Written by The Herald-News
Simple Modifications To Your Vehicle Can Help Keep You “In The Driver’s Seat”
This question came to us from Patricia who stopped by our booth at the MEA-MFT conference in Bozeman last month:
Q: My dad recently passed away and now my siblings and I are worried about mom because dad did most of the driving. Mom seems to be a bit hesitant to start driving again. Are there any tips to help older drivers feel comfortable and safe behind the wheel?
A: Patricia, we are so sorry for your family’s loss. Your concern for your mom is understandable.
It’s no secret our bodies change as we get older. Arthritis, spine compression and other physical changes that limit our range of motion can make the act of driving uncomfortable — and even unsafe — for some drivers. And the cars we drive can compound the problems: uncomfortable seating, minimal trunk space, low door frames and other spatial problems can make driving a challenge for anyone with physical ailments.
But before you head out to the car dealership, you should know there are a number of resources and tools available to help drivers adapt their own vehicles to improve their comfort and safety behind the wheel. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends a five-step process to ensure you can continue to drive safely.
1. Evaluate your needs. One simple way to evaluate your needs is to consult a driver-rehabilitation specialist, who can tell you whether your vehicle is compatible with your individual challenges. He or she can also help you start researching the types of adaptive driving equipment you might need and the price range you can expect, and can sometimes help you find public or private financial aid. To find a driver-rehabilitation specialist, visit the American Occupational Therapy Association’s “Find a Driving Specialist” tool at www.aota.org.
2. Make sure your vehicle “fits” you properly. Are your mirrors positioned to minimize blind spots? Are you wearing your seat belt correctly? Is your seat too close to the steering wheel? To help you answer some of these questions, you might want to log onto the CarFit website. CarFit is a free educational program developed in collaboration with AAA, AARP and the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). There are a number of educational resources available including a CarFit guide (under the FAQ link) and several “how-to” instructional videos. Learn more at www.car-fit.org.
3. Choose appropriate features. In addition to adjusting your “fit” within your vehicle, there are a number of add-on accessories that can help improve your driving experience. “Vehicles can be enhanced to seamlessly ease your entry and exit without bending, twisting, turning, lowering and plopping into the seat, then agonizing your legs into the driving position or passenger seat,” says Carole Di Tosti, PhD, of The Mobility Resource. “Vehicles can be outfitted with grab bars and special seats that reduce the stress on your spine and neck getting into a vehicle. The controls – brakes, steering wheel, drive shift and more – can be tailored so you’re not cramped up in one position.” A driver rehabilitation specialist can recommend adaptive equipment that suits your physical needs.
4. Install and know how to use adaptive devices. As with any new vehicle technology, it is critical the driver understand how to install and safely operate their adaptive devices. Your driver-rehabilitation specialist should be able to refer you to a qualified “mobility dealer,” where licensed professionals will help install adaptive equipment and show you how to operate your new devices safely.
5. Practice good vehicle maintenance. In some cases, your equipment may need regular maintenance to keep it running smoothly. Check the user manual or ask your mobility dealer how often each adaptation needs to be assessed or updated.
For more tips on how to stay safe on the road, consider taking a driver improvement course, such as the AARP Driver Safety course. In Montana you are eligible for a discount on your insurance upon completion of the course.
For more information, visit www.aarp.org/safedriving or call 888-AARP-NOW (888-227-7669).
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 November 2013 09:13
Written by The Herald-News
The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 28th annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $49.04, a 44-cent price decrease from last year’s average of $49.48.
“The cost of this year’s meal, at less than $5 per serving, remains an excellent value for consumers,” said AFBF president Bob Stallman, a rice and cattle producer from Texas. “America’s farm and ranch families are honored to produce the food from our nation’s land for family Thanksgiving celebrations,” he said. “During this holiday season, many farmers and ranchers will be reaching out to consumers in-person or through social media, to answer questions about the food that they grow or the poultry and livestock they raise,” he added.
The AFBF survey shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and beverages of coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers.
The big ticket item — a 16-pound turkey — came in at $21.76 this year. That was roughly $1.36 per pound, a decrease of about 3 cents per pound, or a total of 47 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2012. The whole bird was the biggest contributor to the final total, showing the largest price decrease compared to last year.
“When you think you can feed a family of 10 this wonderful meal for less than $5 per person, it says a lot about the productivity of American agriculture. It is certainly something for which to be thankful,” says Janet Krob, Montana Farm Bureau, who did the price checking in Bozeman for this survey. “Our farmers and ranchers take pride in providing you with comfort food not only at Thanksgiving, but every day of the year.”
