Archive for March, 2012|Monthly archive page

Lawmakers Make Final Push To Repeal State Motorcycle Helmet Law

LANSING, Mich. – Motorcyclists in Michigan may be one step closer to legally feeling the wind in their hair as lawmakers are again trying to repeal a state law that requires riders to wear helmets.

The state Senate might take a final vote on the proposal as early as Wednesday. If so, the measure could soon be sent to Gov. Rick Snyder for his consideration.

Snyder has said he only wants to tackle the motorcycle helmet law in the context of broader auto insurance reform. But proposals for more sweeping reforms appear stalled in the Legislature.

The pending helmet proposal would allow riders 21 or older to go without helmets if they meet certain insurance and experience conditions.

The Legislature has passed bills to repeal the state’s mandatory motorcycle helmet law previously, but the bills were vetoed twice by then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

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2013 Nissan Leaf: Better Heater, Leather Option, 6.6-kW Charger

Nissan’s all-electric Leaf hatchback has only been on sale in the U.S. for the past 15 months, but Nissan has already confirmed it will get some much-needed upgrades for the 2013 model.

Speaking to The Detroit News yesterday, Mark Perry, director of product and advanced planning for Nissan Americas confirmed that the 2013 Leaf will get an improved heating system and an upgraded interior fitted as standard.

Although the electric-powered air heater found in the 2011/12 Leaf is adequate enough to keep the interior warm in all but the coldest of temperatures, its use comes with a caveat: a drop in range of as much as 30 miles.

As we’ve found in the past, sacrificing heat for range is hardly pleasurable.

Neither Nissan nor Perry has detailed how the heating system in the 2013 Leaf will be different, but we do know it will improve winter performance.

“You may not see much change on the EPA rating, but in cold-weather conditions you may see 20 to 25 miles of improvements,” Perry promised, although it is important to note Nissan hasn’t mentioned a change in either battery pack capacity or chemistry.

The other major improvements — aside from the 6.6 kilowatt charger that Perry promised last year — are focused on the car’s interior.

When the Leaf launched, its white seats made from recycled plastic bottles may have been environmentally responsible, but not everyone liked them, Perry admitted.

“We were like, ‘Ah, let’s do the clean, green recycled materials.’” Perry said. But as Nissan soon found out, customers wanted other options, especially those with children or pets.

As a consequence, the 2013 Leaf will be offered with optional Leather seats, as well as a choice of light or dark interior trim.

At the moment, little else is known about the 2013 Leaf, except that it will be manufactured in the U.S. at Nissan’s Smyrna plant in Tennessee.

Some analysts have suggested that the domestic manufacture of the Leaf will also help Nissan keep its price down, but Nissan has yet to confirm official pricing.

If you’re considering a Nissan Leaf, we’re keen to know if the latest announcement will delay your purchase decision.

Or perhaps you’ve been looking at other electric cars and now think the 2013 Leaf may meet your needs?

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Plymouth Community Garage Sales – May 12 and June 9, 2012!

The City of Plymouth Recreation Department will once again be putting together the Community Garage Sale.  Reserve a 10’x10′ space for $20.  Hurry space is limited!  Admission is free so if you are looking for something to by stop by the Plymouth Cultural Center!


It is Spring cleaning time!  Start gathering up all those items that you no longer need, use, or want.  Get a 10’x10’ spot inside the Plymouth Cultural Center Ice Arena, don’t worry the ice will be out, to sell everything and free up extra space in your house!  For $20 you can reserve your spot, but hurry space is limited! This year there are only two Garage Sales, May 12th and June 9th. Each sale runs from 9:00 – 2:00pm so if you do not need to sell but need to buy come to the Plymouth Cultural Center and pick up a hidden treasure.  Admission is free!  For more information call (734)455-6620, email Lauren at or visit

*No food or drinks can be sold.    *No weapons can be sold.
*We only provide the space, you must provide any tables, chairs, etc. that you may need.

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MINNEAPOLIS (February 21, 2012) — This past Saturday, Polaris, in conjunction with the Wounded Warrior Project™ (WWP), gave away three, special, blacked-out RANGER RZR XP 4 900s to WWP Alumni. The “Phantom 4s” were presented to the three winners by representatives from the Wounded Warrior Project and Polaris. Polaris Defense surprised each winner by providing $5,000 worth of gear and accessories to outfit their new vehicles. Polaris also presented Wounded Warrior Project, $33,050 to honor the 1,322 people that entered the contest ($25 for each entrant).

Winners Tammy Persing, Gavin Goodwin and William Hampton entered an essay contest explaining what it would mean to them to win a Polaris RANGER RZR, and how they and their family would enjoy the vehicle. Their essays touched on how the vehicles would give them the ability to enjoy life with their families, be more adventuresome, and give them freedom away from the hospitals and post-war challenges they have endured.

