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of the River Region

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TIDBITS® TAKES A RIDE ON THE

INTERSTATE by Janet Spencer

The Interstate Highway system is the longest engineered structure ever built. There are some 43,000 miles of interstate highways in the U.S. built as a result of the largest public works project ever undertaken by humankind. Join Tidbits as we take a ride down the highway! • In 1903 it took a doctor from Vermont and his mechanic 63 days to drive from San Francisco to New York in their two-cylinder Winston. (At the time, the same trip by railroad took about four days.) Six years later it took 21-year-old Alice Huyler Ramsey and her three girlfriends 41 days to do the same trip in their Maxwell, as a publicity stunt. Around the turn of the century, roads were nothing more than dirt tracks. When it rained or snowed, they became mud tracks. There was no organized system of roads connecting places. America needed better roads. • In 1919 young Lieutenant Colonel Dwight Eisenhower joined the military’s very first transcontinental trip. A three-mile long caravan of vehicles carrying 260 enlisted men, 35 officers, and a 15-piece band set off from the White House in Washington, D.C. for San Francisco, 3,251 miles away. It took them 62 grueling days to cross the country. They averaged five miles per hour on roads that ranged from fair to horrible. • During World War II, Eisenhower toured Germany after V-E day, driving on the marvelously efficient Autobahn highway system that the German war machine built. He noted that although the railroads could be taken out with a single well-placed bomb, the Autobahns were far more difficult to destroy, even if they were pocked with bomb craters. Good highways, he concluded, were essential for national defense. It was a lesson he never forgot. • On June 29, 1956, President Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act. The interstate system was born. To help fund the project, the bill increased turn the page for more!

Vol 1 Issue 46 paul@riverregiontidbits.com


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Medicare Gives Break to Hurricane Victims Seniors who were in the path of Hurricane Sandy don’t have to worry about signing up for Medicare’s open enrollment by Dec. 7. If you’re still dealing with the aftermath of the storm and can’t sign up for your medical or drug plan, you’ve been given a break. That’s not to say you should wait a long time to enroll. Do it as soon as you can. The deadline extension also applies to those seniors who rely on family members to help make decisions about the plan. If that family member also lives in a disaster area, your deadline has been extended. And no, you don’t need to do anything to prove you’re in a damaged area. Your enrollment will start the first of the month after you enroll. For example, if you enroll by Jan. 6, your coverage will start Feb. 1. The areas involved are those that FEMA has declared are disaster areas: Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. Additionally, parts of Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia are included. To enroll after the Dec. 7 deadline, call Medicare’s 24-hour information line, 1-800-Medicare (1-800633-4227). If you call, representatives will be able to walk you through the plans so you can make a smart decision. You can go online to review the plan information at www.medicare.gov and click on Find Health & Drug Plans. Then put in your ZIP code and begin selecting the answers to the questions. Be ready to fill out the information about any drugs you currently take. If you’re already enrolled in a plan, you’ll be automatically re-enrolled in the same plan. 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. (c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.

Tidbits® of the River Region INTERSTATE HIGHWAYS (continued): the federal tax on gas by a penny per gallon. The project was to build 41,000 miles of divided limited-access highways including 16,000 interchanges and 55,000 bridges and overpasses. The average distance between exits was three miles. • Deciding on a color for interstate signs was not an easy matter. Bertram Tallamy, the federal highway administrator, insisted on blue signs with white lettering, but a committee with the American Association of State Highway Officials wanted green signs with white letters. To settle the issue, the Bureau of Public Roads built a special three-mile test road in Maryland and hired hundreds of drivers to travel it at 65 m.p.h. On the way they passed three test signs in blue, green, and black. At the end of the road they were to vote on their favorite color. Green got 58 percent of the vote; blue 27 percent; and black got just 15 percent of the votes. Tallamy reluctantly conceded, and all highway signs are now green. Only later was it revealed that he suffered from color blindness. To him, the green signs appeared to be pale yellow. • Interstate highways running north and south are assigned odd numbers starting on the west coast and moving east, with Interstate 5 following the Pacific coast and Interstate 95 following the Atlantic coast. Routes going across the country east and west have even numbers starting with Interstate 10 in the south and moving up to I-94 in the north. Primary interstate highways use either a one-digit or a two-digit number. Auxiliary interstate highways that link up with the primary highways all have three digits, composed of the number of the interstate ‘parent’ highway, plus a multiple of the number 100. Generally, three-digit interstates that both start and end at a primary interstate, such as a beltway, will all begin with an even number, such as I-418. Auxiliary interstates which dangle without ending at another interstate will usually begin with an odd number. Three-digit highway numbers are unique within a state, but can be duplicated across the country. For instance, there are seven different highways called I-295 ranging from Maine to Florida. • Kansas was the first state to begin constructing their interstate highway. Eight days after Eisenhower was re-elected in 1956,

