Category: Opinion

Consumer Counselor – April 1, 2020

How to clean when faced with a shortage of supplies
In light of concerns about COVID-19, various health organizations have issued specific instructions on how to maintain personal safety and cleanliness. These recommendations involve using common household products to sanitize homes, offices and public spaces. As people take such precautions, many are stocking up on extra essentials, resulting in shortages. Everything from hand sanitizers to paper towels may be hard to find on grocery store shelves, leaving some to wonder what they can do to remain safe without sanitizers?
The Environmental Protection Agency states that coronaviruses are some of the easiest types of viruses to kill because they have an envelope around them that enables them to merge with other cells and infect them. If that protective coating can be disrupted, the virus can’t do its job. For those having trouble finding well-known cleaning agents, these alternatives may suffice.
Hot water and soap – The reason hand-washing is at the top of the list of sanitizing methods is because it is so effective at washing away viruses and bacteria. Friction from scrubbing with soap and water can help break the protective envelope, states the EPA. Soap and water can clean all surfaces in a home, especially when applying a little extra elbow grease.
Hydrogen peroxide – As people clear isopropyl (rubbing alcohol) off the shelves, do not discount hydrogen peroxide. The CDC says household hydrogen peroxide at 3 percent concentration can deactivate rhinovirus, the virus that causes the common cold, within six to eight minutes of contact. Coronavirus is easier to destroy than rhinovirus, so hydrogen peroxide may be effective at combatting that virus as well.
Natural items also can be used for general cleaning, but have not been endorsed for use on COVID-19 disinfection. In lieu of shortages, white vinegar, baking soda pastes and citrus oils and juices could fill the void of chemically-based cleansers for other home tasks.

ViewPoint: Early ACCESS: being a baby is hard work

Early ACCESS: being a baby is hard work
By Gina Greene, Central Rivers Area Education Agency
You don’t have to be a child development expert to give a child a great start in life. In fact, it’s surprisingly simple – and fun. The first three years of life are a period of amazing growth in all areas of a baby’s development. Children are learning through everything they do. Providing a child with positive experiences can make all the difference for their future. Having safe and loving relationships and spending time with family and friends – playing, singing, reading and talking – are all very important.
Healthy development means that children can grow to be the most that they can be. You can make this difference. As a parent, grandparent, or caregiver you are the most important teacher your child will ever have. No two children develop, grow and learn in the same way or at the same pace. However, children do develop in certain predictable ways. If you have questions or concerns, Early ACCESS, Iowa’s System of Early Intervention, can help. Early ACCESS provides resources, support and information to parents and caregivers to help children grow and develop.
Kids who hear more words spoken at home, learn more words and are more ready for school. Kids who are read to regularly between ages birth and five hear more than 1 million more words than those who were never read to. Read to your baby from the very beginning!
If you have questions or concerns about how your infant or toddler 0-3 plays, hears, sees, talks, eats or moves, contact Early ACCESS. There is no cost to you for Early ACCESS services and support.
You can follow your baby’s development. To see what they will learn next each month visit Month by Month Development on the Iowa Family Support Network website. To get more information about Early ACCESS, including statewide and local resources and regional contacts, visit the Iowa Family Support Network at http://www.iafamilysupportnetwork.org/early-access-iowa To reach someone for Early ACCESS information or a no cost evaluation, contact us statewide by calling 1-888-425-4371.
Gina Greene is the Early ACCESS Regional Coordinator for Central Rivers Area Education Agency (AEA). Central Rivers AEA serves over 65,000 students. In addition, over 5,000 educators rely on Central Rivers AEA for services in special education, school technology, media and instructional/curriculum support. The agency’s service area reaches 18 counties and nearly 9,000 square miles.

Consumer Counselor – March 18, 2020

How to lower the cost of auto insurance
Auto insurance is a must-have for drivers. While it might seem hard to believe, as of 2019 there are still some places in the United States where auto insurance is not mandatory. Auto insurance is mandatory in Canada, though each province has its own requirements in terms of the minimum amount of coverage allowable by law.
Many people, even those in places where auto insurance is not mandatory, recognize the importance of being insured before they get behind the wheel. However, that doesn’t mean those same drivers would not like to cut the cost of their auto insurance policies.
A 2019 analysis from the online financial resource NerdWallet found that the average cost of car insurance in the United States is $1,621 per year. Average insurance costs vary significantly in Canada, where data from the General Insurance Statistical Agency found that, in 2019, the average annual insurance premium in British Columbia exceeded $1,800, while drivers in Quebec paid slightly more than $700 annually.
No matter where drivers live, chances are they would love to lower their auto insurance costs. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to cut auto insurance premiums, drivers can try various strategies to save money on their policies.
Raise your policy’s deductibles. Higher deductibles may sound scary to drivers, but raising the deductibles is a great way to lower the cost of auto insurance. The auto insurance provider Progressive notes that deductibles typically range from $100 to $2,000. A driver whose policy has a $100 deductible will pay considerably more on his policy per month than a driver with a higher deductible. In fact, the Insurance Information Institute notes that drivers who increase their deductibles from $200 to $1,000 can save 40 percent or more on their coverage costs. Drivers who choose this option should always be sure they have enough money in the bank to cover the cost of their deductibles.
Bundle your policies. Some drivers save money on their auto insurance policies by buying two or more types of insurance from the same provider. For example, homeowners may save money by buying homeowners insurance from their auto insurance providers or vice versa.
Research potential discounts. The III notes that many companies offer discounts to policyholders, even if those discounts are not necessarily promoted. Drivers can contact their insurance companies, or shop around with other providers, to ask about various discounts that can save them money on their policies. Anti-theft devices, defensive driving courses, low annual mileage, and a strong credit record are just a handful of the many potential discounts drivers may be eligible for.
Drivers can reduce the cost of their auto insurance policies in various ways, potentially saving themselves hundreds of dollars each year as a result.

