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c o n s u m e r your guide to living well

HOW-TO guide


Page 2 - CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE - TheIntellegencer.com - Friday, May 21, 2010

How to. . .

Get connected and stay informed

Where it starts

Newspapers provide point, the eyes and ears for any media source beyond the printed product.

In 1704, The Boston News-Letter was granted permission to become the American colonies’ first continuously published newspaper, and since that time, there is truly nothing more connective and informative as a newspaper. Newspapers provide point, the local eyes and ears, for all. It is only a newspaper that will give its readers the particulars that television, radio, and Internet may leave out for the sake of being concise. The newspaper functions as the protector of democracy by informing citizen on all levels of news, government actions, feel-good stories, important announcements…the list goes on. Newspapers are the sinews that furnish movement to other news media sources and, ultimately, to the people they serve. Without the newspaper, people would be left in the dark—uninformed Americans, unable to act and react to the vast world in which we all live. Newspapers are important enough to be protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which disallows government from “abridging the freedom...of the press.” Even Thomas Jefferson knew the important role of the newspaper. In 1787 he wrote, “The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people…and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” Let us all prefer the latter.

Index How to...

Page

Get connected, stay informed....................................................................................2 Edwardsville Intelligencer Choose a retirement community...............................................................................3 Eden Village Choose a college..........................................................................................................5 McKendree College Choose the right restaurant for a gathering............................................................6 Buffet City Choose a music store..................................................................................................7 Mojo’s Music Choose what to do with your stuff...........................................................................8 Marine Auction Center Make the right hearing aid choice............................................................................9 Johnson’s Hearing Center Choose a furniture refinisher...................................................................................10 Furniture Medic Choose a mortgage lender........................................................................................11 First Clover Leaf Bank Choose an obstetrician..............................................................................................13 Dr. Midkiff Choose the right carpet.............................................................................................14 Vallow Floor Coverings, Inc. Choose a heating & cooling specialist/geothermal energy.................................15 Ernst Heating & Cooling Tell the difference between a bank and a credit union.........................................16 Shell Community Federal Credit Union Choose a chiropractor................................................................................................17 Anita M. Reising, D.C.

How to...

Page

Choose a medical spa................................................................................................18 Spa Rinnovi Make the right flooring selection.............................................................................19 Lenny’s Carpet & Floor Center Understand Essure.....................................................................................................21 Maryville Medical Spa Parent your parent.....................................................................................................23 Cambridge House Decide when to upgrade heating & cooling system.............................................24 Cummings Heating & Cooling Care for your tree.......................................................................................................25 Waldbart Nursery Know what to do when buying a car......................................................................26 Koetting Ford Increase curb appeal..................................................................................................27 Edwardsville Intelligencer Choose a lawn mower...............................................................................................29 Sloan Implement Choose your full service funeral home & cemetery..............................................31 Sunset Herr Funeral Home and Cemetery Care for your aging parents.....................................................................................32 Huffman Law Design your new deck..............................................................................................33 Butler Home Improvement Support Success.........................................................................................................34 Edwardsville Intelligencer Choose a skilled nursing full service facility.........................................................35 Liberty/Maryville Manor


How to. . .

Friday, May 21, 2010 – TheIntellegencer.com – CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE – Page 3

Choose a retirement community

Do your homework It is important that the family and/or potential resident decide what is most important to them in looking for a Senior Living Facility. Retirement communities vary in location, size, price, amenities, staffing, programs and services.

When you are faced with the job of finding a Retirement Community for yourself or a loved one, the question is often asked is "Where do I begin?" Many seniors have tired of the day-to-day chores of lawn and home repairs, etc. Look for a Retirement Community that offers the freedom of home, yet handles the day-to-day maintenance and security. A quality Retirement Community will offer many opportunities to socialize while maintaining privacy, dignity and independence. Residents can usually bring most of their own furniture and a few providers even allow small pets. The first step is to identify two or three facilities in your chosen area that meet the criteria you established: • If placement is urgent, due to illness or hospitalization, consult your hospital Social Worker or Discharge Planner for assistance. • If placement is "down the road" and you have time, call the Retirement Communities and ask them to send you their information packet including an activity calendar, newsletter and a menu. • Search Web sites. This is a good way to learn about the retirement community. It is very important to tour the facilities you have chosen and to go with a list of questions. Keeping notes and checklists of services and building amenities available will enable you to compare facilities. It's important to look beyond the physical structure and spend the necessary time to ask questions; talk with residents and staff. Remember that some operate as non-for-profit, which often has the Senior's best interest at heart. When you are touring, remember the following: • Did you call for an appointment? • Was the facility clean and well maintained? • Does the Community offer a continuum of care such as Assisted Living services and Skilled Care should the need arise? • Were you offered lunch? • Was the staff friendly?

Listen and observe. When touring a Community, ask any questions that might come to mind. Senior Living is for adults who are self-sufficient and want the freedom and privacy of their own separate, easy-to-maintain apartment or home, along with the security, comfort and social activities of a senior community. It is by definition....Senior Living. Assisted Living is housing with services for people who need help with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, grooming, meal preparation, or medication management. It bridges the gap between Senior Living and Skilled Care. Skilled Nursing Care offers 24-hour medical care, including short-term rehabilitation as well as long-term care for people with chronic ailments or disabilities that require daily attention of licensed nursing staff. Continuing-Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) are ideal for several reasons. The CCRC is a community of residences that include Senior Living, Assisted Living and Skilled Care, so seniors can stay in the same general location as their needs change over time. Bottom line is this: Visit various Communities. Research and familiarize yourself with a Retirement Community that meets your need and expectations.

Retirement Community

Garden Homes Senior Apartments Care Center Assisted Living Apartments

200 South Station Rd. • Glen Carbon, Illinois 62034 • 618-288-5014 www.edenvillage.org

Therapy Center


Page 4 - CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE - TheIntellegencer.com - Friday, May 21, 2010


How to. . . What to major in Consider a liberal arts curriculum that will expose you to many subjects as you complete general education requirements. Ask what services the school provides for helping students decide on a major.

Friday, May 21, 2010 – TheIntellegencer.com – CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE – Page 5

Choose a college

Choosing a college or university is an important, very personal decision that you should research extensively. Crucial selection criteria can help when sorting through admission catalogues, or visiting Web sites or local college fairs. Prepare a list of five to seven schools, advises Joni Bastian, assistant vice president for student affairs and director of retention services at McKendree University in Lebanon, Ill. “You may want to include both larger and smaller institutions if you are unsure about the size of the campus you want to attend,” she noted. Admission counselors will guide you through the decision process but before you apply, consider the following: Does the college offer quality academic programs? Colleges offer a wide variety of academic programs, from liberal arts to pre-professional. If a college does not list your major but you are interested in other programs, there may be an opportunity to minor, get an emphasis, pursue independent study or self-design a major. Undecided on a major? Consider a liberal arts curriculum that will expose you to many subjects as you complete general education requirements. Ask what services the school provides for helping students decide on a major. “Remember that it is common to change your major and that it is fine to not know what you want to study your first year,” Bastian said. Make sure you meet academic requirements for application. Many colleges and universities require qualified ACT or SAT scores, writing proficiency examinations, college preparatory courses, and high school grade point average minimums. How will you pay for tuition? Schools offer a variety of scholarships in academics, athletics and co-curricular involvement. Independent scholarships, grants and private aid are available by applying directly through the groups offering support. Complete the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine state and federal support available based on your family or personal income. Will you live on campus? Living on campus makes it easier to meet people and get involved. Some schools require first and second-year students to live in campus housing; some do not allow them to have vehicles on campus; and others offer limited housing. Compare the cost of room and board to that of commuting from home or living in town. Do you need special attention? A small student-to-faculty ratio offers more opportunity to participate actively in class, know your professors and receive personal attention. Many colleges and universities offer tutoring programs or special testing environments to help students achieve academically. If accessibility is an issue, inquire about ways to get around the campus. Where is the school located? Location is important not only for commuter students but also those who want to get involved in the community. It can also affect the availability of internships and employment opportunities. Urban area colleges and universities may be accessible via public transportation; however, some students may not feel comfortable living in a big city. Suburban schools offer convenient access to the city but transportation may be limited. Rural environments may be considered safe but offer limited professional and cultural opportunities. Students who live on campus should account for the cost and means of traveling to and from home for special occasions, holidays and spring breaks. Does the college offer co-curricular activities or athletics that interest you? Co-curricular activities and athletics expand students’ participation on campus. Ways to get involved include student government, residence life, campus activities, special interest organizations, campus ministries, intercollegiate competition, forensics and debate, Model United Nations, and academic pursuits such as honor societies, the college newspaper, literary magazine, band or orchestra. Consider the athletic events you that like to participate in or watch. Schools offer various levels of intercollegiate athletic competition; some may only offer intramural sports. Social Greek fraternities and sororities are another way to meet others on campus. Colleges and universities often have special housing for their larger Greek organizations. Other fraternities or sororities focus on community service. Participation in service learning can strengthen students’ resumes, offering opportunities to gain leadership, public speaking, budget management and

planning experience. Why visit a campus? Visiting the institution is very important, stresses Bastian. “Often you can tell immediately if the institution is a good match or not, just by how friendly the campus community is during the visit.” Try to visit at least twice. Arrange the first with an admission counselor. Request a campus tour that includes a visit to the dorms (if needed) and an opportunity to meet with a faculty member in your academic field. If time permits, Bastian suggests attending an event which is open to the public, such as fine arts or sports. “This offers a great opportunity to talk to people about the institution in an informal setting,” she said. Check campus Web sites for special event calendars. Talk with alumni and current students. Get to know other prospective students as well as students currently enrolled. Some Admission Offices host Facebook groups, where prospective students can chat with current students about the institutions. What’s next? In addition to campus Web sites, the following resources can save you time and money as you make your decision: Colleges of Distinction recognizes colleges that “are the best places to learn, to grow, and to succeed.” http://www.collegesofdistinction. com/ U . S . N e w s & Wo r l d R e p o r t compares colleges and universities by rankings that include price, ACT/SAT scores, retention rates, and studentto-faculty ratio. http://colleges. usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/ best-colleges College Board offers resources about preparing for college, finding a college, applying for college and paying for college. http://www. collegeboard.com U.S. Department of Education/FAFSA offers a free application for federal financial aid. http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ eCampusTours offers virtual online tours of participating colleges and universities registration required). http://www.ecampustours.com/

Location is important not only for commuter students but also those who want to get involved in the community.


Page 6 - CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE - TheIntellegencer.com - Friday, May 21, 2010

How to. . .

Choose the right restaurant for a gathering

Give your guests a choice By choosing a buffet, your guests have many options and the chance to try many things rather than being confined to an individual selection from an ala cart menu.

Planning any event that calls for food can be difficult, trying to conform your menu to others special diets, likes and dislikes or even allergy concerns. Trying to fill the bill for all of those factors can be stressful and costly. Choosing a buffet restaurant may be the answer to your dilemma. By choosing a buffet, your guests have many options and the chance to try many things rather than being confined to an individual selection from an ala cart menu. By selecting a buffet meal, you already have your appetiz ers, salads, main courses and, many times, desserts right there for everyone to enjoy. Usually there are selections that are made to conform to spec i a l d i e t s : l o w s o d i u m , s u g a r- f re e , e t c . a n d a v a r i e t y o f f re s h fruits and vegetables for those looking for healthier options. How many times have you not been able to enjoy your guests because you are too busy keeping everything hot and refilled? Or spend all your time cleaning up after everyone?