the nation’s first stretch of Interstate opened near Topeka, only 70 miles from Eisenhower’s hometown of Abilene. That prompted work in states all over the nation, and construction proceeded at the average rate of 1,000 miles per year. Suddenly a big conveyor belt was moving: the more highways there were, the more cars traveled; the more cars traveled, the more gas they used and the more gas tax they paid; the more taxes paid, the more money for new highways; the more highways built, the more cars traveled. • The arrival of interstate highways often had detrimental effects on surrounding communities which continue today. Highways made it easier for people who work in the cities to live in the suburbs, so those who could afford to move did so, leaving behind only those who couldn’t afford to move, generally minorities. The businesses followed, finding better locations where they catered to wealthy suburbanites instead of poor city dwellers. The result was the constant and continuing erosion of the tax base in cities. Slums spread. Another effect was that interstate interchanges attracted businesses that catered to highway travelers: gas stations, motels, restaurants, malls. As more and more businesses relocated to the highways, fewer and fewer people shopped in downtown districts, which often became derelict. In most cities around the world, real estate close to the city center is the most valuable property. In the U.S., the opposite is often true. • The highway system was supposed to be done in a mere thirteen years. Instead, it took forty years. $25 billion in federal funds were designated to pay for the project; it ended up costing $560 billion. • To construct the interstate highway system, enough concrete was poured to make a sidewalk extending from Earth to a point five times the distance to the moon. Enough earth was moved to cover the state of Connecticut knee deep in dirt. • The Century Freeway in L.A. was opened in 1993, completing one of the final sections of interstate. By that time, over 90 percent of American households owned at least one vehicle. • Although it composes only 1.2 percent of the nation’s roadways, the interstate system carries nearly 23 percent of the traffic.


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salad and another pureed into a vinaigrette as a salad dressing for the fruit and salad greens. It’s a beautiful dish and packed with flavor! PERSIMMON SALAD WITH TOASTED WALNUTS

Pucker Up for Persimmons If you’ve never had a persimmon, now is the time to try it as a snack, side dish or flavorful dessert. Ripe persimmons are a small, orange-red, smooth-skinned fruit measuring from 1 to 3 inches. There are two main varieties of persimmon commercially available in the U.S. Hachiya persimmons are tart and chalky until they are extremely ripe. Hachiyas are used for making dishes like persimmon cookies or persimmon pudding cake, and are eaten only when sweet and liquidy ripe. Fuyu persimmons are shaped like tomatoes and are sliced and eaten like apples. Fuyus are sweeter than Hachiyas, and can be eaten while still firm. American persimmon trees produce a more astringent fruit with a bitter taste. As the fruit ripens, the tannins that cause the astringency coagulate, the flesh becomes soft and the fruit becomes sweet and juicy. Persimmons begin appearing in markets in late September and are available through December. Look for persimmons with taut, glossy skin; avoid fruit with soft spots or bruises. If persimmons are still firm, store them at room temperature and allow them to ripen. To speed up the ripening process, you can put the fruit in a paper bag with a banana or apple. Store soft, ripe persimmons in the refrigerator until ready to eat. Persimmons are high in vitamin A and are a good source of vitamin C and fiber. Persimmon pudding and persimmon cookies are tasty treats. Persimmons also can be pureed and used as a topping for ice cream or cake, or as an addition to rice dishes and fruit salads. This recipe for Persimmon Salad with Toasted Walnuts uses a sliced persimmon in the

Stay Alert for Holiday Scams and Thefts The last thing you want at this time of the year is to fall victim to a scam, one that either takes your hard-earned shopping money or destroys your credit through identify theft. This year is going to be even worse for holiday scams and thefts. Here are some tips to avoid becoming a victim: --Watch how you dress if you’re shopping in crowds.

