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home& garden

Spring Home & Garden - Wednesday, April 2, 2014 1

APRIL 2014

Spring

Northfield Chamber of Commerce

Home & Garden

SHOW

Sat. April 5, 2014 see pages 2 & 3 for details

Top Home Decor & Gardening Trends for

2014

Northfield News


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Spring Home & Garden - Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Northfield Chamber’s

Home

BUSINESS SHOWCASE 2014

poised for success By JERRY SMITH jcsmith@northfieldnews.com

IF YOU GO What: The Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce Home & Garden Business Showcase offers consumers an opportunity to discuss the latest home and garden trends with local business experts. When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 5 Where: Northfield Ice Arena (Hwy. 3) Of interest: There will be drawings throughout the showcase for donated prizes, and exhibitors will offer free giveaways. Sponsor: Professional Pride Realty Information: Email info@northfieldchamber.com or call 507-645-5604

The Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce Home & Garden Business Showcase has come a long way in three years as more people have attended each year and exhibitors seem to know the value of the annual event. But the Chamber’s Jane Pausch isn’t resting on her laurels. She wants the fourth year of the event, which will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 5 at the Northfield Ice Arena, to be even better. The Event and Membership Manager for the Chamber and one of the main forces behind the business expo each year believes the best recipe for

making that happen is collaboration with the community. The first step this year was signing on Professional Pride Realty as the major event sponsor. Then, she worked with Chris Heineman, the city of Northfield Community Planning and Development Director, to bring in more quality speakers. The final step was to encourage exhibitors to do more business at the event and not just hand out marketing materials. “We’re really excited to have Professional Pride Realty as our sponsor,” Pausch said. “It’s great to have a sponsor that thinks about bringing people into the show.” One way Professional Pride Realty owner Pete Mergens hopes to do that

is with the “Heroes of Education Contest,” a contest in which Northfield elementary school students in kindergarten through fifth grade have a chance to win $500 for their classroom by simply drawing a picture of their favorite teacher. While the contest ended on March 31, the plan is to post each of the official entries at the show for people to vote on and then announce the winner and second- and third-place participants near the end of the expo. “It’s a way to not only recognize the teacher who gives so much to the student and the community, it’s a way to draw folks to the event,” Mergens said. “We’re hoping to draw in parents, family members and friends of the kids

Speakers: 10:00 AM Buying & Selling Professional Pride Realty Everything you wanted to know about buying and selling a home but were afraid to ask.

11:00 AM Hardy Shrubs for your Garden Leif Knecht, Knecht’s Nurseries Ten excellent, hardy shrubs that will add beauty and dimension to your landscape from Knecht Nurseries and Landscaping.

12:00 PM Healthy Habits for Clean Water, Solutions to Storm Water Pollution Beth Kallestad Cannon River Watershed Partnership C.R.W.P. presents a rain barrel workshop. Rain barrels are a sustainable home improvement project that benefit the entire community.

1:00 PM Solar Electricity in Minnesota Brian Allen, All Energy Solar Minnesota is part of a the growing solar industry and is making a big impact on the Midwest and the Nation. Event sponsor:

Hosted by:


Spring Home & Garden - Wednesday, April 2, 2014 3

Beth Kallestad

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Mary Jo Winter & Bob Cross

Cannon River Watershed Partnershhip Noon “Healthy Habits for Clean Water: Solutions to Storm water Pollution.” Rain barrels are a sustainable home improvement project that benefit the entire community. Kallestad, who is the director of the CRWP, has significant experience with hosting workshops across the Cannon River watershed. As part of the expo, the city of Northfield offers a $20 reimbursement for the purchase of rain barrels. A rain garden cost share program is also available with reimbursement up to $250.

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Professional Pride Realty 10 a.m. Everything you wanted to know about buying or selling a home but were afraid to ask. Realtors Mary Jo Winter, the “city girl with a country heart,” and Bob Cross will talk about situations faced while buying a home and selling a home. The two Realtors have decades of industry experience between them, making them experts in their field.

