Archive for December, 2013|Monthly archive page

Going Out to Celebrate This Holiday? Secure a Safe Ride Home

The holidays are upon us and with the time of season comes a chance to reconnect with old friends and celebrate the preceding year while anticipating the next.

For those going out, safety should be top of mind. If you’re going out to celebrate and will be drinking, it’s always smart to secure a designated driver before heading to the bar.

Aside from the inherent safety risks of drinking and driving, penalties for drivers who get caught driving after drinking too much can be staggering, particularly with new enhanced fines for drivers registering higher blood-alcohol levels.

According to Michigan State Police, a motorist convicted of drunk driving can expect to face serious consequences including:

  • Up to 93 days in jail
  • Up to a $500 fine
  • Up to 360 hours of community service
  • 180 days driving suspension
  • Six points on a driver’s license

In addition, they will be subject to a $1,000 fee for two consecutive years, for a total of $2,000 in additional costs. Anyone who refuses a breath test the first time is given an automatic one-year driver’s license suspension. Additional fees will be assessed to drivers qualifying under Michigan’s “super-drunk” laws, which apply to drivers registering a BAC of .17 percent or higher.

The easiest option for securing a sober driver is to recruit a friend who won’t be drinking and can take the keys for the night. If that can’t be arranged, there are several cab and designated-driver services in your area that can ensure you and your vehicle arrive home safely.

The National Directory of Designated Driver Services lists businesses and non-profit organizations who provide designated-driver services. These companies often take a “team-lift” approach, with two drivers meet you at a specified location in one vehicle. One driver drives you home in your own vehicle while the second follows and transports that driver back home after you arrive safely.

Especially given the higher demand during the holidays, early reservations are encouraged.

Dan Mehlh, owner of Waterford-based Designated Driver Services, says his company will handle any rides to or from an Oakland County community. His company uses the two-driver approach and has been in business for about 10 years.

Mehlh says securing a safe ride is a “no-brainer” to avoid stiff fines and legal woes.

“I had one of my lawyer customers tell me if you robbed a liquor store without a gun you’d have a better record than DUI,” Mehlh said. Unlike the robbers, the driver could lose his or her license and face stricter fines and checkups.

For businesses such as Mehlh’s, there generally is a flat fee plus a per-mile fee for a ride, well below the fines drivers incur after a drunk-driving arrest.

One business owner, Mark E. Messing, suggests booking a safe ride now in advance of a busy holiday for his drivers.

Messing owns two Roseville-based designated-driver companies, Safe Way Home LLC and 4 My Ride LLC, serving Oakland, Wayne, St. Clair, Livingston, Washtenaw and Macomb counties.

“Start calling and booking now,” he said of arranging a safe ride. Of his 110 drivers, nearly half are booked for New Year’s Eve and his business also is handling a large slate of holiday parties ahead of Christmas Day.

Here is a list of Designated Driver providers in Oakland County, according to the directory:

When in doubt, ask a bartender

If you find yourself at a bar and having consumed more drinks than you had expected and don’t have a way to arrange a ride home, ask a bartender for local taxi or designated-driver services. It is in a bar’s best interest to ensure its patrons arrive home safely and not wind up in an accident or in jail.

As read on: http://plymouth-mi.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/going-out-to-celebrate-this-holiday-secure-a-safe-ride-home_f9ec72d4

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Chrysler’s Jefferson Avenue Plant Builds its 5 Millionth Vehicle

The Jefferson Avenue plant stands close to a plant that ran for 83 years, making 8.3 million cars for Chalmers, Maxwell, Imperial, Dodge, DeSoto, and Plymouth, closing around 1990. Jefferson Avenue North plant has made Grand Cherokees, Grand Cherokee-based Commanders, and Grand Cherokee-based Durangos — and nothing else.

Jefferson North Assembly Plant (JNAP) has been manufacturing Chrysler vehicles since January 1992, starting with a 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee. 21 years later, workers on hand celebrated and cheered as the plant’s 5,000,000th vehicle was built in the motor city. On display for the assembled guests was an original 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee, one of the first made, with around 8,000 miles on the clock.