2 Fuyu persimmons, peeled, chopped (1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces), seeds (if any) discarded 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar or lemon juice 1 1/2 tablespoons honey 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/2 cup olive oil 1 Granny Smith, Gala or Fuji apple, peeled, cored, chopped (1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces) 1 Red Bartlett pear, halved, cored, and cut into thin slices 6 figs, halved 7-10 leaves fresh mint, thinly sliced crosswise (stack leaves, then roll up like a cigar and take slices from the end) 2 large bunches frisee, ends trimmed 1 small head radicchio, torn into 2-inch pieces 1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted 1. Puree one of the peeled and chopped persimmons in a blender or food processor with the vinegar or lemon juice, honey, and salt and pepper until smooth. With the motor running on low speed, slowly drizzle olive oil through the feeder tube until mixture is well-combined and slightly thickened. 2. In a large bowl, gently toss together the persimmon slices, apples, pears, figs, mint leaves, frisee and radicchio. Add the vinaigrette and gently toss the mixture together. Place salad on individual plates. Garnish walnut halves, and serve immediately. (Additional information provided by Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD, nutrition and health education specialist, Barton County, University of Missouri Extension.) Angela Shelf Medearis is an award-winning children’s author, culinary historian and the 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

The bumping and chaos is a perfect scenario for a thief to take your wallet or purse. Wear pants and put your wallet and car keys in a front pocket, the deeper the better. Or leave your wallet locked in the car trunk and only carry the credit or debit cards you’ll use. --If you use a credit card, don’t let it out of your sight when you give it to a clerk to swipe. If someone near you is using a cell phone, they could take a picture of your credit card. Be alert. They could be long gone and make online purchases with your card number before you even get home. --If carrying cash, chose which pocket the money will go in. Put all same-denomination bills in your front left pocket, such as $10s or $20s. When you get change, put it all in the right front pocket. That way you only have to pull out one bill at a time from your left pocket and will know exactly what it is without showing all your money in a crowd. If you need to resort your money, use the privacy of a restroom stall so no one sees the cash you’re carrying. --At home, don’t put presents under the tree too early in the season. When you go out, leave a light and television on to make it look like someone’s home.

--Collect the mail out of your box as quickly as you can after it’s delivered. Thieves want your information. --Don’t order online unless it’s from a site you’ve successfully dealt with in the past. New sites are highly suspect. They might be just data collection points for your name and credit-card number. Before shopping online, go to http://blogs.mcafee.com and put “12 Scams of Christmas” in the search box. Read about the highly creative ways the thieves hope to relieve you of your cash. --An unfortunate caveat this year: Beware online greetings e-cards. Check carefully before you download the card. 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 was British biologist and author Richard Dawkins who made the following sage observation: “When two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly halfway between them. It is possible for one side to be simply wrong.” * If you’re like 20 percent of American women, you think your feet are too big. * Did you ever wonder why we say, “I smell a rat” when we sense that something is amiss? The phrase dates back to a time before effective means of pest control, when it was not uncommon for a home to be infested by rodents. If a rat died inside a wall, the residents wouldn’t be aware of it until the smell of the decaying body became noticeable. * If you’d like to have a festive New Year’s Eve but don’t want to deal with the crowds in New York City for the iconic ball drop, consider heading to Mount Olive, N.C. Every year the town hosts a celebration in which a 3-foot lighted pickle is dropped into a barrel at midnight. * Ancient Romans believed that a sneeze was the body’s way of expelling evil spirits that caused disease. Thus, if one tried to suppress a sneeze, it was regarded as an invitation to illness and death. * The 14-foot model of the Starship Enterprise that was used during shooting of the original “Star Trek” series is now displayed in the Smithsonian. * If you are over the age of 40, you’ve lived longer than the average gorilla. * The first woman to appear on the cover of Business Week magazine, in 1954, was Brownie Wise, the originator of the Tupperware Party. *** Thought for the Day: “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” -Lewis Carroll (c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.


