Category: Opinion

Consumer Counselor – September 11, 2019

Reading (and understanding) a window sticker
Consumers shopping for new cars are no doubt familiar with the stickers plastered on the side windows of vehicles at dealerships. These stickers are loaded with information and are designed to describe the vehicle and its various options. Learning to read the window sticker in depth can help guide vehicle purchases and give consumers a good understanding of the vehicles they’re considering.
The window sticker, known to auto industry professionals as the Monroney label, is required by law to be the same across all manufacturers in regard to the information it includes. However, the automotive resource Edmunds notes that the layout of the sticker can vary depending on the automaker.
The following is some of the information shoppers will find on the window sticker, as well as a rundown of what that information means.
Model information: The top of the sticker will contain the model information, which includes the model, year and style of the vehicle. Also included are the engine size and the type of transmission. Exterior and interior colors also will be included.
MSRP: One of the prominent components of the window sticker will be the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. This does not necessarily represent the amount a buyer will spend on the car, nor is it what the dealer paid for the vehicle, which is the invoice price, says Many buyers try to negotiate a price lower than the MSRP.
Standard equipment: This section of the window sticker lists all of the features and items included in the vehicle. Categories will include exterior, interior, safety/security, comfort/convenience, and mechanical/performance. This section can be used to compare vehicles of the same trim level.
Warranty information: The warranty information is usually found next to the standard equipment information, offers YourMechanic. This will include the comprehensive warranty and those specific to certain elements of the vehicle. This warranty information is what is included in the base price, although customers can purchase more extensive warranties if they choose to do so.
VIN: The vehicle identification number will be located on the sticker as well. The VIN on the sticker should match the one on the dashboard to ensure it is the right vehicle.
Optional equipment: This is a list of the factory-installed options, which may be bundled into packages, states Edmunds.
Mileage and safety: The window sticker also will showcase the fuel economy and environmental impact of the vehicle. Safety information may include ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. If the car was released before being rated, the sticker will indicate it has not yet been rated.
Vehicle consumers can consult the window sticker and make a list of the key features they desire in their new car or truck, and then compare them against similar features in other makes and models.

Consumer Counselor – September 4, 2019

Dairy alternatives are expanding
Visit to a supermarket nowadays and you’re bound to see plenty of non-dairy milks and products competing with the real deal. Thanks to the popularity of plant-based nutrition, non-dairy products are increasingly finding a home in consumers’ shopping carts. New research from Mintel, a public relations and marketing firm, reveals that non-dairy milk sales have seen steady growth over the past several years. Between 2012 and 2017, the market grew an impressive 61 percent.
Almond, coconut and soy products continue to be popular dairy alternatives. However, new brands and products are continually competing in the non-dairy segment, including pecan, quinoa, oatmeal, and flax-based products. This is a stark change from just a decade or so ago, when people with dairy allergies or dietary preferences had few non-dairy alternatives to choose from. There are several reasons why people may want an alternative to dairy, as milk, cheeses and yogurts aren’t suitable for everyone. A 2015 study published in the European Journal of Pediatrics found that cow’s milk allergies are the most common food allergies in young children. That allergy follows many people into adulthood. After allergies, the health and wellness resource Healthline says 75 percent of the world’s population is intolerant to lactose, the sugar found in milk.
Non-dairy alternatives make sense for many people, though it’s important to note there are some distinct differences between non-dairy and dairy products to consider:
Non-dairy products have fewer calories than dairy.
Non-dairy products contain a greater number of ingredients than dairy.
Non-dairy products have a higher water content than dairy.
There is added sugar in some non-dairy products.
Those new to non-dairy items can experiment with the various products available. Here are some options to try:
Soy milk: This product is made from whole soybeans or soy protein isolate. It’s generally creamy and mild, and is the most similar product to cow’s milk in regard to nutrition. One cup of unsweetened soy milk contains 80-90 calories, 4-4.5 grams of fat, 7-9 grams of protein, and 4 grams of carbohydrates.
Almond milk: This beverage has a sweet, nutty flavor. It is low in calories, fat and carbohydrates. Almond milk is low in protein, which may deter some people. One cup of unsweetened almond milk contains 30-35 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein, and 1-2 grams of carbohydrates.
Coconut milk: Creamy like other non-dairy products, coconut milk must be avoided by people who are allergic to coconut. Coconut milk is low in carbohydrates, but can be high in MCTs, a type of saturated fat. One cup contains 45 calories, 4 grams of fat, no protein, and almost no carbohydrates.
Oat milk: New to the non-dairy arena, oat milk is made from a mixture of oats and water. Other ingredients may be added to produce a desireable texture. While high in protein and fiber, oat milk also is high in calories and carbohydrates compared to some other dairy alternatives. One cup contains 140-170 calories, 4.5-5 grams of fat, 2.5-5 grams of protein, and 19-29 grams of carbohydrates.
Dairy alternatives are plentiful, and the market is growing exponentially.
*Nutritional content provided by Pacific Foods brand and Silk

