Healthy Concepts

Many people in the market for new vehicles intend to lease or finance a car once they find the make and model they want. Such an approach will necessitate a credit check.

Credit checks make some consumers, even those who have relatively good credit, uncomfortable. But when managed well, credit and checks on individuals’ credit ratings can go smoothly and save drivers considerable amounts of money over the life of their leases and auto loans.

Don’t leave room for surprises. Even consumers who feel they have firm grasps on their credit scores should check their scores before they go shopping for leases or auto loans. Reports may contain errors that can affect the interest rates lenders are willing to give lessees or borrowers. Fixing mistakes in advance of shopping for a car ensures drivers they will get the best interest rate and loan terms possible for someone in their financial standing.

Clean up a score if it falls short of expectations. Buyers who don’t know their credit scores may be disappointed if those scores come back lower than they expected. Numerous factors, be it missed payments or high debt-to-credit ratios, can lower credit scores. Even buyers with good jobs and money in the bank may not have good credit scores. When possible, buyers with low credit scores should wait until they can improve their scores before shopping for a lease or loan. The higher buyers’ credit scores, the lower their interest rate will likely be, saving them considerable amounts of money over the life of their lease or loan.

Wait before having your credit run. Some auto dealers may want to run prospective buyers’ credit histories the moment those buyers step onto their lots, but it pays for consumers to be patient and wait until they have found a vehicle they like before agreeing to a credit check. Each time a person applies for credit, his or her credit score dips. But according to, applicants who file all of their loan applications within one two-week period will only have those applications count as a single credit inquiry.

Don’t overdo it. Buyers with great credit scores may be tempted to stretch their automotive budgets. But drivers who spend more they can afford may soon find that their excellent credit ratings are suffering. Stay on budget so payments can be made on time and credit scores stay strong.

Buying or leasing a new vehicle can be made easier when buyers enter the process with strong credit scores. 

Source: MetroCreative Connection.

Yohimbe is an evergreen tree native to western Africa. It has a compound called yohimbine in its bark. The bark is used to make extracts, tablets and capsules.

In parts of Africa, tea made from yohimbe bark has been used as an aphrodisiac (to increase sexual desire).

Yohimbe is used as a dietary supplement for impotence, athletic performance, weight loss, chest pain, high blood pressure, diabetic neuropathy and more.

Yohimbine hydrochloride, a standardized form of yohimbine, is available in the United States as a prescription drug for erectile dysfunction. This is a different product than dietary supplements made from the bark of the tree.

How Much Do We Know?

There is very little research in people on the effects of yohimbe as a dietary supplement. But studies have documented the risks of taking it.

What Have We Learned?

The amount of yohimbine in dietary supplements may vary; some yohimbe products contain very little yohimbine.

Yohimbe sold as a dietary supplement may not work like the prescription medication that contains yohimbine.

What Do We Know About the Safety?

Note: Yohimbe has been associated with heart attacks and seizures.

Yohimbe caused stomach problems, tachycardia (a rapid heartbeat), anxiety and high blood pressure, according to a study comparing calls about yohimbe and other substances made to the California Poison Control System between 2000 and 2006. People calling about yohimbe were generally more likely to need medical care than other callers.

Most yohimbe products don’t say how much yohimbine they contain. The amount may vary a lot among products, according to a recent analysis of 49 brands of supplements labeled as containing yohimbe or yohimbine for sale in the United States. Some of the yohimbine was either synthetic or from highly processed plant extract.

Keep in Mind

Tell all your health care providers about any complementary or integrative health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care. 

Source: Herbs at a Glance.