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Kitty Potty Training by Samantha Mazzotta

DEAR PAW’S CORNER: We’re going to adopt a kitten from a litter that our neighbor’s cat had. We’ve never had a cat before. I hear they’re easy to house train. How do we do that? -- Sara in Helena, Mont. DEAR SARA: Congratulations on your soon-tobe new pet! A kitten is a lifelong responsibility, so learn as much as you can before you bring the kitten home. Kittens who have reached the right age to be adopted -- at least eight weeks and preferably 12 weeks, that have been fully weaned -- should be easy to housetrain. A couple of factors might make this training take a bit longer: if the kitten is from a “barn cat” family or from a feral mother, or if the kitten has any hidden health issues. Most cats develop similar elimination habits no matter their environment. They look for a protected place with loose soil so they can bury their waste. In their distant non-domesticated past, they likely

did this to stay hidden from predators. Consider purchasing a covered litter box that does not have a mechanical scooper arm -- the automated scooper action could traumatize the kitten. The day your kitten comes home, show it around the house, with the new litter box as the first stop. Place the kitten into the box and let it sniff around. In the days that follow, if you see your kitten scratching the floor and/or turning in place, pick him up and place him into the litter box, using encouraging words. You may need to do this for a few days -- most cats get it pretty quickly, though. As soon as possible -- even the same day -- after getting your kitten, schedule an exam with the veterinarian. Your kitten will need to be checked for hidden diseases or parasites, general health and given required vaccinations and license. Doing so will save you tons of trouble in both house training and serious health issues. Send your questions or comments to ask@pawscorner.com, or write to Paw’s Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. For more pet care-related advice and information, visit www.pawscorner.com. (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

Tommy was hiding:

1. Zap Pest Control, p. 5 2. Plantation House Restaurant, p. 6

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

Diabetes Advice and Goals DEAR DR. DONOHUE: What advice can you give to senior citizens with type 2 diabetes? -- W.S. ANSWER: People with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes have similar goals and are given fairly similar advice. Type 2 diabetes used to be called adult onset diabetes and often can be controlled with oral medicines and diet. Type 1 diabetes used to be called juvenile diabetes, and it requires insulin treatment. Those older designations are misleading. Many type 2 diabetics have to take insulin. People with diabetes ought to have a meter that provides the blood sugar (plasma glucose) reading. It’s impossible to adjust medicine or diet without such information. The first reading in the morning, before taking food, ought to be in the range of 70 to 130 mg/dL (3.9 to 7.2 mmol/L). The blood sugar meter is not expensive, and is easy to use. In addition, hemoglobin A1C, another measure of

sugar control, should be less than 7 percent. This value is obtained only a couple of times a year. Since diabetes is a risk for developing heart attacks and strokes, diabetics are obliged to control the other risks for those two common conditions. Those are blood pressure, which should be less than 140/90 and preferably under 130/80. Cholesterol ought to be lower than 200 mg/dl (5.2 mmol/L). LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) is best kept under 100 (2.6) and the optimum reading for triglycerides (blood fats) is now set at 100 mg/ dL (1.13 mmol/L). Diabetics ought to have yearly eye exams. Since obesity is common in type 2 diabetes and since modest weight loss (a 5 percent to 7 percent reduction in body weight) can help, calorie reduction is important. Increased activity controls blood sugar and body weight. The goal is 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week. Diabetics should get instructions in diet control from a dietitian. In general, 50 percent to 55 percent of calories come from carbohydrates, 15 percent to 20 percent from protein and 30 percent from fats. The booklet on diabetes presents this illness and its treatments in detail. Readers can obtain a copy by writing: Dr. Donohue -- No. 402W, 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 husband was discovered to have sleep apnea. He is now on CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) at night. The problem is that he sometimes gets up as many as 14 times a night to void. I have him on a nonprescription sleep preparation, but he still gets up. Lack of sleep makes him angry. -- L.C. ANSWER: You’re directing your efforts in the wrong direction. His prostate gland is making him get up during the night. His gland doesn’t allow his urinary bladder to completely empty. He urinates only in dribs and drabs. Medicines can enhance bladder emptying. And there are many office procedures that don’t entail long surgery or long recovery that can open up his drainage system. Take your husband to a urologist. *** 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