Chrysler’s “JNAP” opened with 1.75 million square feet of manufacturing space, and has since expanded to over three million. The plant originally had 1,600 employees on two shifts, and now has over 4,500 workers on three shifts, for 120 hours of production every week.

I had the opportunity to visit JNAP in 2011, when Chrysler group was beginning to roll out WCM. The attitude of the workers in the plant was inspiring as they joked and laughed, everyone smiling and coming together to build a world class set of vehicles (Jeep Grand Cherokee, SRT Grand Cherokee, and Dodge Durango). Two years later, the attitudes and smiles of the workers are even brighter.

Chrysler invited 30 year veterans to attend this morning’s celebration; most have been at the plant since it opened.

Manufacturing chief Scott Gaberding said, “I had the privilege of being plant manager here in 2000, working alongside this very skilled workforce. Now as the head of manufacturing, I continue to be impressed by the commitment that is demonstrated here every day. As sales of the Grand Cherokee continue to increase to record levels, we are asking our employees to do more and they have responded by rising to the challenge. They are the heart and soul of this plant and this company, and have been entrusted to build a vehicle that is critical to the continued success of Chrysler Group.”

Chrysler will donate the 5,000,000th vehicle, a billet silver Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland, to the USO as part of the partnership that continues Jeep’s commitment to the military by providing support and aid to returning troops.

“In 1991, when this plant was built and preparing to produce the first Jeep Grand Cherokee, the USO was celebrating its 50th anniversary of supporting our troops, so it seemed obvious to us at Jeep was by donating a new 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee to our partners at the USOs” said Mike Manley, head of Jeep. “The USO and Jeep, both founded in 1941, share a common history and commitment to supporting our military men and women. We’re honored to support the USO as they continue their dedication to lifting the spirits of American troops and families.”

The Jeep Grand Cherokee will be used by the USO at its facilities in Pensacola, Florida and outfitted with a commemorative plaque signed by CEO Sergio Marchionne to show its very special history.

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/corporate/factories/5-million.html

Dick Scott’s Classic Motorcycles is going to the 2014 IMS

Suburban Collection Showplace

46100 Grand River Avenue
Novi, MI 48374
Show Hours:
Friday     3:00pm – 8:00pm
Saturday     10:00am – 8:00pm
Sunday     10:00am – 5:00pm

Ticket Type:

Price:
1 Day Adult Admission     $12.00
1 Day Adult Admission T-Shirt Combo     $17.00
2 Day Adult Admission (Online Only)     $18.00
3 Day Adult Admission (Online Only)     $24.00
Saturday VIP (Online Only) ***     $23.00
1 Day Child Admission (Ages 6-11)     $6.00
*Tickets purchased online incur a $1.00 Convenience Fee. Promo codes apply only to full price Adult 1-Day Admission tickets.

On Site Show Office Numbers:

Phone: (248) 662-0012 (Subject to change)
Fax: (248) 662-0013 (Subject to change)

North American International Auto Show Dates, Times and Ticket Details

Dates and Times

Saturday, January 18 – Saturday, January 25, 2014
9 a.m. – 10 p.m. (no admittance after 9 p.m.)

Sunday, January 26, 2014
9 a.m. – 7 p.m. (no admittance after 6 p.m.)

Early access for handicapped individuals at 8 a.m.
Enter at the Oakland Hall Entrance.

Ticket Pricing

  • Adults: $13 per person
  • eTickets: $13 per person
  • Seniors: $7 (65 and older)
  • Children: $7 (7-12 years old; 6 and under free with a parent or guardian)

Group Tickets

  • Discounted rate of $9 per ticket is available for groups of 30 or more.
  • Pickup is located at the window outside the Oakland Hall entrance.
  • American Express, Visa, Mastercard and business checks accepted. Personal checks and cash not accepted.
  • A photo ID is required to pick-up tickets.
  • Children 6 and under are free when accompanied by a parent or guardian and do not require a ticket.
  • There is no group discount for senior tickets.
  • Tickets are non-refundable.

