like-new condition is with a pressure washer. Knowing how to use one properly is important for a quality job and for your safety.

Usage Tips

• Different surfaces require different cleaning techniques. Ensure you’re following the instructions for the surface you’re cleaning.

• Always read and follow the operator’s manual and all operating instructions.

• High-pressure spray can cut through skin, so never spray people or animals. Wear closed-toed shoes and goggles while pressure washing.

• Assume a solid stance and firmly grasp the spray gun with both hands to avoid injury if the gun kicks back before squeezing the spray gun trigger.

• Never spray near power lines, service feeds, electrical meters, wiring and windows.

• Check the engine oil level each time you use a pressure washer. When changing or adding oil, don’t overfill the engine crankcase. Doing so can cause smoking, hard starting, spark plug fouling and oil saturation of the air filter.

Buying Tips

Buying a pressure washer for the first time or replacing an old one?  Here are some guidelines:

• Pressure washers are categorized in groups based upon frequency of use and the types of products and surfaces they are best suited for cleaning.

Selecting the right pressure washer for your needs depends on what you’re going to clean, how often you plan to do so, and how much time you want to spend. Ask yourself these questions before making a purchase.

• Look for a versatile pressure washer that can be used for a variety of tasks. For example, the new Briggs & Stratton POWERflow+ pressure washer has both a high pressure and a high flow mode for different spring cleaning chores. Deep clean your patio and driveway in high pressure mode or clean more delicate surfaces and rinse away debris in high flow mode.

• Consider going green with a model having reduced environmental impact. If you have an older pressure washer, a newer model could offer lower emissions and better fuel efficiency.

• Learn more about pressure washers before making an investment. For a buying guide and instructional videos, visit www.BriggsAndStratton.com.

With a deep clean, you can restore and refresh your home’s outdoor spaces and make them a friendly place to relax and have fun.

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Benefit for teacher and coach Scott Hazel

Current and former Detroit Lions players to compete against local supporters in basketball game to raise money for teacher’s cancer treatment and expenses

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Scott Hazel

Scott Hazel

 

More than 600 tickets have already been sold to the “Team Hazel versus Detroit Lions” game to benefit beloved Cedar Springs High School teacher and soccer coach Scotty Hazel. On May 3, at 7 p.m., at Cedar Springs High School, current and former Detroit Lions football players will take on local members of “Team Hazel,” a group of community members who have come together to show their support of Scott, who is undergoing treatment for liposarcoma.

Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students and may be purchased at the door or by calling (616) 340-0653.

A large portion of ticket sales have come from the students he’s inspired over the years. The public outpouring of support is evident on the “Purple Haze Page” on facebook that was created to provide regular updates from Hazel and encouraging thoughts from friends. It has more than 1,700 members.

“Scott is that teacher who is equally loved and admired by teachers and students alike. He’s given an incomparable amount of positive dedication to this community over the years. I’m so glad we have an opportunity to give back to him,” says event organizer and former Cedar Springs teacher, Cliffton Young.

Young is working with former Grand Valley football player stand out, former Lions player, and Detroit sports announcer, Rob Rubick, to assemble the Lions team. While the names of the Lions players will be released closer to the event, the Team Hazel roster is slated to include:

Players:

Buck Burnett, Cedar Springs Police Officer; Cedar Springs High School alumni

Heather Carlson, Cedar Springs High School Teacher

Don Carlson, Regal Financial

Roger Carr, Cedar Springs Elementary School Teacher

Pat Hillary, H20 Plumbing

Brooke Holt, Cedar Springs High School Teacher

Jeremy Plain, Cedar Springs Elementary School Teacher

Andy Secor, Cedar Springs Elementary School Principal

Ryan Smith, Argus Financial

Austin Thornton, former player Michigan State University basketball player; Cedar Springs High School alumni

Head Referee:

Dan Rypma Muskegon Community College Instructor, Cedar Springs resident

Come out and show your support Scott Hazel and enjoy a great game!

 

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Genealogy

A little girl asked her mother, “How did the human race appear?”

The mother answered, “God made Adam and Eve and they had children, and from them came the whole human race.”

Two days later the girl asked her father the same question. The father answered,  “Many years ago there were monkeys, from which the human race evolved.”

The confused girl returned to her mother and said, “Mom, why is it that you told me the human race was created by God, and Dad said they developed from monkeys?”

The mother smiled and answered, “Well, dear, it is very simple. I told you about my side of the family and your father told you about his.”

 

 

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