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November 6, 2012 Published by PTK Corp.

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of the River Region

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TIDBITS® GETS A LITTLE BIT

POLITICAL by Patricia L. Cook

This Tidbits shares some interesting election trivia. With another presidential election happening shortly in the United States, maybe it is time for some election news you may not have heard; funny, sad, and maybe a bit absurd! • The youngest man elected president was John Kennedy who was 43. Most Americans are aware of that news but did you know that Theodore Roosevelt was actually younger, 42, when he was elevated to president from vice president? He filled the position when William McKinley was assassinated. •The oldest president elected was Ronald Reagan who was 69. Reagan and Gerald Ford were the two presidents who lived the longest after serving, both living to age 93. • Young Grover Cleveland was only nineteen, not even old enough to vote, when he worked on James Buchanan’s successful Democratic run for the presidency in 1856. After Buchanan, there would not be another Democrat in the White House until Cleveland himself was elected 28 years later in 1884! Buchanan was the only president that never married. • Reagan was the only president who had been divorced. Five presidents remarried after their wives died, two of them, John Tyler and Woodrow Wilson, while they were in office. • Six U.S. presidents had no children. John Tyler had the most, fifteen! Tyler was called “His Accidency” by opponents, being the first vice president called to fill the office of president by the death of his predecessor, William Henry Harrison. Harrison died of pneumonia after only being in office 32 days, the shortest term of any U.S. president. • There have been short and tall presidents, with James Madison the shortest at only 5’4” (1.62 m). Abraham Lincoln was the tallest at 6’4” (1.93 m), with Lyndon Johnson only a _ inch (1.27 cm) under turn the page for more!

Vol 1 Issue 43 paul@riverregiontidbits.com


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Doing for Others Eases Loneliness The key to fighting loneliness during the holidays is doing things for others. And if you join together with like-minded seniors, your own potential for happiness increases. Here are a few ideas. If you start now to plan and make preparations, you’ll be ready by December. Caroling: Gather friends together, print out the lyrics of a half-dozen holiday songs and practice a few times. Make a list of locations to contact about spreading a little musical cheer. Hospitals, nursing homes, veterans hospitals, elementary schools and nursery schools are all potential sites for your holiday chorus to perform. Gift bags: If you plan to visit nursing homes or hospitals, your presence and willingness to chat for a few minutes is the biggest bonus, but a small gift bag will be most welcome. Ask in advance how many to prepare. If there are too many and your budget won’t stretch, limit your gift bags to one wing or section. Ask staff if you need to stick to diabetic candy. There are many kinds now, and most of them are tasty. (For example, Whitman’s makes the miniature boxes of sugar-free chocolates.) A few pieces of chocolate and peppermint in each bag, as well as other small items, will go a long way to brighten the day of someone in the hospital during the holidays. A small notepad with a bright pen, a small hand mirror, an inexpensive scarf, a small desk calendar, a tiny stuffed animal, puzzle books like crossword or Sudoku with a mechanical pencil (so the nurses don’t have to sharpen regular pencils) all are good ideas for bag stuffers. Group meals: Plan to join together for a simple meal after all of your holiday efforts. The menu doesn’t have to be fancy ... it’s the company that counts! Matilda Charles regrets that she cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into her column whenever possible. Write to her in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to columnreply@gmail.com.

Tidbits® of the River Region ELECTIONS (continued): him. James Madison was also the lightest president, weighing only about 100 pounds (45.36 kg). William Howard Taft was the heaviest at about 300 pounds (136 kg) and actually had a bathtub installed in the White House that would fit four normal sized men! • His size was not the most unusual thing or memorable trivia about William Howard Taft, it was his activity after he was president. He served as a Professor of Law at Yale until President Warren G. Harding selected him to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court eight years after his service as president, in 1923. In 1925, Calvin Coolidge was the first and only president to be sworn in by a former president. • Taft, said that his greatest honor was serving as Chief Justice. He wrote: “I don’t remember that I ever was President.” • When the government for the United States of America was first formed, there were no political parties. George Washington served as president with no political party affiliation. • The first political parties for the U.S. started in the late 1700s. On February 12, 1798, Thomas Jefferson wrote: “Two political sects have arisen within the U.S., the one believing that the executive is the branch of our government which the most needs support; the other that like the analogous branch in the English government, it is already too strong for the republican parts of the Constitution.” The former were called federalists, sometimes monocrats and sometimes aristocrats, sometimes tories like the corresponding group in the English government. The latter were called republicans, whigs, anarchists, jacobins, and sometimes disorganizers. • When the U.S. Constitution was written, there was no mention of political parties. Most of the framers of the document hoped that no political parties would form. They hoped the new country would be such that everyone would just “get along!” (agree!) • The current two party system, with Democrats and Republicans, has been part of the political system in the U.S. for years. The first party was originally formed from many of the advisers that George Washington consulted with. Oddly the first political party, started in 1792, was called the Democratic-Republican Party.