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taking part in the contest. “We’re really excited about it. I wanted to involve the community and the schools especially. I’m hoping it will take off and grow each year and become a tradition at the showcase.” As for collaborating with the city of Northfield, the exhibitors and the lineup of “great” speakers, Pausch thinks that will definitely help bring in the 1,000-plus people the event drew last year. Having more and more of the 50 exhibitors going in with the idea of doing business on the Northfield Ice Arena floor will help, she believes. “It’s a great thing to see that people just aren’t there tire kicking and actually buying things,” Pausch said. “As the show grows, we’re getting more help from the community. It’s a family hotdish.” Another part of the showcase Pausch thought deserved a shout out is the effort by the Northfield Garden Club, which she says will be doing the Japanese garden theme near the entrance of the arena floor. And she said, there will be an opportunity for door prizes for those who sign up for the drawing right as you walk in. “Folks are really investing in the show and really working hard to jazz up exhibits,” Pausch said. “They are investing time and money and that can only help make this a better expo.”

LEIF KNECHT

BRIAN ALLEN

Knecht’s Nurseries and Landscaping 11 a.m. Knecht will talk about 10 shrubs that have excellent hardiness and are sure to add beauty to your landscape. Knecht, along with his wife Deb, began growing trees in 1988, added landscaping in 1992 and opened the retail garden center in 1999. The Knechts believe that making a strong commitment to personal service, constant improvement in both the retail and plant production areas, and fostering a sense of community with all those whose lives they touch all lead to a successful business.

All Energy Solar 1 p.m. A look at what has taken place over the last few years to help grow the industry, create jobs and clean up our energy. Minnesota is part of a growing solar industry and is making a big impact on the Midwest and the Nation. With the onset of new legislation, incentives, decreasing costs and growing concerns for our environment, solar has taken off in our state. Allen will lead you on a short journey to see what has taken place over the last few years to help grow the industry, create jobs and clean up our energy.

home& garden Spring

A special project of the Northfield News, 115 West Fifth Street Northfield, MN 55057 507-645-5615 Spring Home & Garden, April 2014 is distributed to subscribers and readers of Northfield News at no additional charge. All advertising contained herein is the responsibility of the advertisers. All rights reserved. ©2014.

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Make sure to stop at our booth and vote in our Heroes of Education contest – it could mean $500 for your child’s classroom!


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Spring Home & Garden - Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Flowerbed factors By Tresa Erickson

You love flowers, and lucky for you, you have a nice lawn with plenty of room for flowerbeds. You have some idea of the flowers you would like to grow, but your selections will depend upon a host of other factors.

One of the first factors you will have to consider is when you want the flowerbeds to bloom. Spring, summer, fall or year-round? While a flowerbed that blooms throughout the year would be ideal, it won’t be easy to attain, especially if you are a beginner, live in a area with harsh winters, travel a lot or change residences throughout the year. Choose a

season when you will be around to care for the flowerbeds and appreciate the fruits of your labor and select flowers that grow during that season. Along with the season, you will also have to consider the site conditions. Where will the flowerbeds be located? Does each site receive full sun, partial sun or no sun at all? Does the soil drain properly? What is the soil pH? The answers to these questions will dictate the types of flowers you can grow. While you may envision rows and rows of tulips in front of your cottage during the early spring, the soil conditions there might not warrant it. The characteristics of the flowers themselves will also have bearing in your decision. Some flowers require more space than others. If you have a fairly small bed, you will need to select flowers that spread little, whereas if you have a rather large bed, you might be able to choose a wider variety of flowers, including some that take up a great deal of space. Height, color and texture should be considered as well. Flowerbeds usually feature flowers of varying heights, often with the shorter species in front where they can be seen. Colors and texture may vary but should complement each other and the landscape. Soft pink blooms might look out of place in front of a rough, red cedar plank fence. When you are choosing species for your flowerbeds, take the surroundings into consideration and do your homework. Know what flowers grow best when, where and with what. Read everything you can about flowerbed design and go shopping armed with the right information. The more you know, the better choices you will make and the better your flowerbeds will look. And remember, things change. The flowerbeds you create today may not look like the ones you create 10 years from now. Prepare for your flowerbeds to evolve as your gardening skills improve.

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Spring Into Volunteering! Nothing brightens our campus like springtime in bloom. Thanks to our residents, staff and a host of volunteers from throughout the community, our beautiful grounds lift our spirits and make us proud. With new features planned for Pathways of Faith Park, we’ll be busier than ever keeping our 30‑acre campus looking sharp. Ready to help? Contact us today to learn about volunteer opportunities. Call 507-664-3472 or email Milosha Malecha at mmalecha@ northfieldretirement.org for more information. Hooray for spring!

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Spring Home & Garden - Wednesday, April 2, 2014 5

Sod or seed?