Vegetarian, Gluten free - Serves 4


½ cup pre-rinsed quinoa

1 cup water

3 cups (15 ounces) watermelon, diced in ½ inch cubes

½ cup crumbled feta cheese

½ cucumber, weighing 5 ounces

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

½ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro

¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice

¼ cup avocado oil

1 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Place the quinoa in a small saucepan and pour the water over it. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover the saucepan. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until all the water has absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Set aside to cool to room temperature (you can place it in the fridge to speed things up a bit).
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the rest of the recipe.
  3. Add the diced watermelon and crumbled feta cheese to your serving bowl.
  4. Cut off the end of the cucumber and slice it lengthwise into eighths. Then cut the slices crosswise into a small dice, and add them to the serving bowl.
  5. Add all the vinaigrette ingredients in a blender and blend on low speed until thoroughly combined with small bits of cilantro remaining.
  6. When the quinoa has cooled to room temperature, add it to the serving bowl with the prepared watermelon, cucumber and feta cheese. Pour the dressing over the top and mix thoroughly.
  7. Serve immediately, or chill in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours (after that the watermelon and cucumber start to become a bit soggy). Enjoy! 

It may not be noticeable to the typical household, but chances are you or someone you know works in or owns a business that operates heavy equipment. You might be thinking that as a distributor of forklift, warehouse, construction and agriculture equipment, sustainable efforts are, at best, minimal. However, with innovations in the world of today’s technology, there is plenty to offer. When it comes to introducing innovative solutions, there are options that follow a business’s sustainability goals to reduce its carbon footprint no matter how big or small the effort may be.

It may seem like a conundrum to implement sustainable efforts in some industrial applications like paper and print, mining, and others. But the reality is that we’ve already begun the shift toward sustainability. And with newer innovative technologies, sustainability practices with industrial equipment are well within grasp. It’s a matter of taking a moment to learn about different solutions that could help businesses operating this type of equipment move toward a cleaner carbon footprint — all while maintaining a productive operation.

Industrial and forklift operations

We’re all familiar with the traditional internal combustion engine when it comes to forklifts, and some of you may also be aware that they can run on electric battery power as well. Forklifts have come a long way and even battery powered applications have improved vastly over the years. But in terms of an alternative fuel source that could change the way the world operates, we want to introduce the newest game changer. One of the newest innovations in the materials handling industry that is starting to make appearances in some of the world’s largest distribution centers is hydrogen fuel cell forklifts. The technology of hydrogen has not gone unnoticed either. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has stated on its website, “This technology, which is similar to a battery, has the potential to revolutionize the way we power the nation while reducing carbon pollution and oil consumption.”

The concept of hydrogen is not brand new, but is in the peak of its engineering and design. When it comes to the industrial application, we now have the ability to take select battery powered forklifts and convert them to hydrogen fuel cell powered. It is as simple as swapping the battery box with the fuel cell. And, did we mention it operates with zero emissions, making it the ultimately desired fuel source of equipment moving forward? There is no doubt that it will transform the way businesses operate in warehouses, distribution centers or whatever other applications they may be in.

Warehouse operations

Forklifts are major pieces of equipment that are relied upon to move materials from point A to B, but there are plenty of other types of equipment that deserve recognition for their innovations in engineering and design. Electric utility vehicles are not a new innovation, but have developed very efficiently over time and are certainly worth the mention. The utility vehicles you see driving around at warehouses, airports, universities, arenas, theme parks or weaving in and out of crowds at events is just what we’re talking about. If it’s a matter of moving people, cargo or materials, companies are looking for efficiency and minimal impact from their carbon footprint. That’s one of the many reasons why we make a push to provide electric utility vehicle options versus the traditional gas powered units.

In essence, there are so many options to explore for alternative fuels these days when it comes to our cars and homes, so why not practice the same when it comes to our businesses? Finding the balance between sustainability and the efficiency of heavy equipment is no longer the challenge it was ten years ago. It’s time that we recognize and harness the power of technology — not just to make the world a better place, but to transform the way we operate our businesses with solutions that work better and outperform the competition with efficiency. 


Hearing aids have become very sophisticated over the years, with features undreamt of just a generation ago. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the advent of wireless connectivity. Thanks to the proliferation of Bluetooth® technology, today’s hearing devices are more versatile than ever, and featuring unparalleled sound quality and convenience.

Bluetooth® is a wireless communications system that allows a variety of electronic devices, including computers, smartphones and personal audio players, to exchange data — in essence, communicating with one another. When paired with hearing aids, Bluetooth® allows the user to stream signals from those devices directly to the hearing aids.

