Serving Vanderbilt and environs since 1956

October 25, 2017


Halloween Dance this Saturday

by Tom Serino

A Halloween dinner dance, starting at 6 p.m. with live music, a nice hot meal, and beverages has been set for this coming Saturday, Oct. 28th at the Elkland Center, 7910 Arthur Street in Vanderbilt. There will be great raffle prizes and always two door prizes for our lucky winners. The dance will give everyone a chance to get their best Halloween costume on, and have a great night. The dance lasts from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and is for adults of all ages. And if you don’t dance, you can still enjoy the music, eat some great food and watch the dancers, all for only $5 per person. That is a great price for four hours of fun, food and great fellowship. A wide variety music including country, slow, fast and polka and even some waltzing is provided by ‘The Lucky Stars’ and breaks only for an intermission while dinner is served, around 8 p.m. There is always plenty of food, but anyone wishing to bring their favorite dish to pass is welcome. Beverages provided include coffee, punch, or tea or you can ‘bring your own’. Bring a friend, or family member to enjoy some great fun. See you there!

Village Discusses Marijuana Store

by Tom Serino

The Village of Vanderbilt discussed the current marijuana store located in the RK Mini-Mall in Vanderbilt. The discussion, held at the regular meeting of the council held, Monday, April 3rd, centered around the legality of the store, since a permit has not been issued by the village, for the new owners of the business. According to the village clerk, the owner of the current business has not completed application for a permit, but there have been times when a sign advertising the store is out by the road, as well as a neon OPEN sign is being lit. The pros and cons of having a marijuana store were touched upon, as one councilman noted that the village would be able to reap a portion of the 3% sales tax revenue from the sale of marijuana products. That was challenged with the comment that the village would have to spend more money enforcing the marijuana ordinance, up to and including hiring its own attorney to prosecute any possible crimes that may come up. A deputy with the Otsego County Sheriff’s Dept. was in attendance at the meeting and advised the council that if the store does not have a legal permit to sell marijuana, then it is selling drugs illegally. The deputy also handed the code enforcement officer, Mrs. Robinson his card, with the phone number for the Straits Area Narcotics Enforcement. The marijuana ordinance does not allow a marijuana store within 1,000 feet of a church, governmental building, or community park. One councilman noted that the Pigeon River Baptist Church is located less than 500 feet from the current marijuana store. It was not clear if the measurement was from ‘door’ of the church to ‘door’ of the store, or if was a measurement from property lines. It was noted that the marijuana store was in place before the Pigeon River Baptist church moved to its current location, and as such, the store was ‘grandfathered’ in. However, it was also noted that once the original store was closed, the intent was to enforce the ordinance - a new marijuana store would not be allowed to be re-opened. The council voted to have the code enforcement officer enforce the marijuana ordinance. In other news, the code enforcement officer reported to the council that most residents are cooperating with efforts to clean up their yards, however, there is still an issue with the multiple ‘project’ cars on multiple properties. Many residents have a project vehicle such as an unlicensed truck with a snow plow, or a ‘hobby’ car for used in the summer in the annual Demo Derby at the Otsego County Fair, which has historically been very popular with the Vanderbilt community. It was the consensus of the council that the language would have to be clarified.

Vanderbilt Appoints Nuisance Officer

by Tom Serino

The Village of Vanderbilt Council appointed a new nuisance officer at its regular meeting held Monday, Feb. 6th. The nuisance officer is charged with responding to citizen’s complaints. The new nuisance officer is Vanderbilt resident, Dorothy Robinson, who hopes to ‘fix problems’ so that people can get along. Everyone is entitled to enjoy their home and neighbourhood in reasonable peace and quiet. If a neighbour’s home or business is creating a nuisance, it can impact on your everyday life. Various neighbourhood behaviours and activities can be described as a nuisance. Noise, dust, light, odour and smoke caused by your neighbours can all prevent you from enjoying your home. If you are suffering from a nuisance caused by a neighbouring home or business, village president Christina Boone recommend you register your complaint at the village hall at 606 Garfield St.. Your neighbour could be unaware that they are causing you a problem and could be keen to resolve the matter amicably. This will be the job of Dorothy Robinson. Residents are invited to call the village hall at 989.983.4244 to register their concerns.

