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Councils Decide Over Parking Fines

Plea to councils over parking fines

Councils dished out parking fines at the rate of merely one every four seconds this past year, it has been revealed.

Local authorities issued around 7.8 million parking penalty charge notices (PNCs) in 2013 amounting to £255 million in fines, according to research by Churchill.

And the figures could be even higher, as the statistics connect with responses from only 187 of the 435 UK councils contacted for data underneath the Freedom of knowledge Act.

According to Churchill, Westminster council issued the highest amount of PCNs among responding councils and generated the most in potential revenues last year.

Westminster handed drivers 455,390 parking fines, worth more than £24 million.

Outside London, Cardiff council issued by far the most parking fines

The top 13 locations for total PCNs issued last were all London boroughs. Outside London, Cardiff council issued the very best number of parking fines at 56,766 and North Somerset generated the most revenue at £2.25 million.

Despite 7.8 million tickets being issued in 2013, just 445,818 PCNs were successfully appealed against during the year, roughly equal to 6 % of the total PCNs issued. The highest amount of appeals was in Haringey in north London, where 21,617, or 13 percent were successfully challenged.

Steve Barrett, head of Churchill Car Insurance, said: Parking regulations are a hugely important component of keeping roads clear and safe, but it’s also essential that fines are fair and proportionate. In many areas, parking restrictions can be confusing and appear inconsistent, so we’d urge motorists being vigilant when parking their vehicles to prevent hefty fines.

The capital is extremely congested so we’d expect to see a better number of restrictions in place and penalties being issued. However, there is a fine line between fair and opportunistic that councils shouldn’t be tempted to cross.

Are councils using parking fines as a tax or cash cow?

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: The law is clear. Councils must not use parking as a tax or cash cow, and we are currently looking at the potentially illegal consumption of councils’ parking contracts.

Councils should open their books so that any interested members of the public can scrutinise local parking practice and expose any dodgy deals.

He went on: This government is reining in over-zealous parking enforcement and unfair parking practices in England, together with the levels of parking penalty charges being kept under review.

We have scrapped Whitehall planning policy that encouraged councils to hike parking charges and removed restrictions throughout the provision of off-street parking spaces. We also recently announced further reforms including stopping CCTV being utilized for on-street parking enforcement and reviewing unnecessary yellow lines.

How to talk to your kids about the important stuff

There are those pivotal talk that you had with your mother or father when you were a kid, and somehow they made it seem so easy! Actually, that’s not even remotely true. The vast majority of “those talks” are clumsy at best, and usually far more is not said than actually muttered out loud. That being said, my dad has historically done a very good job. Whether it’s about girls or grades, and now that I’m older, women and career, my father has never failed to offer eloquent advice in a non-threatening and not embarrassing tone. I’ll never forget my first “birds and the bees” talk with him. He asked me if I wanted to take a drive in his old sports car. It was a 1989 Nissan 300ZX, so obviously I said yes. I mean, what junior high school student doesn’t want to go cruising down the boulevard in a miniature rocket ship? When we hit the open road, the conversation began, and I could tell that he was just a hair nervous.
He was completely honest with me, and didn’t treat any of the subject matter as though it were anything to be ashamed of or to avoid talking about. That, along with the fact that I was already happily in the shotgun seat of his car, made the afternoon a delight and the conversation a complete success.

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The key to bringing up the important stuff with your kids is to respect them and to treat them like adults. I’ve noticed that people often act the way others treat them, so do yourself a favor, and treat your kids the way you’d want to be treated. Like an adult. Another great tip is to do something that they enjoy. It’s nice to have a bit of a buffer between the serious context of the conversation and the fact that you’re having the conversation at all. My dad knows me well, that’s why he chose for us to go for a long drive. It might also be a good idea to throw the ball around or go for a hike. Activities such as these offer needed respite for processing.

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Taking a test drive with your son or daughter will offer the best of all worlds. The gravity of your conversation will be diluted in the excitement of getting behind the wheel of a new, unfamiliar, but awesome car. If you’re in the market for a new car, I highly recommend getting online and going to either Puente Hills Nissan or to find what you’re looking for. It doesn’t matter if you buy the car, but if you end up cruising around in a new Nissan, the chances are excellent that you will. Good luck with your important discussion, and remember, honesty and fun make all of the hardest discussions with your kids, productive.

