Skip to main content

Lifestyle

Simple DIY steps to protect your car through all seasons

Automotive - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - There is much to love about the nuances of the changing seasons – from spending sunny days on the beach to hiking through autumn-kissed parks and skiing down snow-covered mountains. Throughout the year, just as you would protect yourself from seasonal elements like sun, rain and cold by applying sunscreen and dressing appropriately, it’s important to protect your vehicle from the great outdoors. Your car needs to be prepared for the varying weather ahead – just like people do. Here are a few easy DIY projects to keep your car looking new and running for seasons to come.

Fix-ups for fall

The crisp change in the air signals the exciting start of fall. However, before the cold-weather season kicks off, make sure to show your vehicle some love and touch up scratches that may have appeared during the road trips of summer months. By affordably fixing your car now, you can save yourself from a major, and costly, headache later.

Repairing nicks, scratches and chips on your car can be simple. Try a product like Dupli-Color’s innovative Scratch Fix All-in-1. Specifically designed to provide an easy-to-use and exact-match color, touch-up paint solution, the product contains a prep tool and fast-drying clear finish to seal and protect repairs. Scratch-Fix-All-in-1 is available in a variety of colors, tested and approved by vehicle manufacturers to ensure a perfect match.

Worry-free winter

Before the flurries start to fly, it’s important to pay close attention to vehicle maintenance. First, check all vehicle fluids to make sure they are at the appropriate levels. Things like oil, transmission fluid and brake fluid are especially important as they can cause engine damage and even prevent your car from starting on chilly mornings if they’re too low.

Also, check the air pressure in your tires and inflate them if necessary. You can reference your owner’s manual or sidewall of the tire for information about optimum air pressure. To ensure your vehicle will be safe in rainy, snowy and icy conditions, have your tires balanced and rotated before the snow starts. If you live in a particularly snow-prone or rural area, you might also consider buying snow tires and/or chains.

See spring clearly

Driving with worn or broken windshield wipers is dangerous, and recent statistics show the average driver only changes his wiper blades every three years. However, according to AAA, you should replace them every six to 12 months – about the same time you would purchase spark plugs, filters or other auto maintenance products. Often, car owners will try to stretch the limit by waiting to replace these items until absolutely necessary, but remember regular maintenance is more cost effective than accident repair.

Headlight clarity is also important. Clouded lenses can reduce the effectiveness of your headlights up to 80 percent and pose serious safety concerns, according to Consumer Reports. Like replacing windshield wipers, spending a few dollars and an hour on restoring cloudy headlights will not only enhance the appearance of your vehicle, but also keep you safe. Headlight restoration kits can be purchased affordably and they will enhance headlight clarity while also protecting lenses from damaging UV rays.

Fight the fade from summer sun

Automotive plastic and vinyl parts can fade over time and make cars look old and worn before you know it. Bring new life to faded areas like bumpers, trim, dashboards or seats with the new Plastic & Vinyl Restore Coating from Dupli-Color – an aerosol spray that bonds to substrates leaving behind a smooth, like-new finish with just three coats.

Additionally, there are steps you can take to prevent interior damage to your car. For example, use a sun shade to keep your dashboard – one of the largest plastic surfaces in your car – from getting too much light. This will keep any plastic or vinyl, as well as carpets and other surfaces, from becoming discolored and faded.

Don’t forget to check your owner’s manual throughout the year and look for any recommended maintenance based on your vehicles mileage. And remember, when seasons change, your automobile changes too. By keeping up with your vehicle’s regular care, you will not only have a car or truck that looks good, but you’ll save yourself from larger repairs down the road.

Categories: Lifestyle

Sports concussions generate attention with start of school year

Education - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - You’re spending your nights standing on the sidelines, cheering your daughter as she dribbles a soccer ball across the field. Or maybe you’re cheering on your quarterback son as he yells “hut” at a football scrimmage. The school year - and its associated sports - is an exciting time. But with that excitement comes the risk of traumatic injuries - including concussions.

Concussions are generating a lot of attention these days as an increasing amount of research highlights the difficulties in treating them.

To this end, the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) has developed Sports Concussion Guidelines - available in both English and Spanish - to help coaches, schools, parents and athletes better understand concussions, and when an injured athlete should be allowed to return to play. The guidelines cover the following:

Players: Concussions can happen in any sport and at any time during the season. A concussion can occur when the head hits, or is hit by, a solid surface. It can also happen when the head’s motion is stopped suddenly, even if it doesn’t strike, or is struck by, a solid surface. If you witness changes in the behavior or personality of a player on your team, or if you see them giving a blank stare, acting disoriented, suffering from memory loss or even vomiting, ask the player if he/she was involved in a collision. Alert your coach if you witness or are involved in any violent contact while on the field.

Parents: Educate yourselves about the signs of a concussion, as you know your child best when he/she might be exhibiting unusual behaviors. Download the AAN’s concussion reference sheet for parents, coaches and players at AAN.com/concussion, and share with your young athlete your concerns about him/her playing with a head injury. While cheering for your child in practice and in games, keep an eye on the play for any potential head collisions and report anything significant that may have been missed.

Coaches: Have a conversation with your players early in the season about the dangers of concussions, and communicate clearly that they can happen in any sport at any time. The AAN offers a Concussion Quick Check mobile app to help coaches, parents, and athletic trainers quickly identify if a player is exhibiting signs of a concussion. Additionally, listen to your players if they are talking about someone having taken a hard hit. Enforce the rule that players should not be allowed to return to play following a head injury until they are evaluated and cleared by a physician.

Physicians: Concussions are also generating more attention in the medical field. Physicians are ethically obligated to safeguard the current and future physical and mental health of the student athletes they treat, whether the student has a concussion or not. This includes providing parents and athletes with information about concussion risk factors, symptoms and discussing the potential for long term brain health effects from repeated blows.

“Brain disease threatens to steal from us what makes us human,” says retired NFL player Ben Utecht, who suffered five known concussions during his football career and is now the spokesperson for the American Academy of Neurology and its foundation, the American Brain Foundation. “I will fight relentlessly to see that through research we can in fact find the origins of healing through the cures that are waiting to be discovered.”

Categories: Lifestyle

How to handle student-teacher conflicts for the benefit of your child's education

Education - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - Conflict and disagreements are a part of life. As an adult you understand this and you employ skills that help you mitigate conflicts and avoid future disagreements. Your children, however, may not have developed these skills yet. That means they will rely on you for help in dealing with these situations. Your help is especially important when the disagreement involves your child’s teacher. Approaching this situation in the proper way is important. It provides a good example for your children and sets them up for a successful learning experience the rest of the school year.

“When parents are active in their child’s education, the child is likely to perform better academically in school,” says Dr. Deborah Hammond-Watts, an adjunct professor in the College of Education at Argosy University, Chicago. “A good working relationship between school and home sends the message to a child that his/her parents and the school work together for his/her educational and emotional benefit.”