From the desk of Rick Heitmeyer

Superintendent at VAS

10th Snow Day As I write this, I’m reflecting on calling a snow day for the tenth time this school year. This has been a unique winter to say the least. It hasn’t been too extremely cold. It hasn’t been too extremely snowy. But when it has been cold or when it has snowed, our area has been covered. Making the call on a snow day is a tough decision, but VAS will always err on the side of caution. We want our families to be safe, so if we are “on the fence” so to speak, we are going to keep our kids safe. With the tenth snow day, VAS will now have school on April 17, the day after Easter. In the original calendar for the year, we had scheduled that day off. However, we agreed that if we were at 10 snow days BEFORE April 1, we would have school that day. The State of Michigan allows school to have up to six days forgiven. They also allow for an additional three to be forgiven if a school applies for a waiver from the State Superintendent of Instruction. Currently, VAS is slated to end the school year on Wednesday, June 14. As a reminder, we do not have school on Monday, February 20. That is our mid-winter break. Also, on Friday, February 17, school is dismissed at 11:30 as it is a half-day. Students will be going home, but the teachers will be learning. Teachers will be further developing a curriculum map for each grade level and each subject. This is the beginning of the final stretch for the work on the curriculum at VAS. Teachers and staffers have worked on curriculum at VAS for a number of years, developing pacing guides, curriculum plans, and other diagrams to identify WHAT is supposed to be taught. The next step is to further clarify the WHAT, but add in the HOW and WHEN. The WHY is also important and often comes out during the instruction by the teacher which is part of the HOW AND WHEN. Curriculum is complicated and takes years to build and understand. I’ve mentioned here before that we have gone through many cycles during the last 25 years from the Michigan Curriculum Framework in 1996 to the later Michigan Clarifying Documents (MI-Climb), the Grade Level Content Expectations and the High School Content Expectations in 2004, to the adoption of the Common Core State Standards beginning in 2010 which were eventually introduced and re-packaged as the State Standards in 2014. Curriculum is …complicated (and political). We believe, though, that if we have a solid curriculum based on the State Standards and focused on the essential learning for all children in each grade level and subject that our test scores on standardized tests will improve. We have already seen improvement in the past year. Our students have demonstrated a great deal of growth on standardized tests like the M-Step and the SAT in 2016, which helped the school improve its standing with the State of Michigan and the School Reform Office which led to the District getting out of Priority Status. I’ve said before and I truly believe this: THE HARD WORK HAS ONLY BEGUN. Now, we have to show everyone that we found a path out of Priority Status through improved academic achievement and we will continue to show that improvement and student growth and not only stay out of Priority Status but become a leading learning institution. VAS wants to be a “school of choice” and a destination district not just another school in northern Michigan. We believe that we have a top notch staff, excellent students, and supportive families and that we are on the brink of great things. It will take ALL OF US working TOGETHER to achieve more than anyone thought possible for the little school off of I-75. As always, thank you for your support!

Didion on Woodward in 1996:

Courtesy Kenichi Serino

Quote of the week “The genuflection toward “fairness” is a familiar newsroom piety, the excuse in practice for a good deal of autopilot reporting and lazy thinking but a benign ideal. In Washington, however, a community in which the management of news has become the single overriding preoccupation of the core industry, what “fairness” has too often come to mean is a scrupulous passivity, an agreement to cover the story not as it is occurring but as it is presented, which is to say as it is manufactured.”

