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Top three auto repair red flags

RepairPal.com provides drivers with referrals to certified mechanics who do quality work at fair prices with no hidden fees.

RepairPal.com provides drivers with referrals to certified mechanics who do quality work at fair prices with no hidden fees.

(NAPS)—Finding an auto re-pair shop you can trust can be a challenge. Here are three warning signs to watch for on your next trip to the mechanic.

• While no one likes to be overcharged, beware of estimates that are well under market rate. This can be a sign the mechanic is using low-quality or even used parts. Some mechanics use lowball estimates to lure you in for additional repairs that they will tack on later.

• Automotive technology is rapidly evolving and some shops fail to keep up. Without up-to-date diagnostic tools, a mechanic could misdiagnose your problem, which means you’ll pay for unnecessary repairs that don’t even fix your original problem.

• If a mechanic employs scare tactics or treats you in a condescending way, move on. A reputable mechanic will take the time to explain your options just as a doctor guides you to make the right decision for your health.

Fortunately, there’s a free service called RepairPal that can help consumers find a trustworthy local mechanic. RepairPal independently certifies auto repair shops nationwide for superior training, quality tools, fair pricing standards and a minimum 12-month/12,000-mile warranty.

RepairPal also provides car owners with a tool that brings transparency to repair costs—the RepairPrice Estimator. Cited as a resource by Consumer Reports, AOL Autos and Cars.com, this patented calculator generates fair price quotes based on the user’s automobile, location, and the service requested. All mechanics in the RepairPal Certified shop network honor these estimates to give consumers peace of mind that they’ll never be overcharged.

To learn more, visit www.RepairPal.com/estimator.

Posted in Auto Life, FeaturedComments (0)

July is vehicle theft protection month

Protect yourself from being a victim

During National Vehicle Theft Protection Month, the Michigan Automobile Theft Prevention Authority (ATPA) is seeking to educate the public and raise awareness on auto theft and carjackings.

“July and August are the top months of the year for vehicle theft in Michigan and throughout the country,” said Mr. Dan Vartanian, executive director of ATPA. “Motorists can avoid becoming victims by taking some simple precautions.”

The ATPA suggests the following tips:

• Be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times.

• Keep your keys with you at all times. Never leave your keys in or on your vehicle.

• Close and lock all windows and doors when you park your vehicle.

• Always park in well-lit areas or in a garage, if possible.

• Never leave valuables in your vehicle, especially in view.

Additional information on how to prevent becoming a victim can be found by visiting the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security at http://www.state.gov/m/ds/rls/rpt/19782.htm.

Since the inception of the ATPA in 1986, auto thefts in Michigan have decreased by over 65 percent.

The ATPA assesses the scope of the problem of automobile theft, analyzes various methods of combating the problem, establishes a plan for providing financial support to combat automobile theft and grants funds for theft prevention teams. The authority is governed by a seven-member board of directors appointed by the

Governor, which includes representatives of law enforcement, automobile insurers and consumers of automobile insurance. Each year the board awards grants to law enforcement agencies, prosecutors’ offices and nonprofit community organizations to prevent auto theft, catch auto thieves and put the thieves in jail.

For additional information about the authority, visit www.michigan.gov/atpa.

Posted in Auto LifeComments (0)

Fishing for big fish

 

Eric Payne with a 28 inch Sheephead caught on an ultra violet crawler harness rig.

Eric Payne with a 28 inch Sheephead caught on an ultra violet crawler harness rig.

by Jack Payne

 

Four rods were set in the rod holders and the speed was set for 1.2 mph on the trolling motor. We had the graph turned on and we were doing our best in hugging the breakline. On Lake Mac in Holland this normally meant staying around 8-14 feet of water.

Our goal, running two baits over the flat and two baits over the deeper water. Lake Michigan had just flipped over. Whenever the big lake drops rapidly in the water temperature schools of baitfish move into the connecting waters. Following the baitfish are walleye, Sheephead, catfish and on occasion, a musky.

Before you turn your nose up at a Sheephead, you really need to catch one. Our best night this year we landed 180 pounds of Sheephead in 2.5 hours. This is a ton of action with a bunch of big fish. They hit hard, tear up your tackle and are just plain fun to fight.

