Okay, so this 1964 Chevy Impala didn’t exactly look like this when we saw it at the C.T.C. Auto Ranch down in Ft. Worth last spring, but this artsy colorization — done right here in the comfort of the YAK Home Office — is probably an improvement!
— Jim Corbran, You Auto Know
Get yourself some snow tires.
Your pickup or SUV? Its 4 or all wheel drive will help you get un-stuck, and it’ll help you get going on some slippery stuff. Its ground clearance may occasionally help you ford a river or drive over a big snowball. But its mass is such that it makes it especially difficult to stop.
Your anti-lock brakes? They’ll help you avoid a skid by automatically applying and releasing the brakes in quick succession, but they won’t help you avoid an accident if you’re going too fast.
Or if your tires suck.
Last night’s commute in Buffalo was your typical afternoon first-snow crawl. Just about every route was packed in or going at a reasonably safe, slow speed. This is good. But if you have crap tires, or even decent all-weather tires, you might as well put skates on the bottom of your car, because they won’t cut it in this weather.
The best of all possible worlds? AWD or 4WD with snow tires. If you have a Subaru or AWD Audi with a good set of snows, your car will be bulletproof in the ice and snow. But the big secret is that you don’t need the extra cost, heft, and maintenance that comes with powering all four wheels, not in WNY, where the roads generally get cleared pretty well (unless you’re unlucky enough to try to drive on a secondary road in the city of Buffalo up to a week after a major storm. For some reason, the city itself is unwilling or unable to plow all of its streets within a reasonable time).
Get yourself some snow tires, instead.
For instance, some local tire stores will store your summer tires in the winter, and vice-versa. For free. Go in, pay about $100, and they’ll do the switchover, usually installing snows in November and summers in April. You extend the lives of both sets of tires, and you’ll have the appropriate shoes on your car.
You don’t wear flip-flops in 6″ of snow. You don’t wear snowboots when it’s 80 degrees out. Why do that to your car?
In some countries, snow tires are mandated. This is a smart idea and something that snowy climates should seriously consider. Driving is no joke, and if you’re hurtling a 2-ton piece of rubber and metal down the street in a snowstorm, other drivers should have some semblance of assurance that you’re appropriately equipped. Snow tires are different from summer or all-weather tires in that they use a softer rubber compound, and feature deep sipes that literally help the car dig into the snow and ice. The best set I ever owned were Finnish-made Hakkapeliitta 2s, which rendered a car that had no traction control into a snow tank. I always had to get them online, which is a hassle, but I haven’t not put snow tires on a car since my second winter here. You can get a set of Blizzaks, which are very good, or whatever your local tire shop offers, which will be fine, too.
You can’t leave them on all year, because the rubber compound only works well in the cold weather. But if you, for instance, go from no snow tires on a slippery day to snow tires, you’ll be astonished by the difference in traction you have. Not just start and stop traction, but especially lateral traction, when you’re turning. Traction / stability control will help, too.
We’re known for snow. We get snow. You drive in it. If you enjoy having control over your car in the snow, ice, and slush – the ability to start, stop, turn, and drive with some modicum of safety – pay your local tire guy, car dealer, or mechanic a visit. Maybe go to Tirerack.com or some other online retailer.
But whatever you do, get yourself some snow tires.
Every year Governing Magazine recognizes Public Officials of the Year. You can view the 2013 honorees here.
Below I have highlighted quotes describing the characteristics of some of the elected officials being honored.
John Kitzhaber – Governor of Oregon
“a remarkable series of bipartisan achievements”
“What distinguishes Kitzhaber is his readiness to try new things”
“He is willing to take risks, to innovate and sometimes to fail,”
“The role I play now is as convener,” says Kitzhaber, who served as Senate president for eight years before first becoming governor in 1995. “I try to be a facilitator between the parties and develop a space for trust.”
José Cisneros, Treasurer, San Francisco
“the office has become a laboratory for creative ideas to help families break the cycle of poverty”
“It’s been inspiring to see a public official expand the mandate of his office in such a productive way. He’s taken ideas that were incubated in the stale halls of think tanks and academia and made them a reality.”
How did the treasurer transform his office into a shop for antipoverty initiatives? “It’s a really unusual combination of creativity and willingness to take risks,”
L. Brooks Patterson, County Executive, Oakland County, Mich.
“He accepts the value of change and the importance of it,”
Greg Fischer, Mayor, Louisville, Ky.
“He’s been asking really hard questions.”
