Category: Uncategorized

Small Rural School Districts and Disadvantaged Communities Face Unfair Levies and School Bonds

The Wahkiakum school district in southwest Washington argues that the levying system leaves rural school children with crumbling, outdated buildings. The small community of about 2,000 residents has appealed to the states Supreme Court and is waiting for the attorney general’s office to respond.

In 2012, the state Supreme Court favored the McLeary case, in which Washington state was found to be underfunding K-12 schools. After years of litigation, the state’s highest court ruled that Washington needed to pay nearly $2 billion to fund teacher salaries rather than rely on local levies.

Today, the same argument is applied to school bonds. School bonds provide funding for building new schools, attaining property, and renovating and repairing facilities and systems within buildings. In contrast, levy dollars pay for educational programs and day-to-day operations such as teachers, support staff, classroom supplies, technology, extracurricular activities, transportation, utilities, and insurance. 

Washington School Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chris Reykdal, thinks the way schools are funded needs to change. Bigger, wealthier school districts usually don’t have difficulty in passing a bond vote as school construction bonds in property-rich communities cost minimally on every $1,000 of assessed property value for each taxpayer. However, in rural areas with less valuable property, bonds are much more expensive for individual households, making them harder to pass.

Reykdal further explains that without bond approval, districts can’t qualify for state match funding. Like most other states throughout the U.S., school districts are initially funded by property taxes based on the local tax base. Constituents vote on the applied tax rate, and the money ultimately comes in levies. That money is then supplemented by state aid.

Experts said that property tax has historically been used for school budgets because they are stable and less likely to fluctuate with the economy, unlike other revenue, like income and sales taxes. Additionally, voters usually like holding local control over neighborhood institutions.

Washington is not the only state suffering from an unbalanced levying and construction bonding system. While every state varies within its specific guidelines for school funding, more than half of states have per-pupil funding levels below the national average. Sometimes, even within the same district, students face a disparity.

Luckily, a lot of attention is being drawn to closing America’s education disparity gaps. The Century Foundation (TCF) has created a report that estimates what is needed to provide each child in America the opportunity to succeed.


At Construction Bonding Specialists, we work with new and experienced contractors to find the most satisfactory bond solutions. As a distinct surety-bond-only agency with decades of bonding experience, we work to discover surety solutions for all types of cases ranging from ordinary to challenging. Call us at 248-349-6227 to learn more.

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Choosing Kitchen Countertops Made Easy

With a seemingly never-ending variety of countertops available for kitchens, what should you choose? Consider material durability as well as color. Here are six popular color choices to help you achieve the kitchen of your dreams.

An excellent choice for giving your kitchen some character, wood can break up crisp, white kitchens or add some balance to traditional or contemporary elements. Wood is a fantastic accent counter or built-in cutting board. Lighter wood feels more casual and rustic, whereas darker wood is more formal and polished.

Flecked or Vined White
Ivory stone or manufactured slab (think quartz) with a light fleck or vein is one of the most popular countertop finishes since it works well in many settings. The pale tone is neutral, fresh, sophisticated, and brings a sense of cleanliness to the kitchen. These countertops also pair well with brass accents.

This countertop option pairs well with dark floors, cabinets, or other rich features. Dark-on-dark palettes should have plenty of lighting, which will ensure the space is cozy and sophisticated. Painted cabinets (perhaps a powder blue or sage green) also go well with dark countertops. Dark or black countertops are also great if you’re going for that classic black-and-white look with some instant drama.

Corian or Caesarstone are some examples of manufactured pure white countertops, which bring a minimalist, crisp, contemporary feel to a space. Great at stain resistance, these stay crisp white with just a tiny amount of care. White countertops are recommended for themed kitchens; for example, if you’re looking for a nautical kitchen, white and blue are a fantastic combination.

Soft grey, beige, cream, etc., can add a touch of harmony to any kitchen. Soft flecked grey stone looks similar to concrete and works well in architectural spaces. Warm metallic elements (gold or brass cabinet pulls) accentuate neutral countertops as well.

Materials – done! Contractor – look no further! At JFC Remodeling, we professionally remodel kitchens. If you have an ideal kitchen in mind, contact us, and we’ll work with you to create the space you’ve always dreamed of.

JFC Remodeling is committed to providing top-quality home reconstruction services to clients throughout Livingston County. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, our licensed contractors create unique, individualized, and polished renovations. Whether the site requires an improvement, repair, or is a new construction, you can trust our experts to deliver remarkable results. Call: 810-923-1123, e-mail:, or visit us at: today.

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What are No-Doc Loans?

