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From Tom Parsons - Car Rental Tips To Save You Money On The Road
From Tom Parsons - Car Rental Tips To Save You Money On The Road
May 29, 2015

Summertime is a season when lots of people take vacations and renting a car is often part of the trip.

Whether you want to fly roundtrip and rent a car at your destination, or you want to hit the road for a driving vacation in a rental, we've got some tips and advice for keeping costs down.

If you can rent at an off airport location, you can save money. Airport rentals are loaded with fees that city locations don't have, so it is often cheaper to rent in town. If your hotel offers a free airport shuttle, compare the rates for an airport rental, versus a rental in town. Even if there isn't a free shuttle, it may be more cost effective to pay for a shuttle or taxi and then rent a car in town.

Weekend rentals can be cheaper than renting during the week for a few days, so plan your vacations around those better rates. When it comes to weekend rentals, Enterprise often has off-airport rates starting at $9.99 per day, plus taxes and fees, so it is worth taking a look.

Sometimes travelers want to rent a car in one city and drop it off in another, but this can be very expensive. One-way rental rates are often much higher than if you rent and return to the same location. One tip we have is to rent two separate cars, one for the drive from your city to your destination city, and another one for use at the destination city.

For example, if you want to drive from Dallas to San Antonio and spend a week there before flying home, you can rent a car for 24 hours for your drive to San Antonio, then rent a separate car for your time within San Antonio and drop it off before you fly home. We looked at rates for June 17-24 for a rental from Dallas to San Antonio and a one-way rental was $680. A one day rental picking up in Dallas and dropping off in San Antonio was $160, and a six-day rental picking up and dropping off at the San Antonio Airport was $300 for a standard car and if you picked up and dropped off in the city, it was $250. As you can see, you would save well over $200 by renting two separate cars.

One thing you have to remember with car rentals is that the time of day you pick up your car and return your car can affect your rate. The rentals are based on 24 hours for a day, so if you pick up your car at 2 p.m., you'll want to return it by 2 p.m. If you return the car later, you could be charged for a whole extra day even if you only rent an extra three hours. If your flight price is the same to return close to the time you land, you should book that flight to avoid the extra car rental cost. If a later flight costs the equivalent of a one day car rental or cheaper, then keep it longer, but if not book an earlier flight.

Also, you'll want to return your car on time to avoid extra charges. If your car is due back at 12 p.m. and you return it at 1 p.m., you'll usually be charged an extra one third of the daily rate, if you return it at 2 p.m., you'll be charged and extra two thirds of the daily rate and if it's over three hours late, you may have to pay for another full day.

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Posted by Ken at 6:49 PM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Study: Tattoos Can Cause Serious, Long-Term, Adverse Reactions
Study: Tattoos Can Cause Serious, Long-Term, Adverse Reactions
May 29, 2015

Whether it's a skull, cross, rose, or mom's name in a thorn bush wrapped around the bicep, about one quarter of American adults have a tattoo. But a new study says about one out of every 10 inkers does not anticipate something that can come along with them: a severe, ongoing skin reaction.

In the just-published NYU Langone Medical Center research that studied tattoo-clad New Yorkers, those who reacted to tattoos experienced a rash, itching or swelling that lasted anywhere from four months to several years, with the longest-lasting complications stemming from ink shades of red and black.

"While we know infections are a risk of tattoos and can be dependent on tattoo parlor practices, a lot of the complications in our study - and that I have seen in my patients - do not have to do with the tattoo artist or parlor practices, but rather the qualities of ink and how the body's immune system responds to it," Marie C. Leger, MD, PhD, study lead and Assistant Professor at the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology, tells Yahoo Health.

The 300 respondents ranged in age from 18 to 69, with most having no more than five tattoos - and 67 percent of studied tattoos were on the arms. "We were rather alarmed at the high rate of reported chronic complications tied to getting a tattoo. Given the growing popularity of tattoos, physicians, public health officials and consumers need to be aware of the risks involved," added Leger.

While less than a third of the affected study participants saw a doctor for the reaction, the majority returned to the tattoo parlor to complain or ask for guidance. "Tattoo artists are 'first responders' when people have problems," says Leger, who adds that a planned follow-up study will examine what kind of reactions artists see most frequently, and how clients are directed, in an effort to get people to the right place for help.