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Infotainment systems of the 1950s and ’60s, guess what it has been record players


Today’s car infotainment systems offer drivers and passengers an array of state-of-the-art features that could dazzle including the most savvy techno-geek. (Unfortunately, these same high-tech systems might be complicated to work with and susceptible to technical problems, as we detailed in High-Tech Automotive Headaches.) On the audio front, the listening alternatives are vast, including AM/FM, satellite, and Internet CDs, radio and DVDs, and audio tracks you play via plugged-in or Bluetooth-enabled smart phones, music players, and off a built-in hard disk drive. Cars have long had music players beyond radio. Anyone of the certain age will remember 8-track and cassette players. And record players. Record players? Yep.

A whole new technology came on the market within the mid-1950s and early 1960s that freed drivers from commercials and unreliable broadcast signals, letting them be the masters of their motoring soundtrack with their favorite pressed vinyl spinning on a record player mounted under the dash. Consumer Reports covered three auto record player units of the day.

The “Highway Hi-Fi” was the very first on the scene, offered by the Chrysler Corporation for an option on the 1956 Chrysler, Desoto, Dodge, and Plymouth. CBS Labs developed the technology that played records specifically designed for that system, with 7-inch discs in 16? rpm format, available exclusively from Columbia Records. The format was chosen because 33? rpm records at 12 inches in diameter were too large for the car and the smaller 45 rpm size didn’t play for as long. The 7-inch size produced for the Highway Hi-Fi fit in the car and played for about an hour per side.

Chrysler started the auto audiophile’s collection with six records from Columbia that presented mellifluous motoring tracks such as “I’ll Take Romance” from Percy Faith along with his Orchestra. Additional recordings were available for order. The Great American Songbook was represented with picks like Cole Porter’s score for your Broadway show “Kiss Kate”, Me and My Old Kentucky Home played with a Wurlitzer organ. And there were talk selections, too, including recordings of the CBS radio series “You Are There” featuring historical topics for example “The Signing of the Magna Carta” and “The Battle of Gettysburg.” (It is possible to listen to CBS’ classic “You Are There” series online Archive.)

The Highway Hi-Fi was short-lived as Chrysler only offered it for two years. Consumer Reports did not test it, but we did report its demise, suggesting that this price tag of nearly $200 (over $1,700 today) and the constraint of buying proprietary records from Columbia were probably causes of the player’s short run. Perhaps that choice came too late, even though chrysler did eventually add an option to experience 45 rpm records on the road Hi-Fi.

RCA Victor auto Victrola record player

In 1960, a lot cheaper car record player offered being a Chrysler option came out there: the RCA Victor auto Victrola. It cost $51.75 ($410.47 today) and you could play your own personal 45s onto it. We bought one and tested it in the lab and on your way.

The RCA “Victrola” held 14 records and could play for 2½ hours continuously, if extended play 45s were used. Our test drivers found the record changer easy to operate whilst keeping eyes on the highway ahead. Music without distracted driving. Believe that.

The similarly-priced Norelco “Auto Mignon,” which we tested a year later, only held one 45 rpm record at a time, for 4½ minutes of play at best, potentially distracting the driver with the need for multiple record changes by contrast. And there was the question of where you can put the vinyl since the Norelco didn’t store any records, as the RCA model did, leaving a box on the floor or car seat as the alternative.

Norelco Auto Mignon record player

Surprisingly, we found in our tests of the RCA and Norelco players that both units were able to keep your needle in the record while driving. Of the RCA, we wrote: The stylus did not jump the grooves even though the car was moving at various speeds over brokenpavement and cobblestones, and deep holes. We gave the Norelco a similar assessment, describing the needle performance for being “unaffected by rough roads, car sway, and sharp braking.” But a steady stylus had its price, wearing down the records from the high pressure required to ensure that it stays in place. As well as the RCA unit’s turntable ran fast, accelerating records. We described this defect as “bound to be strongly annoying with many types of music.” And speed metal hadn’t yet been invented.

Inspite of the possibility that it could turn a ballad into “Flight from the Bumblebee,” we determined that the RCA Victor auto “Victrola” was, overall, more satisfactory in comparison to the Norelco “Auto Mignon,” “as a means of bringing self-selected music to the lonely motorist.”

But the RCA Victor was just available in 1961, with the company discontinuing the Victrola after that model year.

