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    Cash or plastic? Payment methods see generational shift


    Cash is no longer king.

    More than half of all Americans say they have gone an entire week without paying for anything with cash or coin, according to a new survey of 800 adults conducted by Rasmussen Reports.

    The national telephone survey found that 53 percent favored plastic over cash for at least one week, up from 49 percent a year ago and 43 percent in 2012.


Where there’s vapor ... Electronic cigarette use causes concern among doctors


It’s official. Cigarette smoking isn’t as cool as it used to be and kids aren’t taking up that habit as they once did.

That would be good news, except for what has replaced traditional cigarettes: a combination of new technology and the old addictive substance of nicotine.

Electronic cigarettes are the most common of the electronic nicotine delivery systems today.


When plastic bottles won’t cut the mustard


Summer means grilling. Grilling means hot dogs and hamburgers. Hot dogs and hamburgers mean mustard and ketchup and maybe mayonnaise.

You can always go to the store and buy the stuff that comes in a plastic jar. That way, you get to top your lovingly crafted hamburgers and hot dogs with plastic-jar stuff.

And that’s fine if you like high-fructose corn syrup, tartaric acid (admittedly, it isn’t as bad as it sounds) and calcium disodium ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid. But why use the store-bought products when you can make them all yourself?

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    The buzz on pollinators


    All across the country, it seems, gardeners are taking up the cause of pollinators.

    Maybe it was the plight of the honeybee (colony collapse) or the dwindling numbers of monarch butterflies (loss of habitat) that raised people’s awareness. Beyond being informed, though, people are acting.

    You needn’t be a master gardener or have acres of land to contribute to the cause.


    Faith on the field


    Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy was born and raised in Gretna, La., on the banks of the Mississippi River. Hurricane Katrina sent him and his family north, away from the backyard where he played football, away from his friends, from his church, his school and from everything that is important to an eighth-grade boy.

    Their home destroyed, the Lacy family roamed from place to place, at one point living with strangers until they finally saved enough money to move into a trailer home outside Baton Rouge. The transition was difficult for young Lacy, but he focused his energy on football and schoolwork; he later left for college at the University of Alabama where he became the running back for the school’s football team.

    After being drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2013, Lacy built a new home for his parents.


    Consumer Reports’ Top 10 car picks of 2015


    These are the cars that ignite the gasoline in Consumer Reports’ testers’ veins. They also happen to score high in its reliability Ratings and shine in automotive crash tests. So if you corner a Consumer Reports auto expert at a party and ask, “What car should I buy?” these cars will be the answer.

    — Green Car: Toyota Prius. The purity of the Prius’ functional excellence dictates that it remains atop Consumer Reports’ list as the best green car. Sure, there are other hybrids, and even plug-ins, but nothing can touch the sweet-spot combination of the Prius’ affordability, stellar fuel economy, smart packaging and blue-chip reliability. That’s why it has been a Top Pick for 12 years in a row.

    — Midsized Sedan: Subaru Legacy. Most sedans are excellent appliances — they do their job, but few people wake up excited to drive them. The Legacy exceeds those drab, rental-car expectations, providing a quiet, comfortable and roomy package that also has the best ride among its peers. It’s simply a great car with mainstream appeal and impact.


    Rolling Stones fan? These books may give you some satisfaction


    When the Rolling Stones were formed in 1962 no one could have anticipated that in the year 2015 they would be one of the biggest rock and roll bands in music history. But that is exactly what happened.

    The band’s longevity adds to their mystique and makes them the subject of endless fascination. They have become rock and roll icons not only for their music but their personal lives as well. As with all icons they have been the subject of much scrutiny.

    Below are some titles that could satisfy any reader wishing to know more; be they hardcore or casual fan.


    For your amusement: Wisconsin family enjoys a long ride on the carnival circuit


    During the Great Depression, Scott Lake made a living one penny at a time, and his business has grown to modestly sustain a fourth generation of the family today.

    Penny arcade games — pinball, hands-on table hockey and other challenges of quickness or deftness — were affordable entertainment for beleaguered families in the 1930s. Soon the Wisconsin entrepreneur had a multi-state work circuit, hauling six semi-trailers of these games from Georgia to North Dakota.

    What began as a whim turned into a livelihood known today as Mark Lake Enterprises, after the founder’s grandson. Gone is the arcade and subsequent sideshows of genetically abnormal beings. At the modern carnival’s core are 10 rides — a three-lane slide to the dizzying Round Up — and games of luck or skill. Sales of funnel cakes to pickles on sticks complement whatever the client decides to sell.

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