• Many changes have happened with the political parties through the years. Smaller parties have tried to gain power but have never been very successful. The Republicans and Democrats are still the main newsmakers. • Canada has also been a country dominated by two political parties, today the Liberal and Conservative parties. An interesting time in Canadian history was when there were seven distinct political parties in the legislature in 1854. • The Canadian parties at the time were four groups from Northern Canada: 1) the Tories, 2) moderate Conservatives, led by the first Prime Minister of Canada, John A. Macdonald, known as “Sir John A.,” 3) Baldwin Reformers, who were moderate Liberals, 4) and the Radical or advanced Liberal party, known as the “Clear Grits.” The other three parties were from Lower Canada. They were: 1) Parti Bleu, the majority of the French Canadians, considered a liberal party even though most French Canadians were conservative, 2) the Parti Rouge, which was a small party of French Canadian Liberals, some who were rather radical, and lastly, 3) an English-speaking minority in Lower Canada. • People all over the world get fed up with politics. At a parliamentary election in Naples, Italy in 2008, a 41-year-old man ate his ballot in protest to the country’s politicians! He was charged with destroying election materials. • In 2004, a woman in England was fined for trying to register her cows, Henry and Sophie Bull and her dog, Jake Woofies, as voters. Her barn was listed as a separate property and when forms asked who the residents of the property were, she listed the animals! • For a last Tidbit on elections, imagine the confusion if our North American countries had the diversity of over 1,000 political parties! According to the Election Commission of India, that is the estimate of parties that exist in India. The commission has a list of symbols that political parties can use to represent their groups, including a kite, diesel pump, kettle, pressure cooker and many others. As you vote, be glad that we do have elections and that our ballots don’t contain pressure cooker and kite parties!


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diseases, fatigue and weakness in the body. Dried fruits are also packed with antioxidants which prevent the onset of free radicals, and are high content of calcium, which promotes healthy bones and teeth as well as better eyesight. The consumption of dried fruits, in measured amounts, also helps with weight loss. The fiber in the dried fruit makes you feel full for a longer period of time, making it the perfect snack. Dried fruits also are one of the best options to choose before exercise in place of carbs, because they provide for steady bursts of energy and help to sustain a heavy workout. The next time you’re in need of a healthy snack, try this healthy, fiber-filled recipe for Fruit and Oat Cookies! FRUIT AND OAT COOKIES While the bounty of summer fruits has ended, dried fruits offer a healthy alternative and are a good choice when fresh fruits aren’t available. Dried fruits are devoid of the water content that is so characteristic of fruits. Fruits are dried by drawing out the water content, either by sun-drying or using specialized machines. Once in their dried phase, the fruits can be stored for a longer period of time and continue to provide basic nutrients. Some of the most common dried fruits are apricots, raisins, plums, dates, prunes, cranberries, blueberries and figs. Dried fruits retain all the nutrients that are present in whole fruits. They’re full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and sugar. The infusion of these nutrients helps in promoting overall health and keeping us free of diseases, as well as devoid of fatigue. Dried fruits also are high in fiber, which lends to several benefits. Fiber helps to draw water into the system, bringing about effective digestion. Along with improving digestion, fiber also helps in cleansing the system by drawing out the layers of waste and impurities, which automatically prevents the onset of constipation and other diseases associated with bladder problems. This promotes great skin health, because the flushing of toxins leads to healthy and clear skin that is free of all skin conditions. Dried fruits are infused with iron, which is an important nutrient for the promotion of health. Iron allows for the production of hemoglobin. This nutrient will promote the production of white blood cells which are important for fighting of diseases and preventing conditions like anemia, other blood