Michigan News Connection FCC Rules to End "Outrageous" Jail/Prison Phone Rates

by Mary Kuhlman

LANSING, Mich. - Phone calls to and from prison inmates in Michigan will cost a lot less starting next year, thanks to a decision Thursday by the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC voted to cap the rates and fees and strongly discouraged the providers' practice of paying commissions to the prison facility in exchange for the phone service contract - fees critics refer to as kickbacks. Aleks Kajstura, legal director of the Prison Policy Initiative, said the existing prison phone rates are outrageous. "There was no cap on how much they were charging, so they were charging people $1 a minute," she said. "There were programs that charged $15 flat rate per call. You could talk just for two minutes and still be charged $15. There were all sorts of fees tacked on, on top of those phone rates, costing $10 just to add to the account so you could make the call." Previous rate caps only applied to interstate calls. The new rates apply to in-state calls, which account for most of the calls that are made. Kajstura said phone calls are a lifeline, especially for inmates in rural areas where the families may have to drive hundreds of miles to visit in person. She noted that this change could save prisoners' families hundreds of dollars a month. "Of course, it's unfair to make the least able in our society pay the most for keeping in contact with their loved ones," she said. "All of society benefits when families keep in touch. It reduces recidivism in the end." The issue has been on the FCC's plate for a decade. Four phone service companies dominate the prison market. They have called this a business-ending event and are threatening to sue the FCC.

My Vacation 2009

by Tom Serino

From time to time, your editor takes a vacation... I can usually find something to bore our readers with.. So here is a summation of one of my vacation days in South Africa. Easter Sunday was special in South Africa. I did want to go to a Catholic church, but my son, a journalist for the South African Press Association (SAPA) had been given an assignment to do a story on a political rally for the President of the African National Conference (ANC) so we went there instead. While my son was able to take some time off work, it was great tagging along to see him do his work. Actually, it was fantastic! As we approached the main church, we were met and challenged by one of the church’s deacons, who turned out to be the media spokesperson for the church. My son presented his credentials with the media. Then the PR person for the church asked me for mine. I had to say, “I don’t have any credentials, I’m here just visiting my son.” The man asked where I came from. I responded, “The United States.” That resulted in a broad smile and a “Come on in!” That gave me a great feeling of welcome, and pride of my home country. And that happened on other occasions, as well. But I digress. It was a great event. besides seeing the President of the ANC up close.. he even smiled for me a couple of times as I took some pictures of him, as my son did his work.. taking notes for the story.  The President of the ANC, Jacob Zuma, age 67, is the most likely winner of the Presidential Election for S.A. which was held April 22, so this was a huge story. Interesting that he showed up at the International Pentacostal Holiness Church IPHC, for a campaign stop... He was there from Noon to about 3, because there was also scheduled for that same religious service 400 weddings of 150 men... you ask how do 150 marry 250? easy.... some men married 2 or 3 wives on the same day... I was shocked... and in the procession of the couples to be, the wives would lead and the husband would walk behind the wife.... Sometimes the wife-to-be would have at her side, the current wife or wives of the man she is marrying... I took pictures because I didn’t think anyone would believe me.. One guy, a young man, married three women the same day... Can you imagine what was going through his head? And the decisions he had to make later in the day?  I was impressed. In all cases, the wife’s bouquet of flowers contained a color matching the man’s suit, or vest, or tie at least. The reason so many got married this day, was because Easter is a special day for this religion, and it is considered an auspicious day for weddings, in particular. After the procession of the wedding parties to the music of a great choirs and large band (with some great sax.. even got me dancing) Yes, most of the newlywed couples ‘danced’ down the aisle.. not just walked... The President to be, J Z as he is called, has four wives... and his fourth wife MaNtuli, while the youngest of the others, age 33, may take the front seat as the FIRST LADY, when he becomes President of S.A. Anyway, what is especially interesting is the fact that the Leader of the Church, welcomed J.Z, the politician, into the church.... i.e. they have no separation of Church and State here... After the rally at the IPHC, which featured about 30,000 church members attending, J Z went to a Muslim celebration, and spoke there as well... We followed him there as well.... all very interesting... As my son interviewed and I listened to people’s response, it was mixed.. some liked J Z, some did not... their most important concern was crime against their people... Africa has a 40% unemployment rate, and 70% of blacks are unemployed... so it makes for a lot of crime, thievery, muggings and the like... As such residents live in compounds, homes with 6’ cement or steel bar walls. By the way, the car of the day was the Rolls Royce which the leader of the church showed up in... the President of the ANC rolled up in a BMW... It turned out to be a nice Easter. Tom Serino