Kes Is NASCAR’s Latest Superstar Perhaps it was unfair to expect NASCAR’s Sprint Cup championship to be a spine-tingling affair. Perhaps the unprecedented, year-old battle between Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards raised expectations to an absurd level. At Homestead-Miami Speedway, Jeff Gordon won the 87th race of his career, and his freshly minted archrival, Clint Bowyer, finished second. Somehow this competition was bereft of drama. Alluding in part to beating Bowyer without, uh, wrecking him, Gordon said. “I felt terrible about how I went about it and still regret the way I went about it, but, you know what? I can’t take (Phoenix) back. “What we can do is look forward and race guys as hard and clean as we possibly can, and this is a way to get some positive things going because this year has been real up and down.” Brad Keselowski’s championship was no surprise. He entered the race with a 20-point edge and took no chances. Jimmie Johnson’s crew botched his shot on pit road and, thanks to a mechanical failure, didn’t even finish second in the points. Bowyer did. Perhaps the champion’s caution was understandable and even smart, but he had sworn in the days leading up to the race that he would race to win, even allowing as how he was “afraid” to race differently. “(Johnson) was going to win this race, and I know that,” Keselowski said. “We were not as fast as we wanted to be ... but my guys never gave up. We kept working, and at the end we were even capable of getting back up there enough to where it wouldn’t have mattered if he had won, which made me feel a lot better.” Keselowski, 29, of Rochester Hills, Mich., won the championship by 39 points in spite of finishing 15th in the most important race of his career to date. Even the Dodge celebration was muted. Dodge hasn’t won a title since 1975, and it was only the fifth ever. But Dodge is leaving the sport for now, so there is little prospect of an encore any time soon. Owing to Joey Logano’s Saturday misfortune, Keselowski started first but didn’t stay there. His Dodge was five lengths in back of Marcos Ambrose’s Ford by the back straight of the first lap. That edge was short-lived, too, and by lap 40, Kyle Busch was more than three seconds ahead of Carl Edwards, with Keselowski sixth and Johnson ninth. The race meandered along during its first half, with Busch leading most of the time and the title contenders, Johnson and Keselowski, keeping wary tabs on each other. An imperfect pit stop put Keselowski behind his counterpart, but it was nothing about which to be overly concerned. Trevor Bayne’s Ford grazed the wall twice in a span of about 10 laps, but those were just among the many footnotes drawing scant attention. The first two caution flags were for debris. In fact, it wasn’t until lap 153 that Nationwide Series champ Ricky Stenhouse Jr. actually hit a wall with enough impact to slow the entire field. Then “poof” went the Chase. First, on lap 213, Johnson’s crew failed him, leaving off a lugnut on the left-rear tire and earning a penalty. A few laps later, Johnson was back on pit road, but not to change tires. He coasted the famously reliable No. 48 down pit road because it was the way to the garage. It didn’t take “points as they run” to determine that Keselowski was the champion. *** Monte Dutton covers motorsports for The Gaston (N.C.) Gazette. E-mail Monte at nascarthisweek@ yahoo.com. (c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.

