Tag: 102115

Black Hills Energy Provides Tips For Staying Safe And Warm This Winter

As usual, winter will be here quicker than we think. To prepare, Black Hills Energy encourages everyone to make sure gas heating systems and appliance components are clean and working properly before using them this fall.
“Natural gas is a clean, safe, reliable source of energy for more than 70 million natural gas utility customers in the United States, and much of that energy is used to heat U.S. homes and businesses,” said Summer Wade, operations supervisor for the Newton area. “You schedule regular maintenance on a car for efficient performance, safe operation and longer life. In the same way, it’s important to have heating and ventilating equipment inspected annually by a professional, especially before you use them for the first time each fall. An annual inspection and tune-up can ensure that your heating equipment is running properly and operating efficiently.”
Black Hills Energy also recommends that customers maintain carbon monoxide detectors and have them inspected regularly to verify proper operation. A functioning carbon monoxide detector may offer an early warning of the presence of carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless byproduct of the incomplete burning of fuels including wood, gasoline, charcoal and natural gas. Gas appliances require adequate air intake for complete combustion and must be properly vented for safe and efficient operation.
Signs of a potential carbon monoxide leak can include, but are not limited to, flu-like symptoms – a scratchy throat, runny nose, headache, drowsiness or nausea. Other indicators could include frosted windows due to excessive humidity, or a draft from the front of the furnace when it is not turned on. If you think carbon monoxide is present, leave the premises immediately and call 911 or Black Hills Energy’s emergency service line, 800-694-8989, from a nearby location.
“If you’re a Black Hills Energy customer and you have questions about home heating safety, please call us without hesitation,” Wade said.

Healthy Conversations: Take Charge of Your Breast Health

From Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM). Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among American women. Men are also susceptible to breast cancer, but it is not as common. For every 100 diagnoses of the disease, less than one occurs in men.
Breast cancer is too small to feel and does not cause signs or symptoms when it starts out. As it grows, however, it can cause changes to how breasts look and feel. A new lump in the breast or underarm is a common indicator. Other symptoms may include pain in any area of the breast, irritation or swelling of breast skin, changes in appearance of the nipple area and a thickening or swelling in part of the breast.
There are numerous, simple ways both women and men can lower their risk of breast cancer:
• Control your weight and exercise regularly.
• Know your family history of breast cancer. If your mother, sister, or daughter has been diagnosed, speak with your doctor about your risk of the disease and how you can lower that risk.
• Learn the pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy.
• Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
• Speak with your doctor about scheduling a screening mammogram if you are over 40 years of age.
“Regular mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, sometimes even up to three years before it can be felt,” says Dr. Timothy Gusthall, Wellmark’s vice president and chief medical officer.
A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast; you can most likely get a screening mammogram at a clinic, hospital or doctor’s office. If you are 50 to 74 years old, make sure to have a mammogram every two years. If you are over 40, consult with your doctor on when and how often to have a mammogram.
If you have questions about breast cancer signs, symptoms or need help finding a physician or mammography clinic, call the Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield Personal Health Assistant 24/7 at 1-800-724-9122.

Meditations – October 21, 2015

Things We Don’t Know
“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror;
then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13: 12 NIV
There is very little that we know with certainty. We often think we know why others do what they do, but when we reflect honestly about how unsure we often are of our own motives, it should be obvious that we don’t really know the motives of others.
The more that we know about how the universe works, both on the largest and the smallest scales, from subatomic particles to the formation of galaxies, the more we realize how little we know. No one but God was there at the creation of the universe.
There is a sense in which the world is intelligible: things can be understood well enough to build functioning cars and spaceships and medical devices which do indeed work, but they don’t work so perfectly as to give us the illusion of certainty.
There is plenty that we know, or can know, but our collective knowledge is like a drop in a veritable ocean of ignorance. We do well to remain humble in the face of all that we do not know.

