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how to choose...

ASSISTED LIVING FACILITY • AUTO BODY OP • BANK CATERER • COMPUTER REPAI PECIALIST • CREDIT UNION • DENTAL IMyour • guidFLORIST e to everythin•g GENERAL CONTRACTO ANTS GOLD BUYER • GYM • HARDWARE STORE HEARING AIDS • FURNACE INSPECTION • SURANCE AGENT • INSURANCE COMPANY • JEWELER • MATTRESS • MEMORY CARE OMMUNITY • NATUROPATHIC DOCTOR • EW CAR DEALER • NURSING HOME • PET PHARMACY • PHYSICAL THERAPIST • REIREMENT COMMUNITY • ROOFER • SECUSEPTEMBERAGENT 2014 RITY SYSTEM • SIDING • TRAVEL


How to Choose... Assisted Living Facility ........................................40 Auto Body Shop ................................................... 14 Bank ...................................................................38 Caterer .................................................................8 Computer Repair Specialist ..................................60 Credit Union ........................................................54 Dental Implants ...................................................50 Florist ...................................................................3 General Contractor ..............................................44 Gold Buyer .......................................................... 18 Gym ....................................................................22 Hardware Store .....................................................4 Hearing Aids ........................................................32 Furnace Inspection ..............................................28 Insurance Agent ..................................................48 Insurance Company .............................................34 Jeweler ...............................................................24

Mattress ...............................................................6 Memory Care Community .....................................26 Naturopathic Doctor ............................................ 16 New Car Dealer ....................................................30 Nursing Facility ...................................................52 Pet ...................................................................... 12 Pharmacy ............................................................42 Physical Therapist ............................................... 61 Retirement Community ........................................58 Roofer ................................................................. 10 Security System ..................................................62 Siding .................................................................20 Travel Agent ........................................................63 Used Car Dealer ...................................................46 Vacuum Dealer ....................................................56 Weight Loss Center .............................................36 Windows .............................................................64

How to Choose is a special publication of The Billings Gazette

Sales & Marketing Director

Dave Worstell

Special Sections Coordinator

Linsay Duty

Access How to Choose at www.billingsgazette.com/specialsections All content courtesy of Green Shoot Media unless otherwise noted. Some edits have been made by advertisers featured in this special publication.

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Section Designer Christine Cleveland


How to Choose a Florist A bouquet is the perfect gift for a housewarming, wedding, corporate dinner or birthday party. A beautiful arrangement creates a happy and celebratory atmosphere. It brightens up a room. Getting just the right flower arrangement is the key to your success. A professional florist will know how to make the colors, types of flowers and even scent work for your occasion.

Research the Florist

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If you are purchasing a floral arrangement for an event, ask the venue staff for recommendations. They are often familiar with the best florists in the area. Popular florists are usually quite busy year-round, so begin the process right away. Family and friends may also have suggestions. Be sure to ask them for their experiences, as well as how much they paid for the services. Call each florist to check their availability. If a florist is unavailable, scratch them off your list. Meanwhile, determine your flower budget. It will be a factor in your decisionmaking process. Also, look for floral arrangements in magazines. Clip out these photos and put them in a notebook. Note why you like these flowers. Once you have a list of florists who are available, visit their shops and interview them.

Interview the Florist

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Upon entering each floral shop, look at the cleanliness and organization. Are the pathways clear of plants, tools and debris? Is the staff friendly and warm? The answers to these questions will help you understand each shop’s level of customer service. All plants and flowers should be well-maintained and attractively arranged. Employees should be attentive. The best

florists have a wide range of options in their showroom. During the interview, ask if the florist has previously worked at your venue. Each facility has unique rules about what they will allow in their location. If the florist has worked at the venue, that is a big advantage. She will know and can adhere to the rules. Inform the florist of your budget and ask for recommendations. The florist should be able to give you numerous suggestions about flower arrangements. Most florists have a scrapbook of their previous work. Each professional brings a sense of personal style to her arrangements. Be sure to show the florist your notebook. Discuss the arrangements you prefer. Perhaps the florist could produce similar arrangements. If you are holding a large event, the florist might have recommendations about other event professionals. It takes a team to work a large event. A friendly, well-established relationship between your caterer and florist is especially important. Once you have chosen your florist, be certain to confirm the type of arrangements you will receive. You should also know when the arrangements will arrive at the venue and who is responsible for placing the flowers in the appropriate spots. Confirm when payment is expected. Understand the floral contract before signing anything.

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How to Choose a Hardware Store A high-quality hardware store can save you from getting stuck on a home improvement project. They can provide recommendations for tools, methods and products.

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Before you dive into a household repair, find a hardware shop that will answer your questions patiently and knowledgeably. This one step is worth most of the other advice you will ever receive concerning home repair. Reliable customer service is one of the factors that will help you choose between a local hardware store and a big-box retailer. Think of a few smaller projects that you have successfully completed. Then ask the staff at each store for their input on the best way to complete the task you have in mind. Progress to a more complicated project and ask for advice again. Make notes as to which employees provided the most helpful answers. During your visits, look around various departments. Determine which store has the best high-quality tools you might need in the future. Make note of additional services, such as equipment rentals, classes and referrals to area professionals. After all, if you can’t handle a complex project, they might be able to point you in the direction of someone who can. Pricing is another aspect to consider. A store with the lowest prices isn’t necessarily the best. They might be cutting corners. On the other hand, if you know a lot about lumber and are interested in purchasing fencing for your backyard, the cheapest store might be best. The most expensive store in town might be best if you are purchasing lumber to make a piece of furniture. Always consider quality as well as price.

If you are still undecided, then let customer service be your guide. For hardware and home improvement stores, customer service will help you when you most need it. Good customer service starts as soon as you enter the establishment. If you are warmly welcomed, then you might be in the right place. If the staff makes you feel as though you are bothering them, go somewhere else. High employee turnover is not a good sign. It is best to establish a working relationship with people in your hardware store. It is difficult to do that if you are greeted by a different person every time you enter. Understaffing is another problem in hardware stores. If it is difficult to locate someone, or salespeople are always surrounded by customers, you will not receive a high level of service. Look elsewhere. Other signs of poor customer service include long checkout lines, out-of-stock products or a clutter and dingy store. If you feel treated like a criminal because you had to return something, then find another store that treats you better. Convenience will also have an impact. Hours of operation, driving distance, and parking will figure into your decision. If it takes a lot of effort to make a purchase, you should find another store. The right hardware store will have what you need when you need it. They will stock tools and sell them at a reasonable price. A knowledgeable and friendly staff will have answers if you need them. When you find that store, you can complete your projects with confidence.


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How to Choose a Mattress Courtesy of Mattress King

Courtesy of Mattress King

Courtesy of Mattress King

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If you go into most mattress or furniture stores, you could be looking at 30 to 50 mattresses to choose from. Many people wonder why does there have to be so many to choose from? Well, one mattress does not fit everyone. Factor in people’s different shapes and sizes, the different sleeping positions, and the different muscular and skeletal phases along with our age; it’s no wonder most mattress brands offer so many models to choose from. The key is finding the right one designed for you and/or your sleeping partner. Thankfully, you can take advantage of the latest in mattress technology. The Bed Match system was developed by two of the top sleep scientists, and was tested for over seven years in 22 countries. You can lie down on the diagnostic bed, and in just a few short minutes it will take over a thousand calculations and measurements. It then identifies the top four or five mattresses that would best fit you. Now instead of comparing between 30 and 40 models, you now can focus on just four or five, making the process simple, fun, and most importantly accurate in getting you the right mattress. This is the newest, but one of many great tips and advice you can use in selecting your new mattress. First of all, think in the correct mind set. For the next eight to 10 years, you will spend a third of your life sleeping on the mattress. More importantly, studies show the quality of sleep you may or may not be getting can greatly affect how you feel during the other two thirds of your life that you are up functioning and living. Studies also show the quality of sleep can affect your health; ranging from diabetes, blood pressure, memory retention, heart disease, weight gain, and numerous other health risks your body doesn’t need. (Look

up “The top 10 health risks from lack of sleep” on WebMD). Second, think of the actual cost per use, not the cost to purchase. Let’s say you have it narrowed down to two models. One feels best to your body in support and comfort, but the other model feels good and is $500 less in price. While that $500 in savings seems logical, its cost per use comes down to 13 cents per night. Is saving 13 cents worth sacrificing getting the best sleep your body needs? There is virtually no other product you will use seven to eight hours every day that can influence how you feel during the day...good or bad. Think cost per use, over purchase price every time. Third, take some time to “test drive” and compare models. There are a lot of myths in what you should select. A mattress can be supportive and yet not feel firm. A mattress should do two things. First provide pressure relief. Lie down and see how it feels on your shoulders and hips. There should be little to no pressure on your shoulders and hips. Second, a mattress should provide proper postural support. Feel how the mattress forms to the curves of your body. While you don’t want to have the mattress sag in your torso area, you also don’t want to have the mattress flat and firm not filling in the curves of your body. Take some time lying on each model. Don’t make a rushed decision. Sleep deprivation in America is now at epidemic levels. A sleep study by Oklahoma State University found a new mattress provided considerable improved sleep quality (64.4%). That’s an impressive statistic in how important a new mattress is in you sleep health, and one of the least expensive/most used tools your body will use. Choose wisely, and enjoy the benefits of great sleep.


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How to Select the Right Caterer Hosting a successful event takes plenty of forethought, as well as a supportive team of professionals. A good caterer is essential for creating a memorable occasion. Experienced caterers can be a tremendous assistance whether you are planning a large event or intimidate celebration. Not only will a caterer bring great food, they will also give you information and advice about making your event a success. A good caterer will tell you what types of food work best at a given event and the quantities required for your guests. They will create impressive, delectable dishes with a high sense of professionalism. Most caterers take great pride in their work. They can also tell you about other resources, including professionals, who can turn your event into a magical occasion. Choosing the right caterer means you will have time to enjoy your party. Here are some tips to consider when looking for a high quality caterer:

References

Event Information

The local health department will have a health rating for the caterer. A positive record demonstrates their commitment to safe food handling practices. It is also an excellent indicator of the caterer’s overall quality.

Before speaking to a prospective caterer, note everything you know about your event. Details might include date, time, location, number of guests and budget. You can also suggest certain types of foods. You should be able to customize any type of menu to fit your tastes and budget.

Record

Scheduling

Be sure to communicate clearly about timelines and scheduling. If you are having the wedding ceremony at the same venue as your reception, make sure the caterer will be unloaded before you guests begin to arrive, Interview Begin asking your social network for recommendations. Friends, fam- so they are not disturbing you ceremony. ily, and even colleagues may have used a caterer in the past. After you have compiled a list of possibilities, schedule a meeting and prepare your Sample The caterer should allow you to sample the food. In fact, it is common questions. The caterer might have ideas about your event. Listen with an open for caterers to bring selections from their menu to an initial interview. mind, but also make sure the caterer listens to you and what you want. If they don’t offer you samples, request them prior to pay deposits or advancing funds. It is only fair that you know what you are purchasing. Make sure you shop around and you are comparing apples to apples. They should not charge you to do this. In particular, ask about what is included in the price. Does the caterer Some caterers specialize in elaborately themed parties. These comsupply dishes and glassware or will you have to rent those items? The panies will offer suggestions on food that will complement your celebraprice for the food may be the same, but the services the caterer provides as well as the supplies may be very different. You may end up paying for tion. Other caterers have expertise in crafting menus that are customized to your guest list. the extras. Caterers who can help you with the entire planning process of your Ask your caterer if they have a guarantee that there will be enough meal from hors d’oeuvres to dessert are well worth the money. They can food for all your guests. How do they determine how much to make per guide you through the whole process with professionalism, confidence guest? Ask about their set up and clean-up process, time frames and bud- and even a sense of humor. Because you have thoughtfully chosen your get. Ask them about the speed of their service. You want a caterer who caterer, your special occasion will be a rousing success.

Courtesy of Montana Jack’s

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It is always a good idea to ask for client references. You should receive a list of names and contact information. Don’t be shy. Call these references to inquire about the company’s work. Sometimes, a caterer has a book of food and dessert pictures. Look at their work. Be sure it pleases you. Search for reviews online because the caterer is only going to show you the good reviews they have. If they have bad ones, there may be some online.

can feed your guests in an efficient manner so that their service speed will not cut into socializing time with guests.




