Bed & Breakfasts With Breakfasts Straight From Heaven

Well, some of you Bed & Breakfast innkeepers missed a golden opportunity. I went to websites of inns best known for their food, but no entrees were even mentioned. How can it be that an award-winning inn for their breakfast does not describe any breakfast? So I went to websites that proudly described their dishes. Here are a few of them.

The Buttonwood Inn is in a small New Hampshire town called North Conway, but nothing about their breakfast is small. They may begin with some Pumpkin-Walnut bread or Apricot-Orange scones, Maple Cinnamon rolls, Blueberry-Walnut Crumb Coffee Cake, or Warm Fruit Crisp with granola, accompanied by cool, fresh fruit topped with raspberry sauce. That would be enough breakfast for me, but the chef is just getting warmed up. Next comes a savory dish like Mushroom-Sausage and Cheddar Cheese Strata, Scrambled Eggs with Goat Cheese and Chives and a side of roasted Red Bliss Rosemary potatoes. Then comes the sweet entrée: Baked French Toast Casserole with Pecan and Wild Maine Blueberry topping. Or Light Yeasted Belgian waffles under fresh blueberry sauce. Hail to Buttonwood.

Mission Oak Inn of Henry, Illinois offers some wonderful breakfast dishes like French Banana Crepes and fabulous Blueberry Pancakes, but it was their dinners that snapped me to attention. How about a Pizza of roasted chicken, onion, and cheese atop a dreamy creamy sun-dried tomato sauce? Or tender meat medallions served in a cream, brandy, maple and mustard reduction? Or grilled salmon on fresh greens with original sauce and topped by bacon, green onions, parmesan cheese, and walnuts? Or pork tenderloin marinated in apple cider, grilled, then smothered with homemade apple / peach chutney?

Then I happened to catch Jane of the Hawk Valley Retreat on the phone. When I asked about her most popular dishes, her voice became secretive and sultry and she led me lovingly down the list: German Baked Apple Pancakes, Baked Peach French Toast, pancakes with a brown sugar / strawberry compote, Green Onion and Spinach Cheese Quiche with hash brown crust, and Eggs Benedict with her own secret Hollandaise sauce recipe. The names of her entrees did not bowl me over. But as she described every detail, every ingredient and spice, I knew cooking is not just fun for her, it is a luscious adventure. There's a difference. Jane is a master of simple baking.

Like many of these top inns, the chefs at the Bloomsbury Inn use only fresh local farm products. I never expected a South Carolina inn to be full of such scientifically talented people. But they've experimented with hundreds of dishes, and the creativity of their top picks boggles the imagination: hot apple soup, poached pears and baked peaches with toasted peanut butter rolls, creamed eggs in a puff pastry, baked cinnamon-raisin French toast, toasted bacon-pecan bread, homemade biscuits with chocolate gravy, peppered praline bacon, and their own version of Eggs Benedict: a delicious crème sauce over croissant, wilted spinach, peppered ham, avocado, and poached egg. Exquisite.

Sue of the Harbor Ridge Inn in Osage was not about to be outdone. She emailed me with her choices, and I appreciated the personal attention. Sue serves fruitinis in martini glasses with a white chocolate mousse base on which she slices banana. Then she pours in Chambord-soaked strawberries with a dollop of whipping cream and a mint leaf for garnish. She does the Bloomsbury Inn one better by nesting her Cinnamon-Raisin French toast atop a whipping cream custard base accommodated by sausage loaf and delicate poached pears in red wine and orange juice. Another popular French toast starts with fresh grilled pineapple slices, country ham, sliced ​​cheese. Add sourdough bread soaked in French toast batter, grilled and served with a strawberry-jalapeno pepper jam. She also makes egg casserole to order with choices of fresh stuff like roasted red peppers, leeks, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, spinach, diced ham, cheeses and fresh basil and dill. I was impressed. Nice email.

The Judge Porter House in Natchitoches (where?), Louisiana it not to be missed. The first course at the judge's might be peach or apple dumplings, bread pudding with warm maple sauce, Peach Crisp baked with a coconut-pecan topping, Apple Brown Betty topped with vanilla yogurt, pecans, and cinnamon, or Berry Puff Pastry stuffed with fresh berries, drizzled with raspberry sauce, and topped with whipped cream. The second course may include delicious pancakes, waffles or French toast, but I featured those things in other reviews so let me emphasize the egg dishes. One baked egg dish features eggs with savory mushrooms and crème Francais cradled in Black Forest ham crisps. Another favorite is Southwestern egg mixture baked in individual ramekins and topped with hearty salsa. Then there's the Queen Anne Quiche, but the chef was very hush-hush about it. Guess you'll have to visit the judge's to check it out.

The two most attractive things Bed & Breakfasts offer are cozy, top rate lodging and terrific breakfasts. Check out these terrific inns for the best breakfast ever.

The Day a "Tidal Wave" Hit Chicago

“Giant tidal wave hits local town lake.” April Fool’s joke? Probably. “Giant Tidal Wave Hits Chicago.” Joke, right? No. This was the headline of the afternoon edition of the Chicago Daily News on June 26, 1954.

I left the house in my beat-up Chevy at around 9:00 a.m. on a warm Saturday morning in June 1954 and drove uptown to Lake Michigan’s Montrose Beach and harbor to meet my father and some friends at the Wilson Rocks Bait Shop where he hung out with his fellow fishermen. We were going to do some Perch fishing……which is a chewy white meat fish that is a taste of Heaven when deep fried and served with, lemon, tartar sauce and accordion fries. Getting ready for my final year in high school, I had been working a hard construction job and was in need of some sun and relaxation. Perch were the answer this Saturday morning, but I would soon find something quite different……something that I would never forget.

