4 Apps to Make Your Life Easier (Plus One Just for Fun)

Nielsen Wire reported earlier this year that almost half of United States owners of mobile phones own smart phones. Are you one of them?

Have you discovered apps, yet? Here are five highly rated apps that will help make your day more efficient… or in the case of the Camera+ app… just plain more fun.

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Have you ever gone to use your cell phone and it is nowhere to be found? The sense of frustration can mount in that situation. Wouldn’t it be a relief if you could actually track where it is located? Now, you can with an app called Find My iPhone.
Free. 4 out of 5 Stars





<img style="margin: 5px; float: left;" alt="instapaper.png" src="” />Instapaper
This awesome little app gives you the ability to save a page from the web to read later. Unlike an online bookmark, one of  this apps most appealing features is that the page you save can be viewed offline. So, whether you are at the dentist office or waiting in line you can easily access an article that had earlier caught your attention.
$3.99 4 out of 5 Stars


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Rather than having to manage a bunch of slips of paper, Evernote gives you the ability to keep notes to yourself in one place. It is a great app to use on an iPad or laptop when taking a seminar. All your notes can be typed into your device and then easily retrieved or manipulated at a later time.
Free. 4.5 out of 5 Stars


<img style="margin: 5px; float: left;" alt="Grocery_list_free.png" src="” />Grocery List
Ever get to the grocery and know you are forgetting 2 or 3 items that you need? Or worse you’ve made a list, but it is at home on the counter. Then, this is the app for you. The most helpful feature of the paid version is the synchronization across multiple users and devices.  Your significant other or roommate can see what is on the list and pick it up, or make requests, depending on who is getting groceries that week.
Free and Paid versions. 4 out of 5 stars


Just for Fun
Have you ever been frustrated with the quality of the photos on your iphone or iPad camera? If the answer is yes, then, you seriously need to check out this app. It gives you the ability to selectively focus an image, similar to the depth of field adjustments you can do on with a SLR camera. It does so much, it is a bit overwhelming and be advised there is a learning curve. It’s worth it though.
.99 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Hope these help your day to go more smoothly!


Our Weekend Picks, September 28-30

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What a fun weekend we have coming up!

 Smithsonian Magazine. Museum Day Live!

Saturday, September 29, you get free admission for one person and a guest to select museums throughout the United States.


Here is the list of participating museums in the Southwest/Central Ohio area.


Boonshoft Museum of Discovery – Dayton

Carillon Historical Park – Dayton

Columbus Museum of Art – Columbus

Fire Museum of Greater Cincinnati – Cincinnati

Garst Museum & The Annie Oakley Center – Greenville

Kelton House Museum & Garden – Columbus

Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum – Pickerington

Ohio Historical Center – Columbus

Springfield Museum of Art – Springfield

SunWatch Indian Village and Archaelological Park – Dayton

Taft Museum of Art – Cincinnati

The Betts House – Cincinnati

WACO Air Museum – Troy

Warren County History Center – Lebanon

Wexner Center for the Arts – Columbus


Which one have you always wanted to visit? You must go here to get your FREE tickets.


Cincinnati Kitchen, Bath & Remodeling Show
Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Duke Energy Convention Center
Is there a remodeling project in your future? Check out this show for fresh ideas to bring your ideas to reality.

Komen Race for the Cure
Saturday, September 29th
Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  Take care of yourself and help others along the way by participating. Everyone is welcome from families who will complete a 2K to serious runners who will finish a 10K. Check out the FAQ page for details.

Cirque Musica 
Friday and Saturday, 8 PM. Schuster Center, Dayton
Neal Gittleman conducts music ranging from Tchaikovsky to the Beatles to accompany top performers from Cirque do Soleil and Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey in their show of agility and thrills.

Friends of the Library Booksale 
Friday 4:00- 8:00 PM,  Saturday 10:00- 7:00 PM, and Sunday 1:00 – 3:00 PM
Hara Arena, Dayton
This is THE event of the year for book lovers of all ages. You will find books, movies, music CDs, and tapes available for purchase with the proceeds going to Friends of the Library. Sunday is $1 for all you can carry. Empty boxes are available while supplies last, but bring your own just in case.