When a child approaches a parent with an issue or comment related to school and/or the teacher, parents should be willing to listen and to not jump to conclusions. “Whether you believe what your child is telling you or not, it is important that your child knows you are willing to listen,” says Dr. Dominick Ferello, professor in the College of Arts & Sciences and College of Education at Argosy University, Tampa.

The next step is for the parent to reach out to the teacher directly. Request a conference or time to discuss the matter with your child’s teacher directly (without your child present) to gain some understanding as to what the teacher perceives the concern or issue to be. “When requesting to talk with a teacher, keep in mind that the teacher’s job is to teach the children in the classroom during the school day. Schedule an appointment to make certain that the teacher has time to speak with you. Showing up at school and demanding to see a teacher may not always work in your favor,” says Hammond-Watts.

“Try not to make assumptions about what is going on before you have an opportunity to meet with the teacher,” says Ferello. “The goal for the meeting is to gather information about what may be going on, as well as make it clear that you want to partner with the teacher in helping your child to feel that the focus is on their education and helping them succeed in the classroom,” says Ferello. “Even in some of the most difficult situations, a compromise can probably be reached if both the teacher and parent keep in mind that they are working for the benefit of the child in the educational setting,” says Hammond-Watts.

The reality is that teachers aren’t perfect and neither are parents, says Ferello. As such, the outcome may not always be what either party had hoped for. “Teachers are faced with questions and concerns from a number of parents and children on any given day,” says Ferello. “Given the number of students they teach and the demands placed on them, it’s not hard to imagine that even teachers can get frustrated. Given that parents naturally want to stand up for their children and see the best in and for them, it stands to reason that parent/teacher conversations can sometimes go in the wrong direction.”

“If that happens, it’s important to acknowledge that you got off on the wrong foot,” says Hammond-Watts. “To change the relationship or the conversation, someone needs to address the ‘bad start’ and be willing to start over. Either the parent or teacher can do this.”

If you and the teacher just cannot get along after much effort and frustration, the principal or another administrator may need to get involved. “The presence of a third party may assist both teacher and parent to try to communicate in a way that demonstrates less conflict,” says Hammond-Watts. “After the meeting, the principal/administrator can meet separately with the parent and teacher to critique the meeting and offer solutions toward a better working relationship. While the principal can instruct the teacher to work with the parent in a professional manner, the teacher needs to be sincere in any efforts to do so.”

Categories: Lifestyle

How to handle student-teacher conflicts for the benefit of your child's education

Community Cares - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - Conflict and disagreements are a part of life. As an adult you understand this and you employ skills that help you mitigate conflicts and avoid future disagreements. Your children, however, may not have developed these skills yet. That means they will rely on you for help in dealing with these situations. Your help is especially important when the disagreement involves your child’s teacher. Approaching this situation in the proper way is important. It provides a good example for your children and sets them up for a successful learning experience the rest of the school year.

“When parents are active in their child’s education, the child is likely to perform better academically in school,” says Dr. Deborah Hammond-Watts, an adjunct professor in the College of Education at Argosy University, Chicago. “A good working relationship between school and home sends the message to a child that his/her parents and the school work together for his/her educational and emotional benefit.”

When a child approaches a parent with an issue or comment related to school and/or the teacher, parents should be willing to listen and to not jump to conclusions. “Whether you believe what your child is telling you or not, it is important that your child knows you are willing to listen,” says Dr. Dominick Ferello, professor in the College of Arts & Sciences and College of Education at Argosy University, Tampa.

The next step is for the parent to reach out to the teacher directly. Request a conference or time to discuss the matter with your child’s teacher directly (without your child present) to gain some understanding as to what the teacher perceives the concern or issue to be. “When requesting to talk with a teacher, keep in mind that the teacher’s job is to teach the children in the classroom during the school day. Schedule an appointment to make certain that the teacher has time to speak with you. Showing up at school and demanding to see a teacher may not always work in your favor,” says Hammond-Watts.

“Try not to make assumptions about what is going on before you have an opportunity to meet with the teacher,” says Ferello. “The goal for the meeting is to gather information about what may be going on, as well as make it clear that you want to partner with the teacher in helping your child to feel that the focus is on their education and helping them succeed in the classroom,” says Ferello. “Even in some of the most difficult situations, a compromise can probably be reached if both the teacher and parent keep in mind that they are working for the benefit of the child in the educational setting,” says Hammond-Watts.

The reality is that teachers aren’t perfect and neither are parents, says Ferello. As such, the outcome may not always be what either party had hoped for. “Teachers are faced with questions and concerns from a number of parents and children on any given day,” says Ferello. “Given the number of students they teach and the demands placed on them, it’s not hard to imagine that even teachers can get frustrated. Given that parents naturally want to stand up for their children and see the best in and for them, it stands to reason that parent/teacher conversations can sometimes go in the wrong direction.”

“If that happens, it’s important to acknowledge that you got off on the wrong foot,” says Hammond-Watts. “To change the relationship or the conversation, someone needs to address the ‘bad start’ and be willing to start over. Either the parent or teacher can do this.”

If you and the teacher just cannot get along after much effort and frustration, the principal or another administrator may need to get involved. “The presence of a third party may assist both teacher and parent to try to communicate in a way that demonstrates less conflict,” says Hammond-Watts. “After the meeting, the principal/administrator can meet separately with the parent and teacher to critique the meeting and offer solutions toward a better working relationship. While the principal can instruct the teacher to work with the parent in a professional manner, the teacher needs to be sincere in any efforts to do so.”

Categories: Lifestyle

Prime preschoolers for the classroom with developmental games

Education - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - While school prep is normally focused around kindergarten and elementary school students, increasingly preparations are occurring at much younger ages. Enhancing learning-based skills in preschoolers can be invaluable to their development and play is an essential role in early classroom experiences.

Developmental toys, like blocks and play construction tools, for example, have been very popular with children of all ages, creating problem solving situations and helping to spark creativity.

While building blocks have long been known to help young children develop motor skills and spatial awareness, toys such as the First Builders Spell School Bus by Mega Bloks also introduce kids to the alphabet and other classroom subjects. Learn more at  www.megabloks.com.

Developmental psychologist and child play expert Dr. Maureen O’Brien is just one of the experts advocating this kind of play for preschoolers. “Studies have shown that when children are actively involved in putting letters together - compared to simply pointing and naming - their memory and recognition skills are improved” says Dr. O’Brien. “Reading experts know that combining learning and fun is a better way to build skills than simply memorizing what letters look like.”

The same principles apply to math and other subjects, where construction toys like the 1-2-3 Learning Train from the Mega Bloks, can help kids get familiar with basic digits in a more hands-on way.

From giving kids their first taste of classroom subjects to helping them with motor skills and socializing, developmental toys like building blocks are a good way to help get kids excited at the idea of going to school. As they begin to mix learning and play, children will discover that school can be fun. They will be that much more ready and eager when it comes time to board the school bus.