Complete Custom Catering From appetizers

Montana Jack’s brings you all the essential elements to help create a truly memorable event. Incredible cuisine, perfect timing, and seamless service! Whether it is a graduation, wedding, corporate function for lunch or breakfast, holiday party, birthday or any other event, all our customized menus are prepared with you in mind.

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406.252.0243 9


How to Choose a Roofing Contractor Installing a new roof on your home not only increases its value, it also protects you and your home from the elements. It can become a necessity in the event of a severe storm in which shingles may be blown off or damaged when impacted by hail, tree branches, or other debris.

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Some Billings roofing contractors provide free inspections and free estimates. They can help you decide between various qualities and types of roofing to fit your needs and your budget. And if it be an insurance repair, many contractors can work with your insurance company to bring your home back to its original condition, if not better. It is important to choose a professional roofing contractor when it comes time for a new roof. They will be sure to install your new roof safely and effectively and according to manufacturer and UBC (universal building code) specifications. Ask your roofing contractor about the warranties they provide. It is always best to use a local roofing contractor, if there are any problems with your roof in the future, they will be here to fix the problem. As we saw with the tornado on Father’s Day of 2010, many contractors from all over the country popped up all over the Billings, many claiming to be local or simply buying out local contractors so they can appear to be local. Your roofing contractor should be able to provide recommendations from former customers. Discuss the quality of workmanship and the cleanup process prior to signing an agreement. You don’t want scraps of shingles and nails left over after the contractors have gone home. Ask where you can see their previous work. Determine a work schedule with your roofing contractor so that you will know when the project will be started and completed.

Your roofing contractor can also discuss various products and recommend the best choice for longevity, curb appeal, warranty and resistance to storms. Ask about the guarantee of your contractor’s workmanship. Generally, a good roofer should offer a guarantee of a minimum of two years. Ask for a written, detailed estimate to eliminate any surprises. Be sure to clarify what the contractor will do if they find damaged decking or any other unforeseen issues during the roofing process. What does the roofer need you to do? Such as clearing the driveway, removing pictures from the wall, or whatever else may be done to accommodate the contractor and protect your personal property. Every professional who works on your property should be licensed and insured. Insurance is particularly important for roofing contractors. They should be able to cover any damages they might cause to your property. It is also essential that workers are covered under their insurance as well, in the event that someone is injured during the job. Before work commences, be sure to receive a written contract from the contractor. Read it over carefully. It should state the type of materials to be used, what the work will entail and the final cost. Following these tips will help you complete your new roofing project with ease. It doesn’t take much time to do a little research and it will be well worth your while once you’ve found a contractor whom you can trust.


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How to Determine if a Pet is Right for your Family Metro Services Pets often make wonderful additions to a household. Parents not only love pets because animals bring smiles to their children’s faces, but also because pets teach kids about responsibility. But the decision of whether or not to bring a pet into a home is a complicated one that parents would be wise to give ample consideration before making their final decision. The following are a few factors parents can consider when deciding if now is the right time to bring a pet into their household.

Finances

Money is often overlooked when deciding whether or not to bring a pet into a home. But pets can be expensive, and the potential cost of pet ownership must be fully explored. Pet adoption fees are often negligible, but families who prefer a purebred dog can expect to spend considerably more money than they would if they were to adopt a mixed breed dog from the local shelter. In addition, a pedigreed cat is likely to cost more than a cat adopted from the shelter. But those initial fees are only a small part of the expenses associated with pet ownership. Medical costs, including routine veterinary visits and medication, pet insurance, food, and grooming costs can add up over time, so families already working on thin budgets might find it’s not financially prudent to bring a pet into their home until their finances stabilize. Families who tend to travel a lot also must consider the cost of sheltering the animal when they are out of town, while renters should determine if bringing a pet into a home will incur a higher rental deposit or if the animal is likely to cause damage, as puppies and kittens tend to do, that will ultimately cost them money when they move out of their rental.

Time

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Some pets require more attention than others, so heads of a family should consider just how much time they have to devote to pet ownership. Dogs tend to need the most attention among the more popular household pets, so families whose schedules are already full may find that pets who don’t need so much attention fit their lifestyle better. For example, cats

don’t need to go for daily walks and tend to be more independent than canines, making them ideal pets for on-the-go families. When deciding if a pet is right for your family, give heavy consideration to how much time your family spends at home, and if you decide to adopt a pet, choose one that won’t be negatively affected by your schedules.

Demeanor

When considering bringing a pet into a home, parents should consider both their own demeanor, their kids’ demeanors and the demeanor of the pet they are thinking of adopting. Dogs have their idiosyncrasies, but breeds tend to exhibit similar behaviors. Labrador retrievers, for example, tend to be active and energetic, while a typical English bulldog might be more laid-back and less prone to running around. Active families who enjoy spending time outdoors might prefer a more active dog, while families who enjoy relaxing at home might want a dog that’s equally comfortable lounging around the house. When considering cats, families should speak with a professional, be it a veterinarian or a representative at the local animal shelter, about the demeanors of different breeds to ensure they make the best decision. Parents of young children likely want a cat that’s playful as opposed to one who is likely to be standoffish with curious kids.

Future

The future is another thing parents must consider before bringing a pet into their home. Parents whose careers are stable might make better pet owners than those angling for a reassignment or looking to change careers. An unfortunate side effect of the recession that began in 2008 was that many families were forced to relocate when one or both parents lost their jobs but found opportunities elsewhere. Upon moving, these families realized the family pet could not make the trip, which led to shelters being flooded with homeless pets. If your family’s future is in question, delay adopting or buying a pet until your situation is more stable. If all is well in your career and your family is firmly entrenched in your community, then now might be a great time to bring a pet into your home.


Your pet’s

familY doctor

Att Billings A Animal Family Hospital we understand, and respect the bond you have with your pets. We provide a warm, welcoming environment, as well as exceptional advanced veterinary care.

Our services include the following: ✔ Exams & Wellness ✔ Digital Dental X-rays ✔ Ultrasound ✔ X-ray & Digital X-ray Consults ✔ In-house/Outside Lab Services ✔ Canine Reproductive Services ✔ In-house Surgery & Referrals ✔ Specialty Diets ✔ Puppy Socialization Classes ✔ Acupuncture

Dr. Edie Best is the only Veterinary Specialist in Billings. She is certified in Canine and Feline medicine by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. As such, she has extremely high standards for the level of patient and client care that is delivered at Billings Animal Family Hospital. We are a small and intimate group. The doctors and staff are familiar faces that you will get to know well. You and your pet will always receive personalized, compassionate care specifically designed for your pet's unique needs and circumstances. We welcome you into our animal family. Billings Animal Family Hospital...your pet's family doctor.

your pet’s Family Doctor

Introducing Dr. Sarah Bruggeman

Scan for our current specials

406.245.4772 • 1321 North 27th Street • www.billingsanimalfamilyhospital.com 13


How to Choose an Auto Body Shop Anyone who has experienced a car accident knows that it can be a calamitous event. Once you have dealt with any resulting health issues, you will have to contend with damage to your automobile.

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Whether your car has experienced significant damage or simply a scratch, it is vital to find an auto body shop that is trustworthy and dependable. Even the smallest accident can throw your schedule into disarray. A good auto body shop will ensure that your car, truck, SUV or minivan is repaired quickly, affordably and correctly. The shop you choose should be able to complete all manner of work, from a minor touch-up to a full-body repair. Your friends, family and colleagues might have recommendations. After all, auto body shops are a necessary part of life for most people. Once you have a list of names, research each shop on the Internet and read customer reviews. Testimonials, negative and positive, should be considered. But keep in mind that no business has a 100 percent satisfaction rate. Someone will always be displeased. Also, more people are likely to leave a negative rather than a positive comment. If your social network doesn’t have good recommendations, consult the Yellow Pages, advertising supplements, or the Internet. Once you have created a list of shops, contact them on the phone. Describe the problem and listen for the response. If the person seems knowledgeable and friendly, keep that shop on the list. However, if the person seems rushed and uninterested, it can mean the shop is very busy. It might also have poor customer service. Eliminate them from your list. When you have chosen an auto body shop, visit their store. Check for prices, certifications guarantees, and warranties

on parts. Understand that you will often get what you pay for when it comes to auto body work. Make sure the shop you are working with has knowledgeable service consultants who are capable of getting good information to technicians about what needs to be done and what they have assessed is covered. Low prices may be tempting, but they typically mean sub-par work, used parts and paint incorrectly applied. It is important the shop is reputable and has the financial means to back up their work. Though hopefully there are no future issues with your vehicle it is important to be able to resolve problems after the fact, and have somewhere to bring it back to. Feel free to ask the manager or owner for references before they work on your car. They should have previous satisfied customers with whom you can contact. You can also check their previous work. When you see a car with paint drips, panels that are misaligned or paints that don’t match, look elsewhere. You will not save money if you need to have the improper work redone. The shop should inspect your vehicle for repairs that are not readily visible. Quality auto body shops should be able to complete an entire job onsite. Our cars, trucks, SUVs and minivans get us to work on time, back and forth to school and transport our families to and from their destinations. Choosing a great auto body shop is important for yourself and your family. The right auto body shop will have superior customer service, great prices and excellent quality of work.


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How to Choose a Naturopathic Doctor, Your Expert in Natural Medicine Courtesy of Margaret Beeson, ND & Jennifer Krieger, ND of Yellowstone Naturopathic Clinic You may not realize this, but you have the option to select a physician who offers you an integrative approach to your health care needs. These providers are known as naturopathic doctors and they are trained, board certified and licensed to practice as primary care providers. Naturopathic medicine is not “alternative” medicine but truly integrative medicine, providing a comprehensive approach to the best of traditional medicine. Included are tips and information to help you choose and decided if a naturopathic doctor might be the right selection for you.

Philosophy & Medical Oath of Naturopathic Medicine

When it comes to their health care approach, naturopathic physicians follow a philosophy and medical oath rooted on the following six fundamental ideas. • The Healing Power of Nature: It is the naturopathic physician’s role to support, facilitate and augment the inherent self-organizing and healing process of living systems which maintains and restores health. • Identify and Treat the Causes: Symptoms can be expressions of the body’s attempt to defend itself, to adapt and recover, and to heal itself. Naturopathic doctors take a thorough intake to identify what are the underlying causes of the body’s disharmony. • First do no Harm: Naturopathic physicians respect and work with the healing power of nature in diagnosis and treatment. •  Doctor as Teacher: The original meaning of the word “doctor” is “teacher.” A principle objective of naturopathic medicine is to educate the patient and emphasize self-responsibility for health and promote patient-empowered care. •  Treat the Whole Person: Health and disease result from a complex system of physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social and other factors. Naturopathic medicine recognizes the harmonious functioning of all aspects of the individual as being essential. •  Prevention: Naturopathic medical colleges emphasize the study of health as well as disease. Naturopathic physicians assess risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease and make appropriate interventions to help reverse a & prevent patient illness as well as to promote overall health and awareness.

Education & Clinical Approach

Naturopathic doctors attend a four-year, post-graduate, accredited medical school - of which there are currently nine in North America that offer the education and clinical work necessary in order to obtain a Naturopathic Doctorate degree. This degree qualifies the physician to sit for the required board exams in order to practice as a licensed naturopathic doctor. Naturopathic medicine combines traditional therapies with current advances in modern medicine and is appropriate for a range of health conditions affecting people of all ages. Naturopathic practice includes utili-

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zation of all methods of clinical and laboratory diagnostic testing, nutritional medicine, botanical medicine, lifestyle counseling, therapeutic fasting, medicines of mineral, animal and botanical origin, homeopathy, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, counseling, minor surgery, naturopathic obstetrics, naturopathic physical medicine including naturopathic manipulative therapies, hydrotherapy, therapeutic exercise, and even pharmaceuticals (depending on the licensing state). While most naturopathic doctors are primary-care physicians, many specialize in specific areas such as women’s care or physical medicine. The practices of acupuncture, Chinese medicine and naturopathic obstetrics require additional education and licensing.