Ticket Purchasing Options

eTickets

  • Print voucher to redeem tickets at the eTicket window, located outside the Oakland Hall entrance.
  • The Ticket window is open 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., January 18 – 25 and 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., January 26.
  • Each order must be picked up in its entirety.
  • A photo ID is required to pick up tickets.

Purchase Tickets at the Door

  • Tickets may be purchased the day of the show at ticket booths located in the Cobo Center concourse (cash only).
  • There will be a number of ticket kiosks set up in the concourse for credit card purchasing.
  • Children 6 and under are free when accompanied by a parent or guardian and do not require a ticket.

Please contact the Ticketing Office at:

1900 West Big Beaver Road
Suite 100
Troy, MI 48084
Phone: 248.283.5173
Fax: 248.283.5172

Hours of Operation:

Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Cobo Hospitality Scooter Rentals:
Cobo Center provides motorized scooters on a first-come, first-served basis for people with disabilities. Advance reservations are accepted by Cobo Hospitality at (313) 877-8290. Each scooter is $25.00 per 4-hour period. Valid driver’s license and signed rental agreement required with each reservation. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and cash payments accepted.

It’s time to track Santa!

It’s Christmas Eve and in some parts of the world it’s already Christmas Day! For young children that means that it’s time to start tracking Santa! Today you can follow Santa as he delivers presents to the children of the world and also play some fun games when you visit http://www.noradsanta.org/.

 

Read on to learn how a simple wrong number turned into an annual tradition for many starting almost 60 years ago…

 

NORAD Tracks Santa is an annual Christmas-themed entertainment program, which has existed since 1955, produced under the auspices of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). Every year on Christmas Eve, “NORAD Tracks Santa” purports to track Santa Claus as he leaves the North Pole and delivers presents to children around the world.

The program is in the tradition of the September 1897 editorial “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” in the New York Sun.

History and Overview
The program began on December 24, 1955, when a Sears department store placed an advertisement in a Colorado Springs newspaper which told children that they could telephone Santa Claus and included a number for them to call. However, the telephone number printed was incorrect and calls instead came through to Colorado Springs’ Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Center. Colonel Harry Shoup, who was on duty that night, told his staff to give all children who called in a “current location” for Santa Claus. A tradition began which continued when the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) replaced CONAD in 1958.

Today, NORAD relies on volunteers to make the program possible. Each volunteer handles about forty telephone calls per hour, and the team typically handles more than 12,000 e-mails and more than 70,000 telephone calls from more than two hundred countries and territories. Most of these contacts happen during the twenty-five hours from 2 a.m. on December 24 until 3 a.m. MST on December 25. Google Analytics has been in use since December 2007 to analyze traffic at the NORAD Tracks Santa website. As a result of this analysis information, the program can project and scale volunteer staffing, telephone equipment, and computer equipment needs for Christmas Eve. Volunteers include NORAD military and civilian personnel.

As of 30 December 2011, the NORAD Tracks Santa program had 101,000 Twitter followers and the Facebook page had nearly one million fans.

Website and Other Media
The NORAD Tracks Santa program has always made use of a variety of media. From the 1950s to 1996, these were the telephone hotline, newspapers, radio, phonograph records and television. Many television newscasts in North America feature NORAD Tracks Santa as part of their weather updates on Christmas Eve.

From 1997 to the present, the program has had a highly publicized internet presence. As mobile media and social media have become popular and widespread as methods of direct communication, these newer media have also been embraced by the program. The layout of the NORAD Tracks Santa website and its webpages have changed from 1997 to the present due to changes in internet technologies, and changes in partners and sponsors for a particular year.

Between 2004 and 2009, people who visited the NORAD Tracks Santa site were told they could “track” Santa in Google Earth. They were given a link to download Google Earth, and then a KMZ file to download. From 2009-2011, the tracking in Google Earth has been done from the NORAD Santa site, and there is no KMZ file for Google Earth anymore. In 2011, an iOS and Android application was introduced, which features updates and an interactive game similar to Angry Birds.