Categories: Lifestyle

Teenager danger: Five rules for young drivers

Education - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - If you’re feeling nervous about handing the car keys to your teenager for the first time, you’re not alone. It’s a common sentiment given some sobering statistics. According to teendriversource.org, 20 percent of all 16-year-old drivers will be involved in an accident during their first year behind the wheel.  And studies show more teenage motor vehicle fatalities happen during the summer than any other time of year. But there are some things you can do to help keep your teenager from becoming a statistic. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has some tips and tools to keep your teen safe.

Though auto accidents are a fact of life for most drivers, even a minor fender bender can impact insurance rates, costing parents and teens for years to come. The good news is research shows teen drivers who follow rules are half as likely to get in an accident. Before your teen hits the road, consider establishing some simple guidelines to protect his or her safety and your wallet:

1. Set a driving curfew. More than 40 percent of teen auto deaths occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Set a curfew to keep your teen off the road during these times.

2. Limit passengers. A teen’s relative risk of being involved in a fatal crash increases with each additional passenger. More passengers equal more potential distractions.

3. Make the cell phone off limits while driving. Talking and texting can double the likelihood of an accident. If your teen must use the phone, instruct him or her to pull over before doing so and be sure to set a good example when you are behind the wheel.

4. Empower your teen to exercise his or her rights as a passenger. Only 44 percent of teens say they would speak up if someone were driving in a way that scared them. Remind your teens they are just as vulnerable in an accident as the driver, so they should speak up if they feel unsafe.

5. Be Prepared. Arm your teens with the knowledge of what they should do if they do get into an accident. Mobile apps such as WreckCheck can help take the guesswork out of a tense situation, guiding users through a step-by-step process to create an accident report. WreckCheck uses your device’s location service, camera and audio recorder to document all pertinent information about the incident and provides tips on how to file and follow up on a claim.

A Teen Driver Contract is a simple way to keep your teen accountable. It establishes basic driving ground rules and clearly lays out the consequences associated with driving privileges. The NAIC has developed an online tool to guide parents through building a customized Teen Driver Contract. There’s also a downloadable sample contract to help get you started.

Educating yourself and your new driver about the risks and insurance implications of unsafe driving can save lives and money. As your teen begins his or her journey on the roadways, take time to speak openly and candidly about your expectations for behind-the-wheel behavior.

Categories: Lifestyle

Teenager danger: Five rules for young drivers

Automotive - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - If you’re feeling nervous about handing the car keys to your teenager for the first time, you’re not alone. It’s a common sentiment given some sobering statistics. According to teendriversource.org, 20 percent of all 16-year-old drivers will be involved in an accident during their first year behind the wheel.  And studies show more teenage motor vehicle fatalities happen during the summer than any other time of year. But there are some things you can do to help keep your teenager from becoming a statistic. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has some tips and tools to keep your teen safe.

Though auto accidents are a fact of life for most drivers, even a minor fender bender can impact insurance rates, costing parents and teens for years to come. The good news is research shows teen drivers who follow rules are half as likely to get in an accident. Before your teen hits the road, consider establishing some simple guidelines to protect his or her safety and your wallet:

1. Set a driving curfew. More than 40 percent of teen auto deaths occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Set a curfew to keep your teen off the road during these times.

2. Limit passengers. A teen’s relative risk of being involved in a fatal crash increases with each additional passenger. More passengers equal more potential distractions.

3. Make the cell phone off limits while driving. Talking and texting can double the likelihood of an accident. If your teen must use the phone, instruct him or her to pull over before doing so and be sure to set a good example when you are behind the wheel.

4. Empower your teen to exercise his or her rights as a passenger. Only 44 percent of teens say they would speak up if someone were driving in a way that scared them. Remind your teens they are just as vulnerable in an accident as the driver, so they should speak up if they feel unsafe.

5. Be Prepared. Arm your teens with the knowledge of what they should do if they do get into an accident. Mobile apps such as WreckCheck can help take the guesswork out of a tense situation, guiding users through a step-by-step process to create an accident report. WreckCheck uses your device’s location service, camera and audio recorder to document all pertinent information about the incident and provides tips on how to file and follow up on a claim.

A Teen Driver Contract is a simple way to keep your teen accountable. It establishes basic driving ground rules and clearly lays out the consequences associated with driving privileges. The NAIC has developed an online tool to guide parents through building a customized Teen Driver Contract. There’s also a downloadable sample contract to help get you started.

Educating yourself and your new driver about the risks and insurance implications of unsafe driving can save lives and money. As your teen begins his or her journey on the roadways, take time to speak openly and candidly about your expectations for behind-the-wheel behavior.

Categories: Lifestyle

5 secrets to keeping your sanity this school year

Education - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - The summer months are over and the school year is in full swing. As a parent, this means you’ve traded those lazy summer days for school sports and activities, colder temperatures and the morning rush to the bus stop. If you feel like your home’s organization is hanging on by a thread, take heart; there are some simple things you can do to return order and make the rest of your school year run smoothly. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

* Take the hectic out of those hectic mornings. Let’s be honest, the mornings are pure chaos. There’s breakfast to prepare, school supplies to collect and outfits to pick out. It’s a whirlwind. However, you can return some sanity to your mornings by accomplishing some simple tasks the night before. Before they go to bed, have your children pick out their school outfit for the following day and pack their backpacks – this will reduce the risk of forgetting something.

* Make snacking simple. Snacking is a mainstay for families on the run. Whether it’s an addition to a lunchbox, an option for an after school snack or something to eat at halftime, your kids’ snacks need to be simple. Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps Minis are the perfect choice for kids on the move. Pair them with nuts, dried fruit and chocolate for a delicious snack mix, or serve them individually when you’re on the go. Available in Original and Cheddar flavors, and at just 110 calories per serving, Pretzel Crisps Minis are a better option for your children than greasy potato chips.

* Create a homework station. As a parent, nothing is more frustrating than learning your child received a failing grade simply because they lost their assignment. Keep your home organized and your child’s assignments accounted for by creating a designated homework area in your home. A space in your office, a desk in the kitchen or a spot at the dining room table works great. You can even add a calendar to help your students keep track of the due dates for larger projects.

* Adjust the bathroom routine. Of all the routines that create morning chaos, the battle for the bathroom is king. Simply put, this space is a one-at-a-time area, and if you have more kids than bathrooms, tension will arise. You can circumvent this by putting some of your children – or even yourself – on the evening shift when it comes to showers. Small children or children who require less mirror time in the morning are the logical choice, but you may want to set up a rotating schedule to keep the peace.

* Have a plan. If you have multiple kids in multiple activities, it can be impossible to keep track of who needs to be where and when, so don’t try. When your child joins a new activity, ask to see the schedule and instantly add the appropriate dates and times to your calendar. Don’t rely on your kids to remember when they need to be somewhere; they won’t remember until they are already 15 minutes late. You simply don’t need the headache.