Village Council Supports Bay Mills Against Rivals’ Lawsuit

by Kenichi Serino

The Vanderbilt Village council voted unanimously to support the Bay Mills Indian Community in their court battle to keep their casino open. A letter of support will be written council president Ed Posgate and will be submitted by the BMIC in the western federal court in Kalamazoo. The BMIC are responding to a lawsuit brought against them by the Little Traverse Bay Indians (LTTB). BMIC attorney Kathryn ‘Candy’ Tierney requested the letter and said the tribe had until January 12 to give the court their response. The LTTB contend that the BMIC casino, which was launched Nov. 3 of last year on Old 27 north of Vanderbilt, is illegal because it violates their compact and should be closed immediately while the court case proceeds. Posgate asked how Vanderbilt could be considered part of the Little Traverse Bay Indians compact since the village had not received any revenue from their casinos. He joked that council members visit their casino and ask for money. “I’m here for my check since I’m in your compact. Did you forget about me?” said Posgate. “They don’t want to split the pot. Are they greedy?” asked council member Ron Bush. Also present at the meeting was BMIC president Jeff Parker who updated the council on the casino’s progress, court case and revenue. The casino has offered to provide the village with two percent of its revenue. Parker said the first payment of $8,000 was already coming due. The council welcomed news of the payment. However, council member Karen Matelski criticized what she called a “dismissive attitude” of the council toward Vanderbilt schools. Earlier in the meeting, her proposal that representatives from the school participate in the meeting to discuss the usage of the casino’s payment was met with silence. “It’s annoying me a bit,” she said. “The schools are in serious decline. You need to consider with the casino coming in and giving [the school] some money.” Matelski said that while the payment of $8,000 was not large, it was expected to increase as the casino grows. That is pending, of course, the outcome of the lawsuit.

My Vacation 2005

by Tom Serino

Well, here I am back from my vacation to Japan. The first trip back there in 18 years. It was a fun trip, with lots of things to do, great food to eat, and lots of my wife’s family to meet and spend some time. The trip was eventful with a lot of new experiences. Things have advanced greatly in the past 20 years. For example, the new trains are faster, very roomy, with very nice bathrooms. I say that since on the last leg of my journey there, after landing in Sapporo, I took the express train to Wakkanai, about a 5 hour trip. I had to use the bathroom and there is one conveniently located every second car, so that passengers don’t have to travel too far to get to one. The doors open easily at the push of a button. They also close easily, but you have to remember to push the button. As I left the bathroom, I touched the door to enter the passenger car and the door opened, but then I noticed that the bathroom door was still open, so I stepped with one foot and pushed the button, so the door closed. That left me with my legs spread wide apart, as well as my arms, so that when the train shifted around a fast corner my body went crashing into the wall, giving me my first view of stars during daylight hours and a black eye. At age 58, it was painful, but I can take it. I went and sat down. The next day, my son and I ventured to Rebun. Rebun Island is the most northern island of Japan and south of Sakhalin, Russia. The weather there is bitterly cold in winter time. However, it does contain many beautiful scenery for one to see. It is also called the Island of Flowers because there is a great variety of flowers over the island in summer time. Anyway, there are two courses, an 8 hour trek and a 3 hour trek. My son agreed to the 3 hour trek with his Dad. The 3 hours meant 3 hours up, and it took us about 2 hours to come down the mountain, and another hour to walk back to the main town Kafuka, to eat and then catch the ferry back to Wakkanai. I suggested taking the bus, but Kenichi thought it was a great weather for a walk, which it was. It would have only cost us a dollar each for the bus ride to the ferry. And I figured it would be a buck well-spent. But we walked. It took my legs 3 days to recover. At my age it takes longer, I guess. Lastly, the trip to the main family farm, owned by brother in law Haruo Watanabe. It is a dairy farm with 84 cows, and since we stayed there, I felt compelled to help, along with my wife Fumiko and son Kenichi, in the barn. My wife and son had been there off an on during their two month stay in Japan, and I was only there 4 days, and it was nice to help out and learn about the dairy farm business. Helping out meant twice a day, once at 6 a.m. and later at 5 p.m. cleaning out the barn, the stalls with the cows in them, and then feeding them hay. I became good friends with the cows, as they became intimate with me, licking every part of me as I tried to clean manure from under their feet and inside the stalls. One cow especially gave me a rough time. I struggled three days, thats six times, with this one cow who seemed to like me a lot. On the third day, she pushed me so hard I lost my footing and I don’t know what I hit, but found myself holding on to a post in the stall, so I wouldn’t be on the floor, and the cow was right up against me. I was dazed and suffered a large scratch and bruise to the top of my forehead. I did manage to stay off the floor, and also learned how to use the other cow in the stall to keep the seemingly agressive cow away from myself. On the last day, I dreaded going into that one stall, but I figured I had to meet my fear head on, so I did, keeping the tamer cow between myself and the agressive cow. About a minute or two before I completed cleaning the task, and after what seemed a lot of maneuvering of the two cows, my wife came over and cautioned me, saying, “You need to watch out for that one cow, she’s in heat.” At my age, I’m still learning.


