How to Avoid a Deer Vehicle Collision

Has this ever happened to you?Deer Female Animal Head Public Domain Image Picture.jpg

It’s fall. You are on your way back home from work and the sun has already disappeared into an orange orb melting in the far horizon.  Lost in thought about what you are going to fix for dinner, suddenly, you catch movement out of the corner of you eye. BAM! A deer darts out in front of you. Your heart lurches in your chest. If you are lucky, you can stop your vehicle before it and Bambi’s cousin have a nasty meeting in the middle of the road.

So, what is the likelihood this will happen to you? Ohio has eight million drivers, 121,000 miles of roads and an estimated population of 750,000 deer. At some point, especially if you drive through any heavy wooded areas, even in the suburbs, you are going to encounter a deer.

Deer-vehicle crashes in Ohio have occurred in numbers over 20,000 every year since 1994.  From 2000 – 2008, those crashes resulted in an average of 7 fatalities and 1217 injuries each year. Even if a person makes it out of the collision unscathed, his vehicle may not be so lucky.  The dollar amount of vehicular damage rings in at an average of $3,000 per incident.

Instead of becoming part of the sad statistics, drivers can learn about the behavior of deer to up their chances of avoiding an accident:

• The Ohio Insurance Institute has reported that deer-vehicle collisions spike from October to January, which is the height of deer mating and migration season. So, during this part of the year, be extra careful!
• Watch for deer especially at dawn and after sunset. (20 percent of crashes occur in the early morning hours and over 50 percent occur between the hours of 5 p.m. and midnight.)
• Watch for posted deer crossing signs and drive with extreme caution in those areas.
• If you have actually seen a deer previously in a particular location, even if it is not a posted deer crossing area, slow down and be careful there. Deer are habitual creatures and are likely to be seen close to that same spot, again.
• After dark, use your high-beam headlights, when appropriate, to help illuminate deer eyes.
• Always wear seat belts and drive at a speed that is safe and reasonable for the road conditions.
• If you use prevention devices such as deer whistles, do not become complacent. Always keep a watchful eye out for deer.
• If you spot a deer while driving, look for others. Deer travel in groups. If you see one, there are probably more. Be prepared.
• Do not swerve your vehicle to avoid a collision with a deer. You could lose control of your vehicle or have an accident with another vehicle, possibly more severely injuring yourself or others.
• If you do have an accident, contact local law enforcement as soon as possible.

Keeping in mind these tips, should help minimize your chances of a surprise encounter with our “deer” friends of the “four-legged” variety. Stay Safe!!

Photo Credit: Deer Female Animal Head Public Domain Image Picture

Our Weekend Picks ~ November 30- December 2

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With our Go! Our Weekend Picks this week, we are still focused on celebrating this season of merriment and joy.

Centerville Noon Optimist Club Christmas Trees

Still need to get your Christmas tree for this year? Come out and support the Centerville Noon Optimist Club, an organization near and dear to our heart. They are now selling live/cut Christmas trees behind the Centerville Government Center on Spring Valley Rd. (Next to the License/Title Bureau).  All proceeds benefit youth-oriented projects and scholarships in our community.  Tree delivery (within 7 miles) is available.  The pricing for the trees ranges from $19 to $199. Hours are noon – 9 PM weekdays and 9 AM- 9 PM weekends.

Waynesville Christmas in the Village

Experience the warmth of a small town Christmas with Waynesville’s lively store fronts, holiday entertainment, carriage rides and 1300 luminaries on Friday and Saturday evenings.
November 30, 11 AM – 9 PM, December 1, noon-9 PM, and December 2, noon – 5 PM.

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas the Musical

This is a brand new musical that is based on the classic film. The show runs November 27 – December 2 at the Schuster Center Downtown Dayton, Second and Main Streets.  Show times are 8 pm, with 2 pm matinees on December 1 and 2, with a special 7:30 pm show on December 2. Weeknight tickets are $15-92 and Weekend tickets are $15-96. Call (937) 228-3630 or www.ticketcenterstage.com

Stay warm and enjoy your weekend!!!
Your Barker, Beck, Collins & Kronauge Team

5 Ways to Go Green for the Holidays

christmasstockimages.com 2.jpgThe holidays bring the spirit of giving.  Why not extend those glad tidings to the earth we all share, by shifting to eco-friendly alternatives to your holiday trimmings? Going green doesn’t mean you have to give up your very favorite parts of the holiday ~ have your turkey and by all means decorate for the season.  Consider, however, eco- friendly options to your holiday festivities.

