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October 2019 A Special Supplement to


Plan Your Fall Foliage Excursion Pg. 7 What is a Smart Home? Pg. 8


2019 • Benzie County Record Patriot

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rivers expect their vehicles to safely transport them from point A to point B. But sometimes drivers find themselves stranded on the side of the road due to a breakdown. That can be an especially precarious position to be in, but knowing what to do during a breakdown can help drivers and their passengers get through such situations unscathed. 1. Find a safe spot to pull over. Whenever possible, guide the car to a shoulder or area out of the line of traffic but still visible to oncoming traffic. If the car is not drivable, enlist the help of someone to push it into a safe zone. 2. Turn on hazard lights. Esurance advises to put on hazard lights, which will warn other drivers that something is wrong. Hazard lights also may alert other motorists who might offer assistance. Once your hazard lights are on, pop the hood, which can serve as an additional alert to other drivers. 3. Engage the emergency brake. Turn the wheel away from the

road and put on the emergency brake to help prevent the car from rolling. 4. Set up other warning signals. Prepared drivers keep cones, reflective triangles or flares in their cars. AARP suggests placing three warning signals. The first should be 50 feet away and directly behind the vehicle. The other two can then be placed nearer to the vehicle. 5. Remain in the vehicle. It is safer to stay in the vehicle and call for help than to get out and stand on the side of a busy roadway. 6. Call for assistance. Use a mobile phone to dial a roadside assistance service or tow truck. Drivers also may want to contact the nearest police station to ask for help. Roadside assistance programs are available for a fee from private companies and sometimes through vehicle dealerships or insurance companies. Such services can provide peace of mind if and when breakdowns occur.

Benzie County Record Patriot • 2019


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2019 • Benzie County Record Patriot

How To Create A Winter-Friendly Outdoor Living Space Covering a deck or patio and/or adding a fire feature are two ways to make outdoor living spaces more winter-friendly.


or many homeowners, the arrival of fall and winter marks an end to time spent lounging and dining al fresco on the patio. But cold air does not necessarily mean patio furniture must be packed up until flowers bloom anew in spring.

outdoor living spaces. The survey found that the popularity of outdoor living spaces increased by 72 percent between 2012 and 2017, highlighting just how much homeowners enjoy spending time outdoors. By taking measures to make their outdoor living spaces winterproof, homeowners In its 2017 Home Design can enjoy these areas of Trends Survey, the American their homes even more. Institute of Architects found that consumers continue Cover your deck. A covered to emphasize practical deck may appear to make features that expand the the space less enjoyable functionality of their homes during spring and summer. via heavy investment in However, covered decks can

protect residents from the sun on especially hot days while also making the space more functional in winter. An overhead shelter on a deck can be outfitted with heaters (and fans to provide a cooling effect in summer) and allow residents to sit outside and watch snow fall without getting wet. Plant the right trees. Coniferous trees prevent wind, which can be especially harsh in winter. Homeowners who are unsure about which direction wind typically comes from

Install lighting. The sun sets early in winter, so homeowners won’t be able to rely on natural light to Fire up the patio. A firepit illuminate their outdoor living or fireplace can warm up an spaces well into the evening outdoor living area, making such a space warm and cozy like they do in summer. Heat lamps can be used to both even on a cold winter night. A patio with a built-in firepit warm and illuminate a space, can cost a pretty penny, serving dual, budget-friendly but such an addition can functions. withstand winter weather better than a standalone With the right adjustments, firepit, which might be outdoor living spaces can be vulnerable to being tipped over by winter winds. enjoyed throughout winter. can consult a landscape architect to determine where to plant the trees to ensure they’re most effective.






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Benzie County Record Patriot • 2019


What Is Octane And Should It Affect Drivers’ Decisions At The Pump?


nyone who has ever driven their vehicles into a filling station is no doubt familiar with the word “octane.” But few drivers may know what octane refers to and how it might affect their vehicles. According to Kelley Blue Book®, octane is a colorless component that boils at high temperatures. Octane is added to fuels, including gasoline used in vehicles, to eliminate preignition in combustion engines. The higher the octane rating, which is a measure of a fuel’s ability to resist “knocking” or “pinging,” the less likely the fuel is going to explode unexpectedly. In fact, KBB notes that gasoline with a high octane rating can withstand more compression than gas with a low octane rating.