Borrowers looking to get approved for a mortgage and cannot show income verification are perfect candidates for no-doc loans. This type of mortgage loan does not require tax returns or income verification.

To qualify for a no-doc mortgage loan, borrowers have to show adequate credit history, real estate investment experience, and liquid assets, which are all passed through underwriting.

No-doc loans are typically unregulated, so they involve elevated down payments over traditional mortgages. In addition to requiring a higher down payment, no-doc loans generally have higher interest rates as well.

For standard mortgages, borrowers are required to submit proof of income to qualify for a loan. Lenders determine this proof via W2s, pay stubs, employment letters, and/or recent tax returns. Borrowers should be able to prove they can afford loan payments through their source(s) of income. Down payments and credit scores are also relevant.

With no-doc loans, the paperwork load is significantly lighter. All the borrower needs to do is provide a declaration saying they can repay the loan. Generally, those who are self-employed, investment-wealth capitalists, immigrants, real estate agents, or temporary workers apply for these loans.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a regulatory agency established by Dodd-Frank, says, “Your organization must verify the information you rely on using reasonably reliable third-party records. You generally cannot rely on what consumers orally tell you about their income.”

No-doc loan borrowers should have excellent credit scores and high cash reserves for down payments. Down payments are roughly 30 to 50 percent higher than traditional mortgages. The higher the down payment, the easier the borrower can be approved for a loan.

Using bank statements and other paperwork, the borrower can prove their capacity to the lender and qualify for a no-doc loan.

Do you need a no-doc loan? Contact the mortgage experts at EB Mortgage today!

EB Mortgage is a locally-owned mortgage company with experts in new home purchase, refinancing, and commercial loans. Our wholesale rates can’t be beaten. We offer more products, more options, and more solutions. Our “3C” Process is simple: complete our pre-approval request, consider options based on your requirements, and choose the offer that suits your needs best. Call us at 866-246-0516 or e-mail today.

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New T&T Property Maintenance Website Goes Live!

T&T Property has a fresh, new look! Our website just got a makeover – take a peek! On our new site, you’ll find information about our services and bi-weekly updates on our blog.

We are proud to be in business for over 20 years. We pride ourselves on supporting large and small companies by taking care of their property maintenance needs. We’re licensed by the Michigan Department of Agriculture; you can trust us with your property maintenance care.

Here are some of the services we offer:

  • Lawn & Landscape Maintenance
  • Fertilization
  • Weed & Insect Management
  • Commercial Snow Plowing
  • Tree Trimming & Stump Grinding
  • Grub & Mole Control
  • Seasonal Cleanup Services

Our services can be a la carte or bundled into yearly or seasonal packages. We know property maintenance better than anyone else; you can count on us to achieve what you’re looking for and more!

To learn more or schedule a consultation to brighten up your property, contact us today.

T&T Property Maintenance has been visualizing, creating, and maintaining commercial properties since 1997. We offer a vast number of services for our clients, including lawn and landscape maintenance, irrigation set up and repair, fertilization, weed and pest control, snow plowing and salting, and tree trimming and stump grinding. We are licensed with the Michigan Department of Agriculture, so you can rest assured we will do the job right – every time. We work with commercial businesses of any size and offer our services in seasonal or yearly packages, and a la carte. For over 20 years, we believe a satisfied customer is the only kind of customer. Check out our website, call, or e-mail us today to learn more.

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Seasonal Bug Out Bags

Preppers are serious about being prepared. After all, the root word implies those who are prepping are gearing up for something serious. Whether it be a global catastrophe, pandemic, natural disaster, economic collapse, you name it, preppers are ready for whatever materializes.

Most will readily combat these calamities with help from a Bug Out Bag (BOB), packed to the brim with essential survival items. Rather than using a gigantic BOB that might be chocked full of unnecessary winter gear in the summer, or vice-versa, a more efficient solution would be to re-pack in the spring and fall seasons. Additionally, another option is to have two separate bags ready to go for either summer (hot) or winter (cold) weather.

Some of the hot weather gear you might want to fill your BOB with include:

Cold weather gear to fill your BOB could include:

Need some gear to fill your BOB? We have what you need. Check out our massive inventory at Wolf Survival Gear today!

Wolf Survival Gear is a hub for all your prepping and survival needs. We are a trusted resource for concerned families, avid hunters, or serious preppers. Make us your one-stop-shop and prepare now, before you’ll need it later. Visit our website or e-mail us today for more information.

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The Importance of Engine Coolant Flushes

Engine coolant is also known as antifreeze. This fluid removes excess heat from an engine using heat transfer chemicals such as ethylene or propylene glycol and water. Cars produce a great deal of energy and heat while moving. In the engine, the exhaust and cooling systems are designed to ensure the vehicle remains cool. Coolant safeguards the engine in the sweltering summer months by absorbing heat, thereby stopping water from boiling and ensuring metal parts don’t corrode.