To get you started, check out these 5 ways to go green for the holidays:

Tinsel and Tissue ~Wrapping Paper Alternatives
1. Recycle gift bags. Get a heavy duty plastic one, decorate it to make it special and use it from year to year.
2. Wrap presents in something re-useable. For instance, if you have out of town guests, present their gift in a promotional cloth bag from a tourist attraction where you live. Two different family members from overseas did this for us and we think of them fondly every time we use the bags.
3. Go retro or vintage and use brown paper bags and colorful ribbon to complete your packaging.

Tree – Real or Artificial?
4. Here’s a question ~ buy a cut “real” tree or use an artificial tree? While the dilemma rages on, with solid pros and cons on either side, one way to side-step the debate is to purchase a live tree with the root ball attached.

Keep in mind, for homes with standard ceiling heights,  your tree will have to be smaller (3 – 4 feet high) than you may be used to because you will have to account for the height of the root ball.

Even if you do not have a yard of your own to plant the tree once the holiday season is over, purchasing a live tree may still be a good option. You can sell or give away your tree to one of any number of happy recipients. To find your tree a new home, check with your local parks departments, landscapers, golf courses, schools, churches or maybe someone you know personally. Read here for more detailed information on whether a live tree is a good choice for you.

Happy Holiday Cards or E-Card Wishes?
5. 2.6 billion holiday cards are sold each year in the United States. That’s enough to fill a landfill the size of a football field 10 stories high. While it may be lovely to receive your card and note from Aunt Suzy and Uncle Bill detailing their trip out West. Wouldn’t you feel just as special, if you received an e-card with a personalized note? Maybe others would feel just as special if you did the same.

Even if others still are in the sending cards mode, you can still be green. Rather than tossing all the cards at the end of the season, think of a creative way to re-use them… perhaps, for next year’s decorations.

So, now you have a number of ideas to get started. Hopefully this has sparked your creativity and you find yourself having a joyfully merry and very green holiday.

 Image Credit: Christmasstockimages.com

7 Ways to Overcome the Excuse “I Don’t Have Time to Exercise”

Every part of the year has its own challenges that make it difficult to find time to exercise. There are the holidays, vacations, and our family members’ schedules to work around. Our lives can become a maze of going to work, taking care of the kids, keeping up with the household and carving out time for entertaining friends and family. If a person is lucky, he or she might get a bit of time to chill out and wind down in between it all. How in the midst of all the hustle and bustle is a person supposed to find the time to work out?

The American Heart Association recommends a workout frequency of 30 minutes per day 5 days a week. The good news is that research has shown that dividing those 30 minutes up into two or three segments of 10-15 minutes each day, will still provide you with health benefits. So keep that in mind, a little bit here and a little bit there, definitely add up.

Consider these 7 ways to carve out time to exercise:

1. Skip the Snooze Button
Set your clock for 30-45 minutes earlier than normal and do your workout in the morning. If the thought of bounding out of bed, changing your clothes and working out seems like too much, consider going to bed in your workout clothes.. Need more encouragement? Think how awesome you’ll feel to cross “exercise today” off of your to-do list before breakfast!

2. Lunchtime Exercise
Many people find that working out at lunch suits them well. Check to see if your company has an onsite workout facility or if they have an agreement with a health club close-by where you can work out over lunch. Something as simple as consistently walking for 15-30 minutes, at lunch, can make a difference over time.

3. Work Out at Work
Working out while you work? What? It is not as hard as it may seem.  Consider replacing your chair with a stability ball to strengthen your core. Keep a set of dumbbells at your desk. A number of times a day, punch out 12-15 reps of exercises like squats, leg extensions, biceps curls and triceps presses. See this article for details on how to perform desk exercises.

4. Take the Tikes with You.
Are your children still young? Invest in a jogging stroller and bring them along with you. Or find an activity where you can be active together.

200_300 couple on bikes.png5. Grab a Friend
Schedule your workouts like you schedule the other parts of your life. Set a date with a friend, or your spouse or significant other to workout. Change it up and make it fun. Get outside and take a bike ride or sign up for a class at the local gym. There are sure to be a variety of classes from Zumba, to weight lifting to swimming that the two of you can do together.

6. Get Moving During TV Time
Just because the TV is on, doesn’t mean you have to become a couch potato.  Make TV time your cue to get your workout done. Take advantage of the commercial breaks by doing squats, lunges, burpees or some other high intensity exercise.  (That is unless you DVR your shows… then you are just going to have to squat, lunge and curl while watching your favorite episode.) Your toned body will thank you.

