July 2010

Nissan’s Leaf is to be sold in Europe, too, starting in January.

For vehicle websites go to http://www.reacheverychild.com/business/index.html

Since March, nearly 12,000 customers in Europe have signed up for regular updates on Nissan LEAF’s introduction, and in the US and Japan pre-orders have exceeded 23,000 units since online reservations began in April.

Such high demand has meant the Nissan LEAF will launch slightly later than planned in the Netherlands. Sales are now expected to start in June 2011, with pre-orders opening to customers in October this year. All other market launch dates remain unchanged.

Nissan LEAF features  air conditioning, satellite navigation and a parking camera. Also available is a smart phone connectivity which will allow an owner to heat or cool the interior of the car remotely via a mobile phone.

The car’s AC motor develops 80 kW of power and 280 Nm of torque, enough for a maximum speed of more than  (90 mph.  The electric motor uses  laminated lithium-ion battery with a power output of more than 90 kW.

A full charge delivers a potential range of 100 miles. Global research indicates that the average daily mileage for 80 percent of the world’s population is under 60 miles for a daily commute.


Porsche 918 Spyder Could Fly (pun intended)

by The Car Family

One hot hybrid convertible has been given the okay by Porsche’s Supervisory Board okay the development of a 918 Spyder concept as a limited production model. The mid-engined plug-in hybrid super-sports car combines both gas and electric propulsion systems. This concept version of an ultra-high-performance mid-engined sports car with plug-in hybrid technology.


Porsche said that the Spyder will be develop ed in Weissach and assembled in Zuffenhausen. Best of all, the German manufacture has indicated that fuel mileage in Europe was an estimated 90 mpg plus. Prices have not been set, but it really doesn’t matter the line has already formed behind this glorious salute to the environment. Just kidding.


One Porsche probably overlooked is that Ferdinand Porsche was one of the primary inventors of the hybrid, which, interestingly, was and is used in locomatives today. Yep, the diesel electric is his idea.

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BMW 335 Diesel: Fast and Fuel Frugal

by The Car Family

You aren’t going to notice anything special about this 3 Series BMW Sedan. It looks like every other ubiquitous Bimmer except for a small “d” on it rump. And that, car affectionados, makes all the difference as it indicates that this sedan contains a marvel of engineering. BMW has stuffed a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged diesel inline-6 under the hood that creates 265 horsepower and shovels a thunderous 425 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels. To give you an idea of how potent this engine is that is nearly the same amount of torque as a big V8 Corvette delivers.

For under $44,000 you can drive a car that can get you to Las Vegas and back without refueling and have enough diesel left to visit a couple of local casino as well before the 16 gallon tank needs replenishing. The best part of the 335 d is that the diesel does not distract from its sporty nature. It handles and brakes extremely well, and the 36 ft. turning radius means that maneuvering in tight mall parking spaces is a simple point and shoot affair. Best of all, there isn’t any diesel exhaust smell and very little chatter from the engine. The biggest problem is finding a reason not to buy this version of the 3 Series over the gasoline powered versions.

Mom’s view: I always like BMWs, and especially this one. The automatic transmission shifts smoothly, but seldom has to bother with all the torque the engine provides. You can amble over the steep grade out of Baker, California without the transmission having to kick-down and trips to Mt. Baldy or Mt. Wilson are effortless. We have owned diesel cars for over 30 years and love them dearly. They require less maintenance and are extremely durable. Our old Mercedes diesel has over 400,000 miles on it and still enjoys a romp on the freeway. But this BMW is a whole new breed of oil burner.. It is quicker to start in cold weather and doesn’t belch smoke or even chatter. It is very clean and quiet. What I didn’t like about the 3 Series was the interior. It is very tight. The rear seats have limited legroom and the trunk offers only limited space. The dash, gauges, cupholders, and glove compartment are adequate, but the theme is one of understatement. I would like a bit more of BMW’s 7 Series glitz inside, but I am old fashioned and don’t get oversized black rims on SUVs either. The bottom line is that this is the best 3 Series for those who are frugal. That’s right, an oxymoron, a Bimmer for the penny pincher.

Dad’s view: The BMW diesel is a win-win for the consumer. You get higher resale, better fuel mileage and the knowledge that you are driving the most fuel efficient sedan BMW offers. Merging from Interstate 5 onto Interstate 10 was never easier with just a quark’s worth of pressure all that is required to harvest that open spot. This is one swift sedan. The brakes are perfect, steering perfect,and the suspension perfect. Of course, I like to drive and those who are irritated by the feel of the road should look elsewhere. This is a car to be driven hard and put away empty.