First Annual Christmas Dinner for Vanderbilt

by Tom Serino

The Otsego County Senior Citizens Housing Association (the Association) is offering a free Christmas Dinner for anyone in Vanderbilt, Gaylord and environs. The dinner will be held on Christmas Day from 2 to 5 p.m. The dinner will be a pot-luck, with the Association providing meat, and soft drinks and coffee. Anyone interested in attending will need to contact Billye Thatcher at 989-983-4185 to confirm reservations. The dinner will be held only if there is enough interest in the community to participate in the dinner. Volunteers from the Association, as well as Billye Thatcher, have committed themselves to making this a wonderful Christmas holiday for people who would otherwise be without company for the holiday and/or a Christmas dinner and to enjoy a nice Christmas dinner and meet new friends in the Vanderbilt and surrounding areas. The Association is the board which oversees the Horsell Manor, and currently hosts a monthly dinner dance at the Elkland Center (Bingo Hall) at 7910 Arthur Street and is hoping to provide added entertainment for residents of the community. See related article, this page.

OCCOA Helps Hundreds with Medicare Part D Signup

by John Panci, OCCOA Advocacy Department Coordinator

While the annual open-enrollment period for Medicare Part D insurance is a very busy time for the staff at the Otsego County Commission on Aging (OCCOA), it is also a very productive time as OCCOA counselors help area older adults get the right plans, and the numbers are impressive. For the most recent open enrollment, which closed in December, the OCCOA Advocacy staff helped 612 people save almost $242,000 by choosing the Part D plans that best fit their needs, for an average savings of almost $400/client. The OCCOA has been assisting people with their Part D plans for 11 years as part of the Medicare Medicaid Assistance Program. Each fall during open enrollment customers are able to pick from a variety of insurance carriers and plans, which change year to year. Advocacy Department Coordinator John Panci says that staying current is crucial. “Each year the prescription drug plans can change their monthly premiums, deductibles, and the medications covered. We don’t want any surprises when clients go to pick up their medications at the pharmacy.” In north-east Michigan’s 12-county region, OCCOA staff had the top results regarding the number of clients served during open enrollment, and finished second for money saved in the process. The OCCOA Advocacy Department counselors help area older adults with a wide range of issues, including Medicare, Medicare Part D, Medicaid, nursing home placement, Social Security, guardianships, conservatorships, and living wills. To get an appointment with an OCCOA counselor, call the Advocacy Department at 989-732-9977.

New Program may allow 3 year-old students to attend Vanderbilt Pre-School

Athena Sherbert, NEMCSA Family Services

“Vanderbilt Area School and Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency (NEMCSA) would like to announce a change regarding the Vanderbilt preschool program.” The Vanderbilt preschool was previously operated by the Vanderbilt Area School and was a GSRP program; accepting only four year olds. Vanderbilt Area School has now contracted with NEMCSA to operate this program as a Head Start/GSRP blend (serving children who turn 4 by 12-1-16 with some availability for children who turn 3 by 9-1-16). Vanderbilt Head Start/GSRP Preschool is a full-day, Monday through Thursday, income-based program that is tuition-free for those who qualify! There are placements available for 18 children. For those interested in doing an application for their child, please contact Athena Sherbert or Sue Sumampow at 989-731-1015. NEMCSA is also currently posting for teaching and classroom staff for the Vanderbilt program. If you are interested in working for NEMCSA, employment opportunities can be found on the agency’s website: www.nemcsa.org”