Without coolant, an engine is susceptible to many issues. Since coolant loses potency through time, it’s imperative to get coolant flushes to ensure your engine is protected. Here are some benefits of changing your coolant fluids:

  1. Eliminates rust and scale deposits, which can cause overheating and cooling system damage.
  2. Additives lubricate the water pump, extending its life.
  3. Rust is prevented from forming.
  4. Replaces old coolant/antifreeze that can become acidic and ruin pumps, hoses, and engine components.

Coolant flushes ensure your vehicle maintains optimal performance. To keep your engine running smoothly from your transmission to your power steering, ensure your coolant is changed according to schedule.

Check your owner’s manual to see when it’s time to get your vehicle serviced for a coolant flush. If it’s been over a year since your previous coolant change, visit your local Team CAMC today.

Team CAMC is your Complete Auto Maintenance Center. For over 30 years, we have followed a single guiding principle: we never push or sell services a vehicle doesn’t need.  Our team of trained technicians welcomes you like family and discusses all types of oil and fluid changes offered. Critical points are reviewed through a 13-point inspection to ensure your vehicle is ready for the next adventure on the road ahead. Contact us today to schedule the professional service you deserve from a team you trust.

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What’s the Difference Between AWD and 4WD?

All-Wheel Drive (AWD) and 4-Wheel Drive (4WD) are actually two different things. In the past, if you wanted four driven wheels, you were limited to full-size SUV’s and trucks. Nowadays, 4WD has become more sophisticated, and AWD is getting more robust and gaining in popularity. Both are available in cars and SUVs and account for more than half of new vehicle sales in the U.S.  

All-Wheel Drive (AWD)

When a vehicle is equipped with an AWD system, the drivetrain’s power gets transferred to all four wheels. There are several AWD systems available, some full-time and others with on-demand AWD. The newer technology allows torque to engage on all four wheels but can allocate more torque to the rear wheels when the drivetrain computer senses traction loss. Systems that are primarily front-wheel drive will supply torque to the rear wheels through the AWD processor if the front wheels slip.

The different types of AWD include part-time, full-time, automatic, and selectable.

Four-Wheel Drive (4WD)

Through the years, 4WD has become more refined, including a high and low-range setting. Low range is useful for mud, sand, or heavy snow. High range is the default setting for everyday asphalt driving. More advanced systems offer a selection of modes for drivers to control how much power and torque are distributed between the front and rear axles.

AWD and 4WD are great options for those who regularly drive in challenging conditions, including harsh winters or off-roading. These vehicles are heavier and more complex to service.

Still have questions or want to service your AWD or 4WD vehicle?

Contact the car care experts at Team CAMC today.

Team CAMC is your Complete Auto Maintenance Center. For over 30 years, we have followed a single guiding principle: we never push or sell services a vehicle doesn’t need.  Our team of trained technicians welcomes you like family and discusses all types of oil and fluid changes offered. Critical points are reviewed through a 13-point inspection to ensure your vehicle is ready for the next adventure on the road ahead. Contact us today to schedule the professional service you deserve from a team you trust.

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The Most Beneficial Foods for Eye Health

Drinking plenty of water, eating nutrient-rich foods, and exercising can improve our lives and increase health benefits. Eye health is also supported through these same activities. Regularly consuming specific vitamins and nutrients can prevent or delay sight-threatening eye conditions and diseases which include macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma.

Fish: omega-3 fatty acids are present in oily fish such as tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, and herring. Studies have shown that dry eye can be reversed by fish oil consumption.

Nuts, seeds, and legumes: beyond omega-3 fatty acids, nuts also contain a high Vitamin E level, which can protect the eye from age-related damage. Examples include: Brazil nuts, hemp seeds, walnuts, lentils, flax seeds, cashews, chia seeds, and peanuts.

Citrus fruits: boasting high amounts of Vitamin C, an antioxidant that fights age-related eye damage, citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, and grapefruits can improve eye health.

Leafy green vegetables: kale, spinach, and collard greens are highly beneficial for eye health since they contain lutein, Vitamin C, and zeaxanthin.

Carrots: beta carotene and Vitamin A are both highly present in this vegetable, and both play an essential role in eye and vision wellbeing.

Sweet Potatoes: getting their orange color from beta carotene just like carrots, sweet potatoes also contain Vitamin E, which is an antioxidant helpful to increase eye health.

Beef: high levels of zinc are linked to beef consumption, which can delay age-related sight loss and macular degeneration. The eye itself contains high levels of zinc, especially in the retina.