So what does this mean for the average driver when he or she arrives at the pump and has to choose between 87, 89 or 93 octane gasoline? Likely very little. The U.S. Department of Energy notes that most gasoline vehicles are designed to run on 87 octane gasoline. However, some vehicles are still designed to run on higher octane fuel, so drivers should always consult their owners’ manuals to determine which octane is best for their vehicles. Using a lower octane fuel than the one mentioned by the vehicle manufacturer can damage the engine over time. The DOE even notes that using a fuel with an octane rating other than the one

recommended by the vehicle manufacturer may actually void the warranty. That gives drivers even greater incentive to consult their owner’s manuals before filling up for the first time. Drivers may wonder if using a higher octane fuel than the one recommended by their car’s manufacturer will improve performance. And in certain instances, it might. The DOE notes that higher octane fuel may improve performance and gas mileage and reduce carbon emissions when towing or carrying heavy loads. However, there’s typically no such benefit when driving in normal conditions.

Drivers encounter octane anytime they visit a filling station. Learning more about octane and what it does for vehicles can help drivers become more informed motorists.

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2019 • Benzie County Record Patriot

How Mulched Leaves Help Your Lawn


arious chores are synonymous with certain times of year. For example, cleaning a pool is a summertime task. In addition, rare is the instance that Mother Nature forces anyone to break out the snow shovels outside of winter. Raking

leaves has long been a task for fall afternoons, but homeowners may be surprised to learn that they might be better off putting their rakes in permanent mothballs. In the 1990s, turfgrass specialists



at Michigan State University began exploring the potential benefits of leaving mulched leaves on a lawn instead of raking them and leaving them for curbside pickup. While the researchers noticed an obvious leaf residue on the lawn after mulching, they noted that it only sticks around for a few days. Eventually, the tiny pieces sifted down into the lawn, ultimately serving to control future weed growth while also providing the lawn with essential nutrients. Over time, researchers noted that homeowners who mulched rather than raked their leaves needed less fertilizer to give their lawns a green look in spring, saving homeowners the effort and cost associated with fertilizing.

decomposing pieces of leaves cover up bare spots between turf plants, which have traditionally proven to be excellent spots for weed seeds to germinate. In fact, MSU notes that homeowners can expect a nearly 100 percent decrease in dandelions and crabgrass after mulching leaves for just three years. Depending on the type of mower being used, up to six inches of leaves can be mulched at a time. Push mowers can handle smaller amounts, though can still be as effective as ride-on mowers. Fall may be synonymous with raking leaves. However, homeowners who want to give their lawns a healthy boost should consider putting their rakes away and mulching their leaves this fall.

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Benzie County Record Patriot • 2019

Plan Your Fall Foliage Excursion


utumn means different things to many people. Students may embrace the dawn of a new school year, while others might embrace the crisp weather after a season of heat. One of the more widely enjoyed aspects of autumn is the chance to take in the brilliant foliage. Although New England may be renowned for its bright, orange, red and yellow panoramas, dazzling displays of foliage can be witnessed anywhere temperatures descend enough for deciduous trees to shed their leaves. The first step to a successful fall foliage excursion is

to find the right spot. The Catskill and Adirondack Mountains of New York, Amish Country in Pennsylvania, the Great Lakes from Michigan to Ohio, and many other areas can be great places to witness nature at its most colorful. To make the most of fall foliage road trips, drivers can keep the following suggestions in mind. • Get off the highway. To see great fall vistas, take a detour from major thoroughfares and visit small towns and mountain passes. Invest in some maps, as cellular networks may be inaccessible in remote locales. • Avoid tourist-heavy

areas. Drivers may prefer less crowded roadways to accompany the great scenery. Such drivers should visit areas that are not tourist warm and drown out the meccas. Any area that colors. plays home to forests and sprawling landscapes will do. • Bring along binoculars. • Go on foot. To get the best Wildlife is often mobile and abundant in the fall, as photos, head out at sunrise animals scurry to feed and or sunset. Soft, golden gather supplies before the light dappled by leaves will winter. As a result, autumn is bring out the golden tones a great time to spot wildlife in photos. Going on foot that’s normally hiding in will help you discover the thickets and woodland areas. nuances of the season and • Plan for stops along the slow down for a change. way. Don’t forget to bring • Don’t overlook overcast some spending money in the days. Traveling in the rain form of cash so that you can may not be fun, but overcast enjoy the small farm stands days might be ideal. On such and shops that often dot rural days, the sun won’t be too landscapes. Pick up farm-

fresh produce or choose a plump pumpkin. Yard sales also are abundant this time of year. Small shops may not take credit cards, so if you plan to buy, cash is king. Trees begin shedding their leaves as early as the beginning of September in Canada and the northern United States. As the days press on, the fall finery will gradually shift southward. For those who can afford to take a weekday off, do so, as weekends might be overcome with fellow nature enthusiasts.