Consumer Counselor – March 11, 2020

Caution and caustic products go hand-in-hand
Keeping a home clean is no small task. All sorts of stains appear in homes every day, some harder to clean than others. And for each individual spill or accident that can dirty up a home, there seems to be a cleaning product tailor-made to address it. That can make choosing the right cleaning product more complicated than simply choosing the least expensive option.
Cleaning products are not one and the same, and various consumer advocacy groups have emphasized the importance of choosing products that are both effective and safe. Caustics are one type of product that get ample shelf space at grocery stores. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, caustics are chemicals that burn or corrode people’s skin, eyes and mucus membranes.
While it may seem as though no one would willingly bring such products into their homes, caustics are widely used. In fact, the National Capital Poison Center (NCPC) notes that drain cleaners, oven cleaners, rust removers, toilet bowl cleaners, dishwasher detergents, and cleaning products for brick and concrete are among the various products that can cause chemical burns.
Adults generally know to exercise caution around potentially dangerous cleaning products, including caustics. However, children and pets may not be so savvy. That only underscores the importance of exercising extreme caution when bringing such products into a home. The NCPC notes that caustic products cause instant damage, which means parents and/or pet owners won’t be able to prevent injuries if curious youngsters and animals come into contact with these substances. Before purchasing caustic cleaning products, consumers can consider these pointers, courtesy of the NCPC.
Only purchase caustics if nothing else will do the job. Because of their potential to cause so much damage so quickly, caustics should only be purchased if no other product is up to the task. A little extra elbow grease is worth avoiding the potential problems caused by caustics.
Don’t buy caustics in bulk. Extra caustics around the house only increase the risk of injury. Only purchase the amount you need, storing anything you bring home in areas that cannot be accessed by curious kids and pets.
Do not transfer products to different containers. Caustics should always be kept in their original containers. That reduces confusion and the risk of accidents. In addition, product warning labels on the original packaging will ensure anyone who needs to use the substance will be made aware of its potential safety hazards.
Follow directions carefully. All it takes is a simple spill for a caustic product to cause an injury. When using caustics, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and exactly.
Protect yourself. When using caustic products, wear gloves and safety glasses to reduce your risk of injury. In addition, open windows if the label advises doing so.
Do not use caustics near kids or pets. Never use caustics in front of children or pets. Kids and pets are naturally curious, and that curiosity may compel them to look for products they saw mom and dad using.
Caution and caustic products must go hand-in-hand to avoid injuries and accidents around the house.

Simply Put – March 11, 2020

By Mike Whittlesey
“All good things must come to an end.”
This quote and well-known proverb dates back to 1374, first appearing in Geoffrey Chaucer’s poem entitled “Troilus and Criseyde.” While not the exact words Chaucer used in the poem, which was written in Middle English, the sentiment serves as an appropriate metaphor for the work that has been done at The Progress Review the past 18 years.
When we purchased the local newspaper in 2002, our goal was to continue the rich tradition of the small, family-owned newspaper that began in 1872, when our city’s forefather, Dr. Jesse Wasson, helped merge two rival publications into what would become The Progress Review. Over the years, the publication has been produced and published by a succession of families who have assumed responsibility for reporting La Porte City’s news and events to the community.
Last August, when mapping out retirement plans, it was decided that after some 940 weeks of publishing The Progress Review, the time had come to heed Chaucer’s words. With the hope that the local newspaper would continue on following our departure, a long range strategy was put into place, one that would allow subscribers to continue receiving The Progress Review following the sale of the newspaper. Given the limited market for small, family-owned newspapers, however, we understood the reality that, in the relay race of newspaper publishing, it was very possible there would be no one to hand The Progress Review baton off to.
During our tenure, the world of newspapers has changed considerably, making a steady move from the world of print to include a variety of digital platforms. During that time, The Progress Review was one the first weekly papers in the area to offer a website and later, a mobile app. Whether in print or online, the success we’ve enjoyed always comes back to our loyal readers and advertisers. Without them, there would be no Progress Review. We hope you’ve found the content we’ve published the past 18 years to be informative, useful and, at the appropriate times, entertaining.
The opportunity to serve our community has been a deeply rewarding one. In the world of publishing, there is no greater satisfaction than sharing stories that matter with your hometown. We look forward to continue sharing those stories until our 940th and final edition on September 30, 2020, when our retirement as publishers of the The Progress Review becomes official. If no buyer for the newspaper has been secured by that time, rest assured all current subscribers will receive a refund for the remaining amount of their subscription.
Thank you for allowing us to bring The Progress Review into your home. It has been a pleasure and honor to serve a community that means so very much to us.
~Mike & Jane Whittlesey

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