7. Take Advantage of Stairs
You’ve heard it before, I’m sure. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Think that is not making much of a difference? Think again. If you walk 2 flights of stairs 3 times a day, you burn 30 calories. If you do this day in and day out, you’d be on track to shed a little over 3 pounds in a year just from this one little bit of exercise. Take them faster or do more flights on a regular basis and the calories you burn will be even higher.

Here’s to your health!
Your Barker, Beck, Collins & Kronauge Agency Team

Get in the Holiday Spirit with our Go! Weekend Picks

Are you, like us here at Barker, Beck, Collins & Kronuage,  looking forward to having your fill of turkey and the trimmings tomorrow?

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Once you have had your wonderful Thanksgiving Day, then you can get yourself in the mood for the Christmas holiday season with Our Go! Weekend Picks … The Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s evening of The Lost Christmas Eve or the Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra ~ The Live Debut of The Lost Christmas Eve
The time is now to purchase your tickets to this year’s Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s (TSO’s) live event taking place on December 6 at the Nutter Center in Dayton, OH.

Julie Naumer, our social media  specialist, went to see a TSO event a number of years ago and was impressed with the effects and grandeur of the show. It was an evening well spent.

If you have never heard of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, you are in for a treat. They are a progressive  rock opera band formed in 1993 by producer, composer and lyricist Paul O’Neill. 

Watch this YouTube video to get an idea of what the evening would be like.

Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill

One of our favorite parts of the Christmas holiday season are the Christmas lights and a great way to see a beautiful presentation of them is the Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill that opens the day after Thanksgiving and will run each night until January 1st. It takes 6 men over 3 months to put up the display of over 3.5 million lights that illuminate the mill, the gorge, the riverbanks, trees and bridges.

Enjoy a cup of hot chocolate while strolling through the grounds of the centuries old still active Clifton Mill, in Clifton, OH, just east of Yellow Springs, Oh.

At the beginning of each hour watch as all the lights go out leaving the audience in total darkness.  A medley of Christmas songs begins to softly serenade the crowd as the lights on the bridge slowly begin to twinkle. The lights continue to dance blinking off and on to the beat of music. By the end of the song, the music is booming and the lights have completely captivated the audience. At the end of the song, all the lights go out, once again leaving the audience in complete darkness. Then, before they have time to say Merry Christmas to all, the 3.5 million lights all come back on at once. Breathtaking!

If you want to go, their website says that Mondays – Thursdays are much less crowded. Saturdays are the most crowded. The festivities start at 5 pm and the lights come on at 6 pm each night. The gates close at 9:30 pm most nights, except Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Eve when they close at 8:00 pm. Admission is $10 per person for those 7 or older. Children 6 and under are free.
For directions and further information, click here.

Enjoy your weekend!!!

Thrifty Tips: Gain a Fatter Wallet with These Budget Slimming Ideas

<img style="margin: 5px; height: 175px; float: left;" alt="bigstock-Saving-Money-8173913.png" src="” />Want to start the upcoming year with more money in your pocket? Who doesn’t want to make the most of the money they have coming in?

One of the easiest ways to create more jingle in your pocket is to rid your life of the things you are paying for that no longer benefit you.

Are you ready to get started? Grab a sheet of paper and a pen and make a list of the discretionary items that you are paying for on a regular basis (i.e. subscriptions, memberships ~ either, online or in the “real” world, recreational habits, or clubs). 

Now, that you have your list, critically look at each item. Are you really, truly using the item? In the case of expensive habits, like cigarettes or alcohol, while you may be using them on a regular basis, have you reached the point where the expense is no longer worth the cost to your health?

To gain a fatter wallet, here are 5 places to look at to reduce your discretionary spending:

Collections
If you are a collector, take a serious look at your collection(s). While collecting the items may have brought you joy when you first started… does it still? Or are you just going through the motions with it? Can you downsize the collection by selling duplicate items or getting rid of the pieces of the collection that you don’t absolutely love. Or, maybe, it is time to rid yourself of the collection altogether. If what you have been collecting has a monetary value, get your collection appraised and then find a venue for matching your collection to a willing buyer.

Magazines or Newsletter Subscriptions
Do you have piles of unread magazine/newsletter subscriptions either in your email inbox or in a corner of your room? Maybe your interests have changed since you first subscribed to the magazine. Not only is it a good idea to not renew the subscription, but take the proactive step to call the subscription department and see if you can cancel for a refund. You might get a prorated portion of the subscription fee back ~ it never hurts to ask.

