The On Ramp

The Blue Mountain Internet Customer Newsletter

 Issue # 65 March 2009 
Greetings from the editor  by Carol Hall A Better Way to File Tax ...  by Michelle Mook
Crossword  by Mike Rochelle Storing Food A Better Way  by Michelle Mook
FAQs  by Matt Stephens Kids  by Rochelle Helms
St Patricks Day  by Tyler Brown DSL For You  by KJ Newby
Wordfind  by Ruben Bybee Bike to Work  by Rebecca Sheridan
BMI Is A Better Way  by Mike Rochelle Humor  by Victor Luna
Picturefind  by BMI Staff Arts and Crafts  by Gena Bybee
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Greetings from the editor
by Carol Hall

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Greetings to all of you! The theme of "The On Ramp" this month is "A Better Way"! The ever-growing resources on the Internet make many tasks much easier than in days past. 

Things that may have seemed simple before, are even simpler (and more fun) than ever before.  Take for example: painting your living, the Internet cannot do it for you; however it can greatly assist you in picking the colors!  Remember going to the paint store, picking up a handful of color chips....going home and holding them up on the wall, wondering if the color will compliment or clash with your furniture?  Try this instead:   Visualizer
-Click on Living Room on the top left 
-Click on a setting that is similar to your living room
-Simply drag and drop the colors to the walls and furniture until you have the look that is right for you!

Another simple task made easier by the Internet is finding a phone number for a business.  No need to find the phone book and then look up a category in the yellow pages and then find your listing.  Take a look at goog411.  This is a FREE service by our friends at Google.  You simply dial 1-800-466-4411 on any phone.  A recording will come on and ask what you are looking in what area.  Tell the recording, and it will come back with the listings in that area.  When you hear the one you want, say the number, and the recording says "Connecting" thing you know, the business you wanted is on the line.  I have this number programmed into my cell phone so it is just a button away!


I hope you find this newsletter enjoyable and informative. I welcome your comments and additions to the newsletter! Please email me at mailto:editor

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A Better Way to File Taxes
by Michelle Mook

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It's time again to file our federal and state income taxes.

It's a necessary chore that very few enjoy doing, but it doesn't have to involve a dining room table covered in paperwork, adding machines, and pens and pencils.

You can do your taxes online, file them electronically, and receive your refund directly into your checking account.

There are two ways to do this. One is to use a company like TurboTax to guide you through filing step-by-step and help you find deductions. These services are generally for-pay, and the cost is based on the type and complexity of forms you need to file.

The other way is to fill in editable IRS forms online, and submit them electronically.

To help guide you in picking an online filing method, the IRS has provided an informative web site. I've found that the most useful page there is the Free File page, which offers links to IRS forms as well as links to tax preparers who will allow you to file for free if your 2008 income is $56,000 or less.

I've been filing my taxes online for ten years, through both simple years when all I filed was a 1040-EZ, and more complicated years when I was contracting and had to file Schedule C forms. I've found online filing to be easier, more thorough, and ultimately cheaper than either doing it manually or hiring an accountant.

And the best part is that all of my past returns are stored online for easy and instant access from any Internet-connected computer.

I filed my taxes online on January 28th and had my refund direct deposited into my checking account on February 10th. I never even had to buy a stamp, let alone wait by my mailbox or drive to the bank.

If you've never filed online before, now is a great time to give it a try!
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by Mike Rochelle

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Congratulations to Susan B. of Walla Walla, WA for winning the drawing for the February 2009 Crossword! Susan received a $25.00 credit on her BMI account!

Please visit our March 2009 crossword.
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Storing Food A Better Way
by Michelle Mook

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As the economy continues to worsen, we find ourselves looking for more ways to make ends meet.

Lately I've been concerned about food wastage. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) calculates that 20 percent of this country's food goes to waste, representing an annual value of about $31 billion in lost resources:   Food Wastage Statistics

Timothy Jones, an anthropologist at the UA Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, estimates an average family of four currently tosses out $590 per year, just in meat, fruits, vegetables and grain products:  Storing Fruits and Vegetables

That's an awful lot of money in the garbage.

In an effort to quit throwing my paycheck away, I've discovered that putting half of a paper towel into a bag of spicy sprouts kept them fresh and edible for over two full weeks. (I was surprised by these results, because I typically throw out packages sprouts after about six days, because they're usually slimy and wilted by then.)

It turns out that many vegetables last more than long enough to be eaten when they're stored properly. I store green onions and asparagus upright in a shallow container of water in the fridge. I keep heads of leaf and romaine lettuce loosely wrapped in produce bags, with slightly damp paper towels wrapped around their stems.

There are plenty of ways to make your other produce last, too. The University of Washington has released a great guide called Storing Vegetables and Fruits at Home, aimed primarily at gardeners, that teaches you a lot about keeping produce fresh in various places in and around your house.

Another important concept that needs to be embraced is that we should eat what we have while we have it, rather than letting it rot in our homes while we go out to eat. Ours is a rich country, and yet 33 million of us go to sleep hungry every night while the rest of don't eat the perfectly good food we already have:  Food Wastage Can and Should Be Reduced

Take a look in your fridge. Is the spinach about to go bad? Take a moment and steam it, then throw it in a bag and freeze it instead of throwing it out. Is the cauliflower turning? Make refrigerator pickles with it.

Relearn the art of inexpensive, nourishing, fridge-cleaning soups and stews. Invest in a crockpot, or dig yours out of storage.

There is no reason for us to waste as much food as we do, especially now that we're realizing the value of the dollar.