The official giveaway to the contest winners was at a ride area outside of Phoenix, AZ. Jagged X, who was instrumental in developing and helping Polaris with the “Phantom 4s,” orchestrated a ride after the presentation for the winners and their families.

“Polaris would like to congratulate the winners of the essay contest and thank them for their service,” said Jason Difuccia, marketing manager for Polaris’ Off-Road Vehicles Division. “It was our pleasure to donate the ‘Phantom 4s’ to such a wonderful organization. These individuals have made a great sacrifice for our freedom; we hope these vehicles bring joy to them and their families.”

About the Wounded Warrior Project™

The mission of Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is to honor and empower wounded warriors. WWP’s purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members,to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. To get involved and learn more, visit

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Biggest Solar Storm in Years Races Toward Earth

WASHINGTON – The largest solar storm in five years was due to arrive on Earth early Thursday, promising to shake the globe’s magnetic field while expanding the Northern Lights.

The storm started with a massive solar flare earlier in the week and grew as it raced outward from the sun, expanding like a giant soap bubble, scientists said. When it strikes, the particles will be moving at 4 million mph.

“It’s hitting us right in the nose,” said Joe Kunches, a scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colo.

The massive cloud of charged particles could disrupt utility grids, airline flights, satellite networks and GPS services, especially in northern areas. But the same blast could also paint colorful auroras farther from the poles than normal.

Astronomers say the sun has been relatively quiet for some time. And this storm, while strong, may seem fiercer because Earth has been lulled by several years of weak solar activity.

The storm is part of the sun’s normal 11-year cycle, which is supposed to reach peak storminess next year. Solar storms don’t harm people, but they do disrupt technology. And during the last peak around 2002, experts learned that GPS was vulnerable to solar outbursts.

Because new technology has flourished since then, scientists could discover that some new systems are also at risk, said Jeffrey Hughes, director of the Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling at Boston University.

A decade ago, this type of solar storm happened a couple of times a year, Hughes said.

“This is a good-size event, but not the extreme type,” said Bill Murtagh, program coordinator for the federal government’s Space Weather Prediction Center.

The sun erupted Tuesday evening, and the most noticeable effects should arrive here between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. EST Thursday, according to forecasters at the space weather center. The effects could linger through Friday morning.

Center forecaster Rob Steenburgh said shortly before 5 a.m. EST Thursday that there still had been no noticeable effects on Earth or on a satellite geared to monitor the storm’s impact.

“We haven’t seen the shock arrive at the satellite yet,” Steenburgh said. “We’re keeping an eye on it.”

The region of the sun that erupted can still send more blasts our way, Kunches said. He said another set of active sunspots is ready to aim at Earth right after this.

“This is a big sun spot group, particularly nasty,” NASA solar physicist David Hathaway said. “Things are really twisted up and mixed up. It keeps flaring.”

Storms like this start with sun spots, Hathaway said.

Then comes an initial solar flare of subatomic particles that resemble a filament coming out of the sun. That part already hit Earth only minutes after the initial burst, bringing radio and radiation disturbances.

After that comes the coronal mass ejection, which looks like a growing bubble and takes a couple days to reach Earth. It’s that ejection that could cause magnetic disruptions Thursday.

“It could give us a bit of a jolt,” NASA solar physicist Alex Young said.

The storm follows an earlier, weaker solar eruption that happened Sunday, Kunches said.

For North America, the good part of a solar storm — the one that creates more noticeable auroras or Northern Lights — will peak Thursday evening. Auroras could dip as far south as the Great Lakes states or lower, Kunches said, but a full moon will make them harder to see.

Auroras are “probably the treat we get when the sun erupts,” Kunches said.

Still, the potential for problems is widespread. Solar storms have three ways they can disrupt technology on Earth: with magnetic, radio and radiation emissions. This is an unusual situation, when all three types of solar storm disruptions are likely to be strong, Kunches said. That makes it the strongest overall since December 2006.

That means “a whole host of things” could follow, he said.

North American utilities are monitoring for abnormalities on their grids and have contingency plans, said Kimberly Mielcarek, spokeswoman for the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, a consortium of electricity grid operators.

In 1989, a strong solar storm knocked out the power grid in Quebec, causing 6 million people to lose power.

Solar storms can also make global positioning systems less accurate and cause GPS outages.

The storm could trigger communication problems and additional radiation around the north and south poles — a risk that will probably force airlines to reroute flights. Some already have done so, Kunches said.

Satellites could be affected, too. NASA spokesman Rob Navias said the space agency isn’t taking any extra precautions to protect astronauts on the International Space Station from added radiation.

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