Good vs. Bad Debt Not all debt is bad. In spite of our being encouraged to clear all debt so that we don’t owe anything to anyone, there are some types of debt that are good and can add positively to our quality of life. The two key steps are to invest only in good debt, and to keep good debt from turning into bad debt. Mortgages are considered good debt, and it’s the biggest debt most families take on. It’s not likely that

1/3 cup coconut oil or vegetable oil 3 large bananas 1/4 cup agave syrup or honey 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 cups rolled oats 1/2 cup oat bran 1 1/2 cups mixed dried fruits, chopped 3/4 cup chopped pecans 1. Preheat oven to 350 F. 2. In a large bowl, mash bananas until smooth. Mix oil into the mashed bananas. Add the syrup or honey, vanilla and salt. 3. Stir in rolled oats, oat bran, dried fruits and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Flatten slightly. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating cookie sheets for even browning. Cool on wire rack. Store in tightly closed container in refrigerator. Angela Shelf Medearis is an award-winning children’s author, culinary historian and author of seven cookbooks. Her new cookbook is “The Kitchen Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook.” Her website is www.divapro.com. To see how-to videos, recipes and much, much more, Like Angela Shelf Medearis, The Kitchen Diva! on Facebook and go to Hulu.com. Recipes may not be reprinted without permission from Angela Shelf Medearis. (c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc., and Angela Shelf Medearis

anyone can save enough to buy a house for cash. Mortgages allow families to buy their own home to live in and enjoy and to (theoretically) build up equity. Turn a good debt into a better debt -- pay it off more quickly by making extra payments. Even $100 a month extra can shave years off the end of your mortgage. Where mortgage debt becomes bad is if you take on more than you can handle. Late payments lead, at the very least, to increased fees and penalties. Taken to the extreme, late payments can result in bankruptcy and ruined credit. Other examples of good debt (that which will appreciate or gain value down the road) are education loans for college (greater earning power), business loans (greater business-building power) and home-equity loans for needed improvements (increase the value of the home). Bad debt is debt you incur for anything that won’t gain in value or that has only a momentary value, is disposable or is incurred for things you don’t really need. Vehicles are considered bad debt because vehicles never gain in value. You lose value the minute you

drive off the dealer’s lot. However, vehicles are necessities. Make the largest down payment you can to keep your payments small, and then pay extra on the loan to pay it off quickly. Nearly anything you put on a credit card makes it a bad debt. Don’t charge things of low value unless you’re going to pay off the balance at the end of the month. Meals out, groceries, oil changes, vacations and clothing are bad bets to charge because they’ll never gain in value and are disposable. The rule of thumb is: If it doesn’t gain in value, try to pay cash. David Uffington regrets that he cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Write to him in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send email to columnreply@gmail.com. (c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.


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Tidbits® of the River Region

by Samantha Weaver * It’s not known who made the following sage observation: “The sharper your words are, the more they’ll hurt if you have to swallow them.” * Those who study such things say that Southerners watch more TV than residents of any other region of the country. * Any given major ballet company will go through about 3,000 pairs of toe shoes every year. Under normal use, one pair will last for about one hour of performing. * If you average out the depth of the world’s seas and the elevation of the land, you’ll find that the ocean is four times as deep as the land is high. * Pierre-Auguste Renoir, one of the leading artists of the Impressionist movement, died in 1919, at the age of 78. His last words were, “What a pity I have to go now just when I was beginning to show promise!” * Researchers studying the workings of memory briefly showed human volunteers sequences of five numbers on a computer screen. When asked to repeat the numbers, the test subjects could accurately do so half the time. The same researchers conducted the same test with a chimpanzee named Ayumu, who was able to recall the number sequences 80 percent of the time. * A male sea otter shows affection by biting his mate’s nose. * If you’re a young baseball player hoping to make it in the big leagues, you might want to keep this fact in mind: Only 8 percent of those who sign major-league contracts actually play in even a single big-league game. The other 92 percent spend their careers languishing in the minor leagues for a pittance. *** Thought for the Day: “What is defeat? Nothing but education, nothing but the first step to something better.” -- Wendell Phillips (c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.