Chocolate Gingerbread Cake Baked in a decorative tree Bundt pan, this chocolate gingerbread cake spruces up holiday parties with ease. 2 cups all-purpose flour 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter (no substitutions), softened 3/4 cup packed brown sugar 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1 tablespoon grated, peeled fresh ginger 3 large eggs 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses 1 cup low-fat buttermilk 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar, for dusting 1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Coat 12-cup decorative tree Bundt pan with nonstick baking spray. 2. On sheet of waxed paper, sift together flour, cocoa, ground ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 3. In large bowl, with mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugars until creamy. Beat in fresh ginger. Reduce speed to medium; beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then molasses, scraping bowl occasionally with rubber spatula. 4. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat just until combined, scraping bowl occasionally with rubber spatula. Fold in chocolate chips. 5. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Invert onto wire rack and carefully remove pan. Cool completely on wire rack. 6. Before serving, dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serves 12. ¥ Each serving: About 475 calories, 22g total fat (13g saturated), 78mg cholesterol, 225mg sodium, 70g total carbs, 4g dietary fiber, 7g protein. 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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* On Dec. 13, 1621, under the care of Robert Cushman, the first American furs to be exported from the continent leave for England aboard the Fortune. During the crossing, the Fortune was captured by the French, and its valuable cargo of furs was taken. Cushman was detained on the Ile d’Dieu before being returned to England. * On Dec. 14, 1799, George Washington, the first U.S. president, dies at age 67. Two days earlier, he rode out into a freezing sleet to survey business affairs on his estate. He returned home late for a dinner engagement and refused to take the time to change out of his wet clothes. The next day, Washington developed a severe respiratory infection and died the following day. His last words were “’Tis well.” * On Dec. 16, 1811, the greatest series of earthquakes in U.S. history begins in the Mississippi River Valley near New Madrid, Mo., when a quake of an estimated 8.6 magnitude slams the region. The earthquake raised and lowered parts of the Mississippi Valley by as much as 15 feet and changed the course of the Mississippi River. * On Dec. 10, 1915, the one-millionth Ford car rolls off the assembly line at the River Rouge plant in Detroit. Between 1908 and 1927, Ford sold more than 15 million Model Ts in all; they initially cost $850 (about $20,000 in today’s dollars). * On Dec. 11, 1946, the United Nations votes to establish the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to provide relief and support to children. Only two countries have failed to ratify the treaty -- Somalia and the United States. * On Dec. 15, 1973, Sandy Hawley becomes the first jockey to win 500 races in a single year. Hawley achieved his historic win aboard Charlie Jr., in the third race at Maryland’s Laurel Park race track. * On Dec. 12, 1989, hotel magnate Leona Helmsley receives a four-year prison sentence, 750 hours of community service and a $7.1 million tax fraud fine in New York. Helmsley became the object of loathing and disgust when she quipped that “only the little people pay taxes.” (c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.


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Tidbits® of the River Region OVERCOMING THE ODDS:

CHARLES STRATTON

have mineral deposits on your iron, use a toothbrush and toothpaste (mild abrasive) to polish them off your iron’s face. Rinse with water, and next time, use distilled water for steaming.” * Use silicone caulk to make non-skid beads on the bottom of your pet’s dishes. They will stay in one place instead of getting scooted all around the kitchen. * Need a quick ironing job but don’t have time to iron? Spray a clean kitchen towel with a mixture of water and a little fabric softener until damp. Pop it in the dryer with the item that’s wrinkled. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to get all the wrinkles out, and it will smell great to boot! * While we’re on ironing tips, here’s a great one from T.C. in Alabama: “If you

* “When driving a nail into a plaster wall, first put down a piece of tape at the spot where you’ll insert the nail. Tap the nail in right through the tape, then pull away the tape to discard. It often will keep the surrounding plaster from crumbling at the site of the nail.” -- W.L. in Oregon * When your cabinet door magnet locks are too strong, try putting a piece of tape over the magnet. It decreases the strength of the magnet. * If you paint your radiators, make sure that the paint you use is heat-resistant. To get the best finish, paint while the radiator is warm.

When Charles Stratton was born in Connecticut in 1838, he weighed a healthy nine pounds, eight ounces. However, his parents soon noted that he wasn’t growing like other children. A malfunctioning pituitary gland slowed his growth, so at age four, he was only 25 inches long. He never grew much beyond that height. At the age of five he weighed exactly as much as he had at the age of 15 months. He was perfectly normal except for his size. He was not misshapen or ugly, but instead was perfectly proportioned, very attractive, and extremely intelligent. At the age of five Charles was first introduced to Phineas T. Barnum, and Barnum knew his fortune was made. • Charles’ name was changed to General Tom Thumb, and he was billed as being 11 years old and from England, when in reality he was only 5 and from Connecticut. (When they travelled to Europe, he was billed as being American, and when he grew older his age was revised downward.) After being put on stage in a comedy routine with two 8-foot giants, Tom Thumb became the darling of the world. 15,000 people a day flocked to see him, each paying a quarter entrance fee. • World tours were extremely successful. On a trip to England Barnum very much wanted the publicity that would result from an audience with the Queen. But the Queen was in mourning and refused to see any visitors. So Barnum merely announced that he was leaving England and traveling to France in order to introduce Tom Thumb to the King of France. A fierce social rivalry existed between the Queen of England and the King of France. As Barnum expected, an invitation to visit the Queen was not long in coming. • Once when Tom Thumb was robbed, Barnum himself spread the rumor that Tom had been kidnapped and was being held for ransom. The public furor increased interest all over Europe. • Tom Thumb had a delightful sense of humor and impeccable manners. He had a gift for improvisation while on the stage. His specialty was imitating Napoleon Bonaparte, an act that won him world-wide renown. After traveling the world with Barnum, he returned to his hometown of Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he had a home built to scale, with furniture and furnishings constructed in exactly the correct proportions. • When Barnum hired a 32-inch-tall female performer named Lavinia Warren Bump, Tom Thumb instantly fell in love, and the two were married. Their wedding was featured in every newspaper and magazine in the nation. The newlyweds toured the world together, performing in nearly 600 cities around the globe. By the time they returned to Connecticut, they had performed in front of more people than any other person in history – a record they held until the invention of the television. They were also rich beyond their wildest dreams. When Barnum went bankrupt after investing unwisely, it was Tom Thumb’s earning power that put him back on his feet. • When Charles Stratton died of a stroke at the age of 45, he stood 3 feet, four inches tall and weighed just 71 pounds. More than 10,000 mourners attended his funeral, and newspapers around the world carried news of his death and descriptions of the funeral service. His wife lived to the age of 77, and is buried beside him in Connecticut. ***