“He tries to find ways to do things rather than ways not to do things.”
“At the heart of his performance efforts is a focus on data.”
Are there any elected officials in Western New York that match the quotes mentioned above? What public officials locally deserve special recognition?
This 1966 Chevrolet Suburban actually left the factory looking just as you see it here in this GM factory pic— jacked seemingly up to the sky. It probably looks higher than it really is due to the factory-stock (probably 15-inch) wheels and tires. Compare that to what you see on the road today. A set of 22s would probably fit right under there with no modification. They might also stop it from looking like it would tip over if you breathed on it. At the bottom is another ’66 which has been slammed to the ground by its owner. Somewhere in the middle of these two looks lies a decent looking Suburban. — Jim Corbran, You Auto Know
There was a lot of jokey-snark Sunday night as Twitter was trying to guess what the New York Times’ big blockbuster story was going to be on Monday morning. A Times editor had Tweeted that a game-changing story was coming, but offered no hints.
The story itself is a heartbreaking one about a bright and energetic 11 year-old girl who lives in poverty and squalor with her family in a dilapidated, uninhabitable city shelter. We follow her to school, we examine her home, we look at her parents and their obvious problems in such a way that eschews cheap judgment and instead gives us a window into the crushing poverty, desperate need for help, jobs, and education that families like this need.
It also describes the insane class divide where homes within spitting distance of the shelter and adjacent projects now go for a million dollars; where a fancy new wine shop offers tastings across the street from a liquor store where the clerk sits behind bullet-proof plexiglass.
Please read all five parts of the story, which will take you on an emotional roller coaster, and consider whether, in our zeal for austerity, we’re causing more problems than we’re solving.
Some “richest country in the world” superpower we are.
Yesterday while driving through Lewiston and Cambria I came across the newest Oldsmobile dealer in Western New York, located on Rte. 31 just outside of downtown Sanborn. Right now the selection is very limited — just one 88 and an Alero coupe, but I’m sure the trucks are lined-up on the Thruway as they make their way from Lansing with the newest offerings from good ol’ Olds! — Jim Corbran, You Auto Know
The UB Bulls have received a bowl bid for their performance on the gridiron this season. The team will travel to Boise, ID, to face the San Diego State Aztecs of the Mountain West Conference on December 21 at the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl was known as the Humanitarian Bowl from 1997-2010—except for 2004-2006, when it was known as the MPC Computers Bowl before MPC Corporation went bankrupt in 2008. Between 2007-2009, the Humanitarian Bowl was sponsored by Roady’s Truck Stops. In 2011, the Idaho Potato Commission picked up sponsorship of the game, dropping the “humanitarian” thing altogether and going simply with the “Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.”
Below is a commercial showing why it dominates over other bowl games like the AT&T Cotton Bowl, the Allstate Sugar Bowl, the Discover Orange Bowl, the Vizio Rose Bowl and the Hyundai Sun Bowl…
Bronco stadium in Boise, where this longest-running outdoor bowl game in a cold-weather venue is held, is also noteworthy for it’s blue artificial field surface. According to the Weather Channel, December is both the coldest and wettest month in Boise with temperatures ranging from lows of 24 degrees to highs of 37.
UB president Satish Tripathi has this to say:
I am delighted to announce that our UB Bulls football team has received a bid to play in the 2013 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl against San Diego State on Saturday, Dec. 21, our first bowl invitation since 2008.
This is exciting news for Bulls fans everywhere and for our entire university community. This bid is well-deserved recognition of the remarkable efforts of our football team over a standout season.
As we advance our prominence as one of the nation’s great research universities, our success in building a nationally competitive Division I athletic program is a significant element in our broader vision of institutional excellence. Under the leadership of Athletic Director Danny White, our intercollegiate athletic program is competing with steadily growing success on a national stage. This most recent bowl bid is another tangible reminder of how much we have achieved, and of our great promise for the future. Our bowl appearance provides UB with another national stage on which to showcase our academic, research and athletic excellence.
My heartiest congratulations to AD White, Coach Jeff Quinn and his coaching staff, and to all of our players on this great achievement. The accomplishments of our student athletes—both on and off the field—are a source of pride and inspiration for all of us at UB.
More details about the game schedule will be shared on www.ubbulls.com as they become available. Meanwhile, please join me in congratulating our Bulls on an outstanding season, and in cheering them on as they prepare to compete at an even greater level of excellence.
Satish K. Tripathi
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