Bluetooth® enabled hearing aids come with a controller for transmitting and receiving wireless signals to and from other Bluetooth® devices. By sending data through the wireless spectrum instead of over the airwaves, there is no need for the internal microphone to pick up and amplify sound. The result is clearer, more natural sound. The hearing aid can connect with many different devices including television sets, cell phones, GPS systems and even other medical devices.

Wireless connectivity does come with a price: increased power demand. Most hearing aid batteries are tiny and unable to supply enough power for a steady Bluetooth® connection. To get around this, assistive listening devices called streamers have been developed. Usually worn around the neck, streamers provide a communication link between devices, picking up Bluetooth® signals and transmitting them to and from hearing aids via an FM signal or electromagnetic field. In essence, the streamer works as a personal remote control for your hearing aids, enabling you to change the hearing program, raise or lower the volume and mute the streaming sound — all with the push of a button.

Certain situations require a little extra boost. In public places where large groups congregate — e.g., meetings, lectures, churches, movie theaters, conference rooms and museums — background noise can make it difficult to pick up speech. One solution is to use a wireless FM system. This portable device comes with a microphone that is placed near the speaker for transmitting sounds over radio frequencies and a receiver that attaches directly to the hearing aids. Because the microphone focuses on the source of the sound, background noise is reduced and you are better able to understand speech in noisy environments.

Another wireless option for optimizing your hearing aids in public places is a telecoil, or T-coil. This small copper coil was originally created to boost the magnetic signal from telephone handsets, amplifying speech and making it easier to hear. Nowadays, many public places are equipped with hearing loops: wires that encircle a room and transmit sounds electromagnetically. These signals are picked up by the telecoil. The user merely needs to turn the T-switch on; no additional equipment is needed. Hearing loops are commonly found in classrooms, theaters, churches and other public places. Infrared systems work in a similar fashion, but use invisible beams of light to transmit sounds, picked up by the T-coil, to a receiver. 

There’s a dragon that lives in each of us, one that both drives us to where we need to go in life and makes it hard to get there at the same time. Why the conflict? Well you might be at odds if you were cut in two as well, don’t you think? The aim is to put this dragon back together, and once we do so, we become an unstoppable force.

The dragon inside of us is split in two at the neck. The head is known as Rahu, or the North Node of the Moon; and the body is Ketu, or the South Node of the Moon. They are the two eclipse points and have recently shifted into the signs of Leo and Aquarius, respectively, for the next 18 months. Rahu and Ketu are in opposition until we learn to mend them back together.

This is no easy task, but names have power, and the first step is calling the dragon out. From there you can take the reins and decide what to do with what you know. Rahu, the dragon’s head, serves as a compass representing a place in your chart where you feel overwhelmingly compelled to succeed. You have a voracious appetite for perfection and mastery in this area, but as Rahu is only a head with no belly to ever feel full, you never feel satisfied or good enough there.

This feeling is distorted. One could be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, but if their Rahu is in such a place they will never feel they have achieved enough. Everyone around them may say that they are successful, but they will not be able to hear it. Rahu always has their ear and is shouting over everyone.

The good news is that by identifying what Rahu is up to in your chart, you can quiet him significantly and harness your massive drive and ambition for your own good instead of letting it drive you into depression.

The body of the dragon, Ketu, is as you might expect, the opposite. The body doesn’t have a head to think or have a care in the world. Ketu represents your comfort zone, a place you fall back to in times of strife but one that you need to learn to fly beyond in order to reach up and put Rahu back on Ketu’s shoulders.

With Ketu, you are so skilled that you can’t see it. You might say to yourself, “Doesn’t learning come naturally to everyone?” Or, “Why do people have stage fright?” “Getting up in front of people is really not that big of a deal!” That sort of thing. While there is a need to explore outside of this comfort zone, I see it as being a strength you can use to help overcome the feelings of inadequacy stemming from wherever Rahu is in your chart.

The dragon within is a complex energy, especially when you add in other planets. I wanted to bring him out into the light of day for you because this may be something that has been a source of torment for you when it doesn’t need to be! Knowing he is there, you can now tell Rahu to shut his trap when he starts getting you down. You can recognize that he isn’t grounded in reality and that can be incredibly freeing all on its own.