Making your dream home a reality. Whether you are looking to put the finishing touches on an outdoor space, remodel the lower level bathroom, or construct a new home, Alan and Chemical Bank are proud to offer mortgage programs that may fit your unique situation. Contact Alan today and let him help you find the mortgage program for you. Subject to approval.

Alan K. Luedtke | NMLS #556304 Mortgage Loan Officer Alan.K.Luedtke@ChemicalBank.com | T: 231.499.7627 ChemicalBank.com/AlanKLuedtke


2019 • Benzie County Record Patriot

What Is A Smart Home?


efrigerators that inform their owners when it's time to buy more eggs and thermostats that learn homeowners' heating and cooling preferences may once have seemed like futuristic ideas straight out of a sci-fi movie. However, such products are no longer a dream but a reality. The term "smart home" refers to a residence that has appliances, HVAC, lighting, entertainment systems, security, and many more devices that communicate with one another. Such devices can be controlled remotely, according to SmartHomeUSA, an automation product retailer. Proponents of smart home technology say features can help people save money on utilities and conserve natural resources, all the while providing peace of mind to homeowners. In 2016, 80 million smart home devices were delivered worldwide. That marks a 64 percent increase from 2015, according to the research data firm IHS Markit. The smart home trend is only expected to grow in

coming years.

so people can arrive home to a well-lit house.

Although there's interest in smart home technology, the industry remains fragmented. Consumers are trying to figure out which devices are simply fun and which provide practical benefits. Furthermore, the range of smart devices is expanding rapidly, making potential compatability issues a concern. Companies that plan to educate consumers further about the advantages of smart home features and are open to standardization may have the best chances of survival.

· Home security: Wi-Fi enabled doorbells with video capabilities allow residents to see who is at the door without having to open it. Cameras can even be accessed remotely, simulating that someone is at home at all times. Never wonder if you've locked the door again with smart locks that can be engaged via a smartphone. Make sure that homes are secured or that pets are behaving while out with smart cameras.

Those interested in dabbling in some smart home technology and testing the waters may want to start with the following household items. · Smart bulbs: Manufacturers offer various types of smart light bulbs. Some are color-changing, others react to doorbells or alarms, and others can simulate typical lighting patterns when homeowners are away. Integrated apps enable remote access to scheduling

· Flood sensor: Get peace of mind against damaging floods with Wi-Fi flood sensors. · Appliances: A new breed of smart appliances can make it possible for users to turn on the washing machine while out of the house, close refrigerator doors from afar or even start their vacuum cleaners remotely. Smart technology is taking over and is likely to continue changing the way people live and work.

Plumbing & Heating Lane Plumbing & Heating Inc of Elberta, MI provides commercial and residential plumbing and heating services to the Benzie County area. We offer sales, service, and installation services for structures being remodeled and for new buildings. You can rely on our experienced and licensed plumbers to get the job done right.

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The Benefits To Buying A Car In Person T echnology has changed many things about the way people live their lives, including how they buy their cars. Whereas trips to the dealership were once inevitable for drivers in the market for new vehicles, the internet is now littered with websites enabling users to buy new cars with the click of a mouse. But buying cars online, and often sight unseen, can be a risky proposition, and there are many reasons why buying new cars in person can benefit buyers. More than meets the eye: One of the more widely promoted websites that

“sells” cars is TrueCar.com. Television ads for TrueCar® are ubiquitous, but viewers might not realize that TrueCar.com is essentially a network of auto dealerships in which member dealerships pay to obtain buyers’ contact information. That’s important information to know for buyers who want to buy a car online so they can cut out the “middleman” (i.e., dealerships).

before buying them. That’s not always possible when buying vehicles online. While buyers may be able to return cars purchased online after they have been delivered, that can be inconvenient, negating what many feel is the single biggest benefit to buying a car online. When buying cars they have already driven in person, buyers won’t be surprised when getting behind the wheel.