As I pulled into the parking area, I noticed it was full of water despite it being a bright sunny day. The Lake was unusually choppy. I also noticed people running toward the pier. There was a sense of something very serious and very bad going on and immediately and instinctively I headed for the bait shop to connect with my father. He saw me coming and said “let’s go to the pier, they need help down there,” and we took off at full speed along with many others. A Seiche (pronounced saysh) had struck Montrose Harbor without warning on this June morning. It was 8 feet high and 25 miles wide and hit Chicago’s entire lakefront……from Michigan City, Indiana to the North Shore. Eight people were killed, most of whom were fishing right there in Montrose Harbor where about 15 or 20 fishermen were swept off the narrow, 175-foot concrete pier. And we knew many of them.

When we arrived, bathers and fishermen were running for cover. Men, women and children scurried and fell. Yachts bobbed widely in the water. The wave at some points had rushed 150 feet inshore before subsiding in a few minutes which explained why I saw so much water as I pulled into the parking lot. There were rescues, panic, despair, and narrow escapes. Unfortunately, we were too late to be of any real help and then stood by helplessly as the the rescue teams began the grim job of pulling each body from the lake. Apparently, fishermen who had been lying on their stomachs, idly guiding lines in the water, were simply swept off the pier as the water swelled up and washed over them. Fishermen on the North Avenue pier, several miles to the South, were also swept into the lake, and the same grim work was being done there. Among those hurled into the water was Ted Stempinski, who had been fishing with his son Ralph, 16. Ralph left the scene for a moment shortly before the wave struck. When he returned his father was gone. The same thing happened with John Jaworski who also was fishing with his son. Those tragic facts hardly went unnoticed and stayed with me for a long time after.

News of the oncoming wave was spread quickly by park police who cleared fishermen from a pier at 61th St. In Jackson Park minutes before the water submerged that area. At Loyola Beach just North the waves broke over a 9-foot seawall. All the docks at the Belmont Harbor yacht basin were flooded when the wave raised the water level there about 6 feet.

Prior to June 26, nobody had ever heard of the word “Seiche.” After June 26, most of us were experts on the phenomena.
Specifically, “A Seiche has to occur in an enclosed body of water such as a lake, bay or gulf. A Seiche, a French word meaning “to sway back and forth”, is a standing wave that oscillates in a lake as a result of seismic or atmospheric disturbances creating huge fluctuations of water levels in just moments. The standing waves slosh back and forth between shores of the lake basin, often referred as tide-like changes of the Great Lakes, by many. Most seiches on the Great Lakes are results of atmospheric disturbances and a cease in wind, not seismic activity or huge tidal forces” ( Heidorn 2004; Wittman 2005).

This particular Seiche, which was the most dangerous of the three kinds, was fueled by a severe squall line with high winds and rapid changes in atmospheric pressure that pushed down on the lake’s surface and crossed southern Lake Michigan a few hours earlier, passing from northwest to southeast. It’s as if you dropped a stone in the middle of a bucket of water and watched the ripples move from the center. The atmospheric pressure caused be the squall was the stone and the ripples were the Seiche. Like water sloshing back and forth in a bath tub, fast-moving squall lines with intense atmospheric pressure caused the lake to slosh back and forth and water levels to rise on the shoreline and harbors by up to 10 feet in a matter of minutes and with no warning.

Unlike a tsunami, which can travel across the open ocean at extremely high speeds, a Seiche moves much more slowly. It took 80 minutes for the Seiche to travel 40 miles from Michigan City to the Chicago lakeshore at North Avenue. That’s about 30 mph. The Seiche Struck the entire Illinois coast with a wave about 2 to 4 feet high, but it reached a maximum height of 10 feet as it approached the North Avenue pier.

As an eye witness to the immediate aftermath, I was taken aback by the way in which the Chicago papers over-dramatized the tragedy. The Chicago Daily News, now defunct, ran headlines that read in two inch black lettering: “BIG TIDAL WAVE HERE! Many Swept Into Lake; Fear 10 Killed. Mother of 11 Among Victims. 3 Divers, Boats Hunt Others. Three persons were drowned and several more were feared lost Saturday when a 25-mile-wide tidal wave smashed the Lake Michigan shore here. The freak wave, estimated from 3 to 10 feet high, struck at about 9 a.m. From Jackson Park north to Wilmette. An undetermined number of persons were swept into the lake. Estimates of the death toll ran as high as 10…….” There had been no “big tidal wave;” there had been a freak and deadly Seiche. Since then, there have been numerous scares and reports of smaller seiches, but none that caused similar damage or deaths.

Interestingly, however,one of the greatest disasters in the city of Buffalo, NY’s recorded history occurred at 11 p.m. October 18, 1844 when a wall of water quickly inundated the commercial and residential districts along the waterfront. The disaster occurred without warning, breaching the 14-foot seawall and flooding the waterfront. Newspaper accounts indicate that 78 people drowned. This tragedy was also caused by a Seiche, as prolonged strong winds produced a Seiche by pushing the water toward one end of Lake Erie. When the winds stopped, or shifted to the opposite direction, the water moved back in the direction from which it came and the Seichedid the rest. It is estimated that Buffalo has two or three seiches a year, but the threat has been largely eliminated by building a breakwater in Lake Erie, a project that started in the 1860s.

Unlike devastating Tsunamis caused by underwater earthquakes, seiches have never caused much damage in the Great Lakes, and most go unnoticed since they are relatively subtle and imperceptible, causing water levels on beaches to rise just a foot or less.

But this one was very perceptible and occurred on a calm and warm Saturday morning in Chicago. What started as a day of peaceful fishing turned out to be an experience that has remained indelibly in my mind and, I believe, worthy of a sharing. One thing is for certain, we will never experience a Seiche here……….at least I don’t think so.

“It didn’t come in like a wall…..the water just started to rise and kept going until it was maybe 6 feet higher than usual.” Dick Keating, Belmont Harbor Foreman and eyewitness.