From mid-January until November 30, when one arrives at the NORAD Tracks Santa website, one is greeted with a message to come back on 1 December to “track Santa with NORAD”. During December, one finds a NORAD Tracks Santa website with all the features available. On Christmas Eve, the NORAD Tracks Santa website videos page is generally updated each hour, when it is midnight in a different time zone. The “Santa Cam” videos show CGI images of Santa Claus flying over famous landmarks. Each video was accompanied by a voice-over until the end of the 2011 season, typically done by NORAD personnel, giving a few facts about the city or country depicted. Celebrity voice-overs have also been used over the years. For the London “Santa Cam” video, English television personality and celebrity Jonathan Ross did the voice-over for 2005 to 2007 and the former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr narrated the same video in 2003 and 2004. In 2002, Aaron Carter provided the voice-over for three videos.

The locations and landmarks depicted in some of the “Santa Cam” videos have changed over the years. In 2009, twenty-nine “Santa Cam” videos were posted on the website. In previous years, twenty-four to twenty-six videos had been posted.

Sponsorship and Publicity
NORAD Tracks Santa relies on corporate sponsorship, and is financed by neither American nor Canadian taxpayers.

U.S. military units that have provided publicity for the program include the Northeast Air Defense Sector of the New York Air National Guard and the U.S. Naval Reserve Navy Information Bureau (NIB) 1118 at Fort Carson, Colorado. Other U.S. federal agencies, such as NASA and NOAA, have helped publicize the service, as have the Canadian Forces. First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama participated in the 2011 and 2012 trackings, answering phone calls.

According to Gerry Bowler, a history professor at the University of Manitoba, the NORAD Tracks Santa program is “one of the few modern additions to the centuries-old Santa Claus story that have stuck.” Bowler stated that the program “takes an essential element of the Santa Claus story — his travels on Christmas Eve — and looks at it through a technological lens,” therefore bringing the Santa Claus mythology into the modern era.

Visit: http://www.noradsanta.org/ to Track Santa this year!!

As read on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NORAD_Tracks_Santa

Secure a Safe Ride Home this Holiday Season

The holidays are upon us and with the time of season comes a chance to reconnect with old friends and celebrate the preceding year while anticipating the next.

For those going out, safety should be top of mind. If you’re going out to celebrate and will be drinking, it’s always smart to secure a designated driver before heading to the bar.

Aside from the inherent safety risks of drinking and driving, penalties for drivers who get caught driving after drinking too much can be staggering, particularly with new enhanced fines for drivers registering higher blood-alcohol levels.

According to Michigan State Police, a motorist convicted of drunk driving can expect to face serious consequences including:

  • Up to 93 days in jail
  • Up to a $500 fine
  • Up to 360 hours of community service
  • 180 days driving suspension
  • Six points on a driver’s license

In addition, they will be subject to a $1,000 fee for two consecutive years, for a total of $2,000 in additional costs. Anyone who refuses a breath test the first time is given an automatic one-year driver’s license suspension. Additional fees will be assessed to drivers qualifying under Michigan’s “super-drunk” laws, which apply to drivers registering a BAC of .17 percent or higher.

The easiest option for securing a sober driver is to recruit a friend who won’t be drinking and can take the keys for the night. If that can’t be arranged, there are several cab and designated-driver services in your area that can ensure you and your vehicle arrive home safely.

The National Directory of Designated Driver Services lists businesses and non-profit organizations who provide designated-driver services. These companies often take a “team-lift” approach, with two drivers meet you at a specified location in one vehicle. One driver drives you home in your own vehicle while the second follows and transports that driver back home after you arrive safely.

Especially given the higher demand during the holidays, early reservations are encouraged.

Dan Mehlh, owner of Waterford-based Designated Driver Services, says his company will handle any rides to or from an Oakland County community. His company uses the two-driver approach and has been in business for about 10 years.

Mehlh says securing a safe ride is a “no-brainer” to avoid stiff fines and legal woes.

“I had one of my lawyer customers tell me if you robbed a liquor store without a gun you’d have a better record than DUI,” Mehlh said. Unlike the robbers, the driver could lose his or her license and face stricter fines and checkups.