Car record players soon made way for the next new-fangled audio gizmo: the eight-track tape deck. The Chrysler Corporation introduced it as a choice in its 1968 cars.

Skip forward to 2014, and now multifaceted, phone-integrated infotainment systems are the rage. And radio retains reception issues and too many commercials.

Read about Nissan Rogue


Instead of Rogue, Nissan could have named this redesigned SUV “Mr. Congeniality.” True, that’s not very macho, but the model stands out being an easy-to-drive, family-friendly vehicle. And it also now ranks among the better small SUVs.

The new Rogue has grown larger and more accommodating; it features a spacious cabin, easy access, and lots of room within the rear seat. Refinement has improved dramatically, with a relatively quiet and much more comfortable ride than is usual in this class. Other enhancements include more responsive handling, improved fuel economy of 24 mpg overall, and a better-calibrated continuously variable transmission that’s quieter and smoother than the previous version.

Power comes from a 170-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that gives adequate performance but can get somewhat vocal under hard acceleration. Our vehicle’s all-wheel drive worked unobtrusively.

Shopping Around

4-Shopping Around


When it comes to making a big purchase, there’s no excuse for not shopping around. If you buy a car, and then find out that you could have gotten a better deal at the lot down the street, it’s only because you didn’t do your research. A little research will go a long way, and help you save a lot of money, when it comes to a big purchase like a new car and let’s face it, a new car is a big purchase for almost anyone.


There are numerous dealerships in almost every city, and you may not know which one is right for you right off the bat. That’s okay. Take the time to visit their websites, like Nissan Temecula and their website,, and learn a little about each one. Read about their staff, familiarize yourself with their inventory and the types of cars they offer, and peruse the specials to see how much money that you can save by shopping there. As you visit more dealership websites, you’ll naturally begin to narrow down the field and know what type of cars you like and don’t like. Then you’ll be able to visit the lots that offer the particular cars you’re interested in, talk to the sales staff, and see where you feel comfortable shopping and who has the best deals going on. It’s always important to be sure you’re comfortable and happy with a dealership before you buy because it’s likely that you’ll end up bringing your car back to the dealership for routine maintenance like oil changes for at least the first several years that you have it. Be sure the dealership is a place you want to be and even ask for a guided tour. Check out the service center for yourself before you decide to buy.

Here are list of things you should purchase at Costco

CR November Car Batteries-2011

Joining Costco can lead to big savings with your household budget. But you must shop strategically, or that oversized cart will top off, even when you’re just popping in for a couple of staples. Lacking signage available aisles doesn’t help matters. Knowing which products in order to avoid does-and that’s where Consumer Reports’ testing comes in. We’ve rated a slew of Costco products, from small everyday products, like dish paper and detergent towels, to mattresses, grills and other big-tickets items. Allow me to share the winners and losers from our latest tests.

Costco winners

Bacon. Mmm, bacon-to quote the great ham-loving Homer Simpson. We think he’d go as well as our testers, who gave Kirkland Signature Regular Sliced Bacon, $14 for any 64-ounce package, top marks in our latest bacon test. The strips crisped up nicely, by using a balance of fat and meat flavors, complemented by wood smoke and a hint of sweetness.

Car battery. Suitable for largecars and trucks, and sport-utility vehicles from Ford or Mercury, the Kirkland Signature 12866, $85, aced all of our tests, nearly beating out the category’s top-rated choose from Interstate, which sells for $280. If you drive another type of vehicle, see our full battery Ratings, as there are other Kirkland batteries that performed perfectly in our tests, though they missed our recommended list.

Coffeemaker. Costco’s well-priced Mr. Coffee BVMC-EHX33CP, $30, is one of the highest scoring models in our Ratings of drip coffeemakers. Its brew performance was outstanding, and we also found it convenient and easy to take care of. Programmable settings let you set when the machine starts to brew, helpful if you love waking up for the aroma of coffee.

Ice cream. Beating out brands such as Breyers and Baskin-Robbins, the Kirkland Signature Super Premium Vanilla was explained by our ice cream tasters as full and dense with big dairy flavor and complex vanilla-extract flavor, though some commented that it could be slightly gummy at times. The system functions out to about 30 cents per serving, compared with a dollar per serving for that top-rated Ben & Jerry’s.