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Keeping Pets Safe in Cold Weather

by Samantha Mazzotta DEAR PAW’S CORNER: I’ve been thinking of getting my Border Collie, “Jake,” a set of those booties that fit over a dog’s paws to protect them from cold ground and sharp objects. Do these really work? -- Sarah in Chicago DEAR SARAH: Booties can be very good paw protectors for dogs that are outdoors in the winter. The biggest considerations, besides price, are getting the right type for the kind of terrain and the level of activity your dog will have. For everyday walking on a sidewalk, there are many brands of booties to choose from, most for less than $30 per set. Booties with extra traction or customized fit cost a little bit more. You also can find “fashion” booties if you want your pet to look swanky walking down

the street, although many of those look like they would be uncomfortable for your dog. Be sure to buy booties of a size closest to the size of your dog. Try them on your dog’s paws right away, in case they don’t fit and need to be returned. Protecting your dog’s paws is just the beginning of cold-weather safety, of course. A dog coat that wraps comfortably around his torso will help Jake retain body heat much longer. Stay alert when out with your dog, and make sure he is not shivering from cold or limping from an injury to his paw. In either case, get him home right away, warm him up and check his paws for cuts, debris or other injury. Send your questions or comments to ask@ pawscorner.com. If your question or comment is printed in the weekly column, you’ll receive a free copy of “Fighting Fleas,” the newest booklet from Paws Corner! (c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.

This week’s winner receives $65 Gift

Certificate from Wadsworth Christmas Tree Farm Register to win at www.riverregiontidbits.com and click on “Tommy Tidbits”. Fill out the registration information and tell us how many times Tommy appears in ads in the paper for this week. From the correct entries, a winner will be selected. You must be 18 years of age to qualify. The gift certificates will range in value from $25 to $50 each week. Entries must be received at the website by midnight each Saturday evening or at PTK Corp, PO Box 264, Wetumpka, AL 36092.

Last Week’s Ads where 1. 2. 3. 4.

Tommy was hiding:

Parker Tire, p.1 3 B’s Construction, p. 3 Alabama Paint & Body, p. 3 Firehouse Lawns, p. 8


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Tidbits® of the River Region