All You Need to Know About Cool Boxes

A cool box is an insulted box that keeps foodstuff and drinks cold. They achieve this by use of ice cubes, ice packs which have a gel that enables them keep from melting too quickly. Blocks of ice can also be used in a cooler and these are quite efficient for longer periods as they can be used for close to a week without melting. The first portable cooler box was invented by Richard Laramy of Joliet Illinois. Later on the ice box was made popular by the Coleman Company which introduced the galvanized ice cooler in 1954.

Modern ice boxes are made of plastic which is easier to clean and lighter in weight. They are also made of material that is UV ray resistant so that they are more durable for outdoor use. Coolers can be used in a variety of activities. These include picnics, vacations, camping, hunting and fishing trips. Coolers keep their contents fresh and chilled. They are not just for outdoor use and can also be used indoors. They can be used in an RV as a substitute for a portable fridge and also at home.

For better efficiency and easier cleaning, it’s best to have two separate coolers, one for food and the other for drinks. This will make it easier to clean them and maintain them. The inner part of the ice box is plastic and it should be cleaned after use so that it doesn’t stain or begin to produce odors. These are also disposable coolers made of styrene foam. Coolers nowadays come with handles instead of straps for easier transportation. Drain holes with stoppers to close off the opening are an essential part of the modern cooler box. Good quality ice boxes are known for these characteristics well as having self-supporting hinges. The better brand coolers also come in a variety of sizes and cool designs to fit different uses.

There are also modern thermoelectric coolers that use electricity to keep their contents cold. By reversing the current, you can use them to keep hot items hot. This can be a useful cool box to own since they can be plugged into the car lighter port and used in the car. They are great for keeping chilled drinks and food on a cold day as well as keeping hot stuff on a cold day. If you are travelling to a place without a refrigerator, a cooler box can come in handy. It is one of the most practical items to own at home.

You can purchase an ice box easily at a store as well as online from retail stores or if you are lucky, directly from the manufacturer. Online shopping allows you to easily compare and contact different brands sellers. Most online sellers do offer delivery of their coolers via post or home delivery. One drawback from buying on-line is not being able to inspect the product before you buy. Many on-line sellers overcome this problem by offering money back guarantees within a certain amount of time, usually 30 days. Having an ice box is a great option and you will find it very useful.

Best Day Trips From Rome, Italy

When visiting Rome, Italy, travelers should follow the example of emperors and popes and see some of the surrounding countryside. Fuori parta (beyond the gate), as Ancient Romans noted, lie great treasures. The area surrounding Rome, the region of Lazio, is one of the most beautiful areas of Italy in its own right, and those who travel beyond Rome’s city gates will surely be in for a special treat.

Ostia Antica

To the east of Rome (about a half hour by train) lies Ostia Antica, a site that is considered to be “the Pompeii of Rome.” Once the ancient site of Rome’s port, this area lost its importance when the course of the Tiber River changed, leaving it (some 2,000 years later) a sandy, muddy wasteland.

Founded in the 4th century BC, today it is little more than a site for excavated ruins. Travelers exploring Ostia Antica, however, can gain a better understanding of what life was like in ancient times by exploring the excavations and accompanying museum.

Among the items worth exploring at the site are the mosaic floors with Neptune and the sea goddess Amphitrite at the Terme di Nattuna (Baths of Neptune), the theater built by Agrippa (original creator of the Pantheon in Rome), and the Mithraeum, in which the balconies and walls of this building are decorated with symbols from the Cult of Mithras religion. Close to the ruins of Ostia Antica is the Medieval city of Castello della Rovere, which began in 1483.

Tivoli

Another spot worth journeying to on a day trip from Rome is Tivoli. In ancient times, Tivoli was the place where emperors went to escape the heat and misery of Roman life in the summer. Large palaces and villas were created, but by the Middle Ages, this area had largely been abandoned. It was rediscovered by the elite of the Catholic Church, those cardinals and popes with abundant wealth, who revived the area by building anew.

Today, Tivoli is a beautiful and vibrant area with stunning views and cascading waterfalls. Two jewels remain from ancient times, the Temple of Vesta and the ruins of the Sanctuary of the Sibyl. Most travelers who make the journey from Rome (via bus or train), however, come to see the Villa Adriana (Hadrian’s Villa) or the Villa d’Este’s fabled gardens.

Villa Adriana/Hadrian’s Villa

One of the most accomplished of the Ancient Roman emperors, Hadrian rose to power in 1178 AD, and began a construction boom in Rome (and elsewhere) that was unrivaled. His villa at Tivoli was a masterpiece created by local artisans, which incorporated ideas from Hadrian’s world travels. He much admired Hellenistic (Greek) culture. His vast estate in Tivoli was a conglomerate of baths, theaters, libraries, temples, open-air gymnasiums, and guest pavilions. The most famous element at the Villa Adriana is the Canopus, an artificial pool created to emulate a canal on the Nile. Those exploring the villa would do well, when visiting, to rent the audio tour (along with it, you will receive a complimentary map to help guide your tour of the area).

Villa d’Este

At Tivoli’s center lies the Villa d’Este, built by a cardinal in the 16th century. While the villa itself isn’t much to see today, the main reason for visiting this special spot are its gardens. To create these beautiful water gardens, the Aniene River was diverted, and the result is breathtaking. The gardens of the Villa d’Este are a masterpiece, with sun and shade, water and stone all working together to create a truly unforgettable experience. Perhaps the most romantic time to visit the gardens is on a summer evening, when the floodlit fountains work their magic.

Castelli Romani

Contrary to what their name might imply, the castelli are not castles, but rather charming towns and villages scattered throughout the Alban Hills, which (of course) aren’t really “hills,” but instead remnants of extinct volcanic activity.

These picturesque towns today are surrounded by olive groves, woods full of chestnut trees, and lovely vineyards, with accompanying wine cellars. Among those towns worth exploring are Frescati, with its Villa Aldonbrandini; Castelgandolfo, where the Pope summers (Villa Pontifica); Ariccia, with the beautiful Palazzo Chigi; and Nemi, the smallest but most beautiful of them all.