Laundry detergent. Our winner’s list of detergents that can be used in all types of washing machines includes the Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean, a CR Best Buy that works over to just 9 cents per load. The powder detergent was tough ongrass and blood, and ring-around-the-collar. Take into account the Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean Pacs, 14 cents per load, should you prefer the ease of a laundry pod.

Urban Islands 4-Burner by Bull

Costco losers

Gas grill. At $1,600, the Costco exclusive Urban Islands 4-Burner by Bull is actually more pricey than most midsize grills in our gas grill Ratings. And it’s nowhere near as proficient as our top-rated models. It’s particularly bad at maintaining even heat at high temperatures, a must for perfectly seared steaks. An improved bet from Costco will be the KitchenAid 720-0733A for $750, which misses our recommended list but was very good overall.

Gel dishwasher detergent. By having an overall score of 34, the Kirkland Signature Gel is one of our lowest-rated detergents. It struggled with pots, pans and dishes, and resistance to water spots. But all is not really lost from the Costco detergent aisle. While it fell lacking our picks list, the Kirkland Signature Dishwasher Pacs was excellent or better in all of our tests.

Facial tissue. With the overall score of 60, Kirkland Signature facial tissue, $1.23, is middle from the pack within our facial tissue Ratings. So-so strength is its big shortcoming, although the tissue is rather soft. A much better bargain buy is the Puffs Basic, $1.23, which combines superb softness with great strength.

Mattress. The best mattresses in our Ratings offer really good, if not excellent, support for back or side sleepers. Costco’s $1,100 Ara 13 100% Visco Memory Foam is just so-so for side sleepers and even worse for people who sleep on their back. It’s also mediocre at providing stabilization.

Toilet paper. Though it’s quite soft, Kirkland Signature toilet paper offers only so-so strength and tearing ease, making it an also ran in your toilet paper Ratings. While it costs twice as much, White Cloud 3-Ply Ultra, a Walmart exclusive, combines superb strength and softness, making it our top-rated toilet paper from a wide margin.

What’s In With Green Transportation


Throughout the first week in March, students in California’s Kings Canyon Unified School District (KCUSD) were picked up in a new yellow school bus with a distinctly green detail: its engine. The first of the kind from the nation, KCUSD’s new wheels will not just to cut down on the results of fossil fuel emissions to the environment, but will also improve student health by keeping the immediate air round the bus cleaner.

The new bus, aka the Trans Tech SST-e, contains an all electric powertrain, developed by Motiv power systems and is expected to save the college $ten thousand in fuel costs, itself. In a PR Newswire news release Jim Castelaz, founder and CEO of Motiv expressed his hopes for this major part in green transportation: “We are absolutely thrilled to see this school bus transporting students without exposing them to diesel exhaust. I hope that by the time my daughter is old enough to visit school clean, zero-emission school buses this way one will be the industry standard.”

Currently, KCUSD has ordered a total of four electric buses and has received funding in the California air resources board as well as the Zero and Hybrid-Emission Bus and Truck Voucher Incentive Project. These buses are just yet another step in the institution becoming more eco friendly. “KCUSD is taking major strides to reduce diesel particulate emissions by as much as 85 percent” said Jason Flores, the school’s director of transportation.

The bus holds either 25 students or 18 with the addition of a wheelchair lift and incorporates telemetry systems for fleet management, as outlined by Ecowatch. The bus can be 50 percent charged in less than an hour or so.

Saving Money for the New College Grad

When you graduate you have the entire world in front of you, and while that’s extremely exciting, it can also be really scary and daunting. Sure, you can learn from your elders some best practice techniques for making it in the world, but there’s nothing that beats living it to force you into figuring out your own way of doing things out there. One of the hardest things to do is to save money and be able to use your intro-level income to make it in the world. So how can a new college grad get by on his new college grad pay? Here some tips they might not tell you in college.

Ramen Noodles


Ramen noodles, the age old college kid and recent college grad food for those with no money. It’s a sign of poverty, financial hardship, and overall terrible place in life. But it doesn’t have to be! All it takes is a little creativity and you can turn the same boring and cheap ramen noodles into an actual legitimate meal. We like to add fresh veggies to the soup – broccoli works good. Also, you can drop an egg into the broth halfway through and make it a makeshift egg drop soup. Also, make sure you have sriracha and you’ve got yourself a viable gourmet meal for under $1!