Check out my main page at PhoenixRose.Net and put your birth date, time and location into the birth chart calculator. When your chart comes up look for the horseshoe symbol — that is Rahu. That application can get you started on understanding your dragon, and if you want to explore things further you only have to ask.

For me, teaching people how to train their dragon is one of the most satisfying parts of being an astrologer. 


The days are getting longer; it is gardening season and time to work on your yard and plant your garden. Gardening can be a relaxing and enjoyable form of exercise, but if done improperly it can result in injuries. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2010, more than 41,000 Americans injured themselves while gardening and more than 127,000 were injured while operating a lawn mower.

Many common injuries including tendonitis, sprains and strains can be prevented with proper technique like bending at the knees when lifting instead of from the back or securing and stabilizing a ladder before climbing. While these conditions are not often serious, they can be very painful. If ignored they can lead to further injury and chronic pain if not properly treated. While gardening and yard work are excellent forms of exercise, after a long winter of inactivity people tend to do too much too soon. It is very important to have a warm up and cool down routine while gardening. Take frequent breaks, do not garden for longer than 20-30 minutes at a time, drink plenty of water and protect yourself from the sun.

Alternate sides when using equipment as often as possible to balance muscle usage and change your stance and motion frequently. When lifting, take your time and always lift from a crouching position with your legs bent and your back straight and carry heavier items low down and pressed against your body so that there is less leverage and stress on your back. Avoid bending and reaching while weeding or planting. Instead kneel down, using a cushion or knee pads for comfort. It is very important to stretch your lower back, hamstrings, quadriceps and forearms.

If you do experience any back or neck pain, stop what you are doing and use ice on the area injured. If the pain persists, see a chiropractor and they can help you recover faster and get you back in your garden. 

Karla Wolfinger looked back recently, wondering where 25 years have gone. The Larry Wolfinger Charity Golf Outing she started planning immediately after her husband’s funeral in 1992 has grown beyond anything she imagined.

The 25th annual event Friday, July 28 and Saturday, July 29 at Countryside Golf Course in Kaukauna promises to be a little different from very early versions. Established to raise money for those struggling with medical expenses, the event eventually couldn’t handle the volume of applications and birthed a nonprofit to carry on the work.

Community Benefit Tree, Inc. (CBT), was started in 2004 by Wolfinger and her daughter, Heidi Frederickson, currently the executive director. CBT has helped more than 500 families.

The Larry Wolfinger Charity Golf Outing continues to be a big part of the nonprofit’s fundraising. Special touches have been added to celebrate the outing’s 25th anniversary.

“We’re bringing back some of the old games from 25 years ago,” Karla said. “We’re lucky to have so many volunteers. Some of them have been with us every year. They have a good time making sure the golfers enjoy themselves.

“Even more fulfilling is knowing where the money went and how many people we’ve helped through the years. That makes all the preparation time worthwhile. We started working on this year’s event early in April.”

There’s a lot more to this fundraiser than golf. Even non-golfers can enjoy the bake sale, food, raffles, entertainment, silent and live auctions, and a special balloon release. All activities are open to the public, and anyone can purchase an oversized golf ball sign for $50 to memorialize a loved one. For more information, call Community Benefit Tree at 920-422-1919.

Volunteers are enthusiastic about CBT and the golf outing. Jacob Strauss said, “I like this event because it is fun and because Community Benefit Tree does a lot to help the community and help families who really need financial support.”

Sharon Lettau, another longtime helper, said, “I volunteer for the golf outing because I love the good work that they do. I find it’s always fun and rewarding.”

Some of those who volunteer are giving back. “Community Benefit Tree is an amazing organization,” Bruce Strauss said. “They helped with my sister’s benefit and we raised over $30,000 thanks to them. The way they give back to the community, how they help people in need and the families of those in need is just amazing. That’s why I help Community Benefit Tree and will continue helping them.”

As always, the golf outing will include a costume contest on both days. Golfers need to sign up quickly, because slots are limited. They can play 9 holes, Friday or Saturday, for $200 per team; or play 18 holes, 9 on Friday and 9 on Saturday, for just $350 per team.