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The buffet solves that problem also. Sit back, enjoy conversation and your guests company and let the service and the food be the restaurants responsibility. Servers refill your glasses and guests can return to the buffet whenever they like, and every t h i n g i s k e p t a t r i g h t t e m p e r atures. So the next time you are s t re s s i n g o u t o v e r a n o c c a s i o n that surrounds a meal, consider a buffet and stop worrying!

Having a group for dinner? Enjoy your guests rather than spending time preparing and cleaning up dinner.

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& All Day On Sunday Prime Rib Crab Legs N.Y. Strip Steak Childrens Food Selections

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Friday, May 21, 2010 – TheIntellegencer.com – CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE – Page 7

How to. . . Playing the right tune

Choose a music store

You’ve decided that you want to learn a guitar or drums. Okay. Now what. Because a musical instrument is an investment in both money and time, you need to find guidance. Lots of places sell guitars and drums but where do you find the guidance you need. Are you even aware of what you need? Once you think that you are serious about investing your time and money in learning to play some type if instrument you need to find a good music store that offers you selection, experience and price.

A good music store will offer: • A wide selection • Experienced service personnel • Competitive pricing • A commitment to the music industry

Selection Does the store have a wide variety of guitars and drums to chose from? Do they have several choices at different levels of experience (beginner, intermediate or professional)? Do they have used instruments that may suit your needs? And if you buy for a beginner, will they take a trade in when you are ready for a more advances model? The more you have to choose from the better equipped you will be to make the correct decision.

actually used the equipment they are trying to sell you? The more hands on experience a sales person has the more guidance you will receive for them. Price While price is important, it is not the only deciding factor. Most local music stores have more flexibility than chain stores to give you a more competitive price. But price is not the only cost to consider. Consider service as well as price. If something needs to be fixed how long will you have to wait? Does the price quoted include a warranty? If so, what is covered by the warranty and what isn’t. Part of the price of learning a musical instrument is lessons. Does this store provide lessons and at what price?

Once you think you are serious about investing your time and money in learning to play some type of instrument you need to find a good music store that offers you selection, experience and price.

Experience How much actual experience with music does the store you have chosen have? A chain store may not give you the same guidance that you would receive from an independently owned store. How much actual musical experience does the sales staff have? Do they have knowledge of all the equipment in the store? Can they answer all your questions? Have they

Commitment How committed to the music industry is this store that you have chosen? Is this just a job or are they committed to keeping music appreciation alive. Do they help local schools? Music is an art form. There should be a feeling of true interest in keeping that art form alive and growing through future generations. This type of commitment is usually found in you local music store. Information provided by Mojo’s.

LOCALLY OWNED & OPERATED

SALES • RENTALS • LESSONS • REPAIRS

Great Selection of Drum Kits, Bongos, & Congas PA & Sound Equipment Band & Orchestra Instruments & Accessories Large Selection of Print Music & Method Books Acoustic & Electric Guitars in All Price Ranges From Beginner to Intermediate to Professional FREE Lessons With Any Instrument Purchase! “For the BEST Selection at the BEST Prices, choose the store with the MOST experience, Mojo’s Music” EDWARDSVILLE’S ONLY PRO MUSIC & SOUND SHOP

142 N. Main St. • Edwardsville, IL 62025

655-1600

www.mojosmusic.com


Page 8 - CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE - TheIntellegencer.com - Friday, May 21, 2010

How to. . .

Choose where to take your stuff

Auctions are an option The auction center will take pictures of your items, and post them on various Web sites. One of the main Web sites is auctionzip.com.

In an economy where every dollar counts, consumers want to make sure that they get “all the bang for their buck” they can. So what do you do with all the stuff that has accumulated in the garage, attic, basement, closets, and under the bed ? As if you don’t have enough of your own stuff, you then acquire others stuff as well. Maybe your parents have passed on, or your aunt has left you a house and its contents. After you’ve gone through and determined what is sentimental and what is garbage, you still have items that you don’t have any room for. That’s where a consignment auction house comes into play. At first it will seem as though there is just a lot of work to be done, but when you’re finished, you’ll have a clutter free home and some extra cash to go out and buy some more stuff ! It’s very easy and painless. The first step is to load up your items and take them to a local auction center. When you go to the auction center, they will tell you their commission structure. This is what percentage they will charge you to advertise, store and auction your items. Then they will look at your items, take an inventory and let you know when they can fit your items in the next auction. The auction center will take pictures of your items, and post them on various Web sites. One of the main Web sites is auctionzip. com. You can go there and find out about auctions that are running within a certain radius. Its important for the auction house to have various forms of advertising your items, that is how you get a wide audience of people with interest in your items. By having a lot of bidders to bid on your items, you will get the most money for your items. Another avenue for advertising is local newspapers. This is where many local people that frequent auctions go

to find out where and when the local auctions are going to be. When it comes to the day of the auction, the auction house will set up your items in a manner to make sure that everything can be viewed by all that are attending. As the auctioneer gets to your items, they will be held up by a ring person and the bidding will begin. It is a very quick paced and exciting, people have to pay attention, because if they don’t they could miss their item in the blink of an eye. Sometimes auction goers attend specifically for one or two items so they need to stay focused. After the auction has ended, the auction house is responsible for doing another inventory on the items that didn’t sell and letting you know how much money you made. Normally you are required to pick up the items that didn’t sell, however you can work that out with the auction house. Some charge a disposal fee so you don’t have to come back and pick up the items. After the auction house takes their percentage, which varies by auction house, they will send you a check. If you don’t have any interest in going and sorting through items, you can also call the auction house and they can come out and just offer a amount for what you have. Of course, this could be considerable less than taking the time to go through each individual box and assessing what “gems” you might have. Whichever way you go, the end result is that you have gotten rid of all the extra clutter in your home and made a few extra dollars !! Submitted by: Marine Auction House

What can you do with all the stuff that has accumulated in the garage, attic, basement, closets and under the bed?

Marine Auction Center 114 E. DIVISION, MARINE, IL

Consignment Auctions 1st & 3rd Tuesday of Every Month Auctions Begin at 6:00 pm - Doors Open at 4:00 pm View Items & Auctions at www.auctionzip.com or marineauctioncenter.com

Now Accepting Quality Consignment Items Wednesday & Saturday 9:00 am - 3:00 pm • Vehicles • Boats • RV’s • Farm Equipment

• Motorcycles • Campers • Antiques • Household Items

618-980-0409

• Furniture • Appliances • Tools • Estates


How to. . .

Friday, May 21, 2010 – TheIntellegencer.com – CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE – Page 9

Make the right hearing aid choice

When to go Most people with a hearing problem are not aware of it themselves. Usually hearing loss is so gradual you don't even realize it.

A successful hearing aid fitting involves more than getting a hearing test, picking the style you want, and putting them in your ear so you can hear normally again, and it can mean the difference between wearing your hearing aids and leaving them in a drawer. The first step is to have your hearing tested. Based on the results of your hearing evaluation and other factors, such as your lifestyle and typical surroundings, your hearing specialist can help you select the most practical hearing aids. Most hearing aids purchased today are adjustable. You may need to work closely with your specialist in order for the proper changes to be made and to achieve optimal results. Therefore, you should choose a hearing specialist you are comfortable with and who is genuinely interested in helping you hear better. Be sure to choose a provider that offers a trial period, so you ca n tr y t he hearing aids in different listening situations, like restaurants and church. Also, ask about re-stocking fees or other hidden costs. Word of mouth is another a good indicator, so ask other people where they went to get their hearing aids. If you follow the above suggestions when choosing a hearing instrument specialist, you are likely to see positive results with your new hearing aids and will be happy that you finally took the BIG step to better hearing. How do I know if I need a hearing aid? Most people don’t realize they have a hearing loss because it occurs gradually. Instead, they claim others just don't speak clearly. If your family or friends comment that you are not hearing well, you constantly ask others to repeat themselves, or if you feel like people are mumbling, you should have your hearing tested—you may have a hearing loss or simply have an earwax buildup. Do I really need two hearing aids? Yes, if you have a hearing loss in both ears. The hearing system

f u n c t i o n s o n t h e p r i n c i p l e o f s t e re o s o u n d a n d re l i e s o n t w o independent ears. If only one ear is aided you could have more difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments and in locating the direction from which sound is coming. With two hearing aids, the volume can be set lower, resulting in better clarity less amplification of background noises, and decreased effort in listening. Why is there such a difference in the price of hearing aids? All hearing aids look alike from the outside, but it's the circuitry inside that makes them different. An automobile can be used as an example; within each model the consumer has a choice 4 or 6-cylinder engines, trim, and interiors. So, although they look alike on the outside, they are priced completely different. Prices also vary depending on the style, optional features, and length of warranty chosen, as well as the extent of service after the purchase. Baby Boomers—those born between 1947 and 1964 may be particularly susceptible to hearing loss because of their lifelong exposure to loud music and other noise. Research shows that people often feel isolated and insecure, experience disruptions in family life, and even make less money as a result of their hearing loss. The good news is that hearing loss can be easily diagnosed and can be corrected up to 95% of the time with hearing aids.


Page 10 - CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE - TheIntellegencer.com - Friday, May 21, 2010

How to. . . Protect your investment Furniture is an investment that lasts for generations. Keep yours in beautiful condition by protecting it from common household catastrophes.

Choose a furniture refinisher

Look for a refinisher with an established reputation and who specializes in furniture and wood repair. Be sure to check that their workmanship is guaranteed. Q: Can my Furniture be repaired on-site? A: Most refinishers attempt to conduct all repairs on-site. However, there are times where the extent of the damage will require your furniture to be repaired at an off-site facility. Make sure you aware of the procedure for off-site repairs. Q: Will the products used to repair my furniture be safe for my family? A: Look for a refinisher that uses predominately water-based products which have less odor and are safe for your family, pets and the environment. Some repair processes may require the use of more traditional products. In these instances, make sure to have adequate ventilation or simply work on the piece outside of the home. Q: What are the main types of damage that can be repaired in my home? A: All types and styles of wood furniture and surfaces. In many cases, items can be repaired instead of being replaced, which can save you money in the long run. Q: I have a white spot on the finish of my table, can this be repaired? A: White spots on furniture can result when heat (a hot pizza box for example) or water (from a glass) penetrate the surface. In many cases, this damage can be repaired on-site in a few hours or less. Q: My dog has chewed the leg of my table and

left some damage, can this be repaired? A: Yes pet damage can be repaired - to include dog chews, cat scratches and various other types of pet damage. The refinisher will inspect the damaged areas and provide options on how it can be restored. Q: I have a table that is showing some wear. What can I do to make this look better? A: There are several ways worn finish can be repaired. If the finish is still in good enough shape, a new coat of finish can be applied to achieve the desired result of an enhanced looked. However, if the finish is too badly damaged, the table will most likely need to be stripped and refinished. Q: Can I change the color of my furniture to match the rest of the furniture. A: Yes, It is generally very easy to take a light piece and darken it. Taking darker shades to a lighter shade requires more extensive processes – usually stripping and refinishing. Q: How long will the repair take? Will I be without my piece of furniture for an extended time? A: The refinisher should attempt to do many of the repairs in the customer’s home which reduces the turnaround time. However, sometimes the damage is too great and an item must be taken back to the shop for repair. As a guideline, minor repairs take one to two weeks and major repairs like refinishing take four to six weeks. Stop Furniture Damage Before it Starts Here are some helpful hints to help you keep your furniture looking its best.

