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Adventures in an Uber!

Adventures in an Uber!
By Amy Haldorson
This day in age, ride sourcing has become the norm. Its rare to find a larger city that does not have Uber or Lyft. These ways of travel are convenient, most times inexpensive and also an excellent source of income.
Having used this form of transportation many times, I thought I was familiar with everything when it came to the process. Recently, I found myself in an uncomfortable Uber situation to say the least. I was in a large city a few weeks ago needing a ride. Everything went smoothly like always, until the driver pulled up to my destination. I quickly flung open my door and at that exact time another car came flying by crashing into my open door. I heard the sound of crunching and was almost too scared to look. The door hadn't completely come off, so I very carefully reached out and shut the door as best I could. I looked up at the Uber driver who was staring wide eyed at me. I'm pretty sure I had the same look on my face. I said, thank you for the ride sir, handed him a ten and got out of the car as fast as I could. I looked around for the other vehicle which was long gone, not stopping to survey the damage. I was at a loss when it came to knowing what to do in this situation. I felt bad for him, as I looked back seeing him looking at his vehicle and cringing. Somehow I don’t think the 5 star rating I gave him was going to be of any comfort.
My mind immediately went to insurance. Who was liable for the damage? Uber requires all of their drivers to have car insurance and provide supplemental insurance coverage, but only while the app is on. When the Uber app is off, a driver is covered by their own personal car insurance. In this situation, the Uber’s app will still on and so Uber’s insurance still covered the incident.
If you choose to become an Uber or Lyft driver yourself, your personal auto insurance will probably not be enough coverage while you are driving for the company. If you are considering doing this for a profession, it is always a good idea to first check with your insurance agent to make sure you have all the right coverages in place.

Driving Adventures With My Teenager

Driving Adventures With My Teenager
By Amy Haldorson
The day is finally here. I always knew it would come, but no one really prepared me for the most frightening, hair-raising, terrifying event in my life. That’s right people, you guessed it….my teen is now a driver. I had always imagined my little girl and I going for her first driving lesson. We would be laughing together, I’d help her with her first parallel park, she’d maybe even look over at me at some point and say, you know mom, I love us spending time together. My fantasy was soon crushed when we did in fact get my daughter behind the wheel for the first time. I watched as she adjusted her seat, mirrors, fixed her hair, and turned off my 90s hip hop, the usual. I tried giving her a little instruction as she backed up and was met with “omg mom, can you be more annoying". She’s right, this is her time to shift into adulthood. I sat back and smiled, she's got this, why am I worrying? Crunch! Yep, that just happened. She hit her father’s vehicle just backing out of the driveway. I very calmly told her to turn off the car and I walked back to my house. This concludes the driving lesson for today. We will try again tomorrow. Not all new driver situations are this scary. Some kids actually make it out of the driveway. Once your student has finally gotten their license, its time to think about insurance. Many people ask us, do I have to even let my insurance know if my teen only drives my vehicle, or will my insurance go up if my teen is listed on my policy. To answer these questions, if your child is licensed, yes, they need to be rated as a driver on your insurance plan and it will go up! Individuals between the ages of 16 and 24 are considered the most risky drivers to insure. Fun fact: the most expensive state to add a teen driver is Rhode Island. They have an average premium increase of 137%. North Dakota ranks 4th least expensive with an average increase of 61%! There are some ways, however, to offset the cost. Insurance companies offer a good student discount (B average or 3.0 GPA), which a lot of people don’t realize. We recently had a customer who added her teenage son. When, she did, the premium increased by $450/year. Thankfully when speaking to her, we were able to get her son’s grades into the company and they received a good student discount, which gave them a discount of $150/year, which every little bit helps! Also, something to consider when getting your child a their first vehicle, is the type of vehicle will affect the insurance. Different cars rate differently with insurance. A newer car will obviously make for a higher premium because of the vehicle symbol being higher and whether or not full coverage or liability only is needed. My parents did the smart thing with me even though at the time, I was sure my life was over. My first vehicle was an old ‘85 Buick. An older, less fancy car rates much lower, so I can appreciate them trying to save money. So, when they say, Oh Mom, c’mon that car is not good enough, just give us a call and we will run the numbers for you to show them the cost differences. And, remember—your kids are always watching what you do—drive with that in mind!


Homemade Pico de Gallo
By Michelle Weinmann
“Fresh garden produce makes this the perfect appetizer, or bake over chicken breasts and some cheese for a quick meal!"
2 cups diced sweet tomatoes like grape or roma
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1 jalapeno pepper
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 lime, juiced
Dice tomatoes with the salt and place them in a mesh strainer over a bowl for 10 min. Discard the juice.
In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, pepper and lime juice together and mix. Let chill for 10-20 min to allow flavors to meld. Serve with chips or as a topping on your favorite Mexican dish.

Business Spotlight of the Month!

Business Spotlight of the Month!