The fee includes golf, a T-shirt, golf cart, meal, treats, fun activities on the course and chances at winning door prizes. For exact T-shirt sizes, golfers must order before July 11. Full payment is required to reserve a tee time and be entered into the drawing.

Silent auction items, including gift baskets, will be on display in person Saturday and also online during the week leading up to the event. Bidding starts July 29, and winners need not be present to win. Raffle tickets will be sold during the event on both days.

Individuals or businesses interested in sponsoring a hole or providing a gift basket for the silent auction should call the CBT office or visit the company website at

Anyone struggling through a medical crisis is welcome to apply for financial and other assistance through a Celebration of Support, a one-day event celebrating the life of an individual, or a fund set up to take tax-deductible donations. Information is available on the website or by calling the Community Benefit Tree office. 


“It’s not what we don’t know that bothers me. It’s what we think we know that ain’t so.”

That is so appropriate for this article. Perhaps one of the most oft repeated myths, which so many people believe is that nutritional supplements are not regulated. How many times have you heard that stated with complete certainty? How many times have you read it in popular press? We have heard and read it so many times that many people assume it must be true.

Let me dispel that myth right from the start: dietary supplements are fully regulated by both the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Anyone who says that supplements and supplement manufacturers are not regulated is either very misinformed or is for some reason denying or hiding the truth. In either case, it is hard for me to have confidence in any source that gets this fundamental fact so wrong.

Nutritional supplements are fully regulated by law because of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), which was passed in 1994. I know this law very well because I was deeply involved in mobilizing efforts in Wisconsin to pass it. This law and subsequent regulation put the control directly under the FDA and the FTC. This law was passed over 20 years ago, and yet how often do we still hear that supplements are unregulated?

This is an important issue. If supplements are unregulated, then how do you know which companies to trust? To suggest that they are not regulated creates uncertainty in the minds of consumers that is based on false information. Consumers need to know that there is a law in place to assure safety and honesty in the marketplace. There are significant regulations that companies must follow in order to not be in violation of the standards.

Some of the standards to which companies are held include the following:

  • Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) as defined by the FDA. These are extensive and cover manufacturing and record keeping, as well as adverse event reporting.
  • Ingredients must be tested before use in manufacturing.
  • Finished goods must be tested after manufacturing.
  • Finished products must include all ingredients on the label.
  • Finished goods must be accurately labeled for potency and sources of the nutrients.
  • Claims for medical benefit are not allowed except as approved by the FDA and the FTC.
  • Claims must be truthful and not misleading.

There are thousands of companies in the nutritional products business. Most of these companies are reputable companies that have been in business for many years. These companies have a vested interest in producing high quality products that are both safe and effective. These companies have invested heavily in the process of complying with new regulation. You as the consumer have every right to expect that your supplements are manufactured by good companies using GMP.

Having said all of that, there is a dark side to the nutritional supplement industry. There are companies trying to cash in on the growing popularity of supplements that are not committed to following the law. There are products that are subpar quality. There are products that are adulterated. There are products with inferior ingredients. These companies are committing fraud upon its customers. There are not supplement manufacturers, they are scammers. These are companies that fly under the radar. They make excessive claims and sell inferior products. It is these companies you must avoid.

How do you tell them apart?

Do your homework. Learn which companies you can trust. Does the company have a street address that you can visit? Do they have a phone number you can call? If they are just an internet company, then beware.

While there are problem companies in the marketplace, those problems are small compared to the vast majority of companies that comply with the regulation and play fair with consumers and regulators. So forget the idea that supplements are not regulated and instead focus on finding companies and sources you can trust. Any company that has been around for decades is likely to be a company you can trust. We have two such companies in our area: Enzymatic Therapy and Nature’s Way are perfect examples of companies that meet and even exceed the regulations.

Even amongst good companies there are many levels of quality. There are cheap and legal ingredients and there are the highest quality ingredients. Some companies will adopt the lowest legal standard and others will choose the highest quality and most effective forms of nutrients and herbs. So part of your search should focus on identifying the companies whose products are most likely to give you the highest quality.

So the next time you read or hear that supplement manufacturers are not regulated, you can take assurance that you know the truth. You can then use your energy to identify good companies and seek out the best products for your nutritional program. 