Communication & Connection

You also want to select a provider with whom you feel comfortable communicating and feel heard. Many naturopathic practices offer a brief, initial phone or office visit to answer a few questions and provide an opportunity to feel a connection, so that a healing doctor-patient relationship can be established and fostered.

Services Offered

Research what each individual clinic offers. You will be surprised at all the options that actually exist when it comes to naturopathic services! Some naturopathic offices offer specialties such as: integrative cancer care, midwifery, pediatrics, women’s health, regenerative injection therapies, nutritional IV therapies, or therapeutic medical spa services such as hydrotherapy, massages and facials in addition to the standard naturopathic medicine model. Certain naturopathic clinics operate in conjunction with other health care providers such as: acupuncturists, nutritionists, massage therapists, chiropractors, and holistic dentists.

Referrals

Ask your friends and family if they know of a naturopathic physician in your area. Patients who have had positive outcomes with their naturopathic provider are often happy to offer a referral and share their experiences. Currently, naturopathic doctors are licensed in 18 states (Montana included), Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia as well as seven additional states that are currently working towards licensure. The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) is a professional organization that offers representation of licensed naturopathic doctors through the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education. The website for the AANP is www.naturopathic.org and utilizing their website is one of the easiest ways to search for a licensed naturopathic physician in your area. In Montana, the licensing agency is The Montana Alternative Health Care Board and you are able to contact them at www.mt.gov to determine the status of a naturopathic physician’s license practicing in the state.​


Yellowstone Naturopathic Treating Clinic the Whole Person

We are a family health and wellness clinic serving the people of southeastern Montana, northern Wyoming, and the western Dakotas. Caring for the whole person, we seek to restore in every patient the energy and vitality that nature intended. Established in 1992, YNC is located in the heart of the Billings medical corridor. We offer medical, dental, chiropractic, pain relief, dispensary, and spa services — all conveniently located under one roof. At YNC, we partner with every patient in compassionate care, health education, lifestyle management, and health-centered treatment. To learn more about us or to start on your journey to better health, call us at 406-259-5096. If you are unsure if naturopathic care or our other services are right for you, we encourage you to schedule a free, 15-minute consultation with one of our doctors.

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How to Choose a Gold Buyer Whether economic times are good or bad, people often use precious metals to shelter their money. In the past few years, interest in gold has increased sharply. A growing number of Americans are rummaging through their house looking for broken gold jewelry. Selling gold necklaces, rings and other items has become a common way to get quick cash.

But this popular trend has been accompanied by less scrupulous experts who lack experience in determining the proper value of these items. Many pieces of jewelry might be worth more than their gold content or melt value. Anyone can make a mistake, but fly-by-night operators will often offer far less than the melt value of the gold in these items. They are counting on your lack of knowledge. Infomercials have also flooded the airwaves with ploys offering "immediate cash for your unwanted gold." But mailing gold in flimsy prepaid envelopes to these dealers is the same as dropping cash into the mail. Always exercise caution when selling gold. While many buyers are honest and reputable, finding them requires research. Here are some tips to help you get the most money from selling your unwanted gold. First, do some research to determine the gold content of an item. Remember that gold is soft, so it must be alloyed with other metals to increase its hardness and durability. Jewelry usually has an inscription identifying the purity of its gold content. For instance, 24-karat gold contains 99.9 percent gold. It is measured in terms of a troy ounce, equal to about 1.097 avoirdupois ounces, the kind of ounce we use in measuring butter, flour and body weight. One troy ounce of 14-karat gold contains 14/24th troy ounce of the pure metal. 18



Next, take your gold items to reputable dealers in your area for their opinion. There may be a small fee for this service. It is the best way to establish the gold content when the piece lacks markings. Take it to more than one dealer or jeweler to verify the findings. The Better Business Bureau and the Internet are valuable sources of information about gold buyers. Poor dealers usually leave a pile of complaints from disgruntled sellers whom they've allegedly cheated. Do not deal with these companies. Also, if a gold buyer operates from their home or business unrelated to precious metals, drop that person from your list. They probably don't have enough experience to provide an accurate evaluation of your items. It pays to use a local business. If you must mail your gold items, insure the package and use registered mail available at the United States Postal Service. You could use a shipper that offers package tracking and delivery verification. Jupiterimages Do not trust someone you don't know and have never met. Learn as much as you can before visiting a gold dealer. Information is your ally. There are reputable gold buyers doing business today, and they will pay you for the true value of your piece. Doing the proper research and taking precautions will help you find the best people doing business today.


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How to Choose Siding for Your Home Siding for your home is a terrific investment. It can add to the value of your home. It will also protect the structure from moisture, wind, and sun damage. There are plenty of attractive siding choices on the market these days. With such an enormous array of options, here are a few things you should take into consideration.

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Review Your Finances

Your budget will guide your decisionmaking process. It will tell you how much money you have to make repairs or restorations. As well, it is a great time to look for any loans or other assistance. You might qualify for a special grant from your local government. Gather enough funds to get you through this process now, because you don’t want to go through it again in the future. It is best to do it correctly the first time.

is usually recommended for houses in dry climates. Unfortunately, wood has a difficult time withstanding moisture. But this siding can last a long time if properly maintained. Stucco is another fantastic option. It is made of cement, and it has a cool, stylish appearance. It is extremely durable. This siding can last up to 50 years. It is a bit more expensive than other products, but many homeowners believe it is well worth the price.

Type of Siding

Choose a Siding Installer

There are many siding types available for purchase. Your choice will depend on your style, the price of materials and the kind of structural protection you need for your home. When you don’t have much money, vinyl siding might be your answer. It comes in a variety of shades. When you are simply looking to add color to the exterior of your home, vinyl will work well for your eyes and wallet. Metal siding is another alternative. It is slightly more expensive than vinyl, but it is extremely durable. When you need something tough, metal is a superior option. This siding can last up to 25 years, especially if you add an extra coat of paint to it. When appearance is your top priority, take a look at wood siding. It will give your home elegance and charm. Cedar is one of the most popular materials. This siding

It is always best to hire a professional, experienced company to install your siding. They will be able to handle the materials and do the job quickly. If something is not done properly, you can always get a portion or full refund. People who are working on a very tight budget can look for a handyman who has experience installing siding. A local individual might give you a discount. As with any home repair job, be sure to check references and local regulations. Your community might have laws about hiring someone to do such work. And always ask for samples of his work or referrals from previous customers. The most important thing is to work within your budget. You don’t have to break the bank to get the best siding you can afford.


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How to Choose a Gym Do you find gyms intimidating? When people think of fitness facilities, they imagine a bunch of thin, beautiful people wearing expensive workout clothes. In reality, people of all shapes and sizes join gyms. These facilities are a fantastic way to lose weight, stay fit and have fun. Gyms can help you achieve your health and weight goals. Experts at the facility will be happy to educate you about nutrition and wellness. A good workout releases endorphins, which improve your mood and fight stress. Exercise also increases energy levels and improves sleep. Building muscles helps you burn calories more effectively. Consistent workouts lower blood pressure, while reducing the risk of some types of cancer, osteoporosis and Type 2 diabetes. Many people have a hard time forming good fitness habits. Fitness regimens can be difficult to maintain. We often create excuses or our schedule simply doesn’t permit time to exercise. It can be hard to stay motivated. But when you have exhausted all of your excuses and a healthier lifestyle becomes a priority, then finding a gym is a fantastic first step on the path toward a happier life. Joining a gym will help cure the boredom you might feel when working out. These facilities have a variety of equipment, programs, classes and teachers. You can alter your workouts easily and keep exercise interesting. Paying for membership increases your chances of working out. It is harder to form excuses to skip exercise. Becoming a member is a great opportunity to meet people with similar health goals who can offer motivation and support. Once you’ve decided to join a gym, the number of choices can seem daunting. Keep in mind that gyms should be inspiring places. You will need to feel comfortable and motivated to keep coming back. The right facility for you might not be the right place for someone else. Each gym has different classes, programs, amenities and services to help members work on their abilities and goals. Personal trainers can be especially helpful if you need instruction or encouragement. Each trainer will have his or her style of communication -- from mild and uplifting to severe and harsh. They will help you map out realistic goals that are tailored to meet your individual needs.

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A good personal trainer will offer a health assessment before working out with you. He or she will understand your physical limits and then work to expand those boundaries safely. He or she will constantly ask you to do just one more rep, one more minute on the machine. If your trainer seems without compassion or pity, it is only because he is pushing you or your own good. These professionals will also give advice on nutrition, effective gym routines and proper stances for weight training. Functional training has certainly become the new “fitness fad”. People who have been in the industry for years are convinced it will give the most tremendous results when added to your current exercise routine. Functional training targets more than one body part with each movement or exercise and can be performed by people on all fitness levels. The exercises are designed to closely mimic movements that are used in everyday life so even those with health restrictions are able to participate in the exercises. These training sessions are available in private one-on-one sessions up to large group sessions to accommodate all needs in improving the quality of life. If you have health restrictions such as joint pain, lowimpact workouts are available. One such low-impact workout is Pilates, as it uses smooth motions and gliding actions to tone muscles and improve flexibility. When choosing a gym, remember your future goals. Whether you opt for the services of a personal trainer, or participate in a Pilates, weight training or water aerobics class, your aim should be to improve constantly and have fun. Courtesy of Athletic Club


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How to Choose a Jeweler Choosing the right jeweler is important when it's time to buy an engagement ring, graduation gift or memento marking a special occasion. Why settle for just anyone? Qualified jewelers are everywhere -- even in the smallest towns. How do you pick the best jeweler in your area? Finding someone with excellent skills is the first thing to consider. Quality jewelers offer reasonable pricing and fantastic customer service. Do not make the mistake of basing your decision on cost alone.

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Thinkstock

Jewelry professionals are skilled artisans who create beautiful pieces with their own hands. They repair, clean and adjust items with ease. They may also offer other products from off-site manufacturers. In general, they are an excellent resource. Jewelers and watch repair technicians have undergone extensive training and should have certifications to prove it. They also attend periodic classes to keep themselves current on regulations within the industry. Many jewelers travel to professional shows featuring the latest trends. They maintain their knowledge and understanding of the precious metal and gemstone markets. Technical expertise isn’t the only aspect to consider. Customers who receive superior service are likely to return for future purchases. You’ll want to work with someone who sees more than dollar signs behind each customer. Guarantees are essential. It is a fundamental factor in establishing a long-term relationship with the public and a track record of satisfied customers. Top professionals offer free repair and unlimited service for the life of the jewelry. People often regard their jewelry as a kind of financial or sentimental investment for family members. A professional understands the emotional bonds symbolized by a piece of jewelry, and treats it accordingly.

Many jewelers are sensitive to the needs of each customer. A discount store may offer an unbelievable price on a piece of jewelry. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Inexpensive prices are often an indicator of lower quality gemstones and metal components with lower purity. When the item breaks, it might be impossible to take it back for a repair or replacement because the seller has moved on. Some dealers focus solely on profit. Doing business with a jeweler you know and trust will make a big difference when it is time to make a significant investment in a ring, necklace or watch. He or she will make every effort to get you the best possible price without sacrificing quality. If you have been doing business with the same shop for a long time, you should expect a high level of service. The item should be guaranteed every time. Anyone can sell jewelry. Malls across America are filled with jewelry stores. But a dedicated professional jeweler doesn’t just sell precious metals or gemstones. He or she brings a keen eye for the beautiful and stunning quality of each piece. It is true that price is important, but it shouldn’t be your top consideration. You will get better value for your money when you do business with a jeweler you can trust -now and 20 years from today. High-quality workmanship starts with the jewelry and ends with your satisfaction.


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How to Choose a Memory Care Community Memory loss can be a frightening experience. For seniors, it is sometimes seen as a turning point. There are new options in care services. People with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia can get specialized medical care which can lessen the impact of memory loss. These memory care communities are different from nursing homes or traditional assisted living centers in some important ways. Staff members at these communities are specially trained and experienced in caring for those suffering with dementia. Activities and rehabilitative therapies keep residents as independent for as long as possible. Typically memory care communities can be less expensive from the traditional nursing home.