By Tresa Erickson When you’re faced with the choice of sod or seed, it can be a difficult decision to make. They are both good options for dealing with a less-thanperfect lawn. There are pros and cons to each, and you must think through your decision carefully. Sod has been professionally cultivated and is ready to go. The roots are already there and just need to be placed into the soil for them to grow. Sod can be installed fairly quickly and easily and applied to almost any surface, flat or inclined, and it will stay put, even in heavy rainsÑthough you may have to stake it. It is also generally weed-free and requires little care. All you will have to do is water the sod heavily for the first few weeks of start-up, and it should take root and provide you with the lush lawn you envision. Because it is ready made,

sod can be expensive, much more expensive than seed. You have to get it on the ground quick to protect your investment, whereas with seed, you have more leeway and more varieties to choose from. Most experts recommend seeding in the spring or fall. It does take some work to get seed into the ground, from fertilizing to raking to rolling. Seed also takes longer to grow and establish, and when placed on an incline, it can easily wash away. Although it may require less watering in the first weeks, seed will require mulch or hay, both of which can contain weed seeds and lead to weeds. Again, seed is less expensive, so if it does not work as well as you had hoped and you end up with some patchiness, it will be much less of a loss. There are pros and cons to sod and seed. Consider the options carefully, consult with an expert and make the right decision for your lawn and your budget.

Take a garden tour By Tresa Erickson Love walking through a lovely lawn and garden, but don’t have time to make one of your own? Take a garden tour. Love your lawn and garden, and wish you could show it off? Sign up to be part of a garden tour. Many areas around the country host garden tours, usually in the spring, summer or fall. While some tours might feature commercial gardens, others might feature residential gardens. Homeowners who spend a lot of time tending to their lawn and gardens might be invited to participate in the tour and open up their spaces to the public. Proceeds raised might go toward the support of local garden clubs, community landscaping projects and other outdoor pursuits. For those interested in making a vacation out of garden tours, there are many properties around the country that offer garden tours on a regular basis. Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home in Charlottesville, VA, for example, offers tours of the home as well as the lawn and gardens throughout the year. The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, home to George Vanderbilt, does the same, as does the Magnolia Plantations and Gardens in Charleston, SC. There are hundreds of gardens across the country and around the world open to the public each year. Many of the commercial properties with gardens open to the public also offer the additional option of hosting an event there. Imagine exchanging vows with your beloved or hosting a tea party for your civic club against the backdrop of a magnificent garden. How divine. Depending upon what’s available in your area, you might have many options to choose from. If gardening is your passion, look into some tours. Whether you go on a tour or host a tour stop yourself, you’re sure to come across some interesting ideas, some of which you may be able to incorporate into your own landscape.

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Spring Home & Garden - Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Step up the

transformation By Tresa Erickson

Along with entrances and exits, stairways are some of the most heavily trafficked areas of the home. You and your family probably go up and down the stairs a dozen times a day, and if there is carpeting underfoot, that can lead to a lot of wear and tear. Fortunately, there are many options for dealing with a carpeted stairway that has seen better days. Study the carpeting on your stairs. What kind of condition is it in? Is it just soiled and stained? Give it a good cleaning. Fill up a bucket with warm water, grab a bottle of carpet cleaner and a scrub brush, and get busy. For a deeper cleaning, you might want to rent a steam cleaner or hire a carpet cleaning service. For carpet beyond cleaning, replacement might be your best bet. This can be costly, but if you live in an area with cold weather or with young children or seniors prone to falls, it is worth considering. Tramping up and down hard, cold steps is never fun, and falls down hard steps can lead to serious injury. Bring warmth, comfort and cushioning to your stairs with new carpet. You can opt for wall-to-wall carpeting or a runner, though with a runner, you may have to have the stairs refinished.

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While nice, carpeted stairs can be difficult to keep clean. Along with regular vacuuming, you may have to do a deeper cleaning from time to time. If you’re not one for hauling the vacuum cleaner or steam cleaner up and down the stairs, consider some alternatives. Many homeowners these days are replacing the carpet on their stairs with hardwood. Although expensive to install, hardwood is durable and easy to clean. Laminate is a more affordable option, and like hardwood, it is easy to clean. Just sweep and dust with a wet-dry mop. If hardwood and laminate are not your style, paint is another option. Paint is very affordable and offers endless possibilities. You can open up the space by painting the stairs white. You can brighten up the space with bolder paint color choices and freehand designs. You can add some whimsy to the space with stenciled or tiled stairs. Just paint the stairs whatever color you want and stencil in some designs or apply tile to the risers. Tiled risers are a feature in many homes of the Southwest. For those concerned about falling on slick, painted stairs, carpet tiles are available for the treads. The sky is the limit when it comes to transforming your stairs. Rethink that tired, worn carpet. New carpet. Hardwood. Paint. It’s your choice, and depending upon the route you take, you might just cut down your cleaning time.