Experts are not surprised by the news. "While tattoos are popular among Americans, there is still little to no regulation of what exactly is being injected into the skin," says Jeremy A. Brauer, MD, dermatologist and Director of Clinical Research at Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York, where he has seen patients with tattoo reactions - most often to red ink. The majority of patients have allergic contact dermatitis, which is marked by redness, swelling and itching in the area of the tattoo.

Treatment of tattoo reactions "can be challenging" says Brauer, who uses oral antihistamines combined with oral or injectable steroids to quell the inflammation. Blistering sometimes occurs and requires wound care and dressings, while evidence of infection is treated with antibiotics. More recently, there have been reports of successful laser treatment with both ablative and non-ablative fractional lasers, adds Bauer.

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Southwest reroutes flight for woman to see comatose son
Southwest reroutes flight for woman to see comatose son
May 29, 2015

Southwest Airlines is being praised for going above and beyond the call of duty after a woman learned her son was in a coma after an accident.

Peggy Uhle was on a flight from Chicago to Columbus waiting to take off when the plane turned back to the gate and flight attendant asked her to get off.

"I figured I was on the wrong plane. The gate agent told me to check in at the desk and when I did she told me to call my husband," Uhle told airline blog BoardingArea.com.

After checking in with customer service, Uhle learned her son, who lives in Denver, was in a coma after suffering a head injury. Even before Uhle disembarked, the airline had rebooked her--with no additional fees or service charges --on a non-stop to Denver that was leaving in two hours.

"They offered a private waiting area, rerouted my luggage, allowed me to board first, and packed a lunch for when I got off the plane in Denver," Uhle told Boarding Area.

"My luggage was delivered to where I was staying, and I even received a call from Southwest asking how my son was doing."

Uhle said that her son is still continuing to recover but she is thankful for the top-notch service she received from the airline.

"The care that I was shown is second to none. We have always liked Southwest Airlines and now we can't say enough good things about them."

This incident comes just weeks after Southwest refused to allow a woman to call her husband from the tarmac after getting a text from him saying he was about to kill himself. Karen Momsen-Evers later found out he had committed suicide.

Southwest said that plane captains are to be notified in emergency situations affecting the crew or passengers and that it was investigating.

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Posted by Ken at 1:43 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Michael Jackson's Former Home, Neverland Ranch, for Sale at $100M
Michael Jackson's Former Home, Neverland Ranch, for Sale at $100M
May 29, 2015

The California property that once served as Michael Jackson's home and personal fantasyland is being listed at $100 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The 2,700-acre ranch in Santa Ynez Valley features such amenities as a train station, six-bedroom house, 50-seat movie theater and a pair of lakes, It has been in limbo since Jackson's death in 2009.

Jackson originally paid $19.5 million for the oak- and sycamore-studded property in 1988 and rechristened it Neverland after Peter Pan's island dwelling. He soon added such over-the-top amenities as a zoo and small amusement park, which have since been removed.

The real estate company Colony Capital LLC bailed out Jackson in 2008 after he defaulted on the $24.5 million that he owed on the property.

Despite rumors after Jackson's death that the hilly property might be transformed into a Graceland-like homage to the King of Pop, Colony Capital has quietly maintained the ranch located about 150 miles north of Los Angeles.

The estate was built in 1981 by real estate developer William Bone, who called it Sycamore Valley Ranch.

Jackson distanced himself from the ranch after his 2005 acquittal on charges that he molested children at the property. The singer opted to live elsewhere in the world until his death.

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Posted by Ken at 1:43 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert indicted by federal grand jury
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert indicted by federal grand jury
May 29, 2015

J. Dennis Hastert, the longest serving Republican speaker in the U.S. House, was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury on charges that he violated banking laws in a bid to pay $3.5 million because of "past misconduct" against an unnamed individual from their hometown west of Chicago.

Hastert, 73, who has been a high-paid lobbyist in Washington since his 2007 retirement, schemed to mask more than $950,000 in withdrawals from various accounts that violated federal banking laws that require disclosure of large cash transactions, according to a seven-page indictment delivered by a grand jury in Chicago.

The indictment did not spell out the exact nature of the "prior misconduct" by Hastert against the individual from his hometown, Yorkville, but noted that before entering politics in 1981, Hastert spent more than a decade as a teacher and wrestling coach at the local high school. The unnamed individual has known Hastert for most of that person's life, the indictment states.