All of us at the Barker, Beck, Collins & Kronauge Agency are wishing you a safe and fun weekend!


6 Factors to Consider That Affect Motorcycle Insurance Rates

<img style="margin: 5px; float: left;" alt="motorcycle.png" src="” />Rates for motorcycle insurance can vary depending on many factors. Doing some research and working closely with your insurance agent here at the Barker, Beck, Collins and Kronauge Agency will help you get the best rates we can offer for your situation.

Before You Make Your Purchase
Before purchasing your bike, think about how you want to use it and be aware that the type of bike you get will have a large influence on your premium. A small or mid-sized bike that is used primarily as transportation back and forth to work will have a much smaller premium than a high-horsepower sport bike.

Liability Insurance
Liability Insurance covers what needs to be paid for damage done to other property or injury to people when an accident occurs. Keep in mind that it may not be the best idea to automatically opt for the minimum amount of coverage. You will need enough coverage to protect you against the majority of lawsuits. Your insurance agent will guide you to the coverage amount that best suits your needs.

Collision and Comprehensive Insurance
Collision insurance or motorcycle replacement insurance, as the name implies, will cover the cost (minus the deductible) to fix or replace at current market value your bike in the event of an accident. This is not mandatory insurance, unless your bike is financed. Should you have an expensive bike, collision insurance is recommended to protect your investment. Comprehensive insurance is there to protect you for any incidents involving your bike that are not related to a collision, like theft or natural disasters.

Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage
While this coverage may seem optional, there are too many drivers on the road today that are without insurance making it risky to be without this protection. You could get stuck with astronomical bills.

Explore with your agent any discounts that may apply to your situation. If you have your car and home insured with the same company, you will likely qualify for a multi-line discount. Find out what deductible amounts are available and choose the one that would be the most financially comfortable for you in the event that you have to pay out of pocket. 

Certain optional coverage items can make life more convenient when faced with a broken-down or damaged bike. Towing and roadside repair could be worthwhile options that should be weighed against the likelihood that you would use them.

Using these 6 factors and working closely with your insurance agent here at Barker, Beck, Collins, and Kronauge, your motorcycle investment is sure to be protected with a solid package of insurance.

Unpredictable Crash Causes Havoc for Homeowner

When operating a vehicle, it is important that you are fully alert and aware of your surroundings. If you are under the influence of alcohol or highly distracted while behind the wheel, you should not be on the road. You are not only putting yourself in danger, but others as well. If you are not focused on the task at hand, you could cause damage to yourself, other cars, other people, or even properties. Can you imagine crashing into someone’s home after losing control of your vehicle?

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This situation is very possible and sadly occurred in the local area. According to the Dayton Daily News, a motorist was injured after crashing into a Kettering home. The person drove through the yard and hit a home on Grist Mill Court two week ago. The driver was reported to have suffered a head injury, but it was luckily non-life threatening. The homeowner was left with many damages to their property, and a building inspector was called to inspect the ruins.

At Barker, Beck, Collins & Kronauge Agency, we hope you never have to experience such destruction, either as a driver or a homeowner. Understanding that you face risks in your life is the best step to take towards protecting yourself from unpredictable events that may cause serious damages. Preparation is key to safeguarding yourself and family from harm. No matter what happens to your vehicle or home, you should ensure you have the proper coverage to help you during a financial crisis.


Keeping Your Finances on Track

Do you have trouble creating financial plans for your family? Learning how to budget your income in order to sustain your loved ones can be a difficult task. You may seek guidance from someone with financial services expertise, an online help system, or you may organize your finances yourself. Knowing you have the best interest of your family in mind when beginning to tackle financial budgeting is a good start.