Practical Money Matters – October 21, 2015

By Nathaniel Sillin
Top 5 Money Fears – And How to Tackle Them
Are you worried about your financial situation?
For the eighth consecutive year, the American Psychological Association (APA) identified money as the number one stress trigger, with 72 percent of Americans reporting stress about money and nearly 1 in 5 saying they had skipped or considered skipping going to the doctor due to financial concerns. As for relationships, almost one third of adults with partners reported that money is “a major source of conflict.”
The following are common money stresses, and tips to tackling them.
You’re just one paycheck away from financial disaster. The Corporation for Enterprise Development’ recent Assets & Opportunity Scorecard reported that over 40 percent of American households are “liquid asset poor,” meaning that they have less than three months of savings to help them absorb a financial shock like a lost job, medical emergency or other unforeseen financial expense.
Tip: Build an emergency fund. After learning how to budget (www.practicalmoneyskills.com/budgeting), building an emergency fund (www.practicalmoneyskills.com/emergencycalc) is the next essential step in financial planning. Saving and investing for other goals are equally important, but they should follow the creation and annual review of a healthy emergency fund.
You’re lost financially. A 2014 survey by economists from George Washington University and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania states that only 30 percent of Americans could accurately answer three basic personal finance questions dealing with savings and investment returns. Respondents from other major developed countries – including Germany, the Netherlands, Japan and Australia – scored roughly the same. It’s a global problem.
Tip: Identify your biggest financial problems. Does every dime you make go toward paying bills? No savings or investments? No emergency fund? Once you’ve identified your main money blind spots, get help. Reach out to a trusted friend or relative with good money habits or a qualified financial advisor who can help you see where you stand, establish realistic goals and restart your financial education.
You’ll never catch up. Bankrate.com’s March Financial Security Index said that nearly half of Americans aren’t saving enough for emergencies or retirement. Only a quarter of middle-class households earning between $50,000 and $75,000 were savings champs, putting away more than 15 percent of their income.
Tip: Forget the past and begin today. Start by figuring out where you stand financially. Then address your expenses and whether there’s an opportunity to boost your income so you can make up for lost time.
Your money troubles are putting your closest relationships in jeopardy. Money issues affect all relationships, but couples can be hit the hardest by money secrecy or so-called “financial infidelity.”
Tip: Face the music. Get qualified advice, quantify the extent of the problem, make a plan and share the details face-to-face with loved ones or business partners who need to know. Assume you won’t be able to control their response, so focus on solving the problem and vow to end your secretive behavior for good.
You can’t face financial paperwork. When you can’t face bills, statements and other financial calls or communications, it generally reflects financial uncertainty in some form.
Tip: Get help. Pull the information together and get help if you need to. Put payments and other financial decisions on a paper or digital calendar with reminders to act.
Bottom line: Fear about money issues can affect your health and relationships. Diffuse that stress through education, assistance and positive action to improve your financial future outlook.

Hawkins’ Happenings – October 21, 2015

By Jolene Kronschnabel
In our Halloween flick, The Little Vampire, a lonely boy becomes best friends with a vampire. This movie is on Wednesday, October 21, at 1:15 PM.
Preschoolers are sure to have a spooky good time with stories and activities for the upcoming holiday at Story Time on Thursday, October 22, 10:30 AM. Children will be visiting the La Porte City FFA Historical & Ag Museum to howl about Halloween.
Bring any craft project you are working on; scrapbooking, stamping, jewelry making, knitting, crocheting, quilting, sewing, embroidery, etc., and join other crafty people at the library for Hawkins’ Handcrafters. This group meets on Thursday, October 22, from 1 to 3 PM.
The October 26, 1 PM book club discussion selection is A Good American, by Alex George. Check out a copy of this book and join the group.
Kids can creep into the library to create Halloween crafts on Wednesday through Saturday, October 28 – 31. Make and take craft projects will be available for Halloween fun.
On October 29, at 10:30 AM, adorable costumed preschoolers will parade to La Porte City businesses and trade a trick for a treat for Story Time Trick-or-Treating. We will march through downtown rain or shine.
The library is welcoming Trick-or-Treaters on Saturday, October 31. From 9 AM to 1 PM, costume clad kids get a treat when they stop in the library on Halloween.
Elect to attend LEGORAMA on Tuesday, November 3, from 4 to 5:30 PM.
Decorated Wreaths, 25’ outdoor garland, and wreath door hangers can be purchased from Hawkins Memorial Library. Items will be available before Thanksgiving and proceeds benefit the library. Order your fresh greenery for the holidays at the library or online at https://www.theprogressreview.co/.
Patrons can renew their borrowed books, magazines, and DVDs online. Visit www.laportecity.lib.ia.us, click the catalog tab, and log into your account using your patron and telephone numbers. Update your email and phone number here, view a list of items checked out, and renew, reserve, or bookmark materials. You can also choose to receive warning, overdue, and reserve notices by text or email.


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