Hastert did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday, and his legal team had not issued a statement about the charges on Thursday afternoon.

The indictment, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern Division of the Northern District of Illinois, also alleges that Hastert lied to FBI agents last December when asked about the withdrawals.

Prosecutors said that in 2010, when the unnamed individual confronted Hastert about the allegations of misconduct, the former speaker agreed to pay out $3.5 million "to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct against" this person.

Over the next five years Hastert withdrew about $1.7 million in cash from his various bank accounts, at one point last year delivering $100,000 at a time to the person, the indictment alleges.

Beginning in 2013, the FBI and Internal Revenue Service began investigating "possible structuring of currency transactions to avoid the reporting requirements." Hastert had made more than a dozen withdrawals of $50,000 in cash, which was provided to the unnamed individual every six weeks, the indictment said.

After bank representatives questioned him about the withdrawals, he began taking out less than $10,000 at a time, providing it to the unnamed person at set locations and times, prosecutors say. When Hastert was asked about the withdrawals, the indictment states that he told agents: "I kept the cash."

However, the indictment states that this is a lie, and Hastert was trying to keep his agreement to pay the unnamed person "secret so as to cover up his past misconduct."

Hastert will be arraigned at a U.S. district court at an unspecified later date, according to the U.S. Attorney's office for the Northern District of Illinois.

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Posted by Ken at 1:43 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Seattle car burglar overlooks lottery ticket worth $1 million
Seattle car burglar overlooks lottery ticket worth $1 million
May 29, 2015

A Seattle couple said a burglar stole a pair of sunglasses from their car, but ignored something far more valuable -- a $1 million winning Powerball ticket.

The couple, who requested anonymity, said they forgot to check the numbers on their Powerball ticket after it failed to win the $350 million jackpot in February's drawing.

"We didn't even think about a second chance prize," the couple told Washington's Lottery officials. They said the ticket sat in their car for about three months.

"Someone broke into our car a few weeks ago and stole a pair of sunglasses," the couple said. "The stolen sunglasses were actually sitting atop the winning ticket. What a close call!"

The couple checked the numbers on the ticket May 14 and discovered they had won a $1 million second chance prize.

"Well, we already popped a bottle of champagne! We're also planning a trip to Paris and Iceland for this year. Other than that, I think we'll just take care of our house," the couple said.

The Seattle Imam's store that sold the ticket will receive a $10,000 selling bonus, the lottery said.

The burglar, meanwhile, will have to make do with a pair of used sunglasses.

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Posted by Ken at 1:43 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

From Dr. Joy Browne - Student With Special Needs Crowned Prom Queen, Sets School History With Record Number Of Votes
From Dr. Joy Browne - Student With Special Needs Crowned Prom Queen, Sets School History With Record Number Of Votes
May 28, 2015

Katie Shipley, a high school senior with a developmental disorder, was crowned prom queen on Saturday after receiving an overwhelming 200 votes from her classmates -- a record number in the history of her school, NBC reported.

"I had the most votes in school, in the whole world," Shipley told KGW. "They made me feel happy."

Earlier this year, the 18-year-old student at Southridge High School in Beaverton, Oregon, expressed a desire to her friends to be part of the prom court -- the group of students nominated to take the prom king and queen titles. Shipley's classmates rallied behind her and campaigned to get her onto the court with the date of her choice -- classmate Mike Parks. On May 16 at the World Trade Center in Portland, before a cheering audience she was crowned queen, Oregonlive reports.

"She's really joyful. I've never seen her not smiling," Parks said to the news outlet. "She's so loving and caring and fun to be around."

Shipley was born with a rare chromosome disorder, KGW reported, and is a student in Southridge's special education program. She was in class earlier this month when her friends surprised her with the news she'd been nominated a prom princess, as shown in the video below. After taking home the crown as queen, Shipley sent handwritten notes expressing her gratitude to her friends and classmates.

"I like being prom queen," she said in an interview with The Oregonian/Oregonlive. "Prom queen is my favorite thing."

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Posted by Ken at 6:49 PM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

From Tom Kraeutler - Got Allergies? Mold in Your Home Could Be Making Them Worse
From Tom Kraeutler - Got Allergies? Mold in Your Home Could Be Making Them Worse
May 28, 2015

This year's allergy season has been one of the worst in recent memory due to what some have called a pollen tsunami. Tree and grass pollen hit extremely high levels at the same time, which is unusual - and a recipe for misery for allergy sufferers. But outdoor conditions may not be the only reasons you're sniffling and sneezing. In fact, you could be allergic to something in your own home: mold.