The school year is a far cry from those relaxing days of summer, but you don’t have to let the crazy control your life. Institute these simple changes to maintain some order, and you’ll reach the following summer with a smile on your face and your sanity intact.

Categories: Lifestyle

7 health myths that might surprise you

Community Cares - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - Living a healthy life takes some resolve, but success often comes down to knowing what pays the biggest dividends for a given effort. Health coaches are great sources for this insight. They’ve seen it all on the job and learned a lot in their training.

To honor Employee Health and Fitness Month in May, health coaches for workplace well-being leader Provant identified seven commonly held health and wellness myths drawn from their research and experience:

Myth No. 1: An aerobic workout boosts your metabolism all day. Wrong, it just burns calories while you’re doing it. Muscle-strengthening exercises, however, will burn calories long after your workout.

Myth No. 2: If you don’t break a sweat, it’s not a workout. Wrong, sweat is just the body’s way of cooling itself. A better reflection of effort is the talk test: your workout is moderate if you can talk, but not sing, and vigorous if you need to take a breath every few words.

Myth No. 3: You should stretch before you exercise. Not really, you could hurt yourself. Better to stretch after you’re warmed up with light, smooth movement of gradually increasing intensity.

Myth No. 4: Frozen fruits and vegetables are less healthy than fresh ones. Actually, they’re both healthy. Frozen fruits and vegetables are generally picked and frozen at nutritional peak. Canned can be a fine choice if you’re watching your budget. Avoid fruits packed in syrup.

Myth No. 5: Cigars and chewing tobacco are safe because you don’t inhale. This is another myth. Cigar smokers have higher rates than nonsmokers of death from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and are four to 10 times more likely to die from cancers of the throat, mouth, lips, larynx and esophagus, according to the American Cancer Society. People who chew tobacco are more likely to develop oral cancers that affect the tongue, lips, cheeks and gums.

Myth No. 6: Stress happens. There’s nothing you can do about it. Not true, stress doesn’t have to overwhelm you. There are several approaches to managing it. Set priorities and tackle simple problems first. Then move on to complex difficulties. Practice relaxation exercises. Make yourself more resilient by eating smart, exercising and avoiding tobacco.

Myth No. 7: Cold turkey is the best way to quit tobacco. Nope. It’s just one of the ways to quit, and the more times you try to quit, the better your chances of succeeding. Research indicates to help improve success rates, you need: the desire and readiness to quit, some form of pharmacotherapy (nicotine replacement therapy or prescription medications) and social support (family, friends, health coach).

Keep this information in mind as you go about improving your health, and most importantly, don’t give up.

Categories: Lifestyle

Best way to handle aggressive drivers? Model better behavior

Automotive - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - Aggressive drivers speed, drive too fast or carelessly, change lanes without warning, cut off other vehicles, tailgate and pass in ways that endanger others. Aggressive driving likely causes “a substantial number” of the 6.8 million crashes that occur every year on American highways, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says. Everyone is aware of aggressive drivers, but you may be surprised to learn how many people think that other drivers are the only offenders; the truth is that most drivers should take a closer look in the mirror – aggressive drivers may be closer than they appear.

Eighty-five percent of motorists describe other drivers’ behind-the-wheel behavior as aggressive, yet only 36 percent admit their own driving is aggressive, according to a survey by Safeco Insurance. Despite that discrepancy, the survey also revealed wide-spread agreement on two important points: 82 percent said they experience negative feelings because of how other people drive, and 72 percent said they would welcome the chance to improve the driving experience for everyone and make at least one change to their own behavior.

Recognizing the need to reduce aggressive driving, Safeco launched a “Drive it Forward Fridays” movement. Drivers can visit www.safeco.com/diff, or use the hashtag #DIFF, to pledge to be more courteous drivers, and to share how they’re making positive changes to their driving habits.

The survey also identified behaviors that, if stopped, would make driving more pleasant for everyone. This includes cutting off other drivers (59 percent), using high beams toward oncoming traffic (57 percent) and tailgating (56 percent).

“People’s emotions and anxieties often will play out on our roads and highways, putting us all in tense, high-stress driving conditions that can be dangerous,” says Jonathan Alpert, a Manhattan-based psychotherapist and author of the book “Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days.” Alpert has also written about road rage. “Changing aggressive driving habits is not only good for society, but it's good for your mental health. Simple positive acts can have a huge impact on how you feel by activating the reward center in the brain - meaning it really can make you feel good.”  

Alpert offers some tips to help drivers begin curbing aggressive road behaviors:

* Aggressive drivers cut off other motorists, tailgate, have unnecessary and excessive use the horn, speed and change lanes rapidly. If these behaviors describe your driving habits, resolve to make a change for the better.

* Model good driving behavior by being friendly and courteous on the road. Your good behavior can inspire others to be courteous as well. Give up a parking spot, and when it’s safe to do so, allow other drivers to move into your lane.

* Accept that some undesirable road conditions, such as heavy traffic, slow drivers or excessively fast ones are a normal and unavoidable reality of driving. If you normalize these irritations, you’re less likely to be frustrated by them.

* Don’t take it personally. A driver who cut you off was likely just being thoughtless, and didn’t intend to anger or endanger you. Consider other explanations; perhaps the driver is traveling to an emergency or simply didn’t see you.

In addition to improving your own behaviors and encouraging others to do so, too, avoid antagonizing aggressive drivers. NHTSA recommends you do your best to get out of the way of aggressive drivers and don’t encourage them by speeding up or attempting to block them. Avoid eye contact and ignore rude gestures – in short, don’t encourage bad driving behavior by behaving badly yourself.

Categories: Lifestyle

Education pathways: K-12 students find success in virtual school

Education - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - With more school choices than ever and the evolution of technology, students are redefining their own pathway to a successful K-12 education. More families are building complete, harmonious educational experiences for their children by choosing schools that meet their needs at a point in time – whether the school is traditional brick and mortar, private or charter. Over the past decade, families have added fully online and blended schools to their list of options – making online learning one of the fastest growing forms of education in the U.S. today.

According to the national report, “Keeping Pace with K-12 Online & Blended Learning,” in the 2012-13 school year, roughly 310,000 American students in kindergarten through 12th grades attended fully online public schools. Blending elements of brick and mortar schools, distance learning and homeschooling, online public schools deliver public education directly to students in their home via the Internet. Students work with certified teachers online while a parent oversees progress in the home – they even go on field trips and take part in after-school clubs and activities. Curriculum is aligned to state standards and students take required assessment tests. And as a public school, it’s free.

One of the main reasons families and students choose online school, as revealed in a recent survey by e-learning provider Connections Academy, is they simply want a different school environment – and one that offers greater flexibility in terms of scheduling and pace of lessons.