Strategic shoppers may pay even less for frozen tom turkey compared to AFBF’s 167 volunteer shoppers who checked prices at grocery stores in 34 states.
“Special sales and promotions on turkey and other holiday food items will continue right up to Thanksgiving,” Anderson explained. “If you have the patience to wait until the last minute to buy a turkey you might come home with an exceptional bargain,” he said.
In addition to the turkey, other items that declined in price included a dozen brown-n-serve rolls, $2.18; one pound of green peas, $1.54; a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.67; fresh cranberries, $2.42; a half pint of whipping cream, $1.85; and two nine-inch pie shells, $2.49.
Items that showed a moderate price increase from last year included three pounds of sweet potatoes, $3.36; one gallon of whole milk, $3.66; and a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix, $3.10.
In Montana, some prices were slightly higher than the average. For instance, turkey was priced at $1.49 per pound, pumpkin pie mix was $3.99 and cube stuffing was $3.49. On the other hand, sweet potatoes, brown & serve rolls and whipping cream were substantially lower that the national average.
In addition, a combined group of miscellaneous items, including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (onions, eggs, sugar, flour, evaporated milk and butter) increased to $3.20. A one-pound relish tray of carrots and celery increased to 81 cents.
The average cost of the dinner has remained around $49 since 2011. Further, Anderson noted that despite retail price increases during the last year or so, American consumers have enjoyed relatively stable food costs in general over the years, particularly when adjusted for inflation.
The stable average price reported this year by Farm Bureau for a classic Thanksgiving dinner tracks closely with the government’s Consumer Price Index for food eaten at home (available online at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cpi.pdf), which indicates a 1 percent increase compared to a year ago.
The AFBF survey was first conducted in 1986. While Farm Bureau does not make any scientific claims about the data, it is an informal gauge of price trends around the nation. Farm Bureau’s survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 November 2013 09:03
Code Montana: Initiative To Encourage Montana Students’ Interest In Computer Science Reaches Milestone
Written by The Herald-News
After launching at the Baucus Economic Development Summit with an ambitious goal of getting 1,000 Montana high schoolers programming in a year, CodeMontana announced today that more than 500 students have already signed up and completed nearly 14,000 computer programming exercises. “It’s clear that Code Montana has hit a motherlode of demand that is not being met through traditional teaching programs”, commented Greg Gianforte, founder of Right Now Technologies who, along with Rob Irizarry of Startup Bozeman, is driving the initiative. Not only has the student interest been overwhelming, numerous members of Montana Programmers have stepped in to serve as mentors and coaches.
Montana Programmers (www.montanaprogrammers.org) is one of Montana’s incredible, little known hotbeds of talent. Self organized and totally bootstrapped, the grassroots organization consists of over 770 computer programmers statewide. They, along with Montana Web Developers and Designers (http://www.mtwda.org/), have organized in local communities to work with CodeMontana high school students.
Gianforte and Irizarry are extremely pleased with the numbers of students taking advantage of Code Montana. “We are especially excited to recognize and reward the exceptional achievement of the program’s participants“, they said. CodeMontana’s October awards for exceptional achievement go to Female Coder of the month Jessica Jorgenson of Bozeman and Male Coder of the Month John Putman of Kalispell. They will both receive prizes from CodeMontana.
“With 565 students throughout the state signing up for CodeMontana in the first six weeks and completing nearly 14,000 programming exercises, we are well on the way to fulfilling my vision for the first phase of the program”, said Irizarry.
Each pin on the map below designates a Montana town where students are participating in Code-Montana and preparing for future high paying jobs in the state.
Students were thrilled at the opportunity to participate in CodeMontana as evidenced by these comments from the signup process:
“I know pretty much nothing about programming, and it is like an itch that I haven't be able to scratch. I've wanted to learn about programming, but didn't know where to start! I am too impatient to read a book about it, plus there is no one to ask for help from a book.”
“I had never really had an interest in programming until I took a programming class. I realized that there was a HUGE market for people who new how to program, and I liked it, so here we are. I like being able to create things, but I never thought about creating them with computer language before, and I've found that I really enjoy it. I plan on majoring in computer science and mathematics, so there's no telling where I'll end up.”
“I'm interested in learning about programming because it's a useful skill to have, especially in today's world where technology is prevalent. Being able to understand software problems and solve them, as well as understanding HTML codes and the things that go along with them, is a skill that I am very interested in.”