Staff

Courtesy of Canyon Creek

Courtesy of Canyon Creek

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The experience and attitude of the staff members is one of the most important considerations. They should treat all residents with kindness and respect. The community should also provide continuing education to employees to assure everyone is up to date with the latest in memory loss research and assistance. Always visit a memory care community before moving in a loved one. Tour the community to make sure the building is clean and organized. The atmosphere should be calm and relaxing. Consistency and stability are important to those suffering from memory loss. Some turnover of staff is typical however, key leadership is essential to the overall function of the community. Ask about the ratio of care staff to residents during key times of the day and night, as well as the backgrounds of any medical professionals employed by the community.

Your loved one needs personalized care and attention. It is vital that the community has enough staff to provide quality care for your loved one.

Secure, Comfortable Setting

Quality memory care communities will resemble comfortable, inviting homes. They should not look like hospitals. Ask questions about the activities offered to residents, how visits are handled and the types of therapies available. The community should be clean and healthy without appearing sterile. The community’s cleanliness is an indication of the dedication of everyone who works there. Because residents can sometimes forget where they are, it is important to ask how the community protects its residents. What kind of security features do they use? Note your general impressions of each community you visit.

Support

Quality memory care communities have support services including care giver support groups for residents and families. Symptoms from dementia can range from mild to advanced. The community should be equipped to handle all stages of dementia. You and your loved one should be comfortable with the memory care community you choose. The best communities can give residents a much needed boost and improve their overall quality of life.


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How to Inspect your Furnace Before Winter Arrives Metro Services

It is almost time to bid adieu to the warm days of summer. Chilly afternoons followed by continually dropping temperatures are on the horizon, and fall is the perfect time to service the home furnace to ensure it is ready to withstand the demands of winter. Furnace maintenance should be done on a regular basis. The best time to do so is in late summer or early fall, when you still have enough time to address any problems before it gets too cold outside. HVAC systems malfunctions are typically caused by one of a handful of common problems. Inspecting certain components can help to guarantee a furnace is in working order when the first cold days arrive. Metro Services

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Filter and air intakes

After several months of running the air conditioning, the filter on the heating and cooling system may need to be changed. Check the condition of the filter to see if it is heavily soiled. Furnace filters are relatively inexpensive. Since this thin barrier will be responsible for cleaning the air you breathe, it is important to keep a fresh filter in the unit. A clogged, dirty filter will reduce the efficiency of the HVAC system and may contribute to poor indoor air and allergies. Check the air intakes around the house for obstructions. Do not place furniture directly in front of intakes or venting that delivers air to the home, as this can compromise air flow and force the unit to work harder. Without adequate air flow through the system, the furnace may not turn on. Many systems also have some sort of external vent or exhaust pipe. Check that the area is free of leaves, debris and animal nests. Again,

any blockages can impede the efficiency of the unit or cause it to fail.

Thermostat

Very often a furnace may not turn over because the thermostat is faulty. Many a homeowner has spent money to have a service person come out to examine the furnace, only to learn they only need a new thermostat or battery in the thermostat. Check the thermostat against a separate thermometer to ensure that it is reading the right temperature in the house. Raise the setting a few degrees to test if the heat kicks on.

Fuel

Furnaces are powered by various energy sources. Electricity, gas or oil may be involved in the process. If fuel is not being delivered to the furnace, the pilot will not light and warm the air to be blown through the house. Some systems have an emergency shut-off switch that will halt fuel delivery to the unit. It’s easy for these switches to be flipped accidentally if a furnace is located in a high-traffic area. Make sure the switch is in the “on� position before reporting a problem. In addition to these steps, you may want to vacuum the vent screens around the house. This will reduce the amount of dust blown around. Also, if the furnace exhausts into a flue, be sure that the exhaust route is clear so that carbon monoxide does not back up into the home. Many homeowners are fully capable of inspecting their furnaces to ensure they are ready for winter. If anything seems out of place or malfunctions, consult with an HVAC professional to make repairs.


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How to Choose a New Car Dealer Purchasing a new car can seem like a daunting experience, especially if you have never done it before. Inexperienced car shoppers are often intimidated by the cost, the process and even dealers who may try to overcharge them. It doesn’t have to be this way. Finding a dealer you can trust will defuse anxiety. The whole experience will become a simple, low-pressure transaction. Good car dealers will make the entire process of buying a car simple and straightforward.

Choose the Right Car

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Selecting the right automobile for your needs and lifestyle is essential. Large families may need an SUV or van to fit everyone into the vehicle. But college students buying their first car would probably be happy with a compact car such as coupe. The savings on gas will help ease your finances while you are in school. Along with the car model, there are numerous options to consider. You might get a car with a navigation system, moonroof, GPS and satellite radio, just to name a few. If you have to commute long distances, think about purchasing a smaller car with a good MPG rating. Hybrid cars can help you save money on gas. Anyone in a cold climate might look at various vehicles with either all-wheel or front-wheel drive.

Choose the Dealer

Once you have settled on a car model, check into area car dealers. Finding several dealers who sell the brand of car you want is usually best. The competition for your business will help you negotiate the total cost of your car.

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Stockbyte

Make sure to look for current discounts on the car you want. During specific times of the year, you might be able to get a great deal on a new car. It is particularly true during year-end sales. Of course, you should test-drive a car before purchasing it. When you begin your negotiations, remember that price isn’t everything. Service should play a role as well. You are building a long-term relationship with this dealer and manufacturer. It is not worth getting a less-than-satisfactory experience just to save a few dollars. It is essential that you feel comfortable with the dealership. Buying a car is an expensive, long-term commitment. It is always better to find a car salesperson who is informative and friendly. It will make your transaction as simple and comfortable as possible.


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How to Select a Quality Hearing Aid Provided in part by the Hearing Aid Institute It is crucial to understand that hearing loss is much more complex than other sensory losses, like eyesight. Many people get hearing aids with the hope that their hearing ability will be completely restored, the way their eyesight would be if they were to get glasses. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Changes to the auditory system not only affect whether a sound can be heard, they also affect how well words can be understood and how well background noise is filtered by the brain. During the hearing evaluation the specialist collects information about these three areas so you are presented with realistic expectations. It is very important to approach your hearing aid experience knowing this, and knowing that you will not be able to hear exactly as you did before your hearing loss began. Keep in mind that if specific technology, such as noise reduction is recommended, there is probably a reason. If you choose to get a hearing aid without that technology you will need to adjust your expectations for success. These devices are highly technical, customized to meet each individual’s needs. Types of hearing loss vary widely, and are sometimes quite different from person to person. Innovations in hearing aids include using digital processors to isolate and amplify the frequencies a patient needs most. Many of the latest hearing airs are so small they are practically invisible.

today are digital. They will filter out background noise, enabling the wearer to hear a conversation clearly. This technology is particularly effective in crowded settings. This technology can be tailored to help with your particular kind of hearing loss. If you have an outdated hearing aid, consider upgrading to a more modern device. You will help you hearing be as close to natural as possible.

Options

When you are searching for a hearing aid, look for special features that will enhance your hearing and your life. Some examples include: • BLUETOOTH CONNECTIONS: You could connect wirelessly to Bluetooth electronic devices, such as smart phones. It allows you to hear phone conversations directly through your hearing aid. • TELEPHONE ADAPTERS: This feature senses when you are talking on the phone and adjusts the setting to make it clearer during your conversation. • DIRECTIONAL MICROPHONE: You can adjust your device to pick up sound that is directly in front of you. For example, when you are having one-on-one conversations with a person, it is useful to turn the microphone to improve your hearing. You may also change the setting to a more general setting that would be useful at public performances or Styles concerts. The good news is that you no • REMOTE CONTROL: Some devices longer need to purchase bulky, obvious allow you to adjust the settings withhearing aids of yesteryear. out touching it. A remote control can The most popular hearing aids on change the directional microphone or the market fit completely within the ear amplification. canal. While they are attractive and barely The first day you receive your hearing aid Courtesy of the Hearing Aid Institute noticeable, their small size means they are or aids, you’ll hear things you haven’t heard in a typically more expensive. long time; your own voice will sound loud, and the Other styles include half-shell, full-shell, behindsound of your car blinker or refrigerator will be more noticethe-ear and open-fit hearing aids. able to you. Your brain needs time to get used to all these “new” Because these hearing aids come in a range of sizes and prices, consult sounds, which may not be exactly as you remembered. The more you wear your with a specialist to help you choose the right style to fit your needs. hearing aids, the quicker your brain will get used to and start enjoying those sounds again. Internal Electronics As your brain starts to adjust, the hearing aids may need to be adjusted as The design of a hearing aid will make a large difference in cost and perfor- well. Plan for additional adjustments to your hearing aids over the first several mance. Two devices may look similar but produce dramatically different results. months. These can mean the difference between using your hearing aids and The difference is in the internal electronics. Nearly all hearing aids available abandoning them. 32




CALL TODAY! Toll-free Patient atient Suppor Support Line

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How to Choose an Insurance Company These days, picking an insurance company is difficult. Many of them resort to gimmicks and funny commercials to get new customers. But when it comes to filing a claim, the laughs suddenly stop. How do you know if an insurance company will come through for you? Choosing a good insurance company requires you to take a long-term approach. It is similar to a mathematical equation. Weighing a price quote with the quality of service and risks you'll be taking will provide the right answer.

Know your Policy

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First off, consider the type of insurance you’re buying. You will have to take a look at the fine details and figures for each policy. If you are in the beginning of this process, insurance representatives should act more like teachers instead of salespeople. Your choices may be complicated, with a range of pricing options, deductibles and exclusions. A good company will give you choices, explain them clearly and let you make up your own mind. While reviewing your options, make sure you are comparing similar policies. If a premium seems unusually low, it might have a higher deductible or more limitations. It is vital that you get as much information as possible about each policy before making a decision.

Customer Service

Of course, customer service always plays a key role in determining which company is best. If you’ve had friends or family who have filed insurance claims previously, ask them about their experiences. Some insurance companies have better reputations than others. Gathering all of these experiences will give you a good idea of how you might be treated by them. AbleStock

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Each company has a different customer service philosophy. Some of them prefer to use a local representative to communicate with clients. Others will discuss policies through their website or a 24-hour phone number. Many insurance companies, however, use a combination of these methods. They might give you 24-hour access to national representatives along with a local advisor. Ideally, the right insurance company will treat you well at every level of interaction.

Financial Strength

An insurance company is only as strong as its balance sheet. Financial strength is especially important these days. Every insurer is independently rated based on their finances. An insurance agent should inform you of the company’s rating and tell you what it means. A good rating means the company can make a payout in the event of a catastrophic event. A reputable, stable, well-capitalized insurance company is also likely to treat you better. While your insurance premiums are an important factor, it is just one piece of a complicated puzzle. Choose a company that will not only give you a fair price, but who will also be prompt and courteous in the event you have to file a claim.


Insurance • Medicare Preparing for Retirement 401 K Plans • Mutual Funds Financial Solutions

Roger L. Daniel Insurance Group

406-252-3411 • rdaniel@farmersagent.com • 2047 Broadwater, Billings, MT 35


How to Choose a Good Weight Loss Center Obesity is a common problem in our country. For many Americans, it is a threat to their health. Extra weight will shorten your lifespan and create a myriad of physical problems. Losing weight is a challenging process, requiring self-discipline and dedication.

When you need help dieting, a weight loss center may be the answer. Trained professionals can educate you on good nutrition, keep you motivated and set a realistic weight loss goal. They will answer your questions and provide accountability. Each center has its own approach. Selecting the right program will help you reach your weight loss goals. So many diets create glamorous advertisements using famous people, but that doesn’t mean their plan is the best one for you. Here are some ideas to help you find the best weight loss center to meet your needs.

Research and Visit

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First off, research local weight loss centers. Ask about programs. Do you have to purchase special meals? Are meetings and appointments required? Make sure these commitments are convenient for you. Think of other information you may need. Are you looking for a facility that is exclusive to women only? Decide what is comfortable for you. Once you narrow down your choices, schedule a visit. Observe the way staff members talk to clients. All employees should be courteous and competent to everyone.