Used Car


Obviously you have to buy a used car when you need to get a car unless you have rich parents who buy you a car as a graduation present, which can hardly be counted on for most normal people. But when you are in the market for a used car, you can’t just go to CraigsList and to get a car there, you never know what you’re going to get. It really makes a lot of sense to go to a dealer like used cars anaheim and get something off their lot. While you may spend a few extra dollars over what you might be able to get online, the peace of mind is worth it. Look at their site to see what kind of options you have and you’ll be impressed with the diversity – Saving money now may cost you in the future.

Communal Living


Another great way to save money and get some life experience is to live in an apartment with a bunch of other people. It’s not ideal, but it can get your rent down low, since not only with the room be cheaper but the utilities will be split multiple ways, and also it’s great life experience. You won’t be able to get away with living like that even in your late 20’s, so might as well get it out of the way now. You’ll learn about life, about cooperation, about how to deal with frustration and sharing with people who suck at sharing. It will be awful, but also awfully good experience, while saving money.

Getting All Pro With Car Maneuvering


Not just a sexual maneuver, but rather the typical description for how an internal combustion engine works. The basic way all internal combustion engines work is for taking a mixture of fuel and air, compress it, ignite it either with a spark plug or by self-igntion (in the case of a diesel engine), allow the explosion of combusting gasses to force the piston back down and then expel the exhaust gas. The vertical movement of the piston is converted into rotary motion within the crank via connecting rods. The crank then quickly scans the blogosphere to the gearbox via a flywheel and clutch, and the gearbox sends the rotary motion to the wheels, driving your vehicle forwards.

The diagram to the left is for reference for the technical jargon that can pop on the rest of this site. It shows an inline-4 engine with dual overhead cams.

Car Reviews You Should See Now


There’s no getting around the fact that buying a car is a major purchase. Using the prices of cars steadily rising in addition to the price of gas, the decision about which brand name gets more difficult every year.

You want a car that will fit your needs, supplies a good safety rating, gets good milage and has top resale value… all at a price you can afford. Oh, and did we forget? It also needs to look good.

Do you need a luxury car, a compact …or babe magnet with limited funds? Will spending more enable you to get a better car or could you find what you’re looking for in another model that’s half the price?

What about safety features… not merely air bags and seat belts, but solid construction that can get you through any accident? What if you buy a used car? What do you need to know before you get saddled with a lemon?

More and more car buyers are turning to the internet to get answers and expert advice on different models and makes before they even set out for a dealership. You miss out on that test drive to make certain that you like how the car feels and handle, although some skip the dealership altogethers

With so much to take into consideration before you even start discussing the purchase price, the whole procedure for buying a car can seem overwhelming, but there is lots of help available.

Like having a mechanic in the household, these sites feature expert reports, no-nonsense reviews, and customer happiness surveys … – THE site for consumer reviews and car buying advice, tips and guides, feature articles, discussion boards plus more, along with a comprehensive directory to news, auto shows, insurance, pricing guides, image galleries and more in related categories.

Yahoo! Autos Consumer Reports – Get tips and advice on upkeep and maintenance, price negotiation, worst and finest used cars, and more. – Find real people with real cars from around the world, and what they have to say about their purchases in terms ofspeed and performance, fuel efficiency and/or general longevity. Or read it for the entertainment value alone…

Road & Travel Magazine New Car Guide – Discover in-depth overviews of current models from major manufacturers plus road test reviews, buyer’s guides.

Detroit News – Auto Reviews – Direct from Motown, with expert calls on all the latest makes and models, plus photo galleries and related feature stories, plus sneak peeks into future models and concept cars. – Look at a rich media extravaganza with engaging video reviews on luxury, top rated, and new concept cars including reports on auto shows nationwide, feature stories, and related photo galleries.

Professional Car Reviews – MSN Autos – Professional reviews searchable by make, model and year with particulars on pros and cons, special features, photos.

Review Centre – Car Reviews – This UK site offers reviews written by visitors and organized into car make and model. Top 10 – Here’s useful info when in your in the marketplace, like the most up-to-date top ten reliable cars, customer care ratings, car theft targets, top selling, and more.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety – Find car ratings based on injuries in crash dummy tests. Best bets are their estimates of your safest cars in each model range (i.emidsize, . and SUV inexpensive).