Now we are not targeting just Sheephead. Walleye are the primary target but action is a must. Its like an angler’s buffet table. A bit of everything please.

Trolling is our preferred method. While we use planner boards for a couple of the rods, they are not required. Running boards provide a way to get more rods into the water with the minimal of potential tangles.

With boards, any size boat can easily run six rods, even more if you like. We find that 4 or 5 rods is plenty for two anglers. When you run into a school of catfish or Sheephead more than one rod will go off.

When the big lake flips over, the best connecting waters will have suspended fish. If the big lake temperatures are steady or fairly warm then the best action on the connecting waters is evenly split between bottom hugging fish and suspended fish.

With the bottom hugging fish you should use a bottom bouncer or a three-way wolf river rig. You need a sinker in the three quarter to one-ounce range, maybe slightly heavier on some days. We run the lines with the sinker straight back or on the back outside rod holders.

What we are finding as our most productive fish catching bait is the Ultra Violet crawler harness rigs from Stopper Lures. These rigs throw off much more flash in the dingy waters that we are fishing and also work better in the deeper depths.

Add a fat night crawler and be ready to catch fish. There are two ways to deal with a messy crawler. One is dumping out the crawlers from the store package into a worm bedding mixture. This is easier on the hands and in keeping the boat clean. Second, and this is my favorite way, placing the crawlers into a container of ice cubes and water. I use the Crawler Can for this method. On the first method we use the Rippin Lips container with ice on the outside. Ice fattens up the crawler!

You can also run the Ultra Violet Rigs with a board and an inline sinker. We use a rubber core sinker 2-3 feet above the harness rigs. A quarter ounce or three eighth ounce sinker works great.

We also throw out a few crank baits. Most often it is either a Shad Rap or a Lindy River Rocker. We run these baits without any weight and as a high line. The wide wobble of these baits works great in the stained water.

Trolling any of the connecting waters to Lake Michigan is a blast!

For more info, visit Jackpaynejr.com or facebook outdoors in michigan

 

Posted in OutdoorsComments (0)

Rogue River Expedition: A success!

From Nichol De Mol, Trout Unlimited

Over 50 people participated in the Rogue River Expedition, a 3-day public paddling and land tour to discover and experience conditions and opportunities of Michigan’s Rogue River and its watershed, held in June. The Rogue River Expedition grew out of the 2010 Grand River Expedition, an event where hundreds of paddlers explored more than 250 river miles over 12 days. That expedition is held once a decade. Its organizers decided some of the large tributaries to the Grand River should be paddled on alternate years between Grand River Expeditions. The first expedition was held on the Thornapple River in 2012, with the Rogue River following in 2014.

To kick-off the event, an opening ceremony was held at Howard Christensen Nature Center, followed by a land tour in the headwaters of the Rogue River watershed in Newaygo County. Participants learned about the historic Rice Lake area in Grant Township and how it currently is a hub for growing and packaging muck crops (onions, carrots, and beets). The land tour also included the Fruit Ridge Area just west of Sparta—one of the prime fruit-growing regions in the world. Participants finished the first day with a nature tour and campout at the nature center.

Despite rainy conditions, paddlers gathered at Rogers Park in Sparta the second day to learn about local organizations doing environmental work in the area, with a Watershed Showcase organized by the Rogue River Watershed Partners. Later in the morning, paddlers launched in to Nash Creek and then traveled down the Rogue River finishing up at Camp Rockford, along the Rogue River off of Rector Road. That evening, expedition members were shuttled to downtown Rockford to enjoy food and drinks from local businesses. On the final day of the expedition, educational activities on birds, fish, and stream insects were presented to participants and the public at Camp Rockford.  Paddlers continued their journey on the Rogue River and stopped for a lunch presentation in Rockford from the Rockford Area Historical Society.   Participants then paddled all the way down to the Rogue River’s confluence to the Grand River, and finished the journey.  Expedition participants received a certificate and signed the Rogue River Expedition banner.

