Progress on the Phoenix Lake Bridge

In our gallery, we have posted some great pictures of the progress of the Phoenix Lake Bridge. Thanks to Sharon Mikesell of the Tuolumne County Public Works Office for sending them in.

Click This Picture To Go To The Gallery Of Photos

Click This Picture To Go To The Gallery Of Photos

THANKSGIVING 2009 MEAL COST DROPS

Menu items for a classic Thanksgiving dinner dropped 4% this year. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner, this year’s feast for 10 is $42.91, a $1.70 price decrease from last year’s average of $44.61.

… The AFBF survey shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and beverages of coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10.

… The cost of a 16-pound turkey, at $18.65 or roughly $1.16 per pound, reflects a decrease of 3 cents per pound.

… Milk, at $2.86 per gallon, dropped $.92 and was the largest contributor to the overall decrease in the cost of the 2009 Thanksgiving dinner.

… Other items showing a price decrease this year were: a ½ pint of whipping cream, $1.55; a 12-oz. package of brown-n-serve rolls, $2.08; a 1-pound relish tray of carrots and celery, $.72; and a 12-oz. package of fresh cranberries, $2.41. A combined group of miscellaneous items, including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (onions, eggs, sugar, flour, evaporated milk and butter) also dropped in price, to $2.50.

… Items that increased slightly (less than 5 percent) in price this year were: a 14-oz. package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.65; two 9-inch pie shells, $2.34; and a 30-oz. can of pumpkin pie mix, $2.45.

(From Justin): That’s it! I’m hungry. I can eat a Thanksgiving dinner every week, how ’bout you?

THINGS YOUR GRANDFATHER WAS DOING BY THE TIME HE WAS YOUR AGE

I read this on the air and broke down cause I realized all 4 of my grandparents are gone. Very powerful stuff here. Hug a grandparent today! – Justin Flores

We live in an age of babies. I’m dead serious. By the time your grandfather was your age — 30 or 40 — he’d already lived 3 lives.

* CIVIL RIGHTS — Your grandfather was dealing with the issue of civil rights, segregation and race relations. No matter what race he was, this was an issue he was no doubt facing. The structure of entire cities, such as Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles, were irreversibly changed because of racial riots that broke out two generations ago.

* HE FIXED HIS CAR BY HIMSELF — Nowadays, when a light comes on the dashboard we automatically take the car to the shop. We never think that we can fix the car by ourselves. With all of the electronics being used today, it’s easy to just leave it to the dealership to fix. Fifty years ago, however, it’s likely that most problems could have been fixed with some grease and a wrench.

* HE HITCHHIKED, OR PICKED UP A HITCHHIKER — In fact, after he left the military he probably did something awesome like hitchhike across the state… or the country.

* HE WAS IN WWII, KOREA, VIETNAM, OR IN DANGER OF BEING DRAFTED — We’re currently dealing with the war on terrorism, but your grandfather had to deal with the war against communism — and the knowledge that if he didn’t join up Uncle Sam would join him up. Today’s solider made the decision for themselves — your grandfather likely had the decision made for him.

* HE SHAVED WITH A STRAIGHT RAZOR — Four blades? Try one single blade, shaped like a knife.

* HE WAS GENUINELY PATRIOTIC — In the 1950s and early 1960s patriotism wasn’t just an idea talked about on Fox News, it was a common sentiment. America was coming off of World War II and there was a large amount of national pride. Rosie the Riveter had cemented the idea that everyone had pitched in and helped the United States win the war. This helped to reinforce a patriotic attitude that your grandfather still holds today.

100 BEST TECH PRODUCTS OF THE YEAR

PC World magazine has come up with a list of the 100 Best Tech Products of the Year.

1. The App Store. Apple’s application service for the iPhone and iPod Touch has sold 2 billion apps in just 16 months.

2. Google Voice. You’ve probably never heard of it, but if you’d like to get a single phone number that you can use for life, use with any device, and access from the web, Google Voice does it all. It gives you a single number for all of your phones to use, emails you transcripts of your voicemail messages, and sports a host of sophisticated calling features. Set up conference calls for free, record calls, even switch phones in the middle of a call. And it’s all free.

3. Intel X25-M 160GB Solid State Drive. Uh, yeah, super-geek stuff here. In a nutshell, solid state drives are replacing standard hard drives in computers. They’re full of awesomeness because there are no moving parts. Thinking of the SSD as a USB thumb drive with lots more storage tucked inside your computer or laptop. Less heat, less noise, faster, etc.

4. Nikon D300s. Photos, high-definition video capture, more. But at $1,700 it ain’t for casual photographers.

5. Twitter. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the microblogging service more than once this year. It’s not Facebook — because the world doesn’t need another social network that let’s us know that our friends are having coffee at Starbucks right now. Twitter has proven to be a top-notch build-your-own-personalized-news-feed service.

6. Dell Latitude Z600. The BMW of laptops this year. But it’ll set you back about two grand.

7. Microsoft Bing. It’s Microsoft’s new anti-Google. Instead of quick, text-based results like Google, Bing organizes its search results into Search Categories — subdivisions such as Web, Maps, Images, and Health.