Plans and Referrals

It should be possible to speak with existing clients about their experiences. Ask the staff for referrals. Centers with good reputations will be happy to provide you with such a list. Previous clients are often willing to talk about their own experiences. You can also find out if they kept the weight off. A good weight loss center will have a follow-up system to assist you in maintaining a healthy life. They should be able to give you their success rate. Weight loss centers offer different levels of support, such as motivation and nutritional assistance. They might also have stress management techniques that can stop you from eating your troubles away. Use your time at the center wisely. Create good nutrition and exercise habits. You are not only there to lose weight, you are developing a healthy, lifelong lifestyle. In the end, a good weight loss center can go a long way toward helping you succeed. It is easy to stick with a plan when you have the assistance and support of caring staff. Whether you need to lose a small or large amount of weight, it is important to find a safe, effective way to achieve your goals.


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How to Select the Right Bank Many people select a bank because of advertising or because a branch is close to their home or near their favorite shopping center. While convenience is a factor, it shouldn’t be the only factor. Consider these additional factors when making your choice:

Personal Service

When you walk into the lobby of your community bank, are you noticed? In these days of electronic banking, more people use electronic banking, especially mobile applications, for the majority of their banking transactions. However, when you do need to physically come into the bank, you want it to be a pleasant experience; you want to be greeted warmly and called by your name because you have a personal banking relationship.

Fee Structure

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Every bank has a hand-out that tells you what fees they charge. Some advertise “free” checking but there is a catch. Checking and savings accounts cost the bank a considerable amount of money to maintain on their system. While it is reasonable for the bank to recoup some of that cost, you should check out their fee schedule and ask them questions. Banks generally have a Personal Banker or a new accounts representative who can answer your questions and help you choose the right account for your needs at the least cost to you.

Overdrafts

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Even the most meticulous customers may occasionally make a mathematical error in their checkbook and end up with insufficient funds in their account. When this happens, the bank will charge you a fee. You should investigate those fees to

see how your prospective bank measures up in your marketplace. Most banks offer overdraft protection for this eventuality. Overdraft protection is a loan to you to cover a deficiency in your account. Although there is typically a charge for this service, it is usually less per year than the cost of one overdraft. Overdraft protection is a line of credit and you must qualify the same as you would for any other unsecured loan.

Loans

Banks earn most of their income from lending money and having the principal and interest repaid. Community banks compete for loans, so their rates, at least on the surface, appear similar. Although you want a good rate, don’t forget the first topic discussed – personal service – because that service determines your overall customer satisfaction. Other things to look for and ask about are “pre-payment penalties.” Pre-payment penalties are sometimes imbedded in the loan paperwork and can be very costly if you decide to take your loan elsewhere for a better rate or better customer service. Choosing the right community bank can make the difference between a so-so banking relationship and a truly rewarding experience. Whether you need a checking or savings account, a home loan, a new car loan, or a business loan, go to the bank and shop the experience rather than buy on price alone.


We’re all about

YOU

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What to Look for in an Assisted Living Community Courtesy of Marquis Grand

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As people age, they often need extra care. Others may be facing a debilitating illness. The care required can be far more than friends or family can provide. When living independently at home is no longer a viable option, assisted living may be the best choice. Assisted living communities often feature private apartments and shared community space such as dining, family rooms, and activity areas. They help residents continue to live an active lifestyle where they can enjoy a comfortable, cost-effective setting that has many conveniences. However, it is also a medical facility. The variety of services may vary among assisted living communities but most provide assistance with activities of daily living such as: • Dressing • Grooming • Bathing • Medications • Meals • Laundry • Housekeeping • Transportation When looking for an assisted living community for a loved one or for yourself, there are many things to consider. Cost is often the first thing people think about when searching for a community. A clear understanding of expenses is beneficial, but there are other aspects to keep in mind. Be sure you know the cost breakdown of each community. Being fully informed of how fees are charged will keep you from being surprised later. Special services may be an additional cost. Be sure to visit each community on your list and not just call. You can learn a lot if you just

take some time to visit and look around. The building may not be new, but it should be clean and well kept. Spend more time evaluating the interactions with staff and residents than with the décor. Does the staff seem to know the residents? Are residents enjoying each other’s company and conversing? Remember that it will be the people who make the difference day in and day out. While touring, take time to observe the dining experience. Mealtime is a very important part of the day. If visiting at mealtime, be sure to ask if you could have lunch or dinner to get a true taste of the food and dining experience. You or your loved one may only need a secure environment or assistance in case of a fall. In the future, these needs may change. The ideal community will accommodate additional needs in the future. If mobility is a concern, the size and layout of the building may become more important. Eventually, you or your loved one may need someone to dispense medication, manage appointments, provide transportation, and more personal levels of care. While some facilities can provide increasing amounts of care, others may not be able to meet your needs. A community is a good match when it resembles the lifestyle to which you or your loved one is accustomed. Make a list of things that are important to you or your loved one. If you enjoy gardening, crafting or other hobbies, look for a community that lets you continue these hobbies with ease. Moving into an assisted living community does not have to be taxing or traumatic. With research and diligence, you can be confident that you or your loved one will be well cared for while still enjoying life.


Life. Well Lived. At Marquis at Grand Park Assisted Living, we help people get the most out of every moment. Our mission is to enable them to live life to its fullest! We offer spacious apartments, 24 hour nursing care, memory care, three delicious meals a day, a multitude of activities and much more. Call today for a tour!

S T N E M APART BLE! AVAILA 1221 28th St. West Billings, MT 59102 406.652.6989 41


How to Choose a Pharmacy Courtesy of Amy Rients Don’t think of a pharmacy as just a place to drop your prescription. When you’re choosing a pharmacy look for a place that takes an interest in your health and is willing to discuss your treatment plan with you. So what should you look for in a pharmacy?

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Look for a place that is interested in you and your health situation. Pharmacy staff should be kind, courteous and readily available to answer your questions. Pharmacists should be able to provide information regarding proper use and precautions for both prescription and nonprescription medications. ​They should take an active role and recommend other drugs to help you feel better. They should be recommending the best over-the-counter medicine, helping you manage a chronic condition, recommending supplies and equipment to help in your recovery and advising you to seek further treatment from a doctor or hospital if needed. Your pharmacy should help you understand your treatment plan. Many patients, especially those with a chronic condition, don’t always understand their treatments. An ideal pharmacy will take the time to help you understand what exactly your medications will do, if your doctor didn’t explain it fully. You should feel like you have an ally who is really listening to you. When you walk out the door of the pharmacy, you should feel more empowered and optimistic about your treatment plan than when you walked in. Your pharmacy should not be a replacement for medical advice from your doctor, but a good pharmacy helps you keep track of all your medications, makes you aware of possible side effects and lets you know if something is

wrong. Also, if the pharmacy is aware of all of the medications a person takes, they can identify any drug interactions that could potentially harm you or any vitamins or supplements you should be taking due to drug depletion. For that reason, it’s important to stick to just one pharmacy, so all your records are in one place. One size doesn’t fit all. No two patients are alike, and no pharmacist should treat two patients like they are. You should look for a pharmacist who understands your needs and caters to what you ask. Some pharmacies offer compounding services, where the medication is prepared in a customized dosage to fit the patient’s needs. Other pharmacies offer immunizations, or a synchronization program so that all your medications refill at the same time each month and many pharmacies offer medical equipment and supplies to help with your recovery. It’s all about what you as the patient need. Ultimately, you need to find a pharmacy that treats you as a person, not just another patient. Which pharmacy you go to – whether it’s a big name or a small one – doesn’t matter, as long as the pharmacy gives you the individual attention you deserve. A pharmacy should know you by name and know something about the therapies you take regularly. They should feel like an active participant in your health care and in helping you stay well.


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• Bio identical Hormone Replacement Therapy • Chronic Pain Management • Hormones • Pediatric Medications • Dentistry • Veterinary Medications

unique delivery options • Lozenges (flavored) • Troches • Gels, Creams and Ointments • Troches • Suppositories • Oral Home Medical equipment and Home access products Also, our Home Medical Equipment Consultants, and Certified Access Contractors will help you to live independently at home with the very best products and service!

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How to Choose a General Contractor Courtesy of Built Wright Homes Typically, if your job requires more than three subcontractors, a general contractor may be a good idea. A general contractor can free you from such burdens as maintaining a work schedule, obtaining necessary permits, and resolving disputes with suppliers. He or she will have more leverage than you do with subcontractors, since you’re only a one-time job. A licensed general contractor can do roofing, siding, gutters, electrical and other jobs, depending on their experience.

Recommendations: Friends and Family

The easiest, and one of the best ways to select a possible contractor, is to get references from friends, family or a Realtor you trust. Please, do not just use the “Yellow pages” and hire someone. Once you have some names, meet with them, look for “chemistry” or rapport between you and them and observe their level of professionalism. Courtesy, respect, punctuality and the ability to communicate are some of the most important attributes a contractor can have next to their basic competency. Actually, no matter how good someone is, if they don’t click with you on these points, don’t hire them. Period. Most medium and large construction jobs are handled by a general contractor or GC. The general contractor may be called a builder, building contractor, remodeling contractor, etc. What makes him a “general” contractor is that he enters into a contract with the owner to complete a project and takes full responsibility to get the job done for the bid price. In general, he purchases the materials, hires the trades-people, and brings in subcontractors to get the work done. The subcontractors are responsible to the general contractor, not to you, the owner.

Questions to ask a General Contractor

• How many jobs like this have you completed? • W  hat is the average square-foot cost for this type of job? • W  ho will supervise the construction on site? Who will I be working with once the construction begins? • W  hat work will your own employees perform (as opposed to subs)? • (For remodeling): What efforts do you take to keep the job site clean and safe for children, and to keep dust out of the living quarters?

Check Their Credentials

With your list of recommended contractors in hand, it’s time to do your own research. Start out by checking to see that they have all the proper licenses, as it is illegal for a contractor to work without one. Are they bonded, insured, experienced? Are they listed with the Better Business Bureau?

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Ask For Their References

A good contractor will have a list of references or testimonials from previous clients. These are people who are willing to talk with you about the contractor and give you all the details. Did the project get completed on time? Was it within budget? Was the contractor amicable to work with? If possible, also see if you can look at a current job site. The contractor may be polite, but if the workers are difficult to deal with or don’t keep an orderly work place you may want to reconsider.

Pricing

Don’t always choose the lowest bid. The contractor may be cutting corners or using lesser quality materials. Look at how you and the contractor communicate: do you feel comfortable with the quality of work? Quality out weighs the bargain contractor.

Payment Options

Be wary of contractors asking for half the payment upfront. Do not prepay. Have an understanding in writing as to how payments are to be issued. Pay only for work that has been done. If a contractor requires payment in advance for materials, offer to meet him at the lumber yard and pay for the materials until you develop a relationship of trust. However, it is common for 10% at the beginning of the job and 25% at intervals as work proceeds. Finally, 100% at the end of the job. When the job is completed and you are satisfied, then sign an agreement of satisfaction.

Get Everything in Writing

Make sure to get everything about your remodel or new home or business project in writing. This includes things such as start and end dates, proof of liability insurance, materials to be used, payment schedule, etc. If changes are made to the contract, make sure the changes are put in writing and signed by you, the homeowner, as well as the contractor. A clear contract can really help you with having peace of mind.

Thinkstock


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How to Choose a Used Car Dealer Buying a used car can be a challenge. You need to find a gently used vehicle without paying more than necessary. You also don’t want to be stuck with a lemon. Avoid purchasing a clunker by doing your research before setting foot in a dealership. Being well-informed will help you avoid unnecessary hardship. Have a good idea of what you want before speaking to anyone. Then follow these tips to find a good used car dealer.

Choose Your Vehicle

Knowing what you want will help you save time and effort. You may not know the exact make and model, but at least have an idea of the automobile type. Are you searching for a sports car, SUV, pickup truck or van? Focusing on the type of car will help you avoid wasting time visiting dealerships that don’t sell the type of used car you need.

Search the “blue book”

Pixland

Figuring out your budget is essential. How much do you want to spend? Search the Kelly Blue Book (http://kbb.com) or the NADA Guides (http://nada.com/) for what you might spend on the type of car you prefer. Also, search the Internet and car websites to get a firm idea of asking prices for your type of car.

