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This Week's Editorial
It's the Pitts PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lee Pitts   

Sign language

Signs these days work as well as an eight-term Congress person. If a sign says “wet paint,” people touch it. And how often do you see an abandoned couch beneath a “No Dumping” sign? If your “No Trespassing” sign isn’t stolen, it only serves as an invitation to party and picnic on your private property.

“No Hunting” signs only remind hunters to clean their gun in anticipation of hunting season, and if they see a big buck on your property, there isn’t a sign in the world that will keep them off it.

Let’s be honest—who amongst us, when they see a 65 mph speed limit sign, doesn’t drive 68 or 69 just to see what we can get away with? In every restaurant that has a sign that says, “No shoes, no shirt, no service,” you’re bound to see diners wearing tank tops and flip-flops because none of us like to be told what we can, or can’t, do.

Some people see a “No Parking” sign and their reaction is, “Well, we’ll just see about that, won’t we now? No one is going to tell me where to park!”

Part of the reason that signs don’t seem as effective anymore is because they are written poorly and convey the wrong image. For example, I’ve seen signs in restrooms of several restaurants that read, “Employees must wash your hands.”

I am perfectly capable of washing my own hands, thank you very much.

Those signs along the road that tell what services are available at the next exit can really be confusing. One in our area says “Hospital Camping Next Exit,” which makes visitors wonder how good medical care is in our neck of the woods.

Years ago the Readers Digest told of a sign in a church that read, “The bowl to the rear of the church that says, ‘For the Sick,’ is for monetary contributions only.” And a sign out front of another church that listed the week’s sermon and special messages said, “Do you know what hell is? Come and hear our organist.”

Some signs are funny, but I’m not sure they were meant to be. As a child on old Route 66, every summer we passed a lot of Stuckey’s signs that read, “Eat with us and get gas.” And I heard about a sign in a skyscraper restaurant restroom that read, “Toilet out of order. Please use floor below.” I’d hate to be the janitor in that place.


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Holyoke Enterprise July 31, 2014

 

 
Investor Guide PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Harold Wong   

When you start Social Security matters!

Let me cover the dramatic difference in taking Social Security at age 62 instead of 70. Waiting until age 70 really matters if you are married and both have long life expectancy.

Your life expectancy is one of your key factors in deciding when to take SS.

Let’s compare taking 100 percent of SS benefits at age 66 versus 132 percent at age 70. Mathematically, it takes you 12.5 years (if you take SS benefits at 70) to make up the difference of not collecting four full years of SS from age 66 to 70.

Here’s where many baby boomers make a mistake: They plan by average life expectancy instead of the life expectancy of the longest-surviving spouse.

On average, baby boomers will live until 83. However, in the year 2000, the Society of Actuaries study showed some startling statistics. If a married couple is 65, there is about a 50 percent chance that at least one will live until age 92 and about a 25 percent chance that at least one will live until 97.

Example 1: You are a single baby boomer born in 1950 who earned $50,000. When the Great Recession started in 2008, you looked at your SS monthly benefit choices: $1,070 if you took benefits at age 62, $1,489 at 66 or $2,047 at 70. If we ignore any future cost-of-living increases, here’s the total SS benefits you would have by age 83: $269,640 if you took SS at 62, $303,756 at 66 or $319,332 at 70.

One argument for taking SS early is that you can invest the money and so your total income is the same, no matter what age you chose to take SS. That’s a logical argument, but it assumes there is no risk from stock market crashes and being victims of scams. However, you can take the position, “I’ll live or die with the consequences if I lose money with my investments.”

Example 2: You are a married baby boomer husband and don’t worry about your spouse. Suppose you had consistently earned the higher income and your wife is six years younger. Suppose you decide to start SS at age 62 and get $17,000 a year versus $32,000 at age 70.



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Holyoke Enterprise July 31, 2014

 
Extension Corner PDF Print E-mail
Written by Linda Langelo   

Fire blight

Carefully review the list of plants below:

Apple, pear, crabapple, serviceberries, flowering quinces, cotoneasters, hawthorns, pyracanthas, blackberries, raspberries and mountain ash.

All these plants are members in the rose family and each share the disease called fire blight. In springs like this year that are wet and warm, this bacterial disease is highly conducive to spread rapidly.

What should you be looking for as symptoms of the disease? Here are several things to look for when examining these plants: 1) dead branches, 2) water-soaked blossoms, 3) light-brown to blackened leaves, 4) discolored bark, black “shepherd’s” crook twigs and 5) dried fruits.

Once the disease begins and goes unnoticed, the bacteria overwinters on the branches as cankers, and in spring, those cankers ooze a sweet, gummy exudate called bacterial ooze. The next issue will be insects that are attracted to the ooze and then get it on their bodies and carry the disease farther. Among these insects are ants, bees, beetles, flies and aphids.

The best practice in stopping or slowing this disease is to purchase more resistant cultivars of the plants listed above. Although no plant or cultivar of the plants listed above are immune to this disease, the key to keeping the plant in the best health possible is by selecting varieties that are best suited to our local area.

Colorado State University’s fact sheet on fire blight No. 2.907 provides a list of apple and pear tree cultivars ranked by their susceptibility to fire blight.

As an example of apple trees, Golden Delicious is highly susceptible, Haralson is moderately susceptible, and Honeygold is moderately resistant. You can access the fact sheet by going to CSU Extension’s website and clicking on fact sheets and publications. Or visit your local Extension office to pick up a copy.

In controlling this disease, I would take a proactive plan. Symptoms first appear at petal fall. I would look for water-soaked and wilting petals that will next turn brown.

Even before seeing these symptoms, if the weather is conducive to fire blight, I would limit the amount of nitrogen fertilizer and major pruning cuts. Both will reduce succulent tissue growth, which is the most susceptible to fire blight. I would also review our CSU fact sheet for other preventative controls applicable for your situation and plant.


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Holyoke Enterprise July 31, 2014