“Virtual school meets the needs of all types of students and families – some students find a perfect fit online and attend for the majority of their educations; others attend for a few years and then go back to the traditional school,” says Tisha Rinker, director of counseling at Connections Academy. “Students aren’t bound to one method of education or another – they can mix it up and develop a more personalized school experience.” Rinker says that most students who come to online school for a shorter period of time (one to three years) attend because they are looking for a solution to a typical school challenge – they are advanced and want to move more quickly through their lessons, they need to catch up, or are dealing with social issues like bullying. “Students transition between online and traditional school all the time,” she says. “In fact, for many kids, the time they spent in online school is exactly what they needed to succeed later on.”

Those skeptical of learning outside a traditional setting feel that students need an in-person classroom experience to gain social skills. But parents with students enrolled in online school say that their kids socialize just like other kids: with friends from school (through online clubs and activities or in-person field trips, proms) and after school, playing community sports, taking dance and music lessons, through youth groups and more.

The Keffer family of Marietta, Ohio, needed more schedule flexibility than was possible in their local neighborhood school. Their son Sean is a talented quad-runner racer who competes all over the East Coast, and it had been a struggle to attend traditional school, practice, train and travel to races, without missing school and/or getting behind in schoolwork. The family enrolled Sean in a virtual school, where he thrived academically while still actively participating in quad-runner racing. This year, with less of a need for flexibility, Sean opted to switch back to his neighborhood high school.

The Leake family of Southern California had different children in different schools. The family’s oldest son just graduated from their local public school, where he had a successful experience. Their younger son, Austin, is a gifted student who just wasn’t getting the academic challenge he needed in the traditional bricks and mortar classroom. This 14 year-old member of the high IQ society, MENSA, thrived with the personalized curriculum and set-your-own pace learning environment at Connections Academy. Austin graduated early from Connections last year and is currently attending Arizona State University/Lake Havasu.

“Families are embracing the fact that they have options for building a school experience that meets the needs of their child,” Rinker says.  “When it comes to their child’s education, one size doesn’t fit all – and what ‘fits’ might even change from year to year and from child to child.”

Categories: Lifestyle

Health care teams demand nurses with doctorate degrees

Education - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - When open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplaces closed earlier this year, more than 7.1 million Americans had signed up for health insurance coverage. As millions of new patients continue to gain access to insurance under the Affordable Care Act, industry leaders are facing the challenge of providing quality care while meeting the needs of an aging population and patients with more chronic health issues. One emerging solution is the concept of “care teams” that more closely engage health care professionals from all disciplines.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends health care delivery through such multidisciplinary teams, among other tools, to help health care systems lower costs while continuing to provide the best possible care for each patient. Care teams that include nurse practitioners and physician assistants are proven to alleviate demand for physicians without increasing their supply, according to 2013 research from RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research and analytics institution.

Doctoral education in nursing practice prepares nurses with enhanced leadership skills to strengthen practice and health care delivery, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). For this reason, nurses with doctoral education are being emphasized as an option for future leadership of care teams, as noted in the IOM’s report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Nursing educators are taking note, with more institutions offering advanced nursing degree programs that prepare nurses through specific curriculum focused on implementing efficiencies in health care delivery and enhancing nurses’ leadership skills.

Nurses are responding to meet this need and leading the care team charge through continued education. The AACN reports nearly 15,000 students were enrolled in Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree programs in 2013, a 21.6 percent jump from 2012.

Chamberlain College of Nursing is one education provider that is responding to the industry call to action to prepare nurses to develop and drive care teams. Chamberlain offers a DNP Healthcare Systems Leadership specialty track designed for master’s-prepared nurses who want to pursue advanced leadership roles within their chosen specialty. Students learn about leadership in the context of nursing informatics, health policy, higher education administration and executive health care practice.

“The DNP graduate should be equipped with the tools to address modern health care delivery issues and improve the health care setting  through more integrated, streamlined care,” says Mary Brann, DNP, MSN, RN, Chamberlain instructor and executive director for clinical excellence and regulatory compliance at a 540-bed university medical center. “Chamberlain’s DNP Healthcare Systems Leadership specialty track prepares advanced practice nurses to lead and manage complex health care systems. In my clinical role, I seek doctoral nurses to fill leadership roles and help lower health care costs by establishing more effective, patient-centric models of health care delivery.”

As Brann points out, industry advancement requires more nurses be prepared to facilitate the transition from practice that occurs in silos to practice that includes comprehensive input from all disciplines and the patient to ultimately elevate patient care and improve system efficiencies. Under these models, patient satisfaction increases because they are receiving more coordinated care and have more access to the resources and services they need.

“Nursing students today are developing skills to lead nurse units in providing comprehensive, cohesive, contiguous patient care; partner with health care educators to increase the pipeline of future nurses; and provide a heightened level of patient engagement,” Brann says.

As health care continues to evolve and progress, so will the responsibilities and contributions of nurses. Nurses today are integral to responding to issues facing the health care industry. Those with doctorate degrees will be essential to incorporating new approaches and solutions, such as care teams, within the future health care setting.

Categories: Lifestyle

Don't be stuck in the heat walking on your feet: how to prep your car for summer driving

Automotive - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - It is summer and you can’t wait to get out on the road to head to the cabin, on vacation or just a nice carefree ride with the windows down. But while you may be ready to go, is your car? These quick vehicle inspection tips will help you make sure your vehicle is ready for the open road.

Is it cool in here?

Make sure your vehicle is ready to beat the heat by inspecting the air-conditioning (AC) and engine cooling systems. This means removing dirt and debris from the fins of the AC condenser and radiator.

While you’re near the radiator, check the coolant level. Look in the owner’s manual for the right anti-freeze. A newer car might require a completely different anti-freeze then what was used by that car’s brand a few years ago. “Mixing incompatible anti-freezes can instantly gum up the cooling system,” says Tom Taylor, engineer and vice president of auto parts retailer RockAuto.com.

Also check the cabin air filter that freshens the air flowing into the interior. This filter typically needs to be replaced annually, but it can clog up much faster if the car is driven on dirt roads or parked under trees. “Owners are so relieved when they discover their AC problems are solved by simply popping a new cabin air filter in place behind the glove box,” says Taylor.

Kick the tires

Wherever you plan to go this summer, your tires will take you there; make sure they’re in great shape.

Start by checking the tire pressure. Most tires have a maximum tire pressure printed on the side of the tire, but you want to inflate the tires only to the cold tire pressure printed on the decal inside the driver’s door jam. “With today’s low-profile tires, the difference between the maximum and cold pressures might be 20 PSI or more. Inflate a cold tire to the maximum pressure printed on the tire and it will be seriously over inflated once it hits the hot pavement,” says RockAuto.com’s Taylor.

Keep up that strict oil change schedule

If you want your engine to stay cool and last, it’s essential that you change the oil at the appropriate times and with the proper oil. With older cars, owners might have used lighter weight oil in the winter and heavier oil in the summer. Today’s engines often require the same weight oil year round. “Modern engines use oil as a hydraulic fluid for operating valves and doing other new things. Pour 10W-30 into a new engine that requires 0W-20 and there will likely be problems,” says Taylor. Use the weight of oil recommended in the owner’s manual and don’t forget to change the oil filter too.