Talk to Friends and Family

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Pixland

Friends and family members who enjoy cars as a hobby will have information for you about reliable dealers. If they have recently purchased a used car, they will have experience with who treated them right - as well as who didn’t. Word of mouth is one of the best indicators of a reliable business. When you find a business that gets more than one positive review, make sure to check them out.

Make Appointments

Compile a list of dealerships you want to visit. Call and make appointments with salespeople. Ask them about financing and extended warranties. Both may figure prominently in your decision-making process. Try to speak with everyone on your list. Comparing as many people as possible will help you avoid making a hasty, uninformed decision.

Visit the Dealerships

See each dealership in person to look for cars that match your type. Going there will help you feel confident about doing business with them. When you look at cars, ask about maintenance and previous owner reports. Don’t purchase a car on the first visit. Just take a business card and move on to the next dealership on your list. Once you have seen everyone on your list, research customer reviews of the ones who impressed you the most. You will find the best dealership by considering who will give you the best deal and who has received the best customer reviews. Finding the right used car dealer is almost as important as buying the best used vehicle. After all, you want to make sure you are doing business with reputable people who will stand behind their sales.


NO WORRIES Before You BuY All pre-owned vehicles must go through a strict evaluation and meet our premium manufacturing standards to earn the Certified badge. Vehicles will qualify for the evaluation if they comply with the following requirements: - Be a Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Pontiac, or Saturn - Be within current plus 5 model years - Be within a maximum of 75,000 miles - Pass our 172-Point Vehicle Inspection and reconditioning Process - Have a clean title - Come with a Vehicle History report (CArfAX or AutoCheck)

After You BuY Feel the Certified difference with the Owner Care program that covers a range of benefits designed to five you a completely hassle-free ownership experience. And we did the math. All these benefits are worth $2,135. Ask your Denny Menholt sales consultant for more details. exclusive 2-Year/24,000-Mile CPo Scheduled Maintenance Plan Get our exclusive 2 years or 24,000 miles of standard vehicle maintenance, including oil and oil filter changes, tire rotations, and multipoint inspections. two Manufacturer-Backed Warranties You get our 12-Month/12,000-Mile Bumper-to-Bumper Limited Warranty, plus our 5-year/100,000-Mile Powertrain Limited Warranty. Buick vehicles starting with the 2013 model year and newer come with our 6-year/100,000-Mile Powertrain Limited Warranty. 24/7 roadside Assistance and Courtesy transportation 3-Day/150-Mile Customer Satisfaction Guarantee 3-Month trials of onstar and Sirius XM Satellite radio

See how you can make the Certified advantage work for you. Talk to a Denny Menholt sales consultant today. Š2013 General Motors. All rights reserved.

3000 KING AVE WEST 406-896-3000 OR 1-800-473-2282 Mon-Fri 8-8 Sat 9-7

CHECK OUT OUR INVENTORY:

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How to Select the Right Insurance Agent Shopping for the right insurance agent can feel overwhelming. After all, there are plenty of things to consider. You need to find a company that offers the right mix of service, coverage and an affordable price.

The challenge may simply be not knowing how to identify a reliable, reputable agent. Remember that everyone needs insurance coverage. An experienced agent can walk you through various options, keeping in mind your budget and lifestyle. Before choosing an insurance plan, you will need to identify an agent to guide you through the process. Your financial future depends on finding the right person to help you get insurance that will fit your needs. Your family, friends and colleagues have likely worked with insurance agents in the past. Ask people you trust for referrals. If you receive a recommendation, it is because that person has had a positive experience. There is a good likelihood that you will have similar results. Successful agents understand that offering great service will keep them in business. Their careers depend on word-of-mouth. If you are happy with the service you receive, your insurance agent will appreciate your willingness to refer acquaintances to her in the future. If you do not have recommendations, begin researching your options. Begin by looking at local companies and brokers. Large insurers give all of their agents the same training. Each agent will be subject to the same company policies. In some ways, that can be comforting. However, agents at large companies may lack creativity and flexibility in how they handle their accounts. As you conduct your research, be thorough and critical. Buying a policy is similar to purchasing a new car or home. It is truly that important. Select a company that is highly regarded by consumers. Read reviews of each company to determine who has the most satisfied clients. Are they easy to

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work with? Have there been any problems with collecting on a policy? Also, check that any prospective agent has all necessary licenses and training. After narrowing your list of prospective agents, make an appointment to visit each one. Prepare a list of questions and concerns about your personal situation. Take notes during your meeting. Remember that you must feel comfortable with the answers before purchasing a policy. If an agent tries to pressure you into making a decision right away, inform him that you need more time and cannot sign anything immediately. The right agent will focus on educating you on all of the products and help you make the right decision for your needs. They will give you useful information and not subject you to high-pressure sales techniques. Your agent should be available. The relationship doesn't end once the sale is completed. Your dialogue should be continuous. The best agents are available in the event you have to file a claim. Agents who have been in business for many years likely have a good reputation and track record. They understand Stockbyte the policies and will even take extra care that you are properly protected. It is essential that you choose the right type and amount of insurance to adequately protect yourself and your financial future. The policy should be tailored to fit your specific needs. A seasoned, skilled insurance agent will be an invaluable resource for safeguarding your future.


Heather Daffin 294-9111

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Connie Johnson 248-3111

Cindy Eggert 252-1644

Don Crawford 259-9795

RaeAnn Svedberg (Hardin, Forsyth) 800-859-0333

Sue Parks (Columbus) 322-4876

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George Schmalz 794-0020

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Call for a personal quote today.

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How do you know if Implants are Right for You? Having a beautiful smile can improve your self-confidence and outlook on life. When you want to improve your smile and add function, you should consider getting dental implants. If you lost a tooth or teeth through an accident, disease or decay or just congenital missing them, dental implants are an excellent tooth replacement option for most.

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An implant is a root-like replacement made of titanium, a metal that is bio-compatible and offers strength and durability and has the ability to fuse directly to the bone in a process called osseointegration. This serves as an anchor for crowns, bridges and dentures. Implants today look more realistic than ever, but there are several things to consider when you are thinking about getting dental implants. It is important that you are generally in good health and that any conditions or medical problems that you have are under control and monitored by your physician. Uncontrollable diabetes, cancer and radiation to the head and neck need to be screened closely as that might affect the success of the case. Medications are also important to share with your dental provider before choosing implants. It is also important to treat any other decay or gum disease that may be present. It is a good idea to have a full mouth evaluation and X-rays which might include a CT scan before proceeding with dental implants. This will determine if there is sufficient bone amount and density as well as any gum disease or decay. Sometimes, in complex cases, it takes a dental team to assess and plan dental implant treatment. The dental team can consist of an oral surgeon, peridontist or a general dentist with advanced training in implant surgery as well as a dental lab technician. Most implant placement procedures are done in the office under local anesthesia, once placed they are often allowed to heal for a period of time. Implants can replace a single tooth, multiple teeth or all teeth. Dentures can either have snaps or be completely fixed like a bridge giving you a better fit and ability to eat. Dental implants have limitations and are not as good as real teeth, but they are the next best thing. Dental implants do not have a 100% success rate; however, they have been proven over time and do have an average success greater than 90%. Although they will not decay they still need care and attention to cleaning and can get bone loss or peri-implant disease (gum disease and bone loss) similar to our natural teeth. If you feel that dental implants could be a viable option for you, contact your dentist to schedule an oral exam. Many patients have benefited from implants and feel that they have changed their lives.


IMPLANTS CHANGE LIVES For Bob Staley, the dentures never really worked. He was first fitted for them a decade ago and almost immediately he had problems. “My lower dentures wouldn’t fit. I didn’t have enough ridge,” he said. “And anything I’d try to eat, they’d wobble.” He went in repeatedly for readjustments and fittings. Nothing worked. “So finally, I just put them in a little case and went without them,” he said. Until last year. Staley’s daughter suggested he meet with Dr. Spencer Zaugg, a Billings dentist who is dedicated in helping patients with implants. Staley figured he had tried everything else, why not talk to this implant doctor? “So I went in,” he said. “Dr. Zaugg said, ‘Oh, I can help you with that.’” Zaugg, head dentist at High Plains Dental Center, has years of specialized training, including a prestigious fellowship at Southern Illinois University in implant dentistry. While various specialists focus on one part of the implant process, Zaugg has the training to see the process through start to finish. “It’s not just implants,” he said. “It’s artwork in progress. It’s sculpting and molding the tissue. It’s making sure everything looks and functions exactly right.” And he’s serious about being exact. Before that dental implant ever exists in a patient’s mouth, it comes to life fully rendered as a computer-generated 3-D image where every exact detail is mapped out. X-ray images are used to generate computer models of the patient’s mouth, allowing Zaugg to plan down to a fraction of a millimeter just where and how an implant will sit. “It’s not just a simple cookie-cutter fix,” he

said. “It’s very complex.” That level of precision minimizes pain and damage in the mouth, which quickens the healing process. And being able to render the work first as a 3-D computer image means that complex process of designing the right implant becomes a very simple process when it’s time to put the actual implants in the mouth. Staley went in hopeful that some solution for his ill-fitting lower dentures could be found. But he didn’t really know what to expect. Zaugg checked him out and told him implants were the perfect solution to his problem. They went through the process and after a few months, Staley had his lower teeth in place. “It is amazing,” Staley said. “I can eat anything.” For Darwin Good Bear, it took a little lon-

ger. Good Bear had had many of his teeth extracted years ago and the ones left in his mouth weren’t doing so well. “I hadn’t been to a dentist in years,” he said. Good Bear lives in Wolf Point and his dentist, after an exam, recommended he go see Zaugg for the extensive, specialized work he would need done. So Good Bear set up the appointment and headed down to Billings for a consultation. Zaugg was ready to handle it all. “Dr. Zaugg did extractions, he did crowns,” Good Bear said. And after all of that was done, he did the implants. The extensive work -- and the healing that had to happen between procedures -- meant Good Bear spent the better part of a year in Zaugg’s office. It wasn’t so bad, Good Bear said. He was constantly amazed at how well he was treated by Zaugg and his staff and how much he enjoyed working with them. “Dr. Zaugg is just amazing. He was caring and compassionate and b r i l l i a n t ,” Good Bear said. “His staff too,” he added with laugh.

Dr. Spencer E. Zaugg

DMD Fellow, International Congress of Implantology

406-245-5556

W W W. L O N G L I V E YO U R S M I L E .C O M 51


How to Choose a Skilled Nursing Facility Cherished family members deserve the best care, especially as they grow older. Should an aging parent, spouse, grandparent, sibling or other loved one require it, a quality skilled nursing community (nursing home) can provide peace of mind and quality health care in an environment that honors individuality, privacy and personal interests. It is important to be proactive when searching for a high quality nursing community/home. This is a very important decision, and should take into consideration several key factors.

Visit the Facility

Take a physical tour of each community you are considering. Can you sense and/or see visible signs of compassion and safety? Look for clues about the general morale of the residents – are they smiling? Is the physical environment bright, and do staff and residents interact respectfully and warmly? Focus on the cleanliness, staffing levels and the appearance of other residents. Is the facility free from unpleasant odors? Are there pleasant, homelike smells in the air? Are there enough nurses and other caregivers on duty? Are residents appropriately dressed? Do they seem clean and freshly bathed? Use all five of your senses – are you pleased with what you hear, smell, see, touch and taste (yes, ask to be served a meal)? Socializing is critically important. Does it appear that there are opportunities for residents to meet each other formally and informally? Regular activities such as music and crafts or an outdoor area for enjoying the sunshine will enhance quality of life. Most skilled nursing communities are happy to provide a tour of the building. Once you have seen the environment, ask for a consultation with a staff member. This is an opportunity for you to ask questions and address special needs of the prospective resident. Possible questions might include availability of physical and occupational therapy, accommodation of patients’ medical appointments outside the facility and access to barbers and beauticians.

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Talk with Others

You might have a chance to talk with a relative of a resident who is currently living in the community. Don’t be afraid to ask them for honest opinions about the community. Query them about the staff and quality of care received by the residents. Solicit their input on whether you should place your own loved one in this facility. These relatives are usually eager to share their experiences with you. Hearing their impressions will help ease your own anxieties about this important decision.