If you’re environmentally conscious and considering renovation, you’ve probably found yourself in the difficult position of weighing aesthetic considerations against environmental ones. You want to try to live sustainably, but of course you also want your space to look good. If you’re seeking to replace floors or cabinets but want to be green, I have some good news for you: natural hardwoods are considered a sustainable material.

There’s a caveat to this, which I’ll get to in a minute. First, let’s dispel a common myth. Many people believe that using lumber from hardwood trees is bad for the environment. They associate trees with environmentalism, and so cutting down trees must be bad.

In fact, it’s a little more complicated than that. Yes, it’s true that some species of hardwood trees can take up to half a century or more to mature. And yes, trees do naturally absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. However, when undertaken responsibly, cutting down trees, even old trees, does not necessarily have a negative impact on the environment. On the contrary, it is often beneficial to the overall health of the forest.

Wood, unlike metals and petroleum products, is a renewable resource. New trees can be planted as old ones are harvested and, with a little care, this process can continue indefinitely. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forestry Service agrees. Their website clearly outlines best practices for the responsible harvesting of timber, practices which promote the health of public and private forests. And the Environmental Protection Agency and USDA have both included responsibly-sourced hardwoods on their lists of “bio-preferred” materials recommended for federal building projects. These agencies consider wood carbon neutral because it continues to contain absorbed carbon dioxide even after the tree is cut down. Plus it’s biodegradable.

But now time for the caveat. Timber must be harvested responsibly. Clearcutting an entire old growth forest to grow crops or selectively harvesting endangered species of mahogany are obviously not responsible harvesting practices. In order to protect local ecosystems, logging must be undertaken with an eye to the overall health of the forest. Foresters have thus devised a number of systems for harvesting timber, each of which has appropriate applications under certain conditions. Properly applied, these systems can help maintain or improve the health of a given forest while at the same time satisfying commercial demand for wood. Here is a brief overview of those systems.

  • Clearcutting – The practice of removing all trees in a given area. Clearcutting is the most controversial system as it levels huge swaths of forest and is often associated with forest destruction rather than regeneration. However, clearcutting can be a useful method to restore the health of certain kinds of forest. This is often true of forests containing species that don’t do well in shade. This system can also be essential when whole stands of trees are ravaged by disease.
  • Seed-tree method – The practice of removing all but a few healthy, seedbearing trees intended to repopulate the forest. This system is similar to clearcutting, but helps preserve the genetic lines of a given forest’s trees.
  • Shelterwood – The practice of selectively harvesting certain trees while maintaining a shelter of overgrowth. This system helps protect the appearance of a forest while providing opportunities for new growth in the shelter of older trees. This system works well for species that tend to thrive in shade.
  • Group selection – The practice of removing clumps of mature trees at regular intervals. This system helps to improve access to sunlight and essential nutrients for existing trees while doing little to upset wildlife that have adapted to forest conditions.
  • Single tree selection – The practice of removing individually selected trees while leaving the majority of trees standing. Ostensibly, this is the least intrusive system. When only trees of a certain desirable species are selected, however, this system can upset an ecosystem’s balance. This system is very beneficial to forests when weak or unhealthy trees are selected.

No matter what system is used, the key to responsible timber harvesting is maintaining the integrity of the forest. Qualified foresters are an essential part of the process. Additionally, there are a number of agencies that serve to monitor timber harvesting and lay out best practice guidelines. Organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative provide useful resources for private and public landowners.

Efforts in the U.S. to balance environmental and economic concerns seem to be paying off. According to the most recent National Report on Forest Resources, the overall volume of trees in this country has increased since 1950, while the rate of growth is higher than the rate of harvest. And that’s what sustainability is all about.

So, when planning your green renovation, don’t take hardwoods off the table. Wood is a sustainable, eco-friendly, carbon neutral option, which when harvested responsibly, can promote the health of our forests. Using hardwood materials is a choice you can feel good about. And aesthetically, of course, you can’t do any better.

For more information, consult the websites of the Forest Stewardship Council, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the National Wood Flooring Association. 


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