Expensive habits, like cigarettes and alcohol
Habitual use of these will burn and drown your money supply while giving you nothing positive to show for it. If you are ready to make a change and need motivation beyond the wish to be healthier, think of the man who funded his 2-year community college schooling with the money he saved from quitting cigarettes.

Cable or satellite channels you don’t watch
Are you paying for a premium package with your cable service, but never really watch the extra channels? If you are only watching a movie once a month or so, consider cheaper alternatives. A movie from the Red Box is only $1.25 for one night and you can check out movies from the local library for free or for a nominal fee.

Unused club memberships
Do you belong to a gym or a country club, but find that you hardly ever go? Consider cancelling your membership. You can always renew the membership later. In fact, they may be so happy to have you back that they offer you a great deal. This happened to a relative of one the Barker, Beck, Collins & Kronauge Agency associates. He renewed his country club membership a year after cancelling, for less than half of his previous fee.

Here’s hoping that your coming year is filled with prosperity.

Your Barker, Beck, Collins and Kronauge Agency Team.

A Household Inventory: Your Catastrophe Stress- Reducer

home fire © Copyright Colin Kinnear.jpgLet’s imagine a worst case scenario where your home has completely burnt to the ground or has been carried away by the winds of a tornado. You are sitting in a hotel room reeling from the shock of your personal catastrophe, when the insurance adjustor asks you to fill out the proof of loss paperwork. Your numb mind is blank as you look at the form where you have to itemize everything that had been in your home. Could you do it? Right now, without opening drawers and looking into your closets would you be able to list all of your household belongings? Unfortunately, the answer, for most of us, is probably not.

Cataloging your belongings may seem like an arduous task. However, think of the peace of mind you will gain after the process is done. That will be one less point of stress should the unthinkable occur to your family home.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when creating your inventory:

• Start by writing a complete inventory of all of your belongings room-by-room. There are software programs designed to walk you through the process. Here is a review site of the top ten readily available programs.  If you are comfortable having a listing of your household items on the cloud, apps and online versions are also available.

• When compiling your list of belongings make sure to include the name of each item, quantity, description, brand or model, serial number (if applicable) and when and where an item was bought, if known.

• As you purchase a new item keep the receipt, as further evidence that you owned the item.

• Get a professional appraisal done of items like artwork, jewelry, antiques, and silverware.

• Use a digital camera to record (photographs and/or video) the items in your home. Make sure to take close-ups from all angles of the more important items and include a ruler in the image to given some indication of the size of the item.

• For the best photo quality, keep these pointers in mind. Photograph the items in natural light, if possible. Keep the background plain. Watch for glare on glass items and change the camera angle to minimize the amount of glare, as needed. Be aware when doing a close-up of an item that sometimes you can get too close and the photo can become too fuzzy to be useful.

• Once the digital inventory is complete, be sure to make backup copies of the files. Put the files onto digital storage options such as a CD-ROM, a memory card, or a USB flash drive.

• If not using a cloud-based inventory capture option, make sure to store your inventory documents (paper files as well as whatever digital storage option you chose) away from your home in a secure place, like a safe deposit box at your bank, or a trusted relative. To be prepared for a city-wide catastrophe, consider having one set of backup files locally and another in a city farther away from your home.

• Update the inventory record every 3-5 years to reflect items that have been added or deleted from your household.

As always, the Barker, Beck, Collins & Kronauge Agency is here serving you today and protecting your tomorrows.

Image Credit: Colin Kinnear

Festivals ~ Near and Far ~ Our Go! Weekend Picks

Our Weekend Picks.pngJungle Jim’s International Wine Festival
Wine aficionados wanted… celebrate your love of wine by partaking in the opportunity to taste over 400 wines at Jungle Jim’s Grand Tastings taking place both Friday and Saturday nights, the 16th and 17th from 7-10pm each night.

Tour the event with your souvenir tasting glass, while music plays in the background and the sounds of laughter and talking fill the room as you mingle. To accompany the wines, a full complement of finger foods will be served.

The free Purchase Passport you get at the Purchase Passport booth, will allow you an easy way of reserving a bottle of the wines you like as you tour the event. Just give the vendor your passport number and a week or so after the event once your order has been collected together, the wine manager will contact you.

Each night will feature a silent auction of wines and merchandise with the proceeds going to charity.

You must be 21 or older to participate in the event and prices are $55, in advance, $60 the day of for those who want to taste the wines. For those who are choosing to not drink, but still want to enjoy the atmosphere, entrance is $25 and you will have access to water and coffee, and the finger foods at no extra charge.