VAS Gets Help for Music Program

by Tom Serino

The Vanderbilt Area Schools received a total of $800 in help for a new program being offered at the school. That news came out of a school board meeting held Wednesday, March 12, 2014, held in the school library. Mrs. Billye Thatcher, a volunteer music teacher at the school offered to teach ukelele in addition to her regular duties at the school. The new program is part of a new two-year upgrade to the music program which Mrs. Thatcher is offering - at no charge to the school. Helping out with the new ukelele program was the Gaylord Rotary Club, with member Jack Deming facilitating the donation for the school Commented Deming, “When I presented the idea to the Gaylord Rotary, they were excited about helping out with the music program in this way.” Mrs. Thatcher announced at the school board meeting that the Rotary Club had purchased the ukeleles for the class, but it would be nice to have stands for the sheet music and straps for the students to hold the ukeleles up, to prevent accidental dropping of the ukeleles. Both Mark Mathews and Jim Ormsbee immediately offered to pick up the cost of the stands and straps for the program. This great show of community spirit was all that was needed to get the program off the ground, and Mrs. Thatcher began teaching the students in afternoon sessions, beginning at 3:15 p.m. Permission slips were sent home with students to parents to allow the students to participate. Any parent wishing to have their child enrolled in the program should call Mrs. Thatcher at 983-4185.

Registering your Phone Number on Do Not Call

by Tom Serino

To register your phone number to stop unwanted phone calls, consumers should call 1-888-382-1222. You must call from the phone you wish to register on the Do Not Call List. Residents who wish to register their number on the national Do Not Call Registry via the internet should go to donotcall.gov and follow instructions. This site allows residents to place up to three numbers at a time on the registry.

Emergency Notification System For Otsego County

by Tom Serino

Otsego County has initiated an emergency notification system for residents to access and to recieve information from, when natural or man-made disasters occur in the county. That was reported out at both the village of Vanderbilt and Corwith Township meetings by Otsego County Commissioner Paul Liss. Liss told the board members and people attending the meetings that they could sign up to receive e-mail alerts, text messages, phone calls on their home (landline) phones or cell phones on any emergencies in the county. Liss explained that once a person signs up to receive alerts, whenever severe weather, or traffic accident, or other emergency occurs, an automatic emergency notification alert will be broadcast to anyone who signs up to receive them. That alert may arrive in the form of voice mail, text message, facebook msg, or e-mail. To sign up, residents should go to the new 911/Emergency Management Facebook page at https://facebook.com/pages/Otsego-County-911Emergency-Management/318117674964418 to receive updates on issues as they happen as well as other safety-related information. Liss asked that residents share this information with friends and other residents.

Homeowners Get Hardest Hit Funds® Help

by Tom Serino

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) is offering help for homeowners who are receiving unemployment benefits from Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA). That was reported out at the regular meeting of the Corwith Townshp Board at their Feb. 6 meeting. There are several sub-programs under the Hardest-Hit Homeowners program. There is an Unemployment Mortgage Subsidy Program; a Loan Rescue Program; A Modification Plan Program and a Principal Curtailment Program. For detailed information, visit their website at: www.stepforwardmichigan.org. A brief overview of the programs available are as follows: Under the Unemployment program MSHDA will provide monthly mortgage payment assistance directly to the mortgage lender. This program provides up to the lesser of $1,000 or 50 percent of homeowner’s monthly mortgage payment each month, for a maximum of 12 months. The Loan Rescue Program helps homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage and/or property taxes and need help catching up. These funds can be used to help 1) to fully reinstate a 1st lien mortgage delinquency; 2) to reinstate the 1st lien mortgage delinquency AND make a contribution toward past due property taxes; 3) to reinstate a 2nd mortgage lien delinquency only OR contribute toward past-due property taxes only, if the first lien mortgage is current. The Modification Plan Program helps homeowners that may have fallen behind on their mortgage, and homeowners with negative equity. Funds can be used to, among other things, to make a contribution toward the unpaid balance to reduce the negative equity, if the lender agrees to modify the existing mortgage terms aimed at providing the homeowner with a more affordable, sustainable payment plan. Finally, the Principal Curtailment Program also helps homeowners in a negative equity situation when their combined loan balance is higher than the value of their home. The difference here is that the maximum program reservation is only $10,000 and requires a one-to-one match from the lender to equal a total amount of assistance of $20,000. These funds can be used toward the unpaid principal balance to reduce the negative equity, if the lender also agrees to modify the existing mortgage terms. For all programs, homeowners must sign a lien document and a note. The loan note is zero percent and is forgivable over a five year period at 20 percent per year, as long as the homeowner occupies the property. For more detailed information see: www. stepforwardmichigan.org.

