Cassville Democrat blogs Recent blogs from the Cassville Democrat newspaper in Cassville, Missouri en-us Fun Projects for Earth Day (Articles for Generation Y by Mati Spencer) By Mati Spencer "The fate of the living planet is the most important issue facing mankind," said Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970. Though many scientists disagree with the gravity of this statement, Nelson believed the people of modern times were not aware of the declining state of the earth's environment. This lack of knowledge led Nelson to organize the first Earth day on April 22, 1970, to raise national environmental awareness. Area residents are encouraged to celebrate earth... Fri, 13 Apr 2012 09:50:50 -0500 Preparing for year-end exams (Articles for Generation Y by Mati Spencer) By Mati Spencer With the end of a school year approaching, many students long for the independence of summer, free from the responsibilities of school. Yet, as summer delays, year-end exams loom in the near future. For many students, the weeks prior to these crucial tests include late-night study sessions and intense note-taking, while test days often prove stressful and overwhelming. The pressure of this time often causes tension, but with a few easily-applicable study tips, the dream of... Wed, 04 Apr 2012 11:20:31 -0500 Spring: a time of beauty and peril (Articles for Generation Y by Mati Spencer) By Mati Spencer Spring is the revitalizing time of year filled with new life and gorgeous temperatures. With the budding of new plants and the splashing of rain drops echoing in every listener's ear, spring resonates in the hearts of many as a time of new beginnings. Yet with the many splendors of this time of year, many dangers also present themselves. The rainy weather provides considerable barriers for all drivers, but especially to those who are new to the road. When it rains,... Mon, 26 Mar 2012 13:24:07 -0500 Give Your Parents the Gift of Financial Peace of Mind (AARP tips by AARP professionals) AARP's Five Tips for Starting a Conversation about Money Matters By Jean Setzfand, Vice President, Financial Security, AARP Education and Outreach During the holidays, many of us will be spending more time with our families and aging parents. Sometimes it's surprising to witness a decline in health -- especially mental health -- since we last saw them. Often, whether it's out of respect for our parents or simply our own discomfort, we choose to overlook the visible signs of difficulty or... Thu, 29 Dec 2011 14:18:17 -0600 10 Tips to Drive Down the Cost of Driving (AARP tips by AARP professionals) By Julie E. Lee, Vice President, AARP Driver Safety Program There's no getting around the price of getting around. Considering the cost of buying a vehicle, insurance, maintenance, and fuel, owning a car is a significant investment--even if you only use it few times each week. While the most obvious way to avoid the costs associated with being a car owner is to forego it entirely and utilize your community's public transportation, some people simply don't have this option. Luckily,... Wed, 16 Nov 2011 12:19:38 -0600 Purchasing Your Next Car? Consider these 5 Features (AARP tips by AARP professionals) By Julie E. Lee Vice President, Driver Safety Program, AARP Education and Outreach What motivates you to buy a certain car? Maybe you're loyal to a single manufacturer. Perhaps you're concerned about rising gas prices, so you consider purchasing a hybrid vehicle. Maybe price is your biggest consideration, so you conduct a thorough cost analysis of each car you consider buying. When making a financial investment in a car, you should be as informed as possible so that you make a choice... Wed, 09 Nov 2011 11:42:35 -0600 "Overqualified?" How to Deal with the O-Word in Your Job Search (AARP tips by AARP professionals) By Deborah Russell, Director, Workforce Issues, AARP Education and Outreach "Aren't you overqualified?" Some older workers say this question is code for "You're too old." But it's not as simple as that. Sometimes you will have more qualifications than the job requires. Perhaps you're applying because you want more flexibility, or to return to work that you miss. At other times your qualifications will be exactly right, but you sense underlying concerns about your age. Whatever the... Fri, 28 Oct 2011 10:10:54 -0500 Keep Safe with AARP's Tips for Disaster Preparedness (AARP tips by AARP professionals) David Shotwell, Senior Director, Livable Communities, AARP Education and Outreach Natural disasters can occur anywhere and anytime, sometimes without warning. If a tornado, hurricane, wildfire or severe flooding were to threaten you and your loved ones, would you be prepared? Your chances of surviving a natural disaster are greater if you have an emergency plan and provisions in place ahead of time. You may not have enough time to prepare for an emergency when disaster strikes. Create an... Thu, 27 Oct 2011 09:49:02 -0500 Fight Health Care Fraud and Scams (AARP tips by AARP professionals) By Frank Bailey, Director, Health, AARP Education & Outreach Did you know that fraud in the health care system drives up insurance premiums and other health care costs? In fact, research suggests that anywhere from $100-300 billion of the over 2 trillion dollars spent on health care each year is lost to fraud and abuse. How does this affect you? First, it will cause you health insurance rates to go up. It is like getting a bill for an extra $1,000 from your health insurer. Plus, you... Thu, 20 Oct 2011 09:19:22 -0500 10 Quick Tips for Saving Money (AARP tips by AARP professionals) In these difficult economic times, everyone is looking for ways to cut costs. AARP offers these 10 quick tips to help you save money throughout the year. 1. Save big on your home energy costs. Want to lower your home energy costs by 10 percent or more? Turn down your thermostat, use appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines during non-peak hours, unplug appliances when not in use, and use ceiling fans instead of A/C. 2. Drop extra line services from your home phone. Extra... Thu, 11 Aug 2011 15:01:36 -0500 5 Ways a Personal Brand Can Help Your Job Search (AARP tips by AARP professionals) What is a brand? When you see a familiar company logo, you immediately know what the brand represents. A successful brand inspires trust and helps sell products. For job hunters, a personal brand is a powerful marketing tool. A brand points to your key talents, achievements and passions, and says clearly, "This is who I am and what I do." How can personal branding help you in your job search? 