8. Canon PowerShot SX200 IS. For $350 you get 12X optical zoom, HD video recording, and lots of bells and whistles.

9. The Beatles Rock Band.

10. Need a new HDTV? Get the Samsung LN46B750U. This 46-inch TV turned in the best performance PC World’s seen yet in tests for motion handling. Plus it has lots of inputs and connects to the web.

(From Justin): Anybody tried Google Voice? Sounds cool.

Veterans Day 2009

Many thanks to those who serve and have served in the United States Armed Forces, We love you!

Below is our Veterans Day Salute that aired during the Morning Show and a picture of those serving in Iraq, who received the Honor Scroll signed by the citizens of the Motherlode in 2008. Until I can get the player to play right you will have to click the file and then click the file again on the next page. Sorry.

[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/KZSQ_VeteransDay_Salute_2009.mp3″ text=”STAR 92.7 Veterans Day Salute 2009″]

The Honor Scroll In Iraq

Flores House Is In The Spirit!

I mentioned on Monday morning’s show that our Christmas tree is already up, but only with lights. Someone called to tell us that their neighbor had Christmas decorations up the day after Halloween. Have you started yet? Send in your pictures! and thanks for listening to Star 92.7. – Justin Flores

Yay, it's up!

Top Ten Reasons To SHOP LOCAL

Thanks to George Segarini and the Tuolumne County Chamber of Commerce for this list.

Top Ten Reasons to SHOP LOCAL

  • 1. Saves you time
  • 2. Saves you money
  • 3. Saves you gasoline
  • 4. Boosts the local economy
  • 5. Friendly, personal service
  • 6. Sales taxes support community services
  • 7. Helps create new jobs
  • 8. Attracts new stores and services
  • 9. Rewards merchants who serve us
  • 10. Builds a stronger future economy

(From Justin) : Can you think of any other reasons to shop local?

HOW TO STOP A RUNAWAY CAR!

With the serious accident this morning on Highway 108, I found this info. Now I’m not sure exactly how the accident happened, but if you ever find yourself behind the wheel of a runaway car, maybe you’ll remember these tips. – Justin Flores (Star 92.7 Morning Show)

HOW TO STOP A RUNAWAY CAR!

Gas pedal stuck? Consumer Reports hit the test track to try and figure out the best way to stop a runaway car.

* First they accelerated to 60 mph and hit the brakes with the accelerator still floored. Once the brakes were applied, the vehicles began fighting the driver. The transmissions downshifted trying to maintain speed.
 
* Instead of holding the brakes, the driver tried pumping them. This test confirmed that pumping the brakes is a really bad strategy. Power brakes rely on engine vacuum to provide additional brake pressure. At full throttle, the engine doesn’t generate any vacuum. So as soon as the driver removed and reapplied pressure to the brake pedal, the power assist disappeared and stopping the car became hopeless. Consumer Reports’ test engineer said: “There was no way I could push hard enough on the brakes to slow the car down when the engine was fighting me.”

* Bottom line: The best strategy to stop a runaway car is to press and hold the brakes and shift into neutral. Modern cars have rev limiters, which will protect the engine from over-revving. Even if your car doesn’t, don’t worry about your engine’s life — worry about your own.

(From Justin) : Ever have an out-of-control or runaway car? What did you do? Become a registered user of this website, it’s free, and comment please.

Geocaching Part 2

After our recent poll question I asked a good friend of mine, Gabe Vistica, to write something up on the wonderful world of Geocaching. 66% of you had no idea what it was. So I thank Gabe for the following info. This is part two of two. Enjoy, and if you happen to start GeoCaching please let me know about your experience.

-Justin Flores (Star 92.7 Morning Show)

Gabe, take it away….

Welcome to part two of a two-part article on the global sport/phenomenon that is geocaching. Since this is clearly labeled as part TWO, I am going to assume that you have read the first part and just jump right in.

Required Stuff

To place or find a geocache, a geocacher must have an account on one of several websites that keep track of geocaches placed all over the world. The largest, and most popular, of these listing websites is Geocaching.com. To keep things simple, I will simply use Geocaching.com as my listing website in this article. It is worth noting that all the listing websites I have seen offer a free membership. Geocaching is now, and should always remain, free. However, some websites also offer paid memberships, which include access to “premium features” such as advanced and automated searches. Such memberships are generally less than $5 per month; highly affordable, even in this economy.

A geocacher must also have a GPS unit. Without one, it is extremely hard to pinpoint your location with enough precision to find a geocache. You can get a decent GPS unit for under $100. GPS units designed for use in cars are not very good for geocaching, as they were designed to figure out what road you are on, not your precise latitude and longitude. Because the new iPhones have a GPS built in (and thanks to a new app from Geocaching.com), it is actually possible to go geocaching using only your iPhone, so if you have a newer model, you don’t even need to buy a GPS!

Finding a Geocache

When a geocacher decides to find a geocache, they go look up cache listings on Geocaching.com. They can look up a specific geocache listing, or they can search for geocaches in a specific area; for example, within 5 miles of their house.