Whether one travels amongst the hill towns of the Castelli Romani or takes in the stunning villas of Tivoli or takes a step back in time at Ostia Antica, it’s clear that little more than an hour outside Rome (and often less), there is a beautiful Italian countryside worth exploring. Rome is a hard city to leave, but a day trip outside the city is well worth the time away.

Best Brunch Spots From Around the Globe

Whether you’re craving smoked salmon, French toast or poached eggs… whether you’re in the mood for breakfast or lunch… whether it’s a weekly family occasion or a special get-together with friends, there’s no better treat than Sunday brunch. So, go ahead and sleep late on Sunday morning, then when you finally wake up, find a good place for your brunch. We have a few suggestions.

Usually eaten sometime between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., this American tradition has become quite popular for just about everyone… so whether it’s in your home town or someone else’s – grab the Sunday paper, line up with the locals and take in the sights as you wait with your Mimosa in-hand (many of the best places don’t take reservations!)

These are chosen picks of where breakfast meets lunch perfectly in the our choices for the Best Brunch spots. This is just the beginning of the list.

Season’s Restaurant (Chicago, Illinois) – Located in the Four Seasons Hotel, Season’s Restaurant is an exceptional choice for brunch when in the Windy City. Combining France and North American influences, the restaurant boasts a cozy dining area with views of Chicago’s sweeping cityscape and a menu of specialty items that range from Cheese Blintz’s and freshly prepared house donuts to Peking duck and Atlantic Salmon.

Clinton St. Baking Co. & Restaurant (New York, NY) – With only 32 seats in the place – you’d better run, not walk to Clinton St. Baking Co. & Restaurant. Known for the best pancakes in town (they’re even available on the dinner menu!) This Lower East Side joint is a restaurant and bakery all rolled into one. And with other specialties like buttermilk biscuits and French Toast, just remember – you definitely can’t count calories in this place. Oh, and don’t forget to try the Hot Buttered Cider – a definite hit.

Café Luxembourg (Amsterdam, Netherlands) – Tagged by many as the “one of the world’s great cafes” – Luxembourg is world-class hotspot that draws an international crowd. Offering an extensive range of brunch options that include, breakfast choices, sandwiches and soups – the place also serves one mean cup of coffee! Which is exactly what you’ll need after a long night of sightseeing and partying.

Absinth Brasserie & Bar (San Francisco, CA) – Serving everything from caviar and oysters to soups and salads, Absinthe is the choice when in San Fran. An upscale choice, the place serves amazing French Bistro fare and well-known creative cocktails. Psst… Go for the Banana-Blueberry Souffle Pancakes.

Vingt-Quatre (London, UK) – No matter what time of the day you find yourself hungry, this is the place to go. A leading 24-hour restaurant in London, Vingt-Quatre serves a great brunch – with crowd-pleasing options like potato pancakes, steak and frites, and naturally, a host of different omelets. Just make sure you’re not watching your waistline at this place – Vingt-Quatre serves some of the best desserts, including: muffins, banana pie and apple turnovers.

For many more exciting brunch spots, cruise on over to the journeyPod article and find a brunch near you!

Visit Peoria, Arizona

Peoria has the singular distinction of being the largest city in the Northwest Valley. This is no ordinary accomplishment, as the Northwest Valley is a very expansive area to begin with! The developed areas that are nearby include the city of Glendale to the south. Both El Mirage and Surprise are slightly to the north and west.

Due north is barren desert that awaits the arrival of some imaginative developer who can wrestle living space fit for humans from this almost lunar landscape. But you don’t have to be any kind of rocket-man to enjoy the happy living in Peoria- one of the most All-American cities you’ll be able to find in this rapidly changing state.

Peoria Northern Avenue to the south; Lake Pleasant to the west and 67th and 75thAvenues along the shifting eastern grounds. This oddly shaped city of over 115 square miles continues to grow at unpredictable times and in unexpected manners making living in Peoria an exciting thing to do.

Great access to the entire Valley of the Sun has made the city of Peoria a perfect choice for the majority of residents. The Loop gets you to Interstate 17 to the north and Interstate 10 in the south so that you can get into and out of Peoria when you have to. Close proximity to the freeway allows drivers choices of routes to various parts of the metropolitan Phoenix area and beyond.

Climate

The climate is typical of the southwest. There is a mild winter that is balanced by a long hot, dry summer. Many have claimed that the dry, hot summer conditions have helped to relive many of their allergy symptoms.

Summer days are clear and spectacular and the temperatures are truly remarkable. Spring and autumn are mild transitions into the other seasons. There is a brief monsoon season that is truly extraordinary.

Peoria History

So how do you think this all happened? The one thing that everybody has always believed is that something was going to happen in Peoria- and id finally has.

It all began in the 1880’s, when William J. Murphy quit his journey west and decided to settle in right here in Peoria with a vision. Murphy was hard-pressed for sustenance- he was desperate and realized that his only hope for life was in the development of agriculture through irrigation. In his race against time and the cruel climate Murphy sought to use into a livable situation. Then he got the idea to try to profit off his experience and sent glowing reports to the east about how happy he was in the middle of the desert. Nobody know anything, as there were neither pictures or phone- so he convinced some people to make this long, treacherous trip just to settle out here.

The first eastern families to arrive were from Peoria, Illinois. TO reward them for their uncommon bravery Murphy made them happy by naming the place after that town. In that way they were not homesick and were more inclined to stay put. From that moment on, the area has turned a profit.

In 1889 the post office and a small and barely adequate one classroom school were established. Peoria remained an agricultural community up until 1954, when it was incorporated.

My how things have changed! Today Peoria is a city swelling at the seams with appears to be limitless numbers of highly educated and diverse individuals who are all ready to work together in this alabaster community thereby virtually assuring Peoria’s future.