Balluminaria
Here’s your chance to enjoy the wonders of a tethered hot air balloon festival including all the trimmings ~ balloon glow, face painters, carolers, food and hot chocolate for sale. Take part in the Cincinnati Parks’ Explore Nature activities.

Saturday, November 17 at Mirror Lake in Eden Park in Cincinnati from 4-6p.m.
Parking is free for on-street parking in the surrounding Mt. Adams neighborhood. $5 to park in the lot off of Martin Drive, between Cliff Drive and Parkside Place.
No charge for admission.

Christmas in Historic Springboro
All I Want for Christmas is the theme of this year’s 26th Annual Christmas in Historic Springboro Festival held this weekend. Join in the festivities that include a parade, heated tents filled with unique gift items, food of all kinds, strolling musicians and horse-drawn carriage rides. Saturday morning the festivities start early with the 5K Fun Run. Click here for more details about the run.

Festival Hours
Friday 5pm -9pm
Saturday 10am -10pm
Sunday 12pm – 5pm
5K run Saturday, November 17

We hope you enjoy your weekend!!

Thrifty Tip: Meatless Monday

Vegetarian lunch.jpgBeing thrifty is just one of the many reasons to start your own Meatless Monday tradition with your family. Besides saving you money at the grocery or restaurant, going meatless once a week may have the beneficial side effects of reducing your risk of preventable diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Additionally, going meatless for a day can reduce your carbon footprint and can contribute to saving resources like water and fossil fuel. For example, the Why Meatless? page of the Meatless Monday website reports that it takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef verses 220 gallons for one pound of soy.

While the term Meatless Monday has its roots in World War I, the current public awareness campaign was started in 2003, in association with John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for a Livable Future, as a part of the Healthy Monday initiative. Healthy Monday inspires people to make wiser health choices at the start of each week. 

If you choose to embrace the Meatless Monday idea, you will be in good company.  Meatless Monday has gained the support of many in the entertainment arena, including Oprah Winfrey, Sir Paul McCartney, Yoko Ono, Bob Harper of the Biggest Loser and Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi.  To follow their lead, create menus of dishes that center around vegetarian options. Choosing wholesome, whole food ingredients will give your wallet a little break. For a fresh new way to answer the question “What’s for dinner?”, think lentils, beans, rice, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, with a smattering of fresh herbs like cilantro, oregano or thyme.  Here is a link to an Eating Well web page with many recipes for inexpensive vegetarian dinners that cost $3.00 or less per serving . With choices like creamy avocado and white bean wrap and bean burgers with spicy guacamole maybe Mondays will become the new fun food night that even the kids will like.

Bon Appétit!

Space Heater Safety

It’s that time of year again here in the Midwest when the chill of the outside seeps its way into your bones and supplemental heating inside your home is sometimes needed. A space heater can be a good option, if it is used properly.

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Space heaters, however,  can be dangerous if you do not use them wisely. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that an average of 25,000 residential fires each year can be attributed to the use of space heaters. Approximately 6,000 people each year go to the emergency room for injuries related to those fires and 300 of them succumb to their injuries and die.  In addition to the risk of fire, be aware that kerosene and vent-free natural gas space heaters have the added risk of carbon monoxide poisoning or death when they are used in an enclosed space.

To stay safe when using a space heater, follow these simple rules of thumb:

  • When purchasing an electric space heater, look for one with the (Underwriter’s Laboratory) UL label. That label signifies that the tested samples of that appliance have met UL’s high standards of safety.
  • Make sure that the heater you purchase is designed to heat the size room for which you are intending to use it.
  • Make sure the unit that you purchase has a tip-over switch that will automatically shut off the space heater if it is tipped over.
  • Keep all space heaters at least 3 feet away from all household items (i.e.: drapes, clothing, and furniture.)
  • Unless absolutely necessary, do not use extension cords with your space heater.
  • Make sure to place your heater on a flat surface. Do not place your heater, however, on furniture, even if it is a flat surface, since there is the risk of the heater tipping over.
  • If your heater uses liquid-fuel, only use the fuel recommended by the manufacturer. Another type of fuel may burn hotter than your equipment is designed for and a serious fire could be the result. Never use gasoline.
  • When refueling, make sure the heater is turned off and has cooled down completely before you add the fuel. Immediately wipe up any spills. Do not overfill the tank~ there needs to be room for expansion of the liquid when it heats.
  • Do not leave the heater unattended and never leave one burning while you sleep.

All of us here at Barker, Beck, Collins & Kronauge Agency are wishing you a warm … but safe… winter this year.