• Commercial/Residential • Moving Damage Repair • Dent/Gouge/Scratch Repair • Repair/Refinishing • On-Site Repairs • Antique Restoration

•Most furniture is best cleaned with a damp cloth – adding a little soap is a good thing. Then dry the surface with a clean cloth. • Avoid all cleaners containing ammonia. It can damage your wood furniture. • Frequently dust with a soft, dry, clean cloth. • Make sure your furniture polish does not contain a high amount of alcohol as it can damage wood finishes. • Use coasters with felt or cork bottoms to reduce water rings. • Protect furniture from hot serving dishes with a table cloth, oven mitt or hot plate. • Be careful when cleaning, never allow moisture to be trapped between glass and a wood surface. Make sure surfaces are completely dry before the glass is replaced. • If you have pets that enjoy getting on wood chairs and table tops, protect those surfaces with a table cloth, chair cover or protective pad. Wood and Moisture: Preserving the Delicate Balance All wood has some moisture in it, however too much moisture or dryness can be an unseen enemy of your wood furniture. Moisture in furniture can often lead to mildew, while dryness can cause furniture to lose its natural luster and weaken joints. Maintaining the delicate balance of your furniture is important to keeping it looking nice year after year. Information provided by Furniture Medic Tom Mannion.

BEFORE

AFTER BEFORE

FURNITURE MEDIC® ®

“The prescription for damaged furniture” Tom Mannion

Celebrating 10 Years in Business

618/651-9719

AFTER

tmannion@charterinternet.com


Friday, May 21, 2010 – TheIntellegencer.com – CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE – Page 11

How to. . .

Choose a mortgage lender

Take no risks Check with the Better Business Bureau, where you can ask if any complaints have been filed against a particular bank. Next, gather information on the many mortgage products that are available.

So you’re ready to take the plunge and buy a house. But how do you choose a mortgage lender? Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a veteran of several house purchases, you need a trustworthy, reliable lender to help with this major financial decision. First, find a lending institution you can trust. Look for a loan officer who is knowledgeable and presents information in a straightforward manner. Ask friends and family for referrals. Did they have a good experience with their lender? Were their questions answered clearly and without industry jargon? Another good source of information is local real estate agents. Learn which banks they prefer doing business with when helping their clients buy homes. You may favor a mortgage company that is a member of your local chamber of commerce, since a lender with a sincere interest in your community will most likely treat you fairly. Check with the Better Business Bureau, where you can ask if any complaints have been filed against a particular bank. A mortgage lender is involved in one of the biggest purchases that most of us will make, so be sure to choose one who is proven and dependable. Next, gather information on the many mortgage products that are available. The details can get confusing quickly, but a responsible loan specialist will help you understand the different types of programs and the options that come with each. Review the variety of real estate loans that are currently popular by searching the Internet and talking to homeowners about the kinds of mortgages they have. Ask potential lenders how they determine which loan will best fit your needs. Shop around for the best interest rates and fees, and question any fees you don’t understand. In

addition, notice the behavior of bank representatives as they discuss loan options with you. Are they using high-pressure sales tactics? Are they telling you that you won’t qualify for a loan at another institution? These are signs that you should look elsewhere. Once you’ve done your research and compared rates and fees, it’s important to determine the level of service a particular lender will provide. A local bank, with employees who live in your own community, may take a more personal interest in you and the way your loan is serviced. Bear in mind that it’s often easier to communicate with someone at a local branch rather than someone in another state. Note whether it is convenient to reach a loan officer. When you call on the telephone, are you connected with them quickly, or are you forced to navigate a maze of recordings telling you to press various buttons? Carefully consider how the lender treats you, right up through the time of your closing meeting. Occasionally questions pop up even after the settlement, so you definitely want a lender who will be available whenever you might need them. Choose someone who will meet with you face-to-face and will be able to assist you promptly if any unexpected issues arise. Whether you are a first-time or a seasoned homebuyer, a trustworthy lender can make all the difference to your home purchasing experience. Choose a mortgage lender based on knowledge and integrity, then rest easy and enjoy your new home.

Whether you are a first-time home buyer or a veteran of several house purchases, you need a trustworthy, reliable lender.

Picture Your Dream... with a home mortgage from First Clover Leaf Bank. Receive $150 towards your closing costs.

. Rd

Old Troy Rd.

Hwy. 159

ian

Madison Ave. (Rt. 143)

id

S. Central Ave. (111)

1 y.

er

W. Vandalia

57

Hw

M

St. Louis St.

Goshen Rd. N.

St. Lo uis St.

If you have an existing checking account, or if you open a new checking account when you apply for your real estate loan, we will give you $150 towards your closing costs, to be credited at the time of closing. Any Personal Checking account qualifies. Valid for mortgage loan applications made between April 1, 2010 and June 30, 2010. Other restrictions may apply.

Downtown

Wood River

Goshen Center

157 Center

300 St. Louis Street, Edwardsville, IL

1046 Madison Ave. Wood River, IL

6814 Goshen Road Edwardsville, IL

2143 S. Route 157 Edwardsville, IL

656-6200

254-8445

656-6122

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Page 12 - CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE - TheIntellegencer.com - Friday, May 21, 2010

Dr. Christina Midkiff Dr. Markel Owens Since 1998

Obstetrics & Gynecology

Welcome

Accepting New Patients Call Now For Your Appointment 618-288-7408

Markel L. Owens, M.D., Christina L. Midkiff, M.D., Shawna Swinigan, PA-C, Sarah Pringle, CNP

• Preventative Care • Evaluation & Treatment of all Women’s Health Issues • Medical and Surgical Management Specializing in Providing the Best Individualized Care for You and Your Baby During Your Pregnancy and Delivery.

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How to. . . There is a difference In your search for a women’s specialty doctor, it’s important to first realize that not all gynecologists are obstetricians.

Friday, May 21, 2010 – TheIntellegencer.com – CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE – Page 13

Choose an obstetrician

Finding an obstetrician is becoming an increasingly difficult thing. But there are still plenty of worthy candidates out there, and choosing the right person for you just takes a little bit of legwork.

Another point of advice is to choose a doctor who is board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ABOG). Visit www.abog. org for more information.

In your search for a women’s specialty doctor, it’s important to first realize that not all gynecologists are obstetricians.

For those women who prefer alternate care, a qualified nurse-midwife who also provides prenatal care might be the way to go.

While the Ob/Gyn title seems to follow many doctors’ names, some, because of the aforementioned rising costs in liability insurance, are strictly sticking to gynecology these days.

Information provide by Dr. Midkiff

So if you were looking for “one-stop shopping” so to say, you may need to do a little more research into doctor choices. 1. Referrals: When selecting a doctor, a good place to begin is with referrals from friends and family, provided these people live close by. Talk to new mothers and find out what they have to say about their doctor or group practice. Remember, though, that everyone has different preferences in doctors, so this is merely a jumping-off point to finding the right obstetrician fit for you. 2. Proximity: Take your list of referrals and see where the doctors are located. Most women desire a doctor who is relatively close to home. Having a doctor in close proximity can be an advantage when the latter part of the pregnancy requires weekly trips to the doctor.

If you were looking for "one-stop shopping" so to say, you may need to do a little more research into doctor choices.

With an obstetrician close by, it’s easier to schedule appointments that may fit into your day, with a quick return trip home or to work. 3. Insurance carrier: You may find a doctor that was highly referred and is close to home, but doesn’t take your insurance plan. That is why it is essential to visit the Web site of your insurance carrier during the research process and see what doctors are affiliated. Just because a doctor’s name appears on insurance lists is not proof enough that he or she accepts your plan. Some insurance company Web sites are infrequently updated. Other times a doctor who once practiced alone may have accepted your insurance, but now that he or she is part of a group practice, the insurance is no longer accepted. Call the office and verify that they accept your insurance before getting your heart set on a doctor. Just because your insurance carrier Web site lists them as accepting your plan, it is a good idea to call and inquire. 4. Gender: Think about whether you feel more comfortable with a male or female doctor. This will also weight into your choice. 5. Hospital affiliation: Most obstetricians are affiliated with one or more hospitals in the area. That means they have privileges to those hospitals, and that is where you’ll be sent to have your baby or for any routine medical tests not handled at the Ob’s office. Make sure you are comfortable with the hospital affiliation. Don’t be afraid to visit the hospital and see what the maternity ward looks like, and watch the interaction of staff and doctors. 6. The staff and office: The obstetrician won’t be the only person with whom you interact when visiting the office. You also have to feel comfortable with the nurses and administrative staff. Again, a visit to the office can give you a good idea whether the staff is friendly, professional, and values your privacy. While there, you can also see if there is a long wait time for visits, something to consider especially if you’ll be there frequently during peak times, such as after work.


Page 14 - CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE - TheIntellegencer.com - Friday, May 21, 2010

How to. . . Types of carpet • Multilevel loops • Level loops • Cut and loop or “traceries” • Velvets • Saxonies or “Plushes” • Textured saxonies • Friezes

Choose the right carpet

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT CARPET FOR YOUR HOME Your home is your castle, and decorating it should be a royal affair. The furnishings, colors, textures—even the smallest accessories you choose—all reveal facets of your personality and preferences. Carpet, with all the aesthetic and practical riches it possesses, is a wonderful design medium—it can bring so much of your personal sense of style to any decor. THE MAGIC OF COLOR With today’s profusion-oriented carpet colors, it’s definitely not just a beige world anymore. The choice of colors available to you is endless, making carpet and infinitely pliant design tool that can enhance and finetune the beauty of any decor. Dark colors can make a room look smaller, but also create a warm, cozy and sheltered feel. Lighter colored carpets tend to enlarge a space and create a restful and soothing mood. They are ideal when you want a formal, orderly and romantic tone. Choosing the right carpet “type” for you To shop with confidence, you need to know what kinds of carpet are available and what each is designed to do. All carpets begin with a “loop pile.” To make a “cut pile” the tips of the loops are sheared off, which produces the smooth finish of velvets and other styles. Cut pile carpets are by far the most common type bought by consumers because they have the most luxurious look and feel. Specifics of different carpet styles: • Multilevel loops: consists of loops of varying heights creating a wide range of styles. Some look like carved patterns while others offer a more random effect.

• Level loops: the visibility of each loop and the way light reflects from the surface gives this carpet a charming appeal that blends well with any decor. • Cut and loop or “traceries”: combines cut and loop piles to offer an infinite variety of effects. In solid colors, their subtle shading creates a unique style of multi-toned beauty. • Velvets: are the ultimate in elegance. All the pile fibers blend together in these extra-dense, cut pile carpets to give you an ultra-smooth sweep of rich, luxurious color. • Saxonies or “Plushes”: a cut pile, versatile beauty. Not as formal as velvets, but easier to live with. Also called Saxony plush. • Textured saxonies: the most casual and rugged of cut pile carpets. Tightly twisted yarns curl back on themselves, creating a distinctive nubby look or pebbled texture. • Friezes: classified as a cut pile berber, probably the most durable carpet made. Soft, luxurious feel, seams together excellently, developed to replace wool. Other carpet buying considerations Avoid bargains. Cheap carpet is easy to spot; it’s thin, lightweight and flimsily made. Buy good quality padding; it absorbs up to 90 percent of the impact of foot traffic. A higher investment in carpet padding will extend the life of your carpet. It’s worth the extra, initial cost. Things to do before your new carpet arrives If painting, do this first and save some paint for touch up. Find out in advance who is moving the furniture. If it’s the retailer, it’s only fair that they charge a fee for the labor. Know who is removing the old carpet. Information provided by Vallow Floor Covering

To shop with confidence, you need to know what kinds of carpet are available and what each is designed to do.