Take care of your vehicle and follow these tips and you can be sure it will be there with you for every new mile marker and memory this summer and beyond.

Categories: Lifestyle

Life after the Olympics: Luger offers insight on balancing work, school and life

Education - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - A natural-born athlete, Erin Hamlin grew up playing a variety of sports, although it wasn’t until the age of 12 that she was introduced to luging. Her prior athletic experience instilled a great deal of concentration, dedication and strength of mind and body, and it wasn’t long before she worked her way through the national team’s developmental luge program and was living and training full-time in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Hamlin’s hard work paid off and she went on to compete in the 2006 and 2010 Olympic Winter Games and recently made history when she became the first American luger to win a medal when she earned bronze at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. In addition, her momentous feat was recognized by the United States Olympic Committee at its 2014 “Best of Us” Awards Show where she earned the title of Best Female Olympian of the Winter Games.

Q: What was it like to compete at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi and make history by becoming the first U.S. singles luger to win an Olympic medal?

“Each time I’ve competed at the Olympics, I’ve learned and grown so much. The challenge of being the greatest in the world is what drives me to pursue my Olympic dreams,” says Hamlin. “Becoming the first American luger to win a medal in the history of the sport was a surreal experience. Standing on the podium and accepting my medal was the culmination of years of preparation, dedication and persistence to achieve success in my sport.”

Q: Now that you’ve made history and achieved Olympic success, what other life goals are you looking to reach?

“After I retire from competing, I want to help corporations plan more environmentally friendly events. Being a part of many sporting events over the years has shown me that there is room for improvement from a sustainability standpoint. Continuing my education and earning a degree will allow me to explore a career in which I can achieve this,” says Hamlin.

She adds, “To help me reach this goal, I am preparing for my career by earning a bachelor’s degree in technical management with a specialization in sustainability management at DeVry University.”

Q: How do you balance you athletic training with your academic endeavors?

“Since I can take my courses online it allows me to balance my school work and my rigorous training schedule. I feel that learning helps me look forward to what is next and earning my degree will prepare me to achieve success off the track, as well,” Hamlin says.

Q: What advice do you have to share with young athletes who aspire to compete in the Olympic Games?

“It can certainly be intimidating to balance school and other life responsibilities – especially when you aspire to be successful in athletics or any extracurricular activity,” says Hamlin. “The big picture can be very overwhelming. It’s important to remember to stay focused on the end goal and break it down into smaller steps – that way it becomes much more manageable.”

DeVry University is an official education provider of the United States Olympic Committee. To learn more about Hamlin or other Team USA student athletes who have competed in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, visit newsroom.devry.edu.

Categories: Lifestyle

When freedom rings: top tips to help launch your own business

Education - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - With summer bringing the celebration of our country’s freedom and a bit more flexibility in our hectic schedules, it’s also a time to reflect on the American dream: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. For many Americans, that means seeking success and prosperity by building their own business.

Approximately 15 million people in the United States are self-employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These small business owners are the lifeblood of the economy, accounting for 63 percent of net new jobs created between 1993 and 2013. Many small business owners find running their business extremely rewarding, according to the Bank of America spring 2014 Small Business Owner Report, a semi-annual study exploring the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small business owners across the country. The report found that when asked what their greatest accomplishment is, the top three answers among small business owners are: having enough money to support their family, being their own boss and doing what they love.

However, entrepreneurship takes extreme dedication; the report found that nearly three quarters (72 percent) of small business owners have made significant sacrifices in their personal lives to run their business. While running a business can be exciting and liberating, it can also be challenging. So how do you know if it’s the right time to take the leap and start your own business?

“Starting your own business can seem daunting, but most of the time, once you go solo, you will never look back,” says Steve Strauss, a leading small business expert and columnist. “Small business owners truly embody the American dream. There are seemingly endless opportunities when you are your own boss. It allows for more creativity and flexibility, not to mention more independence. But before you begin, talk to experts and other small business owners who have gone through the process. Just because you are in charge does not mean you have to figure out everything alone.”

Here are four tips to consider before you launch your own business:

1. Do your research before writing a business plan. As a first step, analyze the market to make sure your idea is something that will resonate with people in your area. Are you filling a void? Are other businesses already offering the same product or service? Figure out what sets your business apart, and then write a detailed plan taking everything you’ve learned into consideration. This document will serve as your roadmap for the first three to five years.

2. Set up a support system. Find an accountant who specializes in your type and size of business. Retain an attorney to review your paperwork and help you identify the best legal structure for your business. Connect with other small business owners through online platforms like the Bank of America Small Business Community or through networking events and ask them to share their best practices. Having a reliable support system that you can depend on for guidance and advice will ensure you get started on the right foot.

3. Determine your source of financing. A dedicated small business banker who knows your community and industry can provide advice on what traditional financial products, such as term loans and lines of credit, your business may qualify for. Crowdfunding, venture capital, lending clubs and angel investors are also potential options, depending on the size and structure of your business.

4. Leverage your digital assets. With the rise of the mobile revolution, the size of your business doesn’t matter nearly as much as how connected it is. Learn how to manage your business accounts on your phone or tablet. Develop a social media or mobile marketing campaign to reach new customers. Download apps that help with everyday tasks like note taking, scheduling and website building. A multitude of affordable tools are available online to help you get started quickly.

The number of small businesses in this country has increased 49 percent since 1982, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, and many view small businesses as the cornerstone of the U.S. economy.

“Entrepreneurship allows individuals to pursue their dreams and to contribute to the success of their neighborhoods,” says Robb Hilson, small business executive at Bank of America. “Our most recent Small Business Owner Report shows that the majority of small business owners are feeling optimistic about growth in the coming year. This optimism underscores the need for dedicated resources in their communities, which is why we’re hiring an additional 200 small business bankers around the country this year."

Categories: Lifestyle

When freedom rings: top tips to help launch your own business

Business/Careers - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - With summer bringing the celebration of our country’s freedom and a bit more flexibility in our hectic schedules, it’s also a time to reflect on the American dream: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. For many Americans, that means seeking success and prosperity by building their own business.

Approximately 15 million people in the United States are self-employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These small business owners are the lifeblood of the economy, accounting for 63 percent of net new jobs created between 1993 and 2013. Many small business owners find running their business extremely rewarding, according to the Bank of America spring 2014 Small Business Owner Report, a semi-annual study exploring the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small business owners across the country. The report found that when asked what their greatest accomplishment is, the top three answers among small business owners are: having enough money to support their family, being their own boss and doing what they love.

However, entrepreneurship takes extreme dedication; the report found that nearly three quarters (72 percent) of small business owners have made significant sacrifices in their personal lives to run their business. While running a business can be exciting and liberating, it can also be challenging. So how do you know if it’s the right time to take the leap and start your own business?