1. A brand adds the "wow" factor. It helps you stand out in a crowded field of applicants.... Thu, 04 Aug 2011 15:23:08 -0500 Be Prepared: AARP Encourages Drivers to Make an Emergency Roadside Kit (AARP tips by AARP professionals) You're driving down the road, and your car begins making a strange, unidentifiable sound. While you may not know what it is, you know it can't be good. Suddenly, the "check engine" light flashes on. Your first instinct is to pull over. But what do you do next? Whether it's a flat tire, engine failure or a dead battery, being stranded in an automobile emergency can be terrifying. But if you make the proper preparations, you'll be ready to handle an auto emergency with ease. According to... Thu, 21 Jul 2011 12:51:59 -0500 Get the whole picture about the doughnut hole: (AARP tips by AARP professionals) ***How to keep prescription drug costs down You may ask, "What is the Medicare Part D doughnut hole?" First, it helps to understand a bit about Medicare. Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people 65 and older and for some younger persons with disabilities, offers coverage to help people pay for their prescription drugs. This insurance coverage is known as Medicare Part D. The "doughnut hole" refers to the gap in the Medicare Part D drug benefit where your coverage stops... Thu, 14 Jul 2011 15:37:27 -0500 Seven steps to hiring a contractor (AARP tips by AARP professionals) Whether it's a small interior paint job or a whole-house remodel, finding the right contractor is the key to success. These seven steps will help you avoid scams and major cost overages, so all you have to do is enjoy your new and improved home. ***1. Make a list. Before you talk to a contractor think carefully about the changes you want to make to your home. Write down exactly what you want the contractor to do. ***2. Get recommendations from family and friends. Talk with family, friends... Wed, 06 Jul 2011 10:41:06 -0500 Upgrading Your Gas Furnace? Don't Forget the Chimney. (Energy efficiency by James H. Bushart) Naturally drafting residential chimneys develop draft because the warmer air inside the chimney is lighter than the air outside the chimney. The source of the heated air at the bottom of the chimney burns fuel and creates a column of gases that are lighter than the outside air. The taller the chimney and the hotter the contents - the stronger the draft. Today, with the upgrading of furnaces to more efficient heating systems that vent their combustion gases through fan-assisted plastic vents,... Tue, 28 Jun 2011 18:03:38 -0500 What is an energy audit? (Energy efficiency by James H. Bushart) With so many different types of energy efficiency services available to the consumer, today, the term "energy audit" is being used in a variety of contexts that can be confusing to the average person. Hopefully, this will clear up some of the confusion. 1. What is an "energy audit?" Depending upon who is performing it for you, it can be a variety of things. Here are common examples. a. Diagnostic energy audits - Conducted by a Building Performance Institute trained and certified... Thu, 12 May 2011 09:33:53 -0500 Your well water and the flood of 2011 (Energy efficiency by James H. Bushart) Considering the wide areas, the speed and the direction of ground water flow -- your well may not be safe to drink or use for bathing for many months. While the flooding can instantly contaminate the well with bacteria and other pollutants, the waste water from other flood damaged septic tanks or from chemicals that are seeping into the ground after being spread by the flood waters can contaminate your well ... even AFTER you have the water tested and find it to be safe to use. It is... Wed, 27 Apr 2011 09:37:13 -0500 Sizing a cooling system (Energy efficiency by James H. Bushart) Most central cooling systems that are installed in today's homes are oversized. By some estimates, as many as 80% of air conditioners and heat pumps that are in use today are too large in their capacity for the homes in which they have been put into use. To the home owner this presents several undesirable conditions. Not only are the larger units more expensive to purchase but they require (and waste) more costly energy. In addition to that, "short cycling" (when the cooling unit operates... Fri, 22 Apr 2011 12:11:13 -0500 Spring spawning season (Roaring River Happenings by Paul Spurgeon) The Spring spawning season has started at Roaring River Hatchery and the first egg take was excellent. The spawning season will run through February. Spawning is a fairly complicated process at Roaring River. We start by separating the males and female brooders into different raceways. It is fairly easy to distinguish the sexes because the mature males have a hooked lower jaw and usually a thinner or narrower head and body. Females, on the other hand, lack the hooked jaw and have a more... Wed, 12 Jan 2011 12:17:23 -0600