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Spring Home & Garden - Wednesday, April 2, 2014

PLEASE By Tresa Erickson Many landscapes feature paths of some sort that guide visitors from one point to another safely and easily. The best paths not only direct but connect visitors with the garden, leading them from one interesting point to another. If you would like to connect visitors to your landscape through some paths, here are some tips.

Plot your path Determine beforehand the intent of the path ‘to direct visitors to and from the house, to allow visitors easy access to the garden, to highlight a particular feature, etc. Primary paths need to be wide and fairly straight to permit more than one visitor on them at a time. Secondary paths may be narrower and involve more twists and turns.

Pick your materials Again, the purpose of the path plays a large part in the materials used. Primary paths should be made from materials that can be set firmly in place and provide an even surface, such as stone or brick. Secondary paths can call for softer surfaces like turf or mulches. You can mix materials for interest if you wish. Just make sure whatever you choose complements your landscape. Classic red brick might look out of place in a rustic garden, whereas stone and mulch might not.

Prep and place the materials You can’t just throw down some stepping stones and be done with it. The surface needs to be even, safe and easy to walk on, so prep the site accordingly. Improve the drainage, level the course with sand and then lay the

By Tresa Erickson

Photo from picklesonpizza.blogspot.com

8

new use

Old doors. They seem to be everywhereÑantique stores, flea markets, yard sales, in the old home you just inherited. The older the door, the more likely it is constructed from solid wood. Solid wood doors are hard to find these days and cost a bundle. Beyond using them as an entrance, what do you do with old doors? You repurpose them into almost anything imaginable! Old doors make great headboards. Just remove the hardware, paint or stain the exterior if desired, turn the door on its side, hang it behind your bed, and voila, you’ve got a great headboard. Door doesn’t quite fit? No problem. Cut it down and trim it out for a more finished look. Old doors make great screens. Find three somewhat equal in size, remove the hardware, paint or refinish them if desired, attach them together with hinges, and your folding screen is complete. Need a larger screen? Add another door or two. Want to make the screen more practical? Add a panel of chalkboard paint and a panel of corkboard for a bulletin board. You can also create a message center out of one door. Just paint a panel with chalkboard paint, attach a whiteboard in another panel and a corkboard in another, and you’ve got a large, message center at your service. You can either hang the door on

material. Research the materials you plan to use and know how to install them properly. Take additional measures for stability, like creating edges to keep pavers, stones and brick in place. Consider installing lighting, particularly if the path will be used at night.

Perk up the path When you have finished setting down the path, try it out. See for yourself how easy it is to traverse. Make whatever adjustments are needed for safety and then look at the path from a designer viewpoint. Is it eye catching? Does it capture and maintain your interest? Perhaps you could add to the ambiance with more lighting, plants and statuary. Garden paths can be great assets to your landscape. Think about yours carefully and make sure they fulfill their purpose and more.

the wall, stand it against the wall or attach some feet to it for a freestanding message center. Old doors make great desks. Take a door, remove the hardware, paint or refinish it if desired, add four legs, trim it out and you’ve got a great desk. Use the doorknob hole for a cup or cord holder. Door has panes of glass? No problem. Slide some photos or postcards onto the glass panes for decoration and lay a large piece of glass on top of the door to create a solid surface for working. You can also turn an old door into an instant table using the same process. Just cut the door down to the size you need, paint or refinish it if desired, add some legs and trim, and you’ve got a great side table, sofa table and more. Want a dining table? Use two doors side by side. Old doors make great additions to gardens as well, either as screens, shutters or potting benches. To turn an old door into a potting bench, turn it on its side and add some legs, or make it freestanding with feet and use it as a backdrop to a real potting bench. There are dozens of new uses for old doors. Head to your local hardware store or garden center for ideas. Consult some home magazines and the Internet for further ideas. Get creative and design your own project. Then post it online and share it with others!