Young working woman’s view: Be still my heart. Could there be anything better? Image, safety, great performance, and only having to refuel every week or so and maybe less. With the average commute in the 909 area about 60 miles per day you would only need to replenish your fuel supply every fortnight. The trait I like most about this vehicle is the safety features. It comes with anti-lock disc brakes and vehicle stability control and airbags most everywhere. Add to that the safety of free routine maintenance four years or 50,000 miles and you have a want turning into a need when you visit the BMW dealership. Thank goodness they don’t make this diesel version in a convertible.

Young working male’s view: BMW claims the 335d is good for 0-60 mph acceleration times of six seconds, but that really isn’t the point of this car. This BMW cleverly hides its 4800 pound facade behind a trim exterior design and excellent fuel economy numbers in the hopes the interior doesn’t dampen your spirits. The small font lettering on the gauges is difficult to read and the red lighting of the dash rivals Audi’s for making it difficult to decipher numbers quickly at night. The iDrive that controls most every creature comfort and some driver information is still a bit complicated to use despite years of refining. Add to that the fact that on our test car it costs $400 for iPod/USB adapter and $595 for satellite radio and you see the dilemma potential buyers face. Does the right brained enjoyment of the cachet of owning a BMW that performs well and is fun to drive overwhelm the left brained objectivity that the diesel requires that urea (AdBlue)be injected into a catalyst to clean the exhaust and needs to be replaced at regular intervals, that the expensive optional stereo is overrated and getting in and out requires one be fairly supple? For me, the 5 series rules.

Family conference: A great performer that just happens to be extremely frugal to operate.

For a list of all vehicle websites go to http://www.reacheverychild.com/business/auto/index.html

The Recession and Education: New Opportunities

by Alan Haskvitz

National Teachers Hall of Fame

It has been said the life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.

Anais Nin

The teaching profession has long been thought of as recession proof. Indeed, that may have been one of the reasons that teachers took far lower starting salaries out of college. Probably the greatest common feature of teachers, besides their desire to serve society in a humanitarian way, is the lack of risk taking that the occupation of used to offer. Many times the greatest risk was simply moving from one district to another. Today’s economic condition has changed that perception, especially for new teachers. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stated that between 100,000 to 300,000 could be laid-off. And that has given rise of legislation, such as that sponsored by California State Senator Bob Huff of Diamond Bar, California, that would enable a district to essentially by-pass seniority as a bases for sending out termination notes.

More Educated Teachers

Thus new teachers are swimming in a fiercely competitive applicant pool thanks to the recession. So what is the benefit of this reduced job market? Districts are looking for teachers with a variety of certifications. The benefits to those who can afford to stay in school longer are educators with a greater ability to make connections to students by calling on their additional training to integrate lessons more easily and to provide a greater variety of learning experiences to students. Previously this was mainly obtained through teaching for a number of years and building a portfolio of ideas, aids, and other resources. Staying in college to gain more certifications can build a more well rounded teacher. The beneficiaries are both the students and the teacher. For example, my last student teacher went back to school during her year-long practice teaching class and earned a certification in science. Within weeks she was hired because she had two qualifications. Student teachers must be aware that they have limited usability if they don’t have multiple certificatins that abid by the stipulations in No Child Left Behind. So the recession may help new teachers become more complete teachers.

Private School Exodus

Next is the fact that the recession is causing families to rethink private schools. In my area there is a private school that charges over $30,000 a year in tuition. Of course, most parents who can afford that are seldom impacted by the recession, but for those looking for ways to make budget cuts an expensive private school may be the first to go. The recipient of these new students are likely public schools. Since most schools are paid by the government based on enrollment, this means that some teaching jobs could be saved as the numbers increase. This is already happening, according to government data, with over 100,000 students making the move into the public system.

More Parent Help

The recession may also help make school districts more user friendly to parents. Public school districts don’t want to lose students because the lost revenue forces them to make cuts and that is never popular with the voters, not to mention the unions. This would be an ideal time for progressive school districts to actually come up with a plan to market public schools to homeschoolers and those with children in private schools. At least one school district has even seen advertisements touting its schools run in a foreign country. There is also the rich opportunity for schools to reach out to parents who are unemployed as a source of help in a variety of roles.