The Rogue River Expedition planning committee feels that we accomplished our goal of providing community outreach and drawing attention to the wonderful resources the Rogue River watershed provides.  An equally important goal that was reached was to bring attention to the river and the local communities that it flows through.  Thank you to our sponsors: the City of Rockford, Rogue River Expedition Planning Committee, Schrems West Michigan Trout Unlimited, and Trout Unlimited.  We’d also like to thank Friends of the Rogue River Expedition, volunteers, partners, and participants for making the Rogue River Expedition a success.

Posted in Featured, OutdoorsComments (0)

Bringing life back into your yard and garden

BLOOM-Bring-life-back-to-garden

Return of the green: Get your grass and garden growing again

 

(BPT) – Spring season is a time of regeneration and renewal as you prepare to bring life back to your lawn and garden. Taking the proper steps after seasonal changes or severe weather conditions can prove to be the difference between creating a breathtaking landscape or an outdoor space with unsightly mishaps. By following a few simple steps, you can take pride in your backyard year after year.

Inspect and replace your tools of the trade

The first step to creating an outdoor masterpiece begins with the proper equipment. You can’t very well dig, rake or mow with broken or dull materials, so now is the time to inspect each of your tools. Check your lawnmower and other garden essentials for signs of damage or rust. Making sure that your garden tools are in good condition at the start of the season will help establish the right foundation for a successful planting and growing season. “The right tools can make all the difference in creating a lawn that leaves a lasting impression,” says Alan Luxmore, host of A&E’s hit television show Fix This Yard. “Arm yourself with tools that are not only durable, but easy to use. Complete watering systems such as LeakFree by Nelson, offer a turn-key watering experience from start to finish, allowing gardeners more time to revel in their landscaping successes.”

Bring new life into the garden

Once your soil is permeable, it should be prepped for the upcoming planting season by removing dead leaves and plants that may have been left over from the previous season. Use a rotary tiller to break up and aerate hard soil. Once the old material has been removed from the work area and your soil is ready, begin planting your new plants, flowers, vegetables and grass. You can also help your trees, bushes and even certain plants have a more robust look by trimming them back to encourage new bud growth.

Establish a regular watering regimen

One of the most important steps to maintaining a healthy lawn and garden is providing it with the proper nutrients. Using a hose for daily irrigation seems simple but without the proper watering set up, your efforts could be futile. A proper watering guide and the following tips from the watering experts at Nelson can increase efficiency and bring you one step closer to creating a yard with envious curb appeal.

* Give your greens a thorough soaking once in a while to produce extended and robust roots.

* The best time to water is in the morning, when the air is cool and moist. The warmth of the sun and the rising temperature gently dries the grass and the leaves on the plants. And since morning air is damp, you don’t waste water through evaporation.

* Follow a regular watering schedule to discourage bugs by providing them with an inhospitable environment. Insects, with the possible exception of the water bug, aren’t terribly fond of water.

* To be certain your lawn is hydrated adequately when it has failed to rain, the standard rule of thumb is to sprinkle one inch of water per week.

* Use a complete guaranteed leak-free system such as LeakFree by Nelson in order to conserve water in drought conditions, save money and stay dry.

For additional watering and gardening tips, and to learn more about LeakFree technology, visit www.facebook.com/NelsonWateringAndGardening.

Posted in Bloomin' SummerComments (0)

Fresh Market: The Peach

 

By Vicky Babcock

 

BLOOM-fresh-market-peachesWho can resist the lure of a ripe peach on a summer afternoon? Not I, and certainly not my three-year-old grandson, who gorged himself on peaches while helping me pick and suffered not a whit. The sight of a peach still brings to mind that perfect summer day—Bryce’s face with bulging cheeks, the fragrant juice dripping slowly down his chin. He must have thought he was in candy heaven! He’s not alone—peaches are prized throughout the world.

Alexander the Great is credited with bringing the fruit to Europe after conquering Persia. Although peaches get their name from ancient Persia, they almost certainly originated in China, where they are highly prized. Peaches were brought to America by Spanish explorers in the 16th century, although they were not commercially grown until the 19th century.