Once they have found the listing for the cache (or caches) they want to find, they can write down the information or print it out. They put the latitude and longitude, or “coordinates”, of the geocache into their GPS, and start trying to get there. That isn’t always as easy as it sounds; just going straight to where the geocache is doesn’t always work. You generally can’t see a big hill, or a ravine, on your GPS screen, so you have to use your head to get from Point A to Point B. This can involve hiking around the long way, driving to the other side of the canyon, or maybe jumping over that mud puddle.

After the geocacher gets close to where the GPS says the cache is hidden, it’s time to get their brain out again! Because the GPS system is still only accurate to 10-20 feet (due to technical issues, not the military this time), when a geocacher gets close they have to stop looking at their GPS’ screen and start looking for likely hiding spots, based on the size of the container. Depending on the difficulty of the cache, they could be looking for an ammo can in a stump, or maybe a Tupperware container painted in a camouflage pattern, with fake (or real) twigs and leaves attached to it, maybe even in the bush the twigs came from.

Once the cache is found, it’s time to open it! Pop the lid off and “WHAT’S THIS?!” It’s got toys from a McDonald’s Happy Meal in it! Those little useless trinkets are known as “swag” (think pirate loot!), and some geocachers like to trade them around from geocache to geocache. There are just two rules: If you take something try to leave something, and if you DO leave something, try to leave something that you think is worth about as much, or more, than what you took out. Geocaching is a family sport, so you should never leave things like knives or fireworks in a geocache.

You should also never leave food (Dave Ulmer hadn’t figured this out yet). Animals have much better noses than we humans do; when there’s food (or scented candles) in a geocache, they can smell it, and they will rip the cache apart to get to it. One time, a geocache was ripped open by a bear, all because someone had left some mint-flavored dental floss! There’s also the logbook; never forget to sign the logbook! That’s the proof that the geocacher was there and found the cache!

After the geocacher gets back home, it’s time to log that find! They get back on Geocaching.com, go to the listing of the cache they found, and click the “Log a find” button. They write a little (or big) story about the journey there, trying to find the geocache, and maybe even the journey back! Once they submit their log, the website updates their numbers so that in a year or two, the geocacher doesn’t decide to go find that cache again, not realizing they already found it. The log is also available for other geocachers to read, so they can be aware of stuff to watch out for, like a soggy logbook, or that patch of poison ivy 10 feet away that looks like a really good hiding spot.

Hiding a Geocache

When a geocache is hidden, the geocacher that is hiding it must consider a few things before hiding it. First, they must ensure that the spot is either on public land, or that they have specific permission from the landowner to place the cache there. Sometimes, geocachers forget that they need to do this, and it causes problems. Also, because so many of our National Parks have very delicate areas right next to the trails, the National Park Service does not allow any physical geocaches to be placed inside park boundaries.

Second, they must make sure that the spot they chose is not near a potential terrorist target, such as in an airport or under a bridge. Several geocachers have not thought their cache locations through very well, and people have called the police because the geocache looked like one of those “suspicious packages” that you hear about on the news every few months. Third, they must make sure that there are no other geocaches within about 500 feet. This is to ensure that nobody finds the new cache when searching for the old one, or vice-versa. Fourth, the cache hide must meet the rest of the “Geocaching Guidelines”. These ARE only guidelines, but exceptions are very rare, as most of the guidelines are based on common sense. (If you want to read the guidelines, you can find them on Geocaching.com, under “hide and seek a cache”.)

Once the geocacher has put the container in its hiding spot, they use their GPS to find out what the latitude and longitude of the container are. Then they go home (or get out their iPhone), go to Geocaching.com, and create a cache listing. They enter the coordinates of the container, a basic description of its surroundings (so other geocachers know they’re in the right place), and, if they want to, a small hint. When other geocachers look at the listing, they will not be able to read the hint just by looking at it. When a hint is given for a geocache, the website automatically encrypts it. The reason the hints are encrypted is that some people don’t want to accidentally read it, but if they do, using ROT13 makes it very easy to decrypt. With ROT13, A = N, B = O, C = P, and so on. This method is very easy to use because when A = N, N = A, so you don’t have to think backwards when you want to decrypt the hint. Like I said, it’s not to stop you from reading it, just reading it by accident.

Once the geocacher that hid the cache finishes the listing, it is looked over by a volunteer cache reviewer. Every geocache placed (with the exception of the first few ever made) has been reviewed by a volunteer. These reviewers look over the listing to make sure that there are no glaringly obvious spelling mistakes, that the geocache isn’t on National Park land (see consideration #1 a few paragraphs back), and that the coordinates aren’t pointing people to the middle of a lake. They also check that the geocache and its listing aren’t violating the guidelines. If it doesn’t, the reviewer will contact the person that hid the cache and try to resolve the problems. Once in a while, though, a resolution isn’t possible and the listing is never published. When the listing is published, though, it immediately becomes publicly accessible, and other geocachers can go look for the geocache.

The End

Wait a minute! The end?! That’s not the end! There’s more! Must… write… more…!

Seriously, though, there is quite a bit that I didn’t even mention. I guess you’ll just have to find it out for yourself.

If you have any questions about geocaching, you can email me at v6rocket@gmail.com