Once the city of Peoria was a rural agricultural small town, but today it is a growing suburban community. It is a dynamic desert city. So come and be a part of this sensation. The feeling is infectious! Get into it and let it get into you

Outdoor Recreation

Peoria’s claim to fame is that it is the “Gateway to Lake Pleasant.” Lake Pleasant Regional Park is known as one of the finest water recreation areas in Arizona. The lake is the second largest lake in the state. It was built to store water from the Agua Fria River and the Central Arizona Project. Most of the lake is encompassed by untouched desert land. This oasis in the Arizona desert is a sight to see. Just think about it, in a place that is in the middle of a desert to be on the way to water is really noteworthy. Take the route so you can find out. Lake Pleasant offers a full service marina in Pleasant Harbor.

Peoria residents flock like seagulls to Lake Pleasant year round for boating, sailing, swimming, and more water fun. There is also hiking trails, camping, and picnicking. Lake Pleasant Regional Park is one of the many perks to living in the city of Peoria.

Peoria Entertainment

Downtown Peoria has revealed a new face so that everybody can know. The area has been restored, renovated and renewed. “Out with the old and in with the new” is the unofficial motto of this place that provides those coming here from other places their very own piece of the pie.

A new city hall, public library, and public safety complex have energized the area. Pioneer Days and Fall Fest are two of the community’s activities that are hosted in downtown Peoria. The community is working hard to continue its small town feeling while expanding its entertainment calendar to include the ever increasing number of strange and diverse events.

The conveniently located Peoria Sports Complex is home of the baseball spring training games for the San Diego Padres and the Seattle Mariners. There are 10,000 seats and 12 lighted practice fields. The complex also has concerts, festivals, car shows, an Annual Fourth of July Extravaganza, and other events which create a friendly hometown feeling that Peoria residents enjoy every day.

What Is The Franchise UFOC’s Role?

Learn more about the UFOC before buying a franchise. Franchising is a contract system between two parties-the franchisor and the franchisee. As with any contractual agreement, there are legal documents and agreements that must be followed by both parties. The first of these documents is called a UFOC, or Uniform Franchise Offering Circular. Essentially this document is a disclosure of specific types of information that the franchisor must present before any agreements are signed.

The FTC set out the first franchise rules requiring minimum disclosure in 1979, originally known as an offering circular. Since that time the format and content have continued to evolve, providing a stronger and more uniform means of disclosing information about the company from whom you may be proposing to purchase a franchise. There are two entities responsible for the evolution of the UFOC: the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), and the NASSA (North American Securities Administrators Association). The most commonly used form for the UFOC comes from NASSA and is accepted by the FTC.

There are 15 states that, in addition to requiring a franchise to have a UFOC before selling franchises, also require that the document be registered with the state. These states are known as registration states.

These states include:

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin.

The important thing to realize about the UFOC is that while the document must contain certain required information, such as franchise fees and additional start-up costs, there is no auditing required of this agreement. In other words, the agreement has to be there but is not guaranteed by any third party to be accurate. Additionally, states that are not registered states do not require that a copy of the UFOC be sent to any regulatory agency.

A UFOC is designed to give you the information you need to make an informed decision about whether or not you would like to go into business with the franchise. As such, you can be reasonably sure that the information presented in such an agreement will be accurate. If a franchise blatantly misrepresents the opportunity, there is recourse through the courts. This is not to say that franchises make a practice of misrepresenting what they are offering, but rather a reminder of the age-old adage, “buyer beware”. If you know what you are looking at you are much more likely to make a solid decision.

So what good does a UFOC actually do?

A UFOC provides many kinds of information, including information on the company officers and current franchisees as well as financial disclosures. The information provided in this document should give you a good overall picture of what the company is offering and with whom you would be working, but it also gives you resources to check out yourself. There are 23 areas, or items, within a UFOC. One of these items is contact information for current franchises. The importance of a UFOC is that it provides you with all of the information you need to review the franchise itself-but it is by no means end of researching a franchise opportunity.

What the UFOC contains

The UFOC includes information on the franchisor, the key company employees and how much experience in franchise management they bring to the company, as well as bankruptcy and litigation history. You want to know what kind of expertise you are buying into.

In addition, it includes all the information on the investment required for this franchise. This includes initial franchise fees, required equipment fees, start-up estimates, and any required purchases you’ll need to make to get started. Suppliers with whom you are required to do business must be disclosed, as well as how much you are expected to contribute to things like the annual advertising budget and how much it should cost to set up your initial inventory.

The UFOC must also contain the legal agreement for trademarks, which products or services may be offered, and any reporting required from the franchisee. The obligations of the both the franchisor and the franchisee will be disclosed, and the rules governing the transfer, termination, and renewal of the franchise agreement are included.

An earnings claim (what you should be able to earn) may or may not be included and is not a required item of the UFOC. If it is included, make sure that the company can verify their claims.

There are other agreements that must be decided between franchisor and franchisee. While some of these agreements may be laid out in the UFOC, others could change depending on the requirements of the individual franchise agreement. Things like protected territory are often decided on an individual basis. In these cases, any other agreements that will be required must be attached to the UFOC, including the individual franchise agreement in its generic form.

Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act

The Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (“UAGPPJA”) contains dramatic changes to the practice of law in the guardianship arena. The UAGPPJA, enrolled as Public Act 096-0177, addresses issues affecting multiple jurisdiction (state) transfer and out of state guardianship recognition.

The applicability of this new provision of the Probate Act is designed to eliminate multi-state jurisdictional issues in “Granny snatching” cases. Typically, the fact pattern arises when an Illinois older adult resident visits a child in another state (Washington) for vacation, or a child comes to Illinois and kidnaps Mom and takes her to the home (Washington) of the visiting children in a state other than Illinois. Frequently, the misconduct is designed to financially exploit the parent and deprive the court of jurisdiction in the parent’s home state – Illinois. Further such conduct is intended to take the parent out of the reach of an Illinois guardianship. If the receiving state has adopted the UAGPPJA, counsel can rely upon the new Illinois statutes.