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How to. . .

Friday, May 21, 2010 – TheIntellegencer.com – CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE – Page 15

Choose a heating and cooling specialist It’s all about efficiency

Geothermal energy is recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency as the most energy efficient system on the market. Installation of a geothermal system is the equivalent of planting 750 trees or taking two cars off the road.

An old, inefficient heating and air conditioning system adds to your monthly costs. Air conditioners are rated on a seasonal energy efficiency ration or (SEER). The higher the SEER rate, the more efficient the unit is. Older equipment installed before 1990 can have a SEER rating of only nine or 10. The minimal SEER rating that is permitted to be sold now is 13. • What is the most efficient type of system to use? Geothermal energy is recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency as the most energy efficient system on the market. Installation of a geothermal system is the equivalent of planting 750 trees or taking two cars off the road. • How does geothermal energy work? Think of your lawn as a constant, renewable source of heating, cooling and water heating for your home. The earth absorbs almost 50 percent of all solar energy and remains nearly constant. Working with an underground loop system, geothermal heating and cooling systems utilize this constant temperature to exchange energy between your home and the earth as needed for heating and cooling. It’s environmentally friendly. In the winter, heat from the earth is carried to the geothermal unit. In the summer, the system expels heat from your home into the cooler earth via the loop system. As far as safety issues are concerned, there are no flames, no fumes, no flues, and no threats of carbon monoxide. It’s safe...no combustible gas! There are several loop configurations available. They can either be vertical, horizontal, or submerged in a nearby pond or lake. A water well can be used in many cases. Your energy dealer can help you determine the

type of loop best suited for your property. Geothermal energy is designed to operate quietly. There is no outdoor unit to disturb your landscaping. This is a flexible system to fit any home whether it’s new construction or an existing structure, large or small. Geothermal energy can be used with an all electric system or a dual fuel gas and electric system. Using a geothermal system, a typical home can save up to 60 percent over a conventional system...the lowest operating cost available. Currently household energy consumption is responsible for nearly 20 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. Geothermal technology can provide a viable and cost effective solution to reduce this environmental hazard. • If I don’t have room in my yard to place a loop, what else can I do?A dual fuel system using a high efficiency gas furnace with an air to air heat pump is a good choice. • Why would I want a dual fuel system? Consider the economic balance point. This is the point at which it is most economical to use electric energy and the point at which it is most economical to switch to gas. This is based upon the rise and fall of electric and gas energy rates. • What are other points I should discuss with my heating and cooling contractor? Be sure your contractor is well trained and experienced. Request a load calculation to determine the equipment size your home will require. Ask the contractor to inspect ductwork for leaks, incomplete connections and compatibility with the rest of your system. Leaks should be fixed using a quality duct sealant. In some cases, ducts might need to be modified to ensure proper supply and return airflow.

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Page 16 - CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE - TheIntellegencer.com - Friday, May 21, 2010

How to. . .

Tell the difference between a bank and a credit union Specific targets Most credit unions are organized to serve people in a particular community, group or groups of employees or members of an organization or association.

To join a credit union, you must be eligible for membership. Most credit unions are organized to serve people in a particular community, group or groups of employees or members of an organization or association. Each institution decides who it will serve and the initial share deposit for membership. A little history‌ President Roosevelt signed the Federal Credit Union Act in 1934, forming a national system to charter and supervise federal credit unions. Since the signing of the act, credit unions have continued to steadily grow. During the 1990s and into the 21st century, credit unions have been healthy and growing. Credit union failures are low and now there are almost 90 million members. Is My Money Safer in a Bank or Credit Union? Ask your credit union if your money is insured. Most credit unions are insured though the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). A member who has share accounts in two or more different insured credit unions would have coverage up to the full insurable amount in each credit union. Monies deposited in a bank are usually insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The FDIC preserves and promotes public confidence in the U.S. financial system by insuring deposits in banks; by identifying, monitoring and addressing risks to the deposit insurance funds; and by limiting the effect on the economy and the financial system when a bank fails.

Local Financial Institutions: Shop around. You won’t have to look far in Madison County. Make a list of the things that are important to you and see how your financial institution stacks up. BANKS: Generate profit for stockholders. Make decisions based on what will give stockholders more profit. CREDIT UNIONS: Not for profit, not for charity, but for service. Decisions are based on what’s best for the members. BANKS: Income is returned to the stockholders in the form of higher dividends on their shares of stock. CREDIT UNIONS: Income is returned to members in the forms of better savings rates, lower loan rates, and low or no fees for services. BANKS: The Board of Directors are paid a salary. Daily operations are performed by a paid staff. CREDIT UNIONS: Unpaid volunteers from the membership serve as Board of Directors and guide the credit union. Daily operations are performed by a paid staff. BANKS: Only people who own stock can vote for the Board of Directors. The customers who use the bank don’t have a say. CREDIT UNIONS: As owners, members elect fellow members to serve on the Board of Directors. When you know the differences between banks and credit unions, you can make informed decisions about where to deposit your money. Information provided by Shell Community Federal Credit Union

At credit unions, income is returned to members in the forms of better savings rates, lower loan rates and low or no fees for services.

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How to. . . Choose a life of health As long ago as 1921, Dr. Henry Windsor, a medical doctor, did a study of 50 deceased patients, evaluating diseased organ tissues. He discovered of 139 diseased organs, 138 showed obstructed nerve supply from the spine to diseased organs. Based on his findings, he concluded logically that vertebral subluxations (spinal misalignments) can contribute to the development of disease.

Friday, May 21, 2010 – TheIntellegencer.com – CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE – Page 17

Choose a chiropractor

Does the chiropractor walk, talk, and look the picture of health and is the office environment pleasant? Will the chiropractor serve your needs, listen to you and have a willingness to discuss any concerns or questions you may have? Is your best interest at heart? Are there less than ethical and scare tactics used to convince you that you need care or continue care or is it based on physical, hands-on examination. Chiropractors are the only health care providers trained in the location and “adjustment� of spinal subluxations. Are orthopedic, neurological and chiropractic spinal and kinesiological examinations (muscle strength testing) performed to ascertain and correlate the nature of your condition? A chiropractor will “adjust� the spine to reduce subluxations and restore motion and function to a more optimal level. An adjustment is the application of a precise directional force to the vertebrae. The chiropractic approach is based on the concept of restoring and then maintaining health as opposed to treating disease. Chiropractors complete years of college and post-graduate study in order to achieve a doctor of chiropractic degree. Their education consists of extensive classroom, laboratory and clinical hours with extensive courses in anatomy, physiology, neurology, microbiology, chemistries, orthopedics, physical therapy, exercise and rehabilitation. Rigorous examinations, state and national, must be passed before a chiropractor is licensed to practice. To begin the search for a professional and competent chiropractor, your best source of finding a chiropractor is ask a friend or someone you trust who has had a positive, pleasant experience with chiropractic. Referrals are

the highest compliment given to any professional. Does the chiropractor practice what he/she preaches? Is the importance of chiropractic talked about for a healthy body? Is chiropractic of the utmost importance in the practice? Is your best interest at heart? A genuine clinical indication should be present for any service, product, orthopedic support, foot orthotics, nutritional supplement, laboratory test, MRI, CT or treatment of any kind to be recommended or ordered for a patient. Recommendations should be based upon a genuine intended therapeutic benefit to the patient. Chiropractic should be the main life force of a chiropractic practice, putting the patients’ interests first and foremost. Writing down your questions prior to contracting a chiropractor will help you and him/her keep clarity in the discussion of your condition. Optimum health is not merely the absence of disease, but a state of physical and mental well being. Help your body be the best it can be through natural chiropractic care. Many patients experience the amazing effects of a chiropractic lifestyle – not just pain relief, but an overall wellness encompassing mind, body and spirit. Absence of pain does not necessarily suggest health. It is illegal and against federal law to offer/advertise free exams, x-rays or any services to persons with any federal insurance. The maximum allowable discount is $10 at any one time with a yearly cap. If you have questions or concerns, we welcome the opportunity to discuss these with you and the privilege of serving you. Information provided by Anita M. Reising, D.C. Serving the community for 20plus years.

Chiropractors are the only healthcare providers trained in the location and “adjustment� of spinal subluxations.

Anita M. Reising, D.C. THE FOUR MOST COMMON QUESTIONS ASKED WHEN CONSULTING A CHIROPRACTOR ARE: “What’s The Cause Of My Problem?� “Can You Help Me?� “How Long Will It Take?� “How Much Will It Cost?�

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Page 18 - CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE - TheIntellegencer.com - Friday, May 21, 2010

How to. . . Protect yourself Not all spas are created equal. Do your homework before plopping down your hard-earned money for a skin rejuvenation program, a hair removal package or a relaxing facial. The last thing you want to do is plan for a relaxing hour and end up fearing for your health, your safety or your pocketbook.

Choose a medical spa

Do a little research F ortunately, you don’t have to travel to Beverly Hills to enjoy such luxury. Advanced Aesthetic Spas, also known as “med spas” are popping up around the country even in our own community. Men and Women everywhere are tapping into the revitalizing benefits of sophisticated aesthetic treatments packaged into a relaxing getaway. Not all spas are created equal. Do your homework before plopping down your hard-earned money for a skin rejuvenation program, a hair removal package, or a relaxing facial. The last thing you want to do is plan for a relaxing hour and end up fearing for your health, your safety or your pocketbook. What is a Medical Spa? Medical Spas, the fastest growing segment of the spa industry, offer safe and effective beauty treatments that are supervised by licensed healthcare professionals. They combine the knowledge and experience of skin care experts with the tranquil comfort of a spa. Services may include new technologies like lasers and intense pulsed light, as well as conventional spa treatments such as traditional facials and massage therapy. As you will soon discover, “med spas” come in all sizes, shapes, styles and price ranges. Med spas were created to address the advanced aesthetic needs of their clients who are not ready for evasive surgeries. Skin Rejuvenation programs and microdermabrasion are two types of treatments that will help repair fine lines and wrinkles, uneven skin tone and texture of skin using inevasive procedures. Other inevasive treatments that med spas can offer are hair removal, face and leg vein removal and acne treatments. These treatments are performed in an environment that addresses the pampering needs of their clientele. In addition to the advanced aesthetic treatments, med spas offer traditional spa services to help you indulge in relaxation. Body wraps, customized facials and specialized massage are some of the indulgent services med spas add to their menu. These spas have separate treatment rooms and supply you with several amenities. Robes, slippers and complimentary refreshments are just a few of the extras you receive when visiting a med spa. The prices can vary between facilities. Look for special offers and seasonal pricing. Treatments can be very

affordable. If you are looking for a true relaxation, it is well worth the price. After all, you want to be totally spoiled! Go Take a Tour While you are there ask for a tour so you can gauge the quality of the treatment rooms, the professionalism of the staff and the luxury of the spa atmosphere. True med spas, in my opinion, should have the smell of lavender that tells you the moment you open the door that you are entering another realm – one where you are Queen or King for the day. What type of package is going to suit your needs? The staff at medical spas usually consists of registered nurses, licensed aestheticians and massage therapists. Depending on your area of concern, one of the highly trained staff will be happy to meet with you and discuss a customized package to help you “renew yourself”. Ask the receptionist to set up a consultation so you can discuss your particular area of concern. This will help you determine the professionalism of the med spa and the manner in which they help put you at ease with their knowledge as opposed to someone who says something like “oh, they are so nice!” Licensed medical professionals should administer all laser and intensed pulsed light treatments such as hair removal, skin rejunevation, acne treatments and vein treatments. This kind of expertise will ensure you are receiving safe, high-quality cosmetic treatments that bring effective, medically proven results. Licensed aestheticians will be able to offer a wide variety of pampering treatments that are customized for your skin type and help achieve a smooth well-hydrated complexion. Massage therapists will be able to discuss a program that will guarantee ultimate relaxation. Considered luxurious by many, massage has definite health benefits. Any treatment on the menu will be customized for each person’s individual needs, with an emphasis on health and relaxation. Once you have chosen the right med spa for you, put together the package of your dreams, talked to the staff and are confident in their training and skills, be prepared to enter into one of the most relaxing, healthy and enjoyable days of your life. WARNING: These treatments are known to be addicting!