Simply Put – September 4, 2019

By Mike Whittlesey
This week, with the help of Hoppy’s PRIMititive and Proper, The Progress Review debuts a new feature called This Week in LPC History.
La Porte City began making history in 1855 when the city was platted. Serving as the city’s official newspaper, The Progress Review has been documenting news of local importance since 1872.
With This Week in LPC History, we encourage readers to use two of The Progress Review’s newest information tools.
Each week during the month of September, a La Porte City history trivia question will be posed, giving readers a week to locate and submit the correct answer. Readers who submit the correct response will have their name entered into a drawing for a $50 gift certificate from Hoppy’s at the end of the month. Answer all four questions posed in September correctly and you’ll have four chances to win!
Fair warning: Questions presented will range from somewhat easy to rather difficult. Those who enjoy a good challenge will find the first information tool, the free online archives of The Progress Review, helpful, as they search for an answer that was published in the local newspaper during the month of September sometime in the past 147 years.
Stumped? Not enough time in the day to dig into the online newspaper archives? Use the second information tool, The Progress Review App, to quickly locate and submit the correct answer. Use of the app is also free. Simply download it to your favorite mobile device, then select This Week in LPC History from the main menu. There you’ll find the correct answer conveniently provided. Simply enter your name and email address to submit your entry.
While this contest uses The Progress Review App as the primary method to submit entries, those who prefer paper and pencil can complete their entry by clipping the This Week in LPC History form from the newspaper and returning it to The Progress Review office by the stated deadline.
How well do you know La Porte City history? We hope you enjoy the opportunity to explore the features of The Progress Review App and have the time to browse through the online archives, which have been made possible courtesy of The Progress Review, Hawkins Memorial Library and a number of generous donors.
Complete online access to newspaper archives that is free of charge is a rare service in this day and age. Logon to or and take a look. La Porte City has a number of fascinating stories to tell, past and present. You never know what you’ll learn, This Week in LPC History.

ViewPoint: ‘Get Your Walk On’ with the Healthiest State Initiative on October 2

By Jami Haberl, Executive Director, Iowa Healthiest State Initiative
We’ve got a big goal this year, Iowans, and we need your help to achieve it. The Healthiest State Annual Walk is celebrating its ninth year. To celebrate, our goal is to have walks registered in all 99 counties across the state with a total of (at least) 900 walks.
Help us reach our goal and take a step in the right direction for your health by walking for 30 minutes on October 2. The Annual Walk is an opportunity for your school, workplace or community group to join thousands of other Iowans in a collective effort to improve the wellness of our state.
The Annual Walk is a great reminder for Iowans to incorporate physical activity, like walking, into their daily routines. Walking is the easiest, most affordable and accessible form of physical activity to improve our health. It increases our cardiovascular health and leads to stronger bones and improved balance.
Walking is also great for our mental health. Exercise releases endorphins which have a positive effect on our mood. Walking can also help reduce stress and anxiety. The next time you are feeling overwhelmed or unfocused – try taking a short walk to clear your mind.
Lastly, we walk together on October 2 to connect with other members of our communities and improve our social health. The Annual Walk is a great way connect with others. Invite a friend, family member or neighbor to walk with you – by walking with them, you will both reap the physical, mental and social benefits.
Want to join us? There may already be a walk planned in your community or you can register your own walk on behalf of a school, workplace, organization or group of individuals. View a map of planned walks or register your own at
Registering a walk is as easy as 1-2-3:
Register! Registration is free and easy. Register early to increase your chances to win prizes and build excitement.
Organize! Your walk can be as simple or spectacular as you’d like it to be! Walk over your lunch break or in the evening time — whenever is most convenient for your group.
Get the word out! The Healthiest State Initiative has free online resources to help make your walk a success, including social media posts and graphics, communication templates, posters and print-your-own stickers!
Join us on October 2 to improve your own physical, mental and social health along with being part of a greater effort to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation. If you do walk with us, please share on social media using #GetYourWalkOn2019. We appreciate your support in helping us reach our goal, one walk at a time.

Letter to the Editor – Joel Bishop

To the Editor,
Raising classroom awareness
Today’s 21st century classroom looks a lot different than it did thirty years ago. Across the state students are entering schools every day faced with traumatic issues as well as heavy mental burdens created by the “technology explosion” of social media.
Student behaviors might appear to be a classroom out of control. Actually, it may be a cry for attention. The student may be seeking additional positive influences to help navigate and stand strong in the face of traumatic issues.
It is time for communities to reach out and support mental health by implementing programs in our schools and communities to support positive learning environments. Adults can be influential models to help our students successfully cope with the pressures of the future.
Joel Bishop, Iowa State Education Association, Retired Representative, Hawkeye Uniserv Unit


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