Alternatively, the new form is anticipated to denote whether or not Illinois has special jurisdiction (which means not home state and not significant-connection jurisdiction) defined in Section 204 of the UAGPPJA as follows:

(a) A court of this state lacking jurisdiction under section 203(1) through (3) has special jurisdiction to do any of the following:

(1) appoint a guardian in an emergency for a term not exceeding 90 days for a respondent who is physically present in this state;

(2) issue a protective order with respect to real of tangible personal property located in this state;

(3) appoint a guardian or conservator for an incapacitated or protected person for whom a provisional order to transfer the proceeding from another state has been issued under procedures similar to Section 301.

(b) If a petition for the appointment of a guardian in an emergency is brought in this state and this state was not the respondent’s home state on the date the petition was filed, the court shall dismiss the proceeding at the request of the court of the home state, if any, whether dismissal is requested before or after the emergency appointment. (See Article 2, Section 204(a) and (b).

The new relevant terms expected to be incorporated in revised Cook County Probate forms are as follows:

1) “Home state” means the state in which the respondent was physically present, including any period of temporary absence, for at least six consecutive months immediately before the filing of a petition for a protective order or the appointment of a guardian; or if none, the state in which the respondent was physically present, including any period of temporary absence, for a least six consecutive months ending within the six months prior to the filing of the petition. (See Article 2, Section 201(a)(2);

2) “Significant-connection state” means a state, other than the home state, with which a respondent has a significant connection other than mere physical presence and in which substantial evidence concerning the respondent is available.

(See Article 2, Section 201(a)(3); and

3) “Emergency” means a circumstance that likely will result in substantial harm to a respondent’s health, safety, or welfare, and for which the appointment of a guardian is necessary because no other person has authority and is willing to act on the respondent’s behalf. (See Article 2, Section 201(a)(1).

The Cook County Probate Judiciary in conjunction with the Chicago Bar Association Rules and Forms Committee is drafting a new petition for the appointment of guardian for disabled person, Form CCP 0200A. The new form is anticipated to specifically ask if Illinois is the home state and if not, what state is the home state.

The new statute states:

In determining… whether a respondent has a significant connection with a particular state, the court shall consider:

(1) the location of the respondent’s family and other persons required to be notified of the guardianship or protective proceeding;

(2) the length of time the respondent at any time was physically present in the state and the duration of any absence;

(3) the location of the respondent’s property; and

(4) the extent to which the respondent has ties to the state such as voting registration, state or local tax return filing, vehicle registration, driver’s license, social relationship, and receipt of services. ” (See Article 2, Section 201(b)(1-4)

As a clear benefit to probate practitioners, the UAGPPJA also includes new provisions for taking testimony in another state, section 106(a-c).

These important changes are denoted as follows:

a) In a guardianship or protective proceeding, in addition to other procedures that may be available, testimony of a witness who is located in another state may be offered by deposition or other means allowable in this state for testimony taken in another state. The court on its own motion may order that the testimony of a witness be taken in another state and may prescribe the manner in which and the terms upon which the testimony is to be taken.

b) In a guardianship or protective proceeding, a court in this state may permit a witness located in another state to be deposed or to testify by telephone or audiovisual or other electronic means. A court of this state shall cooperate with the court of the other state in designating an appropriate location for the deposition or testimony.

c) Documentary evidence transmitted from another state to a court of this state by technological means that do not produce an original writing may not be excluded from evidence on an objective based on the best evidence rule.” (See Section 106(a-c)

This will eliminate the necessity of forcing counsel to retain local counsel in another state and issue subpoenas to take the depositions of out-or-state witnesses.

We live in a highly mobile society in which older adults travel with ease from state to state, maybe snowbirds who often own real estate in multiple jurisdictions. Where is the proper venue for guardianship when an Illinois resident who owns a condo on Lake Shore Drive with children living in Illinois suffers a stroke while staying at a condo in Florida for the winter? The Illinois resident requires invasive medical treatment in Florida and has not executed an advanced directive. This is only one example of multi-state disputes that the UAGPPJA may resolve.

In addition the new statute includes Section 105, Cooperation between courts, which for the first time formalizes the working relationship between the judiciary in multiple states and denotes the action which may be requested by an Illinois judge of the judiciary in another state. This provision should allow direct judicial communication and hopefully remove the obstacles to a prompt and friendly reception by the other state’s judiciary. These important provisions are denoted below as Section 105:

(a) In a guardianship or protective proceeding in this state, a court of this state may request the appropriate court of another state to do any of the following:

(1) hold an evidentiary hearing;

(2) order a person in that state to produce evidence or give testimony pursuant to procedures of that state;

(3) order than an evaluation or assessment be made of the respondent;

(4) order any appropriate investigation of a person involved in a proceeding;

(5) forward to the court of this state a certified copy of the transcript or other record of a hearing under paragraph (1) or any other proceeding, any evidence otherwise produced under paragraph (2), and any evaluation or assessment prepared in compliance with an order under paragraph (3) or (4);

(6) issue any order necessary to assure the appearance in the proceeding of a person whose presence is necessary for the court to make a determination, including the respondent or the incapacitated or protected person;

(7) issue an order authorizing the release of medical, financial, criminal, or other relevant information in that state, including protected health information as defined in 45 C.F.R. Section 164.504. (See Article 1, Section 105(a).

The provision denoted as Section 105(b) vests Illinois courts with limited jurisdiction to grant the request made to the Illinois court by another state for the limited purpose of granting the request or making reasonable efforts to comply with the request.

The statutory language is as follows:

(b) If a court of another state in which a guardianship or protective proceeding is pending requests assistance of the kind provided in subsection (a), a court of this state has jurisdiction for the limited purpose of granting the request or making reasonable efforts to comply with the request.” (See Article 1, Section 105(b).

