Saturday, November 15, 2008

Box Stores, Do We Need Them?

There is an old joke. "Where does a 600lb guerrilla sleep? Anywhere he wants." Big box stores have become the 600 lb guerilla in the world of small town shopping. The little stores can't compete with them. In town after town when the big guys move in the local stores disappear.

This may be great for shopping and getting a bargain; but all too soon the shopper finds they have no choice left. Computation is about more than price. The shops that disappear often provided services the big guys didn't.

When some corporate genius decides to stop carrying a certain product or size, you may no longer be able to get those items locally. In small towns that can mean a long drive to find what you need. The choice becomes driving over an hour or settling for something you didn't want in the first place. We have sacrificed the service and convinance of the corner store for a long drive to save a buck.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Snow on the Roads.

It could be a long winter. The word on the streets is that all the road departments are cutting back. When the storm hits nothing will happen till it is over.
M.D.O.T. has told the county road departments to cut back.

Michigan Department of Transportation tells counties to cut back on snow plowing, salting of roads
by Associated Press
Wednesday November 12, 2008, 7:53 AM
LANSING -- The Michigan Department of Transportation has directed county road commissions to cut back on snow plowing and salting of secondary roads as part of a cost-cutting effort.
The Detroit News reports Wednesday that the directive means road commissions would give high priority to freeways, but would limit less-traveled secondary roads to a single plowing and salting.
MDOT spokesman Bill Shreck says it's basically an effort to reduce overtime as officials also face high salt and fuel prices. He says if a storm is severe, crews will be sent out on overtime to ensure safety.

Winter snow plow priorities shifting?
MDOT tells counties, municipalities to watch their OT
Ludington Daily News
Steve Begnoche - Managing Editor
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Travelers on certain routes in Michigan could see less clear pavement this winter following a change in priorities established by the Michigan Department of Transportation.
Among routes now declared priority 2 — for which the state will limit how much overtime it pays contracting counties and municipalities to clear — are U.S. 10 east of Scottville, M-37, M-55, M-22 and U.S. 10 west of U.S. 10-31, including Ludington Avenue, Lakeshore Drive and South James Street. (A related story is in today's Daily News.)
The state is telling its contracting agencies that overtime should be used only during a storm or following a storm, “with a goal of providing a pavement surface generally bare of ice and snow; wide enough for one-wheel track in each direction.”
Any clearing of snow or ice beyond that level should be done only without working overtime, according to the MDOT’s winter level of service definitions.
Mason County Road Commission Managing Director Gary Dittmer said travelers east of Scottville may see a difference this winter, depending on when and if snow falls.
“They will see the center of the road opened up,” he said. “They won’t see bare pavement.”
He noted many east-west routes in northern Michigan are affected based on an MDOT traffic study that shows most traffic is flowing north-south in Michigan in winter.
What it means is we will need to be very careful driving this winter. Secondary roads won’t get done as well as in the past, and places like subdivisions may be very low on the list.

Get out safety gear; Put a box in the car with blankets, food, and a flashlight. Put a shovel in the trunk and make sure you have a working cell phone with you. Always drive carefully. The life you save could be your own.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Michigan Day Trip

Just a thought. Do you realize that when we talk driving distance in Michigan we often look at trips of four to six hours or longer. In some parts of the U.S. the same distance would take you through two or three states.
Still no matter where you live in Michigan there are places to visit that are worth the drive to go see.
Here in the central part of the state we are within a couple of hours of great skiing and snowmobiling in the winter and wonderful fishing and camping areas in the summer. Out of all the great places to go, if you have never been there, you must get to the Island. That's with a capital "I" because it is a proper name just like the Bridge.

I am talking about Mackinac Island and the Mackinac Bridge. The spelling is right, Mackinaw City is spelt with an aw, the others are ac. It's a Michigan thing having to do with the early French and English settlers. It is located in the Straits of Mackinac and can only be reached by boat or small plane.once a gathering place for native Americans, the British built Fort Mackinac there in 1781 when Fort Michilimackinac on the mainland was no longer considered safe.
The area was once central to the fur trade and played an important part in the early history of our country. Except for a brief time during the war of 1812 the U.S. maintained the fort through the American Civil War, using it house prisoners of war. In 1875 it became the second national park. In 1895 the fort was closed and the park became a state park.

An important part of history and a beautiful place to visit. It is surprising how many Michiganders have never been there. With excellent hotels and campgrounds in the area it is a perfect place for a day trip or extended stay. Mackinac Island is a pleasant step back in time where cars are band and everyone gets around with bikes or horse drawn carriages.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Deer Season In Michigan

Today is the twelfth, opening day of deer season in Michigan is the Saturday the fifteenth. The beginning of fifteen days of tradition here in the heartland of the state. From Kent County to "The Bridge" and everywhere in the U.P., this is more then just a time to hunt deer. In many families it is a right of passage.
Sure there is bow season before and after, but it is rifle season that marks the bonding of parent and child in the rite of deer hunting. It is a time so important that many factories close for "Deer Day" and schools call it safety day and shut their doors.