For businesses such as Mehlh’s, there generally is a flat fee plus a per-mile fee for a ride, well below the fines drivers incur after a drunk-driving arrest.

One business owner, Mark E. Messing, suggests booking a safe ride now in advance of a busy holiday for his drivers.

Messing owns two Roseville-based designated-driver companies, Safe Way Home LLC and 4 My Ride LLC, serving Oakland, Wayne, St. Clair, Livingston, Washtenaw and Macomb counties.

“Start calling and booking now,” he said of arranging a safe ride. Of his 110 drivers, nearly half are booked for New Year’s Eve and his business also is handling a large slate of holiday parties ahead of Christmas Day.

Here is a list of Designated Driver providers in Oakland County, according to the directory:

When in doubt, ask a bartender

If you find yourself at a bar and having consumed more drinks than you had expected and don’t have a way to arrange a ride home, ask a bartender for local taxi or designated-driver services. It is in a bar’s best interest to ensure its patrons arrive home safely and not wind up in an accident or in jail.

As read on: http://westbloomfield.patch.com/groups/holidays/p/going-out-to-celebrate-this-holiday-secure-a-safe-ride-home_9e448b49

2014 Dodge Dart, Dodge Avenger, and Chrysler 200 — have achieved Top Safety Pick ratings from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS)

Three Chrysler Group cars — the 2014 Dodge Dart, Dodge Avenger, and Chrysler 200 — have achieved Top Safety Pick ratings from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS). This is the sixth time the IIHS has commended the Avenger and 200 mid-size sedans, and the third they have  hailed the Dart.

citrus-dartAll three cars have significant advanced-technology steel content, which enhances structural integrity. The Dart’s 68% content ratio of high-strength steel is among the highest in the industry, and also helps Dart to gain a five-star safety rating from the Federal government.  The Dart has also 10 standard airbags, unsurpassed in its segment.

To be an IIHS Top Safety Pick, a car must achieve a rating of “good” in the moderate-overlap frontal crash, side impact test, roof strength test, and whiplash test, and must rate “acceptable” or better in the IIHS’ new small-overlap front crashworthiness evaluation.

All available safety features on the Avenger and 200 sedans are standard, including supplemental side-curtain airbags for front and rear outboard occupants.

Only 39 vehicles, all together, were given the Top Safety Pick rating, down from 130 last year, due to tougher standards. The insurance-company-funded IIHS crash-tests around 80 vehicles per year, and now gives extra points to frontal crash avoidance systems (available in Dart and Chrysler’s large cars).

Honda had six winners, including two Acuras; Volvo and Toyota each had three (plus one Scion). GM’s only listed car was the Korean Chevrolet Spark. Toyota’s win for Camry was especially important to the company, since Consumer Reports is putting Camry back onto its “recommended” list as a result.  Overall, Chrysler’s showing was fairly impressive; the results for the 2015 model year may be different, as  the 200 is being replaced and Avenger will reportedly be dropped.

As read On: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2013/12/3-mopars-in-iihs-top-safety-picks

2013 Dodge Dart GT

My younger brother bought a Dodge Dart earlier this summer. It’s a basic SXT, in Maximum Steel Metallic, with the 2.0-liter engine, a six-speed automatic transmission and not a whole lot else. Unfortunately, at the time, the Dart was one of the few cars in the compact class I’d never driven. I didn’t know a lot about it, and therefore, didn’t have a lot to say when he bought it. I think the words “based on an Alfa,” popped out when I first saw it.

As it turns out, he’s grown quite fond of the dark gray sedan, so it was with some degree of enthusiasm that I paid him a visit in this bright-orange Dart GT. I was excited to see what it was about the Dart that he enjoyed so much, despite my tester featuring a different engine, transmission and a lot more tech. After a week with the car, though, I must say: I don’t quite see what all the fuss is about.