Johnson in Control

Surprising no one, Jimmie Johnson left his little gold mine, Martinsville Speedway, with another treasure chest. First place in the Tums Fast Relief 500 was worth $202,511, but another Sprint Cup championship, his sixth, would be priceless. Three races remain. Johnson’s got the points lead. It isn’t much, but for the first time in a while, Brad Keselowski, who finished sixth, is chasing him. No. 2 (Keselowski) trails by two. “Just because you don’t qualify well, it doesn’t mean you don’t have a fast race car,” said Johnson, who could afford to be charitable. “Anything could happen. We’ve done a nice job to put us in the points lead. ... We’re ready to race him under any conditions.” Johnson sounded more upbeat about Keselowski’s chances than ... Keselowski.“We can’t keep on just surviving,” he said. “Surviving isn’t going to win the championship.” With races in Fort Worth, Texas; Phoenix; and Homestead, Fla., remaining in the season, it may not be a two-man race, but that’s the way it looks. Clint Bowyer finished fifth and is third in the standings, but his deficit, 24 points, is considerable at this point. “That ‘2’ team (Keselowski) is unbelievable,” Bowyer groused. “They keep doing what they do.” The day’s disaster befell Denny Hamlin, a four-time Martinsville winner, who finished 33rd after his Toyota suffered catastrophic electrical failure. The ever-cautious points leader betrayed no comfort in Hamlin’s misfortune. “What it does to my mind is ... I’m not smiling,” Johnson said. “What was it? Electrical failure? It could happen to me next week. I’m not eliminating anybody.” Hamlin trails by 49 points. Johnson wasn’t eliminating Hamlin, but Hamlin wrote his own chances off. “One of these days it’s going to be our time,” he said. “It’s just not going to be right now.” Keselowski actually held the lead with less than 20 laps to go, but it wasn’t because his Dodge was fastest. It was because he didn’t pit when Johnson and others did. Keselowski clung to the lead for five laps. Johnson finally passed him between turns three and four on lap 486. Then the flood gates opened, and Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon followed Johnson past Keselowski. With nine laps remaining, Earnhardt and Carl Edwards tangled in turns one and two. The chain reaction began with Edwards’ Ford being hit from behind by Sam Hornish Jr.’s Dodge. That contact sent Edwards’ car into Earnhardt’s. Johnson took the lead at the outset, too -- hardly surprising since he qualified fastest -- and remained there for the first 66 laps before yielding to teammate Gordon. No one significant crashed in the first 100 laps, though yellow flags waved after failed rightfront tires sent the cars of Michael McDowell (lap 45) and David Stremme (97) careening into relatively minor contacts with the track’s cushioned walls. Travis Kvapil’s Toyota marked the third such incident on lap 126, though his was unrelated to tire trouble. Keselowski slowly worked his way up from 32nd starting position. Following the third caution flag, Keselowski restarted in 15th position at lap 135. Meanwhile, Brian Vickers wrested the lead from Gordon on lap 146. A Kyle Busch spin in turn three brought out the fourth caution on lap 149. Hamlin, who had lost track position due to an early pit-road penalty, worked his way up to second. A turn-two shunt involving Marcos Ambrose and Kvapil slowed the pace again at lap 212. Clint Bowyer ousted Gordon from the lead on lap 226. Hendrick Chevys thus became aligned in second through fifth with Gordon, Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne. Kevin Harvick’s Chevy dropkicked Kurt Busch’s into the turn-four wall on lap 233. Johnson and Bowyer conducted a side-by-side duel for the lead that lasted for more than three laps, Bowyer finally clearing him on lap 238. Bowyer then dominated the race up until a costly pitroad mistake -- he stalled the Toyota while attempting to pull away -- on lap 349. Kevin Harvick’s engine expired on lap 475, setting up the finish. Kyle Busch finished second, Kasey Kahne third and, in a surprise, Aric Almirola fourth in the Ford carrying the name of Richard Petty, Martinsville’s all-time leader, with 15 victories. *** Monte Dutton covers motorsports for The Gaston (N.C.) Gazette. E-mail Monte at nascarthisweek@ yahoo.com. (c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Muffins Try these autumn-centric muffins for breakfast or dessert -- or both -- since either way you won’t be able to have just one! 1 box (14- to 15 1/5-ounce) apple-cinnamon muffin mix 1 cup canned pure pumpkin 2 large eggs 1/4 cup milk 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Line 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. 2. In large bowl, stir together apple cinnamon muffin mix, pumpkin, eggs, milk and vegetable oil until almost smooth. Divide batter among muffin cups. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean; cool on wire rack. Makes 12 muffins. For thousands of triple-tested recipes, visit our website at www.goodhousekeeping.com/recipefinder/. (c) 2012 Hearst Communications, Inc. All rights reserved


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To Your Good Health By Paul G. Donohue, M.D.

Shocking the Heart Back to Normal DEAR DR. DONOHUE: My husband has had many medical problems. Earlier this year, he developed atrial fibrillation. A cardioversion was performed and worked for about five minutes. Then his doctor prescribed amiodarone. Since being on amiodarone, he has felt much worse. Could the medicine be the problem? He only sits around, and doesn’t even feel like going out for lunch. Another cardioversion is possible in a couple of weeks. Is there any danger to this procedure? -- M.C. ANSWER: Does his doctor know how he feels? He can prescribe many other options for your husband. Atrial fibrillation is an erratic and fast heartbeat. Cardioversion, an electric shock delivered to the fibrillating heart, has a fairly high success rate of restoring a normal beat. Success depends on how long the fibrillation has been present and how large the person’s heart is. The sooner from the onset of fibrillation, the better are the results for cardioversion. The results for longstanding atrial fibrillation are not as good. Fibrillation can recur after cardioversion. It can recur after taking medicines, too. Danger exists for every single medical procedure. The complications from cardioversion are few and rare. The booklet on heartbeat irregularities explains the common kinds of rhythm disturbances. Readers can order a copy by writing: Dr. Donohue -- No. 107W, Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 U.S./$6 Canada with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery. *** DEAR DR. DONOHUE: My 12-year-old son has large breasts, like a woman’s. In other respects he looks like a 16-year-old. He’s tall and wears a size 11 shoe. What has caused his breasts to be like they are? -- M.C. ANSWER: Your son is going through puberty. Two-thirds of boys experience breast enlargement during puberty. It’s normal. The enlargement for some boys might not be as great as your son’s, however. It comes from a temporary imbalance of male and female hormones. It’s not a lasting thing, for most. Some see a regression in a matter of months, while others might have to wait for two years. The condition is gynecomastia (GUY-nuhcoe-MASS-tee-uh). If this causes your son great embarrassment and makes life miserable for him, speak to the family doctor. Removing the breast tissue ends the problem. Surgery isn’t extensive and doesn’t require a long healing period. *** DEAR DR. DONOHUE: My future husband wants me to go on birth-control pills. Do the pills make a woman less able to have a family when they’re stopped? We want to have children, but not right away. How long can a woman take the pill? -- J.W. ANSWER: In the past 10 years, the birth-control pill has been modified. It contains less estrogen and progestin. There are fewer side effects than there used to be. The pill, in all its variations, does not affect a woman’s fertility when she stops taking it. A nonsmoking woman can take birth-control pills right up to menopause if she wishes. Generally, a smoker is advised to stop the pill after age 35. *** Dr. Donohue regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but he will incorporate them in his column whenever possible. Readers may write him or request an order form of available health newsletters at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. (c) 2012 North America Synd., Inc. All Rights Reserved