“Starting your own business can seem daunting, but most of the time, once you go solo, you will never look back,” says Steve Strauss, a leading small business expert and columnist. “Small business owners truly embody the American dream. There are seemingly endless opportunities when you are your own boss. It allows for more creativity and flexibility, not to mention more independence. But before you begin, talk to experts and other small business owners who have gone through the process. Just because you are in charge does not mean you have to figure out everything alone.”

Here are four tips to consider before you launch your own business:

1. Do your research before writing a business plan. As a first step, analyze the market to make sure your idea is something that will resonate with people in your area. Are you filling a void? Are other businesses already offering the same product or service? Figure out what sets your business apart, and then write a detailed plan taking everything you’ve learned into consideration. This document will serve as your roadmap for the first three to five years.

2. Set up a support system. Find an accountant who specializes in your type and size of business. Retain an attorney to review your paperwork and help you identify the best legal structure for your business. Connect with other small business owners through online platforms like the Bank of America Small Business Community or through networking events and ask them to share their best practices. Having a reliable support system that you can depend on for guidance and advice will ensure you get started on the right foot.

3. Determine your source of financing. A dedicated small business banker who knows your community and industry can provide advice on what traditional financial products, such as term loans and lines of credit, your business may qualify for. Crowdfunding, venture capital, lending clubs and angel investors are also potential options, depending on the size and structure of your business.

4. Leverage your digital assets. With the rise of the mobile revolution, the size of your business doesn’t matter nearly as much as how connected it is. Learn how to manage your business accounts on your phone or tablet. Develop a social media or mobile marketing campaign to reach new customers. Download apps that help with everyday tasks like note taking, scheduling and website building. A multitude of affordable tools are available online to help you get started quickly.

The number of small businesses in this country has increased 49 percent since 1982, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, and many view small businesses as the cornerstone of the U.S. economy.

“Entrepreneurship allows individuals to pursue their dreams and to contribute to the success of their neighborhoods,” says Robb Hilson, small business executive at Bank of America. “Our most recent Small Business Owner Report shows that the majority of small business owners are feeling optimistic about growth in the coming year. This optimism underscores the need for dedicated resources in their communities, which is why we’re hiring an additional 200 small business bankers around the country this year."

Categories: Lifestyle

Young adults are getting serious about money sooner than you think

Education - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - More evidence has emerged that parents are doing a better job teaching kids about money, and young adults are getting better at managing it.

For instance, the majority of millennials are investing for retirement by the age of 24, according to the Spring 2014 Merrill Edge Report. This is in sharp contrast to older generations who began investing for the future at an average age of 33. It shows that younger Americans are paying attention to money and learning lessons from the recession, but it also indicates that parents are doing more to teach these lessons early.

“Parents should add a money talk to their checklist of everything that needs to be done to set kids up for success this fall,” says Aron Levine, head of Preferred Banking and Merrill Edge for Bank of America. “We see young millennials taking money seriously, so if you’re a parent of younger kids it’s time to make money management a regular part of the parenting conversation.”

Money issues demand frequent conversation and teaching moments, and back-to-school season is the perfect time to explore financial lessons and encourage kids to benefit from the experience of others. There is no age limit for helping kids learn to manage money - teenagers and young children alike can become financially literate. Whether you have youngsters or college-bound kids, there are ways to teach your children how to manage money responsibly.

Here are tips for teenagers:

* Show your teen how to create a budget
Work with your kids on making a plan for spending an allowance or earnings from a job. By age 13 or 14, they may be thinking about buying a car or similar big purchase. That takes effort and smart planning.

* Introduce and explain investing
Investing smaller sums with limited consequences is a great way for kids to learn about managing risk. For 43 percent of Merrill Edge Report respondents, choosing among different investment products is the most complicated part of investing; starting early can help build a base of knowledge.

* Plan for college
Talk about the cost of college. Let your children know how much you can cover and how much they need to contribute. If you have established a savings plan, discuss how it works. Explain the difference between costs at a private and state school. Discuss loans options, and let them research scholarships.

* Create learning opportunities
If your kid is shocked by how much of their first paycheck goes to Uncle Sam, sit down and explain taxes, Medicare and Social Security. If your kid wants a bank account, show them how to balance a checkbook and track the account online. Consider bringing your kid along when you visit your financial advisor to establish a baseline understanding of the financial planning process.

Tips for younger kids:

* Teach budgeting
An allowance can be a great first step in showing your kids how to manage money. Consider giving money every week to young children, at two-week intervals for preteens and monthly for teenagers. Spreading out the timing helps children understand the need to set goals and manage spending.

* Show the value of saving
It’s natural for money to burn a hole in the pockets of young kids, but you can help them discover the benefits of delayed gratification. If there’s a toy they want, suggest they forgo spending on ice cream and instead save to make the bigger purchase.

* Let them earn extra
You probably expect your kids to do daily chores. Consider offering them the chance to make extra money by helping clean the garage, wash windows or taking on another job beyond the routine. Earning for extra work instills good habits and gives children more control over saving and spending.

* Introduce philanthropy
When kids are very young, they can understand charitable gifts. Talk about organizations they might like to support, then earmark part of their allowance for donations.

* Create learning opportunities
If your child spends an entire allowance right away, resist requests for more money before the next allowance is due. Negative consequences can carry powerful lessons. Talk with your child about how to do better next time.

Teaching money lessons early and reinforcing the messages as you go will help your children learn to avoid major money mistakes as adults. For additional resources you can also visit BetterMoneyHabits.com, a web site developed by Bank of America in partnership with education innovator Khan Academy with the goal of providing free, objective information to make it easier for everyone to understand the fundamentals of personal finance. With a little coaching from parents, kids of almost any age can learn how to make wise spending choices and become better prepared to live financially responsible lives later on.

Categories: Lifestyle

Driving tire safety for teens: Road safety begins with the only part of the car that touches the road

Automotive - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - New research on driver’s education and training shows a gap in teen drivers’ knowledge – one that, if closed, could help prevent some of the nearly 300,000 car crashes involving inexperienced drivers every year.

That knowledge gap concerns the only part of the car that actually touches the road: the tires. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) analysis of the 2.2 million car accidents in 2012 shows more than one in 10 (12 percent) were among inexperienced drivers and involved tire-related issues, such as insufficient tire tread or improperly inflated tires.

Despite the importance of tire safety, only 16 states include comprehensive tire safety information in their driver’s education curricula, according to new data from Michelin North America and the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the governing body for world motor sport.

Michelin and FIA conducted an audit of driver’s education curricula across all 50 states, as well as a survey of 1,001 teens and their parents. Surprisingly, only 49 percent of teens surveyed and 47 percent of parents believe their driver’s education program completely prepared them to drive.

“Auto accidents are the top cause of death among American teens, claiming more than 5,000 lives each year, NHTSA data shows,” says Pete Selleck, chairman and president of Michelin North America. “Teenagers in this country are dying in car accidents or are involved in car crashes that are preventable, and require only very simple behavior changes.”