Ask the Doctor

If you are still unsure about your decision, or if you have reservations about the facility, discuss the matter with your loved one’s primary care physician. This professional should also be able to recommend good nursing facilities in your area. The doctor may suggest additional facilities not on your original list. When your loved one has special needs, the doctor may know which community can best meet these requirements. Comstock

Choosing a skilled nursing community for your loved one is never easy, but nothing of importance ever is. Carefully weigh the expectations of your family member with your impressions and the recommendations of others. This is one of life’s most difficult decisions. Taking the time to do the research will result in a better quality of life for your loved one and peace of mind for yourself.


SeNior LiviNG Guide BILLINGS

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e free! All classes & events ar

events

Health Fair

Visit over 20 booths of senior health care service and product providers. Join us for a healthy breakfast and lots of giveaways! Booths include transportation options, natural wellness, oxygen therapy, meal programs, balance testing, hearing aid checks, hospice, medicare supplements, home care options, accessibility options, skin care, skilled nursing, blood pressure and blood glucose checks and more! There will be a drug collection center, bring your unused drugs for safe disposal. No liquids or needles, please. Thursday, Sept. 25, 8:00 a.m. – Noon Westpark Village, lower level 2351 Solomon Avenue

Billings Health & Rehabilitation Community 2115 Central Avenue (406) 656-6500 www.billingshealth.com A Platinum Service® network of providers

CliniCs

FREE Blood Pressure & Blood Sugar Clinic

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Q: When is it time for Long Term Care? A: Long Term Care in a nursing home is

for when a person can no longer remain at home and their personal care is more than can be accommodated by assisted living services or an individual caregiver. You can receive Long Term Care at Valley Health Care Center.

Every Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Billings Health and Rehabilitation

Classes

Dance for Parkinson’s

A free dance class for those with all levels of Parkinson’s Disease. Every Thursday at 2:00 p.m. Westpark Village lower level AND every Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. Billings Health and Rehabilitation

Q: What is post-acute care in a nursing home? A: Post-acute care is the short-term

skilled nursing and physical therapy services that are prescribed after a hospital stay for a surgery or illness to assist in your recovery. Summit Post-acute Care at Billings Health & Rehabilitation is your path from hospital to home.

Valley Health Care Center 1807 24th Street West (406) 656-5010 www.valleyhcc.com

www.GenerationsHealthNetwork.com

BLGS-14-38 SEPT

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How to Choose a Credit Union In these tightening economic times, many people are finding out that credit unions have a lot to offer. It is a great place to find a financial solution while helping your community.

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Thinkstock

Credit unions are typically not-for profit operations owned by their members. They are not owned by individuals or conglomerates. Credit unions typically charge less in fees than for-profit banks. Any dividends go to the members instead of shareholders. These days, credit unions are a good deal. They usually offer better interest rates on deposit accounts and competitive rates on various loans. You might get a fantastic rate on a mortgage, auto loan or credit card. Also, the federal government stands behind credit unions. Most deposits are insured by the NCUA up to $250,000. Selecting a credit union is not difficult. The first step is to research those in your community and their membership requirements. Some credit unions are available to employees of specific companies, groups of public service or school employees (SEGs) and some are Community Chartered and you simply need to live or work (sometimes worship or attend school) within a designated area, usually defined by County. And the eligibility is extended to the member’s immediate family, regardless of where they live or work. A simple Internet search is an excellent starting point. Develop a list of credit unions in your area. Then, narrow your possibilities by researching eligibility, services offered and fees charged by each credit union. Most credit union websites will provide you with all the information

you need to make an educated decision. Requirements and fees are spelled out for every account type along with current rates. If you are in the market for a specific loan, research to see if the loan is issued by the credit union. Once you have found several credit unions that offer that type of loan, compare interest rates and specials to see who has the best deal. Of course, convenience is something to keep in mind. Check for availability of online services, weekday and weekend hours, where branches and ATMs are located. You should also understand any fees associated with ATM usage. If you use ATMs frequently, those charges can add up fast. Some credit unions offer programs where your ATM fees are refunded. Many credit unions belong to a national network of credit unions for shared services. It might mean more access to ATMs and other services in case you move or go on vacation. If you have children attending college in other cities or states, this can be useful. Once you have completed your research, make a list of the advantages and disadvantages of each credit union. You can easily compare them. Upon choosing your credit union, visit the branch so you can understand all of the services. Learn more about the benefits of membership. With a little research, you will find that a credit union is a fantastic way to avoid the hassles often experienced from conventional banks. You will not be disappointed!


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How to Choose a Vacuum Dealer A quality vacuum cleaner will give you years of good service. Why go through the frustration of dealing with a cheap vacuum cleaner? Sure, you can buy them almost anywhere: department stores, big-box retailers and even specialty shops all carry them.

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But these inexpensive cleaners are destined to let you down. Your carpets will soon look so dirty that you will have to pull up hair and lint by hand. Pay more for a quality vacuum and spare yourself heartache down the road. Reputable vacuum dealers in your area will be happy to help you find the right model. Look for a dealer who has been in business for years. A long track record is proof of a stellar customer service. The best vacuum dealers carry a variety of top-quality brands. They will also let you compare models and features side-by-side. You will soon understand what makes some brands and models outshine their competitors. Take a look at products in different price ranges. Beware of stores offering only one side of the spectrum. Top-notch dealers have a variety of vacuums at different prices ranges. They know that comparison shopping is critical to finding the best machine for your money. Purchasing replacement parts in a few years will drain your finances. Models in the middle to higher price range will last for many years because of their higher quality and construction. You won't need to replace your vacuum every year or so.

The best vacuum dealers know about their products. Not only will they discuss advantages and disadvantages of certain brands, they will also tell you why some aspects are superior to others. Ask about the store's return policy. It is better to choose a retailer who has a generous return policy, one that allows you to bring back your vacuum if you aren't completely satisfied with its performance or if it is too cumbersome to use. You should also understand your model's warranty. The best vacuum dealers offer in-house repairs and solid customer service when something breaks. Your friends and family may have leads on vacuum dealers. Take their experiences into consideration. Any store can sell you a vacuum, but not all of them will know about their merchandise. Choose a vacuum specialty dealer who has the best product knowledge, replacement parts and customer service. It is possible that you might pay more at first, but you will get a long-lasting deal.


Clean Home SolutionS Are you building a new home? Include a Riccar Central Vacuum System • Central Vacuum Systems have a unique role to play in “green” homes. By removing 100% of vacuumed dirt and dust, they ensure healthy indoor air and reduce the discomfort of allergy sufferers by more than 60%.

• improved indoor air Quality Riccar Central Vacuum Systems can help improve indoor air quality by capturing 100% of all vacuumed dirt, dust and allergens with no recirculation of particles back into the living area.

• all you discard is the dust Unlike uprights, which are often discarded after only a few years, Riccar Central Vacuum Systems keep up worry-free cleaning for decades. A Limited Lifetime Warranty ensures it.

• Say no to noise pollution Riccar power units feature sound-dampening designs that keep homes peacefully quiet.

Recommendations: • “Using central vacuum systems that are vented to the outdoors can significantly reduce dust mites, pollens, animal dander and other allergy causing agents.” – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

• “Central vacuum systems are among the best indoor air quality investments for your home.” – BUILDER Magazine

• “Allergy sufferers’ symptoms can be improved up to 61% when using a central vacuum system.” – University of California Davis School of Medicine

• “The healthiest type of vacuum to operate is a central vacuum that is vented outdoors.” – The Healthy Home Institute

Great Benefits of owning a Central Vacuum System... • Powerful - more power than portable vacuums • Convenient - lightweight hose and attachments • Quieter, cleaner, healthier - power unit is located outside of your living space (garage, crawl space, basement) - so no recirculation of dust, allergens or noise • affordable - adds value to your home

How a Central Vacuum Works • A network of concealed pipes connect a powerful central vacuum unit to conveniently located inlets inside your our home. • Just plug the lightweight hose into the inlet, turn the system on using the switch-on-hose and you're ou're ready to clean! • Your home will be the cleanest its ever been. Simple and easy.

Where Vacuums Grow On Poles. Clean Air Clean Home. Billings Best Source for Quality Vacuums, Air Purifiers & Central Vacuum Systems

Sales • Repair • Service We carry a large selection of cleaning supplies and accessories.

1804 Grand Ave. • (406) 656-8681 • 1-800-822-6261 Open 8:30-5:30 Monday-Saturday • www.stuartshouseofvacuums.com 57


How to Select the Best Retirement Community for Your Needs These days, more Americans are remaining active into their retirement years. They are searching for communities that match their active lifestyles and related goals, while also competently helping with aging-related health needs. If you are in the market for a retirement community to call “home�, it is Any prospective community should have a formal emergency plan in place. important to choose a vibrant place, with a friendly staff and lots of recreational In addition, check to see if the retirement building has custom safety features, activities to choose from. such as railings in the bathrooms and entranceways. Here are some aspects to consider before making a financial commitment to Churches, Libraries and Schools a community. Consider how close the community is to schools, sports facilities, and other Community Activities sites that produce a large amount of traffic volumes and noise levels. Many Many seniors want to keep their energy levels up during their retirement people prefer to live in less congested, quiet areas. years. They are more health conscious and understand that an active lifestyle Also, think about where the nearest libraries and churches are located, as leads to a long life. Many seniors well as access to public transportaenjoy physical activities such as tion. golfing or walking. Any prospective Ask whether the community retirement community should have provides its own transportation for easy access to such activities as well residents. Some facilities have their as numerous options for formal or own fleet of minivans and buses. independent exercise. This is extremely helpful for seniors Other seniors enjoy arts and who no longer drive and need to do crafts, board games, dancing and orsome routine personal shopping, ganized activities. Taking part in sobanking, or for physician visits. cial events can provide opportunities The Community to make new friends. Research what Current residents will give you a kinds of social events are organized feel for their level of satisfaction with within the retirement community. the community. Talk to them about Also, find out if the community their experiences and seek candid has ample opportunities for residents Stockbyte reviews of the amenities and staff. to travel to theaters, museums or After all, it is important you feel shopping malls. confident that you have selected a retirement community that fits your personal Medical Care Facilities needs and lifestyles. Retirement communities should be easily accessible to emergency personnel. By taking the time to research multiple facilities, you will undoubtedly find Know the location of the closest hospitals, doctors, ambulance services and a warm, welcoming facility. You will be able to build lasting friendships and gain other medical facilities. You may wish to restrict your search to communities the support you need to have a rewarding and relaxing retirement. located near your preferred physician or other service providers.

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SeNior LiviNG Guide BILLINGS

TM

GoLoid feLearning TM

ts inars and Social Even Classes, Clinics, Sem to Enrich Your Life.

e free! All classes & events ar

events

Health Fair

Visit over 20 booths of senior health care service and product providers. Join us for a healthy breakfast and lots of giveaways! Booths include transportation options, natural wellness, oxygen therapy, meal programs, balance testing, hearing aid checks, hospice, medicare supplements, home care options, accessibility options, skin care, skilled nursing, blood pressure and blood glucose checks and more! There will be a drug collection center, bring your unused drugs for safe disposal. No liquids or needles, please. Thursday, Sept. 25, 8:00 a.m. – Noon Westpark Village, Lower level 2351 Solomon Avenue

support Groups

Open meetings, all are welcome.

Living with Loss Support Group Every first and third Tuesday, 1:30 p.m. Westpark Village, Lower level Chapel Alzheimer’s Family Support Group Every first and third Wednesday, 2:00 p.m. Westpark Village, 2nd floor Library

classes

Dance for Parkinson’s

A free dance class for those with all levels of Parkinson’s Disease. Every Thursday at 2:00 p.m. Westpark Village, Lower level AND every Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. Billings Health and Rehabilitation 2115 Central Avenue

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Q: How is Retirement Living different than living in my own home? A: Your life, friends, and family are the same, but you have just added a housekeeper, a cook, and a driver to help take care of things. Retirement Living at Westpark Village – Let Our Community Be Yours!

Q: What is Assisted Living? A: Assisted Living is living in your

own apartment but also receiving help with things like medication management and personal care. Add a housekeeper, a cook, and a driver and life is good again! Assisted Living at Westpark Village – Let Our Community Be Yours!