On farmland and in woodlots around the region legions of orange covered hunters will be counting down the seconds till sunrise and official start of the season.
For most of them it isn't just killing a deer. People around here really eat the meat, and getting a deer means food on the table this winter. The season also means money. Down state and out of state hunters bring much needed dollars into the area. Bars, restaurants, motels, gas stations, and grocery stores all see extra business at this time. What they spend now will help keep the heat on in allot of homes this winter.
In short deer season means hunters mean money spent and that means jobs for a lot of people who would otherwise be laid off.

While I do not hunt, I understand the importance of these fifteen days on the economy of the state. I must admit I also like the taste of a nice venison roast. Hopefully one of my hunting friends will be willing to share.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Money, Getting Things, And Happiness

Of all the things that can mess up your life, right at the top of the list is money. How much we have of it and how we spend it. We want to keep up with what the really cool people in our world have even if we can't afford it.The need to acquire stuff drives us to find a way to get it- no matter what.
Number one on the list is get credit cards. The card companies are falling all over themselves sending out offers, they want you to use them. Buy all that wonderful stuff and just make the payment.
Of course you might not qualify for a card, especially if you just lost your job. Don't worry, rent to own. Most of those places advertise no credit checks. Heck sometimes you don't even need a down payment.
The important thing is to get cool things at any cost .

Foreclosure, repossession, bill collectors, and bankruptcy. Not nice to think about, but they are there.
If you don't need it don't buy it. Use the twenty four hour rule. Give it a day and if you still think you need it save up and buy it.
That's right only buy what you can afford. Keep a budget and save for what you want. Why spend the rest of your life paying for something you can get along without.
Shelter,food, clothing, transportation, biggest bills first, than savings. If you don't have enough money either get more or don't spend it. Get a second job, cut back on things you don't need, or sell something.

Make up your mind what you can spend and what you need, than learn to live within your means. You aren't poor if you don't think you are. There are other things that can make you rich. If you have good friends and family to share your life, what more do you need. When we were kids we didn't have a lot,but we never knew we needed anything else. We were happy just being ourselves.
It's not being content that makes us want to get things. Only we find out that those things can't satisfy us and we still want more. Until you learn to be satisfied with what you have you will never know what it means to have inter peace.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Be Proactive With Your Health.

Two sure things in this world, getting older and having problems with your health. It is happens to all of us. Our warranty starts to run out and things go wrong.
The best advice for this is to be proactive. It's the only body you will have and you need to take care of it.
When things don't seem right you need to find out why.

Do a little research, talk to your doctor,and take control of your health. A little on line research at places like Web MD can help you find out what might be wrong, Tell the doctor how you feel, they ain't mind readers, and see what it could mean. Now do something about it. It's up to you, no one else is going to even know there is anything wrong until it is to late.

Yes, do something; just be careful what you do. Make sure your actions are based on good information and sound judgment. Don't go off half cocked,even the seemingly safest things might cause trouble.
It is true that there are "natural" remedies out there, but just because it is natural doesn't make it safe. Most of the drugs prescribed today came from natural sources. Remember they can react with other things you might be taking.
Use them as directed. If taking one pill is good for you, it does not mean that two will do a better job. Overdosing yourself and mixing medications is not only a bad idea, it can be fatal. Over the counter pain killers can cause kidney or liver failure if you abuse them, some safe medications can keep other things from doing what they were meant to do, and if your doctor doesn't know you are taking things over the counter how can they treat you effectively?

Remember if fell something is not right, do something about it. It's better to be wrong than to find out to late that something could have been about it.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Stumble Upon

Sitting at my computer to write this I let my mind drift aimlessly along. I realize I can be anywhere I want in just a click of the mouse. Yet if I don't know where I want to be then what?
That 's where the site I found comes in. Called Stumble Upon. it lets you do just that. You tell it what you 'er interested in and than you push the stumble button. Presto it randomly brings up a web page related to one of your areas of interest. You give the page a thumbs up or down and the program fine tunes itself to be able to find things that you would like to see.
If you find something you really like you can save it or mail it to a friend. This one of the neatest things I have found in a long while, right up there with free downloads and public domain photo pages.

It is amazing the number of cool sites and programs that are out there weighting for you to use them. No matter what it is you want to do or find all you need to do is type a few key words into a search engine and pow there's a web page or a program to fit your needs, and lots of it is for free.
The trick is to not be afraid. After all it is hard to mess things up so bad that deleting a program and running system restore won't fix it.
Jist have fun and stumble along at