This month we want to spotlight a new business located in Harvey, Rugby and Anamoose, ND. The Bait Box is owned and operated by Jerry and Lara Schuh of Harvey. Being an avid fishing family, the Schuh’s always had dreams of selling bait and tackle in some capacity. When this business venture came along, they jumped at the chance. They recognized the local area always had a great need for bait. The Schuh’s along with their three boys, fish year round, so they have a good idea of what people want and need when it comes to this pastime. The Bait Box is very easy to access and has multiple selections of bait such as leeches, minnows, wax worms and more. Also available is tackle and snacks. They are going to be adding green glow worms soon as well. Schuh’s encourage people to call and ask if there's something they wish to buy that’s not currently available. Their information is located on the side of the machine. Shipments of bait usually come in bulk a few times a week and they get from multiple locations including Canada. Lara then travels to each bait box and refills a few times a week. The Bait Box is refrigerated and heated when need be to be up and running all year round. As of now, they are happy with serving three locations, but are open to expanding in the future.

Tragedy in the Backseat

Not another one; are the words I would imagine run through everyone’s mind when we hear the headlines. Another baby left to die in a hot car. I feel sick when I hear these stories and we are hearing them way too often. It’s every parents worst nightmare and though every parent says it will never happen to them, it continues to happen all over the country. Why is this happening? It’s the first question to ask. Has our society become too self involved? Are parents more stressed out and spread to thin? We could probably ask 100 questions and yet no one will have the answer. In almost all hot car deaths, they are not the result of malicious intent. As summer weather reaches its peak, government agencies begin to warn families about the dangers of leaving children in hot vehicles. Each year, dozens of little ones die in parked cars, where temperatures can rise rapidly even on cool days. On average, 37 kids die in overheated vehicles each year in the U.S. This number is way too high, when most of the deaths are preventable. We want to remind people of some ways to prevent these terrible situations from happening. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call no matter what, as they would much rather respond to a false alarm than a fatality. A child’s body overheats 3-5 times faster than an adult body. If the child’s temperature reaches 107 degrees, the child will die. Look before you lock. That’s the message that needs to spread. There’s also a national campaign called “Bag in the back". It is just what it sounds like. Place a purse, backpack or something the backseat that you will need. It forces parents to check the backseat. If you have a smartphone, there are apps that can notify you as a reminder. Greater awareness of these tragedies is what is going to help prevent them from happening in the future.
· Always check the back seat
· Observe and report If you see a child alone in a car, call 911, especially on hot days.
· Be on alert if your routine changes Your risk of leaving your child behind increases.
· Place a child's item on the front seat
· Place a personal item in the back Like your phone, briefcase, or purse.
· Center the car seat It's easier to see your child.
· Set up a system with your child care Make and expect calls if your child doesn't arrive as planned.
· Discuss hot-car deaths Especially with grandparents and babysitters.


*THE DAY IN THE LIFE OF A CSR* by: Amy Haldorson
What is a CSR? You may see those letters at the bottom of your correspondence from your insurance agency, you may get calls from a CSR and maybe don’t realize exactly who that is. Most agencies have customer service representatives. They are basically there to help in any way they can. I didn't really know what one was until I got into the insurance business. I'm here to give you the raw, uncut version of the day in the life of a CSR. Sounds dramatic doesn't it? My day begins with a giant cup of coffee, it really is crucial to the start of the work day. Actually, the productivity of the work day depends on it. Once coffee is in hand, I can begin my morning ritual. Open email, usually 20-30 have accumulated overnight. A quick scan tells me how many can wait till later and which need immediate attention. Each day I do something called working the downloads, which means, I look in every company we carry and make sure every new document is attached to the appropriate customer. I then let the agent know so they can look them over. This usually takes a while depending on the amount of changes we have had that week. While working between emails and downloads, sprinkle in numerous phone calls. I manage almost all phone calls coming in. Some I pass off, some I handle myself. Being a CSR, you have to be able to handle numerous interruptions and still try to stay some what on task. Along with the calls, I might get a shout from the next room (Michelle) asking me to do a task or an email or text from he who should not be named (boss). These usually take precedence over anything I am working on. Sometimes my desk may look like a tornado. I like to call it organized chaos. Finally lunchtime. I can’t wait to run home, throw laundry in, make lunch for my kids, and hopefully grab something to eat. Maybe someday I can enjoy a quiet lunch in the park-what am I talking about, I’m a mom. After lunch I finish up any anything I haven't gotten to. Next thing to tackle on the list, my inbox. Usually this is filled with documents that need attention. It can be anything from sending out paperwork to clients, paying bills, or attaching to files. Again, phone calls are always coming in. Yet another shout coming from Michelle’s office. This time its just her baby kicking. I better go in there and give her more baby advice. I'm full of information and I'm sure she wants to know. Time to get back to work. I am in charge of all of the agency's social media. I post to Facebook, twitter and Instagram on a weekly basis. Also, throw our agency newsletter into the mix which we do ourselves. I may also have some other marketing project that needs to be done. Marketing is key to add to the success of the business, so we try to do all we can. A welcome distraction of a few of our customers coming throughout the day is also thrown in throughout the day. We love to visit with our customers whenever we have the chance. And it gets me away from the computer. My day is coming to a close. I still have one more important task; birthdays! We acknowledge every customers birthday either by cards or emails. I wish we could throw them all an extravagant party like we do for (she demands) Michelle. As a CSR, my job is to keep the office running smoothly. If I need to drop my work to email or fax something, that’s what I do. If he who should not be named asks me to make call, I make the call. Helping the agents in turn helps bring the best customer service to our customer and that’s our ultimate goal. Finally its quitting time……...I can’t wait to come back and do it all again tomorrow!