Westpark Village Senior Living Community 2351 Solomon Avenue • (406) 652-4886 • www.westparksenior.com

A Platinum Service® network of providers

www.GenerationsHealthNetwork.com BLGS-14-38 SEPT

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How to Choose a Computer Repair Specialist There is nothing worse than having a computer stop working. After all, modern society has become increasingly dependent on computers. It is vital that you can find a professional to fix your computer quickly and successfully. Whether you use your computer for work or entertainment, it’s a good idea to find a qualified computer repair specialist you can trust. Here are some factors to consider before beginning your search.

Type of Device

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Do you use a PC or a Mac? Most computer specialists will focus on only one system. If there’s a picture of an apple on your computer, you have a Mac. If you are unsure, then chances are you have a PC. PCs and Macs are quite different from each other. Choose a technician who focuses on your type of computer. Is your computer a desktop or a laptop system? They often have unique issues, so find someone who can work on your type of computer. Desktop systems consist of a tower, monitor, keyboard and mouse. Laptops are self-contained in a package that travels easily. If your tablet or smart phone is giving you trouble, be sure to find someone who specializes in those devices. Someone in your social network has likely had computer issues. Ask them for recommendations. You might also consult with the IT department at your workplace. They will be able to point you in the right direction. Electronic vendors often have a help desk who can also suggest qualified technicians in your area. Or the store might have specialists on staff who can help you.

Experience

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The ideal specialist is someone who has successfully fixed many computers. You don’t want someone getting on-the-job training by fixing your machine.

Ask how long they’ve worked on computers and how they keep up with new innovations. Experienced specialists attend seminars or classes to learn about the latest operating systems and hardware.

Training and Certification

Microsoft and Apple give software certifications to technicians for completing a specialized training program. Anyone who has these certifications has demonstrated self-discipline; however, that is no guarantee of a technician’s ability. In the world of computers, experience and skill carry more weight than a diploma.

Price

As with most essential services, don’t automatically choose the person who offers you the lowest rate. If something goes wrong during a repair, you may have to pay additional fees to solve the problem. But that doesn’t mean the highest priced vendor will offer you the best quality or service.

Make a Personal Visit

Visit the computer repair shop where your potential specialist works. Be wary of sales representatives who might try to sell you a new product rather than fixing the problem. Ask to meet with the technician who will work on your computer. As you describe the problem, watch the technician’s response carefully -- both words and body language. Do they speak knowledgeably and in a way that instills confidence? If not, take your business elsewhere.


How to Choose a Physical Therapist Physical therapy helps alleviate pain. It focuses on treating musculoskeletal disorders. For example, people with back pain can receive physical therapy to strengthen the core muscles in their back. Not only will they feel better, patients may also emerge from physical therapy with a restored, functional body.

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Photodisc

Most patients visit physical therapists for chronic pain from injuries or if they recently underwent surgery. People with pain in their backs, knees, neck, shoulder or other joints can receive benefits from finding a physical therapist. Insurance companies often agree about these benefits. Most companies require patients to try physical therapy before turning to expensive surgery to fix the problem. In fact, physical therapy can actually negate the need for surgical treatment. After surgery, physical therapy might serve as part of the aftercare and recovery process. For example, when you have surgery to repair a rotator cuff, a therapist can play a huge part in a successful recovery. People with degenerative disc problems in their backs will benefit from a physical therapy regimen. It can help ease pressure and pain in their lower back. Normally, a problem like this requires surgery, but physical therapy can help patients regain a full range of motion. Physical therapists also provide the best remedy for other injuries. Someone with a reattached finger will need to practice with a physical therapist to regain feeling and movement. A person who has been incapacitated for an extended period may need physical therapy to regain their functionality. Insurance companies will likely have requirements. You may have to choose a therapy that is in-network, rather than out-of-network. Your insurance may also limit the amount of visits they cover.

Once you have narrowed your search to a few potential candidates, inquire about the physical therapist’s previous work history. Don’t be afraid of asking directly about their success rates and potential problems. Also, contact your state board of physical therapy to see if any complaints have been filed against the professional you are considering. The best physical therapists will provide emotional support as well. Treatment and recovery is very hard work, especially for patients in severe pain. When you feel exhausted, the physical therapist will provide motivation. She will not allow you to make excuses. Instead, a physical therapist will push you to your limits, which will aid in your full recovery. The therapist will inspire you to regain your full independence; this is especially important for elderly people who have problems getting around on their own. It is vital that you feel comfortable with whichever physical therapist you choose. This professional may have to examine sensitive areas of your body to check for swelling or heat. She may also massage your muscles as part of therapy. You should feel at ease and safe during this process. The physical therapist will likely provide you with follow-through exercises at home. It is very important you act on her recommendations. It will help you recover faster. With the assistance of a good physical therapist and your own hard work, you can often make recover fully and enjoy life again.

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How to Choose a Security System You can’t put a price on security. Protecting your family and valuables are essential. A professionally installed security system can help you and your loved ones feel comfortable in a challenging world. These days, companies use cutting-edge, highly customizable technologies that will protect you from intruders and other potential threats. Whether you are searching for a home or office security system, choose a qualified, reputable company with a long track record.

The Company

When you know the backyard is supposed to be unoccupied during the day, There are plenty of companies in the market that can help you. Choosing the some systems might allow you to monitor the backyard zone while disarming the front door area. best one can seem like a daunting task. Do you prefer a system with 24-hour monitoring? Would a wireless or wired system best fit your needs? Is a simple, The Extras basic system the best or do you need a more elaborate and high tech option? Consider how much your alarm system will cost over time. Many companies Qualified, professional salespeople can help you navigate through your will offer discounts on installing the system if you agree to a long term contract choices. They don’t push products; rather they can educate you on all of the for monitoring services. selections so you can It might be a smart pick the best one for agreement. Most your needs. people want their alarm system monitored Customization anyway, so getting a Consider how you price break on a fundawant the system to be mental service makes configured. Security sense. systems use several Many systems types of sensors provide additional ser-- from open-close vice to make you more sensors on doors and secure. You might conwindows to motion sider getting sensors sensors that capture to detect fires, carbon movement. Picking monoxide, natural gas the right sensors can or water in your basemake a big difference ment. These features in the usefulness of can be easily installed the system and the by a professional. final cost. The most imporFor instance, if Stockbyte tant factor is trustyou have a pet that worthiness. The best likes to roam the house at night, you don’t want to have a motion sensor that companies will support the product long after the sale is complete. They should trips accidentally. Older houses have wiring that might be difficult to handle, so help you with any problems and make certain you are comfortable with using you might opt for a wireless system. Security systems often utilize zones or areas of protection. Decide how many your alarm system. After all, a security system is an investment in your peace of mind. zones you need. A security system can monitor different zones in different ways.

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How to Choose a Travel Agent Are you craving an escape to an exotic location? Or are you searching for an exciting adventure? Then it is time to find a travel agency.

Digital Vision

Travel agents are trained in finding the best deals on the market. These professionals can also help you navigate your way out of a tight jam. One family discovered the importance of a travel agent during their vacation. They parked their car in a motel parking lot, locked the doors and went inside for a good night’s rest. But they left their plane tickets in their car so they could be prepared for their early morning flight. Arising early the next morning, the family returned to the parking lot only to discover that the car and their tickets were gone. A quick phone call to the airline confirmed that the family could not get on the plane without their tickets. In a panic, they called the travel agency. The agent luckily left her cell phone number on the outgoing message at the office. After one more hasty call, the agent obtained the numbers the airline needed so the family could still make the flight. The moral of the story? Travel agents aren’t just for booking tickets.

What to Know When Hiring a Travel Agent

Digital Vision

Eleven states require travel agents to be statelicensed. Many of these states only require the agency to have a license and pay a fee. These stipulations offer no real protection for travelers. There are some other ways you can discover if a travel agent is competent, knowledgeable and honest. First of all, find out if the agency is a member of the American Society of Travel Agents or the Association of Retail Travel Agents. Then, ask if the agent is a member of a travel consortium. Members of a consortium have strong negotiating power and will often have access to better travel deals. Then ask for references from clients and wholesale suppliers. When you contact these suppliers, talk to the sales manager. That person should be happy to answer

questions about their relationship with the agency. Of course, a travel agency should have emergency contact information that is good 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The agency should also have a toll-free phone number. If you plan on traveling internationally, choose an agency that allows you to contact them for free if problems arise. It is usually best to work with only one agent. That person should have a phone extension and email. Reputable agencies have specialized email addresses.

Specialized Travel

Anyone traveling overseas should have up-to-theminute information about political conditions. Good agents provide their clients with such information. Since September 11, 2011, regulations for entry into other countries have become increasingly complex. This is where a travel agent can be a blessing. High-rise and specialized vacations require specific knowledge and reputable vendors. Good travel agents will provide plenty of options. They will also have information about travel warnings from the U.S. State Department. Cruise passengers can also receive great deals when using a travel agent. Members of the Cruise Line Society of Travel Agents can offer substantial savings or deals. But no matter what kind of travel you are doing, a skilled travel agent will have access to information about safety standards and industry reputations. They can help you steer clear of fraudulent vendors and scams. Whether you are planning a relaxing vacation or adventurous escape, your time away can be an amazing experience. Talented travel agents can provide needed guidance and support. They will take care of the details so you can kick back and enjoy your time away.

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What to Look for When Buying Windows Gorgeous windows for your home or commercial building can enhance the appearance of the property. It can also increase its value. But weighing functionality, aesthetics, placement, price and efficiency can be daunting.

UV Factors

There are a slew of things to consider. Understanding the terminology used to describe various windows will help you make your decision. Here are common words and phrases you are likely to encounter:

Blocking UV rays will spare your carpets and furniture from sun damage. That’s why a window with high ultra-violent blockage is recommended, especially for people who live in warm climates.

Window Glazing

Casement Windows

The actual glass in a window is called glazing. Many homes and older buildings have a single pane of glass within each frame. It is a traditional style; however, it is not energy-efficient. Double-glazed windows are the popular option. There are two panes of glass in a frame. The gap between the panes acts as a layer of insulation. It improves the window’s ability to maintain the building’s temperature. Sometimes, newer structures have triple-glazed windows. They are more expensive, but they also provide additional insulation benefits.

R-values

When energy efficiency is a key concern, casement windows are the best choice. This simple high-and-crank design lowers air seepage. When the wind pushes against the glass, the seal becomes tight and reduces leakage. Casement windows are hinged on the sides. When the windows have top hinges, they are called awning windows. Hoppers are bottom-hinged windows. Hinged windows must be maintained, as the seal erodes over time. When left unchecked, the erosion can make the window less energy efficient.

Other Factors

Large differences between interior and exterior temperatures create meddlesome condensation on glass. Always choose a window appropriate for your climate. Window placement is another factor when building a new structure. Consider the building’s position and location as they relate to the sun. Windows facing U-values the south let in more heat than north-facing windows. Properly placed, a window U-values tell you the level at which a window conducts heat. The lower the can increase a structure’s passive solar efficiency. U-value, the better. Extreme temperatures cause frames and seals to deteriorate more quickly. People who live in wintery climates should choose replacement windows Windows using warm-air technology and adequate spacers reduce temperature with strong R-value and U-value ratings to conserve energy. fluctuations, placing less strain on seals and framing. Before beginning any improvement project to your home or business, unLow-e derstand the building codes in your area. You may need a permit to do a major Low-emissive, or low-e windows are the latest innovations in the energywindow-replacement project. If you don’t have the required paperwork in order, efficiency mark. you might have to pay a fine, remove the work that’s already been done and Low-e glass traps heat by placing a thin metallic coating on the appropriate start over. window pane. Indoor radiant heat is reflected back inside, cutting the burden on Knowing basic terminology and concepts before you shop for windows will a building’s heating system. If you live in a cold climate, install a low-e window as save you time and money in the long run. It is really less complicated than it a complement to low U-value components. looks. People who live in sunnier, warmer climates can also take advantage of low-e windows. The summer’s higher levels of infrared rays are reflected back outside, keeping the interior of the house cooler. R-values measure the amount of heat a window loses through its glass panes. Higher R-values mean more energy efficiency. An R-value of 3 is very desirable.

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Profile for Billings Gazette

How to Choose - Sept. 2014  

How to Choose - Sept. 2014