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Avoiding Collisions between Vehicles and Animals
There are over half a million large animal/car collisions each year. A significant number of these accidents involve fatalities - both animal and human - and most involve major vehicle damage.

While these incidents are typically covered by comprehensive auto insurance, the best option is to avoid the accident altogether. Here are tips to prevent an animal/car collision, plus the appropriate steps to take if you encounter Bambi, Smokey, or one of their pals.

Be alert during peak times: Deer in particular, but other large animals as well, are generally active shortly before and after sunrise and from sunset to midnight. Remain alert for animal crossings during these hours.

Wait for the others: Bears often come with cubs, and deer rarely run around alone. If you catch sight of one animal in your headlights, there may be others nearby. Proceed with caution.

Use lights, not devices: High-beam headlights can illuminate animals' eyes, but devices such as deer whistles and reflectors have not been proven effective in preventing collisions.

Brake, don't swerve: A driver's instinct may be to swerve out of the lane to avoid an animal, possibly putting the driver in the line of opposing traffic, or causing him or her to veer off the road and roll over. Instead, hit the brakes stay in your lane. Don't turn into a tree or someone else.

Contact your insurance carrier: If you are in a collision with a large animal, contact your insurance company Claims Line to report the accident and begin the claims process as soon as possible.

You Just Might Have Been Wearing Blue This March 17
"The wearing of the blue?" St. Patrick's Day on March 17 usually celebrates all things green. But St. Patrick - in whose name we celebrate St. Paddy's Day - was British. So even though he was credited with introducing Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century, he might well have worn British blue instead of Irish green.

March 17 hasn't always been a celebration. In fact, it began as a solemn day recognizing Ireland's patron saint, whom some believe died on that day. And there doesn't appear to have been anything green about it. Says an article on "The color green only became associated with the big day after it was linked to the Irish independence movement in the late 18th century."

Even stranger, St. Patrick was born Maewyn Succat, taking the name Patricius when he became a priest. Imagine if it had been St. Maewyn who chased the snakes into the sea, ridding Ireland of the pests?

And what about those snakes? According to fossil experts, there never were snakes in Ireland. And, says Popular Science magazine, there still aren't.

The shamrock worn on St. Patrick's Day actually is associated with the Saint himself, who allegedly used it as a teaching tool to symbolize the Trinity. But, it was the Druids who believed the shamrock brought luck by warding off evil spirits.

These days, though, March 17 is a great party that celebrates Irish culture with grand parades, Irish dancing, and green everything. In fact, Paddy himself would probably be celebrating the day if he could.

Time to Wake Up and Smell the Coffee
Coffee drinkers are becoming younger. According to online restaurant supply store WebstaurantStore: "The fastest-growing demographic of coffee drinkers is the 13- to 18-year-old age group." And this is changing the way we drink coffee. Here are some WebstaurantStore trends to look for:

Younger consumers like mobile coffee. Ready-to-drink portable bottles of prepared Frappuccinos and other popular hyper-sweetened coffee beverages are now readily available in convenience stores, meaning fewer trips to coffee hangouts.

When they do head to local coffee spots, younger drinkers are looking for something special: presentation. The Instagram generation now loves selfies with coffee and milk served French-style in beautiful café au lait bowls.

Nitro coffee - coffee infused with nitrogen gas - is popular thanks to its rich creamy taste, and the new cold brew coffee is an in-demand cold drink that's stronger, but less bitter. Finally, the interest in gourmet coffee continues, driven by more sophisticated consumers who aren't interested in the latest trends and still value the taste and the experience of drinking good coffee.

Do I Need Extra Insurance for Exterior Rebuilds?
You're planning your next remodeling project. Perhaps you're expanding your home to enjoy more living space. Maybe you're replacing the 1990s siding. Whether your project is a minor exterior renovation or major roofing repair, it's important the work is properly insured. This may or may not involve the purchase of additional insurance.

In dealing with a contractor: If you are planning to hire a contractor to perform the work, protect yourself and your property with proper coverage. For example:
  • Ask for proof of insurance. Examine dates and coverage carefully to ensure coverage is current and legitimate.
  • Ask to have your name added in writing as an additional insured on the contractor's liability policy. Some contractors offer this free, but you may have to pay a small fee for this service.
  • Make sure the contractor's insurance coverage includes workers' compensation. You don't want to have to pay for injuries occurring to contract workers on your property.
By placing yourself as an additional insured on your contractor's policy, you're also covering the gray areas that include situations such as a roofer's ladder falling over and damaging your neighbor's property. The additional-insured documentation should protect you in these types of third-party cases.

For major projects, such as additions or new homes, you might want to consider purchasing temporary builders risk insurance. This will cover mishaps during construction.

Contact Alex, your insurance agent: Whatever type of project you're planning, contact your insurance agent early in the process. Your agent can advise you on the best type of coverage to add. I can also make the proper adjustments to the value of your home.

If you are building an addition, for example, your home will be worth more than when your homeowners policy was originally written. Communicate with your agent to ensure you have appropriate coverage based on the new value of the property.

Is Shopping Online for Insurance Really a Bargain?
Buying auto or homeowners insurance on the internet seems easy and cheap. But is it?

Discover how relying on the web to protect your most valuable assets could cost you more - and put you and your loved ones at risk - by requesting my free guide, "The Dangers of Shopping Online for Insurance."
Just reply to this email and I'll send it right out to you.
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Lamb Kabobs with Creamy Avocado Dressing
Serves 4
1 ripe avocado
Juice of 1 lemon
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 pounds lamb, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon salt and pepper
Blend the avocado flesh, juice, oil, vinegar, and seasoning on high for 10 seconds or until it reaches a smooth consistency. Set aside.

Marinate lamb pieces in lemon juice, oil, garlic, oregano, paprika, salt, and pepper for at least one hour or overnight. Thread lamb pieces onto skewers and discard marinade. Preheat grill or grill pan over medium-high heat and cook skewers until charred and cooked through, about 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove from heat. Drizzle with avocado dressing and serve over greens, grains, or grilled vegetables.
This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter. This newsletter is not intended to solicit properties currently for sale.
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