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Tidbits® of the River Region

THE BERLIN WALL

Life is.....

by Keyesta Sherman, State Farm® Agent Life is….spending time with family and friends. Watching a ball game. Lying in a hammock on a Saturday afternoon. Life can be all of these things and more. Life is happy and sad and all things in between. It’s about living. But life is also about protecting your family from the unexpected. Life is making sure your family can continue without financial hardship if you are no longer around to help them. One way to do that is to have adequate life insurance coverage on you and your spouse. Life is….being protected with life insurance. Whether you are the main breadwinner or not, the American Life Insurance Council states you should have five to seven years worth of your salary in coverage. Others increase it to 10 years. According to LIMRA, 68 million adult Americans have no life insurance. With so many Americans leaving their loved ones financially vulnerable, the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) designated September as Life Insurance Awareness Month (LIAM), a time for the public to take stock of their life insurance needs. The best way to determine your needs is to begin with calculating what long-term expenses you have that your loved ones would be responsible for if you were not around. Those expenses could include a mortgage, college tuition and everyday items such as food and clothing. The type of policy you choose is an important decision. Term coverage can be very affordable initially, but premiums may increase over the life of the policy. Permanent policies usually have higher premiums but tend to stay level. How long you need the policy is also important to consider. A qualified life insurance professional can assist you in your calculations and show you policies that may fit your needs. Life is ever changing. Protecting your family from financial struggles after you are gone is what life insurance is all about.

* Store asparagus in the fridge only for a few days before serving. Trim the cut end and use wet paper towels to wrap it. Keep it in the crisper drawer.

* Got soap scum? Mix dishwashing detergent with baking soda and use it to scrub bathroom walls. It’s very effective, and surprisingly gentle, as baking soda is a mild abrasive that works well without scratching. * “Unless the label states otherwise, the best rinse temperature for clothing is cold water. It will help the clothing retain its shape and color better, and --bonus -- it’s the least-expensive setting.” -- I.F. in Texas * When whipping egg whites, make sure you bring the eggs to room temperature beforehand. They will yield greater volume.

* Getting out your old deck of cards to play? If they feel gummy, put them in a plastic baggie, add a little bit of talc, baby powder or cornstarch, seal the bag and shake. Knock the excess off before removing from the bag. Shuffle as usual. * “Wanna spot clean your floor? Spray an old pair of socks with floor cleaner, put them on and do the cha-cha-cha.” -- V.B. in Iowa Send your tips to Now Here’s a Tip, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475 or email JoAnn at heresatip@yahoo.com. (c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.