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How to. . . Quality does matter Products are available in a wide range of prices and qualities. In order to get the most out of your flooing investment, it is recommended to purchase the highest quality product you can afford.

Friday, May 21, 2010 – TheIntellegencer.com – CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE – Page 19

Make the right flooring selection Choosing the right flooring for your home or office can be one of the hardest decisions to make. Narrow down your choices by considering your needs for the room you are doing. Consider how much traffic the area gets, the type of flooring you prefer, and your budget for the project. Product choices include carpet, vinyl, laminates, hardwood, tile, and stone. Ecofriendly products are available and offer an environmental advantage to your selection. Products are available in a wide range of prices and qualities. In order to get the most out of your flooring investment, it is recommended to purchase the highest quality product you can afford. Less expensive products are usually designed for low use areas and can show “wear” in heavy traffic areas. As products increase in price, they will offer improved finishes and textures, extended warranties and be made with higher quality materials. When choosing carpet, there are several textures and colors available in solids, prints, and multi-tone flecks. Certain styles and colors may show seams more than others, so it is important to consider the room size when selecting a carpet. Depending on the style, carpets are available in 12’ wide, 13’6” wide, and 15’ wide. Textured carpet adds casual beauty to any room. They have been the most purchased style over the years for their elegant look. Frieze’ carpets are increasing in popularity and resemble more of a “curly” or “shaggy” look. Frieze’s can hide seams better than other styles and may also minimize foot print and vacuum marks. Berber loop and commercial carpet is a good choice when looking for a durable carpet that is reasonably priced. A tightly constructed carpet will hold up better under foot traffic and is less likely to exhibit the pile distortion that typically occurs in carpets. Durability can be added by choosing the correct cushion choice to go under your carpet. The Manufacturer’s Warranty will state the specific cushion requirements in order for the warranty to be in effect. Often the “free” pad with a carpet purchase falls below the minimum standard and will void your carpet warranty. Vinyl Flooring is a durable and cost effective product that is easy to

maintain. Luxury vinyl tile and wood grain products offer a realistic look without the maintenance associated with real tile and wood. Laminate flooring is offered in wood and tile patterns that can offer you the look of the real thing at a fraction of the cost. Laminate is up to nine times harder than hardwood or vinyl flooring. It is a great selection for families with children or pets. Hardwood flooring is one of the most beautiful floors to put in your home, but requires more attention to keep it looking its best. There are many species of wood available that offer a wide selection of cosmetic looks at various hardness levels. Solid products are most popular, can be refinished in the future, and can be installed on or above grade. Engineered wood flooring can be installed on, above, or below grade. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are offered in a wide range of colors, sizes, and textures. You have the ability to customize your tile installation with the use of patterns, borders, and decorative accents that will add your personal touch to your home or office. Keep in mind that the cost of the tile is only a fraction of the total cost of a tile installation and it is important to use high quality setting materials to prevent future problems with your flooring. Make sure you go through the product maintenance brochure and use only the manufacturers care and cleaning recommendations. Most damage to flooring is caused by improper care and maintenance by the consumer and is not covered by manufacturer’s warranty. Floor finishes have changed over the years and can be easily damaged by house-hold cleaners or excessive water. With a little preventive maintenance and proper floor care, you can keep your floor looking good for several years into the future. A quality installation is the key to any flooring purchase. By using a local retailer you will be able to find a qualified, trained installer who will offer you a professional installation. Your local flooring retailer will be able to provide you with information and guidance to help you find the right floors for you. The Internet is a useful tool for researching a company’s product, but doesn’t replace the expertise a salesperson can offer.

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Page 20 - CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE - TheIntellegencer.com - Friday, May 21, 2010

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How to. . . Quick and easy Until now sterilization required incisions and anesthesia and was performed in hospitals or surgery centers. Previous procedures carried the risks of general anesthesia and major surgery with incisions that were painful, requiring 5-7 days off work to recover.

Friday, May 21, 2010 – TheIntellegencer.com – CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE – Page 21

Understand Essure

Essure is a permanent birth control procedure that works with your body to create a natural barrier against pregnancy. This gentle procedure can be performed in a doctors office in just minutes. Unlike traditional laparoscopic tubal ligation, it is not a major surgery re q u i r i n g h o s p i t a l i z a t i o n with general anesthesia and a 5-7 day recovery period. Instead, an Essure -certified doctor inserts soft flexible micro-inserts into the fallopian tubes in the office. No incision is needed because the inserts are delivered through the vagina and cervix, requiring only local anesthetic.

the hormone based birth control and are often temporary. Essure is covered by most health insurance. If it is performed in a doctor ’s office, depending on a specific insurance plan, payment may be as low as a simple co-pay. It is best to review insurance coverage with a particular carrier and doctor before receiving the procedure.

With Essure, you'll never have to worry about an unplanned pregnancy again. It is 99.74 percent effective.

Essure offers women what no other birth control ever has......no cutting,.. no general anesthesia...no slowing down to recover...no hormones ...short procedure time ...and peace of mind, knowing that you can rely on Essure for protection from unplanned pregnancy.

Most women actually watch the procedure on the monitor while it is being done. The procedure takes about 15-20 minutes. Some women report mild discomfort or cramping during the procedure and after the procedure, similar to their monthly cycle. Women are typically able to go home within 45 minutes after having the procedure performed and return to their normal activates within the first day. Over the next several weeks, a natural barrier forms around the micro-inserts and prevents sperm from reaching the eggs. The ovaries will continue to release eggs and producing hormones, but the eggs will be absorbed by the body. Unlike some forms of birth control, Essure blocks the egg from meeting the sperm so conception never occurs.

Unlike other permanent birth control, the Essure procedure does not require cutting into the body or the use of energy to burn the fallopian tubes, all which presents a significant risk to the patient.

For the first three months after the procedure, the patient is instructed to use another form of birth control. After three months, an Essure confirmation test is performed to verify that the tubes are completely blocked. This test uses a dye and a special kind of x-ray to ensure that the patient is protected from the worries of an unplanned pregnancy.

Essure in 99.8% effective . In four clinical trials, there have been no pregnancies among Essure users. The procedure is not reversible. Like a vasectomy or a tubal ligation, Essure is permanent, so you should be sure that you do not want to have children in the future. With the Essure in place, periods will still occur and are usually unchanged. If a person has stopped birth control pills after the Essure was placed she may experience heavy cycles. These changes may be the result of discontinuing


Page 22 - CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE - TheIntellegencer.com - Friday, May 21, 2010

SENIORS 65 or OLDER If you need help to maintain your independence, you may qualify for the Illinois Supportive Living Program.

The Program enables you to...

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How to. . . Advance knowledge Taking care of the "business" part of things before anything happens will allow everyone to focus on the needs of the people involved rather than the requirements of an institution. There are some things that can be done now to make future illness or emergencies more manageable.

Friday, May 21, 2010 – TheIntellegencer.com – CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE – Page 23

Parent your parent

The thought of having to make major life changing decisions for our parents is not a pleasant one. It is a complete role reversal. It is not easy to ask the people who put you through college what their bank balance is. It is difficult to have to go through the medicine cabinet in your parent’s home after he has either taken too much medicine or stopped taking it completely and discover that your father has medical issues that you never knew existed. Finding out that your mother is no longer able to remember when the last time she ate can is heartbreaking. Learning that none of your father ’s bills have been paid because he is no longer aware of what the mailbox or check book are is devastating. Working with hundreds of adult children over the years, I have learned that “one of the hardest things” that many of them have ever done was to make the decision to admit a parent to a long-term care facility. Given the choice, none of us would choose to go through any of those situations. However, according to Caregiving in the U.S., there are 43.5 million caregivers in the U.S. providing care for an adult family member or friend 50 years old or older. As the population in this country continues to age, that number will grow. Thus, it is important to develop a proactive plan to lessen the stress and burden when the time comes to parent your parent. Because discussing such issues with parents is so uncomfortable, most of us avoid doing so until a crisis occurs and there is no longer an alternative. Until an adult child is confronted with the dilemma of acting as the legal decision maker for a parent, he or she may have no idea what type of insurance coverage the parent has, where important documents are kept, what medications they take, when the last time they went to the doctor was, how many different physicians they see and for what conditions. The goal is to make informed decisions for our parents when they need us. In order to make the best choices during an emergency, children need to learn as much as possible about the parent’s life before the crisis occurs. The more knowledgeable adult children are of parents’ affairs before an emergency, the better equipped they will be to deal with the issues that have to be addressed. If the child is already aware of insurance and financial issues when they are called in the middle of the night to the hospital to assist with an admission, the confusion and stress are greatly reduced for all involved. Taking care of the “business” part of things before anything happens will allow everyone to focus on the needs of the people involved rather than the requirements of an institution. There are some things that can be done now to make future illness and emergencies more manageable. • Begin discussing potential issues with parents before there are any problems. In most instances, it is much easier to speak of hypothetical situations than ones that are currently troubling them. However, facing one’s mortality and possible future disabilities is not pleasant and you may have to address the topic several times before some parents will begin to talk about it. The key is to start early and let them know it is important to you to be prepared “just in case.” • If a parent is driving, take the time about once a month to ride with them or observe them from a far while they are driving. When you visit, inspect the vehicle for unexplained dents and scrapes. At the first signs of impairment, begin to discuss alternate transportation such as senior buses or private transportation providers. As a child, it is sometimes impossible to take car keys away from the person who taught you to drive. However, it is worse to have to deal with the results of an accident that he caused. If you are unable to enforce the decision, contact the local police department for assistance. • Know where important documents are located (i.e. insurance cards, advance directives, bank account information). Some people are very private and do not want their children to have access to financial information. Suggest that they begin to keep the information in one location such as a specific drawer or cabinet with the agreement that it will not be opened unless needed. • Be aware of whether or not advance directives have been executed and encourage parents to do so if they have not (i.e. living will, durable power of attorney (POA) for healthcare and finance). Creating these documents is difficult for some older adults because it reminds them of impending mortality. To ease anxiety, you can complete the same documents to show your parent that by doing so they are not “making the time come sooner.” In reality, everyone needs to have advance directives in place regardless of age. If financial issues are difficult to

discuss, build up to financial POA by executing the durable healthcare power of attorney first. Explain that the provisions of the documents do not become effective until the guarantor is no longer capable of making decisions for herself. • Ask them to keep a list of current medications, physicians and diagnosis in their wallet or purse. If someone is taken to the hospital by ambulance, that information needs to be given to the medical staff immediately. It is much more convenient and efficient to produce a list of medications than a bag full of prescription bottles. Most pharmacies routinely provide such information. • Know what insurance is active; just because someone has the tradition red, white, and blue Medicare card does not mean that it is effective. Many seniors have given up traditional Medicare for other options such as Advantra or Secure Horizons. While they have received a new card for the new insurance, most keep the original Medicare card which can easily be given to a hospital by a child who is unaware of a parent’s affairs. • Spend time in the home, check medicine planners to make sure pills have been taken and none are missing beyond the current date and time. Observe the overall appearance; make sure the mail has been checked and you do not see any unopened envelopes piled up. Look inside cabinets, making sure they are stocked as usual and there are no strange items that do not belong. • Talk about care options regarding assisted living, supportive living, and long-term care before they are needed. Encourage your parent to research and tour communities and let you know which ones they prefer. While having to leave one’s home is never easy, it is less threatening when the individual has been allowed to participate in the decision making process. • In the event you get involved in a parent’s affairs after problems have begun, be patient and remember it is a very humbling experience for them. If you have problems getting them to share information with you, enlist the help of a professional such as a physician or social worker for assistance. These are just a few things to consider as the time comes for roles to change and the parent to begin needing more support than the child. The hardest part is the first conversation. By initiating a discussion with your parent regarding any of these issues, the dialogue has begun. Even if it takes some time for her to open up about private details, the first step has been taken. Taking the time and making the effort to discuss potentially uncomfortable matters with parents before there are any problems will make the “crisis” times much less stressful. Just as there is no handbook for the correct way to raise children, there is no right or wrong way to “parent your parent.” If you have questions, do not hesitate to reach out to your Area Agency on Aging for answers and advice.