“Be known before you’re needed” Advertise with Tidbits (334) 202-7285

Minor Gutter Repairs

By Samantha Mazzotta

Q: Your reply to the homeowner with storm damage to his roof a couple weeks ago was good, but I have a much smaller problem. Cleaning leaves out of my gutters this weekend, I saw leaks underneath the gutters. Leaves also piled up at bends and drains and were hard to clean out. Any suggestions on how to fix the leaks and prevent buildup? -- Rick in Pittsburgh A: Small holes that are less than a half inch in diameter should be patched as quickly as possible so that they don’t get bigger. It’s important to do it correctly so that the patch material doesn’t sit too high and cause a new rough patch for debris to jam up on. A safety note: Work from a ladder, rather than from the roof, when fixing gutters, and always have a helper to steady the ladder and hand up tools as needed. If you have metal gutters, buy a small tube of roofing cement and more than enough metal repair patches that are the same type of metal as your gutters. For example, if your gutters are aluminum, buy aluminum patches; if they’re steel, buy steel. For fiberglass gutters, use fiberglass patching material and gutter repair

cement or caulk. Using two different metals could cause corrosion between them. Scrub the area around the spot to be patched with a wire brush. Any rust around the leak should be cut away with metal or aviation snips. Glue the metal patch in place by dabbing roofing cement around the bottom and pressing firmly over the leaky area, then coat the edges of the patch with cement and smooth so the cement feathers out into the gutter area. If leaks are occurring around the joints, check to make sure the gutter isn’t loose or uneven at the joint. If it is you’ll probably need to adjust the nearest hanger(s) or, if these components are damaged or rusted, replace them. Once the gutters on each side are secure, then pipe roofing cement along the joint and smooth down. To prevent buildup of leaves and debris in the gutters, consider investing in gutter screens. These are placed over the top of the gutter runs and discourage larger debris from getting in. Gutter guards should be installed along the entire run. Prices vary depending on how much you need and the type or brand you need to buy, and of course, whether you install them yourself or hire a contractor to do it. HOME TIP: Gutters should be cleaned and inspected twice a year to make sure they’re free of debris and to locate any damage or deterioration. Send your questions or comments 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. Where is Tim Wakefield on the list of most career victories by a Boston Red Sox pitcher? 2. In 2012, Toronto and Cleveland played the longest Opening Day game in history (16 innings). Which teams played in the previously longest game? 3. Who is the only player in NFL history to have eight seasons of at least 290 rushing attempts and 50 receptions? 4. Name the first men’s basketball coach to be named both an ACC and a Big East Coach of the Year. 5. Beginning in 1917 with the Seattle Metropolitans, how many times has a U.S.-based team won the Stanley Cup? 6. Who was the last American male runner before Leonel Manzano (silver medal) in 2012 to medal in the Olympic 1500 meter race? 7. In how many of the past 16 Ryder Cups (1981-2012) has the team trailing after the first day of golf play gone on to with the event?