The Berlin Wall started as a barbed wire fence, constructed overnight as Berliners slept. Imagine the shock of finding you couldn’t cross from one side of the city to the other. •The city of Berlin and country of Germany was divided at the conclusion of World War II. The Soviet Union and communism controlled the East, with the allied powers of Great Britain, France and the United States controlling the West in a democracy. So it was a West vs. East; democracy vs. communism divide. • By 1949, the division of Germany and the city of Berlin was official. West Germany was called the Federal Republic of Germany and East Germany was the German Democratic Republic. Since Berlin was entirely within the East, and it was agreed that the city would be divided, West Berlin was like an island of democracy within East Germany, surrounded by a wall. • When the Germans in the Soviet-controlled East became disillusioned with the economic and political oppression of communism, many defected to the West. Approximately 1,500 people per day were fleeing to the West seeking democracy by 1961. • Rumors arose that the German Democratic Republic was going to do something drastic to stop the movement of people to the West. That became a reality during the night of August 12-13, 1961, when soldiers and construction crews were brought in after midnight. While the people of East and West Berlin slept, crews tore up the streets, put up concrete posts and strung barbed wire separating the east and west. They even cut the telephone lines. • Upon awakening on the morning of August 13th, Berliners were shocked to see the border. They could no longer visit friends and relatives on the other side. More than 60,000 commuters who went to better-paying jobs in West Berlin could not cross the line to work. If a person went to sleep on August 12th away from their loved ones on the other side of the city, they were stuck there, unable to return for decades. • The fence constructed in 1961 was easy for people to cross so in 1962 a second fence parallel to the first was erected. The area between the fences was cleared to create an empty space where guards could see escape attempts. • By 1965 a concrete wall was added. It stood until a more sophisticated wall was built in 1975. This wall was also accompanied by over 300 watchtowers and thirty bunkers to keep people from crossing the border. • President Ronald Reagan spoke to the people of West Berlin on June 12, 1987. His words were some of the most memorable of his presidency: “General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” • The Wall, in its final reinforced state, stood until November 9, 1989. Thousands of Germans demanded passage through the gates after the government announced that “private trips abroad” would be allowed. They, literally, tore the wall down. • Reunification of Germany was formally concluded on October 3, 1990. The infamous wall stood from August 13, 1961 until November 9, 1989.


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Fireplace Basics By Samantha Mazzotta

Q: This winter will be the first time we will use our new fireplace. Can you give us some advice on safely lighting a fire? -- Charlie L., Oviedo, Fla. A: Sure can! Your request comes at the perfect time, as we move into November and cold weather sets in for most of the country. Here are step-by-step instructions for lighting a fire safely and successfully. If you own a gas-lit fireplace, skip Steps 3 and 5. 1. Open the damper and visually inspect the firebox and flue to ensure that they are clear. 2. Stack firewood in the center of the fireplace, being careful not to place the logs too close together. The wood stack should take up no more than one-third of the space in the fireplace. 3. Place loosely rolled newspaper in the gaps created by the wood stack, on all three sides. (Use newspaper only -- avoid magazines or color inserts.) 4. Preheat the flue. Carefully light a rolled piece of newspaper and hold the paper about 2 inches inside the flue. Move the paper in slow circles for 10 to 30 seconds. This will encourage warm air to flow up and out

the chimney. 5. Light the newspaper between the logs, on all three sides. A good-size flame should leap up shortly, but will die down as the last of the paper burns. Look for smaller flames flickering along the bottom of the logs; this shows that the wood has caught, and that a nice, smallto medium-size fire will build in a few minutes. 6. Add wood to the fire one piece at a time. To maintain the fire’s size, add one new log for each log that burns away. To increase its size, add one log every five minutes or so to a steady fire, and note the amount of flames and heat after each addition. The most complicated part of fire-building, for new users, is finding the right amount of kindling to get a steady fire going. Dry twigs and wood chips can be added to newspaper; leaves don’t burn as well and are better left on the mulch pile. Use a combination of woods for the best results: oak burns slowly and cleanly, while pine ignites more easily and burns hotter, but is consumed quickly. Enjoy your new fireplace, with a dose of common sense: Don’t burn trash in it, keep the gate closed and have the fireplace and chimney cleaned once a year. HOME TIP: Leave about 1 inch of fine ash in the bottom of the fireplace. The ash insulates the firebox and helps the fireplace heat more efficiently. Send questions or home repair tips to ask@thisisahammer.com, or write This Is a Hammer, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 328536475. (c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.

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Tidbits® of the River Region

1. Name the last Twins manager before Tom Kelly and Ron Gardenhire, and what year was his last managing the team. 2. In 2012, the Tampa Bay Rays ended their record run of consecutive games started by pitchers under the age of 30. How many games was it? 3. Who is the only person in NCAA Division I history to win three national titles as a player and three as a football coach? 4. Name the last NBA player to average at least 23 points and 14 rebounds per game for a season? 5. Who did the University of Maine beat to win its first NCAA men’s hockey championship in 1993? 6. How many sets did Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings lose during their 21 matches over three Olympics? 7. In 2012, Tiger Woods (74 victories) moved past Jack Nicklaus into second place on the PGA Tour career victory list. Who is first?