A Citizens Guide to Food Recovery

Good luck lowering those food bills!
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by Matt Stephens

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Happy March to everyone! I hope this spring finds you with as few issues as seem to have had over the winter. It's been pretty slow around here, with the exception of a server issue here and there. Being slow in the Technical Support Department sure doesn't give me a whole lot to talk about in an FAQ column though. The theme for this month's newsletter is A Better Way.

There are so many things I could talk about on a topic like this that it's hard to select just one. But I think I can manage. Let's keep it internet related - shall we? It's the American way really; trying to find a better way to do something. From the automotive industry, to building houses, to making money, to putting the filling in a Twinkie - Americans always want to find a better way. It's that kind of spirit that has led this nation of ours into the technological future we are enjoying.

But how can this help you? Well, that's easy. The Internet is a better way to do a lot of things. It's a better way to keep in touch with friends and family. It's a better way to meet people. It's a better way to get the news. When I was a kid in school we had to use the library to find information about things. It would take hours to come up with enough information to write a paper or finish homework. With the internet, you can do things like that in a fraction of the time. Even with dialup. It's a better way to find information.

I recently bought a Jeep Cherokee. I bought it knowing it had some issues, like overheating, leaks, things like that. With over 300,000 miles what do you really expect? With the internet at my disposal, I was able to find the information I needed to repair the Jeep in a few hours though. So you see, the Internet is a better way to find information. Doesn't matter what you want to learn, with the Internet it's easy. Well, easier anyway...

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by Rochelle Helms

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 Let's talk :

Some people believe the government should censor the internet to make it safer for children. Some people think it should be up to the parent to censor the internet for their children. I found a site that even made a Declaration of Internet Independence

If you are looking to safe guard the internet for your kids, did you know BMI has a program available? Take a tour of kidsnet. It's just $3 a month, $7 per quarter or $24 a year! That is a low cost for peace of mind solution.

Imagine if everyone (EVERYONE) in town would get a phone call with information regarding a missing child (in your area) and details known at the time. As a parent I think it's a brilliant idea. There is somewhere in the U.S. that thinks it's brilliant too: Skaneateles NY has new way to find missing children.

There is a better way, in some opinions, to talk to children. I found the article in pdf format which is more appealing to the eye but I realize some of you may not have Adobe reader. Luckily, I found another link that doesn't require additional software here: Positive Ways to Talk to Children  Need more information? Try this site. PBS 

Finally, I had to include a St Patricks Day fun page! From games and crafts to recipes. A great way to celebrate with the kids.

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St Patricks Day
by Tyler Brown

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My first thoughts of March are usually pretty dull, until the Irish instincts kick in and I remember the 17th is Saint Patricks Day!   Do you have your green clothing picked out yet?

March also has the First Day of Spring, I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see some sun!

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DSL For You
by KJ Newby

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Hi folks! Did you know that BMI offers high speed DSL in your area? Well we do and you may be able to upgrade your existing dialup connection and get into a smooth running DSL connection for a few dollars more than what you are currently paying.

Just think, fast loading web pages, downloads, music, movies or whatever you want to do. DSL does not tie up your phone line so you can be on the phone and online at the same time.

Give us a call today and start using DSL!  800-485-5006

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by Ruben Bybee

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Congratulations Marcia R. of Wallowa, OR for winning the drawing for the February 2009 Wordfind! Marcia received a $25.00 credit on her BMI account!

Please visit our March 2009 wordfind.

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Bike to Work
by Rebecca Sheridan

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How many of you have made cut backs on the amount of time you spend on the road in your vehicle? Many factors contribute to the fact that people are not spending as much time on the road these days.

My main focus for this topic will be going green and saving money, while still enjoying the travel you did before. Below you will find links to better ways to travel that can save both time and resources.

You will find that taking the bus, train, or riding your bike can be much more convenient than most of us would have thought.

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BMI Is A Better Way
by Mike Rochelle

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There is always a better way to do anything. Unless you have perfected it, you should always be open minded for a better way.

BMI is always looking at better and more productive options for our customers. We believe there are options for internet service. From Dialup with a snappy Turbo option all the way to mobile broadband which you can take just about anywhere.

We have you covered for just about anything you need. Ever think about a faster connection? In rural areas we have Satellite Internet and a mobile wireless that connects on cell phone towers. And in our home area, we even have a fixed Wireless that will take your internet pleasure to the next level.

With the economy the way it is these days, we are doing a lot more at home and the Internet is your best way to make the most of getting a great deal for a little bit of money.

Call us and let's talk internet.

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by Victor Luna

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A three year old walked over to a pregnant lady while waiting with his mother in the doctor's office.
He inquisitively asked the lady, "Why is your stomach so big?"
She replied, "I'm having a baby."
With big eyes, he asked, "Is the baby in your stomach?"
She said, "He sure is."
Then the little boy, with a puzzled look, asked, "Is it a good baby?"
She said, "Oh, yes. It's a real good baby."
With an even more surprised look, he asked "Then why did you eat him?"

Sue reports for jury duty as ordered, and promptly asks to be excused because she believes she's prejudice.
"I took one look at those shifty eyes and that cheap polyester suit and I immediately knew that he was guilty as sin."
"Sit down," says the judge. "That's the prosecuting attorney."

Did you hear about the blind man that went bunjee jumping?
"It scared the hell out of the dog."

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by BMI Staff

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Congratulations to Jodie S. of Anaconda, MT for winning the drawing for the February 2009 Picturefind! Jodie received a $25.00 credit on her BMI account!

Please visit our March 2009 picturefind.

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Arts and Crafts
by Gena Bybee

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A Better Way to buy, sell and trade handmade arts and craft items from artisan shops around the world on the net:  WinkElf - a people's handmade marketplace, made by someone like you.

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The On Ramp is a monthly publication of Blue Mountain Internet.

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