Keeping on top of your finances is an important skill to have in life. However, making sure you are doing it right can be hard to do by yourself. So, learn how to budget your finances and stay on track with these tips:

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• First, create a budget so you can gain control of your finances. This can be a monthly/weekly plan. It will allow you to see how much money you will have left over after all your expenses have been accounted for.
• Don’t buy things you don’t need. When you are out shopping, don’t buy items you will only wear once or will never use. Temptation can be difficult to combat, but it is important that you learn to say ‘no’. In the end, this is what will save you money.
• Try having a yard sale. Your old furniture, clothes, trinkets, and more could be a gold mine right under your nose.
• Paying with cash and not cards will help you control your spending. When you are out shopping, only using your card can cause you to lose track of how much you have spent and how much you have left to spend. However, using cash to buy everything will help you see exactly how much you have spent and what is left, ultimately keeping you out of debt.

At the Barker, Beck, Collins & Kronauge Agency, we hope these financial tips will help you support your family easier in these economic times. It is important that you make budgeting part of your life, just like eating healthy or exercising. This way, you won’t have to worry about the unknown for your family and can focus on the present by creating wonderful memories. The sooner you take the right steps forward, the sooner you can get your financial future on track.


And the Winner is….

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Congratulations to Gary Smiga, the winner of our $50 Smoothie King Sweepstakes.

Enjoy those smoothies!

Are Your Favorite Comfort Foods on Our List?

Comfort foods evoke feelings of warmth and coziness – like being wrapped in a warm blanket on a cold winterPeach cobbler.jpg day.


Comfort foods take us back to a time in our life when things were simpler.


While the specific list of comfort foods may differ from person to person, the common denominator is that a comfort food is one that is associated with good memories. The foods that were staples in our homes growing up will likely be on the top of our list.


Here are some of our favorite comfort foods here at Barker, Beck, Collins and Kronauge Agency. Sometimes, nothing is more satisfying but to have the “high-octane” version like we would have had as children.


Bill Blass Meatloaf 

This 5 out of 5 star rated version of a classic meatloaf features 3 different types of meat. (538 calories per serving.)
Praline Pull-Apart Bread

Some people call this Monkey Bread. Whatever it’s called….this sticky confection is easy to make and oh so delicious! (estimated 560 calories per serving)
Macaroni and Cheese

The reviewers of this recipe consistently rave that this is the best “mac ‘n cheese” recipe they have ever had. However, they caution to make sure to use quality cheese to get the scrumptious good taste. (836 calories per serving)
Peach Cobbler 

This recipe is just like grandma used to make. However, many reviewers suggested that it was too sweet for their taste and they cut the sugar back to &frac12; cup when cooking the peaches mixture and they also added more peaches to heighten the fruity goodness. (estimated 486 calories per serving)
As yummy as the recipes above are, there are ways to make substitutions and adjustments to our old favorites to give them a healthy twist while retaining their comforting textures and tastes.


Turkey Meatloaf 

Here’s a lighter calorie version meatloaf that is just as hearty as its classic cousin. It’s great for dinner and holds up wonderfully on a sandwich the next day. (208 calories per serving)

Pasta Francese 

Here is a hearty pasta dish that is light on calories, but high on taste. (198 calories per serving)

Sweet Potato Pecan Quick Bread

This moist bread that substitutes applesauce for fat is satisfying without adding to your waistline. (72 calories per serving)

Light Fresh Peach Cobbler

Less sugar and fats makes the peaches the star of this refreshing cobbler recipe.  (173 calories per serving)


Barker, Beck, Collins and Kronauge Agency hopes you’ve enjoyed this culinary walk down memory lane. Enjoy your dinner!

Go! Our Weekend Picks: Festivals, Festivals, Festivals

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Dayton Greek Festival 54th Annual celebrating Greek food and culture at the Annuciation Greek Orthodox Church next to the Dayton Art Institute. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Italian Fall Festival 35th Annual event at Bella Villa on County Line Road, Kettering, OH. Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

Beavercreek Popcorn Festival Love popcorn?  Come to this event and enjoy the offerings of over 200 vendors. Besides the booths there is a 5K Popcorn Run on Saturday and Car Show on Sunday.

Miamisburg Starving Artists Arts and Crafts Fall Festival  43rd Annual show featuring arts and crafts vendors whose creative works are all under $50 each. Saturday and Sunday.