As homes have been tightened for improved energy efficiency, residential air quality has suffered. The EPA has named indoor air pollution as one of the top five environmental risks to public health, and also reports that indoor air can be up to 100 times more polluted than the air outside. Indoor air quality has a major impact on health, and in today's tightly sealed homes, there's a high risk of exposure to allergens, pollutants and harmful mold.

Mold exposure does not always present a health problem indoors. However, some people are sensitive to molds and may experience symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation. Certain individuals with chronic respiratory disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, asthma) may have difficulty breathing. People with immune suppression may be at increased risk for infection from molds.

So, how can you tell if your home is harboring harmful molds? There's a new home mold test that really impressed me. It's fast, it's accurate, and it's easy to use. It's called the 5-Minute Mold Test and it's made by Healthful Home. It identifies the presence of bad molds in five minutes or less without waiting for lab results, and saves you hundreds of dollars on mold inspectors. This is a true DIY test for mold. Other tests on the market are either just sample collection kits for lab analysis, or they don't tell you whether you actually have mold (like instant protein tests that turn blue in the presence of anything biological, such as food or flour).

Testing for mold is an easy, three-step process: swab the area, bend bulb to wet, and add the sample to your test, which uses the same proven lateral flow assay technology used in medical labs. You don't need to actually see mold to test - the 5-Minute Mold Test can detect mold spores in household dust. And it only identifies molds known or suspected to cause health issues, not everyday background molds. It detects over 32 different unhealthful Asp/Pen and Stachybotrys mold types associated with illness by the EPA.
The extent and type of mold in your home will determine whether you can handle the mold cleanup yourself or need the assistance of a mold removal professional. Small mold cleanup jobs - generally 10 square feet or less of mold growth - can be tackled by a homeowner, as long as there is no one present who is sensitive to mold. You can use a solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water, and wear a dust mask to avoid breathing in mold spores.

Larger cleanup jobs should be handled by professionals. To find a qualified mold removal professional, ask for references from your insurance company and a mold removal contractor's past clients, and seek information from professional training and certification organizations such as the American Indoor Air Quality Council and the Indoor Air Quality Association.

Finally, mold cleanup and removal is something you might find yourself needing to do again and again unless you change the conditions that were conducive to mold growth in the first place. Preventing mold is really all about managing the moisture inside your house, so make sure you keep humidity below 50% in basements; improve outside grading and drainage by keeping gutters clean and soil always sloping away from your home; and cover dirt crawlspace floors with plastic to reduce moisture.

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Posted by Ken at 6:49 PM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Super Beets!
Super Beets!
May 28, 2015

Nitric oxide (N-O) is the master regulator of the cardiovascular system that signals arteries to relax and dilate, improving circulation and blood flow. Dietary nitrates, like those found in SuperBeets, can help the body:

Support Heart Health & Blood Pressure
Promote Improved Natural Energy
Promote Extended Exercise Endurance & Stamina
Promote Increased Circulation

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Posted by Ken at 4:50 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

The FCC targets robocallers and text-message spammers
The FCC targets robocallers and text-message spammers
May 28, 2015

Everybody gets them and everybody hates them. Now, the Federal Communications Commission is trying to do something about them.

The FCC has announced a new proposal to stop the plague of unsolicited robocalls, which the commission said is it biggest source of complaints. The new efforts also extends to text messages on mobile phones.

The proposal from FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler, which began circulating on Wednesday, would give people new ways to stop robocalls, including allowing carriers to offer new technology to block the calls.

The FCC would also define an autodialer as "any technology with the capacity to dial random or sequential numbers" in an effort to limit companies that get around existing laws with new technology.

The new regulation would still allow for notification calls and texts from companies in certain situations, such as notifying consumers about fraud or reminding them to refill prescriptions. Any marketing or debt collection will not be allowed under this exception, and people can still opt out of receiving such messages.

The new rules, which have already been seen by the four other FCC commissioners, will be voted on at the FCC's upcoming meeting on June 18, 2015.

These rules would bolster the existing regulation about unsolicited calls, which include the "do-not-call list" that was started in 2003 by the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission.

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Posted by Ken at 1:43 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

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