Driving Notes

The GT receives the most powerful engine in the Dart line – a 2.4-liter four-cylinder complete with 184 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque. Mated to the buyer’s choice of a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic, it’s easy to imagine that the Dart’s on-paper performance is more than adequate.
That said, this is a thrashy, buzzy and generally unlovable engine. Peak torque arrives at 4,800 rpm, or about 1,700 rpm south of redline, meaning it needs to be pushed to really deliver its grunt. This wouldn’t be a problem were it not for the largely unpleasant noises coming from under the hood and out the back. It sounds like Dodge attempted to engineer a sporty soundtrack for the 2.4, but the resulting audio comes across as too rough.
Despite having to push the engine harder than I’d like, fuel economy was right around the 27-mile-per-gallon combined rating promised on the window sticker. The 33-mpg highway rating seems rather lofty, though, as the majority of my drive time was on the highway. Of course, if fuel economy is really your concern, you’ll be better served by either the base 2.0-liter or 1.4-liter turbocharged four.
The other issue with the Dart’s powertrain was my tester’s six-speed manual. For starters, the shift knob’s size sits somewhere between a tennis ball and a softball, meaning that even for someone with large hands like me, it’s difficult to get the right kind of grip on it. Follow that up with overly long, almost Jeep-like throws for the shifter, and a clutch with too much travel and a vague, difficult-to-find catch point, and the 2.4/6MT combo is shaping up to be one we’d avoid.
The ride/handling of this sportiest Dart are somewhat unimpressive with regard to the general compact class. If you happen to value handling and feedback, we can’t help but think you’d be better served by the Mazda3, as the Dodge feels rather disconnected both in terms of the chassis and steering. It isn’t uncomfortable, though. The ride feels reasonably composed over rough sections of road and doesn’t porpoise about if things do get bumpy.
If you’re just looking for the class-exclusive or class-leading features, the Dart GT is a solid choice. We mentioned a few of them already, but they bear mentioning again: Chrysler’s UConnect system is really one of the best touchscreen setup in the game (if not the best), both in terms of responsiveness and sheer size and clarity. The 8.4-inch display is, simply put, a must-have if you’re considering not just the Dart, but any Chrysler Group product. The other options, like a heated steering wheel and the reconfigurable dash are just plain cool at this price point. That TFT display in the instrument cluster is a ridiculously pretty way of displaying normally boring stuff like trip and fuel economy data.
Ignore the optional goodies, though, and the cabin is merely par for the course. It’s not as well done as a Ford Focus or Hyundai Elantra, but aside from some of the harder, scratchier plastics, it’s not a terrible place to spend time. The leather on the seats is rather cheap feeling, and I’m wondering how well it will age (to be fair, this is true of a lot of leathers used in the compact segment). Backseat space is solid, so long as Shaq isn’t parked in the driver’s seat.
Pricing for the Dart GT starts at a reasonable $20,995 and will automatically net owners a set of stylish 18-inch, five-spoke wheels, the more potent engine, push-button start, a power driver’s seat, the 8.4-inch display (sans navigation), heated seats and steering wheel, the reconfigurable dash, sport suspension and satellite radio. From there, the options list is relatively slim. Owners can add navigation to their touchscreen display for a very reasonable $495, swap the silver wheels for hyper black wheels for an extra $395, or fit a $995 Sun/Sound package that adds a nine-speaker Alpine stereo and a sunroof. All in, my car totaled a tidy $23,875, including $995 for destination.
There is much to recommend about the Dart, particularly if you’re clamoring for the latest batch of automotive tech. Its huge central display and gorgeous TFT screen in the instrument cluster are markedly better than what’s in the rest of the class, making the Dart the obvious choice for the tech savvy. Those who prioritize ride and handling, however, are likely to be better served elsewhere. The Dart’s middling driving character is overshadowed by newer enthusiastic offerings like the Mazda3, while those who value a bit more comfort and refinement will be better served with a Ford Focus or Chevrolet Cruze.

Chrysler’s completely redesigned 200 caught uncovered

Preparing for a big debut at the Detroit Auto Show next month, the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 was out for a late-night photo shoot fully undisguised, and our spy shooters were there to capture its all-new design completely uncovered. While there’s no camouflage, the cover of darkness proved to be almost as effective, but we still get a good idea of what this former sore spot in the brand’s lineup will look like after its clean-sheet redesign.