No surprises: Some online auto dealers promise delivery of the car. That can seem especially convenient, but it’s always in buyers’ best interest to test drive cars

Savings: Online dealerships may market themselves as more buyer-friendly than traditional dealerships, but Convenience: Online such claims should be taken auto dealerships often cite with a grain of salt. Many can convenience as one of the

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Benzie County Record Patriot • 2019

only afford to purchase new vehicles if they get a good deal on an existing trade-in. By visiting dealerships in person, buyers can negotiate a higher trade-in value than they might be able to get online. In addition, when shopping for new cars, many buyers return to the same dealership where they purchased previous automobiles. An existing relationship with a dealer might make buyers eligible for discounts they’re unlikely to earn when buying cars online.


biggest feathers in their caps. But it can be more convenient, and considerably less time-consuming, for buyers to simply walk into a dealership and ask to test drive various vehicles. Buyers who visit dealerships can test drive various vehicles in a single morning or afternoon, while those who stick to buying online may have to drive far and wide to drive more than one car in a single day. The tradition of buying cars in person can still pay dividends for buyers accustomed to buying things online.

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2019 • Benzie County Record Patriot

Did You Know? Outdoor remodels and landscaping projects can add valuable curb appeal to homes. The National Association of Realtors and the National Association of Landscape Professionals agree that certain projects offer significant returns when selling a home. The NAR says these are the 10 most appealing outdoor features to buyers. · Standard lawn care

· New wood deck

· Outdoor firepit

· New patio

· Sod lawn

· New pool

· Landscape upgrade

· Softscaping

· Outdoor fireplace




Protect Your Plants From Winter Weather


or the majority of gardening enthusiasts, gardening is a warm weather activity. While some people live in climates that make it possible to enjoy gardening yearround, those who don’t often lament the end of the gardening season. Winter might not be conducive to gardening, but the arrival of cold weather does not necessarily mean a gardener’s work is done until the following spring. Taking steps to protect plants from winter weather is an important part of maintaining a healthy garden that thrives from year to year. Timing is of the essence when winterizing a garden. The online gardening resource Get Busy Gardening!TM advises gardeners that the best time to winterize is after the first hard freeze in the fall. A hard freeze occurs when temperatures dip below freezing overnight. When that occurs, annual plants and vegetables are killed off and perennial plants, which grow back year after year, begin going dormant. Better Homes and Gardens notes that perennials are the easiest plants to prepare for winter, as they require just a little cutting back and mulching to be safe from cold weather. But no two perennials are alike, so homeowners should consult their local gardening center for advice on how to prepare their particular perennials for the coming months. The steps necessary to winterize annuals depends on which type of annuals, cool- or warm-climate, you have. Cool-climate annuals should be covered with polyspun garden fabric when light frost is in the forecast. In

addition, Better Homes and Gardens recommends pulling dead annuals and adding them to a compost pile after a killing frost. Any annuals that developed fungal disease should be discarded. Mulch annual beds with a three- to four-inch layer of chopped leaves or similar materials, spreading the mulch only two inches thick over self-sown seeds you want to germinate in the spring. Warm-climate annuals also should be covered with polyspun garden fabric when light frost is expected. Seeds of cold-hardy annuals can be planted for extended winter bloom, while gardeners also can collect seeds of warm-weather plants that will breed true to type. Even though you’re winterizing, Better Homes and Gardens recommends that gardeners continue to weed and water their plant beds and plants while also keeping an eye out for pests. If organic mulch has decomposed or thinned out, replace it with a new layer. Get Busy Gardening!TM notes that the bulbs of tender plants like dahlias and tuberous begonias can be dug up and overwintered in their dormant state. All dead foliage should be removed after the bulbs have been dug up, and the bulbs should be allowed to dry out a little before being stored. Container gardeners can overwinter their tender bulbs in their pots inside, but be sure to remove their foliage and store them in a dark, cool place that maintains temperatures above freezing. Winterizing may mark the end of gardening season, but it’s an important task that can ensure a healthy, beautiful garden next spring, summer and fall.

Benzie County Record Patriot • 2019



2019 • Benzie County Record Patriot

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Profile for Hearst Midwest

2019 Fall Home & Car  

2019 Fall Home & Car  

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