How to guarantee your garden starts off on the right foot A s winter slowly winds down, many gardeners cannot wait to soak up the springtime sun and get their hands dirty in the garden. Such excitement is not just good for gardeners, but can benefit the garden in the months to come as well. \ Late winter or early spring is a great time to get a head start on the gardening season. Even if gardening season is still around the corner, completing the following projects can ensure your garden gets off on the right foot.

Clear debris One of the best things you can do for your garden as winter winds down is to clear it of debris. Winter can be especially harsh on a landscape, and gardens left to the elements are often filled with debris once spring arrives. Dead leaves, fallen branches, rocks that surfaced during the winter frost, and even garbage that might have blown about in winter winds can all pile up in a garden over a typical winter. Clearing such debris likely won’t take long, but it’s a great first step toward restoring the garden before the time comes to plant and grow the garden once again.

Examine the soil Soil plays a significant role in whether a garden thrives or struggles. Examining the soil before the season starts can help gardeners address any issues before they plant. Ignoring the soil until a problem arises can turn the upcoming gardening season into a lost opportunity, so test the soil to determine if it has any nutrient or mineral deficiencies. This may require the help of a professional, but if a problem arises, you might be able to adjust the acidity or alkalinity of the soil and still enjoy a successful gardening season.

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Another way to examine the soil is less complex but can shed light on when would be a good time to get back to work. Reach into the soil and dig out a handful. If the soil quickly crumbles, you can start preparing for gardening seasoning. But if the soil is still clumped together, it needs more time to dry out before you can begin your prep work.

Initiate edging Edging is another task gardeners can begin as they get ready for the season. Edge plant and flower beds, but be sure to use a spade with a flat blade or an edger designed to edge flower beds. Such tools will cut deep enough so grass roots that may eventually grow into the flower bed are severed. Depending on how large a garden is, edging can be a time-consuming task, so getting a head start allows homeowners to spend more time planting and tending to their gardens once the season hits full swing.

Fight weeds Though weeds likely have not survived the winter, that does not mean they won’t return once the weather starts to heat up. But as inevitable as weeds may seem, homeowners can take steps to prevent them from turning beautiful gardens into battlegrounds where plants, flowers and vegetables are pitted against unsightly and potentially harmful weeds. Spring is a good time to apply a pre-emergent weed preventer, which can stop weeds before they grow. Though such solutions are not always foolproof, they can drastically reduce the likelihood of weed growth. Though gardeners might not be able to start planting their gardens in late winter or early spring, they can still get outside and take steps to ensure their

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Spring Home & Garden - Wednesday, April 2, 2014

How to keep A your garage work space safe

SPRING CAR CARE

uto enthusiasts often find their garage is a sanctuary where they can go and think about their vehicles and little else. Similar to a carpenter’s workshop or a gardener’s backyard, a garage can be a place where auto enthusiasts unwind as they pursue their passions for automobiles. But no garage is a true sanctuary if it

is not safe, and the following are a few ways auto enthusiasts can ensure their work space is safe and sound. • Keep an adequately stocked first aid kit on hand. An accessible first aid kit can be the difference between a minor injury or a significant health issue. Make sure the first aid kit is easily accessible, ideally on a low shelf that you can reach should you suffer an injury that limits your mobility. Periodically restock your first aid kit with necessary supplies. • Post the national Poison Control Hotline number in plain view. That number is 1-800-222-1222 in the United States, and varies from province to province in Canada. • Always bring your cell phone with you when working in your workshop. Though it might seem like a good idea to escape from life’s distractions and leave your cell phone inside when working on your vehicle, that cell phone may be your only way to contact the outside world should you suffer an injury. You don’t have to answer the phone when it rings, but be sure to bring it with you as a safety precaution whenever you will be working alone in the garage. • Install a functioning fire extinguisher in your garage, and learn how to use it. Be sure to periodically check the extinguisher’s expiration date and make sure it’s easily accessible.

• Keep hazardous materials out of the reach of children. Read the labels on products. Items whose labels include warnings and cautions or suggest products can be poisonous if or when they are ingested should be stored where kids cannot reach them. If necessary, store them in a cabinet that can be locked. • Store gasoline in a locked outdoor shed or, if keeping it in the garage, make sure youngsters won’t be able to reach it. Make sure the gasoline container is childproof and approved for gasoline storage. • Wear chemical safety glasses when using hazardous solvents and cleaning products. Wear safety glasses with side shields when using power tools. • Don’t allow children into your work space when you’re working on your vehicle. • Wear tight clothing and take off all jewely. Loose clothing and dangling jewelry that can easily get caught in moving parts, greatly increasing your risk of injury. • Unplug any power cords before trouble-shooting any problems with your power tools. • When working with power tools, unplug them when taking a break from work and when leaving your work space, even if such breaks are only hasDiscounts your Package momentary.