“I am interested in learning about programming, because I am interested in learning about computers and can find my way around a computer. I would like to apply the knowledge that I will learn in Business Professionals of America. I currently like working on computers and would like to find out if I want my future to be in computer programing.”
“I have always found an interest in all things related to computers. I enjoy gaming, social media, and various other things related to the web. I am in a class that we are developing a website, and I would like to learn more about the things I can do with it. I am also in a class that has to do with developing the yearbook. I want to go to college for computer science in Bozeman, and I hope that the things I learn through this will help me in my future!”
“In all honesty, it's part of the future. From everything from Games to Apps, they all require programming. As for me in particular, as someone that enjoys video games, and everything related, I think it would be fun to learn how to make those games. I also think it would be fun to just make programs in general. All in all, it's just an interesting subject that I would like to learn more about, in case I decide to take a job doing programming for a living.”
“I am interested in computer programming because it has always interested me how computers function and how they can do such complex tasks. It is one of the first things I think of when working in a new program, wondering how it does what it does. Computer programming is also one of two careers that I am considering going into the most. I have talked to teachers around my school about offering any computer classes, but they have no plans to offer one anytime soon. When I heard about this program I was so excited that I finally had found somewhere I could start learning about programming.”
Currently, there are over 400 jobs open in the state of Montana requiring programming skills and computer science expertise. Today’s students have an interest in being well trained for these positions.
Code Montana plans to continue building a robust pipeline of students who will pursue computer science and engineering at the undergraduate level and the graduate level. “We must meet the challenge of making that kind of education available in Montana” says Gianforte.
To learn more or to sign up, visit www.CodeMontana.org.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 November 2013 09:02
Written by The Herald-News
Grade School Holds Awards Assembly
An awards assembly was held at the Lustre Grade School on Friday afternoon, Nov. 8. Awards were presented to the students for perfect attendance, “A” Honor Roll, “B” Honor Roll and Citizenship Awards.
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Sunday was a busy day at both churches in Lustre. Sunday morning, the Lustre Christian High School choir, under the direction of Michael Butler, presented the special music at the EMB Church. After the services, they enjoyed a potluck dinner. That evening, the EMB Church held their annual business meeting, led by church moderator, Karl Waitschies. Elections were held, church and missions budgets discussed and other business taken care of. Midway through the meeting, pie and coffee were served, with accepted donations, as a fundraiser for the young people’s group that is raising finances to attend Acquire the Fire in Billings in December.
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A rather unusual bridal shower was held Sunday afternoon, Nov. 10, at the MB Church. The money shower, minus the bride- elect, Michaelene Sweeney, who, due to complications at the Canadian border, was unable to attend, was held via Skyping on an Apple iPod. Sweeney shared how she and her husband-to-be, James Fransen of Moose Jaw, Sask., Canada, met, and of her work at Joe’s Place. Special guests included the bride’s mother, Karyl Rauch; grandmother, Norma Rauch; sister, Geneva Rauch; and aunts, Hulda Schmidt and Ruth Rauch. The couple plans to be married Dec. 7.
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Sunday evening, a concert was held at the MB Church with Lynn Stoneking of Minnesota as guest musician.
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Many hands make quick work. A respectable number of board members and community men showed up Friday and Saturday, Nov. 7-8, to reroof the south teacherage at Lustre Christian High School and, by Saturday evening, the project was complete.
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Bible characters ranging from Absalom to King Solomon arrived at Awana Wednesday evening, Nov. 6, for the annual “character” night. Treats were handed out to all.
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After Awana Wednesday, a pep tally was held to send the Lustre Christian High School Lady Lions to the volleyball tournament that began the next day. The team was circled and prayer was offered.
Jamboree and junior high basketball gameswere held at Nashua this past weekend. Both of Lustre’s teams won against Frazer and lost to Nashua. Scores at the time of this writing were not available.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 16:01
Written by The Herald-News
Cross country runner Kyle Olson was selected for the Frontier Men’s Cross Country All-Conference Team.
Olson, a freshman, of Poplar, was one of three mens’ runners from Rocky Mountain College selected for the team. Joining him will be senior Noah Kiprono, from Niarobi, Kenya; and sophomore Shawn Peden from Billings.
Olson, alum of Rocky Boy High School, was a Class B Cross Country state champion
Rocky Mountain College’s Ana Richter of Billings was selected for the Frontier Women’s Cross Country All-Conference Team.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 10:01