Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Archive for May 2013

YOUR STUFF …

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Checklist… may be what dreams are made of,

but it can become a nightmare

when you have to throw it out

…or have a garage sale.

 

 

— Cecil Scaglione

Mature Life Features

Written by Cecil Scaglione

May 31, 2013 at 10:39 pm

Posted in A Musing

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Spokane Bets Generosity Trumps Glitz ‘n’ Glamor

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA110-year-old clock tower alongside Spokane’s river

is all that remains of the Great Northern Rail Depot

Story & photo by

Cecil Scaglione

Mature Life Features

SPOKANE, Wash. – As Nevada’s Glitter Gulch kicks the “H” out of hospitality in its dedicated drive for dollars, a gaming group here is tucking it back in.

For example, players’ club members at the Northern Quest Resort and Casino about 15 minutes from downtown get a credit on their losses if they return to play. Diners at Masselow’s, the triple A Four Diamond main restaurant among the 14 eateries in the complex, receive a miniature bark-canoe-full of fry bread and huckleberry jam. Occupants of its 250 rooms, who can have a Fatburger delivered to their room at any time of night or day, get free airport shuttle service as well as to and from downtown Spokane. Women even get one-third off the price of a cigar on Ladies Night (Thursday) in the comfortable spirits club room.

It’s down-home service with a swagger. You can see it all around you on the 250-acre Quest complex that was awarded to the 400-member Kalispel tribe in trust because the contours and condition of their reservation an hour north make it unfeasible to build any commercial enterprises on that  land.

Besides concerts and other on-site diversions associated with casinos, there’s plenty do when you leave a gaming table or slot machine and head for daylight. Everyone on staff is quick to tell you there are innumerable lakes and rivers and mountains within 40 minutes of the casino.

Hiking, biking, fishing, birding, skiing, snowshoeing: they’re all available. So is picking your own apples – there are more than 100 varieties to choose from – nectarines, peaches, strawberries, corn, carrots, grapes and several other types of fruit and vegetables in season. They’re tended by the dozens of farms and orchards clustered around Green Bluffs an hour north of town.

Several have mini playgrounds to keep youngsters entertained while you harvest. If you don’t have the time or energy to gather your own, you can buy just-picked picked produce, along with wedges of freshly made pies, jellies and jams, and an array of tongue-teasing homemade products.

If hunting is your hobby, “Deer are like rabbits around here,” according to one local resident.

While driving around the countryside, you can stop at any of the several wineries and sip samples. At Townshend Cellars, we were treated to a 2002 huckleberry port. An added attraction at the Arbor Crest tasting room, better known as The Cliff House, is the view. There’s the Spokane skyline over one shoulder and the mountains of Idaho over the other.

The east-west Spokane River flows below. It’s bordered by the Centennial Trial, a 39-mile paved strip open to hikers, bikers, skaters and horses that stretches from the neighboring state line to the east on through downtown Spokane’s Riverfront Park.
A major feature of the park, which was a hub of activity during the city’s 1974 World’s Fair, are the falls that pour water westward through the heart of the city.

After touring the city and countryside, your hunger can be assuaged by a 22-inch one-pound hot dog in The Q, the casino’s sports bar dominated by the largest plasma television screen produced by Panasonic. It’s 10 feet by 30 feet. You can add fries to that dog with local fry sauce, a mixture of ketchup and mayonnaise.