Cycle Safety!

Cycle Safety!
A record 46.9 million Americans are planning to head at least 50 miles from home this summer. More so this time of year, we share the road with cyclists. It is even more imperative to be cautious. You could come around a curve or over a hill and see cyclists. Along with cars being cautious, people on bicycles should also being doing their job. They also have to watch for traffic and know the appropriate hand signals. If we work together and be vigilant of everyone on the road, it really can cut down on unfortunate accidents. Bicyclists have the same responsibilities as drivers. They must obey all traffic laws the same as vehicles. If you’re passing a bicyclist, move to another lane if possible and give them plenty of room. It is important to be on the lookout for cycles at intersections and it they have to maneuver around potholes or debris on the road. Again, knowing the appropriate hand signals are key. Always be on the lookout for cyclists wherever you are!



Nothing beats chillin’ at the pool on a hot summer day. We are incredibly lucky to have nice pools to enjoy in our area. Maddock just opened an indoor pool, Rugby has had an indoor pool for years and I have fond memories of swimming lessons there. And we cannot forget about Harvey’s outdoor pool where you soak up the sun and enjoy a dip. We encourage all of our area residents to take advantage. We’ve all heard the headlines of pool accidents, and more recently ones that are hitting close to home. Pool safety is more important than ever. Whether you are in a public pool or your own pool, there are things that are a must to remember. Everyone knows there are a lot of pool drownings, but the statistics are mind blowing. Drowning is the #2 cause of accident-related deaths in children ages 14 and under. 85% of those victims were not wearing life jackets. What most don’t realize is that people tend to drown quietly and quickly. Children and adults are rarely able to call our or wave their arms. That is something to think about...a pool full of kids, you think there's so many people, someone would notice, but in a moments blink, they can go under. As a mom, that is something I play in my mind. I make my children wear life vests, even if they get teased, even if they are the only ones. They will wear them. It’s such a simple preventative tool. Sometimes adults think with lifeguards around, how can anything go wrong? 19% of children drowning deaths happen when there is a lifeguard present. Its great to have a lifeguard on duty, but we cannot expect them to watch every single child at every single moment. There are so many scary situations that can happen with pools, but you don’t need to be afraid to live and have a good time. There are preventative tips that can help make sure you are providing a safe environment. Start by securing your pool or hot tub with barriers. They should be at least 4 foot tall and self closing. Make sure they are stable enough so children cannot climb over. Its always a good idea to place a cover over the pool and having an alarm that signals pool entry. Have someone watching children at all times when they are in the pool. Keep your children within in arms length, especially if they are not strong swimmers. A child can drown in as little as 20 seconds. Once under water, their lungs fill up with water so fast, there may not be time to get to them. Living in a small community, this questions always comes up: At what age should I allow my child to go to the pool alone? The answer is not one size fits all. Every child is different as far as their maturity and their ability to swim. It is really hard to set a certain age. The advice I would give is; ask yourself, can my child take care of himself for a few hours. That includes applying sunscreen, staying hydrated and being able to fend for themselves. You should also look at their maturity level. Do they know the route and know to be cautious of unknown cars and people? Are they a strong swimmer? They may know how to swim, but are not quite strong enough. If all these answers are yes, I would feel comfortable letting my child go to the pool alone. If you are in the area this summer, please check out our local pools!

Flag Cake with Cheesecake Topping

Flag Cake with Cheesecake Topping
By Michelle Weinmann
“The perfect dessert for your 4th of July celebration!"
1 box white cake mix plus ingredients on box
1 box strawberry jello– 4oz
Strawberries and blueberries
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 tub whipped topping
Prepare cake in a 9X13 pan according to package directions. Cool and poke the entire cake with a fork.
Add 1 cup boiling water to the jello mixture and stir until all powder is dissolved. Stir in 1/2 cup cold water. Gently pour over cake and refrigerate 4 hours.
Mix softened cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add whipped topping. Spread over cake.
Create a blueberry rectangle in the top left corner of the cake. Cut strawberries in half and place in rows. Refrigerate 2 hours before serving.