Mentoring and Tutoring

Extracurricular programs can also be cut due to the recession. Coaches, art and music teachers, and even foreign language education may eliminated. This opens up the opportunity for teachers to look to the community to start classes and, perhaps, even earn extra money from that venture. Just as importantly, it could offer teachers the opportunity to make contacts in the community. Without a school program, or with a slenderized elective schedule parents may be willing to pay for lessons in tennis, music, learn another language, or for a tutor. The recession presents a rich opportunity for teachers to work in the community and, very importantly, for the community to get to know the teachers. This build stronger support for public schools. The recession may be of benefit because it is forcing some out of their comfort zone. Instead of closing the classroom door to teach they are opening it for society to see the person behind the door. .

More use of Technology

The recession also means less funds for support materials. Extra textbooks, remedial workbooks, videos, and the like may be wish list items for back to school night. But this represents an extraordinary opportunity for teachers to more fully explore technology. Not expensive technology, but good, easy to fix and maintain stuff. I highly recommend every school move to Open Software computers and servers. I went to one of the world leaders in this regard, http://www.eracks.com and asked them what would they recommend. They set up an inexpensive program that could save school districts millions in software user fees. And the equipment is quieter, too. What the recession means is that it is time to rethink high tech recommendations and bid writing that excludes these less expensive options. As an aside, why not let the teachers who are going to use the purchases write the bids?

Free Stuff on the Internet

Another plus for the recession is opening up the Internet for education purposes on a wider scale. Yes, the Internet has some bad stuff, but there are superior sites such as http://www.watchknow.org that has editors that help insure the 20,000 free video are of good quality. There are no registration fees, and there is even a button you can click on that shows those videos that are most likely not blocked by school districts. In other words, the recession is offering teachers the opportunity to find a variety of free resources that they can use to supplement and even replace materials they can no longer afford. I created a website, http://www.reacheverychild.com,that helps with that as well. It has 200 features that includes free materials for teachers on everything from copyright violations to free printables. The recession is offering teachers the rich opportunity to harvest a new batch of resources to help reach a more technological savvy student.

Richer Retirement Options

The National Center for Education Statistics predicts that in the next eight years, 2.8 million teachers are needed due to higher class sizes and retirements. The recession could well throw these statistics out of kilter, but the reality is that the school districts are going to come up with better enticement packages to get teachers off their books. Offering them everything from severance packages for tens of thousands of dollars to a bonus to pay for health insurance until they are eligible for government health care have been brought to the table. Teachers close to retirement could find they could make more by not teaching. This opens the door for new teachers, obviously, but the recession is good for these older teachers as well. A side benefit to this exodus are the materials these educators could donate or sell to younger teachers. Imagine being able to buy resources that an educator has collected over 30 years for a few dollars. And, most likely, the teacher will probably just live them in the room or offer them for a nominal fee online.http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/trade.html

Environmental Income

The recession helps the environment and recycling efforts as well. Cans, bottles, papers, even printing cartridges can be brought to centers for school funds. At my school two hard working teachers even created a conservation club that harvests these recyclables and sell them for school related items. The kids are not only learning the value of recycling, but are becoming spokespeople to others at the school and at home. The recession has even helped the local water district work with the school to create a demonstration drought tolerant garden so that the community can see what the plants look like and how they can save water and thus money as more people are prone to do in a recession. Water districts in several other states have indicated an interest in their ideas.

Better Nutrition

Registration for the school free lunch programs is accelerated in a recession as parents find themselves in dire straits. The upside of this is that those students shall get at least get one good meal, something that they may not have gotten otherwise. Some schools offer a free breakfast program as well.

Lower Drop-Out Rate

With very little hope for work students are probably thinking of staying in school longer. The idea that they can make money and do their own thing as an incentive to leave school is going to dry-up as the unemployment figures remain high. At present, teenagers have a 25 percent unemployment rate. With no job and very little prospects to live on borrowed money staying in school could look more attractive to potential drop-outs.

More Time

The recession is offering another possible advantage; time. To save money districts are cutting back the school year. Sometimes this is just a few days and other times it is six or more days. The result is that teachers make less money and students get less of an education, but there is more time for both groups to pursue things such as exercising, traveling, going to community events, even taking up a new hobby. The extra time also means the possibility of less stress. That could result in less smoking and drinking. The possibilities of what extra time enables a teacher to do is a personal, but the recession at least opens that possibility. Less time working could also result in reduced stress levels, less driving to work and back, and more time to get things done when normally only the weekends are free during the school year.


Opportunities abound during this recession. Everything from upgrading skills to being able to buy a house that was unaffordable previously, are all possibilities. Even those teachers who are let go or can’t find a job might feel better knowing they are not alone. But the bottom line is to take the time and the energy and courage to look for that opening door.

“ Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” Robert Browning

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