The Chinese held the peach tree in awe. It was considered a ward against evil spirits and an aid to immortality.

In Korea, the peach is seen as the fruit of happiness, riches, honors and longevity. The rare peach with double seeds is seen as a favorable omen of a mild winter. It is one in ten of the immortal plants and animals. (Wikipedia)

In Vietnam, where it is recognized as a sign of spring, it plays a part in their celebration of Tet.

Peaches are a low calorie choice, providing about 30 calories per medium fruit. A medium peach provides eight percent of RDA for vitamin c and about 140 mg. of potassium. If you can tolerate the fuzz, leave these lovely treats with the skin intact, as much of the nutritional value is contained in the peel.

All parts of the peach have their place in American folklore and folk medicine. It was thought that a baby that refuses to be birthed could be brought at once if the mother drinks tea made from bark scraped downward from a young peach tree. Peach tree bark scraped upwards is said to be a cure for vomiting and/or diarrhea.

A magical cure for warts involved cutting as many notches in a peach tree branch as one has warts. Peach tree wood is a favorite of many for making dowsing rods.

Kentucky lore holds that rubbing warts with peach leaves, then burying the leaves, will remove the warts.  Peach leaves were also used in Colonial times as a cure for worms and Hohman recommends the flowers for the same. According to lore, eating a peach that has been pecked by a bird can lead to poisoning. Peach pits were used as a cure for “gravel” (kidney stones), to stimulate hair growth and as a remedy for drunkenness. Charms can be made from the carved stones as well.

Note:  I include the folklore for color only. Consumption of peach pits strikes me as highly risky as peach pits, like many of the rose family seeds, contain traces of cyanide.   If you plan to plant your own trees, you might want to consider this bit of folk wisdom shared by Vance Randolph. “In planting peach trees, it is always well to bury old shoes or boots near the roots.” He goes on to state that not far from Little Rock, Arkansas, he has known farmers to drive into town to search refuse piles for old shoes to bury in their orchards.

Okay, I’m hooked. Does anyone have an old boot?

Peach & sweet onion salad

6 ripe peaches peeled and sliced
1 medium Vidalia onion, cut across the center and sliced thinly
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce

1/4 tsp sea salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
6 cups mixed baby salad greens, rinsed and crisped
2 cups fresh arugula, tough stems removed, rinsed and crisped

In a large bowl, gently combine the peach and onion slices.  In a small cup, whisk together the lemon juice, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper.  Pour over the peach mixture and toss lightly to coat evenly.   Set aside for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to combine.When ready to serve, combine the baby greens and arugula.  Divide among 6 salad plates and top each portion with the peach and onion slices.  Drizzle with some of the juices from the bowl and serve at once.  Makes 6 Servings.

Per Serving:  66 Cal; 0.0 g Total Fat; 16 g Carb; 0.0 mg Cholesterol; 17 mg Sodium; 449 mg Potassium; 4 g Dietary Fiber; 2 g Protein.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

Posted in Bloomin' Summer, RecipesComments (0)

Consider health and safety risks when getting body art

 

Body art modification has become increasingly popular with one out of four persons ages 18-25 in the United States now having tattoo or body piercing. As body art such as tattoos or piercings becomes more common, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is urging residents to protect their health and wellness by working with a local state licensed body art facility for their body art.

The MDCH is running public service announcements on Pandora Radio through August to help educate Michigan residents about the risks associated with getting body art from an unlicensed facility. Residents interested in body art modification can protect themselves against infection by choosing licensed body art facilities when electing a tattoo or body piercing procedure.

Body art procedures are invasive processes that can be associated with serious health risks including transmission of blood-borne diseases such as Hepatitis B (HBV), Hepatitis C (HCV), and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). These procedures also carry the risk of skin infections such as Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA).

In 2010, State of Michigan Public Act 375 was enacted to encourage and require collaborative on-site facility inspections of body art facilities in Michigan to ensure the health and safety of residents. Public Act 375, along with the Body Art Licensing Program at MDCH, requires licensed body art facilities to adhere to a uniform set of standards to protect the health and safety of body art practitioners, their customers, and the general public.