The need for a behavior change when it comes to vehicle and tire maintenance is apparent, Selleck says. Of the teens surveyed, 27 percent admitted they never check tires, and less than half (48 percent) said they check tires at least monthly (the recommended frequency).

Parents don’t have to wait for driver education courses to adopt tire safety lessons. They can begin teaching teenage drivers the basics of tire safety immediately. Michelin has joined with FIA to raise tire safety awareness through the “Beyond the Driving Test” educational program, and Selleck offers some advice:

* Teach teens to do “the penny test” on their vehicle’s tires at least once a month. Place a penny in the tire groove with Lincoln’s head pointing down. If you can see all his head, the tire treads are too worn to be safe.

* Demonstrate the proper use of a tire pressure gauge and teach teens to look for the recommended PSI on the label inside their car’s door jamb. Everyone should check tire pressure at least once a month.

* Log on to BeyondtheDrivingTest.com with your teenage drivers and watch the instructional videos on tire pressure and tread wear together.

“Tires are the only parts of a car that touch the road, so it makes sense that driving safety begins with tire maintenance,” Selleck says. “Driver’s education today has done many things well; however, it has generally ignored some key safety facts – driving with unsafe or improperly inflated tires – that can be life threatening.”

To download a handy glove box guide with five simple tips to help you stay safe on the road, visit BeyondtheDrivingTest.com.

Categories: Lifestyle

The equation for stronger performance in school begins with a better breakfast

Education - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially for students embarking on a learning adventure. But all too often, kids head out the door with sugary pastries, cereals and bars – or worse yet, nothing in their stomachs at all. Children who eat breakfast perform better in the classroom and on the playground, with better concentration, problem-solving skills and eye-hand coordination, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

But not all breakfast foods are created equal. Starting the school day off right begins with a healthy and well-balanced breakfast, complete with three important nutritional components. Learn the right equation for a filling and balanced breakfast with these tips to keep kids at their best and brightest all year long.

1. Choose complex carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are important to give kids an initial burst of energy in the morning. This helps them feel awake and alert in order to tackle school projects and assignments during the first part of the day. However, parents should be giving kids the right carbohydrates. Instead of sugary cereals or breakfast bars – which can lead to a mid-morning sugar crash, signaling to the brain that it needs more fuel, thus making concentration more difficult – give kids complex carbohydrates like whole-grain cereals or bread with a side of fruit.

2. Pump up the protein: Protein provides kids with the right fuel for the entire day. Not only does it keep energy levels up, but it also contributes to higher attention spans, greater concentration levels and improved memory, which all lead to better school performance. Opt for breakfasts containing dairy products, meats and cheeses, like El Monterey breakfast burritos. Made with real ingredients like scrambled eggs, pork sausage, cheddar cheese and fresh-baked flour tortillas, El Monterey breakfast burritos can be an excellent source of protein to charge kids’ brains and bodies for the day ahead.

3. Fill it with fiber: Fiber is the final factor for a better breakfast. Fiber keeps kids feeling full for longer, alleviating hunger pains during the school day. It also discourages overeating and cravings for snacks, which can be high in fat and sugar, and low in nutritional value. Less snacking ultimately leads to better weight control. Some fiber-rich options include whole-grain breads, oatmeal, fruits and vegetables.

Performance in the classroom begins with a healthy start at home. With so many healthy and convenient breakfast options to choose from, the hectic morning routine doesn’t have to compromise a good start to the school day. And with these three essential components for a well-balanced breakfast, kids will have everything they need to start the day (and the school year) at their very best.

Categories: Lifestyle

Your credit scores: What you don't know could cost you

Community Cares - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - Do you know what your credit scores are? If you don’t, you’re not alone. In fact, many people know very little about their credit scores, what they are or how they work. And they certainly don’t understand that having low credit scores can have a big impact on their future.

Are you one of these people?

Recent research from the Consumer Federation of America and VantageScore Solutions highlights some of the crucial credit score information most people don’t know. According to the survey that polled 1,000 American consumers, almost half of the respondents did not know that a credit score measures the risk of a person’s likelihood to default in 90 days, as opposed to factors such as knowledge of - or attitude toward - consumer credit. This is paramount, as lenders typically review a person’s various credit scores before authorizing a loan.  

The youth factor

Although people of all ages showed a lack of knowledge regarding important credit score information, the results show that the wider knowledge gap exists with Millennials (ages 18 – 34) than with older Americans.

Less than half of all Millennials understood that age was not used when calculating credit scores, according to the data. Meanwhile, more than 60 percent of adults (45-64) understood this.

Millennials also were less likely than older adults to know that credit scores are based on information collected by each of the three main credit bureaus.

“It isn’t a big surprise that consumers in the 45-60-year range know more than younger consumers about credit scoring, but the generation of consumers coming into the workforce is particularly challenged by massive student loans. A student loan is a great opportunity to help establish good credit for these consumers, but the concern is that many of these young adults could miss payments and begin their financial lives deep in debt with low credit scores, putting them in a difficult position,” says Barrett Burns, president and CEO of VantageScore Solutions.

Knowledge is power

Many people fail to realize how many different ways poor credit scores can affect their lives. Credit scores affect not only whether a person can receive a loan but also the interest rate a person pays for the loan.

The data shows that while the majority of all respondents understood that their credit scores would be reviewed by credit-card issuers and mortgage lenders, they did not know that electric utilities, home insurers, landlords and even cell phone companies may also review this information.

In short, a good credit score could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in interest or rate payments when compared with possessing a poor score. If you want to improve your scores, the first step is to obtain your credit scores so you know where you stand. Not surprisingly, individuals who obtained their scores in the past year knew more about credit scores and how they are used by lenders in the market than those who didn’t obtain their scores in the last year.

“We know that education can help consumers improve their scores, and whatever the consumer’s age, our aim is to arm him or her with accurate, unbiased information and resources to help them become good managers of their credit,” Burns said.

To get a true picture of your credit status, it’s best to review your credit reports and credit scores from multiple sources.  Test your knowledge about credit scores at www.CreditScoreQuiz.org, which was created by VantageScore Solutions and Consumer Federation of America. Both the online quiz and a corresponding brochure are available in Spanish at www.creditscorequiz.org/Espanol.

For more tips and resources to educate yourself regarding credit scores, visit the VantageScore Website. There you’ll find useful information regarding what impacts your credit score and how to be a good manager of your own credit.

Categories: Lifestyle
The Magnet Cove cross country teams traveled to Southern Arkansas University on Saturday, Sept. 13...
The Malvern Lady Leopards volleyball team hosted White Hall on Thursday, Sept. 4 and came away with...
By Eric Moore, Sports Editor A lot of things have happened in the short history of the Malvern-Glen...
S M T W T F S
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30
 
 
 
 
 
Add to calendar

 

Classified Ads

Premium Drupal Themes by Adaptivethemes