Gas Savings Tips for the Thrifty

by Tom Serino

At $3.22 per gallon gas prices are causing stress in these economic times, but there are some ways to save gas that are well worth consideration. According to energy tips at Yahoo, MSN-Money you can get up to 50 m.p.g. if you drive your car with a goal to save gas. Some of the tips found at Yahoo, and MSN-Money include: 1. Jack rabbit starts burn gas. When leaving a stop sign or green light, press lightly on the gas.. you will still move forward, albeit slower, but the you might be surprised at how little it takes to get the car up to the speed limit in town. 2. Racing up to red lights While driving you see a red light up ahead. Take your foot off the gas. If you’re still doing 45 m.p.h. when you reach the light, you’ll be burning up your disc brakes to stop. It’s a lot cheaper to let your car coast to the stop while braking gently. As an added benefit, your brake pads will last longer, too. These two tips alone can improve your fuel economy around town by as much as 35 percent, according to tests conducted by automotive information on the Web site Edmunds.com. 3. Highway driving. On a recent trip to Grand Rapids, I drove my Honda CRV, a small S.U.V at or below 62 m.p.h on the expressway, and on M-55 and other places where it was 55 m.p.h. I drove only 52 mph. You would be surprised at how many cars passed me. And as they passed me, they dragged my S.U.V.. I actually attained 34.9 miles per gallon on that trip. According to the Yahoo site, in tests by Consumer Reports, driving at 75 miles per hour instead of 65 miles per hour reduced fuel economy by between 3 and 5 miles per gallon, depending on the vehicle. 4. Tailgaiting People tailgate, thinking they can stay inside the vacuum zone, to be dragged by the car in front of them, as in Item 3 above. Actually, tailgaiting is dangerous and wastes gas. Every time the driver ahead taps his brakes, you need to slow down considerably, and faster. The biggest problem is that you can’t see what is happening in front of the other driver when you’re that close to him. Take a lay back attitude, put a couple of car lengths between you and the other driver. You’ll be able to drive more smoothly and use less fuel. A good rule of thumb is to allow two seconds of space between your car and the one ahead. You can figure that out by counting off two seconds after the car in front of you passes an obvious landmark like an overpass. 5. Saving gas at stop lights With modern fuel-injection engines, it takes very little extra gas to restart a car once it’s warmed up. So, if you are stopped for more than 14 seconds, according to MSN - Money, shut it off. At a long line of cars, at a traffic light in downtown Gaylord - by the way, if you travel at the correct speed, you will be stopped by at least one of the lights since they aren’t synchronized yet... Maybe in another 20 years. In the meantime, once you are in a long line waiting for a left turn, or at one of those fast-food restaurants, shut off the engine. Idling burns about a half-mile worth of gas every minute, according to the California Energy Commission. By the way, you will get more exercise walking into Burger King for your meal. If you want to know where gasoline prices are headed, watch the Dow Jones Transportation Index ($DJT). That's the theory of some market watchers, at least. The transportation sector uses more than 70% of U.S. petroleum production and imports, according to Rigzone. When the transportation index drops, it's usually followed by a drop in crude oil prices. "We suggest keeping a close eye on the transports as the proverbial 'canary in the coal mine' in preparation of rotating out of the energy sector ahead of what historically has signaled grief for the industry," Rigzone writes. And that could be the case now. The Dow Transportation Index has dropped 12.3% since July 7. (Source: http://money.msn.com)