It is not easy to ask the people who put you through college what their bank account balance is.

Submitted by: Cambridge House of Maryville, Tracy A. Skaer-Henry, Administrator


Page 24 - CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE - TheIntellegencer.com - Friday, May 21, 2010

How to. . .

Decide when to upgrade heating and cooling system Efficiency at risk A poorly installed high efficient system can be less efficient than a properly installed standard system.

When should I replace my existing heating and cooling unit(s)? The time frame to replace an existing unit would be anywhere from 15-20 years old. Also, when replacing a unit (heater or air conditioner), it’s not necessary to replace both units when just one fails. In most cases it depends on the age of the equipment, most often the air conditioner will fail before the furnace. Choosing the correct company to install the equipment is just as important as choosing the right equipment. A poorly installed high efficient system can be less efficient than a properly installed standard system. Many of the top name brands available have the same standard warranty. When choosing higher end HVAC equipment, the warranty usually increases as well. This is an added bonus because the higher end equipment typically has more expensive parts. When your HVAC dealer is giving you an estimate, ask them “How much will it cost to repair this system in the event something should fail?” Typically the most expensive parts on a furnace are the electronics, i.e. the control board, and on the A/C typically it’s the compressor. You may also inquire about extended warranties the manufacture may offer. This extended warranty may also cover the labor as well. Furnaces have different efficiency ratings which are indicated as a percentage, the higher the percentage, the more efficient the unit. Higher efficiency furnaces produce the same amount of heat as lower efficiency units of the same output BTU size. The difference is that the higher efficiency furnaces use less gas to do so, thereby saving you money. A new tax credit is now available for home and commercial building owners who install geothermal heating and cooling systems through the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (H.R. 1424). H.R. 1424 offers a onetime tax credit of 30% of the total investment for homeowners who install residential ground loop or ground water geothermal heat pumps Geo-thermal systems are a more economical and environmentally friendly alternative to heat and cool your home. Typically geo systems are more expensive to install initially due to the cost of the ground loop installation and the equipment cost 2-3 times that of a conventional system but will soon

pay for it self in utility savings. Not every home is suited for a geo system; ground loops are often times the problem. If your home sets on a smaller lot or on rocky soil, you may not have the available area to place the loops. Installation is another factor when considering a new HVAC system. Ask the contractor for a load calculation on your home. This will tell you how many BTU’s are required to heat and cool your home. Make sure they inspect your ductwork for possible air leaks and proper sizing, mismatched systems will cost you more to operate and can cause premature problems with the equipment. With the air quality systems available today, you can do almost anything desired with your home. Please consider your living habits before you buy. Spending hundreds on air purifiers to clean your air over a 2 to 3 day period can be undone as quickly as opening a window or door for 10 minutes and having to start all over again. Ask your contractor to give you information on different types of filtration systems, humidifiers and UV products. Cost is another factor when deciding on a HVAC contractor and the equipment he will be selling you. It is best practice to get at least three estimates from HVAC dealers. Often, equipment will fail at the most inopportune times, when this happens it’s hard to resist the temptation to just say yes to the first estimate you get. Some contractors try to push you into purchasing their equipment right away; a reputable contractor will not be pushy and will give you the time needed to make an educated decision. Be cautious of the contractors willing to “give” you the air conditioner for “free” if you purchase the furnace. In reality you’re paying for the equipment it’s just hidden in the cost. Manufactures don’t give their equipment away to the dealer for free. Ask your HVAC dealer for references for past jobs. Ask the customer how well they liked the contractor, where they on-time, did they hold to the price they quoted. Call the Better Business Bureau and check into the contractors past to see if they have had any claims. Hopefully we have given you enough information to make you realize that brand alone is not as important as once thought.

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How to. . . Water is the key Water deeper and less frequently. This develops the healthiest roots.

Friday, May 21, 2010 – TheIntellegencer.com – CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE – Page 25

Care for your tree

Care Instructions Watering-Please Don’t Tease Your Plants! Water deeper and less frequently. This develops the healthiest roots. For most soils, you should be able to apply 10 to 30 gallons of water once a week, depending on plant/root ball size. It is always good to apply the water slowly enough that the soil will absorb it and have as little run off as possible. Make sure the water is penetrating deeply into the soil (more than just a couple of inches.) Soil basins and mulch are helpful in retaining water. DO NOT depend on rainfall to provide an adequate amount of moisture to your newly planted tree or shrub. With quick summer showers and hot weather, the moisture may run off or evaporate from the soil surface and not penetrate the root zone. Once established (after a full growing season,) trees and shrubs should require only supplemental watering during extended periods of hot, dry weather. Drought summer conditions adversely affect flower buds for the following year as much as does extremely cold winter weather. Before the ground freezes in the late fall, give plants a thorough soaking, especially those that retain their leaves during the winter months. Mulching-Most plants will benefit from an organic mulch covering the soil surface around them. A good organic mulch, such as hardwood bark mulch, will conserve moisture, help maintain a more even soil temperature, inhibit weed growth, and prevent soil compaction and erosion from rain

and irrigation. Applying mulch two to three inches deep surrounding, but not resting against the trunk, will give you a more vigorous plant. Also, mulch will help prevent damage by a mower or other lawn equipment which can severely harm trees. Water Basins-Use water basins for newly established trees and shrubs. Make the basin larger than the initial hole diameter with a three to four inch brim. Fertilizing-Feed your trees anytime from late fall to early spring, starting the second year. Trees that are fertilized may have two to three times more growth than a tree that has not been fed. Pruning-Watch for double tops and bad branch angles. Corrective pruning at an early age avoids problems later on. Please ask if you have questions on when and how to trim your particular tree. Borer Prevention-Recently transplanted trees that are yet to show strong yearly growth (or recently pruned or damaged trees) are susceptible to borer damage. The damage is done before it becomes obvious and small trees usually die the following growing season. As a preventative, spray the trunk and lower limbs with a borer killer in early June and again four weeks later. Mark your calendar! It is imperative that you do this, as there is no cure for this damage, and prevention is the key. Submitted by Art-Waldbart Nursery

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Page 26 - CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE - TheIntellegencer.com - Friday, May 21, 2010

How to. . .

Know what to do when buying a car

Research is key There are endless resources for you to research vehicles, from trade publications, the internet to your Uncle Joe.

Buying a car can make people nervous. It’s scary out there with all the screaming and yelling from all of the car dealers on radio, T.V., internet and print media. Zero money down …zero percent financing…thousands for your trade...shut up already! How can you sift through all of this clutter and make a decision that is right for you. If you remember nothing else from this article, remember this: nothing else matters until you to find a vehicle that satisfies all of your needs, wants and desires. Price, payment, down payment, trade-in value, or credit rating mean absolutely nothing if you are not in love with the vehicle you buy. Do you really care what the financing is on a vehicle that you have no desire to buy? Come on now! You have to determine the most important things that must be met by your purchase. Think about how the vehicle will be used, i.e. do you want a truck, a car or a sport utility. Who will be driving the vehicle, you, your spouse, your child, maybe your mother–in-law, whoever. Is safety paramount or is speed and agility what you desire? Narrow down your search and then find vehicles that fit your needs, wants and desires. There are endless resources for you to research vehicles, from trade publications, the internet, or your Uncle Joe. There is nothing better than the old fashioned way of visiting a dealership that you know, like, and trust. Hook up with a knowledgeable sales consultant and get a no obligation professional presentation. Yes, I said it a no obligation professional presentation. It costs you nothing to look. Most dealerships spend a great deal of time, effort, and money training their sales consultants about the vehicles they sell. Take advantage of this. If you are not satisfied with the

level of professionalism and knowledge of the consultant you happen to get, politely ask for someone else! By going to the dealership, you get all of the information in one central place! A picture or a description cannot hold a candle to actually feeling, touching and experiencing the real thing. No matter how awesome the web site, with 360 degree views, or how glossy the photos, airbrushed in the most brilliant colors, or how vivid the descriptions, Rich Corinthian Leather comes to mind, nothing beats the real thing where you can touch, feel and experience the vehicle live and lively. You can fiddle with the buttons, sit in the seat, learn about the unparalleled technology that today’s vehicles are chock full of! Find out in real life whether the vehicle fits your needs wants and desires. Going to a dealership takes time and effort but nothing that is worthwhile is easy. You will know and like your vehicle better and it will serve you the way you want it to. A vehicle purchase is in most cases the second largest purchase, second only to your house, you will make in your lifetime and the purchase decision should not be made without hands on experience at a dealership you know, like, and trust.

Going to a dealership takes time and effort but nothing that is worthwhile is easy.

Submitted By: Marty McCabe, Koetting Ford, Inc.

A Neighborhood Business with Heart Koetting Ford Works with Local Communities to Raise Funds for Extracurricular Youth Activities. Test Drive Events Show Off New Products, and Donates $15 per Test Drive to a Different Community Cause Each Month! Koetting Ford started in business on October 17, 1984, at 1837 Madison Avenue, in downtown Granite City. The dealership had been previously owned by B. E. Holt who sold and serviced Ford products in the Granite City area for many years. At the time Koetting Ford started doing business, the dealership employed 19 people. In February 1990 Mr. Koetting moved the dealership to its present location at Rt 3 and Pontoon Road. Koetting Ford has an award winning Service Department, Parts Department, and state of the art Body Shop. Koetting Ford now has 38 employees who all live in and around the Granite City area. Koetting Ford is a family owned and a family run dealership. The dealership is run by Mr. Koetting’s son-in-law Marty McCabe, who is the General Manager and part owners. Mr. McCabe is excited about the dealership’s effort to give back to the communities in and around Granite City. Every aspect of Koetting Ford is designed to take care of their customers and they are confident they have done just that in the past 25 years and will continue to do so in the future.