To learn more about the MDCH Body Art Licensing Program, body art procedure risks, body art facility licensing requirements, or to find a list of local state licensed body art facilities, visit the MDCH website at www.michigan.gov/bodyart.

To listen to Michigan’s new public service announcements about body art safety, visit the MDCH YouTube page at www.youtube.com/michigandch.

 

Posted in HealthComments (0)

Stroke and osteoporosis screenings coming to Cedar Springs

 

Cedar Springs, Michigan – Residents living in and around the Cedar Springs, Michigan community can be screened to reduce their risk of having a stroke or bone fracture. Solon Center Wesleyan Church will host Life Line Screening on August 23. The site is located at 15671 Algoma in Cedar Springs.

Steve Hennigar of Oscoda, MI attended a Life Line Screening and said, “I’m sure Life Line Screening saved my life.”

Four key points every person needs to know:

• Stroke is the third leading cause of death and a leading cause of permanent disability

• 80% of stroke victims had no apparent warning signs prior to their stroke

• Preventive ultrasound screenings can help you avoid a stroke

• Screenings are fast, noninvasive, painless, affordable and convenient

Screenings identify potential cardiovascular conditions such as blocked arteries and irregular heart rhythm, abdominal aortic aneurysms, and hardening of the arteries in the legs, which is a strong predictor of heart disease. A bone density screening to assess osteoporosis risk is also offered and is appropriate for both men and women.

Packages start at $149. All five screenings take 60-90 minutes to complete.  For more information regarding the screenings or to schedule an appointment, call 1-877-237-1287 or visit our website at www.lifelinescreening.com. Pre-registration is required.

 

Posted in HealthComments (0)

Let go or be dragged

Ronnie McBrayer

Ronnie McBrayer

By Ronnie McBrayer

A friend who has some experience with rodeo horses sent me a most picturesque proverb: “Let go or be dragged.” Whether this phrase was first spoken by a Zen master who had achieved enlightenment, or by a battered cowboy pulling cacti from his backside, it is the unmistakable truth.

Take my friend’s horses as an example. Training such animals requires lassoing, roping, and haltering. Incredible strength, patience, and stamina are needed to match a horse. But sometimes, as the proverb goes, the breaker becomes the broken. A point is reached where the trainer must regroup, or risk being ground into the corral’s dust.

Think of the little one who refuses to leave the playground. Haven’t you seen mothers and fathers, quite literally, hauling the kicking and screaming child to the car? What about the dog that finally catches the school bus he has been chasing for years? Now what does he do? Victoriously sink his teeth into the bumper like it’s a chew toy?

This much is certain: We all will face situations, diseases, circumstances, relationships, people, challenges and conditions that are larger, stronger, and longer-lasting than we are. We have two options and only two options in such encounters. We can keep fighting an unwinnable war, and whatever we have dug our claws into will drag us into a bloody pulp.

Or, we can accept our limitations and admit that we are not omnipotent. We can accept life for how it is, even when life isn’t fair (when is it really fair, anyway?). We can let go. And in this surrender—this little act of dying—we stop our suffering. We get to live again. For this is the counterintuitive way of the cross; the paradoxical power of Christ: We only live once we have died. We only gain by giving up. We only win if we surrender—let go or be dragged.

At first blush this sounds something like “Christianity for Weaklings,” and some will find it intolerable. “Give up? Surrender is for cowards and quitters!” Such objections ignore the fact that there are some things that cannot be changed by brute strength.

Further, such objections belittle the way of the cross. Read again those familiar crucifixion accounts of Jesus, and there you will see that letting go requires more than a noble struggle, more than hanging on – infinitely more. It requires everything. Let go, or be dragged.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author. His newest book is “The Gospel According to Waffle House.” You can read more at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.

Posted in Keeping the FaithComments (0)

Thank You!

My sincere thanks to the Cedar Springs museum board for the honor they bestowed upon me at last week’s meeting.

It was a most touching moment when they unveiled a plaque with my name, that is to be hung in our library. A beautiful cake was served that topped off a memorable evening.

 

Betty L. Heiss

 

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