Vinkolet Art and Wine Festival This juried fine art and fine craft show is held at the only working winery in Hamilton County. The festival starts at 10:00am on Saturday and features wine tasting. Food will be available for purchase inside and outside the restaurant.


ATV Safety – Are You Making Any of These 6 Mistakes?

<img style="margin: 5px; float: right;" alt="motorcycle.jpg" src="” />When they were originally introduced in the 1970s, all-terrain vehicles were three-wheeled vehicles made for use on farms and in industrial settings. However, since that time, their popularity for recreational use has increased exponentially. With the advent of 3, 4 and 6 wheelers that have higher horsepower, injuries have more than doubled since 1985. To keep from becoming a statistic yourself, make sure you are not making any of these mistakes.

Mistake 1: Failure to wear a helmet or other protective gear
Most ATV-related deaths are from head and neck injuries. Wearing a helmet reduces the possibility of a fatal head injury by 42 percent and the possibility of a non-fatal head injury by 64 percent. When purchasing your helmet, look for one that is certified by the U.S. Department of Transportation or the Snell Memorial Foundation. Additionally, to protect yourself from flying rocks or passing shrubbery/trees, wear goggles for your eyes and clothing that covers your limbs.

Mistake 2: Neglecting to take a formal hands-on-safety training class
People who have taken a formal class have a lower incidence of injuries than those who have not taken a class. Knowledge is power and can save your life or, at the least, can keep you from injury.

Mistake 3: Allowing children on adult-sized ATVs
25% of the total estimated ATV-related injuries that bring people to an emergency room happen to children under the age of 16, according to ATVsafety.gov. In Ohio, no one under 16 may legally operate an ATV unless the land where they are riding is owned by a parent or the child is accompanied by someone who is 18 years old or above.

Mistake 4: Riding 2 people on an ATV designed for 1 person
Most ATV’s in the past have been designed to carry just one person. As their name implies, an all-terrain vehicle is designed to be driven over uneven surfaces. To maintain control of the vehicle the rider must have to ability to shift his or her weight freely in all directions to compensate for the changing terrain. Unless the ATV is designed for more than one rider, multiple riders hamper the driver’s ability to react to the changing terrain.

Mistake 5: Riding on pavement
ATV’s are designed to be used in off road conditions. The low pressure of their tires makes it hard to control them on paved roads. Additionally, when riding on pavement, the likelihood of a deadly encounter with a car or truck is high.

Mistake 6: Riding while under the influence
Because of the need to be interactive to the terrain while riding your ATV, anything that impairs your judgment or reaction time, will increase the chances that you will be involved in an accident.

Armed with these “what not to dos”  the Barker, Beck, Collins and Kronauge Agency hopes you enjoy your ATV experiences and above all we hope that you stay safe.

 Photo Credit

Team Building Tips for Your Employees

Every company relies on the hard work and dedication of their employees. As a business owner, you know that if there is a gap or problem within the dynamics of your team, your company won’t move forward. Therefore, helping your staff gain momentum and cooperation skills can allow everyone to focus on the mission of the organization.

Teaching team building skills in the office is critical to create effective employees. There are two critical factors in building a high performance team. The first is that all the team efforts should be directed towards the same clear goals. This depends on good communication and the fluidity in member relationships. The other important element is the range of skills and personalities. When people use their strengths to the fullest while compensating for each other’s weaknesses, this will help create the perfect balance.

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Some team building ideas, techniques, and tips for you to try include:

• Make the team goals clear and acceptable to each team member.
• Establish who is responsible for what according to individual strengths. Try to avoid overlaps of authority.
• Involve the whole team in the decision making process. Each team member will feel ownership in the final decision, solution, or idea.
• Build trust with your team members and allow them time to do so amongst themselves. This helps create an atmosphere of openness and honesty.
• Empower your employees by showing appreciation and saying thank you.

Although team building can be challenging, the rewards are well worth the effort. At the Barker, Beck, Collins & Kronauge Agency, we hope these tips will help you manage your Ohio business more effectively for the benefit of your employees and the community. Your team is the face of your company, so making sure everyone gets along and can work together skillfully will help prevent mistakes, risks, and other mishaps from ruining your mission and goals.