ILLINOIS RT. 3 AT PONTOON RD., GRANITE CITY, IL 62040 (618) 452-5400 • (314) 867-9219 • www.koettingford.com MON., WED., FRI. 8:30 AM - 8:00 PM • TUES., THURS., SAT. 8:30 AM - 6:00 PM TWO MILES SOUTH OF I-270 • Next to the Granite City Wal-Mart

24/7 @ www.koettingford.com


How to. . . First impressions The first thing buyers see when they pull up curbside is the lawn. If the grass is dry with brown spots, or appears neglected, buyers will find that hard to overlook.

Friday, May 21, 2010 – TheIntellegencer.com – CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE – Page 27

Increase curb appeal

In today’s housing market, home owners need to be more proactive than ever before when it comes to selling their homes. Whereas the real estate boom at the turn of the century made things easy for sellers, the current real estate Climate is not so seller- friendly. To make their homes more attractive to prospective buyers, home owners are often told to increase their home’s “curb appeal.” This involves how the home looks from the street and how good a first impression a home will make on prospective buyers. Home owners looking to increase their home’s cub appeal should consider the following tips.

solid first impression. The first thing buyers see when they pull up curbside is the lawn. If the grass is dry with brown spots, or appears neglected, many buyers will find that hard to overlook. Homeowners preparing to sell their homes in the fall should lavish their lawn with attention throughout the summer, keeping it watered and possibly hiring a landscaping service to make it look more appealing. Consider planting flowers or other decorative foliage.

In today's housing market, home owners need to be more proactive than ever before when it comes to selling their homes.

1. Make an Enchanting Entrance The very first part of a home prospective buyers see is the front door. Typically, the house number is located right near the front door, so the buyers will be looking for the number - and once they see it they can’t help but look at the door itself. A decrepit or older door will not make a good first impression. If you don’t want or need to replace the door, touch up the paint job. Make sure the door knob or knocker is polished before showing the home, and to ensure the doorbell is functioning. These are small and easy projects, but if neglected, they’ll give the buyers that other, bigger things might have been neglected as well. If your home has a front porch or stoop, inspect it for cracks and chips, and fix any that you find.

3. Ready the Roof A new roof is very expensive, and buyers understandably often run from homes that need a new roof. Sellers should hire their own home inspector to determine the condition of the roof before putting their home on the market. Know your home’s ups and downs before putting it up fore sale - this will help minimize any potential concerns from buyers.

4. Perfect the Paint Job For homes without siding, be sure the paint job is up to snuff. Any areas with pealing or chipping paint should receive a fresh coat of paint. This is another job that should be handled well before listing the home.

2. Lavish the Lawn with Attention Buyers love a lush green lawn, and that lawn goes a long way in creating a

The Edwardsville Intelligencer and Madison County Homes have partnered with Zillow.com to bring you more homes.


Page 28 - CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE - TheIntellegencer.com - Friday, May 21, 2010

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How to. . . It’s more than just a mower Consider other task possibilities for your core tasks such as: • Light hauling such as mulch or dirt. • Heaving hauling for larger loads of rocks. • Tilling/Plowing that tomato garden. • Fertilizing/Seeding the lawn or garden. • Grading your driveway. • Shrub removal. • Handling snow. • Tending to animals.

Friday, May 21, 2010 – TheIntellegencer.com – CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE – Page 29

Choose a lawn mower

Whether you choose a manual or riding mower, make sure the equipment fits your needs. There are many considerations when purchasing the right lawn mower. Answering some simple questions first to evaluate your particular needs may make your choices easier to manage. Lawn mowers come in such a variety of sizes, types, and price ranges that you should do some careful research before purchasing one. There are a whole range of things to consider, such as the kind and size of your lawn, what you can afford, how long the lawn mower will last, and even your mechanical abilities because all lawn mowers need some maintenance. The best way to begin your research is by taking a careful look at your lawn. If you are replacing your old mower, you probably already have a good idea of what will work for you. If you have just moved into a home, you need to know how many square feet of lawn you have. Do you have a lot or one or more acres to mow? This is important because recommendations for various mowers are partially based on lawn size. Take these steps when you are preparing to purchase a lawnmower:

preferable to a side bag for use around fences, trees and other obstacles. Side discharge—clippings are dispersed back onto the lawn. Use if you have a few obstacles to deal with or to cut high grass. Riding lawn equipment for light duty with engine horsepower ranging from 10 to 25 HP is good for mowing grass, light grading, tilling and hauling smaller loads. Safety. Safety should be a critical factor in your purchasing decision. What systems can you rely on to keep you and others safe? There are rollover protective structures for larger equipment, operator presence system so that if you dismount your riding mower it will shut off. There are color coded levers on some units and safety interlock systems. There are some very well designed and safe products available. Remember, no matter which type of lawn mower you choose, be sure it has an automatic shutoff if it tips over, the handle is disengaged or you dismount it automatically shuts off. Service and Maintenance

Lawn mowers come in such a variety of sizes, types and price ranges that you should do some careful research before purchasing one.

• Carefully walk around your lawn. Is it smooth? Does it have shady spots that are always wet? Does it have a problem with surface roots from a tree? What kind of of obstacles are on the lawn? Planter boxes, trees, bushes, patios, walls, and other obstacles can make maneuverability a very important factor. Is your lawn level, or is it on a slope? Since it is usually difficult to push a mower uphill, a selfpropelled lawn mower may be the most prudent choice for a sloping lawn.

• Take a realistic look at yourself. Do you really enjoy working in the yard? If not, you will probably hire a lawn service in a month or two. If you do enjoy working in the yard, will you also feel comfortable cleaning the air filter, changing the oil, and checking spark plugs? A good quality mower will last for many years if it is maintained properly. A poorly maintained mower will soon have to be replaced. • The next thing to consider is your budget. What can you realistically afford? How long will you live in this home? Will you need your mower in two years? Five years? Once you have answered these basic questions, you can begin your research. Walk behind mowers allow you to get some exercise as you mow. Do you prefer to use a self-propelled mower? What is your price range? What kind of transmission will you need? Manual or automatic? Automatic transmissions provide a much greater east-of-use and efficiency. Do you have the strength to pull the cord to start your mower or do you need an automatic starter? Perhaps you have not even thought about the following points. Consider the versatility of the equipment. Besides mowing and perfecting the yard and lawn, what other tasks will you or would you like to use your mower to perform? Consider other task possibilities for your core tasks such as: • Light hauling such as mulch or dirt. • Heaving hauling for larger loads or rocks. • Tilling/Plowing that tomato garden. • Fertilizing/Seeding the lawn or garden. • Grading your driveway. • Shrub removal. • Handling snow. • Tending to animals. • Maintaining pastures and fields. Mulching—cuts grass clippings into fine pieces that can help fertilize your lawn. No bagging of clippings is required. Rear bagger—collects clippings for an immaculate lawn. A rear bag is

What is included in your maintenance agreement and do you have one? Can you get service from the dealer after you buy your mower? It’s not always easy to get your mower annual maintenance. Maintaining your equipment leads to hassle free ownership, better resale value and less headaches in general.

Don’t have a truck? Some dealers offer mobile maintenance service. Service should include the following: • Change engine oil and filter. • Change air filter and -cleaner. • Change spark plugs. • Change fuel filter. • Change transmission oil and filter. • Change engine coolant. • Change hydraulic filter. • Sharpen mower blades. •  Check safety systems. • Check tire pressure and check mower desk level. •  Check/tighten hardware. • Clean engine, battery, radiator and mower. • Lubricate tractor and mower. • Check belts and mower adjustments. Information provided by Sloan Implement


Page 30 - CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE - TheIntellegencer.com - Friday, May 21, 2010


How to. . . Plan ahead While we take time to include college planning for our children, financial retirement planning and long-term care insurance needs, we don’t like to think about the choices for our memorialization. It makes sense to eliminate the burden on a family and ensure your personal wishes are finalized long before the need arises.

Friday, May 21, 2010 – TheIntellegencer.com – CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE – Page 31

Choose your full service funeral home and cemetery

Pre-planning your funeral service and choosing the manner of disposition whether in a cemetery with ground burial, above-ground mausoleum interment or cremation may not be at the top of your to-do list, but it is becoming an accepted and appreciated practice.

Cremation is an alternative type of disposition and is becoming a preferred choice for many families. Ownership of the crematory will give you peace of mind because your loved one never leaves the care of the funeral director. Crematory operators should be licensed by the State of Illinois.

While we take time to include college planning for our children, financial retirement planning and long-term care insurance needs, we don’t like to think about the choices for our memorialization. It makes sense to eliminate the burden on a family and ensure your personal wishes are finalized long before the need arises.

Cremated remains are often placed in an urn, which can be placed in a mausoleum niche or a wall niche called a columbarium. The urn may also be buried in a family burial space or urn garden where a marker is used to memorialize the site. Some family members choose to have their remains taken to a favorite destination or home or made into a special memorial keepsakes.

The first step is to consider a locally owned facility with all the on-site services you would like to include. One provider may save you additional costs. Choose a facility known for integrity and professionalism. Other items to consider are:

You want a funeral home with knowledgeable people equipped to handle not only the visitation and funeral service, but also the interment and cremation

• Is the funeral home family owned and have roots in the community? • How long have they been in business? • Can the facility handle all of your requests? • Will the cemetery be maintained in the future? • Is the cemetery audited by the State of Illinois annually and open to State audit inspection? You want a funeral home you can trust with knowledgeable people equipped to handle not only the visitation and funeral service, but also interment or cremation. Cemetery Many cemeteries offer a beautiful, well-maintained setting to remember your loved ones. Choose a cemetery with staff to keep the grounds beautiful year-round. A program with a floral tribute on special occasions is one way to remember and honor your family member. Cemeteries may have special annual services on Memorial Day or other days of remembrance for your family. Mausoleum Mausoleums offer an above ground option for burial. The casket is placed on a tray and slid into a purchased space and the space is then sealed, preserving the memory and integrity of your loved ones. A mausoleum crypt offers secure protection and remains clean and completely dry. The burial containers entombed do not come in contact with the earth. Some private family estate mausoleums can accommodate two to six or more people. A family mausoleum is an affordable option and is comparable to family burial. Cremation

Heritage Markers and monuments are one way to remember our loved ones. A lovely way to keep a memory may be with a diamond created from the carbon of your loved one or keepsake jewelry, or memory glass orbs.


Page 32 - CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE - TheIntellegencer.com - Friday, May 21, 2010

How to. . . Why wait? Start communicating with your parents before they need assistance. Many of us are faced with the task of assisting our parents as they grow older. Good communication, organization and proper planning are the keys to prevent crisis. The following are a few suggestions to make it easier.

Care for your aging parents

Communication Start communicating with your parents before they need assistance. It is often a difficult conversation to start. Open with questions about their desires as they age or bring up someone else’s experience and ask what they would want you to do in that case. Do not make promises that you can’t keep, such as “I will never put you in a nursing home.” None of us can predict the future and the level of care that may be needed. Instead make promises of “I will always be there for you” or “I will make sure that you are taken care of.” This will prevent feelings of guilt when situations arise which warrant advanced care. Start a journal of information that you will need to provide care. Below is a list of things to start gathering: 1. Full legal name and residence 2. Birth date and place 3. Social Security number 4. Employer and dates of employment 5. Military records 6. Sources of income and assets; investment income (stocks, bonds, property) Stock brokers’ name and phone number. 7. Insurance policies, bank accounts, deeds, investments, and other valuables 8. Most recent income tax return 9. Money owed, to whom and payment schedule 10. Name of bank and bank accounts 11. Location of safe deposit box and key 12. Location of most recent will 13. List of medications Legal Documents Find an attorney that specializes in Elder Law. This is the legal practice of counseling and representing older persons and their representatives about the legal aspects of health and long - term care planning, public benefits, surrogate decision making, conservation, disposition and administration of older persons’ estates. To find an attorney that practices Elder Law, visit the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys Web site at www.naela.com. Below is a list of some of the legal documents to consider. • Durable Power of Attorney for Finances-gives a designated person the authority to make legal/financial decisions on behalf of the person. • A Will-indicates how a person’s assets and estate will be distributed among beneficiaries after his or her death. • Living Trust-describes how the person wants to allocate funds and settlements.