Eggs: lutein, zeaxanthin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and zinc are present in eggs. These are all vital nutrients to combat age-related vision loss.

Water: to reduce dry eyes and dehydration, drink plenty of water daily.

Try consuming these foods to increase your overall eye health. For more information or to ask a professional for advice regarding ocular issues, contact the specialists at Rohr Eye & Laser Center today.

Rohr Eye & Laser Center offers the most advanced technology available to provide personalized and extraordinary care to our patients. Whether your goal is to maintain or improve your natural vision, we are here to help you. Call us at 877-579-0202 or visit to schedule an appointment today.

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Brain Tumor Visibility Doubled with New MRI Technique

When compared to existing visualization methods, a new 3D technique with MRI scans doubles the visibility of brain tumors. Since a large number of tumors are discernable, the new process has the potential to make it easier to treat them earlier and at smaller, more manageable stages.

Robert Edelman, M.D., is an inventor, lead author, and clinical professor of radiology. His work was shared in the Science Advances journal. He said, “Our goal is for the new technique – T1RESS – to help thousands of patients by allowing malignant tumors to be detected at an earlier, more curable stage.”

According to the American Brain Tumor Association, 700,000 Americans are living with brain tumors and 16,000 will die this year. The new MRI technique can catch the tiny malignant tumors that often escape notice, potentially saving lives and improving outcomes. 

The hope is that those patients undergoing surgery or radiotherapy will receive better clinical outcomes by making the tumor margins on contrast-enhanced scans more visible.

Edelman and his colleagues studied brain tumors in 54 patients to determine how well T1RESS works. He applied magnetic fields and radio waves used to generate MRI signals differently from existing imaging techniques. The new technique uniquely manipulates brain tissue signals to produce images that offer significantly improved tumor visibility. This application makes T1RESS highly sensitive to the T1 shortening effects of paramagnetic contrast agents, but it also reduces the signal intensity of non-enhancing background issues, both improve tumor visualization.

Experimental results showed that the new technique provided a two-fold improvement over existing MRI methods in regards to the contrast between tumors and normal brain tissue. Edelman compared the visualization to seeing more stars: “There just isn’t enough contrast between the stars and the sunlit sky to make them visible. In the case of brain tumors, T1RESS doubles the contrast between tumors and normal brain, so the tumors are more easily detected. It’s like looking at the stars on a dark night instead of a sunny day,” Edelman said. 

A larger, multi-site trial will need to be performed in order to confirm the findings, but the plan is to apply this technique to both prostate and breast cancers as well. If the benefits are confirmed, widespread use will be as simple as the installation of a specialized software package.

Visit the Science Advances website to read the full journal article. For more information about CT Scanners, Linear Accelerators, and the like, contact Acceletronics today.

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website:

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Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid

Sharing the same prefix makes Medicare and Medicaid easily interchangeable, but in reality, they are entirely different. To add to the confusion, both are structured by the government to assist people with healthcare costs. Beyond sharing prefixes and the healthcare realm, the two programs have nothing else in common.

Medicare: an insurance program paid from trust funds which those covered have paid into.

  • For seniors 65+ or those with a qualifying disability
  • Federal government sets standard benefits and costs
  • Private plans might provide additional (varying) coverage and costs
  • Parts A and B provided by the government; Parts C and D provided by insurance companies

Medicaid: an insurance assistance program serving low-income people.

  • For individuals, families, and children with limited income and resources
  • State sets Medicaid programs based on federal guidelines
  • Different programs exist for specific populations
  • Both mandatory and optional benefits available

Both Medicare and Medicaid include premiums, deductibles, copays, and insurance costs. Specific Medicaid groups are exempt from out-of-pocket expenses, and there are four different Medicare savings programs available. Some people can have both Medicare and Medicaid; these people are called “dual eligible.”

To enroll for Medicare, enroll with either Social Security directly (Parts A and B) or a private insurance company (Parts C and D) to choose the coverage you need. To enroll for Medicaid in Michigan, visit their website.

Both Medicare and Medicaid are two very different healthcare programs. It is imperative to understand the differences. If you are dual-eligible, learn how they can work together for your benefit.

For more information about the differences between Medicare and Medicaid, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website. To enroll in Medicare Parts C and D, contact Senior Health Medicare today.

Senior Health Medicare is a superior resource for Medicare guidance, information, and ongoing client support. Selecting a plan is not a flippant decision. It requires annual revisiting and re-evaluating in order for the client to stay in the most cost-effective coverage. Senior Health Medicare is here to serve as your resource through all the years to come. Contact us today at 888-404-5049 or visit us on the web at

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