For example, perhaps the Florida court would request that the Cook County Probate Division hear the testimony of an Illinois psychiatrist in the snowbird example denoted above. If the Illinois resident stricken with an illness in Florida while visiting had been treated for a mental illness in Illinois, the older adult’s psychiatrist’s testimony would be very important. Under the new statute, the Florida court could request that the Illinois court hold an evidentiary hearing under Section 105. Perhaps a simpler method of securing the testimony would be to authorize testimony under Section 106, Taking testimony in another state. That provision which specifically authorizes deposition testimony allows out-of-state witnesses to appear by deposition. (Please note, Florida has not yet adopted the UAGPPJA.)

The UAGPPJA Section 206 entitled Appropriate forum clearly delineates the elements for analysis of determining if a state is the appropriate venue for the proposed guardianship. (See Section 206 (c) after a court declines jurisdiction in 206(a) or (b).

Section 206 states:

a) A court of this state having jurisdiction under Section 203 to appoint a guardian or issue a protective order may decline to exercise its jurisdiction if it determines at any time that a court of another state is a more appropriate forum.

b) If a court of this state declines to exercise its jurisdiction under subsection (a), it shall either dismiss or stay the proceeding. The court may impose any condition the court considers just and proper, including the condition that a petition for the appointment of a guardian or issuance of a protective order be filed promptly in another state.

c) In determining whether it is an appropriate forum, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including:

(1) any expressed preference of the respondent;

(2) whether abuse, neglect, or exploitation of the respondent has occurred or is likely to occur and which state could best protect the respondent from the abuse, neglect, or exploitation;

(3) the length of time the respondent was physically present in or was a legal resident of this or another state;

(4) the distance of the respondent from the court in each state;

(5) the financial circumstances of the respondent’s estate;

(6) the nature and location of the evidence;

(7) the ability of the court in each state to decide the issue expeditiously and the procedures necessary to present evidence;

(8) the familiarity of the court of each state with the facts and issues in the proceeding; and

(9) if an appointment were made, the court’s ability to monitor the conduct of the guardian or conservator. (See Article 2, Section 206)

The new guardianship laws should reduce and prevent elder abuse, financial exploitation and afford older adults the protection they deserve from our court system in approximately twenty states that have adopted the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act. The UAGPPJA should also assist counsel in reducing the battles over jurisdictional issues in multi-state guardianships where the act has been adopted by both states. The uniform law commissioners are continuing to seek passage of the UAGPPJA in the remaining states that have not enacted the provision.

Why You Should Pursue a Career in Commercial Truck Driving

Why should you pursue a career in commercial truck driving? That is a very good question. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will have enough valuable information to answer it yourself. So, why should anyone pursue a career in commercial truck driving? Let me start by giving you some fascinating statistics about the trucking industry.

Did you know that of all the modes of shipment in the commercial transportation industry, the trucking sector dominates the field with 83.7% of the revenue? The rail industry comes in at a distant second with only 5.6% of the total revenue. The air sector is third with 3.2%, and the oceanic freight sector is barely in the running with only 1.4% of all revenue being transported by ships. As you can see, the trucking industry isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, the trucking industry alone collects 650 billion dollars in annual revenue each year. That’s 5% of the nation’s GDP! The trucking industry also pays out 35 billion dollars in federal, state, and highway use taxes per year and will grow by 21% over the next ten years. Not many career fields can promise you such great job security without a four year college degree like the trucking industry can.

Speaking of job security, in May of 2013 there was an estimated 1.5 million heavy truck and tractor trailer drivers earning an average median salary of $38,700 a year, which calculates to roughly $18.61 an hour. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that truck drivers who were at the lower end of the pay scale still made $25,330 a year and truck drivers who were at the high end of the pay scale made $59,620 per year. How many other jobs can boast such a wide range of salaries without a four-year or two-year college degree? Not many. So, where are more truck drivers employed than anywhere else? Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Illinois. The state of Texas hired 157, 260 truckers in 2013 while Illinois employed an estimated 66,050 truck drivers. But, don’t think you will have to relocate to one of these five states in order to find a decent truck driving job. The entire east coast is full of states that have an average 40,210 to 157,260 working truck drivers. If you’re looking for the states with the highest concentration of truck driving jobs in the U.S. look no further. North Dakota boasts 15,310 trucking jobs with an average median salary of $47,580 while Arkansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Wyoming follow closely. Truck drivers in Alaska have the highest median salary at $53,440, while truckers in North Dakota, Massachusetts, District of Columbia, and Wyoming make an average $47,000 a year. If you were to look at a map of the United States showing the areas where the most truck drivers are employed, you would see that truck drivers are heavily employed from Texas all the way over to Pennsylvania and Florida, and all the way up to Michigan. Califonia and the Pacific Northwest also employ many truck drivers. Which areas have the least amount of working truck drivers? The midwestern states. That is why truck drivers in these states make more per year. Here’s one more thing to consider. U.S. intracontinental truck driving jobs cannot be outsourced.

Here are some more fascinating facts about truckers. The total distance traveled by truck drivers per year is 93.5 million highway miles? To put that in perspective, that’s 256,197,260 miles per day, 2,965 milers per second, and 3.7 million times around the earth or 195,713 round trips to the moon! That’s a lot of truckin’! Of course, with all those miles it would be nice to get good gas mileage. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen. On average, long haul trukcs can carry 300 gallons of fuel, but can only travel eight miles per gallon. That’s about 6.8 gallons of fuel an hour at 55 miles per hour. That means it would take a class 8 tractor trailer 44 hours and 347 gallons of fuel to travel from Los Angeles to New York City. Of course, with a 300 gallon fuel tank, you would only have to stop for gas one time. With all those miles to travel, one of the perks of long haul truck driving is being able to see the beauty and splendor of the United States countryside and getting paid to do so!