Mature Life Features, Copyright 2012

Written by Cecil Scaglione

May 26, 2013 at 6:21 pm

On a Mission in San Diego

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By Cecil Scaglione

Mature Life Features

Played tourist at home this weekend and took the camera to visit Mission San Diego de Alcala.
It’s worth spending some time there, especially when you move from the busy front into the quieter and more spacious courtyard encapsulated by the Spanish-colonial structure housing a museum, priests’ quarters, chapel, and more (like public bathrooms). Happened upon a wedding in the parish that Franciscan Junipero Serra established in 1769 as the first of the 21 missions that form the spine of California.
The original Spanish settlement was where Old Town is now, below the Presidio tower on the hill that allowed settlers to get a strategic early view of any ships sailing into San Diego Bay.
The friars decided to move their neophyte native converts away from the lascivious soldiers so they moved the church and school about five miles up the San Diego River – the distance in which tolling bells could be heard.
Among the exhibits is a showcase of models of the missions stretching from here to north of San Francisco in the order in which they were founded. It’s a quick look at California’s early development.
While they were situated within a day’s march of each other – anywhere from about 30 to 50 miles – they weren’t founded in order from south to north. The next mission established after San Diego was in Carmel just south of San Francisco.
However, to follow El Camino Real (The King’s Highway) formed by the mission chain, drive up Highway 5 to the largest mission in the chain – Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside. Next is San Juan Capistrano and then there’s…

Written by Cecil Scaglione

May 5, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Con Artists As Dangerous as Mugger with a Gun

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Whistling_to_the_Bank

 

By Cecil Scaglione

Mature Life Features

Con artists feed on the greedy and the careless. And also on the polite. Folks continue to give out numbers for their bank accounts, credit cards, and Social Security just because a caller has requested them.
The unseen solicitor poses as a fraud investigator looking into charges have been made against your credit card and offers to repair your account. He or she will ask to verify your numbers and address and other such information.

Ask for a phone number so you can call them back. Then hang up, whether they give you a number or not. Don’t be polite. They’re crooks trying to steal your money. Call the local Better Business Bureau and tell them about the call.

If you’re concerned about your credit-card account,  call the phone number on the back of the card to discuss the
matter with a company representative.

The ubiquitous cell phone with a camera has become a weapon these thieves are using more and more. They use telephone camera to take photos of credit cards. That gives them your name,account number and expiration date — enough to run out and clean out your account. So don’t leave your card laying on a counter at the store or table at a restaurant.

Never let the card out of your sight. Crooked employees can swipe your card through a scanner to
copy the magnetic strip.

The expanding use of the Internet has widened the horizon for these crooks exponentially. Never
send any information over the ‘Net, unless you’ve initiated the contact with a reputable mail-order house you’ve dealt with regularly, such as Land’s End, or if you’re ordering something from an e-mail house, such as e-Bay or Amazon.

Don’t be fooled by an Internet website that looks official. Scammers can set up an official looking page and have your responses diverted to their own e-mailbox and merrily milk your funds. The Web also is a great marketplace for crooks selling bogus products described as healthful supplements and medical devices.

The old standby scams are still around, like the lottery and Nigerian schemes. The first involves a contact that says you’ve won money in a lottery and all you have to do to get your money is wire funds to cover tariffs and attorney fees because the money is originating from abroad. One Southern California resident was bilked out of more than $250,000 by these schemers not too long ago. The Nigerian plotters have a variety of stories that are all designed to break your bank. there for a bit and they’ll give you a handsome fee.

Then there’s this tried-and-true con. You receive a gaudy piece of mail or an “invitation” that says you’ve won a rather hefty gift or a tempting vacation trip, for example. All you have to do is send a few hundred dollars to expedite the paper work.
Chuck it in the paper shredder. If you don’t have one, get one. They’re inexpensive and can be used to shred all paper that carries sensitive and financial information: statements from your bank, credit-card companies, brokerage firm, and mortgage company.

Watch out for gift checks you receive in the mail. A neighbor cashed in small such check — it was for less than $10 — from a company she had dealt with and learned in her next statement that, by cashing the check, she signed on to pay a monthly fee for a travel service the company provided. She didn’t need any such service since she works for an airline but the firm said by cashing the check, she was automatically signed on, and that was that.
Remember the gilded rule: if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Mature Life Features, Copyright 2004

Written by Cecil Scaglione

May 1, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Posted in Finance

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