The first thing we notice is the stylish four-door-coupe roofline doing its best to impersonate something like the Audi A7, or maybe the Volkswagen CC. The front-end styling is a departure from recent Chrysler designs with narrow headlights and an equally short, chrome-trimmed grille. In profile, the bullet-nosed 200 is somewhat reminiscent of the Tesla Model S. This new design language should definitely help the 200 get noticed in a segment filled with hot sellers like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, as well as more stylish offerings like the Ford Fusion and Mazda6.

Our spies also caught up with the 200 testing in daylight and got some good shots of the interior. The instrument panel design looks similar to what is found in the Dodge Dart, including the oversized instrument gauges and possibly even the LED accent lighting. We would have to assume – and hope – this prototype is a test model due to its small touchscreen display, as Chrysler’s 8.4-inch screen would look much better in its place. The center stack and console are clean with minimal buttons and knobs, but we do see a rotary gear selector, which may confirm reports from last year that suggested the 200 will use a nine-speed automatic transmission to help hit 38 miles per gallon on the highway.

There’s no official word yet on powertrain, but we’ll get our first up-close look at the car in less than a month.

As read on: http://www.autoblog.com/2013/12/13/chryslers-200-spy-shots-uncovered/?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed&ncid=edlinkusauto00000016&ts=1386948070

December is Safe Toys and Gifts Month

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 251,700 toy-related injuries in 2010 throughout the United States.  72% were to people less than 15 years of age. Additionally, in 2007 alone, toymakers recalled over 19 million toys worldwide because of safety concerns such as lead paint and small magnets.

When it comes to toys and gifts, the excitement and desire to get your children their favorite toys may cause shoppers to forget about safety factors associated with them. Before you make these purchases, it is critical to remember to consider the safety and age range of the toys.

Prevent Blindness America has declared December as Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month.  The group encourages everyone to consider if the toys they wish to give suits the age and individual skills and abilities of the individual child who will receive it, especially for infants and children under age three.

This holiday season (and beyond), please consider the following guidelines for choosing safe toys for all ages:

Inspect all toys before purchasing. Avoid those that shoot or include parts that fly off. The toy should have no sharp edges or points and should be sturdy enough to withstand impact without breaking, being crushed, or being pulled apart easily.
When purchasing toys for children with special needs try to:  Choose toys that may appeal to different senses such as sound, movement, and texture; consider interactive toys to allow the child to play with others; and think about the size of the toy and the position a child would need to be in to play with it. Consult the “AblePlay” website at http://www.ableplay.org/ for more information.

Be diligent about inspecting toys your child has received. Check them for age, skill level, and developmental appropriateness before allowing them to be played with.

Look for labels that assure you the toys have passed a safety inspection – “ATSM” means the toy has met the American Society for Testing and Materials standards.

Gifts of sports equipment should always be accompanied by protective gear (give a helmet with the skateboard)

Keep kids safe from lead in toys by:  Educating yourself about lead exposure from toys, symptoms of lead poisoning, and what kinds of toys have been recalled; being aware that old toys may be more likely to contain lead in the paint; having your children wash their hands frequently and calling your doctor if you suspect your child has been exposed to lead. Consult the last two websites listed below for more information.

Do NOT give toys with small parts (including magnets and “button” batteries which can cause serious injury or death if ingested) to young children as they tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking. If the piece can fit inside a toilet paper roll, it is not appropriate for kids under age three.
Do NOT give toys with ropes and cords or heating elements
Do NOT give crayons and markers unless they are labeled “nontoxic”.

For more information:

Call Prevent Blindness America at (800)331-2020 or go to their website immediately below
http://www.preventblindness.org/children/safetoys.html
http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/category/toy.html
http://kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/home/safe_toys.html
http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/faq/toys.html
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002473.htm

As read on: http://www.healthtradition.com/december-is-safe-toys-and-gifts-month