Letter to the Editor

by Phil Williams

This past week I received a schedule of fees from my propane gas company (at bottom). As I read through it, I could not believe that in a time when gas prices are skyrocketing that they would have the nerve to add additional fees or better yet to send me a notice at Christmas. And heaven forbid—You run out of gas——Because you are low income and don’t have regular refills—It will cost you $150.00 if you call after 4:30 or before 8 am or $250.00 if it is on the week end. Then add $85.00 for the leak check fee (because you ran out of the gas that you can’t afford anyway) then another $100.00 if you can’t afford the 200 gal minimum! So now for running out of gas on a Holiday weekend you will need $435.00 to make the call to get any gas…Gas fee not added in yet. The more I read the angrier I got. But after some reflection I realized that this is just a great marketing plan and I began to think of ways that I could also benefit.. Here are some of the concepts I came up with: Driveway usage, every time they deliver… $100.00. If unable to back in with one try additional $50.00 per attempt. Per minute fee for using our property $5.00 per minute or $100.00 whichever is greater. $100.00 fee for arriving before 9am and disturbing my morning coffee. $100.00 a month advertising fee for having their company name on the tank in MY yard. Obviously the days when Customer Service mattered are gone. When a Company was just darn happy to have you as a Customer… Now it is about the money. Needless to say, I will be shopping for a friendlier Gas Company, one that wants my business, not my Soul. Maybe you should too. But first I will have to save up the $100.00 fee for the tank removal! Phil Williams

H&H Earns Industry Award

by Tom Serino

H&H Tube of Vanderbilt has been honored with the 2010 TPJ Industry Award presented by the Tube and Pipe Association (TPA). TPA is a technology affiliate of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International ® (FMA) which honors industry success stories. H&H Tube meets the criterion of an industry success story. With its high regard to customer service, quality, on-time delivery and short lead times, H&H Tube not only encompasses the essence of the TPJ Industry Award, but is a great example of a quality American manufacturing facility. In addition, H&H Tube has taken incredible steps over the past several years in reducing inventory levels, minimizing scrap and achieving safety goals while never losing focus on their customers. “Our editors meet many fabricators every year, and every one of them is unique,” said Ed Youdell, group publisher for FMA Communications Inc., the company that publishes of TPJ-The Tube & Pipe Journal. “Some are in specific niches, and some are very diverse; some have just a handful of employees and some have dozens; some use all the latest technologies and others use tried-and-true machinery; but despite these differences, every fabricator makes a contribution to this industry. As this years’ top award winner, H & H is a fabricator we believe everyone can learn from. We selected H & H because the company exemplifies what metal fabrication is all about.” “Every application goes through several reviews,” said Eric Lundin, editor of TPJ-The Tube & Pipe Journal®. “What really stood out for H & H Tube was what the company does for people. Not just its customers, but its employees and the people in its community, too. Its safety record speaks for itself,” Lundin continued. “Three years without a lost day says a lot about its commitment to a safe workplace. When customers call, they talk to a receptionist because the company doesn’t want them to have to deal with a frustrating and impersonal automated phone system. And to top it off, H & H supports nearly a dozen local charities and causes.” “It is truly an honor to be recognized with this award.” comments Dan Dreyer, General Manager. “It is the result of the hard work of every employee; without their dedication and support, this award wouldn’t be possible.” The award will be presented at the Metal Matters 2010 conference hosted by FMA. H&H Tube will also be featured on the cover of the January / February 2010 issue of TPJ – Tube & Pipe Journal ® with an editorial covering how its culture was recognized for the Industry Award. H&H Tube is one of the largest tube fabricators supported by its own customer redraw mill. Established in 1930, H&H Tube was built on the philosophy of always recognizing the needs of its customers and understanding that quality, on-time delivery and customer service are paramount to success.  Today, H&H Tube still conducts it business with the same philosophy. H&H Tube is ISO 9001:2008 certified and owned by Sunspring America, Inc. with locations in Kentucky and North Carolina.

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by Tom Serino

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