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Spring Home & Garden - Wednesday, April 2, 2014 11

Highway hypnosis can be dangerous

oad trips are a popular getaway once the weather warms up. People take to the roads in droves, whether for vacations or simply to enjoy the scenery along the way. With more people on the highways, there could be a heightened risk of accidents for a number of reasons. Though road rage, driving while intoxicated and other road dangers are well documented, many people do not know about something called highway hypnosis -- which could be responsible for erratic driving on roadways. Think about a time when you were behind the wheel of a car on a long stretch of road, such as an interstate. Perhaps you lost track of the exits you passed or wondered how you ended up in a particular location when you don’t remember getting there. Maybe you actually fell asleep or drifted off of the road. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, the main cause of roadway departure crashes is driver drowsiness and inattention. Driver fatigue is often caused by highway

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hypnosis. Highway hypnosis, also known as “white line fever,” occurs when someone has been driving a vehicle along a long stretch of roadway for an extended period of time. The monotony of a long drive can induce sleepiness or forgetfulness. It can lull the brain into a sort of trance, and the body is essentially operating on auto pilot while the mind is off somewhere else. Highway hypnosis is most common during the late-night hours when the time of day also plays a role in drowsiness. The concept of highway hypnosis is nothing new. In fact, engineers who created the Indiana Toll Road in 1957 designed curves every two miles on average to allow for a variation in the road conditions. Many other roadways are built with rumble strips or other variations in the scenery to reduce the monotony of the road. Highway hypnosis occurs more than people would like to believe. However, there are ways to help prevent highway hypnosis.

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• Take frequent rests on a long trip to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. • Try not to drive during the hours that you are normally sleeping. • Bring a road trip partner along and make conversation. • Don’t eat a big meal before beginning a long car ride.

• Open the windows and get circulation going. • Keep your eyes moving between your mirrors and the road to improve conscious thought. • If you are still unable to fend of feelings of drowsiness or some of the other symptoms of hypnosis, pull over and take a long rest until you feel more capable to drive.

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Spring Home & Garden - Wednesday, April 2, 2014

12

Vehicle safety recalls are designed to keep roadways and passengers safe.

What to do when faced with an auto recall

N

ew cars are purchased or leased to provide a reliable mode of transportation. But some vehicles malfunction even when they are fresh off of the dealership lot. Other times manufacturers or safety watchdog groups determine that certain cars

and trucks have an issue that requires a recall to keep roadways safe. Vehicle recall statistics are difficult to pin down. That’s because there is no standard rate of recalls per year, as recalls depend on safety statistics for particular makes and models. For example, in 2009 more than

40 million Toyota vehicles were recalled due to a faulty gas pedal. An automotive recall is how manufacturers inform drivers that there could be something about their cars or trucks that presents a risk of injury or property damage. The recall may be inde-

SPRING CAR CARE pendently conducted by the manufacturer or ordered by a safety group, such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The recall involves the manufacturer providing a free, safe and effective remedy for the faulty component. When a recall is announced, drivers may not have to immediately visit a dealership to have the problem corrected. Owners should wait for an official letter. The letter will narrow down which vehicles are affected. There should be a specific window of time presented in which the vehicle can be repaired. Vehicle owners are urged to pay attention to the performance of their cars or trucks to see if they are exhibiting any problems. If so, schedule an appointment for repair according to the recall instructions provided. The notification letter should include the risk of hazard posed by the problem as well as the free remedy and how long the repair should take. There also should be a description of

what an owner can do if he or she is unable to have the problem remedied within a reasonable amount of time and without charge. If repair work has been done on a vehicle prior to knowledge of the recall, owners may be eligible for reimbursement for their expenses, provided they kept their receipts. While reimbursement for damages that the defect may have caused are not covered by recalls, owners may be able to solicit reimbursement privately.

The following are steps to take when informed of a recall: 1. Contact the dealer service manager and explain that you are inquiring about work required as part of a recall. 2. If the manager has not remedied the situation and provided the next steps, contact the manufacturer, which should be able to handle the situation. 3. If all else fails, Americans can contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at www.recalls. gov.

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