1. Which book of the Bible (KJV) mentions the word “thanksgiving” the most times, at eight? Genesis, Nehemiah, Psalms, Isaiah 2. From Leviticus 22:29, a sacrifice of thanksgiving is most meaningful when it is “what”? Sincere, Often, Voluntary, Extravagant 3. In which book’s 5:18 does it state, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God”? 1 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 1 Peter, 1 John 4. What items of food and drink did Jesus give thanks for at the Last Supper? Figs/water, Bread/wine, Fishes/nectar, Honey/milk 5. Where was Jonah when he prayed with the voice of thanksgiving? Fish’s belly, Aboard ship, In the wilderness, Mountaintop 6. Whose thanksgiving is expressed in Philippians 4:10-20? Paul, John the Baptist, James, David

The Facts About Hypnosis Hypnotherapy is one the most misunderstood forms of therapy. It has origins in both psychology and medicine. In 1955, the British Medical Association approved the use of hypnotherapy as a valid medical treatment. The American Medical Association followed suit and approved clinical hypnosis for pain management in 1958. The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis has grown from a few members in 1957 to several thousand physicians, psychologists and dentists today. Hypnotherapy is effective in treating stress, sleep disorders, anxiety, fears, phobias, and depression. It is more commonly used for stop smoking, weight loss and substance abuse For local assistance and a free consultation review www.hypnosisworksnow.com and call

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Discover a Surprise Inside Spaghetti Squash When you look over the colorful choices of squash in various goofy shapes and sizes at your market this week, tell your kids to snoop carefully to find an extra-fun variety you may have forgotten about or never tried -- spaghetti squash! The oblong, light-yellow squash, which is approximately 8-10 inches in length, is packed with healthy nutrients, is low in calories, high in fiber and, best of all, has a super kid appeal because there’s a surprise inside. To the delight of your entire family, you’ll discover that once baked, the flesh of the squash comes out in long strands that look like noodles. Its buttery, mild and slightly sweet flavor is ideally suited to be topped with tomato sauce and grated Parmesan mimicking a bowl of traditional spaghetti. On another occasion, serve it as a tasty side dish tossed with pesto, a garlic-flavored herb butter or mixed vegetables and feta cheese. And when you prepare a roast, set the sliced meat and juices over the “noodles” for a robust weekend meal. Here are four easy steps for preparing spaghetti squash, with a few tips tossed in to make easier work when handling it. 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash the outside of a 2 1/2 to 3 pound spaghetti squash and pat dry. Cut in half lengthwise. Like most varieties of winter squash, it can be difficult to cut through the hard shell. I pierce the squash in several places with the tip of a knife and put it in the microwave for 2-3 minutes or more depending on its size to soften it a bit. Let it rest for a few minutes and slice in half with a sharp knife. 2. Scoop out the seeds. A melon baller and small ice-cream scoop are easy-to-handle kitchen tools for school-age kids to use if they are assisting you with this step. 3. Place the squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper. Bake for an hour or until easily pierced with a fork. Cool for 15 minutes. 4. Scoop out insides with a fork to remove the noodle-like strands. Place in a serving bowl or on a small platter. Top with preferred toppings or combine with butter, seasonings or cooked vegetables. Serves 3-4. *** Donna Erickson’s award-winning series “Donna’s Day” is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit www.donnasday.com and link to the NEW Donna’s Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is “Donna Erickson’s Fabulous Funstuff for Families.” (c) 2012 Donna Erickson Distributed by King Features Synd.

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BIBLE TRIVIA ANSWERS:

1) Psalms; 2) Voluntary; 3) 1 Thessalonians; 4) Bread/wine; 5) Fish’s belly; 6) Paul

1. Ray Miller, who was fired after 139 games of the 1986 season. 2. It was 764 consecutive games. 3. Bud Wilkinson (1934-36 with Minnesota; 1950, 1955-56 with Oklahoma). 4. Houston’s Hakeem Olajuwon, 1989-90. 5. Lake Superior State. 6. Only one set on the way to three gold medals. 7. Sam Snead, with 82.


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Tidbits速 of the River Region


Tidbits of the River Region