Now that you know just how important the trucking industry is to the U.S. economy, how much the average truck driver makes a year, and how many total miles truck drivers travel on average per year, I want to end this article with one last statistic. The value of shipped goods that the commercial trucking industry transports per year is $139,463,000,000. That’s $382,090,411 per day and $4,422 per second! That is how valuable the trucking industry and the truck drivers themselves are to the citizens of the United States. Think about this, if you will. Almost every facet of our economy is dependent upon the trucking industry, from food to fuel, medicine to machinery, cars to clothing, and construction to manufacturing, they are all delivered and dependent upon the commercial trucking industry. To put it another way, if it wasn’t for truck drivers, you wouldn’t have a bed to sleep on, soap and shampoo to clean yourself with, clothes to get dressed in, food to eat for breakfast, a toothbrush and toothpaste to brush your teeth with, a car to drive to work in, gas to fuel that car, a computer to work on, food to eat for lunch, a car to drive back home in, a refrigerator, stove and microwave to store and cook dinner with, plates and utensils and a table to eat on, chairs to sit on, and a television to watch the game on while you sit in your sofa and drink your ice cold beer that was transported by truck drivers. Of course, I left a lot of stuff out but, you get the picture. Oh, I almost forgot, you wouldn’t have a house to live in either, unless it was made out of something other than bricks, concrete, wood, metal, or stone. Remember, if you bought it, a truck brought it.

So, back to the original question. Why should you pursue a career in commercial truck driving? Well, now that you know how important the commercial trucking industry is to the U.S. economy, how good the job market is, and how much truck drivers can make without a college degree, maybe the real question you should be asking yourself is, “why shouldn’t I pursue a career in commercial truck driving?”. That’s a question that only you can answer. If you do decide that you want to pursue a career in commercial truck driving, getting the proper training is your first step. Not only is the commercial truck driving job market ripe with possibilities, the steps you have to take to enter the job market are easier than you might think. To be certified to operate a commercial motor vehicle, all you need is a commercial drivers license, adequate physical health, and the ability to operate a commercial motor vehicle. That’s it. Of course, getting your CDL is a whole different story. It takes specialized knowledge and training to pass the required tests, and that training is usually obtained at a private or company-sponsored truck driving school. Most truck driving schools will give you the CDL training you need to pass the required CDL tests and obtain your commercial drivers license within a few months.

I hope this article has helped to answer the basic questions you may have about pursuing a career in commercial truck driving.

How I, a Deaf Pilot, Got Myself Into a Control Towered Airport for Breakfast – Part II

(Continued from Part I)

Five and a half hours later, I arrived in Kansas, tired but elated. A handful of deaf pilots were on hand at the airport to welcome me. I felt right at home.

Throughout the week, we flew to different locations, including Amelia Earhart’s birthplace. On most of those flights, one or two passengers was usually on board to share in the cost of flying the airplane. Although Kansas is well known for its thunderstorms during the summer, we were mercifully spared and got to do almost everything that was on the schedule.

Everyone had a great time and the week flew by all too quickly. Soon it was time to go separate ways and return home.

Fortunately, I would be getting a little tailwind on the day of departure and because of that, I decided I had enough time to make a stop in Illinois to visit with a fellow pilot before continuing the rest of the way.

After flying for about two hours, my friend greeted me at the Illinois airport. We spent the afternoon catching up and ate a delicious lunch at his house. At one point, I glanced at the clock and realized it was getting late. It was almost 5 pm. I still had another 3 hours of flying before arriving at my home airport and I wanted to get there before sunset. At that time, I was not yet comfortable flying at night. I was still a relatively new pilot and was not ready to stretch my comfort zone.

My friend quickly took me back to the airport and dropped me off. After refueling and getting a weather update, I was back in the air, climbing to 7,500 feet, heading east. I dodged low-level clouds here and there and motored on for two and a half hours, enjoying the scenery below me.

Based on the GPS, I could see that I was not going to make my home airport before sunset. I began making preparations to land somewhere for the night. Looking through my list of alternate airports, I picked one that was only 45 minutes away from my final destination. I keyed in the airport identification (KOEB) into the GPS and punched the “Direct To” button.

Thirty minutes later, I saw the green and white rotating beacon of that airport. The sun was just about to dip below the horizon, plunging the entire area into darkness. I knew I made a good choice to land there.

Circling above the airport to check the position of the windsock (to determine the direction of the wind), I made an uneventful landing on the appropriate runway. After landing, I taxied over to the terminal building, looking for a place to park for the night. My intention was to go into the airport lounge to sleep on the couch and then fly the rest of the way home the next morning.

But the problem was I couldn’t decide whether to stay put or continue my flight. I was having an argument with myself over this. After all, I reasoned, it’s only another 45 minutes to my home airport and I have to make a night flight sometime – why not tonight? The weather was gorgeous with clear, calm skies.

It was very tempting but something told me not to push it. Reluctantly, I picked a spot by the terminal building and shut down. I would later find out it was not the best place to park.

Stepping out of the airplane, I noticed it was eerily still in the cool, damp air. Not a single soul was around. It was a weird feeling being by myself at such an unfamiliar place.

Most small airports have a combination lock on their buildings to prevent unauthorized people from entering after-hours. Only pilots had access to the combination because they knew where to look for it (the airport facility directory). That way they could stop in for a vending-machine snack or catch a quick nap before continuing on with their flights.

As I approached the building, I was shocked to see it did not have a combination lock. I could have sworn the airport facility directory mentioned this place had one. Upon closer inspection, I could see the door was bolted from inside! Perhaps I was mistaken.

A million thoughts ran through my head, “How am I going to get in?” “Where am I going to sleep tonight?”

My first reaction was to check the front entrance to see if it had a combination lock.

No such luck.

Taking a deep breath, I surveyed the area. The gravel parking lot was illuminated by the moonlight yet completely devoid. The road that ran alongside the airport was pitch black, overshadowed by towering pine trees on both sides. There was nothing for miles around. I was the only breathing soul there.

I decided to try one more time to get in the building and made my way to the back door again. Aggressively rattling the doorknob, twisting and pulling, it would not budge. Peering inside, I could see the faint outline of a couch. How I wanted to get in there!

Slowly turning around, I stared at the small airplane.

It was going to be a long night.

To be continued-