Medical Care There are several documents that are designed to assist with making health care decisions should your parent become incapacitated. These are referred to as Advance Directives for Health Care. Below are the documents and a brief explanation of their purpose. • Living Will-allows a person to specify what medical treatment they do or do not want at the end of their life. • Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care-appoints a designated person to make health care decisions when they are no longer able. This document also allows the designated person access to private medical information. Managing Care When a parent needs assistance it is important that all members of the family play a role. This can be a challenge when family members live at a distance and hold different opinions of how things should be handled. Below are a few questions: • Hold a family meeting and discuss who is good at what and what each member can contribute. One person may be good at handling the finances, another at providing hands on care. Each member can play a role even if they are at a distance. • Hire a Geriatric Care Manager. This is a licensed professional that specializes in geriatrics. Their services can include conducting care planning assessments to identify problems and offer solutions, screen, arrange and monitor in-home services, act as a liaison to families at a distance, assist with moving an older person to assisted care or nursing home, and provide consumer education and advocacy. To locate a Geriatric Care Manager, visit the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers at their Web site www.caremanager. org. • Investigate all of the resources available in your community. There are often many groups and businesses that support caregivers or specialize in catering to seniors needs. The local senior center can be a good place to start. • Educate yourself on the medical conditions that your parents have. This will help you recognize potential problems early.

HUFFMAN LAW OFFICES, P.C. Assisting Seniors & their Families with legal issues including: *Wills *Powers of Attorney *Geriatric Care Management

*Living Trusts *Probate & Estates *Nursing Home/Medicaid Planning

Call today foraafree free consultation Call today for consultation

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How to. . . Choose wisely Deck products continue to develop. There are over 100 different types of deck products available on the market.

Friday, May 21, 2010 – TheIntellegencer.com – CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE – Page 33

Design your new deck

If you are going to build, or expand any portion of your home, you need to start with a budget. Have a figure in mind whenever you start your search. Keep in mind that the average home improvement project will cost about 25% more than a layman will estimate the cost. Always allow more for custom, if you are looking to do something different, because it will cost more. Design for standard use Size will be proportional with cost and material choice. When you are designing your deck, keep in mind your normal use. Do not design its size for once or twice a year use. A good tool is to measure the interior of some of your rooms in your home, evaluate the functional use, and design your deck with these sizes in mind. Never build to small, but a common mistake is to build larger than needed. Decide if you are you looking for a cheaper product, or a maintenance free product? Know your wants and needs The substructure of most decks will be similarly constructed. The difference in decking and railing products are like night and day. Decide if you are looking for wood or synthetic decking products. Know whether or not you can stain and weatherproof a wood deck. How long are you going to live at the address, and what kind of a commitment will this be to maintenance? What return on investment do you expect with each product? Decking materials Deck products continue to develop. There are over 100 different deck

products available on the market. Don’t panic; start with your wants and needs concerning maintenance and cost. The more maintenance required, usually the less the cost. Conversely, the less maintenance the more cost. There are now wood products, composite products, and fully synthetic products on the market, and all of them have positives and negatives. The technology has advanced the synthetics considerably, where some look better than wood, and last longer than brick. You can continue to stain and waterproof every two years as suggested with most wood, or design with products that will only require occasional hosing off. Maintenance vs. cost, but keep in mind, synthetics holds their value longer. Who do I call for a deck? Be a detective! What you are looking for is a company that can design, construct, and stand behind their project. You also need someone who will inform you of various products that fit your wants. Someone who is proficient in the industry that is fully licensed, fully insured, and has experience necessary to complete the project on time and on budget.

Keep in mind that the average home improvement project will cost about 25 percent more than a layman will estimate the cost.

Submitted by Butler Home Improvement

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Page 34 - CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE - TheIntellegencer.com - Friday, May 21, 2010

How to. . . It's all black and white Teachers understand that the newspaper is a real, living, current textbook. The material provided in a newspaper is perfect to connect students with world in which they live.

Support success

The strength of a nation lies, in part, within the strength of her schools. Unfortunately, American students are performing poorer on standardized tests and are falling behind in the world-wide ranking of education excellence. Much affects this ranking, but nothing so much so as the resources available to teachers. Often working with outdated textbooks and a lack of available new curriculum material, teachers continually look for good, cost-effective ways to teach their students. For over 70 years, newspapers across the country have worked closely with teachers and schools in an effort to help with the issue of up-todate learning resources. Begun in the early 1930s, Newspapers In Education (NIE) has provided newspapers to teachers for classroom instructions. Throughout the decades, the importance of a newspaper ’s connection to learning has grown from a whisper to an ear-piercing scream. Teachers understand that the newspaper is a real, living, current textbook. The material provided in a newspaper is perfect to connect students with the world in which they live. Classroom subjects, such as geography, character development, finances, career education, math, science, social science, history, current events, etc., are all covered inside the newspaper. Many NIE programs provide newspapers and correlating curriculum material to teachers free of charge. The funding for this program is completely based on the sponsorships of local individuals and businesses around the schools’ communities. For every $1 an individual or business donates, 10 newspapers land into the hands of a teacher. And that, to an NIE teacher, means a great deal. In teachers’ neverending task of educating America’s youth, many local teachers have offered their comments and gratefulness for the availability of newspapers in their classrooms. We hope their words will inspire you to help support success through your support of Newspapers In Education.

“My students look forward to getting the newspaper…I also incorporate the paper into our current events discussions and our social studies curriculum to incorporate the local, state, and federal government.”—Amy Siebert, teacher Worden Elementary “NIE allows our students to stay connected with our community, state, and nation. There were numerous articles that forced our students to apply curriculum concepts with real world issues and situations. NIE allows our students to be MORE well-rounded and assists them in becoming life long learners.”—Dustan Battas, teacher Lincoln Middle School “I use the [newspaper] to have the students look for spelling words and spelling patterns. This gives a real life meaning to the subject Spelling. It shows them the curriculum in an everyday setting, and motivates them to read the paper and read more for pleasure. So, if we didn’t have the paper, I am not sure where they would get a real life experience with reading and spelling, not to mention the other areas we use it for.”—Jeanne Brunworth, teacher Woodland Elementary “Not having the [newspaper] in my classroom would affect lesson plans on a weekly basis. Students in the work experience program depend on the paper to search job availability in the community as well as the opportunity in the community for upcoming social events. We have various lesson plans from mock interviews, classified searches and teaching the students real world application using the local news. Yes, it would impact our classes in business and in math as well. We appreciate the ability to receive the [newspaper] for our students and they look forward to learning about opportunities in our community.”— Lisa Biciocchi, teacher Edwardsville High School


How to. . .

Friday, May 21, 2010 – TheIntellegencer.com – CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE – Page 35

Choose a skilled nursing full service facility Taking it all into account

It is best to choose a facility that provides a full range of medical services including physical therapy post-surgery for rehabilitation to return home, Long Term Care, Respite (short-term) Care and Alzheimer and Dementia Care.

What kind of care does your loved one need? Whether planning ahead or making a quick, needs based decision for in-facility care, there are a few areas to consider when choosing a skilled nursing facility. It is best to choose a facility that provides a full range of medical services including physical therapy, post-surgery for rehabilitation to return h o m e , L o n g Te r m C a r e , Respite (short-term) Care and Alzheimer and Dementia Care.

Alzheimer ’s disease, the whole family needs assistance. The goal is to maximize the resident’s functioning and self-esteem and to minimize family stress. When out-of-home placement is necessary, the facility you choose should have an Alzheimer and Dementia unit geared specifically to the quality of care and compassion necessary for residents to live as full lives as possible in a safe, secure environment and to extend their independence as long as possible while providing support to family members.

Doctors, relatives, hospital social workers, and your church may be able to help you identify specific facilities. Many facilities offer on-line virtual tours.

Doctors, relatives, hospital social w o r k e r s , a n d y o u r church may be able to help you identify specific facilities. Many facilities offer on-line virtual tours. Your doctor is a valuable resource and may make recommendations to help you make the decision for your own or your loved one’s care.

Rehab Look for a State of the art Rehabilitation and Fitness Center to assist residents to Rehab, Recover and Return Home. This is especially appropriate for residents recovering from illnesses or surgery. Rehab to home conditions may include those recovering from hip replacements, knee surgeries or other orthopedic conditions, strokes, open heart surgeries and surgical wounds. Rehabilitation should include an i n t e rd i s c i p l i n a r y t e a m o f experienced professionals, state-of-the-art therapy equipment and a full range of rehabilitative therapies. Under the direction of your physician, rehab professionals should carefully design a specific treatment plan and work toward the residents’ individual goals. Look for a facility with a modern fitness room outfitted with strength training and endurance equipment in order for residents to reach and maintain their optimum levels of function.

Checklist: Primary need • Rehabilitation • Adult Day Care • Senior Housing •Assisted Living • Nursing Home

Long Term or Respite Care – There are many types of housing with services included for people who do not have severe medical problems but who need help with personal care such as bathing, dressing, grooming or meal preparation. Alzheimer and Dementia – Although caregivers may want to keep their loved ones at home, this level of care requires endurance and a considerable support system. When stricken with

The facility you choose should provide a continuum of care at an affordable price as well as recreational, social, and educational events to give residents the opportunity to enrich their lives, while respecting their privacy. Although the choices are numerous, look for simply the finest in care for your loved one. Submitted by Maryville Manor/Liberty Village


Page 36 - CONSUMER HOW TO GUIDE - TheIntellegencer.com - Friday, May 21, 2010

Liberty Village of Maryville Offering Simply The Finest

Specialized Rehabilitation Services

Manor Court

Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation

Garden Court

Alzheimer’s and Memory Impairment Special Care for Older Adults

• Interdisciplinary Team of Experienced Professionals • State-of-the-art Therapty Equipment • Full Range of Rehabilitative Therapies Physical, Occupational and Speech • Case Management to Oversee Insurance and Medicare to Maximize Benefits.

EXPERIENCED PROFESSIONALS AT YOUR SERVICE...

• • • •

• Registered Dietician Personal Physician • Social Services Licensed Nurse 24 hours a day Certified Nursing Assistants • Full Time Activity Director Highly Qualified Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapists

SAFETY, SECURITY & DIGNITY...

Our special care unit - Garden Court - has been set aside to provide a quality environment for seniors suffereing from Alzheimer’s and other Memory impairments. The safety, security and the dignity of your loved one are of paramount importance to us, as they are to you. Come out for a tour. Discuss your situation. We’re here to help both of you!

Liberty Village of Maryville 2133 Vadalabene Drive • Maryville, IL (618) 288-5999 www.simplythefinest.net Medicare/Medicaid

Liberty Village n so er ital d An osp H

Consumer How-To 2010  

Published by the Edwardsville Intelligencer.

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