1. Is the book of Micah in the Old or New Testament or neither? 2. What perfectly square “new” city is described as having walls made of Jasper? Jerusalem, Jericho, Paphos, Gibeon 3. From 1 Samuel, what Philistine soldier was slain by a boy? Joab, Abishai, Dan, Goliath 4. On which “Mount” did Jesus deliver his final discourse? Zion, Olives, Carmel, Pisgah 5. In what book is the phrase, “Could eat a horse” found? None, Acts, Ruth, Ephesians 6. What friend of Jesus was buried in a cave? Sisera, Joshua, Lazarus, Arioch

Elimination of Pain with Hypnotherapy

Pain control suggestions are techniques that can alter the perception of pain. When the patient is hypnotized pain can be diminished, eliminated or it can be felt in some parts of the body and not in another. Direct suggestions for pain relief can be delivered when one is guided into deep hypnosis. Analgesia suggestions reduce or eliminate the pain, but they permit other sensations to remain. You may have a painful arm, and with analgesia the pain will be very much diminished, but you’ll still feel the arm, be aware of it, know that it’s in some way bothering you. You’ll feel the position it’s in, whether it’s hot or cold, and maybe some pressure or mild discomfort. It’s the anesthesia, not analgesia, that takes away all feelings. When you’re hypnotized and really focusing, you have a reduced awareness of your body, anyway, even before you are offered the analgesia suggestions of pain are already reduced. For local assistance and a free consultation, review www.hypnosisworksnow.com and call

334-213-0054


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“Be known before you’re needed” Advertise with Tidbits (334) 202-7285

No Drug Insurance? Sign up for

The Adams Advantage Card Cheaper than the big chains and most of the HSA sponsored mail order

Shape Up Old Crayons If your house and car are full of broken and worn-down crayons, don’t throw them out! Instead, collect them all in a box or basket and try this easy recycling activity. Keep your kids busy over the holiday break by helping them make new “designer” crayons -- perfect for art projects or party favors at your child’s next birthday party. Here’s how: First remove the paper wrapper from each crayon. Then, help the kids break the crayons into pieces and put them into piles according to basic colors. Put the pieces according to color, in small, heat-resistant glass jars, such as empty baby-food jars. With an adult’s help, fit a small rack inside a saucepan, and place the jars on the rack. Fill the saucepan with enough water to cover 1/2 inch of the jars. Heat the water until the crayons melt. Keep an eye on them at all times. An adult should carefully pour the melted wax into a plastic candy mold tray (available at kitchen-supply stores and craft stores in a variety of fun shapes children like, such as stars, flowers, animals, skates, etc.). Or use ice-cube trays that come in fun shapes. The wax will harden quickly and pop out of the mold easily. You could put the tray in the freezer for a few minutes to speed up the process. For added effect, pour a contrasting color into the mold after the first layer of wax has hardened. This will produce a two-tone crayon. Try out your new crayon shapes on a piece of paper. And for more fun, you can use them as a puzzle. Just let 4- and 5-year olds put the different shapes back into the candy molds. Extra idea: Keep a crayon handy on the refrigerator for quick note-taking. Simply add a piece of magnet from a magnet strip and set it on the final layer of wax before it completely hardens. *** 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.

All prices quoted via telephone (June 2012) at the respective phar macies in Montgomer y, Millbrook, Prattville, and Wetumpka. Adam Dr ugs pricing available with member ship in the Adams Dr ugs Advantage Car d program.

ADAMS DRUGS

Eight convenient locations to ser ve you in the River Region. Visit us at: www.adamsdrugs.net

BIBLE TRIVIA ANSWERS:

1) Old; 2) Jerusalem; 3) Goliath; 4) Olives; 5) None; 6) Lazarus

1. Third with 186 victories, behind Cy Young and Roger Clemens (192 each). 2. Cleveland and Detroit (1960) and Washington and Philadelphia (1926) each played 15 innings. 3. LaDainian Tomlinson (2001-08, with San Diego). 4. Leonard Hamilton (Big East: 1995, ‘99; ACC: 2009, ‘12). 5. Forty-five times. 6. Jim Ryun won the silver medal in 1968. 7. Eight times.


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Tidbits速 of the River Region


Tidbits of the River Region